indoor fun – Busy!


Let’s begin by sharing that I’m not a fan of mindless activities for children that simply keep them “busy” and out of our hair. Sure, I’m guilty of putting on a show from time to time so I can get something done without Wren needing something from me for twenty minutes (or two hours). But as far as our every day activities, I want them to mostly be meaningful, thoughtful, and creative. I felt I needed to preface this post because of the name of this activity book we are loving with all this indoor time on our hands these (short but LONG) winter days.

Introducing… Richard Scarry’s Big Busy Sticker & Activity Book! We picked it up at our local JoAnn store several months ago as an impulse buy for Wren. It seemed a bit expensive at almost $13, but in the cart it went. Well, I’m here to tell you that it was worth more than $13. Although she can’t do all the activities in it yet on her own, she can do a lot of them and a lot of them we happily do together.


There are a lot of stickers (over 900!) so there are a lot of sticker-based activities, dot-to-dots, mazes, counting and letter work, etc. She loves it.


The book itself is obviously not a Montessori-inspired book. But I have to give credit to Montessori’s focus on allowing the child the time and space to immerse herself in an activity and stay focused. It’s incredible to see this develop. I think Wren spent about three hours of the morning buried in this book today. Three hours!

Anyone else have any fun indoor activities you’ve been enjoying this winter? Taking recommendations on favorite games, books, crafts…

Our favorite Easter book: The Country Bunny

My very favorite Easter book–and one of the most meaningful children’s books at any time, really–is The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes. I remember reading it as a child and loving the story and the illustrations. I was lucky enough to find a garage sale copy last year and I snatched it up for probably $.25. Such a great find! For the past week, we’ve read it about twice a day and Wren will often pick it up and “read” it herself. It’s such an inspiring story for children and as a Mom I’m also getting a whole new level of meaning out of it.

It’s quite a timeless feminist story, but it’s still hard to believe it was written in 1939! Have you read it? If you haven’t, you should pick it up. The basic story is of a female bunny who wants to be one of the chosen Easter Bunnies, but is told that she’s just a brown country bunny and could never be chosen; all the chosen ones are white, male and strong. She goes on to brilliantly raise 21 bunnies of her own, teaching them each an important life skill like mending and sewing clothes, painting, singing, sweeping, cooking, washing dishes, and working in the garden. Her hard work, perseverance, diligence, and thoughtful bunny-rearing is rewarded in the end as she IS chosen to be one of the Easter Bunnies. I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you… but man, is that Mother Cottontail an inspiration! I tear up a bit when I read the story with my little bunnies too.

What’s your favorite Easter story that you like to read with your bunnies?

Click to purchase your copy of The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes. Makes a GREAT gift too!

Giveaway! Mocking birdies.

Hip hip hooray! I’m excited to have a children’s book giveaway for you, dear readers. The book is Mocking Birdies by Annette Simon and we are really enjoying it in our nest right now. To enter to win a free copy, please leave a comment on this post. The winner will be drawn on Monday, February 21 and then I’ll pop it into the mail to the lucky lovely. Please spread the word!

The simple yet wonderful visuals in this book make it a joy to read for this Mama and the timeless story of two birdies that copy each other’s whistles and songs is great for a range of ages. I’m not going to spoil the ending for you though – it gets interesting… meow!

Good luck! I’ll be crossing my fingers for you.

squirrely book

We’ve really been enjoying one of Wren’s new books I got her for Christmas, Nuts to You!, by one of my favorite author/illustrators, Lois Ehlert. Of course, it’s about squirrels… but that’s not the ONLY great thing about it, silly. The illustrations are fantastic (Lois, I heart you!) and the story, whimsical AND scientific. I love how Lois (yeah, that’s right, we’re on a first-name basis) adds a bit of science and natural history to a fun page-turner. Makes for a read that will last for years. Heck, I learned something too. Sorry, Madagascar and Australia, NO squirrels for you?! Sigh.

Because Wren is about as obsessed with balls as I am with squirrels, this is one of her favorite scenes in the book as she squeals, “ball!!!” This book, Nuts to You!, gets our squirrely thumb’s up, lovelies. Enjoy!

I can’t remember what fun is for.

Happy Birthday, dear Roald! Don’t you just love Roald Dahl and his sometimes dark and interesting stories? Although he died in 1990, his stories are alive and well. Timeless. My favorite Dahl stories from when I was a child are James and the Giant Peach and Fantastic Mr. Fox and well, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Twits rank pretty high too. I just can’t decide! Good thing I don’t really have to, eh?

Here’s a fun fact that I learned today about good ole Roald. James and the Giant Peach was originally titled James and the Giant Cherry. Please be sure to thank me next time you’re on Jeopardy and this subject comes up, OK? One of the most thought-provoking lines from James is “I can’t remember what fun is for.” Ponder me that…

Invites. Check!

So I’m a bit behind in Wren’s birthday party planning. I JUST got the invites out and the party’s on the 30th… Did I mention that I was a bit behind? But I’m really happy with the design. Just wish I had gotten it done last week. Alas…

  • Invites. Check!
  • Birthday banner. Check! Although I had a ridiculous (?) thought yesterday that I would make a new one in fuchsia and tangerine to match the other party elements…
  • Cups and napkins. Check!
  • Cupcake ingredients. Check!
  • Candle in the shape of a number one. Check!
  • Menu of sugary goodness. Check!
  • Thumbelina zinnia plants growing well for the favors. Check!
  • Party dress. Check!
  • Beautiful weather…. ?
  • Thinking of making some of these wheatgrass centerpieces for the dessert table. Have you ever done this? I like these. How springy!

Now I’m pondering a fun activity for the older kids – other than eating sugar. Any ideas, dear readers?

eat food. grow food.

Have you read Michael Pollan’s new(ish) book Food Rules? I read it out loud in the car on the way back from Chicago and I can’t stop thinking about it. Although the critics say it’s just Pollan distilled down into bite-sized bits for the masses, that’s what I like about it and that’s exactly why I’m going to buy a few copies to give to friends for them to read. And pass on. And for them to pass on. And on. It’s one of those. And it’s only $5 through Amazon so I declare that you really can’t lose with this one.

The book pushed me even closer to placing my seed order for my ambitious raised bed garden that I’d like to have this year. Earlier this winter I looked through catalogs and then filed them away in my “to do in March” brain folder–still don’t have the office set up yet and my brain folders are getting full, but we really ARE working on it, thank you very much. Lo and behold, it IS March so here we go! I usually dislike March with its promise of spring and its reality of brownish winter, but somehow I’ve managed not to be down on it just yet. Give me a few more weeks… Maybe it’s April that’ll push me over the proverbial edge this year with its promise of spring and its reality of brownish winter. Why do we live in northern Michigan again? For me, it’s because of mid-May through snowy February, but I digress. Whew. Good thing I stopped that tangent early, eh?

Moving on.

A great kids book that pairs well with Food Rules is Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. A friend told me about it and the very next day Wren received it as a gift from Aunt Becky. How very serendipitous was that?

I love the colorful illustrations of the plants (especially the ferns-very cool!) and of course, the story of growing a garden is timeless and timely. This is one of those books I will also order several of at a time and give to several friends. A must-have book in your kids book library if you don’t already own it!


  • Don’t try to kill me, but I was rooting for Canada in the Canada vs. USA hockey game. Go, Canada! Except those closing ceremonies were really cheesy. Huge inflatable beavers? Are you kidding me?
  • Still loving orange things, especially my new orange scarf.
  • Wren is getting feisty. She now realizes that there are things that she DOES NOT want to do and she lets us know. It’s pretty funny. Until she had a meltdown in the locker room after baby swim. Half-naked with a screaming baby is not really the best look for me I’ve decided.


finally broken!

Thanks for sending all the good anti-vicious cycle karma into the world for me. The vicious cycle has been broken. I am awake and happily working on making a batch of pecan rolls (from yesterday’s leftover pizza dough), cleaning up the house, getting organized and doing *work* for the outside world too. Oh, and here I sit, sneaking in a blog post…

I’m thrilled to report that after a long bout of teething-meets-the-wrath-of-the-virus, our sweet, funny, spirited little birdie is back. In a big way. Pizza night was a hit! Followed by a wild rumpus then the reading of Ezra Jack Keats The Snowy Day and what more can I ask for?

This is our nest’s new favorite book (thanks, Aunt Becky). The illustrations are fantastic (love the gouache meets collage technique, don’t you?) and what a great story of snowy exploration. To top it off, I am in love with the name Ezra. For a boy or girl, no?

Don’t you just love Peter? I just want to put him in my pocket – he’s just so darn cute. In fact, I suppose you could put this version of Peter in your pocket:

Dear readers, I hope you have a super hump day. It’s my birdie’s 9 month birthday today. She’s just about been out of the womb as long as she was in it. It’s bittersweet, isn’t it? How the time does indeed fly by. Before you know it, she’ll be in Brownies and I’ll be asking you if you’d like to buy any Thin Mint cookies. Sigh.

Nursery Rhymes & Whiskey Sours?

Hey Diddle Diddle, what do you think of a Nursery Rhyme-themed cocktail party? It hit me like a Mack truck in my way sleep-deprived state in the wee hours of today so this could either be brilliant or tasteless. Sometimes a bit of tasteless is brilliant, no?

Start with these glasses you can order through Fish’s Eddy and the party’s already a hit!

Maybe also order the coasters for a fun detail…

Make your own party invitations from these old illustrations you can snatch up for only $3 on Etsy. See how this is all coming together?

By the end of the evening, you’ll probably have your own Little Jack Horner, sitting in the corner.

If you were a nursery rhyme character, who would you be? I might be Little Miss Muffet except that spiders don’t scare me so I’d keep munching on my curds and whey (yummy!), thank you very much.