Grandma’s Bag of Tricks

I found this fantastic book, which I’ve been perusing in the evenings.  On the cover, it reads “Grandma’s Bag of Tricks,” but I’m going to steal them from Grandma.  The book is Sharon Lovejoy’s Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars.  Firefly Lanterns!  Worm Hotel!  Pizza Box Solar Oven!  Faerie Houses!  Memory Boxes!  Peek-a-Boo Planters!

I got the book a little too late for the summer activities, but who says planning for next summer isn’t fun?  Oh my.  I love this book.

Lovejoy includes little memories along the way.

Whenever my grandmother and I baked together, I was in charge of measuring and adding the vanilla—my favorite ingredient—to the recipe.  Before she put the bottle of vanilla back into the cooling cupboard, she always dabbed a little behind my ears and on my wrists for a sweet perfume—a tradition I carry on to this day.

Sweet, huh?

Lovejoy includes tons of recipes, too—the kind any kid would rave about for days.  [Well, shucks, me too!]  Her activities highlight nature and art with such whimsy and delight, that just reading her descriptions will make you feel like an honest-to-goodness explorer.

Here’s one Liliana and I did before her first day of kindergarten on Tuesday.

Wind Wishes

In my old Heart’s Ease gardens, the children loved the elderberry tree spangled with paper wind wishes that danced in the slightest breeze.  Sometimes, it was a heartbreaker to read the wishes they scribbled and hung.  Use scraps of your beautiful handmade paper to write out a wish, a blessing, or a poem.  Punch a hole in the top of the wish, and tie it loosely to a favorite tree or bush.  If you want your child’s wish to last longer, simply cover it with clear contact paper, which will protect it from the rain.

I have these water viewing microscope boxes I saved from my teaching days, which I’ll use with Liliana to do Lovejoy’s Water World activity sometime this fall.  We have a stream, rampant with bug life, down the hill from our house.  We’ll sit as still as church mice and see what we can see.  I could do that for hours.

I love being a kid again…with Liliana.  The world is so vastly fascinating.  How could anyone ever be bored?

[Post image: Dragonfly by jacksondes on stock.xchng]

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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