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Tag: Inspiration (page 2 of 2)

Sheep’s Clothes – Boys and School

shutterstock_175586570 Sheep’s Clothes – Boys and School 


In the year of our savior Reggio Emilia 2012, there did a monster reign.


He walked amongst them unnoticed at times.  Peaceful.  Quiet.  As with Play-Doh.  And the Trains of Thomas.  And Maresol, that fair teacher of Espanol who taketh no shit.


“Things are as they should be,” they said, at the Time Known As Drop-Off.


And then that time ended and the Time Known As Circle began.  A time of great decibel increase and insurrection.


In mighty voices, they said, “LISTEN!  LISTEN!  LISTEN!  LISTEN!  LISTEN!”






But circle he did not and lo!  Two horns doth did sprout!  And that is how, after Tales of the Great Letter ‘E,’ the Time of Circle did end.


In quiet voices, they said, “Line-eth up, ye who would travel to the far reaches of the Kingdom.”  But Line-eth he did not, especially since he was not made Leader of the Line-eth.


First, he ziggethed.  Then he zagethed.  And then he pushed him known as Zachary who yelled unto him, “I’m first and you’re NOT!”  And lo, his feet they did become cloven hooves!


Upon reaching the far reaches of the Kingdom, the Time Of Outdoor did begin.


In which sand was thrown far and wide but mainly into Katie’s eyes, and tag, it was played until Carter yelled, “We don’t like you!” and Gregory confirmed this and yelled, “YEAH!”


And lo, he grabbed his shovel and smacked it down, which brought a voice like thunder that said “YELLOW LIGHT!” and then he stomped his cloven hooves and shrieked and the voice commanded, “RED LIGHT!”


But he looked both the YELLOW LIGHT and the RED LIGHT in the eye and laughed and into the Out Known As Time he was placed.  And they tisked and clucked and remarked, “‘Twas no shovel he had but a pitchfork.”


As the Time of Outdoor ended and the Time of Snack began, he no longer walked amongst them unnoticed but like a sharp piece of Lego stuck in their feet.  A sharp piece of Lego with fruit and crackers.


After the Time of Potty, he washed his hands and his clothes and the floor and those around him.  And then poopeth he did go.  Not on the potty but behind the potted plant.  Because it was safe.


And they sighed DEEPLY and whispered the Prayer of the Pull-Up and wiped and wiped and wiped and called up the Gods of Sanitation and wiped some more.


During the Time of Clean Up, there did occur a kerfuffle between him and Jeffery and Marcus and Quincey that shook the rafters.  Then using a bardic lute, he sang of the kerfuffle to others over mead juice but not before they put him in the Zone Known As Chill and told him to SLOWETH HIS MOTOR.


“The Transitions, they will be the death of us,” they did mutter, and said five Hail-Maria-Montessori’s for good measure and then finally – OH FINALLY – it was The Time Known As Lunch, and then they did wave their magic organic carrot and sprinkled Impulse Control Crumbs but the Impulses they were NOT Controlled.


After much pillaging and plundering – beware the ides of sunflower butter in your hair! – and much shrieking by Jill and Mary Beth, a nobel knight arrived at last to purge the kingdom of the devil.


In she rode with her brave Snap ‘N Go Chariot – wielding the sword of 1-2-3 MAGIC and the awesome power of LOVE – and she looked into the face of CHAOS and commanded, “Come.”


And he went.


Cloven hooves into Stride Rites.  Horns receding.


And they sighed with relief and said, “All is almost as it should be.”  (As they had four more devils to contend with).


For they had survived another day with that plague of school systems in kingdoms everywhere.


That beast that goes by the name:





Written by the Tarja Parssinen, aka The Flying Chalupa


31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 24: Making Sun Prints

Ready for an easy art project today? We have just the thing for you!

Sun Prints

For this art project, you’ll need a sunny day, a few leaves (or other objects), and some construction paper. You can also buy special sun print paper at your local craft store, but we’ve found that inexpensive construction paper works just fine. Place a piece of construction paper in the sun. Have your child arrange leaves, sticks, keys, rocks, even plastic figurines on the paper. Leave the paper and objects out in the sun for an hour or two. The sun will fade the paper around the objects, leaving the area under the objects dark. The possibilities are endless, and the mess is minimal!


My First Day of Preschool


My First Day of Preschool

I was super nervous.

I could barely sleep last night.

The clothes were laid out.

Pirate shirt?  Yes.  It says “devilish but adorable.”  And the skinny jeans.  Regrettably trendy but the only thing that doesn’t say “saggy gangsta butt.”

The lunch was packed, which nearly killed me.  Was it filling?  Was it too much?  Not enough?  Too processed?  Was it organic-biodegradable-compostable-combustible-and-waste-free?  Would the teachers judge?  Would the kids judge?  Good enough for tradesies?  Good enough to throw?

Where was the attachment object?  A truck?  No.  A stuffed animal.  Elmo?

What do you think, Elmo?  Can you do it?  Show me comfort.  Now safety.  Stop singing that song.  This is serious, dammit.  That’s better.  How well does your flammable red fur absorb homesick tears?  Perfect.

Now it’s time for a hearty-but-harried breakfast.  Let us give the vehicles on the placemat all of the cereal.  And all of the milk.  Perfect.  Would the vehicles care for toast?  Just a bite?  No?  Perfect.

It’s time.  Let’s ready ourselves.


Okay, speed-labeling commencing with purple permanent marker.  Is purple appropriate?  Yes.  It says “toddler royalty.”  Teeth brushed.  Sippies filled.  Camera packed.  Car loaded.  The journey begins.


Speed-deep-breathing commences.  Let’s sing the back-to-school song!  Happiness!  Lightness!  Airiness!  Guided imagery of serenely floating on a lily pad down a congested river of cars!


Walking three blocks on a beautiful day is invigorating.  It gives me time to reflect on this momentous occasion.  Who will I meet?  Who will I befriend?  And then I am there.  In the classroom.  And I see them.  The row of perfectly monogrammed Pottery Barn Kids canvas tote bags.  I do not have a monogrammed Pottery Barn Kids canvas tote bag.  I do not even have a knock-off monogrammed tote bag.

Moment of panic.



Then a little hand works its way out of mine and wanders toward the toys.  He does not even look in my direction as I hug him and say goodbye.

My first day of preschool.

He’s ready.

I turn out of the parking lot.


How much do you want to bet that his sesame-ginger salad dressing is not nut-free?

Time for a break.

Written by the Tarja Parssinen, aka The Flying Chalupa

31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 23: Small Businesses for Small Kids

Are your kids ready to start a small business this summer? Lemonade stands are great, but that’s not the whole scope of business ideas for young entrepreneurs. We know kids who have “doing” businesses, like house (and fish) sitting, and who have “making” businesses, like making and selling friendship bracelets. Here are some questions, courtesy of the Girl Scouts, to help your kids figure out where to start…

– What do you like to do?
– What type of chores do you do well?
– What do you like to spend your money on?
– What do you like to eat and drink?
– What types of things do your parents ask you to do for them?
– How much free time do you have to run your business?
– How much time can your parents or friends give you with your business?
– Would you rather do something to earn money or sell something?
– Do you want to earn money to buy something soon, or do you want to earn money so you can save up for something special?

We like these questions because they ask the kids to think about what they are good at, what they enjoy, and what they hope to accomplish. Aptitude, enjoyment, and aspirations—all important to any worthwhile project. Once your kids have answered these questions, they’ll be well on their way to starting their own business and learning so many great skills along the way.



31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 20: Dishes Kids Can Make Themselves

You advertised for a sous chef, and within moments your child volunteered. Your young assistant is certainly willing, but not exactly ready to take on all the dishes found in your cookbooks. All that dicing, measuring, and sautéing is tricky when you’re just barely counter height. It seems that some new recipes in order. These easy dishes provide a just-right starting point.

scrambled eggs (this is what everyone learns to cook first, right?)
cinnamon toast
egg salad
deviled eggs (these are a snap, once your child has mastered egg salad)

And don’t forget “put together” dishes like…
a hummus and vegetable plate
tortilla roll ups with turkey, cheese, and lettuce (or whatever your child prefers)
pasta salad

31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 16: Journaling

The day I gave my child an empty spiral, she started a journal. She would carry it in the car and whenever she had a free moment, she would write lists, create stories, and draw pictures. It started as a way to keep her busy, but it’s turned into a place where she can let her imagination run wild. She has stacks of them in her room now.

Journaling is one of the best ways to help our children’s creativity flourish. And it doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Some of the best ways to journal involve sharing a notebook. Perhaps you write each other notes or one of you draws half of a picture and the other one completes it or maybe you co-write a short story.

It’s easy to get started with journaling, shared or otherwise. Here are the tools that will come in handy:
– a sketchbook (like a Moleskine) or a spiral
– drawing pencils, pens, and watercolors, if you wish
– a pouch to keep everything in, especially if you child wants to carry it around

Lastly, your child needs time. Journaling can’t be rushed. If your child feels that he or she has to finish quickly, they might get frustrated and say that they can’t do it. With time, though, their creativity will soar.



31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 7: Special Announcement from Kid President

Now for a special announcement from Kid President:

5 Things That Make Summer Awesome



31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 6: Create an Art Space

One of the exciting things about having young children around is to witness their enormous potential for creativity. Kids love building, drawing and painting, making up and acting out stories, inventing songs and games. Given the right conditions, they can do this kind of thing all day long with very little need for guidance from us grownups.

So what are those “right conditions,” you might wonder? The first is obvious: time. Kids need unbroken hours of play when we’re not whisking them off to the next activity, when no other interruptions call. The second is also straightforward: freedom. They need us not to hover, not to say “no” or “try this” or even “good job” every two minutes. And if that seems hard to swallow, then the third condition should make it easier to give our kids the creative freedom they need: space.

To get started with your own space where your younger kids can do-it-themselves with art projects, find a space on a table or desk (or even an empty drawer), and have these things spread out so they’re at hand for inspiration to strike:

– blank white paper, lined paper, construction paper
– kid-safe scissors and glue sticks
– colored pencils and regular pencils
– old magazines (to cut up)
– tracing paper

For older kids, we’ve had great success with a stack of spirals that are leftover from the school year and some freshly sharpened pencils. How about your kids? What kinds of art supplies do you keep on hand for them?


31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 5: Ten New Books for Your Summer Reading Lists

Experienced reading teachers and literacy experts can vouch for the fact that kids read more and enjoy reading more when they are able to choose their own books. On the flip side, too much choice (i.e. an entire bookstore or library) can be overwhelming and discouraging. So, as one teacher put it, putting together a “preview stack” of books at the right reading level and in your child’s areas of interest hits the sweet spot between freely chosen and guided reading.

So we have been working on this for our kids, pulling books both from the recommended reading lists given to us by our schools and from our favorites from when we were kids.

But there’s something absolutely delightful about discovering a new book from a new author (or a new books from an old favorite author) that makes a summer reading stack just a bit more intriguing.

Here are books that we have loved reading with our kids this year. We’re calling it our Best of 2014 (so far) List. Read on!

Picture Books
Hi Koo: A Year of Seasons by John J. Muth
The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light
Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton
A Gift for Mama by Linda Ravin Lodding

Middle Grade Books
Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne


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