Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'm Afraid Grandmother Is A Bit Near Sighted...

I've noticed over the past few days that the weather is a bit cooler, a bit less humid, the sky is a clearer blue and the leaves at the tips of some nearby branches have begun to change color. This can only mean one thing - summer will slowly come to a close and autumn will start to ease in.

But, Grandmother...
This blog is called "Summer With Grandmother Wren".
What will happen now that summer is ending?

Grandmother Wren Is Moving To Her New Home. Her new blog is called "At Home With Grandmother Wren" and you can find it Here.There will be a new post on my brand new blog tomorrow and it's going to be a Good One, I promise!

Please Come To My New Home -
change your bookmarks and if you have an email subscription here, please resubscribe using the form you'll find "At Home With Grandmother Wren".

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Blog Carnival - Make It From Scratch

The latest edition of the Make It From Scratch blog carnival is published.
The host site this week is Po Moyemu - In My Opinion. Visit her blog to see all the great entries.
My contribution was my post about our visit to the Farmer's Market and the stuffed peppers that we made. Other entries run the gamut from recipes for gnocchi, cream puffs and how to make your own buttermilk to ideas for safe alternatives for common household products. Lots of craft ideas too - kid's fisherman knit sweater pattern, kid's craft recipes, monogrammed lavender bags and ideas for homeschooling - hands on learning.
This carnival is a lot of fun and a treasure trove of great ideas. Don't miss it!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dear Maya - with love, Daddy and Lisa

Good evening Karen, Russ, Rachel & precious Maya,

Today we were blessed with gorgeous weather and the free spirit of a beautiful little girl that placed a smile on many people's faces.
Karen & Russ, we missed you today - I would have loved to have you meet my parents along with my brother, sister in law and the cutest nephew ever, Colin. There were many dynamics today and it was comforting to see everyone mingling and getting to know each other. Maya I am sure was overwhelmed with the amount of people there that she was not familiar with. I am glad Rachel came to give Maya that comfort and security she needed with so many "new people".
Thank you Rachel.
Maya and Colin had a splendid time playing with the "big huge bubble making machine", the multicolored parachute, the camping tent, coloring project with markers and the velvet paper. They each colored a circus theme and dinosaurs. Their artwork came out beautiful. Two talented children we have indeed.
Anyways, enjoy the pictures.
Take care! Ken and I will be there on Thursday.

Click Here Visit Maya's Birthday With Daddy Photo Album

Starting Monday With A Smile

When it was Great Grampy's birthday, Maya wanted to make him a strawberry cake with "all good cream."And so we did.

When it was Great Grammy's birthday, Maya wanted to make her a Sponge Bob cake.
And so we did.

This week it will be my birthday.
Maya told her Mommy that she wants to buy me green olives - enough to share.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

You Can Be a Part of Blogging History.

"On September 27th, join 1,000s of bloggers around the world in BlogCatalog's Blogging for a Great Cause Challenge. This Blogging Challenge will be:

Bloggers Against Abuse
September 27th, 2007
The Outcome we are after is to be part of the largest group of bloggers to ever blog about an important cause, all on the same day.

So how do you participate?

On Sept. 27th, blog about putting an end to some sort of Abuse (you decide what kind of abuse to blog about).

In the meantime though,

* Spread the word among all the bloggers you know. Perhaps even give them a link to this Discussion. "

I'm in - how about you?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Farmer's Market

We have been making an adventure of the Saturday Farmer's Market this summer.
The market is held on the town green - there are animals to visit, honey to taste, home baked cookies to sample and bunches and bunches of vegetables to buy.

This Saturday we arrived in time to watch our favorite farmer unloading her crates of vegetables from the back of her truck.
We chose beets with the greens still attached (washing and then cooking both the greens and the beets was lots of fun). We bought yellow squash and zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers for Grampy and three giant bell peppers to make stuffed peppers for our dinner.

We used the crock pot to cook our stuffed peppers.
Maya used the potato masher to thoroughly blend the ingredients for the stuffing -
a basic meatloaf mixture of:
3 slices of stale bread torn into little pieces and soaked in
3/4 cup of milk combined with one egg
1/4 cup chopped onion
and 3/4 lb. lean ground beef
while I cut the tops off the peppers and cleaned out the insides.

We set the seeds aside on a paper plate to use later on, then stuffed the peppers with the meat mixture.
We poured just enough tomato sauce into the crockpot to cover the bottom of the dish,
put in the stuffed peppers and poured the remainder of the jar of tomato sauce over them.
The peppers stayed in the pot for 6 hours on low heat and then they were done!

While the peppers cooked, we decided to do an art project to remember the fun we had cooking our vegetables from the farmer's market. We got out our paints and painted a couple of sheets of construction paper green, like the peppers.
Once the paint was dry, we drew two large peppers on the green painted paper and cut them out. Then we painted those green peppers with white glue, covering all of the paper peppers. We did that so that the seeds we saved from the insides of our real peppers would stick to the paper. We set the paper peppers aside for the rest of the afternoon to dry. That night we had a super dinner and some new decoration for Grammy's kitchen!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

9 Million Toys Recalled - Lead And Other Hazards (it's getting kind of scary...)

August 2, 2007 - Fisher-Price Recalls Licensed Character Toys Due To Lead Poisoning Hazard
- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firms named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.
Name of Product: Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and other children's toys
Visit This Link for a complete list of toys recalled along with images to help identify any toys you may have.

These links will take to pages of new recalls, this time because of the danger of small magnets, plus one more lead paint recall

Additional Reports of Magnets Detaching from Polly Pocket Play Sets Prompts Expanded Recall by Mattel (August 14, 2007)

Mattel Recalls Doggie Day Care™ Magnetic Toys Due to Magnets Coming Loose (August 14, 2007)

Mattel Recalls Barbie and Tanner™ Magnetic Toys Due to Magnets Coming Loose (August 14, 2007)

Mattel Recalls "Sarge" Die Cast Toy Cars Due To Violation of Lead Safety Standard (August 14, 2007)

Mattel Recalls Batman™ and One Piece™ Magnetic Action Figure Sets Due To Magnets Coming Loose (August 14, 2007)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Summer Knit and Crochet

It's raining, or maybe it's not, but it's hot and humid and not a good afternoon out of doors. Sometimes Grandmother wants to just sit and knit. Or crochet.
I came across a project today that combines that much needed break from the weather with an idea for giving.

Arkansas Children's Hospital is now conducting it's annual Knitting for Noggins Knit-a-Thon with a goal of 30,000 knit or crochet hats by the end of October.
If you live near the hospital in Arkansas, you can attend the Knit-a-Thon there on October 14th.
Or you may want to host your own Knit-Together with your friends and create hats for the hospital. Go to their website to download a party kit that includes everything you need to host your own Knitting for Noggins party, including a flyer and printable invitation.
And of course, working on hats on your own is the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.
Visit their website to find guidelines and addresses to send your hats.

Arkansas Children's Hospital, a place of care, love and hope, is a non-profit, private hospital, dedicated to helping children live healthy and productive lives. It is the only pediatric hospital in Arkansas and one of the largest in the country. The staff consists of more than 500 physicians and a 3,500 member support staff. The campus spans 26 city blocks and has a floor space totaling over 1,200,000 square feet. In the last year, the emergency room, outpatient and specialty clinics had more than 250,000 visits from children, not only from Arkansas, but throughout the world. The hospital has many one-of-a-kind pediatric specialists and is licensed for 280 beds.

Arkansas Children's Hospital is a world leader in many areas of care, utilizing leading-edge treatments, state-of-the-art facilities and aggressive research and development.

You'll find a good assortment of free patterns for knit and crochet hats at these sites:

Crystal Palace Yarns


Friday, August 10, 2007

Five For Friday - It's Raining Again!

Instead of complaining about the rain (since it seems we're going to be stuck with it anyway), why not choose projects, crafts and activities to Celebrate the Rain ?

Links to five pages of ideas to get you inspired:

Preschool Educations Arts and Crafts for any weather

A to Z Kid's Stuff - Rain

Preschool Express with Jean Warren (my hero!)
The Magic of Rain

For Older Children (grade school) a unit on Weather and Rainbows

Step by Step Childcare has five pages of their own ideas for a rain and umbrella theme including a related books list!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

About Grandparents

My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday.He asked me how old I was, and I told him, "62." He was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

************************************************************************************ After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. At last she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who
was THAT?"

A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo while I asked, "No, how are we alike?" "You're both old," he replied.

A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me, and always she was correct. But it was fun for me, so I continued. At last she headed for the door, saying sagely, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!"

When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use, Grandpa. The mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

When my grandson asked me how old I was,I teasingly replied,"I'm not sure." "Look in your underwear,Grandma," he advised. "Mine says I'm four to six."

A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma , guess what? We learned how to make babies today." The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool."That's interesting," she said, "How do you make babies?" "It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'"

Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant,"said a teacher. The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked. Sure," said the young boy confidently. "It means carrying a child."

A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog's duties. They use him to keep crowds back, " said one youngster. "No, said another, "he's just for good luck." A third child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs", she said
firmly, "to find the fire hydrant."


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

30 Things To Do Before Summer Ends

From's Guide for Single Parents -

Making the Most of Your Summer
Are you growing tired of hearing, "I'm bored?" I bet there are a lot of things you and the kids had hoped to do this summer. Well, there's still plenty of time!

Print out a copy of this list, talk it over with the kids, and add anything else you want to accomplish before school begins. Then get to it! Make the most of the summer while you can.

And remember, the idea is to have fun! Whatever you don't get to, you can aim for next year.

More Great Ideas for Having Fun Together:

Top 10 Ways to Have Fun with Your Kids this Summer

Renewing Your Passion for Board Games

Frugal Ideas for Keeping the Kids Busy

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ultimate Creativity

From The Robert Genn Twice Weekly Newsletter

August 7, 2007

Dear Karen,

We all have a tendency to focus on the daily progress and setbacks of our working lives. The balancing of practical matters and creative joy seem so all-involving that our art can become our main reason for living. Not that there's much wrong with this--without dedication it's pretty well impossible to thrive in the game. I've spent a bit of time in these letters trying to express the necessity of study, application and hard work. I've talked interminably of creative commitment. I've also talked about the values of family and significant life-passages. Over the years I've shared the death of my parents and other personal happenings, and I thank you for your patience.

Perhaps not often enough have I mentioned the ultimate and rather excellent form of creativity that's open to most of us. I'm talking about children. None of us asks to be born. We step out innocent to the world's wiles. We require nurture to approach our potential--to be handled before we can handle. Children are soon enough presented with a puzzling world. "Keep me away," said Kahlil Gibran, "from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children."

Carol and I have been blessed with three terrific kids. David, our oldest, is a musician and music producer. James, one of our twins, is a film director. Sara, our other twin, is a painter and singer-songwriter. How this den of artistry and application happened we never quite figured out. Believe me, we're not disappointed there are no lawyers or accountants in our outfit.
But I digress.

This morning at 8:21 David and his wife Tamara produced our first grandchild. Everybody's doing well. The event makes it even more clear, no matter what else might happen during a short stay on the planet, this sort of creation rises above all else in its profundity. This has been a day of wonders. How David was issued with the genes to stand by in green scrubs and cut the umbilical cord we'll never know. The glow of accomplishment and joy on Tamara's face as she held the newborn was more beautiful than any painting or sculpture could ever be. Who knows what these perfect little hands will do--and where these tiny feet will take him. Please welcome Beckett David Nathaniel Genn.

Best regards,


PS: "Your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but are not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you." (Kahlil Gibran)

Esoterica: Art is life and life is art. Offspring may be the greatest art, but they are also like art. They eventually go into the world and make their own way. They flow from some source that we cannot fully know. Like art they require love and work. David and Tamara will know more of this when they check out of the hospital in a couple of days. "Work is love made visible," said Kahlil Gibran. What a work has now become visible.

Current clickback: If you would like to see selected, illustrated responses to the last letter, "I'm not going anywhere," about working in confined spaces, please go to:
If you would like to comment or add your own opinion, information or observations to this or other letters, please do so. Just click 'reply' on this letter or write

Give the gift of the twice-weekly letters. We are currently snail-mailing a free copy of The Painter's Keys (the book) to current subscribers who go to the URL below and send us the names and email addresses of five or more of their creatively-minded friends. No strings, just a thank-you. We make it easy. We even send your friends a personal letter to let them know the twice-weekly connection is from you.

Go joyfully into the world! A Premium Listing in the Painter's Keys Directory is the most effective thing an artist can do to be tastefully and respectably noticed. This listing--really a mini web page--costs $100 per year--and we do all the set-up.
You can find out how well it might work for you at

Yes, please go ahead and forward this letter to a friend.

If you think a friend or fellow artist may find value in this material, please feel free to forward it. This does not mean that they will automatically be subscribed to the Twice-Weekly Letter. They have to do it voluntarily and can find out about it by going to

In compliance with the welcome legislation on spamming, our
mailing address is: Painter's Keys, 12711 Beckett Rd., Surrey,
B.C., Canada, V4A 2W9.
(c) Copyright 2007 Robert Genn.

Friday, July 27, 2007


For the next eight days, I will be joining Grampy Russ on his vacation.
I'll be returning on Monday, August 6th, with lots of pictures of Miss Maya's third birthday.
See you then!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lion Brand Yarn - By Kids For Kids Newsletter - July 2007

There's a great project in the Lion Brand Yarn's Kid's Newsletter this month -
Natural Dyes from Edible Items
I've used natural dyes for Easter eggs a few time, but never for yarn. (Guess what we'll be doing soon?)
Here's a portion of the newsletter, I know you're going to want to subscribe for yourself!

By Kids, For Kids: July, 2007
Natural Dyes from Edible Items
Creating your own dyes can be a fun and exciting way to personalize projects. This month, we show you how to make all-natural dyes and use them with different cotton and wool yarns.
We used only edible items purchased at our local market, boiling water and (in some cases) salt to make beautiful, all-natural dyes.

After trying our dyes, you will probably want to experiment with other natural food dyes of your own. Start by using fruits or vegetables that stain and experiment! You can mix dye baths to make different colors. You will probably find, as we did, that the colors are all -- surprise -- "earth" tones!

Because this project requires boiling water, adult supervision is required.

If you are not already a subscriber to BK4K, click here! It's free!

Selecting Your Yarn Different fibers absorb dye differently. We found that:
1.The all-wool yarns -- Lion Wool and Fisherman's Wool -- took color much more easily than the cotton yarns;
2.The soft pastel shades of the cotton were very pretty but very subtle -- much like the colors of home-made fresh fruit ice cream;
3.In some cases, the same dye produced one color in the wool yarn and a quite different color in the cotton yarn.
4.There was very little difference between the way the different wool yarns took color, but the Fisherman's wool fluffs up a bit more after handling;
5.There was very little difference between the way the different cotton yarns took color.

Your Equipment
1.Cutting board and knife;
2.Stainless steel or enamel cooking pots;
3.A stove;
4.If you are using beets, a grater;
5.A clock or 1-hour timer;
6.Tongs or spoons for handling yarn in the dye bath. If you plan to do several colors, make sure you have a different utensil for each so you don't accidentally contaminate your dyes;
7.Some place to hang the yarn to dry;
8.If you are making more than one color, index cards or labels to put with the yarn while it is drying so you can remember what is what.
9.Recommended, not required: a notebook to document your work. Use this to take notes about the materials, the process times and the results. Samples of the yarn are helpful, as are pictures. Having this information makes it easier to repeat a particular color.

The Dyes The colors in wool are different from those in cotton, but they are both pretty! (Wool is on the left, Cotton on the right)

Turmeric We found turmeric in the spice section of the market.
Click here for the recipe.

Skins of Yellow Onions We saved and used the skins of a dozen yellow onions to make this beautiful warm brown.
Click here for the recipe.

Grape Juice We used frozen juice and got this beautiful dusty-rose color on the wool and soft lavender on the cotton.
Click here for the recipe.

Beets The pink dye is not colorfast, but it is so pretty in the cotton that we can't resist telling you about it! If you make something out of it and wash the item, you will have to re-dye it after washing.
Click here for the recipe.

They've also included some patterns to use with your newly dyed yarn -

So now you've have some beautiful naturally-dyed yarn, what next? Using just one ball of the natural vanilla and one dyed a bright yellow with the turmeric recipe above, we made this fun retro purse set -- a VERY 60's holder for dark glasses, for a cell-phone and for small change or other little necessities.

Subscribe to the Newsletter Here!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More About Dulcimers

A History Of The Mountain Dulcimer

Gila Mountain Dulcimers
Comprehensive site includes care of the instrument, dulcimer playing lessons, links
The dulcimer designs on this site are works of art.

In Search Of The Wild Dulcimer –A great page of instructions along with music samples to listen to

From Everything Dulcimer
A page of articles about kids and dulcimers
a beginner’s page
even a dulcimer chat!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

New From Highlights For Children - 10 Fun Indoor Crafts To Beat The Heat

We're moving into those Dog Days of summer - too hot for the kids to be playing actively out of doors in the heat of the afternoon, but you don't want them sitting around in front of the television either!
Highlights For Children has come out with a great issue this month with ideas for crafts and activities to enjoy while staying cool.

These Magnetic Messages have a lot of creative possibilities.
They offer a fun way to enhance literacy skills along with the opportunity to encourage family communication.
You can't beat that!

I'm liking this Rocking Duck too!
An easy decoration made from paper plates and colored with markers (an older child might enjoy using paints ) a flock of ducks would be a great addition to anyone's summer decor!

But my favorite is the handmade dulcimer.

The Appalachian, or Mountain, dulcimer is a musical instrument
developed in the United States in the 1800s from dulcimers brought to America by European immigrants. Like a guitar, it is made of wood and has a
sound hole for the strings to pass over. The dulcimer can have three or four strings and is played by placing it on your lap and strumming the strings. This version, designed by Jessica Gates is made from a shoebox and rubber bands.
If your child finds that he really enjoys playing the dulcimer (like I do!), you can easily move up to a more advanced, but still inexpensive corrugated cardboard instrument from the company that I purchased my first dulcimer from more than 20 years ago.
Backyard has premade dulcimers and dulcimer kits and when you're ready you can upgrade once more to a beautiful wooden instrument like I have now!
This is a summer activity that can lead to a lifetime of beautiful musical expression.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Pray For The People Of Iraq

There are ideas and topics that I have such deep feelings for that I have learned not to discuss them. Perhaps it is cowardly of me, but I have learned that my beliefs and feelings are not always the ones currently popular and because I feel what I feel and believe what I believe from the core of who I am, if I allow myself to be drawn into debate, my heart breaks. I almost passed by this note from Kitty of COPD Support for that reason. I thought it would be another reminder of despair.
This note from Kitty's son is something very different. And I believe that no matter what our political views are, we all stand strong in support of our young people drawn into military conflict. I will honor Christopher's request to pass his message along and I regard it an honor to do so.

Kitty wrote:
this was written by my son, Chris who is currently deployed with the US Army in Iraq and the first mail I saw the morning of July 19, 2007. he is 21 years old. what an honor and Blessing to be able to say I am his mom... please share as you wish...
hugs and prayers,

"Pray for the People of Iraq"

Here I sit in my room all alone wondering why we are here in Iraq,
there are so many bad people in this world and it just makes me feel like all we are here for is to try to make the bad people go away.
So much for your beliefs and being able to feel the way you want,
since I have been here I feel like I am in jail, not jail behind bars but jail like my life is on hold, and can't seem to figure out why.
If you ever have felt like you can't do anything about anything back in the states you should join the military and come to Iraq, you will feel like that but seventy times worse.
In ways yes we are making a huge difference and helping almost everyone over here but the thing that is so bad over here are some of the people from here just have their beliefs and as you know people don't just change cause someone tells them that they have to or need to.
People need a reason to change their beliefs and the way they think,
if someone could show a person it is wrong to kill because you are trying to help and build their country back up then it may change the way the people here think.

Now don't get me wrong I don't think that there are all that many bad people here I just think that there were one or two events that changed these people and now cannot trust anyone so it is easier to get rid of the people they don't trust then deal with them.

For many of the people here it probably started years and years ago, before this war and maybe before the last one. But for some of the younger people here I believe there is hope that they will not grow up to hate and there is some hope that they will forgive and reilize that we are not here to kill everyone but help for if we were here to kill everyone we would have done that years ago.

Now all I ask you to do is the next time you are sitting in church and get asked if there is anything you would like to pray for, before you ask to pray for the Service men and women please do me this and pray that there will be some light shown to these young Iraqis and that they will see that we want to help them,
I believe if the people of Iraq see that we are here to help then maybe someday this war will end.

So I ask anyone who reads this to pass it on and lable it pray for the Iraqis.
I believe that if we start trying to teach the younger people here that we are trying to help as well as the older people who will listen we can make a difference,

Yes there will always be killing as there is everywhere and that is another issue but for now lets take this one step at a time.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you repost it,

Christopher W.

"Handy" Back To School Item

in my email


I work for a public relations agency and represent a product called Germ-X( After reading your June 11 post about hand sanitizers, thought I might pass along some news from Germ-X.

As you reported on, hand sanitizers have been a hot topic this year among parents. Reports of children becoming ill from ingesting alcohol-based hand sanitizers emphasize the importance of parental supervision when it comes to children and common household products. When used as directed, hand sanitizers are safe and offer vital health benefits.

The germ-busting stuff really is top-of-mind right now …school supply lists from around the country are asking parents to send kids back to school this fall with a bottle of hand sanitizer. And there’s good reason: Studies have shown a decrease in the average sick time of students who use hand sanitizers as a part of their hand hygiene regimen (see: American Journal of Infection Control).

To effectively kill 99.99 percent of germs, hand sanitizers like Germ-X and Purell contain 62% ethyl alcohol. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control study shows that in lower percentages of alcohol, hand sanitizers are less effective. (

Next month, Germ-X is introducing an alternative to traditional alcohol-based products. Germ-X® Advanced Protection is a new formula that uses active ingredient benzalkonium chloride (the same stuff found in eyewashes and surface cleaners) to kill 99.99 percent of common germs.

Germ-X Advanced Protection may be of interest to those looking for a substitute to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The foaming hand sanitizer has a light, clean feel and a fresh smell … and, with vitamin E and other moisturizers, it keeps hands soft.

Karen, I’d be happy to send you samples of this new product (it will hits shelves mid-August), and can send additional information. Would you please let me know if this might be of interest? Thanks for your time.

Lauren Brucker
Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. – for Germ-X

I'm very happy to get this news and I'm looking forward to trying this new product -
I'll post again when I've tried it and in the meanwhile, why not watch for it to show up in the store in August?
(If you see it before I do, let me know and I'll pass it along...)

Five For Friday - Great Old Summer Songs To Share With The Grandkids!

KIDiddles is a fun site with the lyrics to hundreds of kids songs, old and new. Quite a few songs also have midis to accompany them in case you've forgotten the tune.
Here are the links to five old songs that you're sure to remember and the grandkids would love to learn.

In the Good Old Summer TimeTraditional
Written By: Ren Shields
Music By: George Evans

In the good old summer time,
In the good old summer time,
Strolling thro' the shady lanes,
With your baby mine;
You hold her hand and she holds yours,
And that's a very good sign
That she's your tootsey wootsey
In the good old summer time.
read the complete lyrics and hear the midi...

Take Me Out to the BallgameWritten By: Jack Norworth & Albert Von Tilzer

Buy me some peanuts
And Crackerjack
I don't care if
I never never get back
read the complete lyrics...

Bicycle Built For Two
(Daisy Bell)
Written By: Harry Dacre

It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage
But you'll look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle made for two.
read the complete lyrics

Rise and Shine(Children of the Lord)
(The Arky Arky Song)
I remember this one from summer camp!

Rise and shine
And give God the glory, glory
Children of the Lord
read the complete lyrics here...

Old Dan TuckerWritten By: Daniel Emmett

So, git out the way, Old Dan Tucker
Git out the way, Old Dan Tucker
Git out the way, Old Dan Tucker
You're too late to come to supper.
read the complete lyrics here...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I'm Still Your Dad

I stumbled across an article tonight that connected with thoughts I had while watching our little girl this morning.
The article is at "Where Real Fathers Write About Fatherhood". The topic is 5 Primary Goals For Divorced Fathers by Ken Canfield

I'm not going to try and write something all nice about how a parents' divorce can be a good thing for a child (it can't) or how it doesn't really affect the way that those parents parent their child (it does). But divorce happens - a great many less-than-perfect things happen in our lives - and it is our responsibility to live up to the challenge the best that we can.

I watched our Miss Maya this morning as I went about my work in the kitchen. She knew that her father was coming to visit today. Maya looks forward to every visit with her Dad.
At 10 AM, right after Dragon Tales, right on schedule, Maya went to sit at the arm of the sofa and watch out the door. It was time for Daddy to come.
I watched her and I was very, very grateful. Her life is less than perfect (everyone's is) but I knew she would not be disappointed in her waiting.
Maya's father does not ever disappoint her or let her down.
She waits for him and, without fail, he comes through the door with a gift or a treat and he begins a day with her that she calls "playing all day long." He provides structure and a familiar routine that comforts and reassures her - they always have pepperoni pizza for lunch, they always walk to the playground, he always goes with her to play in her room.

Maya has been blessed with a Dad who continues to support her emotionally, financially and with his guidance as a parent even though he is no longer married to my daughter, her Mom.
Many, many children of divorced parents do not have this sort of father in their lives.

Maya is fortunate and I am grateful.
Thank you, Ken Henry.
You have given the world a beautiful little girl and you are standing by your child.
You should be very proud.

Monday, July 16, 2007

About Angels...

I only know the names of two angels. Hark and Harold. Gregory, age 5

Everybody's got it all wrong. Angels don't wear halos anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working on it. Olive, age 9

It's not easy to become an angel! First, you die. Then, you go to heaven, and then there's still the flight training to go through. And then you've got to agree to wear those angel clothes. Matthew, age 9

Angels work for God and watch over kids when God has to go do something else. Mitchell, age 7

My guardian angel helps me with math, but he's not much good for science. Henry, age 8

Angels don't eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!!!Jack, age 6

Angels talk all the way, while they're flying you up to heaven. The main subject is where you went wrong, before you got dead. Daniel, age 9

When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to ten. And when he lets out his breath, somewhere there's a tornado. Reagan, age 10

Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy. If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow. Then, when it gets cold, angels go north for the winter. Sara, age 6

Angels live in cloud houses made by God and His Son, Who's a very good carpenter. Jared, age 8

All angels must be girls, because they gotta wear dresses and boys wouldn't go for that. Antonio, age 9

My angel is my grandma, who died last year. She got a big head start on helping me, while she was still down here on earth. Katelynn, age 9

Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And if they don't make the animals get better, they help the child get over it. Vicki, age 8

What I don't get about angels is why, when someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them. Sarah, age 7

Friday, July 13, 2007

Five For Friday - Five More Ideas To Start Your Child's Collection

Buttons- you can use buttons to make patterns and shapes the same way you can with caps and lids -
there are also lots of button crafts. A quick google search for button craft ideas will show you button picture frames, button mobiles, button ornaments and our favorite, tiny button dolls.
Bookmarks a little harder to find, these are a good challenge for an older child. The local library is likely to have an assortment as give-aways, bookstores have them as give-aways and for sale (they don't cost much). Making your own is a lot of fun. This collections is likely to accelerate an interest in books and reading and that is a Good Thing!
Menus take-out menus, advertising menus that come as inserts in the newspaper, many restaurants will let you have a menu for your collection if you ask them. Ask friends, grandparents and other relatives to pick up menus for you when they dine out.
Pennies finding pennies is a hobby in itself.
"Find a penny, pick it up;
All the day you'll have good luck.
Find a penny, leave it lay;
Bad luck will come to you that day."
"I found a penny here today,
just sitting on the ground.
They say that it's a sign that
my Guardian Angel is around.
They toss them down from Heaven
whenever we are down
just to make us smile
and wipe away our frown."
Greeting cards lots of creative possibilities here. Collect an assortment from every holiday. Cut images from the cards to make collages, dioramas, paper dolls or handmade greeting cards. Open them out flat, sew the folds together and make your own book...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Collection

The kids have been out of school - what? - two weeks? Have you heard it yet? Yup. That's it..."I'm bored!"
This might be a good time to start a collection. Your kids can learn a lot from making of collection (it doesn't really matter what they're collecting). An early enthusiasm for something now could lead to a lifelong hobby and deciding how to keep, arrange or display things is an artistic exercise in itself.
You may have to help your child to generate ideas about what he would like to collect by making suggestions (otherwise she could fall right into the commercial trap of collecting 'my little ponies').
Here are a few ideas to get you both started:
Candy wrappers, stamps or stickers use them in albums or make colorful posters for the wall
Bottle tops and jar lids collect the tops of all sorts of different kinds of screw-top bottles, jars and tubes. Arrange them in patterns or letter shapes.
Small rocks and pebbles collect pretty shapes or colors. Your child could also paint or use markers on smooth stones to make animals, insects or scenery.
Postcards collect these wherever you find them (you'd be surprised how many are available in your own home town - after all, someone is a tourist there...)Ask your friends and relatives to send them to you. Collect the stamps!
Refrigerator magnets almost everyone is giving these away as a promotion now and a refrigerator makes a very good size display board.
Leaves these are much easier for small children to collect and preserve than flowers. Show them how to press the leaves flat between pieces of paper towel under a pile of books.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Where Are The Germs Hiding At Your House? The Dirty Top Thirty...

The answers might surprise you. An article found at WebMD lists the
Top Spots for Bacteria at Home
More Bacteria in the Bathtub Than in the Garbage Bin, Study Shows

Researchers visited 35 U.S. homes, swabbing for bacteria in 32 locations in each home.
Here's how those spots ranked, in terms of the average number of bacteria per square inch. Spots with the same average number of bacteria have the same rank.

1. Toilet bowl: 3.2 million bacteria/square inch
2. Kitchen drain: 567,845 bacteria/square inch
3. Sponge or counter-wiping cloth: 134,630 bacteria/square inch
4. Bathtub, near drain: 119,468 bacteria/square inch
5. Kitchen sink, near drain: 17,964 bacteria/square inch
6. Kitchen faucet handle: 13,227 bacteria/square inch
7. Bathroom faucet handle: 6,267 bacteria/square inch
8. Bathroom sink, near drain: 2,733 bacteria/square inch
9. Pet food dish, inside rim: 2,110 bacteria/square inch
10.Kitchen floor, in front of sink: 830 bacteria/square inch
11.Toilet floor, in front of toilet: 764 bacteria/square inch
12.Kitchen countertop: 488 bacteria/square inch
13.Bathroom countertop: 452 bacteria/square inch
14.Garbage bin: 411 bacteria/square inch
15.Dish towel: 408 bacteria/square inch
16.Toy: 345 bacteria/square inch
17.Kitchen tabletop: 344 bacteria/square inch
18.Home office phone or refrigerator door: 319 bacteria/square inch
19.Toilet seat: 295 bacteria/square inch
20.Bathroom light switch: 217 bacteria/square inch
21.Microwave buttons: 214 bacteria/square inch
22.Kitchen chopping board: 194 bacteria/square inch
23.Child-training potty: 191 bacteria/square inch
24.Infant changing mat and infant high chair: 190 bacteria/square inch
25.Kitchen phone: 133 bacteria/square inch
26.Bathroom door's inside handle: 121 bacteria/square inch
27.Toilet's flush handle: 83 bacteria/square inch
28.TV remote control: 70 bacteria/square inch
29.Home office computer keyboard: 64 bacteria/square inch
30.Home office computer mouse: 50 bacteria/square inch

The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available.

The FDA recommends mixing 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach into 1 quart of water for a homemade sanitizing solution -- or using a commercial sanitizer -- to help keep kitchen surfaces clean.

Visit WebMD to read the complete article

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

this morning's Gift

My blog entry for this morning was already written and waiting in the draft folder to be plugged into place - when this arrived in my email.
The first newsletter I've received from my (free) subscription to the Support4Change Newsletter.
A gift. And I'm paying it forward.
Please - be kind to yourself and subscribe !

To subscribers of the Support4Change Newsletter:

Here is the link to the latest newsletter finished on July 9, 2007

If you need to copy the URL and paste that into your browser, here it is:
This is what you’ll find inside the newsletter:

· Happy Summer to Paris Hilton—and Everyone Else

· Q-and-A Club Questions: Superlatives – Memorial Day – Fashion, Fame and Fortune – Being “American”

· Today's gratitude: Tree trimmers and power tools

· Ideas worth considering: Vacation take-a-breaks

· Books for children and grandchildren: Meet an enchanting team of author and illustrator

· Books for Adults: Mistakes Were Made (but not by me) and The Know-It-All

· Blog entries you may have missed: On “The Secret” and the use of humor

· Getting a different perspective: Solving problems next to a fishing hole

· Five Articles You May Have Missed: From a safe environment to healing families


If you have any questions or comments, use the Contact Us form on the website or send a note to the address below.



Arlene Harder, MFT, Founder and Editor
2522 Boulder Road
Altadena, CA 91001

Monday, July 9, 2007

50 Ideas For Filling Your Water Bin (51 if you count Water

Like much of the country, Connecticut is experiencing a heat wave. We've been playing with the water bin a lot - filling it with ice cubes or water and large blocks of ice "iceburgs". We've added jungle animals and dollhouse people, plastic fish or dinosaurs, small boats. We've given the dolls a bath and washed clothes and dishes.
Other than early morning, it's too hot to play outside. We get bored with water, so I've been pulling out all those old sensory bin ideas and putting them to good use.

The bin doesn't have to be anything fancy - it can range from a container as simple as a shallow dishpan all the way up to a pre-constructed sand and water table

I'm using a clear rubbermaid storage container – one of the shallow ones – about 18” wide, 36” long and 4” high – set on the floor with a plastic tablecloth underneath.
I do want to offer a caution before I get started with the list of fillers –
Young children must be closely supervised when playing in the bin.
The water should be shallow (even then, if the child is younger than three, you must sit beside him while he plays. A young child can fall face first into a very small amount of water and be unable to stand up )
Choose the fillers for the bin according to the age and ability of your child.
If there is any danger of the child putting small objects into her mouth and choking – avoid small objects.

With those less than cheerful images out of the way, Let’s get on with the fun!

50 Fun Fillers
1. Sand
2. Uncooked pasta shapes
3. Rice
4. Pine cones
5. Corn meal
6. Dry cereal
7. Oatmeal
8. Beads
9. Playdoh
10. Feathers
11. Goop
( a mixture of ½ cornstarch, ½ water)
12. Fresh clipped grass
13. Dried peas, beans, lentils
14. Different scraps of cloth
15. Cotton balls
16. Colorful yarn scraps
17. Birdseed
18. Coffee grounds
19. Hay
20. Colored aquarium rocks
21. Bubble wrap
22. Pine shavings
23. Shredded paper
24. Valentines or Christmas cards
25. Potting soil
26. Seashells
27. Instant mashed potato flakes
with or without water
28. Cooked spaghetti
29. Shaving cream
30. Plastic drinking straws
cut to different lengths
31. Knox gelatin
32. Aluminum foil
33. Ice cubes
34. Cornstarch packing peanuts
(not styrofoam)
35. Buttons
36. Magazine pages
37. Plastic Easter grass
38. Frozen peas and carrots
39. Snow
40. Dog biscuit bones
in different sizes and colors
41. Unpopped popcorn
42. Bubbles
43. Dried corn cobs and corn husks
44. Small lengths of curled curling ribbon
45. Dry autumn leaves
46. Sunflower seeds
47. Flower heads and petals
or old potpourri
48. 6” or less lengths of cut
Mardi Gras beads
49. Construction paper scraps
in lots of different colors
50. Clean Mud

Clean Mud Recipe
1 roll white toilet tissue
1 cup soap flakes
1 ½ cups water

Mix soap flakes and water in the bin
until soap is dissolved.
Help your child to tear the toilet tissue
into small pieces and toss them into the bin.
Mix with your hands to make mud –
the more you mix,
the softer and squishier
your mixture will be.

The mud can be stored
in a covered container
in the refrigerator
for reuse.

30 Tools and Toys to Use with Your Bin
1. Scoops
2. Tongs
3. Sieves
4. Pitchers
5. Spoons
6. Ladles
7. Small dinosaurs,
farm and jungle animals,
insects, etc.
8. Toy cars, trucks , tractors
9. Plastic flowers or aquarium plants
10. Squeeze bottles
11. Tub toys, ducks, fish
12. Watering cans
13. Whisks
14. Basters
15. Old fashioned egg beaters
16. Rocks
17. Eyedroppers
18. Children’s scissors
19. Plastic knives
20. Empty plastic jars and bottles with lids
21. Muffin tins
22. Egg cartons
23. Aquarium nets
24. Net sponges
25. Spray bottles
26. Plastic berry baskets
27. Shovels and pails
28. Small pots and pans
29. Foil candy cups
30. Sand molds