Category: holidays

Help! I am Drowning in Candy!!!

By , November 3, 2009 6:20 pm

A few more Halloween candy ideas:

  • Send it to troops overseas for them to pass out to local children.  For more info, go to the Operation Gratitude website, but basically just send your candy (plus an optional but very welcome $11 to cover the cost of shipping overseas) before December 8th to:

Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, California 91406
ATTN: Charlie Othold

You can also send it anytime to Operation Shoebox at this address:

Operation Shoebox
8360 E Highway 25
Belleview, FL 34420

(Keep in mind that soft or chocolate candy might not travel so well, especially to a hot climate.)

  • Find a local dentist who is participating in a Halloween Candy Buyback program.  Participating dentists give your kids $1/pound of candy and then they send it to troops overseas!  Go to the Halloween Candy Buyback website to do a zipcode search for participating dentists in your area. Consider encouraging your children to donate their dollars to a charity that interests them.
  • Some food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters accept candy.  Be sure to call first to find out if yours wants it.
  • Buy inexpensive cellophane party favor bags and make pretty little candy packages.  Tie the top with a scrap of ribbon or yarn and donate them to your local charitable thrift store for them to sell.  Great stocking stuffers for someone!
  • Of course you can always do a Candy Bank too, and then use one of these ideas as the final destination for your traded candy!

Magical Reads! By Elizabeth Orton Jones

By , July 1, 2009 3:28 pm

While surfing the “What Others Bought” links at Amazon one day last winter, I discovered the wonderful old book Twig, by author and illustrator Elzabeth Orton Jones (1910-2005).  My 8 year-old daughter really likes tales of fairies and magic and this book sounded perfect.  It WAS perfect.  My daughter adored it and read it in one sitting!

She even chose it for her school book report book, complete with a cute diorama (I wish we had saved that to illustrate this post, but alas, it was taken apart and scattered who knows where).

This 1942 story centers around Twig (which was also the author’s nickname), a lonely little girl who decides one day to make a fairy house out of a discarded old tomato can.  I will let you discover the wonderful adventure that ensues.

I am so grateful to Purple House Press, the publisher of our 2002 edition of Twig, for their wonderful work in reprinting this lost treasure!  The mission of Purple House Press is:

“to revive long lost, but well loved children’s books. Today’s children deserve to read wholesome stories from a simpler time and we know grownups want to revisit with old childhood friends too!”

You can still order Twig from the Purple House Press website, but all they have left are more expensive editions autographed by Elizabeth Orton Jones.  We loved the book so much, that I just ordered an autographed copy to have in our collection of very special, keep always, books.

You can also order new (from Amazon affiliate sellers only) or used copies of Twig from Amazon.  Our copy was a used one from an Amazon seller but it was in like-new condition and far less expensive than the Amazon affiliates’ new editions.

After enjoying Twig, my daughter wanted to read more books by Elizabeth Orton Jones. I searched about and found Big Susan, written in 1947 and also published by Purple House Press in 2002.

Big Susan is about a little girl and her dollhouse (the story is based on the actual doll house and dolls that the author played with as a child).  The dollhouse is in complete disarray on Christmas Eve, the one night of the year where the dolls can come to life.

We read this story together as a bedtime book and I laughed out loud at the descriptions of the poor dolls (Nurse was standing on her head in the bathroom wash basin) and the general state of the dollhouse.  It reminded me of our always-messy dollhouse. It also, sadly, somewhat resembles our own house at times (although I have yet to find myself upside down in a wash basin)!

This is a sweet story all about Christmas magic, love, friendship and giving.  My children and I all loved it and were sorry to see it end.  Although it is more of a girl book I suppose, my 7 year-old son adored it and was actually the most eager to keep reading on every night.

Big Susan is easier to find than Twig.  You can order it directly from Purple House, or from Amazon.

Trust me. These are books you’ll love and want to keep to pass down to your grandchildren!

Here are pictures of the text of Twig, to give you some idea of the reading level (it is 152 pages long) – recommended ages 6 to 12:

Here is Big Susan (a slightly easier reading level than Twig with only 83 pages and lots of sweet illustrations by the author) – recommended ages 6 to 10:


The Country Bunny And The Little Gold Shoes (Du Bose Heyward)

By , March 22, 2007 4:04 pm

We read this book every Easter and often at other times too. Country Bunny is an old book that still fascinates today’s children.

This book, first published in 1939, actually has a modern feminist message! It is an Easter tale of a Mommy cottontail-bunny (lucky mama to 21 children, poor Mama Bunny!) who is chosen, against all odds, to be one of the five Easter Bunnies. She beats out the fast boy jack rabbits, and handsome male white bunnies.

But that is just the beginning! The story continues with her adventures delivering eggs as an Easter Bunny, and some special magic shoes.

The illustrations, vaguely reminiscent of Margaret Wise-Brown, are sweet and in a style typical of older children’s books.

A major theme is that kindness is what counts in life. But what I really like best, is the all-important message that we moms can do anything!

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