Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Container painting!

It's fun! All ya need is:

*empty oatmeal container (or any container with a lid)
*paper that will fit inside your container
*tempera or acrylic paint
*roundish objects like superballs, corks, pom-pons, etc.

Gather your supplies. I let the kids choose 3 colors of paint. Acrylic has the best vibrancy unless you can get your hands on some Biocolor which is AWESOME! Tape paper to the inside of your container and add a couple of drops of paint...

Add your items, these will act as paintbrushes replace the lid and shake, shake, shake!

Dump out yer objects, wash to reuse or let them dry and be their own art.

Pull out the paper and let dry. I tape it to a window. Display on the fridge, frame or use as giftwrap. So much fun. Let your kidlets experiment with different types and sizes of objects and colors of paint. Have fun!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Make a Time Capsule!

If you are an oatmeal family, chances are you often find yourself with an empty container or two. You have used those containers for storage, drums, buildings, and perhaps science projects, but have you made a time capsule yet? January is the perfect month for Time Capsule making. You and yer kidlets can accumulate some great good stuff from the previous year to tuck away and bury until next year. You can make it a family tradition! Here's a nifty how to guide with pictures and everything!

To start, you will need to gather your supplies:
*Empty oatmeal container
*glue, gluestick, and/or tape
*markers, crayons & paint
*nifty printed papers, giftwrap, constructionpaper or magazine pages
*ribbon & other collage items for that extra bit of pizazz

Remove the paper label from your oatmeal container and have your kidlets decorate the outside. If using regular sized paper, you will need two sheets to cover. Have the kids decorate the paper first before wrapping the container. Allow their creations to dry and make sure they know there may be overlap if using two sheets.

Now, while waiting for the niftiness to dry, gather your materials to tuck away inside. My container contains some of the following:

*nifty handmade postcards from friends
*a favorite xmas gift
*a favorite robot toy
*something I made
*a valentine I cherish
*a wee notebook full of swap notes I wrote to myself

The ideas are only limited to size. Include photographs, report cards, artwork, letters, stories, get the picture. Get old fashionned and make an audio tape of your kids talking aobut their favorite bits of the year or make a mix cd full of your favorite tunes from the year.See? Too many ideas!

Once your time Capsule is dry and ready, tuck all the goodies inside, add the date somewhere and seal. I used packing tape.

Now, where oh where are you going to "bury" it? YOu can tuck it away in a closet or the attic. If you choose to actually bury it, make sure you wrap it up in a plastic bag and have the kids create a map to the treasure!

Another spin on the Time Capsule for older kids would be to have them write themselves a letter about the year. Gather some smallish flat items like a favorite cd, artwork and photographs and put them into an envelope with their name on the front. Seal and hold onto it for 5 or more years. When they reach 16 or 18 or 21 mail them their time capsules for their birthdays. It is a gift more fun and precious than you can ever know!

Monday, January 29, 2007


I guess I need to write a kids book about oatmeal since I cannot think of any but what I did come up with was this book which I adore adore adore!

The New Friend

Toot and Puddle: The New Friend
Written and Illustrated by Holly Hobbie
Published by Little Brown

A delightful story of friends and lesson learning. Everyone is excited when Daphne comes to play but she soon looses her appeal as she is so good at everything and knows it. Second best doesn't play well with her and she can be quite the snooty pig. Can you find the oatmeal reference? Enjoy all the other Toot & Puddle books also!

More Toot and Puddle fun here and here

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Oatmeal Month?


Funny how January can be so many different "months". In honor of Oatmeal Month I present to you some nifty oatmeal fun. For starters, why not read about why oatmeal is good for you? Then, tomorrow, whip up a batch of the best oatmeal ever and let yer kidlets add their own fruity fun to make it their own.

Perfect Oatmeal
*bring 1 3/4 cupcs slightly salted water to a boil
*add 1 cup uncooked oats
*turn heat down to low and simmer about 5 minutes
*add a couple o' dashes of cinnamon and stir, let simmer until water has evaporated

serve up into bowls and add yer toppers. My favorite is a squirt of honey, a dash of half n half, handful of blackberries, 1 tablespoon of granola & a dash of black pepper. Kidlets may like fresh fruit like bananas or strawberries. Dried fruit like raisins or apricots. Brown sugar and cooked apples, a drizzle of chocolate sauce and some mini marshmallows or a 1/4 cup of fruit cereal added for color are a few other ideas. Let yer kidlets create, they may come up with a favorite of yours!

Of course I have put together a kaboodle page for you. Check out some more oatmeal fun below:

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies
Awesome Oatmeal Cookies
Homemade Oatmeal Bath Soak
Kid Friendly Oatmeal Clay

Friday, January 26, 2007

It's Australia Day!

Hi folks! Today is Australia Day for all my friends down under! In honor of Australia Day I bring to you two book recommendations and some pretty pics on how to make your own fairy bread!

First up, one of my favorite stories by the ever fabulous redhead Mem Fox:

Written by Mem Fox
Illustrated by Pamela Lofts
Published by Voyager Books

Not really a tribute to Australia but an honorable mention is Alexander & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!

Written by Judith Viorst
Illustrated by Ray Cruz
Published by Aladdin

For Fairy Bread you will need:

*soft white bread (though I prefer squaw bread)
*soft butter, margarine or clotted cream
*a bevy of sprinkles, jimmies and sugar
*large sized cookie cutters, about the size of a slice of bread
*a clean surface or splat mat

Maggie, the wee one who first introduced me to fairy bread likes to flatten her bread first by smashing it with her wee fists. So, after flattening you will want to butter your bread slice liberally. Give the kids plastic knives and they can do it all themselves! After buttering, have a go with all the sprinkles and such:

Cut out with yer cookie cutter...

fairy bread: cutting

...and, enjoy!

fairy bread: yummy

Happy Australia Day everyone!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy Pie Day!

Yup, today is pie day and while I am indeed baking a pie today, at some point, do not have any purdy pictures to share, nor do I have any of the Pie Books I recommended on my LISTMANIA list...drats! Wait, here is an okay pic of a tart I made, this could work! So, for now, take a gander over to my Kaboodle page for some linky-dinks for some pie crazy fun and here are a few ideas you could try for today with yer wee ones.

*Make some pie crust! Here's a vegan recipe that is easy and fun and yer kidlets can play with it like play dough. You can roll it out and they can make wee little pie crust cookies that would be yummy with jam. You can also make wee tarts by folding the dough up and over a dollop of jam or preserves...yummy!

*Have any aluminum pie pans? set them out with an assortment of collage materials and let yer wee ones make a wall hanging. Once everything is dry, add a picture hanger to the back and viola! Instant art!

*Make a shaving cream pie! Cover the play area with a splat mat or vinyl table cloth, pull out yer alluminum pie pans (you can also pick them up at the supermarket for cheap or save them from previous pie fun), add a little shaving cream and a few other washable toys and such and let them have a go at it. A Place of Our Own mentions using food color. I would recommend using Liquid Watercolor. A little goes a LONG LONG way and you can go in as a group to purchase all the colors and then split them up into smaller portions using the nancy bottles. Seriously, this stuff lasts a long time!

*If the weather permits, make mud pies! You can make them indoors if you are very brave but outdoor play is always a plus!

Okee doke, folks! That's all I have for now. Tomorrow, make sure you pay someone a compliment. After all, it is National Compliment Day!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Jek's Book Nook!

Believe it or not, January 20 was/is National Fancy Rat and Mouse Day. So, I know I still owe you some popcorn fun but until then, I offer up to you a recommended read of two very fine and "fancy" mice...

Bernelly and Harriet
Written and Illustrated by Elizabeth Dahlie
Published by Little, Brown

In this whimsical Country Mouse, City Mouse story, Bernelly, the countrified cutie is a flyfisher with style. While she prefers her quiet country life of fishing and gardening, she is a girl who loves a good pair of shoes. When she is in need of a new pair of boots, she rings up her dear fancy city cousin and proposes a visit. City mouse Harriet is a famous artist who loves to visit new places that will inspire her creativity. While the two discover that they prefer their own lives to each other's, they are fancy enough to see the whimsy in all that is around them! With beautiful illustrations you can't help but almost want to tear these pages out and frame them...almost!

Check out flickr-ette Cathy Gaubert for some whimsically fancy rats and more! She even has some squirrely goodness up. Cuz ya know, yesterday was Squirrel Appreciation Day! Oh and she has an etsy shop also!

And, just in case you are really into real fancy mice and rats. Here's some info on the critters!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

it's national thesaurus day!

here's a few synonyms for scrumdilly-do...

delicious, adorable, ambrosial, appetizing, choice, colorful, creative, dainty, darling, delectable, delightful, delish*, distinctive, divine, enjoyable, enticing, exquisite, good, gratifying, heavenly, inviting, luscious, lush,magnificent, mellow, mouthwatering, nectareous, nice, palatable, piquant, quirky, rare, rich, sapid, savory, scrumptious, spicy, succulent,sweet, tasteful, tasty, tempting, titillating, toothsome, very pleasant, well-prepared, well-seasoned, yummy

we won't even think of antonyms! :)

Fruit Punch Popcorn

Fruit Punch Popcorn, originally uploaded by Grat2001.

Lookie this amazing flickr picture by Grat2001! Tomorrow is National Popcorn day! Stay tuned for pics & fun! For starters here's my newest book list for kidlets...and...kaboodle fun too!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy Hat Day!

And an honorable mention the late, more than great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You humble me.

To add a little smile to your day and an activity or two just in case you need something to do, here are a few ideas for National Hat Day!

For nifty books with swell illustrations you can check this list I put together for you. For some nifty linkeroos and craft supplies, you can check out my Kaboodle page!

Last year, Mr. A-go-go & I made our hats out of newspaper and coffee filters, respectively. This year my hat was made from giftwrap and the Mister's from a brown paper grocery bag. You don't have to go out and get any supplies, use what you have, it's fun!

For the giftwrap hat, all you need is a large sheet of paper, masking tape and craft supplies.

To start, you plop the sheet of paper on top of your kidlets head. Use your hand to pseudo-shape a crown on yer wee one's head and then wrap a band of masking tape all the way around to secure. Take hat off head and roll excess paper into the crown to create the brim...tape into place with packing tape or colorful duct tape or whatever yer kidlet desires.

Now, let the decorating begin! I wasn't into a short crown so I taped together two pieces of black construction paper front to back but only tapeing at the sides to create a sort of tube. I then plopped the tube over my crwon and taped down for securiy. After adding a papercut feather and a packing tape button brooch I was ready for Hat Day!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Soupy reads!

Being National Soup Month and all, I thought I would introduce you to two of my favorite soup books. There are oh so many more and you can check out a list I put together here but for now I shall tell you about these two.

mean soup
Mean Soup by Betsy Everitt
Published by Harcourt Brace in 1992

Mean Soup is the story of one young Horace's very bad day. From love notes, to foot stomping to almost poodle killing, Horace was having a very bad day. Not so bad that he wanted to move to Australia, but close. To make the day not so bad, Horace's mother whips him up a batch of Mean Soup that is so delightful how could anyone not smile. The illustrations are a technicolor delight and the crankiness of Horace is a tribute to us all. An interactive book if you read it right, Mean Soup will have yer kids in a frenzy of growling and giggles. I do both everytime I read it!

alvie eats soup
Alvie Eats Soup by Ross Collins
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books in 2002

With its cool graphic design and semi retro feel, Alvie Eats Soup is a delight to read and look at. The grandson of a world famous chef, Alvie only eats soup. Not only does he eat it but he is obsessed by it. Eating soup, talking soup, reading soup, it is all about the soup. Poor Alvie's parent's don't know what to do! When Granny Franny decides to visit they pull out all the stops to get aLvie to change his ways but nothing works. What will Granny say?

So there ya go, two fun soupy reads for Soup Month! Have a nice bowl today, won't ya?

January is Soup Month!

Are ya ready?

What better way to kick off soup month than by whipping up an excellent homemade soup. The niftiest thing about soup is it doesn't take much to make. If you are super adventurous you can make your own stock but if you aren't or don't have time, keep a few boxes of broth on hand or grab yourself a package of chicken, beef or vegetable cubes next time you are grocery shopping.I used to buy soup cookbooks left and right but found that my favorite soups were the ones where I would simply add whatever I had in the kitchen. Mr. A-Go-Go just made a soup like that last night and it is full of onion & potato goodness! Yum! So, pull out that pot, assess what you have and ask yer kidlets what they would want...have them help make the soup. What better way to get them involved? Starting at two years, your kids can help in the kitchen...or maybe the younger ones can sit at the table but you can have them cute soft produce with plastic utensils and they can wash, rinse & dry veggies also, in fact let them tell you what they want in the soup and cook up some warm savory goodness tonight!


While you're cooking yer fantabulous soup, pull out some fantabulous stories and have a read-around! There are soooo many fun soupy books out there that I made a list here for you to enjoy. Also, why not pull out some alphabet pasta and let the kidlets have a go at creating something personal. You can purchase dry alphabet pasta for less than a buck at most supermarkets. I find mine for .35 cents in the "International" food aisle. How dorky is that? Leave the pasta au natural if you like and the kids can glue away and paint to their hearts' content or you can dye up a batch yourself with the use of a few seal and lock baggies and some paint. Use what you have but if you are interested in the best paint in the world, check out the Liquid Watercolors from Discount School Supply! This paint is more awesome than is non-toxic! Place 1/4 cup of pasta or rice in a baggie with a squirt of paint, seal. Shake up the bag and release the colored fun onto a cookie sheet prepped with wax paper. Spread to a single layer and let dry. Depending on how wet your paste/rice us this could take up to an hour to dry. Mine took 10 minutes! Young kids will have a blast shaking up their own pasta and you can of course turn this into a lesson of color mixing. Just remember, a little goes a long way, both with the paint AND the pasta. If using perfeclty edible food isn't your thing have the kids create collage art with other materials. You don't need a reason to make art!

soup month: alphabet soup art

Okee doke...yer making soup, yer making art, what next? Well, if your soup comes from a can, which is perfectly okay, why don't you make use of those cans? Wash them, sand that little sharp piece down and set out yer art supplies. Here's a list of ideas in case yer having a brain funk:

glue, glue stick, Yes! paste
construction paper, magazines, origami paper, tissue, fabric
markers, pens, crayons &/or paint
bits and baubles like felt, feathers, beads, pasta...etc.

soup month: soup can caddie

Put your supplies out on a prepared surface (read, splat mat or newspaper) and let the kidlets go at. You can make pencil tins, art tins, toy containers...they can even turn their cans into creatures if you have all sorts of sizes. Don't limit this activity to soup cans...the possibilities are endless. My all time favorte tin can project was Stilts!

If your kids are older and of the eye rolling age or maybe you want to host a crafty tin can party, you can make beautiful tin can lanterns. For the lanterns you will need:

tin cans (not lined with plastic)
hammer and nails
a drill or two if ya like
pattern if you have one to use & tape
tealights, small votive candles

It is easiest to hammer through the cans if you have them full of ice, so fill em up with water and freeze the night before so they will be ready for the crafting. Use a sharpie to dot a design over the can or find and image/design you like and print to the size of the can, wrap around, and secure with tape. Place nail on top of marked dot and hammer until it pokes through the can. Continue until finished and voila, a pretty lantern. Don't forget to use tealights. You can leave your lantern like it is and place it on the ground or you can hammer two holes at the top, across from each other, thread with a piece of wire and loop the ends to lock into place and hang for a pretty effect. If my instructions are too jumbly, check out the link up there...

And, last but not least, soup goes on sale all the time so why not purchase a dozen cans or so and donate them to your local food bank or shelter. Get the kids involved here also because giving is a cool thing. Not sure what else to do? Make up a batch of homemade soup for an ailing neighbor. Soup freezes well and if you find yourself with too much soup, freeze it for later, you can always find a use for it for you or for others.

Thursday, January 4, 2007


The idea for this blog started as an idea for a newsletter about ten years ago. I have long been a children's book afficionado, for seven years I ran a storytime/arts & crafts program through a major bookstore chain. I wrote Children's book recommendations for a Los Angeles area parenting magazine and did many hours as a volunteer story reader for various organizations.

My love for Children's books knows no bounds and if I had more spending money and more room for storage, I would have even more picture books than I do now. I would have more if I could stop giving them away also. Anyway, while I loved my job at the bookstore, I was really a bookstore employee and had other areas of responsibilty outside of my love for the stories and art. One of my favorite things to do was speak with parents about their kids, books and art. Through my schooling at almost every wee little college in L.A., I have amassed a wealth of knowledge on creativity and child development. I am once of those geeks who when she learns something that is just too too cool, she has to tell EVERYONE about it and frankly, children and their development is the coolest thing of all. Also, at that time, the people I surrounded myself with couldn't care less for kid's books and development (but not you bunny or you leets, not you!). I thought, wouldn't it be cool if I could get my act together to write out a monthly newsletter that included activity ideas and recommnedations and such? Yeah, it would be cool but my act was far from together.

Then, about six years ago I discovered the internet and blogging. It was also around this time that my bookstore career ended (which is another long story) and I was jonesing for storytime, activities and kid's stuff. I thought hey, I could someday do a website that modeled my old calendars of activities. I could recommend kid's books again, I could help plan birthday parties online! Yes, I also did children's book birthdays. However, me, being the computer inept that I am, never believed in myself enough to do it but then I met the husbandman and he has been extra special at encouraging me to do what I lurve so I have been thinking about it more and more but then sometime last year I discovered Kiddley. I thought "Oh No!" I can't do it now, Ms. Loobylu is doing it and I can't copy her. Kiddley is awesome! So I sat in a slump for the rest of 2006 but more and more I thought I could do it. scrumdilly-do would be different. It would be me as jek in the box presenting my love of activities and books for kids. So, I resolved to make it and many other things happen in 2007 and here I am. It won't be as fancy as the amazing Kiddley and you all may not even read this long long missive here but for me and my lurve I will do this. I will try.

I miss my stories, my art, my kidlets. Maybe this way I can help you give your kids a love for reading!