Winter weather fun

As temperatures hovered in the teens last week, we weren't thinking about manners much and we weren't posting either. We were just trying to figure out how to weather the wearying cold.

As an adopted New Englander, I've learned to embrace the family ski trips and pond skating but when I first saw this ice orb project on pinterest, I knew I had found something that could make me really love cold weather.

I was more excited than my children as we filled balloons with water and food coloring. And the thrill of peeling off the balloon was well worth the wait, not to mention the risk of color-stained gloves.
And now the roads are steaming and the snow is melting along with those ice orbs. Feeling sad to see the weather warm up, I know I have truly become a yankee. Now I'm just waiting for the weather to drop below freezing again so we can try ice bubbles.

Friday Frivolity: Twain and Tolstoy for Toddlers

Once again it’s Friday, and, once again, we’re writing about books. This week, its children’s books, specifically, little known children’s books by literary giants. On the Brain Pickings blog, the post 7 Obscure Children’s Books by Authors of Grown up Literature contains brief accounts of the origins of children’s books by James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, and others.

Should the modern mother feel inadequate because her children's book shelves do not house Twain or Tolstoy? Hardly. Yet, many of the books on this list appear to be so delightful, none more than Mark Twain’s Advice to Little Girls, which includes this gem:

You ought never to take your little brother’s ‘chewing-gum’ away from him by main force; it is better to rope him in with the promise of the first two dollars and a half you find floating down the river on a grindstone. In the artless simplicity natural to this time of life, he will regard it as a perfectly fair transaction. In all ages of the world this eminently plausible fiction has lured the obtuse infant to financial ruin and disaster.

Ah, the cleverness, the humor, and what a vocabulary! It makes this modern mother want to buy it right now, and I don’t even have any little girls. Perhaps this book will be for me.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday Frivolity - The Power of a Good Book

Speaking of reading (thanks Kate), if you are looking for a good laugh or a good mystery series, we recommend the following. 

Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Happy Friday and Happy Long Weekend!

Happy New Year & New World

 It was a sad season, this past holiday and for that reason I couldn't wait to pack up the tree and assorted swag on January 1st.  It has all been stashed away with hopes for a better tomorrow.  This is one reason you haven't heard from us much lately -  since we tend to be a light-hearted blog (in our ironic sort of way) we just didn't seem to have much to say.  That and in light of so much sadness in the world - does it really matter if Sally calls you Mrs. Smith or "Hey you?"  What's really important is that Sally is around to yell at you at all. 

Another reason this humble correspondent hasn't had much to say lately is due to something going on locally.  A few weeks back all fourth grade parents in our town received an email telling us about a proposed curriculum change.  Starting in September it will be mandatory that all 5th graders in our town's seven elementary schools have their own iPads.  This will be a partnership (that means families need to buy the iPads unless need is demonstrated) and the children are to use these "educational tools" in the classroom and at home.  My extensive thoughts on this can be found over at TheSwellesleyReport.  Suffice to say, I find it all a bit concerning and the arguments in favor less than convincing.

 Image from

There was a presentation last night and the parents of the children in the pilot program were most enthusiastic.  They love it and thought it added much to the classroom and helped prepare them for middle school.  Children were able to (among other things) build their own websites, create their ideal societies and present them to peers via video - sounds great.  But is this compelling enough to mandate families purchase iPads for ten year olds?  Moreover, I was disappointed by the response to the parents who raised concerns.  Essentially the response was 'this is already happening, kids use iPads for games - we will teach them to use them as tools, this is the world today, other towns are doing it, this will close the digital gap,  you should get on board.'  There was very little discussion about the rightness of giving ten year olds these devices or the merits of 1:1 screen education vs. collaborative learning. Well, here's hoping I am wrong and it is a brilliant success.

More and more, these days, this modern mother finds herself feeling like a salmon swimming up stream.   Then again, does any of it really matter as long as the children are safe in school?

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