Sunday, June 29, 2008

Funday Joke - Moth

Sundays are Fundays!!

A man goes to see his doctor. The doctor asks what is wrong and the man says, "Doctor, I think I'm a moth."

To this the doctor responds, "You think you're a moth? Well I don't think you need a doctor. Sounds like what you need is a therapist."

"Yeah I know," replies the patient. "I was on my way to see a therapist, but I came in here because I saw your light was on."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dining Room Light

My husband is a fan of the compact fluorescent bulbs that they have now. He has almost converted me, but I have two chandeliers with exposed bulbs, and I am not willing to use those bulbs in it, because they are ugly.

Wow, that makes me kind of sound spoiled and pouty, doesn't it? But I don't know another way to say it and come out looking righteous.

I think someday they are going to develop bulbs that look nicer, but so far I haven't seen anything. So I'm thinking that a compromise would be new lighting fixtures. I could still have chandeliers, but with the bulbs facing up and not down. That way the bulbs couldn't be seen, and we'd both be happy.

Here is one from the site I linked. Pretty!

Vegas Vacation

My dear sister-in-law has always wanted to go to Las Vegas. This is not number one on my list of vacation spots, but I feel like sometime in the next couple of years, hubby and I ought to take her for a long weekend.

I would not mind going to see Bette Midler, however. I don't know how long she will be there. I think sis wants to see some of the other shows. I doubt we will gamble very much.

Should we go the discount route like Las Vegas Hotels? I used a site like that when my mom and sister and I visted NYC for a wedding a few years ago. We were not disappointed. We did not stay in the most luxurious place, but we saved enough that we felt like we could splurge on things like a Broadway show.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Web-link Wednesday - BBC History for Kids

BBC History for Kids has some really interesting games and animations for elementary ages, if you are studying any history from that part of the world, such as the Vikings, Celts, or Anglo-Saxons.

If American History is on your menu for the next year, Our Los Banos provides a free curriculum for grades 2-6.

For more great links, visit Web Link Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday: Convenient Toddler Food

When my youngest got ready for table foods, it was tempting to get him the little jars of chunky toddler food. They didn't seem very cost effective, however, and the selection was pretty sparse, but the convenience would have come in handy many times, especially when traveling.

I discovered that he really liked the chunky canned soups they have at the store. They have so many different varieties with lots of veggies. There are some reduced-sodium varieties, to cut down on the salt.

Now that he wants to feed himself, I just drain off the broth, and the pieces are the perfect size for him to pick up. I keep these on hand for the times when the rest of us are eating something that he doesn't care for, or that I am not sure he can handle yet.

The other cool thing is that they taste great to the rest of us. There is very little waste, because someone is always willing to eat the leftovers.

Funny Gifts

We have been trying to come up with fun gifts for those birthdays that end in zero. Appropriate gifts, not things like wheelchairs and adult diapers. Those can be in poor taste because they are related to seriously unpleasant things that happen to some people. Funny gifts would be related to things that happen to many people as they get older, but aren't devastating.

Here are some things we came up with:

Jelly beans labled "Anti grouchy pills" or something like that.
Hair restoring cream
Hair dye
Anti wrinkle cream
Senior vitamins
Pain relievers

I can't think of many more. What can you come up with?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Living Math Monday: The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat

We had a week off this week, as the older kids were at Grandma’s. Today I will review another book recommended on the Living Math site.

The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat by Theoni Pappas is a book of math activities that children will enjoy. Penrose is a cat that belongs to a mathematician. The mathematician is always working on lesson plans and mathematical drawings, and Penrose becomes interested in these papers. He dreams that the drawings and numbers come to life and talk to him. This part of the book seems awkward to me. My daughter was enchanted at first, she loves anything with talking animals, but it soon got old, and she didn’t end up finishing the book.

The book introduces higher math concepts, and each chapter is rather short, with activities at the end of each chapter. When needed, answers can be found in the back of the book. The activities are designed to be fun and to get kids thinking about the math concepts that are introduced. Sometimes I had to help my daughter to grasp the concept by paraphrasing what had happened before she knew how to get started on the activity. I didn’t mind having to re-explain the math concepts, but I think that part was a weakness of the book, where it could have been a strength.

We liked this book for the activities, but we found the part about Penrose the cat to be tiresome after a few chapters. We have found another book with some of the same concepts in a more fun, kid-friendly format. I will review that book next week.

Be sure to read my other Living Math posts.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Frugal Friday: Re-use Freezer Bags

For those of you that re-use freezer bags, you probably have the same trouble that I do. It’s hard to find a place to dry the bags after you wash them.

To eliminate drying the bags, I keep a “bag of bags” in my freezer. It is a large freezer bag into which I put my wet bags when they are clean. I stuff any wet bags into my bag of bags and zip the top shut. The water freezes into little crumbs, and when I need a bag, I take it out and shake the little ice crumbs loose. Then I have a (mostly) dry bag to use.

To make my bags last longer, I turn them wrong side out to clean, but I do not turn them completely. I leave the top zipper part turned back, because this seems to be the weakest part of the bag, and that seam doesn’t want to be turned the other way. I hope this makes sense. If you try it you will see what I mean, though.

I don’t buy regular bags if I can help it. Freezer bags are just so much tougher.

**Edited 6/23/08 to add: If you have only a couple of bags to dry, you can just throw them in the freezer without the outer bag. They will completely dry in two or three days, then you can remove them and store them in the cupboard. This is not a good option if you have more than two or three, because they start to look messy and get lost in the freezer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday: Kids Packing Idea

My older kids are at my mom’s this week. While I was helping them pack, I was afraid that my daughter would run out of matching clothes, since her jeans will match anything, but she had other pants and skirts that needed a certain shirt to match them.

I had packed her swimming clothes and pool shoes in a ziplock bag all together, but I didn’t want to use all my ziplock bags just for packing. So I just used some plastic grocery bags. I didn’t tie them or close them, but I just folded them closed around each outfit. That way she could see what was inside, but it would be clear what things needed to be worn together so that she would come out even at the end of the week.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Living Math Monday: One Grain of Rice

...I would have never considered a math notebook before beginning Living Math, but it makes perfect sense....

This is third in a series of posts where I am documenting our adventures in living math. The first post in the series is here.

We read a book called One Grain of Rice by Demi. A selfish raja in India stores up rice each year so that in time of famine there will be enough. When the famine comes, he won’t share and the people are starving.

A girl named Rani comes up with a plan. In return for a kindness, she asks the raja for one grain of rice that day, and a promise that he will double the amount of rice each day for 30 days. The raja agrees to the plan.

From there, we see how this simple plan gives the people their rice back. The selfish, foolish raja becomes wise and fair after being tricked out of all his rice.

Amazon rates this book for grades 1-4. It is easy to see that this is not correct. This book would be useful for all ages, maybe even up to college. The reading level is very easy, perhaps second grade level, but the concept is very deep.

I found a few links with ideas for using this book, especially for more advanced students.

One Grain of Rice Unit: Ideas for a unit study. This is an older website, and some of the image links are broken, but the text is all there. Look under Math Connections and Other Subject Connections to help make a complete unit study.

Excel Spreadsheet Activity This would be great for older students who are learning to use MS Excel.

Illuminations Another lesson plan. It uses some algebra, but I am beginning to see it is not too early to introduce these concepts. I would not expect my gradeschoolers to completely understand, but they can observe and get a taste of what is there.

The Solution Site There are some great plans on here, including an MS Excel sheet that is already set up for your student (great for younger ones who do not know how to use MS Excel.) Students get ½ cup rice to weigh and they learn to count a small amount to approximate how much rice would be in a 1 lb. bag of rice.

More Than One Grain of Rice Here is a PDF with some lesson plans. We printed out one of the pages to use for our notebook pages.

Kids Econ Lesson This is a lesson on economic scarcity using the book. Very simple and to the point. Good for younger students.

What we did: We made a notebook entry to show the grains of rice Rani was given each day. To calculate, we used the simple MS Excel spreadsheet. We measured out an ounce of rice, and counted the grains of rice. This was very hard, but my daughter did it with me helping her. On the spreadsheet, there is a way to figure out how much rice can be carried by a child, a pickup, a semi-trailer, and a train car. We decided to represent the number of pickups that would be needed to carry 1 billion grains of rice by using clip art pictures of a truck. We had to copy it 37 times on our paper.

We also used a picture from The Penny Project to show what one billion would look like in pennies. We pasted our items to notebook sheets.

This is the first entry in our new Mathematics Notebook. I would have never considered a math notebook before beginning Living Math, but it makes perfect sense.

Read my other Living Math posts.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Funday Joke - Deputy

From now on, Sunday is Funday on my blog. I will post a joke a week. I really love puns. You've been warned!
A man walks into the sheriff's office... "I want to become a deputy!"

"Good, I want to you to catch this man" says the sheriff handling the man a wanted poster.

The poster reads : 'Last seen wearing a brown paper hat, brown paper shirt, brown paper pants, and brown paper boots.'

"What's he wanted for?" asked the hopeful young man.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Historic Sheet Music

I was reminded Friday of one of my favorite sites by this post. I commented about some historic sheet music sites, and I thought I would share them here:

Duke Library Digital Collections

  Lester S. Levy Collection

These are great sites for history as well as music. The artwork on the covers on some of this music is beautiful, and can really give you a feel for the era in which it was published. Some of the content is racist, the artwork and the lyrics, so don't turn your kids loose here without discussing that aspect first. I have found that some of the music is a bit out of focus when printing, but it is a minor issue.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Frugal Friday: Saving Gas

This was for next week's Frugal Friday, but I am posting it now because I feel like the time is right.

Here are a few things I have researched, and I hope they help you save on gas!

* The obvious, drive less. Combine your errands, call ahead, carpool if possible.

* Make sure your car has had a tune-up recently. Regular oil changes and clean oil filters and air filters have been found to improve gas mileage. While you’re at it, check your tire pressure (or have the mechanic do it.) You can improve your mileage this way, and your tires will also last longer. It’s also a good idea to have your automatic transmission checked. If your car is spending too long in a lower gear, more fuel is needed. One way to keep tabs on your engine is to keep track of the amount of gas you purchase each time and the number of miles between fills. Calculate the miles per gallon each time and write it down. If you see a drop in your mileage, it might be a sign that there is a problem.

* Be sure that you are using the right kind of gasoline. Your owner’s manual should tell you what grade you need. Most cars need the lowest grade of gasoline. The level of octane in gasoline prevents engine knock; it doesn’t improve performance in any other way. Don’t pay for something you don’t need!

* Waiting in line is almost always a waste of gas. If you are going to let your engine idle for more than one minute, you would be better off to turn the engine off, then back on again. Consider going inside a restaurant or bank instead of waiting in line at the drive-thru. If possible, plan your trips so that you don’t have to deal with traffic delays.

* Take a look at your speedometer. According to the E.P.A, for every one mile per hour that you drive over 55 M.P.H., you lose one percent fuel economy. So if your car gets 27 miles per gallon at 55 M.P.H., you might get only 23 miles per gallon at 70 M.P.H. Plan your trips accordingly. If you can spend a little more time on the road, you can save quite a bit of money at the pump.

* I really hate this next one, but here goes. Turning off your air conditioner can save quite a bit of gas. If you’re on the highway, don’t roll down the window. Rolling down the window creates drag and will cause your engine to work harder. Use the vents on the car air conditioner instead.

* When you’re driving, avoid quick starts. Accelerating slowly can improve your gas mileage. So can braking gently. Try to keep a light touch on both the gas pedal and the brake.

* Check your cargo. Don’t carry stuff around waiting to drop it off on another trip. Extra weight can decrease your car’s mileage. When you are traveling, it is better to fill your trunk and cab with luggage, rather than keep it on top of the car.

Grace to You

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure

Last weekend was difficult. My dear mother-in-law is undergoing cancer treatment. Right now, she is getting chemo, radiation, and they are backing off another medication, because it was having bad effects.

We went to see her on Saturday. For the first time since I’ve known her, she was not a picture of grace, patience, and serenity. She was truly miserable. Job came to mind several times that day. She kept her husband and daughter on their toes. Though I tried to help, she didn’t really want my help.

(I think that's because she is not used to me care-giving. I was able to coach them on some positioning strategies. As she is bed- and chair-bound, she is at risk for developing pressure ulcers, and that is my specialty, so maybe I was able to help in that way.)

I got to thinking, though. “Performance” has often been a part of the Christian life for her. Even though she is a Bible-believing Christian, and is close to the Lord, she gets hung-up on the concept of works and being good enough. My husband has often tried to encourage her from the Word, that since we can never be good enough, we need grace. And we receive grace. But the works philosophy has been ingrained since she was a child, so it is hard for her to let go of the concept. She feels she needs to do more and do better.

Now, sadly, she is not able to do more and do better. Instead of living out her Christian life, she has reached the end of any of her abilities. She is managing to just survive.

Today, the words to this song came back to me. I heard it a lot growing up. But it is real to me in a new way this week. Here are some of the words:
When we have exhausted our store of endurance
When our strength has failed, ere the day is half done
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving has only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

From “He Giveth More Grace” by Annie Flint

As a believer in Christ, do you struggle with works vs. grace? Is is hard for you to trust that your salvation is really secure in Christ, without you adding in the good things that you do. When you fail, do you worry that God cannot forgive you now? The Word of God says He is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory, with exceeding joy. (Jude 24) He wrote your name on the palm of His hand. (Isa. 49:16) You are loved with an everlasting Love. (Jer. 31:3)

Praise the Lord!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Frugal Friday: Clothesline Tips

...Hang shirts upside down. If the clothespin makes a mark, it is on the bottom of the shirt and will be tucked in, or at least not near your face.

I’ve been using a clothesline on and off for eight years. Last year was the first time I had a “real” clothesline, though. Before, we had strung clothline between two trees or between a tree and a fencepost. I prefer the real clothesline, but a makeshift clothesline is a good option, and that is what I did for so long.. Here is a picture of my empty clothesline that hubby built for me.

I wanted to share a few things I have learned about clotheslines for those that are just starting to get into this.

1. If there is a breeze, do not try to conserve clothespins. Use plenty. On a windy day, I might use three clothespins on each item. It is not fun to run around picking up items that blew off the line.

2. With clothespins, you get what you pay for. If you go with the cheap plastic clothespins, it is common for them to break, even when brand new. I have some that have lasted really well. They cost a little more, but they ended up being worth it. Hubby tells me they probably contain a UV-resistant additive. Wooden clothespins are very nice and sturdy too.

3. At first, I tried keeping my clothespins outside in a little holder that stayed on the clothesline. They quickly got dirty, so from then on, I have kept them in the house. Clothespins have to be clean.

4. Hang shirts upside down. I got this tip from the book Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. If the clothespin makes a mark, it is on the bottom of the shirt and will be tucked in, or at least not near your face. Home Comforts has a very nice section on line-drying, check it out!

5. When I bring jeans and towels in from the line, I give them few minutes tumble in the warm dryer. If they are already completely dry, I throw a damp towel in with them, or mist them with a spray bottle of water.. After 5 or 10 minutes, they are much softer, and get less complaints. Cloth diapers also benefit from a few minutes tumble.

6. Fabric softener also helps combat the stiffness.

7. Plastic-coated clothesline is easy to clean. Your clothesline will get dirty, and you don’t want that to get on your clothes. You can usually clean plastic clothesline with a damp rag.

8. Hubby doesn’t want me to hang out underwear, that is embarrassing to him, so I machine-dry it. I also throw the socks in with the load of underwear, because socks are kind of tedious to hang out.

If you are thinking about using a clothesline, but afraid to do it, I do understand. If you are worried about what people will think, consider that many of your neighbors are gone all day most weekdays, and might never see your line full of clothes. My neighborhood is so quiet, especially from about 10am to 3pm, sometimes I never see a soul. Though rare, there are some places that don’t want you to have a clothesline, so it might be worth it to check to make sure you are not breaking a (very stupid) rule. I think this will change as more people are “going green.” It may still be okay to use a folding rack or two on your back porch, and that would be an option.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Weblink Wednesday - Teacher Tube

Teacher Tube is a free site for educational videos. They have short videos for teachers and for students. It is in no way as large as YouTube, but it is also very specific for educational videos, and is a safer environment for kids.

There is one other site like this that I have seen, but you do have to view an ad for a few seconds before watching those videos. On Teacher Tube, the ads are separate from the video screen.

I had a positive experience with Teacher Tube. The first time I visited, there was a Google Ad on the site that I didn't like. It was not obscene, but it was for a fiction book and the picture on the front of the book was not really appropriate for students. I wrote a polite complaint, and in about an hour, I had a very nice reply from the staff telling me how to report such a thing if I saw it again (copy the ad image and email it to them.) That just left me with a good feeling about the site, that they are concerned with keeping it friendly.

Visit SoCalVal for more Weblink Wednesday

(Reposted from my HomeschoolBlogger page 6/13/08)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday: Toddler Bathtime

My little fellow (19 months) loves his bath. He has a lot of fun, but he splashes too hard. I have been working with him on not making big splashes. He has several toys to play with in the tub, but he would rather slap the surface of the water and send splashes everywhere. (I keep the water depth very low, but it seems that the splashes go a really long way when he is excited. This gets to be a problem, and the older kids have a fit when he splashes the roll of toilet paper!)

Here are the couple of things that have worked to help him. First, when we get in the tub, we touch the water very gently and say, “Soft, soft.” He gets that. He will very gently slosh the water. Each time he lifts his arms to splash, I say, “Soft, soft.” Still, the temptation is too great. He will sooner or later try and splash really hard.

One other thing is helping us. When I first put him in the tub, I wash him quickly, including his hair. Then the rest of the tub time is “his” time. I show him his toys and remind him that we touch the water “Soft, soft.” He plays around for a while, then that urge to splash gets too strong. I try to catch him before he splashes and cue him not to splash, but when he does, he immediately gets pulled out of the tub. He does not appreciate that at all. I think he is getting it, though. He is getting longer bathtimes lately because he is able to hold off on the splashing for longer.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Seeds in Space

Here is a project that your homeschooler might like: NASA Lunar Plant Growth Chamber

When you sign up, NASA will send you two packets of cinnamon basil seeds. One package has flown in space in the space shuttle Endeavor. The other package is a control package that has not been in space. Students K-12th grade may design a lunar plant grown chamber to and test it by growing seeds in it. There are teacher guides for the different age groups. Students can work individually or in groups.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Living Math Monday: Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar

Since we're starting to look at the concept of Living Math in our homeschool, I am going to start posting on Mondays about what we are learning. You can learn more about it here: Living Math

The first book we read together is called Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar by Masaichiro and Mitsumasa Anno. At first, it seems like a simple picture book, with very little text on each page. You start with one island, which has two countries. In each country there are three mountains, and on each mountain are four kingdoms. On and on you go, until you get to nine boxes with ten jars in each box. Now that your mind is boggled, it asks you how many jars there are. Then goes on to explain what “10!” (ten factorial) means, and demonstrates what it looks like, at least as far as possible in a small book. (They are not able to show 10!, even though they use two double-sized pages!)

I am familiar with factorials, but I did not learn about them until I was in 11th grade. I know that many of my classmates never learned it because we learned it in Algebra III, which was an optional class back then. (Maybe it still is.) So, thinking of teaching math on a linear basis, we still have a long way to go (we’re doing simple division) before we “get to” this concept. But here it is explained in a picture book so that a child can understand it!

I think I am grasping the concept of “living math”(just a little bit) after reading this first book. My daughter enjoyed this one also.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Frugal Friday: Creative Kids

Earlier this week I shared this idea on Works-For-Me Wednesday. It was about my daughter playing with paper dolls. I have another old-fashioned idea for kids.

We checked out a book from the library called Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran. This very sweet book is about a group of children who set up their own imaginary land in an empty lot. I read this to my kids, hoping that they would do something similar, but I didn't push it. I kind of sat back and waited to see what they would do. It took a few months, but last fall they made up their own “town” with the kids next door, called “Monkey Town.” They use found objects to create their homes. They have a mayor monkey and a rich monkey, and whatever else they think a town needs. Monkey Town changes and evolves from time to time, and is often abandoned for long periods, but they come back to it. I love seeing them creating and being silly.

Here are some pictures of their “play houses.” I was asked to take pictures, but it was already almost dark. Walter A. Monky is the rich monkey.

And here is Walter's backyard. The round object surrounded by rocks is a swimming pool.

Piano Motivator

I have been teaching piano lessons to both my older kids this year. This is the first year for both of them. I got this idea from an Alfred Publishing newsletter, and it has worked really well.

We have the "AAA Club" for piano. "AAA" stands for Anytime, Anywhere, for Anybody.

Anytime means that the child can sit down and play a certain song anytime. They do not have to go over it a couple of times to get it right.

Anywhere means that the child can play the song anywhere there is a piano. They might not have their piano book with them, so they have to know the piece by memory.

Anybody means that they play the song well enough that anybody (not parents and grandparents only) would like to listen to the song. Very easy songs are okay (that is all they can play right now) but they need to know how to play it musically and not bang it out like "Chopsticks" or keep messing up and saying "Wait, wait, wait."

When they play a song for me first thing after sitting down, by memory, without mistakes, and nicely, they get two dollars. The song goes on the AAA Club list which is currently on the 'fridge. In addition to that, if they play the song for others, they get 50 cents a song (not 50 cents per listener.) The other person has to want to hear it, and if they play a second song, it has to be requested by the person. (i.e. Not, "Let me play you ten songs, Grandma!")

Yes, this might be bribery. However, I am a musician myself. I do play for the joy of music...but I certainly do not mind getting paid and I have accepted money for my music on many occasions! I make it difficult to get a song on the AAA Club list, and I know as they move up to more difficult peices, they will get fewer and fewer songs on the list.

I am not exactly sure what to do about maintaining this list. So far, I have not required that they keep practicing the songs on the list to "keep them up." I am hoping that the performance aspect will force them to keep at least a couple of songs "performance-ready." So far it has worked, but we have only been doing it since November.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Web-link Wednesday - Living Math

Living Math

My 9yo daughter does not have trouble understanding math concepts, but she does seem to have something against math, if that makes sense. She says she hates it, and cannot understand it, but she does well once she actually opens her book and gets started. I am always looking for anything that will help open the door for her.

And I don’t mean only to make math “fun” or play games, but to really open up a sense of wonder. After all, mathematics was created by God, and I know He doesn’t mean for us to just suffer through it, but actually see a glimpse of His glory, and to wonder at it, and be amazed!

I have barely even scraped the surface on this site, but it is amazing what I have discovered so far. I started by looking at the book suggestions on this page and this page.

These are actually “living books” about math concepts. We found several at our library, and we’re working our way through them.

I am going to start a new series about the things we learn about this concept. I am thinking I will post once a week, and if you want to send me your email, I will let you know when the new posts are up.

I will leave you with two comments my daughter made. After we read a few pages of The I Hate Mathematics Book, she giggled and said, “Well, this is kind of fun.” But later on she was more serious and said, “Maybe I could be a mathemetician someday…” Sounds like success to me!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Old-Fashioned Fun For Girls

My 9-year-old daughter, Peanut, has been keeping busy cutting out and playing with paper dolls.

I was wondering if other girls really like paper dolls anymore, but now a couple of her friends are loving paper dolls too, so I will recommend these links for free printable paper dolls:

Betsy McCall dolls
Making Friends
Modest Dolls This is our favorite, because there are so many clothes.

You can have fun by Googling “printable paper dolls” and find your favorites.

We print the dolls on cardstock, and then the clothes on plain paper. Many of these printables do not have tabs printed on them, so you might need to draw them on before your child starts cutting.

My grandma wrote us a story about playing with her paper dolls in 1910. It must run in the family:

“My first memories are when I was four or around that age. Gertie and I found a lot to play with. We used our imagination in those days. We could make dolls from corn cobs and even sticks. We had stick people, glass people (from broken dishes) and an out-of-date Sears or Ward’s catalog was special. We had families and they went to church. We made towns from flat rocks, the rocks were their houses. We marked rooms. Christmas was the only time we’d see toys in the stores. I remember how thrilled we were to get to go see the toys.”

The catalogs were for cutting out pictures for their paper dolls. I also remember Grandma telling me that when there were no catalogs, they just cut dolls out of whatever paper they could find. My daughter loved hearing about this. She wants me to save some catalogs for her, so that she can try the old-fashioned kind of paper dolls.

*Note: There are books of paperdolls that have punch-out clothes. This might be a good option for younger kids. My daughter is 9, so she has the scissor thing under control. They also make magnetic paperdolls now!