Dec 17 2010

What a surprise to come to the table and see these GIANT eggs.

It’s lots of fun to surprise your family and friends with these big “dinosaur” eggs. Although they really do look like eggs sunny side up, they are actually two organic canned peach halves on beds of organic whipped cream. Try this bit of fun on those you love and watch their expressions when they come to the table. It’ll be a hit!

If you have an interest in recipes that children
love to cook, bake and eat, hover your mouse over
the link below:

Williams-Sonoma Kids in the Kitchen: Fun Food

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Filed under: Heart,Kids — admin @ 5:25 pm Comments (0)
Dec 02 2010

It can be a real challenge trying to run a family efficiently and make sure everyone’s needs are addressed. It’s hard enough when the kids are little and shorter than you are because you have a fighting chance as long as you can run faster than they do. But, what happens in the teenage years when they sometimes equate size with superiority?  Just because they are now taller then you, it seems they think you’ve “gotten stupid.”

Enter Jean Tracy, MSS.  I found Ms. Tracy’s website while looking for information on making household chore charts, including how to decide what chores are age appropriate for what child. What a wealth of information I found. The woman is wonderful. Very pleasant, down to earth and to my tastes, realistic with a heavy dose of common sense thrown in.

Jean Tracy, MSS

Ms. Tracy’s welcome says, “I earned my Master of Social Work degree from Bryn Mawr College. Parenting Resources grew out of my experiences as a mother, a teacher, a marriage and family counselor for over 20 years, and as an author and speaker.” And I believe every word! She seems great to me. Try going to her web site, by clicking here, and see what you think. Nose around because there is lots of information and it will take a while to settle in.

Now, remember, if all else fails, you can always simplify things and follow Anita Renfroe’s methods instead:

If you haven’t seen this video, today is the day!
It’s a big hit at our house, but I know each member
of the family has a different reason for thinking so.

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Filed under: Family,Heart — admin @ 7:10 pm Comments (0)
Nov 21 2010

The doll’s pose and positioning are perfectly
tied to her expression, making her seem lifelike.
This little girl has a cherished friend.

Some readers will wince when they read my Dad summed “it all up” one day after participating as a co-op adult at my child’s day care center. He said, “You can talk this gender stuff all you want to. The facts are, when it’s time for indoor recess, all of the little boys scramble to get to the trucks and all the little girls run to play with the dolls.”

As far as my Dad was concerned, end of story. And, I had to understand his point, because even now, I would choose relating to a doll over running to play with a truck. For me, the nurturing of a little human, although a model for one, would always trump a mode of transportation. Call me crazy…

The comfort of “someone smaller than you” to a child must be related to their reliance on someone being lower on the importance pecking order of bigness. To a child’s eye big equals power equals importance. A child is comforted by being bigger than another little person and being able to have that little person near at all times, also doing what the child says and what they want. Tea party today? No complaints are heard. Cut off all your hair and write on your face with a crayon? Not a word. Must be comforting, even at that age, to be in control of such an agreeable playmate.

Going for a walk.

With my love for fabric, the crowning reason for my doll attraction has always been that little doll people have little doll clothes to be styled and sewn. And it is much faster to sew itty bitty clothes than real size people clothes while the doll never gets fussy about color or fit. In addition, preparing a doll and wardrobe allows you to gift a child, should the unannounced need arise. What better present than a dolls and their clothes made to order by loving hands?

In January, 1960, life was good for these two little “girls.”

There are countless photos of children with their dolls filling up all of the years since photography began in 1839. But amazingly, there are many photos of adult women playing with dolls as well: some apparently feathering the nest for babies yet to be born, preparing for holiday gift giving or just plain enjoying the process for themselves.

From the inscription on this photo, these two
are looking forward to a baby’s arrival.

Dolls are a big part of Sunbonnet Smart as their clothes and accessories are great companions, both during their planning and construction and later when they bask in the love of all who admired them. Dolls are associated with the feminine gender and so, as with many accomplishments of women, need solid recognition for the part they play to enrich our lives.

Home from college and remembering good times?

Dolls have always fulfilled their obligations to please without regard to price or composition. The simplest rag doll stands shoulder to shoulder with the highest priced novelty dolls from fancy collections sitting in glass cases. All dolls, no matter their mark or maker can cradle the head of a child and offer comfort to an older person whose children have moved away. A doll, that little person in the beautiful form of a human being, is one of life’s little treasures.

Grammies can always do the hard things like getting socks on.

Today’s introduction to Sunbonnet Smart’s love for dolls and all of their trappings is the beginning of sharing the joy of dolls and doll making. We have lots of surprises in the works that will allow you to inexpensively download patterns to create dolls for that favorite child or child still within you.

Keep checking back, and those of you who have signed up on the e-mail list will get the news first! So, be there or be square!

If you have an interest in this remarkable volume of doll
lore, hover you mouse over the following link for a preview:

The Ultimate Doll Book

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Filed under: Clothes,Dolls — admin @ 6:23 pm Comments (0)
Nov 18 2010

With the holidays coming up,
it’s time to practice crowd control.

If you haven’t figured out how to descend on someone’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, and if you have the barbarian hordes descending on your home, it’s time to realize your power to control the day and adjust the festivities to your own level of comfort. Setting boundaries and limits to what you will and will not do can help you feel less overwhelmed. Rhetorically speaking, taking a few stiff belts of your favorite beverage can help temper the anticipation of relatives arriving with their boatload of comments, complaints and “suggestions.” But, without resorting to intoxicants, some directed forethought and well placed lifelines to sanity will encourage you to feel like a model hostess, thereby resisting impulses to slip out the kitchen back door when no one is looking.

One may take solace in the fact that relatives are an age-old problem as shown by the vintage postcard displayed below. If you are dreading the onslaught this Thanksgiving, no reason to feel like you are The Lone Ranger. These post cards were mass produced by the thousands for the general public over a hundred years ago so you know you are not the first and, odds are, will not be the last.

An age old problem with a simple solution?

In-laws truly present a special set of obligations and a special set of problems. It is interesting that in life, because of blood relations, you are expected to interact with people on a continual basis that you would never seek out for a sustained friendship. I have stood talking to my relatives and inwardly thought, “You know, if I met you at a party, I would be so turned off by your pompous arrogance, that I would never speak with you again.” Just inwardly acknowledging that I have rejected them for friendship has helped me step back from saying something I might regret. I have risen to the occasion a little easier, with less inward stress, because this related individual has been deposed as “not worthy.”

Are overbearing relatives the ruination of your holidays?

When I read many of the self help guidelines for getting along with relatives on the Internet, such as “How to Get Along with Relatives” found here or “Family Parties: Getting Along with Relatives or Anyone Else” found at this site, I am reminded that it is important to remember I can’t change other people, I can only change myself. But, one thing these self-help sites don’t emphasize enough is when you take responsibility for maintaining your own self control and discipline, do not feel responsible for everyone’s behavior as well.

For instance, don’t beat yourself up emotionally because you could not, on the spot without any warning, find the right phrase to diffuse Aunt Harriet’s unneeded comments about Cousin Mitzie’s couch potato husband, Bob, who’s lost another job. Don’t take responsibility for lifting that lead balloon out of the air.  You’ve fixed the dinner, washed the crystal and polished the silver. You don’t also have to be a stand up comedienne “just in from Las Vegas” delivering the perfect one liner to make everyone happy again.

No! Just smile and pass the sweet potatoes.

If Aunt Harriet is going to bomb, let her. If Cousin Mitzie is offended, let her cover for Bob one more time, she’s used to it. The point is, as hostess, you don’t have to be a psychiatrist to the group for the dinner to go well. Save yourself the effort because odds are, no one will appreciate your “interfering” anyway. No one will think you said just the right thing anyway. And, if you shield yourself from getting hooked into the action, it will be easier to relax and enjoy the rest of the day and rest of the family.

So! Like I said, smile and pass the sweet potatoes.

And, if you need a reminder as to how involved family
relationships can become, here is a 1991 episode of
TV’s Roseanne with a family Thanksgiving get-together.


The Relationship Cure is highly recommended. If it
interests you, hover your mouse over this link:

The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships

“This is the best book on relationships I have ever read — a truly impressive tour-de-force. John Gottman has discovered the Rosetta Stone of relationships. He has decoded the subtle secrets contained in our moment-to-moment communications. By introducing the simple yet amazingly powerful concept of the “bid,” he provides a remarkable set of tools for relationship repair. By the middle of the second chapter you’re likely to say to yourself, “Oh, so that’s what’s happening in my relationship with my partner (or colleague, boss, or sister), and now I know what to do about it.”
— Daniel B. Wile, Ph.D.,author of After the Fight: Using Your Disagreements to Build a Stronger Relationship

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Filed under: Attitude,Head — admin @ 4:15 pm Comments (0)
Oct 25 2010

Just in time for Halloween fun!
Meet Benjamin and Emma Bushytail.

Soon leaves on trees will be a memory, the frost will be on the pumpkin and we’ll be headed toward winter. Squirrels will be trying to remember where they have buried all of their nuts so they have enough food to make it through the winter. Some squirrels have been in school since September, such as Benjamin and Emma Bushytail.

Now Emma and Benjamin are putting down their studies to plan their Halloween costumes so they can go Trick or Treating at the tree homes in their neighborhood. Benjamin has decided to be a skeleton and Emma is going to be a witch. Both are going to carry pumpkin baskets that Momma Squirrel bought to hold their candy.

Do you like paper Dolls? I do. They were always my favorite when I was little because I could make new outfits, any color I wanted, with just a sheet of paper, a pencil and some crayons.

The Bushytails were drawn by a very famous paper doll artist, Kathy Lawrence, in 1992. Ms. Lawrence grew up around paints and brushes because her mother, Queen Holden, was also an artist. Kathy Lawrence has designed many fun paper dolls that you can order from The Shackman Store found here. You will find the Bushytails with outfits for a wedding, a set of Oliver and Olivia Owl paper dolls and a set of rabbit paper dolls called the Hopper Family.

Kathy Lawrence lives in Texas and still designs lots of interesting and fun things for children. She is a famous illustrator for greeting cards and collector plates as well as soft, beautiful religious paintings.

If you would like to download this FREE pdf of The Bushytail paper dolls, click here or click the image below:

Designed by Kathy Lawrence in 1992 for B. Shakman, these Bushytail family girl and boy, Benjamin and Emma, would love to come live at your house. Download this pdf file onto strong 24 pound card by clicking on the thumbnail above. Cut out with sharp scissors while being careful not to cut off the tabs that will hold the clothes on to the figures. When you are done playing, try storing Benjamin, Emma and their clothes in an envelope so you won’t lose all the pieces.

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Filed under: Heart,Kids — admin @ 3:04 pm Comments (0)
Sep 20 2010

This baby rabbit munching on a dandelion is so happy to be alive and well loved. There seems to be nothing better than a dandelion flower held by a helping hand. We have rabbits in our yard and every spring we are treated to a sweet visit from little baby rabbits who like to snack on our clovers. Do you like rabbit babies?  Then you will like this post!

This baby rabbit thinks a dandelion is YUMMY!

Lots of rabbits are born every year, and sometimes, they don’t have homes. There are organizations run by people who love rabbits and take care of them until each rabbit finds a home of its own. Rabbit lovers are very enthusiastic about rabbits!

Here is a web site, House Rabbit Network, run by rabbit lovers for rabbit lovers. They have lots of fun pages with entries of rabbit facts and photos. There is even a page of photographs of mother rabbits cuddling with their babies. Go here to the mother/baby photo page, because you can click on a mother rabbit and she will tell a story.

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Filed under: Heart,Kids — admin @ 8:05 pm Comments (0)
Sep 10 2010

This just in from the Great State of Minnesota!

The City of Eden Prairie is looking forward to Sunbonnet Day, an autumn festival.

Sunbonnet Day this Saturday

September 10, 2010 – 11:22am


Mikaylie Sosnowski poses next to the Dorenkemper House during last year’s Sunbonnet Day. Tours of the house will be offered again during this year’s Sunbonnet Day, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, at the Riley-Jacques Farmstead, 9100 Riley Lake Road.

The event features music, pony rides and barnyard animals, spinning demonstrations, storytelling, games, a farmer’s market, horse drawn wagon rides and more.
– Photo by Karla Wennerstrom


What a nice day Saturday, September 11, 2010, will be in Eden Prairie, MN

And isn’t that name just lovely? Eden Prairie? I feel so calm…

The City of Eden Priairie, MN has been recognized as a great place to live and raise a family and is currently listed as one of MONEY Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” in America. Eden Prairie is home to the Minnesota Vikings. If this slant on fresh air, good living and football appeals to you, go here to find more information.

UPDATE: If you didn’t make it over to the Dorenkemper House for Saturday’s Sunbonnet Day, click play:

What a fun, sunny day to enjoy history and heritage.
This video made me want to hitch up the wagon
and head west!

Easy to wear prairie dresses allow plenty of room for play.

If you know of a special someone who would love to dress in a prairie dress and sunbonnet, here are some pleasing options that can be previewed by hovering your mouse over Child’s Prairie Dress & Pinafore Pattern.

A BIG, “Hello!” to Eden Prairie, Minnesota from


Minnesota is the North Star State.

State Capital is St. Paul

State Flower is the Pink & White Lady’s Slipper
State Tree is the Norway Pine
State Bird is the Common Loon
For books on Minnesota QUILTS click this link.
For information on Minnesota QUILT GUILDS click here.

For Tourist Information, call (800) 657-3700 or (800) 328-1461

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Filed under: Heart,Kids — admin @ 1:50 pm Comments (0)
Sep 06 2010

Sea Otters float on their backs and crack open clams on their tummies to get their dinners.

Sea Otters live on the Pacific Coast of the United States and along the Pacific Coasts of Russia and China. A German scientist named Georg Wilhelm Steller lived in the early 1700’s and was a biologist, meaning he studied both animals and plants. He wrote the first description of the Sea Otter in his field notebooks of 1751.

Sea Otters are furry animals that are awake for most of their activities during the day and sleep at night just like most people do. Sometimes if a mother Sea Otter has babies to feed she will get up at night to find food to feed them, but usually Sea Otters are active during the day.

Being long and skinny, Sea Otters are shaped sort of like ferrets, but they have webbed feet for swimming, in fact, if they had to, a Sea Otter could spend their whole lives in water, never going on land.

Sea Otters are very social, loving little creatures. They enjoy spending time together and even like to float around in the water holding hands so they can stay close to each other.

To learn more about Sea Otters, go here.


To keep from drifting apart, sea otters may sleep holding paws.

To watch a video with Sea Otters holding paws click the play button below:


Sea Otters are found on the Pacific Ocean coasts of Asia and North America.


Sunbonnet Smart has a Sea Otter Page for you to color!

The Monterey Bay aquarium has a Sea Otter Can where you can watch Sea Otters playing and having fun.  This is what their web page says:

Meet our otters!

You’ll often see our otters on the move in this exhibit. Our aquarists put food in toys to stimulate the otters’ natural behavior of pounding and working to get food out of shells. They also teach the otters behaviors, like holding a target with their paws, or walking onto a scale or into a kennel. Training keeps our otters mentally and physically stimulated; it also makes working with the otters safer for us and less stressful for them. To enjoy the Sea Otter Cam go here.

Because this Sunbonnet Smart blogpost contains information selected from Wikipedia, this link with sharing guidelines is displayed.

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Filed under: Heart,Kids — admin @ 1:14 pm Comments (0)
Jun 06 2010

For engaging wildlife photos go to this web site.

The Red Fox is a mammal that is loved for its beauty and cunning. Fox have beautiful fur and they are very smart. They are also very graceful when they run. Fox are shy and avoid humans if possible. Just our footsteps on the ground can scare them into moving away from us when we walk near one of their hiding places.

A famous American Artist, Winslow Homer, used to paint in his studio in Maine that was out in the country near the ocean. He was able to observe many birds and animals in their natural surroundings. Here is a painting showing a fox in winter who is being chased by some crows. Winslow Homer never taught in schools or privately as he worked alone in his studio. Even without that exposure to students, he has influenced generations of American Artists. He was known for his direct observation and depiction of nature.

Winslow Homer once said, “Look at nature, work independently, and solve your own problems.” That sounds like good advice to me. If you would like to learn more about Winslow Homer, refer to the entry found here.

From Wiki-pedia: Winslow Homer. The Fox Hunt, 1893.
Oil on canvas, 96.5 × 174 cm (38 × 68½ in).
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

If you live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or if you take a trip there, you can go to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and stand in front of this painting to enjoy the effects of light and color. Does The Fox Hunt make you feel cold to look at it? I think Winslow Homer did a fine job of making anyone who looks at this painting feel like they are looking at a cold day in a northern winter in Maine.

Here is a heartwarming video about a man who saved a fox named “Cropper” that was injured in an accident:

Because this Sunbonnet Smart blogpost contains information selected from Wikipedia, this link with sharing guidelines is displayed.

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