Category Archives: For the Kids

Planting, Playing and Pears

My helpers are itching to get planting.

We planted our raised beds a few weeks ago. Theirs are full of beans, peas, radishes and onions. Mine is all lettuce, spinach and cilantro.

Into the beds we plant
Radishes, carrots and more
Dirty hands and nails
Seeds and gnomes galore

We started our tomato and cabbage seeds a bit late. Joe also started rutabagas and red onion.

C’mon let’s start some seeds Mom!
C’mon let’s start them please!
Broccoli, sprouts, tomatoes,
and flowers for the bees!

Last week, we planted 4 male kiwis in the vineyard. The ground was soupy and wet and perfect for digging. We had to back-fill with a little dry dirt to soak up some of the water.

Planting in the vineyard
digging in the mud
In Sunny, warmish weather
with my two best buds

We also planted 7 pear trees in the swales, replacing a few apple and cherry trees that didn’t make it. I dug the holes, Jake soaked the roots and Joe dug a trench because…why not?

Pear trees in the pasture
Playing by the pond
Planning trails and trenches
create a lasting bond.

It was a great way to spend the weekend. Outside…planting and playing.

Sweet Memories

I watch my boys trek outside every morning to “check the ice” in our fake pond–a big hole we dug out years ago to mark the spot for our eventual pond.

It is a ritual that they have had since the first snowfall. Of course, now, it’s mud with chunks of ice. But still, each morning one of them asks the other: “Want to check the ice?”

Today, I watched them walk slowly out to the pasture. I wondered what they were chatting about. What Jake said that was so funny. What made Joe lean his head back and laugh. I watched them race forward, excited to get out there and see what had changed.

Playing in the mud.
Laughing with a friend.
Enjoying nature’s gifts.
Not thinking it will end.

At what point do we realize that all things pass on to a new stage, a new chapter? Do we wake up one day and remember how things have changed so much?

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Or, is it gradual and bittersweet?

Is it remembering little things sparked by the mundane tasks of the day?

Washing the dishes and seeing days of trampoline bounces and tree climbing through the window.

Folding the laundry and remembering little socks and shirts long since donated, thrown away, or turned into rags.

Grocery shopping and memories of days making siren noises while pushing the fire engine grocery cart. Knowing that the little person truly believed he was driving through the aisles.

Some things in life are sudden and jarring, like the unexpected death of a loved one. But so many bittersweet changes are gradual and imperceptible.

Standing at the sink,
washing sheets and clothes.
A picture with a memory
of how swiftly our time goes.

 

 

 

 

Mischief Makers 2019: Audio Collection

Just in case you missed the stories this year…here is the audio collection for your listening enjoyment!

Day 0

Day 1

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Day 2

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Day 3

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Day 4

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Day 5

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Day 6

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Day 7

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Day 8

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Day 9

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Day 10

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Day 11

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Day 12

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Day 13

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Day 14

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Day 15

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Day 16

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Day 17

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Day 18

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Day 19

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Day 20

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Day 21

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Day 22

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Day 23

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Day 24

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Day 25

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Epilogue

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Mischief Makers: Epilogue

Want to listen instead? Here you go!

 

Epilogue

Breaking News! Mischief Makers’ New Partnership
By Sparkly Sprinkles

This just in! 

In an unprecedented move, Santa approved Pixie Powder and Figgy Frost to recruit their own assigned child as a new Mischief Maker! Joe, now 9 years old, discovered The Truth about Figgy and Pixie on their last night, putting the entire program at risk. 

Luckily, the team salvaged the blunder and came up with a plan to keep Christmas Mischief alive in Joe’s house. 

Joe, still reeling from the shock of finding out the elves really do exist, agreed to help them plan and carry out next season’s fun. 

When asked why he made an exception to the Mischief Maker Code, Santa hemmed, hawed, coughed and then began a round of Jingle Bells, Batman Smells. Soon, the whole crowd of elves joined in and this reporter was unable to uncover more.

Powder and Frost decided that just because Joe knows about their magic, doesn’t mean their fun has to stop. After all, he doesn’t have to know everything

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Mischief Makers Day 25: Goodbye Guys!

Miss Day 24? Read or listen here!

Day 25: Goodbye Guys! 

Oh what a year, oh what a blast!
This season went by way to fast.
We had some ups (and then some downs),
Happy smiles, a few sad frowns.

But now we have a little plan,
to keep our friendship (if we can).
We’ll talk to Santa, Nim and Lil,
and hope we can stay with you still!

Merry Christmas to you boys!
Have fun with all your brand new toys.
We’ll get a message to you swift…
Until then, here’s one last gift!

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Listen to Day 25 here!

 

Mischief Makers Day 24: Christmas Magic

Miss Day 23? Read or listen here!

Day 24 Christmas Magic

“Let’s put the slippers under the tree,” Pixie directed Nim and Lil, who were each holding a new pair of Christmas slippers.

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“I think we should sneak into their room and put them at the foot of the bed,” said Figgy.

Pixie worried her lower lip. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea, Figgy.” 

Jake was a light sleeper. She was afraid they would wake him up if they went in the bedroom.

“But–.”

A loud and shocked gasp came from the hallway. The elves turned as one. Four pairs of eyes widened. Four mouths dropped open. 

“You are real,” said Joe. “I-I can’t believe it.”

The elves froze and dropped to the floor. 

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“It’s too late for that.” Glitter came cantering to the tree, Barrel bouncing behind her. “He’s been standing there for the past 5 minutes. He knows.”

Slowly, the elves stood and looked at Joe who was staring in shock at Glitter and Barrel. “Y-you’re all real?”

Pixie burst into tears. “It’s over! Now we’ll be cast out from the Mischief Maker program.”

Figgy patted her on the back, tears streaming down his face. “We’ve broken the rules. We’ve f-failed.”

Confusion clouded Joe’s face. “Mischief Maker program? Rules?”

Lil took a deep breath. “We’re part of a group called the Mischief Makers, Joe. Santa founded the program as an extra Christmastime treat for children all over the world.”

“We are not supposed to let our assigned kids see us move,” added Nim. “They are meant to wonder at the magic. To believe…without seeing. Without proof.” 

Glitter looked at Nim and Lil. “Isn’t there anything we can do?”

Nim shook his head. Pixie sobbed. Figgy sniffled. 

“Wait!” said Lil, turning to the group. “What if Joe promises not to tell anyone?”

Pixie’s head popped up. “Would that work?”

“Lil,” said Nim in a warning tone. “That’s never been done before. It’s against every rule in the book. Literally.”

“I know, I know. But, hear me out. What if we ask Santa to make an exception for a special case?”

“What kind of special case?” asked Figgy.

Lil floated up to Joe and looked him in the eye. “If we can get Santa to agree…will you help us next year, Joe?”

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“H-help? Help with what?”

“Our pranks!” said Pixie.

“Our mayhem!” added Figgy.

“Our mischief!” All eyes turned to Glitter, shocked she would promote mischief in any way.

“What?” she said defensively. “Just because I don’t like messes, doesn’t mean mischief is off the table.”

Lil cleared her throat. “Think about how much fun it would be to surprise Jake and your parents each morning.”

Joe looked down at the four hopeful faces. Pixie and Figgy seemed to hold their breath as he thought it over. 

The corner of his mouth hitched up–the start of a smile. “Th-that would be a lot of fun.”

Twirling, swirling, bouncing and springing elves zipped and zoomed across the room. 

“But,” asked Joe. “How are you going to convince Santa?”

The elves exchanged glances. How would they convince the big guy? What argument could they possibly make?

“I have an idea.” Glitter slowly approached, her heart sparkling brighter and brighter the closer she got. “And it’s foolproof.”

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Mischief Makers Day 23: Remind, Remember, Rejoice

Miss Day 22? Read or listen here!

Day 23 Remind, Remember, Rejoice

Pixie floated around trying to think of something to do. 

“I just can’t think of anything tonight, Figgy.” Pixie stretched out beside Figgy and the camel by the Nativity.

“Me nei–ahhh–ther.” Figgy yawned. 

They were down to just a few more nights and the stress and constant worry about Joe and his fading belief had worn them down. 

I can think of one thing you haven’t done yet,” said Glitter from the ground. She trotted up to them and pulled a rolled up paper out of her reins. 

Pixie took the scroll from her and read it over. Her eyes misted over as she finished. “He wrote a new one this year.” She handed the paper to Figgy. 

Christmas is a joyful time,
Singing carols, bells that chime.
Full of cheer, of food, and joy,
for every little girl and boy.

While sparkly gifts are lots of fun,
We can’t forget God’s only son.
He came to us from far away,
Born in a stable, filled with hay.

His parents traveled very far,
Followed by the brightest star.
God sent his son here to fulfill
and carry out His glorious will.

Have fun, delight in all your play
and laugh, make merry, every day.
Take moments to reflect and see
God’s awesome gift to you and me. 

Figgy hung the poem from the star on the top of the creche and settled back down by Pixie. Glitter rested with the sheep. 

The three friends gazed up at the manger scene and smiled. 

Mischief Makers Day 22: Sew Much Fun

Miss Day 21? Read or listen here!

Day 22 Sew Much Fun

“Well, that backfired.” Glitter, Pixie and Figgy were slumped on the couch still reeling from Joe’s pronouncement.

Now I know it’s you, Mom.”

“You didn’t think that one through,” said Glitter.

“Not helping, Glitter,” Pixie scowled at her. 

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Pixie and Figgy’s rubber band wrapped phones was a big hit with the parents…unfortunately, it set them back a bit in the belief department. 

“All that progress we made with Joe, dashed in one night.” Figgy kicked a spool of thread Jake had left out across the love seat. 

“At least it got you back in their parent’s good graces,” said Glitter. 

“But now Joe really thinks his mom is doing all the work after they go to bed.” Figgy kicked another spool of thread. It rolled off the couch and across the room, leaving a trail of green behind.

“You know,” said Glitter. “You could give them a project.”

Pixie and Figgy turned to Glitter, intrigued. 

“I’ve heard them both talking about how much fun they are having sewing. And Jake sewed you that blue shirt.”

Figgy nodded. “Yes, and Joe is sewing a pair of gloves.”

“Maybe they could sew us something,” said Pixie. “Maybe it will help us convince Joe that it’s not his mom.”

“Yes!” said Figgy. “Why would their mom have them sew tiny clothes and blankets that she’ll never use?”

“There is a bunch of Christmas fabric in their sewing kit,” said Glitter. “You could start there and create patterns for what you want them to sew.”

Figgy and Pixie went into the study and searched through the sewing basket. 

“Christmas fabric!” Pixie held up a green swatch with tiny, colorful Christmas lights.”

“And reindeer!” Figgy held up red fabric with tiny white reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh. 

Glitter scoffed. “That is not an accurate depiction of Dasher.”

Pixie and Figgy burst into laughter. 

Said the little elf to the little boy
Do you know what I need?
To keep me warm and cozy little boy,
Do you know what I need?
A bag, a bag, a little sleeping bag
It will keep me cozy and warm
It will keep me cozy and warm

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Mischief Makers Day 21: Rubber Band Bandits

Miss Day 20? Read or listen here!

Day 21 Rubber Band Bandits

Pixie and Figgy stood in Nim and Lil’s office and hung their heads. 

“We were just trying to help,” said Pixie. 

“Yeah,” added Figgy. “How were we to know she used both whole and powdered nutmeg?”

Nim stood at his desk, looking at Pixie and Figgy and trying hard not to smile. 

Lil took the lead. “Guys, beyond cookies and candies, you don’t know much about cooking or what spices should and should NOT be thrown away.”

“And…spilling half the spices on the floor? Really?” Nim coughed to hide a laugh. Lil narrowed her eyes at him and shook her head.

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“I tried to tell them,” said Glitter. “They wouldn’t listen.”

Pixie and Figgy scuffed their feet and sighed. 

“Look,” said Nim. “How about tonight you just lay low.”

“Lay low?” asked Pixie and Figgy in unison.

“Yes,” said Lil. “You know, find a good hiding place. One that will take the boys awhile to find you. And don’t do…anything. Just hide tonight. Ok?” 

Nim and Lil were looking at them with such anxiety that they couldn’t bring themselves to argue.

“Maybe you’re right,” said Pixie. “Come on Figgy. Let’s go…hide.”

*           *          *

“This is SO boring,” groaned Figgy. 

“Tell me about it,” Pixie complained.

Glitter trotted in from the kitchen window and gave them both a severe look.

“Now listen here you two. Nim and Lil have been getting a lot of pressure from Santa to keep the two of you under better control. They’ve already had 3 complaints this year from the boys’ parents.”

“But–,” began Pixie.

“No buts about it. Nim and Lil are Chiefs in Charge and Santa is supposed to be focusing on being Santa. Not cleaning up Mischief Maker messes.” Glitter stormed away, leaving Pixie and Figgy to think about their predicament. 

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“She’s right, you know.” Pixie put her chin in her hands. “We’re making things difficult for Nim and Lil with all our mishaps.”

“But they weren’t all our fault!” Figgy frowned. “

“Really? Let’s see….we made a giant mess of the pantry.”

“We were trying to help!” Figgy cried.

“We dusted the whole house with glitter and confetti.”

“But that was sanctioned mischief! We had no choice.”

“We ruined the study, spilled candy all down the stairs, wrapped tin fo–.”

“Ok, ok!” Figgy shouted. “I get it. We’ll just hide tonight. But let’s make it good.”

Suddenly, they heard footsteps and voices down the hall. They quickly ducked out of sight just in time to see Mom and Dad coming into the living room.

“I told them if they had a hot wheels war one more time, they’d lose the fun phones for a week.”

“You know how brothers are, sweetie.”

“That doesn’t…”.

Their voices trailed off as they moved back down the hallway, but Pixie and Figgy had heard enough to know what they were going to do. 

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking, Figgy?”

“That we should taste-test those mint chocolate chip cookies on the counter?”

“Ye–no,” Pixie laughed. “That we should do something to those hot wheels to keep the boys from playing with them.”

“Like what?”

Pixie smiled with an evil gleam in his eye. “I don’t usually like to copy another Mischief Maker’s idea, but this one is just too good.”

Figgy tilted his head in question. 

“Do you remember where the rubber bands are?”

Mischief Makers Day 20: Cabinet Cleanout

Miss Day 19? Read or listen here!

 

Day 20 Cabinet Cleanout

“Where in Santa’s Sleigh is the cinnamon?!” Pixie was in the pantry, making a bit of a mess of the spices and canned goods. 

“I think I might have used it all,” said Figgy. “In the…cookies I made last week.”

Pixie burst out laughing. “You mean the ones that made the boys run to the sink and put their head under the faucet just to cool their mouth? Those cookies?”

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Figgy turned pink. “Who knew cinnamon and cayenne pepper wouldn’t go together?”

“Everyone, Figgy. Everyone.” Pixie wiped tears of mirth from her cheeks.

“Well I guess that means no mulled cider tomorrow.” 

Hot mulled cider was Joe’s mom’s favorite holiday drink, and they needed to do something to get on her good side after the glitter and confetti mess.”

“I thought I saw some cinnamon sticks in there the other day,” said Glitter as she peeled oranges and grated lemons.

“This cabinet needs a cleanout. Look at this bottle of curry powder.” Figgy held up a container of bright yellow powder. “It expired in 2010!”

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Pixie whipped around, bumping her head on the top drawer and sending containers of spices crashing to the floor. 

“Ouch!” Pixie rubbed her head and winced. “What if we clean it out? That is sure to make Mom happy.”

Glitter smiled. “That’s a–.” 

“Ooo, great idea Pixie! We can throw away all the old spices and anything she never uses.”

“I don’t thin–,” Glitter started.

“Like this extra box of baking soda. She doesn’t need two of them.” Pixie dumped the white powder out, spilling most of it on the floor.

“Bu–“.

“And this imitation vanilla. Yuck!” Figgy made a face.

“And why in the North Pole does she need smoked paprika and regular paprika?” Pixie threw the bottle in the garbage.

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Glitter peeked in the garbage can, concerned. “I don’t know. Aren’t garlic salt and garlic powder used for different dishes?”

“Nah,” said Figgy. “Why would she need both?”

Pixie and Figgy continued to clean the cabinet out with a manic zeal while Glitter looked on with growing concern. 

“Red and yellow curry powder?” Figgy asked. 

“Chuck the yellow,” said Pixie. “The red is more festive.”

Glitter sighed. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

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