After a turbulent year, Pixie Powder and Figgy Frost are happy for some downtime at the North Pole. But these two Mischief Makers are in for a real surprise.
A source who is familiar with the matter told this reporter that Frost and Powder are going to head up a new task force in the Mischief Maker Program: The B.R.A.T.T. Correctional Crew!
B.R.A.T.T., or, Big Rowdy Association of Tiny Tyrants is an old division of the North Pole that, due to a series of in-home kerfuffles, has recently come back into service. Frost and Powder’s mission: assemble a team to target Tiny Tyrants and whip them into shape.
And here they come just out of Santa’s office! While Frost’s smile seems a bit forced and Powder’s giggle a little nervous, Santa knows these Mischief Makers are up to the job.
Figgy and Pixie waited patiently for Nim and Lil. They were supposed to have met them at Candy Cane Cafe so they could all fly to the house together. Glitter had showed up and told them that Nim and Lil would just meet them at the Malloy’s.
“Where are they?” asked Pixie for the hundredth time.
“Santa must have needed them for longer than I thought,” said Glitter with a frown.
“We really need to start setting up the games,” said Figgy. “I don’t think we can wait any longer.”
“Too bad, they were so excited to help tonight,” said Pixie.
Glitter gazed at the sky, hoping to see the pair zooming toward the house. “Well, let’s get moving.”
“How many solo cups do we need?” asked Figgy as he pulled sleeve after sleeve after sleeve out of the giant bag of supplies.
“Twenty-one per kid,” said Pixie.
“Ok, that’s 21 times 12…carry the one, add the 2…the square root of 56 is…”.
“Geez Figgy, it’s 252,” said Pixie with a shake of her head.
“Right. I knew that.”
“What about the ping pong balls?” asked Glitter.
“10 per kid,” said Pixie.
“120 ping pong balls comi–.”
Ping pong balls spilled out over the floor rolling here, there and everywhere.
Pixie and Figgy couldn’t help laughing as they watched Glitter canter around trying to gather them all back together.
“You could help me, you know!”
“Oh but it is so much more fun to watch,” said Pixie. At the glare from Glitter, Pixie relented and flew over to help collect them.
“I’ll get the dice ready while Glitter plays ping-pong,” said Figgy. “How many do we need again?”
“Six per—72 Figgy. We need 72.”
“And 12 pairs of chopsticks!” Glitter shouted from the basement.
All three minute-to-win-it games were set up and still Nim and Lil were not at the house.
“What did you say Santa needed to talk to them about, Glitter?” asked Figgy.
When Glitter didn’t answer, Pixie prodded. “Glitter, tell us what you know.”
Glitter, who always seemed to be on top of all the North Pole news, didn’t answer at first.
“Glitter?” Figgy folded his arms.
Turning to face Figgy and Pixie she admitted. “This time…I honestly have no idea.
“Where in the North Pole is Pixie?” Figgy paced in front of Santa’s Workshop. “It’s getting early and we won’t have time for the balloon wall if she doesn’t get here soon!”
Lil looked up at the clocktower. “She’ll be here soon. She wanted to stop by Holiday Hair for a quick trim.”
“She wears a hat all the time, what does she need a trim for?? And why now of all times!?”
Frantically, Figgy flew to Holiday Hair where he found a purple-haired Pixie smiling wide with sparkling eyes. “Well, what do you think?”
“Er…,” said Nim.
“Well…,” said Lil.
“What the holly happened to you, Pixie?” Figgy exclaimed.
“So…you don’t like my hair?”
“Your hair color is fine, but…well, look for yourself.”
Pixie peeked in the mirror and gasped. Her hair was a gorgeous violet shade, but the style was…big and circus-y.
Nim suspiciously fell into a coughing fit while Lil looked at Pixie sympathetically.
“It’s ok Pixie, it’ll grow back and settle down and–”.
“I LOVE IT!” shouted Pixie, twirling in the air. “It’s so…puffy! And FUN!”
“Come on, Pixie,” said Figgy, shaking his head. “Let’s get to the ring—I mean the Malloy house.”
“Wait!” said Lil as the two started to take off. “I have an idea to go along with your balloons and Pixie’s new…style. You guys go ahead and get started, Nim and I will be along shortly with the rest.”
* * *
Figgy and Pixie had been putting up the last of the balloons on the balloon wall when Nim and Lil showed up.
“Great job with the balloons you guys!” Lil zipped through the window with Nim close on her heels carrying a bag of supplies.
“What’s in the bag, Nim?” asked Figgy.
“Oh, just a few supplies.”
Nim and Lil reached into the overflowing bag and pulled out four clown costumes.
“No way,” said Figgy, already knowing what they were planning.
“But it’s the perfect complement to your balloon wall!” said Lil.
“How are clown costumes the perfect comp–oh.”
Nim, in the manner of a game show host, flourished supplies for making balloon animals.
“Wonderful idea you two!” Pixie grabbed a nose and some shoes…she already had the hair covered.
Figgy, resistant to the idea of dressing up like a clown, had to be gently persuaded to participate.
“It’s alright Figgy, you’ll get used to the wig,” said Pixie.
“And the nose,” added Lil.
“And the shoes,” said Nim.
Grumbles were their only response.
Bring in the clowns Hang upside down Dance ‘round the tree with me Figgy don’t frown Bring in the clowns!
“I feel hooorrrrible,” muttered Figgy as he and Pixie trudged through the living room.
“Me too. I’m sure glad Nim and Lil didn’t tell Santa about our pillow fight.”
“And that Carol and Burt didn’t write a letter.”
“But they got really upset with the kids. I just feel so bad,” said Pixie.
“Well, the kids did put us through the wrapper early on.”
Pixie looked quizzically at Figgy. “The wrapper?”
“Yeah, you know. Put us through the wrapper…gave us a hard time.”
“What?” asked Figgy.
“It’s put us through the wringer, not wrapper.”
“Oh…I guess that makes more sense. Although the wrapper in the toy shop isn’t too pleasant either. Trust me.”
Pixie was about to ask what he meant when she tripped over a game controller and tumbled head over feet to the floor.
“Are you ok, Pixie?!”
Huffing, Pixie got to her feet and glared at the offending game controller.
“The kids must have forgotten to put the controllers away when they were sent to their rooms tonight,” said Figgy.
“Well they won’t need them anytime soon. How long did Burt and Carol say they were grounded for?”
“Til Christmas Eve,” grumbled Figgy. “Gabby and Gertie were pretty upset. They love playing Ultimate Chicken Horse.”
“And I don’t get it. What’s so fun about a game where you create traps and chaos for each other to fall into.”
Figgy chuckled. “Isn’t that what we do, Pixie?”
“No, we…well, ours are more…”
Figgy raised his brows.
“Ok, point taken.”
“Maybe we should play a round or two,” said Figgy.
“Play? We don’t even know how to play.” But Figgy was already headed to the TV to get it set up.
They tried to play, but the controllers were too big and it was too hard to reach all the buttons. “This is not fun, Figgy.”
“Oh ninny muggins! It’s these controllers,” he said. “They’re just too big for us.”
Pixie’s eyes twinkled. “Then let’s make them smaller.”
“How?” asked Figgy.
“Are you an elf, or not, Figgy?! You were a toymaker, right?”
A big smile split Figgy’s face. “Of course! I’m a little rusty, but I bet I can whip something up.”
Figgy got to work. First, he took the big controller apart, ripping wires and motherboards out and re-assembling them into smaller versions. While he was busy with that, Pixie rounded up a few pillows, some popcorn and a big bottle of maple syrup for snacking.
“Done!” Figgy shouted.
“Wow, Figgy! That looks great!”
“Let’s just play a few games before setting up the waffle bar.”
A few games turned into 5. Then 10. Then 20. They were still playing when sunlight peeked through the curtains.
Figgy Frost and Pixie Powder stood nervously outside the small, white cottage.
“Do you think they’re all asleep?” Pixie asked.
Figgy fidgeted. “Only one way to find out.”
Softly, the two elves flitted through a downstairs window and landed on the counter with a soft thump. Wide-eyed, they gazed around at their new Christmas-season home.
“It’s so…clean,” said Pixie.
“And…organized,” added Figgy.
The two elves looked anxiously at each other, the same thought on both their minds.
“I guess we should…get started?”
“Shouldn’t we wait for Glitter? She’s bringing the list and the supplies.” Pixie peered through the window at the night sky.
“Oh we don’t need the list anymore. I’ve got it memorized!”
“Ok, let’s figure out where we are going to set the hot chocolate bar up.”
Pixie and Figgy wandered quietly through the dark house. The sound of hooves clattering made the pair turn. Glitter, wind-blown and flustered, cantered toward them dragging a big bag overflowing with hot chocolate bar supplies.
“Finally!” said Figgy. “Where have you been, Glitter?”
“I just left another last minute meeting with Santa, Nim and Lil. Apparently, we have inherited a B.R.A.T.T. family.”
Pixie and Figgy stared blankly at Glitter.
Glitter sighed. “I forget, you are both fairly new to the program. The B.R.A.T.T. is the “Big Rowdy Association of Tiny Tyrants.”
“The…what now?” Figgy asked.
“Big. Rowdy. Association of. Tiny. Tyrants. It’s a growing group of families who have…rambunctious children.”
When Pixie and Figgy cocked their heads, Glitter continued. “The Malloy family, this family, has had two different teams over the past two years.”
“Two teams?” Figgy gulped.
“In two years?” Pixie gasped. “Why so many?”
The kids are spirited. They are mischief makers themselves and can get rather…carried away.”
“We can get carried away too.”
Glitter smiled and coughed uncomfortably. How could she tell Pixie and Figgy what she had learned from Santa without scaring them?
She couldn’t. She wouldn’t.
“Yes, I know. That is why Santa thinks you two will be able to handle this job. Turn things around. Get the Malloys back on track.”
Pixie and Figgy frowned. “What do you mean “back on track”?”
“I guess what I’m saying is…this is their last chance. With Santa, it’s three strikes and, well, you know…”
“Glitter,” said Figgy. “Are you saying that if the Malloys don’t cooperate, no more Mischief Makers for them…ever?”
Glitter nodded grimly. “Exactly.”
* * *
Determined to make this the best year for the Malloy family, Pixie and Figgy decided to set up the most fantabulous hot chocolate bar ever in the kitchen.
“I’ll go put the note on the milk in the fridge,” said Pixie. “You finish setting up here.”
Figgy placed the last chocolate bar on the plate and stood back to admire the display. “I think we are all set. What do you think, Pixie?”
Figgy flew around the kitchen in search of his partner.
“STYY AAAY FRR TH FRG!”
“Pixie!? Where are you?”
“STYY AAAY FRR TH FRG!!”
Figgy flew to the fridge and pulled it open. Pixie was trapped! The tip of her toe stuck out from under a glass bowl. Frantically she shook her head and waved her hands.
“I’ll help you!”
“What? I can’t understand a word you are saying!” Figgy pried up the container to help Pixie out.
“STAY AWAY FROM THE FRIDGE!!!”
Thwoop! BAM! Figgy found himself in a heap next to Pixie, under a giant glass bowl.
“Maybe if we both push we can–.”
A container of syrup attached to a string flipped to its side and glug, glug, glugged all over the bowl, sealing it to the shelf and revealing a hidden note from their tormentors.
Several years ago, when we first moved into our small homestead, I started throwing wildflower seeds in our back 2ish acres where we’d let the grass grow and the thistles thrive.
I’d snap up the cheap boxes of wildflower mix whenever they’d hit the sale rack at Wal-Mart. Sometimes the boys and I would make “seed bombs” and sometimes I’d just close my eyes and sprinkle.
Time passed and soon wildflowers started popping up.
Birds spread more seeds. Then came the pollinators. Butterflies and bees did that thing they do and more flowers popped up. Soon, our grassy pasture turned into a gorgeous wildflower prairie.
But…there was one, tiny problem. I’d long thrown the boxes away and we had no idea what most of the plants and flowers were. We’d walk through our maze and marvel at the colors popping up throughout the Spring and Summer.
“Ooo, look at that pretty purple one!”
“Ahhh, that yellow one looks a little like that yellow one.”
Beauty is beauty and needs no label…but it sure would be nice to be able to describe all the wondrous plants in our pasture beyond “flowers and stuff”.
My husband had the idea to create a plant directory. I snapped up the notion and ran with it. It is now part of our science curriculum. Picking, pressing and identifying. Discussing scientific names, photosynthesis, growing zones, medicinal uses, and on and on.
We incorporated art into our lessons while we read about the flower or plant we’d chosen.
This is no small project. We have around 2 acres of prairie with flowers and plants appearing throughout the growing season. It may take us a few years to get them all. By that time, more will have come. Not from us throwing down seeds, but from nature taking over and doing it’s thing.
Nature, left alone Creates boundless beauty, life Thriving without end