our favorite toy of the summer: kiwi crate summer discovery pack

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How is everyone’s summer going? It’s hot, hot, hot here. We’ve been going to the water park about once a week, but I have to confess, a lot of the time, we stay cool inside. Isn’t that terrible? I like being outside when it’s 80ºF or below, but a 100º is just a little too much for this New England girl.

Today is one of those days, and that means I have to find things to do (or let them watch TV and feel guilty for the rest of the day) so everyone doesn’t get bored and start killing each other.

how to paint like Eric Carle

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I grew up with Eric Carle books, and now my kids are. Eric is still alive at eighty-four, has illustrated over seventy books, and has sold over 103 million copies of his books around the world. Now that is the stuff of legends.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? was a nightly ritual at our house, as were many of his others. I love that so many Eric Carle books have always pushed the envelope. The Very Hungry Caterpillar  isn’t just a book about a caterpillar who eats through cake and candy, which is already fun, but there are actual holes in the pages, and different sized pages to take you through the days of the week. It’s genius.

Years and years ago, I saw an episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood where Mr. Rogers visited with Eric Carle at his studio and demonstrated how he creates his illustrations. I’ve always wanted to show my kids how to do it. So today, for Eric Carle’s birthday, we did it.

a meeting with nathan hale

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I’ve mentioned Nathan a couple times before. He is my friend from when we were missionaries for our church in Quebec. His latest book Calamity Jack, the sequel to Rapunzel’s Revenge (both written by Shannon Hale and her husband Dean Hale), hits shelves in a couple of weeks. My son, who has been enamored by Nate’s blog, recently interviewed him about his career.

Nate, the cool illustrator that he is, didn’t just answer the questions, he turned the whole interview into a comic series. Click here to read the first one. Then you can keep going back to his blog everyday to see his latest post in the interview.

bok choy art

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The other day, while making our Kung Fu Panda soup, I found that when I cut off the baby bok choy leaves, the end looked like a rose.  How could I turn down a perfectly opportune time to let my children express themselves artistically?  (Actually, I usually pass on craft projects.  They make such a mess, and I’m usually behind on my housework, and any extra mess just puts me one step closer to the loony bin.)

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I imagine you can do this with a large bok choy as well.  You can also make stamps like this with the ends of celery, and probably endives.  (In the past, I’ve tried to save the ends of celery for this very purpose, but alas, could not find the energy to encourage my children to be creative, and I tossed them out — not the kids, the celery stumps.)

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