My literary comfort blanket: Roald Dahl’s The BFG

This post contains an affiliate link to the book The BFG. Please see my policies and disclosures page for more information.


Growing up, Roald Dahl’s the BFG was a BFD. I seriously loved that book.

Scratch that. I love—present tense—that book.

When I'm stressed, I turn to children's books and literature to relax. Roald Dahl's The BFG is my go-to title. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

The BFG (which stands for the Big Friendly Giant, for all of you not in the Roald Dahl know) was my favorite book for years. Over and over I read about how Sophie befriended the BFG and together with the Queen of England’s help rounded up all the mean, children’s bone-gnashing giants.

I laughed at (and gobblefunked with) the BFG’s hilarious words (snozzcumber!!!) and wondered what dreams he’d trumpet into my room each night.

So today, on Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, I say thank you to my all-time favorite children’s book author. Read more

A fashionably fierce sweater craft

Kids sweater craft: Princess and the Pony

Princesses are everywhere these days.

Disney has overrun the toy aisle, Pandora stations and the playground.

Now, I’m not a hater: I adore certain Disney movies, and Peeper’s first movie was Cinderella. But I can’t help but notice that a lot of princesses are, well, passive.

That is not the case with Princess Pinecone, the titular royalty in the picture book The Princess and the Pony.

A princess book with sass

Princess Pinecone lives in a society of warriors. But her parents haven’t quite caught on: They give her cutesy sweaters instead of cool warrior presents like shields, spiked belts or—what she truly covets—a fierce warrior horse.

When her birthday rolls around, she does get a horse—sort of. Princess Pinecone gets big-eyed, doughy pony who farts too much.

But she can’t give a birthday present back, she figures, so she keeps the pony. What happens at the next warrior brawl surprises everyone.

Getting crafty

After reading The Princess and the Pony about a hundred times, I made a book-inspired craft for Peeper. And I’m not the only one: Check out the brute-inspired crafts at the Raising Fairies and Knights Monthly Crafting Book Club!

Monthly Crafting Book Club

Princess Pinecone and the rest of the brutes in the book come to realize that cute can be strong, and you don’t have to be just fierce or just adorable—you can be both.

So Peeper and I created a fashionably fierce sweater craft.

This sweater craft is great for fine motor skills—though if your little is as young as Peeper is, she may need a little help winding the yarn around the paper.

Princess sweater craft

It’s also very open-ended. There’s no “right” way for the sweater craft to look: The process of winding and stamping (and hand-slapping, if you’re Peeper) is much more important than the final product.

After all, process art helps young kids feel more confident, since they don’t “fail” to make their project look identical to the model one, writes the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

So hit up your library for a copy of The Princess and the Pony, then join us for some cozy—and fierce—fun.

Kids sweater craft Princess and the PonyKids sweater craft Princess and the Pony

Fashionably fierce sweater craft

Supplies

  • cardstock paper
  • yarn
  • painter’s tape
  • paint
  • cotton balls

Instructions

  1. Cut out a sweater shape from a sheet of cardstock.
  2. Tape one end of the yarn to the “back” of the sweater. Then have your child wind the yarn around the sweater. (You may have to help by guiding her hands or playing out the yarn.)
  3. When your child is done wrapping, tape the tail of the yarn to the back of the sweater. This will secure the yarn so it doesn’t move.
  4. Squirt out as many colors of paint as your child would like. Invite her to stamp the paper with a cotton ball (it’s so cozy, like a sweater!). The more she paints over the yarn and fills up the white space, the more contrast she’ll get.
  5. When she’s done, untape and unwrap the yarn. She’ll see the white lines left by the yarn—giving her a striped sweater!

Don’t forget to try out the other The Princess and the Pony crafts at the Monthly Crafting Book Club!

Princess and the Pony monthly crafting book club

Our favorite children’s books: Books to say “no” to

Pretty much the day Peeper turned two, she rediscovered the word “no”—and all its power (to refuse, to state her opinion, to frustrate her parents…). Nowadays, one of her most used responses is the “no-yes,” an expression unique to toddlers who simultaneously refuse and demand things like popsicles and bunny crackers.

It makes sense, then, that Peeper delights in books that give voice to this milestone. Here, then, are some titles your little one can say “no” to again and again.

Favorite Children's Books to Say No To

 

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Our favorite children’s books: Shapes

SHAPES!Some of my earliest memories feature my great-grandmother, whom we all called Pretty Grandma and after whom Peeper is named. I sometimes watched Hollywood Squares with her—for whatever reason, she loved the trivia and cheesy banter. It was all over my head, but that’s the first thing I think of when someone says “shapes.”

Peeper, and probably your preschooler, doesn’t automatically envision a celebrity tic-tac-toe gameshow, though.

To help little ones learn about squares, triangles, circles—and even quatrefoils, add these books about shapes to your reading rotation. Read more

7 animal noises you’ve been messing up

Along with swaddling a squirmy baby, changing a diaper without smearing poop over every surface and operating on practically no sleep, making animal noises is a skill absolutely necessary to parenthood.

Between songs like Old MacDonald and books like Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, moms and dads become pros at mooing, quacking and cock-a-doodle-dooing. As a child ages, though, the animal sounds parents must make become more complex.

But when was the last time you heard a toucan? And do you go all-in with genuine elephant trumpeting, or do you cop out and say “toot toot”?

In addition to these pressing questions, I am going to bet you’ve been making a handful of animal noises completely wrong.

So let me (and YouTube) enlighten you. Go ahead and click play (though not if your dog is in the room—he might will definitely freak out) to step up your animal noises game. Read more

10 Ways I’m an Awesome Mom

Take a sample of parenting blogs out there and you’ll read a lot of bloopers.

We mothers, especially, are quick to point out our failings and our foibles. Perhaps it’s easier (or more cathartic) to confess the time you melted a Tupperware lid in the dishwasher, causing poisonous fumes to fill the apartment, than it is to reflect on the millions of other times you scrubbed plates clean without incident. After all, washing the dishes without a hitch—or, for that matter, the millions of unremarkable moments of motherhood—aren’t particularly newsy.

But in anticipation of Mother’s Day (coming up this Sunday for anyone who’s forgotten!), I’m stepping out of the self-deprecating, self-questioning rut I sometimes fall into.

I’m celebrating what a wonderful mother I am.

Here, then, are ten aspects of motherhood I totally have down.

mom helping toddler walk Mexico Read more

Our favorite children’s books: Books about being afraid

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my policies and disclosures page for details.


“Too noisy!”

Peeper’s complaints about noise, and the genuine fear loud sounds inspire in her, continue unabated in these parts, and we’ve learned to adapt. I make cookie dough when she’s asleep. I look ahead to avoid loud things like lawn mowers or steam trains in our path. And we are patient when her conversations repeatedly steer back to the fact that something—a seal, tractor, Jeep—is “too noisy.”

Alas, we haven’t yet found a book that deals with fear of loud sounds, but we like these other books about being afraid. At some point, she might become afraid of the dark, or of getting sucked down the bath drain, or of vampire zombie bats living under the crib. (Who knows? She has a vivid imagination already.)

If your little one is spooked, these books about being afraid might help. At the least, they will say he’s not alone in being afraid.

Read on for a little courage—or at least encouragement!

When your child is scared, books about being afraid can lend a little courage. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more