Be Prepared

Encouraging your kids to play can be a messy business. It seems that the dirtier a kid gets, the more fun is likely to be had.

Spring and summer are the time of sun and showers, of puddles and mud. And part of being willing to let your kids go and play is the knowledge that you are prepared for the consequences. Many times I have heard a parent shout at their kid to get away from that puddle! When frankly, puddles can offer more play value than the whole of the playground equipment at some parks.

BUT if you aren’t prepared, what choice do you have?

Solution: BE PREPARED.

You need to have your car stocked with the essentials. You need to be prepared for water, mud, rain, sand, sun, extra time away from home because the kids are having so much fun, all that stuff needs to covered.

So here’s my list of the Summer Car Essentials:

1. A change of clothes for each child. Having backup clothes makes all the difference, especially if you are planning on going out after your trip to the park. If you don’t have one other thing on the list, make sure you keep that change of clothes in the car.

1b. A sweatshirt/sweater/jacket for those cool evenings.

2. A bathing suit for everyone (shorts can do double duty as bathing suit or change of clothes for the boys), you never know when you might happen upon a nice body of water for some fun while you are out.

3. Sunscreen is important when you get caught out for much longer than you had planned, particularly if you have a fair skinned family.

4. Towels. At least one.

5. Food. For me, that means healthy snacks. I keep dates in the car all summer long. Nuts are also a good source of healthy shelf-stable calories. There are also granola bars, crackers, and things like that, less healthy, but anything that can keep you from stopping off at a fast food joint on the way home or tide you over while you are waiting for your kids to be ready to leave the park is good. I also tend to throw a couple of apples of bananas in my bag as we’re heading out, but it’s nice to keep food in the car in case you forget. And that way if your car breaks down in the middle of the desert you’ll have something to eat besides the crayons.

6. A Basketball. That’s for me, if we’re at a park with a hoop. ūüôā

7. Frisbee, bubbles, balls, shovels, buckets, rackets these things are all nice, but who has room for everything in their car? This stuff isn’t essential, but a few toys in the car can really come in handy.


Being prepared can be the difference between being a “no” mom and a “yes” mom. And everyone knows that YES is always more fun. So pack your car, and enjoy your summer.



If you like me, you’ll love these…

First is a very fun site called “Let The Children Play.” It’s a blog by a pre-school teacher in a play based pre school. She has lots of great ideas for outdoor play spaces and other things for kids to do.

Second is an article about outdoor kindergartens that made me wistful. I’d be happy for an outdoor camp in my area. So happy in fact, I keep getting the urge to start my own on a very small scale.

Third is from Zen Habits, one of my very favorite blogs, about doing the hard things.

Fourthly, we have an article from Life Learning Magazine about Audacious Learning.

That’s all for now. What have you guys been reading?

Rattle Giveaway Winner

Laura won the rattle. Congratulations, Laura.


I’ll be at the La Leche League conference in Jamesburg, NJ this weekend selling toys. So I’ve been busy the past week trying to prepare. Yesterday I made tool sets.¬†


Today I’m going to work on diggers and rattles, and finish up the train sets that I made on Saturday.



Last time I sold out of diggers and dump trucks, so I want to make sure I have enough this show. Well, I’d better get to it! Don’t forget that train coupon code (TRAINS) runs out on Saturday.¬†


New Train Set

I have been wanted to sell my own train set for YEARS. I actually did sell a set at craft shows when I was first starting out, but it didn’t work very well, and it didn’t look very nice. Finally I figured out how to make the train set in a way that I was pleased with.¬†

No plastic pieces. The train wheels and axels are wooden.

No painting. The trains get all their colors for the variety of woods that I use.

Magnetic coupling. This way the trains can be used with all the trains you already have (or all the trains that your relatives will give you later). 

Holes for people. You know I love my peg people. Somehow everything seems like more fun when people are involved. I drilled holes in Caleb’s trains (Melissa and Doug, Whittle Trains) years ago at his request. He likes to use his trains with his town, Sun House, and all his other wee people things.¬†

Without further ado, here they are:




Each car is around 3 inches long. They are all finished with my homemade beeswax polish. And the full set has eight different cars.

You can purchase the entire set of cars (8) or a set of 4 cars. You can also purchase each car individually. (click the links to go to my site for purchasing-the links will open in a new window)

Caleb has claimed my practice set, so I’ll be giving away a coupon code instead. Use the coupon code TRAINS to get ten percent off an order that includes one of my new trains. This only lasts one week, so snap it up quick. These trains would look really cute in a basket Easter morning, maybe with a chocolate bunny?


New Toys, Giveaway, and Giveaway Winner

In all it’s glory, the lumber truck is ready to sell.


Tiffany won my practice truck. 

But this is old news. I told you about this truck weeks ago. I have real new toys, and I am VERY excited about them!

Today, I will introduce the first two new toys:

Wooden Rattles


There are 2 different styles, and 3 variations of this style.


I know I should be modest, but I am just in love with the simplicity of this rattle. It’s so beautiful and smooth; it’s really all about showing off the wood. This rattle is available in 3 different woods: cherry (pictured), walnut, and maple (seen below).


Sunday morning after I did my keys, I just had this rush of creative energy, and I just HAD to make something new. My shop is not about reinventing the wheel. I believe in classic timeless toys. Like my keys, babies love keys, all I did was make them natural and beautiful. 

That’s why I’m excited about this rattle. It’s a classic baby toy, and I’ve had it in the back of my mind to make a proper rattle for years. And here it is.¬†

The other style of rattle is about the contrast of different types of wood.



It’s made from walnut and cherry woods-my two all time favorite types of wood. I use non-toxic elmer’s wood glue to secure the pieces, and then sand the whole thing until is shines.¬†

Both rattles are about 4.5 inches long, and about 1 inch square at the ends. They would make a lovely addition to a baby shower gift.

And of course, I have a free one for you. It doesn’t rattle quite as loudly as the ones I’ll be selling do, because I made the cavity inside larger in the later models, but it’s just as soft and beautiful and fun.


And for the first ten¬†purchasers of the rattle who ask for it, I’ll be throwing in a free, personalized wooden teething ring.

Leave a comment below if you’d like to win my practice rattle.¬†

Tomorrow I’ll be back with another new toy, one that has been in the works for years. I’m super excited about it, but I’m waiting on some hardware to come in the mail…¬†