Fairy Day is Two Days Away!

So let's get in the mood!

First of all, Herself the Elf says hi.

Now some books...

Once Upon A Time Tales, stories retold by Wallace Wadsworth, illustrated by Margaret Evans Price.  New York: Barnes & Noble, 2007.  How To Find Flower Fairies, "Research conducted by" Cicely Mary Barker.  London: Penguin Books, 2007.  Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales, retold and illustrated by Val Biro. Algood, TN: MJF Media, 2010.  Little Red Riding Hood, The Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Bernadette Watts.  New York: North-South Books, 2009.  The Giant Book of Elves & Fairiesstories & poems selected by Jane Werner, illustrated by Garth Williams.  New York: Random House, 2008.  (Originally published by Golden Books, 1951.)  Shirley Temple's Storybook, selected by Shirley Temple, edited by Josette Frank.  New York: Random House, 1958.  (This illustration is from "The Sleeping Beauty" by Charles Perrault, illustrated by Grace Clarke.)  Favorite Tales from Grimm, retold by Nancy Garden, illustrated by Mercer Mayer.  New York: Four Winds Press, 1982.
Perhaps a few crafts...

Clothespin fairy dolls.

Flower fairy craft.  Instructions can be found here.

Make a fairy house.

This is last year's fairy house.  This year, my hubby took over and made it much prettier.  Alas, chiggers liked his building materials.  It needs a lot of fixing.

Visit someplace full of flowers, like a park or botanical gardens.  Or a forest.  (I live in Kansas.  Forests are not an option.)

Our local botanical gardens has fairy houses in the children's area!  This one was filled with tulip petals.

Visit a cool fairy-related website!  To see more fairy houses, made entirely of things found in nature, visit Tracy Kane's Fairy House website.  Or to brighten your day completely, pay a visit to Twig the Fairy.  You can also "like" her on Facebook  or follow her on Pinterest.

Watch a fairy movie or show!  Fairytale: A True Story, Shelley Duvall's Fairytale Theatre (also on Hulu, for those who stream), Legend (for those who like darker fare), or any of several versions of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

And last, I leave you with some YouTube finds.

The Cabbage Fairy, 1896.

                                                  Princess Nicotine, or The Smoke Fairy, 1909.

                                                                       The Kingdom of Fairies, 1903.

This morning...

The Hare and the Tortoise by Brian Wildsmith, Oxford University Press, 1966.

Happy Solstice!

Last Day of Not-Summer

Although the weather has been screaming "SUMMER!" for weeks now.

I don't like summer.  I detest heat.  And humidity.  And sweat.  And swimsuits.  (I haven't owned a swimsuit since I was pregnant with the oldest.  I have yet to find one I feel even halfway comfortable in.)  I wish I could hibernate through summer.  That will not happen, though.  There are children to entertain, and this year, we even get a vacation, albeit a brief one.  See?  There's a positive right there.  So just as I do every year about this time, I am trying to list all the things I just might possibly enjoy about summer.

1.  International Fairy Day is June 24th! - Until last year, we celebrated the realm of the fae (in a childlike sense, not a realistic sense) on or around the first day of summer, but last year, I learned about International Fairy Day via Facebook, and how could we keep from celebrating?  We touched up our little backyard fairy house, the girls played fairy dress-up all day, then we celebrated with fairy sprinkle cupcakes that night.

This year, we're celebrating Fairy Day with friends.  A fairy party!  We still need to fix up our fairy house (no pictures until that's done), but decorations and plans are underway!  We made our own invitations, recycling a craft idea we learned about via Family Fun magazine.

2.  Front Porch Love - Yes, I love sitting out on the front porch in the evening, citronella torches burning (in vain) to keep the mosquitoes at bay.  The hubby moved our imitation antique radio to the porch table, so we can sit, listening as we read, watching the kids play.  Iced tea in hand.  Iced tea is a must.

3.  Tomatoes! - We have tomatoes this year!  Last year, every single thing we planted withered and died.  Our little container garden seems to be thriving this year, though.  The tomatoes look wonderful, as does our chard, squash, and mint.  Knocking on wood for the bell peppers.

4.  Fireflies - Lots of fireflies.

5.  August 3rd - Oh, yeah, I was born in summer.  Sometimes this is an okay thing.

Maybe if I didn't live in a landlocked state.  Or maybe if I'd been born in a different era.

Midsummer's Festival! Let's Pretend to Be Swedish!

My maternal grandma is the daughter of German immigrants.  The rest of my heritage is a hodge-podge mix of who-knows-what in the usual American fashion.

But I'm slightly obsessed with all things Scandinavian/Nordic these days.

I blame Rick Steves.  First, it was his European Christmas special.  Then it was every Nordic-region episode on the awesome DVD boxed sets my dad got us for Christmas.  (Don't judge.  They're awesome.)  I mean, who wouldn't dream of heading to Norway after seeing this?

Yesterday morning, the family ventured to beautiful Lindsborg, KS, or "Little Sweden USA," for the annual Midsummer's Festival.  Lindsborg was founded by Swedish settlers and has become a sweet, touristy spot, full of Old World flavor, in the middle of Kansas farm country.

Our morning and afternoon was filled with Swedish folk dancing, Swedish music, Swedish blomkrans (flower wreaths), Swedish dala horses, Swedish gift shops, Swedish (and Finnish) books, Swedish pancake samples, Swedish almond cake, Swedish kettle corn (okay, that one may be a stretch)...

My book haul came from Hemsjold, home of the giant red dala horse, and where many beautiful dalas are made.  We returned for a storytime later in the day, which included our just-purchased The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow

The night before our excursion to Lindsborg, my littlest one and I curled up together to read my latest find from Better World Books (my favorite source for used books online), Very Tricky, Alfie Atkins by Gunilla Bergstrom.  My copy is by R&S Books from 2005, but it was first published in Sweden as Aja baja, Alfons Aberg in 1973.  

If you are not familiar with Alfie Atkins, he's a Swedish book and cartoon character from the '70s and '80s, known as Alfons Aberg in Sweden.  I admit, he's another European character I know from Pinwheel.

So the little one is in love with our "new" book.  We read it twice.  I showed her the short above and she begged, "Are there any more?"  I told her I'll keep an eye out for the books in English, but all the other cartoons on YouTube are in Swedish.  "I don't care," she said.  And so, since we already knew the plot of Very Tricky, Alfie Atkins, that is the one we watched.  In Swedish.  No subtitles.  Oh, well.  

By the way, look at this cool PDF file from Alfons/Alfie's Swedish publisher, celebrating his 40th anniversary.  And this Alfons/Alfie puzzle!  And another puzzle!

Sigh.  I had better stop before I get any sillier.

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