Author: Summer Bird

A Short Tale About a Lot of Things

Jane sat up in her bed as her mom started to leave the room. “Wait! I need another story.”

Her mom turned with a sigh. “Jane, it’s time for bed. I already read two stories. My voice is tired.”

“I’ll tell you a story.” Jane patted the bed. “Come sit down. Please? It’s a short story. You’ll really like it. Pleeeease?”

With a smile, her mom sat on the edge of the bed. “All right. As long as it’s a short story.”

“It’s going to be short.” Jane cleared her throat. “Once upon a time…”

“Oh, it’s a fairy tale,” her mom interrupted. “Which one?”

Jane frowned. “It’s not a fairy story. There aren’t any fairies. It’s a story about a lot of things. Just listen. No talking.”

“Okay. I’m sorry I interrupted. Please continue your lots-of-things tale.”

“Once upon a time there was a ladder…”

“A ladder?”

“Listen!” Jane looked upset.

“Sorry.”

“Once upon a time, there was a ladder. It was green and tall and lived on someone’s back porch for when they needed to pick apples or climb on the roof to fix things. If they didn’t need it, they didn’t really look at it, so they didn’t know the ladder was really an alien…”

“An alien?”

“Mom!”

“Sorry.”

“It was an alien. It was studying people and animals and houses and back porches. One day, it was done studying everything, and it was ready to leave. What the ladder didn’t know was that someone was watching. The family dog saw the ladder was going to leave, and he followed him when he left, because the dog was really an alien, too.”

“Wow. I wouldn’t have guessed that.” When Jane frowned, her mom looked embarrassed. “Sorry. Keep going.”

“The dog was an alien, and he called his friends at home to tell them about the ladder alien. But he didn’t know that someone was watching. It was the tree.”

“Was the tree an alien too?”

Jane rolled her eyes. “Of course not. That would be silly. The tree was a dinosaur.”

“Really? Wouldn’t people notice?”

“No. She was in disguise.”

“How did that work?”

Jane shrugged. “It was a big tree. The dinosaur was waiting a long time and watching. When the dog left to follow the ladder, the tree followed the dog.”

“He didn’t notice?”

“He was an alien. He thought some trees could move. And really, some trees can move. So, he wasn’t wrong. Except this wasn’t a tree, really. It was a dinosaur.”

“What kind of dinosaur?”

“Velociraptor. Let me finish!” After her mom nodded, Jane continued. “When the ladder was going to get beamed up on the spaceship, the dog and the dinosaur went too. They wanted a ride home.”

“I thought the dinosaur wasn’t an alien.”

“She wasn’t. Dinosaurs are from earth. They just moved somewhere else. They come back to visit sometimes. The dog and the dinosaur both needed a ride because they lost their spaceships.”

“How did they lose their spaceships?”

“A wizard stole them. He lived in the house they were watching, but they couldn’t get in because of a force field. The ladder didn’t know he was a wizard that stole spaceships. Good thing he hid his spaceship in invisible space.”

“Or nobody could go home.”

“Right. Because the dog and the dinosaur waited a long time to try to get their spaceships back and the wizard’s force field was too strong.”

“Why did he need spaceships?”

“He collected them. He liked them. They’re like big sparkly rocks.” Jane pointed to her windowsill. There was a line of pretty rocks she’d found on various adventures.

Her mom nodded. “That makes sense. What happened next?”

“They went home. The wizard was mad the tree was gone. He planted a new one and used magic to make it grow fast. The end.”

“Already?”

Jane grinned. “I told you it was a short story.” She fell back onto her pillow with a giggle and pulled up her covers. “Good night!”

“Good night, Jane. Will you tell me another story tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

How to Make Basic Paper Dolls

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time making paper dolls. It was a fun way to use my imagination and make something to give away that made people happy. All I needed was blank paper, a window, sunlight, and something to draw with.

First, you need to draw something to dress up. It can be anything. It can be something you draw or that someone else drew. It just needs a torso and limbs. The limbs may be optional. I think you could make it work without them. Actually, a snake paper doll sounds fun. It would need bends in the torso to keep the clothes from sliding off. Maybe next time.

Next, hold it up to a window, put a paper over it, and trace the outline and add the facial features so you know where they are. This is important if you are adding masks or helmets or hats.

Now, as long as you have the outline, you can color and cut out the doll and still make more clothes. Or recreate the doll. Things can happen to ruin paper, and if you’ve gifted the paper doll to someone small, things are likely to happen. It’s nice to be able to say that you can fix it if they get upset.

Using the outline, or the doll, you can make just about any outfit you can imagine. Hold it up to a window, put a paper over it, and start drawing. The outline needs to hug the sides of the torso in a few places so that you can draw tabs there to hold the clothes onto the doll. It works best if there’s at least one tab on either side of the torso. The more tabs, the better.

Shoes and hats can be connected to the outfit or not. With hats, it’s difficult to add more than one tab. So, you can draw the hat with a slit just the size of the head at the brim, leaving room around it so the paper doesn’t tear. Then the hat just slides onto the head of the doll.

Experiment and have fun. If something doesn’t work quite right, try it a different way. Figuring it all out is part of the fun.

If you want to print out the pictures in this post and make the killer whale paper doll with all its clothes, click on each image and then print them.

Please let me know if you make some paper dolls! I’d love to see pictures.

Charlie’s Room: Short and Tall

Charlie looked up from his spaghetti and asked, “How tall will I be when I grow up?”

Marianne and Isaac looked at each other. Isaac lost the staring contest. He smiled at Charlie. “It’s hard to say. You’ll probably be somewhere around the height of your mom and I. Why do you ask?”

“I was wondering if I got too tall for this house, if I could go and live at that store with the really tall doors. I think I’d like that. How do I get to be tall?”

Marianne shrugged. “I don’t think you get to pick how tall you are. Just eat healthy, and get plenty of sleep. That’s pretty much all you can do.”

“Unless you end up in some sort of magical dimension and eat the wrong sort of thing,” Isaac added.

“Like Alice in Wonderland?” Charlie grinned. “I like that. It would be nice to be able to be short and tall whenever you want. And her clothes grew with her! That would be good. I’m not sure if there are clothes for really, really tall people in the stores. If I was really small, we could buy a doll house for me to live in.”

“Well, there aren’t any magical dimensions, so you need to eat your vegetables and go to bed on time.” Marianne pointed to his plate and Charlie started eating his peas.

“And the dollhouse?” Charlie asked, his mouth half full of chewed peas.

“Wait to finish eating what’s in your mouth before you talk.”

Charlie closed his mouth, and Isaac nodded approvingly. “If you were small enough to live in a dollhouse, we’d get you one.”

Charlie finished chewing. “I think I need a little brother or sister.”

“Why?” Marianne frowned.

“Then I wouldn’t be the littlest one in the house. I’d be really big, but I wouldn’t be the biggest one, either. I’d be big and small at the same time. So?”

“So, what?” Isaac asked.

“When can I have a little brother or sister?”

Marianne and Isaac looked at each other. Isaac lost the staring contest again. He really needed to practice, or he was going to be stuck answering all the difficult questions. He didn’t mind really, except that Marianne usually gave better answers.

“That probably won’t happen,” Isaac said. “But we’ll let you know if that changes. I think you’re overlooking one obvious solution to your problem.”

Charlie frowned at first, but his frown fell as he began to think. “What solution? Can we get a dog?”

“I’m still allergic to dogs, sadly,” Isaac said.

Charlie thought a little longer. “I still don’t know.”

“If what you really want is to be short and tall, the solution isn’t to find some one younger than you. If you had a little brother or sister, they would grow too. They might even end up taller than you. Also, you are already shorter than us, but as you get older, that will change. We won’t be a lot taller than you any more. However, there are things that you are always going to be taller than or shorter than.”

“Like what?”

“Think of the plants and animals that are taller and shorter than you.”

“Like dinosaurs?”

Isaac nodded. “Yup. Always taller.”

“But who is always shorter?”

“Goldfish, petunias, flower fairies, leprechauns, ants…” Isaac started counting things off on his fingers.

“I still kind of want a little brother or sister. And a big brother or sister. And a dog.” Charlie pushed the peas around on his plate.

Marianne and Isaac looked at each other. Marianne smiled and let Isaac win the staring contest. She put a hand on Charlie’s shoulder. “Do you remember the story of the three bears? Each of the bears had something different, but it was just right for them. Do you think Mama bear who liked soft chairs would have been comfortable in Papa bear’s chair?”

“No.”

“Do you think that Papa Bear liked his porridge the same way as Mama bear?”

“I guess not. I don’t know.”

Marianne patted Charlie’s shoulder and let go. “Just right is different for different people and different families. I think our family is just right for us. I’m glad we have each other.”

Charlie nodded slowly. “Okay. But can we get a bird? Or a goldfish? Dad isn’t allergic to those.”

Marianne looked at Isaac and he shrugged. “We’ll see,” she said.

The next week, they bought a goldfish. It was much shorter than Charlie. “Now I just need to find a dinosaur,” he said.

Family Recipe: Brock’s Soup

When I was younger, my uncle Shirl made this soup when my family was visiting. I asked for the recipe and called it Uncle Shirl’s Soup. I continued to make Uncle Shirl’s Soup after I got married and had kids, up until my kids started watching Pokemon. After that, the recipe was the same, but the kids renamed the soup. It is now Brock’s Soup, named after the delicious looking soup the character Brock makes for his friends.

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: