August Schedule

Now August is always a special month for me. I mean it has my birthday (and yes I have been known to celebrate all month long) and my anniversary.  Here at Crafty Moms Share we have some exciting things happening in August as well. But first did you know August is:
  • Admit You Are Happy Month
  • Family Fun Month
  • Romance Awareness Month
  • National Catfish Month
  • Peach Month
  • National Picnic Month? (Source)
Then there are the special days in August like:
  • 1st is National Raspberry Ice Cream Pie Day (hmmm....need to find a recipe I think)
  • 2nd is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day (hmmm...noticing the theme of ice cream)
  • 3rd is National Watermelon Day (we will celebrate this one, but not on the 3rd since it is a Sharing Saturday)
  • 4th is International Friendship Day
  • 6th is Wiggle Your Toes Day (I think they need to add in the sand to this one)
  • 7th is National Lighthouse Day (mentioning this one for Steve)
  • 8th is Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day 
  • 10th is National S'Mores Day (Campfire anyone?)
  • 14th is National Creamsicle Day
  • 15th is Relaxation Day (Spa visit?)
  • 22nd is Be an Angel Day
  • 26th is Women's Equality Day
  • 27th is Global Forgiveness Day (Does this mean there will be world peace that day?)
  • 30th is Toasted Marshmallow Day (Source)
Now really, where do they come up with these? 

Ok, now onto what we are doing this month. We have our normal monthly things like the Virtual Book Club for Kids. This month's author is Donald Crews. 
Now I really had not read any of his books before, but they are growing on me. He definitely has his own style and you will know when you are reading one of his books. They are often simple and of few words and about action. If you have a child who is into transportation (planes, trains, trucks, etc.) than this is an author for you. he also has some books for older children. I hope you will join us on the 19th to check out what we do with his books.

Then of course we have Around the World in 12 Dishes. This month we are "traveling" to Egpyt.
Pictures from
With our journey through food we will be including some stories, music and crafts as well. I hope you will join us on the 20th to see what Egyptian food we have been cooking. Also there will be an Egyptian fairy tale. Since we have already discussed the Egyptian Cinderella, we will expand to another story!

Then of course we will see where Flat Stanley is visiting. If you would like to host Flat Stanley one of these upcoming months, check out the information here. It is easy and fun!!

Plus with that wonderful list of special August holidays we will focus a bit on watermelon and we will continue our fun with Flamingo Fridays, Fairy Tales in Different Cultures and Sharing Saturday! Plus with schools beginning for so many this month (ours doesn't start until September here) I am thinking I may do a bit of a math focus for all of you. It is always good for me to keep my mind thinking mathematically. So those are some of the great things I have planned for Crafty Moms Share this month. I hope you will join us all month long!

Sand Art--Perfect for a Sick Day

Today Hazel was suppose to go to my mother-in-law's for the day, but when she gave me a hug this morning I realized she had a fever. Plans changed. After running a couple quick necessary errands we got ready for a sick day of rest. So much for my to do list which included getting outside on the most beautiful day in a long while for a walk and visiting Sharing Saturday posts. Oh, well somehow I will find time to do everything that was on the list. Unlike a normal sick day, Hazel did not want to watch to much television. She wanted to do some crafts and things with Mommy. It was a long day for me. However I pulled out some of the craft kits I buy when they are on sale or clearance and we did a couple of them. One of them was a sand art kit (well actually two). Hazel has loved doing sand art at the holiday stroll and other fair kind of things, so when I saw some on sale, I bought them. She had the best time. I did two and she did the rest.
Now they are decorating our living room and family room. But the truth is the best part of them is making them. Do you have things stashed away for days like this?

Book Inspired Painting

Today I want to share a wonderful library find! We have renewed this book, because we have been enjoying it so much. The book is Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust by April Pulley Sayre. Now I have to admit I learned a lot from reading this book, so I do consider it educational as well as interesting.

The story begins with sunrise and discussing the colors in the sky. The story than discusses dust and what it is and where it comes from. It goes through the day explaining the different places dust comes from and how it never goes away so the dust we see could be from the dinosaurs or King Tut. Another wonderful connection is that it describes dust from various places like the African savannah (connection: Kenya), meerkats, ocean, Egypt with pyramids (next month's place on our trip Around the World in 12 Dishes) and finally space. The book ends with how the dust will scatter the light for the sunset and then create the colors of the sunrise tomorrow. At the end of the book is the explanation of what dust really is and where it comes from as well as how it makes the sunset.
Dry Paper

To go along with this book, I thought it would be fun to paint some sunset and sunrise paintings. I bought Hazel a water color set so we pulled it out and tried it. She had a blast. I made two of the papers wet so we could do wet-on-wet painting and left two dry.
Dry Paper
The best part of this activity was she had so much fun mixing colors and making new shades. I only gave her six colors to work with: yellow, brown, red, green, blue and white.
Wet Paper
I loved how the wet-on-wet came out. Hazel asked me to help her with these.

Ok, they did not come out looking like sunsets or sunrises, but we had fun.

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Moss Gown

This week we are sharing a fairy tale out of the Eastern part of North Carolina. This story seems to have so many different parts of other stories from all over the world. It amazes me how many seemed to come up in the story and remind me of the other Cinderella tales.
Map of the United States with North Carolina highlighted

First a little bit about North Carolina. North Carolina is in the Southeastern part of the United States. It is known as the Tar Heel State and the Old North State. The capital is Raleigh and is named after Sir Walter Raleigh. North Carolina is the 28th most extensive state and the tenth most populous.

In 1584, Elizabeth I granted Sir Walter Raleigh a charter for the present day North Carolina (then part of Virginia). He tried to establish two colonies, but both failed. However on August 18, 1857, the first English child, Virginia Dare, born on American soil was born on Roanoke Island (one of Raleigh's colonies). Dare County is named after her.
Sir Walter Ralegh by 'H' monogrammist.jpg
Sir Walter Raleigh (Source)

In 1663 King Charles II granted a charter to settle a colony and named it Carolina in honor of his father King Charles I. In 1710 the Carolina Colony split into North Carolina and South Carolina due to disputes in governance.

Some other interesting facts about North Carolina:
  • In 1795 North Carolina opened the first public university in the United States, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill
  • Krispy Kreme donuts was started in North Carolina
  • Pepsi Cola was first developed in North Carolina
  • North Carolina's largest two metropolitan areas are among the top ten fastest growing in the US (Source)
Now onto our book. This week we are looking at Moss Gown by William H. Hooks. In his Author's Note, Hooks discusses some of the history of North Carolina. He discusses the tradition of storytelling perserving the Elizabethan culture as well as Virginia Dare's birth. He uses both of these to tie in the elements of King Lear as well as Cinderella to this story. There is apparently a similar story in the Western part of North Carolina called Rush Cape where the dress is made of something else since there was not Spanish moss in the Appalachia. He also discusses the term gris-gris being French and known in the Carolinas as a kind of spell that often, but not always is evil. These are the words the magic cat woman uses to help Moss Gown.

Now the story. A wealthy man lived in a large Southern mansion with his three daughters. He was growing old and no longer enjoyed riding his horse around his land or hunting in the swamp. He tended to sit on the porch and stare out. One stormy day his youngest daughter, Candace, ran out to get him out of the rain, but he said to call her sisters because he had gifts for them. The older daughters who had been watching it all came right out when hearing the word gifts.

The man told his daughters to tell him how much they loved him and based on their answers he would divide the land. The oldest two told him they loved him more than jewels and riches. While Candace thought about her answer and wanted something truly from her heart. She replied that she loved him more than meat loves salt. Now if you have been following this series for awhile you may remember this storyline from a Jewish Cinderella that takes place in Poland. The older sisters laughed at her answer and Candace could not find the words to explain what she meant. The father gave the oldest daughters all of his land. That night they chased Candace out into the storm since they now owned the land.

Candace wandered in the storm. Strangely she was not afraid even when the wind picked her up and flew her over the cypress treetops in the swamp. The wind put her down on a soft bed of Spanish moss. There she fell asleep. She was awoken by someone singing. When she opened her eyes she saw a black woman with green eyes who she felt looked like a cat. She was singing a song with the words, "Gris-gris" in it. As stated above this was known in the Carolinas to be a magic term that usually caused evil. The woman was holding a beautiful gossamer dress. Candace hid from the woman, but the woman left the dress with her and told her if she ever needed her to say the rhyme. After she left, Candace put on the dress and her feet seemed to know the way she should go. At sunlight her dress turned to rags made from moss. (Now this part of the story reminded me of the Alaskan Cinderella where the dress changed in sunlight.)
Her feet brought her to a house that looked very much like her father's. She knocked and the mistress of the house took pity on the girl dressed in rags and moss and sent her to do chores in the kitchen. Not wanting to reveal her real name, she told the first cook that her name was Moss Gown (like the cat woman called her in the swamp). The kitchen staff gave her the worst jobs, but she did them. She always dreamed of returning to her father's home, but after six months she realized she never would since she was not wanted there. 

One day the First Cook announced that the young master of the house was going to host a three-day frolic with a ball each night and all of the household staff could go to the balls if they had a ball dress. Since Moss Gown did not have a ball gown and only had her moss rags and borrowed clothes she was the only one not to go. While trying to fall asleep the first night she could not due to the noise. She remembered her moss dress that was under her bed and the cat woman. She pulled out the dress and called the cat woman with the line she had been told. The cat woman appeared and touched the dress. It became the beautiful gossamer gown again. She warned Moss Gown that it would be rags again as the morning star disappeared. 

Moss Gown made quite the entrance. The young master danced the night away with her. He asked her name, but she played coy with him. Then as the sun was rising he asked to walk her home. She slipped away. She repeated this the next two nights. 

After the frolic the young master went off to find the mystery woman he fell in love with. He rode the countryside searching. Eventually he sadly returned home and refused to eat. The First Cook was saying how he was wasting away and needed to eat. Moss Gown asked to serve his dinner that evening. She ran to her room and called the Cat Woman. The Cat Woman told her not to run in the morning this time. Moss Gown appeared with his food and when he realized it was her, he was so happy and ate. They spent the evening together talking and when the sun rose she did not run. Afraid he would no longer love her in rags, she asked him how he felt about her. He said rags could not hide her beauty. They were married the next week. 

At the wedding there were two unknown guests, a black cat-like woman and an old man. The black cat-like woman disappeared shortly after the wedding festivities, but the old man was confused and stayed. The kitchen staff took pity on him and let him warm himself by the fire and fed him. He told them a story of two daughters who spent all his money and kicked him out to beg for his food.

 The next morning Moss Gown saw him and asked him if he knew who she was. He did not. She told him he was always welcome at her table and went in and told the first cook to plan a dinner with no salt. The old man pushed away the plate. Moss Gown handed him the saltcellar and said to him, "I love you the way meat loves salt." At that moment he knew it was his long-lost favorite daughter, Candace. The husband invited the father to stay with them as long as he wished. They all lived happily together with much celebration.

As you can see I saw so many connections to other Cinderella versions. I found this one to be so interesting and since it probably morphed from tales brought to America with the colonists, it seems like the perfect American version.

Let's Talk about Race

There has been a lot of talk about race in the news and all over the place lately. With the Trayvon Martin shooting and his killer's trial and of course with the not guilty verdict, it seems everyone has an opinion about it. I've heard on some stations that this whole case has nothing to do with race whereas others say it has everything to do with race. Either way, let us remember that a 17-year-old walking home from a quick trip to a convenience store. His home was in a gated community that had several break-ins and other issues recently, so they started a neighborhood watch led by George Zimmerman, the shooter. Zimmerman had a gun because of a lose pit bull in the neighborhood. Zimmerman called the police to report a suspicious looking male in the neighborhood. The police dispatcher told him he did not have to chase him, but he did. After getting off the phone, Martin had been shot by Zimmerman 70 yards from the townhouse he was staying at. Now this happened in Florida and the state of Florida has a Stand Your Ground Law. This law is what got Zimmerman acquitted. (Source)

Listening to all the different points of view and trying to make sense of it is hard and confusing. Even President Obama has given his opinion on it all. The truth of it is we as a society/country and world need to find a way to co-exist. We need to realize we are all creatures of Earth and have all been created by God (at least in my beliefs). We need to remember that each of us no matter what we have done are loved by God. We need to get rid of our institutionalized racism (as well as the other -isms) and learn to accept our differences. We need people to have a sense of responsibility for themselves again and not to blame the other guy (whether a person or a business). But most of all we need to teach our children by example to love one another and to end the violence in our world. 

I am going to share a true story with you. This story breaks my heart and I think it is a perfect example of how much our media has influenced our youth. I was Christmas shopping with a good friend one year at a mall. My friend was making a purchase in Macy's Children's Department. While waiting for her (she was in line) I was just looking at the nearby displays. One display was of Holiday Barbie dolls. A young black girl came over and saw the display. The first doll she saw was the Black Barbie doll. Her response was, "Oooh, pretty."
Then she came around the display to the white Barbie dolls. Her response was, "Ooooh, prettier."
Now it broke my heart. As a teacher and an adviser to a multicultural club at the high school I was teaching, I felt like I needed to do something, but I also assumed the adults who were with the child (but not in hearing distance) would question me, a stranger, talking to their young child (she was probably six or seven). At this point my friend was finished and the girl's mother called her over, so I had done nothing, but the incident has always remained with me.

I have gone through many years of diversity training and have also chaperoned many student trips to diversity trainings. I have even spent a week as an adviser for a session of the National Conference For Community and Justice's (NCCJ) Anytown .  I have to say I had my most interesting night there before the kids arrived spending most of a night talking to my two roommates about how we knew whether we were heterosexual or homosexual. They were both lesbians. I know about affinity groups and have heard many stories from them after being broken into them. I know how much prejudice there still is in our country. I also know it is wrong. I understand people are upset about how messed up our welfare system is and I agree it is. I also think our entire society needs a responsibility check. When someone can sue a company for giving them a hot coffee that burns them when they spill and win the case, we have problems and this to me is where the welfare issues stem from. We all seem to feel entitled to something even if it is not ours, and we have not worked for it and it does not seem to matter the color of your skin.

The United States use to be a country where people came and worked hard and had a good life getting ahead. Now if we are born here we feel entitled to that good life and if people come here legally or not, they feel entitled. We seem to be missing the working hard. Some may say there are no jobs, we have a bad economy, but these entitlements go back much too far for those to be our reasons. 

But I have digressed onto another topic than the one I wanted to discuss. We all need to think before we act or say something. We need to be responsible for our own actions and not judged by those of someone like us. We need to step out of our comfort zones sometimes to meet others part way. We need to learn more about other cultures so we can find some similarities. And we need to remember there are bad and good in every culture, race, group and the bad does not define the whole. As a Christian I know the Bible tells me that Jesus taught us to love everyone as we love ourselves for this is how God loves us. I know I strive to do this. I am human so I know it is probably not completely possible for me, but I can still strive for it. Since I have been focusing on this, I know I feel much happier and more satisfied with my life. Will you join in me in striving to make the world a more loved place by trying to love others how God loves us? Remember God gave us freewill, but with freewill comes responsibility.