Friday Fiction – A Special Guest

Jennifer’s Friday Fiction

I’m pleased today to feature a special guest post on Friday Fiction.

My 12 year-old granddaughter Leah wrote the following flash fiction piece for school recently. When her mom showed it to me, I liked it so much, I asked Leah if she would allow me to publish it here on my blog.

Our family’s budding new writer readily agreed. Friends and followers, please take a moment to read it and tell me what you think!

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Bart, the security guard, has always loved his job at the amusement park. He loves the greasy smell of deep-fried onions and the sweet smell of cotton candy drifting in the breeze as people happily skip by.

But there was just one thing that made Bart sad. He would always see people of all ages having so much fun with huge smiles on their faces as they jumped with excitement. Bart looked down at his chubby belly sticking out under his uniform with grease stains all over it from his recent lunch break. “I wish I could ride one of the roller coasters,” Bart thought to himself. All he wanted was to be able to ride a roller coaster and know what it was like to be happy and have fun.

Bart decided to make a plan. Maybe he could sneak onto a ride. No one would notice he was gone from his post because no one ever noticed he was there. Except for Trevor.

Trevor was Bart’s very strict boss. If Trevor ever found out about Bart’s plan, he would fire him for good and Bart definitely did not want that to happen. But he wanted to ride a roller coaster so bad, he was willing to take the chance.

Late one day, Bart was ready for action. It was 9:00 pm and the park closed at 10:00 pm. It was dark out so he wouldn’t be seen as easily. Bart slipped off his uniform so that he was left with a T-shirt and a pair of shorts on. He quickly put on his ball cap and ran off to the scariest ride in the park called “The Brain Wash”.

Bart got in line. While everyone was passing their tickets to the tall man standing at the entrance, Bart squeezed past the man without being seen. Bart had made it through!

He was finally on the ride. As the roller coaster was going up the steep hill with a ticking sound, he looked down at everyone below. They all looked like little ants. But there was one face that Bart could pick out. It was Trevor looking up at him with his arms folded across his chest. What if Bart got fired from his job?

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Imagination

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Sunday Snap: Imagination

 Coffee filters have many uses.
All you need is a little imagination.
And a little brother to share them with.

This photo wasn’t taken yesterday – our angels are 10 and 12 now.

“That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.” ~ Walt Disney

Sea Star

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Sunday Snap: Sea Star

There’s treasure children always seek to find
and just like us
you must have had
a Once-Upon-a-Time.*


Did you know?
 Marine scientists have replaced the starfish’s common name with sea star because it’s not a fish. It’s an echinoderm, closely related to sea urchins and sand dollars. There are 2,000 species of sea star living in all the world’s oceans. The five-arm varieties are the most common. Sea stars have an eye at the tip of each arm.

Common name: Starfish (Sea Stars)

Scientific name: Asteroidea

Type: Invertebrate Carnivore

Average life span: Up to 35 years

Weight: Up to 11 lbs

 source: National Geographic

 

*from Curtains by Elton John & Bernie Taupin

Dancing with the Waves

Not to be confused with last month’s Jumping the Waves.

I thought it only fair to feature both of our grandchildren enjoying the ocean!

Travel Theme: Warm

How to Use Nature to Connect with Your Grandkids

Today’s post is brought to you by my guest, author Susan Day.

Photo by Fay on Unsplash

Spending time with your grandchildren is one of the best things you can do for them, and for you too, for that matter.

Sure, kids love gifts and candy, and they get really excited about going to a theme park or spending time with their friends. However, there is a secret world which exists right outside the window and one which has a powerful allure. I’m referring to nature.

Nature offers an endless array of beauty and wonder, and for the most part it’s free and easy to access. Taking your grandchildren outdoors is a great way to build a strong connection with them. Just spending time and ‘being’ with children is important for their wellbeing.

Some children don’t get outdoors enough, and the simple act of wandering along the street, running at the park or tramping through the beach sand is an experience they are sadly missing out on.

Ignite a Sense of Curiosity

Research tells us that curious kids are intelligent kids. The more questions they ask, the more their minds grow and develop.

Nature has a bounty of things to be curious about. You could literally spend hours outside with your grandchildren exploring, and you don’t have to live near a forest or a beach to enjoy nature either. It’s in your yard, in your neighbor’s yard, at your local park, or any place a tree is growing and the birds are singing.

Do your grandkids know where bees go, and what they are doing buzzing around those flowers? Do they know why some birds migrate, and others live in the same area all their lives?

Point Out the Beauty in Small Objects

Each time your grandchildren come to visit, make a point of taking them outside and showing them something nature is doing. It might be new buds on the tree or the color autumn leaves are turning.

How many people rush through their busy days, not noticing subtle changes happening around them? Isn’t there something magnificent about the way birds take off or the way clouds move across the sky?

“Isn’t that interesting…” you might begin to say, and then point out an aspect of nature that is happening right under their very noses.

Look at a Leaf

What shape is it? Does it have any spots or spines? Compare it to another leaf from a plant that is growing close by. What things are similar? What are different? You could also begin a leaf scrap-book and share details of trees and shrubs that live in your area.

Analyse an Ant

Who doesn’t love bugs? Well, most adults don’t find them interesting, but kids love ’em! Bugs, beetles, aphids, and ants are like miniature dinosaurs or creatures from outer space living in our backyards. Without interfering with their busy lives, make a point of sharing these remarkable creatures with your grandchild.

Marvel at Moths

Moths, butterflies and dragonflies all go about their daily lives in nearly every place on earth, living in the most amazing ways.

Your grandchildren will love to learn about them. They will enjoy the wonder nature has to offer through your eyes, and come to a deeper understanding of how remarkable the world really is.

“I’d Rather Watch TV, Grandma!”

Nature has a way of going about its business whether we are watching or not, and all the while our televisions and devices are nagging us to watch and engage.

You may find your grandchildren are not used to examining nature in so much detail. They may not understand what you are getting at, but one thing is for sure: they won’t forget the time you have spent with them and how important nature was to you. It is a privilege to be able to see what nature is doing, and stand in awe of what it will do next.

What child doesn’t deserve to be introduced to all of this wondrous world?

No doubt your grandkids will grow and mature, and will find themselves stopping to admire a flower or cloud patterns. They will turn to a friend, their partner or even their own children, and share memories they have of you and how you introduced them to one of the most magnificent things on this planet – nature.

About Susan Day

Susan Day is a passionate author, educator and, of course, a grandmother. She wants to empower all grandparents to build meaningful relationships with their grandchildren. Discover here the Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing.

Susan lives in Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, two rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.

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Interested in sharing one of your original articles as a guest? Feel free to submit your ideas to jennifer@jenniferkellandperry.com. Preference is given to topics relevant to my blog, such as books, writing, nature, photography, travel, children and pets. – Jennifer

Here Comes Peter Cottontail…

…hopping down the bunny trail – but I hope Maisie and Vivian don’t scare him away!

With family visiting this weekend,
we are expecting the Easter Bunny to visit Perry’s Point as well.

 

I will be taking a short break from blogging to spend time away with these two little people.

See you later, and
Happy Easter, everyone!

Fun, Sun, Sand and Smiles

After nine days, the children have gone home.

Our house yawns astonishingly quiet and empty. The beaches here on Sandy-Feet Avenue and Perry’s Point look abandoned, lonely and forlorn; bereft of the three little beach bums that ran across them countless times a day.

A myriad of reminders surround me: empty sand pails, tiny mementos in the form of sea glass and shells from the beach, our grandson’s toy army tank left behind, a day pass from Windmill Bight Park, a box of our granddaughter’s favourite crackers in the cupboard, a candy wrapper under the bed. There is even a folder of GoPro videos they made saved on my PC desktop.

And I’m amazed at how much longer it takes for the dishwasher and the washing machine to fill up in their absence.

We miss our two grandchildren – plus one little friend – but we had an incredible time together filled with sweet summer memories and photos to look back on.

And there is always next year, God willing!

Here are a few captures from last week.

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Searching for starfish, hermit crabs and other treasures
“Wanna go clam-digging again?”

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The weather was beautiful nearly every day!

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Our girl having fun at the nearby playground
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Zip-lining!

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Waiting to dine on ‘Surf ‘n Turf’ at the local restaurant*

During one of these lazy afternoons, our girl decided she wanted to write a story. So while her friend and our boy continued playing on the beach, she sat down nearby with a pad of lined paper and a pencil. When I asked her what her story was about, she said with a shy grin, “Cats.”

I guess the (grand)apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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*All photos taken with iPhone 6

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fun

One-Word Prompt: Mask

face-paint mask

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My grandson loved having his face painted, but he couldn’t stay awake long enough for his mom to wash it off. 🙂

Daily Post One-Word Prompt: Mask

Kids Say the Darndest Things – 2

My granddaughter is ten years old now, though in some ways she will always be my baby girl. DSC04825

When she was three and her brother was one, I took care of them for about a year and a half when my daughter returned to her nursing position at the Janeway Children’s Hospital. This was just before Paul and I moved to Newtown.

During the routine of caring for them, I would jot down anything our little girl said that made me smile.

At three years old:

“Nanny, I’m ‘boring’!”
“Oh, you are, are you? How about we go for a walk then?”
“Can’t we do something ‘funner’?”

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Padmé was the name of her first cat. While she stroked her head gently: “I love       Padmé even when she scratches me.”

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While we were making cookies: “You’re going to Lead Cove this weekend, are you?”
“Yes, Nanny, so you’re going to miss us for a while.”

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Her baby brother fell, bumped his head and cried. When he finally calmed down, she       looked at me sadly and said, “I don’t like when that happens to my brother. It makes       me scared.” (How well she articulates her feelings at such a tender age.)

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“Nanny, it’s raining. Can I go outdoors with my ‘amp-brella’?”

“Your mac and cheese is ready, sweetie.”
“How come you didn’t say ‘roni’, Nanny?”

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“I don’t want to grow up, Nanny.”
“Everybody grows up, honey. Why don’t you want to grow up?”
“Because I want you to always babysit me.”

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She and her brother were fighting over something. “I’m so disappointed in him!”

(And continuing to build her vocabulary:) “This is so frustrating!”

(In reply to something I said to her:) “Apparently!”

This one floored me: “Oh, Nanny, I don’t know what to do with my life!”

Feeding her baby like Mommy does :)
Feeding her baby like Mommy does 🙂

She was telling me that she saw a cowboy when she was out with her mommy.
“He had a real cowboy hat and cowboy boots!”
“Where did you see him?”
“At the booze store.”

“When I grow up, I’m going to get married.”
“And who are you going to marry?”
Matter-of-factly, she said, “My brother.”

Playing dress-up in Mommy's wedding dress
Playing dress-up in Mommy’s wedding dress

Four years old:

Holding her brother’s face in her hands: “His eyes are so beautiful, I could cry!”

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Talking about her bad dream from the night before: “My dreams are broken.”

“What did you dream about last night, Nanny?” (I think she’s the only person who             ever asked me that!)

“Nanny, you’re so sweet.”
“Why am I sweet?”
“Because you do so many things for us.”

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She was telling me about the dead, mangled shrew that her cat Ginger had brought          home recently. “Nanny, you could see inside it. It looked like old wires, like inside my      very old couch.”

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I commented on the cut on her leg.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said fearfully. The next day she announced out of        the blue: “I’m ready to talk about my ‘owie’ now.”

We were out for a walk around the block when she pointed at a little girl across the           street. “That’s my friend!”
“What is her name?”
“I don’t know…”

She told me about one day when another relative came to babysit. “When I saw it              wasn’t you, I screeched!”
“Why, sweetheart?”
“I wanted you, Nanny, because I love you so much. I’ll love you till the stars fall from      the sky…but that will never happen, so I’ll always love you.”

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*Only last three photos were taken by yours truly. All others taken by the children’s Mommy and Daddy.

What cute things did your children or grandchildren say?
Please share below!

Further Reading: Kids Do Say The Darndest Things

The Best Gifts

2009
Christmas 2009

Dear Santa:

Just a little message
it’s the same one every year
I do not yearn for presents
as Christmas Day draws near

what I wish for yuletide
is not inside your sack
I have been blessed already
there’s nothing that I lack

because on Christmas morning
 when we gather ’round the tree
to see these little faces
is the only gift I need.

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I’m taking a short break from blogging until after the New Year.
Wishing one and all a happy and healthy Holiday season!

Further Reading from Jennifer’s Journal:
Christmas Renewed