Poetry Tea Time in a Basket

“Put the kettle on.” Was something I heard every time a guest walked into our home. Formal tea time was not something we did because we always had tea time! Now that I have children I find that I’m the same way, the first beverage I offer a guest is a cup of tea. And while I won’t give up my many cups of fortification each day, I do want the magic of Tea Time for our family.

Poetry Tea Time was the answer to finding that magic and my Slow Loop provides just the right amount of regularity we want and need.


So just about every other day (some days we don’t loop) I pull out the teacups my Grandmother gave me for my birthday the year my daughter was born. I fill my tea pot that was my Mum’s, with some decaffeinated tea. I check to make sure the sweeter bowl is full of a stivia based “sugar” and I decide on a little something to nibble. Most of the time I do this myself, but the children are working in turns to serve the other with their Helping & Hosting Hands.

My husband picked me up a box of Red Rose tea recently and the children were delighted to find the glass figurine inside. So, we are now collecting them so that they can decorate our tea time table and be played with at that special time. However, they were very disappointed that they could not help me drink that tea so we could buy a new box sooner. Now that I think about it, perhaps that is way they have been so extra helpful about making me tea these days.

After the table is set and the food is made, I pull out a collection of our poetry and literature books, no ebooks for tea time!

Each one of the kids choose a poem or story for me to read and my oldest picks a few for him to read as well. It’s so fun to hear Macaroon pick up our book of Robert Louis Stevenson Poems and declare, “This is my favorite one!”. Or notice that Pumpkin always picks from Shel Silverstein or that Cupcake will take her time and choose from among all our books.

If time is passing peacefully and their attention holds I will also take this time to read a longer story from one of our anthology books and have lovely conversations. If they are being cheeky monkeys I quickly dismiss them to play outside as soon as they are done with their treats so I can savor the last of mine.

These are the books currently in our Poetry Tea Time Basket.

And these are a few on my wish list for when we have exhausted or just need to freshen the ones we own..


A Children’s Book of Verse

I was ten years old, that was almost 3 decades ago, and I can still see my daddy pulling this book of the shelf in the book store. I was so NOT interested in it, I was to busy looking for Archie comic-books. But he wanted to me to the poem The Owl and The Pussy Cat, so this is the book he bought for me that day.

We went out to eat after, just him and I and he read me the poem. I didn’t get his fascination but I enjoyed that he wanted to share it with me.

I think also, that he may have bought me this book with hopes of enriching my reading. I cannot ask him, he passed away just a few years after he gave me the book. But now that I’m a parent I can imagine myself doing the same thing for my children. Well, I do that same thing for my children.

Pumpkin would be perfectly happy to read Fly Guy every day but I now he needs a little more scope for his imagination. And I know that he would find just as much delight in many books that would not be his first choice. We are building a relationship with books, mostly in the audiobooks and read aloud I choose for us. He may only be 9, but he knows that his mama loves books and so far she has done a great job choose books that he loves as well.

Well, A Children’s Book of Verse is still one of my favorite books ever. The illustrations by Eric Kincaid are so detailed and full of magic. The selection of poems so varied that even as an adult I am enthralled with them.

A few of my favorite poems included in the book are The Highwayman…remember when Anne recited this poem in Anne of Green Gables? Oh, the hours my junior high girlfriends and I spend recreating the drama of that scene quoting that same poem. (You can watch that scene here.)

My Mother Said is another favorite, I think it had more to do with the illustrations then the verse. But I can still rattle it off if asked for a recitation on demand, along with Way Down South Where Bananas Grow.

It’s a splendid book, one I think I should buy extra of so my children can have in their own private collection one day.



Liberty Harbor Park NJ

When one travels to New York City, I’m pretty sure they do NOT consider traveling via motor-home. But since that is how our family gets around these days that is what we did! California to New York for my sister-in-laws wedding. I was able to locate an actual RV park for us, not in the city but a short ferry ride away in New Jersey.

Liberty Harbor RV Park is not an RV “resort”, the “park” is an very apt description, it’s pretty much just a parking lot. But it was clean, had full time security and friendly, helpful staff. Considering the location I’d say the price was pretty fair as well and being able to see the Statue of Liberty from our living room was pretty awesome! When we decide to brave the city again, I would for sure return. And hopefully explore all the close by fun things to do as well.

Next time, I will get a subway map and a printed street map. Google maps was very little help in traveling the city and our feet paid the price of the extra miles we ended up walking. I will also try and plan our trip for when their isn’t any rain.

Generally if the weather is foul I would just have us all stay inside and read books. But when your paying more then usual to be at a park to see the city… go and see is what you do! No matter how lost and soggy you get. Thankfully it only rained on our last day.

From the resort there is a ferry a few blocks over that will take you into the city. I’d suggest doing that at least once if you have not been to NYC before, it totally adds to the magic. Or just a few blocks up was the Path (subway into NY) and the above area near that entrance boasts a farmers market. It was pretty magical emerging from the subway the first time to those surroundings. Oh and a block up from that was a street closed to cars full of great shops and restaurants. I felt like I was in a perfectly charming movie! And even found a favorite restaurant to go back to next time.

See I keep talking about next time!


Veglio Michelino & Fillion 2012 Barbara d’Alba DOC

I’m a PACNW girl and no stranger to rain but the other day in New Jersey was enough to having me bemoaning the weather. Braving the the drizzle and pour, in the muddy sand to pack up the RV for a trip into town. Oh how glad I was that our Wine Club had delivered that day! And the section of wines included worked well with what I was already planning for dinner.

Did you know NJ doesn’t sell wine at the grocery store? But they sell beer! It boggles my mine.

Well Italian was on the menu for that night, ground turkey meat sauce and gluten free noodles. This bottle of Barbara d’Alba was splendid with it, complemented the chocolate square for dessert and was pretty darn wonderful on its own while the chef worked.

Here is what my Wine Club says about the wine. They have a sommelier on staff so their description just might be a little better then mine.

This offering is made from 100% Barbera. It pours an intense ruby red with violet reflections in the glass. The aroma is fruit forward, with young, captivation notes of red fruits, particularly Amarena cherry and plums. On the palate there is more cherry notes with a nice balance of acids and tannins typical of Barbera. Overall a well-expressed Barbera with nice long finish. Pair this wine with past (meat or spicy sauce), grilled poultry, roasted duck, mushroom risotto, spicy vegetable dishes and strong flavored cheeses.

I’m by no means a wine connoisseur, I simply enjoy things that taste good. Personally I think it tasted like I should be dinning alfresco in the Italian country side with lots of friends and lots of laughter. I’ll happily settled for cozy at my table with my little traveling family.

And yes,  if you join I will can earn wine for free but you could be in my club and we could compare our own favorites  and you could get yours for free too. Cheers to Wine Club!


A Double Book Review: The Popcorn Book & The Quicksand Book

I recently had the pleasure of sitting in on a web interview with Tomie de Paola  via Read Aloud Revival and I must say…he has the most delightful laugh and he is a lovely writer! My 9 year old was also enchanted by the entire experience.

Prior to the interview we were familiar with Clown of God (thank you Five In A Row) and a few of his Strega Nona stories. By the way, his telling of how those stories come to be was wonderful!

Well I was searching Epic for some new books, it’s an addiction I don’t mind. And stumbled upon a whole selection of Mr de Paola books. But it was first The Popcorn Book that captured my attention.

I could imagine us popping a bowl of popcorn and digging into this book together and that is what we did. Only I had not pre-read the book (after all its a de Paola book), well it was not what I expected!

It was better!

The Popcorn Book isn’t just a fun picture book, it’s FULL of history and science and WOW! The kids were equally surprised as I was and we’re narrating the information back to me without any prompting. Plus it includes two separate recipes! So I’m pretty sure we will be reading and playing with this book again.

Well, we still had some popcorn left and the kids noticed their were more de Paola books so they picked The Quicksand Book.

The Quicksand Book might have even been better! Like the first book it’s a story between two children and one is “the informer”. We learned so much about the science of quicksand, overcame misconceptions and learned how to save ourselves if we were to stumble into some. An extra benefit since our current resort happens to be very sandy.

Well, we went on a walk the next morning for and to my surprise my youngest, 4 year old, pointed and and talked all about quicksand the whole way. How can you not love a book that instills that kind of information in such a happy way?

I’m sure we will be reading both these books again and not only I, but my kids as well will be on the lookout for more Tomie de Paola books in the future.

Review: The Littlest Kindergarden Workbook


Opened the book and handed to my little gal…who was off and running with it and hard at work before I even suggested she might want to. All About Animals The Littlest Kindergarden Workbook is enchanting!

I like this tiny size too, it is just delightful for fine motor skills and it feels a little extra special because it’s a little book like one of mama’s Best Day Ever Journal.

The art work is varied, includes number and letter play. Space for creative writing (mama helps with the actual writing part) or copy work (because my girl LIKES doing copy work). It also has logic games, drawing, doodling, coloring and poems too! 

This book won’t end up in the trash like so many of our traditional workbooks do. This one will pop right into our Poetry Teatime basket and cherished for years to come.


Books & Blankets

I’ve piles of picture books. Yes, even in the RV!  Then even more picture books via Epic Books for Kids and I have even more on my wish list. (Golly I miss our old library and the ability to just go pick them up whenever.) But between home-keeping, lessons, chapter books and everything else we just have not been getting to them. Or the kids just choose the same ones over and over again to read.

Then I introduced Books & Blankets. Each week I fill one of our baskets with about 14 books from our shelf and those are our books for that week. Each child gets to choose a book from the basket and them mama gets to choose a story as well. That is FOUR picture books every other day! That doesn’t even count books we read for one on one time or the Read to Me books from Epic. Or story time with daddy, he used this basket for their choices over the week too. Or poetry and literature we read for Poetry Tea Time.

Keeping the books in the basket limited to one week encourages them to choose  new books that they might not have noticed on the shelf and by keeping them in the basket allows them to be reread at any of our Books & Blanket times. I’m attempting to NOT purchase anymore picture books until we have read all the ones we have at least twice.

My husband is pretty happy about that cost saving goal. And I love that it means that anyone can do this without any extra cost. Even if their picture book collection is smaller then mine they can use the books from their library to create the same basket for the week.

Oh my gosh, we are reading SO many books! I love it!

Okay, so when its Books & Blankets time the kids each grab a blanket and they either lay back and listen, sit close and snuggle or play quietly while I read. I mix up the order I read each book chosen depending on the mood of the kids. Generally I find it best to start with the youngest or my book choice but each day is different. Then over the course of the rest of the day we will chat about the stories as they come up naturally or with gentle leading on my part.

I’ve spoken to this before but this Slow Loop rhythm is creating so much peace in our days and fostering the sweetest memories. It’s delightful that even after one short week that the kids are so excited about if it is Poetry Tea Time day or Books & Blankets day and are planning accordingly. And keeping mama accountable to the schedule too.

I don’t receive any compensation from Epic, I just love it and would love it even if I had regular library access.