Sunday, September 30th: Chances Are … we’re wishing a HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JOHNNY MATHIS.

Johnny Mathis was born September 30, 1935 in Gilmer, Texas. His family later moved to San Francisco. Wikipedia reports “At San Francisco State, Mathis had gained fame as a high jumper and in early 1956, he had been asked to attend the trials for the 1956 Olympic teams that would travel to Melbourne, Australia that summer. Mathis now had to decide whether to go to the Olympic tryouts, or to keep an appointment in New York to make his first recordings, which were subsequently released in 1956. With his father’s advice, Mathis opted for a recording career.”

Thank you Clem Mathis for encouraging your son’s musical career. We’ve enjoyed over fifty years of music, including hits such as It’s Not for Me to Say, Misty, Chances Are, The Twelfth of Never, and my own favorite, his hit with Deniece Williams, Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.


Saturday, September 29th: More, more, more ideas to celebrate NATIONAL KEEP KIDS CREATIVE WEEK (September 23-30).

The maestro of this fun, inspiring creative week, Bruce Van Patter, challenges parents to get kids up and running. He says, “Just because your kids have an active imagination, it doesn’t follow that they know how to use it. It’s like having a car with a powerful engine; one still needs a road map to get anywhere. So give your kids the road map toward coming up with an original idea. You can do this by building a loose framework that will guide your creative time together, but still leave room for them to come up with their own idea.”

For a whole slew of ideas to inspire creativity, here are a couple ways to start your kids making up a story:

Seeing With Your Imagination: why just see when you can see creatively?
Mugshots: still need help building a character? Click on a face and I’ll walk you through it.
Cloud Shapes: remember seeing animals in cloud shapes? What do you see in these?
Seeing Double: they’re simple drawings. Or are they? Another way to look at things differently.
Igyft: the ultimate doodle game. Can you take the challenge?
KidTales: use a drawing I’ve done in a school as a starting point for stories
Reading Aloud: curl up with your child and a good book. Here’s practical advice.
Sharing Your Own Stories: “Did I ever tell you about the time..? ” Your personal stories matter.
Food Art: playing with your food? You’ll never look at your lunchmeat the same again
Scavenger Hike: it’s a hike with both eyes wide open. What will you be looking for?
Town Treasure Hunt: like the Scavenger Hike, but in a town or urban setting. The game’s afoot!
Drawing from Nature: here’s a free art lesson about drawing from real life
Mythical American Animals: those wacky pioneers! What will they think of next?
Looking at Constellations: got stars in your eyes? Here’s how to see the real constellations.
Strange Inventions: what were they thinking? Real, patented — and weird — inventions
Family Brainstorming: here’s how to help the kids in your family come up with ideas
Classroom Brainstorming: the same material as above, but applied to kids at school
Adventures in Graceland: read my journal of creative discovery with my daughter


Friday, September 28th: Here a doodle, there a doodle; it’s NATIONAL KEEP KIDS CREATIVE WEEK (September 23-30).

Bruce Van Patter, creator of this week long celebration likes to play ‘DaVinci’s Doodles’. This fun activity keeps the circuits open and the imagination flowing. It’s fun as a family. It’s fun one-on-one. Hey, it’s even fun by yourself! Grab a pen or pencil. Grab some paper and get started. It’s easy and can be played anywhere.

DaVinci’s Doodles: the best and easiest imagination game for families. It’s a classic!

What creations does YOUR imagination come up with?


Thursday, September 27th: Listen. Just listen. That’s one secret to NATIONAL KEEP KIDS CREATIVE WEEK (September 23-30).

The creator of this celebration, Bruce Van Patter, says, “Having a young daughter (as well as teenage boys), I know that kids’ stories can get long-winded, but when you show your interest, you do a tremendous amount for your child’s confidence in their ideas. Don’t worry so much about where the story goes; it doesn’t need to make sense. Just listen as they ramble, and ask questions along the way. “Then what happened?” “How did (your character) feel about that?” “Why do you think the bad guy wanted to do that?” If they want to write down their idea, help them to find a shorter, more concise version. Get the heart of the idea down for them to remember. They may want to add more or change it later.”

A fun family activity is the Magic of Making Stories. Making stories is great fun! See here how your family can create your own.

Where will your family stories lead YOU?

National Keep Kids Creative Week (Build a Hero)

Wednesday, September 26th: The fun keeps rolling along … join us in NATIONAL KEEP KIDS CREATIVE WEEK (September 23-30).

Bruce Van Patter, the guilty party to be blamed for this wild and wacky creative week, has a fun spin off to get stories rolling. He suggests – Ask “What if …” According to Bruce, “This is the start of many creative efforts, even professional ones. Take a story your kids know and like (or maybe dislike!) and ask, “What if the ending were different?” For instance, what if Goldilocks wasn’t a girl? What if she were a football player, or a detective? What if she found three pigs, or elephants or aliens?”

For some fun “Build a Hero” ideas, check this page: http://www.brucevanpatter.com/buildahero.html

What is YOUR hero like? What kinds of situations does your character discover?

National Keep Kids Creative Week (Invent a World)

Tuesday, September 25th: The week keep going … This is NATIONAL KEEP KIDS CREATIVE WEEK (September 23-30).

The originator of this week’s creative merry-making, Bruce Van Patter, advises parents to take the lead. He states, “Kids need adults to set the tone, to let them know that it’s okay to be a little off-the-wall with their imaginations. If you are interested, they’ll spill their ideas. Just work to make the environment a positive one, where all ideas are celebrated, no matter how odd they are.”

Tonight, take some time to inspire creativity. Try Invent a World: when you make your own island… anything can happen!

This one is fun for adults too. Try it. What does YOUR new world look like?


Monday, September 24th: Quick Dog Steals Hippopotamus! What? It’s just another fun ‘Wacky Headlines’ night in NATIONAL KEEP KIDS CREATIVE WEEK (September 23 -30).

Bruce Van Patter, creator of this week long celebration advises that the first step is recognizing your child’s ability to “think outside the box”.

How to start? The important part is to make time. He states, “It’s not easy, I know. But it doesn’t have to be hours. Just take the time before or after your dinner. Or take a part of Sunday afternoon, or Saturday morning. You could even get creative while driving your kids somewhere.”

Tonight, try some fun, wacky time, with Wacky Headlines. Check here how to play this easy, fun and creative game.  http://www.brucevanpatter.com/wackyheadlines.html

What unique and crazy headlines did your family come up with?


Sunday, September 23rd: Inspire, encourage, support … It’s NATIONAL KEEP KIDS CREATIVE WEEK (September 23 -30).

More than ever before, kids today need encouragement to be imaginative. Their busy, task-oriented schedules in home and school give children little room for creative play. Set aside time this week to celebrate the inventive minds of kids. Encourage a child to make up a story, draw, even look for animals in cloud shapes—let their imaginations soar.


Bruce Van Patter created this week long celebration in 2003. It’s celebrated annually, the last week in September.

Start the week with some time in ‘The Story Kitchen’ tonight. Bruce’s Story Kitchen idea is to:

“Like my creative-writing activity The Story Kitchen, brainstorm some ideas for a main character, a villain and a bad guy. Keep each category in a separate pile or bag, then pull one out to determine what your story will be about. You’ll still need to decide what your character wants in the story, so you can talk that over or make another pile for that.”

What’s in YOUR Story Kitchen tonight?


Saturday, September 22nd: WOW! A hundred years and still going strong! Today is NATIONAL CENTENARIAN DAY. It’s a day to recognize and honor those over 100 years old. The celebration is sponsored by Williamsport Retirement Village. They encourage us to recognize this older segment of our society and celebrate the rich, full lives they led. Talk to them. Listen to their memories. They are a font of historical information.

The National Centenarian Awareness Project (NCAP) inspires positive aging. One of the women they feature, Agueda Martinez, of New Mexico, is 101 and still weaving six hours a day. (Photo on post is Agueda Martinez, compliments of their web site)

NCAP reports that Agueda was born March 13, 1898 in Chamita, New Mexico. She currently resides in Medanales, New Mexico. She has ten children, 69 grandchildren, 149 great grandchildren and 59 great-great-grandchildren.

They state: “Agueda Martinez lives on her family farm with one of her daughters. For years she raised her children and farmed with her husband through the day, and then wove blankets and rugs at night, using kerosene lamps for light. Martinez, who describes her weaving as “a dance on the loom,” is a world-renowned artist, but she says her family is her greatest pride. The Oscar-nominated film Agueda Martinez: Our People, Our Country documents her life. She continues to work at her loom six hours a day, and she has taught her art to many of her progeny.”

For the full feature, see their site at: http://www.adlercentenarians.org/msmag1.html

P2 Week (Pollution Prevention Week) Day 5: Buy Local

Friday, September 21st: Can we do it, can we do it? We Can, We Can! Celebrate P2 WEEK, POLLUTION PREVENTION WEEK. This week (September 17 – 21) is sponsored by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable. The theme for 2012 is ‘Safer Chemicals for a Safer World’.

Day 1: Awareness and Education of Chemicals in Products
Day 2: Chemical Substitution for Home and Workplace
Day 3: Buy Less Toxic Cleaning Supplies or Make Your Own
Day 4: Alternative Yard Care Solutions
Day 5: Buy Local – Reduce Pesticides, Transportation Fuels, and GHGs

Day 5 (Friday) focuses on: Buy Local – Reduce Pesticides, Transportations Fuels, and GHGs. Here are some tips on on buying local.

For more information on P2 Week, see here: http://www.p2.org/wp-content/uploads/p2_week_toolkit.pdf

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