Gifts Ideas (That Have Been A Hit) From A Wanna-Be-Minimalist, Mother of Four.

Here’s A List of Gifts That have been a hit in our home :

butterfly

Butterfly wings, Simple, inexpensive and my girls still play with them  three years later people-  three

 

Product Details

Flash lights again practical, simple and my children love them. For older children Reading lights.

tooth brush

 

Battery Operated Toothbrushes I know, it’s terribly practical, arguably worse than socks, and maybe my children are odd but they love getting these. I also buy my girls new hair ties, clips, brushes and the men in my life may get combs & shaving supplies (lame or genius? You decide).

 

Water Colored Coloring pencils   for the older children and Crayons for the younger ones.  I also get new pencil sharpeners and They usually get a coloring book or a new notebook to go with them. Cute Bookbags and pencil cases are always nice to have (I love goldfish) I found this at TheCrownedRabbit (I love etsy):

Blocks, and if you already have blocks (most of us do)  just sneak some of the old blocks from the toy room, take a sharpie, and make them into buildings, and ta-da new blocks!: here's an EXTREMELY easy way to personalize some plain wooden blocks: grab a sharpie and decorate them with architectural details / window frames / etc.

Balancing toys. I love balancing toys and so do babies, toddlers and older children. The great thing about them is you can just store them with the blocks. I have bought a few sets in the past and I found these on etsy:

so cute, admittedly pricey, but cute! There are lots of other (more affordable) on etsy. (Be careful when buying online sometimes it’s hard to tell the scale and they turn out to be choking hazard size. )

Sugar Lulu Sweet Savings Bank SetPiggy Banks. The piggy banks I bought last year are still in use. I like the ones divided up into save, spend, give. You can put little treats inside too.

These Holy Heroes CDs are really wonderful for boys or girls, all my children love listening to them, and I’ve learned a lot too.

Still got nothing? What activities are they in? My girls are in gymnastics so new leotards, silly scrunches are always welcomed. Movies are also fun to get and of course, Books, I always get them Books. But that’s for another post . .

 

And for the record,  socks make a great gift.

 

-Mrs. Karl T. Cooper, Jr.

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Owney The Mail Pouch Pooch

Owney, the Mail-Pouch Pooch

The book Owney the Mail Pouch Pooch is a tale of luck and adventure, as well as a celebration of the history of the US Post Office.  But at its heart, it is a dog story, for dog lovers, by dog lovers.

The dedications at the beginning of the book are to the beloved canines of the author and illustrator, which set the tone for the book, that covers an interesting historical time through the lens of a dog, Owney, who found himself working for the US Post office from 1888 to 1897.

The story, written by Mona Kerby, begins with the dog finding shelter in the Albany, NY post office, winning the hearts of the men who worked there, who in turn gained the loyalty of the dog for the US Postal employees and the US mail.

The story has the dog traveling by train to the various post offices of the country in his self-appointed task of looking after the US mail.  He quickly gains notoriety around the country as the mail dog and receives medallions from the post offices he visits, and every time he returns to the Albany office they can, by means of the medallions, trace his journeys.

He travels across the country and even around the world as the story unfolds.

The illustrations by Lynne Barasch depict late 19th century USA with a carefree and cheerful style that in keeping with the historical but lighthearted feel of the story.Image result for illustrations by Lynne Barasch owney the mail pouch pooch

The last illustration before the appendix is not an illustration at all but a photograph of the dog Owney on board one of the trains with the post office employees in the foreground.  This brought the history to life as it became apparent that this was a true story about a real dog.

On Saturday, September 15th 2012 the Danbury Railways Museum honored Owney, the dog who became the mascot of the United States Postal Service in the late 19th century. Back then mail was primarily carried across the nation by rail.

The last two pages talk about the process of researching for the story with a little more in depth historical detail of this famous dog.  I found it to be an excellent read and the children to whom I read it, my girls of 8, 6 and 4 agreed.  We spent some time afterwards discussing the story and decided that the next time we were in Washington, DC we should stop by the Post Office museum to see Owney, persevered by taxidermy as well as his bronze statue out front.

Image result for owney the bronze statue

-Mr. Karl Cooper, Jr.