Favorite Books & Enchanted Attics

Favorite Childhood Books and Enchanted Attics

By Gil Moegerle

September 26, 2017

Why, when we were children, were attics magical? Why did they trigger our imaginations the moment we stepped through those creaking doors or, better yet, as we pulled down that hidden ceiling door, climbed that folding ladder and our eyes pop up above those rafters? Surely, we thought, mysterious and glorious adventures awaited. We were certain inside that dusty trunk over there were amazing artifacts from olden days. And what about this old wardrobe mom and dad hauled up here when they got a new one? Surely treasures grander than any pirate’s resided behind those old doors.

The stairs leading to my enchanted attic…

Granddad Moegerle, Pop Pop we called him, had an attic. We walked up wooden stairs in the living room to reach it. To the left was a partially finished guest bedroom where we slept during sleepovers. Straight ahead was a bath. Then there was that door to the right that called to me. Behind it, a stand-up, unfinished storage attic. I remember asking once if I could sleep in there instead of the guest bedroom. Why? Mystery. Adventure.

That’s why, many years later, I partially finished the attic of my condo, then built a model railroad layout the entire length of the place. Because I knew that saying to my grandchildren, “Want to go up in the attic?” is about as magical as a grandpa gets…

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HURRICANE (Irma)!

The hurricane is over but the clean up continues at our house (Orlando, FL).

While taking a break from picking up tree limbs and pieces of the house which have been scattered about the yard, I decided to go through the stacks of books scattered about the house.  Actually, I was looking for any excuse to abandon my outside duties!   Somewhere in book stack #11, I came across this book and thought I would introduce it to those of you who don’t know about HURRICANE by David Wiesner.

In this book, two brothers share experiences that go along with a hurricane – all which will be appreciated by any child whose home was in the path of Irma.   The story is a safe re-creation of the storm and a gentle tool for talking through fears associated with experiencing a hurricane.

As they awaken the next morning, they realize the damage that has been done by the hurricane.  “The next morning only one elm tree was standing near the corner of the yard.  The day before there had been two.  The downed tree was lying across the neighbor’s lawn.”

To these brothers, the fallen tree looks like a jungle as it lay on its side.  As they begin climbing through their beloved tree, it goes from a jungle to a fierce pirate ship and then spaceship.   They grow to love this fallen tree even more as it launches their imaginative adventures.  However, one day they hear chainsaws and see that men are cutting up their new imagination playground…

If you are following us on Heritage2Legacy and want to preserve the memories your family created as you lived through Hurricane Irma, this would be a wonderful book to purchase as one of your H2L Christmas memory books.

You can purchase it here.

By clicking on this link and ordering the book, you are supporting Liz’s Legacy.  (I think we get $1 for every 5 books ordered…;0 but every little bit helps.   Whatever you order on Amazon, if you go through this link, the proceeds will go to Liz’s Legacy and there is no additional cost to you.    Thank you!

Deni

Chrysanthemum

Here’s another one of our top picks for August, celebrating the best in teachers, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.  Take a minute to revisit this delightful favorite, or meet a music teacher who knows exactly how to relate to a tender mouse-child with an unusual name.

Review:
With perfect trust in her doting parents, Chrysanthemum (a mouse) knows that her name is, as they tell her,  “absolutely perfect”–until she goes to school and is teased about it by her classmates, especially the imperious Victoria. Doubt sets in, to be allayed each night by  “hugs and kisses and Parcheesi,”  but then reintroduced next day.

Fortunately, a charismatic music teacher whose name happens to be Delphinium makes flower names a new fad. The ending here is preposterously tidy, contributing to the humor of a warmhearted story that celebrates the security of a happy family while gently satirizing its members.

Henkes’s language and humor are impeccably fresh, his cozy illustrations sensitive and funny, his little asides to adults an unobtrusive delight. Another winner from this perceptive artist.  KIRKUS review

Great classroom Chrysanthemum ideas/Pinterest HERE.

And here’s a reading of the book, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Hankes.  Enjoy!

 

A bird on the plate is worth two in the fridge….

Birds are a huge source of entertainment in this household.  The boys and I recently added a large birdfeeder outside our dining room window so we could keep better tabs on the neighborhood bird drama.  We live on the water and have feathered friends of all kind; from small sparrows to geese.  We even have one “city pigeon” that comes in every afternoon for his regular fly-by snack.  Our freezer always maintains extra bread for duck feedings and we have even had to start purchasing our bird seed from Sam’s to keep up with the high demands of our beaked buddies.
To say that the boys were excited to do a bird themed snack would be an understatement.  I knew we were going to have to provide some pretty incredible meals for my two bird-loving boys.  Thankfully, there was no shortage of ideas out there.  Since, we couldn’t choose between a few of them, we planned a whole day of bird themed meals.

BIRD’S NEST BREAKFAST

I found the idea for this on Pinterest and its just incredibly easy for a fast but adorable birdie breakfast for your babies.
All you’ll need is:
  • Bread (toasted according to your little one’s preference)
  • Hard boiled egg (we made this really easy by buying them right from the store)
  • Teensy tiniest bit of a carrot
  • Edible marker (thought you could easily use a small piece of raisin for her little eyes)
Simply cut your toast into strips.  Levi likes his with a little butter so we buttered it first.  Arrange your bread pieces in a nest shape.
Cut a small triangle shape from the end of a carrot for the birds beak and position on the egg.  With your edible marker, add two eyes.  Levi decided our bird was a girl (or “grill” as he pronounces it) so we gave her pretty little eyelashes.
Nestle her into her little warm and “toast”-y nest and serve to your overly enthusiastic little one.

FOR SNACKTIME:

Another very easy idea for a quick snack.
What you’ll need:
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Grapes
  • Carrot
  • Edible Marker

I snapped the pretzel sticks into smaller “twigs” and just tossed them into a small bowl.  Dot little eyes on grapes and set them in their “nest”.  Cut small triangles from carrots and place on the birds and you’re done!

FOR DINNER:

And finally for dinner, spaghetti noodles with bird meatballs on a celery branch.
What you’ll need:
  • Center stalk of celery (with the leaves on the end to look branch-like)
  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Meatballs or like we used, mini-hamburgers
  • Mozarella Cheese
  • Carrot
  • Edible Marker

Place celery branch across plate, use a fork and twirl a large section of spaghetti into a nest shape.  Place noodle nest on its side.  Tuck in two meatballs or mini hamburgers into the nest.  For the eyes, I cut slices of a cheese stick and used a piping tip to make a smaller circle cut out.  You could most certainly use the entire slice though.  Add a black dot in the center of the cheese slice with an edible marker or you could use a caper, piece of black olive or a piece of raisin.  Whatever you happen to have laying around in the pantry.  Position the eyes on the meatball/ hamburger.  Cut a small triangle out of a carrot and place under eyes to form the beak.

The boys loved this idea so much that we had a version of it for dinner the next night as well.  The second night, I made a nest of rice and tucked their meat into it.  Just as easy and just as entertaining for the little ones in your life.
Contributing author: Rachel Skvaril
Sugar Artist