Little House on the Area Rug

I've been a selfish mom lately, insisting on picking out the books we read at bedtime. Truth be told, I'm a little tired of the Capital Mysteries series and after reading four or five books about The Littles, they all start sounding the same (why don't the Littles age I ask?). Add to that the fact that I'm a little obsessed with prairie life right now and the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder - the real Laura Ingalls Wilder, not the Melissa Gilbert knock-off.

Somehow I missed out on the Little House books when I was growing up. Perhaps my mom recommended that I read them, but as I was no fan of the show (Michael Landon used to creep me out - I think it was the hair), I never picked up one of Laura's books as a child. Now that I am reliving my childhood through my children, I am insisting they listen to the stories Ms. Wilder had to tell. So last night, we sat in front of the fire and read our second junior biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the first few chapters of The First Four Years.

The relationship between Laura and Manly enthralls me. When listening to Farmer Boy on CD, I thought about how much Laura loved Manly and what an interesting task it must have been for her to tell his story, how many stories he shared with her about his upbringing, all the details she gathered to make his family come alive in the heart warming book. Oh to be Mrs. Wilder (the first), with a loom to weave broadcloth with which to make long underwear and suits for her boys. And how sweet it must have been for Laura to be courted by an older man, who went out of his way to deliver her to her family each weekend while she taught away from home (and you know he took the long way home).

Last night, as Laura told Manly all the reasons why she didn't want to be a farmer's wife, and as she rode off to the minister's house in a horse drawn buggy to be married, the children built their own prairie homes from Lincoln Logs. The fabric roof on Avery's little shanty reminds me of the temporary canvas roof Pa put on one of the many homes he built for his family (I forgot which book or which house - sorry).

Aidan's house was a little more sophisticated; no china doorknobs, but of course they didn't have plastic back on the prairie, or surely they would have made use of the amazing petroleum product.

Speaking of plastic, and far off the subject of prairie life, I discovered a new craft yesterday. Homemade Shrinky Dinks! That's right, folks, you don't need to go to the store to buy special plastic, just go to your recycling bin. #6 plastic, drawn on with Sharpies, and baked at 300 degrees for a few minutes yields the same results as real Shrinky Dinks.

Wouldn't strawberries available year round in plastic containers have been all the rage on the prairie!

And just look what you can do after the strawberries have been consumed (preferably with fresh cream from good ol' Betsy the cow). Ooh, not the best picture, but it is hard to take a picture of such small items with my old camera.

The three Shrinky Dinks on the right are from #6 plastic, which worked much better than #1 plastic, which you can see turned white and curled in on the edges, but Avery didn't seem to mind. She made many little trinkets to give to her friends and teachers. We'll be needing to replace our Sharpies if interest in this craft continues.

Just one more awesome thing to share: Pandora.com. If you haven't already heard about this great site from a friend, mate or coworker, it is a free internet radio service that allows you to create your own station based on an artist or song. I am currently listening to my very own Alison Krauss station, but I also have a Rilo Kiley, Liz Phair, and Pixies station set up for when I am in the mood for non-prairie sounds. Perhaps I will create a Doris Day station too.

May your weekend be filled with many good books read in front of the fire, some quality crafting time, perhaps a little playing with toys and some good tunes; and if you are a prairieophile like myself, a few hours of Prairie Home Companion come Sunday afternoon.


  1. We love the Little House series - it's Gunnar's favorite. I read it over and over as a girl.

    I had no idea that #6 plastic became shrinky dink material. You mean that I don't have to spend $6 for 10 sheets of it for the kids to go through in a week (or a day if I forget to hide it)? You're the best!

  2. I have never read the books. I was a deprived child.

    Where do you find #6 plastic? I'm so new to all of this.

    The kids have asked for lincoln logs for Christmas and Santa was listening. I can't wait to play with them myself!

  3. OK, I LOVE Little House anything, you know. The books, the show - even Michael Landon and the cheesy music! Don't knock it, girl ;)
    And Farmer Boy is one of the best books ever. I just loved that book, too. pancakes with maple sugar from their farm!!
    One of my very favorite Christmas stories is when Mr. Edwards crosses the rising river to bring Mary, Laura and Carie gifts from Santa (who rode a pack mule.) And they were thrilled with their peppermint sticks and shiny penny's and new mittens. I think my soul really does crave a simpler time. Ahhh... Little House. It's right up there with Anne of Green Gables.

  4. Thanks for the shrinky dink idea, great.

  5. My nick-name when I was growing up was "half-pint." I didn't really appreciate it at the time because it only made me think of buck teeth, braided pig tails, and freckles. All of which dominated my youthful years -- along with tromping out in the woods making forts with my sisters. So I guess it is all good. I definitely have a touch of the prairie life in me still, although no farmers wife!

  6. i looove the last books about laura & manly .. i loved those episodes of the tv show, too! lol

    my boys want to hear about kids, not grown-ups, so i always end up reading those to myself! :o)

  7. OMG, I'm totally doing the shrinky dinks. For some reason, I missed out on those as a kid. Now I can relive my childhood AND use my new sharpies!!

  8. Thanks for the tip, this will save some money!

  9. there's just so much good stuff in this post, I don't know where to start...
    We started reading the LHOP series to emma this year and she loved them. it was fun seeing her discover and love something that I loved in my childhood too. And after reading your post, I feel like I need to get her lincoln logs for christmas!

    And the shrinky dink discovery is fantastic! I can't wait to try it. I haven't opened their eyes to the mystery of s'dinks yet...

  10. freaky.

    i am RIGHT NOW listening to the audio book of the little house series on the floor of my daughter's room as she falls aslepp.


    and loving it.

  11. p.s.

    my lucinda williams station is a favorite

  12. My first time ready the Little House on the Prairie series I was like 8 or 9. I didn't even know there was a TV show until after I graduated from high school (HAHA) Just as well, it probably would have ruined that beautiful world for me.

  13. I just read all the Little House books, I didn't read them as a child either. But I did love the show. I have to admit I had some problems reconciling all the made up stuff on the show. The books were great though, makes me really appreciate what I have today.

  14. hi, I can not so good english, but the stars are wonderfull...



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