Best bonding activity for families

Want a quick way to penetrate your kids' psyches that involves very little talking and a lot of doing? Build a bonfire together. It's so much fun and they'll remember it forever.

One note: Make sure you are feeling relaxed, because nothing kills a good bonfire better than a stressed-out parent who'd rather be watching the game or catching up on Twitter ... (Been there.)

About an hour or so before dark, go collect small sticks and branches. Gather them into a fire pit. (Since we live in a settled area, we use a cast iron fire pit w/ a screen ... not a hole dug into the ground.) Target has reasonable fire pits. There are fancy fire pits too.

Grab a lawn chair or two, and an old sleeping bag to use as a blanket.

Teach your children how to huddle the wood to create a natural chimney. Then light it up. Next, teach them how to gradually build up the fire so it throws heat and burns efficiently for you.

The kids will be mesmerized. Teach them how to honor the flame, the heat, and then to quiet down and enjoy it. (Sometimes we chat, sometimes we just listen to the sounds of "night" unfolding with the sparkle of the flame.) Every time we do a campfire it is easier and much more enjoyable. We now even look forward to the arrival of the bats at nightfall since we've gotten to know their behavior a bit.

Sit back. Try to hang out until after dark. Watch the fireflies (due any day now in DC), and gaze up at the magnificent sky. Lucky you if you live in the country: You'll wish upon many stars as you safely let the embers die off.


Summer, Act I: How not to die in the water

I try to avoid most things political but I would like to bow my head in honor of Memorial Day and the memory of those whose lives were sacrificed in service. I wish for blessings and healing for all. Each human life bears merit and meaning.

And just to keep the topic 100% "real" all weekend, it being Summer, Act 1, this blog post is worth reading if you consider yourself a water girl or water boy:



Divorce what you hate about yourself

I have a friend who says, "You can only make a change when you become sick and tired of yourself." She claims that it's easy to tolerate being sick and tired of someone else, but nearly impossible to tolerate being sick and tired of yourself for any length of time without slowly starting to change.

Tonight, I'm feeling like I want less debt, more freedom, a brighter smile. I want funny friends and a little room in the margins to hang out and host cowgirl brunches and backyard barbeques. Maybe I'll downsize and a loosen my grip on life while I'm at it.

Do I need a lawyer ... or a priest? A personal coach or a stylist? What will get me there? Shall I try vitamins or medicine? A good cry or a belly laugh?

I bet it's all of the above, but not all at once.


Overworked girl bloggers

There are so many cool chicks out there blogging and moving their shows forward. Here are a few good reads:

Dr. Val - is a trusted source
Loulie's - is full of style
The Bloggess - is irreverent
Maria Niles - is a Twitter bud
Miss Mota Mouth - is "racy"
Michele Woodward - is supportive

Wondering what these six do when they notice that they are supremely tired, but still a bit unsatisfied ... Maybe they'll tell us.


We love Lu-Lu from West Virginia

My daughter likes me to make up stories for her. At bedtime, she often requests I tell her a story about this little girl from West Virginia who grew up without money and without a mom ...

The stories I weave have titles like, "How Lu-Lu learned to decorate her fingernails with charcoal pulled from the mine," and "Why dress shopping once a year with someone who loves you is special," and "How Lu-Lu won the baking contest when all of the other girls were richer and prettier than she was," seem to capture my daughter's pre-teen imagination 100%. She is fascinated by Lu-Lu.

I am attached to this character too and I've decided that she should not grow up.


The Campaign for Letting Go

Lots of us dream of using technology to improve and heal regular lives ... The Campaign for Love and Forgiveness is doing it: Check out Letting Go

I hope you'll spend a couple of minutes and let something go!


P.S. to the Mother's Day Dare

I forgot to add this to my Mother's Day Dare:

That we all find somebody else to do the grocery shopping for the rest of the year!

{{{{HUGS}}}} Mom


Mother's Day Dare

On this Mother's Day, I dare you to:

Cry when it seems safer to hold back
Run when you have time to walk
Share in the beauty of others
Without envy or fear ...

Contact the healing power of nature
Find time for tolerance and understanding
Notice what really hurts inside
Give it a name and set it free

Step out of your comfort zone
Read something that is a challenge
Or say something that makes you quake
Especially if it is loving

Forgive yourself for things you cannot do
Forgive others for what they do to you
Respect the spaces separating us all
For these may become our future gardens ...

Stand in awe of the majestic planet
Feel so small that your insignificance
Becomes a reward, a relief
A moment's respite from feeling "In charge"

Trust your instincts and sharpen them daily
What is easy isn't always wrong
But what causes suffering often holds a gift as well
Try to know the difference

On this Mother's Day, I dare you to

Find a photo of yourself as a child
Put it next to a photo of your children and
Witness just how much you've changed
... Mothers grow up too

Honor what you've been through
- The many things you've overcome
Make a pact to celebrate your story
For its uniqueness and simplicity

You are a wonder in this world!
A very special blossom
Too beautiful for a vase on Sunday
You have bloomed where you were planted ...

Warm wishes to all daring women on this Mother's Day :)

- May 2008 Christine Kraft / Coco Kraft and the Village Elders