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Mommy Truths: July 2008

Mommy Truths

The Hard Learned Lessons and Eye Opening Realities of Raising Young Kids

Monday, July 28, 2008

Great Summer Books for Preschoolers

When I was young, I loved it when my Mom dropped me off at the library and I could pick out great summer books to read. My kids can’t read yet but I’m loving a few books that I’m reading to them at night.

Rattletrap Car
June, Jakie, Papa and Baby try to make it to the lake in their rattletrap car. They depend on a few toys and marshmallow chocolate fudge delight to get them there. It’s a perfect read for a hot, hot day with wonderful pictures and rhymes.

A House for Hermit Crab
We got a paperback version of this great tale as a favor after a maritime birthday party (isn't that a great idea?). Hermit crab finds various items from the sea to decorate his shell. It’s educational and has a great message about making a change just after we've gotten settled in. It also makes our search for hermit crabs at the beach even more fun.

Philippe in Monet's Garden
Daughter’s cousins gave her this for her second birthday. I’m currently reading it to 4-year old son since it’s a bit more his speed. It’s a fun, quirky frog adventure with a little Impressionism thrown in. Published by Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

More Books
My friend Liz, who is a middle school librarian, just launched a great new site recommending books for children of all ages. She covers many age groups and posts valuable comments about each book. Check it out Bibliotechies at

Happy Reading!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Berry Picking with the Kids

The last two weeks I’ve enjoyed some simple summer fun with my kids (running in the sprinkler, blowing bubbles, puzzles on the front porch), culminating in a short hike to pick blueberries this morning. It’s super humid and hot here in Connecticut so we hit the trail before 9 am, beach buckets in hand to collect our berries. Husband and I discovered this old apple orchard in Trout Brook Preserve (directions below) the first year we were married and have trekked every summer since to pick the berries or marvel at humongous pumpkins that grown in a long, sprawling patch come Fall.

This is the first year that four year old Son was committed (by us) to hiking all on his own while two year old Daughter was allowed relief in the Kelty backpack carrier.

The secret to hiking with young kids, I’ve found, is to give them responsibility and leadership. I’ve been showing Son how to spot trail markers on the trails near our house and so we designated him Leader of our hike, responsible for showing us the way. It took his mind off whining, “Can you carry me?” when he kept spotting yellow, then magenta arrows pointing us down the trail.

“Look, Mommy, the arrow’s pointing that way!”

Once we hit the orchard, it was a fun run down to the blueberry bushes followed by eager picking and popping in mouths. The kids didn’t manage to get any blueberries past their mouths into their buckets, but Husband and I stocked up for home.

If you live in Fairfield County, it’s worth the trip to this corner of Trout Brook Preserve in Easton. I suggest some kind of child backpack or carrier if your little one can’t make a 20 minute hike there and back. While the trail is shaded and cool, the orchard gets very hot in the sun so hike early if it’s going to be a scorcher. There were plenty of blueberries still to ripen, so this trip should work from mid-July until August 1.

In August, we pick raspberries at Candee Farm in Easton. Call ahead to see if they are ripe but we have found on occasion that when advised that they "weren’t ripe yet and to come on over to pick peppers and cukes instead,"that many berries were in fine shape. You’ll pay a small fee to take the raspberries home.

Here is a map to Trout Brook Preserve: Freeborn Road is located a short ways north of the intersection with Route 136. Park across from the gate marking the gravel road. Take the gravel road until you see the yellow arrow pointing to the right. Follow the yellow trail to the magenta trail. After entering the gate to the orchard, walk down the hill to the right for the blueberry bushes. Some of the near bushes may be picked already. We found the most ripe berries in the back and right side rows.

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