Here is a little preview of my next episode coming soon . I hope you enjoy.
Here is a little preview of my next episode coming soon . I hope you enjoy.
Gus The Bus is in a bit of a rut. Ms. Bits N’ Bobs and her friends help Gus out of the rut.
I hope you enjoy!
Nicole (AKA Ms. Bits N’ Bobs)
To build our snowman or snowgirl you will need the following items:
A plastic baggie
3 cotton balls
2 lengths of twine/wool/ribbon
Googly eyes or googly stickers
Of course, you can get supplies from me at the Manhattan Village Mall Show too.
Put the cotton balls into the plastic baggie.
Tie the top of the baggie off with your wool tie. This is going to be your snowman’s hair.
Tie your second piece of ribbon or twine around the neck of your snowgirl, so she has a pretty bow.
Stick on your googly eyes.
Fluff out her hair by separating the wool.
Draw a mouth and a nose with a marker if you want.
Give your snowman or snowgirl a name, and have some fun in the snow and sun.
Create jingling candy cane ornaments.
Or make a jingle bells wreath.
Or a jingling bracelet.
If you would like to comment and/or share this page, I will send you your very own
Just PM me with the address you would like your November Bits N’ Bobs to be sent to on my Ms. Bits N’ Bobs FACEBOOK Page.
Cut Outs of Turkeys, Pumpkins, Owls, Acorns and Leaves.
I bought mine at JoAnn’s Fabrics. However, you can cut them out from cardstock too. You can also get them from me, I’ll send them free, if you comment and share this page with some friends. 🙂
Glue (I like stick glue as it’s less messy)
Let your child’s creativity fly.
An Owl with a flower mouth. There’s gotta be a story there.
Don’t forget the glue for sticking anything on sparkly turkey’s.
This leaf couldn’t decide if it was an Autumn leaf or a Christmas tree.
Sometimes you must bejewel your bits n’ bobs.
We are a family who place a premium on education. Both my husband and I moved around a lot as kids and learned that education is the one thing that once you have it, cannot be lost (my motherhood, multi-tasking induced Alzheimers aside). I was reminded recently that education is about far more than just academics. Our daughters Olivia and Tallulah recently got to participate in an after-school program at our school called Sound Arts run by an incredible artist and teacher called Laurie Draper www.mbsoundarts.com. The class runs once a week and took place over three months, culminating in a musical production where about 75 kids are double cast into four shows performed over two days. The show is fully produced with sumptuous costumes, gorgeous sets and props, beautiful singing and acting for students in Grades 3-5… and you don’t need to audition or anything. You just sign up and are requested to bring a good and respectful attitude.
What’s the big deal, I hear you wondering over the internet waves. Kids who love performing are getting a great after-school opportunity. Lovely… now shut up and stop wasting my 5 minutes of precious reading time.
Here goes… it comes back to the argument that Math and Science top the education ladder, followed by the humanities and way down on the list of important and relevant subjects are the arts – performing arts and dance being lower on the rung than music or fine arts. Finally, we arrive at my point that there is little value assigned to stimulating and/or educating the imagination. My alter ego lives in the Land of Imagination, so naturally I’m concerned.
Don’t get me wrong… I get it. For despite everything I’ve just said, the words fly out of my mouth at homework time “You can draw after you’ve finished your math homework. You can practice your lines for the play after you’ve worked on your digestive system diagram. Don’t sing – your brother is studying for a test.”
Here are the “Educational” concepts that I’ve seen nurtured by Laurie Draper’s Sound Arts. There is this kid Josie, whose mom and I were chatting in the “pick up your kid” line. She told me that Josie had dyslexia and a speech impediment. Josie had been petrified of speaking in public, which made making friends at school a tad of a challenge. Since she began Sound Arts, she has come out of her shell. It’s easier to sing in a group than to speak alone. Once her anxiety was reduced, she could speak publicly more easily. No-one made fun of her in the show. In fact, because of the atmosphere created by Laurie the kids were very supportive and encouraging. Not only was Josie great in the show, she made new friends amongst her peer group and with some older, more mentoring kids too.
This particular show was entitled “The Un-Civil War”. So, you have your Social Studies component right in there. Laurie incentivized the kids – I don’t know how – to bring in art and/or original projects based on the time period. I saw a diorama built by two boys, Russ and Joe – one who played a union solider, one a confederate (opposite sides of the conflict for Non- Americans). Katie, a fifth grader – built a cotton gin with her dad. Do I even have to describe how blown away I am by the layers of imagination, academics and social growth, hanging out with dad that go into that one.
Sherri, a third grader was mortified that when she performed for her class she was going to have her “small non-speaking” role. As it turned out, Sherri performed her bigger speaking part in front of the principal – who then personally complimented her. Now, Sherri’s planning on pursuing an acting career when she grows up.
I got charged with choreographing the Virginia Reel, ‘cos that’s what you do with the South African/Brit in the Un-Civil War. I was to teach all the kids in the dance, every single role. From the leaders of the dance to who was playing a soldier and who was playing a fine Southern Lady. They all had so much fun, laughing and bumping into each other as we danced away to my tinny iphone. (Except when Olivia pulled me aside one day and said I was getting a little “intense”). In one of the performances the leaders got stuck getting to the front of the group in time. Without missing a beat, the next kids in line led the dance. Education segment – adaptation in the moment and improvisation – priceless and subtle from an academic viewpoint.
Mostly, it was fun. It was education out of the box! There was math involved in a complex beat song that they had to clap out in various rhythms. There was the obvious Social Studies component. Granted, there was no digestive system diagram, but there are now a whole group of kids who can recite Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address “Four Score and Seven Years Ago…” off by heart. In the final show, as Honest Abe addressed a teary-eyed audience of parents and asked us to remember…
“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain”
It occurs to me that we are once more in this age at a beginning – we are coming out of a time where pure academics take precedent, if they ever did or should have. We are entering an age where unless the imagination and creativity are nurtured – that academics alone will falter and strand us in a bygone age.
The land of imagination
By Bailey Tibbetts
(My guest blogger)
You see what your mind sees but you never realize. Maybe your eyes cannot see it but your mind can, there is a whole world that you cannot feel but is so much better than the world you can feel. That place is called the land of imagination where you see what you think. For your world never stops because you’re in the land of imagination.
The Apology – Real Life In the Tibbetts Household
From off camera/off stage/ another room in the house
Laughter and Giggling
A Whack – A Thump – Crying
Tallulah: Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom! Olivia threw the ball at me. She said it was an accident but it wasn’t!
Olivia: (Silence radiates from their bedroom. The door is shut, possibly locked)
Me: I knock on the girl’s door. It opens an inch. (Whispering – I point to the phone – I have a client on the phone – I’m pretending that I am in my big, fancy, corner office. There’s an imaginary Oscar on my imaginary desk. Sometimes it’s an Emmy)
Shhh… What’s going on.
Olivia: She’s a baby. I’m trying to do homework.
Talllulah: Sobbing loudly
I knock again.
Me: Can you please figure this out with your sister?
Olivia: Fine! (Stomp Stomp Stomp) I’m soooooo soooooorry, Talllluuuulah!
Tallulah: You don’t mean it, you’re being sarcastic.
Me: (Still on the phone – Covering the mouthpiece – whispering) Do I have to lose my temper and have fire scorching through my eyeballs, or can you kids resolve this in the next three minutes?
Tallulah and Olivia give me the big eyes.
Olivia and Tallulah: Close the door.
I give ’em the Mommy Squint.
Olivia and Tallulah: Please.
I close the door.
Tallulah: Mom’s weird.
Olivia: What did she even mean about the fire scorching eyeballs?
Tallulah: Why did you say sorry sarcastically?
Olivia: Fine. I’m sorry. (Stomp Stomp Stomp)
Me: (Still on phone) Thank you so much, ma’am. You’re booked for a summer show.
The Apology – In the Land of Imagination
From off camera/off stage/ another room in the house
Laughter and Giggling
A Whack – A Thump – Crying
Olivia: Oh, mama…sweetest mama… I feel so terrible. I threw the ball to Tallulah to help us with our hand/eye coordination and it hit her by accident. I’m so concerned about her.
Tallulah: Don’t worry Olivia, it was just a little accident. I know that you’d never hurt me on purpose.
Olivia: I’m awfully sorry, Tallulah.
Tallulah: No biggie.
Olivia: Let’s finish our homework and then go outside and throw the ball and have imaginary play for a few hours.
Me: (On the phone – an Oscar and an Emmy on my desk)
Thanks Ms. Television Producer. I’ll see you in the studio to begin shooting the new Ms. Bits N’ Bobs series over the summer.
Failing sucks and to fail absolutely, sucks absolutely. This was my experience last year when Olivia, aged ten, failed spectacularly to get into Junior Guards. I’m not proud to say that it was my failure, not hers… in so many ways.
For those of you who do not live in sunny, Southern California, Junior Guards is a wonderful program built for local kids where you are in a type of beach camp over the summer – I now probably have Life Guards all over the world tutting at me – Summer Camp indeed, this is serious stuff. And you know, my blog is super popular with Life Guards. But I digress. Jr. Guards is a strenuous program where children from nine upwards are taught the primary skills of being safe in the ocean. They learn about rip tides, they build endurance by swimming out to a buoy in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean – (they may have to swim to Hawaii and back) I think it’s really about a 1/2 mile out. It sure looks far to me and I’m not sure that I would ever tackle it, but of course my kids can do it. In Jr. Guards they run a lot – no more commentary needed! They also play lots of beach games and “everyone” does it. By everyone, I mean it just seems like everyone. “Hey, what are you doing this summer?” “Junior Guards – morning, afternoon, El Segundo, Manhattan, Hermosa?” These words sing up and down the mommy pick up lines as the dreaded “TEST” approaches. The test involves swimming 100 meters in a pool in 1 minute and 50 seconds.
So I sign Olivia up to practice in a group with a swim coach, whom she grows to despise as he haggles and pushes her to swim faster. God bless this child as she keeps trying to break through this time barrier. She finally gets it down to 1 min 53 secs and the time will not budge. And I’m there pushing and wrangling her with the coach. Kick faster! Move your arms quicker! All around me the moms are quietly preening as their kid breaks the time barrier. “Oh, Jackie just swam a 1.49.” That’s it, I’m never talking to Jackie’s mom again! As we all sit by the side of the pool, anxiously watching our kids battle with the seconds, we discuss this insanity and then yell Faster!
Olivia swims the TEST in a slower time than she swam the very first time she got in the pool, 3 months before the test. Did she shut down? Was she just done, and making a point? Was she just not ready yet? Any which way you look at it, the latter makes sense. She also fired her coach personally at the test – which was one of the few amusing moments on that day of failure.
Then both Olivia and I had to bear the sympathy of all of our friends. The hushed moments of excitement over who would go with whom to Jr. Guards, as they gathered for lunch as groups after the day of swimming was over. Oh, it’s so much easier to be the mommy giving out the sympathetic advice. “It’s not a big deal. There’s always next year!” The failure was there, solid and unyielding – a big knot to be worked out in the kink of my daughter’s growing up armor and my own stressed out back.
So now what! Apparently, I’m not ready to give up yet. Olivia was ready to never step foot in any form of water sports ever again. Get her in the ocean?! I could barely get her in a pool. What was most frustrating about this whole process, she was now a great swimmer – perhaps not the fastest but a strong, polished swimmer with phenomenal endurance. As I look back, I really do wonder why it was so important to me not to give up. So swimming wasn’t her thing, so many other sports and activities excited her. Perhaps, I felt that if I allowed her to give up on this, I was teaching her that failure was acceptable. Perhaps, I’m just a helicopter mom and push my kids too hard. I like to think that what drove me to encourage her to keep working on her swimming and her time was that failure is a challenge – a challenge in this case of breaking through the wall of a few seconds. It was such a clean challenge that had been presented for us – no other people involved, no huge educational leaps, just swim until you snap those seconds off, one, two three.
You’d think it would be easy, just go to the pool and swim! Hah! If you just thought that, I doubt that you’re a mom or a dad. There are moments in writing this, where I can see why I have resorted to living in the Land of Imagination – just disappear into another world where you are not dealing with the heartache of your child thinking that they are just no good at something and everyone else is.
It was like taking a PTSD victim back to the scene of the crime. My friend Carol, has a pool. It is a small pool. She offered to swim laps with Olivia. That got her back into the water. When my courageous daughter finally figured out a flip turn after months of trying, and being convinced that if she went upside down that she might drown, Olivia turned to me and said “Mom, if I can do that… I can do anything!” A little redemption? When we got to the big pool, every time I tried to convince her to let me time her, she would push herself into the smallest being that she could be and hide in the corner of the pool. With her mirrored goggles on she looked quite Greta Garbo – I want to be alone! Why am I doing this to her?… I asked myself for the umpteenth time. Olivia asks me too. “Why is this so important to you?” There is no success without failure – I want to tell her, but she can only see the failure. Success is the fun part, the icing on the cake. You just don’t get it without failing. I think this is a question of hindsight and there was no hindsight ‘cos she’s only ten years old.
We keep trying. I promise that I will not time her. So now, the next test is coming up, we are a year later. She may be swimming the time, she may not, no one knows. I have a friend ask me, why don’t you secretly time her? Because I don’t ever want to be in a position of lying to my child. One Friday afternoon, Olivia finally lets me time her. She swims a 1 min 51 secs. I am so proud there are tears in my eyes. Olivia looks at her time and bursts into her own tears. According to her, she has failed again. What have I done to my child!!!! Time passes, the test gets closer and closer – the mommies are singing the Jr. Lifeguard liturgies up and down the mommy pick up line. I try to stay out of it.
Now Tallulah is practicing for the Jr. Lifeguard test too. She is a strong swimmer, who wants to be constantly timed – a different child, different challenges. Olivia is having none of this. “Fine, time me too” whisper the mirrored goggles. “What! Er.. Okay. Are you sure?” “Shut up before she changes her mind!” says the voice in my head. She swims the laps calmly, the stroke strong and beautiful, the kick powerful. I don’t care if she makes it. She’s a great swimmer. Oh, I care. I don’t care. She’s worked so hard – why do those seconds even matter? I care so much. I look down at the dreaded time, on that dreaded iphone stopwatch, that dreaded green time…time stops…1 minute 44 seconds. I smile. I turn the clock to face those mirrored goggles in the water. She says to me, “you look happy.” Then Olivia smiles, a radiant smile! “I crushed that time, mom!” she says as she lifts up the mirrored goggles and I see eyes aglow with success and redemption.
P.S. She passed the Jr. Lifeguards TEST on Saturday. Now it is time to turn the mommy spotlight on Tallulah! Lucky girl.
Balancing life as a mom and running a business may not be a new fandangled way of life anymore, which is why I want to address it. I go back to the roots of why I began this business. I love acting and I love my kids. I was brought up in a world where having a career was something that the women who went before me, in my family, my mother’s friends, and certainly my schooling had fought for very hard. The right to have control over one’s career and choice of marriage not because of need for financial security, but because we actively chose it was a choice offered to my generation.
Aged eighteen, one of my best friends from high school, proudly announced that after graduating from college with honors she was planning on finding a husband, getting married and having four children. We all scoffed and derided her – believing that she was not taking advantage of the wonderful opportunities offered to her by living in this generation. Is she now happy or not?… I don’t know – perhaps she (or a version of her) will read this post and respond. Nonetheless, in retrospect, I admire her for her bravery in that moment for going against the tide.
Working mom or stay-at-home mom, or all of those of us in between… there is guilt that we are not giving our best to either our kids or our jobs. I can’t say that I was particularly aware of this when I began “The Land Of Imagination”. I just really needed to continue something that belonged to me as my world became more and more enmeshed in that of a mother and wife. So many of us moms feel a loss of self when you finally realize that you are really only thought of in the world as Dash’s mom from basketball, Tallulah’s mom – the science helper, or if I’m very lucky Olivia’s very creative mom. Then there are the times that I have to work and I’m missing out on Olivia’s choir concert – was the work really worth it?
I don’t have all the answers, or actually any of them – except that I feel really good when I perform and write shows. When I put a smile on a kid’s face as they race to “The Land of Imagination”, it warms my heart and makes my day.
I have decided to take the next step forward in this bizness… and start to stream some of my shows… yes on the internet…no not yet. We had the first big shoot a few weekends ago. The kids around my block stepped up to play “Little Bunny Foo Foo”. My son and his best friend offered to shoot it with a couple of borrowed video cameras. Olivia and Tallulah offered to star as Little Bunny Foo Foo. It was a great experience, but waaaaay to shaky to show y’all. Perhaps a few videos down the line, I will start to actually stream them. I just thought I would invite you along on this new part of my rollercoaster ride of balancing motherhood with businesshood.