Preschool Books about the Human Body

We’ve wrapped up our human body unit for the season, and as I’d said in a previous post, I overdid the materials.  After a couple of weeks wading through lots and lots and LOTS of books (at least three dozen), here are the ones we liked the most.

0064435962_intFrom Head to Toe by Eric Carle – Not only is it a Carle book with his classic, distinctive style of art, it also encourages children to answer the question, “Can you ___?” by acting it out with their bodies.  Every movement is followed by, “I can do it!”  This is a message I definitely want to sink in with my son, who often claims he can’t do simple things he’d already conquered.

My Bodyworks by Jane Schoenberg – Loved the movement inspiring lyrics of this book of body songs.

Human Body by Dan Green – Though this book is intended for older children, our family loves this series of books, and owns all of the ones related to Chemistry and Physics from my daughter’s middle school years.  The content is frank, the pictures are cute, and you can choose what parts of it you wish to share as you go.

1dd301fa720fdfdf5a0dae8851760cdb-w2041xHere Are My Hands by Bill Martin – A simple, colorful book of diverse children excited about all their body parts can do for them from hands to feet and beyond.

Our Blood by Charlotte Guillain – My son selected this himself.  The book contains clear, textbook styled explanations with photographs about blood and its purpose in the body.  We read it three times.

Inside your outside! by Tish Rabe – Tish Rabe uses familiar Seuss characters to look inside the human body and explain how organs work.  A little weird, a lot of rhyming, and not quite Seuss, but definitely eye-catching for a Seuss-obsessed preschooler.

We all move by Rebecca Rissman – Another photographic book containing a diverse selection of people engaging in varied activities.

51b2bt78qaol-_sx258_bo1204203200_Busy body book by Lizzy Rockwell – I love the art in this book.  Lots of color, lots of kids, all celebrating their bodies.  There’s more text than Here Are My Hands, but it has a similar feel to it.

Foot book by Dr. Seuss – Oh, the joys of feet, as told by Seuss.

Teeth by Sneed B. Collard – Not entirely about human bodies, but a great book full of colorful sketches of animals (including humans) and their teeth, contains some good beginner information.

In addition to reading all of these books (and many more):

We sang songs that involve movement each day, like “Head, Shoulders Knees, and Toes,” and “The Hokey Pokey.”

We watched a Sesame Street video called “Happy, Healthy Monsters,” which proved to be mostly jumping and watching funny sketches, rather than actually moving our bodies.

We made paper organs and added them to a paper body, using a large sheet of rolled drawing paper (from IKEA).  I wanted my son to lie on the paper so I could trace an outline of his body, but he was convinced the marker would hurt (even after touching it to my finger and then his), so he laid next to the paper, and I made a hasty approximation of his body and size.

Then we used various colors of construction paper.  I drew rough shapes of the organs in the approximate size they’d be in his body, and he used safety scissors to cut around the shapes.  He cut through his brain, his kidneys, and his lungs, but tape made it all better.  Our Little Fox paper model had a brain, two blue eyes, lungs, a heart, kidneys, a stomach, liver, pancreas, diaphragm, gallbladder, large and small intestines with appendix, and spleen.  As we placed them into the body shape on the paper, we discussed what each one did.  I kept the systems together, so we could talk about the body in small bursts.  We did brain and eyes first, then lungs, heart, and diaphragm, and finally the digestive system.  Here are a couple of the models I used (found on Google Image Search) to help remind me where to put everything:


Quick Update: Books, Students, and Life


61ewc29wj8lAs part of our exploration of the human body, I selected a lot of materials.  Far too many materials, really, but one book I really enjoyed using is called My Bodyworks, which is filled with song lyrics (CD included) for songs about different aspects of the body.  Many of these songs encourage movement while singing, and the end of the book has details about the human body as a reminder to the content of the song lyrics.  I haven’t played the CD yet (I’m afraid to, given the frequent disappointment or annoyance I have with for-kids music collections), but reading the lyrics to my son as I would poetry, and engaging our bodies in some of them was a lot of fun.  We’ll be hanging on to this one for a while.



My new students and I had our second meeting, which involved their first projects and detailed discussions of our readings.  The readings were hard, most of them weren’t able to finish “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” and one couldn’t get through “The Lottery.”

I apologized and admitted the selections were a bit of a cruel test.  The first four were among some of my absolute favorites.  Ones I think everyone should read, and three of them are hard.  Emotionally brutal.  I shared with them the story of my experience taking a class at university titled “The Anthropology of Rock and Roll.”  I didn’t go into too many details, but on the first day, our professor played videos of a particular rock star renowned for his grotesqueries — he was violent, gross, brutal, repugnant, and did vile acts on stage for attention and to cause a visceral response to his art. The professor said, if we could get through the first day and still want to come back, the rest would be easy, and he was right.

While these stories were difficult reads for sensitive souls, my students proved themselves.  The projects were insightful, diverse in ideas, and all showed they grasped the readings well.  One wrote an essay analyzing their choice in “The Lady or the Tiger?”  Another wrote a poem about “The Lottery.”  One baked “puppy biscuits” inspired by the grocery list in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and related to the main character’s rich imaginative life amidst banality.  Another baked a social experiment to life, making one person choose what another would get to eat, knowing one was a “lady,” and another a “tiger.”  And the fifth student pulled out a box with two doors.  They’d used straws, tape, brads, cardboard, and hand-drawn pictures to create an ever-changing box of chance, since the options could be changed at will by the student before the next person chose a door.

If these kids aren’t amazing, then I must not understand the definition of the word.  I love, love, love them, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with at our next meeting after they’ve sunk their minds into some Halloween treats.


Amidst all the chaos, house and car woes, and the endless cycle of chores, Daughter scored well on her first Japanese test, my son is starting to recover from his unexplained viral infection, I started a Patreon account.  Come November 1st, I’ll be taking the Flash Dash Challenge again, writing one flash fiction piece a day for thirty days, AND it looks like I’ll be a panelist and presenting my debut novel at Norwescon 40.  I’m “nervcited” (my daughter’s term).

What We’re Doing: Sliding Through September

sept2016wbPhew!  This post is much later than I’d planned.  September, while it contained a nice birthday outing to Golden Gardens in celebration of my thirty-eighth, wasn’t exactly a pleasant month on the whole.  It had major ups and downs for our family, and some of those downs are leaking into October.

My car required repairs.  First an oil change, then a timing belt, then calipers and brakes, and there’s still another problem yet to be fixed, so I’m only driving in town for the time being.  My partner’s car needs new brakes, too!  We haven’t been able to turn on our heat yet because of duct and furnace problems, so we’re walking around the house in sweaters and socks and dragging blankets behind us.  We’re also preparing the house for an appraiser, because my partner wishes to refinance, and it’s going to take a lot of work.

Meanwhile, my daughter has officially completed a week and a half of college, and has already made several new friends.  She’s gone out with another friend the past couple of weekends (one of my other students), and is planning on attending her first dance soon!  Because of all of the issues with the house and the cars, my son and I are struggling to establish a new routine, but at least I finally got him to participate with me when singing “head, shoulders, knees, and toes,” and even the “Hokey Pokey.”  It’s a huge improvement, and it seems for now, while things are rather off-balance, half of our home preschool involves cuddling, and a good quarter is dancing, story time, and taking a long time with meals.



Daughter is learning Japanese, College Success, Psychology, and the Magic of Friendship.  She’s also learning how to balance school work, friend time, family time, chores, fitness, and personal time in ways she didn’t grasp while homeschooling.  Overall, I’m proud of how she’s been adjusting to this major shift in her routine.


Son is learning about the Human Body, though I put so many materials on hold at the library, we’ll probably be studying it for a couple of weeks.  Of course, we had a couple of field trips to both Urgent Care and two Emergency Rooms we’d not planned for: first he stuffed his fingers into the hinge of the front passenger door of my car at the library, right before I shut it to put him in his car seat.  Yowch! Thankfully, nothing broke in that cramped space, and despite some ugly bruising, he’ll be ok in the long-term.  Then a couple of days later, we ended up at the ER because he was in pain and acting unusual, and the nurse hotline said to bring him in.  After an IV and ultrasound, we were transferred by ambulance (that was exciting for him) to Children’s where they did another ultrasound and though the experience was more painful for him, they were on the whole, far more gentle with him than the prior hospital.  And they had kids’ movies he could dial in from his bed.  We were sent home at 3am.  Not appendicitis, but rather a virus that was causing his distress, possibly contracted at the Urgent Care a few days before.  Which is great, because none of his symptoms suggested his appendix was inflamed, but his blood tests might have.


For my birthday, we went to Golden Gardens to commune with the water and the sand and the ducks and turtles, too.  Friends met us there an hour after I texted.  It was spontaneous and perfect.  Two days before that, the kids and I went to see the 30th anniversary showing of Labyrinth, which is dear to my heart.  I saw it at eight years old for my birthday then, and a year later, David Bowie sang to me when I was falling asleep at his Glass Spider Tour concert.  Getting to take my kids to see it on the big screen was a wonderful experience.



As Mabon passed and the hint of October approached, we stumbled across a number of good books dealing with death and magic.  The highlights among them include:

the_garden_of_abdul_gasazi_van_allsburg_book_coverThe Garden of  Abdul Gasazi by Chris van Allsburg features exquisite illustrations in ink, and follows a boy and his unruly dog into the garden of a magician — a garden where dogs are not allowed.  Subtle, magical, beautiful.

Cry, Heart, but Never Break by Glen Ringtved focuses on four children raised by a grandmother who lays dying upstairs In her bed.  Death appears at the door and sits with them at the kitchen table.  As they play him with coffee, hoping to dissuade him from taking their beloved grandmother, Death tells them a tale about four children named Sorrow, Grief, Joy, and Delight.  It’s an excellent, gentle, humbling tale for young ones dealing with grief and loss.

The Dead Bird by Margaret Brown Wise unsettled me, but my son liked it.  It’s a simple tale like her other books, with art ahead of its time.  A handful of children find a dead bird and bury it.  Not much to it, but in the telling of the story, I found some absence in the words, that perhaps might be found instead within.

Skeletons for Dinner by Margery Cuyler is a silly romp with a cute skeleton who misunderstands and invitation by a coven of witches for dinner.  There’s a lesson here in making assumptions.  Excellent for both our human body unit AND in preparation for Samhain.

51ewu-9sril-_sx329_bo1204203200_Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente is this great author’s latest novel.  Like much of her work it’s luscious and complex and the opposite of condescending.  Valente expects that those who choose her work are intelligent and willing to follow along unknown paths on fantastical journeys, and allow the details to unfold in their own time.  Her work always reads as poetry, and Radiance is no exception.  I’m still in the middle of it, not yet having come to understand the full film at play on the screen in my mind, but wanting to plunge further.  Not your standard space drama.  Not your standard anything.  If you want to read something outside tired tropes, and engage your mind in a feast of delights, pick this — or any of her work* — up as soon as you can.

*[Recommend: Deathless for adults who want a linear fairy tale, The Orphan’s Tales for those who enjoy stories within stories, and The Girl Who Navigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making for children and the young at heart.]



In September, we finished the miniseries Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.  I checked out the book at the library, and it might just have War & Peace beat for largest novel.  We also watched the first two seasons of Dharma & Greg before daughter started college, didn’t quite finish Crash Course: Economics, and watched all of Over the Garden Wall, which I thought would be too creepy for my son, but he loved it.



Since my new, amazing, informative goddess of a naturopath has suggested I go four to six weeks without dairy, I’ve been reinventing some of my standard recipes to accommodate the change.  Our salmon tacos, for instance, currently don’t feature my usual crema recipe, so to get a multidimensional flavor from my tacos, I roasted some green peppers (about 2 stars worth of heat) in the toaster oven, pan fried my salmon in my homemade chili powder blend plus garlic and lime, and warmed up the tortillas.  When I filled them, I added avocado, greens sprouts, roasted peppers (for adults, not for our kids who don’t like them), tomatillo salsa, and Cholula.  Served in thick corn tortillas, with purple roasted potatoes, sauteed pepper greens (cook them like spinach with garlic and olive oil), and roasted red cabbage on the side.

Yes, I missed my crema, and yes a proscription against dairy meant I was dreaming of warming cheese between two tortillas and using THAT for the tacos (mulitas style), but I enjoyed the flavor nevertheless. If I had thin tortillas, it wouldn’t have worked; the heat would have overwhelmed the rest, but I was quite happy with the results.  No pictures — they were gobbled down too quickly!

Reading Selections Renewed

Excited and nervous, I welcomed six new students to Reading Selections, five of whom are entirely new to me.  It’s a full class, and I’m over the moon to introduce them to the short readings I love most.  There’s a full range of ages and personalities, though I think all of us are on the introversion side of the spectrum.  After the first run of these classes, I’ve organized the readings to have more solid themes, and better thought out flow from month to month and piece to piece.

For a long while, I worried there would only be two students, which while still feasible, doesn’t allow for as many perspectives to add to the richness of the discussion.

Though many of the selections have changed or shifted position, the first month of the first year of literary shorts remains the same as the first time I ran these courses:

  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber
  • The Lady, or the Tiger? by Frank Stockton
  • The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
  • The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. LeGuin

Give our introductory discussions, getting to know a bit about one another, I’m quite certain these young people will surprise me with a wide variety of projects and perspectives, even among the siblings participating.  My most fervent wish for this class is to be a good guide and resource to them, to help them flourish, and find magic within the words they’re reading.  I remain nervous, yet the excitement builds.

My biggest obstacle right now is technical.  The cost of even self service copies has become a joke, and to print a full year of selections at a shop would cost over $40 per packet.   Thus, to be practical and economical, I’m stocking up on printer ink.  My little printer can’t do hundreds of pages a minute, especially double sided, but it’ll be worth it in the long run to do it the more tedious way.  The selections are laid out for the full three years, now all I need to do is compile and print them.

Planning Preschool at Home

preschoolplanOur lives continue to change and evolve.  In preparation for my daughter’s imminent entrance to college life, I’m also planning how best to make use of the approximately eight hours a day, four days a week, of one-on-one time with my son whose needs are vastly different than his sister’s were when we started homeschooling at a 4th grade level.

Preschool education, while in general a comfortable place for me (I love nursery rhymes and music circles and silly movement games), I’ve never taught this level full-time with one or more children.  Creating a routine isn’t easy for me either, but at this age, children need it so much more than the rest of us.

Together, my son and I will be establishing a new routine, one filled with games and exploration of our local world.  Routines filled with a more dedicated focus each week, to help me in staying on track with him and not falling into bad habits of idleness and home seclusion (something I fight from my upbringing and introversion).

Though he’s signed up for fall music and gymnastics, and once he’s four, he’ll be eligible for weekly classes in preschool farming, Aikido, parkour, and drama, there’s a lot of time between any classes where we need to be engaged in more than playing cars or watching Steven Universe.

Thus, I’ve laid out a weekly theme guide for the coming year.  For reference, I have started our preschool theme planning on the last Monday of September, when my daughter heads off to Running Start.  The three weeks before that are preparatory weeks to get the house and the family ready for this major shift in our current lifestyle.  It includes relevant holidays to us and planned visits with friends.  If you’re in a similar boat with a preschooler, these themes might inspire you to do your own.

Around these themes, I’ve tentatively planned certain field trips.  For example, Week 2’s theme pairs well with visiting the local Reptile Zoo, and “Fire and Rescue” lends itself well to visiting our local firehouse to meet our rescue workers and see how they operate.  Some of these trips will require more coordination and planning ahead than others, but all of them will include both at-home projects, art, songs, etc., and outdoor exploration.


Little Fox uses cat as a pillow


Week A: Not Back to School outings
Week B: Ready House
Week C: College Prep / Mabon
Week 1: Human Body


Week 2: Eggs & Who Lays Them
Week 3: Trees and Plants in Fall
Week 4: Our Senses
Week 5: Harvest / Samhain
Week 6: Samhain / [Friend Visiting] / Exploring Our Town


Week 7: Community Helpers: Fire & Rescue
Week 8: First Nations People
Week 9: Giving Thanks / Gratitude
Week 10: Nocturnal Animals



One of our neighbors on a walk through the neighborhood.

Week 11: Hibernation
Week 12: Arctic Animals
Week 13: Solstice / Christmas
Week 14: Keeping Warm


Week 15: Snow and Ice
Week 16: Hygiene
Week 17: Nutrition
Week 18: Safety Indoors / Chinese New Year
Week 19: Imbolc / Start of Spring


Week 20: Sheep and Goats
Week 21: Love and Friendship
Week 22: Soil and Garden Prep
Week 23: Heroes and Leaders


Week 24: Transportation
Week 25: Life cycles
Week 26: Spring Break / Ostara
Week 27: Flowers


Week 28: Baby Animals
Week 29: Norwescon Prep / Crafts
Week 30: Little Fox’s Birthday / The Earth and Earth Day
Week 31: Forests and Jungles
Week 32: Deserts and Plains


Week 33: Oceans and Islands
Week 34: Fresh Water
Week 35: Beaches
Week 36: Garden Pollinators


Week 37: Birds in our yard
Week 38: Dance
Week 39: Litha
Week 40: Outdoor Safety


Week 41: Astronomy and Space
Week 42: Rocks and Minerals
Week 43: Free Play / Double Birthday Week
Week 44: Zoo Animals
Week 45: Farming / Lughnasadh


Week 46: Sea Creatures / Aquarium
Week 47: Camping and Hiking
Week 48: Food Art
Week 49: Ponds: Flora and Fauna


Week 50: Market Vegetables

What We’re Doing: Auspicious August



August has been an intense month.  If you’re into astrology, there are a host of astrologers ready to explain what’s been going on.  For us, the biggest challenge has been my health.  I spent a week and a half virtually immobilized (I could get around the house, and I took my kids to their recurring classes) from a cyst in a poor position.  The one excellent piece of my immobility: I spent a lot of time at the desk, editing my books and getting them ready to send off to publishers.  I’ve completed two novels, and I’m assembling a new collection of poetry.  (Shameless plug: here’s my previous poetry collection for reference.)

I haven’t been this productive with my writing in a long while, and it feels good to clear away old projects, so I can start addressing ones still in concept or outline phases.  Of course, homeschooling and parenting from a chair or bed can be a huge challenge in creativity.  We read a lot more books, watched more shows than usual, and I took my son to see $1 movies, since I could sit still without major issue.  More than that, I set out my son’s tumble mats, and encouraged him to practice his gymnastics more.  We played music, and though I couldn’t get up and dance with him as I usually do, I did arm dances, and scooted out close to him, to hold his hands while he did some fancy footwork.  He got to draw more, and he took walks with his sister, and together, we all got through it until I could move around again.

Then there was the nestling tossed from its nest in our driveway we rescued (based on advice from the Audubon Society and a few rescue shelters) … the only survivor of a vicious invader who killed all its siblings the next day.  Since placing it in the ground cover and bushes, we’ve seen no sign of it since, and hope we improved its chances of survival.

The momentum of my writing hasn’t ceased, though formatting and synopsis writing aren’t really feeding my urge, and whenever I feel this, I follow it.  Motivation must be lassoed whenever it comes, and ridden as long as I can hold onto it.  With autumn brings change, and I’ll be teaching kids beyond my own, my son and I will be spending several hours alone together every day and I need to plan for it, and my daughter will be entering college and need a different form of support in the evenings.  For the foreseeable future, this means I’ll be writing less in this blog.  Instead of once a week on Wednesdays, expect one or two entries a month until our new schedule steadies out, and I’ve found my footing.



51fd2bhh2ssl-_sy497_bo1204203200_We’re working on encouraging our son to try using the toilet again.  For the last few months, he’s outright refused to try, nor will he wear the underwear he picked out.  Since the best time to run around half naked learning to potty is in the summer, I’m hoping he’ll be inspired in the next few weeks while the weather’s still warm.  I checked out the Potty for Boys box from the library, which contains an anatomically correct doll with potty seat, several books, DVDs, and a CD to help teach about pottying. Also, we came across Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman, which is a charming little book about vegetables wearing underwear, and while it’s simplistic, it hits home that babies wear diapers, big kids wear underwear, and vegetables come in various shapes and sizes.  Since checking it out, my son has had us read it to him three times in one day.

With the imminent release of the movie, I’ve begun reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. While I’ve delved only into the first few chapters thus far, I’m already captivated by the realism of a boy’s struggle in being a good son while his mother battles cancer.  Though the movie trailer below shows us an outsider’s perspective, adding the drama and the inherent sense of sadness or pity for the enormity of his experiences, from the boy’s intimate perspective, he downplays everything in his life, not wishing to directly name his fears or acknowledge the severity of the bullying he receives in school.  I’m looking forward to following his journey through the book, and seeing how his story is adapted for the film.



We’re still watching Economics through Crash Course a few times a week, and we’ve been attending the $1 Regal movies regularly, but since finishing all 8 seasons of Charmed, we’ve gone for a lighter show’s reruns: Dharma and Greg.  If you’ve never watched it, it begins with two people from opposite sides of (white) American culture: a woman with hippie parents who decry capitalism, and a man who works as a lawyer and whose parents are among the upper 2% of the economic spectrum.  The day of their meeting turns into a long date with a lot of travel, culminating in their marriage.  Thus begins the entire premise of the show.  So far, four episodes in, my daughter is delighted, and my son eats his lunch and doesn’t complain, but is ready to dash off the moment his food is finished.  At least it’s only a 25 minute show, so we have been able to watch one before he’s done.  The Dragon specifically said she enjoys watching the opening credits, as they make her happy.




Spicy Chicken and Pasta

1 lb. boneless chicken thighs
1/2 c. sundried tomatoes soaked in olive oil
1 tomato
1 lg. Beaver Dam pepper (or equivalent medium pepper)
1 c. white wine
salt, black pepper, tarragon, olive oil
1 pkg. caserecce or other pasta
grated parmesan, asiago, or blend
6 cloves garlic

In a large pot, prepare pasta according to instructions, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and cook chicken thighs with a pinch of salt and pressed garlic.  Remove meat and chop into small chunks.  In the same skillet, cook chopped tomato, sundried tomatoes, and Beaver Dam peppers* until tender.  Add wine and tarragon, cook another five to seven minutes until the alcohol is cooked off.  Pour the contents of the pan into a small mixing bowl and blend with a hand blender.

Warm pasta with olive oil in the pot.

Serve chicken and pasta onto plates separate or together.  Dress the pasta with cheese, and spoon the sauce over the chicken.

My partner and I ended up mixing all the food together on the plate, our children did not.  Everyone thought it turned out well (although for the toddler, I reserved only the tomato mixture, cooking the peppers separately. Once his was served, I added in the peppers, and blended some more).


*Beaver Dam peppers are my absolute favorite chili peppers in the world.  They grow as big as poblanos and anaheims, and reach a similar level of medium heat, but the heat builds slowly, releasing a host of tempting flavors other peppers don’t achieve.  Even when lightly sauteed, they have a smoky quality without needing to smoke or grill them.  If you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend them; they tend to be red and green striped, rather than a single color.  I have yet to successfully grow them, but I try anew every year.

What We’re Doing: 16th & 46th Birthday


Last week, we celebrated the twin birthdays of my partner and my daughter.

The actual day involved feasting from the morning through the night.  We explored some of our favorite parts of Seattle, and kept things low key.  On Saturday, though, we focused on our daughter by throwing a party at a local park.

She wanted something comparatively easy to throw together, something fun and open to a number of our friends and family.




With a lot of planning, we threw together a sword & sorcery party at the park during the early evening, followed by gaming at our house until midnight.  We made over twenty boffers (long swords – 3′ pipe, short swords – 2′ pipe, daggers – 1′ pipe, staffs – 3′ pipe with equally split foam) and sewed thirty-six bean bags (potions, spells, bard’s songs).

Though some of her friends weren’t able to come, we had plenty of guests participate.  We grilled food (a learning experience for me), engaged in friendly battles, and spent a lot of time talking.  Some of our guests followed us home for cards and jokes, a few of our neighbors stopped by, and we pulled out the futon.

All in all, a good time, and my daughter enjoyed herself immensely.




Charlie’s Angels Pose

Since we wanted the one day LARP to be casual and not requiring a lot of intensive character creation or storyline, especially with two three year old pixies running about.  I threw together the follow, though it became clear after a couple of hours my rules need some fine tuning and clarification.

Welcome travelers from far and wide!

You’ve arrived at the fair Loch of Cottage where Taiathess, Guardian of Ink, celebrates her 16th Name Day. Eat, drink, and fight in the name of friendly competition.

When you arrive:

1. Pick a character back story
2. Pick a name and place on name tag
3. Pick a boffer


A. Be respectful of everyone

B. Do your best to stay in character; if you’re speaking to someone out of character (ooc), place your right hand or fist over your chest to indicate you’re ooc.

C. Physical combat should only involve boffers. If someone else’s boffer touches one of your limbs, consider that limb too injured to fight. If the boffer touches your abdomen, it’s a critical wound; do a rock-paper-scissors to see if you lose the challenge. Both arms injured means you’ve lost the challenge. NO ATTACKING YOUR OPPONENT’S HEAD OR GROIN. Do so, and you’ll lose the challenge automatically.

D. Any monks or fighters using hand-to-hand, describe your action, and use rock-paper-scissors to see who wins the challenge. Winning five rounds of rps wins the challenge.

E. Magical combat will involve bean bags (for potions) and imagination, describe your actions, and use rock-paper-scissors. Five “wins” of rps, and you win the challenge.

F. Clerics will be on hand to heal characters between competitions. Be kind to them, or you might remain too wounded to fight. At least there will be food, right?

G. Remember, this is a friendly competition for the amusement and enjoyment of Taiathess, Guardian of Ink.

H. Be inventive, be clever, and bring your character to life!

We used character back story generators and name generators to come up with lists.  I created a template for name badges and went to FedEx to print them on label paper, cutting them out by hand.  People chose the backstory label they each liked best and wished to roleplay, then selected a name from the list of randomly generated names ranging from high fantasy to cutesy (e.g. Smoochiecuddlecakes) to silly (e.g. Skullmeat, Lumpcheese).  They competed for the chance to win the Great Sword of Flying Pig (a boffer we made using flying pigs duct tape).

At some point soon, we’ll be updating the rules for this casual form of LARPing, and hope to start a proper roleplaying group (either tabletop or LARP) with local families, because my daughter adored it when people stayed in character.




At the party, we grilled vegetable skewers, lamb souvlaki, chicken satay, and we had a garden salad with local produce and flowers, chips, berries, hummus, raspberry zinger cake from Flying Apron, and the one thing people wanted the recipe for the most:

Quinoa Tabouli

1 c. Dry quinoa
2 c. water
1 large cucumber
1 large tomato (heirloom preferred)
1/4 c. Mint, fresh, chiffonade
Olive oil
Juice from 1-2 lemons
Salt, garlic granules, and black pepper

Cook quinoa as directed (ours involves bringing to a boil, covering and simmering on low about 15 minutes).  Once cooked, transfer to a bowl. Add chopped vegetables and mint, season with salt, garlic, and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemons and add juice, the. Drizzle with olive oil (more than expected, but long before saturated with oil).  Mix well with a large spoon. Serve warm or chill first.