Oodles of Doodles

Doodles_0002Did you ever get in trouble for doodling on your school work when you were a kid?  I certainly did! The funny thing is that no matter how many times I was reprimanded I couldn’t give it up. And today, I doodle just as much.

According to Wikipedia the definition of doodling is this:

“A doodle is an unfocused or unconcious drawing made while a person’s attention is otherwise occupied. Doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be abstract shapes.”Doodles_0004Doodle_0001If I am at meeting or required to do any form of auditory learning, my compulsion to doodle is irresistible. My childhood impressed upon me that doodling was bad but recently I discovered otherwise:

According to a study published in the scientific journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, doodling can aid a person’s memory by expending just enough energy to keep one from daydreaming, which demands a lot of the brain’s processing power, as well as from not paying attention. Thus, it acts as a mediator between the spectrum of thinking too much or thinking too little and helps focus on the current situation. The study was done by Professor Jackie Andrade, of the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth, who reported that doodlers in her experiment recalled 7.5 pieces of information (out of 16 total) on average, 29% more than the average of 5.8 recalled by the control group made of non-doodlers. (Thanks again Wikipedia!)Doodles_0003Doodles_0008In light of those statistics I say > DOODLE ON!!!

~MichelineDoodles_0006 Doodles_0009






Busy Bees

Bee_smallMost of us complain, “I’m just so busy!” We often use the expression “busy as a bee” or “ants in your pants” to describe our incessant activity. But how much does our busyness really compare to that of a bee or an ant?

Apart from producing one of the sweetest nectars on earth, bees are essential to pollinating our ecosystems. If bees were to stop their “busyness” it would negatively impact all of us. Pollination helps preserve our natural forests and wildflowers providing the seeds, fruit, and nuts that sustain wild animals. Pollination of our own vast food supplies sustains us. Our very survival relies on these tiny, magnificent creatures.Paint-2a_smallAnts are equally magnificent; they turn over and enrich the soil more than earthworms, they spread seeds, pollinate plants and control the pest and spider populations. Additionally, they keep the environment clean by consuming dead animals and they themselves are a food supply for many other species.

In all honesty I can’t profess that my “busyness” even remotely compares to that of a bee or an ant. While much of my time is spent caring for my family and community, in all honesty I take on a lot of things that actually reduce the time I have to spend on the people and things I care about.

I suppose the issue isn’t necessarily our “busyness” but instead it’s what we are busy doing.

~ MichelineSpring_2011_17_smallIMG_8178_smallMy Father-in-law found this spectacular “Ant Castle” last year. It has roads winding round and round – all the way up to the top!

The Secret to Suess

Last Christmas I donated all of my Dr. Seuss books to “A Book Under Every Tree.” It’s a wonderful literacy initiative that benefits kids who may not have a lot of books in their home. I was happy to donate the books but the fact is I kinda miss them as well.

You see Dr. Seuss is one of my favourite authors and even though Will and Thom think they’ve outgrown his stories, I know I haven’t. Perhaps it’s his use of nonsensical words or the enjoyable way they roll off my tongue. Perhaps it’s the unstated yet resonant message of his stories. Or perhaps it’s my appreciation for the man himself.

Dr. Seuss (born Theodor Seuss Geisel) had moxie. Despite the fact that he came from a family of German brewmasters during the onset of prohibition and World War I, Seuss (aka Ted) was able to gain popularity with his peers simply by being himself.

Seuss had perseverance –his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before going to publication.

He had talent and versatility. Before he was a best-selling author he was a cartoonist for such notable publications as The Saturday Evening Post, Life and Vanity Fair. He was an ad man, a patriot and an academy award winning animator of World War II military training films.

And he changed the way educators approach children’s literacy.

Not everyone is aware of this, but Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat –considered to be the first “playground word-of-mouth bestseller” –was actually written in response to a challenge from William Spaulding, then-director of the education division at Houghton Miffin.

Spaulding had read a 1954 Life magazine article by John Hersey that suggested the reason schoolchildren couldn’t read was because books, like Dick and Jane, “were too boring”. (True that!) Spaulding then challenged Seuss to not only write a story that 1st graders wouldn’t be able to put down, but to write it using no more than 250 of the 348 words that Spaulding felt were important for grade one children to know. Seuss used 236.

I guess that’s the secret to Seuss and why he’s a favourite of mine –moxie, perseverance, talent and legacy. Yes, I admit I still miss my Dr. Seuss books but when I consider the benefits they’re providing to their newest owners I think I can live without them. 🙂

~ Trina

Is April Fools Really Just for Fools?

My kids love April Fools –possibly because it’s a way to get back at Dad for his years of tomfoolery. You see it’s been their dad’s practice to make outrageous claims to our kids for as long as any of us can remember. In fact it’s standard family practice for the kids to look to me for confirmation (or not) whenever Dad tells them anything.

Since toddlerhood my kids have been told that fried chicken is actually “gicken”, a genetically modified chicken that has six legs and runs as fast as a gopher. They’ve been told that that we used to have to cut holes in their diapers when the boys were babies because they were born with tails –which subsequently “dried up and fell off”; when Will or Thom ask where mom is the standard answer is that I’ve “run away with the ice-cream man.”

Our children’s true parentage has ranged from aliens to monkeys and Charley Cat is actually a superior being sent to study humans. Apparently we’ve agreed to allow him to board with us free of charge in exchange for immunity when the cat aliens take over the planet.

Thankfully my children have learned from a very young age that you can’t believe everything you hear. And they’ve gotten really good at questioning what they’re told –even the believable stuff.

According to Wikipedia April Fools has been around for a very long time with possible origins going as far back as 536 BC, Persia (now Iran). It makes me wonder whether these ancients recognized a benefit to foolery on the development of critical thinking skills.  Has April Fools actually helped us to become smarter, more discerning human beings? Or is it just one more way to produce what many refer to as “the best medicine”; laughter.

~ Trina

You can download a free larger printable PDF version of this April Fool’s colouring page by clicking here >>> Colouring Pages