Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Collings Foundation Battle of Bunker Hill

The Collings Foundation has primarily been known for their 20th Century historical programming. July 23 and 24 they will be producing a unique Revolutionary War program focused on the Battle of Bunker Hill. While Lexington and Concord and the Tea Party get quite a bit of local attention, Bunker Hill has been a more neglected part of local history. It is an interesting choice for the Collings Foundation to pursue. I'm hoping they continue to broaden their historical explorations as it is a great resource for young and old interested in seeing live history events.

For those of you interested in learning more about the event or getting tickets you can find information at their website here.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Think Now About Your Christmas Toy Donations

I write about a doll donation I make every year on my craft blog. I buy dolls and then crochet clothes for them to donate. I've even started hunting for accessories to add to the donations to make the gifts more fun. I've been fortunate to have family and online friends add to my donations each year. The last few years the needs just keep getting greater and for many who want to help their own needs can make helping more challenging too.

One thing I've learned from doing this donation is the worst time to buy the items I need is when I need to donate them. For the best deals I hunt year round and store the dolls and accessories I find until I'm ready to donate.

I decided to write this blog after coming across doll deals some better than others that I will store and use for both this year's donation and future donations. Stores often have sales when people are least likely to think about buying toys. I've heard from friends and read other postings from people who find their deals in stores. I tend to shop online mostly, but have felt good about the deals.

I realize for many this year is going to be hard and you have to honor your budget. If you are budgeting money to donate to a toy drive I do suggest you do check out those toy deals when you feel comfortable doing so and look for good deals. I donate a variety of dolls, Barbies, baby dolls, Glitter Girls, Our Generation, My Life to name a few. This past week I found some amazing bargain basement Barbie prices and a decent deal for a Glitter Girl Doll.

While my focus has been dolls for donation, over the years I've bought toys year round for family when they had a specific interest in Lego's, toy cars, etc. because again finding items on sale is always preferable to waiting until the event is closer and having to pay full price. Even with inflation stores still have deals for items children want because they don't want to carry inventory forever. You can find good toys to donate at a reasonable cost if you start early and stick to your budget.

Another item people often donate to toy drives at Christmas are art supplies. Generally during the summer months stores begin have amazing sales on name brand crayons, markers, colored pencils and other supplies. The named brand art supplies are often cheaper in the summer months to buy and store until you need them for donations then the generic brands will be come the Christmas shopping season.

I've mentioned this before but for those who like to donate to elders who some times get neglected at the holidays, coloring is still a popular hobby. Colored pencils are a nice thing to include in a donation and are far cheaper during the school sales than later.

Just a note about shipping. For those like me who do most of their shopping online there is a huge advantage to ordering early when you find deals. First, you are in no hurry to get the items as it just delays how long you have to store them. I've had deals from both Target and Amazon for taking slower shipping options and being willing to delay my shipments. Amazon varies the deals but I recently got a dollar off my order from Target by being willing to delay my shipment. Since I don't need the stuff until November I'm more than willing to wait. I have Prime so my shipping is always free with Amazon but with Target and Walmart I do tend to wait until I have enough items to qualify for free shipping.

Not everyone who has helped in the past will be in a position to help this year with providing donations to children's toy drives. However, for those of us in a position where we can help, we can make our money go farther by looking for deals now and putting stuff aside to donate when we find something at a price we can afford. Remember that each donation will make a child's Christmas brighter this year.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Red Riding Hood Retold by Beatrix Potter

I've been researching Beatrix Potter titles for a craft project and that documentation has primarily gone on my craft blog. However, in my search for Beatrix Potter titles I came across Red Riding Hood retold by Beatrix Potter and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

I'm always interested in different versions of fairy tales and Oxenbury's introduction explains why she wanted to illustrate Potter's darker version of the tale. I grew up on the darker fairy tales and I was quite surprised to go to school and realize most children grew up with the more cleaned up versions of the classic fairy tales. I'd seen the Disney Cinderella but I'd also read the darker version with the sister's removing parts of their feet to fit in the shoes. What I didn't realize is most kids had never heard the darker versions. Even some of my teachers hadn't read the original darker tales and thought I'd made them up. I later found a copy of the book I'd grown up with and felt almost vindicated that I hadn't been crazy remembering the much darker versions.

For those looking for a happily ever after tale where Red Riding Hood learns her lesson about wandering off and not following directions from her mother, this is not the tale for you. This tale is about the true nature of a wolf. He is a predator and in this version a trickster and this does not bode well for Red Riding Hood. Oxenbury tries to indicate there will be justice at the end with her illustrations, but Potter let the wolf go with Riding Hood punished for not heeding the directions of her mother.

Many years ago I used to teach a traditional tales unit to fourth graders and I could see using this book as part of that unit. It shakes up the tale kids think they know and gets them to think about the story they think they know in a new way. However, for parents who see Beatrix Potter and think they'd like this for their nursery I'd get a copy from the library and look at it first. There are more younger child versions that would appeal to little ones.

Monday, August 2, 2021

American Heritage Museum's Military History Through the Ages

If you looking for a living history event in Massachusetts the American Heritage Museum next event is Military History through the Ages. They will be hosting a series of reannactment encampments from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam on August 7th and 8th from 9-5 each day. There will be a variety of presentations from differnt military groups but their camps will be open for you to tour during the event.

I've been to their WWII event and written about it here several times. The military camps are an amazing learning experience. Something that can't be matched from a book or movie. I've been to Revolutionary War encampments hosted by local reannactors at other sites and again the ability to see, hear, and ask questions about life for the people who where living at the time is a unique learning experience for adults and children both.

Along with the encampments the Museums will be open to tour as well during your visit. I've seen the cars, planes, and tanks several times now but the main museum was just opening during our last chance to visit. I'm looking forward to touring it this visit.

Admission for the Saturday and Sunday events are as follows:

$25 Adults | $20 Seniors/Veterans | $15 Children Under 12

Members, WWII/Korean War Veterans and Children Under 3 are Free – No ticket required.

You can purchase advance tickets or find out more about the event by going to the website here.