Written and images on this blog are Judie Ryan's sole property unless otherwise indicated.

Monday, August 28, 2017


I've been cruising around Pintrest for something interesting (not busy work) for linking books and fun things to do to excite your child about books. All I found was crafts (busy work) or worksheets (more busy work) from professional teachers. Read this book, my daughter's favorite when she was very little and Pooping in the Closet (see Yikes! My Toddler Pooped in the Closet Part 1,2,ans 3)

 You can also read any book about Seahorses. Seahorses are so amazing, because the father raises the babies. Then give your child or children the craft for Yikes! My Toddler Poops in the Closet Part 3 and 4 (coming soon).
Complete Ocean Rewards. But to inspire seahorse play for a book about seahorse, the seahorse by itself is perfect. More seahorse play to follow soon.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Before Google and Smartphone, I was in Maine one summer when I saw a total solar eclipse. No one was there except my roommate and I. We walked out the door and looked up.  Not smart, but as teenagers at music camp, we didn't know any better. 
In our location in 2017, we only had a partial eclipse (83% of the total). We went to a nearby dog park, where our local astronomy club was offering eclipse glasses and two filtered telescope for anyone to look through. There were only 253 eclipse glasses that were all gone by the time we got there. There were about 1000 viewers. We got in the telescope viewing line as soon as we got there. It took us four hours to get to them. It was worth it and many people in line shared their glasses, plus we met a lot of nice people. After four hours in line, we saw a guy using this viewing system with binoculars, tripod and foam core boards. The eclipse looked bigger than through the glasses and sharper and easier to see than through the telescopes. Our inventor left both binocular lenses open and it didn't seem to affect anything. You can find directions for making one the next time you have a great view of a solar eclipse under DIY Solar Binocular Eclipse Viewer. Have fun! 

Sunday, August 20, 2017


As you've no doubt heard, there are lots of phony eclipse glasses out there. Friends of mine decided that welder's goggles would be just as good. The thing is you can text your eclipse glasses in advance. When the day and the sun are normal (not in the eclipse), put on you eclipse glasses. If you can see anything else, but the sun, you don't have eclipse glasses and anything else you've come up with isn't safe to use. For more safety information, check the American Astronomical Society or check online to see if you have a local astronomy club (not astrology). Even this photo of an eclipse hurts my eyes, but the first one I used was, surrounded by red, orange and yellow flares, made it almost impossible to read this post. Don't look at it for a long time either.
From The Independent

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


To get a full picture of the beginning of this post, see March 31, 2017 YIKES! MY TODDLER POOPS IN THE CLOSET! Part 1 and YIKES! MY TODDLER POOPS IN THE CLOSET! Part 2 on April 4, 2017 to find out how we got here. When I wrote YIKES! MY TODDLER POOPS IN THE CLOSET! Part 2, Because I no longer had the original or photos of the original for those 2 posts or "How to Get Them Out of the Closet and onto the Potty" kit, I've been digging around for things to illustrate the kit for you.

In order to create an "OCEAN" reward system, which is what I did, I looked at the large variety of ocean TOOB creatures made by Safari Ltd.. Later I found Wild Republic's Itsy Bitsies. I'm sure there are more companies and more sizes. Depending how old your child is or whether he/she has grown out of putting things in his mouth and swallowing them, you need to choose the right size plastic critters for your child's safety.

When my friends and I were little, and went out to my grandmother's farm, the first thing we did was make a beeline for a small clock box, that not longer had it's inside. My grandmother had taped a picture behind the remaining piece of glass. It looked very inviting and held our favorite treasures, about 5-10 miniature glass or wood animals. Nothing at all spectacular, but we loved them because they allowed our imaginations to run wild. They weren't even to reward us, they were just for play, but that's how I got the idea.

My daughter played with her plastic ocean creatures in the kitchen, bathtub or where ever we were. Here's a picture of how I stored them. Easy to carry around and here's a sample of what might have been inside. (see more in the next post)

          Here's what you might find inside!

Friday, August 11, 2017


Yup, the other day when I was running my antivirus, I got a message. It said we recommend that you add this Microsoft attachment (that's probably not the right word) or your computers might catch this horrible, worldwide, very bad, ugly worm with this name_______ (I can't remember it exactly). Now, you're probably all smarter than I am, but I did what my antivirus said. It's always worked before.

But this time, within an hour, not only could I not get the internet, it's icon was completely gone. I couldn't find my antivirus, call it up or find it's icon either. Not anywhere. 

So, when I took all my computers to my computer repair shop, I got a lecture (Like I really needed that!). "Don't do anything your anti-virus, Microsoft etc. recommend, You're probably giving your computers just what you're trying to avoid. You know, that horrible, worldwide, very bad, ugly WORM!!! Bad people etc.can make themselves look just like your antivirus program, your bank, your doctor, your kids, Microsoft, that really sexy guy on your dating service etc. What ever they tell you...DON'T DO IT! "

So after all these days without my computers, missing my postings to you ((I COMPLETELY APOLOGIZE!!!!!),and everything else I was supposed to do, I hope I've learned my lesson. Because I don't want to look like that kid above again!

Monday, August 7, 2017


Do you and your kids love dogs and astronomy? Coming soon is a great time to see both in the night sky. When I was little, my father would carry me outside at night and point out constellations.

The sky is so enormous and how fascinating that it is full of symbols. I didn't become an astronomer, but I'm always excited about whats going on in the heavens. I've seen one complete solar eclipse and plan to see the one coming up. I read that Venus was travelling across the sun and googled our local astronomy club. It was meeting behind a local school and offered a number of large telescopes, but you could bring your own. I found it highly amusing that one parent was so excited about looking through the big telescope multiple times, that he said to his kids: "I'll show it to you after I see it again." This might seem mean or selfish, but if you show great excitement for a subjects, your kids are likely to too.

Canis Major means Great Dog in Greek mythology  A major star in Canis Major, Sirius, often called the Dog Star, and is probably the source of the name for Harry Potter's Animagus godfather, who escaped from Azkaban. Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky because of its luminosity (its reflection of continuous steady light) and nearness to the Earth. There are other brighter objects like the moon, but wow a star that unskilled observers think is a UFO!. Some depictions of Sirius as a dog described the star as the nose of the dog. That's the way it's presented in the night sky just below.

                                                     FIND IT IN THE NIGHT SKY.
from http://stories.barkpost.com

Don't you just love this book cover? The stars can really stimulate imagination. This book, Sirius The Dog Star, is fiction and  made up of short tales for dog and science fiction lovers.
P.S. This dog looks just like one of my dogs. Isn't he cute? Mine doesn't have a space suit though. He does wear a sock puppet costume for Halloween and costume parties.

Available at Amazon and may other book selling sites.

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Some teachers and parents think that participating in reading competitions, sports and so on in early elementary school is a good thing.   These competitions are often the idea of teachers and are supported by groups like Shriners and Kiwanis in their local area. In second grade, my daughter won the reading competition. She read The Little Princess, written by Frances Hodgson Burnett (published in 1905). The book was later made into a Shirley Temple movie in 1939 (my favorite). The book was also remade into a movie in 1995, starring Liesel Matthews.

After years as a performer, I knew how to coach my daughter to win. She chose the book. That particular book made her stand out because it wasn't Disney, American Girl, etc. which were contemporary. She dressed up, had a puppet and did part of a scene from the book, along with meeting the other requirements of the competition. I recall there were about fourteen students in the program, although I can't remember if their teachers chose them, their parents pushed them to enter, or they volunteered. They performed in front of the entire school, all the teachers, some of the parents and the principal and the school district superintendent. Not much pressure for a six-year-old right?

At any rate, my daughter won. But, of course, every other competitor, which included her best friends, looked sad. The other students looked unhappy and so did the parents. Although, I was glad my daughter won, I felt from years of teaching experience, that children's egos, all children's egos should be built up when they are young, not feel like losers. And in many school competitions there is only one winner and only one child who feels really good about themselves. I understand there are some people who think that children should get tough and be hard from the earliest ages, but I don't. 

Former teacher Karen Schwenker read Mother Goose rhymes
There should be a way for all children to win and gain confidence. You know how at birthday parties at that age end up with many of the guests and/or the birthday kid crying  No child cried at Julia's early birthday parties ever cried or felt unhappy, because they all won. They even heard the book the party was based on read by one of the book's characters. Think that made the kids unhappy? Too much like school? Wrong! They loved it. So if a birthday party can be a learning experience and all the guests win then why can't our schools figure out how to do the same things? 

Some children, do fall behind, but if they can be successful over and over again at school when they are young instead of failing over and over, then obviously children left behind might be able to catch up.