Monday, February 18, 2013

listening and dreaming

The wind is howling at about 40 miles per hours outside right now. Windy is definitely the word of the winter. It has been raw in these parts. Grey, wet, and windy. During the mild months we spend so, so, sooooo much of our time outside, so this can be a challenging time of year. This week I thought I would share some of our cabin fever busters.

One of our long time favorite ways to pass the inside time is audio books. Listening to stories is a wonderful way to escape in your mind while still being able to be busy with your hands. We don't own a TV, and screen time is very, very limited so Zach has long been totally captivated by audio books. I was worried that when he started reading somehow we would grow out of audio stories in favor of the printed word. But there is something so completely special and magical about the spoken word. The voices, the dramatic pauses, the way one person can play 6 or 7 characters convincingly and just sweep the listener away. I don't think anyone outgrows that.

We are big fans of Jim Weiss, and when Z was a tyke we also loved Jessie Modic's fun loving music and stories. But recently I came upon something purely genius. Sparkle Stories is an online subscription audio story site. Every single week they come out with new stories. Seriously, how fabulous is that?!

Zach is totally in love with Junkyard Tales. It's an ongoing story of a cat named Benjamin Thompson who lives in the junkyard with a colorful cast of animals characters. He is so intent when he listens. It's not background noise, it's his whole world at that moment. And that's why I am so grateful that these stories are so wholesome and full of the sort of messages that I would want my kids to hear. Sparkle Stories manages to strike that perfect balance between entertaining and thought provoking with little life lessons wrapped in imaginative fun. Of course the morals sound much better coming from a thoughtful cat and other critters than mom and dad. It's like blending the spinach into the fruit smoothie.  And even though Naia isn't quite old enough to tune in and pay attention yet, I love knowing that these stories will be part of our library, available on the Sparkle Stories web site when she's ready, and fresh stories will always be rolling in while we're subscribed.

We hung a hammock in the bubble in the very aft section of the cockpit. When the sun is shining, the bubble is toasty warm even when it's 29 degrees and blowing 40 miles an hour outside. Zach can be found swinging in the hammock where he can be away from his sister and her perpetual singing. He has a speaker right behind him playing Sparkle Stories. He listens and swings and dreams about spring.


Amanda said...

I'll have to check out the website. Thanks for this link. I love the ways your boy finds solitude even in a smaller space.

Cassie said...

First of all, I'm pretty sure I need a hammock hanging in a warm bubble.

Second of all, thanks for sharing Sparkle Stories! We love to listen to audio books, and this sounds most wonderful!

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