Brilliant Ideas

…are spent at our local mall’s fantastic educational toy store. I love shopping there. When I can’t be with Jamie during my workday, finding him awesome presents at the mall on my lunch hour is the next best thing.


Today, I was on a mission. For some reason, over the last few months Jamie has started getting really excited every time we’re out somewhere and see something with Thomas the Tank Engine on it. I have no idea where or when he was exposed to this, because he’s never watched the show with us at home (it’s on during the day on weekdays when we’re at work) and his preschool has never shown it either. Somehow, though, Jamie knows who Thomas is and just goes absolutely nuts every time we see his picture on something, whether it’s toys, or sippy cups, or whatever.


So, I decided to poke around the toy store today and hook Jamie up with some Thomas stuff of his own. Luckily, My Favorite Toys has the largest selection of Thomas toys in Southern Illinois. (That place really rocks. They have a lot of obscure stuff, and hard-to-find stuff, and classic stuff from when parents and grandparents were little kids, and just all sorts of neat stuff. They also have tons of Folkmanis puppets, which family members have been buying for Jamie since he was born. He has quite the collection these days.) I am putting a link to this toystore’s expansive website in my list of links, because I really want these folks to stay in business for a long, long time. They are so friendly and knowledgeable — it’s like they only hire teachers or something. I’m constantly telling people to go check them out if they’ve never been in there or browsed their website. I like to keep our bucks in Southern Illinois, and I love having them as a local resource. I want them to stay put!


Anyway, getting back to Jamie and his Thomas obsession, I bought him two Thomas & Friends videos, two books (one with magnetized pages and cool magnets of all the Island of Sodor trains, and one with a clock with moveable hands so you can change the time on every page as Thomas goes through his railway schedule — how cool is that?) and a little Jamie-sized railroad engineer’s cap to wear when we watch his Thomas videos. I called Geoff, who usually gripes that Jamie has too much junk as it is, and he got really excited about coming home and playing/watching Thomas the Tank Engine with Jamie. Geoff really wants to do train sets with him when he gets older, so he was chomping at the bit to come home and have “train night” at our house.


I can’t wait to surprise Jamie with all his Thomas presents!





I just finally figured out how to use’s blog stats, where you can go in and find out what sort of keywords people are searching the Internet for that lead them to your page. I just want to say I am impressed – not a single day has gone by in the past several months that people have not found my blog by searching for the phrase “lonely goat turd.”


 Simply amazing.

 That is all.

OK, so I’ve had a little stroke of brilliance in all of this baby planning:

Do you remember the craze that swept America and Great Britain in the late seventies/early eighties when painter Kit Williams released a children’s picture book titled, “Masquerade?” The story was, on the surface, a fable about the Moon (a lady) falling in love with the Sun (a man). The Moon sends her friend Jack Hare (a rabbit courier) with a treasure to take to the Sun as a gift, but somehow along the way, Jack Hare loses the trinket.

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 The real-life mystery surrounding this fable was that the author had created a magnificent golden rabbit, worth over $5,000, and had buried the treasure somewhere in the British Isles. The 15 beautifully complex illustrations and accompanying verses in the book were actually hundreds of little clues as to the golden rabbit’s location. (Where, along his voyage, had Jack Hare misplaced the treasure?) Somewhere in each illustration is a bunny. It might be easy to spot or very difficult. It might be a topiary shrub shaped like a rabbit, or a gelatin mold with long ears. Either way, it’s there on each page if you look hard.

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For three years, thousands and thousands of Americans and Brits alike scoured the pages of the book and the British countryside, trying to decode the complex puzzle and learn the location of the rabbit. Public and private property alike were continually being dug up and destroyed in the hunt.

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Eventually, the rabbit was found. (Although the winner turned out to be a fraud many years later. He had not actually solved the puzzle to discover the location of the rabbit…and sadly, after a run of three years with no one solving the clues, a couple of science teachers had actually finally solved the puzzle, but the author received their correct solution two days after the fraudulent winner walked away with the prize. What a scandal!)


ANYWAY…my brilliant idea is as follows:

 I would love to set up the baby nursery with a mural spanning all four walls, with background scenery that changes all over the place. Then, all over the walls, both up high and down low, have each of the 15 illustrations from the book framed and hanging where the background mural scenery flows right into the backgrounds of the framed pictures.

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 I think this would be SO neat. And there could be a garden outside with lots of little hidden rabbits and “treasures,” and celestial stuff everywhere…I am so excited about this idea!!


 And I could make a little doll with a dress apron full of pockets like the “Penny Pocket” illustration from the book (second set of pictures from the top of this entry; the one on the right–always my favorite picture from the book when I was little). Oh, the ideas!!!

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 If anyone doesn’t remember this book, or if you remember it fondly and are feeling nostalgic, I’ve found an awesome website with some clues and comments and interesting tidbits of information on both the artist and the book:


 Happy hunting!

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