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The Daring Book for Girls

[YouTube Link]

A while ago, Neatorama reviewed Conn and Hal Iggulden's bestseller The Dangerous Book for Boys - a manual for boys on how to rediscover fun and adventure. But what about girls? Sure, today's girls have emails, iPods, cell phones, and other things that their mothers couldn't imagine when they were young girls, but for many, something is missing.

That something is the magic of girlhood: stories, crafts, outdoor activities and plain good old fashioned fun that young girls had been doing for decades before the age of the Web. To help today's girls take a break from the digital life and recapture a little of that "magic" is Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz's book The Daring Book for Girls.

Daring picks up where Dangerous left off: the beautifully bound, blue and sparkly (yes, sparkly!) book covers over 100 topics ranging from how to play hopscotch, press a flower, make friendship bracelets, to how to build a fort (it's not just for boys, you know).

Forgot how to play Four Square? Wonder what the slumber party classic "Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board" game is all about? … And how does that campfire song "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" go again? (girls, a tip: your parents looove this song, especially if you sing it for them over and over again on long car trips!) Well, The Daring Book for Girls got you covered.

In addition to the neat how-to's, the book also has great stories about famous women in history: queens and princesses, sportswomen, explorers and inventors (excerpted on Neatorama here). It has an article about women spies (did you know that during World War I, the counter-intelligence agency MI-5 used Girl Guides - the British version of Girl Scouts - to deliver secret messages because Boy Scouts couldn't do the job properly?) The book also has a list of women pirates (think Blackbeard was tough? Read about Ching-Shih, the early 19th century commander of the infamous and undefeated Red Flag Fleet. She commanded about 1,800 ships and 80,000 pirates!)

True to its name, The Daring Book for Girls itself does a daring thing: it tries to explain the mysterious, gross and yet fascinating beings called … boys! But you have to read the book yourself to find out what. (To my daughter Maddy, who might be reading this in a few years' time: ignore boys until you're twenty five, please.)

On a personal note, this is a book I truly looked forward to reviewing. I've heard good things about it. Andi and Miriam were interviewed on the Today Show and there are tons of great reviews in the blogosphere. The book is already a bestseller (it's ranked #9 on Amazon's after just a couple of weeks on sale). When I got the book, it was readily apparent that it was not just hype: the book really delivered. This is the sort of classic book that I will keep so when my daughter is old enough, we can go over it together.

Get a FREE The Daring Book for Girls Book

Now, the good folks at HarperCollins are generously sponsoring a book giveaway. For a FREE copy of The Daring Book for Girls, visit the website and leave a comment below about your most memorable experience or activity with your mother/daughter/sister, or an advice for a fun activity you can do together with your child. Best 20 comments win. Good luck!

Links: The Daring Book for Girls official website | at HarperCollins | Authors' websites: Andi Buchanan, Miriam Peskowitz. For your convenience, here's the Amazon link.

See also our accompanying article, an excerpt of A Short History of Women Inventors and Scientists.

This review and book giveaway are sponsored by HarperCollins.

Update 11/30/07: Thank you for your comments, guys! They were amazing and it was really difficult to pick the best ones. I had emailed the winners and will get the book shipped asap. Thank you again for participating!

Well, then I'll give it a go :) The book looks really cool as well.
My most memorable experience is actually from when I was a little girl. Back then we still lived in Russia, commuting between Moscow and a smaller place called "Aleksin" and our garden with a shed somewhere entirely different. We very often went out to the nature, to the woods for example. That trip always involved walking quite a long way (for a little girl that is) through fields with a little stream. Nothing, no buildings around, just crop, grass and that stream. We always would stop by a certain itsy bitsy teeeny bridge where we'd fill our bottles with that fresh water (I can still feel the taste of it). Then we'd continue, walking on to the woods. There she would show me how to start the camping fire, and how to put together a "shashlik" properly (there is an art to it). I always loved the roasting of apples on sticks, or putting foil around potatoes and placing them into the glowing wood. Also, we would - in the fall - put together a pile of fallen leaves and burn them, too. I know it is forbidden nowadays, but i tell you, nothing beats that smell. We would also collect flowers growing in the woods and make a little flower crown, or a bracelet, out of them.

The whole Russian countryside left many memorable things in my heart, like when we had to walk for a mile to get fresh water from a well :) or fed a little hedgehog that regularly visited us...
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I remember my sister, the most awesome and daring girl Ashanti, put me into the little flower basket at the front of her bike when we were small, she was 8 and i was 5, and we would see the world, she would tell me stories about how Attilla the Hun lived in the big bush on the corner of our street and how birds lived in Grandmas hair. Then one day she got so daring she hopped off her bike at the top of a hill and said 'Its time to become a man, you've got to grow up now' and pushed it with me in the basket down... i broke my arm that day, but became a man.

You are awesome dear, in times of need, you have all the strength in the world in your heart.
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When I was a little girl, Detroit was still safe to explore on bikes. My best friend and I would ride for blocks and blocks, exploring the various neighborhoods and their different oddities. There was the big, old brick house where the lady would hang her head out the window to dry her hair; the brick house surrounded by walls and fences with barbed wire to keep people out (or in!!!); the house with the doberman who had pierced ears; the green house where the little boy was always tying his sister to a tree (and occasionally tried to set her on fire!); the ex-con who lived down the street whose arms were covered in tattoos, but who had the nicest flower garden I've ever seen; and the hairdresser who ran a beauty shop out of her basement and had women sitting under dryers on her front porch. We explored so many little places in our neighborhood, and they're all still so fresh in my mind that I feel like I could go back today and nothing would be different.
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Having thick, curly hair, getting it untangled after a shower was a painful task for four year old me. To make the experience more enjoyable, every Sunday night after I took my shower my mom turned the bathroom/bedroom area into a miniature beauty-salon. She took on the persona of a hairdresser...most often an older woman named Candace from Queens...and used the accent, new hairstyle for herself, and funny outfits to keep my focus off of the painful hair styling. A spinning computer chair became the focus of the bathroom, and the candles and radio playing really did change the atmosphere. After my mom...Candace, rather...finished untangling and blow-drying my hair, we moved to the bedroom which had the same beauty-salon atmosphere. I sat down on the edge of the bed while she took out the nail polish selections, making a big show of the colors they had to offer (even though she knew I'd always pick pink). While painting my fingernails and toenails I sipped on a “special” hot chocolate with whipped cream. I found out recently that the only “special” thing about it is that she put it in a wine glass. But the four year old me thought that was the coolest thing ever! As the nail polish dried, Candace left and my mom came back with some books to read. One Dr. Seuss book was all it took for the paint to dry up, and by that time I was so tired from the excitement of an evening at the salon that I just passed out.

It was such a nice way to end the night, and a sneaky way to get me to learn not to throw a tantrum every time I saw a comb.
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My favorite "activity" when growing up was traveling to different states such as South Dakota, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Texas, etc (I've been to at least 25 states). I believe traveling can be a fun and memorable experience (even if it is just another state close by) for any child as it was for me.
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When I was little, my mom used to occupy our time with all kinds of crafts but my favorite was homemade play dough. We made ornaments for every holiday imaginable. I still use this activity with my own daughter and she loves that there's a never-ending supply of play dough and that Mom likes to play with it just as much as she does.

Thanks for the giveaway!
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One summer many years ago when my twin sister and I were very young, we discovered a magnificent swinging vine in the woods behind our house. We constructed a fort to protect our vine, although it wasn’t much more than an old white blanket and some branches propped up against a tree, we thought it was the most magical place in existence. But the vine made the fort, the vine was the fort, without the vine there would be no fort at all. We felt a deep attraction to the woods; it was a force that seemed to pull us out of our beds each morning and drag us across the lawn and down the dirt path. We spent every waking moment of that summer in our fort and flying over the hill on our vine, the wind in out hair and not a care in the world. Years later, I still remember that moment and all of the promises the discovery of the vine held – promises of summer, of excitement, of flying, and of sisterhood. For that one summer I was surrounded by youth and innocence. But life taught me that eternal summers never last forever. Late August came and so did the high school boys from up the street. The boys caught sight of the vine and there was no stopping them, they were too heavy and the vine snapped sending the magic of that summer crashing down the hill. When we left the woods that day, we left for good. I know I can never go back; I am different now, and thus the place has changed as well. I would be a stranger, trespassing in a strange wood. The Vine was more than just a game to us. It was a freedom, something to call our own; but most of all, it was magic. It was the magic of the imagination that only children can experience. It was our eternal summer, and, for a brief two months, time could not enter.
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I remember when I was younger my mom used to be really into crafts and so every summer we used to go to my aunts and pick some zuchinis from her garden and she taught me how to carve up a zuchini to make it look like a boat. Too this day I think zuchini boats rock. :)
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I haven't a sister, and don't yet have any daughters, but when I do I promise they will be daring! I don't know when the decision was made that all girl things must be pink and involve sparkly accessories; I completely reject the current state of girlhood. My favorite games were always outside, bushwhacking trails through the woods and building forts out of anything we could find. I was a girl scout far longer than was socially acceptable, and some of my very favorite memories include winning a bowsawing contest and sneaking out of the tent at night to catch frogs. I've grown up to be a daring woman, and when I have kids of my own I hope to teach them that fun doesn't have to cost money.
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I like the book and the boy's version of it, I think it's really interesting and fun (even for older children ^_^) but the advert REALLY annoyed me. Pretty unneccessary seeing as it's going to sell in droves anyway.
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The book sounds great! And if I get a free copy, even better.

One of my most memorable experiences would have been with my mom, grandmother and older sister. We were at the beach in North Carolina when I was about 15 or 16, and my grandmother told us the sea turtles were coming out to lay their eggs that night. We drove to what was supposed to be the best place to see them, it was pitch black, close to midnight when we got there. We get out of the car with our flashlights and walk down, but we didn't find any turtles. It did, however, start to downpour and we all ran back to the car, soaking wet and laughing as my grandmother looked for her keys, trying to get the doors unlocked for us. We didn't see any turtles, which was a shame, but I still remember it being one of those just fun times when we were all laughing and just really loving being on a late-night all girl adventure.
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Hey, thanks for the nice review of our book. We loved writing it, relearning the things we knew as girls, figuring out what we wished we had known, and thinking about what's great about girlhood today, as well as what we can bring back into the equation to make it better and happier, and to help girlhood last longer.

How terrific to hear everyone's memories.

Miriam Peskowitz
Co-author with Andi Buchanan, The Daring Book for Girls
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I grew up an only child but I had two cousins a few years older than me. We lived in a small town in Alabama. Every summer they'd come over to my house and we'd go for these long walks to this huge(about half a city block, abandoned plum orchard. Along the two mile walk to the field was where the fun was though. It was a very Goonies/Stand By Me adventure every time. We'd tell secrets, talk about boys, poke things with sticks, throw flowers in ditchs, etc.

There was a group of boys around our age picking plums during the summer break too. It was such a small town that we knew them all. They'd chase us through the field until Melissa, the oldest, would yell at them. In retrospect, the boys probably had a crush on us but at the time we just thought they were jerks.

We'd each pick a small paper bag full of sweet plums and walk home. I'd wash the plums and put them in the fridge. After dinner I would sit in the back yard and eat one plum. One ice cold, juicy sweet plum and watch the lightening bugs.
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When I was 12-years-old, our family ate lunch on a round picnic table in our yard. This fact wouldn't be memorable if I hadn't asked my mother to pass me the butter.

Even though she was sitting next to me, she chose to toss the plastic margarine tub at me. I caught it, but a few minutes later when she held out a roll and asked, "Will you butter my roll?" I started spreading on the roll and continued on her hand and up her arm. Mom gave me a good long glare, then reached into the tub and smeared margarine in my hair.

At that point my father said, "Now, now ladies."

I looked at him and flung some food from my plate at him and Mom started laughing. So I flung food at her. She continued to laugh and said, "You little snot; I'm going to get you. Teach you to butter my hand!"

She chased me with a cup of iced tea around and around a tree and was successful in dousing me. So I turned the garden hose on her.

After it was all over, she went in the house to take a shower and told my sister and I to clean up. After the dishes were in the house I decided I would get her one last time. So I took a bucket we use to wash the car and filled it with cold water.

My parents had an "open door" policy with the bathroom which my sister and I never really cared for, but it allowed me to enter, stand on the toilet seat and dump that bucket over the shower curtain and into the shower.

What I didn't know was that my dad was in there too. "You little snot" turned into "You little sh*t!" They ripped open the curtain, grabbed their towels, and chased me to my room and tickled me until I almost pee'd my pants. When it was all over, I took my own shower (I still had my mom's margarine in my hair) and posted my 10-year-old sister as guard.

I could tell you about the time my mom helped me get a tampon unstuck, but that's not nearly as exciting.
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Grandmotherhood and granddaughters galore keep me lookng for great books for girls. This one looks like a must have. I love being in the car with my grandaughters singing old songs, (they have never heard of any of them)reciting nursery rhymes,(parents who work haven't the time) and telling stories(classics and the ones I make up). I get to do all the things I wanted to do with my own daughters with my grandaughters. I treasure every burnt cake and cookie because we baked them together. Picnics, kite flying, dress-up and playing toss with water balloons are just a few of our favorite things. This book might just remind me of other pastimes from my youth that I can share with the "grandgirls".
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I am so glad this book is finally out! I bought the Dangerous Book for Boys for my nephew last Christmas and he promptly built a slingshot and started ambushing every squirrel and rabbit in the yard! I am excited about buying my niece something that doesn't involve "Bratz" dolls or horrible pop singers.

A special girls' day out at a local tea room is a great treat for tween/teen girls. It is a very "grown up" way for mothers to spend one-on-one time with their daughters (or aunts with nieces). If the girl's grandmother is available, it could make a great multi-generational outing with the older women telling stories about their childhoods.
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When I think of a Daring Girl, I think of my older sister. She was always off doing daring things that often got her in trouble. One of the first adventures I remember having with Allison, I was in second grade and she must have been in junior high. We were going to one of my classmates' house. His brother was in Allison's grade and she had a crush on him. I didn't care for my classmate, but I was pretty excited to go on an adventure with my sister. Well, at some point during the visit, my sister got creeped out and wanted to leave. She had me secretly follow her and we stealthily left the house. Part way down the street we were being followed by the brothers. Giggling, we hid behind trees until we could safely run away from the boys!
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I remember when I was younger during the holidays we'd have to drive assorted distances to visit our various and widespread relatives. Along the way my mother and I would, much to the chagrin of my father, try to sing Christmas carols. Unfortunately, as we all know those songs all begin to sound the same after a while, but we prevailed anyways working together to remember lyrics or make up some that fit.
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My mom raised my sister and I by herself in Central Virginia, working full time on a pretty low salary. We didn't take family vacations to exotic places abroad, I've never even been to Disneyland. But what we DID do is take road trips together. The three of us would pile in the car with our snacks, pillows and blankets and go to Virginia Beach, Baltimore to watch the Orioles play ball, New York City (an amazing experience for a 15-yr-old, let me tell you), Washington, DC to visit the Vietnam Memorial or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. She would tell us stories, and the three of us would sing along to the radio. There was usually very little planning involved. We would sleep in the car or in cheap hotel rooms, but when you're a kid, that part didn't matter. It was the adventure of it all. We were explorers. I will never forget those days.
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I grew up in the 70s when everyone made everything themselves (or at least everyone I knew did). Our family (Mom, Dad, me, my brother, and uncle) would drive from NW Indiana in my dad's 30s pickup truck loaded with empty 5 gallon buckets and would drive to Michigan to pick strawberries. We would pick nearly as much as we ate and would drive home sitting among overfilled buckets, still eating as much as we could. The next day was filled with jam making. All day long. When we were younger my brother and I were in charge of squishing the juice out of the berries. When we got older we were allowed to cut the stems off of them. The whole house was filled with the scent of strawberries. We regularly made 100+ jars of jam and rarely was that enough to last us the year.

While our friends were eating sugared cereals for breakfast, we were eating toast with jam. For snacks we had Ritz cracker and jam sandwiches. There was even a time when my brother and I experimented with a bologna and jam sandwich heated in my easy bake oven (it really was quite good). Looking back on it I am surprised neither of us turned into a strawberry.

Our garden netted us other canning opportunities. Stewed tomatoes, home made pickles, frozen corn, peppers were stuffed and frozen for future consumption. Sitting in the garden was one of my favorite times second only to creating something new with what we grew.

To the writers of the book, thank you. My son has LOVED the Dangerous Book for Boys (as have my husband and my father-in-law). It is something I share with all of the parents of boys that I know. All have gone and gotten their own copy once my son makes it known that they can't borrow his.

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@Miriam Peskowitz #13 - Thank YOU (and Andi). The book is awesome, you guys did a good job!

And to the rest of the commenters: great job! It's great to hear so many memories. Please keep 'em coming.
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One of my best summers was spent at my grandmother's house, working away on making a newspaper with my sister and our cousins. We all thought it would be a great way to spend the long, warm days. We split up the tasks: some cartoons, advice column, review of a 'play' we had made the week before, and even a local history article featuring rubbings from a headstone in the graveyard. We typed it all up on an old-fashioned typewriter, and proudly presented it to our parents.
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Every Sunday, my parents would take my family on an "adventure". Sometimes we'd go on a nature walk, to a museum or maybe to our favourite park. My favourite was swimming because I got to cling on to my mothers for the whole hour. We'd play with the flutter boards and splash my dad and my brother. But the best was when my Mom would take me for a "moon walk" during the last 5 minutes of pool time. I'd wrap my arms around her like a monkey and we'd head out to the "deep" end. My Mom would simply bounce up and down across the width of the pool and back, talking to me about the moon and occasionally add some sound effects. When it was over, it was time to go. It all seems so simple, looking back on it now, but it will remain one of my most cherished memories.
Now that I have a little cousin, I do the exact same thing with her for the last 5 minutes of pool time... just like my Mom did with me!
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I don't have a lot of memories of cooking or craft activities with my mom. She didn't bake much and usually made simple meals. I wanted to change this for my own daughter. We've already made homemade baguettes together. She wore my hostess apron (which is a little on the shorter side) and pounded away on the dough. She giggled when it moved in a funny manner and snuck bites every now and again. She was so adorable perched in a stool next to the counter. We also love to make cookies together and create interesting shapes. She's only two but she is already picking up how wonderful and adventurous (sometimes) cooking with mommy can be.
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once, my sister and i went for a hike in the woods near our house because she had a photography project centered on nature. My sister and i had heard of a little lake in the middle of the metroparks (where we were) and decided to try and find it. it was freezing and raining outside, but we still walked several miles into the woods. We are both girly-girls, so this was extremely out of the ordaniary. We hadnt followed a path, so we were completely lost. Although we were cold and tired, we had the best time together. We ended up at the edge of the metroparks, and it took us almost 3 hours to find civilization again. My sister and i bonded more than ever that day.
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The book looks wonderful, and reminds me of all the childhood games we'd play: hopscotch, four square, stairs, blockout, and even games we invented ourselves - Doona, played in complete darkness, and a running game called Cheetah (I can't even remember the rules now, but someone was "It").

My sister and I and our two best girlfriends were very much the adventurers growing up in a small town in Western Australia, so I'm looking forward to reading the forts bit, as we were cubby maniacs in some acres of bushland by our house. The most memorable thing we did was ride our mountain bikes through tracks in the bush, and down a slope (which took some courage, it was a big slope) into the carpark of a medical centre, during closing hours of course. Most of the time we would all make it down the bottom intact and celebrate, but there would be times where someone would hit a rock halfway down, and they would slide to the bottom sans bike with gravel in the knees, bawling. We would all gather round and try to soothe and comfort as best we could until the howling stopped, so that no-one would come running, see what we were up to and tell us off.
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The thing that I always remember from being a little girl is how much time i use to spend with my mom, from shopping, to just sitting around doing crafts,like crocheting. the thing that i enjoyed the most though was getting up early to help her cook the thanksgiving/holiday meals. she would let me helpe do the pies, like the mixing and everything, it was so much fun, she has taught me so many things, if it wasnt for my mom i wouldnt be able to do/know half the things i do now.

it looks like a really great book.
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When I was about 3 or 4 my mum took my sister and I to the town hall so my sister could ride her bike and I could ride my tricycle. My sister was riding circles around me and going up and down the wheelchair ramp and I was so jealous. I told my mum I was going to do it and she said "You can't, you're tricycle doesn't have any brakes." Well I was like 3 or 4 so I had no idea what that meant. I ignored what she said and went up the wheelchair ramp......
I started to go down okay but my mum was all worried and jumped in front of my tricycle and tried to stop me....
I ran her over. I ran over my own mother! With a tricycle! She was all cut up and bleeding-then it was horrifying but we look back at it now and laugh hysterically.
My mum wasn't very good at explaining things to me. When I was like 3 or 4 I was obsessed with Madonna. I think I was the youngest Madonna clone out there. I remember she had one video out where she's wearing a tube top and spandex pants, hopping around in her Madonna-like way. Well I thought she was fantastic so of course I wanted an outfit just like that. My mum told me,"You wouldn't be able to wear the shirt, you don't have the boobs to hold it up."
I had no idea what boobs were, thought she said boots and replied, "Well go out and buy me a pair!"
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If I win a book, terrific, but I write this so I can share with everyone how special my grandmother was. My fondest memory of Grandma was baking Grandma's Recipe, a dessert that was a modern version of apricot jelly rolls. It was a recipe passed down from her grandmother from Russia that survived through the generations.

I was six or seven years old in Grandma's kitchen. I remember it being a dimly lit area with a fake brick floor. For such an exciting place, it was rather dark. I had always thought of the kitchen as off limits to anyone but Grandma. Her business took place there, and it was no one else's business to really be in there while she was at work. Knowing that we were going to bake together was thrilling, at the very least for having access to this sacred place and all of its countless wonders...utensils! There was so much to play with and discover! Metal spoons, wooden spoons, spatulas, sifters, measuring spoons, wire wisks, graters, wax paper (which I always thought was the coolest) - opening up a kitchen drawer was an electrifying experience!

On this day, I remember there being flour all over the counter for when she would roll out the dough. I remember standing on a foot stool, leaning over the counter beside Grandma, and watching her as she baked.
These memories always make me feel good, but what I really smile about when I think about it is how she would talk me through every step of the recipe. Being a little girl, she would sing song all of the instructions and exaggerate her words. "Now we need threeeeeeeee teaspoons of lemon juice. I want you to measure 3 teaspoons of lemon juice using these measuring spoons.... Attagirl! ....Make sure to really roooooo......ll out that dough, Ali. There ya go! Very nice!"

I loved my Grandma for making me her little helper. It made me feel important and big, not just for the fact that I was doing some of the work, but that I was doing this work with Grandma - in her kitchen. That was a big deal for a me! I had assumed a position in Grandma's Kitchen, and I was so proud! It was what made my days at Grandma's house.

The last time I made Grandma's Recipe with Grandma was about 7 or 8 years ago. She passed away last December, and the years before that she was suffering with dementia. Early on, when the dementia quietly began to creep in, my mother and I would discuss getting the recipe written down on paper. Obviously, Grandma had it in her head, and no one knew it but her. Fortunately, we did write it down with her before it was too late. I haven't made it on my own yet - why, I don't know. But I think that now after writing this entry, I'll give it go. And I'll be thinking of Grandma guiding me and singsonging each step the whole way through.
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My mother is a very driven and successful person. Now that I am in my mid-twenties, I can appreciate all of the hard work and drive it takes to accomplish what she has. But for a child, it can be a little hard to understand why your mother is one of the only ones who doesn't participate in the volunteer groups at school, or can't be there for the sports matched and school plays. To say that our realtionship was "strained" growing up is an understatement.

Now, we try to make up for it with fun trips and getaways that are just mother-daughter bonding time. Usually we have a great time. One such trip, however, did not hold all the joys we intended. we ended up on one of the biggest adventures of our lives.

At the time, I drove a Camaro, and we were in Utah on our mother-daughter trip. We decided that we wanted to see the national parks in Southern Utah, and drove to Mount Zion national park. Since we are not the most athletic of girls, we stuck to the easy hikes (and therefore were done by about 1 in the afternoon). The weather was nice, the park was gorgeous, so we thought "hey, why not go see Bryce canyon, too!" Big mistake.

We hop in my car and begin the 90 minute drive between the two parks. After about an hour, it begins to get cloudy. By the time we reach Bryce, it's snowing (keep in mind, we are in a sports car, 2 inches off the ground with racing tires, in a snowstorm at 7000 feet). We literally walk to the rim of the canyon, take pictures, and leave (the pics? not so great. One row of the rock formations is visible, and that's it. We weren't even dressed for that cold of weather...remember, in Zion it had been warm and sunny)

So we get back in the car and begin to drive to our hotel. However, my mother (ever the efficient one) has decided that we are going to take a different route home. She's plotted a course on a map that seems to be a better choice, because it doesn't require us to backtrack. Plus, it will get us back in time to make our dinner reservation.

I'm a little sketchy about the trip, but since my mother insists that this IS our route home, I agree to it.

The ominous signs start appearing when we make the turn onto A highway that tells us, literally, to turn back and take a different highway. But my mother doesn't believe it. She wishes to press onward.

Ever the dutiful daughter, I follow her instructions.

We drive for about an hour, and see NO other cars on the road. None. And the snow starts falling again.

I inform my mom that I do not feel comfortable driving my sports car with rear wheel drive and balding tires in a snowstorm. She shoos my worries away with a simple "We're going to hit 15 any minute now."

About 10 minutes later, we see a few more warning signs; snow pylons with nylon extensions, signs warning of snow drifts, ski resort signs, etc. Still, not wanting to backtrack, my mother insists we push forward.

Finally, we reach the intersection to the highway that leads to the interstate. I am overjoyed (and my steering wheel squeaks momentary relief from the loosening of my hands)... until I see the eight foot wall of snow in front of us. The highway my mother wants to take has been closed due to "inclimate" weather.
The snow is in full effect, and my tires lose traction when trying to turn around. We proceed to srift (a litle too close for my personal comfort) toward an iron railing.

She informs me that she'd like to turn the opposite way and continue to see where this road will lead us. While it's snowing. and we're in a sports car. With bad tires. and Rear wheel drive. Oh, and have I mentioned that my car is a convertible, and as recently lost it's back window? So it's literally snowing on us in the car.

I put my foot down (on the brake) and insist that we turn back around.

We are able to navigate back to our hotel (3 hours later), and research where we had driven. Apparently, my mother wanted to take us to yet another national park in Utah... one that is a 4,000 foot canyon whose rims lie at over 10,000 feet.
In a snow storm
In a Camaro
with bad tires
and no back window.
Oh, and can you guess where that 4,000 foot drop starts? Right at that railing we almost drifted into.
She contemplates our findings, then turns to me and states "hmm... well, maybe I'm not the best navigator. But at least we'll be able to laugh about this, right?"

Right, mom... right.

So, while I may not have had multiple "girl" adventures growing up, my mom and her fastidious ways make up for those losses sevenfold in the present.

And I love her all the more for it.
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When we moved out to what would end up being the patch of land I'd spend more than half my life growing up on, we had almost no television to keep us entertained. In those halcyon pre-cable days, there was a strip of dead airspace between Austin and San Antonio, and my parents had unwittingly chosen to homestead smack-dab in the middle of it. Only three stations managed to penetrate the hazy badlands of the Texas hill country: two PBS stations, and Channel 7. We were destitute, satellite was out of the question and even a tall aerial would have set us too far back financially. And all Channel 7 tended to show was soap operas.

Not being a fan of soaps, this left Mom and I having to cast about for other forms of entertainment. Thankfully, while we may have been dirt-poor, we were never too broke to hit the used-book store. Reading was a favorite pastime (that has still stuck with me!), and we had eleven acres of wilderness as our reading room. Once the chores were done, balmy afternoons would find us both lolling in a random tree like a couple of literate-minded jaguars, noses buried in novels. Mom cultivated in me deep and abiding passion for the written word that has colored every aspect of my life since. To this day, the thought of throwing a book away is almost as perverse to me as throwing my own son onto the garbage.

And almost two decades later, my favorite reading-tree still stands. To this day the bark is still worn down from all those years I shimmied up its trunk, novel crammed into a pocket, and settled in its branches.

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We were on vacation in the Canadian rockies when my mother got word that her mother, my grandmother, had died.

I was devastated; my grandmother and I were very close. She used to record stories, birthday wishes and various little tidbits on cassette tapes that she would then mail across the pond to her Canadian grandchild.

My mother knew how upset I was about this, and how much I was missing my grandmother. Now, the thing you need to know about my mother is that she is not a sentimental or overly emotional person. She grew up in the decades following WWII in England, and as such, was pragmatic and stiff-upper-lipped. So it made what she did for me doubly-amazing.

Disappearing into our attic, my mother hauled out her sewing machine, fabric swatches and scissors. She worked for hours at a time, and after a week or so, my mom finally came down the stairs, with something in her arms.

She called me over, and sat me down, explaining "how much my grandmother loved me, and how she would always be there to keep me safe, watch over me, and share in my adventures." And then she pulled from behind her back, a life-sized doll that looked just like my gran; from the sensible english shoes with sturdy buckles, to her curled hair and kind face (all hand embroidered with incredibly intricate detail). She had even had my grandfather send over one of my granmother's dresses-- the one I always remembered her wearing-- and had dressed the doll in it.

As a little girl who had just lost her most favourite and loved grandparent, I was so comforted and happy-- both that I'd have my granny around forever, and that my reserved and cool mother had made me something so amazingly touching.

I still have my grandmother doll, and if I have a daughter, I'll tell her the story of how *her* grandmother gave me such an amazing, lasting present-- both in the doll and in love.
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Well, I guess I'll share my story. (Please don't be sad...) We don't have the common relationship most moms and daughters enjoy.

When I was born, Mom was currently under treatment for what was called "nerve problems" - now schitzophrenia. She was taking Lithium and Phenyl Barbitol. Dad worked during the day and I spent my days with Mom before I was old enough to go to school. I became a Daddy's Girl and ran around the woods in our backyard during the day. Mom was always so drugged out and stared at the walls and talked to things around the house. She didn't always seem to know I was there, but I was young and I didn't know that not all Mom's are like mine.

The years went by and I found myself in 9th grade and mom turned 50. Dad said she always hated taking her medicines. So, on her birthday, she quit. It took a week or so, but mom came through the stupor. She was easily agitated, but told us stories about her childhood and teen years we never heard before. My brother and I were getting to know our mom. Dad was even surprised and he was happy to be with her again.

She stayed off the drugs and the mania set in. She became increasingly violent towards me (but not my little brother. He was her favorite.) Dad tried to get her back on her meds, but to no avail.

By the time I was in 12th grade, she had been institutionalized several times and on and off her medication. She was finally put on Prozac when I was in college, and she has been using the drug ever since.

We now get along pretty well, and I miss my Mom - the one I only got to know for such a short time before the disease set in again. I know one day I will meet her and she will be well. Till then, i am thankful for those fleeting days of stories and laughter.
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When I was three or four I would often wait until my Mom was in the bathtub before I had to ask her important questions. One such evening, I knocked on her bathroom door and told her I had something important to talk to her about. Knowing how kids can say just about anything, my mom hesitated, got out of the tub put on a towel and reluctantly sat down to answer whatever my important question was. Apparently as I looked at her with very serious eyes, I told her I wanted to talk to her about makeup. I wanted to know everything about it. What it's for and how to wear it. She remembers this "very important" conversation as our first girly "makeup" talk. I barely remember this happening, but thanks to my mom and her calendaring, she can tell me the exact day I broached our first womanly conversation.
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One of the best things I have found to do with children is treasure/scavenger hunts! You can do so many different things, such as pretending you're a pirate looking for buried treasure or searching for the lost tomb of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh - your imagination is the limit. When we were little, my sisters and I would take turns creating treasure hunts for each other - when it was my turn, I liked to make up little riddles that would tell them where to go next. And even though I'm (sort of) grown up now, I still enjoy treasure hunts!
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As the father of a remarkable five year old girl, this is a book I am keen to buy (or win) and use. As you might expect, my daughter is one of the few stars that light my life. Furthermore, I think I can say without fear of contradiction, that as far as she is concerned, I set the moon.

As a father, I take very seriously my obligation to help my daughter realize that she should never limit her aspirations. She is in that rare place where her dreams about her own potential are clear and unconstrained. Among other things we have spent time hammering nails; fixing a faucet; creating a board game; watching a partial lunar eclipse; collecting morning dew; learning to play (or make a tremendous amount of noise with) the drums and electric guitar; making baking soda rockets; making paper; writing and filming a movie; and learning to throw a frisbee. During each of these events, my daughter invariable intones, "Daddy, I could never do that by myself before!" This expression of sincere amazement and exhilaration always makes me dizzy with love.

So I am unable to identify one memory as the most remarkable. It is instead those recurrent experiences of watching my daughter identify more things that she can do, explore, know, or achieve. It is those recurrent experiences of knowing that I had a hand in making her growing world of opportunity and amazement just a little bit bigger.
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When i was growing up we used our imagination quit a bit. We would draw our make believe house and draw squares for each room and leave a opening for the door. We would draw furniture in each room and draw halls and accesories. Granted we needed a good size area to do this but worked good on the play ground or back yard with out alot of grass.Kids now could use the washable chalk on the driveways and that would be even better to show off the house you created. After we did all this work we would go to each others house and visit and look at what each one created and we would have our dolls we placed on the furniture and acted like we were grown and had families of our own. I was never bored growing up we used more of our imagination then. I cannot wait to get this book for my girls to inspire some imagination and introduce them to new things. What a wonderful concept for a book
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I couldn't help myself to share another one, they're so many things my neighborhood friends and i would do one of them that sticks out that was really fun, we would set up empty boxes we used as tables and wrote us out a menu and cut round cardboard pieces for plates (sometimes we used paperpates) and made our food for the menu from dirt and water different colors of dirt for different entree's (of course) and grass, flowers, sticks, acorns,leaves and got really dirty doing this but it was fun, we always could find things to do without having to be taken to the store and bought things to do I sure saved my mom and dad alot of money on entertainment. I think i need to share some of these things with my girls since i'm thinking about it.
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One of the greatest things my daughter and I do together is go up to our cabin in the early spring while the lake is still frozen. We walk out on the lake and look for the indentations in the ice made by little objects like leaves or sticks that melt the ice underneath them as the sun warms the surface. We actually kneel down to get a better look. It is an amazing part of nature.

We also look for the very first spring flowers that push up through the brown leaves of the previous fall and the melting snow. The flowers are so small one would never see them, but once we see one suddenly we see them everywhere. They are hepatica, and their colors are pink, purple and white, but the flowers are no bigger than my thumb nail and sit only an inch or two off the ground.

I hope that someday our daughter will be able to bring her children to our special place and show them what the wonderful and intricate parts of nature that we discovered together in the northwoods of Minnesota.
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Recently I bought my 4 year old daughter a small camera. We then went to a local park that is located next to the river, and both of us took pictures of all the deer and the beautiful color change. It was great to see a four year olds idea of beauty and nature. We then made frames out of popcicle sticks that she then colored and we framed her pictures. The are hanging not only in her room, but in my living room as well.
The best one is of course a VERY close up picture of my eyeball. For some reason this is her favorite. *shrug* *smile*
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On special occasions, when I was around eight years old, my mother used to leave me little "fairy scrolls" around my room with little love messages on them. She would put them in places where I would see them and would write these incredibly tiny missives on curled up pieces of paper. I know it sounds simple but I used to love finding them and trying to make "fairy" messages of my own for her in return.
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Actually the most memorial "girlie" experiences I had as a young girl were with my grandmother.

She was an amazing cook and a great crafter. I spent most of my afternoons with her when I was very small and I was convienced I could do anything she could do! Many of my best memories were standing on a stool in her kitchen covered in flour and sugar making cookies or her famous coconut cream cakes.

The funniest memory I have was one week my parents went out of town and I said the entire week with her. Both of us were midly allergic to strawberries (rash/itching/ect) but both LOVED strawberries. So we decided since the strawberries were ripe in her strawberry patch that we would go out and pick as many as we could and make anything and everything strawberry related; Strawberry jam, cake, tarts, ect. After we were done we sat down and gorged ourselves silly on strawberry goodness. Needless to say we both broke out in a terrible rash and spent the next two days covered in pink stuff (It alludes me the name of the stuff but the stuff you put on itchy spots). To this day I am cured of all my strawberry allergies, though I do not recommend trying this remedy at home!

I miss her horribly.
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something i use to do when the kids were younger, while i was cooking dinner my daughter would always be right up under me so one day i got out the pots, pans, bowls and cups and turned them upside down with a spoon to bang on them and had a instant music session that way we both had something to do in the kitchen.
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Another fun memory... When I was about four years old I invited a friend over to play at my house, and it must have been one of the first times that I did that because I was super nervous. We were playing in the backyard, things were going ok, but it was still a bit awkward, and my mom came out with this nice printed out menu---and this was before everything was printed. The menu had on it things likeee..."eyeballs and brains" annnd "human bones" and...."toes"..."pickled tongue"... and at the very bottom of the menu in small print was "grilled cheese". Of course, my friend and I chose grilled cheese. All the while laughing about how gross the other items were. They were only things like spaghetti, chicken nuggets.... average stuff. But it gave me friend and I something to break the ice with. :)
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Well, I'd love to win this book - It looks really cool and I love that it is called the Daring Book for Girls b/c I feel like my mom always possessed a little bit of that daringness and passed that onto us so that we knew that we could try and do almost anything. I was the daring tomboy who turned into a girly teenager who still loved baseball, etc. My mom would always play with all of us kids out on our front lawn and we had some great times! Thanks for the giveaway!
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I am an elementary school teacher and I love to inspire girls. This past week I held my first mother/daughter doll night at my elementary school. It was a huge success. Girls and mothers came together for the evening to celebrate books, hair and fashion. Th event is displayed at

I just found out about this book and am looking forward to using it for my next mother/daughter event.
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One of my most memorable and exciting experiences with my unsuspectingly tenacious little 82 year old grandmother, who was terrified of spiders but had no fear whatsoever of snakes. She and I would make the 2 hour walk to the top of the hill at her ranch home every few months - it was her unspoken test to see if she 'still had it'and I loved having her all to myself outside in our favourite place - nature! She would often remind me to watch where I was setting my foot, to stay aware of snakes. The deadly king brown and the black snake was rife in our area, but I didn't care as long as I was with my beloved grandmother!

We would sit on a hollowed out log at the halfway point up the hill and eat some nuts and an apple and she would tell me of when her father drove bullock teams over the wild mountain ranges. Grandma was one of 18 children, she told me many stories of her siblings' mischief. There was this one time the twins, 3 years old, were very quiet-too quiet, so grandma went through the house to look and found them both on the front step with their bowls of milk on the bottom step, tea spoons in hand and a huge king brown stretched out with it's head going over to one twin's bowl lapping the milk, then the little girl would tap the snake on the head and say "Get!" and giggle like little girls do and the snake would turn it's head to the other twins' bowl and take a drink until the other twin tapped the snake onthe head and said "Get!" My grandmother was HORRIFIED! But what could she do? The snake played with the girls for 10 minutes going on like this, letting the twins tap it on the head - the snake was enjoying a game with the girls!
The snake just slid away when it had had enough to drink and to my grandmothers amazement the twins seemed to accept the snakes' presence as though it were a pet dog or cat!

I asked her did she kill the snake and she said she sent the boys to 'smoke it out'... (so yeah, I suppose it disappeared after that).
Those twins are still alive and they remember that snake...

Grandma had many, many stories of pioneer life in the bush. From what I can gather it was very wild, not at all fancy - they slept on bags of hulled corn cobs as mattresses because in the Great Depression there WERE no mattresses!

I'd better stop there, I could go on as she did, for hours!

I hope you enjoyed the snake story! xx :)
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Wow - great input, guys! This has got to be one of the best set of comments on Neatorama yet. I've emailed the winners and will get your book mailed out asap.

@Leah Jet #51 - got your entry late. It would've won had it been submitted earlier. Sorry!
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Kind of a sad and happy memory together. Dad died in WWII and mom placed us in a boarding school in Quincy Illinois while she moved to New York, I guess to try and get a career there. She would come by train to visit and take us to town and buy us lunch at the drug store and a little something. We were only there one year.
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when i was a little girl i use to be in a girl scout troop with my mother, she was a leader. one time we all went camping, i was about seven. it was night time, and we had just finished putting our tents up. we started a fire to roast marshmallows and to tell ghost stories around. "the man could hear the heart pounding from under the floor boards" aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! someone had screamed and trust me when i tell you, it was not part of the story. then someone pointed a flashlight into the long bare trees. and all i saw were eyes. it was a raccoon. my mother got up and within a second she was deep inside our tent. everyone was yelling because my mother knocked everyone over on her way in. to this day me and my friends still make fun of my mother. luckily she laughs along. i love my mother.
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