Sparkle Stories Blog

friday’s kind words

Whenever a Sparkle family takes the time to share their experience with the stories, we are delighted and moved.  Each week we like to share some of the kind words and images we receive!


I just wanted to share with you that I had the best compliment earlier this week.  My daughter said that I was a lot like Martin and Sylvia’s MamaI found this to be quite the compliment as so often I too am learning about ways to deal with my child by listening to the stories. I guess we’re both getting a lot from the wonderful gift you are sharing with us.  Can’t put a price tag on that.

 And…thanks to the Summer Camp series, we are having our own Summer Staycation Camp in our household.  Badges have been designed already and theme days have been picked out.  The Summer Camp audio book has provided us with so many good ideas to use in our own family.  Can’t wait for the beginning of September for our own version of Blue Jay Eye Summer Camp.




Nature School: Nettle and Cauliflower Casserole

Nettle and Cauliflower Casserole | | for the Martin & Sylvia: Nature School Audio Book

(This recipe accompanies the third story “Out in the Elements” of the new Martin and Sylvia: Nature School audio book.)

Wild edibles are nature’s gift of free food. The original super foods packed with vitamins and minerals and that little bit of extra wild energy. You might even have some wild edibles right in your backyard or neighborhood. You know those pretty yellow dandelions that everyone keeps mowing or pulling out of their yard? Edible. Or those leafy green plants with little hairs on them that sting? Edible. I’m here today to talk about that stinging plant, nettles, and give you a delicious casserole recipe to eat them with.  Continue reading “Nature School: Nettle and Cauliflower Casserole” »

sparkle kitchen- watermelon slush

watermelon slushies | | From the Junkyard Tales: All Together Now Story Series!
In this week’s
Junkyard Tales: All Together Now, it’s a very hot day at the junkyard and all of the animals are out of sorts.  No one seems to be able to get along!  When the Rowlands, a family of raccoons, make their nightly visit they can smell the conflict in the air, but, luckily, Roger Rowland comes up with an idea to help everyone cool off.

Continue reading “sparkle kitchen- watermelon slush” »

Back to Homeschool with Martin and Sylvia

It’s back to Homeschool Time!

For many homeschoolers there is
no distinction between “learning time” and “not learning time”
like there is with traditional school.

But in the dog days of summer sometimes you just laze about,
and then come the cooler temperatures of September you get excited to focus again.
Or maybe you are coming to homeschool for the first time!

Whatever the case, we’ve got stories for you!
And two of them are free!

Martin and Sylvia are here to help inspire you. 

Continue reading “Back to Homeschool with Martin and Sylvia” »

friday’s kind words

Whenever a Sparkle family takes the time to share their experience with the stories, we are delighted and moved.  Each week we like to share some of the kind words and images we receive!


**This letter is in response to our week 31 newsletter.

Dear Sparkle Stories,

What a fun newsletter for us to read!
Your stories are so present in our lives here in San Diego and Martin & Sylvia in particular resonate so strongly with my daughter. And I could not have been more tickled to learn they were dreamed into creation in my hometown of Keene, NH. My memories of my New England childhood paint a vivid backdrop for me as we listen to these stories (in a city in the big, open, drought-parched Southwest).  
Thank you for sharing this part of the (back) story and those pictures of Keene. I am bringing my daughter to Keene in two weeks and most definitely we will do a mini Martin & Sylvia tour! 
We’re excited for Nature School.
Thank you!
Nicole & Destiny

nature school project: rock stacking

Photo on 8-14-15 at 9.15 AM (1)

(This project accompanies the second story in the
Martin & Sylvia: Nature School Audio Book – “The Deer Mice”)

I love rocks – I always have.  When I visit a new place, I notice the rocks first.  I look at the local buildings and notice which rock is most prevalent in the masonry.  The purple pink granite of Zacatecas, the polished black and white stones of Lake Champlain, the sunstone of Oregon, the turquoise of Arizona – I see them on the ground, lovingly pick them up to get a closer look – and then I place them back on the ground.  

This is a key moment – placing them. Because this is the moment when the ancient art of rock stacking begins.  It is an art of placement – of choosing the spot and position of the rock.  It is a celebration of design, discernment and most of all – balance.  I’ve done it my whole life and now I see my kids doing it as well.   Continue reading “nature school project: rock stacking” »

sparkle kitchen- tuna cakes

In this week’s
Junkyard Tales, it’s Ben Thompson’s birthday, and the clever cat has a surprising wish—he’d like to get closer to the junkyard warden. Ben is not allowed to show himself to the warden or to any of the workers, but when the sound of a jingling bell sends both him and the warden on a magical treasure hunt through the junkyard, Ben discovers a connection with the warden that he never would have dreamed possible.

Can’t you just see Ben—his paws pressed together in anticipation, his eyes wide with delight—blowing out his candle as he makes his birthday wish?  And what kind of cake would a clever cat like Ben have requested?  Why, a tuna cake, of course!

Continue reading “sparkle kitchen- tuna cakes” »

friday’s kind words

Whenever a Sparkle family takes the time to share their experience with the stories, we are delighted and moved.  Each week we like to share some of the kind words and images we receive!


We wanted to thank you for several years of wonderful, thoughtful, healing, teaching and encouraging stories. We have three girls (Nora 7, Madeline 5 and Lidia 3) and your stories are the highlight of each week. They have gotten us through so many 8 hour car rides with minimal whining and fighting! More than that, they teach important principles and character traits that are so hard to understand as children.

We have been working to cultivate a culture of service in our home and as a family, we decided on a “summer service project” where we would collect cans and bottles to redeem to help raise money to pay for heart surgeries for children in war-torn regions and ISIS relief to children and families in Iraq. At first, it was a struggle. Doing work for which you don’t “get paid” is tough! But one morning, we were talking about why we were doing this. Madeline was born with a heart defect and needed heart surgery or she would have died. We had so much help to get her the surgery she needed and we wanted to do the same thing for another family. Nora said, “Hey! That’s just like Martin and Sylvia’s ‘Pay it Forward’!” So we re-listened to the episode (which I had never heard – it’s great!) and the girls were filled with renewed inspiration!

We decided to start a website so our family and friends who lived out-of-town could donate and the girls helped me design it and came up with the title “Paying it Forward: Garbage for Life!” ;-) (you can see it here: ). Every time the girls feel tired, one of them reminds them, “we’re paying it forward like Martin and Sylvia!” So far they’ve collected nearly 2000 cans and bottles! Thank you for helping make our parenting job easier and for inspiring a generation where an attitude of kindness, love and service are the norm. You are such a blessing to the world.


Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Kristin and Nick Giuliani, with Nora, Madeline and Lidia

nature school project: evergreen tea

This week we
 launched our newest Martin & Sylvia Audio Book:
“Nature School”!

It’s the beginning of a whole new Series of Martin & Sylvia stories,
that will feature projects from 
different Nature Schools around the country!

The Audio Book has four stories, and so for the next four weeks we will feature,
here on the blog, a nature based activity to go along.


Today’s post is in collaboration with the wilderness school Kroka Expeditions.

It’s all about making
evergreen tea
just like Martin makes in the fourth story of the audio book “The Great Gift”. 

(Find the Martin & Sylvia Nature School Audio Book here!)


(This project accompanies the fourth story in the
Martin & Sylvia: Nature School Audio Book – “The Great Gift.”)

There are many reasons to make a steaming cup of evergreen tea. The warmth alone can be the reason on a rainy day to give comfort to cold fingers and chilly bodies. The taste, especially with honey and spruce needles, is like drinking a delicious, sweet Christmas tree. As the pioneers taught us, the vitamin c is great for health and a good way to ward off scurvy! My personal favorite is spiky spruce tea but you can use pine or fir needles as well. Making this tea is really simple even little ones can help make it.  Continue reading “nature school project: evergreen tea” »

NEW Martin & Sylvia Audio Book & Free Story!

We’re excited to announce our NEWEST AUDIO BOOK
featuring Martin and Sylvia.  

It’s the introduction to a

(starts this fall)!

And more than that,
there’s a fun PROJECT that goes with each story!

Are you ready?



 Martin & Sylvia’s
Nature School Audio Book

As the summer comes to an end, Momma, Martin and Sylvia reflect on all the things they loved about the summer season: hikes, walks along the beach, blueberry picking, climbing trees and collecting bird feathers.

Then Momma suggests that they keep the summer outdoor fun alive all year long:

“Every Thursday, lets have Nature School!”  

And so Martin joins the Goose-eye Wilderness School,
and Sylvia and her friend Sophia create a Nature Home-school.  

From wild craft cooking to outdoor games to building projects to tree identification,
Nature School will be a year of unfolding learning and fun.

Four stories.
One and 3/4 hours of audio.

Perfect for ages 4+.

Find the Martin & Sylvia:
Nature School
 Audio Book

 The FIRST STORY in the Audio Book is FREE
on the Sparkle Podcast!

It’s called “What to do on Thursdays?”

Momma, brother and sister decide they want to dedicate one day a week for outside ‘nature’ school and they set intentions about it.   By the next day, Martin is enrolled in the Goose-eye Wilderness school and Momma has formed a homeschool nature day with Sylvia’s friend Sophia.  “Wow!”, they think, “Making intentions really works!”

You can also find this story on iTunes, Soundcloud, and Stitcher!

Continue reading “NEW Martin & Sylvia Audio Book & Free Story!” »

free story!

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