George Washington Carver

I recently discovered an extremely talented illustrator named Julie Rowan-Zoch and instantly became a fan. Through chatting with her, I learned that we both think George Washington Carver was one of the coolest people to ever walk the earth. We decided to both do posts today honoring him. I think if you check out her blog, you will love what you see and read.

You can visit her site here:

I must admit I had a lot of difficulty writing a poem about George Washington Carver, even though he is a hero of mine. My poems are usually silly and always made-up. Mr. Carver was neither of those things. He was a brilliant man with many talents who accomplished amazing things. He had a gift with plants and became a professor of agriculture. He invented all kinds of products out of plants, especially from peanuts. He used plants to make hundreds of things from ink and milk to plastic and shaving cream. He also taught farmers how to grow better crops which helped the economy significantly. If you have time and you haven’t already, you should definitely read about George Washington Carver. He was a fascinating person.

Today, I have two poems for you: one silly poem about a kid who invents something from other things…kind of like George Washington Carver, but also very not like him, and a simple poem about my hero. I hope you like them! (And don’t forget to visit Julie’s blog!)



Although I may not have a dime,

I’m cunning and I’m smart.

I built myself a bike from scratch,

A two-wheeled work of art.

Mother Streusel

The handlebars from mixer prongs,

The seat, a kitchen chair,

The wheels are from Dad’s set of drums.

I don’t think that he’ll care.

Mother Streusel

My sister’s necklace is the chain,

The gears are from a clock.

The horn is my pet parrot Pete.

That bird can really squawk!

Mother Streusel

Although my new bike is quite large,

I made sure it’s not slower

By giving it a motor that

I stole from Dad’s old mower.

Mother Streusel

I ride with pride upon my bike

It’s fast, it’s sleek, it’s rare

The finest bike in all the land

A bike beyond compare

Mother Streusel

And now, please allow me to present my very humble ode to the great George Washington Carver:

Mother Streusel

I love George Washington Carver

I don’t think you understand

How truly remarkable

And amazing was this man

Mother Streusel

Although he faced racism

In our post-Civil War nation

He overcame the odds

And earned an education

Mother Streusel

Armed with his love of plants

And hard-won master’s degree

He helped Booker T. Washington

Start a university

Mother Streusel

From plants like the peanut

Came his hundreds of inventions

Like shaving cream and buttermilk

He had the president’s’ attention

Mother Streusel

He helped so many people

He never stopped creating

His life was truly meaningful

And truly fascinating

Thank you so much for visiting today!!! If you weren’t already, I hope you become as big of a fan of George Washington Carver as I am. Don’t forget to stop by Julie Rowan-Zoch’s page to see what awesomeness she has cooked up! See you soon!

– Mother Streusel

The Robot

Mother Streusel

This summer I’m building a robot,

A robot that looks just like me.

He’ll do all my chores and my homework.

Soon all of my time will be free.

Mother Streusel

I’ve told everybody about it.

They’ll see what a genius I am

When he attends all of my classes,

While I stay at home eating jam.

Mother Streusel

I’ve tinkered each day in my bedroom.

I shut the blinds and locked the door.

The summer has flown by like lightning.

There’s only a week or two more.

Mother Streusel

It seems now I have a dilemma

With my life-sized robotic man:

Although he does carry my likeness,

He can’t do the things that I’ve planned!

Mother Streusel

School is beginning tomorrow.

It seems all my great plans fell through.

I can’t let them think I’m a failure.

There’s only one thing I can do:

     Mother Streusel

I’ll walk and talk like a robot

While he’s at home behind closed doors,

He’ll lay in bed just like I would

And I’ll go to class and do chores.

© 2014 Karyn Linnell

The Library Book

    Mother Streusel

I borrowed a book from the library

There still are three weeks till it is due

I’m sure I can read the whole book by then

In fact it might only take two

Mother Streusel

It seems now I have missed the deadline

The book was due two days ago

I hate to return it before it’s been read,

This book full of things I should know

Mother Streusel

It’s been now a month since the due date

I’ve just read a handful of lines

The library’s leaving me messages

I’ve racked up a long row of fines

Mother Streusel

The library finally stopped calling

Perhaps ‘cause I moved out of state

It’s been two long years since I borrowed that book

I read it today and it’s great.

Mother Streusel

© 2014 Karyn Linnell

Vote for Karyn AKA Mother Streusel’s Poem “Spring Break”

Mother Streusel

You can vote for her poem “Spring Break” at

Spring Break

You might think I’m a liar, maybe blame confabulation,

When I tell you all the details of my crazy spring vacation

We planned a quiet trip by bus, me and my cousin Mona

To the hot air balloon festival held in Arizona

To our surprise the bus was full of women in their eighties

One gave us both makeovers (We looked more like clowns than ladies)

We took a restroom break and things really went downhill

We ran into a circus on its way down to Brazil

They thought we were performers; they just spoke Portuguese

We found ourselves upon a plane despite our urgent pleas

In Rio de Janeiro we finally got away

We needed to get home but we had no way to pay

We were hired by a squid boat but a giant squid was tracking us

Then in the Gulf of Mexico the squid started attacking us

Me and Mona got away and crawled along the shoal

We were covered all in seaweed; they called animal control

When they saw that we were human, not some oceanic creature

We were taken to a shelter run by a Baptist preacher

We told the man our story and when we said “hot air”

And mentioned Arizona he said he’d take us there

In his hot air balloon shaped like a butterfly

We climbed aboard and soon we were all floating in the sky

We got to Arizona and found our tour bus

The same old ladies were on board; they all smiled at us.

We thought we could relax; we were ready for a snooze

When an old lady offered to give us both tattoos

I know you don’t believe me; even I think it’s surreal

But the shaky kitten on my arm reminds me it was real



You can vote for Karyn’s funny kid’s poem “Spring Break” at


You can vote for Karyn’s poem “Spring Break” at

Mother Streusel is Officially in the FINAL FOUR!!!!!!

I have written one of the most outrageous, ridiculous poems ever!!! It’s called “Spring Break,” and I HAD to use the word confabulation, which means a few different things. I chose to go with the psychology term which means when you have memories that didn’t really happen but you think they are real.

The battle is underway! Voting is open until late Monday morning and you can vote here:


I (Barely) Made It To Round Five!!! I’m In The Final Four!!!

I am so excited to have made it into the final four in the March Madness Poetry competition at My reward for barely sneaking past the last round? Going up against one of the most popular Authletes in this entire competition. His name is Samuel Kent and you can check out his awesome drawings and poems at
So, friends, family, fans…get ready to vote!!! Round 5 starts on Friday!!! I can’t believe I’m still in this thing, but I’m glad I am!
Want to see how close the last round was? You can see it here:

I Made It To Round Four!!!!!!

I’ve been battling other poets in the March Madness Poetry competition hosted by Every round half of the contestants are eliminating, meaning that it is tough!!! I’m still in it! You can see and hopefully vote for my poem, The Magnificent Ford, by clicking here:


Mother Streusel


Karyn Linnell AKA Mother Streusel made it to round 4! You can see her poem, The Magnificent Ford, by clicking this picture!


My word was “unsustainable.” While in our current society, many would instantly think of the environment as the word sustainable is closely linked to it, the word unsustainable instantly made me think of adventure, danger, and things that could not be kept going for very long.

Here is the first poem I wrote. I love how it curves on the right margin like a racetrack.

Dashing Dan the racecar man

grinds the gears of his

six-cylander steed…

Careening around

the concrete corners at

unsustainable breakneck speed

Has he done it? Has he won it? Yes, he has indeed!


One of the other poets wrote about racing, so I’m glad I kept writing.  What do you think of “The Magnificent Ford?” Have you read any of the other poems in round 4? Which one is your favorite?

ROUND THREE, and a bit about me!!!

Ever wonder what Mother Streusel looks like? Or what her real name is? Well, let me tell you all my secrets…

My name is Karyn Linnell. Right now I am 33 years old.  I am short…just five-foot-two. I’m not thin, and I’m not fat. I have a wonderful husband named John who is nice to me all the time. I have a spunky and extremely sweet girl who is ten months old, but is small, so she looks younger. And she loves books! She gets really excited when I read to her. Buh! Buh! That’s her way of saying book.

My daughter and me at the beach. She loves the swings. (Not sure who that lady is in the background.)

My daughter and me at the beach. She loves the swings. If you look carefully you can see a tiny bit of my husband’s thumb on the edge of this picture. (Not sure who that lady is sitting in the background.)

I used to be a makeup artist, so while most of the time I look pretty good, if I try hard and use all my special makeup tricks and take a picture that is just right, I look pretty darn good. I try not to be too into looks though. Wasting too much time on appearances leads to a very dull life. And I believe that everyone is beautiful anyway. For me, makeup is mostly like an art project where a face is the canvas.

Me with a lot of makeup!

Me with a lot of makeup! This took forever! There is pretty much no way I would do this everyday!

I live in Southern California, in Orange County. I was born down here, but right after I turned 14, we moved to Northern California…way, way, way up there in the mountains. I was up there for a long time, and just moved back down south last year. I missed the ocean a lot. I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up, and sometimes I got made fun of. I was sensitive, so it hurt my feelings a lot. We were poor, so I wore a lot of hand-me-downs, and I never wore makeup. I was pretty insecure and never had a boyfriend until I met my husband. (I was twenty-eight when we started dating, but that is another story.) Now things are pretty good. I have more friends, am a LOT less insecure, and generally love my life.

On the trail at Burney Falls. This was about an hour from where I lived in Northern California.

Me without a lot of makeup on the trail at Burney Falls. This was was taken a couple years ago about an hour from where I lived in Northern California.

Me without a lot of makeup! This was taken a couple years ago at Burney Falls.

More Burney Falls. Such a beautiful place!

I’m an introvert, which means that most of what is going on with me is inside my head. I never stop thinking. I love playing with words and brainstorming new ideas. I like writing and drawing because it helps me get some of my ideas out so that I can share them with others.

I think kids are awesome. I care a lot about people in general and want to help make the world a happy place for them. I think laughing is extremely important.

I haven’t been posting many of my regular poems lately because I have been spending so much time writing poems for a contest. I made it to round three. If you would like to see what I’ve written for round three, you can click here or on the picture below. If you like my poem, please vote for me!!! (I would really like to win.) Let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to leave comments below and you can always email me at



(And yes, that is another picture of me with a lot of makeup…and good lighting.)

Want to read some of my favorite poems? Here are a couple:

My Cat Does Tricks

My Cat Does Tricks

The Scorpion

The Scorpion

The Taster

The Taster

Dickens' Chickens

Dickens’ Chickens

Karyn Linnell, AKA Mother Streusel, Made It To Round TWO!!!!

As many of you know, I am in the throes of competing in the 2014 March Madness Kids Poetry Competition!!!

It is an elimination competition and round one saw 32 of 64 contenders bite the dust! I barely made it to round two, where I am competing with the extremely talented Kathy Ellen. It’s merciless poetry cruelty! AND THE WORDS THEY ASSIGN!! Dilettante! Mellifluous! They give each contestant a different word that they must incorporate into it. Also, in most rounds there is a limitation on how many lines the poem can be. For round one and two, eight lines. Look through my poems. How many have eight lines or less?  Um one, maybe two? Most of them have twice as many. Ugh!

Mother Streusel

This round I was assigned the word mellifluous. I worked hard yesterday trying to write a worthy poem, a poem that kids and poets and the general populous will vote for. Here are my attempts:

Number One. I liked this one. I just didn’t have complete confidence in it.

Genius Jim

Genius Jim fell madly in love

But with a girl as dumb as a brick

He said, “You sound mellifluous.”

She said, “But, Jim, I don’t feel sick.”

He said, “Mellifluous means smooth”

She said, “Well, then why not say that?”

“You’re infatuating,” he said.

They broke up. She thought he meant fat.

 Number Two. This was my “sell-out” poem where I purposely incorporated pop culture in order to impress 5th graders. In the end, there was too high a chance that some references might be missed. I still like it anyway.

Cheaters Never Prosper

I know it’s not right to cheat on a test

This vocab quiz, though, was tougher than most

Just this once I sent my brother a text

I knew if I failed, my grade would be toast

I sneakily sent: WHATS MELLIFLUOUS, BRO?


He was in college. I knew he would know


Number 3: And then I wrote this! I thought it was for sure the winner…until I realized it had TEN lines. UGH!!!!!!!


Mellifluous was a clumsy girl with a voice so rough and course

Everyone said she walked like a clown and sang just like a horse

High in the hills were magic bees with honey so delicious

To anyone who ate some, the bees would grant three wishes

Mellifluous climbed the hill, but tripped and took a dive

She fell right toward those magic bees, her head stuck in their hive

The bees asked her, “What do you want (and don’t eat all the honey!”)

“To be graceful with a beautiful voice and big fat pile of money!”

All at once she could sing and dance, her transformation complete

And to this day Mellifluous means rich and smooth and sweet.

Well, I tried to edit it, but it just wasn’t working, so I kept most of the elements and started from scratch re-writing it. You can see the final poem that I submitted here.  So, which one did you like best? The one I entered into the competition, or one of the ones above? Let me know in the comments.

Mother Streusel

The Rejected Poems #MMPoetry2014

I am currently competing in the MMPoetry 2014 Children’s Poetry Competition!!! (At least I am for sure until tomorrow morning. After that, the votes will be tallied and we will see if I or my talented competitor move on to the next round. You can see my poem, and hopefully vote for me here: If you explore the site, you’ll find lots of other match ups to vote for as well. It’s a children’s poetry lover’s dream come true!)

I was assigned a particular word, dilettante, that had to be incorporated into the poem. While I consider myself a pretty decent poet and wordsmith, this one threw me for a bit of loop. I wrote eight different poems before finally selecting the last one. For the curious, here are some of the ones I rejected.

Attempt 1:

You want me to spell ‘dilettante?”

Is that even a word?

You mean elephant? Debutant?

‘Cause those are words I’ve heard

Did somebody just make it up?

It sounds imaginary.

I think I should make sure it’s real

Who has a dictionary?

(I had had in mind to have the word be in a spelling bee in my poem if the word was too tough. And then my dad was watching Psych on netflix and it was the spelling bee episode, so I took it as confirmation and gave it a try. The spelling bee theme was used in various creative ways by other Authletes, so I’m glad I didn’t choose this one.)


Attempt 2: (Actually, this is attempt three, but I am holding the real attempt 2 in my back pocket for another day or another round. The real attempt 2 is a good story…based on a true story from my childhood. Here instead is Attempt 3 masquerading as attempt 2:)

I looked up from my register. Welcome to Burger Station!

A group of hipsters ambled in, engaged in conversation:

Isn’t this ironic? I’m gonna take a selfie!

I only eat organic. This place is so unhealthy.

There’s way too much red vinyl! That artwork is so hideous!

You’re seriously a dilettante! Those heat lamps look insidious.

They rolled their eyes while ordering, eager to critique.

I don’t mind. I’m used to it. They come here twice a week.

(That one is a favorite. It tells a little story, it has a little twist, dilettante is used fairly well. It also fits the mandated 8 lines well, but I thought it might be a subject the younger readers might not relate to, so I decided to pass this one up and try again.)

Attempt 3:

I’m an expert on all things croissant

The opposite of nonchalant

No amatuer, no dilettante

They’re all I dream of, all I want

For croissants I’m filled with lust

I drool over the flaky crust

I stuff my face until I bust

I must eat them, yes I must

(I liked this, but it didn’t have a twist or a story, and I thought that kids might not be as into croissants as adults…so I tried again.)

Attempt 4:

Pastry, Donut, Cake, Croissant

It’s all I dream of, all I want

I’m opposite of nonchalant

An expert, no mere dilettante

I study like a scientist

The flaky treats I can’t resist

Chewy, gooey, light as mist

Danish, Strudel, Cruller, Twist

(Yummier, but still not much of a story. I love a story.)


Attempt 5:

My son you must marry a debutant

A lady who has style, a dilettante

Appreciating art and finer things

Who wears high heels and polished diamond rings

But Mom, I want a girl who can have fun

Who likes to hike and shoot a paintball gun

Who has tattoos and who likes to wrestle

Oh no Mom, did you pop a blood vessel?

(This wasn’t a favorite of my family, so I tried again. They are usually pretty accurate critics.)


Attempt 6:

Miss Elephant, a debutant, might be called a dilettante

In appreciating beauty

She was persistent and insistent that all ugly folks stay distant

She was the epitome of snooty

One day by chance she caught a glance of a lady and was entranced

“How do you do?” she asked as she moved nearer

It was a joke to all the folk who had heard how the lady spoke

Miss Elephant had been speaking to a mirror

(I thought this one was the winner, but my brother who is one of my biggest fans and biggest critics and usually right, didn’t like the rhyming pattern. Sigh…so I tried one last time…and the last one was the one I chose. While I wish I had more than 8 lines to work with on it, I love that it has a pun, a twist, a story, uses the word I was assigned in a way that honors its definition, and is appropriate for all ages. You can see it here:

So…which one did you like best?