I Made It To Round Four!!!!!!

I’ve been battling other poets in the March Madness Poetry competition hosted by http://www.thinkkidthink.com. 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 karyn@motherstreusel.com.



(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: http://www.thinkkidthink.com/2-gripe-vs-15-dilettante/ 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: http://www.thinkkidthink.com/2-gripe-vs-15-dilettante/)

So…which one did you like best?

Skunks at Camp

Mother Streusel

A cabin of stinky skunks

Were snuggled in their bunks

The moon outside shone bright

Mother Streusel

The pine tree needles shook

As the breeze traversed a brook

On a mountain summer night

Mother Streusel

All around was quiet

And though they would deny it

The skunks snuck out of bed

Mother Streusel

They slunk across the lawn

And soon they came upon

A cabin painted red

Mother Streusel

Into windows and the door

A stench began to pour

From each little skunk

Mother Streusel

That cabin full of girls,

Mostly fuzzy squirrels

Awoke and how they stunk!

Mother Streusel

They vowed those skunks would pay

They tattled the next day

And made an awful fuss

Mother Streusel

Those sly skunks once accused

Asked as if confused,

“What makes you think it’s us?”

© 2014 Karyn Linnell

Mother Streusel Will Be Battling In A Poetry Competition AND She Has Written A Book!!!!

Mother Streusel

Guess what? I, Karyn Linnell, AKA Mother Streusel, will be competing in a highly prestigious children’s poetry competition in just a few days! It is the 2014 March Madness Poetry competition where amazing poets, or “Authletes,” from all over the world are pitted against each other until only one poet remains! There are only 64 spots in the competition, and only half the poets make it past the first round. Most of the “Authletes” competing are well-known poets who have published books of poetry. Let’s just say this is going to be tough! This is about as intense as it gets in the world of children’s poetry. You will probably be hearing many pleas for votes from me, because I want to win!!! You can follow the competition here at www.thinkkidthink.com. The competition starts on St. Patricks Day, and you can begin voting for my poem on March 19th!

Mother Streusel

Mother Streusel

Also, every “Authlete” will be donating a book of poetry, and all of those books will be won by one lucky classroom. I decided to create a book of Mother Streusel’s Useless Rhymes called Ugh! Ink Is Getting Everywhere to donate. It has 40 poems, and about a dozen of them have never been published on this blog…and they never will be! Bwa ha ha! Wish you had a book of Mother Streusel’s Useless Rhymes, too? You can get Ugh! Ink Is Getting Everywhere here in either paperback or hardcover. If you would like signed copy, please email me at karyn@motherstreusel.com to pre-order. I will be placing a bulk order when I have 25 people who want signed copies.

Mother Streusel

This is the front of the book…

...and this is the back of the book!

…and this is the back of the book!

I am very excited about this competition, and I hope that you will vote for me (unless you like my competitor’s poem better.) It’s a really fun and exciting event, so be sure to follow along at http://www.thinkkidthink.com. I and all the other “Authletes” really appreciate your participation! It’s what makes March Madness Poetry so much fun.

Aunt Mabel

        Mother Streusel

Whenever we have dinner

At the home of my Aunt Mabel,

I must be extra careful

And polite while at the table.

Mother Streusel

Aunt Mabel is quite sensitive

To any sign of crudeness,

And I never can predict what words

Offend her with their rudeness.

Mother Streusel

She asks me what I’m learning

And expects me to reply.

I try to answer safely,

But things often go awry.

Mother Streusel

One year it was the alphabet.

What problems could there be?

Aunt Mabel lost her temper

When I said the letter P.

Mother Streusel

Aunt Mabel started choking

Upon a piece of onion

When I said my class had read

The tall tale of Paul Bunyan.

Mother Streusel

One year we got into a fight.

She said that I began it,

Because I said uranus

While listing off each planet.

Mother Streusel

You doubt she is that sensitive?

I promise you that it’s true.

Last year she nearly sent me home

When I said the word shampoo.

Mother Streusel

Mother Streusel

© 2014 Karyn Linnell

The Shark

Mother Streusel

Chompy was a shark

Who liked to swim around

A deserted and volcanic

Island that he’d found

Mother Streusel

He loved the great volcano

Its molten lava glowing

With joy he’d watch it sliding down

So quickly it was flowing

Mother Streusel

Chompy was inspired

And from shipwreck debris

He built a large aquarium

Mounted on a ski

Mother Streusel

It took a lot of physics

And a lot of engineering

To make an aqua-lava sled

Built for shark fin steering

Mother Streusel

He used a rope and pulleys

And a giant lever

To get up to the top

(My that Chompy’s clever!)

Mother Streusel

Up on the volcano

In a tank of water

He balanced in the sled

It couldn’t get much hotter

Mother Streusel

He started to lean forward

And it began to slide

Down ol’ Chompy flew

On a molten lava ride

Mother Streusel

He finished off the ride

With a crazy triple twist

He landed in the ocean

And the scorching metal hissed

Mother Streusel

It was so fun that Chompy made

His own amusement park

So kids can sled down lava

In a big tank with a shark

© 2014 Karyn Linnell

The Perfect Day

       Mother Streusel

I’ll daydream for a moment

And imagine something fine

The most heavenly day ever

A day perfectly mine

Mother Streusel

I’ll wake up at a sleepover

To sunshine and birdsong

Probably in Florida

‘Cause that’s where I belong

Mother Streusel

I’ll wear my purple dress

Then get something to eat

Perhaps a piece of pizza

Or anything that’s sweet

Mother Streusel

I’ll go dress up my dolls

To make sure they look pretty

And then build them a castle

Or maybe a whole city

Mother Streusel

I’ll paint a lovely painting

And jump on a trampoline

While riding on a pony

And then I’ll become queen

Mother Streusel

Or maybe be a doctor

To help kids who are sick

I’ll make medicine that tastes

Like candy on a stick

Mother Streusel

My head will hit my pillow

When that day finally ends

…Or maybe I will have

Another sleepover with friends

 © 2014 Karyn Linnell