Halloween Project – Magic Spell Jar Directions

I’m thinking of making a “magic spell” jar for the grandkids for Halloween. 

Would be fairly simple:

  • Decorate a jar with Halloween colors and images – Use one with a mouth wide enough to dip into with hands
  • Label it magic spell jar
  • Drop in slips of “spells” – Just print the spells found under  “pages” to the right then click “Magic Spell Jar” and clip apart (one number per slip), which usually have two or three words bold words and a discussion of the words
  • Include instructions for removing one spell per day.

It is important to do one spell per day so the kids do not become overwhelmed or bored. Like magic most of the hints will stay with you, if you make a point of using the words two or three times on the day pulled.

Magic Spell Jar Post Three (11-15)

Look for the Spell jar instructions under Craft

11. Horde, Hoard

Horde is a BIG group of people.  Just before the big sales event, a horde of people gathered at the front door.

Hoard is to gather and keep a collection of something.  It doesn’t have to be valuable.  People have been known to hoard toilet paper when they have perceived a threat of invasion or a shortage .

You don’t think of the importance of toilet paper until you fear you may not have any.

12.Hark, Hearken

Basically both these words mean Listen!  Or Listen up!  In other words Attention!  Both reflect back to hear, but hearken has an ear in it while hark does not.

Hark – You’ve likely heard “Hark! The herald angels sing.”  In historical novels, you may find “Hark.  The king cometh.” Or some such.  Otherwise hark is not a word in common usage.

Hearken – This is another word seldom seen in modern communication.  You could find it in a historical novel: “Take heed!  Hearken to the warning.”

These are words good to know but I doubt you’ll find much use for them in your everyday life. You’ll probably only find them in your books.

13. Hare and hair

Hare is a rabbit. R is for rabbit and hare has are spelled out in it.

Hair is the bristle on top of your head.  And if you have none like Grandpa, your scalp can feel the air.

14. Here and hear.

I’ve seen these used interchangeably in books but the words have completely different meanings.  Perhaps the mistakes were typos.

Hear means to notice a noise.  Easy to remember because hear has an ear.

Here refers to a place.

Recently I saw this in a book.  The king made a proclamation and the crowd chanted, “Here, here.”  That’s an old chant and perhaps the writer had never see it written.  It should be, “Hear, hear,” as they are saying, “listen, listen.”

15. Idle, Idol

The pronunciation difference is barely discernible, but the meanings are entirely different.

Idle is doing nothing productive. When you idle your car, it means the motor is running, but the car isn’t moving. It is idling.  When it is not running at all, it is NOT idling, but when you are doing nothing at all, you are idle.  Weird, isn’t it?

Idol is an artificial item that people worship.  In church they call it a graven image. Graven probably comes from the word engrave which is a type of carving or impressing an image into a substance.   However, an idol can also mean a living person, such as a celebrity – a rock and roll idol, a TV series idol – someone people sort of worship but not as a God (usually).

Old Haug School

My First School

Since preschool and kindergarten were not offered when I was a kid, first grade was my introduction to school. Brother Al and I went to the “Old Haug School.” I think it was Al’s first year there, too. Of course, he had attended school before that, but this was just after we moved to the Louie Peterson place, so he had to change schools.

The old Haug School definitely would not pass state regulations these days, but it was a great school! It must have been a model school building in its day. Mom said it had once housed a school that even offered two years of high school. It was so modern that they even taught Home Economics. It was a big, boxy building located just behind the Benny Christianson farm (later the Jackie Erickson farm and now the Harlan Solberg farm).

The school had suffered the ravages of time by the time I started first grade. Mom says she thinks the building fell into disrepair because of a lack of tax money to pay for its upkeep. (I was born in 1942, during the war years – WWII) A more-or-less collapsed portion of the building was off-limits to us kids. I think it had once been a gymnasium. There were three large classrooms that were used for the eight grades. Depending on class sizes two or three classes were taught in the same room. There were only three teachers for the whole school — one for each room.

When I started school, first through third grades were taught by Arlaine Pederson (Duray). She was a wonderful teacher and I loved her. Embarrassingly, I sometimes slipped and called her Mama. Everyone laughed and taunted, of course, but I believe every one of us made the slip at some time. And when others did, of course I laughed and taunted, too.

The room had a large wood- or coal-burning furnace in the front right corner, a water crock to the front left, blackboards at center front, and large windows to the rear. The old-fashioned student desks were arranged in rows, except when it rained. Then the roof leaked, so we had to rearrange the desks to make room for several pails to catch the dripping water. In winter, sometimes we got to sit on the desktops with our feet on the seats because the floor was so cold, and sometimes we had to move the desks around because it was so cold near the windows. However, it was fun to sit at the back near the windows even if it was cold, because the snow would build up on the inner sills and we could lean back, grab a handful of snow, and put it down someone’s neck or even form small snowballs.

I had an advantage academically because, before I started first grade, Al missed a lot of school when we had polio and Mom tutored him so he could remain with his class. Of course, that meant that he got an inordinate amount of attention – or so I thought. So I joined the classes, and as a result, I learned some reading and math. With that advantage, I got top grades — all “A”s. But in second or third grade, the snow on the sill was too much temptation and I got my first “B” — in conduct. Mom was not pleased!

I was in second grade when our current events paper introduced us to the concept of television. I remember because the teacher discussed the subject and wrote the word on the board. Later she erased it and asked who could spell “television.” I was the only one in the three classes who could. Boy! I thought I was clever being able to spell such a modern word!

Another time we did an experiment with paper towels — the brown, crispy kind. The teacher plastered two wet towels to the blackboard, one close to the hot furnace and one further away from the heat. She asked which one would dry and fall off the blackboard first. I thought the experiment was stupid, because I thought everyone should know the one closest to the heat would dry more quickly. Watching those towels dry was about as exciting as watching the grass grow, as they say. All through school, I thought experiments were dumb and boring — probably because this introduction to experiments was less than exciting.

Of course, if that were true, I should have learned to hate reading. Learning to read was no challenge as I had already learned the basics in “Mom’s School.” And the books we had to read in school were somewhat less than interesting. We read about Dick and Jane, their little sister Sally, and their dog Spot. Rather bland characters and the plots were mighty bland, too. “See Dick. See Jane. See Sally. See Spot. See Dick run. See Jane run. See Sally run. See Spot run.” It seems amazing that any of us grew up to enjoy reading!

But recess in the winter was not boring at the Old Haug School. A deep ditch ran next to the school, and in winter, snow would accumulate in it. We had a grand time sliding down the slopes on makeshift toboggans–large pieces of cardboard from cardboard boxes. When we tired of that, we’d play King of the Hill, or if enough snow had accumulated, we’d build forts and even igloos.

Entertainment at the old school was sometimes an unusual activity and sometimes a spectator sport. There were some daring young men in the upper grades who did things like venture into the collapsed portion of the building and work themselves between the walls. Apparently, there was no insulation, plus unusual construction. Anyway, the noise they’d make between the walls was funny and the teachers’ consternation was hilarious.

And one time in the spring when the weather was warm, one of the upper-grade teachers opened an unscreened window to allow in some fresh air. Later she left the room momentarily. Before she returned, one of the daring young men dived out the window headfirst! Reportedly, the teacher arrived in time to see his feet disappearing through the window. We younger kids, being in another classroom, did not observe the trick, but we heard about it and secretly yearned for the courage to perform such acts.

We moved to a new school in the spring of my third grade, so I must have been a rather precocious child because I had a love life while still at the Old Haug School! Once I punched a boy and gave him a bloody nose. When the teacher asked why, I said, “Because he tried to kiss me.”

Another time I got a love letter from an “older man.” I think he was two or three years older than I was, making him about 5th grade or so. Now, I was old enough to know that Mom wouldn’t like this development, but also old enough to be flattered and I didn’t want to dispose of the precious letter. So I brought it home and hid it behind a loose brick in the chimney upstairs. My brother Al, however, promptly snitched on me. I had to produce the incriminating evidence and face the music. I don’t know why I should have got in trouble over the note — I didn’t write it. If I’d ever liked the boy who gave me the note, I sure didn’t after that incident!

The Old Haug School was a marvelous place, but the spring of my third-grade year, we moved to a new school, a consolidated school known as Haug-Leo. It was all shiny and new and modern, but it didn’t have the interesting features of my first school.

Magic Spell Jar Post Two (6-10)

Look for the Spell jar instructions under Craft

6. Do, Due, Dew

Do means to accomplish something.  As did you do your homework?

Due means it is time for, as in your homework is due on Friday. It can also mean “because of”: the grade you got on the homework was due to sloppy handwriting.

Dew is the moisture (but not rain) that forms on the grass overnight. Dew drops sometimes glisten like diamonds.

Sometimes people try to be clever.  People often say. “Do drop in to see me when you are in town.”  Café owners sometime make a “play on words” and name their business Dew Drop Inn.  When I was a kid a café in Badger went by that name.  All these years later I still see it used but mostly in novels.

7. Elegant and eloquent.

I recently read an article in which the author referred to an eloquent gown.  Unless that dress could talk, it should be an elegant gown.

Elegant means lovely but more, kind of like a royal lovely.

Eloquent means well worded, like an eloquent speaker or an eloquently written piece.  Poetically, the beauty of nature can be eloquent since that beauty “speaks” to poets.

8. Fair, Fare

These words sound alike but do not have similar meanings.

Fair is a festival but also means pleasing to the eye or nice, as in fair of face, and fair weather

Fare is an amount you pay for a ride in a taxi, bus, or ferry

Look them up for other meanings; there are many.

9. Heart, Hearth

These words sound similar.

Arguably, your heart is the most vital organ in your body, which may be why people use the phrase “the heart of the matter” when referring to the core idea.

Hearth is pronounced similarly but with a “th” sound at the end.  It is part of a working fireplace, the apron in front.  This is not used much these days but you may see it in historical novels, such as hearth and hob. The hearth is a place to warm people, while the hob is a place to keep pots and pans warm.

A bread company used to make a type of bread with hearth in its name.  Nearly everyone called it hurth bread.

You may have heard the adage, “Home is where the heart is.”  Do you think it began as “Home is where the hearth is?”  Either would seem appropriate.

 10. Heard, Herd

These words sound alike, but have entirely different meanings.

Heard is when you hear something and is spelled with an ear in it.

Herd is a group of animals, but not all animals run in herds.  Wolves, for instance, run in packs. And unicorns run in blessings.

You should look up a list of animal gatherings.  Some are really interesting – like gaggle of geese or a murder of crows.  A really funny tee shirt shows two crows on a line and reads “attempted murder.”   I love it.

What is a group of dragons called?  Apparently dragons be a can be a rage, a clan, or a weyr (pronounced weer). If they are winged dragons you can also call them a flight. Pick the one you like. The Pern books (my all-time favorite fantasy series by Ann McCaffery) uses weyr.

Hi Tech Entertainment

The images in this article are thumbnails. Click to see larger image.


You may think that when I was growing up in the 1940s and 50s we knew nothing of technology, especially because we lived on a farm in remote northern Minnesota. Not so. We had our own kind of technology. When I was very small, we had a console radio. It was a wonderful, ornate piece of furniture about three and a half feet tall and two feet wide with a depth of perhaps eighteen inches. When it was turned on, you could turn a dial to hear people talking or singing. It operated on a large battery, a little larger than a car battery.

Once when the radio wouldn’t work, Dad replaced the battery. Behind the grove where we lived at that time, there was an old house and a two-seater “outdoor bathroom facility.” Behind these buildings was our very own “toxic waste dump” – a junk pile in less modern terms. That is where Dad disposed of the old battery. We kids were fascinated with it. We thought all the “little people” who sang and talked for us when the radio was in use had died and were in that old battery. We, of course, were not supposed to mess around in the junk pile, but behind the old buildings behind the grove, we were out of sight. We tried to break into that old battery so we could see all the dead little people. I don’t remember how successful we were at demolishing the battery, but I do remember we never did find those tiny corpses.


Later after we got electricity, we had a small radio that sat atop the refrigerator. It seems to me that we listened to that more often – perhaps because it didn’t require purchasing batteries. I remember Mom listening to “soap operas” like Fibber McGee and Molly and Ma Perkins and I remember her singing along with the radio. I liked that. Gabriel Heater presented the news, and we can’t forget Amos and Andy. And in the mornings, Dad would listen to a farm program that I think gave the prices on the grain markets. And always the weather program – very important on the farm. There also were children’s programs on the radio – programs like The Lone Ranger, Lassie, and something like Storm King.

I remember how excited I was when we got a phonograph – a record player. I think it was a used one that Dad got for us kids. If I recall correctly, we only got one record for it. It was a 78 RPM record about the size of a dinner plate. The phonograph had to be wound up with a little crank and the needle arm had to placed on the record manually. I loved it and listened to that record over and over. If it wasn’t cranked up enough, the phono would slow down before it got to the end of the song and the sound would change. The tone lowered and the words strung out longer and longer until you couldn’t understand them. It’s strange but I cannot remember the name of the song on that record that I listened to so many times, yet I remember the name of a song on a record I heard once at my Uncle Emil’s house – The Goosepimple Waltz. “I get goooose pimples when I waltz with you . . . ”

Later, I got a little red and ivory suitcase-style electric phonograph that didn’t require winding. The needle arm still had to be placed on the record manually, but it would play either the dinner-plate 78s or the salad-plate 45s. The 45 RPM records had a larger hole so a little plastic-disk adapter had to be inserted to use them on the phono. That little phono played a lot of music for me – one record at a time. Each record had to be changed manually – there was no automatic feed. Eventually, I did go on from the phonograph record player to an 8-track player, cassette players, and CD players. But that was years later.

The really big technological advance in entertainment came about when I was a Junior or Senior in high school. We got a TV — black and white. I don’t remember, but we probably got only one channel, two at the most. It didn’t really matter. I spent very little time watching it. I thought it was a ridiculous and useless thing. Mostly we saw snow – that’s what we called white dots moving vertically across the screen. Sometimes you could make out a picture, but it would come and go. It never came in clear enough and for long enough to get involved in what was being presented. That probably was a blessing since you were unlikely to have reception steady enough to see the program to its end. Perhaps it is this introduction that explains my lack of interest in TV to this day.

When I was young, I always found something to read. Dad’s The Farmer, Mom’s True Story, catalogs, advertisements, cereal boxes, comic books (we usually stopped to buy a comic book every week after Sunday School). I remember taking reading material (not the cereal boxes, though) to a grain trailer box that sat back of the woods. I liked going there to read. The sides of the grain box provided windbreak, so it was usually a warm place to read in spring, summer, and fall sunshine. The sides also shielded me from view, so I could pretend I didn’t hear Mom calling me and no one knew where to find me. I spent many hours reading and basking in the sun there. There has been little technological advance in reading (although I am aware of the e-books technology, I have not used it – 2003). But I have always preferred reading to TV – no “snow,” no dials to fiddle with, no electronic equipment, and the picture in my head is clearer and provides a more intimate involvement with the story. And yes, when there is nothing else to read, I still read the catalogs, advertisements, and cereal boxes!

Oh, yes, we had our “high-tech” entertainment, but as you’ve probably surmised, we didn’t spend a lot of time at it. We had other ways of entertaining ourselves when we lived on Grandpa Ole’s farm – “low-tech entertainment” you might call it.


We rode the huge, old pigs like ponies, which was a lot of fun. We also rode our bikes or trikes and even made little bridges over the shallow ditch next to our driveway to add to the experience. We had a tire swing that hung from a branch of an old tree. And we climbed trees.

I loved to hang in the treetops like a monkey. I wonder if that was because my mom said I looked like a monkey when I was born. Now, you understand, this purportedly was not because I was incredibly ugly, but because I was a preemie and, like many preemies, had dark fuzz covering my body. I had a redeeming attribute, however; I was born with pretty dark, curly hair on my head. Unfortunately, when I was perhaps 3 or 4, I got the measles and ran such a high temperature that I lost all my curly locks. It came back the color of straw and straight – so much for my redeeming attribute!

In addition to biking, swinging, and climbing trees, we had a few toys. However, at one point, apparently enamored with the idea of buried treasure, we decided a good portion of our toys, if buried, could qualify as our very own buried treasure. So we dug a hole, plunked a box of our toys in it, covered it over, and promptly forgot the location of our treasure. We had neglected a very important step in the process; we didn’t make a map. I remember we buried them behind the house, but where??? Oh well, we were innovative and imaginative children and went on just fine without our “buried treasure.” If we longed for a new toy, we would simply nail a couple of small blocks of wood together, and Voila! We’d have a new toy! We played with many an item that didn’t qualify as a toy, but our imaginations made it so.



We never lacked for companionship, either. In addition to the ubiquitous canine companions, we were always surrounded by the “little people.” Some days we even had to be careful we didn’t step on the little folk when walking in the grass. Sometimes we’d try to blame our mischief on the little people, but I don’t remember even one time that Mom believed that. I can’t understand why. She is Norwegian and should have been as familiar with the naughty Nissen as we were!

Excerpt 2 – The Six and the Magic Circles

The completion of The Six and the Magic Circles is not happening as rapidly as I had thought it would. Things like illness and procrastination interfere with predictions, so no more of those; it’ll be published when it is published. I will say, though, that excerpts I share at this point are neither final drafts nor even guaranteed to be in the final project. 


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The darkness under the trees had lightened somewhat with the dawning of the day, and judging by yesterday it was unlikely to get any brighter, so The Six decided to break camp and be on their way. They could see, but like yesterday, a flashlight would have been nice.

With no water to spare, they damped the fire with dirt. Having no suitable tools, they scooped it with their hands adding to the grimy feeling they already had. All were anxious to get to the river to bathe. Satisfied that the fire was out, they strapped on their packs, then turned to look at each other.

“Who remembers which way we were heading before the fiasco last night?” asked Grant.

Grayson raised an eyebrow. “I wouldn’t say it was a fiasco. We survived it.”

Grant revised his question. “Felt like fiasco to me. Okay, who knows the direction we were heading before the excitement last night?”

As they looked at one another, it became clear no one knew.

“Toward the river.” volunteered Mady. Everyone just looked at her. “Well, no, I don’t know which direction that is.”

“You know, that could actually be helpful. According to the map, the river is not far beyond the edge of the forest. Maybe someone could shinny up a tree and try to spot it,” said Garrett.

Everyone peered up the trees to the canopy and swallowed. The canopy was a long way up and to spot the river, someone would have to climb beyond the leaves to the very top.

“Any volunteers?” asked Will.

Garrett grinned. “I think I know how to shinny.”

Mady looked at him in disbelief. “Garrett, that’s dangerous. And when have you shinnied up anything?”

“I shinnied up a rope at basketball practice.”

“Really. That’s a whole different kind of shinnying.”

Garrett shrugged, “Show me how and I’ll do it. I like to climb.”

Everyone exchanged a look, then Grayson said, “If he isn’t afraid of the height, he has the best chance of being successful.” He turned to look at the volunteer. “But are you sure, Garrett? Can you do it without falling from up there? It’s a long way up or down as the case may be.”

Grinning, Garrett simply answered, “Show me.”

First they unpacked blankets and tied thick pads to his front.

Then Will brought out the rope and made a sort of harness for Garrett to sit in, tightening it so he was secure. Next Will made two separate loops around the tree and secured the loops to the harness.

“Okay, Garrett, here’s what you do. When you put the first loop around the tree, lean back against the harness to keep it in place. Then keeping the line taut, you walk up a couple steps and put the second loop around the tree higher than the first. Lean back into that one and keep that one taut while you pull the first loop up, and walk up a couple steps and place the first loop around the tree higher up. Now lean into that one and keep up the routine. Think you can do that?” Will looked rather scared even though he wasn’t the one planning to make the climb. In fact, almost everyone looked scared, except Garrett. Garrett was still grinning.

“Piece of pie,” said Garrett.

“Cake,” said Will.


“Never mind. Keep your attention on what you’re doing. A misstep could mean a fast slide downward. It’ll be like rubbing against sandpaper. If that happens try to keep your face away from the tree. The blanket pads should help, but most likely, you will get hurt. So the best is to keep your attention on the tree and your mission.”

“Mission impossible,” Leyton whispered.

Undaunted, Garrett began his slow ascent to the top of the tree while the other five held their breaths. To his credit, Garrett was very careful and took it slow. The five finally had to take a breath. Then they took many breaths and held many more before Garrett finally reached the canopy where he had to free himself from both loops to get past the branches.

“You’re doing good, Garrett,” called Grayson. “Be very careful when you disconnect.”

“Don’t worry. I’m a good tree climber.”

“Don’t get cocky and overconfident,” Grant hollered.

“I’m fine,” Garrett retorted. “Whoops! Oh, oh.”

Five hearts hit the ground along with one of the loops.

“Oh, my gosh” said Mady clutching her chest. The others looked as if they were about to pass out.

Will recovered first and hollered, “Garrett, what did you do? You were supposed to disconnect the loops from the harness, not from the tree.”

“Guess I wasn’t paying attention.”

The five groaned. He wasn’t paying attention? Way up there and he wasn’t paying attention? Good grief!

“Well, pay attention, Garrett! You are in an even more dangerous position now that you are unsecured. Climb carefully. Try to go high enough to see over the upper branches and leaves. But don’t take any chances,” called Mady, staring into the treetops.

Feeling eyes on her, she glanced at the other four groundlings. They were staring at her. “Well,” she said in a lower voice, “At least not any more chances than he’s already taking.”

Garrett scrambled up the branches. Now he was in his element; he knew how to climb trees with branches! Soon he could see over the tree tops and peered around.

“I think I see it. I see the sun glinting on a silvery ribbon. Looks kinda small from up here, but I think it’s the river!”

“Okay, remember which direction and try not to get turned around when you climb down,” said Will.

“Uh, Will.”

Will looked at Leyton, “What?”

Leyton was pale. “Uh, how will he make it down with just one loop?”

“Garrett!” called Gray urgently. “Secure yourself with that loop and don’t try to come down!”

“Why? I can do it.”

“Garrett, you can’t do it with just one loop.”

“Oh.” The word was so faint the kids weren’t even sure they heard it.

“An abseil or rappel is done with one rope, isn’t it?” asked Mady.

Will looked at the other kids. Everyone shrugged. “I don’t know,” said Will, “But it seems kinda dangerous. I think rappelling requires cleated shoes or special knots or something. And I should think very good gloves. I don’t think Garrett should try a one-rope descent.”

For a while no one said anything. Silence seemed to descend over the entire forest.

Then the five heard a plaintive, “So what should I do?”

“Just hang on. We’ll think of something.”

“Like what?” someone whispered.

“I don’t know. Now I think we have a fiasco on our hands.”

The Prophesy from The Six and the Magic Circles

The prophesy

from The Six and the Magic Circles

“At a juncture in time, the Land of the Faery and the Land of the Humans shall be threatened by loss of the Golden Flowers, even unto extinction. In that day, hope of survival for Faery and Human alike will be Six coming unto us in magic. The Six will face untold dangers in their quest for the Golden Flowers. Survival of The Six and survival of the two worlds depends on The Six and on their ability to wield the magic of the golden circles of beauty. The Six must find the circles lost to the ages and claim the magic therein. The Six claim the circles and the circles claim The Six. Never-the-less, without the wisdom of The Six, the circles are of no import. The strength of the link between the two worlds is such that Human and Faery will survive together with the Golden Flowers or perish together without the Golden Flowers. All, all depends upon the abilities of The Six.”

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Magic Spell Jar Post One (1-5)

I’ve always been a word hound and have always had a deep and abiding interest in words and usage. These hints have been gleaned from various readings and experiences – books and blogs are rife with poor or interesting usage. Often I believe the mistakes are simply the lack of critical editing. Mistakes appear as if by magic when typing rapidly; it takes real work to read critically and edit before publishing.

It is good to know the rules but if you don’t know the rules, it is good to be aware of problem areas, so before publishing  you can verify your usage.  You will be held in higher regard by your readers and seem more credible if your work is not peppered with mistakes.

I had the idea of making a “magic spell” jar for the grandkids for Halloween.  Decorate a jar with Halloween colors and images, label it magic spell jar, and include instructions for removing one spell per day. It is important to do one spell per day so the kids do not become overwhelmed or bored. Like magic most of the hints will stay with you if you make a point of using the words two or three times on the day pulled.

So here are some magic spells (more will be forthcoming).

1.  Awful, OffalI wanted to say awful is bad but then realized offal is also bad, in a way.

Awful is a word we use to denote our displeasure with something, usually.  However, the word actually boils down to “full of awe” and sometimes it is used that way, even in modern language.  Also awful can be used to take the place of “very,” like an awful lot of something. A commonly used oxymoron is awfully nice – an oxymoron is a contradiction of terms and in one usage awful is the opposite of nice.

Offal is bad in a different way, if you don’t like guts and gore.  Offal is the viscera, the insides of say a deer, when you hang it and clean it out.  Some people eat some of the internal organs. Most do not. You often throw the offal or viscera to the dogs if you do the job at home or wild animals if you field dress it.

Yeah, the offal is awful to see or smell.

2.  Bear, Bare

Bear is a big furry animal.  Bear is also used to mean carry.  It can be physical or emotional.  The donkey is used to bear the camping equipment (physical). But you have to grin and bear it when something goes wrong. (Emotional.)

Bare is without clothing or adornment, also without the usual accouterments.  Such as a bare room (without furniture).

I saw a sleeveless tee shirt punning these two words. It read: I have the right to bare arms.  It could, of course, mean I have a right to wear this sleeveless shirt – but if you spelled bare as bear, it could also mean I have a right to carry a weapon (arms is another word for weapons).  Another pun on these words is “Grin and bare it,” which makes me picture a goof grinning while dropping his drawers.  Sometimes people expose their bare butts and then run through a crowd. That’s what was called streaking years ago.  You could go one step further and say “bear butts” indicating a furry posterior.

3.   Birth, Berth

Birth is related to getting born.  There is an “I” in it – like “I” was born, not hatched.

Berth is a bed (usually on a boat or train) or berth can be where a boat is kept (sort of a bed for a boat).  It starts with BE like Bed.

4.   Breath, Breadth, Breathe

These words don’t all sound the same.

Breath you know.  It is what you do all day and all night, but you are rarely conscious of it if everything is working fine.

Breadth sounds a lot like breath but there should be just a hint of the d sound in it.  This refers to how wide something is, like an object or an idea or a concept.

Breathe is pronounced with a long ee sound in the middle.  Breeeth.  When someone tells you to breathe (like a doctor or nurse) they want you to take a breath.  If you forget the “e” at the end, it has a different meaning.

5.   Cue, Queue – Both are pronounced like the letter “Q”

Cue is the spelling used for a pool cue or for a prompt to an actor, like she was there to cue the actors who forgot their lines onstage

Queue is not used much on this side of the Atlantic.  The British queue up to buy tickets and other things. The queue was too long at the grocery, so he went home without the milk and bread. Queue is an oddly spelled word. It looks as if it should be pronounced cue-you, but it is not.

Print this and cut into five notes, put in your decorated jar. You now have the beginnings of a magic spell jar. More spells will be posted soon.