Did anyone else grow up revering Alfred Hitchcock...? I did. I grew up on a small farm and spent my days with the goats and our bull, Speckles, in the pastures out back and my nights watching Rear Window And Vertigo (I mean, who doesn’t LOVE Jimmy Stewart).
my sister and co-writer and I holding our pygmy goats..in the living room.
My love for mysteries and small-town living somehow soaked into my DNA because my kids LOVE solving mysteries. They would definitely choose an exciting Tiny Mysteries case over watching TV any day of the week.
I know you’ve heard this before... “Mommy, will you play with me?” I fully admit that I am plagued with mom guilt. I KNOW I have to get things done around here and also take care of myself, but those little doe eyes and the hope behind them crush me.
I was wracking my brain. How can I come up with something that’s not a homeschool activity, something that helps them get their energy out, something that’s NOT television, something that lets them use their brain, something that’s actually fun.
It had been storming outside for days and the kids were so bored. I looked around the house searching for something, anything. I looked at my desk and saw the old pink rotary phone a friend gave me and then next to that, the window, with the storm brewing outside.
I had the essential ingredients to hatch a good mystery. I secretly hid a few clues around the house and made up a quick story. I pretended the Tiny Mysteries Agency was calling and that they were searching for my son, the best detective around. I scrounged up my old fedora that I got on my honeymoon in San Francisco, a magnifying glass, and quickly wrote a story featuring a dastardly villain. My kids are pretty used to me doing some creatively crazy stuff but I could tell by the looks on their faces this was next level excitement territory. I was onto something. When they couldn’t find a clue I would run back to the old pink phone and pretend “the agency” was calling to give a few hints as to where they were hidden but couldn’t say exactly where because the phone lines weren’t secure...what can I say, I have a flare for drama. (I’ll spare you the details on the day I used a voice changer app to leave a message from the villain, turns out that’s kinda scary... *shrug* #trialanderror)
I put on some detective music(Since then I created the Tiny Mysteries Playlist on Spotify - The perfect clue-hunting music)The mystery was a hit. It was sensational. In fact, I teared up seeing how happy my son was. It was like this thing, this fun moment together, had been missing and now here it was, just like that. I put my head down and went to work creating more mysteries. I wanted to write mysteries that utilize critical thinking and problem solving skills. I finished the first mystery, The Case of the Stolen Prized Hen. He loved it. He begged for more. So I wrote more!
My goal was to do one mystery activity a month, which is why I created Tiny Mysteries Monthly, so it can go straight to your inbox and remind you - “Hey! It’s time to have a fun and authentic moment being present with my kids. Let’s go solve a mystery together.”
Life is chaos. I wanted to create something that would help other families have these moments without having to re-invent the wheel. Because of my 10 year battle with chronic fatigue I know what REAL tiredness is. I knew I wanted to make Tiny Mysteries super simple so parents don’t have to do a ton of work to start playing. Cut out the clues. Hide them. Boom. It’s fun and easy and while you’re cooking dinner the kids can hunt for clues to catch the thief!
Just don’t forget the music. It’s the best part!