Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I saw this picture online today and it reminded me of a pair of clogs I got in the 1970s. Mine were a lot like these, but were more of a wine or burgundy color. I begged my mom to buy them because clogs were all the rage at the time. I bought them from a shop in the city of Solvang, California. That's a little danish town, just north of Santa Barbara. The store sold mostly imported clogs. I always loved seeing the gigantic, red clog they had sitting outside the shop. It's probably still there, too.

Of course, back in the 1970s, I had real issues with my feet and the clogs hurt them so bad. I could hardly ever wear them. I eventually had surgery on my feet, but by that point, I longer had the clogs. They can still be found today and in my different types of styles. The only clog-like shoes I have right now are Crocs. I know a lot of people hate those shoes, but when you have trouble with your feet, you wear what you can. However, I miss my old wooden clogs. I'd like to get another pair sometime. Clogs have a fascinating history behind them. Even Wiki has a lot on them -- click here.

So, how about you -- did you ever wear clogs or do you still?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ...

Just for fun, the boys are doing Bell Week for school right now. It's nothing fancy and I just have five simple bell crafts lined up for them to make. Today they made these with mini-pony beads, a pipe cleaner, and a little jingle bell. The picture shows Nathan's, which is long and straight. Neil made his curvy and it looks like something Dr. Seuss would have created.

My boys love simple crafts -- the more simple, the better. That's especially true for Neil. He loves doing crafts, but doesn't do as well if there are a lot of steps or if it involves a lot of cutting, gluing, painting, and waiting for things to dry. He likes instant crafts. Hot glue is his friend. Sticking a jingle bell and a few pony beads onto a pipe cleaner is his idea of Craft Heaven.

We just got our Christmas tree set up last night, so now the house is in that horrible state of disarray with boxes scattered from one end to the other. So far, only the tree is up, so my next project will be the Nativities. I collect them and it usually takes me hours to set them all up. I've lost count how many I have. Maybe I'll count them this year.

I also collect Carol of the Bells songs, which I know is kind of a weird thing to collect, but I do. I have over 30 versions of the song and they're all very different from each other. Because there are thousands of versions of this song, I try to make sure the ones I add to my playlist are unique. If there is a new way to perform the song, I'm all over it. I have flutes, pianos, harps, bells, guitars, cellos, fiddles, orchestras, even dogs barking and babies babbling out the tune. It's always been my favorite Christmas song and considering it's Bell Week, it seems appropriate to start up my playlist.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Look at me ... I'm a Pilgrim!

You might remember this little guy from one of my picture books. Yes, this is The Marshmallow Man. He was originally made on May 25, 2010 and currently lives in my wine rack. Considering he's a year and a half old, he's still looking pretty good. Oh sure, he has a few wrinkles, but don't we all. His skin might not be as soft as it used to be, but hey, no one's perfect. Despite his old age, he's still pretty much intact, except for a small crack in his bowtie. I guess they just don't make fruit rolls like they used to.

On Thanksgiving, the boys and I made Marshmallow Pilgrim Hats. I saw them in Family Fun and they looked super easy, so I thought they'd be fun to make for the holiday. All you do is melt some chocolate chips, dip a marshmallow into it, and then stick it on top of a chocolate shortbread cookie. After they've hardened up in the fridge, you simply add a buckle with yellow icing. The hats were a big hit at my house and they're going fast. We only have a handful left, which is why The Marshmallow Man wanted to get in on the fun. He's currently in the kitchen pretending to be a Pilgrim. The last I saw of him, he was digging through the container of leftover turkey. I don't have the heart to tell him Thanksgiving is over and I'm about to dig out the Christmas decorations. You never know -- maybe I'll come across some Christmasy-marshmallow project for him to enjoy next month.

If you don't have The Marshmallow Man and would like to get it, just click on his name. That takes you to my website, which then takes you to my publisher where you can order the book directly. It's also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. Or, you can order it through any local bookstore. Just bring in the ISBN number and any bookseller will be able to order it. Also, check out my website because there are lots of activities for kids to do once they've read the book -- including making their very own Marshmallow Man! 

Also, don't forget I'm having a drawing for a free copy of A New Job for Dilly. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment (two blog posts down from this one) and tell me what your favorite book was as a child and why you liked it. I'll pick a name randomly from a hat (or jar or whatever) and announce the winner on December 1st. Please feel free to enter even if you already have the book. You can give it as a gift or donate it to someone who might enjoy it. Thanks to all who've entered. If you haven't, there's still time!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wrote a book ... knitted a scarf ... busy day.

Earlier today on Facebook I said I wanted to accomplish three things -- write a picture book, knit a scarf, and exercise. Here it is, almost 8pm, and I've finally finished two of those things. I spent most of the day working on the story, which was a rhyming picture book about farm animals. It follows along two other stories I've written, so it was just a matter of coming up with the rhymes, not the concept. The scarf, which a few on Facebook said I wouldn't be able to do in a day, took me about half an hour. Yep -- if that even. To be totally honest, I CANNOT knit to save my life. Here's my secret ...

When I was a little girl in 1974, my mom got me a Mattel Knit Magic Machine for Christmas. I loved it, but never really made much with it. A few years back I saw one on eBay that was exactly the same as what I had as a kid and I just had to buy it. Even the copyright date is the same on the box. So, the little toy isn't the original one I owned as a kid, but it came from the same time period. I've knitted a bunch of skinny scarves on this silly little thing.

So -- there you have it. I'm not as talented as I want everyone to think I am. ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Want a FREE book?

I have an extra copy of A NEW JOB FOR DILLY that I would like to give away. For those who don't know, Dilly is a little rat who loves sour pickles. He enjoys going through the alphabet when he's looking for something, which in this case, is a job so he can get pickles without stealing. However, Dilly is a little absent minded and tends to forget a letter every now and then.

I thought it would be fun to have a contest for a free copy. To be entered in the drawing, all you have to do is leave me a comment here on my blog between now and November 30th. Simply list one of your favorite books as a child and why you liked it. That's all you have to do. I'll pick a winner and post it on December 1st in order to get the book to you in time.

Please feel free to enter if you have the book already. It would make a perfect present for a child on your list this Christmas. You can't beat the price -- free. Don't forget that A NEW FRIEND FOR DILLY is also available now. 4RV Publishing, LLC is having a Christmas sale through December 5th and all of the books are available for a reduced price. Please check them out!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Another Turkey Craft

Many years ago the girls made these little turkey cups for each member of our family. They are from Family Fun magazine and you can find the directions here. They have them listed as Turkey Nut Holders, but we usually fill them with small candies, like Hershey's Kisses or candy corn.

As you can see, the originals had real feathers, but we used colored leaves. These are the same leaves the boys and I recently used for our Pinecone Turkeys. It's amazing how long a bag of fabric leaves can last. In our case, we've had this bag of leaves for close to ten years now.

Come to think of it, these would make great favors for a birthday party, especially if you were to paint the birds blue and glue on something to look like peacock feathers. Hmmm, something to keep in mind!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions

I'm pretty sure I've posted this picture before. If I didn't put it on my blog, I probably put it on Facebook. This was our Thanksgiving table last year. I've been going through photos and was surprised that the only ones I took last Thanksgiving were of the crafts the boys made. I hope to get more taken this year, especially because Nicole is coming home from college.

Do you decorate much for Thanksgiving, or do you get right into Christmas? I'm going to get my Thanksgiving decorations out today and get our table set up. As you can see, almost everything we have are crafts the kids have made over the years. I love it. I do have nice china and stemware, but I never use it for Thanksgiving. Instead, I splurge a few bucks on paper plates with turkeys on them because, quite frankly, those go perfect with all the fun crafts the kids have made. We usually start decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, so this stuff doesn't stay out too long.

Do you have any unique Thanksgiving traditions? On our table you can see a runner in the middle. Every year we take a permanent marker and write what we're thankful for and date it. It's getting pretty filled up and eventually we might have to start writing on the other side. I can't remember where I got the idea, but knowing me, it was probably from Family Fun magazine. They always have fantastic ideas for stuff like this. If you don't have any fun family traditions, you might want to check them out online. So, the table runner is one of our Thanksgiving traditions. It's fun to read it and see what everyone was thankful for over the years.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pinecone Turkeys

Here are some little pinecone turkeys the boys and I made today. Mind you, they look nothing like the ones we saw online, which were cute also. We had to improvise with what we had, but I think they turned out pretty good. Fortunately, I found some little pieces of wood to attach them to and then we used fabric leaves rather than feathers. Neil decided to make his standing upright, so that's his in the middle. Nathan's is on the right. I liked how they turned out and they'll be a fun addition to our Thanksgiving table, which is mostly kid's crafts.

I did, however, get a nasty burn from the hot glue gun today. I got a tiny bit of glue stuck to my left index finger and couldn't get it off very well. When I did, it blistered right up and now it's killing me. It's right where I type, so that's a pain. I'm usually really careful about the glue gun, so I don't know what happened today. And to make things worse, I have a story to edit, so I need to be typing. I'll live, but hopefully it will stop hurting soon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Girls & Half Dome

I've been going through some photos and found this one of my girls taken in Yosemite National Park many years ago. I'm not sure of the actual year, but both girls are in their twenties now, if that gives you an idea. Have you ever been to Yosemite? It's absolutely beautiful there. When you go up high and look down over the valley, it just takes your breath away. Not many places do that for me -- the Grand Canyon is one and Yosemite is another. Grand Teton has the opposite effect on me. When I look up and see that mountain range for the first time -- gosh, it's simply breathtaking.

The only thing I didn't like about YNP were the crowds of people. Because it's so central in California, it gets a lot of visitors in the summer. The few times we were there it was jammed packed. I remember trying to get some pictures of the Upper & Lower Falls, but there were hundreds of people in the shot. I mean, they were literally everywhere, including scattered all over the rocks and such. Anyway, it's a great park and definitely in my top ten favorites of the NPs.

I love this picture of the girls. Even more so, I wish we still had those soft, plush Shamu hip packs. We got them at Sea World. I am pretty sure I had one as well, but for some stupid reason, I got rid of it. I don't think the girls still have theirs either. Sadly, I looked for them online recently, but came up empty. They were really cute, so I have no idea why we got rid of them. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Missy and her Kittens

For the past three days I've been going through my photographs. You know how much I love taking pictures, so you can imagine what a chore this is. I have photos all over, including on two different computers, under different user names, as well as in albums and loose. I've had a box of loose pictures under my desk for the longest time, so I've been trying to sort those out.

I came across this picture above, but I'm not sure if I've posted it before. This was my cat, Missy. She was the first pet of my very own. I got her for my 5th birthday, if I'm remembering correctly. She was a great cat. This picture is of her first litter -- first of many, I might add. However, this particular litter was the most unique. I remember sitting with her when she was giving birth. Everytime I tried to go somewhere, she'd jump out of her box and follow me, so I ended up staying with her while she had her kittens.

The first was a male and was born with a tiny stub of a tail. He had a chubby face, so we named him Fat Face. He was my brother's favorite. The second kitten was born with a tail just slightly longer than the first, kind of half the length of a regular tail. She was my sister's favorite kitten and she named her Quail. The third was born with a full length tail and was obviously my favorite because the other two were taken. I named her Princess. Although they were all tabbies, they all had different length tails. It was the strangest litter and the only one like it that Missy had. I suppose because Missy was my very first pet of my own, she's the reason for my fascination and love of tabby cats. Many more followed, including CJ, Belle, and Denny.

How about you -- do you remember your first pet?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Got my glasses ...

You can laugh -- I sure am because I think I look like an absolute dork. I've never worn glasses before. At least not on a regular basis. I've had some old reading glasses that I didn't wear as much as I should, but have found myself pulling them out more lately. This is going to be a huge change. I didn't realize just how bad my long distance vision is. It is really bad. It's just such a funny look for me. I'm not sure if I picked out the right frames. Originally, I had some little black ones picked out, but then the doctor talked me into these. They're more of a maroon color and he said they looked less harsh with my skin tone. Ugh. I don't know. I feel weird. Both boys go, "You look like a teacher now!" And what did I look like before?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nathan!

It's hard to believe my little pirate is twelve today. He doesn't know it yet, but we have a Pirates of the Caribbean theme for his party tonight. His cake is supposed to be a pirate ship and according to the baker, she's been looking forward to making it for awhile. I'll post a picture tomorrow if it turns out. Nathan is excited that it's his birthday, but I think Neil is even more excited. Birthdays mean presents to Neil, so it's especially fun when it's his brother's and he can share all his new toys. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A few pictures ...

We had to do some shopping in town today -- by that I mean Kalispell, which is about 20 miles away from where I live. I had my camera and on the way home I was in one of my take-pictures-while-we're-moving moods. Here are a couple that I got through my dirty window going about 70mph. If you look hard at the top picture of the field, there's a flock of geese flying by. The picture below was taken from a bridge and is of the Flathead River, which empties into Flathead Lake. I live about two miles from the lake. The sun looked pretty coming through the clouds, but these don't do it justice.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Check these out ...

The other day my husband told me his mom had mailed us a package. He said she sent a bunch of old Highlights for Children magazines from the 1980s. He was in high school then, but his mom is a teacher and has received the magazine for years. At first I was a little irked because we already get the magazine and now I'd have to find a place to keep all these old issues. Rick goes, "Just let the boys read them and then toss them out when they're done." I didn't think much of it and walked by the stack of magazines for several days without even looking at them. But then ...

The other night I was flipping through the stack and saw one from 1969. Hello! There were three others from 1970, 1972, and 1973. Wow! Talk about getting my attention! So, I pulled those aside and took this picture of them. It's amazing how much is the same in these old issues, like the Timbertoes. These old issues have some great stuff in them, including sheet music.

I loved seeing all the little drawings kids sent in and was scanning to see if Rick or I had anything in there. I couldn't remember for sure sending anything in when I was a kid, but I did stuff like that a lot. I thought it would be fun to check out some of the names of the kids and see if I could locate them through Facebook or something. I mean, if I had a drawing published in a 1969 issue of Highlights, I would love for someone to show it to me if they came across it. Not sure if I'll go to the trouble yet, but it's a thought. Anyway, finding these super old issues in the stack was really a treat.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nathan's Digital Drawings

Here are a few of Nathan's drawings for the month of October. He did these on the program called Paint, so they're digital drawings. Click on them to see them in better detail. He loves drawing by hand, but seems to enjoy doing it on the computer just as much. Every since he first learned to draw, he's always had really great facial expressions on his characters. He's really good and I'd love to see him continue with this interest.