Monday, March 28, 2016

New Books!

Well ... they're new for us, anyway. I've mentioned before how I collect Great Illustrated Classic books. My mother-in-law got me hooked on these books after she kept buying them for the girls. They are obviously abridged versions of the stories, but I've found they're great introductions. We've read many of these books in school, which lead us to reading the original full versions later on. I found both of these copies at a thrift store locally. I paid only a quarter for each one. You certainly can't beat that kind of deal.

I also found this book called I Love You, Mommy! It's a newer book from 1999. I guess that's not too new, but it is for me because I usually search for the vintage ones. It's a cute story, and definitely geared towards single moms who are involved in their kids' lives. I didn't see a father in any of the illustrations, aside from the picture frame on the cover. That got me curious, so I did a search and found the same author (Edie Evans) has a similar book called I Love You, Daddy! I imagine it's the same type, geared towards fathers who are actively involved with their kids. They seem like they'd be great books to read to kids of single parents.

I'm a huge Little Golden Books fan, and I've been working on my collection for years now. Just the other day I printed up a title list of Little Golden Books. I printed it in three columns, and it ended up being ten pages long! Sometime this week I want to get all my LGBs out and check them off that list. I doubt I will barely make a dent in it. Perhaps I'll post a photo with my results when I get around to going through them all. I'm curious how many LGBs there are in all. The Poky Little Puppy has sold over 15 million copies alone. One of my dreams is to have a story published as a Little Golden Book. Until I get an agent to get my submissions seen, that just won't happen. I'm not going to give up. Having a LGB is one of my goals in life.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holy Saturday

I hope everyone is having a nice weekend. For those who celebrate Easter, I hope your week has been a good one. We don't have any big plans for Easter Sunday. I'm thinking of going to the Sunrise Service with Nichelle. It starts at 7am, so hopefully I can get myself up early enough. She said she wanted to make us all waffles for breakfast too, so that will be nice. The boys are too old for the whole Easter egg hunt stuff, so we don't do that anymore. I miss those days sometimes. I loved this Holy Saturday image that I found online. I'm not Catholic (I was for a very short time), but Easter is still a big deal to me. I was just watching Watters' World where he interviewed people on Easter. Most of them had no clue what the holiday was about. I realize not everyone is religious, but still, not knowing is kind of sad.

Happy Easter to you all!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Another "DUH" moment ...

So, today I decided to read a little from my Kindle. I've been downloading books for free, mostly classics and other things I wouldn't normally buy in a bookstore. Right now I'm reading Wuthering Heights. I was looking around the classics for a bit and thought The Picture of Dorian Gray sounded interesting. It was free, so I decided to download it as well.

A little while later, Nichelle came home from work and we were discussing books. I mentioned the free classics. Then I remembered I had bought a Great Illustrated Classics book at the thrift store the other day. For the life of me, I couldn't remember where I had set it down. I went out to the car, and sure enough, it was on the back seat. Guess what it was ...

Duh! Now I don't know whether to delete the one on my Kindle, or just read it, and then read the abridged version to the boys in school. Considering I got the Kindle one free and paid a quarter for the hard copy, I'm not really out anything. It's just typical of me, though.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


This little beauty sat still long enough for me to snap a couple of pictures yesterday. There are some blurry marks, but that's because it was snowing at the time. A long time ago, the boys nicknamed them "pinky birds" after their pink colored beaks. Whenever we see one, it's always called Pinky or Pinky-Bird. We have them year-round where I live, but lately I've been seeing a lot of them at my feeders. I'm thinking this one is a female. The males have darker hoods that are almost pitch-black in color. Click on the link below to learn more about them. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Remember this?

The other day we received a free Reader's Digest in the mail. I haven't read this magazine in years. As a kid, I often sat around hospitals and nursing homes waiting for my mom to get off work. Magazines were all over these places, including Reader's Digest. I remember reading it quite often. Over the years, I have really gotten out of buying magazines all together. When my girls were younger, I used to subscribe to Family Fun magazine. After awhile, Disney bought it and started making it smaller with more ads than articles or projects. I guess the Internet was partially to blame for killing the allure of magazines. The boys still get a few, but only ones their grandparents have given as gift subscriptions. Anyway, back to Reader's Digest ...

I sat down yesterday and went through this magazine. I was really surprised how little it has changed after all these years. It's still the same small size, and still filled with interesting articles, comics, how-to tips, and a few ads. It's *almost* made me want to subscribe to it. I'm curious how many people will actually subscribe after receiving a complimentary issue. Would you?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope everyone has a wonderful St. Patrick's Day, whether you celebrate it or not. I know some people go out to Irish pubs to drink green beer. Other people like to cook corned beef and cabbage. I guess that's technically an American-Irish tradition, and not something they do regularly in Ireland. We cooked it last night. It's especially cheap this time of year. I cooked it in the crock-pot for the first time and it turned out pretty good. Thursdays have become "pizza night" for us, so right now I'm waiting for Rick to get home with my green olive & pepperoni pizza. I have to stick with my green theme for the day. I think I'll skip the green beer, though.

I made this picture on that PhotoGrid app that I mentioned in my last post. I have this habit of running off when we're in line at the supermarket. I'll help Rick unload the groceries, but while he goes through the process of paying for them, I tend to scout out things to photograph. Flowers are my favorite, which is how I got this picture of the green bouquet. It's a fun app. I can't believe it took me so long to realize I could do scrapbook pages with it. Too cool.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Fun Photo App ...

I have this app on my phone called PhotoGrid. I got it originally to make photo collages. Just yesterday I realized it has the ability to make scrapbook-like pages. It features all sorts of backgrounds, borders, frames, stickers, and more. I made a few samples really quick, and then I realized I might be able to use them for our school yearbooks. I take a lot of school-related pictures on my phone, so if I can mess around with them there and just add them to my program later, that will save me a lot of time. How cool is that?!

The other day Rick and I went for a walk at Wayfarers Park, which is next to Flathead Lake. It's only about 3 miles from my house, so we walk on the trail there quite often. These are the pictures I decided to play around with on PhotoGrid. I also made a quick one of Denny below.

My HP laptop is getting ready to die, so I'll be switching to the other one we have soon. I'm not looking forward to that. Not only does it have a different type of operating system, but I won't be able to use my In-Design program on the other laptop. That's what I use to make the yearbooks for school, along with all other other things like our weekly schedules, attendance sheets, school forms, etc. I'm going to have to make them on Word or something that the new laptop supports. That's a major "Ugh!" for me.

So, if I can use some of my phone photos on PhotoGrid and insert them that way, it will save me some time. Yay! Funny thing is that I have a whole drawer of scrapbooking materials. I thought it would be a fun hobby, but I just never made the time for it. I seem to do stuff like that digitally more often. Hopefully, this will help me add some fun photos to our yearbooks and such.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

How the Zebra Got Its Stripes

As some of you may know, I collect Little Golden Books. I have for years, and I honestly don't even know how many I have right now. Very rarely do I buy them new. In fact, I prefer to find the really old stories at thrift stores. The last new LGBs I bought were the Star Wars ones for Episodes I-VI. Other than that, I usually am on the lookout for older editions. I did find this one the other day. How the Zebra Got Its Stripes was published in 2002, so it's one of the newer ones in my collection.

Professor Linus Pinstripe is at a local watering hole in Africa, and he goes about interviewing various animals on how they feel the zebra got its stripes. Of course, they all have different ideas, from painting themselves with black-and-white striped paint, to tearing off their shadows by running too fast. It's a cute story, and even more so if you're especially fond of zebras. 

Fun Facts about Zebras:

Zebras are members of the horse family.
Zebras can run up to 35 miles per hour.
The lead male zebra is called a stallion, and will stay in the back of the herd.
Zebras have black skin under their hair.
Baby zebras—called foals—can walk within 20 minutes of being born.
Different zebra species have different types of stripes.
Zebras live about 25 years in the wild.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Treeful of Pigs

I found this 1979 hardcover copy of A Treeful of Pigs at a thrift store yesterday. It's a Children's Choice Book Club version, so it's not an original edition. However, I'm a big fan of Arnold Lobel, and finding one of his books is always a treat. You can buy this book on Amazon for a penny, but you still have to pay for shipping, which is usually around four dollars. I think I got a pretty good deal. Our Salvation Army sells kids' books for a quarter ... can't beat that.

It's a fun story about a farmer and his wife who buy a bunch of pigs. The farmer's wife is the one taking care of the pigs, while the farmer is lazy and spends his days in bed sleeping. Like any good wife, she eventually tricks him into helping her, and he says he will never been lazy again. Uh huh ... yeahrightsure. It's a cute story. Arnold's wife Anita did the illustrations, which really make the book a delight. My favorite one is when all the little pigs are sitting at the kitchen table eating corn pudding and corn muffins with the farmer and his wife. You definitely don't get the impression they bought the pigs to eat them, that's for sure.

My favorites by Arnold Lobel are the Frog and Toad books. I love those, and so do my boys. Neil reads them quite often. Whenever Nathan reads them, they're the funniest thing ever because he reads in this monotone voice. It fits both Frog and Toad's characters perfectly. I've lost track of which books I have by Arnold Lobel. One of these days I'll sort them all out.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

MyPurMist ...

A couple of nights ago I saw a commercial for a product called MyPurMist. I barely had a chance to listen to what they were talking about when I blurted out to Rick, "I need this! Go to Target tomorrow on your lunch break and buy it for me." I've battled sinus problems all my life. Whenever I catch a cold, it goes right into my sinuses and I stay sick for weeks, sometimes even months. Just last week I was thinking about buying some sort of humidifier to see if it would help. Then I saw the commercial for this product.

Rick bought me the inhaler like I asked. When he brought it home and I saw the receipt, I was in shock! I had no idea it cost so much. I figured it was one of those cheap "As Seen On TV" gimmicks. I didn't think it would cost much. Had I known, I wouldn't have asked him to get it. Had he told me the price before he bought it, I would have told him no. Rick knows me, so he bought it anyway. I figured if he spent that much money, I better use the darn thing!

I caught a cold back in January, and believe it or not, but I haven't felt right since. I'm okay during the day—aside from headaches—but at night the sinus congestion and pressure is almost unbearable.  I have the Ocean brand saline, which isn't addictive like other nasal sprays, but that has never helped much. My doctor always recommends a neti pot, but that makes my sinuses sting really bad. When something actually hurts to use, you're not inclined to use it. Sudafed helps me breathe at night, but it also makes me feel wide awake, so it isn't a good combination. I decided to give this MyPurMist thing a try, and so far, it seems to be working. I've used it for three days now, and I haven't had to get up in the middle of the night to take Sudafed. I've been able to breathe without any problem at all. Just maybe it is actually worth the money he spent on it!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Trigger Smells ...

Have you ever smelled something that brought back a memory from a long time ago? I've been fighting a cold/sinus thing for a few weeks, and recently I felt so yucky that I spent two days mostly in bed. Because of that, I didn't wear any lipstick or gloss, so my lips got a little chapped. I was waiting in line at Walmart the other day when I saw all the lip products by the mints and gum. I picked up a tube of Carmex because it was the only one that was medicated. Later that night, I was getting ready for bed and put some on my lips. It was weird. I was instantly taken back to snow skiing in the 1970s. My mom didn't ski, so she'd sit on the deck and read while I was on the slopes. I used to get really bad chapped lips while skiing, and often times I'd buy a little tub of Carmex at the ski resorts. As soon as I put it on my lips the other night, it took me back to the slopes of Mammoth Mountain. It was the weirdest feeling.

There is actually a name for this. It's called "odor-evoked autobiographical memory". It is also known as the Proust phenomenon, named after a French writer, Marcel Proust. Apparently, it has something to do with smells going through your olfactory bulb, which is the smell-analyzing region in your brain. It's very close to the region in your brain that keeps track of memories and emotions. That's why certain smells might trigger past memories easier than other senses, such as vision, hearing, or touch. Below is an interesting article about this, which explains is better than I can ...

Although the smell of the Carmex triggered a good memory of my old skiing days, this same phenomenon can trigger bad memories for some people. I was just reading about a study where a man had a negative experience smelling diesel gasoline, which brought up memories of his time in Vietnam. I haven't looked it up yet, but I've had the same thing happen with taste. I only drink nut milks now, such as almond or cashew, but I used to drink cow's milk. Every once and awhile, I'd take a sip of milk and would be reminded of being in a nursery school I went to in California. The milk had to be just the right temperature to trigger it, and it probably had to be whole milk, which I haven't had in years. But anyway ... the Carmex is helping heal my lips, so that's a good thing. This is how I remember it looking back when I used it regularly ...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Today is the 112th birthday of one of my all-time favorite author/illustrators, Theodor Seuss Geisel ... aka Dr. Seuss. I've been a fan since as long as I can remember. We have a large collection of his books, although I know we don't have them all. I am not sure what it is exactly that draws me to his books ... whether it be the stories, the rhymes, the unique characters and illustrations, or just a combination of everything. The latter is probably the case. One thing I loved about his stories is that they often included a moral. It seems that preaching morals is frowned upon more and more in today's publishing world. Dr. Seuss was also political in his stories, which often gets overlooked. I have so many favorite books, but I don't think I could pick one over another. Some of my favorites—in no particular order—would include:

Are You My Mother?
Green Eggs & Ham
Horton Hears A Who
I Wish I Had Duck Feet
The Cat in the Hat
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
The Sneetches
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Go, Dog, Go!
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Hop on Pop
Fox in Socks
There's A Wocket in my Pocket!

Okay ... you get the idea. I could go on and on. One of my absolute favorites that I didn't mention above is the Cat in the Hat Dictionary. I used to look at that one for hours as a kid. I absolutely loved that one. The illustrations are amazing and I literally studied them. When What Pet Should I Get was released last year, I went out and bought it on the very first day. I have to admit, I still need to buy Horton and the Kwuggerbug, but that's definitely on my list to get. I think later today (once this nasty sinus headache lets up), I'll get out all of our Dr. Seuss books and see just exactly which ones we have, as well as which ones we need to add to our collection. I hope you can read one of his books today in celebration of the 112th birthday of this amazing children's author/illustrator. Don't forget to check out his site too ...