Haunted Dollhouse

Get ready, it’s almost here!

Check out this haunted dollhouse.

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Trick or Treat!  We’re waiting for you…

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My friend (to your right) dieted a little too much this year.

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Candy anyone?

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Yes, I’m talking to you little girl.

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Please don’t step on the flowers!

 

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Pick a room and spend the night with us.

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How about a little treat?

 

Have you been “Booed?”  This is fun!  Our daughter and her family were “Booed” for the first time last year.  This involves making up gift bags, placing them at the doors of friends/neighbors with a note attached, ringing the doorbell and running! There are lots of fun things for Halloween already on sale, be creative and conjure up some fun.  You can use candy, but we preferred not to use edibles. My grandson and I packed little bags with Halloween projects for three families in his neighborhood.  When it started to get dark, he did the running and we strolled along behind him.

For details go to http://www.beenbooed.com/ for details.

Woohoo…….what fun.

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BOO!!!

This is a great time of year to tell stories and read.

Hot cider, donuts, a big fuzzy blanket, and a good book are the ingredients for the perfect Halloween potion.

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Autumn Approaches

back to schoolThe days are shortening, the leaves are starting to turn color, and anticipation grows for parents and children alike for the first day of school.

Stores are crowded with tired parents and children stressing about choosing cool clothes to make them fit in.  New school supplies are a thrill at any age.  I bought a new spiral notebook this year just to feel like part of the game.  school supplies

Backpacks make a garden of color on Target and Walmart walls with the selection getting bigger every year.  How did we ever manage carrying multiple books on our hips?  And, how come boys never had as many books to carry as girls?

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Covering our school books was one of my favorite tasks every year.  The kitchen table was piled with books, brown paper bags, and tape.  Being able to make a tight fitting book cover from a paper bag was a true skill and one to be proud off.  I remember the smell and the feel of the covers as I stacked the finished books.  In those days doodling on the book covers was an art form.  When your boyfriend’s name changed, you had to make a new book cover.

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Look at this clever book cover…woo hoo!

Oh…the excitement of going to junior high.  You thought you would never adjust.  Just when you loved junior high the most, it was time to move on to senior high and even greater anxiety.

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Stay-at-home moms will get to enjoy a few extra minutes of quiet time before trying to coordinate everyone’s new activities and starting the chauffeur game.   Working moms will look at their calendars in fear of having to work late and business trips that will take them away from the school activities they want to share with their children.

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Do you think this mom is ready for school to start?

I wish you all happy times and please do not text or talk on the phone while driving your children.

Which is more important, the phone call, or your child’s life?  No brainer!

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Fun Summer Read

This is the first time I have blogged about an adult book but I wanted to pass on an entertaining read that won’t depress you, address social issues, vampires or history we can’t change.  The book is called Pistol Fanny’s, Hank and Dililah, by Annie Rose Welch.  At first glance I thought it was a western and not for me…never judge a book by it’s cover!  I ventured into the first chapter which was okay, but then the second chapter showed the true creativity of this author.  I was hooked and hope you will be too.  I don’t do spoilers, but the following blurb will at least give you an idea about the story.  This is an entertaining book perfect for the beach or the pool.  Don’t forget the sunblock!

Pistol

Never fall in love with a bank robber.

Especially if she’s the one who robbed your bank, took you hostage, and dumped you unconscious at the local convenience store. And definitely not if you are the assistant district attorney of Tupelo, Mississippi.

This is the advice Hank Huckleberry Rivers would have given himself, back when he was a man who vowed to always walk on the right side of the law. The same law that had seemed sacrosanct ever since the day he and his friends watched as two men were murdered right below their tree house.

 Falling in love with a dangerous criminal can have life-altering consequences, though. And when the past and the present meet head-on, Hank finds himself in more trouble than he ever bargained for. He must run to save his life, daring to find answers to the questions threatening his safety and his heart, as the killer below the tree house comes after Hank—and his pistol-wielding bank robber.

It’s a simple case of love in the first degree.

Wimberley, Texas may be “A Little Bit of Heaven” but that doesn’t mean they’re not vulnerable

to a gang of beautiful outlaws.

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Wimberley

About the Author

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Born and raised in New Orleans, Annie has a habit of shortening her words and telling long stories. She speaks with a southern flair and cooks with it too. At the tender age of twenty- one, she hitched up her wagons (took her first plane ride) and moved out west to the big shake (California). Her writing career began one sleepless night when she imagined a gorgeous woman and a man with maniacal hair floating above her like lightening bugs falling from the sky. Curious about them, their story, and why they were floating around in her head, she sat down and penned (typed) her first novel, Marigny Street. A dream

come true for her, she hasn’t stopped writing since. She loves a damn good love story, always has, no matter what the genre. She is particularly moved by imperfect love that in its own unique way is perfect, the notion of love at first sight, soul mates, and things that are generally out of the norm. When she’s not writing she enjoys dabbling in photography and finding new, inspirational music to add to her collection. Deciding on a whim to hitch up those same wagons, Annie currently resides in Texas (where everything is bigger) with her husband, daughter, and their two peculiar dogs, Boudreaux and Tabasco (who, call her crazy, bark with an accent).

For lagniappe (a little extra), a virtual cup of café au lait and beignets, please visit Annie’s website: http://www.annierosewelch.com

She can also be found on Facebook & Twitter.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnieRoseWelch Twitter: https://twitter.com/angelwriter11

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7159582.Annie_Rose_Welch Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Annie-Rose-Welch/e/B00DQSYDTM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

 

Tales of Tails

IMG_1093The lazy, hazy days of summer have caught up with me!  All I feel like doing is reading.  A perfect day for me is one spent under the pergola with a good book and listening to the hummingbirds buzz around my head.

I pulled out another one of my favorite childrens’ books, Brambly Hedge, Summer Story, by Jill Barklem.  If you have never experienced her books, I highly recommend you run right out and get one – OR – let your fingers do the shopping on the internet.

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Ms. Barklem is a British author and illustrator with incredible talent.  As a child she suffered an eye injury that prevented her from having an active life so she turned to art and books.  Her stories are about the Brambly Hedge mice who live in the bucolic world of the English countryside.  When reading you forget the characters are mice and feel like you are a member of their community.  The mice are too charming for words and the illustrations exquisite.

As much as I love her stories, I find myself spending more time studying her drawings.  The detail draws you in like a seek and find game.  I’ve tried to show some of her work here, but for better pictures google her.

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You can purchase her books individually, but I particularly like, The Four Seasons of Brambly Hedge.  This book includes her four seasons books, as well as a conversation with the artist and studies of her art in progress.

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If you’re into sewing or crafts, you will enjoy The Brambly Hedge Pattern Book, which includes patterns and instructions for making the mice.  I’m considering making my dollhouse a mouse house…hmmm, do I really need another project?

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I wonder how Emerson would feel about living with a few mice in her house?

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Share these wonderful books with the ones you love!

 

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Don’t forget to encourage your middle-graders to read the Emerson’s Attic Series.

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Please visit the Blue Velvet book trailer.  Copy and paste into your browser:   https://www.youtube.com/embed/Jf_AkD1nG2g

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the trailer and the books.

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Rainy Day Fun

umbrellaHere in Pennsylvania we’re caught in what feels like monsoon season, as is much of the country.  It’s hot, humid and raining buckets!  On these dreary days I get bored.  This is crazy because I have a ton of work, lots of hobbies, and of course there’s always cleaning, but rainy days zap my energy and fog my brain.  This morning I found myself wondering what I would do if we still had children at home.  I broke out in a sweat thinking about how I would entertain little people.  If I’m bored, think how they must feel not being able to play outdoors.  So, I put on my thinking cap to see what I could come up with.

We all have the tendency to plunk kids down in front of the TV or hand them an I-Pad.  Resist that urge and be creative. Hopefully, one of the following ideas will fit your family.

My first thought is always reading.  Snuggle up and read to your small children and hopefully you’ll all end up taking a long nap.  Encourage older children to read by offering a reward for the number of chapters they read in one day or a very special reward for the number of books they read over the summer.  If your child already enjoys reading, you have no challenge and many hours to yourself.

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Board games actually seem to be gaining in popularity and are fun for the entire family. Start a Monopoly marathon.  Set the game up in an area where it can be left for days without being in the way.  Call in the neighborhood kids, provide some snacks, and you have the afternoon to yourself.

Have contests of who can put a puzzle together the fastest.  Jigsaw puzzles come in all ability levels and are great for long hours of working together as a family.

Spend a few hours teaching and/or learning a new skill with your older children.  Sewing, knitting, crochet, origami, tying fishing flies, trying a new recipe…the sky’s the limit.

Bake cookies together and/or let them help with meal preparations.

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How about that treadmill or exercise bike that’s been gathering dust or pretending to be a clothes tree?  Clean if off and take turns exercising.

Make your own play dough!  This is an old favorite of ours.  Once the play dough is made, dig into kitchen drawers for a rolling pin, pasta cutter, cookie cutters, canape cutters.  A ricer makes great stringy hair for play dough animals and people. You can find all kinds of tools similar to the ones in play dough kits.

Homemade Play Dough

1 c flour

1/2 c salt

1 T oil

3 T cream of tartar

1 c water

Food coloring if desired

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Heat and stir all ingredients until it can’t be stirred any longer and forms a ball.  It will still feel very sticky.  Allow the dough to cool thoroughly and then knead.    Divide as desired and knead in food coloring.  For a little extra pizzazz knead in some glitter. Play dough is nontoxic and can be stored in an airtight container for quite a while.

Turn on some music and dance with your children like nobody is watching.dancing

Set-up a “salon” where girls can do manicures, pedicures, and give each other new hairdos.  Moms can join in as well.  Great time to corral the little girl who hates to have her hair washed.

Pull out that old suitcase with dress-up clothes and jewelry.  If you don’t have one, this is a good time to clean-out closets and make a dress-up box.  Old costume jewelry is a favorite and don’t forget old shoes…a must.

If it’s your only day off and you have to run errands, call your local craft stores to see if they are offering any summer craft days for kids.  These are usually very inexpensive and sometimes free.  Drop the kids for a few hours while you get your errands done.

Have an indoor scavenger hunt.

Have the kids write a play and then perform it after supper.

Be prepared to offer rewards to get the kids interested…unloading the dishwasher or cleaning a bathroom.  Just kidding, but surprisingly if you catch a child at the right age they actually think it’s fun.  It took very little to convince my Goddaughter to dust the intricate design on the legs of my antique sewing machine.  I don’t think I could get away with that today.

Seriously, rewards work, can be fun, and don’t need to be expensive.  Let them bank minutes for TV and video games for future use.  You will still need to monitor what they are watching or playing, and the time should be limited on the day they use their points.  A trip to the ice cream store, library or perhaps a visit to a local amusement or historical site that you have never gotten around to doing.  A picnic in a local park or even the backyard…they do need to eat.  Let them add-up points toward a new item of clothing, a special toy or school supplies.

I keep a very small, decorated suitcase (the kind you see in craft stores) with “prizes” sometimes just for being good or sitting still for a few minutes.  This suitcase is filled with all kinds of “nothing.”  Dollar store trinkets, stickers that came in the mail free, old jewelry, freebies given away at stores and restaurants, and coupon books to fast food restaurants.  Many of these items I would normally throw away but kids are happy with surprisingly simple things.

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Plan ahead for the next rainy day by picking up craft kits when you see them.  These go on sale frequently and can be had for pennies on the dollar.  Try different crafts, your kids are bound to find something they enjoy and then the next rainy day will be a lot easier.

If all else fails…send them to grandmas!

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Dollhouses, memories and more has been nominated for the Encouraging Thunder Blog Award.

Thank you Deanie Humphries-Dunne!

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Hopefully, you will have less real thunder and more creative thunder at your house.

Copy and paste the link below to your browser to see the book trailer for Emerson’s Attic, The Blue Velvet.

https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=313b437fb0a5648f&id=313b437fb0a5648f%2131325&ithint=video,wmv&authkey=!ADgGKEu8XzRN0xA

Kids in the Kitchen

I don’t know about you, but I change my recipes for the seasons like I change the clothes in my closet.  Summer is just around the corner and it’s time to think about easy, fun recipes.
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Thinking about this reminded me of the time our daughters, then in junior high school, made Peanut Butter Tandy Cake.  Call it what you will Tastycakes, Tandy Kake or Kandy Kake…my recipe calls it Peanut Butter Tandy Cake.   Yes, they are just like the ones you buy at the store.  I didn’t know there was a controversy over the name, to me, they always were and always will be Tandy Cakes (see the tweet below explaining the name change).

 

At any rate, when I got home…from wherever…the girls were upset because they had done something wrong and the end product was not like it was when I made the recipe.  It only took one look at the baking sheet to realize they had forgotten to add the baking powder.  However, in my opinion, they made it better.  Their Tandy Cake was EXACTLY like the original except cut into squares instead of the traditional round shape.  Without the baking powder the cake layer stayed low like the Tandy Cakes we all know and love.

tandy kakeThis picture shows the recipe with the baking powder.

Without the baking powder they are about half this high.

Peanut Butter Tandy Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease or use baking spray to coat the bottom of a 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan (pan must have sides).

Cake Ingredients

2 c flour

2 c sugar

1/2 c oil

1 c milk

4 slightly beaten eggs

2 t melted butter

2 t baking powder

1 t vanilla

Mix ingredients together and pour on the well-greased 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  DO NOT OVER BAKE.

Peanut Butter Topping

While cake is baking, mix together:

3/4 c smooth peanut butter

1/2 stick melted butter

3/4 to 1 c powdered sugar

When cake tests done, remove from oven and immediately spread peanut butter topping

over the entire top of the cake while it is still hot.

Place in refrigerator or freezer until the peanut butter has hardened.

Chocolate Icing

When cake is cold, melt two 8-ounce Hershey bars in a double boiler on top of the stove.

Spread the melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer and return cake to the refrigerator until chocolate is set.

Before serving bring the cake to room temperature and cut into 2-inch square.

Enjoy, with or without the baking powder!

Is It a Tandy Kake or a Kandy Kake?

By

That’s Tandy Kake to you, sir

We knew there was a reason we were following Tastykake’s Twitter feed! Today they’ve revealed the answer to a mystery that’s been nagging us for YEARS. Why did they change the name of our beloved chocolate-covered peanut butter mini-cakes from Tandy Kakes to Kandy Kakes? Honestly, we’ve had arguments with people about this very subject, people who refused to believe they were ever called Tandy Kakes. People who made us question the validity of our own childhood lunchbox memories! Today, Tasty Baking Company solved the mystery in 140 characters (or less).

Via Twitter:

“Tandy Kakes were changed to “Kandy Kakes” to avoid confusion with the Tandy Candy Co. during the 1970s.”

Thank you, Tastyake, for making us feel whole again! We don’t know who this Tandy Candy Company is (or was, since we can’t find them via a google search), but we are going back to calling them Tandy Kakes, just because we can.

If anyone else has any burning Krimpet or Koffee Kake questions, they will be answering them via Twitter: @TastyBakingCo.

 

 

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Don’t forget your summer reading list!

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Build Your Own Library

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I first learned about roadside libraries from a cousin who sent me a few pictures and hooked my curiosity.  What a wonderful example of being neighborly!  The premise is simple, build or buy a weather-proof box, erect it close to the sidewalk or road in front of your home, and fill it with books.  TA-DA…you now have your own free library.  Post a sign telling passersby to take a book and leave a book.  Don’t fret if a few books go missing without replacements, just remember you made someone’s day a little better.library2Since the first one in Hudson, Wisconsin, the simple, yet profound idea of sharing books via these little structures has spread across the U.S., Mexico, Canada,and Europe.  The Little Free Library goal is to build more libraries than Andrew Carnegie, who built 2,510.  That goal shouldn’t be hard to reach considering how many of us love to read and love to share.

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This truly is the perfect project for the entire family.  Now’s the time to plan and build your library so that it’s ready for summer.  How big, what color, where to put it?  Fancy smancy or plain Jane, it doesn’t matter.  Let everyone help.  Go wild and crazy with your design and be sure to let the kids help.

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This old British phone booth has to be the ultimate roadside library.

These pictures evoke memories of warm summer days under a shady tree reading, talking to neighbors over the back fence and

riding a bike aimlessly along a country road.

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Wouldn’t it be fun to mark each book with it’s original location?

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How thoughtful to add a chair for a weary traveler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to check with your municipality or zoning board to be sure you’re allowed to erect such a structure.

Here are a couple sites you might like to check out:

littlefreelibrary.com and shareable.net

Send me pictures (emersonsattic@gmail.com) of your library and I’ll post them on my blog and FaceBook.

Happy Reading!

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