Marguerite, the Sun-Maid Raisin Girl

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Around the time I was really pregnant, all I craved was raisin bran cereal. It was comforting to me and made my growing belly happy. It’s suiting that both my children love raisin bran today!

Raisins also remind me of my grandmother. That red box was always there…used in oatmeal, granola, cookies, cakes, bread, and salads. Fresh, chewy and plump raisins are perfect on there own too…enjoying raisins in any way can truly give you a nostalgic feeling and a reason to smile.

My children have an even better relationship with the little red box than I do. They will happily skip down the snack aisle at the grocery store to say hello to their distant cousin, Marguerite, the Sun-Maid raisin girl. “Can we go see our cousin and put her in our basket?” It’s makes everyone smile when they open up the pantry and see her kind face.

My husband’s parents have roots in California that run deep. The very first Sun-Maid raisin girl was a great, great, great cousin on my husband’s Mom’s side.

The Sun-Maid raisin girl came about when Marguerite’s Dad (William Banks) invented a new process for drying raisins and began to deal with the Sun-Maid raisin company. William Banks had a picture of his daughter, Marguerite, holding a basket of raisins…Sun-Maid liked it and decided to use the idea of having Marguerite as the spokes person for raisins! The company bought his photo and she became the very first Sun-Maid raisin girl.

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Marguerite Evelyn Cecilia Banks was born in 1888. She would later change her name to Namara, after her Irish mother’s maiden name, McNamara.

Marguerite Namara was a real renaissance women! Her success as the Sun-Maid raisin girl was only the beginning! She was also a famous opera singer, an accomplished pianist, an artist who studied under Claude Monet and a silent screen movie star. Marguerite’s fast-paced life included running with an eclectic group…she was friends with Isadora Duncan, Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin.

We know her best as the raisin girl. This is a picture of my daughter dressed as Marguerite for culture day.

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Our favorite raisin recipe to make is oatmeal cookies. Raisin cookies are so comforting with there soft and chewy texture and buttery sweet flavor…it’s a bonus that raisins are a great source of vitamins and iron. These old fashioned raisin cookies are easy and quick to make.  Bake them until the centers are still soft and just beginning to turn brown yet their edges are a lovely golden brown color. Think of Marguerite when you enjoy them.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2 sticks of unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon backing soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups of raisins
1/2 cup pecans

  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.
  • Mix the flour, baking soada and salt together. Add to the creamed mixture gradually and mix well.
  • Stir in the oats, raisins and nuts.
  • Drop by rouonded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool on the cookie sheets a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Marguerite Namara said in an interview in 1954 that her dream would be “...to live on a farm, preferably somewhere near Monterey. I’ve never before given myself a real vacation, and it would do me a world of good. No telephones ringing, nobody to powder the old nose for, or rouge the lips. Just to go about as is, in old loose clothing, would be close to being in paradise.” 

I imagine that her red bonnet suited her very well.

 

Get Ready for Rush

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It’s that time of year when incoming college freshmen girls are getting ready to go through rush…what a fun time it is. Going through rush is an exciting and memorable time that you will never forget. This is an experience of a lifetime that will shape your college career in the very best way. Get ready to go with the flow, be yourself and know that you will find your place.

The University of Alabama (my alma mater) has the largest sorority recruitment process…there are over 2,000 students participating in rush. Participates are encouraged to read Greek Chic (a recruitment manual).

These girls need recommendations from alumnae who are in good standing with their sorority. Only a sorority alumna can write a recommendation to her sorority. One or two recommendations for each chapter are helpful for the PMN (potential new member)…recs are like extra credit!

It is customary that the PMN provide the alumna who is writing the recommendation with a photograph, a copy of their academic transcript, a social resume, and a self-addressed stamped envelope. Recommendations are written and sent in by alumnae…most sororities are moving to filing recommendations electronically. These forms help members to get to know you in advance of the formal recruitment.

Good impressions start with a recommendation. This year, I did both…an electronic rec and one that I mailed in. I think it’s nice for the girls getting ready for rush to have something in their hands…pictures, RIF’s (recruitment information forms) and a personal letter of recommendation too. Sorority girls today have twitter and Facebook to look at…it’s important for the PMN to look like a lady on their social media accounts so they’re invited back.

Here are some tips for potential new members. Make sure you take it all in and really appreciate the process, your fellow rushees, and the entire Greek life culture. Best wishes for a successful rush week.

  • DO say something positive and memorable about yourself.
  • DON’T talk about drinking, sex, politics or religion.
  • DO dress like a lady…reveal the very best image of yourself.
  • DON’T gossip about other rushees or sororities.
  • DO act like you care and are happy to be there.
  • DON’T rely on stereotypes. Use your own judgment and go through rush with an open mind.
  • DO be genuine. Be yourself and you will truly end up where you’re meant to be.
  • DON’T have any photos, posts or comments in your social media that wouldn’t put you in a flattering light.
  • DO be kind, polite, respectful, and most of all…be gracious.

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These are pictures of me and my roommate on Preference Night. You can tell we look so happy…I think it’s because we know the next day is Bid Day.

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I fondly remember practicing the beautiful Alpha Chi Omega songs at the University of Alabama before rush began. The last day of rush is the most special because that is when we serenade our hopeful new pledges. This is a picture of some of my sorority sisters during rush week…such happy memories!

Enjoy every moment! Recruitment is a whirlwind of a week but it is filled with so much fun…meeting new people, listening to lots of songs, and at the end you find sisters to call your own. It’s a really exciting process. Take it day by day and just enjoy! Remember that you’re looking for a house where you can be yourself and feel at home.

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The soul selects her society

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A few days ago we watched our wedding video… it’s been fifteen years! For several years we celebrated without even thinking to watch it but in the last three years it has become a tradition to enjoy it on our anniversary with our children. Our two kids always have so many questions and comments…”Why is Grandpa’s hair brown on this DVD?” “Why does Aunt Paige have short hair?” “Who are those flower girls?” “I wish I could go to this party!

Derek and I were married in July of 2000. When we were watching the video, it really doesn’t feel like it’s been fifteen WHOLE years. Didn’t I just put the ring on Derek’s wrong hand just a little while ago?

There were so many beautiful toasts and poems recited for our engagement party, rehearsal dinner and our wedding night. It makes the heart happy to hear and read poetry at celebratory events of our lives…weddings and anniversaries are perfect for love poems.  Everyone should have a few poems memorized. Poetry is a good investment…it’s like buying a beautiful piece of jewelry to wear inside your heart forever and ever. Here are a few of my favorite love poems and one that I wrote for my love…

And you’ll always love me won’t you?
Yes
And the rain won’t make any difference?
No

~Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot’s pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.

I’ve known her from an ample nation
Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.

~Emily Dickinson, 1862

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly today,
Were to change by tomorrow and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy wings fading away.
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will;
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.
It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear.
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close:
As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets
The same look which she turned when he rose.

~Thomas Moore, Believe Me, if all those Endearing Young Charms

When I first met my husband, I told him that he was my missing Pac Man piece. I’ve been an elementary teacher now for seventeen years. Every year that I read Shel Silverstein’s “The Missing Piece Meets the Big O” I think of my husband…he’s my missing piece.

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For Derek

We float together in the sea
Our heads to the clouds as the storms swiftly pass
Mermaids gently protect us
Sway with us

Bathed by the current that cannot break us
Our love for the sea together beautifully binds us
The waves carry our souls
Sway with us

Sanddollars anchor us dreamily
While schools of silver fish kiss our toes
We drift for so long that the fish seem to grow.
Sway with us

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I love you Derek, my missing piece! xx

Related posts:

Love letters

Poetry the greatest of all arts

And then he kissed me 

Summertime Birthday Inspiration

Summertime is the most popular time to have a baby. Chances are you know many people who have summer birthdays coming up. Here are a few of my favorite people who have inspired me to create the perfect summer birthday party…recipes, music and gift inspirations for each special person. Bonne fête!!

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Inspiration for your Taurus childhood best friend who is playful, fun‑loving, adventuresome, and rebellious (mostly when she was sixteen).  We grew up on Pretty in Pink and Desperately Seeking Susan. If Madonna’s Get in to the Groove comes on, it’s time for disco dancing and glitter make-up!

Jen’s birthday fun…

DRINK: the perfect summer cocktail

GIFTS: Birchbox, It’s All Good: recipes by Gwyneth Paltrowpretty earrings

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)/ Michael Jackson

2. Head to Toe/ Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam

3. 1999/ Prince

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Inspiration for your Gemini mother-in-law who is energetic, quick-witted, and super systematic. Her recipe for a happy life might go like this…read a good book, love your job and cook with gas!

Mother-in-law birthday fun…

SALAD: Green Goddess

GIFTS: a really good cookbook, flowers every month, houndstooth clutch (because she’s a really big Alabama fan)

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. You Send Me/ Sam Cooke

2. When I Fall in Love/ Nat King Cole

3. All I have to do is Dream/ The Everly Brothers

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Inspiration for your Leo Dad who is truth‑loving, loyal and passionate. My children call him “Coach” because he coached most of the teams my brother and sister and I played on…my daughter’s soccer team too. He will encourage you to give great effort, sing a song for fun, and always cheer on your favorite team.

Dad’s birthday fun…

SIDE DISH: Green rice with nectarines and corn

GIFTS: pinhole press photomy son wants to give him a new golf “stick”, Birchbox for men

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. Sherry Baby/ Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

2. Where Did Our Love Go/ The Supremes

3. Louie Louie/ The Kingsmen

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Inspiration for your Gemini Mom who loves copper, entertaining and majolica. She’s patient, charismatic and immensely creative.

Mom’s birthday fun…

ENTREE: Sausage and roasted peppers

GIFTS: Dinner Diaries, sun and sea necklace, a pretty phone case

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. Somebody to Love/ Queen

2. One/ Three Dog Night

3. Suspecious Minds/ Elvis

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Inspiration for your Gemini husband who makes the best cocktails, lives for Alabama football, and is a huge Beatles fan. He’s positive, diligent, charming and resourceful.
Derek’s birthday fun…

DESSERT: chocolate cake with m&m’s like this! 

GIFTS: beard trimmerThe Beatles LyricsBose Quiet Comfort Noise Canceling Headphones

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. King for a day/ XTC

2. 2112/ Rush

3. Women in Love/ Van Halen

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Inspiration for your Cancer daughter who is artistic, imaginative and fantasy‑rich.

GIFTS for your daughter: American Girl Doll, heart sunglassessnowball machine

Your Cancer son who is daring, exciting and athletic.

GIFTS for your son: Lego airplane, PokemonLED light up football

DESSERT: cinnamon ice cream

MUSIC PARTY MIX:

1. Blame it on the Boogie/ Michael Jackson

2. Chicken Dance

3. Starchild/ Jamiroquai

 

Wishing all your summer birthday celebrations to be fun and festive. Bonne fête!!

P.S. My birthday is in the summer too! xx

Vail: Like Nothing on Earth

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Vail, Colorado looks like a quaint European village. It has jaw-dropping postcard views of sunny blue skies and spectacular powdery snow conditions. Vail is plentiful in great restaurants, spas, and fun. Vail’s slogan is “Like nothing on Earth.” It’s true… Vail is a dream vacation.

Growing up, my family spent many spring breaks in Beaver Creek and we’d visit Vail to ice-skate and have dinner. Those happy memories are now being creating for our children. Both Beaver Creek and Vail have such a relaxed atmosphere that make you want to stay longer. My husband looks like a typical Vail skier now because he started to relax while we were there and grow a beard…I love it! It’s very easy for me to get into the haute hippie style of Vail. I like the healthy vibe and appreciate that it’s a town full of real athletes. The relaxed atmosphere was enhanced by the music that would follow us…it seemed that everywhere we’d go, eighties music was playing!


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There was also the charming music of the old world clock tower at the Arrabelle. Every four hours the clock would play a sweet tune and the king and queen would come out to ring the bell. My children were enchanted and it made it feel like we were visiting a little town in Austria.

The Arrabelle has a warm and inviting ambiance that is enhanced by Vail’s crisp alpine air.  It has a European feel and is ski-in/ski-out…only steps from the Eagle Bahn gondola. The Arrabelle suites are cozy with a fireplace and warm colors. The ski service is a families dream… storing ski gear at the foot of the mountain. The ski concierge makes it so easy that you never need to carry anything. After you ski, the Arrabelle’s hot chocolate trolley welcomes children with endless combinations of how to decorate your hot chocolate. My children choose fresh raspberry whipped cream and chocolate marshmallows…happiness is a hot chocolate trolley.

Vail, Colorado is THE giant of ski resorts in North America… offering 195 named trails served by 31 lifts. It’s world-famous for its “Back Bowls” that span around 3,000 acres. Vail is VERY family friendly… (it’s not all about the bowls) there are plenty of groomers to enjoy with your family. No matter your level, there’s huge terrain for beginners all the way to the crazy advanced skiers.

A nice perk is that Vail’s interchangeable lift ticket lets skiers explore the many possibilities of nearby mountains like Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Arapahoe Basin and Keystone.

The ski schools are out of this world offering every possibility, age and ability. They are known to have the best and largest ski schools on Earth. Our children loved their ski instructor and also enjoyed meeting other kids from all over the world.

Getting to Vail is super easy! It’s about forty minutes away from the very user-friendly Eagle-Vail airport. Like my children say…”it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy.”

Vail is like the Disney World of skiing… it’s a decorated amusement park for skiers (but the lines are not at all like Disney)! The many lifts are fast and easy and they’re always improving to make them even faster.

Getting around Vail is just as easy with free shuttle access to shopping, activities, food, spas, ice-skating… Vail reminds me of Rosemary Beach in the way that you never need your car. It’s nice to be able to walk or ride the shuttle and always feel safe to stroll around the town.

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Here are a few recommendations if you decide to visit Vail:

  • GEAR: Pack your GoPro Hero3 so you can capture your kids runs.
  • EAT: 

For lunch…

The 10th at Mid-Vail has incredible views of the Gore Range and a wide range of healthy energetic food choices to keep you going.

For dinner…

Up the Creek is a contemporary American cuisine that is family owned and serves fresh organic local foods on the banks of Gore Creek. Get the tri-color quinoa, Ashley baby beets and a berry crush cocktail.

Montauk Seafood Grill: Has wonderful fresh fish selection and you can mix and match your sauces. The seared Shi Tuna and the linguini and clams are favorites…the clams were a hit with my children! Try the Bee Hive cocktail.

Lancelot Restaurant: The most old world charm. My husband enjoyed the prime rib. My children and I loved the Weiner Schnitzel and homemade apple strudel. Try one of their signature Moscow mule cocktails.

La Bottega: Traditional Italian cuisine. They have wonderful wood-fired oven and make their pizza from scratch. The arugula salad with fresh burrata cheese is a must before your pizza. I also couldn’t help ordering an Aperol Spritz in an Italian restaurant.

  • Après-ski:

The swimming pool on the roof at the Arrabelle and the many spa treatment options or sip hot cocoa around an open fire pit after taking a spin on the ice skating rink. A nice glass of wine at the Arrabelle’s Tavern on the Square is also a nice Après-ski treat.

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IMG_2184Every serious skier will agree that Vail is the best and most varied resort. Whether it’s your first time on a snowboard, or you ski the bowls, Vail will be the ski trip of your dreams…it’s like nothing on Earth!

Many Happy Returns little sister!!

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Let me tell you a secret…I love my little sister! Today is her birthday and I’m sending my sister, Paige, warm wishes from deep in the heart of Texas to LA.

I miss my sister and wish she lived closer. It’s been a long time since Paige has lived in Texas but my mom noticed that her accent can still come out with a few long ‘i’ words like knives and pie. We stay in touch using Facetime (even when she’s wearing a face mask)! On Christmas morning, Paige was showing us around California with Facetime and making everyone smile and laugh with her Texas accent coming through as strong as ever.

This picture of us makes me so happy. Secrets between sisters are the best!

She was home for Thanksgiving and we went to a yoga class together. If you’ve ever gone to a yoga class with your sister, you know you risk totally loosing it if one of you falls…it’s happened before and is almost impossible to regain composure. Those are the memories I love the most…laughing with my sister!

This holiday we missed watching our favorite movie together, White ChristmasThis is our song.

Sisters
Sisters
There were never such devoted sisters

Never had to have a chaperone “No, sir”
I’m there to keep my eye on her

Caring
Sharing
Every little thing that we are wearing

We’ve shared plenty of clothes and jewelry…maybe not these earrings from the 80’s but the “caring, sharing” sentiment is true. We are different flowers from the same garden.

Many happy returns ma petite soeur! I love you so much! xx

Read more about my beautiful little sister here and here.

Clara’s Tea: Nutcracker Dreams

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The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition that truly puts you in the spirit of Christmas. Each holiday season, if we’re very lucky, we get a glimpse of what makes the moments of the season sparkle.

For weeks my daughter was saying, “Mommy, I can’t wait for Clara’s Tea!” She would have liked to have driven herself there in twice the speed.

Most little girls would like it if they were just a little bit older. I imagine my daughter thinking, “How great would it be to live Clara’s dream, wear pretty dresses, dance in the snow, meet the Sugar Plum Fairy but then come home to Mom and Dad after the dream is over?” Clara has a very special Christmas magic and little girls like my daughter, eat it up…

Clara is infectious and very relatable to most young girls. My little girl aspires to be Clara but she’s not too far off in being similar in character at just age eight. Both, my daughter and Clara, are sweet and optimistic. They both have little brothers that are sometimes annoying. They also both love to play with dolls and believe in a sweet kind of magic you can taste.

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Really understanding the story helps make the Nutcracker ballet become even more magical. It’s a wonderful way to introduce children to the ballet before seeing it. For many, it becomes a holiday family tradition and it all starts with Clara and her dreamy journey into the Land of Sweets.

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My daughter’s dance studio recently hosted Clara’s Tea and the party guests were made to feel like they are part of the story…dressed for a Christmas celebration that felt like a fairy tale. Children would join Clara and her friends…including the wind-up ballerina.

The artistic director of Ballet Conservatory, Kelly Lannin, read the Nutcracker while guests sipped hot chocolate and ate Christmas muffins and quiche. Before the tea party was over, the children walked the red runway in a holiday fashion show followed Clara and her friends.

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My little girl doesn’t have to awaken from her Nutcracker dream. She will continue to live it…this year as a mouse.

Happy Nutcracker Season!! xx

Related posts:

LakeCities Ballet Theatre Presents its 30th Anniversary Nutcracker

Jenifer Ringer: Mom, Sugar Plum Fairy, Role-Model

 

The Little Red Hen Comes Full Circle

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It’s a beautiful thing when life comes full circle. My first year of teaching first grade (I’ve taught fifteen years in second) and I kept thinking of my beloved first grade teacher, Mrs. Lane. It is such a coincidence that Mrs. Lane found herself in my new first grade classroom at the beginning of this school year. Her granddaughter just happens to be in my son’s class.

When I was a six-year-old, Mrs. Lane gave me swimming lessons, took me horseback riding and had me over for dinner. She had hair like Crystal Gayle and she used a pencil to hold her bun. One of my favorite memories of first grade is when I was the Little Red Hen in the first grade school play.

“Who will help me harvest the wheat?” asked the Little Red Hen. “Not I!” said the pig. “Not I!” said the cat. “Not I! said the dog. “Then I will do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

Thirty something years later, I find myself teaching the same lesson that Mrs. Lane taught me.

The Little Red Hen works so hard,” said one of my first graders. This made for a great discussion. Poor Little Red Hen! She is always asking for help before she does anything but her friends refuse to help her… lazy farm animals! Once she has made a delicious bread, she asks “Who will help me eat this bread?” Finally, her friends agree to help her… This was everyone’s favorite part of the story because the Little Red Hen says, “NO! NO! NO! You did not help me…I will eat it all myself!”

The Little Red Hen is a cherished folk tale that teaches children the importance of a good work ethic…those who are willing to contribute, will reap the benefits.

I’m hoping that my hard-working little first graders will remember our class making bread together. Some of the best memories involve food…the smell of yeasty bread in a first grade classroom made for twenty-one very happy children. I think Mrs. Lane would be proud! Who knows? I may have a future first grade teacher in my room…and wouldn’t that be wonderful!

When someone asks you, “Who will help me plant these grains of wheat?” You should reply “I will!”

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There are several very cute interpretations of the Little Red Hen. My first grade class enjoyed The Little Green Witch just as much! The Little Green Witch is left to do all the “unhousework”…hanging cobwebs, dirtied laundry, and spreading soot. When she finds some pumpkin seeds and asks for her “tree mates” to help her plant them, the trio is too lazy (much like the farm animals). The BEST part is when the Little Green Witch turns her “tree mates” into LITTLE RED HENS!

Another Little Red Hen transformation is The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza. This Little Red Hen grows basil in a pot on her balcony apartment. The animals live in a city and are busy listening to music, jumping rope in the street, playing in the spray of a fire hydrant or chasing after an ice cream truck. When the Little Red Hen realizes she is missing an ingredient for her pizza, she cries out “Cluck!” The Little Red Hen calls out the window to see if anyone would like some…unlike the original, this hen likes to share. When the Little Red Hen asks, “Who will help me do the dishes?” The animals all reply, “I will.” “I will.” “I will.”

Related posts:

Battle of the Books

I had a Favorite Dress

P.S. Every first grade teacher should own a bread machine!

Many Happy Returns to my Dad!!

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~Marcel Proust

This is my Dad…a charming gardener who takes care of his trees and makes all those he comes in contact with, smile.

Isn’t he the cutest little boy? I think he looks a lot like my son in this picture.

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Something my Dad always says is to “SMILE! You’ll feel better! Just let the corner of your mouth move upward ever so slightly and you have a start on it that won’t stop!”

My parents recently got together with some of their old friends. My Dad and his friend Quentin have been friends since they were kids. They were talking about old injuries, knee surgeries…when Quentin asked Dad if he wanted to race. My Dad couldn’t get his running shoes on fast enough!

He has the same excitement with my daughter when they’re swimming together in the pool and she’ll say, “just one more race Coach?!” He will NEVER say no to the words, “just one more!”

My Aunt Ann (the one trying to give my Dad gum in the picture below) remembers my Dad saying that his birthday was on “August fust!” You can see, even as a baby, my Dad was having a happy effect on his sisters (Ann and Pat).

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My Dad is many things: he’s a coach (on and off the court), a proud Tar Heel, a teacher, a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, most importantly…he’s a good man!

Many happy returns Dad! I’m grateful to you, my charming gardener!

A little more about my Dad:

Ten things I’ve learned from my Dad

Happy Birthday Dad!!

The unwavering courage and parenting philosophy courtesy of Midland 64

Besame Mucho: Blue Ribbon Basset Hound

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The last few months, we’ve been noticing that our fourteen-year old basset hound, Besame Mucho, has been looking extra elderly. Her once black head is now completely grey. She can’t see or hear anymore but still has her super sense that basset hounds are known for…smell! She is always appreciative for a big doggie bone and a good belly rub.

Besame is our first baby. We got her shortly after we were married in 2000. I remember pinning her ears up as a puppy with my pink roller clips because her ears were so long they would get in her dog bowl…then she’d come kiss you!

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It was an unforgettable day picking out Besame. My husband and I went to a basset hound breeder’s house in Azel, Texas. There must have been at least twenty basset hounds inside this little home. I remember thinking that there was so much love in that house. Imagine a sea of basset hounds all tap dancing around a country house, wagging their tails and passing out sweet kisses to any friendly hand that comes their way. There isn’t anything cuter than a basset hound puppy.

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My Dad is quite the singer. When we brought our baby home, he sang to her Besame, besame mucho, Como si fuera esta noche la ultima vez…Besame loved it, she would wag her tail as fast as a humming-bird flaps its wings.

Yes, Besame was our first baby…we were her pack. She has always loved to be right with us, preferably touching both of us. Later when we had children, Besame became Nana…just like in Peter Pan. She would lay by the bassinet babysitting our children.

I remember taking her to the vet when we thought something was wrong with her. I was so worried that when the vet’s receptionist asked me, “What is Besame’s last name?” I replied without hesitation, “Mucho! Her last name is Mucho.” My husband shook his head and the receptionist laughed at me.

sleepy besame mucho

I have dreams about Besame. In my dreams, she talks like Scooby Doo. She saves our family from danger and leads us home…talking to us in her deep basset hound voice, “Follow me guys, I can smell the way home.” 

Our neighbor’s love Besame too. She’s wandered off several times…following a scent, a friendly child or the mailman. Everybody loves Besame! She’s our neighborhood mascot bringing people joy and good luck one belly rub at a time!

Basset hounds don’t walk, they shuffle. Our basset is a shuffle award winner. Every year in Hurst, Texas they have a “Basset Hound Shuffle” and one year Besame won big! You haven’t lived until you’ve seen four-hundred basset hounds coming at you. They have many contests like howling, best trick, longest ears…Besame won the blue ribbon for “low rider” and “biggest paw.”

Besame’s soundtrack to life includes “Besame Mucho” and War’s “Low Rider.” They’re two of the most perfect theme songs for our basset.

Besame will always be our blue ribbon baby. For now, she seems content sunbathing in the grass in the early morning, eating her favorite milk bones and getting extra belly rubs from loving hands.