round 4 o’clock

on long-dark snowy days

I get stressed out

and sometimes I yell,  “Come on guys!  Let’s go BAKE something!”

and then we measure, mix and mix, blend

fight over who gets to lick the sugary spoon

make a mess

 enjoy each other

I smile and savor the smells and joy

 “Okay now!  Let’s get a quick picture!”

we repeat this

day after day

week after week

replace baking with art, stories or a puppet show

it’s not glamorous 

but it means the world to them

and the world to me

And I love it.





{Theme of the Week} Happy Hearts


[Family Love Note Mailbox]  Recycled juice box is sealed until February 14th! 


[Recycled Candy Heart Box Game]  Sight Word Fun!  Last year we stuffed a similar chocolate box with goodies for lunch– HERE.


[Heart Zoo]  Make & Word Match


Heart & Arrow Color Clip Activity


1. Heart Puppets    2.  Valentine Letter Game  3.  Happy Hearts Book– all the characters are hearts (of course!)  4.  Heart Home Work


1.  Valentine for cousin Zoe (practice telling time!)   2 & 3  Emerson’s Heart Color SORT   4.  My favorite kind of  Valentine   


Knock Knock

Who’s There?


Justin TIME for your VALENTINE!



Hope your home is filled with loads of HAPPY HEARTS and SMILES in these chilly days leading up to VALENTINE’S DAY!!! 


From Sand to Snow

We went from 85 last week to below zero this week!!!

The sunshine was fantastic.

The snow is marvelous.


I love this meditation from Psalm 8 in GOD IS HERE-LET’S CELEBRATE  by Leslie Brandt:

O God, how full of wonder and splendor YOU are!

I see the reflection of Your beauty

and hear the sounds of Your majesty

where ever I turn.

Even in the babbling of babes

and the laughter of children spell out your name in indefinable syllables!







Snaps from Sunny St. Martin

1.  Nothing beats a sunset in the Caribbean   2.  Maho Resort   3.  Hunk   4.  Our Favorite Beach   5.  More Hunk   6.  We don’t see skies like this in Indiana  7.  A bikini shot for you!   8.  Orient Beach  9.  God’s glorious colors– my absolute favorite thing about St. Martin   10.  I am actually in a picture folks!   11.  Alley up to our guest house  12.  My kinda relaxation 


12.  My first 52 SMILES act and I spelled ENJOY, EJOY.  hehehe…   I hope it didn’t deter the recipient from enjoying some spirits at sunset.  14.  That gorgeous gal is my amazing friend of TWENTY FIVE years!  We have been friends since 7th grade.  How can that be?    


1.  I almost forgot how fun it is to take photographs of adults!   2.  Yes, the water really looks like this.  On this day it was as warm as bath water.   3.  The only way I can surf   4.  My paradise   5.  God’s gift to us–  these colors just blow my mind   6.  Beach outside our place at dusk


I hope YOU get to spend some time in a sunny-happy place in 2011!!! 



Playin Hooky

I’m just back from playing hooky

with this guy:


in paradise:


A huge THANK YOU to those who contacted me about 52 SMILES!

 I’m going to write each of you soon.


Top Ten

Top Ten Posts for 2010

LINKS:  10.  Soups ON    9.  Pie Smash   8.  P is for Picnic   7.  Cupcakes   6.  Happy Earth Day   5.  Oink Oink   4.  Dad   3.  Kindergarten   2.  Outdoor Kitchen  



the number one spot goes to 


I’m hoping we get lots this month!



52 Smiles

A year of kindness.  Our family project is off and running!  Our commitment in 2011 is to complete one out-of-the-ordinary kindness act each week for one full year.  Each month we pick from a kindness “type” and our challenge is to complete it before week’s end.  



Week ONE:  SURPRISE!  Anonymously leave a note, treat, artwork and/or gift for a stranger. 

Week TWO:  CREATE! Select a project that inspires childhood CREATIVITY!

Week THREE:  GIVE!   Pick a way to give that spreads LOVE, JOY and ENCOURAGMENT.  

Week FOUR:  SERVE!  Find a way to help others with your ACTIONS!  (Volunteering & Community Service)

Week FIVE:  THANK!  Develop a way to express appreciation and gratitude to those who make our world a better place. 




-deliver handmade valentines to nursing home

-take get well balloons to hospital and leave with nurse for someone who is alone

-leave bus or taxi fare for stranger

-pack zip locks care packages for salvation army—include tooth brushes, tooth paste and deodorant

-plant a roll of nickels with hand written note at children’s play place

-buy a copy of our favorite children’s book and leave in waiting room

-play florist and leave small flower vases on doorsteps of strangers

-deliver basket with popcorn and candy to video rental store… ask employee to give to someone who looks like they may need a bit of cheer

-pick name from phone book and mail them a happy note and two dollar bill

-leave stamps and a note by the mailbox inside the post office



-arrange for kids art work and carnation flowers to be delivered with meals on wheels volunteer

-have kids color and design a joke book and leave in waiting room at hospital or doctors office

-deliver kid-made get well cards with ribbon and lotion to cancer center

-make a stationary kit with envelopes, fun papers, stickers and postage stamps and have kids deliver to nursing home

-leave kid-made book marks in books at library

-color kindness bumper sticker and leave at community board at the library

-make small birthday bags with balloons, horns, candy, stickers and leave in public place—include a TAKE THIS IF IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY note

-put together a salon kit with nail polish, lotion and glitter for young girl at shelter or hospital

-host a BAND-AID drive then create kid-friendly first aid kids for the children at the shelter

-make a KIDS CREATE BOX with glue sticks, paper and art supplies to leave at shelter



-donate blood

-send box of candy and small toys (bouncy balls, bracelets) to IRAQ… soldier will pass out to kiddos while on patrol

-give a bit of fun by setting up a free face painting booth and/or hot cocoa booth

-deliver a goodies basket for assisted living facilities staff and employees

-have an extra large tip ready, order pizza and leave the tip regardless of service

-hand out helium balloons with happy notes to strangers who pass by

-give free sodas and bottled water to folks on a sweltering day

-send a box of chocolates to school custodians

-buy a fresh box of Krispie Creams and give to city workers

-drop off a new stuffed animal to fire department so that they have one on hand for child who may be in need



-door holding patrol: find a busy place and hold open doors for 15 minutes

-family sponsored food drive

-prepare and serve lunch at shelter

-ask ten people if we can take back their shopping carts

-road side trash pick up

-visit assisted living center and have older children read to patients

-invite someone who might be alone over for a special home-cooked meal

-collect canned goods for food pantry

-teach photography to kids

-see how many friends we can get to become organ donors



-design a kindness THANK YOU poster for someone and hang it somewhere in public where they will see it

-leave thank you note and small gift for recycle and trash collectors

-write heartfelt note to manager telling about a friendly employee

-“thank you for serving me” packs- small bags of wrapped chocolates with kind words… leave for bank tellers, cashiers, servers…

-write five thank you notes to people that have touched our lives in small, yet meaningful ways

-treats for school bus drivers

-prepare baked goods for government employees

-honor a personal hero

-send handmade cards to officers at local police station… signed, a thankful citizen

-send thank yous to lunch staff at the high school

-care package with ground coffee and treats to soldier in Afghanistan


More Kindness:

Secret Agent L  Specializing in Random Acts of Kindness

Kindness Kid Activities Scroll down- list of neat

TSJ Photography! So wonderful! 

For Teachers PDF project for your school or classroom


Care to play along?   Send me a note via my contact section!  I’m thinking of some FUN ways we can all keep motivated this year!!!  


Last post ever!

Last CHRISTMAS 2010 post that is! 

I just can’t help myself!!  Imagine my computer… you’ve only seen 1% of the photos I took in December. :)  Oh my!


I enjoyed this New Year passage from Deep Breath of Life by Alan Cohen:

Greet the new year with a sense of joyful anticipation. No matter what has happened this year, you have the power to create your next year as you choose. You are not the same person who started this year. You are wiser, deeper, and richer for your experiences. You will take your knowledge and build on it to make a new year unlike any you have lived before.

Devote this new year to gratitude, blessing, and celebration!  Determine that the next year will be the best one ever. It will be what you want it to be, so aim high. You deserve the very best that life has to offer, because you are the very best.  I walk in love. My future is blessed by God.