Best Dog Ever

Beloved. The Weekly Photo Challenge.

Murphy.  The Airedale Terrier. A member of the family. Missed by all. RIP.


The grandchildren have grown up significantly since these photos were taken in June 2012.


Murphy the Airedale Terrier Tenth Birthday Blog


Murphy the Airedale – A Family’s Best FriendRest in Peace beloved Murphy

He is Still Here

On a different shelf.

I blogged Baby Jake. four years ago (see below)

Looks like he’s on the WWII shelf now.


—from Blog May 2014—


First Communion Weekend in my son Mark’s home office I saw his old Baby Jake from 1976.

I believed little boys should have a doll to love and care for when they were growing up. Preparing for fatherhood.

Now he has his own family of four, but it touched me when I saw his old doll Jake on the bookshelf. Jake has a soft body that has been recovered and filled with fluff, his rubbery arms surgically reattached by me.

You might have seen Mark’s 38th birthday post from Monday.

There is something about a toy or a doll with a face.

One that’s been well loved.

If you want to see a doll well loved, his wife Erika’s childhood doll (now named Baby Doll) adopted by their daughter Anna- really illustrates LOVE!

old rubber doll from 1976 with home sewn clothes I made for him

Library Book Due Dates, No Signatures

Just dates. Due dates. No names. No signatures.

There would be short yellow golf pencils, no erasers. I remember signing my name on a card like this one. Thicker card stock.

Blue lines.

The librarian would remove the due date card from the gold pasted pocket inside the library book.

Everything’s electronic now.

I bought Over in the Meadow, an old discarded library copy, used. Originally sold for $3.26 when it was new and printed before zip codes began.

I always loved the illustrations by Feodor Rojankovsky, especially the one below from “Frog Went A Courting”

Here’s the inside of the back cover. The card obliterated the illustration in front

The Sock Monkey Book

Some of you’ve seen the little sock monkey I keep on my camera lens. He stretches around the cylinder, a gutted Beanie Baby. I’ve got a sweet spot for them.

Eleven years ago I made this Sock Monkey Book for granddaughter Anna(14 now). I found it on a shelf while re-shelving some children’s books at Mark and Erika’s. Finding some books to pass on to the younger grandchildren. Not sure if these blank Little Golden Books are still available but it was fun to make.

I’ve sewn a lot of sock monkeys over the years. This book tells the story of transforming a pair of Rockford Socks into a lovable toy.

The finished sock monkey joins the other toys.

Chex Mix Making

A few alterations to the original recipe but Wednesday night Laura guided Charlie and Maura in the holiday tradition of making Chex Mix. One site says “it’s been a party staple for 50 years”. I can tell you the original recipe was not on the boxes we had this year. Boo.

Baked at 250 F for an hour stirring every 15 minutes. What could be bad about it with all that melted butter and savory salt? Hmmmm

After the Mix making the two cousins played in Charlie’s new train tent. Crawling between the red and blue and back again. Then the added collapsible tunnel component.

A fun night.

Charlie said ” I love this game”

Old Stuffed Animals

Maura has two of her parents old stuffed animals. The sock monkey, in need of repair, I sewed for Mark in 1976 and the brown teddy bear is Erika’s childhood bear. It’s hard to throw away things with a face. They are definitely loved and cared for by their daughter now.

Do you have any old stuffed animals in your house?

Puppets Need a Human

Puppets need a human (or two) to come to life. One to operate and even better with one to appreciate the effort of the puppeteer.

This puppet looks like a giftwrapped present. Surprise! It’s a furry puppy. Like a manual Jack-in-the-box without the organ grinder music. This particular puppet was Michael’s (12) and he’s passed it on to cousin Charlie (2 1/2).

Laura surprised Charlie.

Then Charlie gave the puppy a kiss.

Figuring out how it works

Games Families Play

Do you have boxes of board games in your home? Or have electronics taken precedent?

This week I’m visiting family in Ohio and we’ve been playing board games. Some take hours and hours. The card games aren’t included in this picture but UNO is the most popular around here. Maura and I’ve played a few rounds. I heard the four grandkids were playing Life before Christmas.

Does anyone in your household seek world domination- or scarf up real estate, utilities and railroads, add houses and hotels?

On my mother’s side my Uncle John was very good at chess and my Uncle Robert was good at backgammon and Royalty. Both of their families are good game players. I think my family missed that game playing gene although we had Flinch. I looked up the vintage card game Flinch and it’s pricey on eBay.

Different ages prefer certain games and there are a few games I find difficult to stick with and finish to the win. If I were photographing games at my house you’d see Scrabble and Jenga, Boggle, Pictionary, Mille Bornes and Monopoly.

Good sportsmanship and learning to lose gracefully is an ongoing effort.

Following the rules, taking turns, paying attention are essential ingredients.

The new Risk has been trending at Mark and Erika’s house this week. I’ve been watching Ticket to Ride tutorials on YouTube to teach the grandchildren how to play.

At Laura and James’ house the selection is colorful and fun. Charlie is 2 1/2 so it’s Hi Ho Cherrio! Or these two games photographed by Laura today. The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel GameCharlie and the squirrel grab acorns. Goodnight Moon Counting Game

Since 1930, A Children’s Classic

The Little Engine That Could.  There have been lots of different editions but this one that Maura is reading to her cousin Charlie is the  Complete and Original.  The author name is a pseudonym as I looked up the Watty Piper.   Lots of discussion about the origin of The Little Engine That Could story  in this throughly researched article by Roy E  Plotnick-  University of Illinois in Chicago

There’s an abridged version and a board book one out in  bookstores now and the illustrations have been updated?jazzed up.  (Not necessarily for the better in my opinion_ Guess I’m “Old School”.

Charlie loves trains and he likes the flow of language in the story……”I think I can, I think I can,  I think I can,” and the rhythm of “I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could,  I remember my mother reading it to me.