Beach Craft Reality

Wahoo!  Beach season is upon us!  …not that I enjoy being in a swimming suit…or have anyone see me in one.  Nevertheless, I LOVE going to the beach!  I’m talkin’ love!  Have I used enough exclamations yet?

One of my very favorite things about going to the beach is collecting shells.  I quickly realized that there are “dream” shells and “reality” shells.  “Dream” shells are the ones that you read about in fantasy books and home decor magazines.  “Reality” shells are what you get when you are on the beach using your kids’ sand sifter and shovel.

Since I gave up on my dream of finding huge shells, I make it a goal to find the tiniest one I can.  …like smaller than a grain of rice…  I collect shells all week.  I’m like a maniac!  I can’t have too many and because they are so tiny, I don’t feel bad about picking up like 9000 of them at once.  Okay…not that many but close:)

Here’s what I did with the shells from our last trip to Orange Beach, AL.  It sits on my desk at work and mocks me while I slave away.

Materials:

  • Small container with see through lid
  • Photo from your trip (wallet size)
  • Sand
  • Shells
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks

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Step 1

Place your container directly over the part of the picture that you would like to use as a background.  Use your pencil and trace around the container. Cut out the circle and glue it to the back of the container.

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Step 2

Add sand and shells. Replace the lid.  Voila!

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Step 3

Place it on your desk at work so it can mock you like mine does every single day.

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Enjoy!

That Book Mama

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Genealogy…One Of My Many Hats

Hello again!  I’ve come out of hibernation only to discover that I’ve slept through the warm part of winter… Oh well, time to get crackalackin’!

So, one of my many dorkalicious hobbies is…genealogy research!  Yes!!  I can’t get enough of it!  …actually I can get too much of it and have to take a break before I end up driving myself completely insane.

If you’ve ever done any sort of genealogy research, you know half of the fun of it is traipsing around in old cemeteries, trying to find the headstones of your loved ones.  Here’s some friendly advice.

  Things You Need Before Going Cemetery Stomping

  1.  Bug Spray…and lots of it.  Most cemeteries are kept up by volunteers.  Let’s just say that some cemeteries have great volunteers and others…not so great.  Like “pulling up weeds just to read tombstones” not so great.
  2. Shaving Cream and Spray Bottle – By using shaving cream, you can see all of the fine details that time has stripped away on a headstone.  All you have to do is wipe shaving cream on the stone and scrape it away.  You will be amazed by what is left in the crevices.  Amazed!  Some stones look like nothing is written.  Then miracle of miracles, words and symbols appear from nothing.  Magical!
  3. Camera –  Do I really need to explain this?  You don’t have to have a high dollar camera, but having a camera is important.  Headstones won’t last forever:(

And there you have it.  Bug Spray, Shaving Cream and Camera.  Viola!

One of my favorite tools to put in my travel bag is the book Stories In Stone by Douglas Keister.  Why you ask?  Headstones are full of symbols.  Symbols that I know nothing about.  Sometimes the symbols may be a group of letters, other times a few shapes or pictures, hands pointing up, fingers pointing down.  It was all kind of confusing.  Could I look them up on my smart phone in the middle of  Nowhereville USA…maybe, but most times there is absolutely no signal to do so.  For that reason, I have a copy of the book.  Anyway…Symbols… I was left saying, “What in tarnation?!”.

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One time in particular, I was looking at a headstone of a female relative and she had an anchor on the top of her stone.  I had no records of her being in the Navy and she lived nowhere near the ocean.  Clueless!  Then, I decided to look up what the symbol meant.  Apparently, having an anchor on a headstone can mean several different things.  After finding multiple possibilities, I’ve decided  the most logical definition was that she was the anchor of her family since she was a mother and ran her household.  We will never know for sure.

What to do now?  Get to diggin’!  You really never know what you will find until history is staring you in the face:)

Happy Hunting!,

That Book Mama

Animals In Costume

While perusing the shelves recently, I came across these gems and what a better time to read books about dressing up!   These books totally crack us up and your kiddos will love them.

Ron Barrett’s illustrations paired with Judi Barrett’s writing…you can’t beat it. It’s perfect, PERFECT!  After reading Animals Should Definitely Not Act Like People and Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing, we go back through the books and laugh at all of the illustrations.

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I’m leaving you with the cover of both and an illustration sample.  Not much more I can say about these without ruining the whole thing.  I think the pictures speak for themselves:)

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Go get these!  You totally won’t regret it:)

That Book Mama

Squeal!!! Princess Diaries Is Back!

Princess Mia is back, all grown up and has a little sister named Olivia. Like Mia, Olivia had no clue she was a princess until the whole Kingdom of Genovia fell into her lap. 

  
Olivia is your typical 12 year old. Living with her Aunt and Uncle is not the greatest, especially when she isn’t treated as an equal to her step cousins.  She has to deal with “mean girl” Annabelle Jenkins at school. Then, insert a bombshell of a family secret. 

I’m so excited for this book!  My Farmgirl is just the right age to start reading all of the Princess Diaries books. This book is a great stepping stone to introduce characters from the first books that Princess Mia narrated. 

Eeeeeee!! Can’t wait for more! I 💜 you, Meg Cabot!

That Book Mama

Bargains Galore On 64

Bargains Galore!  Wahoo!  The greatest yard sale event that I know about. Every year we head out without a real plan and only vague ideas of what we are looking for and every year we make it home with treasures to treasure and stories to tell. 

Bargains Galore On 64 has been going on for 16 years. It starts in Fort Smith, AR and ends in Beebe, AR. 160 miles of pure junk heaven.  

People watching is my favorite thing. I’ve come up with my observation list this year. Oh y’all, this isn’t even the half of it:)

  

Bargains Galore on 64 Observations

1. Nowhere else can you swerve all over the road and people not think you’re intoxicated. Driving 20 miles under the speed limit is expected. Once farmland hits, it’s back to green flag racin’:)

2. Any other time, truck bed combinations would be questioned. Some of my favorites today include:

A gigantic tool box and a kayak

Old beds and a screen door

A baker’s rack and a weed whacker

3.  With all of the horse trailers, you’d think the rodeo was in town. Except that no one is hauling horses around. 

4. Free puppies should be placed up front so bypassing that particular yard sale is an easy decision. 

5. You got a flat tire? Have no fear, there are true gentlemen still in this world. (I didn’t but I witnessed chivalry at its finest.) 

6. People really do come from all over. Tennessee was well represented but we also saw Wisconsin and New Jersey plates. Witnesses to the greatest redneck outing this side of the Mississippi. 

7. Most people drive sensible vehicles for yard saling (saling isn’t a word…pfffttt yes it is!) Anywho, some folks take this opportunity to break out the ole’ muscle car or flashy pickup to cruise and be seen. Oh we see you:). I’m thinking where in the world are you going to put your treasures?  Oh well. 

8. Parking on the side of the road with your tire over the white line is totally cool with everyone…no it’s not so don’t do that.  

9. Selling snow shovels in the middle of Arkansas is not a very bright idea. I understand that they could double as muck shovels but they were advertised as snow shovels. Maybe that’s what those Wisconsin folks went back with?

  

We had a great day. Came back with a pile of clothes for our little Moonpie,  minus a clown costume that our Farm Girl was convinced the baby needed. No, thank you.  Bangle bracelets and fish rocks and alarm clocks, Oh My!   Did I buy any books that I don’t need? Yes. A rather old copy of Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary. It has an orange cover and I’ve never seen one like it, okay?!


 Until next year:)

That Book Mama


Gifts From The Sea

Just finished up Gifts From The Sea by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock.  Wonderful little historical fiction children’s book!

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Quila lives on an isolated island with her father, who is the lighthouse keeper.  Keeping ships safe from the rocky edge of their island was a full-time job.  Quila never liked to see what would wash up after a shipwreck.  She made it a habit to avoid any debris.

One particular day, she was down at the shore and saw that a tied up mattress had washed up.  she became curious and pulled it ashore.  Inside, tucked safely away, was a little baby girl.  After that, Quila’s life was completely turned upside down.

Based on actual historical events, Natalie Kinsey-Warnock weaves a beautiful tale that you won’t want to put down.

Recommended for ages 9-12

If you like this book, be sure to pick up her other books.  She also writes historical picture books. Hooray!

Enjoy,

That Book Mama

Horse Reading – Gotta Have It

My little Farmgirl has been reading up a storm this summer.  She came to me the other night in tears and clutching a book in her arms.  I took one look at her and knew something was wrong.  I asked her if the ending was sad and started to explain that, that happens sometimes.  She proceeded to tell me that the reason she was upset was because she had finished the book and was worried that there wouldn’t be another one in the series.  That’s my girl:)

She is reading the Canterwood Crest series so I asked her if she would write a review over the first book for me.  She was excited to do so…we will see if she’s this excited when it comes time to do one at school…  Anywho, here it is.  Farmgirl’s first book review:

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“Canterwood Crest books are the best horse books I have ever read!  The first book in the series is called, Take The Reins.  They are by Jessica Burkhart and they are about horses.  Sasha moved into Canterwood.  She rides horses and goes to school there.  She saw this guy, his name is Jacob and he loves her.  There is also a guy named Eric and he likes her too.  So, she is stuck between two guys and on top of that she has to plan a Winter Ball.”

Sounds to me like a typical love triangle:) I’m going to say that this book should be recommended for ages 8-12. 

I’m sure we will have more reviews to come from our girl so stay tuned!

That Book Mama

Green Beans And New Potatoes MMMmmmmm

It’s summertime and with that comes gifts from the garden! One of my very favorite meals to have in the summer is Green Beans and New Potatoes.   Nom, Nom, Nom…I’m drooling right now just typing this.  It’s basically a one pot meal that takes very little time. Hooray! Who wants to cook in the blazing heat anyway? Not me! Here’s a simple recipe to tickle your taste buds. You’re Welcome:)

Green Beans and New Potatoes
Baby Red Potatoes (about 3 lbs)
Ham Pieces (about 2 lbs)
A “mess” of Green Beans (about 1 1/2 lb)
Medium onion (chopped)
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients, except salt, into a large pot and cover with water.  Boil for about an hour or until green beans and potatoes are fork tender.  Before serving, test and see if salt is needed.  Sometimes the ham is extremely salty so no additional salt is needed.  Voila!

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Enjoy!,

That Book Mama

Ivan, His Story Lives On

Talk to me about books for 5 minutes and I’ll probably tell you about my love for audio books.  Being a Mom and finding time to read as much as I want is a real challenge.  Like seriously…then insert audio books into the picture.  Long Commute + Audio Book = Happy Mama!

Now, I read all across the board.  Juvenile to YA to Adult books. However, in the summer, I have a copilot with me.  For this reason, book selections are taken from the juvenile section.  Not a problem at all!  This summer we’ve picked several great books and one of them was, The One And Only Ivan by:  Katherine Applegate.

photo 1 (18)Told through his point of view, Ivan tells the story of his life from inside the Exit 8 Big Top Mall.  Ivan has lived in the mall the majority of his life and his days are pretty much the same.  He has made friends with Stella the elephant and Bob, a stray dog.  Watching tv, talking to his friends and having people visit his cage is a normal daily routine, but then something magical happens.  Ivan discovers his love for drawing and painting.

Ivan is an artist.  He often wonders why people can’t figure out what he’s drawn.  Honestly, I’m sure lots of artists feel the exact same way.  When he isn’t drawing, he is talking to Stella.  He worries about her because she isn’t well.  They also can sense that something is about to change.  Then, in pops Ruby, the baby elephant.  I can just see her!  She asks a billion questions a minute and is totally adorable and innocent.

Even with the story having funny parts and the animals being such characters, there’s still a lesson to be learned.  Ivan is in an enclosure with no access to the outside world.  He’s been living in basically a box for years.  Stella is very sick and her owner seems not to care.  Bob was a puppy that was dumped and ended up at the mall.  It creates a ton of opportunity to talk to your child about proper animal care.  Great, great story!

After reading the Author’s Note at the end, we found out that the book was loosely based on a true story.  I then found the book, Ivan:  The Remarkable True Story Of The Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate.  It is a simple nonfiction book that tells Ivan’s story.

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Pick them both up!  You totally won’t regret it!

Enjoy!

That Book Mama

P.S. You may want to grab a tissue, just in case:)

Back From The Beach:(

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We are getting back in the groove of normal life after coming back from our trip to Orange Beach, AL.  I’m gonna start by saying, I’m pretty sure I could go to the beach like 3 times a year!  It’s so sad when we have to leave!!  AAAAaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!  I hate it!!  We haven’t been to the beach in TWO YEARS!  My beach chair had DUST on it!  I need not let this happen again…  I was a tad bit nervous about traveling with our little Moonpie.  He did great though..of course:)  The drive there from our house isn’t all that bad.  We left out super early so we could beat the co-razy traffic and the kiddos can sleep a little.  Did our plan backfire this time…possibly but that’s okay:)photo (19)

Besides the normal things that keep our older kids happy like tablets and of course their ds, I like to bring along an audio book or two for a long drive.  Since we were going to the beach, I packed The Cay – By Theodore Taylor and Island Of The Blue Dolphins – By Scott O’Dell.  What would get you even more excited about the ocean?  Listening to books that involve the ocean, that’s what:)  Wherever we are going, I try and pick up an audio that goes along with the theme of the trip.  And by “pick up” I really mean, check out.  Oh my gosh!  Go to your local library and get them for free!  (stepping off soapbox now)  By the time we listened to one book, made a couple of pit stops and changed a couple of diapers it was time to be sightseers for the first time.

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USS Alabama – Mobile, AL

We made our first real stop at the USS Alabama in Mobile, AL.  I’m pretty sure my husband would spend our entire trip in the ship if he could. Crawling down in the belly and all over the top of the ship is a favorite activity.  Plus, it gives us all a chance to get out for a couple of hours and stretch our legs.

Once we got back on the road, it was a short drive made longer with all of the other beach crazed folks flocking to the coast.  After navigating traffic, picking up awesome Papa Rocco’s Pizza for dinner and applying the brakes more than the gas, we made it to our condo.  This year, we stayed at The Enclave.  It was a perfect small condominium (only 10 stories) that didn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but we didn’t go for that anyway.  All we needed were enough beds for our party and a pool for those who are not ocean water inclined.  Voila!  After unloading the van and making a quick trip down to the beach, the gals and I made a mad dash to get groceries before we were left eating chip sandwiches and buttermilk.  Day 1 was in the books.2015 06 13_7874_edited-1

Blue Angels Air Show – June 10, 2015

Our week long trip went by in a blur of events.  We went to the National Navel Aviation Museum…twice…  We wanted to see the Blue Angels and it rained their first practice out.  We went through the museum and then decided to head out to Pensacola Beach.  We had never been there and let me tell ya, it is beautiful!  If you have a fear of bridges, you may want to skip this excursion though:)  EEK!  Also, just because dolphins are painted on huge holding tanks, it doesn’t necessarily mean there are any inside.  Way to fool a country girl, Pensacola Beach Water Department!  Anyway, after taking our little mini trip we went back the next day to the museum to see the Blue Angels and they were great!  They always put on an awesome show!

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National Naval Aviation Museum – Pensacola, FL

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Fort Morgan, AL

Fort Morgan, AL is another place we had never been to.  We made the trip to avoid rain in our area and I’m so glad we did.  It was sunny and beautiful at the fort.  Such a cool place with perfect picture opportunities!  Everyone loved exploring all over the fort and I loved taking pictures of it all.  For sure a place we could visit again.  A place we won’t visit again…Mexico Lindo’s in Orange Beach.  Don’t go there…just don’t.

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Fort Morgan, AL

One of my most favorite things we did was go to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.  It was a little on the small side but you got to get up close and personal with all of the animals.  I got to hold a baby kangaroo!  It just snuggled down and licked my finger:)  AWE!  Our daughter, being the tomboy that she is, wanted to hold the python and alligator.  I just shook my head.  That girl!  Perfect photo op!

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Our last night we had photos on the beach!  Who doesn’t love that?!  My husband, that’s who…  Getting everyone together for a family picture is always a struggle for us.  In order for everyone to remain happy for our beach picture, this time I let the outfit choice be my husband’s decision.  What was his pick you ask?  Razorback shirts and jean shorts.  Turns out, taking pictures on the beach of a rival team whilst wearing Razorback attire wasn’t a problem at all.  I thought we’d get heckled but I’m pretty sure that the majority of folks on vacation were from Arkansas.  In fact, I got my id checked at the Aviation Museum and was asked if there was anyone left in Arkansas because he thought they were all at the Museum that day.  Disaster diverted:)  Could I stop there and just be happy with the pictures we had? NO! Why? Because, isn’t it my job to torture them?  They were troopers though and I appreciate that!

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After eating at one of our favorite places, Live Bait, we went back to the condo and played “The Great Refrigerator Clean-out”  Not really a fun game.  Actually, it was kinda depressing.  Time to pack everyone up and pray everything fits in the van.  Boooooooo  Hiiiiissssssss!!!!

Everyone had a great time and I for one can’t wait to pack up and do it all again.  Where to next time….we shall have to wait and see:)

Remember!  Travel light…because you never know what you’ll need to haul home from a junk shop:)