Tag Archives: Writer’s Workshop

Vanilla Charleston Chew

Buying candy was such a treat when I was growing up. I remember one of my friends found a whole dollar bill lying on the ground, and a group of us were going to go the local grocery store and split it four ways to buy a candy bar. I think my mom put the kibosh on that plan, and I never did get my candy bar.

One of the rare times we got to eat candy was when we were on vacation. Every summer, we drove to the shores of Lake Huron for a vacation with my extended family. My parents let us little kids tag along with the older cousins. After we were tired of playing on the beach, we would walk down the road from our cabin to the pink store, otherwise known as the gas station. We would amble down the country road, leggy kids with straight 70′s style hair, short shorts, knee socks and tennis shoes. The younger cousins would stand around the candy aisle first and carefully select the most candy we could buy with our tightly gripped, slightly sweaty coins. Then we would head to the back of the store to watch the older cousins play pinball. We would buy Charleston Chews, Jolly Ranger sticks and candy cigarettes with red tips. We pretended to smoke on the walk home. “Look, Mom and Dad, we’re smoking!” Weren’t we clever? Our parents would laugh, and then we would go to someone’s cabin to play games. My favorite candy of all was the vanilla Charleston Chew, which I would stick in the freezer and then bang it on the table to crack it.

candy bar

Last week, I took my daughters to the Target dollar section. Right away, I spotted a pile of HUGE Charleston Chews! Lily decided to buy one with her dollar, and I told her if she did, she would have to share with ME! When we got home, Lily put her Charleston Chew in the freezer for a few hours. After dinner…



What’s your favorite childhood candy?

Mama’s Losin’ It


The Best Time of Day…

The best part of the day is in the dark of the morning. My husband has already gone to work; my children are still sleeping (if I’m lucky). I pour hot, black coffee into my favorite mug and sit down on the living room couch to fully wake up.

No, wait, when my daughters come tip-toeing downstairs in their penguin nightgowns, their hair still rumpled from sleep and their movements slow and sleepy, that is the best part of the day. They sidle up next to me for their morning hug, and then run downstairs for a little morning TV.

But there’s nothing like dropping them off at school, either. Then I can breath a sigh of relief. Lunches have already been made for the day, homework and library books are safely in backpacks, and the morning rush is over. Then it’s off to teach all morning with my preschool class. I’m so grateful to have a job I love.

And isn’t it nice to be able to come home for lunch? I have the whole afternoon ahead of me to get some things done that need doing. Laundry, grocery shopping, etc. Tasks I don’t necessarily enjoy, but one of the benefits of having a part time job is having the time to get them done!

I love picking my girls up from school and talking to them about their day. I’ve missed them, you see.

There are some parts of my day that are not the best. Making dinner is one of them. It’s not that I don’t like to cook; I actually do. It just that making dinner every night gets a little…tedious. As does washing the dishes afterwards.

Yet there is nothing better after a long, hard day than stretching out under my warm, down comforter in my soft, cozy bed, and turning out the light.

I may have had a little difficulty choosing the best part of my day.

rain boots

What’s the best part of your day?


Mama’s Losin’ It


Good ol’ Little People

I wasn’t going to write a post for you today, but then I went over to Mama Kat’s and darn it! There were several writing prompts just begging me to answer!

Remember when Little People really were little? And made out of wood? Now they are larger and completely made out of plastic, and they actually have names. When I bought Little People for my children, the toys were accompanied by short DVD’s introducing Sarah Lynn and Michael. Lily was so entranced by Michael making a rainbow that she adopted his name for several months. She would insist on being called “Michael” and wouldn’t answer to her own name. I even blogged about it. Reading that post from when Lily was four made me realize how much she has grown. As a third-grader, she is very well behaved in school and would be crushed if she needed to be in a time-out!

So what does all this have to do with the writing prompt: 4. A childhood toy you once loved? After Christmas, I brought home some of my old toys from my Dad’s house. I didn’t think my daughters would have fun playing with them; they are getting too old for Little People. I set them out on the living room floor, and to my surprise, Emmy and Lily played with them all afternoon! I remember playing with the Fisher-Price castle with my little brother and sister, and even though I was a little old to be playing with Little People, I still thought the castle was pretty neat.

Fisher-Price vintage house and castle

Emmy and Lily playing with my old Little People

What was one of your favorite toys as a child? Do your children play with them?

Mama’s Losin’ It


Anchorage to Fairbanks

Long drives and little children do not get along very well. When Ed gets the itch to go on a road trip, we usually break up the drive into shorter segments to keep the children happy and the parents sane. We spent a leisurely three days driving from Chicago to Estes Park, Colorado. We were also just as leisurely driving to Niagara Falls, with a stop in Pennsylvania’s Cook Forest. Our last long drive was during our vacation in Alaska. We wanted to drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks, which is about 359 miles…not much farther than our usual road trip to Des Moines to visit my family. But we were in Alaska! We definitely wanted to take our time on this long drive.

The morning we left, it was a typical June day in Anchorage: chilly and wet. My aunt, whose house was our headquarters, urged us to borrow her umbrellas for our trip. They definitely came in handy that day! Not far out of Anchorage was our first sightseeing stop: Thunderbird Falls. By then it was officially raining, but that didn’t stop us from hiking up to the falls. We couldn’t get close enough to feel the spray from the thunderous waterfall, but since it was already raining we could use our imaginations.

Thunderbird Falls

Thunderbird Falls, Alaska

After shaking ourselves off, we got into the car to dry off and head to our next destination: Independence Mine and Hatcher’s Pass. This is a little side trip off of Parks Highway, and well worth the detour. I have been there twice before, but unfortunately the weather was colder and foggier as we drove up into the mountains. We went as far as we could go before we reached a gate. The pass was still closed; too much snow. We got out of the car to stretch our legs and the air was definitely wintery.

Independence Mine

A trail near Hatcher’s Pass, Alaska

As we headed back to the highway, a cow and calf crossed the road. The girls were so excited! It was our first moose sighting in Alaska!

We spent the night in a very small, very cute cabin in Talkeetna. Talkeetna is often referred to as the backdoor to Denali. Sight seeing flights for Mt. McKinley take off in Talkeetna. Mountain climbers gear up and start their journey to the tallest North American mountain in Talkeetna. It’s a very interesting little town. Our cabin was just a couple miles outside of town in the woods.

Talkeetna Cabin

Our little cabin in Talkeetna

The next day was our second leg of the trip…on to Fairbanks! We started the day with some hot chocolate from a little cafe down the street and stopped to buy some smoked salmon for our lunch later on. As we drove further north, the rain clouds began to dissipate and the sun started to shine. We stopped a few times to take pictures, but we didn’t take any hikes. We passed Denali National Park…we were going to stop there for a couple of nights on our way back to Anchorage. We kept driving North.



Although this was my third trip to Alaska, I had never been up to Fairbanks. As we left the mountains behind, the land became flat and all we could see were spruces for miles and miles. For lunch, we pulled off at a spot by the side of the road and had a picnic in the back of our rented minivan. Triscuits, smoked salmon and cheese!

picnic in a van

Nothing beats lunch in a van!

While driving through miles and miles of spruce trees was not that exciting, it was still better than the miles and miles of corn fields we drive through to get to the Mississippi River. We reached Fairbanks in plenty of time to enjoy Pioneer Park and have dinner at their famous Salmon Bake.

Pioneer Park

Pioneer Park, Fairbanks, Alaska

Now this long drive was my kind of long drive; plenty of things to see, nice driving weather, and good food at the end of the day!

Have you had a memorable long drive?

Mama’s Losin’ It





Ballet Recital

Ballet Recital

“Ouch!” Emmy squawked as I brushed her hair up into a pony tail. I looped the pony tail holder around several times, and then I squawked when I saw an unruly clump of hair sticking out of the back of Emmy’s head. Emmy was not happy when I took the rubber band out of her hair to start over. I smoothed hair gel into her pony tail and pinned it up into the required bun. This time, there were no clumps.


Emmy’s long eyelashes blinked furiously as I tried to put a touch of mascara on them. I swept a little blush on her cheeks, she stepped into her tutu, and she was ready to go dance!


As usual, Mommy was more anxious than Ballerina. I was a bundle of nerves as we headed out the door…not so much about her performance, but more about the long wait she would have before she went on stage. I would be in the audience watching the show. What if she got nervous and wanted me? What if she needed to go potty? What if she lost her shoes?

While I was waiting for the show to start, I went out into the lobby to order the DVD. I didn’t want to be looking at a glowing digital screen during Emmy’s performance. I wanted to be fully present and accounted for. I’ve been guilty of staring at a screen full of pixels while trying to record my daughter’s special moments. This time, I wanted to see her dance with my own eyes.


Emmy is smack dab in the middle.

Emmy held my rapt attention the entire time. Her little chubby five year old legs tip-toed back and forth across the stage to Kermit singing “The Rainbow Connection.” At the end of their dance, I could see her face beaming as the audience clapped for all the little girls.

Another dance recital, done.

Mama’s Losin’ It

I’m writing about “4.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: Dance.” for Writer’s Workshop today.


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