Tag Archive: general


I love Mr. Rogers. I’ve had an affinity for him since I was young. There is something so reassuring about his show. No flashy graphics, no loud or disorienting music, and no rude behaviors. (Spend fifteen minutes in front of current children’s programming and you’ll see what I mean.)

One of the blogs that I follow, Food Renegade, linked the following beautiful remix of some of Mr. Rogers’ words. Take a few minutes – it’s very much worth your time.

Mr. Rogers had such a passion for children. Here is a short five minute statement he gave in front of a Congressional Committee in 1969. It’s as much true now as it was then.
 

What an incredible man. When I was in college, I sent off an email to him thanking him for the impact that he had on my life as a child. He (or probably someone on his PR team) responded with a wonderfully gracious thank you.  It wasn’t a “We’re awesome and we know it!” reply. It was “You are special and we’re glad we had the opportunity to be a part of your life” thank you.  I’ve always appreciated that. And then when he passed away, I wept for a generation that might not know the quiet confidence that Mr. Rogers gave to many many children across the world.

There are a few full episodes out on YouTube if you’ve never experienced Mr. Rogers – I highly recommend it.

Finally, you always make each day such a special day!  I couldn’t find this video anywhere but on the PBS website – but for those of you who grew up with Mr. Rogers, you’ll know the song immediately.  It’s worth a reminder.

If you liked this, try these!

Jeff and I love museums! So much so that during our week in Branson we toured more museums than we saw shows!

One of the museums was right down the road from our resort and was probably the most impressive one of all – The Titanic Museum.

Before we went into the museum, I knew the following about the Titanic.

1) It sank.

2) There was a movie (Titanic, obviously) that came out when I was in 9th grade. One of my friends saw it EIGHT times in the theater and I swore I would never watch it if only to keep myself from becoming like that.

2.5) To this day, I still haven’t watched the whole movie.

3) I have watched one bit of the film. Gaelic Storm plays in a scene. They’re an incredible Celtic band that I’ve gotten the chance to see live. Here’s the best clip I can find on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6R4uEBjVdE

Isn’t that great? So this was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of the Titanic.

Heading into the museum, I wasn’t sure what to expect!

Even before we got into the Museum, it was cool…

The museum is shaped like the Titanic and an iceberg!

Unfortunately, we were expressly told that we could not take any photographs in the museum.  That was sad (although I could see the reason – preserving the artifacts) – so any further photos are ones that are on the Titanic Museum’s website.

We entered the museum (baby on my hip) and were each given a boarding pass featuring an actual passenger on the Titanic and a audio device that resembled a phone. Throughout the museum, there were identification markers that gave us a code to input into our handheld player. By holding it up to our ear, it was like getting a personal tour of the museum at our own pace.

There were also docents throughout the museum that provided some very in-depth answers to questions! Entering the museum just ahead of us was a tour group of college aged men and they had quite the range of questions. I was impressed by the knowledge that the staff had about the museum.

Oh yes, the museum. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the actual collection and I was completely blown away by it! Actual items from the Titanic were on display. Letters and cards that had been mailed, photographs of the ship and the passengers and even a deck chair fished from the icy seas.

Many of the displays remarked “This is one of only two menus/pins/letters/etc to survive.” Every gallery was well organized and everything flowed well together. It wasn’t just a tourist attraction in a tourist-based town, every item was well preserved and displayed very carefully.

Half-way through our tour, we got to walk up a replica of the Grand Staircase:

 

Jeff enjoyed the portion of the exhibit where he could pretend to shovel coal with a weighted shovel. He also was impressed by all the historical details provided in all of the displays.

At the end of the tour, we got to watch a video of the submarines and remote vehicles that found the Titanic wreck. We also passed a memorial wall where we could find if our boarding pass passenger lived or died.  April of 2012 marks 100 years

Here’s our pros and cons from the visit:

Pros:

  • Handheld audio players let us wander around at our own pace and listen to the parts we were interested in.
  • Lots of details were provided in the artifact displays.
  • A few hands-on exhibits such as shoveling coal, platforms representing various slopes on the ship as it was sinking, and seeing how long you could hold your hand in ice water that represented what the survivors suffered through.
  • There are actually two mascot dogs representing the doggie passengers on the ship! They live at the museum and have full time staff who take care of them. We got to meet Molly on our way out of the museum. She was adorable!

Cons:

  • We weren’t able to take photographs during the tour. There were a couple of staged areas like the bridge and a simulated outside view that would have been really neat.
  • At the end of our tour, our photo was taken by a staff member who advised us that we could purchase it in the gift shop. We were unsuccessful in locating this and the staff member on duty was busy chatting with a friend (possibly an off-duty staffer).
  • The museum is really geared for teenagers and adults. That’s not a bad thing, but parents with small children may want to bring something to keep them entertained. It’d be great to have an audio tour geared towards children.
  • Jeff stated it would have been really cool to be out on the roof of the building (if it were outfitted like a ship). He also wanted to see a life-sized engine.
  • There were a few knowledge-check quizzes, but I would have liked to see more educational or interactive exhibits.

Really, it’s hard to call those cons! Suggestions, maybe.

Taking Miss P, who was just a year old, through the museum was a bit of a challenge. She loved the dog and some of the exhibits, but she just did not have the patience for most of it. Jeff and I took turns entertaining her.

I would totally go back again! We really enjoyed the whole experience and I’m sure on a second trip I would learn even more.

Over the next week or two, I’ll be writing about our other experiences on our trip! Once those are up, click the “Branson” tag on this post!

(Full disclosure here: The museum graciously hosted us for the day in exchange for our feedback on our visit. All our opinions are always our own.)

If you liked this, try these!

I was the oldest of three sisters growing up in the late 80s-early 90s. As a family we always had a Saturday night tradition: bath night.

Saturday night was the one night a week where all three of us would take a bath on the same day to ensure we were clean for church the next morning. My parents formed an assembly line to get us all in and out without too many problems. My mother would help us in the bathroom, supervise the bath time if needed and help our youngest sister get dressed and such. Once we were clean and cozy in our pajamas, she sent us out to the living room to our father. He was in charge of combing out our long hair and blowing it dry.

This was my favorite part of Saturday nights – sitting on the couch with my father. Not only did we get our own time with him but we also got to watch a tv show: The Lawrence Welk Show!

While it now may be the subject of great SNL parody, this show helped introduce me to amazing music. Week after week, I heard country music, jazz tunes, energetic polkas and show tunes. There was even Jo Ann Castle who was one of the most amazing pianists I’ve ever seen:

After Miss P’s bath tonight, we were playing together in our family room while the football games were on TV. (If you follow college football, you’ll know that there was a huge rivalry game between Michigan State and University of Michigan. All I’ll say is Go Green!) I was surfing channels to find something a tab bit more calming before bed and came across PBS… and the Lawrence Welk show.

I put it on right away and all the memories of our old traditions came rushing back. I’ll have to admit I got a bit nostalgic and misty-eyed when I realized I was starting the tradition with my daughter now.   I was thrilled when she crawled up into my arms and we just sat and listened to the music together.

If she grows up to prefer more classical music over the Bieber-pop that’s popular now, I’ll be a very happy mother.

If you haven’t experienced the Lawerence Welk show (or you just want to re-experience it) Here are a few more videos!

Good night!

If you liked this, try these!

It’s a little bit cliche now. What once used to be a cute bumper sticker has really caught on… in name.  From time to time you may do something for a friend and call it a “RAK”, maybe bake cookies or buy something that you know they’d like. You might even send a card to a friend that you’ve been thinking of recently. These things are great but are they really random?

It’s easy and mostly comfortable to  do something for someone you know – but I want to step outside of that comfort zone. I want to show kindness to the people around me, even the strangers. But I need your help! What are your ideas for brightening the day of those who I come in contact with every day? I’m going to take these ideas and put them into practice over the next several months.

This is part of a larger journey that I’m trying to write about but the words haven’t come out quite right. Long story short = I’m rediscovering my spirituality and faith journey. I know it sounds a bit cheesy and trite and that’s why I haven’t written about it at length yet. I want to make sure I put the right words to what’s happening in my life.

So let me hear from you, dear friends. What are some great and tangible ways I can love others?

 

If you liked this, try these!

We’ve just finalized details of our first vacation as a family. We’re headed to Branson, Missouri this winter!

I always wondered how my plans would change once we had a kid in tow and it turns out they haven’t at all! Jeff and I love all the educational and family friendly museums, shows, and tours like we always have.  It’s so exciting that I get to share this with Miss P now too. She’ll be almost a year old when we go, so she’ll be able to be really engaged in the different things we do.

I think a lot of it has to do with my background of being homeschooled. We were encouraged and supported to love and explore education and that has really stuck with me! Once Miss P is older, we have a trip to Washington, DC planned to visit all of the Smithsonian museums!

Before we booked our trip, I thought of Branson just as a place that has lots of music and shows (and Lawrence Welk… but that’s another story). Now that we’ve started researching – I am amazed and excited by all the things we can do! There’s a medieval castle being built by hand, a Titanic musem, a body parts museum and a water park at our resort! You can even take a tour in a duck. (No, seriously. It’s a duck.)  As I’m making the list of things to do, I’m afraid I’ll have to start narrowing down our list so we’re not running around all day.

I’m already starting on a packing list, figuring out how everything will fit into our car for the 12 hr drive. What do I need to know for this first family vacation? Got any great tips for traveling with kids?

If you liked this, try these!

Gimmicks

I’ve been mostly quiet this summer. Part of it has to do with working full time and chasing a very active child. But the other part was just me discovering who I am and what I want to write about.
Before I started writing, I read a lot of “mommy blogs”.  A lot of them. Everyone had their own little hook or gimmick that was theirs and theirs alone. In order for me to share my opinions and thoughts, I felt like I needed to have quirky things of my own.  I contrived weekly posts that while often were awesome and cool and meaningful, often fell short and smacked of a little cheese.

What I’ve realized is that I’m not a stereotypical “mommy blog”. I don’t have any advertising on my blog, nor companies pounding down my door to review their products. (Although I admit it’d be fun to review things from time to time) I don’t stay at home, I work full time with a 40 min commute either way.  You read this because either a) you’re family or b) you’re interested in what I have to say.

So no more gimmicks. Everything will be honest and thoughtful and sans cheese. Deal?

If you liked this, try these!

It’s August! Back to school is in full swing and the weather is starting to hint at cooler weather.  Kids are buying backpacks and there are sales on paper, pens and glue! (I get very excited about school sales! P isn’t even school age yet, and it’s tough to resist the lure of new notebooks and folders!)

But beyond the new school clothes and supplies, there is another sale season that’s here – summer clearance!

This is the time of year that both department stores and thrift/discount stores put their remaining seasonal products on deep discount. These stores want to clear their shelves for the next season’s clothes and this is the best time of year for frugal guys and gals!

This is a pretty awesome little snow suit, isn’t it? My sister picked up at a thrift store clearance sale. It’s almost brand new, no wear, great condition. Cost? $3. (She picked it up in the spring) Even at a thift store, I can guarantee I would not be able to find those prices in a few months when I’d actually be looking for a 12 month snow suit.

That’s one of the keys to clearance sales – buy ahead!

Spring Clearance (March-April)

This is the sale to stock up on winter basics like hats, gloves and scarves often for pennies on the dollar. I bought P two winter hats for twenty cents each this year! Keep your eyes open for jackets, snow suits and boots. Slippers normally begin to go on clearance in February, after Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

If you’re into interior design, look for throw blankets and plush pillows, vases and winter-themed art.

Summer Clearance (July-August)

As stores get their cool weather clothing and back to school sales start ramping up, the summer gear prices get slashed. Stock up on shorts, bathing suits, short sleeved shirts and polo shirts (which look great layered under a sweater). Beach towels and toys, summer decor and grilling accesories are good buys as well.

The key to buying clothes at these sales is to keep a list of sizes that you and your family will be wearing in the next few seasons. P is only 9 months, but next summer she’ll be wearing 12-18 month clothes. So that’s what I’m shopping for this summer. We already have a box of winter clothes that we started shopping for back in March and April, so we won’t have to scramble (and pay full price) for clothes when it gets cooler.

Do you shop clearance sales? What tips do you have for successful bargain hunting? Share it with us below in the comments!

If you liked this, try these!

Something Good 7/15

Happy Friday!

It’s been a little quiet around here the last week and a half. Miss P has had a rough time going to bed at night, so we’ve been doing lots of extra cuddles. I’ve got some great stuff on deck, but the baby cuddles have come first.

What’s good in your life this week?

If you liked this, try these!

Here in United States, we celebrate this day in honor of our country. I’d like to take a moment before all the parades, barbeques and fireworks to thank all the men and women who stand up for freedom and justice all across our globe and from every country.

Blessings on your day!

If you liked this, try these!

First off, congrats to Adrienne and Amy (who blogs at Peppermint Mocha Mama) for winning my 100 Post giveaways! I appreciate all our readers!

You’ll notice I’ve been quiet all week. Didn’t even post a Something Good this Friday!  It’s been a long week for us:

  • Miss P got her first tooth last Sunday and has been working on another all week. This has resulted in a mostly unhappy baby that is desperate for cuddles. Since she’s now tech-savvy, it’s hard to sit down and write without her wanting to add her two cents (and maybe Skype with Grandma!)
  • The teething/cuddly attitude has P refusing to be social. We went to a graduation open house on Sunday and she refused to even look at most of our relatives. Except our rock-star nephew… she gave him a smile!
  • Had another awesome Movie Night on Saturday night! We watched the Three Amigos, ate walking tacos and played cards till the wee hours.
  • It’s been raining. And raining. And raining. We opened our pool last weekend, and it’s done nothing but rain and be miserably cold (50-60F) all the time. At this rate, it’ll warm up enough to swim the week before we close it again.
  • Question: How does such a tiny baby manage to create more laundry than two adults?
  • Miss P has just started eating foods (although that doesn’t explain the above question) and she’s loving them. I need to write up a post about it, because we’re going about food a little bit differently than the rest of the United States (The current popular ‘name’ is Baby Led Weaning)
  • Did I mention it’s raining a lot? Even yesterday it was sunny for a bit, muggy in the evening and then poured so violently in the middle of the night that I had to leap out of bed and shut all the windows because it was raining into the house!
  • I love living in Michigan, but this weather! We skipped spring all together, had a few days of summer and now seem to be living in a perpetual fall.  I wouldn’t mind a couple of weeks with nice sunny 75F days…

 

This post started as a Monday post, and now it’s a Tuesday post. Story of my life lately!

If you liked this, try these!