Saturday, April 20, 2019

Hand Print Hatchling

"Cheep Cheep!" you say?

On any other occasion, I might take umbrage at such dismissal, but today, this assessment of my craftiness is an apt one! A teaspoon of yellow paint, a tear drop of orange, a plop of fluffy feathering....and we have a hand print hatchling! Cheap!

Grandson Channing loaned his cute 'n chubby two year old digits for our welcome-to-spring offering. He's the perfect non-squirmy age for this procedure, eagerly climbing into my lap, instinctively knowing what to do. He's shown significant artistic progress over the past year and I am so proud of him! - no more sibling paintbrush poking, stealthy play dough snacking, paint water sipping, or trail of glitter-sprinkled family pets in his wake. We've even caught him replacing caps on markers!

Our project is a burst of pretty pastel springtime. Make yours with a careful study of the picture. Showcase your effort with self-cut scrapbook paper matting, and an inexpensive frame (mine is 8" square). Don't forget to date your work. Best of all, since it's too late to "hand out" your gift at Easter, be an "early bird" for Mother's Day! What better time to make mommy smile at the memory of that moment her little chick hatched, chirping and hopping straight into her happy heart!

See a previous post here that features a hand print bunny face by Channing's cousin, Kaylee.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Mister Yellow Bunny

"There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid."
-Margery Williams
-The Velveteen Rabbit

For many years, while she was still alive, early chirps of spring and the promise of Easter prompted mother to retell the story of my year-old self and the yellow plastic bunny. Family friend and walking-distance neighbor, Mrs. Gedvila, had stopped to visit and gifted him to me. I cooed and gurgled appropriately in my high chair with my new toy until the second that dear lady closed the door to leave. Then, "BAM!" Mister Yellow Bunny forcibly met the ground, cleanly snapping an ear from his little plastic head.

I think the homicidal horror of what she witnessed caused mother to decide that MYB and I be separated for a space of time. He was eased from my grasp and tucked away, out of mind and memory, for his own safety. That was in 1949.

"And so the little Rabbit was put into a sack with the old picture-books and....carried out to the end of the garden."

Ten years ago the time came for me, as it does for us all, to clear out and clean my childhood home, the prelude to one last, loving good bye. Boxes, boxes, everywhere. Corners and closets of dust. Smiles through tears at days long past of good times together. I slipped the cover, bound by shoe lace ties, from a tired old box, and recognized him immediately. MYB. Nestled comfortably in brittle cotton batting, I'd like to say he blinked in the sun and asked, "Where have you been all these years?" But he did not. He let me do all the talking, listening to the rambling tale of how far I've come since the day we met, coupled with a heartfelt promise to never hurt him again.

My foray into stacks named "Easter" yielded other treasures from the past. A pair of egg-clutching rabbits, for starters. I suspect those, too, were candy toting gifts from doting neighbors. A third bunny, I'm guessing, had long since hopped the coop, since we were sisters three. The middle of us, Mary, inscribed her name in careful grade school script on the tag attached to one of a pair of 50s style baskets I also found. These would have greeted us, packed to the brim, at Easter dawn while mom and dad smiled and crooned and took adorable pictures of us in our jammies, cheeks crammed full of oozing chocolate and tangy jelly bean juice.

Following the home-again promenade from morning Mass, to grandmother's house we'd go. And there, in vivid pastel splendor - one white, one pink, one yellow - awaited bunnies so soft, so plush, and so sweet that we vigorously loved off not only their ears, but their fuzzy tails, pokey whiskers, and button-y bright eyeballs as well. I have my own to prove it!

"(The Boy) loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey....and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy."

Thank you, mom, for saving all these things for us. It's my turn now, to relate the tales of MYB and his mini plastic and straw stuffed cousins. Indulgent nods from family acknowledge the quaintness of my past. But I'm the only one who goes back home again with each seasonal un-boxing, settling comfortably into memories of youth to share the journey of "becoming real" with vintage, deeply cherished one-eared companions.

"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

The Velveteen Rabbit (children's fiction, public domain) was published by English-American author Margery Williams in 1922.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Everything You Want To Know About CBD

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated.
All content and graphics provided by cbdMD.


“CBD works synergistically with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for managing homeostasis – the body’s ability to regulate and stabilize itself from the outside environment.”

by Danielle Crary

By now, you’ve most likely heard someone speaking about CBD. With all the buzz on CBD, it can be confusing if you haven’t dived into the research on what it is and why it is being used. So what exactly is CBD?

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CBD has been a viable alternative for synthetic medications for decades. Now popular in the mainstream – due to numerous scientific studies and the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill – CBD has the potential to help alleviate a multitude of everyday ailments, including stress, anxiety, inflammation, and sleeplessness. With powerful properties that have proven to reduce anxiety and pain, CBD users are seeking new ways to ease their tension without the laundry list of harsh side effects common with traditional pharmaceuticals.

To learn more about CBD, we met with cbdMD, a leading CBD company out of North Carolina that is committed to the highest standards of CBD souring, extraction, and production. Their comprehensive line of CBD oil products come from certified non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free hemp that’s grown right here in the U.S.A – and all their products are 100% THC-free.


CBD works synergistically with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for managing homeostasis – the body’s ability to regulate and stabilize itself from the outside environment. ECS functions include, regulating body temperature, maintaining blood sugar levels, inflammation responses, stabilizing CO2 levels, and more.

The interaction with receptor cells gives CBD the ability to promote beneficial effects on the human body. Working to mimic the look and functions of cells found in your body, CBD promotes recovery and/ or positive effects. Although CBD works in similar fashion to common medications, our CBD is extracted naturally from plants, instead of produced synthetically in a lab.

CBD helps promote a sense of balance throughout the body. For example, the vanilloid receptors
regulate both pain and inflammation. When activated, these receptors help you experience less pain
and inflammation. CBD has demonstrated the ability to promote both.

CBD has also demonstrated the ability to help stimulate the growth of the hippocampus – the part of the brain that shrinks when someone is experiencing anxiousness or depression. Once CBD is introduced, the hippocampus cells grow and increase in size to better contribute to the alleviation of anxiety and stress. CBD has demonstrated the ability to slow the growth of bacteria, while also showing properties that pacify the symptoms associated with pain, anxiety, and stress. It has also shown positive effects on maintaining a healthy nervous system, while also promoting a better, more restful night’s sleep.


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Not only is CBD a best practice in pain management for humans, CBD has also demonstrated the ability to improve your pet’s health and reduce their anxiety levels. With on-going research, the list of
its benefits continues to grow, giving more and more hope to patients suffering from a multitude of symptoms.


Not all CBD is created equal and not everyone will react the same to a new CBD regimen.

“CBD is also non-habit forming, so you won’t feel the addictiveness associated with harsh pharmaceuticals. ”

Taking CBD is similar to starting a diet; you can’t expect to lose all the weight after one healthy meal - it takes time. CBD benefits are cumulative, so be patient and consistent to ensure that the potency has time to build up in your system. Daily use is suggested and dosage will vary for each individual. A good rule of thumb is to start with a smaller does and adjust accordingly. Visit to discover which dosage best suits your needs. CBD is also non-habit forming, so you won’t feel the addictiveness associated with other synthetic medications.

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cbdMD offers customers plenty of ways to enjoy their daily dose of CBD:

• Sublingual tinctures, capsules, and
gummies (edibles)
• Powerful topicals that were designed
for recovery, pain/inflammation, and
• Full line of human-grade pet products
for your furry friends
• Vape oils for immediate bioavailability

This spring, cbdMD will be launching cbdPM and CBD Transdermal Patches. cbdPM is our all-natural sleep aid combing the beneficial properties of CBD and the relaxing features of Melatonin. The cbdMD Transdermal Patches will allow you to target the area of inflammation for a direct absorption of the CBD and its beneficial molecules, essentials oils, terpenes, and aminos acids.

 Whatever method you choose, stick with it and embrace the CBD difference.

cbdMD is offering an exclusive GRAND discount – just enter discount code GRAND20 at checkout and receive 20% off your purchase. As always, FREE SHIPPING ON ALL US ORDERS complete with a 30-day, moneyback guarantee!

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Danielle Crary, CAPM, is the Public Relations Manager at cbdMD.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Review: "Chicago Treasure"

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated with a free product sample 
            in exchange for my honest review. Opinions and photographs are my own.

Larry Broutman has done it again!

Months ago, I reviewed his pictorial volume, "Chicago Unleashed," sharing a rollicking journey through vibrant streets, each one punctuated with wildlife casually romping and rolling along "as if they owned the place!" You loved it! 

And you're going to love this one, too! 

Back on the road again, camera in hand, Broutman enlists a talented duo (Green and Rabias), specialists in illustration, text, and digital effects. Their collective mission is to showcase the true treasure of Chicago: its beautiful children! But what warms the heart beyond the technical skill exhibited between covers of Chicago Treasure is the commitment to inclusion. You see, many of the featured children are visually impaired. They attend the Judy and Ray McCaskey Preschool Program at The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Disabled, learning alongside classmates without visual disabilities. And, once again, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Access Living will share author profits from the sale of Broutman's book. 

Anxious for a tour? So am I! Let's Go! 

Chicago Treasure comes to you in three parts: "Just Imagine!", "Now Showing!", and "Sightings!" - each one a playful paradise of color, charm, and fun adaptation.

"Just Imagine!" pictures children in story book settings whimsically described in front page news items from the "Chicago Pretender." 😉 That's how we learn that the young prince who rescued Rapunzel transported her back to his home base in Chicago on horseback - an impressive 7,000+ kilometer journey!

Sweet Snow White is here, too. She's finally awake, happily married to her handsome prince, and enjoying the company of her forest friends. Her wicked nemesis, the poison-apple-bearing queen is nowhere to be seen! Good riddance!

I have a few personal favorites from this section - the largest in the book....

Oh, to be Hermione Granger if only for a moment! She's just one part of the fantasy world that draws from nursery rhymes, folk tales, and even pop culture, like Disney's Toy Story!

And imagine being this lucky little dude! "The ride of a lifetime"? Indeed!

"Now Showing!" follows with a stroll through the galleries of the Chicago Art Institute. Children populate the parks, avenues, and living spaces of French and American masterworks so unobtrusively that a blink of the eye might mean missing them! What fun it is to carefully inspect each scene in search of modern day additions! I choose Wood's American Gothic stoic young visitor.... 

and Rockwell's puzzled observer as my personal favorites! 
Our journey concludes with "Sightings!" You'll enjoy views of familiar Chicago landmarks, each one, again, digitally visited by beautiful children occasionally accompanied by such randomness as a cheetah trio, koala family, or firmly leashed tiger! 

Photos of The Chicago River Walk, Museum of Science and Industry, Navy Pier, and State Street Bridge brought back fond memories of my own visits to that magical city!

I look forward to sharing this 168 page treasury with each of my grandchildren. It's truly one to return to over and over again, uncovering new dimensions every time. Together we'll recall fairy tales and recite nursery rhymes. We'll talk about visual impairment and other disabilities and how they are overcome with wheelchairs and guide dogs and competency in Braille. We'll identify famous art work and compare and contrast moods and methods in works by Rockwell and Hopper and more. I will describe the hustling bustle of Chicago, promising that, one day, each of my grandchildren will experience the allure of this remarkable city the way I have - in person, and again and again through the pages of this delightful volume! 

PURCHASE Chicago Treasure here:

Everything Goes Media - use code CTBLOG15 for a 15% discount on total order!

and at Chicagoland book stores and gift shops

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Love Bug Valentine Party Game

Years ago, if one of my high school students had presented this cacophony of eye popping shapes, sizes, and color to me for appraisal, I might have coupled my admiration of her skilled use of principals and elements of design with gentle admonishment: "My goodness, dear! Next time give your eye a place to rest!"

But this twittering twirl of love bugs wasn't born of academic propriety! Grandma-hood has spiked my response to family requests for artsy-craftsy help, and enthusiastic "over-the-topness" is the means by which challenges are currently met. This time, I was asked for a game suitable for Kindergarten students to play at their classroom Valentine's Day party.....

Once circles were cut from scrapbook paper, there was no turning back! Love bugs built from them, glued to a 24" x 36" background tacked to a lightweight bulletin board, filled the field, inviting players to hit numbers with toy "sticky darts" (shown in top picture). They'll tally their scores after three successful hits. Purple hearts net one bonus point each. Adjust rules for age of participants.

If you're going to make a Love Bug dart game, you can substitute a mat or foam board background. Assemble a group of paper punches or round things to trace in a variety of sizes. Collect paper scraps in red, pink, purple, and white. Two identical sized circles make a body and head. Smaller, concentric ones make eyes. Wings are oval shaped or fancy cuts from punches. Use craft foam hearts to accent antennae. Rubber cement best adheres each assembled love bug. Cut or punch heart shapes for targets, adding hand printed numbers or purchased stickers. Draw legs and mouths with black marker.

Find sticky darts at Amazon - or do a Google search for them that will direct you to other sources. Sticky darts will leave a residue on your game board (or any other surface) but they are safe fun for kids and really do last 20+ uses each, as promised. Besides that, they are inexpensive. Kids love them! And so does grandma!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Gingerbread Jamboree!

Jump for joy, you jolly little jingle belles! You've been invited to a Christmas candy cottage party!

I can't take credit for this one, it's all Mary Jo, down to the very last spicy gum drop! My beautiful and creative oldest daughter loves hosting parties, and does them well, conquering with aplomb every inevitable glitch that would send me soaring over the edge!

For instance, her order of one dozen pre-made gingerbread houses plopped down on her porch in pieces just hours before eight little ladies arrived to decorate them. I held my breath while she breezily described adding a Target run to her errand list to remedy the situation. Whew! They had them! Unbroken! And in enough quantity to please!

Let the partying begin!

Granddaughters Ava and Angeline greeted early arrivals, gifting them with personalized aprons whipped up by mommy on her new Cricut machine. Little ladies found them tied charmingly to their chairs, at places where gingerbread houses waited alongside generously filled cups of cute candy, cookies, and icing.

Gingerbreading is an exacting science! Guests went right to work, fortified by creamy cocoa sipped from Santa cups.

I love the patterning, the outlining, and the abundance of festive light bulbs festooning the eaves! I love the intensity and the focus! I love how those trusty trusses held up candy - hard and soft, minty, chocolaty, and spicy!

I love the scent of peppermint in the air, the snack bar, and the "adult beverage" option offered to moms who stayed to help!   

But mostly, I love a gathering of pretty little "jingle belles" who brought the warmth of their smiles on a cold and rainy pre-Christmas Saturday afternoon to sweetly decorate this year's Gingerbread Jamboree!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Spooky Spotlight

Here! Have a cracker!
I'm on a diet!

For most folks, it's something lurking right around the corner. For us, its been in full bloom for several weeks! Packed back to back with cookie baking, book browsing, costume creating, and hearty partying, our Halloween season is a cherished friend, one whose return we embrace with the unbridled vigor of a headless horseman!

Family joins me for a mid-month Friday evening gathering each year, where crafting and cookie baking typically top the agenda. At other times we just play games after dinner - like the Spooky Picture Bingo we enjoyed this time around. "Mummies" and daddies win cash, and kids win small Halloween toys - every "ghoul" and boy goes home happy!

By the way, if seating all those spooky little spirits for food and festivity confounds you, solve that problem with a 29" x 60" folding table - the kind sold at every household store. Top it with a 2.5 yard length of 45" fabric - a time and money saving shortcut. My own choice - a black and white clearance length - was a $9 bargain. And, I spotted a cute turkey print on my way out the door, so I'll be trotting back for that one, too!

Table settings respect the fact that some guests come to eat, and other come to play! I'm ready for both. Each place presents with a cute skellie English cracker - one needing mom or dad to firmly grasp the opposite end, briskly pulling in tandem to yield a loud "SNAP!" and a tumble of toys. This time we found Halloween tattoos, paper party crowns, and cute jokes that regaled the crowd. (Why did the skeleton cross the road? To get to the body shop!)

Weird little wind-up Halloween characters kept the kids' table lively, too, toddling about mindlessly while guests were "goblin" up home made mac and cheese and Jello (orange, of course! with a generous dollop of ghostly white whipping cream!).

See those cute cardboard houses? Dollar Tree finds served as suitable places to stash bingo prizes for the trip home. And...if you dared reach inside, you may or may not
(👵grandma humor!) have pulled out a super squishy, slimy toy rat and a fancy light up necklace tucked inside!

Oh, these too! Dancing skellie straws - another Dollar Tree goodie that made sipping chilled apple cider an even tastier experience!

To commemorate an evening of good eating, fun playing, and great gathering, a cousin round up photo was in order. It's unnecessary for any grandma of more than - say, three? - to comment that there will always be a group comedian (see below, far right, front!) and at least one attempted escape! I had both. But this capture, all clad in grandma's gift of matching ghostly pjs, is the best of over 50 shots. It will serve as my personal "Happy Halloween" greeting to all of you because this grandma thinks they're so cute it's scary!

The skinny guy at extreme right, back, finds it bone rattlin' hilarious that I even try getting this little six pack to look up and smile at the same time!