Welcome to Summer! (Or Perhaps Not?) — The “Ready, Set, Jump into Summer Blog Hop”

As the old song says — “In the good old Summertime!”  Welcome to summer in our part of the world. What are you looking forward to the most, or not looking forward to at all, perhaps?

Sunscreen and sun-splashed trips to the beach, or sunburns and hot sands burning your toes?  Long saved for and anticipated family vacations, or high utility and air-conditioning bills tightening the budget?  Hiking and camping, spending time with Mother Nature, or exasperating battles repelling endless mosquito incursions and sorties?

What is your approach and take on the Season of Summer? As with most things in life, there is more than one way to look at things, with our views and determinations changing depending on our outlooks.

Some of my writer friends and I are sharing our thoughts and plans for the coming summer season in our C*U*R*R*E*N*T*L*Y Jumping into Summer Blog Hop.” I invite you to read on here, share your thoughts on summer in the comments, and then visit my friends’ sites for more fun and information!


For me, summer is a mixed bag nowadays. As a youngster, summer was looked forward to with eager anticipation second only to Christmas.  Summer vacation!  Summer camp, hikes, and outings with the Boy Scouts! Day-long trips and exploring on bicycles!  Ball games to play and the St. Louis Cardinals to watch with my father!  Gardens to plant and harvest!  Fly fishing trips! Rope swings into the Big River!  Picnics in the parks! Wiffle ball games and backyard barbeques! Family car trips and visits to my uncles’ farms!  Summer was the most wonderful time of year, with the exception of Santa Claus, of course.

Nevertheless, standing in the shadow of seventy now and with infrequent visits from Mr. Claus, it seems that with each passing year the day-to-day combination of high heat and humidity typical of Midwest St. Louis area summers combine to make summertime a struggle to get thru, with near-daily afternoon headaches and fatigue. In a total reversal, summer has become my least favorite season by far. It wasn’t a close race.

But, as you know if a prior visitor here, I tend to be a “look for the good in every situation” kind of guy. If all one looks for in life are the negatives, it can pretty much be assured that negatives will be all that is found. It is always only up to us if we choose to be happy or not in any set of circumstances.  I choose to be happy, regardless of the thermometer, heat index, and dew points.

Each season of the year presents its own special attractions and beauty, and though not my favorite season, summer is no exception.

I still love early morning walks listening to songbirds in the neighborhood. Fresh, earthy smells in the air with the twinkling sparkle of dew on grass and leaves. Sunrise — my favorite time of day.

And after-dinner strolls watching children play as the sun sets. Flickering fireflies emerge, and flowers perfume the evening air. Keeping an eye out for fairies emerging from woodland homes, favoring the nocturnal hours, as they do.  Listening for owls and the chorus of whip-poor-wills and tree frogs in the evenings.

So while not my favorite time of year, summertime is perhaps the most magical for the senses, allowing all of our senses to actively engage in and experience the world around us and play. Life is good. Even in summer.


Looking further on the bright side, then, my heat and humidity issues with the summer season have made the anticipation of Autumn, my very favorite time of year, even grander!  While some days may be a struggle as summer lingers on into August, the work of planning, preparing, and getting things in order for fall and the coming holiday season keep me very busy and moving forward with a growing excitement each summer day.

Avoiding the sun (a personal headache trigger ranking right up there with an exhausted two-year-old in a long grocery line) provides me with a great deal of time spent indoors during the day to write more adventure stories with my writing friend and partner Little Red Bear (the imaginary bear who lives in my head), create more items for my Etsy Shoppe, and to practice and elevate my guitar playing skills.

So even if I don’t necessarily enjoy sunny days and hot summer weather outdoors as much anymore, there are still positives to be found in the summer season.

Here is how I will be approaching summer this year —


Surpassed only by my writing muse awakening me at 4 a.m. in the mornings with new character, story, and writing inspirations, my very best Little Red Bear story ideas always come to me while creating things, working with my hands. And I have missed that.

After down-sizing and a mid-summer move last year, followed by a significant arm injury in the fall while setting up my new kitchen, I am finally able once again and getting around to unpacking artwork supplies and setting up a new work area to create more teddy bears, old-fashioned rag dolls, jewelry, and other items for the coming fall and holiday seasons.

With so many folks inquiring each week as to when new items will be available again and rediscovering forgotten materials and old pattern friends unpacking now, I am truly eager to get back to work making things!

Watch for my online Etsy Shoppe re-opening soon with new creations for Autumn and the Holiday Season. I am very excited to be able to create new things once again for others to enjoy!

And what better time to get back to my handwork than while staying cool and indoors out of the summer sun? To paraphrase an old expression — if life gives you summer heat, humidity, and sunshine, make teddy bears!


Always reading and studying to learn more and more about the wonders of Mother Nature for my Little Red Bear stories, I have begun research on trees, plants, and other flora and their importance to not only the environment but also their influence on our personal mood, health, and creativity.

The study of biophilia suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Looking back on our own evolution, it is a very natural thing as the very survival of humans over the ages depended on a very intimate connection to the natural world.

The therapeutic Japanese practice of “Shinrin-yoku” — “Forest Bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”  is the art and science of how trees can promote health and happiness.

As many seem to disconnect more and more from nature over recent years with subsequent societal impacts, Little Red Bear and I have begun work on another new writing project — “Walking With Trees”, for a targeted 2020 Spring/Summer release.

As with all of Little Red Bear’s adventures, the story will be intended to be Entertaining, Informative, and Educational, inspiring youngsters and oldsters alike to reconnect with trees and the natural world around us.

Accordingly, a great deal of research needs to be done before we get into the storytelling aspects because we take responsibility for accuracy and detail in everything we present very seriously here.


On the musical front, after playing and teaching guitar for over fifty years, I have recently begun writing and creating some of my own original music with the intention of eventually recording and creating my own CD at some point. Not for public release, of course. No pretentions or ambitions of stardom here, merely something for family and friends. Somewhat a mixture of Latin/Smooth Jazz/Ambient Fusion.

Another indoor activity and way to stretch creative muscles for the benefit of not only myself but also hopefully others along the way.

Thru the support of patrons helping to offset the cost of maintaining these pages free of advertisements for everyone, Little Red Bear and I are able to regularly donate our books to local libraries, schools, and senior centers. Additionally, I am being asked to perform and entertain with my guitars at senior centers, so perhaps another way to share musical enjoyment with others.

After a time away from active playing while raising family, I have caught up with a good bit of the new technology, gear, and equipment available. And still learning.

But can an aging guitarist elevate to yet another level of recording and performing in public again, too?  Going to give it “the old college try” as they say, so — we’ll see.

Playing around with “Drop D” and “Open C” tunings on an acoustic guitar at present. So stay tuned. (Pun intended — sorry, couldn’t resist.)


And of course, Little Red Bear and I are at the same time hard at work finishing the next collection of Red’s short story adventures — “The Second Holler Over!”

Returning characters, new characters, old themes, new themes, old hazards, new hazards. And a creative new format. Watch for new story features, character interviews, and background information here on the Writing Pages in the coming weeks leading up to the book release later this year!

By the way — if you are looking for some relaxing and entertaining summer reading, now would be a great time to catch up with the first collection of Red’s adventure stories — “The First Holler!” —  if you have not yet met Little Red Bear, Cinnamon Charlie, and their other friends.

Characters and themes build from one story to another in a sequential fashion, so it’s best to start at the beginning. But that simply makes sense, doesn’t it?

And it’s the only way to do it when dealing with irksome weasels roaming the backwoods, you know.

The “Little Red Bear Stories” and a “Free Preview” are available on Amazon.


That is my approach and what summer will be about here — reading and researching, a return to handwork and creating new items for the holiday season, writing and playing new music, and finishing the next collection of Little Red Bear stories.

So, headaches and heat issues aside,  I truly am excited about the arrival of summer, after all. There are so many wonderful opportunities and things to do that do not involve slathering on layers of sunscreen or swatting away mosquitoes!

How about you?  What are your plans for the coming Season of Summer?  Do you look forward to participating in traditional summer activities, or perhaps, like me, find other ways to productively and positively enjoy the season?  Do you enjoy or dread summer’s imminent approach?  Please feel free to share in the comments.


And if you are not a “summer person”, that’s okay. Neither am I. It is easy to feel left out, excluded, and sad when all of the television commercials depict delightful summer beach scenes, or family and neighbors talk excitedly about summer boating weekends and vacations.  Reaching for the aspirin bottle, we listen politely while secretly wishing the temperature was 65F and not 95F. Everyone dances to their own tune, and likely as not, when we are happily donning overcoats and snow boots in winter, our summer-loving friends are longing for the days of summer. That’s how it is.

Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder for summertime sufferers is as real as Seasonal Affective Disorder for those brought down in the throes of winter, it just doesn’t get as much publicity yet.  If so affected, I encourage you to search for groups on Facebook and other sites to know you are not unique or alone in shunning the summer sunshine. Frequently, merely knowing that we are not the only one in the world disdaining a bright summer day helps. Check it out if this applies to you because you’re not alone.

Summertime is after all, simply “time”, and it is always up to us on how we spend it, being happy or being miserable. It is always our choice, independent of what is going on around us or “outside”.

Take responsibility for and change your own outlook on the world, and watch the world around you change!

Happiness is an “inside” job, more literally for some of us in the summertime perhaps, and Little Red Bear and I find that “Happy” always passes the time more quickly and is much more enjoyable! Summertime not excluded.


Thanks always for visiting and spending part of your day with us!  Will you share your smile to help brighten someone’s life today?  In a non-glaring, “no sunscreen needed” brightening sort of way, of course.

Wishing you and yours a delightful summer season however you may wish to spend it!  Be happy!  — Jim  (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also enjoy → “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart” and “Happy Hummer Season! Welcoming, Helping, and Attracting Hummingbirds In Your Neighborhood.” 

(And if a new visitor — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


I invite you to visit with my writer friends for more summer thoughts, inspirations, and smiles to see what they have in mind for the coming summer!

Children’s Author Cat Michaels on “Cat’s Corner”

KidLit Blog by Children’s Author Rosie Russell

Author Rebecca Lyndsey

Author Julie Gorges on the “Baby Boomer Bliss Blog”

Children’s Author Sandra Bennett

Children’s Author Carmela Dutra

Fantasy Author Auden Johnson

Fantasy Author Mackenzie Flhor


“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” – Maud Hart Lovelace

                    “One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.”                     – Henry David Thoreau


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

       “Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me, those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


                   “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” – Sam Keen


 

 

 

 

“I Posted A Picture Of A Cat” — And Other Such Pet Related Chat

I Posted A Picture Of A Cat

I posted a picture of a cute little cat,

When she dropped by for some yarn and a chat.

Why not a bear, or a moose, or a frog?

Why not a pooch, someone’s faithful old dog?

Why a cat and not a rat or a bat?

Or perhaps someone’s misbehaving and spoiled little brat?

Why not a turtle peacefully napping on a log?

Or what about little Susie’s 4-H prize-winning hog?

But instead, I shared a picture of a colorful cat.

And now don’t really know what to make of all that.


As usual, simply having a bit of tongue-in-cheek rhyming fun.  At the expense of cats today, it would appear.

My story character friend Little Red Bear and I both love critters and animals of all shapes, colors, and sizes.  It seems Little Red Bear collects a new animal guest every time his neighbor Farmer Turner visits in the stories.  Readers will recall that is how Swinestein came to live with Little Red Bear and Cinnamon Charlie in the first collection of stories, and we can tell you now that having just completed the “Sockwash Soup” story for Red’s second adventures book coming in the fall, Little Red Bear is in store for more “gifts” from Farmer Turner.

And yes, we are adding a new cat character to the stories — Barney the Barn Cat.  Maybe writing about Barney is what triggered this little poem earlier this afternoon.  Of course, Little Red Bear does not have a ‘barn’, per se, so not sure how we will resolve that yet. But we will.

Do you have a cat or pet(s) of some sort? The health benefits of pet ownership are well documented, including physical, mental, and emotional improvements, from enhancing social skills to decreasing a person’s risk of a heart attack. Not to mention helping children to learn responsibility caring for a pet. A number of studies have demonstrated that having a pet in the home can actually lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by as much as 33 percent.

As friends know, I am as extremely allergic to cats as some are to peanuts and shellfish. Maybe we just needed a cat in the house when I was growing up. But as they say, that cat’s already left the barn, so to speak.  Or is that horses?  Must be thinking about Barney the Barn Cat again. For more information on the benefits of pet ownership check out Animal Planet’s “Top 5 Health Benefits of Owning a Pet”.

Thanks always for visiting with us today! If you are considering adding a new pet to the family, please remember all of the wonderful and loving pets awaiting a forever and loving home in your local animal shelters. Your new best friend may be just a visit away! — Jim  (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also enjoy → “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart” 

(And if a new visitor — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


“What greater gift than the love of a cat.” – Charles Dickens

“A kitten is, in the animal world, what a rosebud is in the garden.” – Robert Sowthey


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

               “Cat – A pygmy lion who loves mice, hates dogs, and patronizes human beings.”           – Oliver Herford


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


                        “I’m not crazy. My reality is just different than yours.” – Cheshire Cat             (Lewis Carroll, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’)


 

We Don’t Do It For Money, But New Shoes Might Be Nice

Good dawning and day to thee, friends!

For lo and behold, we have already reached mid-April, or as Shakespeare may have kindly noted for us — the midst of National Poetry Month.

Accordingly then, here is one for the creators among us. Those who add the color, rhythm, and inspiration to our lives — the poets, writers, artists, musicians, designers, and such.

Tongue firmly in cheek, of course.  Somewhat.


We Don’t Do It For Money, But New Shoes Might Be Nice

*

Writers and artists don’t make much, sadly true.

Can’t even afford to buy shoe repair glue.

Yet, before this day is over and done,

I’d like to go out and have some great fun.

*

But what things to do with these holes in my shoe?

While ideas are many, options seem few.

I’d like to dress up in style,

And dance around for a while.

*

To Karaoke, carouse, laugh, and make merry,

Purposefully jaywalk and do something contrary!

And then to have a nice dinner, dessert, and stiff drinks,

All rather unlikely with these holey shoes, methinks.

*

So, here all alone tonight writing more poetry and prose,

Staring down in despair at holey shoes and old toes.


As mentioned in the beginning, this fun little piece is intended as a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, but when you truly find your passion and purpose in life, whatever the calling may be, then money becomes secondary if even a consideration at all.

I write because that is me, who I am, and give as many or more books away for enjoyment than sell. And why this blog is non-monetized and will remain so, to avoid bothersome buffering and distractions for visitors.

Writing for fame and fortune was never a thought, and why I have never been motivated to “write to a market” or “write what is trending.” I write what comes into my head and feel moved to write, hoping that someday in some way it may help to make a positive difference in the world.

Of course, money is a necessary thing, for purchasing new shoes if nothing else. And anyone who has gone thru life with constantly growing little ones trailing behind them is sure to know all about that!

But it cannot be the end all, be all.  There must be something more, or we will be destined to spend our lives in the shallow end of the pool. Because certainly, life must be deeper and hold greater meaning than what can be expressed on a balance sheet or portfolio.

Have you found your true purpose and calling? Life becomes much simpler and more enjoyable when you have.  Sometimes it is best to stop chasing, simply sit quietly, and let your purpose and passion come to you, as they always will.

Thanks so much for visiting and spending part of your day with us! A smile and small acts of kindness and love hold great power to change another’s life. Will you brighten someone’s life today?  — Jim  (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also enjoy → “Finding A Purpose Driven Life — What Would You Do If . . . . . . ?” 

(And if a new visitor — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


To Live A Creative Life One Needs To Set Aside Their Fear Of Being Wrong And Simply Do It, Regardless Of The Opinions Of Others

          “I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty.”          –  Edgar Allan Poe  


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“To live is not enough; we must take part.” – Pablo Casals


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


             “It’s not enough to have lived.
We should be determined to live for something.
May I suggest that it be creating joy for others,
sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind,
bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”
― 
Leo Buscaglia


 

Little Red Bear’s Second Annual Easter Recipes & Ideas To Please Everybunny!

When Little Red Bear and I are not busy filling jars of honey to swap with Farmer Turner for crates of eggs to dye, we like to discover interesting and fun new recipes and treats to make for family and friends.

With my arm injury having sidelined me for several months over the holidays and into the new year, it has been a while since Little Red Bear and I have shared some of his special recipe finds. But with the Easter Bunny working overtime and the holiday drawing near again he thought it a good time to share some more Easter treats and ideas.

Starting off with a healthier treat for the little ones because being about Easter treats and goodies it’s likely to become more sugary sweet as we go along.

As usual, simply tap on the link or image to view the original recipe and provider’s page.  Happy Hopping!


Healthy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Eggs

An alternative to sugary sweets, anyone loving peanut butter should love these Oatmeal Peanut Butter Eggs — all natural, vegan, vegetarian, and make a wonderful holiday snack for those on a diet, as well. From the ‘Savvy Naturalista’ blog.

Healthy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Eggs Recipe


Easter Breads with an Egg

Billowy soft, beautifully golden and lightly sweet buns with a perfectly cooked egg. A very different Easter holiday treat for Easter brunch or breakfast with the family! From the ‘Natasha’s Kitchen’ blog.

Easter Breads with an Egg Recipe


Rainbow Bunny Peeps Wreath

Little Red Bear and I are both big fans of the often maligned and innocent little Peeps around this time of year. Here is a delightful project to fashion the Bunny Peeps into a colorful wreath, or as a delightful table centerpiece, too. From the ‘Tried & True’ blog.

Rainbow Bunny Peeps Wreath Instructions


Carrot Cake Blondies

Anyone who knows me also knows that I love Carrot Cake.  One of my sons was married last year and the wedding featured a choice of wedding cake flavors, one of which was Carrot Cake. It’s little signs like that which let you know you raised your kids right.

I also love Blondies. This combines both into a perfect handheld treat for Easter! From the ‘My Heavenly Recipes’ Food Blog.

Carrot Cake Blondies Recipe


Easter Basket Cookie Cups

These are delicious Peanut Butter Cookie Cups filled with Homemade Buttercream Frosting topped with Easter Egg Candies. We’re thinking you better make a bunch! From the wonderful ‘Lil Luna’ Food Blog.

Easter Basket Cookie Cups Recipe


Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Another delightful Easter treat for fellow Carrot Cake lovers, in handy bar form for easy snacking and treats! From the very aptly named ‘Eat Cake For Dinner’ food blog. Who can argue with that?

Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe


Carrot Cake Fudge

Yes, we realize — another Carrot Cake oriented recipe. But it’s Fudge!  Carrot Cake Fudge! I mean, Easter Fudge for goodness sake!

Oh, wait.  I have to fan Little Red Bear.  I think he just passed out from excitement.  From the ‘Wine and Glue’ blog.

Carrot Cake Fudge Recipe


Peeps Skillet S’mores

Some folks, like Little Red Bear and myself, look forward to the annual appearance of colorful little Peeps in the stores each Spring. Others, not so much, and feel they should be set to torches. Well, here is a compromise.  A delightful little Peeps treat for both little ones and adults — Skillet S’mores.  Torch them in the oven and then dip away. This colorful and fun treat is from the ‘Delish’ blog.

Peeps Skillet S’mores Recipe


Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Poppy Seed ‘Anything’ is one of my favorite taste combinations in cakes, muffins, cupcakes, and whatever. Soft, moist and buttery with a refreshing lemon flavor for Spring and topped with a Cream Cheese Frosting, this cake will be a hit at your Easter brunch and dinner. Keep the recipe handy for those who will be asking for it. From the ‘Oh, Sweet Basil’ food blog.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe


Easter Cathedral Candy

A carryover from last year’s Easter Recipes simply because it such a beautiful and amazing no-bake recipe to prepare ahead of time for the Easter holiday. These candies require only three ingredients — vanilla flavored melting wafers or almond bark, colored mini marshmallows, and sweetened coconut.  Mix, chill, slice, and serve!

One of our favorites and certainly worth sharing again! From the ‘Mom On Timeout’ Food Blog.

Easter Cathedral Candy Recipe


Easter Rice Krispie Cake

Rice Krispie treats in all shapes and sizes are a year ’round favorite here, and make into a colorful Easter Cake for a holiday brunch, dinner, or buffet for the family. And fun food treat for little ones!  From ‘The Novice Chef’ Food Blog.

Easter Rice Krispie Cake Recipe


Easter Eggs and Creative Hunt & Craft ideas!

For anyone who may be new to hard-boiling (or struggling with it as we seemed to somehow always do each year) and coloring Easter Eggs, or who may be looking for some exciting and different new decorating ideas, check out the helpful links below.

How To Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

A Handy Food Coloring Custom Mixing Chart

Making Tie Dye Easter Eggs

How To Dye Easter Eggs with Kool-Aid

Decorating Natural Brown Easter Eggs

How To Make Marbelized Easter Eggs

Creating Colorful Easter Eggs With Melted Crayons

How To Dye Easter Eggs With Rice

Rice Shake Easter Eggs in Ziploc Bags

Making Salt Dough Easter Eggs

Fun Easter Activity for Kids — “Easter Eggs-ercises”

Fun New Easter Egg Hunt Ideas

STEM Easter Activities & Projects for Kids

Easter Chick Yarn Art Project

18 Simple Easter Crafts for Kids


If looking for some Non-Candy or sweets alternatives for little ones’ Easter baskets, check out these wonderful suggestions.

Give Little Red Bear a bottle of bubbles on a Spring day and he will forget all about candy blowing bubbles into the breeze! Guaranteed. (For five minutes. Honey thoughts never leave his mind, so save your bubbles if hoping for that.)


Little Red Bear thought these were hilarious and laughed himself into a fit of hiccups when we came across this fun little idea — the Hatching Chick Hardboiled Eggs. We thought your little ones might get a kick out this simple little trick on Easter morning, too. We’re never really certain what is inside an egg until we crack it, are we?  This fun idea from the ‘Hungry Happenings’ Food Blog.

Hatching Chick Hardboiled Eggs Instructions


Find over 600 more Easter Holiday features on my Easter Treats, Fun Crafts, and Activities Board on Pinterest. To find today’s features and all of the recipes we have shared so far, visit our Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Blog Recipes Board.

Visit and Like my Writer’s Facebook Page for daily inspiration and features.

Thanks as always for spending part of your day with us! We would be honored if you recommended our site and pages to friends and family.

Little Red Bear and I look forward to your visits here, and hope that in our own way we help to make your day special, too!

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, and Happy Easter! — Jim  (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also enjoy our first “Easter Recipes Special”

(And if a new visitor — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


“I still believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and true love. Don’t even try to tell me different.” – Dolly Parton

                “The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”               – Kate McGahan


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“I lied on my Weight Watchers list. I put down that I had 3 eggs . . . but they were Cadbury Chocolate Eggs.” – Caroline Rhea  


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


              “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”                              –  Lucy Van Pelt, ‘Peanuts’


 

 

 

 

Happy National Poetry Month! — “My Hat Was Owned By A Cat”

My Hat Was Owned By A Cat

I am wearing an old weathered hat.

Before me, it was owned by a cat.

This hat is covered in hair,

With catnip smears everywhere,

And I’m not really knowing what to do about that.

 

The hat is rather battered and worn,

A few spots here and there sorely torn,

But a nice chocolate brown,  

With a uniquely shaped crown,

The battered front sporting a swirling and whirling ram’s horn!

 

Where to go in a hat of this sort?

Mountains? Prairies? A vintage seaport?

Are folks to call me deranged,

If I sing “Home on the Range,”

Arrayed in catty hat fashion in her Majesty’s court?

 

So, what to do with this hat of mine,

From a cat whose lives expired, times nine?

To wear it, or should I not?

Risk being thought a poor sot?

Or admit, in hairy horned splendor, it just looks divine?!?

 

So, my hat was owned by a cat.

How then can one really top that?


Happy National Poetry Month!

April is the month of showers, and flowers, and for better or worse, a bit of rhyming in verse.

Poetry comes in all forms, ranging from highly structured and formal to free verse, from serious to amusing. Like most of mine. The majority of my poems are lighthearted, simply for whimsy and fun. Silly sonnets about bonnets.

Have you tried your hand or quill pen at poetry recently? A written test is not required to exercise poetic license, you know.

More than merely having fun, writing poetry, as in any creative writing or activity, helps stretch and strengthen creative muscles and thinking abilities for applications in other, totally unrelated areas.

So feel free to rhyme away and encourage your children to have a go at it, as well. This is a perfect time to pen a rhyme, it being National Poetry Month in April, after all.

Thanks always for visiting with us! My writing friend Little Red Bear and I are all about kindness, compassion, and doing things for others here. Sneaking a little poem into a lunch bag or someone’s pocket would be a wonderful surprise to brighten someone’s day and let them know you care. Happy Poem Writing! — Jim  (and Red!)

Roses are Red – Violets are Blue – Each time you visit – We’re delighted to see You!

If you enjoyed this piece, you may also enjoy my —  “Random Acts Of Poetry”

(And if a new visitor — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


Think Globally – Act Locally! Tomorrow Begins With YOU Today!

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James

Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else’s life.” – Roy T. Bennett


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Nobody is ordinary if you know where to look.” – Maeve Binchy


 

It’s A New Year — The Guideposts Are Set — Here’s Where We’re Going!

Happy 2019! 

A brand-spanking new, shiny, and as yet unblemished and dent-free New Year. The start of a new year is like a new car, fresh off the assembly line, complete with an assumed bumper-to-bumper warranty, many expectant miles to log on the odometer, and all the hopes and dreams which only a new car smell can inspire.

At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve annual hopes and goals spring anew within our hearts, as daffodils bursting thru late snow beckon the long-awaited arrival of Spring.

Maybe yet another way of looking at a new year is as a blank slate with our having no way of knowing what will be written upon it as the year unfolds. What do we each hope and plan to write on our slate for the year?  How will this new year, still full of January’s fresh hopes and promises, be scored when the coming year’s unforeseen events, decisions, and actions cast long shadows in December?

Regardless of our individual approaches to a new year, most regard it as a time of looking forward with a fresh start, of high expectations, of planning and preparing.


Taking a moment first to look back before looking forward, the year just passed was one of the busiest and perhaps more challenging of my life (having counted 69 of them now!), including two out of town cross country trip weddings for my twin sons, with a major relocation move sandwiched in between in the summer months, and extended absences while dog- and house-sitting for others sprinkled thru the year. It seemed at times as though writing distractions seemed to leap out from behind every corner.

When Thanksgiving came and went, and the last trip and activity had been marked off the calendar, the schedule wondrously opened thru the remainder of the year to finally complete the summer’s delayed moving work of unpacking, settling into my new home, and getting back to writing with Little Red Bear. But, as we should know, the Universe sometimes has other plans and things in mind for us which always seem to take precedent.

As Facebook Friends are aware (not previously shared elsewhere), the year concluded on a more challenging note when I ruptured the biceps distal tendon below the elbow in my right (primary) arm the last week of November when lifting a ridiculously (now looking back) heavy box unpacking, resulting in surgery on December 7th to repair and reattach the totally shredded and displaced tendon to the radius bone below the elbow. Two separate incisions, drilling, a washer, pins, and assorted medical magic and miracles.

A post-surgery full arm cast was replaced at Christmas by what friends refer to as my new ‘Robo Arm’ brace, which I will continue to wear for the foreseeable future, recovery presumably measured in months and not weeks. (The photo is a mirror image, really my right arm. Left hand did its best trying to get the photo.)

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”

– Dennis P. Kimbro

With my right arm and hand prohibited from any movement or use at all with the sole exception of twice-daily therapy stretches, my left arm and hand (hereinafter referred to as “Lefty”) have both had a very steep learning curve the past month. Happy to report that Lefty is doing very well, better than expected actually, and is solely doing the typing and preparation work for this post.

(Doing well, that is, with the notable exception of being able to eat soup without embarrassment and adding to the laundry pile.

And on a related note – why is that upon hearing of your surgery and suddenly limited to sole use of your off-hand, friends all rush to bring bowls of healing Soup to your aid?

Not to sound unappreciative, because I truly am grateful and love homemade soups, but a pepperoni pizza or cheeseburger didn’t occur to anyone at all? This is the first holiday season in which I actually lost weight. Soup – the under-appreciated weightloss secret.

Sorry, I digressed. Hunger tends to have that distracting effect on me, regrettably.)

Lefty will continue to fly solo until such time as Righty is cleared for return to duty.  Therapy is going very well, so “hoping” it will not be too, too long before Righty can at least get back to typing. Will see. Sharing this only so everyone understands the uncharacteristic absence of regular posts and annual new holiday features the past several weeks.


Traditional New Year’s Resolutions in and of themselves are not a thing here, most often having been an exercise in self-deluding folly and foolishness in the past. That being said, it would be no less foolhardy setting sail without noting the prevailing wind direction and at least an idea of where you hoped to eventually arrive.

Looking forward to the New Year then, while beginning the new year with my ‘good’ arm figuratively tied behind my back for an undetermined period, there are a number of things we (that would be Little Red Bear and me)  still plan to focus on and look forward to accomplishing in the coming year.

Notably —

  • A resumption of regular blog posting activities and pages focusing on the important themes of Children, Family, Kindness, Compassion, Positivity, Inclusion, Diversity, Wildlife, and Mother Nature. That is what we have been and will continue to be about here.
  • An increased focus on heightening awareness, saving, and preserving the environment and natural world around us for our children and future generations. There is no backup or “Earth 2.0” in the works.  We all share this planet as our home, and it is the only one we have.
  • Joining with the focus on Positivity, more attention on self-awareness, improvement, and our place in the Cosmos. Why do so many seem to be increasingly disconnected today?
  • Continuing to freely share more feature stories of interest (like the Haddon Sundblom ‘Coke Santa’ feature), original short stories (like the ‘Susie’s Bear’ story), and works of Poetry (like the recent ‘Tex-Mex and Rex’ poem). (Yes – there will be more poetry – consider yourself warned.)
  • Completion of the long-anticipated second collection of Little Red Bear stories book – “The Second Holler Over!” for release in the fall. More new characters – new locations – more adventures – and a somewhat novel new format. Watch for updates as we get closer to the release date!
  • Adding more games, puzzles, and other activities to Little Red Bear’s Activities Pages for children. Watch for new ‘Coloring Pages’ coming soon, featuring domestic animals, wildlife, flowers, and other items from nature to help educate and interest the little ones, including several characters from “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” stories!
  • A resumption of the popular “Ask Little Red Bear” feature, wherein Red responds to reader questions. He already has an accumulated stack to get thru, but if you have any questions regarding one of Red’s stories, nature, or life advice in general, please just send them along and Red will try his best to get to them around writing sessions (and fishing).
  • Continuation of the always popular “Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes” specials for holidays and seasons thru the year, with a few additional now and then concentrating on one dish and variations. Stay tuned.
  • Continue developmental work on a series of Picture Book type stories in verse for Little Red Bear, Cinnamon Charlie, and their friends, to bring Red’s messages of kindness, positivity, and nature more intimately and in a more colorfully fun way to pre-readers and little ones, and to distribute to those in hospital care.
  • Add a new feature presenting interesting historical and background information on some of the topics, locations, characters, and other items influencing but perhaps not actually making it either in whole or in part into the Little Red Bear stories. Only so much can be fit into the short story format or into a book, and so much material which must be trimmed is fascinating from a true historical or inspirational sense. Red thought you might enjoy seeing some of it.
  • Call back Rusty the Fairydiddle, our intrepid little Red Squirrel Reporter, from his extended personal appearance tour following his featured role in the “Pine Holler Christmas” story, to conduct some more character interviews for you, like the one he did with Groovy Gary that time.
  • Time permitting (and we really want to do these!) the publication of separate standalone Little Red Bear stories (like “Pine Holler Christmas”) — a conservation-themed story entitled “Walking With Trees” for which I am doing extensive reading and research at present for a targeted summer release, a ‘Not-So-Frightfully-Scary’, Spooky Halloween Story for fall, and a second Christmas-themed story for the holidays, tentatively titled “Little Red Bear and the Kris Kringle Krinkle Krunch Krewe.”
  • Because many of our readers are Seniors with Little Red Bear being enjoyed from one end of the age spectrum to the other, we will attempt to make the already published books available in Large Print editions, as many have requested. But, like the publishing of other books, this one may likely require more outside technical help beyond my abilities, so will be dependent on financial resources and ability to bring this about in addition to the publication of the new works listed above. This may be the most “iffy” with hospital surgery bills coming in the mail and extended therapy copays, but again — we really would like to do this for our senior readers.
  • Lastly, in the “thinking about” stage, perhaps doing a continuing  feature with Little Red Bear, Cinnamon Charlie, and their friends in Little Red Bear Land, freely shared on the Writing Pages here in weekly installments, either in continuing serialized story form like the weekly ‘Little Orphan Annie’, ‘The Lone Ranger’, ‘Flash Gordon’, and other radio serials years ago, or with more of a “Happening This Week in Little Red Bear Land” news story approach in a Garrison Keillor “Tales From Lake Wobegon” fashion. Either way, just considering and trying to work it out with Red as possibly something fun to do and share. If you have any thoughts or suggestions on this one, which approach sounds most interesting, or other, please let us know in the comments. We would love to hear them!

Seems like an ambitious list, doesn’t it? But isn’t that the whole idea expressed by the old phrases “Shoot for the stars!”, “Reach for the sky!”, “Go for the gusto!”, “Go the limit!”, and others? The whole purpose of making the effort and stretching our abilities to improve and grow?

Little Red Bear and I may not achieve all of these goals this year, because as my ‘Robo Arm’ indicates, life can unexpectedly intervene and alter the best-made plans at times.

But the approach here has always been that small, incremental daily changes add up to big results over time, getting up each morning a little further down the road towards our goal than the previous morning and the morning before that. A decision to be healthier this time last year led to me changing my lifestyle and slowly losing just a little over a pound a week last year. No big deal.  But again, small incremental changes add up to big results over time. In my case, a 66-pound weight loss over the year, significantly reduced blood pressure, no blood sugar issues, and every pre-surgery blood test within normal ranges. Keep taking small steps, and sooner than later you will get there!

So, will we reach all of the above goals? Well, just like the weight loss, we are going to keep at it each and every day, step by step, and give it our persistent and very best effort. And whether we achieve all, some, or only a few items, we will be further down the road and in a better place with our writing work and mission than where we begin today. Little Red Bear and I feel that we are already in a better place and off to a very good start by simply having made our list and having set the guideposts for our journey this year.

In summary, Little Red Bear and I will strive to continue bringing new posts, features, and creative projects to the Writing Pages with the intention of being Entertaining, Informative, and Educational, while also helping to Encourage everyone to become their very best true self.

If we do that, we feel, that come December it will have been a very good year, and any shadows cast will all be positive.

Little Red Bear and I have set our course. The above items are intended as the Guideposts for our journey thru this new year as we continue to do our small part in trying to make the world a more kind and gentle home for every one and every thing. We hope that you will be here to join with us each step along the way!


Even if so many may not end up holding that wished-for winning lottery ticket in the coming months, there are loads of things we can engrave upon our personal slates this year before we count down the seconds with bated breath while awaiting the magical clock strike heralding the arrival of the next shiny new year.

What are your plans for the New Year? For inspiration and ideas, I invite and encourage you to visit my fellow bloggers and friends, below, as they share their thoughts about the coming year. Then, perhaps pull out a blank slate to chart your course for the year!

And if unsure or having doubts about your ability to make positive changes in your own life this year, maybe it would help you to know that both Little Red Bear and I believe in you! Just take the first small step to get started. Then the next. And the next. And the next. Then, eventually, you will look back at this time next year and see how very far you have come!

For inspiration, visit — “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and  “Finding A Purpose Driven Life – What Would You Do If .  .  . ?”   Then get going on your slate and New Year!


Here is what my friends are doing . . . . . .

Cat Michaels
Rosie Russell
Sandra Bennett
Carmela Dutra
Julie Gorges
Shana Gorian
Corrina Holyoake
Jacqui Letran
Rebecca Lyndsey

Thanks always for spending part of your day with us here, because when all is said and done, you are why we do this! Wishing you and yours the very best as you chart your own course for this shiny new year! — Jim  (and Red!)

If you enjoyed this post, check out —  “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart” 


Think Globally – Act Locally! Tomorrow Begins With YOU Today!

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.” – Erma Bombeck


“Tex-Mex and Rex”

On a walk, I met two dinosaurs,

Their names were Tex and Mex.

They cautioned me about their menacing cousin,

The one they all call Rex.

 

Tex and Mex love salads,

And nibble leafy, tree-top greens.

But I have a distinct impression,

Rex goes about snatching his meals by other means.

 

They say their cousin is rather surly,

Ill-tempered, cranky, and aloof.

And advise hiding in holes beneath the ground,

Rex can reach you anywhere else –  even up on your roof.

 

They noted his arms are puny,

But his bite is something fierce.

The force of eleven-teen crocodiles,

Even the toughest, thickest hide his teeth can pierce!

 

Tex and Mex gravely recommend avoiding cousin Rex,

As he is testy and short-tempered, and rather easily annoyed.

And should you see or hear him coming,

By all means — try to avoid!

 

I am happy to have met them,

It was nice conversing with Tex and Mex.

But left them hurriedly by the road that day,

When suddenly both exclaimed –  “Goodness gracious! Here comes Rex!”


Thank you for stopping by to visit! We hope you enjoyed this fun little piece, inspired by a visiting three-year-old’s two favorite dinosaur toys named ‘Tex’ and ‘Mex’. Wonderful inspiration and opportunities are all around us if we pay attention, are aware, and truly listen.

Little Red Bear and I are still trying to determine “Who or What is Mickey McJibbers???” for Red’s second collection of stories coming soon. If you missed the post, please tap on the link to help us out! So far, readers have suggested that Mickey (or Mickie) McJibbers is a Squirrel, a Mouse, an Elephant, or a Flea. An interesting and wide variety of shapes and personalities to be sure!

Who or what do you think Mickey McJibbers is?  We are still searching for suggestions, so please add yours in the Comments!

Please feel free to share the “Tex-Mex and Rex” poem and this site with your little ones and others, and register to be notified of every new post.

The world can be a scary place sometimes. A cheerful and friendly smile lifts our own spirits while brightening someone else’s life. Will you join us by sharing your smile with the world today? — Jim  (and Red!)


“Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.” – William James

 

“The Earth without ‘Art’ is simply ‘EH’.” 


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Our greatest national resource is the minds of our children.” – Walt Disney 


 

What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

Have you heard of the “Teal Pumpkin Project®”?  Having a young family member with notable food restrictions, the Teal Pumpkin Project is something we strongly support and recommend for the safety of food-sensitive children and a way to allow all to fully participate and enjoy the fun of Halloween and trick-or-treating.

Prompted by childhood food allergies, the Teal Pumpkin Project is a worldwide movement to create a safer, healthier, and happy Halloween experience for all children, including those with food allergies, which can be life-altering and life-threatening. One in thirteen children suffers from some sort of food allergy today.  Among the project’s goals is to raise awareness of food allergies and to promote inclusion for all little trick-or-treaters during the Halloween season.

Halloween can be an especially challenging time for children, parents, and families managing food allergies on a daily basis. Many “mini” or “fun-sized” treats are not labeled with food ingredients and/or contain different ingredients than their full-sized counterparts, making managing for parents even more difficult.

The goal is to offer non-food treats for children dealing with allergies, as well as others for whom candy treats may not be an option. The whole purpose is not only food safety for those with allergies but also kindness and inclusion. Small children confronted with allergy issues will be delighted to receive a small non-food, non-threatening treat alternative, while other children can still receive traditional Halloween treats. No one left out of the fun. That’s the Little Red Bear way!


Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is easy.

  • Simply provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters on Halloween night.
  • Place a Teal Pumpkin (‘teal’ is the chosen color of Food Allergy Awareness) in front of your home to indicate that you have non-food treats available for trick-or-treaters, or in lieu of a Teal Pumpkin, a sign or poster placed on your door or window.

Where do I get a Teal Pumpkin to put on my front porch?

  • Obtaining a Teal Pumpkin for Halloween is fairly simple — paint your own!  Grab some teal paint and make it a family project. If you have children of your own, it will be a wonderful learning opportunity to involve them to help educate and raise their awareness of food allergy issues. Perhaps they have friends who are affected by allergies, making it even more personal and beneficial to be included in the process.
  • If you cannot paint a pumpkin yourself, no worries. Teal pumpkins should hopefully be available for purchase both online and in local shopping outlets. As the movement continues to grow each year, they will become readily available.
  • If painting is not an option and teal pumpkins are not available in your local stores, all you really need to do is display a sign or teal pumpkin printout at your door or in a window, letting everyone know that you have non-food treats available. Tap on the image on the right to download the sign and print out a copy for your home. Participating is as simple as that.

What are acceptable Non-Food Treats?

  • Children love to do artwork — Pencils, Pens, Crayons, Markers, Stencils!
  • Children love to do artwork outdoors — Sidewalk Chalk!
  • Children love to blow bubbles — Bubble Blowers!
  • Halloween Erasers and Pencil Toppers are really cool.
  • Children love to remind us that they are around — Whistles, Kazoos, Clappers, and Noisemakers (parents will love you!)
  •  Bouncy Balls (small children never have enough bouncy balls!)
  • Glow Sticks!
  • Small Stuffed Animals!
  • Jumping Ropes!
  • Paddle Balls!
  • Stickers!
  • Small Playing Cards and Games!
  • Finger Puppets and Novelty Toys!
  • Simple Bracelets, Wrist Bands, and Necklaces!
  • Mini Yo-Yo’s or Slinkies!
  • Mini Wooden Airplanes!
  • And of course, the perennial Halloween favorite — Fake Dracula Teeth!
  • Note — When selecting non-food items, it is best to omit moldable clays which may contain wheat products, and to steer away from any items made of or containing latex, for those latex-sensitive individuals.

A quick trip to the local dollar or discount store should provide all you need, and may very likely be cheaper than high-priced candy these days, keeping in mind that if you do go the non-food treat route only one in thirteen children will be seeking the non-food treats, so not talking about a great deal of items. Just enough to include a little something for everyone. Time spent in making an extra trip each Halloween will be more than offset by the warm feeling of knowing that you are doing something not only nice but also beneficial for the kids, and by the smiles and happiness of those receiving your special treat items on Halloween night.


This year, Little Red Bear and I urge you to join us in taking the pledge —


If you would like to learn more about food allergies and The Teal Pumpkin Project simply tap the link to visit the Food Allergy Research & Education page, where more suggestions for non-food treats and other ways to participate and help the movement are available. You can also read more about How The Teal Pumpkin Project Began.

Here is a resource site for downloadable Free Signs, Flyers & More!

Thanks always for visiting with us.  We hope that you will join Little Red Bear and me in The Teal Pumpkin Project and helping to make this a safe, healthy, and enjoyable Halloween — for Everyone! — Jim (and Red!)


“Thank God for little children; when our skies turn cold and gray, They come as sunshine to our hearts, and charm our cares away.” – Frances Watkins Harper

“He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything.” –  Thomas Carlyle


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

                 “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”             — Sitting Bull (Hunkpapa Lakota)


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.” – Richard L. Evans

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” –  John F. Kennedy



For Our New Visitors Wondering — 

“Who is Little Red Bear?”

 Meet Little Red Bear and His Friends in this short introduction to the stories —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”



 

“Little Red Bear’s — Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes Special II”

Welcome to Little Red Bear’s special “Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes — Volume  II.”

Last year’s Halloween Treat Recipes were so well received that Little Red Bear felt we should do it again. If you missed last year’s “Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes”, simply tap here to find more fun Halloween recipes and ideas!


It’s Autumn and October,

Frightful things will soon be waking,

Rising from restless graveyard slumbers,

Craving tasty treats left for their taking!

So gather ye ‘round for recipes,

See what kitchen witches have in store,

‘Tis time to fire up kettles and cauldrons,

Ere hungry ghosts and ghouls be at the door!


Trust us. Being fans of eggs best used in omelets and toilet paper best stored in the linen closet and not on trees, it’s best to be prepared when little goblins come knocking on Halloween.

Some little treat and candy-craving spirits handle disappointment better than others. And you really do not want to be in the position of having to hand out pennies.

Or rocks.  Always try to avoid being in the position of having to resort to handing out rocks. Even if they are the fancy painted ones going around so popularly nowadays. No rocks.  Treats are always well received.



Accordingly then, here is an assortment of Halloween goodies to appease both adult partygoers and those wandering little treat-seekers that come knocking at the door on Halloween night.  Simply tap on either the link or image to find a recipe.

Proceed on, stirring spoon and bowl in hand if you have the courage, for spookily delightful Halloween recipes unearthed by Little Red Bear and his friends.


Halloween Ghost Pancakes

How to start a Halloween morning?  With Ghost Pancakes, of course! Featuring orange pancakes, a special dark chocolate ganache, and whipped cream ghosts.

Halloween Ghost Pancakes by The Novice Chef


Screaming Chocolate Pretzels

These chocolate-covered pretzels will be “howling” for attention at your Halloween party this year!

Screaming Chocolate Pretzels by Fun 365 Oriental Trading


Rice Krispie Treat Monsters

These cute little Rice Krispie Treat Monsters will be a colorful fun favorite for little ones and perfectly sized for small hands!

Rice Krispie Treat Monsters by “One Little Project At A Time”


Apple Pie Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples were a Halloween staple growing up in the midwest years ago. This recipe takes them to a whole new Apple Pie level for the Autumn Season, beginning with a caramel coating covered by a luscious layer of white chocolate, then rolled in a Cinnamon-Sugar mixture and drizzled with more white chocolate!  If caramel apples were a treat years ago, then this new version is treat-a-licious!

Apple Pie Caramel Apples by Leigh Anne Wilkes , “Your Homebased Mom”


Reese’s Peanut Butter Captain Crunch Bars

Made with peanut butter, marshmallows, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Captain Crunch cereal, topped with Reese’s Peanut Butter Pieces.  I love Halloween!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Captain Crunch Bars by This Is Not Diet Food


Everyone loves Halloween for different reasons. For me, the approach of Halloween each year ushers in the arrival of Candy Corn Season!  Like the poor little innocent but polarizing Peeps at Easter, varying opinions aside, I am an unapologetic lover of Candy Corn, and here are three Candy Corn inspired recipes for you too, if so inclined.

Candy Corn Swirled Fudge

If Michelangelo could have found Candy Corn Swirled Marble similar to this gorgeous fudge, just think of the masterpieces he could have created. As it is, we still have the fudge, and that works for me!

Candy Corn Swirled Fudge by The Café Sucre Farine

Candy Corn Poke Cake

Made in a 9″ x 13″ sheet cake pan, this simple but beautiful cake will serve many and is certain to be a talked about highlight of any Halloween event! Keep the recipe handy for when guests inquire.

Candy Corn Poke Cake by Wine and Glue

Candy Corn Jello

Candy Corn Jello?  Oh, someone pinch me — I must be dreaming!

Candy Corn Jello by Cincy Shopper


Peeping Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cute little Chocolate Chip Sandwich Monster Cookies for little ghosts and goblins!

Peeping Chocolate Chip Cookies by Cadbury Kitchen


Pumpkin Blondies

If you have been patiently waiting for a Pumpkin related recipe, your time has come! Pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice baked into a blondie bar for Autumn get-togethers and Halloween treats! Don’t you just love Autumn?

Pumpkin Blondies by Cookies & Cups


Witch’s Brew Brownies

If we have Blondies, then the Brownies cannot be far behind! Add all sorts of spooky and leftover candy toppings to these brownies to make them extra special.

Witch’s Brew Brownies by Home Made Interest


Great Pumpkin Cake

Everyone who follows me on Facebook and other sites knows that I am a life-long fan of the “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles Schulz, featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, and the gang.

And of course, Linus, who each year spends Halloween night in a pumpkin patch foregoing trick or treating with his friends to await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, who arises each year from the most sincere pumpkin patch to then fly around handing out toys to sincere and believing children on Halloween. It goes without saying that Linus is the only one who believes in the Great Pumpkin, yet remains steadfast in his beliefs and undaunted in his support, despite the withering criticism of others.

So, how could we not share a Great Pumpkin Cake for faithful Linus and Halloween this year?!?  Hint — You will need your most sincere fluted tube pan for this one!

Great Pumpkin Cake by Kraft Recipes


Brownie Cupcakes

With a brownie bottom and orange cake mix layer, these colorful cupcakes will be a Halloween party treat!  Be sure to add a candy pumpkin or sprinkles on top!

Brownie Cupcakes by Two Sisters Crafting


Boozy Pumpkin Milkshake

No longer the sole domain of youngsters, it seems that each year an increasing number of adults from all age groups seek to reclaim Halloween celebrations and fun.  The treats may have taken on a new flavor or two over the years, however.  Here is a little something for the older treat-seekers.  One may find several other party ideas on this site, as well. Just please remember to celebrate responsibly.

Boozy Pumpkin Milkshake by Wine and Glue


Halloween Trifle

As we have endeavored to point out, Hungry Halloween Spirits and Goblins are certainly nothing to be trifled with. Unless your trifle happens to contain a number of Halloween goodies inside it, of course!

Halloween Trifle by Dancing Through The Rain


Thank You for visiting with us!  Please feel to share this special Halloween post and our site with friends and family for their Halloween fun.

When out this Halloween, please remember to celebrate safely, drive carefully in neighborhoods, and watch for little ones on the roadways who most likely will not be watching out for you while rushing to the next candy stop.

And remember, if you happen across an unattended broomstick on Halloween, just leave it be.  We’ll talk more about that another time in our upcoming “Interview With A Witch”. Until then, just ignore the broom and pass on by.  Witches are not fond of walking, and we’ll simply leave it at that for now. Watch for the interview here soon!

Also please keep an eye out for our upcoming “Autumn Recipes” special soon, along with another fun little poem this week. Follow the blog now to be notified of every new post in your email box. Never any Spam. Little Red Bear only likes his Spam from the little can, never in the mail.

Happy Halloween to everyone!  Fire up the wood stoves and let the holiday candy and treat making begin! — Jim (and Red!)          


                                            “Halloween isn’t just about candies and treats.                                               No, wait — of course, it is.” — Little Red Bear

“A candy a day keeps the monsters under the bed away.” — Cinnamon Charlie


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.” — Erma Bombeck


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, last month we were able to donate six print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to a Senior Citizens Library and Residents!

Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“If you are out of treats, I would prefer cash.” — Slick the Weasel

“Keep calm, Trick or Treat, and carry on.” – Oliver Wendell Ghostbody



For Our New Readers Wondering — 

“Who is Little Red Bear?”

 Meet Little Red Bear and His Friends in this short introduction to the stories —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”



 

“When Everything Around You Feels All Upside Down”

“When Everything Around You Feels All Upside Down”

When everything around you feels all upside down,

It’s so easy to replace your smile with a frown.

But you really shouldn’t do it, please don’t you dare,

Knowing all those around you still truly do care.

Your smile is needed to brighten or own windblown days,

It’s helpful and reassuring in so many ways.

If you don’t think you can, please do give it a good try.

Paint a smile on if you must, just ask any clown guy.

Even when things in your life seem blown sideways and tossed,

With a smile –  Friends, Hope, and Love are never truly lost.

So please keep on smiling, dear one, that’s my heart’s wish for you,

For when we smile long enough, even big wishes come true.


Thank you for reading today!  Little Red Bear and I hope that you enjoy your visits with us, and invite you to share this poem and site with friends, neighbors, and family, and register to be notified of every new post.

By the way, Little Red Bear and I are still trying to determine “Who or What is Mickey McJibbers???” If you missed the post, please tap on the link to help us out!

A friendly smile or act of kindness can brighten someone’s day or turn a whole life around. Will you join us in sharing your smile today? Join us in the ‘Smile and Compliment’ club, and make a positive difference in someone’s life! — Jim  (and Red!)


“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa

“Share your smile with the world. It’s a symbol of friendship and peace.” – Christie Brinkley


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

                                          “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, last month we were able to donate six print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to a Senior Citizens Library and Residents!

Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


                                        “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,                                      and sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh


 

 

 

“Who or What is Mickey McJibbers???”

It would give Little Red Bear and I great pleasure to introduce you to a new story character coming to the next collection of Red’s stories — “The Second Holler Over!” — and to tell you all about him, but as it turns out, we only know the name at this point in time — Mickey McJibbers. Or is it Mickie McJibbers — female???  We have no idea.

Most often, new characters arrive via my writing muse complete with a name, what or who they are, and frequently somewhat of a backstory. In this case, the only thing to come thru was the name — Mickey or Mickie McJibbers.

I get the sense though that he or she is a rather talkative, nervous sort, constantly jabbering on about something or other. And I think that explains the last name a bit — McJibbers — a mashup perhaps of Jabbers and Jitters.

But that still leaves us with the question of what or who the character is, and he (or she) is being of absolutely no help, obviously not very self-aware at this point, either.

So, we are stuck with trying to figure out just what sort of critter or person is Mickey or Mickie McJibbers? As stated, we know the name and nothing else about him or her at this point. Other than my feeling that the character appears to be a jittery jabberer.

Is the character a critter of some type? A person? What does he/she do? Where does he/she live? Why do I have such a strong feeling that he or she is of such a nervous disposition and given to incessant jabbering on about seemingly every trivial and unimportant thing?

Little Red Bear thought maybe you could help us with some suggestions and ideas, so please comment on this post and help us identify this new character to be able to include him/her in the upcoming adventure stories. If your identification is selected by Little Red Bear, he will even give you a credit in the next book. He’s known for doing nice things like that.

By the way, now is a good time to catch up on the “Adventures of Little Red Bear” stories if anyone hasn’t read or finished the first collection yet. Red and I are hard back at work on his stories again now following the summer move and there is still time before we are finished for you to meet all the characters and learn the history of the ongoing weasel fracas because the stories run in sequence thataway. We don’t want to see anyone left behind when the action starts anew! (There are always pesky weasels sneaking around and on the prowl, so best to be informed about for one’s own safety, you know.)

Thanks always for stopping by and visiting with us!  After you finish leaving a Mickey McJibbers comment and have some time on your hands, please feel free to browse around and check out the Free Reads and other features on the blog here. We are adding new ones all the time! — Jim  (and Red!)


“We know what we are, but not what we may be.” –  William Shakespeare

                      “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”                   – Mahatma Gandhi


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

                         “I’m not really sure which parts of myself are real and which parts are things I’ve gotten from books.” – Beatrice Sparks (“Go Ask Alice”)


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, last month we were able to donate six print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to a Senior Citizens Library and Residents!

Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing happiness and kindness with everyone. Join us to make a positive difference in the world!


“Through others we become ourselves.” – Lev S. Vygotsky

“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – Ralph Ellison


 

“Reflections — On a Rather ‘Moving’ Summer Experience”

It has been a while since I posted a new piece on the Writing Blog here with Little Red Bear, but with the completion of a long-drawn-out relocation over the summer and now past Labor Day, we are ready to get back in the writing saddle again. There are still boxes waiting to be unpacked, mostly bear making, jewelry, and other art supplies, but my Writing Muse has returned from her summer break, will wait no longer, and is waking me daily at 5:00 a.m. with more Little Red Bear characters and stories again, along with other fun new ideas, so it is time to crank up the laptop and get busy.

But first, a question – Are you or someone you care about possibly considering a move and relocation in the future? If so, I urge you to please read on before embarking on such a torment venture.

Because we thought perhaps it might be best to start back by bringing you up to date with some observations about –  ‘The Move’ – a “Moving Postmortem”, if you will. It should be noted that this is move number three in the past six years and number four in fourteen for Little Red Bear and me, some local and some cross-country, two self-moved and two with so-called ‘professional’ movers, so we do feel a bit qualified to address the subject, hoping others may benefit from our misfortunes experiences.


With this somewhat broken-down, cane-in-hand (and some days two) baby boomer pushing into the shadow of seventy soon, this most recent move stopped just short of overwhelming. Aside from an improbable winning lottery ticket and penthouse condo dream in Fort Walton Beach, if forced by unavoidable calamity or circumstance to move yet again in the near future, the only box I will order will be made of pine and be done with it. Let others do the heavy loading, lifting, and lugging next time. “Waiter – check, please.”

As physically and mentally stressful and taxing as it was, not to mention severely strained family relationships on the actual moving day and apparent ongoing communications blackout since, I am happy to report that I have once again somehow managed to survive a relocation and lived to tell the tale. Or, at least to pass along some hopefully helpful insights garnered from the experience to perhaps ease the moving journey for the next intrepid soul contemplating a change in address. And beneficiaries, perhaps.

They say that moving is right up there with the death of a loved one, job change, and divorce as life’s biggest stressors. Having experienced all firsthand, they will get no argument from me.

So at this time, in mostly random order as they occurred to me between nightmares and hallucinatory flashbacks of moving day, here are a few nuggets I consider worth mentioning. I say “I” and not “we” here, because for the majority of the time Little Red Bear was in a dazed state of nervous, glassy-eyed distress, obsessing over the safe transport of his honey stash, and not the most aware or observant to offer meaningful commentary on other matters.


My first thought, superseding all others, is to simply take a match and set fire to everything right at the start. Don’t stress over downsizing, what to take, what not to take, what is an heirloom somebody three generations down the line may treasure, who might benefit the most from giving whatever away? Simply torch it all in the name of Righteous Downsizing and be done with it. Nobody really cares. Save the pile of money spent on boxes, packing materials, dish padding, bubble wrap, packing tape, box labels, a moving truck, dollies, furniture pads, movers, Band-Aids, and aspirin.

Simply purchase a cheap brand of kitchen matches instead, together with a box of graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate. Light up the night, make S’mores and set off some fireworks. Collect the insurance money, replace needed items with brand spanking new, thumb your nose at future generations who most likely won’t give a hoot about your grandmother’s vintage teapot anyway, and take a vacation trip to the beach to celebrate letting go and outwitting the moving gremlins.

(Side note — It should be noted that I am still researching and waiting for our esteemed attorney, Brooks the Badger — Attorney at Lawlessness, to get back to me on any possibly relative arson, insurance fraud, and other niggling details which may interfere with this plan, so you may wish to hold off on the matches and taking action on this one until I confirm the “Match Plan’s” viability, despite the clearly obvious appeal.)

Bonfires notwithstanding, feel free to go ahead with the S’mores, though. S’mores are always a good part of any plan. And, you may want to consider doubling or tripling the recipe, depending on how neighbors may feel about your moving away from the neighborhood and possibly wanting to celebrate your departure, as well. Certainly not that any neighbors would be celebrating in your case of course, but thought it worth mentioning for others, perhaps. Just in case.

Here is a tantalizing recipe for Campfire Waffle Cone S’mores from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen to help get you started! These look amazing and provide a cleaner handle for the little ones in the crowd at the same time. Moving is hard enough. Why add chocolate-covered little hands to the mix?


‘Moving’ on, in case “The Match Plan” does not interest, I have always been a collector of books, still preferring to read a book in hand vs one on my Kindle. For me, something still just doesn’t feel quite right holding a Kindle in my hands compared to a good old-fashioned, page-turning, ink-scented, hard-bound print book. And since the print version of the “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler” short story collection has outsold the Kindle version by over two to one since its publication despite the necessarily higher price, I tend to think I am not alone in this view.

That being said, after packing, stacking, moving, re-moving, sorting, re-stacking, and then unpacking ten heavy boxes of collected books (treasured, each and every one!), someday I want to track down the inventor of Kindle and eBooks and give them a big bear hug and jar of honey!  Moving the stacks of books nearly killed my back, while my Kindle made the move nestled comfortably in my backpack as it always does. I have clearly not given eBooks the credit they deserve in that regard. The ability to carry your bookshelves in your backpack is a strong selling point for eReaders.

And where do you strike the balance between “overly-heavy boxes” and “too many boxes” for a move? Heavy items (like ‘books’) are supposed to be packed in small boxes, avoiding overly-heavy large boxes weighing the same as a baby elephant and too weighty to carry. So, you end up instead with stacks and stacks and stacks of small boxes if you have a moderate-sized book collection, and moving helpers suffer immediate panic attacks at the site of all the stacks. Likewise, the old vintage vinyl record albums. I will always keep my books and albums, but moving them seems a no-win situation.


If at some point during all the moving work, I say –  “Hold on for a minute, I need to take a sit,” – please listen closely. That should not be confused with something else. It merely means that my back and legs are aching very badly and I need to sit down and rest for a few minutes before passing out and risk dropping a 50-pound box on your foot. There is no need to dash about opening windows and searching for spray cans or push me out the door towards the little shack in the back, especially on a 95-degree day. Perhaps I should try to be more clear.


Over the course of the move – organizing, packing, stacking, reshuffling, reorganizing, re-stacking, and schlepping about – all of the boxes and I became very well acquainted, especially those whose handles tore and gave way while carrying to customarily crash on my foot. Familiar to the point where I often felt obliged to give names to my cardboard companions. None of which are suitable for printing in a family-friendly blog it must be noted, so that’s about all I can say about that. Nevertheless, you should feel free to name your boxes beyond the requisite Room/Content information label, too. It makes it all a bit less stressful to be on a first name basis when your foot gets pancaked. Even if the names aren’t printable.


With regards to the Room/Content labels for boxes –  use them or don’t, being aware that they are solely for your personal comfort and use and nobody else will notice. In my experience, movers could care less, if they even bother to look at them at all. You politely request –  “Please put the boxes in the correct rooms as indicated by the labels, with like boxes (as in “Books –  #1 of 10) in stacks with the labels facing outwards so I can see them.”  You actually get – Box Chop Suey –  with boxes randomly placed helter-skelter anywhere in your home, most often closest to the entrance where a spot was available at the time they were carried in.

One possible solution to this, instead of labeling merely the box top and front as I have naively done in the past, is to next time label every side, top, and bottom, so that no matter which direction a box is placed in a towering stack, you will be able to read its contents at a later time and locate things. Bearing in mind, they will still in all likelihood, not be sorted by rooms. Half a win, possibly.

Marking boxes as “Fragile” is also at your discretion, as inevitably light boxes labeled “Fragile” most often could be found at the very bottom of stacks, with heavy boxes on top of them. I caught one mover actually kicking a “Fragile” box into place at the bottom of a stack. If it makes you feel more comfortable and helps you sleep at night by labeling glassware and the like as “Fragile”, by all means, do it. Just bearing in mind again that it will probably make no difference whatsoever.


Every small accomplishment is a positive step forwards in the sometimes seemingly endless treadmill march in relocation and should be celebrated. I think this helps to keep spirits up and maintain momentum going forward. And that’s important. Seal up a box or unpack one at the new destination? Find a box that you have been searching for an hour amongst the mish-mashed stacks? Stop for a few minutes and have a piece of cake to mark the accomplishment!

No need to worry about extra calories or packing on unwanted pounds, because there will likely be much more packing, unpacking, and hefting ahead to burn them off anyway, if not simply to avoid abject deprivation and starvation in the process altogether.

So have the Cupcake. Or a Twinkie. Or a Snickers bar. If destined to pass over to the light during the ordeal, I would much rather go out with my last thought on Earth being the fond remembrance and aroma of a Brownie or Butterfinger bar, than being mired in packing tape with the smell of cardboard in my nose. I think it will make for a much more enhanced next life, Karmic experience.


One can never have too many boxes at hand, or too much packing tape, bubble wrap, and wrapping paper. It is very unsettling to discover that you are out of any of these items the night before a move and the stores have all closed.  The importance of peace of mind and normal blood pressure at 2 a.m. when the movers are scheduled to arrive mere hours later cannot be overemphasized and greatly outweighs the minor hassle of what to do with a few leftover boxes at the end. (Tip – U-Haul buys back any unused boxes, so save your receipts.)

It is my observation that the normal life expectancy of many life forms on this planet is sadly not long enough to pack a kitchen and dining room. However long you think it will take, add six months. Unloading cabinets while individually wrapping each glass, cup, mug, shot glass, dish, bowl, plate, serving platter, cutting board, trivet, cooking pot, skillet, griddle, wok, spatula, serving spoon, knife set, pancake turner, ladle, potato masher, salad spinner and bowls, cookie sheet, muffin tin, pie plate, cake pan, loaf pan, bread pan, measuring cups and spoons, cake and serving platter, utensil drawers, and more, seemed (like this sentence) truly never-ending. Not to mention cookbooks, recipe boxes, and innumerable spice and storage containers.

Every time I turned around thinking I was nearly finished, another cabinet awaited. Packing the kitchen cabinets, pantry, and dining room hutch seemed truly never-ending. Add the six months to your schedule to be safe. Minimum.

If there is any outside chance that you may possibly even consider moving in the next three years or so, regardless of how remote the possibility, start packing the kitchen now to be safe and avoid heartache.


Are you like me and have a nice inventory of cast-iron cooking utensils? Skillets of various sizes, grills, griddles, and Dutch ovens?  God bless you.  And have mercy on your back and movers. I absolutely love all of my cast-iron cookware. But moving them –  not so much. If we could fit a battleship onto a scale, I believe that we could balance it with the counterweight of a Dutch oven and three assorted cast-iron skillets.

My one little 9” specialized cast-iron wedge pan for making cornbread and scones is approximately the weight of a St. Bernard all on its own. And despite how often used as that pan is, I stand a reasonably better chance of the lumbering St. Bernard coming to me when I call it, especially if I am holding a slice of bacon. And there’s an outside chance he may arrive with a little barrel of brandy, to boot.

The ponderous skillet? Bacon treats or not, indifferent at best, just sitting there waiting to be carried like a whining baby Titanosaur.


And then there are the kitchen appliances, each seeming to only want to fit into its own individual box, with every one larger and heavier than I remembered having merely observed them serenely sitting on the countertop over the years. I confess to never really having appreciated just how heavy and cumbersome a stand mixer, toaster oven, and microwave truly are. Were these things this heavy when I purchased them and set them on the counter in the first place? Or was I simply so excited over the new acquisition that I was running on adrenaline at the time and did not notice? In all likelihood, I imagine that, like me, they seem to have gained weight with age, to be honest. I’m sure all of those calories that they processed must have had some cumulative, weight-enhancing effects over the years, wouldn’t you think?


And have I mentioned yet that one can never have too many boxes at hand? The coffee maker, smoothie machine, iced tea maker, and toaster all sat comfortably in peace side by side by side by side in a small area on my kitchen counter. Like children in the backseat of a car, will any ride peacefully along in the same box with another? Of course not.

And while on the topic of appliances, the oh-so-carefully set toaster settings which we labored so hard to perfect over time will inevitably be reset during any move. Box gremlins apparently can’t wait to dive in and twist the blazes out of the light-to-dark toast setting dial. I was reminded of this little moving reality by a perfectly cremated breakfast bagel yesterday morning.

May its little cranberry/walnut-filled soul rest in peace.

Here lies my bagel,

‘Twas just a wee little wisp,

Done in by my toaster,

Woefully burnt to a crisp.

 


If you can avoid it, never seek the help of a bear when preparing and packing for a move. Little Red Bear occupied the time leading up to the move either worriedly pacing back and forth in the kitchen, or on my laptop researching the safest and most recommended ways on YouTube to move his honey stash. And then he spent the entire packing time sitting ill at ease in a corner fretting over the possibility of a pending honey calamity, nervously wrapping, unwrapping, rewrapping, re-unwrapping, and re-rewrapping a dozen honey jars over and over and over again, night after night.

By the time moving day dawned, the poor fellow’s ample-sized bear claws had been anxiously nibbled to nubbins. In the end, each jar of honey occupied its own medium-sized box, securely wrapped in half a roll of bubble wrap, with packing paper firmly stuffed into the corners so there would be no jostling of the cherished honey jar. Treasured works of antiquity have not been transported by museums with such care and concern.

Our Bear Cookie Jar was wrapped the same way. In a predictably even bigger box.

Needless to say, Little Red Bear grew ever more relieved, excited, and happy as each box was unpacked later in our new home to find a safely-transported jar of honey inside.  Spare yourself the trouble and the tranquilizers (not to mention a small fortune in bubble wrap) by packing any honey jars yourself. Give the bears your new address to meet back up at a later date and send them off fishing somewhere. It’s best for all concerned in the end. Trust me.


If you haven’t guessed yet at this point, stock up ahead of time on aspirin and antacids.

Aside from nervous bears, cranky family members, and inept movers though, some trusted friends can truly be of assistance surviving the relocation turmoil and stress.

Overall, the two most dependable and helpful companions that I relied upon the most during the transition, move, and subsequent resettling were named Jack Daniels and Captain Morgan.


This information has been offered in the hopes that it may help ease someone else’s moving day experience, should anyone be forced or so misguided as to voluntarily embark on such an undertaking of their own in the future.

Speaking of undertaking — I may have forgotten to mention that while an ominous flock of buzzards circled patiently above my apartment during the weeks of moving preparation, it was really the three black hearses and undertakers following along on moving day, incessantly jockeying to be first in line behind the car en route, who were undeniably the most unsettling and worrisome.


In the end, when all was done and dusted, nothing of major consequence was damaged or broken aside from a few more nicks, scratches, and battle scars acquired on furniture pieces and my legs. A carelessly self-inflicted cut has healed, and black and blue marks have at last begun to fade. Yet another successfully completed move in the history books.

Unexpected at this time as it was, the strenuous move aside, Little Red Bear and I are delighted to be in our new home. Still settling in, finding forgotten about treasures from the past while unpacking, meeting wonderful folks and making new friends every day.

Any major life change is stressful at the time, and frequently a very bumpy road to travel sometimes littered with potholes and challenges. But from my experience — in the end — each and every one has been for the better in the long run and have no doubts at all about this one being the same.  Every new location and each new person we meet is an opportunity to learn more, expand our horizons and awareness, and to become a better person ourself. And that is what we are all really here for, is it not?


So, once again, Little Red Bear and I are delighted to announce –

WE’RE BAAAAACK!

Thank you as always for visiting,  kindly spending part of your day with us here, and for patiently following along as we seemed to take way too long to get thru this latest move. Little Red Bear and I are very anxious to be sharing new information, stories, and adventures with you again, along with new features and tidbits about Red’s coming new adventures in the works now.

We look forward to your visits with us and hope that you drop by often for new posts and features as we now enter our favorite time of year here in the backwoods – Autumn and the approaching Holiday Season!

The rest of the boxes will just have to wait,

Because now we have Muffins and Pies to bake!

Very best wishes and bring on all the pumpkin and fall recipes! Watch for a new Autumn Recipes feature coming soon, and a reminder to register and follow my writing blog to be notified of every new post. – Jim (and Red!)


“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” — Maya Angelou

“Some trails are happy ones, others are blue. It’s the way you ride the trail that counts. Here’s a happy one for you.” — Dale Evans


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place. We stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” — Pascal Mercier


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

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                 “It is amazing how nice people are to you when they know you’re going away.”           — Michael Arlen

“The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there.” — Ellie Rodriguez