From the Heart/#AtoZ

The April A to Z Blog Challenge is an annual blogging event in which participants blog every day (except Sundays) one post for each letter of the alphabet for the entire month. My theme for the year will be “Quilts and Ozark Slang.” So gitchur coffee or sodapop, grab a pilluh, and sit a spell.

The Letter today is H.

This heart-shaped block took me less that 25 minutes to sew together. I can imagine a whole set of them, cut and prepared would take just an afternoon to work up. A set of these could make a wonderful set of pillow tops or even a little table runner. This may be an idea for a future project to use up some of my fabric leftovers. Time will tell. So much fabric, so little time as the saying goes.


From the Heart finished block

Speaking of sayings, today’s Ozark slang is “had a falling out“. In case you weren’t aware, the Ozarks are included in “The Bible Belt”. Here is a map from Wikipedia.

BibleBeltmapTo explain it, it is saying they aren’t friends any longer. When friendships are disrupted or worse yet, broken, it seems like folks around here start preaching about forgiveness. Why? Because forgiveness promotes Healing. And the heart can’t take too much stress without reacting. There’s a good many issues related to living with stress as everyone knows.

Colossians 3:13 says: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 

Bitterness and pain are poison. Let things go. Forgiveness is not saying it’s ok what occurred. But it releases the issue to the Lord and its hold on us.

There are many more wonderful blogs this year that I hope you can spend a couple minutes reading. All you have to do is click here and select something that interests you. To read about the A to Z Challenge and what we are all about, click here.


AmaZing Grace

I intended to discuss Zany finds from Auctions the past year. But at this particular moment I am suffering allergieZ. And I don’t feel quite so chipper about my planned post. I hate getting sick from pollen! I have tried most every home remedy on the planet. I know about honey and cinnamon. And it Does help. I use Vick’s Vapo Rub like my Grandmas told me to. I take a prescription nose spray. I have allergy pills. I have the good ol’ Hot Toddy ready at a moments notice when I can’t get to sleep. I was informed yesterday that it’s also called Grasshopper Soup. No Grasshoppers are used for my home remedies just for the record. But tonight may just call for a good night of ZZZZ’s.

So, farewell Blogger Challenge of 2014. It’s been nice knowin’ ya and wish we coulda ended on better terms. Not one for sappy Good ByeZ so as I say to my kiddos when they leave for the evening…….Toodle Loo!!!

I’m participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge 2014. Check out some of the other bloggers at this link.

Yellow Rose of Texas

For Y, I picked Yarn. I spent a few years teaching crochet to 4-H girls and I thought I’d share some of the project suggestions I gave them that were not too intimidating. This one even made it to the Missouri State Fair.


By the way, I live in very close proximity to the state fair and it’s one of our busiest times of the year. Everyone tries to make it a point to visit at least once.


IMG_0868 IMG_1117 IMG_1120

So as you can see Scrunchies are a popular choice for an easy project.

Another fairly easy idea is to make an Infinity Scarf. They are all the rage right now and can be made in a wide array of yarn weights to be suitable for any season.

A Pile of Infinity Scarves

A Pile of Infinity Scarves

Or you may try a wash cloth. These are made of cotton yarn and very durable for dishwashing or even for a baby’s bath. So if the 4-Her needed a gift for a family member, this was a great GoTo for them. It also taught them control of stitch size due to the repetitive nature of the project.


Many patterns can be found for free online and there are a good amount of free tuturials online with and without videos. I always encouraged them to look at a list of sites that had both. Crochet takes practice and I couldn’t always be by their side to lead them. For this I am thankful for the availability of computers.

There’s an instant gratification with easy projects. This generation of cell phone, computer, and generally Fast everything needs that to keep their interest. Once they grab the crochet concept, the enticement to go further comes about more easily. That and the buddy system. Whenever I had a couple of girls meeting together, it was much better to see that everyone struggles. Ya know, misery loves company as they say 🙂

I’m participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge 2014. Check out some of the other bloggers at this link.





For the record, Do you know how hard it is to find songs that begin with certain letters And are written for a banjo??? Well,for X, this is the best I could do under the time span I had. So hopefully you will remember it is a part of American history and this is not done to offend anyone. History has many lessons. I played it slowly to reflect the ‘times past’ and not as a carefree, joyful tune. I will have a different set of songs ready if I participate in this blog next year. Who knows? Maybe I’ll take up the fiddle again?? After all, I have 2 daughters who play and I even took lessons for a time. Maybe they’ll accompany me sometime. Ya just never know.

What I’d really like to give you are my Xamples of lessons learned as a mother/childcare provider. These have no particular order.  I hope you enjoy!

  • A new mother will tell you that sleep is NOT overrated. So will an experienced one 🙂
  • Baby’s will always have a bm After you just changed their diaper.
  • The toy you only have One of is the one fought over.
  • Moms always forget to send diapers the day they are late for work.
  • Someone always needs to potty when I just closed the bathroom door.
  • Songs are always sang perfectly by the children when it’s just me listening.
  • Ketchup should be a vegetable
  • The phone always rings just when you spent 30 minutes rocking that baby to sleep.
  • A child will Always have another one walk in front of the slide just as they are going down it.
  • The cardboard box is always more fun than the gift.
  • Children always get fevers when parents have no sick days left at work.
  • Children will try to climb furniture the one time you leave the room.
  • Baby’s will always get hungry in the middle of the check out line.
  • The camera battery will die just when the baby smiles for you.
  • If your child is well, do everything humanly possible to avoid a Doctor’s office. They Will leave with a ‘something or other’ that they didn’t have before they got there. You don’t need those Parting Gifts.

I’m participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge 2014. Check out some of the other bloggers at this link.


Will the Circle Be Unbroken

Where’s my…….

A phrase I hear quite a lot from my family since I’m the one who works at home and so I’m supposed to know where everything is.

I’d like to take this moment to tell you how many “W” questions that run through my day.

  • What’s the matter?
  • Where are you going?
  • Will you go with me to turn on the light?
  • We are out of toilet paper!
  • When will my mommy/daddy be here?
  • What can we do now?
  • What are we eating for breakfast/lunch/snack? (same child will ask at least 10 times)
  • Why do we have to go inside?
  • When will it quit raining/snowing?
  • Will you help me button this?
  • Where does this go?
  • Who was that?
  • Where did Scooter go? (our cat)
  • What?
  • Why do I have to try my peas/beans/cheese/milk?
  • Will you help me blow my nose?
  • Will Gracie be here today?

My questions go like this….

  • What did you have for supper?  do last night?   watch on tv?
  • Where did you put the green phone? (highly coveted item)
  • Who forgot to flush?
  • Who has a stinky diaper?
  • Will you tie your shoes for me?
  • Who wants the stroller next?
  • Will we need to set the timer for that toy for turn-taking?
  • What are we gonna do with that silly dilly?
  • We get what we get and we don’t throw a fit
  • Walk in the house
  • Where did you get that smile?
  • Who told you to be so good? 🙂
  • When did you grow? You’re bigger today?
  • When I was a little girl……..
  • Wow! You did it!
  • What?! You caught your sneeze??!!
  • Way to use your words!
  • Wonderful work!
  • Wiggle those wiggles out!
  • Work those muscles!
  • Will you be a friend?
  • Will you sing me a song? sing a song with me? teach me your song?
  • Whoopsie Daisy

Can you say Worn Out?? It’s the eighth Wonder of the World I can remember much of anything!


I’m participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge 2014. Check out some of the other bloggers at this link.


Old Virginia

Slide show of painting our treat bags for Easter.

The Voices of children are my topic for this blog. After all, kids say the darndest things. For example, a recent conversation starter went like this……But please remember we live in a rural farming community and parents hunt here…..among other things 🙂

Pretend you find a rabbit eating you carrots. What could you do to keep the rabbit out of your garden?

Desmond (age 3): I would just take his head off! Then he couldn’t see where he was going anymore.

Weston (age 3): I would carry him and hold his ears and put him in the bunny trap so he could go Night Night.

Gracie (age 5): I would actually hold his ears and put him in his cage and feed him carrots for the rest of his life.

Dexter (age 4): I would do this…….”shoo, shoo, shoo!” and tell him to go away!

Lou (age 5): I would, hmmmmm…….keep it and give it a carrot!

Macoy (age 2): A Cat 🙂  (he’s gonna be the REal gardener someday)

Ben (age 2): Good!  (we don’t quite know if he liked Macoy’s comment or the idea of Eating the carrots lol)

So, bloggers, family and friends. I figured out long ago I am not the book writer. But who says I can’t create some for the future?! At least that’s my plan.

I’m participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge 2014. Check out some of the other bloggers at this link.

Tell It to Jesus

I recollect a statement I made about sharing my banjo collection. I also remember telling you it is small, but it’s still a collection. Thank goodness the dictionary doesn’t say it has to be a certain number, just a group.

My first banjo as you may have noticed in the pics is damaged. It happened while in the case and opening it was like seeing a time capsule. It was not a very expensive banjo and I’m sure my father had doubts about me really sticking with it. Still I was saddened that it’s damaged so badly.

My second banjo was a gift from my husband early in our marriage. We’ve been married 27 years coming up in May. He is a great encourager and I was so surprised when he bought me this Alvarez. This is a Vintage Alvarez made in 1971 and called a Montana 5. A rare model they say. According to my research, this banjo is equal to sound of a Gibson. That is a pretty big compliment. I can also tell you how to know when you are holding a ‘good’ banjo. They. Are. Heavy.

My next one was totally unexpected. After all, my Alvarez is still in great shape. My husband and his father were making daily trips to Jefferson City for treatments for Papa Ron’s foot repair. He suffered extensively from diabetes (among other ailments) and his foot was the one thing that we never could get healed. Little did we know he had only a short time left with us.  So since I was always here holding down the fort with my daycare, they were planning a purchase from one of the male nurses who had this gem for sale. This seller wanted to sell it to someone who would play it, not leave it in the case for another 10 years.  It was such a wonderful gesture and I am truly grateful. Do you know what a Brand New Goldtone costs?? Unbelievable! This was the negotiation  of a lifetime and I will forever be grateful for all parties involved. I definitely ended up with the best slice of the pie.

I’m participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge 2014. Check out some of the other bloggers at this link.


Spanish Fandango

Speech can be taken for granted. When you have a child enter a daycare setting who lacks language skills and obviously Wants to talk to you, it’s a challenge. But with time, patience and practice, it can change. It will not happen overnight. Connections must be made and it’s all part of the process of learning. Single syllables become longer, more complicated words. Those words start combining with other words to become sentences. The most fantastic part is the look in their eyes when they realize you understand them. Talk about unexpected rewards. I’m not sure I can explain my elation when I see it happening. And having the parents come in the door and have a conversation with their child about their day? If you know anything about a parent’s love, then I need say no more.

Reading to children is the #1, most important way to expand that speech. How you choose to read is one of the finer points I’d like to discuss as well as some other little tidbits.

  • Recordings of reading/talking to play back. (Yes, buy a tape recorder or use that app on your phones)
  • Sounds of animals Must be vocalized in All stories, I don’t care how you fit it in.
  • Singing is a fear of many adults. But 2 to 5 year olds never criticize a voice so just chime on in. (You will never hear me on Idol or the Voice, trust me)But sing those stories and nursery rhymes when you get the chance. They will RemembeR them.
  • Look into their eyes, the key to the soul.
  • Have conversations. When they hear you talking to them or to others, they are listening and absorbing. You know how a child picks up curse words when you least expect it? Well it’s the same way with conversations. They Are Hearing You.
  • Do things repetitively. Count, say ABC’s, Name objects over and over and over. This can be during any time of their day. Putting on shoes, washing hands, dancing.
  • Hum. Make all kinds of vocalizations
  • Keep other children around for playdates if you are a stay at home mother. Social skills and speech go hand in hand.
  • Remember reading doesn’t have to be in a book. There are labels all around us. In home, at the store, while driving down the road. What child doesn’t recognize a McDonald’s sign.
  • That gossip you heard in the office??? Well try using that concept while holding a phone to your ear and pretending to talk to your child. (I know I don’t have to remind you to keep it Rated G)
  • Keep it fun. If they get “that look”, let it go for awhile and come back to it a different way.

Can you imagine doing your most favorite thing in the world and someone interrupts you to do something that frustrates you? This is a child playing contentedly with toys and in pops this adult who wants them to start naming objects on flashcards.  Keep it real and they’ll blossom before your eyes.

I’m participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge 2014. Check out some of the other bloggers at this link.



Ruth Bockelman with my daughter Kirsten in St. Louis Missouri at the annual M.A.M.A Music Festival

Ruth Bockelman with my daughter Kirsten in St. Louis Missouri at the annual M.A.M.A Music Festival

Sharing some of my personal knowledge of Ruth Bockelman that you won’t find Here.

  • She was my Musical Mother.
  • Ruth began teaching me at the age of 9 in 1975 (now you can figure out my age)
  • She just turned 93 in February
  • She taught my daughters how to play guitar and mandolin
  • A personal friend of Mel Bay. He is an icon in writing music books for all kinds of instruments and a great Missourian.
  • In my mid-teen years, she and I opened and closed a live radio program on our local station KDRO. I felt (and still feel) extremely priviledged that she asked me to do this. A huge honor for me personally.
  • She never married or had children
  • She has an excellent green thumb and has plants all over her living room
  • She’ll always show up when invited to a party or family dinner.
  • She wasn’t always a ‘teach at home’ instructor. She’s taught at Shaw Music and Ye Old Piano Shop and probably others I don’t know about.
  • One of our favorite songs to Jam together was “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”. You know when your instrument is tuned (or not) while you are playing that song!!
  • She is a Cancer Survivor

You could say that Ruth Bockelman is my hero!

Check out other blog on ‘The Challenge’