American Girl Doll of the Year Chrissa and Bullying

November 22, 2009

The central story of Chrissa is one about her courage in the face of bullying from her peers at school. It’s the age-old story of the new girl in school coming into an established pecking order that was already causing hurt and alienation to others. You would think that 10 year-old girls would be too young to be affected by this or to engage in it. Unfortunately, it has been going on in that age group for a long, long time. I remember being aware of it growing up in the ’60s. And our oldest daughter felt it keenly when we moved her to a new school at the age of 9.

When asked about the subject of bullying, American Girl said  they get letters and emails from thousands of girls that include experiences with bullies at school, in sports, and in other relationships. They realized how hard it was to stand up to bullies. They hoped, in writing Chrissa’s story, to show ways to handle  difficult relationships and to inspire girls to do so.

Not an easy topic-but an  important topic to read and talk about.  A topic that could supply a young girl with the tools to combat and overcome her own difficulties with bullies.

I applaud American Girl for introducing the subject with this American Girl Doll of the Year, Chrissa.

American Girl Doll of the Year, Chrissa

November 21, 2009

I have long loved the American Girl Dolls for their quality, detail and historical accuracy. I am a doll lover from way back, having had many dolls through the years and having spent hours creating clothes, accessories and furniture for them all.

I’ve become acquainted with The American Girl Doll of the Year because I sell her on eBay and Amazon at Christmas each year.

This year’s American Girl Doll of the Year is Chrissa.

She and her family have just moved to live with her grandmother, Nana. Chrissa has trouble at her new school though and has to put up with bullying from some of the  kids there.  She finds true friendship in the form of  Sonali and Gwen and they help give her courage to resist and stand up again the bullies.

Her grandma lives in Minnesota, where Chrissa discovers snow, which she loves.

She also loves to swim on the school swimming team, sew and  make crafts, and help Nana raise her llamas, including the baby llama, Starburst.

Check out Chrissa’s movie trailer below.

My love/hate relationship with Halloween.

November 1, 2009

When I was a young girl growing up in the ’50s, one of my favorite Holidays was Halloween. I loved dressing up in some home-made costume-usually a hobo because it was easy and warm (many layers) and running all over the neighborhood in pursuit of more candy than I could imagine and certainly more candy than was healthy. Our neighborhood, an outlying suburb to a big metropolitan city, was safe back then and my parents let me go with just a handful of friends. We raced along searching for just one more house to ply for more treats, feeling free and daring. My favorite house each year was the older gentleman who lived in what I thought was a mansion. He had bowls of all sorts of candy, and a bowl of nickles, and we could take one of each-truly the jackpot house and Halloween heaven for me.

Some how the thought of getting all that free candy had a tremendous appeal for me, even though I was not the eat-it-in-one-sitting-and-get-sick type of kid. No, I made it last as long as possible-and at least until the end of the year. And I think I usually competed with my older brother for the honor of seeing who could make it the longest. It was all good, clean, innocent fun.

Over the years it seems that the ghoulish aspects of Halloween have been emphasized more. The kind of decorating that is done now goes way beyond a few dancing skeletons, friendly ghosts and smiling jack-o-lanterns. A quick look at any of the big online costume sites will show all manner of gross and disgusting-looking life-size animated horrors waiting to be purchased and brought to life in someones’ yard, spook house or party with accompanying screams, groans and creepy sounds and music. Equally troublesome are the very realistically scary costumes. It gets a little over-the-top to downright tasteless for me. But I guess that’s the point.

I’ll take my “old fashioned” Halloween any day.

Eager trick or treaters

Making Sprouts

April 14, 2009

When I was on the way to the Co-op the other day, I started thinking about how I was so looking forward to growing some fresh lettuce, and remembered that I could be sprouting seeds to eat–something fresh that only took 3 or 4 days.

Sure enough, in the Co-Op there were instructions, as wells a screen to put over the jar that I would sprout in.

Someone requested to know how I did this, so here it is:

You will need a 1 quart glass canning jar and the metal ring that comes with it

A sprout screen or 4″ x 4″ cheese cloth

Seeds to sprout

Alfalfa seeds, jar, screen, ring

Alfalfa seeds, jar, screen, ring

I used 2 Tbls. alfalfa seeds to begin with but right now I am sprouting a  mixture of seeds that my Co-op sells.

Put the seeds in the jar.

Secure the screen or cloth using the metal ring.

Add water, swirl, and drain.

Add 1 cup cool water and soak for 4-8 hours. Drain.

Next day, refill with cool water,  swirl and drain again.

Invert jar and prop at an angle in sink or bowl(I  just lay it sideways on the counter).

In 3-6 days, when sprouts are 1-2″, you can eat them. Cover jar with lid(or plastic) and ring and refrigerate.



Building a Website

April 9, 2009

I spent the last week purchasing a few domain names and getting hosting for them.

I  learned about C panels,  dedicated hosting and IP addresses.

I employed the software “Fantastico Deluxe” to upload WordPress from my WHM to my site.

I now know what  FTP is and how to use it to upload files from my computer to my web site.

And someone on You Tube showed me how to unzip a file.

But I am not a geek.





More With Less

March 31, 2009

I happened to see this on the wall of my local Co-op and thought it pertinent: (the emphasis is mine)


“The future belongs to those who understand that doing 


 is compassionate,


and enduring,

 and thus more intelligent, even competitive.”


Paul Hawken, T & D Willey Organically Grown Farms

Paul Potts

March 27, 2009

I stumbled on this You Tube a few weeks ago and was quite  moved by it.
Here’s the editorial review from Amazon:
“Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts had spent most of his life feeling ‘insignificant’. Bullied at school for being ‘different’, he realized growing up that he had one true friend and that was his voice. Singing was his escape. He was able to lose himself in his own little world – the vicious words of his tormentors replaced by hauntingly beautiful lyrics and melodies that lifted his heart and spirit. It was a love, a passion, a lifeline that would follow Paul into adulthood and help him through many more periods of adversity.
Though it’s fair to say that when Paul strolled awkwardly – almost apologetically – onto the Cardiff stage for his first Britain’s Got Talent audition a week before that final, in his now infamous £35 Tesco suit, and announced to Simon and fellow judges Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan that he was going to sing opera, they never thought for one minute they were looking at their winner. Until he opened his mouth and started to sing.

I don’t follow talent shows(no TV, remember?), so this may be old news, but I love the fact that he was an under-dog working a regular job, but could sing like that and wasn’t recognized for it.

Well, now he is, of course.

I just purchased his first album,  

One Chance,

and he is introducing a new one called


This comes out on May 5th.

All I can say is,



March 26, 2009

I am amazed and delighted at the surge in gardening interest.

Everyone, it seems, wants to create a garden to provide extra food-like the victory gardens during WWII.

Victory Garden-a duty
Victory Garden-a duty

I’ve definitely been thinking about my garden.

I have been gardening for years, and pretty much am always motivated by those super fresh, organic vegetables, picked at their peek from the garden to be eaten before any of their bountiful nutrients can escape.

I just don’t always look forward to the work involved.

But gardening will have to wait for a while in Minnesota.

No gardening here...
No gardening here…

We had an unusual ice storm the other day. gardening here.... gardening here….

There was a layer of ice on everything.


Ice everywhere

Ice everywhere

It had it’s own beauty, and brought crackly, tinkling sounds.


Iced hay bales

Iced hay bales

I have a little more time to get myself motivated to eat those delicious veggies.

No gardening for this rake

No gardening for this rake

More for Less Movies

March 23, 2009

This blog will set us apart from most Americans.

We live in a very rural area and don’t have access to TV.

None. Zilch. Nada.

Well, I know we could have gotten cable or some such other access

but we chose not to.

I know that is hard to believe, but it as absolutely true.

And we like it that way.

We do watch movies

 In fact, we love movies.

Like most folks, we have our favorites that we return to over and over, but we love new ones t0o.

At one point we had to rent our movies or get them from the library in town (25 miles away). We didn’t go into town every day so it was hard to get the movies back in time.

Netflix changed that for the better.


there is a better way yet-

we download movies to our computer.

We use the #1 movie download site.


Click Here!

And check it out.

It has a minimal one time life-time payment,

 excellent and quick customer support and

access to TV shows as well as over 80 million movies. 

  Click Here!

What a deal:)

Lime bars

March 20, 2009

I find myself with bunches of limes today.

How did I get this many limes?

How did I get this many limes?

Don’t know how that happened as it is a first for me. And I need to take some bars to a local function.

So, I am going to try to replace limes in my very most  favorite lemony lemon bar recipe.

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes, 8″ x 8″ pan


Bottom Layer:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine

Mix together flour and powdered sugar. Cut in the butter or margarine until crumbly and the mixture clings together. Spread the dough in and 8×8-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. While the crust is baking prepare the topping layer.

Top Layer:

2 eggs

3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

BEAT eggs; mix flour and baking powder together and add to eggs with all other ingredients.

Beat again for 3 minutes or till slightly thickened.

Pour over baked crust and bake 25-30 minutes longer or until light golden brown around edges and center is set.

 Remove from the oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar,

or make a drizzle frosting with a little lime juice and powdered sugar(what I always do-it makes it taste more lemony(or limey)..

Cool and cut into small squares.


Yield: 8 to 12 servings

Note: Recipe can be doubled and made in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish