9 Things You Should Borrow

When did you last go to the library?  Why did you go there?  There are at least nine reasons to visit your library.

I have loved the library since at least first grade.  I was an early reader and borrowed books from our little classroom library.  One day our entire class walked to the city public library to explore it and receive our first library cards.  Over the years I discovered the library had much, much more to offer than just books.  Even though, books alone are a motivating attraction for me.  Every genre of magazine can also be found and borrowed from the library.

Yes, I love books. They can be found in every room of my house.  In the living room the end tables are usually covered in stacks of books. I also have a small table, which I call the library table.  Presently, it is where I store all my durable cardboard books for the youngest grandchildren.   In the past it is where I stored all the books we brought home from the public library.  Keeping them in one place prevented losing them in random places.

library tableMost libraries are part of a network allowing them to borrow for you from other libraries.  Even if your town has a small library, it may have access to larger libraries.  The majority of libraries are also online making searches and reservations very easy.

My second favorite thing to borrow from the library is audio books.  These are especially wonderful for car trips. We recently took a long trip with my parents.  We all thoroughly enjoyed listening to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark.   A favorite audio book that was listened to at least a dozen times by our youngest son was Who Was That Masked Man Anyway Audio books help even a reluctant reader to love books.

Some libraries have electronic books.  Games and learning manipulatives for young children are often available.  Computers, computer games and the internet are accessible which is very helpful when your home computer or internet is not functioning properly.  I have used library internet in other towns while traveling.

One year my daughter participated in a library program called Battle of the Books where she was on a school team that read and studied a huge list of books.  They competed against other teams with questions about details and comprehension of the books. 12509089_1210792845603492_6949928042686141160_n

My youngest son was not a strong reader but loved graphic novels (comics).  Even he learned to love the library.

There was a program in the grade school I attended called picture lady.  A mom brought into the class a large piece of framed art and led the class in a discussion of the piece.  Our library in Wheaton, IL had a large collection of framed art.  I was able to recreate that program with my children in our home.   My children enjoyed taking turns selecting the pieces which we hung over the fireplace mantle in the living room for four to eight weeks at a time.  We discussed the colors and mood of the piece even when we did not have knowledge of the artist or the style.

We have borrowed hundreds, maybe thousands, of movies from the library. We continue to do this.  These varied from Magic School Bus and other educational programs to black and white classics such as Fred MacMurray’s, Follow Me Boys, to current films.

Well, have I convinced you to go to your local library yet?

Cuddle time reading to your own babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and even independent readers is precious time.  It is a time for instilling security and love for stories.  It teaches pre-reading skills such as handling a book properly and progressing from left to right.  Reading expands the imagination, enlarges the vocabulary, develops the mind, and takes you to places all over the globe and beyond.  Read to your children.

One more thought: If you have a bookworm, encourage them to bicycle to the library for fresh air and exercise. My second son, a voracious reader, enjoyed doing both.


Happy Easter

Is Easter a favorite holiday for you?  Why?  I confess I love the jelly beans and malted eggs, but not the Peeps.  I despise plastic “grass”, which like Christmas tree needles can be found in odd places months after the holiday.  Yet, I love Easter for its deep spiritual meaning and its fun associated activities.

As a child, Easter was about the candy and the new outfit.  The outfit included ruffled socks, white patent leather buckle shoes, ruffled under pants, a full slip, a dress, a hat, a purse and gloves.  We usually shopped at Sears for the outfit. Yes, we died eggs, had an egg hunt outside (weather permitting), received a multi-colored fake-straw basket full of candy and we went to church.  I do not recall any emphasis on the Easter bunny.  We knew all our gifts were from our parents.


My mom, pregnant with my brother, my 5 year old sister, and me at almost 3.  The coursages were from my daddy.

As an adult, I still like the candy.  But now the special ham dinner with the family is more important to me.  Even though I don’t like coconut, a Lamb cake is the perfect dessert because it represents Jesus as the perfect Lamb of God sacrificed to take away our sins. I savor Easter worship, and if  I can also include a Good Friday or Maundy Thursday worship, those are a welcome bonus.  I appreciate my Catholic friends’ attitude about, and reverence towards Holy Week, which goes from Palm Sunday to Easter.


with a mouthful of candy

As a parent I used green cloth to line multi-colored plastic baskets that I filled with candy, added a few half-dollars, and sometimes a Christian music CD or DVD. I don’t recall when or why I started giving half-dollars, but they were happily accepted.  The baskets were presented on Good Friday or Saturday so that candy was not the highlight of Easter Sunday.  I generally bought my children a new outfit but not of the same caliber or level of fancifulness as what I wore as a child.

eye patch

doesn’t every boy wish for a pirate patch in his basket?


I think I enjoyed the egg hunts as much as my children.  I still enjoy hosting them for my grandchildren.  At an outdoor hunt there is always the risk that some egg will not be found till August.  Hopefully that egg is not the one with the money in it. At my hunts, I do not let all the children begin hunting at the same time but let the youngest start first and give him or her a few minutes of hunting before allowing the next oldest to begin.  Staggering their starts even just a few minutes apart prevents the oldest child from quickly finding all the easily hidden eggs which the youngest child needs.




Here are a few more family ideas for possible Easter traditions:

  1. Watch an inspirational movie, such as Risen (for children over 6)
  2. Dye boiled eggs
  3. Take a basket to an elderly neighbor or relative
  4. Make Easter decorations
  5. Choose a Pinterest project to do as a family
  6. Go to a live Passion of Christ play
  7. Visit another church for their Good Friday worship
  8. Make a lamb cake (with or without the coconut)
  9. Make Easter egg nests
  10. Attend a sunrise worship service


Easter Egg Nests

(recipe given to me by my mother-in-law more than 30 years ago)

2 12 oz. bags of milk chocolate chips (or use 1 bag semi-sweet & 1 bag butterscotch)

1 large bags of chow Mein noodles

2 bags of jelly bird (small) jelly beans

Melt the chips in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Pour in the dry noodles.  Mix well enough to cover the noodles.

Drop by the heaping tablespoon onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.   Add 3-5 eggs (jelly beans) onto each nest.    Put in refrigerator to harden.


Did you ever steal anything when you were a kid?  Have your children ever stolen anything? Have you had anything stolen from you?  What happened?

As a child I was guilty on two counts.  Once while shopping with a friend at the local Ben Franklin I spied a bi-colored colored pencil.  It was red on one end and blue on the other. I really wanted it.  So I simply picked it up and walked out of the store.  Then I laid it on the ground, and after my friend exited the store I pretended to find the pencil on the ground and kept it. But my conscience would not be quiet and so somewhere along the route home I purposely dropped it.ice cubes I do not know the price of the single pencil but I am guessing it was well under a dollar. I had probably just spent that much on candy in the store.  Another time I stole a piece of chocolate candy from a convenience store. It was an Ice Cubes chocolate square (“German Milk Chocolate Ice Cubes Melt in Your Mouth”). I think I ate it quickly before my conscience took over.

I do not recall any stories about my children struggling with stealing.  That just means my memory is lacking, not that they were always angels. One of my sons told me the following story.  “I tried to steal a little green army man from a neighbor kid, just to be mean to him. But his mom saw me out the window and yelled at me so I dropped it and ran home.”

One day our son came in the house with a twenty dollar bill which he said the neighbor boy had given to him. I wanted to know why.  What did he want you to do to be given the money?  Nothing. Something was wrong with that picture. I went to the neighbor’s house and discovered his son had helped himself to all the paper bills in Dad’s wallet while dad was napping.  The money was returned.

When our two middle boys were teens a friend stole some money from their room.  At the time he vehemently denied it and trust was broken. We all felt violated and betrayed.  Years later he confessed to stealing from them. Truth eventually wins.

rough days

Stealing is wrong. It is a punishable crime. Even within our homes amongst family members it is wrong. When discovered, it must be dealt with seriously. Always consider the child’s character and heart when deciding upon appropriate correction. I also believe punishments should fit the crimes. Confession regarding the theft to a family member or a store or other victim can be humbling and a deterrent to future incidents. An apology is suitable. Restitution should be made.  The one who stole should return the item if possible or pay to replace it. Parents should not overlook stealing or bail their child out of facing consequences for their actions. Sparing their child or themselves the embarrassment of confession will be a disservice to them. It is better to deal directly with a problem while it is still a small problem.


In the adult world stealing leads to jail time. No one is getting arrested for stealing cookies from the cookie jar at home, but shopping lifting, employees taking home work supplies, tax evasion, and reusing postage stamps is on the rise.  Beware.

Empty Nest Changes

Every time a grown child moves out there are noticeable changes.  It was most obvious when  #1 departed for college and when  #5, the last one, moved away after community college. Here are a few observations I have made.

  1. Food and toiletries last much longer.
  2. Utility bills are less. (especially water and electricity)
  3. Much quieter . . . . .ah
  4. No need to close internal doors.
  5. Plenty of wifi and data.
  6. No shuffling of cars in the driveway.
  7. Only 2-3 loads of laundry per week, as compared to the “high-water” mark of 12 loads per week.
  8. House stays much cleaner much longer.
  9. No lying awake in bed waiting for the last kid to come home and turn off the hall light.
  10. No one to blame when the back door doesn’t get locked overnight
  11. No excuses for buying Pop Tarts and Oreos.
  12. It is awfully quiet.

But sometimes they come back.  Plans change or things don’t work out as expected.   Sometimes they come back multiple times.  (#4 did!)  That new guest room or office space is reconverted to a bedroom.  They can do their own laundry and the increase in groceries and utilities isn’t so bad.  After all, it is only a season and they will be gone again.  It is rather nice having them around for a time.  I kind of like some of their music and movies.   Someday the move out will become permanent. It is hard to let the last one really go even though that is our goal and I know it is good for him.DSCN0376