Martha Stewart - American Made 2014 - Nominee Badge

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Harvest and Halloween Handbook!

Everything you need for fun and classy Halloween and harvest activities! Transform your Halloween and autumn with creative ideas, recipes, decor and more; just $9.99 - you can download it today.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Is there a Halloween party in your future?

There are over eight weeks until Halloween, plenty of time to plan an alternative, creative carnival or at least a great party! My A Harvest and Halloween Handbook has all kinds of child-friendly games, recipes, even invitations you can make with found objects.

Inexpensive decorations, activities and games 

Unique refreshments


Daring decor

Creative costumes

and more! 
Download your ultimate party guide; A Harvest and Halloween Handbook today!

Sign up as a follower below and email me 
I'll send you free downloadable Halloween coloring pages

Happy Halloween! 


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Busy Baby Book

There are times when busy little hands need something to do and quiet play is a good idea.  

These cloth busy books were made for my two youngest granddaughters. The pattern will be included in the A Christmas Handbook that I'm currently writing.  

The cover is a quilted collage of vintage prints representing the love and nurturing we want to wrap our little ones in.

On these pages Elle Elephant and Billy Bear invite pre-schoolers to discover and learn. 

Kitty Laurel teaches the alphabet and Heather Bunny shares her pretty clothes.

Learn to button in the pretty garden and see what treasures Dylan Duck has found. 

Help Andrew Bear show what is in the sky today and see what is growing in Kitty Karl's garden.

Timmy Bear has pictures of items to discover in the "Finder."  

Friday, August 1, 2014

Christmas in July - oops, August.

I'm working on a chapter in A Christmas Handbook about Christmas around the world. 

If you have experienced Christmas traditions in other countries, I would love to hear about it; especially in homes and religious themes. 

Please shoot me a note at Your story may be on the radio too! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pioneer Days and Prairie Princesses

Ideas for celebrating Pioneer Day ideas from my
 A Holiday Handbook 2

Happy Pioneer Day!

This vignette is from a scavenger hunt with items and activities that pioneers did. Milking a cow, making butter and cheese, growing crops, and reading scriptures. Those that finish the hunt receive a bag of taffy treats. 

We made butter,  had fresh bread, honey butter, raspberry butter and ice cold watermelon. Also fresh lemonade (I don't think pioneers had that, but it sure tasted good.)

Some of the members of the Mormon Battalion were working at Sutter's Mill when gold was discovered. We let the children pan for gold (shiny pennies) and use them to buy a treat if they wish. 

A pioneer Bean-go game with beans for markers  for the ladies to win. 

Canvas bags filled with games and ideas.

A wild beanbag toss competition 

Stick horses for racing and squirt guns for putting out prairie fires and bagging buffalo. 

Sharing stories and testimonies in 
Indian pictographs. 
We used cut-out brown paper pelts for the structures. You can recycle grocery bags or buy a roll of brown paper.

Do you have what it takes to be a pioneer? 

Email me and I'll send you the pictographs 

pioneers with style
July 24th is the anniversary of the day my ancestor, Chauncey Gilbert Webb, entered the Salt Lake Valley, Utah with Brigham Young and the first company of Mormon pioneers in 1847. Chauncey's great...great grandmother and William Shakespeare's mother were sisters. You never know who you'll meet on the plains. Here's a Prairie Party to celebrate the day, with games for everyone. Happy Pioneer Day!

Prairie Party 
Serve this on a quilt; use bandanas for napkins and
canning jars for glasses. 
Bread bowls for the chili would be another treat!

Honey lemonade
Chili beans
Cornbread muffins with homemade butter
 (let the children shake a jar of cream to make butter - they love it)
Cold watermelon
A crock of crudites and dip
Butterscotch haystacks
Saltwater taffy
Midwest Prairies
Children's Scavenger Hunt
Hide items around the yard that represent activities and chores of pioneer children:
Tend animals (a small stuffed animal)
Make cheese (wrap string cheese in brown paper and tie with a string)
Sew on a button
Gather firewood
Hunt for eggs
Make a quilt
Sing a song
Pick fruit
Make candles
Make soap
Plant potatoes
Milk a cow (bucket)

Teen Challenge 
See how many points you can get by completing these challenges:

Say the alphabet backwards: 1 point for each correct letter in backwards order.
Name 10 flowers: 1 point each.
How many buttons are on your clothes?: 1 point for each button.
Write your name and phone number. Count the letters in your name for 1 point each. Add together the digits in your phone number then add the number of letters in your name.
How many large marshmallows can you stuff in your mouth? 1 point each,
no you don't have to swallow them - ewww.
Blow a bubble with bubble gum, 2 points for each piece up to five pieces.

BEAN For Adults (could you have bean a pioneer?) Its like a bingo game - use dry beans for markers and move the activities around to different places on each card, cut one up to call with. To win, get four in a row

Last summer, for Pioneer Day, I invited my 2 year-old granddaughter Ellyza to have a treasure hunt in the yard. She took her tiny basket and began collecting oak leaves, flowers and small pebbles. A two year-old knows what treasure truly is.
bluebonnets, stone farm house, and antique farm tools
  Need a bit more Pioneer Day eye candy? Check out the cuties at:

Butterscotch Haystacks 

12 oz. butterscotch chips

1 C. peanut butter
10 - 12 oz. chow mein noodles

Melt butterscotch chips over low heat, stir in peanut butter. Add noodles. Drop by large spoonfulls onto wax paper. Form into haystacks.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Please Share and Support My Entry in Martha Stewart's American Made Competition

Dear Family and Friends,

I've entered Martha Stewart's competition for American-made products to promote my art, designs and the events I've created. This is a great opportunity to move my work forward into the national arena. 

I'm featuring my A Harvest and Halloween Handbook and would so appreciate your help in sharing the following link on Facebook to increase my chances of winning. The prizes are a trip to New York to meet Martha, promotion of my books and $10,000 cool cash. Sweet.

Thank you for your support.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summertime, Summertime, Sum, Sum, Summertime!

(This is a recycled post,but the beach tips are still wonderful)

I love the ocean. I believe that the beach is one of the places Mother Nature is at her finest.
I spent my growing up years at, near or in the ocean and would like to share a few tips
to help make your day even more pleasant. For all you lucky ones who will spend your day frolicking in the surf, enjoy!

Taking children to swim at the beach? Get a tide chart and plan your trip for low tide, the waves are smaller and usually more gentle. For tide schedule predictions try


You can go on their website, select your beach and get a schedule for the days you'll be at the ocean.

Flotation devices make the day safer and much more fun!
Look for a beach with lifeguards- they are trained to spot unsafe water conditions; such as rip tides and sharks. They keep an eye on everything happening on their beach, and are worth their weight in gold.

Watch for warning flags near the water; some warn of unsafe conditions, others delineate surf and swim areas.

Say a little prayer for me; don't forget a little prayer of thanks and help for a safe and fun day.

Near the water, the tiny v-shaped marks in the sand mean sand crabs. If you dig a hole and let the waves swirl in, sometimes you can see sand crabs swimming around. Pick one up, they tickle!

Buckets, shovels, sieves and molds make building a blast!

Bring bags for shell collecting. The earlier in the morning you go, the better the selection. You probably don't want to take home crabs and seaweed, they don't live very long and get stinky. Some places, such as tide pools, have restrictions on taking things from nature. Just watch for signs and follow the rules. If you can't find shells you like, there are often gift stores nearby that sell them as well as post cards to help you remember your summer fun.

Jellyfish - leave them alone. Most are not lethal, but if you do get stung, white vinegar applied to the site for 15 - 30 minutes quickly will neutralize the toxins and ease the pain. Remove tentacles and stingers, you can use a credit card to scrape them off. If the victim experiences difficulty breathing get medical help immediately.

A final word of advice, don't shave before going in salt water - ouch!

Have a wonderful day the beach - God's playground for children.

photo courtesy of

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Elizabeth Duncan Porter: Heroine of the American Revolution

Honoring An American Heroine; Elizabeth Duncan Porter
Elizabeth was born to Thomas and Elizabeth Duncan in Lancaster Pennsylvania in 1750. The Duncans were born in Scotland, moved to Ireland and then to the British colonies in America. They settled in Lancaster, which is known in modern times for an Amish community and lush green farms and hillsides.
Elizabeth enjoyed growing up in the beautiful countryside of Pennsylvania. In the spring she played with the lambs and picked flowers. But childhood ended early for Elizabeth; her father died when she was six years old and her help was needed for the family. She grew to be a strong and lovely woman.
At twenty-five she met a man who would sweep her off her feet and she married her beloved Samuel Porter. As a member of  the Virginia militia, Samuel was one of the men responsible for patrolling the roads and trails to keep travelers safe from Indian raids. The British had enlisted the Indians to attack settlers on the western frontiers of the colonies.
The winds of war began to blow across America.
Samuel, Elizabeth, their two children, her mother, brother and other family members were captured by Indians  in 1780. It is thought that British soldiers were with them because they were not scalped. The attackers took all of their stock and possessions. 
They were marched and carried over 600 miles to Detroit. Elizabeth had to work hard to keep her little children quiet so they would not be killed by their captors. She was pregnant with her third child. Sometimes she was permitted to ride, she sat with her feet in water for hours and hours. Samuel was sentenced to die. They were placed in stockades and pens and nearly starved to death.

Elizabeth was put to work coking for the British officers. She saved scraps of bread and meat and smuggled them out in the dishwater. She placed the tub of water near Samuel's prison. He was able to reach through the bars and get the food. Her act of courage probably kept him alive. 
Elizabeth, her children Margaret and Hugh and her mother were marched as a prisoners of war 700 miles from Detroit to Quebec, Canada. 
On January 7th, in the bitter cold of a winter that would become known as the “little Ice Age” and far from her home, Elizabeth gave birth to baby Samuel. She was a captive of the British and Shawnee Indians because she believed in freedom.
Her husband Samuel suffered as well in the confinement of the prison camp. 8 of 10 American prisoners died in the hulls of British warships. He did not know what had become of Elizabeth, their baby or the other two young children.
Many people sacrificed much for the cause of independence. Some sacrificed everything.
Elizabeth took care of baby Samuel and little Margaret and Hugh the best she could. She sang to them the Celtic lullabies her mother had sung to her.
She told them the Bible stories she had learned as a child. Tales of Moses leading Israel to freedom; of brave Joseph and how Daniel’s life was spared.
She would have loved to have been home when spring came. She would have loved to have worked in her garden with her children and enjoyed outings with her friends. Because the cause of freedom had meant so much to Elizabeth and Samuel; she had no home to return to. 
Samuel was a hard worker and tried to be helpful. His execution was stayed by a British commander who took a liking to him.
The price of independence was very high. When the war ended and freedom was won,  Elizabeth, Samuel and the others were released and made their way back to Virginia and to each other.
Elizabeth and Samuel had three more children. Their lives were filled with joy and sorrow and their sacrifice blessed their family for generations.
Elizabeth lived 95 years. She died and was buried in Jackson County, Missouri where a marker and plaque were placed to honor the memory of this heroine of the American Revolutionary War.
Elizabeth’s legacy is celebrated today by the Daughters of the American Revolution organization with chapters that have been named for her.