Summer's simple pleasures: When did you last...

summer simple pleasures

Summer is the season of simple pleasures. A time for sweet, spontaneous — often spectacularly serendipitous — silliness such as those moments we remember from childhood. Our own childhood, possibly the childhoods of our children.

Simple pleasures we've set aside — perhaps even forgotten — in our ongoing pursuit of grand adventures, grand outings, grand activities to share with our grand kids. Simple stuff we've likely not done in far too long.

When did you last...

• jump rope?

• skip down the sidewalk?

• play freeze tag?

• sip root beer floats from a frosty mug?

• run through the sprinkler?

• have a water fight — with the garden hose, buckets...

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Friday flashback: Coupon queen

In celebration of Mother's Day on Sunday, for this week's Friday flashback feature I chose to share one of my favorite posts about cherished gifts from my girlies. I smile each time I recall my coupons from kids and hope my story on such makes you smile, too — even if you read it the first time around (and thank you if you did!).

COUPON QUEEN
(Originally published June 6, 2011)

coupon book for momCoupons are a hot commodity in my world. Sure, I use coupons for products when grocery shopping, but what I'm talking about here are coupons as gifts.

Somewhere along the line of rearing three daughters, creating coupons to be redeemed for good deeds and great times became a recurring gift, either from me to them or from them to me. Of those, I especially remember...

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Black Forest Cake Day, plus GRAND Social No. 249 link party for grandparents

Black Forest Cake Day!

Tuesday is, believe it or not, Black Forest Cake Day. Which makes me chuckle. Not because I find the chocolate-cherry-whipped cream confection funny but because of the place of honor said dessert has in the history of my family.

black forest cake

See, Black Forest cakes were the celebratory confection of choice when my daughters had their first periods. Yep, we threw period parties. Years before commercial kits for marking one's first menstruation appeared on the market.

I wrote an article on our period parties long, long ago. Like, way back in the '90s. But the site for which I wrote the piece (and many others) is long gone, as is — I learned while searching my computer and external drive for that particular piece — every single article I wrote for ULiveAndLearn.com in the early years of the web...

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Farewell from the ranch

Jim's oldest sister lives on a ranch outside of Hot Springs, South Dakota. My sister-in-law's property has been the scene of many a family celebration over the past 20-plus years.

Last Saturday it was the spot as many extended family members as could make it gathered to celebrate the life of Granny, beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to all who were there.

In between taking hundreds of photos of the family, I wandered here and there to shoot a few shots of the spot that holds so many cherished memories.

ranch life 

The expansive, history laden...

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What's so great about a Disney Grand Adventure: Multiple generations weigh in

My daughter, grandsons, and I all agree that Walt Disney World just may be the most magical place on the planet. We all have different reasons for believing so, though, especially as it relates to our recent visit there together.

disney grand adventure

Here, a quick — and far from complete — list of what each of us thought most made our Disney Grand Adventure as magical, memorable, and grand as could possibly be:

Mac, age 4

  • The not-too-scary rides, especially The...
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Grandma's colorful, creepy crowd

Halloween has gotten far more colorful since I became a grandma.

A little more creepy, too, I must admit.

Proof lies in my seasonal pics from the past seven years:

halloween costumes 

Oh, how I love my creepy, colorful...

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Moving on

Bubby and Mac—as well as the rest of their family—have vacated the premises and moved on to their new home.

On moving day, Gramma (who is far more sentimental than the rest) just had to get a photo of the boys' last time on their trampoline:

boys on trampoline 

And, of course, I photographed their last...

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On summer camp

Memories and possibilities

summer camp 

Spring has sprung, which means it's time for parents and grandparents to begin searching and signing kids up for camps to enrich and entertain the little ones throughout the summer. Thoughts of such have me experiencing a melancholic longing for camp.

Which is a particularly odd emotion considering that...

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Laughing Baby... and laughing babies

As a little girl, Megan — my middle daughter and mother to my grandsons — had a baby doll named Laughing Baby. Throughout most of her third year, Megan kept Laughing Baby in her arms or cuddled up close to her wherever she went, whatever she was doing.

toddler and baby doll

Laughing Baby was named such because she laughed and laughed when her...

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Christmas and how the empty nest gets harder after college

I used to be one of those moms whose child — or children, plural — recently left for college. You know... the moms walking around with a dazed, how-the-heck-did-this-happen-so-fast look in their eyes, virtually visible cracks in their hearts as they miss the once little ones who have flown their nest. They're the moms who live for holiday breaks, spring breaks, summer breaks, for that's when their loved ones return home, back to the safety of the nest where mom can hold each one in her arms and savor the sweet scents and sounds of her babies all around.

family christmas stockings

I was one of those moms. That first year my daughters were scattered afar for schooling and such was rough. It got easier, though, as it does for all moms (and dads) whose kiddos have gone off for enrichment and enlightenment on the road to becoming full-fledged adults. I found new...

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