A Good Idea Gone Wrong: Raising Goldfish

It was the perfect day. First swimming and paddle boating at a friend’s pond. Buying goldfish at Meijer. Making homemade aquariums out of Ball Jars. Eating pizza and watching a movie. The kids fell asleep that night with smiles on their faces. I was going to win The Mother of Summer Award.

Then morning came.

The kids awoke ready to care for their new pet goldfish. But something was strange. The little fishies weren’t swimming like they had last night. Instead they all were floating, sideways, at the top of each jar.

Merciful heavens. I had no idea that fish needed air bubbles blown into the jars in order to breath the oxygen in the water. Maybe should have done some research before the project began.

I think my award has been revoked.

11 Creative Activities to Combat Summer Boredom

Parents, Grandparents, Babysitters, etc: Summer Break is Around the Corner. Kids will be looking to you to help fill their days. So before boredom hits, here’s ELEVEN creative activities/ ideas to combat a pout fest.

#1 Dress a Cat Up Like a Woman

Tigger Is Looking Quite Fashionable in His Spunky Beret and Gown

#2 Take a Flower Smelling Tour

#3 Glue Googly Eyes on Pictures of Bugs, Then Cut Them out as Paper Dolls

You Can Draw the Bugs or Print Them From a Computer

# 4 Create Prehistoric Scenes Surrounding a Pet

Henry Whiskers Never Saw This Coming

# 5 Make Potato People

#6 Catch and Play with Frogs


# 7 Make a Starship Out of a Box


#8 Visit a Farm and Pet Animals
There are several farms that you can visit for free in Michigan. A couple we like the best are: Orchard Hill Farm and Critter Barn.


#9 Make an Animal Home out of a Shoe Box

#10 Develop a Runway Show With Your Own Clothing Line

We Call This Line: The Wanna Be Flappers

#11 Teach a Guinea Pig to Walk on a Leash

New Year, New Idea: Be Inspired

It’s a new year. I don’t have any big resolutions, but I have one goal: Be Inspired.

In 2017, I choose to dwell on the good, hopeful things and people in this world. I want to be inspired and motivated by them. Today, I want to introduce you to someone very special to me, who continually gives me inspiration. He is my four-year-old nephew, Levi.


Levi has a duplication syndrome that affects his mind, body and development, but that doesn’t stop him. He pushes against the boundaries of his syndrome time and time again, proving that it cannot and will not confine him. 

Learning everyday gross-motor skills and patterns have not come easy, but due to his diligent parents, physical therapists, and skilled teachers, he continues to bloom. He graduated from crawling to using a walker and now has taken unaided steps on his own! He’s climbing stairs. He’s using a fork to feed himself. He’s using his “Levi” words to tell us what he wants, and boy can he be vocal when it comes to dinnertime. He laughs, plays, and exudes joy.

Even when it physically hurts and certain things are tough, Levi is not a quitter. I desire to have that kind of gusto. I want to be strong like him. I want to be persistent like him. I want to look at the world with wide eyes of wonder, like him.

Levi inspires me, and I hope his story will inspire you as well.

Have a Happy New Year and remember to look for inspiration around you. If you look, you will find it.

Books, Storytelling, and Using Imagination

In a world driven by technology, the art of storytelling and reading books can be lost. Imagination is stifled in children and adults when television and iPads replace creative thinking. I am passionate about reigniting the joy of books and story writing. That is why I’m dedicated to teaching my kids the importance of books and using their imaginations, and that is why I was so honored to  speak to my daughter’s preschool class yesterday.


I presented the art of writing stories to a group of 18 bright-eyed children using storyboards.


We discussed using our imaginations to dream up fun things like a fire-breathing dragon guarding a castle or a dragon that breathes bubbles and eats chocolate chip cookies.




And then the kids helped me write a story called Farmer Ben’s Special Hen. As I told the story, I had the children contribute ideas along the way.



Farmer Ben’s special hen laid many special things like…cars, rainbow candy canes, and lady bugs.


She even had special talents like singing, doing cartwheels, riding a horse, building a snowman, and chasing dinosaurs.

Since the hen was so special, Farmer Ben decided to give her an extra special name. The kids loved shouting out names! This was the final product: Nina Aiyana John Piper Niber Sophia Carter Benjamin Gloria Bret Cup-paper.


Farmer Ben entered the special hen into a pet contest, and the kids helped create other special animals that were there! In the end, Farmer Ben’s chicken won First Place.


Using their imaginations, the children helped write a story and boy was it interesting! I hope my presentation will stick with them and inspire them to create more stories.


Before there was television, people told stories and read books. That was fine entertainment. It saddens me when I hear that publishing houses are consolidating because they’re struggling to sell enough books to stay afloat. It grieves me when I hear people say, “I don’t like to read.” Is this what we are passing on to our next generation? Ohhh…I surely hope not. Let’s encourage our children and yes, other adults, to read, create, and use our imaginations!

History in a Hat

I collect hats. But not just any hats. I like hats that are old, used, and have seen life from years past. I want hats with history.

And over time, I’ve collected a lot of them. Some are from the 1800’s and some from the 1900’s. My daughter loves rummaging through my collection and trying them on.

A few hats in my collection


Going gangster in my fedora
Howdy partner
I’m so fancy

But one of my most prized hats of all is the one I acquired from my grandfather, Lavern “Pete” Overbeek.


My grandpa wore a blue, wool newsboy hat wherever he went. It was special. When my grandpa passed away in 2008, I asked my grandma if she could part with his hat. I feel honored and privileged that she entrusted his prized possession to me. Every time I wear his hat, I feel like I’m carrying on his legacy. My grandfather enjoyed the simple things in life but most of all, he had a deep love for family and friends. He worked hard and appreciated the many blessings God had given him throughout his life. He was a great man and was always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. I hope to follow in his footsteps. Thanks, Grandpa.




TV Free Activities: Boxcars, Potato Heads, and Dino Hunts


Attentions Parents: I have a great book with fun activities for both you and your kids! It’s called, 365 TV-FREE ACTIVITIES YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR CHILD by Steve and Ruth Bennett. This week, my daughter and her cousin picked out a couple of them.

1. Potato Heads




2. Boxcars


We made our boxcars into Autobots!


3. Dino Hunt


I looked up the bone structure for a Brachiosaurus and created it in pieces of pipe cleaners. I hid the “bones” under sheets and pillows. After the kids found all the bones, I constructed the dinosaur.


Monday Morning Humor: 1920’s Slang

American woman teaching English boys to dance the Charleston. Great Britain, 1925
American woman teaching English boys to dance the Charleston, Great Britain, 1925

Don’t lose it, re-use it!

Here are another Top 10 Hilarious 1920’s Slang Phrases that we ought to bring back:

10. Bank’s Closed – no kissing or making out –  “Sorry, Mac, the bank’s closed.”

9. Dry up –  get lost – “I’m not interested. Do me a favor and dry up.”

8. Don’t take any wooden nickels – don’t do anything stupid- “Be careful with your friends tonight and don’t take any wooden nickels.”

7. Balled Up- confused, messed up-  “Mom, I’m all balled up and don’t know where I am!”

6. Hoofer – dancer- “Wow, I never saw anyone move like you. You’re quite the hoofer.”

5. Live wire – a lively person –  “Boy oh boy, you’re a real live wire!”

4. Wet Blanket – a solemn person, a killjoy-  “Olga, stop being a wet blanket and smile.”

3. Chassis – the female body – “I have to admit, you have the best chassis I’ve ever seen.”

2. Banana Oil – nonsense – “You’re the first boy who’s ever kissed me.” “That’s banana oil.”

1. Mrs. Grundy – a priggish or extremely tight-laced person – “Hey Mrs. Grundy, would ya kindly pull the bloomers from your crack and settle down.”


(See my older post entitled “Talk Like the Twenties” for more great phrases.)

Reference: http://local.aaca.org/bntc/slang/slang.htm

Picture Reference: http://www.vintag.es/2013/11/american-woman-teaching-english-boys-to.html

The Mermaid Mom

Yesterday was a holiday so I didn’t post the usual Monday Morning Joke. So today I have a humorous story for you instead.

Ever since my daughter watched Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” she has wanted to play mermaids. That’s where I come in. I’ve been drawing several mermaid paper dolls for her. So many that we’ve lost count. Below is a few of them. As you can see, they are all the typical fit and thin Barbie looking dolls. Which got me thinking? Why not show her something more real.


That’s when I drew this: The Mermaid Mom.


Proud as I could be, I said to my daughter, “Look I drew a new doll for you. She’s a very important mermaid.”

My daughter looked at the doll. Her face scrunched up in confusion or disgust, I’m not sure, and she said, “What’s wrong with her?”

I laughed. “Nothings wrong with her. Her body isn’t like the other mermaids because she’s the one who gave birth to the baby mermaids. She’s the mom.”

My daughter’s face lit up. “Ohhhh, she’s the mom. I like her. Thanks.” She took the doll from me, suddenly happy as raccoon in a trashcan.

Star Trek Cordero Style




This adventure was a by-product of the saying: “If there is a will, there is a way.”

My daughter announced today that she would like a spaceship. “Okay,” I said and rummaged through the pile of boxes in our basement for a large one.

Thus our creation began. It wasn’t too hard. We used: a box, clear tape, wire, a barbie doll table, stickers, markers, and glitter paint.

Our star fleet spacecraft turned out pretty good. I have patted myself on the back.



Princess Elsa Joined Bella for a Trip Into Space!



I Want a Heifer


We drink milk like its water at our house. Especially my daughter!

As we move toward a more self-sustaining lifestyle, we are going to obtain a diary cow for milk and making our own butter, sour cream, yogurt, ice cream, etc.

The breed I want to purchase is called a Dexter. Dexters are a smaller breed of cattle originally from Ireland. They are tri-purpose, great for meat, milk and draft. They are very intelligent and can be easily trained. Their tender personalities and love of attention make them not only great cows but great companions!  

Dexters also give birth to their babies without need for assistance unless the baby is breached. They must give birth to a calf once a year in order to continue to produce milk.

Everything about these cows make me excited! I really want a little heifer.



These precious little girls are located at Shamrock Acres Dexter Farm in Hudsonville, MI! That is only 15 minutes from my house!

I am so thrilled. I want to buy a girl and hug her and love her all day. The only things that stand in my way are needing a proper enclosure and fencing for her. So friends, if you have any lumber or fencing hanging around that you don’t want.. let me know!

Cows…they are a beautiful thing.