December 31, 2012

Happy Trails to You

Way back when I was just a kid one of our family's 
favorite things to do was to gather around 
the old RCA 16" console television set
 and watch the Roy Rogers Show.

The Roy Rogers Show was western television series that
 broadcast on NBC for six seasons between 
December 30, 1951 and June 9, 1957.

The show starred Roy Rogers as a ranch owner,

 Dale Evans as the proprietor of the Eureka Cafe 
in fictional Mineral City,

Pat Brady as Roy’s sidekick and Dale's cook. 
Brady's jeep Nellybelle had a mind of her own and 
often sped away driver-less with Brady in frantic pursuit on foot. 

Then, there was Roy's horse, Trigger.
and his wonder dog, Bullet.

Dale's horse was called Buttermilk.

Roy became "King of the Cowboys" 
and Dale was the  "Queen of the West"

Together the two appeared in over one hundred episodes.
Dale wrote the song "Happy Trails" in 1950,
and Roy and Dale sang it each week to close the show..

Happy Trails to You
(sing along if you know it)

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.

Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you.

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.

Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.

So this is how I chose to end my blog...

Happy trails to each of you 
'till we meet again.

With a tear and a smile...Tommie 

Be sure to keep up with CTP on their blog:

December 20, 2012

Let Go of the Handle

Celebrate the Season

One of our favorite “get-away” places is Salado, Texas. In the days of the old west Salado was a stop on the stagecoach line at an inn at the bend of a creek at the edge of the Texas hill country. We always stay at a rustic little two-bedroom bed and breakfast overlooking the creek.  Leonard’s favorite thing to do is to sit in the rocker on the front porch and watch the creek.  We were there just after a storm last January.  He spent two days rocking and watching men clean up the fallen trees and brush from the creek.  There is something therapeutic about watching other people work.

My favorite thing is to wonder through the little shops on Main Street.  That is where I discovered a shop called A Bird in the Hand. In the back of the store was a bin filled with my favorite…Brian Andreas’ Story People. He does funky watercolors with his thoughts recorded on them.  I can spend hours in that store just reading, laughing, reflecting, smiling, and crying as I go through the bin. So many of them remind me of specific times in my life. 

This is one of my favorites….
 Everything changed the day I figured out there
was exactly enough time for the important things in my life.

Through the years I have bought several that spoke to me. This is one of a collection of Story People that I have in one of our bathrooms.  They make for interesting some pondering.  I also bought some for gifts for people I thought of when I read the saying.  You can imagine my joy when I discovered that they also come in greeting cards….much cheaper!

Several years ago I bought this card for my friend Marilyn
when she was going through a time of transition.
If you hold on to the handle, she said,
it’s easier to maintain the illusion of control.
But it is more fun if you just let the wind carry you.

I had actually forgotten that I sent the card to her 
when last week she showed up at my door
with the card I had sent her, plus one for me, and a handle.  
Her message said “Let Go”.
I framed the card with the handle and put it with my collection in the bathroom….
for more pondering!

Soon, I will be retiring (again) after seven wonderful years with CTP. It is a bittersweet time.  I absolutely love what I have been doing, where I have gone, and all those folks that I have had the opportunity to meet.

But, it is time to give up the illusion of control and to let go of the handle. It is a little frightening to do that. I am not sure where the wind will carry me.  Leonard has promised to tie a string to my toe.  If I drift too far away in the wind he said he would pull the string and reel me back in. It is good to have someone to hold on to your string….just in case.

So, I am going to try to remember these lessons…..
There is exactly enough time for the important things in my life.
We all just have the illusion of control.
We need to let go of the handle.

May you have all the blessings, joy and love of this season.
Let go of the handle and fly!


December 17, 2012


PHOTO: Vicki Soto is shown in this undated photo.
ABC News
I spent the morning reading the stories of the brave teachers and the 20 beautiful children.  Such a tragedy.

Victoria Soto, 27
Victoria Soto, 27, one of the adult victims, loved being a teacher, her cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC News' Chris Cuomo Friday. In fact, her first-grade students' safety was such a high priority that Soto reportedly lost her life protecting them.
"The family was informed that she was trying to shield, get her children into a closet and protect them from harm, and by doing that put herself between the gunman and the children," Wiltsie said. "And that's when she was tragically shot and killed.
"I'm very proud to have known Vicki," Wiltsie added. "Her life dream was to be a teacher. And her instincts kicked in when she saw there was harm coming to her students.
"It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children," he said. "And in our eyes, she is a hero."

PHOTO: Grace McDonnell was killed on Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Courtesy of the McDonnell Family/AP Photo

This is beautiful seven year old 

What can you do but weep for the parents and love ones?

It makes no sense!

One of the mothers said....
It is important that the world knows their stories and that they are not forgotten.

May we all find grace!

December 8, 2012

My Favorite Post

Since I am so technologically challenged Kelly Murphy, the online marketing guru from Creative Teaching Press, set up my blog and posted for me for a while.
Then, in June of 2010, I boldly announced.... 
Today, I shall become a blogger.

Kelly offered me some advice…

• Keep it short and sweet.

• Use pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words!

• Don’t get too commercial.  (However, I always try to mention that my projects feature wonderful products from Creative Teaching Press.

• Post often and be personable. Try to create some followers.

It seemed like good advice. I think I was pretty successful with all but the first one. I was never short, but sometimes sweet!

For 2 1/2 years I have chronicled my life.  Since I am coming to the end of by scheduled blogging I spent some time last week looking back over some of the old blogs. What impressed me most was how Trevor and Kate have grown. Hopefully, I have grown a little too. Mostly I have just gotten older.

This is one of my favorite pictures from one of the past blogs.  
Kate looks like she is basking in a ray of sunshine.  Trevor looks like he is singing.
The picture brings joy to my heart and reminds me of a song....

May There Always Be Sunshine!

May there always be sunshine.
May there always be blue skies.
May there always be children.
May there always be you.

May there always be stories.
May there always be music.
May there always be (people)
(who) care (about) you!

May there always be sunshine.
May there always be blue skies.
May there always be (teachers)
as special as you.

by Dr. Jean
(with a few adaptations by Tommie)

May you bask in sunshine and blue skies 
and enjoy all the stories and music of your life.

December 1, 2012

My Last Workshop at NAEYC

My husband once told me that I would do just fine
if I could find someone to pay me to do
all the dumb stuff I know how to do.
Well, for the last 7 years CTP has been willing to do just that.

These pictures were taken at the NAEYC convention 
in Atlanta last month.
We set up tables and had mini make and take workshops.

We made math mats using the bug cut outs.

Everyone was a Queen for a Day....

You can be one too. 
Just make your own crown from left-over border 
and proclaim yourself QUEEN!

These are some of the gals in my very last workshop.

November 24, 2012

Gingerbread Man Countdown

Next Saturday is December 1.
Be ready for the countdown  to Christmas
with this Gingerbread Man.
He is simple to make with CTP 6" cut-outs.

Flip one over everyday
Christmas Day is on the way!

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Gingerbread Man 6" Designer Cut-Outs

November 18, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving


Tommie's French Apple Pie
circa 1966
(This is the first pie I learned to make.)

3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 green apples peeled and sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon butter cut into pieces
2 tablespoon flour
Mix everything together and put in an uncooked pie crust.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter 
(Cut butter into the sugar/flour mix 
until butter looks like small peas.)
Place on top of apple filling.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and cook 50 minutes longer.
(Put foil under the pie in the oven because it might bubble over.)

Pie can be made, wrapped in foil, and frozen.
Thaw in refrigerator overnight.

Bake just before serving.  
It is best when served hot with ice cream or whipped cream.

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

November 12, 2012


Veterans Day at Kate's school is special!
The kids get to invite veterans for a celebration....
dads, mom, lots of grandfathers, uncles, even neighbors.
Kids who don't have a veteran to invite 
borrow one from another kid.
From the Posting of the Colors to a Parade of Veterans
it is a day of pride and honor.

The veterans sit in special seats on the front steps of the school.
Each grade comes forward to sing for them.
Kindergarten does Yankee Doodle and it goes on from there.

Then each of the veterans comes to the front and introduces himself 
 and tells when and where he or she served.  

Some offered advice for the young students.
One old Army guy said....
"Always remember honor yourself and honor your country.
That advice was given to me and it always served me well."

I heard a few "Hoorahs" from the Marines 
and more than a few
"God bless America".

But my favorite was from a young father who was a Navy reservist.
He shook the hand of a Korean War veteran and said:
"Thank you for your service, sir."

Here is a Smilebox I made this morning after the service.
(To play click the arrow.  To close click the Smilebox Playback tab.)
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow



November 4, 2012

Crafts to make to celebrate fall

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
Here are some things to make using the fall cut-outs.

 Make place mats and name plates for Thanksgiving dinner.
Celebrating Thanksgiving tells the story of the holiday.

 Create a Thanksgiving card for someone special.

The cut-outs come in various patterns and sizes.
The card is made using 6" pumpkins and 1" accents.

Glue together four craft sticks to form a picture frame.
Use the 1" corn to accent the scarecrow picture.

There are various styles of leaves in all three sizes.

 Use the leaves to create a scrapbook page.

Leaves, corn, and pumpkins
mean fall is in the air.

November 1, 2012

Let's Go Vote

Check out Melanie's blog....Inspired in Style for election ideas.

Inspired in Style blog board for election day

Here is what happens when you get old.  
Yesterday, Lenny and I had this conversation.  
(I am thinking he was not wearing his hearing aids!)

Tommie: We should go vote tomorrow.
Lenny: Why do you need to go to Lowes?
 (Lowes is a big box hardware store.) 
Tommie: I said...we need to go vote.
Lenny: I guess I will stay home. 
 I don't think I need anything from Lowes.

Well, today we are going to vote and then 
I guess we will go by Lowes just to see if we need anything.

Getting old is not for sissies!!

P.S. I just had a call from Cindy, one of the CTP reps.
She thinks they sell hearing aid batteries at Lowes!

Maybe there is hope!!

October 31, 2012

What I learned in Greece and Other Places

First, I want our friends on the East Coast to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them.  I cannot imagine how hard it must be to have your life turned completely upside down.

We were flying back from Rome on Saturday through Philadelphia. I think we made it out on one of the last planes. It was a bumpy ride but we made it home to Dallas....tired but safe.

I wanted to share with you all my experiences of the last two weeks.  We had a wonderful time practicing for retirement. We traveled to Italy, Greece, Croatia, and Turkey. Surprisingly I met a retired teacher friend in Dubrovnik as we were walking around the city walls.  She was practicing for retirement, too.

I put all my pictures in a Smilebox. My daughter said I needed a Smilebox intervention. I am now limited to sending them only one a week.  I offered to pay anyone in my family $10 to watch this one.

Actually it is really quite good, if I do say so myself.  Be sure to turn on the sound on your computer.  I have lovely music to accompany the pictures. The world is a beautiful place if only me had the time and money to see it all!!! Right now I have no money and I don't think I could make another transatlantic flight if I had to.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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This slideshow generated with Smilebox

Next time.....
I'll have something more educational for you.

October 23, 2012

Check out How to Use and Free Activities

While I am away cruising
I am leaving you some home work.

On most of my posts I invite you to visit the website
to check out the products they offer
like these Cootie Catchers for Halloween.
(Look for these at your local teacher store, too.)

But there is lots more on the website.
Click on the box that says
(Use the clink below and see one of the ideas.
Don't forget to come back to this page.)
This game is really fun, but there are 
lots of other ideas in this section.

Are you back?
Now click on the section that says FREE ACTIVITIES.
(If you click the link below it will take you to one 
of the free activities. Be sure to come back!)
This is a great All About Me activity.
Copy it and use it right now.

While I am gone have fun
clicking and copying.

October 18, 2012

Practicing Retirement

For the next two weeks I will be practicing retirement.

Last Sunday we left for a two week cruise. 
After a long flight from Dallas 
we arrived in Venice.

We boarded our ship and 
began our cruise to several Greek islands.

 Next week, we end up in Rome.
Then another long flight home. 

This is the island of Corfu, Greece.
While there we will be learning to cook a classic 
Greek dinner....then eating it!

So much to see and so little time. 

We will spend some time on the Isle of Capri.
I wonder if we will see Cary Grant?
If you don't know who he is, you are too young!

You should check out the DVD of
An Affair to Remember.

Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr....
I don't know whether they were in Italy or Greece
or maybe along the coast of France....
but it really doesn't matter.
It is a wonderful love story.
Warning....Have tissues close at hand.

October 11, 2012

How to make a Step Book

Here is another of my favorites 
Read, Write, and Publish.

This is how to make a step-book.

Step-books are great for recording life cycles.
Butterflies and frogs are easy to do if you use 
CTP mini bulletin board called Life Cycles.
All the pictures are there.

Another use is for teaching ordinal words: 
first, next, then, and last.
I made this book to go with the reader,
Tess Builds a Snowman.
The pages inside show the order
in which the snowman is built.

This is the Five Little Monkeys book that I posted a few weeks ago.
It is good for teaching counting forward and backwards.

This is an "All About Me" book.
It is great for getting to know the kids in your class.

In our class, everyone is "thumb-body " special.

You can also use a step-book to sequence the events in a story.
This is from the reader
Who Will Help".
You will find that no one is willing to help with the work.
But, everyone is willing to help with the eating.
Does that sound familiar?

Take a giant step and make 
a step-book with your class.

October 3, 2012

How to make a Pop-Up book

Oldies but Goodies
Some books never get so old that they don't have great ideas.
is one of those oldies. 

If you want ideas for pop-up books, step books, flip books,
and many more you can find the instructions here.

Close this window

Here is how to make a pop-up book.

When I saw the new 6" robot cut -outs I immediately thought 
they would perfect for a pop-up.
Close this window

All I needed was a poem to go with the cut-out.
You can "Google" anything and find just what you need.
I found the perfect poem for my book.

My Robot's Misbehaving

My robot's misbehaving.
It won't do as I say.
It will not dust the furniture
or put my toys away.

My robot never helps me
with homework or my chores.
It doesn't do my laundry
and neglects to clean my floors.

It claims it can't cook dinner.
It never makes my bed.
No matter what I ask of it,
it simply shakes its head.

My robot must be broken.
I'll need to get another.
Until that day, I have to say,
I'm glad I have my mother.
…Kenn Nesbitt

Here is another "Google" find.

are one of nature's most fragile things
but just look what they can do
when they stick together.

(For the answer....
up pops a 

Take a look at all of the cut-outs in the on-line catalog at .
Quick search for cut-outs.  
You will find plenty!

Google a poem and make your own pop-up book.

September 17, 2012

Puppets at the Dollar Store

Any thing on a stick can become a puppet.

You don't have to spend a lot of money on puppets.

My personal favorites are made from 
things that I picked up at the Dollar Store.

Add some hair and wiggly eyes to a fly-swatter 
and you have Felicia Fly-Swatter.
She is very fancy. She has a cute bow in her hair. 
She even has a hyphenated last name!

Kids can use her to find 
colors, numbers, letters, etc. in the room.

Felicia comes with rules.  
Make sure you determine the rules first.
You cannot swat your friend no matter
 how many letters or numbers or colors he has on him.

This is Dusty.
He has wiggly eyes and a pom pom nose.
You can find all kinds and colors of feather dusters 
at the Dollar Store.

Give Dusty to one of the kids and have him 
dust off a good book for you to read to the class.

This is my favorite.
Of course, the little girl is my favorite,
 but I like the puppet too.

It is a toilet brush with wiggly eyes and a pom pom nose.
Get it out when it is clean up time.
Sing along....
Clean up time.
Clean up time.
Everyone helps at clean up time.

This is a garden glove.

It is stuffed with batting.
The base is a spatula. That holds the glove in place when you move it around.
At the base of the spatula is a rubber band
 to hold the glove on. 
Add a bandana for a little extra fun.

I really like this puppet. 
You can use it to give someone a "High 5" 
for doing something special.

Or you can give someone a pat on the back.

Or you can wave hello or goodbye.

Or you can just take all the puppets and play with them.

Have fun at the Dollar Store.
Puppets are everywhere.
Pick up some wiggly eyes and a glue gun.
Then all you have to do is use your imagination!