How does our garden grow?

No silverbells or cockleshells, or “pretty maids,” but the Spousal Unit is rather contrary. Hah!

Some of the things I love are the corn:

and the Concord grapes:

What are some of your garden favorites? @ me on Twitter!

The bounty, no mutiny

A short and tasty update on just a few of the things we harvested from our garden. I say garden like it’s some cute little suburban thing but the total amount of land devoted to growing our own foods must be at least an acre, if not a bit more. And I have the Spousal Unit to thank for it. Gardening is his hobby and passion. Eating is mine.

OUR 6TH ANNUAL GIVE SOMETHING AWAY DAY POST! by Kim Pfennigwerth

I love this altruistic event that Kim and Darlene teamed up to do every year! Go forth and spread kindness…

Darlene Beck-Jacobson

Hooray! Five times we have given books and other items away to recognize this special day and we are back a sixth time to do it again!  After all, what is better for our hearts, our souls, and our spirits than to be part of giving something away.

So for anyone who hasn’t read my past posts on Darlene’s blog, Give Something Away Day is July 15th. I love a day that encourages us to give something away. After all, you can declutter, dejunk, and lighten your own load. You can also celebrate this day giving away a kindness. You can give away your time with a phone call, check-in on a neighbor, or share a lunch with a friend. How wonderful does lunch out sound after this past year of staying so secluded? Even a picnic lunch that maintains a social distance sounds delicious.

With the pandemic…

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Book Giveaway: SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE by Cathy Ballou Mealey

My sweet and funny friend Cathy Balou Mealey has a new book and it’s adorable! Go to Kathy Temean’s blog for a chance to win a copy.

Writing and Illustrating

Cathy Ballou Mealey has a new picture book SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE, illustrated by KELLY COLLIER and published by Kids Can Press. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Cathy and Kelly.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and receive an…

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Challenge yourself

Because I wasn’t swamped and stressed enough with deadlines last month, I decided to try an illustrated journaling challenge on Skillshare.

Some people say that doing art lowers their stress level, but I don’t find that the case for me because I’m very critical of my own work. Despite that, it turned out to be surprisingly fun. And because I didn’t hate the results too much, I thought I’d share a few with you.

Let me know if you try this yourself! I’d love to see what drawings you come up with.

Not-so-magic, the gatherings

We went to our very first social gathering since February 2020. It was a retirement party, and while we’re glad we went, it completely wiped me out (well, that on top of some mess that an organization I volunteer for is undergoing, AND on top of the fact that my dad passed out from heatstroke, fell, and broke his clavicle). I actually napped (involuntarily) before dinner.

While I know many people are eager to gather again, I haven’t changed from my introverted self. If anything, the quarantine/lockdown reinforced my homebody tendencies. I think these couple of funnies express me pretty well. 😆

Oh, and also, I got my newsletter for the latest quarter out. Phew. I know, the excitement never ends!

Here’s hoping you have your own kind of exciting (or not) holiday weekend!

Class-y!

How is it that every Friday catches me by surprise? And yet it does.

I’ve been busy trying to make deadlines (and beat them), so I forgot to plan for today’s post. But, I want to tell you about some awesome classes I’ve been taking. I’m a huge believer in lifelong education. The Spousal Unit says I have too many hobbies but I love learning new things and pushing neuroplasticity to the limit.

I’m currently doing a fun class on illustrated journaling taught by Dylan Mierzwinski. Here are some of the drawings I did.

Skillshare has some of the best classes for creatives. I highly recommend them for stress-free learning of the visual arts.

Another program I love for learning is Masterclass. While they offer a range of courses from cooking to filmography to space exploration and more, I mostly take their classes on writing, gleaning wisdom from Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Billy Collins, Salman Rushdie, etc. @ me on Twitter if you want me to give you a guest pass to try a class out!

I leave you with a lovely quote from Billy Collins: “Your page is always lit with the candles of the past.” and I might add, this candle of the past illuminates the path to your future.

PPBF: LOUIS hosts a GIVEAWAY

I adore this book! Go to Julie’s blog post for a chance to win!

julie rowan-zoch

Today is World Picnic Day and LOUIS will be hosting picnics with his picture book friends – and stuffies – all week! I’ll post pictures on Instagram where anyone (in the US) can comment – on any of the week’s posts – for a chance to win. Deadline is Thursday, 6/24/21 12pm MDT. Winner will be announced on the next Perfect Picture Book Friday!

But let me introduce you to his stuffie-guests and the friends they brought along for the picture book picnic today! Meet Elk, Penny, Wolfie, H. Hog and his elephant – and Pooh, of course!

Shrunken Treasures, by Scott Nash, Candlewick, 2016: The plots of nine classic stories are summarized in this collection of silly verses.

Maggie and Wendel: Imagine Everything!, by Cori Doerrfeld, S&S, 2016: Illustrations and easy-to-read text portray a young brother and sister as they spend an afternoon imagining great adventures together.

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These are a few of my favorite…social media accounts

I love nature and all its wonders. But I’m not the best photographer due to lack of interest (even though I was in the photography club in high school…which was longer ago than many of you have been alive 😂😐) and lack of a professional grade camera. Oh, and the lack of time. “Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor writer, not a photographer!”

I do, however, follow a number of people/accounts online featuring stunning nature photography (and videos). Below are some of my favorites:

Cindy’s blog is about the only non-writing-related blog I visit anymore…that tells you something about how highly I think of it!

Joel Sartore is the founder of the @Natgeo Photo Ark, a 25-year project to show the world the beauty of biodiversity and inspire action to save species.

BBC Earth needs no introduction.

Beverly Cochran is a VA-based photographer.

Guardlife Studio supports various organizations.

Kristin Wig posts artful nature images

Michael Bryant sells his photos and leads tours and is a personal guy.

Jesse Gordon is a CT-based photographer.

USA_Naturehippys gather landscape and nature photos from many different accounts.

Me, I mainly just take photos with my phone…far from professional but when you live in a property as gorgeous as this, who needs a better camera? 😉

Wishing you a beauty-filled weekend!

Short and sweet

Just a very quick post today to remind you that my next newsletter is coming up soon!

If you want a chance to win one of these sets of super cute LEGO bicycles

to celebrate the 1st birthday of TWO BICYCLES IN BEIJING

sign up for my newsletter (which I don’t send out very often…like 4-5 times a year maybe) to be entered in the drawing!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!