Saturday, January 29, 2011

Listen to What I Hear.

There are so many sounds – it should be easy to pick a few of my favorite.  The task is actually a little harder than you might think.  Most of the sounds I enjoy are soothing or spark a memory of some sort.
Before I reveal what sounds make me happy, imagine what the world would be like without sounds.  Very quiet.  Imagine how much you could get done, if sounds didn’t distract you.  I know for me, it’s particularly hard to work on my homework if the TV is on.  Even if I’m not looking at it, the sound causes me to lose my focus.  Think about what sounds you would miss.  Sometimes you associate pleasant feelings with a particular sound – that would no longer be true if you could not hear.  You would have to find some other means of association, like scents.
Some of these sounds, I will have to explain to you.  Never-the-less, they are my favorite:
1.    Honk!  My phone makes a particular sound when someone texts me.  It’s not the most sensitive sound, but sometimes I find myself wishing it would go off.  I enjoy hearing from the people who care about me.
2.    Michael Buble!
3.    My little brother’s scrambled words.
4.    “I love you”
5.    Rain on a tin roof
6.    Fireworks
7.    Fire crackling
8.    Snow underneath your feet
9.    Leaves crunching as you walk through them
10. A baby laughing
Write your favorite sounds here.  – The Happy Book

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Follow Your Nose...

When describing my nose, my sister uses the phrase, “cute as a button”.
Cliché…I know.  But, what can I say…it is rather adorable.
There are so many things you can do with your nose.  For instance…try typing a letter to a friend, using your nose.  (No back spaces!)  : )
Not the typical use for the centerpiece of your face; but one…no matter how senseless.
Your nose can be an accessory…or include accessories.
Main purpose of your nose?…to breathe. 
Try this…think about how less descriptive we would be if we could not smell things. 
“I saw her making a fresh pot of coffee.”
“It’s a brown liquid, very hot.”
“I think it’s ready, I heard the timer go off.”
Would coffee really be that appealing if it didn’t smell so good?
Something that smells so good can be taken for granted.
This is like many other simple things in life.  You wouldn’t miss it unless you no longer had it.
I compiled a list of my favorite smells.  Without them…the saying, “follow your nose”, would cease to exist.
1.    Fresh, hot, caffeinated coffee in the morning
2.    A bathroom that smells like body spray
3.    The ground after it rains
4.    Crayons in use
5.    Puppies breath when they lick your face
6.    Freshly cut grass
7.    Ice cream shop
8.    A barn
9.    Giorgio Armani Men’s cologne on a man
10.  Baby powder on a baby
Write your favorite smells here.  – The Happy Book

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I’m not the type of person that jumps in the car and heads north…hoping to run into some wild crazy adventure.  For the most part I like to have a plan.
I don’t need an itinerary…but having an idea of what you want to do can be helpful.  Knowing when you want to go and where you want to go, can also be helpful.
My knight-in-clunky-armor and I decided to visit the historical coastal breeze of Charleston, South Carolina.  We planned to go on MLK day, just because I happened to have that day off…and it seemed as good a day as any.
After weeks of minimal preparation, my knight discovered it was supposed to rain on Monday. 
Sunday, I drove over to his house to get breakfast before church.  We checked the weather again, and saw that the weather man had not changed his mind on it being wet.
I had a crazy idea.  And one out of character, I might add.
…Lucky Moment # 1:  The Crazy Idea
“Why don’t we go today?”
…I continued with my argument…
“There’s not much going on…it doesn’t take very long to get there…we won’t have a lot of free time for a while, because of school…we should snag the opportunity while we have it…”
We packed up our happy faces and hit the road…
…our travels consisted of the usual bantering, picking, and mind-bottling fellowship.
…Lucky Moment # 2:  H.L. Hunley

Before you get to the main attraction in Charleston, you’ll pass a museum that holds a submarine (the H.L. Hunley) and all its cool artifacts.  There are so many personal stories involved with this Suc-ailure… 
NEW WORD: Suc-ailure is an event that combines both success and failure; similar to the expression ‘bitter sweet’.
…it’s hard not to pass it up.
When they discovered the H.L. Hunley, they had a couple options:
1.    Leave the submarine undisturbed in its grave, perhaps protecting the site in perpetuity.
2.    Conduct an underwater archaeological survey and other testing, then re-bury the vessel and protect the site. OR
3.    Recover the vessel and conduct the necessary archaeological and scientific studies and conserve the submarine for future generations.
Which one would you have chosen? 
Leave your vote in the comment box below.
They ended up choosing the third option because with Hunley’s location known, it would be almost physically and economically impossible to maintain constant protection against plunderers, storms and other adversaries.  Furthermore, few answers would be found through simply documenting the vessel’s outer hull because the answers to its greatest mysteries are entombed within the submarine.
Even though they decided to preserve the submarine, they still chose to follow Hunley tradition.  Each time the Hunley sank with her crew, she was brought up so that the crew could have a proper burial.  And each time, the Hunley was refitted for service.  As a result, the mission of Hunley Commission is to make sure the Hunley is brought back to the surface so that this crew can have a proper burial and that their vessel be refitted for service.  However this time, her service will not only be to educate future generations of her incredible history, but to convey the attributes she symbolizes, including valor, courage, sacrifice, commitment and integrity.
Submarine Fan?
…Lucky Moment # 3:  A.W. Shucks

As hungry as we were…we chose a restaurant my knight had been to before.  We dug through our devotional while devouring fried green tomatoes, stuffed shrimp, seafood casserole, and hush puppies!
In 1978, before Charleston became known as an international tourist destination, A.W. Shuck’s opened on The Market.  It was a place for locals, where one could get a place of fried shrimp, a dozen raw oysters, or an ice cold pitcher of beer.  Just about any Charlestonian can tell you stories about the early days of “Shuck’s”.  What most locals don’t know, however, is the colorful history behind the address A.W. Shuck’s calls home.
To find out such fascinating stories, visit A.W. Shucks in Charleston and learn what you can.  (I’ll give you a hint…it had something to do with Prohibition!)
…Lucky Moment # 4:  Big Al

After we ate, we started to walk towards the market.  A lot of the vendors weren’t out because of the weather.
Well among the usual site seeing…we came across a horse!  If you’ve ever been to Charleston, you know about the carriage tours.  ‘Shoed’ in around every block stands or marches a horse; trailing behind it, the carriage.  I’ve never had the privilege of taking the tour.  They are on the expensive side, but it’s something I plan to do! 
I love horses. 
I love history and tours. 
I love Charleston.
If you love at least one of the four things above, then you MUST try this out.
Clippity clop your way back to Colonial times where a horse-drawn carriage tour will reveal over 300 years of history including antebellum mansions, churches, and cobblestone streets!
Big Al was his name…the horse we ran in to, that is.  He was eating starbursts.  What’s so fantastic about the horses that Old South Carriage Co. uses is that each of them has a unique personality.
…Lucky Moment # 5:  Rainbow Road

One of the most often photographed and painted scenes in Charleston, this stretch of private homes dates to the mid-1700s.  The fourteen homes are painted in every color of the rainbow, and although they’re not open to the public, they’re a not-to-miss sight.
What I love about this placement of houses is the chance for romance.  It was probably my favorite part of the whole trip.  Across from the houses, there’s a walk way next to the ocean.  Hand in hand we walked; I day dreamed about my future.  There is a park enclosing the end of a small journey.  We sat on one of the many benches facing the water.  This is where I found my happiness that day.  For just a moment… all of Charleston stood still.  The wind continued to blow slightly, and birds continued to chirp, but every other person paused.
Rainbow Road is magical.

View Larger Map

…Lucky Moment # 6:  The Battery (Waterfront Park)

Last year for my birthday, we went to Charleston.  While indulging ourselves with Italian ice, we saw the Blue Angels perform in the skies above the Waterfront Park.  This is one of my favorite places in Charleston.  It’s got FAMILY written all over it.  The Pineapple Fountain is one of the many water treats!!  It is tradition to stop by and walk around the fountain…to walk the pier…before we head back to our car.
It would be a great place to have a picnic!  It’s beautiful and there’s always something going on.

…Lucky Moment # 7:  Pralines concludes our trip…
We started heading home.  The day had turned out to be one of many lucky moments…it was a trip I’ll never forget…and one I’m bound to re-live. 
Conclude your trip with pralines like we did!  OH SO DELICIOUS!
What lucky moments have surprised you?  List them here. 
– The Happy Book

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Get messy, make play doh!

A great way to relieve stress – making play doh!  And then playing with it, of course!  I took a HUGE chunk of my Saturday and tried a few recipes out.  You’ll be surprised the kinds of things I ran into…ha. 
…TIPS…from me to you!
Do not try this without supervision... I say that because I had… an… experience…if my w0nderful friend, REBECCA, had not been there to laugh with me through my disappointments and rescue me from what I can only assume would have been a disaster, you would not have gotten my feedback!
Play Doh type 1: Traditional Play Dough
Imagine this being almost store bought…
* 1 cup flour
* 1 cup warm water
* 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
* 1 teaspoon oil
* 1/4 cup salt
* food coloring/kool aid
Mix all ingredients, adding food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from pan and knead until blended smooth. Place in plastic bag or airtight container when cooled; will last for a long time...
Tips from MY experience…
1.    Read the ingredients carefully.  I put …
Tartar Sauce…
Instead of…
CREAM of tartar.
Yes…there were little pickles in my play doh.  Can you imagine?!
2.    Let it cool…
It was NOT fun trying to knead the play doh…I burnt my delicate fingers off!

Play Doh type 2:  Mister Rogers’ Easy Play Dough

It’s not as easy as you think... BUT it uses the least amount of ingredients…

A fast, easy, simple recipe for non-toxic play dough…
* 2 cups flour
* 1 cup water

Mix together well. You can put dry Kool-Aid or Jell-O in the mix if you want colored dough, or use liquid food coloring.

Tips from MY experience…
3.    Use flour on your hands, as a precaution…
This can get sticky…BE AWARE!
4.    Make sure your assistant has a spoon in handy.
I had to have her scrape the play doh off of my hands, that’s how MUCH, was stuck on it.  I looked like a MONSTER.  It almost reminded me of when I created Howard

Play Doh type 3:  No-Cook Clay Dough

* 3 cups flour
* 3 cups salt

Combine ingredients and slowly add water, a little at a time. Mix well with spoon. As mixture thickens, continue mixing with your hands until it has the feel of clay. If it feels too dry, add more water. If it is too sticky, add equal parts of flour and salt.

Tips from MY experience…
This one also got a little sticky…
5.    PUT THE KOOL AID in first!!!!!!!!!!!  This will give it a more defined color!
6.    Use two packets of Kool Aid.

Play Doh type 4:  Edible Peanut Butter Play Dough

This one is exactly how it sounds…and tastes so GOOD!!!

* 1 cup creamy peanut butter
* 1/4 cup honey
* 2 cups of powdered sugar

Mix together until smooth.

Tips from MY experience…
7.    Honest to goodness…taste it!  Taste it while making it…taste it while kneading it…taste it after your finished…and eat your sculptures!!!
8.    For mom’s who need something quick…STICK WITH STORE BOUGHT STUFF, if you’re trying this for the first time…
9.    I prefer to create things with the store bought play doh…the colors are prettier…and it smells like childhood!
10. It still was A LOT of fun to make...
It’s hard to resist the temptation of playdough.  Whip yourself up a batch from scratch or pick up a few containers of the real thing.  Then go to town!  How can you be anything less than happy while squeezing a bright, shiny ball of playdough between your fingers?  - The Happy Book