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The Game May 20, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Less IS More, People.

Wikipedia ~ Hartland Vermont (in Public Domain)

When we visited Vermont as children, we enjoyed rambling around my grandparents’ house, sneaking into the pantry to steal homemade cookies when the adults weren’t looking.

We explored dirt roads, hiked Mount Ascutney, descended deep into Quechee Gorge,  headed up “the hill” for picnics, and swam in the brook next to their house.

But we also loved playing The Game!

To start The Game, the adults would search around the house for “prizes” for the center of the table ~ sticks of gum, pads of paper, pocket change, rolls of lifesavers, penny candy, pencils, pens, etc.

Adults and children gathered in a circle around the table and my cousin Bobby would deal out one deck of cards to the players. Using a second deck, Bobby would turn over and call a card, “Queen of Spades.”

Whoever had the Queen of Spades would trade it in for one of the prizes.

If the remaining prizes didn’t appeal when a player’s card was called, the player could steal a prize from another player who had what they wanted.

The Game continued until all cards had been called.

Wikipedia ~ Vermont Country Store (in Public Domain)

Being kids with limited income, we liked money the best, especially with an old-timey General Store just down the road selling penny candy.

We would grab the quarters, dimes, and nickels and hope to hang on to them until the game ended.

If we succeeded, we exchanged them at the store for root beer barrels, wax soda pop bottles, bubble gum, flying saucers, licorice whips, caramels, and cinnamon balls.

Having adults playing along enhanced The Game.

When Bobby called one of their cards, they would wander around, deciding what to select as we tried to hide our precious coins from view.

Instead of snatching the coveted shiny new quarter from our stash, they would say, “Oh, an old pencil, with no eraser, and plenty of teeth marks down the sides.  Just what I wanted.” They would grab the chewed up stub (like it was the last life preserver on a sinking ship) and sit back down.

We would giggle madly at their goofy antics . . .  who would choose an old chewed up pencil or a penny instead of a shiny new quarter?!

As The Game drew to its inevitable conclusion, each child hoped to have the LAST card called so s/he would be able to grab the most coveted prize.

Somethings never change.


Our nieces and nephews are spread  out from New Jersey to Colorado to Florida.  Over the years, we’ve played The Game with them on a regular basis.  It’s always a hit.

The kids love getting new and exciting gifts and prizes and I love clearing extraneous items and clutter from my house ~ stickers, stuffed animals, ceramic zebras, books, magnets, small frames, candy, gum, jewelry, arts and crafts, Cracker Jack prizes, ornate boxes, CD’s, DVD’s, etc.

Sometimes old games need new rules.

When my nieces and nephews were younger and their card was called, I asked them to spell an age-appropriate word or do a math problem or answer a multiple choice question before they could “pick a prize.”

They often wanted to keep playing and answering questions even after the prizes were gone.

* * * * *

Related post:  Sidey’s Weekend Theme ~ Something Old, Something New (View from the Side)

Gimme A Hand May 18, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Happiness, People.

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.  Jazz hands.  Too much time on my hands.   Hand me downs.  Hand outs.  Hand ups.  Hand in hand. A handy handyman.  

Hands down . . .

All hands on deck . . .  

Lend a hand . . .

Hands help us express ourselves to the world through body language, art, music . . .

Or just give us something to hide behind when we’ve had enough . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Hands (WP Prompt) * Hands (Perfecting Motherhood) * Hands (Walking in Beauty)

The $100 Startup May 18, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Life Balance, People.

Are you where you want to be?

Doing what you want to do? 

If not, what’s holding you back?

Imagine a life where all your time is spent on the things you want to do.

Don’t give in to FEAR.  Just do it! 

In preparing to write this book, Chris identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and from that group he’s chosen to focus on the 50 most intriguing case studies.

In nearly all cases, people with no special skills discovered aspects of their personal passions that could be monetized, and were able to restructure their lives in ways that gave them greater freedom and fulfillment.

For more information: visit The $100 Startup . . . or meet Chris in person as he travels around the world on tour.  He’ll be the guy serving cupcakes!

* * * * *

About the Author:  Chris Guillebeau is a writer, entrepreneur, and traveler. During a lifetime of self-employment and ventures ranging from online publishing to volunteer work in West Africa, he has visited nearly every country on earth. Host of the World Domination Summit, an international gathering of creative people, Chris is focused on encouraging individual quests while also “giving back.” His main website, ChrisGuillebeau.com, is visited by more than 300,000 people a month.

Related posts:  The Core Elements of a Conscious Business (Lynn Fang) * Living The Transformation (Lynn Fang) 

3 Cool Tips For Your Next Backyard Bash May 17, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Nature, People.

Next time you’re planning a gathering of the clans in the park or your own backyard, 3 Cool Tips to consider:

(1) UPCYCLE an old t-shirt into an instant no-sew apron to protect yourself from barbecue sauce splatters and impromptu food fights.

Zen and Genki posted a super video demonstration:  Upcycling an Old T-Shirt into a No-Muss, No-Fuss, No-Sew Apron.  Creating tie-dyed aprons from white t-shirts would be a great craft project for budding young artists.


(2) SHUCK a few dozen ears of corn . . . and cook them in a cooler.

Need to cook corn-on-the-cob for a crowd?  Cooler Corn to the rescue! Put 1-2 large soup pots in a  cooler.  Fill the pots with shucked ears.  Pour boiling water over the corn and put lids on the pots.  Close the cooler.

Relax and have a beer . . . or two.


When you sit down to dinner (30 – 90 minutes later), just open the cooler and serve.   The corn will remain hot for hours.  Perfect for large barbecues with far less mess than grilling.

SAFETY NOTE from Snopes.Com:  Don’t Cook Corn In Plastic Coolers.

(3) EJECT blood-sucking vampiric pests that try to hijack the party.

An e-mail recommended this safe easy way to remove ticks:  Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball.  Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20). The tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.

Unless someone is allergic to soap, this method won’t harm them.  Perfect tip to share with anyone with children, hunters or dogs in their life!

SAFETY NOTE from Snopes.com:  Don’t get Ticked Off . . . Use Tweezers!

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Litmus Test For Love May 16, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, People.

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to our own.  ~ Robert Heinlein

If we’re focused on THEM and adding to THEIR happiness . . . it’s probably LOVE. 

If we’re focused on wanting THEM to make US happy . . . it’s probably not.

What say you?

Disabling The Default Comment Setting May 16, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Life Balance.

After the “great feedback” it received last week, WP launched an update to subscribe us, by default, to comment threads whenever we post a comment.

After summarizing the experiment WP has been running for the past week or so, Beau Lebens explained the launch of the new default setting . . . AND how to disable it:

By default, posting a comment will now subscribe you to receive follow-up comments via email for that specific post, keeping you updated on the conversation.

This is indicated by the checked box in the comment form.

If you have a WordPress.com account, you now have a global setting to change this so that by default you will not be subscribed.  

If you don’t have an account, then you can create one over here.

To read the whole article:  Stay In The Conversation.

If, like me, you do NOT want to be subscribed to comment threads by default, go to E-Mail Delivery Settings . . . scroll down to Follow Comments and UNCHECK the box.

Then SAVE your changes. 

What an EASY way to keep weeds out of our garden!

After changing the default setting, you can still follow comment threads on intriguing posts by checking the box when you post your comment.   

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Weed Your Garden May 15, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Nature.

Our minds are fertile soil . . . growing whatever we plant.

We can plant flowers that bloom and sustain us through life’s storms.

Or we can allow weeds to grow and flourish, choking out the good.

It’s our choice.

Remember to weed your garden.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Plant Flowers, Pull Weeds (Pocket Perspectives)

Feeling Blue May 14, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.

“Artists can color the sky red because they know it’s blue. Those of us who aren’t artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we’re stupid.” ~ Jules Feiffer

“Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.” ~ L. Frank Baum

“One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you’re feeling blue is that he doesn’t try to find out why.”

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, Rejoice, for your soul is alive.” ~ Eleanora Duse

“The real miracle is not to walk on water, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child, our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

If you’re going to be blue, this is the right kind of blue to be. 

Related posts:  WP Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Blue (WP Prompt)

A Change Would Do ME Good May 13, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Mindfulness.

Last Sunday, Patricia shared a pertinent quote on Today, I Think:  

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

~ Wayne Dyer

So true. 

I can look at my father moving into assisted living without my mom as “the end of the world” as we know it . . . or I can envision him starting a new chapter in his life with exciting challenges AND potential rewards.

Guess which thought is apt to make me happier?


Dad’s been languishing at home, doing little but reading, watching ball games, and visiting doctors. 

What if this change of scenery inspires him to do more?  What if doing more makes him feel more alive?  What if feeling more alive makes him want to try even more new challenges?  You get the idea.

Despair is hidden arrogance:  I have seen the future and it doesn’t work.   

But what if the future has a few surprises up its sleeve?

Things we haven’t imagined or envisioned . . . due to being preoccupied with “worst case scenarios.”

It ain’t over ’til it’s over. 

It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.

Aah . . . that’s better!  (I mean it this time).  😉

Juggling With Three Hands May 13, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Happiness, Poetry.

I am finding this Mother’s Day harder to manage than its predecessors.

I’m juggling with 3 hands 
Unable to keep up with balls
Falling faster than they fly.

I want to find the good again.

But I can’t seem to find my way home.

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how.  We guess.  We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark. ~ Agnes De Mille 

Aah . . . that’s (a bit) better!