Friday, March 20, 2015

Blueberry Beenie

Beenie wouldn't have it any other way: he was determined that he and I were going to make a blueberry pie together.

This idea made its way into his cute little head by way of a bedtime story titled Grandma, Grandpa, and Me by Mercer Mayer. In the story, a rodent-like character named Little Critter is dropped off at his grandparents' house for a sleepover.

One highlight of his stay is helping his grandma make a blueberry pie for the country fair. The book's cover shows Little Critter rolling out pie dough with a big bowl of freshly picked blueberries nearby.

Unlike the super-grandma in the story, I will admit to using pie crusts from the dairy case of our friendly neighborhood grocer and canned blueberry pie filling. There just aren't many blueberries ready for picking in Missouri in March, and I wasn't sure Beenie's attention span would hold through the old-fashioned dough-rolling process. (Besides, we had some serious playing to get done that night.)

But just like in the story, we filled a crust with a juicy blueberry filling and sealed it up tight. Just before that, Beenie reminded me to add the same secret ingredient Little Critter's grandma used--so we threw in a little love.

Then we marked it with a "B" for "Beenie" (and "blueberry") and put it in the oven to bake  When it came out piping hot, this is what we had:

But not for long, because here is what happened soon after that:

With a little scoop of ice cream on top, our blueberry pie was a winner just like Little Critter's. Later that night, Beenie crawled in bed between Pa-pa and me for a good night's sleep--another idea he got from Little Critter.

Today, on Pa-pa's and my thirty-fourth wedding anniversary, our little blueberry pie boy turns three years old. So even though our pie is long gone, we will soon be diving into a chocolate cake with blue icing and dinosaur candles.

Somehow, I think Little Critter and his grandma would approve of that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Leprechaun Trivia

Everyone needs a little leprechaun trivia to make the celebration of St. Patrick's Day 2015 complete. While some of the following contain pure Googieness, others come your way with help from "Leprechaun Facts for Kids" at

  1. The leprechaun pictured above is the grandson known on this blog as Pooh. His real name is Patrick. This is why he always celebrates St. Pat's Day with a flourish.
  2. There aren't any girl leprechauns. Patrick will be glad to know this.
  3. Early leprechauns wore red instead of green. So Patrick's Spider Man shirt is totally appropriate for this occasion.
  4. Leprechauns dance a mean Irish jig. This explains so much.
  5. The old-time word for leprechaun was lobaircin, which means "small-bodied fellow." See, Patrick? You are supposed to be small.
  6. Many legends describe leprechauns as "mischievous." Enough said.
  7. There is a connection between leprechauns and gold. Patrick has a nearly-full piggy bank. He also has a collection of international and other "special coins."
  8. While some folks claim authentic leprechaun sightings, others believe leprechauns are mythical. I support the former, citing the photo above as proof. 
  9. Legend has it that a person who catches a leprechaun gets three wishes. Today, Patrick, I will settle for just one: Please come and see me soon. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Dinosaur Named Darryl

--for Beenie--

A dinosaur named Darryl
Sleeps underneath my bed
And listens to the bedtime songs
And stories that are read.
Darryl’s made of plastic
And colored mostly blue.
His tummy’s fat, his tail is flat;
He sticks to me like glue.

His mouth is always open;
His teeth are sharp and white.
By species he’s a T-rex,
And he stalks my room at night.
While I am sound-asleeping,
Darryl guards my door.
He keeps the monsters all away
With one big dino-roar.

He’s there when morning wakes me.
He smiles his lizard grin.
We make our way to breakfast
Where his eyes light up—and then—
He grabs a purple Froot Loop
In his enormous jaws,
Then chews and chomps and scratches
For another with his claws!

I think if there’d been Froot Loops
In prehistoric days,
Then Darryl might have friends around,
And I would be amazed
To have a thousand dinosaurs
For everyone to see--
But  now it’s me and Darryl,
And that’s all right with me!

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Bath Time Rhyme

There is a time in the lives of children when they don't have to be bribed or coerced to take a bath. At that stage, the tub is just another fun venue for imaginative play, with the added advantage that they get to splash.

It was that way with my own children when I first drafted this poem in 1986, and it remains as a steadfast truth today as the family has undergone a little revision to include six grandkids.

This great picture of Beenie and Heero illustrates the joy of bath time. The poem follows. Maybe you would like to share it with a little person you love.

 A Bath Time Rhyme

Some evenings when I take my bath,
then I pretend to be
a fish a-swimming in a school
of five or four or three.
Sometimes I like to jump and splash
and swish my fishy tail,
or glub-glub-glub some bubbles
in a glub-glub bubble trail.

Some evenings when I take my bath,
then I pretend to be
a shark, and all the swimmers run
when they catch sight of me.
I glide through rippling waters,
all sleek and slick and black,
a-circling with my giant fin
and then a-circling back.

Some evenings when I take my bath,
then I pretend to be
an octopus with eight long arms
that look quite spidery.
I wave to all my seaborne friends--
to lobsters, clams, and more--
and ride a seahorse--giddy up!--
across the ocean floor.

Some evenings when I take my bath,
then I pretend to be
a pirate in a pirate's ship
a-sailing out to sea.
I sing "Yo-ho" and off I go
to find my treasure chest
with Jolly Roger waving
as I undertake my quest.

Some evenings when I take my bath,
I'm just a normal kid.
I like to play with rubber ducks
and cups without a lid.
I'll wash with soap and then dry off;
I'll hop in bed, and then
I'll wait until tomorrow night
to do it all again!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bootsie Baker

When Bootsie and Zoomie stay together at Googie's, it means that, at some point, there will be cookie-baking. This first happened last summer, and the bakery re-opened last week when the two of them came to stay for several days.

Since Zoomie has dairy and nut allergies, I looked to the internet for a new, exciting, easy, fast cookie recipe with no milk, butter, or margarine. Fortunately, my search led us to Helen's Raisin Drop Cookies on the allrecipes site.

Since the kids both like raisins and I happened to have some on hand, this was the recipe we tried, and with great results. We halved it out of respect for Pa-pa's and my half-hearted dieting efforts, and ended up with about three and a half dozen small cookies that enabled us to properly honor the warm-cookies-and-milk tradition and leave a dozen or so for the kids to take home and share.

Bootsie dearly loves to commission a step-stool and help with all stages of the cookie-making from start to finish. Here is a chronicle of our process:

First she creamed 1/2 c. Crisco with 3/4 c. sugar; then, she stirred in two eggs, one at a time (she insisted on cracking them herself; that was scary), followed by 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Finally, she mixed in 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 3/4 c. flour, and 1 c. raisins (which I had soaked for about an hour and then drained).

Next (and yes, she is still wearing her nightgown), Bootsie dropped small teaspoonfuls of dough onto our cookie sheet. which we had sprayed with canola spray. Before popping our cookies into the oven, preheated to 350 degrees, she adorned them with some red sprinkles for aesthetic purposes. (This was her idea and not Helen's.)

Helpful Hint: Rather than turning Bootsie loose with the shaker jar, I shook some sprinkles into her spoon, and she dumped them with great finesse onto the little balls of dough. I learned this very helpful tip the hard way, and, sadly, I must come clean and admit that a few sprinkles were harmed in the making of these cookies.

After the cookies baked for about eight minutes, we removed them onto wax paper, leaving only one more step:

As Bootsie demonstrates here, the cookies are at their absolute best dunked into a cup of milk while they are still warm. Even after cooling, they remain soft and moist, and the recipe has found a permanent home in Googie's recipe box. We will definitely be making them again.

When Zoomie woke up, he corroborated our assessment that Helen's Raisin Drop Cookies were definitely keepers. We thank you, Helen, whoever you are.

However, although they are very easy to mix and bake, they are in fact very hard to keep. If you decide to try them (and we highly recommend that you do), I guarantee you they won't last long.