Still Sisters

This story starts in the spring of 1965…when I became a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority at Central Michigan University. A looong time ago, right? I made many strong friendships from that time until I graduated in 1968….with new sisters joining every year. A few years ago some of them decided to have a get-together at someone’s home and invite the sorority sisters that they had known in college. This June I went to another such reunion where 22 of my sorority sisters from about 45 years ago gathered. It took no time at all to revert to old times and personalities…it was fantastic. We ate, we talked, and then got in a circle and shared what we have been doing since graduation. It fills my heart that the AX bond is just as strong as it ever was….nearness and time has not affected the closeness at all.

Here we are and I will leave you with:

Happy Parenting,

D and C

…and yes college is worth it:)

all 22 of us

Happiness Tuesdays #26

Happiness Counts!


I am beginning Happiness Tuesdays to tell you some things that make me happy and to share with you quotes, websites, and photos to make you happy!

Happiness Tuesdays #26

This is where I usually share three things that make me happy, but today I will share 1 thing three times that makes me very happy:)

WHAT did you say???

1)  The book that Chad and I have been working on…for what seems like forever…has been published!!! The official publication date was June 22, 2011.

two high-fives:)


2) The book is now available on Amazon … how authorish does that make us feel?!?

3) We already have one lovely review at Amazon:)

Here is where you can find our book:

How to Break 10 Common Childhood Myths

by Diane and Chad Finkbeiner

our book

If any of you bloggers out there would be interested in doing a review, we will be doing a giveaway of 5 books. Mention in your comments that you’d like to review and you’ll be entered!

Here is the product description from Amazon:

Product Description

A little boy is passing by the toy aisle in the grocery store. His eyes light up and his adrenaline starts flowing. His mom can already see where this is headed. “Not this time Honey, we’re here for groceries today.” “BUT, MOM!!” Children, like this little boy, have an amazing gift of being able to believe in things that aren’t real- myths of all sorts. Might your children believe myths like “No Means Yes”, “Responsibility- What’s That?” , and “Don’t Worry, They’ll Say it Again”? How to Break 10 Common Childhood Myths, is based on a series of seminars, which aid parents and teachers in raising responsible and productive children in a non-threatening way. Parents and educators will be given tips and techniques to regain control in their relationships with their children. Through lighthearted family and classroom anecdotes, a mother/son teaching duo give real life examples of parenting, both good and bad. These anecdotes help bring the advice to life allowing parents to see how to embrace the art of parenting or teaching in a whole new way. It’s a unique blend of Supernanny meets Love and Logic with a touch of The Cosby Show.

Happy Parenting!

D and C

Cat Nap

isn't he sweet?

are you talkin' to me?

Love this cat!!! He belonged to son #2, Scott, when he lived in the fraternity house at Michigan State.  He was a kitten at a horse ranch, and the owner told Scott he could take him home since the horses would probably step on him anyway…ewww! So this little cutie became a fraternity cat….rode on the guys’ shoulders, took community showers to get the beer off his paws, became friendly to everyone! Eventually, kitty decided to wander at night and Scott had to go get him. Cat got to come home and live with me….hurray…what a great cat, he is really the best!  …and the best part, Scott let Cat stay with me when Scott moved into his own house. I told you he was a sweet guy:)



but, catnip makes me nuts!!

hey, is your lap free?

please, don't wake me up...

I'm usually pretty mellow...


you can't find me, right?

He loves playing with presents, the boxes and the paper and ribbons…..but he has been the best present for me:)

Pets are important for kids, but just as important for adults. Have fun with the ‘extra’ members of your family!


Happy Parenting!

D and C


All About an Angel

Are you ready for a tattoo confessional?   You are correct, if you remember the age of this blogger, that a first tattoo at this age is – if nothing else – surprising! ! My son Chad has designed tattoos for years for himself and for others. He was working on drawing up some art work for his gf and himself and asked if I’d like one. Ha, ha…no way, goofy boy…but go ahead and design one for me anyway.

Do you remember the story of my honey F2 who has been gone for more than 14 years now?  We met in college and after attending his fraternity ‘ball’ called The Red Carnation, he presented me with this piece of birch bark:

and, yes, this is a recent photo since I have kept it for 45 years!!

F2 and I both had red carnations as symbols for our fraternity and sorority, so for flower occasions over the years…I always received lovely red carnations:

After F2′s passing, my delightful 2 boys would always include 3 red carnations in any bunch of flowers they gave me…one for each of my ’3 boys’….so special!

So after Chad showed me the drawing he had made for me.. an angel with our wedding date hidden in it and a red carnation…It was so perfect and so me…that…I…did…it!!

Yup, I actually got a tattoo, for me and only me…I love it! Now, you may see the drawing. Isn’t it wonderful?

beautiful, right?

This really has nothing to do with happy parenting…oh, wait, yes it does! If you can have 2 young men who are so thoughtful to remember the meaning of the red carnation and then design something perfect for you, something must be right!  Love you, guys!!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Happiness Tuesdays #25

Happiness Counts!


I am beginning Happiness Tuesdays to tell you some things that make me happy and to share with you quotes, websites, and photos to make you happy!


Happiness Tuesdays #25

Here are three things that make me happy:


1) Summer is finally here!!!

the family plus gramma enjoying summer sunshine


2) The view from my patio… it:)


3) People who think of others…hurray!

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Happy Parenting!

D and C



GPS Drivers Can Go

As a follow-up to our last post….here is a little more about how to encourage successful writing in children. This particular tip is more for grades 3 or 4 and up. It’s called:

“GPS Drivers Can Go”

a reminder for kids...discuss actual letters with your children...

This is an acronym I used with my kids in school after seeing the kinds of results we received on state required tests and the pieces that seemed to be missing. We constantly talked about how important  content, details, and voice are in attracting attention from your audience. Kids, on these tests, have to write (in one session) on a theme, such as integrity, courage, or responsibility. They must focus on a time when they showed this trait. Most children forget everything they have learned in class about what parts to put in these writing pieces…either nerves or let’s just get done!!  So we developed “GPS Drivers Can Go” to help them remember what to add:


G  -  great lead…suck your audience in

P  -  paragraphs…show them

S  -  similes, metaphors, and other literary devices

D  -  details, details, details

C  -  Conversations with quotation marks

G  -  great closing…bring it all together


This acronym might help some writers remember to add certain pieces to improve their writing. They need to put the acronym on the paper somewhere and check the letters off only when they can show you where that piece is in their paper.


Just a thought for all you parents and teachers out there. Let me know what you think – is this helpful at all?


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Summer Brain Drain

Is everyone ready for summer?? Ready…set…go!!!  Fun is around every corner, and it seems as if the kids are totally on speed mode or totally on lazy mode without much in between.

As a teacher or a parent or a homeschool mom…have you noticed the lag in learning that happens with children after a delightful summer vacation?

If you can have your children give only 30 minutes a day…and it can be separated into shorter chunks…their learning lapses in the fall can be shortened. Here’s a plan to try:


1) reading  -  20 minutes a day

Depending on the age of your child, you can read with them or to them or just monitor. Use a timer and have them tell you what they have read when they are finished. Anything is fair game: magazines, comic books, chapter books, picture books – have them find what they like at the library or even online.


2) writing  -  10 minutes a day

Use the timer again and work on both types of writing, mechanics of printing or cursive and creative. Children and adults both need to practice their handwriting – illegible work leads to poorer grades. Yes, kids need practice with their keyboarding skills as well, but that should be an extra time session if you wish. There will be more on creative writing in the next post:)

manuscript or cursive...use the style your school uses, Palmer, D'Nealian?

3) math  -  alternate the 10 minutes with writing days

Children absolutely need to practice their facts. Having them memorized makes every next step in math so much easier. It’s not the learning of the facts that’s important, but that it brings a basis of knowledge that lets kids focus on the new standard…like fractions, decimals, algebra, geometry.

If they don’t have to concentrate on figuring out the basic math facts, they can more easily learn what’s next.  So… 10 minutes every other day, using flash cards or fact sheets. These facts should be “instantly” recognized..within 2 seconds..otherwise the kids are just figuring them out. That is definitely the first step, but the goal is instant memory.

adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing


With 30 minutes a day, you have 210 minutes a week, which leads to at least 2100 minutes over the summer! Do you think 35 hours of practice will help your child this summer? Give it a try…it certainly can’t hurt! The timer will be your best friend, but make sure you keep it out of sight:)


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Happiness Tuesdays #24

Happiness Counts!


I am beginning Happiness Tuesdays to tell you some things that make me happy and to share with you quotes, websites, and photos to make you happy!

Happiness Tuesdays #24

Here are three things that make me happy:


1) flowers..when I don’t have to take care of them  :-)

Peony new favorite

2) honoring and encouraging colleagues

the theme of the celebration...One Smart Cookie

the honoree and his family

the whole school

enjoying the program

everyone singing, "We Appreciate You"

3) uplifting messages:

“Being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before.”

Edwin Elliot


Happiness comes in all kinds of shapes. Find what makes you happy and share it with your family. Have them share their happiness with you.  It’s all good :)    Put your ‘wonderful self’ out there for all to see!!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Because I can….summer:)

Because I finally figured out how to scan with the new updated computer…thought I needed  a new scanner…didn’t..just needed new software that      isn’t included in the updated package!! Arghhh…who knew?  After 2 hours of messing around with it: SUCCESS!!  So, since I can now scan, I thought I’d share with you the photos I wanted to share last time:

canoeing on Torch Lake

in the lake by our house...

on a dock at Long Lake

riding in an antique Chris Craft

at the beach, Pacific Ocean

Atlantic Ocean...brrr!

hanging out by our favorite tree, visiting Quebec City


a picnic in our made-up fort, Traverse City



Having fun in the summer is the ultimate memory maker whether you travel or stay at home. Make the most of it!!   Have fun:)

Happy Parenting!

D and C


PS:  SOOOO excited, Posh on a Budget spotlighted our blog!! Here’s her website so you can visit:


Our website should be listed as

Thanks to Miss Posh:)

Summertime and the livin’ is…outside:)

Summertime=outside fun for all!!

Today I’m giving you some repeat photos of outside summer fun since my upgraded computer doesn’t seem to recognize my scanner – How Rude!


I’ll have new…old photos of happy boys enjoying the summer soon, but for now, relax in “those lazy, crazy days of summer”…:)

out by the lake

helping out

we love campin'

we love the sun:)

riding bikes, puddles or not

playing with friends in a sandbox

relaxing by the pool...didn't happen often:)

Cape Cod Atlantic Ocean is cold!

fishin' with dad

hangin' out together

hmmm...what kind of trouble can we get into??

I love having these photo memories of summertime with my sweetie-pies…have lots of fun in the sun this summer with your family:)


Happy Parenting!

D and C