The 1st try
I started my journey on January 13th by emailing my web guru, Lisa, to ask for a PayPal button. I had no idea what I was getting into. The emails bounced back and forth between us for the next couple days while I tried to find the code she needed. Here’s a sample from the first couple
lines. It looks like Greek to me!
<div id="smart-button-container"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <div id="paypal-button-container"></div>
I struggle with technology so my editor, Brooke, made a quick video. I followed it step by step, and I got a new code. Lisa added it to my website on January 16th. I thought it worked. So did Lisa.
MISTAKE #1 – We didn’t test-buy a book to see if the button worked. OOPS! I should have done that on the 16th or 17th. That’s the problem with something new – you don’t know what you don’t know!
In March Brooke asked about my presales. I didn’t have any. The problem – I didn’t know I was supposed to post the link to my PayPal button on social media. People can’t buy something they don’t know about. Duh!
When I started my launch countdown, I added my buy link to the post. That was March 1st, and that’s when I found my first problem. My daughter messaged me that she couldn’t buy my book. I checked it out!
My whole website was down! I couldn’t even get in – at all! That’s never happened before, and my site has been live since 2016. The only change – my buy link. By the time I went to bed, I was back online, back in business. At least I thought so.
The 2nd Try
The PayPal button came up again on March 8th, the night before Zoe’s debut. That’s the night I posted the #1 thing to do at the lake – read ZOE!
My daughter was still trying to buy it from me. She emailed, and that’s when I discovered the real problem – the copy code wasn’t working. Remember this . . .
<div id="smart-button-container"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <div id="paypal-button-container"></div>
That’s the copy code, and it never, ever worked. I emailed Lisa that night. She looked at the button and asked for a new copy code. I generated it at 1AM that night, before going to bed.
By the next morning, Lisa pasted it in, and it still didn’t work. I generated one last code before my virtual launch at 1PM. By the time I finished it an hour later, Lisa had tried again, and again it failed.
I was done! I tried 2-3 times within that 24-hour period, and I hit a wall again and again. I called PayPal for help. I knew that I couldn’t do this on my own, and that every time I asked Lisa to input a new code, I was paying for her frustration, and failure.
I called PayPal Support and got Neysa. She was wonderful. She walked me through getting that darn button. By the end of our session, I thought I was good to go. Neysa even sent me 2 notes, one about the button. The other about API Credentials. (I still have no idea what they are, except that it’s a number unique to me, and that if someone gets that number, they can hack into my account.)
I emailed the new number to Lisa that night. Guess what – It didn’t work! I don’t know why. Lisa is great at tech issues. Everything you see on my website is due to the foundation she set up. I copied and sent Neysa’s note to Lisa. Nothing changed.
I tried to work with the API Credentials, even though I didn’t know what I was doing. Lisa and I tried two different ways to use them. We failed both times.
At 10PM on launch day I gave up and filed a case with Technical Support. After 24 hours in crisis mode, I turned it over to the tech team. It was the BEST decision I made all day.
Lesson #1 – Know when to give up. I had tried everything Brooke, Lisa, Paypal, and Neysa suggested. I wasn’t making any progress. I kept making the same mistake, over and over again. I’m so GLAD I quit!
The Third and Final Try
I got my first email from Tech Support on March 10th. Adithya wanted me to generate another button, but I said NO! I sent him the one Neysa and I created. I hoped Adithya would find the error and help me fix it.
He DID say there was an important client ID missing from the button code on the 11th. He didn’t think I generated the code with PayPal, and he asked me to try again. I did, but it felt like I was repeating the same old directions. When you do that, you get the same old results.
I heard back on the 15th and 16th. Adithya sent directions both days, but I couldn’t understand them. I felt like someone threw me in the deep end of the pool, and I didn’t know how to swim. If someone has ever given you a project that’s above and beyond your skills, you know how I felt.
Here’s one of his answers. I looked at my code for 30 minutes, trying to find what he wanted me to find, and change. I couldn’t.
Thank you for your reply, Client ID is the Identifier that uniquely identifies your button and helps in routing all the payments to your PayPal account.
<script src="https://www.paypal.com/sdk/js?client-id=sb¤cy=USD" data-sdk-integration-source="button-factory"></script>
As of now it is assigned to generic test account "sb" and adding this button code onto your website will route all the payment to a test account and no real payment can be made.
So as your generated button code is missing on client ID, I would recommend you follow the steps given in the below link to get the client ID from your PayPal account.
Lesson #2 – When something’s not working – change strategies! The emails didn’t work. I couldn’t see or understand what Adithya was asking me to do so I asked for a conference call. I thought if we zoomed, he could guide me into doing what he asked.
PS – this section was SUPER hard to write. I thought I’d finish the post tonight, but I couldn’t. This was as far as I could write. The more words I used, the more tangled my thoughts became. I hope I let you feel a little of my frustration . . . without the knots.
A Happy Ending – A Conference Call to the Other Side of the Earth
When I couldn’t make heads or tails of the code, I asked for a conference call. That was March 16th. By the 17th Adithya said he could meet anytime from 9AM – 9PM IST. I had to look up IST – India Standard Time. Then I found a conversion chart for EST – Eastern Standard Time in the US. I don’t even want to think how many time zones are between India and the US.
Can you find the US and India on this World Map?
There were two sets of times that worked. First, 9-10:30AM in India. That’s almost midnight in Ohio! The second, 8-9PM in India. That’s when I wake up, about 10:30 in the morning in Ohio. I’m not a morning person so I asked for the first time.
Adithya immediately set up a time to meet the next morning. Unfortunately, I read his email after I had breakfast, when Adithya was done for the day. We finally got a call set up for after midnight on the 19th. Within 30 minutes I had my code. You’d think it would have been easy. He could see my computer screen as we talked, but it was still tricky.
The tough parts – 1. We both thought our PayPal computer screens looked the same. I knew computer keyboards look different. The keys are in different places, but I thought the screens would be the same, just in different languages. No wonder I couldn’t follow directions from Adithya’s emails. The commands weren’t in the same places.
2. There was also a language difference. Thank goodness Adithya spoke English, but he spoke with an Indian accent, which was hard occasionally for me to understand. Sometimes my American English was hard for him.
It sounds funny to have trouble communicating in the same language, but it happens. I was in England, and the hotel guide sent my husband and I to ‘Mer Mickey.’ We couldn’t find it on the map, but we did find ‘Mermaid Quay.’ Our hotel guide didn’t get the joke – but my husband and I did. FYI – the faster you speak, the harder it is to be understood in international situations. SLOW DOWN!
During the conversation, Adithya had me generate that code again. This time he asked me to paste it onto an email and send it to him. Then he did his magic (he put the right code in the right place – I still couldn’t do it.) He sent the corrected code back to me. I was almost done!
When I got up on the 19th, I sent the code to my developer, Lisa (I thought she was my tech person, but her real title is web developer. Live – And Learn!). Lisa put it up, and at 6:41PM on the 19th, I thought the journey was over.
NOT! Brooke, my publisher went in on the 22nd, and found it didn’t work again. URGH! I sent out 12 emails from 4 - 6PM. Sometime during that period Brooke sent me a Capture image (it looked like Greek to me, again), but I sent it off to Lisa. She worked on it, but we needed someone to test-drive the button. Brooke did, and I was finally in business. I closed the case on PayPal, and my daughter finally bought her book. Life is good!
Janet Campbell from Elderspark.com reached out to write another post. I said sure. Here’s what she wrote . . .
When it comes to types of retirement, there are few that offer as much self-sufficiency and personal satisfaction as homesteading. This is a style of retirement built around hard work, cost-saving, and the pride of a day well spent. However, it’s not for everyone. Here’s a quick look at some of the pros and cons of homesteading, as well as some tips that I’m happy to share with Teacher, Speaker, and Author Rinda Beach. I hope they help you find your perfect place.
Part 1 - What Is Homesteading?
“Homesteading” is a broad term, but in general, it’s a lifestyle in which people try to live more sustainably by “living off the land,” so to speak. Homesteaders may grow their own fruits or vegetables, raise meat, grow crops to make fabric for clothing, or a combination of these practices. In addition to benefiting from their own hard work, many also sell their homegrown fare in their local community via farmers markets or mom-and-pop shops.
People of all ages can homestead. Seniors can certainly pursue this lifestyle post-retirement, but as we discuss below, those with physical disabilities or mobility issues are wise to be selective about homesteading hobbies that accommodate their needs. For example, rather than growing potatoes in the ground (which are heavy and require a lot of physical labor to tend to), planting lightweight lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes in raised containers might be a better option for older adults.
Part 2 - Benefits of Homesteading
There are a ton of wonderful pros to homesteading for retirees. The first is that, when you’re homesteading, you can make a fixed income stretch a lot further. The food you produce on your land substantially cuts down your grocery bill, meaning you have more money to go toward other costs.
Moreover, if you really get a knack for it, you can look into selling goods you’ve grown or made. If you go this route, however, be sure to check out whether or not you need to register as an LLC. This designation offers some legal protections that make good sense for anyone running a business out of their home. Turning your homestead into an income source can put you in an even better financial position.
Another great benefit of homesteading is that it’s a very physically active form of retirement. It’s easy to grow sedentary when you’re done working, but it’s terrible for your body and your mind. Staying active keeps you strong and sharp, helping you stay healthier for longer. Since homesteading is, by its very nature, a physically demanding lifestyle, you’ll be certain to get plenty of healthy exercise and fresh air.
Part 3 – Cons of Homesteading
Despite its myriad benefits, homesteading still isn’t for everyone. Take the physical activity element mentioned above. Although it’s great to have the opportunity to stay physically active, it can be unsustainable. If you already have mobility loss, for example, a homesteading situation can be impossible to maintain. Now, you can often mitigate this by planning a smaller garden or limiting your planned production, but it’s important to recognize the physical commitment from the start.
It’s also a big commitment and can preclude some other retirement aspirations. It’s difficult to travel while homesteading since you must find someone to care for your crops (and animals, if you have them) while you’re away. Many hobbies are also difficult to juggle along with the demanding schedule homesteading often requires. This isn’t to say homesteading will occupy all of your time, but recognizing the demands before you get started can help you figure out if it’s a good fit.
Part 4 – Finding a Homesteading Property
When it comes to finding your perfect property, keep an open mind. Many people assume homesteading can only happen in rural areas, but it’s far from the truth. There’s a ton of technology out there that makes homesteading accessible for people in suburban and even urban areas. That said, you should always check zoning laws before you commit to make sure the features you’d like to have are allowed at that address.
You should also take time to think about your overall ideal lifestyle and the kind of spaces you’ll need to achieve it. For example, if you think you’d like to make (and perhaps, sell) your own jam, you’ll want a spacious kitchen with plenty of room for canning, as well as a pantry you can use to store your products. Consider any workshops, guest rooms, and other features you’d need and like to have to be able to achieve the homestead retirement that’s right for you.
Though it’s not for everyone, homesteading is a wonderful form of retirement. Do the research to figure out if it’s right for you and, if so, invest in the perfect property to achieve the golden years you’re dreaming of.
Part 1 – Why Texas? Why Christmas 2020?
I live in Wapakoneta, Ohio. We didn’t get to go to Texas for Thanksgiving – that’s where two of my kids live. My son-in-law was exposed to Covid before Thanksgiving. His test came back negative two days later, but his insurance didn’t allow for any more tests – so we really didn’t know if he had it, or not.
I’m 61 and a diabetic so I should be in one of the early groups to get the vaccine. I didn’t want to risk getting covid. My son-in-law wouldn’t know, unless he had symptoms, that he was covid-free until December 5th. THAT was a WEEK after Thanksgiving.
I made the decision after we traveled 1/3 of the way to Texas – NOT to go BEFORE Thanksgiving. It was the first one that I’ve ever had with just my husband. In 35 years of marriage, we’ve always seen both of our families, plus our kids after they were born.
After Thanksgiving I also decided not to go to Texas for Christmas. Why? The nightly news was scary. Covid was everywhere! I told my daughter we weren’t coming. She reacted the way I do – she cried. Guess what? It worked! My husband caved so we were on the road December 16th, for a Texas Christmas!
Look at the map of the US. Can you guess how we got to Texas?
I bet it’s not the route we took – we went to the lake in northeastern TN first, and then we drove to TX.
That was 3 days of driving, and I loved it! Why? I can sleep and read in the car because my husband drives. I’m lucky!
Part 2 – A Road Trip to Texas
My husband and I broke our trip into 3 parts. It’s a long way to Texas! The 1st day took 5 to 6 hours to get from Wapakoneta, Ohio to Lafollette, Tennessee. We followed I75 south all the way to the lake exit. That’s the map on the left for the GPS route. (Global Positioning System). Don’t forget to look for Kentucky! Here’s the link: LaFollette, Tennessee to Wapakoneta, Ohio 45895 - Google Maps
On the 2nd day we spent about 8 hours in the car driving south-west from Lafollette to Vicksburgh, Mississippi. That’s where we stopped for the night. The next day it took about 7 hours to reach Temple, Texas. Don’t forget to look for Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana along the way. That’s 7 states in 1 trip!
We took lots of roads on the 2nd and 3rd day. Click the link, then enlarge the map, and you can see the roads we took. GPS is wonderful! It warns you about tricky places before you hit them.
LaFollette, Tennessee to Temple, Texas - Google Maps
Part 3 – Beach Family Christmas Customs, Texas Style
We arrived on the 20th. We stayed with my daughter and her husband. Ashley’s all about family traditions. We made Chex Mix one day. Next up were Christmas cookies. They’re both family recipes.
Christmas shopping is something my daughter and I do together. With Covid we were in and out. Our masks were on the whole time.
We didn’t make it to Christmas Eve service. It’s the first time since I started dating my husband that we haven’t, but this year we felt safer doing it online. It wasn’t the same, but it was good, in its own way. Every Christmas I look forward to hearing the story of Jesus’s birth.
We got to open presents twice, first with my daughter, and a few days later with my son. He lives in Houston so we made another road trip. Because of Covid, we did a porch visit with him, his wife, and baby girl. Christmas is a double holiday for her so we brought both Christmas and birthday presents. We spent an afternoon together. It ended too soon, but it was lovely!
Part 4 – The Road Home
It was a lovely Christmas vacation, but too short. We started the long drive back on the 29th, This time we took the northern route, the shortest drive. The link may look the same, but we drove all the way to Memphis Tennessee before we stopped for the night.
Look underneath the route to Memphis, and you’ll see 2 other options. The one in the middle should look familiar – it’s the one we took to Texas. You don’t see Vicksburg this time, but I think it’s where the bottom two options come together. Do you see Shreveport, Louisiana? We passed by it on our way to Texas. Link: LaFollette, Tennessee to Temple, Texas - Google Maps
Part 5 – Always a Buckeye
We returned to Lafollette the day before New Year’s Eve. I’m glad I had a chance to rest before New Year’s Day. No Rose Parade, but the video they made was wonderful.
My Buckeyes played Clemson in the College Football Playoff on New Year’s Day. I’m glad I rested! I shopped the whole game. That’s my superstition. It helps me get through the rollar coaster of emotions.
It worked! OSU beat Clemson 49 – 28.
We made it back to Ohio a day before the National Championship. I didn’t have a day to rest. I was busy catching up on our mail, and my mother’s. Maybe that’s what went wrong!
On Monday January 11th the Buckeyes played Alabama. It wasn’t to be. I shopped my heart out, but it didn’t work. The Buckeyes lost 52 – 24.
It was a horrible loss, but if 3 plays had gone differently the score would have been 38-31. Alabama scored with two 4th down plays in the 1st half. OSU had a 4th down red zone play. They didn’t make it, but they’re winners in my eyes. They almost didn’t have a season, yet they wound up in the National Championship.
Guess when I’ll be making my next road trip to Texas? Probably May. That’s when my new grandboy is coming. Here’s to May, a covid shot, and cuddling 2 grandkids!
Thanksgiving Trivia Part 3 – Becoming a National Holiday
5. Which president of the United States made Thanksgiving a national holiday?
Abe Lincoln Andrew Jackson
Ben Franklin John Adams
6. Which author convinced him to do it? Bonus Points if you know her most famous book.
Louisa May Alcott Harriet Beecher Stowe Sarah Josepha Hale
And the answers are . . .
Here are the multiple choice answers, in historical order. Are you ready for the answer?
5. The man who helped build this cabin in Indiana when he was a boy, was the president who made Thanksgiving a national holiday. Did you guess Abraham Lincoln? Wow! What took so long!
2 Fun Facts – Andrew Jackson, our 7th president, was the first president who was not one of our founding fathers.
He lost to John Quincy Adams, the son of the 2nd president, on his 1st try. Jackson was an outsider to Washington. He was born in the Carolinas, but came to the White House from the great state of Tennessee.
Meet the authors! Which one looks like she fought a 17 year battle to make Thanksgiving a holiday?
6. Who do you think talked Abe Lincoln into making Thanksgiving a holiday? It was the woman who lived in this house.
Her name – Sarah Josepha Hale. I didn’t know her name either, even though I had a book about her in my 2nd grade collection. My daughter has it now.
Sarah was persistent! She talked to president after president for 17 years before Abe finally thought it was a good idea.
You may not know her name, but I bet you know her most famous story – Mary Had a Little Lamb. It’s still sold on Amazon! I think it’s wonderful that the author with the youngest audience is the one who persuaded Abe to make Thanksgiving a holiday. This year I’m thankful for Sarah Josepha Hale!
Do you see Louisa’s book? It’s a middle grade novel, and it’s still sold on Amazon. The cover was its 150th anniversary edition. That makes it a classic, and it’s still relevant – Amazon has recent videos for sale.
Harriet’s book is last. It’s written for adults, and it had a huge effect on its readers. It was written by a woman, who couldn’t even vote. When she met President Lincoln, he said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.” WOW! That’s powerful! What a great compliment from an American hero!
Thanksgiving Trivia Part 2 - The Meal
3. How many people attended the first Thanksgiving?
53 90 105 143
4. Which food was NOT on the menu?
Turkey Mashed Potatoes Lobster
And the answers are . . .
3. There were 143 people at the first Thanksgiving.
There were 105 pilgrims on the Mayflower, but only 53 of them made it through that first year – 4 women, 22 men, and 25 children/teenagers. It was a terrible year!
They wouldn’t have made it to that first harvest without the help of Chief Massasoit. They invited him and 90 Wampanoag Indians to their big feast.
4. Mashed potatoes weren’t on the menu. Potatoes came from South America. The Spanish conquistadors brought them back to Spain, but they weren’t popular enough in England to have made it back to the colonies.
Wild turkeys were definitely on the menu. So were ducks, geese, and swans.
Can you believe lobsters made it to the feast? The bay was full of them! The Pilgrims also caught mussels, bass, clams, and oysters.
Cranberries were also on the table, the whole berry. But without sugar, there was no sauce.
Their stuffing was a mixture of herbs, onions or nuts. There was no flour to make bread or pie crust.
They might have made pumpkin custard. Early settlers mixed pumpkin, milk, honey, and spices into an empty pumpkin. They would have roasted it in hot ashes. No ovens yet either!
Source: 1. History.com | Date Updated: November 25, 2019 - great resource for Thanksgiving food.
3. History of the First Thanksgiving (historyofmassachusetts.org) - Great place to find out who was there!
Thanksgiving Trivia Part 1 - The Landing
It’s November 23. Time to think Thanksgiving thoughts. Here are your first two trivia questions . . .
1. What’s the name of the spot in Massachusetts where we think the Pilgrims landed?
New Jersey Plymouth Rock Boston Nantucket Island
2. When did they land in 1620? Nov. 11 Nov. 26 Dec. 10 Dec. 18
And the answers are . . .
1. This is Plymouth Rock. It’s where we think the Pilgrims landed back in 1620. See! It’s on the rock!
But the Pilgrims never refered to Plymouth Rock in any of their writing. The first known written reference was in 1715. That was almost 100 years later. Did they still remember, a rock?
The first documented claim was in 1741 by Elder Thomas Faunce. How did he know? He wrote about it – 121 years later!
2. The Pilgrims didn’t land on November 11th. The Mayflower was sitting in Provincetown Harbor. No Plymouth Rock – in sight! That’s when the men signed the Mayflower Compact. This photo’s the Mayflower, but it’s only a copy of the original.
It wasn’t November 26th either. There’s nothing on the calendar until December 10th. That’s when a scouting group found a good harbor on the west side of Cape Cod Bay. In between the pilgrim men sent out search party after search party looking for a great landing spot.
Why? They needed a place for ships to land. They would still need supplies to come from England. Eventually they’d ship out their own goods/products to sell back to English markets.
They finally landed on December 18th, one week before Christmas of 1620. Why didn’t they land sooner? Bad weather! Can you imagine living aboard ship in December without a heater, or, trying to build new homes in the cold New England winter? YIKES!
Plymouth Harbor Source: By Linear77 - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34890560
Plymouth Rock: By jjron - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19571461
Mayflower II: By GmaJoli - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51381537
Information Sources: 1. en.wikipedia.org
3. Mayflower Lands at Plymouth - HISTORY (This site has great photos and quick video clips)
Part 1 - The Branches of the US Military
1. Which military branch was established first?Army Marines Air Force Navy Coast Guard
2. Can you put them in order historically, first to last?
3. What is the newest branch that was founded by President Trump?
And the answers . . .
1. The Army was first to be created.
2. The Historical Order for our Military Branches
June 14, 1775 The Army’s established.
October 13, 1775 The Navy’s created
November 10, 1775 The Marine Corp are formed
August 4, 1790 The Coast Guard’s established.
September 18, 1947 The Air Force is created.
*** Bonus Question ***
Why did the US form three military branches in 1775?
We were in the run-up to the Declaration of Independence. It came out on July 4th, 1776. The Revolutionary War would soon follow
3. The Air Force Space Command was formed on September 1st, 1982. It became an independent branch, The Space Force on December 20, 2019.
Sources: More Info: en.wikipedia.org
Part 2 – The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
4. Which part of the military guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia?
Army Navy Air Force Marines
5. Where is the Tomb of the Unknowns?
Washington, DC Arlington, Virginia
6. Which war did the first Unknown Soldier serve in?
The American Revolution The Civil War
Custer’s Last Stand World War I
And the answers . . .
4. The US Army guards the tomb. It was first guarded by the 3rd Calvary from Fort Myer, Virginia. The 3rd Infantry Regiment took over April 6, 1948,
Many soldiers volunteer for this service, but only 20% are accepted for training. Then only a small fraction of those will actually become guards.
The sentry in the photo is ‘walking the mat.’
- He marches south for 21 steps.
- Then he faces east for 21 seconds.
- He faces north, switches his weapon arm, and waits 21 seconds.
- Next he marches north 21 steps.
- He faces east again for 21 seconds.
- Then he faces south, switches his weapon arm, and waits 21 seconds.
The sentry will repeat this march until the guard is changed, and he’s relieved of service.
Why all the 21’s? It’s our highest military honor – a 21-gun salute.
The weapon arm is always on the shoulder nearest visitors. It protects and honors the Unknown Soldier. Source: More Info: en.wikipedia.org.
5. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is in Arlington, Virginia. That’s only 6.6 miles from Washington, D.C.
6. The Unknown Soldier served in World War I. Congress approved the memorial on March 4, 1921. Sgt. Edward F. Younger, a highly decorated soldier, was selected to choose the unknown.
He was shown four caskets from a cemetery in France. He picked the third one. It was sent home. The other three caskets are interred, buried in France.
That third casket lay in State in the Capitol Rotunda. It was interred at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 1921, where it’s still guarded today.
I thought there was just one unknown soldier, but there are four. The other three are on the west side of the Tomb. They represent the unknown from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
The other unknowns are in flush tombs. That means their caskets lie under a slab of white marble.
The Unknowns are guarded 365 days a year. Day and night, in all kinds of weather, men and women watch over them in silence, never knowing their name, but honoring their service. In this photo, with a rose. Source: More Info: en.wikipedia.org.
Part 3 – American Military Cemeteries
7. Which state has a military cemetery that belongs to England?
New York Massachusetts Virginia North Carolina
8. There are enemy combatants buried in Arlington National Cemetery. True or False?
9. How many American military cemeteries are located around the world? 16 20 26 30
And the answers . . .
7. This is the English cemetery, on the island of Ocracoke, in North Carolina. How did it get there? Here’s its story . . .
Back in 1942 German U-boats targeted American ships leaving from the Atlantic coast. They were sailing to Europe with supplies for the Allies. The Germans sank 35 American ships in January alone.
The US asked Great Britain for help. They sent ships to patrol the eastern seaboard. One of them, the Bedfordshire, was sunk by a German U-Boat in May of 1942. Everyone was lost. Four bodies washed ashore on Ocracoke.
The islanders buried them and built the monument in the photo. They also leased the land to Great Britain in perpetuity, forever.
Every May Americans and Brits come together to remember the sacrifice of the crew from the Bedfordshire.
Question Source: BBC | Date Updated: September 3, 2020
9. There are 26 military cemeteries for American servicemen and women around the world. There are also 30 memorials, monuments and markers. Here are 6 of them.
These cemeteries and monuments are found in 17 countries around the world including France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Panama, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Tunisia, the Solomon Islands, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Gibraltar, New Zealand, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Morocco. There’s even a monument, a tree, in Cuba.
Click on this link and you’ll find an interactive map, plus more information. https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/cemeteries-memorials-map
Part 1 – Meet Melanie – She’s a German teacher by day, and the school year of course. But at any other time, she’s a writer.
Melanie is from Southern Maine. If you’re trying to picture Maine, think New England, then go to the north-east corner of the Atlantic seaboard. Go across the border, and you’re in Canada, the nation to the north.
very musical – she sings, plays the piano, the recorder, and a few other instruments. She IS super talented!
Her website is titled Schreibenfreude, and it’s about sharing the joy of books, words, writing, and language. I think she’s on her way! If you’d like to learn more, visit her at https://melaniekyer.com/
This is Melanie with one of her favorite people, Gibran Graham from The Briar Patch. He helped her with presales. That’s when you buy a book before it’s published. Why? So you can be one of the first people to read it. It’s pretty exciting for authors, and for readers.
This is Melanie’s debut book, her very first. Your first is so exciting – for you, your family, for everyone you know. It’s a lot like your first child. You love all your kids, but there’s something special about that first one.
December is a month full of holidays, and they come from cultures all over the world. From religions like Buddhist to Christian to Jewish, and so many more. When eight cookies from different cultures come together, there’s a scramble to be the top cookie. Thank goodness for Indian Shortbread, who pushed to make peace.
Enjoy this rhyming picture book. It’s full of recipes and facts about traditional cookies from Greece, Germany, Israel, central Africa, the US, and Mexico.
Take a look at this map. You can find all of these countries. But to find the US and Mexico, this map would need to extend across the Atlantic Ocean.
Greece (in pink) Germany (green) Israel (red)
India (pink) I can’t see the name, but Pakistan (green) is west of India. I checked on a larger map 😊
Niger and Chad (green and yellow) are part of the continent of Africa. They’re in the north. Central Africa would be farther south.
Question 1 –
What vegetable was traditionally carved long before pumpkins?
Turnips Beeetroot Cabbage Potatoes
And the answer is . . . TURNIPS!
I can’t imagine hollowing out any of these vegetables, but evidently back in the 18th century (the 1700’s) pranksters used to hollow out turnips. Then they’d carve scary faces into them and turn them into lanterns. Some people said those faces represented evil spirits. Others said the faces kept evil spirits away.
Question 2 –
So where did those first jack-o-lanterns come from?
United States Ireland France Transylvania
And the answer is . . . Ireland!
Here’s the map of Europe. Do you see, France and Romania? They’re both in purple.
d you eliminate Transylvania? It’s not even a country. It’s actually in the center of Romania.
Ireland is in yellow, and the Irish were the ones who started making jack-o-lanterns out of turnips. It’s based on this old Irish folk tale . . .
Stingy Jack tricked the Devil out of his soul, but the Devil got even. He made Jack walk through the underworld with a lantern. It was really a turnip, held on a stick, lit by coal.
The Irish started making their own lanterns using a big turnip or potato. When immigrants came to the US, they brought their lanterns with them.
We switched to the pumpkin, a much bigger and better vegetable! The US isn’t on this map. You’d have to go west from Ireland across the Atlantic Ocean to find the US.
More Info: www.history.com
Part 2 – The Roots of Halloween
Question 3 –
Who is at the roots of Halloween?
The Celts (Kelts) The Romans
Question 4 –
What’s the name of their original festival?
Samhain (sow-in like cow)
Question 5 –
Why did they need this festival?
To speak with dead ancestors
To make predictions for the future
The answers . . . The Celts were at the roots of Halloween. If you look at the map above, they originally came from Ireland, the United Kingdom (England), and France. The first photo is a wooden Celtic figure.
Their Festival was known as Samhain. It started the night of October 31st, when the fall harvest was ending. The Celts believed that ghosts returned to cause trouble and damage their crops. They also believed those ghosts made it easier for the Druids, the Celtic priests, to predict the future. A Druid is in the last picture.
The Druids made huge bonfires. The people burned food and animals in them as sacrifices to their gods. The Celts wore animal heads and skins. They told fortunes for each other. Their festival helped them survive a long, cold winter with no grocery stores or new crops till spring.
The sacrifices, are now our treats. We exchanged the animal heads and skins for costumes, and the fortune telling became the trick part of Trick or Treat.
Tricks have mostly disappeared, but early Americans used to celebrate their harvests by telling ghost stories and fortunes, or by singing and dancing. Maybe with Covid this year, we should go back to those roots.
Please check out this source. It has a short video, 12 seconds, plus 4 sets of photos with the ghosts of Halloween past.
Part 3 – Halloween and Pop-Culture
Question 6 –
Which weighed more?
The Titanic OR One year of trick or treat candy
Question 7 –
When did kids trick or treat for coins, toys, and home-made sweets?
30’s & 40’s 50’s & 60’s 70’s & 80’s
Question 8 –
What is the most popular Halloween song of all time?
Dark Masquerade Farewell Forever Monster Mash Awaken
The answers . . . I can’t believe it . . . Halloween candy! The Titanic weighed a mere 100 million pounds, and it was one of the biggest ships of all time!
Every year we buy about 600 million pounds for one Halloween. That’s six Titanic’s! We must love our kids and their candy!
In the 1950’s and 1960’s kids got coins or toys or home-made sweets. I trick-or-treated in the 60’s, and I never got a single toy. Not one! Candy was cheaper to give away. When I started, we got regular size candy bars. When I finished, people gave out the miniature ones.
Home-made treats – I didn’t get them very often. By then more and more moms were working and didn’t have time to bake. Besides, would you rather have a chocolate chip cookie or candy? I’d pick candy every time!
By the 70’s and 80’s people started putting bad things in the treats. I remember hospitals would x-ray candy for kids. It’s a sad day when you can’t trust Halloween candy.
The most popular Halloween song – THE MONSTER MASH! Perhaps you’ve heard it! I have – ever since 1962 when I was 3 years old! It’s been a Halloween hit ever since for Bobby “Boris” Pickett.
Here’s the link for an animated version of Boris’ song. I remember the stairs and the blinking eyes from my childhood. Enjoy!
Part 1 – Celebrating a Socially Distant Halloween Trick or Treat
Project #1 – A Halloween Candy Slide
Trick or treat, anyone?
If your community is holding one this year,
here’s the perfect way to use social distancing, with PVC pipe. Here’s a basic supply list:
PVC pipe Spray Paint Cheese cloth
Skull Skeleton Acrylic Paint
Tools: glue gun scissors Hacksaw.
To get started, click on this link. It’s my source, and it also starts with a video: https://www.instructables.com/Halloween-Candy-Slide/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email
You might watch this video before trying this project. I added in photos and quick directions below to help you decide if it’s right for you.
1. Cut the pipes into the right lengths. 2. Assemble the bases.
3. Add the lips. 4. Paint the stands. Theirs is in black, but you could
use white, or, a different color.
5. Add the slide. 6. Decorate! You can use skeletons, witches, or
whatever’s on sale. Happy Trick or Treat!
Project #2 – A Halloween Cooler – OR – Walk by Candy Containers
I was looking for another socially distant way to pass out candy, and I think this could work. The project is done as a cooler, but I can imagine a string of pumpkins sitting at the end of my driveway. Let kids take one or two treats out of each pumpkin. It would be cute, fun, AND SAFE!
Here’s my source link, but no video. It doesn’t need one.
I’m sharing some steps with quick basic directions to help you decide if this project’s for you.
1. Draw a line to help you cut the top of your pumpkin. Cut, then scoop out the pumpkin pulp.
2. Repeat step 1 with the side of your pumpkin. Then give it a bleach bath.
It will keep your pumpkin from rotting for as long as possible. Then decorate.
3. Line your pumpkin with plastic wrap. Add ice if you need a cooler.
Add treats if you’re using your pumpkin as a candy dish.
Now, get ready . . . get set . . .
GO Trick or Treat, 2020 style.
Part 2 – Three Cute Costumes
#1 – Paper Butterfly This is one cute costume whether you follow the directions on the site, or make up your own. Here are photos for the wings, abdomen, and head.
Costume 2 – Spiderboy/girl What kid wouldn’t love this costume? The spider legs are black socks stuffed with newspaper. You hold them in place using cardboard and a black bag. His mom used face paint for his mask. She made two sketches before actually painting his face. You could do the same with a real mask. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Spider-Costume/
First sketch Second Face Paint
Costume 3 – Shower Anyone? Try this one! The other two shots show the tricky parts, the framework. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Shower-Costume/
Looking for something unique, try this one: https://www.instructables.com/Toilet-Costume/
If you still didn’t find a costume, try this link: https://www.instructables.com/howto/costumes/
Part 3 – Snack Time!
Snack 1 – Broomstick Anyone? If a picture’s worth 1000 words, these two equal this recipe. All you need are some pretzel sticks and cheese. The strip that goes around the cheese, is Nori (seaweed), but you could substitute anything long and stringy. Licorice could work, but I don’t know how it would taste. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Witches-Brooms/
Snack – Sand-witch? These three pictures are worth a recipe too, but I’d click on the link for some of the details. The author gives you a list of possible foods for each piece of the witch. She also has some basic patterns to help you cut your food. Finally there’s a video from Susan’s mother. She invented the sand-witch to get Susan to eat. If you want to be as cool as Susan’s mom, try red food-coloring in your milk, and you can pretend to be a vampire too!
Snack 3 – These eyes have it! WOW! They do! Would you believe that these eyeballs are made with fruit? I didn’t – till I read the recipe. The other ingredients hold it together. Click on this link, and then have some fun!
Part 4 – Projects Please!
Project 1 – A Haunted House This project came from a Kindergarten teacher.
She started with the letter H, made from strips of construction paper.
You’ll need black markers next. Add the roof, then the sides. Doors and windows come last.
Finish by drawing in the other details. Miss Kelly has her kids draw with pencil, then color in with marker. Link: https://www.instructables.com/Arts-and-Crafts-for-the-Letter-H/
Project 2 – Pastel Haunted House I love each and every one of these houses. They’re all different!
1. Pick two watercolors. Then mix them together on your page. Let it dry COMPLETELY.
2. Draw lightly with pencil. Put in everything you want – Graves, Trees, Bats, Moon, a Ghost. Don’t forget a house with doors and windows. Everything you draw will be colored in yellow, or black.
3. Start with your yellow Pastel. Don’t overdo it. Keep the focus on black. Let the yellow pop out.
4. Finish up with black Pastel. You’re done when your paper is filled by paint or Pastels.
Project 3 – Blockhead/Headless Robots Too cute! But you need to be old enough to use an Xacto knife, or have a parent do it for you. Click on the link for directions and for PDF’s to download and print out. The robots come in 2 sizes, with and without color.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!