Read about Andersonville, the dreadful Civil War prison, in the words of the men who suffered there. Letters and diaries posted online let you experience it through their eyes.
I'm tracing the life of Abraham Tower, a Civil War veteran. This shows what happened to his 10 children and follows on down to his grandchildren.
People think of drummer boys providing the marching music for Civil War soldiers, but there were regimental bands too. Many soldiers livened their evenings in camp by playing songs or singing.
Who are the men that served in the 93rd Indiana Infantry, Company G? My ancestor was one of them so I searched for details about their lives.
I'm hunting down the officers from Company G, the 93rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry. My great-great grandfather served in that company and I hope to shed some light on his Civil War experience.
Company G of the 93rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry served in many states during the Civil War. My ancestor was in this company and here's what I've uncovered about their service in the war.
My ancestor survived the Civil War and 6 months as a prisoner of war. Learn more about his life after the 1860s. He lived until 1930.
I'm researching my Civil War ancestor, Abraham Tower. Before the war, he grew up in southern Indiana. This is about his pre-war years and what his life was like.
Looking for a fascinating memoir for your book club? This one opens discussions of WWII, Holland, and childhood memories. Take a look at the questions here to get a lively discussion going.
We need to preserve the memories of those on the homefront during WWII. Here's my mother's experience, most of it in her own words and illustrated with her photos.
Many people save wine corks for crafts or just to savor the good times. To avoid taking up drawer space or becoming clutter, get a wine cork cage to corral them and display them decoratively.
Rummage at the back of your closet for the perfect Halloween costume. That worn-once prom dress is the base for all sorts of characters. Just add the accessories to complete the look.
Costumes make library storytimes really special for children. Here are ideas for using costumes for library staff and enhancing programs with costumed characters.
Andrew Carnegie funded many libraries in the U.S. but cities in Europe have Carnegie libraries too. Learn more about these venerable buildings and his philanthropy.
In the early twentieth century, Andrew Carnegie made massive donations to build libraries across the United States. Now many of those buildings have fallen on hard times. Many are too small now and have been converted...
The cowgirl pin ups from the 1950s and 1960s are playful and quite mild by today's standards. Gil Elvgren was the master of this art. They are fun and flirty.
Can't wait for summer campfires to make s'mores? Here are gadgets (and reviews) so you can have them now. Also amazing variations on the basic s'more. ENJOY!
Having a weekend cottage or one where you spend the summer after retiring can be more than just a dream. Here's one place that makes it affordable in the New Hampshire lake region.
Some people look just for humane solutions to pests, but if chipmunks are destroying your property, you need a solution fast. Here are some tested ways to clear out those destructive chipmunks.
It's frustrating when you are ready to pick your strawberries and find that something else beat you to it. There are holes in berries or they are missing entirely. Here's what to do about the problem.
Make a wedding photo book as a gift for the bride and groom. You'll have personal photos that the professional photographer probably missed. Blurb is a print-on-demand site to make great books.
Larry Ross, my brother-in-law, was a pretty special guy. This tribute is to keep his memory alive for all who loved this hard-working, fun-loving, all-around-great-guy.
I've been a seller and a buyer at many yard sales and flea markets over the years. It amazes me how poorly some sellers present their items Merchandising mistakes cut into your profits. It's not good to just strew your...
Have you seen limpkins? How about their chicks? I share my photos of these reclusive Florida birds and some observations of their behavior.
In our goal to eat more healthy foods, my husband developed this trail mix. With lots of dried fruits, nuts and seeds, it's a great snack and very good for you.
Raised beds are a great way to grow strawberries. You can make your own or get ready-to-go ones. My sister and I share our tips for getting your raised strawberry bed started and taking care of it.
Are you a bird lover? You'll love the photo essay on the Little Blue Heron nesting area. What a treat to see the young herons (which were white, not blue). They were very active.
Don't we all have those childhood photos where we aren't exactly model children. I'm bravely showing my vintage childhood photos for your entertainment.
A Bible gets handed down in the family and often contains valuable family history. Over the years the binding wears out. Here's what to do to preserve and fix up that precious old Bible.
Bertha McGhee's photos and memories of the Missionary School in Farmington, NM are showcased here. I've supplemented it with research on the school and hope it proves usefule to descendants today.
Liven up the golf round with your pals with some clever pranks and gags. You've probably heard of the exploding golf ball but here are more ideas and also gadgets to amuse your golf buddies.
Sometimes you read a story and the beauty of it stays in your mind forever after. Tryst is like that. The setting is pre-WWII England. The characters delight and the descriptions bring that era alive.
From 30 years of working in libraries, I've collected some funny incidents. No laughing out loud though or I will have to "shush" you.
I love macro photography and particularly enjoy taking close-ups of flowers. Enjoy my pretty pictures and I hope it inspires you to take some yourself.
Enjoy the vintage ads for 1918 ladies and children's underwear. This is the time of WWI, the flu epidemic and Woodrow Wilson's presidency. Learn what was fashionable as undergarments in that year.
Lovers of Jane Austen's novels can dress as one of her marvelous characters for a fancy dress party or for Halloween. Get your costume ideas, tips for hair styles and even how to make bonnets.
Dedicated golfers don't let a little cold stop them from playing. You don't have to be miserable though. With the proper gear, you can stay warm and still enjoy your favorite game.
Grab your camera and capture some photos of feathers. Here are tips for doing that.
People get stumped by what to give someone in a nursing home. These gift suggestions take into consideration the limited space. There's enough variety to find something special for your loved one.
I have fond memories of playing with pretend foods in a pretend kitchen. Give your children or grandchildren the opportunity to role play with their own child-sized kitchen and play utensils.
I have fond memories of a Toni doll from my childhood. This page is a tribute to that old-fashioned doll from the 1950s. Maybe you remember one too. Share your memories here.
We love having a festive table for Thanksgiving or Christmas. You can buy lovely themed place card holders or even make some yourself. These really fancy up your table on that special day.
You want to dress up your table for Thanksgiving. Table runners are the solution. You can buy some lovely ones or if you prefer DIY, I've included some easy-to-make ones for you.
If your child is participating in a Thanksgiving pageant, you'll want to find or make an authentic-looking costume for their part.
Amelia Earhart fascinates us still. It's not just the mystery of her disappearance, but her charisma and achievements as a woman pioneer in aviation. Here's what you need to become Amelia for a day.
Libraries need to keep re-inventing themselves to meet the needs of their users. I'm always on the lookout for innovative library programs and services. I'll feature those here.
There are a number of ways to preserve your family's precious WWII letters. Here's how to self-publish them in a book, share them in a blog or store them properly for future generations.
If you have a soft spot in your heart for abandoned animals, you'll enjoy the story of Gypsy. She found a home with me and we shared good times and bad.
If you're wondering about the value of a vintage book you own, here are some guidelines to help you and a link to a website that gives book values for individual titles.
If you're a children's librarian, a teacher or nursery school teacher, you are always on the lookout for themes for storytime. Here are songs, fingerplays, stories and crafts.
It can be quite challenging to find the perfect name for a cottage or house. Get a head start on this process with my brainstorming tips and the cottage name generator. You'll get lots of ideas here.
Haunted houses can be elaborate commercial ones, homemade basement events, or even at a campground. Big or small, all need fresh ideas to scare the guests. Here you'll find many ideas!
If you like to draw, then ghosts are a fun and easy drawing to do. I'll show you some cartoon style ghosts that you can draw yourself to decorate your yard or add to notes.
Have you seen a gray tree frog? I'm sharing my photos and descriptions, so you will know what it's like.
A cabin or house in a wooded setting requires some extra care. Here are tips for such a situation with solutions for your problems. Moss on the roof? Squirrels in the attic? Bears in the garbage?
Horse shows in the fall are great opportunities for costuming your horse. Parades are a great place to show off your horse too. Now all you need are some ideas and some how-to. Here it is!
Draw inspiration from some of the great characters in literature for your Halloween costume. There are dashing, tragic, romantic or mysterious characters that can be wonderful costumes.
The scenic beauty of New England brings visitors from far away. Here's what draws them to the region. I'll share my photos of iconic New England scenes.
The beauty and the history of the New Hampshire lakes region captivates visitors. Here are my recommendations for pictorial histories for the armchair traveler or for any who have visited the area.
Snakes freak most people out. One slithering under your doorstep or worse loose in your house... ACK. Here are the methods to deal with the situation.
Chipmunks are so much fun to watch. Learn more about what they eat, where they live and other nifty facts. I've been observing them for 10 years in New Hampshire. Enjoy my photos and fun facts.
An introduction to the life of my great-great grandfather who served in the American Civil War.
Going to pick blueberries is a great outing for the family. I'll tell you where to go and tips for picking, storing and cooking with blueberries. Yum...
Chipmunks undermine decks and steps, chew on car wiring and cause other problems. Getting rid of them in a humane way is what most people want. Here are my recommendations.
Travel back in time to the 1930s one-room school. Actually the Kansas school featured here dates back to 1886. My family history intertwines with this school so enjoy the memories here.
In his 80s, Monte Manka writes poems and essays about his 1930s childhood in Kansas. Featured here is his memories of the old-fashioned pie supper. You'll find it a delight.
It's important to preserve your childhood memories and family stories, but you may wonder where to start. Start working your way through this memory prompts and you'll find the writing easy.
Squidoo is gone now, but this page is part of its history. Quite a few writers earned good money publishing pages on the Squidoo platform. Here's my experience.
I love moose and find them amazing animals. You'll like learning about this giant creature of the north with some fun facts and stories.
It's such a joy to see a chipmunk skitter across the yard or a red squirrel nibbling on an acorn that it turns with it's small paws. Late at night I hear the forlorn call of a loon on a nearby lake. When you spend time...
If you have any Vinings in your family tree, chances are you are related to me. Here's the earliest Vining to come to America and details about their roots in England. I've included family stories too.
Strunk and White is a classic style manual for writers. Arthur Plotnik advises authors to put some Spunk and Bite into their writing and gives examples. For those who want to write with zip.
Family memories get lost after a generation or two. Write them down. Better yet, publish them in a book. It's fairly easy now to self-publish. Here are tips and my experience with this.
Inspired by Gail Blanke's book, Throw Out 50 Things, I put her advice to work. Here's how the book helped me get rid of clutter and excess STUFF. You can give it a try too. Just follow along here.
Whitewater is slightly off the beaten track. I visited it because I have a relative staying at Wheat State Manor in Whitewater. Although I'd been to the nursing home a number of times, this time I took the time to...
Shivaree has a number of meanings and even different spellings. Learn about old-fashioned weddings followed by a shivaree. I'll explain the other definitions of the term too.
I've collected Tindeco Tins for almost 30 years now. Enjoy the photos of my collection and learn about the Tin Decorating Company that made them.
Who can resist the old-fashioned look of a cottage garden. You can have one in your own backyard with the tips provided here.
Libraries are creating marvelous spaces to attract children. Want ideas for making your library's children's room special? Here are photos and tips just for that.
I learned about the Scotch Irish while researching my McGhee and Kennedy family roots. It's a heritage that you can be proud to claim. Learn more about these immigrants to America and their background.
Currently The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer and the movie have created a strong public interest in vampires. Even young children get curious about all the discussions of vampires. Obviously most children below the...
How deep are the piles of paper on your desk? As bad as mine? Follow along with me as I apply different strategies to bring all that paper clutter under control. You can have a clean desk!
Carrie Nation earned fame by taking a hatchet to some saloons. She advocated temperance and made a difference in an era when women had very restricted roles. Learn more about this colorful character.
Raising rabbits makes a fun family project. Here are my memories and suggestions based on our family's experience.
Take a walk in the woods to find mushrooms to photograph. I share my tips and examples from New Hampshire. Enjoy!
Chelsea, a small town near El Dorado KS, has disappeared. It lives on in the memories of octogenarian, Monte Manka, who lived there and attended Chelsea School.
Years ago, I fell in love with a children's book called A Is for Annabelle. Annabelle, the doll, inspired me to create outfits for my sister's doll, a 1950s Toni doll. This is my tribute to the book.
The cakewalk as a dance has a long history and ties to slavery in pre-Civil War days. There are other meanings for it today, so check those out here.
Meet Patricia Jedrick, a marvelous artist in pastels, water color, oil and mixed media. Learn about this artist and enjoy this display of her paintings. You are in for a treat.
Everyone loves candy corn at Halloween. Now you can even dress in a candy corn costume. What could be cuter? You can even throw a candy corn party with special candy corn ice cream. Have fun!
It's hard to get enough servings of fruit during the day to meet dietary guidelines. Here's how to start off right each day and add in more fruit throughout the day to reach your goals.
Time in the military forges close bonds but time and distance makes it hard to stay in touch. How can you find those buddies and renew your friendship. Here's how my husband achieved this.
Traveling to Sydney, Australia? Here's my experience. Maybe you can benefit from my trial and error. It's a marvelous place to visit and you'll want to make the most of it.
My sister's 1918 vintage house suffered an attic fire. This is the story of its rehabilitation and how she kept the house true to its original style.
Curious about the name of the caterpillar in your yard? I was too, so I'm putting my photos here to help you. Most of these are from either Florida, Kansas or New Hampshire.
For an easy care, outdoor living space, create a Tuscan patio Stone pavers underfoot, vines climbing the walls, what a great look. Here are the elements you need to have your own bit of Tuscany.
It's a treat to see all the wildlife when I'm out playing a round of golf. I keep my camera handy and so have photos to share with you. Enjoy all the wildlife encounters through my pictures.
I'm exploring the signatures in an 1880s autograph album. Mostly they are from the Milford, Connecticut area. It's a fascinating genealogy challenge.
Australians have a marvelous sense of humor which shows in many of their songs. I've collected my favorite funny Down Under tunes for your to watch on video. Enjoy!
Fingerplays are fun ways for children to learn language skills. Librarians and teachers use them and parents too. Children love the actions and rhyming. Find old favorites and new here to use.
Librarians and teachers need ideas for book displays to draw readers to books. The month-by-month suggestions for displays makes your job easier. Created by a retired librarian.
Decorative pictures made with a little paint and some colorful bird feathers is a folk art from Mexico. My mother collected these for many years, so I'll share some of the variations on these.
Remember all the fun you had with paper dolls as a child? Share your memories here and browse the variety of paper dolls available these days. They make great gifts for children even now.
This is a tribute to my older brother, Owen Lee Martin. He's a pretty special brother and I think you'll find his hot rods and other activities interesting to read about.
What are the benefits of attending a writing workshop or a writer's retreat? Here I share my experience in a week-long workshop in New Hampshire. It was marvelous!
I'm amazed to find a photo of my grandmother riding a motorcycle in the early 1900s. It's a Flanders 4 and I found some interesting information about this early bike.
Neon is a natural for the home bar. The good news is that neon is more affordable than ever before. You can even have one custom made just for you. Light up your man cave with a neon bar sign.
Meet the author, Wanda Ryder of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada. She's the author of Ghost Towns in Manitoba and a number of fiction titles (Sisters in Transit, Traveling Light & From a Distance.
Residents of the Solivita retirement community in central Florida share their favorite restaurants. You'll find some offbeat places to eat near Poinciana.
We feel so privileged to see the sandhill cranes daily around Solivita and in our backyard. This spring, the arrival of the new chick seemed about a month late. We thought it was due to the extra cold weather we had...
My mother-in-law introduced me to some marvelous New England recipes as well as French-Canadian ones. These hearty foods are great, using seafood or local ingredients. Try the recipe for creton, etc.
World War One, the flu epidemic and great shoes for ladies. That's what 1918 had. Check out the variety of shoes available and the amazing prices.
Explore the history of the musical group, The Sanford Troubadours, that was popular in Maine and New Hampshire in the 1930s and 1940s.
Vintage valentines are a delight to collect. Here are tips for finding these, storing them safely and displaying them. Enjoy the photos of my valentine collection.
It can be confusing to tell the Florida water birds apart. Here are tips on what to look for so you can distinguish by size, markings, beaks and even behavior.
Alligators are a fact of life in Florida and along the Gulf coast. Usually they avoid humans but on rare occasions have attacked and killed people. Keep safe with these common sense guidelines.
Golfers or anyone living in a golf cart community like to personalize their cart and make it stand out. There are parades for different holidays so there's even more opportunity to decorate the cart.
There's something quite fascinating about alligators. Kids and grown-ups alike are curious about these huge reptiles. I see them every day and share here some fun facts about alligators.
Make a snowflake on the Snow Day site (by PopularFront) is fun if you are snowed in or even if you are in sunny Florida. Here are tips for getting started on the site and advanced snow flaking too.
My mother graduated from high school in Hamilton, Kansas. That was about all I knew about it, so I did some research. Here's what I found out about this small Kansas town. Perhaps you have links to Hamilton or have...
In 2011, Reading suffered huge damage from a tornado. I recently talked to my second-cousin who lives in Reading. Sad to hear of all the houses destroyed by this tornado. I've included some photos, video and news...
It's sad to see old barns falling down. These are important to our country's architectural heritage. What can be done to preserve them and where can you get funding for it? Look here for grants.
You can take lovely flower photos if you follow a few of the tips I give here.
It amazes me that there are so many things you can do with books besides reading them. I'm a retired librarian and I love books. Books can be art or furniture or so many other things. Quite a few artists have dabbled...
Get a jump-start on working off the calories from Thanksgiving. Start now with walking and you'll be ready when the turkey feast is set on the table.
I've met some remarkable writers who are 70, 80, even 90 years old. It's great to see these older adults still actively writing. Meet these writers in this tribute.
Meet a woman born in 1903 who dedicated her life to the work of her church. She helped in Indian schools and orphanages from New Mexico to Alaska. Survived an earthquake, and WWII. A special woman!
Teterville, KS is no more, but it lives on in the memories of former residents. Enjoy those stories here, shared by my mother and others. Lots of great vintage photos too of this boom town, now gone.
Tyro is the small Kansas town where my grandparents grew up. Now the downtown fades away but in the early 1900s it was booming. Enjoy my family stories and vintage photos of Tyro, Kansas.
I wanted to save some of my mother's memories of wearing feedsack dresses back in the 1930s. Feedsack fabric was turned into quilts, curtains and other useful items. It's popular with collectors now.
It's a day of thanksgiving but also a feast day. That's why some informally call it "Turkey Day." Here's how my family celebrates this November holiday. It's filled with polls about your celebration.
As a Central Florida resident, I wanted to share with you the scenery, attractions and wildlife that makes this area of the state so special. Of course, there is Disney World but also so much more!
You don't expect a lake this pretty in prairie state of Kansas. The resort of Sugar Valley Lakes sits in a pretty, wooded and hilly section in the eastern part of the state. Here's more about it.
Cynthia Ross writes poetry for children and grown-ups. This Kansas writer won a number of writing awards from the Kansas Authors Club and the Butler County Historical Society.
My dad, Clyde Owen Martin, is the subject for my mom's second book. Some of my essays and my sister Cindy's are included as well. While compiling my mom's writing and research into the book, I uncovered some family...
A tribute to Shannon Hyle of Belle Plaine, Kansas, written by her older sister. Enjoy these stories and family photos of a very special person.
Start promoting your self-published book before it's even out. Do everything you can to get the word out about your book. No one is going to do it for you, so get started on these methods.
I self-published my mother's childhood memories. My Flint Hills Childhood won a book award. Learn more about this 85 year old Kansas author and how she wrote her memoir.
You don't need to be a fireman to own a Dalmatian. This popular dog has admirable traits. Learn about the pluses of this breed and some issues to watch out for.
It's not often that one sees a Newfoundland dog. These gentle giants have many admirable qualities and much loved by their owners.
There are many advantages to neutering your male cat, and the process is quite safe. You should consider it if your furry feline friend is male and not yet neutered. It is common for male animals that are not being...
We love our pets and wouldn't want to accidentally poison them. Here are household items that could harm your cat. Know what you have and store them safely or switch to different products.
Although dogs are supposedly "man's best friend," more homes have a cat or multiple cats. Be it poor, middle class or the super rich, people have cats for companionship in their home.
These petite dogs win the hearts of dog lovers. Enjoy the photos, videos and gifts just right for the adorable Shih Tzu and their humans.