Category Archives: Miscellanea

Whatever doesn’t fit exactly in the other categories.

Quiz: What percent royal are you?

I have a confession. I’m feeling a little burned out with reading books for reviews and posting two a week. There’s a lot going on these days in my life – including our youngest daughter’s upcoming wedding in about two weeks! Yes, about 16 months ago she met the love of her life and it was an instant connection. They were engaged five months after that, and soon … my “baby” will be a married woman! I’ll share some about it here when that exciting weekend is over.

Alas, I’m not even getting to my own writing, and I have yet to come up with a new story draft for this month of 12×12. This week at home I’m trying to get refreshed and have not pushed myself to keep up with computer stuff. Part of that includes that I’ve started doing Zumba. (Dance exercise) I am not nearly active enough anymore, usually sitting too much at the computer. Apparently the saying now is “sitting is the new cigarette.” Yikes! Means that it’s unhealthy to sit too much. And we know it is. Anyway, Zumba is a fun and challenging workout, my body is complaining at doing what it’s no longer used to doing and I’m enjoying it anyway despite the ouches.




A few days ago my husband and I got away for a day to visit his sister and brother-in-law in their new house in the port town of Lunenburg, N.S. Wow! Gorgeous, and with a close view of the water and the tall ships anchored there for a few days on their sail to different ports. We took the short walk around town and my sister-in-law and I went into a little dress shop. Lo! and behold! I found a dress to wear to my daughter’s wedding! What a load off my mind that was. The following day I bought shoes to go with it, usually quite an ordeal but this time it was easy and painless. I’ll be able to show up at my daughter’s wedding after all. 🙂

Now, I have a quiz for you to do. As you read in my subject line, it’s to find out what percent royal you are. 😉  Just follow THIS LINK to do the quiz. Afterward I hope you will come back here to comment so I can know your quiz results. Here’s mine, silly but fun:

100%    You must be a long lost member of the royal family! Everyone bow down because we found the real Queen—and long may you reign! Now all you have to do is find your happily ever after…by reading ROMANCING THE THRONE!

I haven’t read Romancing the Throne. Have you? If so, should I? Did you like it?

SO if I’m 100% royal … where is my entourage? including someone to do the housework so I can write, and I’d like a chauffeur, please.  🙂 (laughing but .. wouldn’t it be nice…)

What are you doing this season? And … what percent royal are you?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂



Last chance to win The Road That Trucks Built – by Susanna Leonard Hill

Hi, Picture Book Lovers!

I am adding my last extra blog post into my busy all-about-Susanna-Leonard-Hill-&-her-books-and-illustrators-in-July schedule. This is to remind you that today – at 9 PM EST – your chance to win, here on my blog, a copy of The Road That Trucks Built .. brakes to a halt … red light, over.

You can go HERE to read my interview with illustrator Erica Sirotich and leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Susanna Leonard Hill‘s children’s book The Road That Trucks Built.

Take a look at this fun illustration created by Erica:




Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Erica Sirotich
Used by permission of Little Simon

If you want to enter the draw, just leave a comment on the July 20 interview post telling us which truck you would want to be or drive – the bulldozer, the scraper, the grader, the paver, the roller, or the paint marker – and your name will go into the random name picker tool I use to determine who is the winner … of a book, not of permission to drive the truck.  🙂  It’s fair and easy!

The month is coming to a close – can you believe it! – ending my part in Susanna’s blog tour for Trucks.  Thanks to Susanna (author), Little Simon (publisher), and Erica Sirotich (illustrator), and – of course – to everyone who enjoyed this with us. We greatly value your interest and comments. 🙂

Be sure to check your email tonight if you entered the draw. In the next post (on July 30) I will announce the winner of The Road That Trucks Built.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂  

Truck snacks from Susanna Leonard Hill for when your little road builder gets the munchies

While we wait a few more days to know who of you wins a copy of The Road That Trucks Built by Susanna Leonard Hill, Susanna came up with a little trio of “recipes” to go with the TRUCK book. 🙂  Enjoy!

From Susanna …

If you’ve got a little road builder at your house, what could be better than a traffic light snack? 😊

Here are three options with varying degrees of preschool do-it-yourself and grown-up actually-having-to-cook involvement 😊

Easy Healthy Graham Cracker Traffic Lights

You will need graham crackers, strawberries, bananas, green grapes, and some kind of nut butter.

Divide graham crackers in half along the lines provided so you have rectangles instead of squares.

Slice circular pieces of strawberries, bananas, and green grapes.

Spread the graham cracker rectangles with a little peanut butter (or other nut butter to taste or if there are allergies).

Place a strawberry round on top for the red light, a banana round in the middle for the yellow light, and a green grape round on the bottom for the green light.

Voila!  Easy, healthy traffic light snack for your little driver!

Rice Krispie Treat Traffic Lights

You will need Rice Krispies, a bag of marshmallows, and about 1/2 a stick of butter, (or ready-made Rice Krispie Treats), and red, yellow and green m&ms.

Make a batch of Rice Krispie Treats as per the directions on the cereal box  or, if you’re short on time or prefer not to tangle with melted marshmallow 😊  do it the easy way and buy ready-made Rice Krispie Treats.

If you make them yourself, cut the treats into rectangles and, while still a little warm and soft, press red, yellow and green m&ms on for traffic lights.

If you use the ready-made ones they are precut to the correct dimensions but since they’re cold you’ll just need to use a tiny bit of nut butter, icing, or softened marshmallow to stick the m&ms onto them.

Voila!  Easy, still pretty healthy traffic light snack for your little construction worker!

Cookie Pop Traffic Lights

You will need a batch of your favorite sugar cookie recipe, or a Betty Crocker or similar mix with 1/3 cup butter, 1 egg, and a tablespoon of flour, or a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough, plus some popsicle sticks (flat craft sticks with rounded ends) and red, yellow, and green m&ms.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Prepare a batch of your favorite sugar cookie recipe (or do it the easy way and use Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix or refrigerated rolled sugar cookie dough)

Roll the dough on a floured surface about 1/4 inch thick and cut into 3 X 1 inch rectangles.

Place about an inch of a popsicle stick into a 1 inch side of each cookie.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.

Bake 7-9 minutes or until edges are light brown.

Immediately press red, yellow, and green m&ms into each cookie.

Cool 2 minutes, then remove from baking sheet and finish cooling on cooking racks for about 30 minutes or until completely cool.

Makes about 30 cookie traffic lights for your little road builder!

These all look so fun to make! And you can still enter the July 29 draw to win a copy of The Road That Trucks Built by commenting on my July 20 post

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂


Elephant snacks from Susanna Leonard Hill for when you & your elephant have the munchies; book winners

It’s been a busy blog tour for Lion and Elephant! And, of course, for Susanna Leonard Hill

Because it was originally my plan to announce the winners of Lion and Elephant books on this date – and then I gave them each their own day of glory – I’ll congratulate the winners today anyway: Happy Congrats to Teri for winning a copy of When Your Lion Needs a Bath and to Debra for winning a copy of When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles!  Yay!

Actually, everyone wins because of the fun extras Susanna has been sharing with us. To linger in the excitement of the release of When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles, here’s something yummy sent by Susanna …

… an elephant recipe 😊

Elephant Sugar Cookies

You will need:

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsps baking powder

2 3/4 cups flour

An elephant-shaped cookie cutter

Raisins or chocolate chips (for the eye)

Sprinkles, small candies, colored sugar, a little icing, etc. for decoration

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar.

Add egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients then add slowly to butter mixture until all incorporated.

Roll out on lightly floured board to desired thickness (probably about 1/4 inch or so)

Cut out elephant shapes with cookie cutter.

Press a raisin or a chocolate chip in place for the eye.

If decorating with colored sugar or sprinkles, sprinkle on top and press lightly with the bottom of a glass before baking.

If decorating with small candies, press lightly into elephant before baking.

Bake at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes until light in color with light browning on the edges.

If using icing, add after baking.

If you missed earlier news and fun you can check all of my July posts for fun events, including reviews, interviews and giveaways.

So ends my participation in When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles blog tour. Huge thanks to everyone for adding to the fun through your visits and comments. Especially, many thanks to you, Susanna, and to Little Simon and Daniel Wiseman. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Lion Snacks from Susanna Leonard Hill for when you and your lion have the munchies

Today I have a special tasty treat for you from Susanna Leonard Hill in honour of her new book – When Your Lion Needs a Bathbeing released on July 11. Read my review HERE.

Here is a fun snack you and your kiddies (and lion cubs) can enjoy putting together … together, and it`s simple enough for them to make for themselves.

Graham Cracker Lion

Spread a graham cracker square with peanut butter (or any other nut butter if you prefer or have peanut allergy!)

Place stick pretzels fanned out around the cracker for the mane.

Cover with another graham cracker square spread with peanut butter (peanut butter side down to hold pretzels in place.)

Place two raisin eyes and a raisin nose on top using a tiny dab of peanut butter.

Center a mini-pretzel mouth upside down over the nose with a little peanut butter to hold it in place. 😊






Thanks, Susanna! These look so fun to make, and tasty, too!

If your little one does have peanut allergy (like one of my nieces has) there are peanut butter alternatives that would work just as well for these lion snacks. Below I listed four I found that you might want to try if you know from your doctor or allergist they`d be safe for your family.

Peanut Butter Alternatives

Sunflower Butter – is a great alternative for those who might have tree-nut allergies.

Other Nut Butters – If you don’t suffer from a severe peanut allergy and also don’t suffer from tree-nut allergies, many other widely available nut butters (such as almond, cashew, macadamia) might serve as an acceptable alternative. I read that Barney Butter is an almond butter that is processed in a dedicated Almond Only facility, which means that with this particular brand, there is no risk of cross-contamination with peanuts. Maybe you know of other brands that offer this.

Nutella – is not processed with peanuts, so it`s safe for even severe peanut allergy. Although it`s a different taste, you can substitute Nutella in recipes calling for peanut butter as it has a similar consistency.


If you have other tasty substitutes for peanut butter, please share with us! 🙂 And if you try this lion snack, please let us know your experience with it.

Remember to enter the draw for your chance to win a copy of When Your Lion Needs a Bath.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂


Today Canada is officially 150 years old!

In the emblem below, the thirteen diamonds of the maple leaf represent the ten provinces and three territories that make up Canada. The four red diamonds represent the four original provinces at confederation in 1867. Nova Scotia is one of those four.

There is much griping going on in some minds about it’s not being 150 years for all parts of Canada (and there are other reasons) so it’s not everyone’s celebration. In my opinion (for which you didn’t ask) that is hogwash! Canada is Canada. There will always be naysayers, no matter what country or reason of celebration. I get it that many feel because of some shameful and horrible historical events and practices and situations it’s not a happy celebration for them. I get that. And I understand that indigenous history goes back thousands of years before this, so let’s celebrate that, too. Can’t we come together and work on it? Can’t we make it better? This is a great country! Many nations have things in their history, much are ongoing, that are not celebratory, but that doesn’t mean hope is abolished or abandoned.

Canada is a great country in size, too, second in land mass only to Russia. Just to give some comparison – the United States is fourth in size, after China. 

In celebration of 150 years, Parks Canada is making available – until the end of 2017 – free passes to Canada’s national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas. This is a good year to follow through on your plans to visit Canada. Also, the tall ships are going to be visiting 11 different communities in Nova Scotia throughout this summer. All across the country there are special events taking place this year.

Currently, in Halifax harbour here in NS, the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier is anchored. Hopefully you can access this webcam view of the harbour, and this you tube video of the Eisenhower.  

And look at this flower! The Canada 150 tulip, also known as the Maple Leaf tulip, is the official tulip of Canada 150. It resembles the Canadian flag through special breeding of two different varieties of tulips. Isn’t that fabulous?

Canada’s contribution is significant in helping during world crises; my own father was a soldier in the Canadian Army that Liberated the Netherlands during World War II. Canada does have its problems and contradictions (who doesn’t?), but we are unified more than many other nations, and basically we are peace-loving. In fact, we’re mostly looking pretty good. Out of 155 countries we have been rated as the 7th happiest. (Below, I’m including only the first 20 on the list to show you.) Canada has been known as the best place to visit, to live, and to learn.  🙂  I love it here. 

1. Norway (7.537) 2. Denmark (7.522) 3. Iceland (7.504) 4. Switzerland (7.494) 5. Finland (7.469) 6. Netherlands (7.377) 7. Canada (7.316) 8. New Zealand (7.314) 9. Australia (7.284) 10. Sweden (7.284) 11. Israel (7.213) 12. Costa Rica (7.079) 13. Austria (7.006) 14. United States (6.993) 15. Ireland (6.977) 16. Germany (6.951) 17. Belgium (6.891) 18. Luxembourg (6.863) 19. United Kingdom (6.714) 20. Chile (6.652) 

So, HAPPY NATIONAL BIRTHDAY TO ALL MY FELLOW CANADIANS, AND THOSE TO COME. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says, we welcome you!

Are you doing anything special this year to celebrate Canada’s birthday? (I’ve just done it — this blog post. 🙂 )

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

A Footnote:  A dear friend in the US sent me this music video, very moving and beautiful.


9 tips for reusing a common item in your household

Today I have something different for you, creatively different.



I’m quite sure that every now and again you have empty toilet paper rolls to toss into the garbage or recycling. If you’ve ever wished there were good uses for them, here are some great ideas I found

You now no longer need to throw away every one of those. They still can be useful. 

Have you used your empty toilet paper rolls for any of the tips shown? What is your favourite of those tips, or do you have one of your own you’d like to share with us?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂