Survey Says!

Survey Says!


Shady Pines is a wonderful community filled with all sorts of story tellin’ characters. These human and animals of all ages and backgrounds help to inspire us to be our best selves.

They especially like to help kids discover how to make good choices in life.

But we know we need to bring that positive message to you in a way you can really use. As you guide your children through these complicated times, we want to be a trusted resource of love, laughter, and bedrock values.

Your kids deserve nothing but the best!

Will you please take a moment to answer this very simple survey? Just click on the SURVEY image. It’s very important that we deliver content that addresses the charactertraits you value most. It only takes a second.

We really appreciate your input and will let you know the results soon!



Scoop Dishes On President’s Day

Scoop Dishes On President’s Day


Breaking NewsHi Everyone. It’s me, Scoop, your cub reporter from The Shady Pines Gazette newspaper. President’s Day is coming up fast. Here in the news office, we’ve been kicking around ideas about what this day means to kids growing up today.

My editor, Zulah Talmadge, asked me who is my favorite U.S. president.

I had to think about that for a minute. I have two favorite presidents of the United States, if you really want to know. So, I’ll start with George Washington.

You may already know that he was one of the founding fathers of this country. He was also named Major General and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army on June 19, 1775. He led the fight to gain our country’s independence from the British. General Washington not only became our first elected president but he left office voluntarily after his second term. By doing that, he introduced the idea of term limits.

GEORGE WASHINGTON – The MYTH?                                                                                                                               

There’s one story about Washington that sticks with me. The actual event may not be true, but the lesson is a good one.  In school we learned the cherry tree myth is the most well-known and longest lasting legend about the first American president. In the original story, when Washington was six years old he received a hatchet as a gift.He didn’t mean to but he accidentally damaged his father’s cherry tree.

When his father found out what he had done, he became angry and confronted him. Young George bravely said, “I cannot tell a lie…I did cut it with my hatchet.” Washington’s father embraced him and said that his son’s honesty was worth more than a thousand trees.


That meant something to me because my parents are always telling me how important it is to be honest. And that brings me to my second, favorite, present. After all, Abraham Lincoln’s nickname was, “Honest Abe.”

Do you know that Abraham Lincoln became our 16th president on March 4, 1861? He was known for his honesty way back when he was a teenager like me. That’s really cool.

The future president was first called “Honest Abe” when he was working as a young store clerk in New Salem, Illinois. According to one story, whenever he realized he had shortchanged a customer by a few pennies, he would close the shop and deliver the correct change – no matter of how far he had to walk.

People were impressed with him and were soon asking him to act as judge or referee in various contests, fights, and arguments. According to Robert Rutledge of New Salem, “Lincoln’s judgment was final in all that region of country. People relied upon his honesty, integrity, and fairness.”


The other thing that impresses me about Lincoln is that he came from a very poor background and worked hard all his life. He was best known for his amazing ability to split wood. As a president he led us through the Civil War, one of the darkest periods in our history. Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg address includes one of the most important notions about our country ever stated: “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” That statement still gives me chills.

So, what I would tell little kids who ask me why I like these presidents, I think these two men demonstrate what it is to be a leader. They also were the kinds of people we’d love to have as neighbors here in Shady Pines Story Town.

After all, the people who live in this small Southern town believe that we need to treat other people the way we’d like to be treated. Presidents Washington and Lincoln symbolize many of the qualities we all wish we had.

Why don’t you let us know what president you admire?

Confusion Around the Super Bowl

Kicking Off  a Super Bowl Dilemma 

In Shady Pines Story Town, and all over the country, people are buzzing about the upcoming Super Bowl. The famous football game with be played this Sunday in Tampa Bay, Florida. The Tampa Bay Bucaneers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs to win the national championship. Both teams want to take home the shiny Lombardi trophy.

But in a house on Dogwood Drive across from Copy Cat Lane, there is some confusion about this big-deal event. Let’s find out why.

Edna Sanders looks over her recipe book and makes a grocery list. Everyone knows that snacks are one of the main ingredients for a successful Super Bowl experience. Even if it’s a boring football game, the food can make up for it. “Goodness me,” says Edna. “What have I served in the past that was a real winner? Oh, chicken wings, of course!”

PIcking A Winning – Recipe

Edna’s husband, Harold, has been working in the garage. He comes into the kitchen to wash his hands. “Hi,”  says Edna. “Did you fix the cabinent doors?”

“Yep. Good as new. I don’t think they’ll creak anymore when you open them,” says Harold. What are you doing?”

“I’m figuring out what to make for Super Bowl Sunday. Since we can’t invite anyone over because of Covid, I’ve made a plan with some of our friends,” says Edna.

“Really? What’s the plan?” asks Harold as he sits down at the kitchen table.

“We’re going to swap recipes so that we’re all eating the same thing. Then, when we do our screen to screen call and watch the game together from our own homes, it’ll be a party. Well, at least a 2021 – style party!” Harold nods his approval. “What a good idea. Which one are you going to share?”

“I’m going with my super-duper chili,” says Edna.

“That’s a winner!” says Harold. Hearing the sound of paws scampering in his direction, Harold looks up.

“I did it Boomer. I beat you to the kitchen, ” says Halley, a bit out of breath.

“You did not,” gasps Boomer. “I gave you a head start.”

“Did not!”
“Did, too!” Boomer turns his back on the silver streak of a cat and plops down next to Harold.

“Hey, boy,” says Harold stroking the handsome dog’s head. “Is Halley messing with you again?”

Boomer pants. “At least someone understands.”

Oh, puh-leeze,” says Halley as she jumps into Edna’s lap.

“Oh, my goodness Halley,” says Edna. “You startled me!”

Harold chuckles. “What are we going to do with these two?”

Edna shakes her head. “I’m not sure. Why don’t you take the kids outside and I’ll go to the store?”

Harold gets up ftrom the table. “Good idea. C’mon you guys. What do you say we do some yard work?”

Boomer barks with joy.

Getting Super Bowl Snacks

Halley shakes her head. “Did he say work?”

Edna has her list and picks up her purse. “Harold, maybe I should take Halley with me. You know how she likes to help me shop.”

“Okay,” says Harold. “Just don’t let her pick out the most expensive tuna again!”

Edna kisses him on the cheek. “I won’t. See you boys soon!”

“All right Boomer. It’s just you and me boy. Let’s go!”

Boomer barks and wags his bobbed tail.

Chillin’ With Chilli

Now back at the house, Edna prepares to chill and make her chilli. She places all the ingredients together on the kitchen counter. Halley watches from her window seat before drifting off to sleep. Boomer crunches down on his favorite chewy bone. Harold is in the den watching sports on TV.

“All right you guys. This game on Sunday is special so that means just one thing. I’m using my Super Bowl,” says Edna.

Boomer looks up and cocks his head. “Huh? Psssst. Hey, Halley. She’s using what?”

Halley opens one eye. “I dunno. Who cares?”

Boomer gets up and looks right at the sleepy cat. “I heard Dad talking on his cell phone to one of his friends,” saays Boomer. They were arguing about who is going to win the Super Bowl.”

Halley sits up.  Now she’s bothered. “Why would anyone want to win Mom’s mixing bowl?”

The dog and cat stare at one another. Boomer shakes his head back and forth.

“I don’t get it. Did Mom ever use that big ‘ole bowl to make something for us?” asks Boomer.

Super Sized Confusion

Halley scruches up her face. “Don’t think so.  So, it can’t be that great. Why would anyone want it?”

“I have a better question,” says Boomer. “Why does she call it her Super Bowl?”

Now Halley is really confused. “What will Dad’s friends do if they win it? They don’t cook!”

Meanwhile Edna is humming. She loves to create delicious meals. “I think I’ll make enough chilli to pack individual servings. That way I can share some with our neighbors.”

Edna looks down and sees Boomer and Halley staring up at her. “What in the world is going on with you guys?”

You probably can’t clear up the confusion for Boomer and Halley by game time Sunday evening.

But you can join in on some Shady Pines fun by clicking on this link to: EDNA’S SUPER DUPER CHILI RECIPE


Coping with Covid and The Winter Blues

Coping with Covid and The Winter Blues

Families Need Help

Winter darkness and colder weather can cause a child’s mood and health habits to take a dive. Adults can feel the same way. When you add the fact that everone is tired of dealing with the ongoing pandemic, you get a lot of parents sending out an S.O.S.

I’m Zulah Talmadge, editor of The Shady Pines Gazette news. All over Shady Pines Story Town we’re hearing about chilldren and their families dealing with this struggle. 

So, I decided to search for some solutions to offer our readers. I turned to an expert in children’s health, pediatric psychologist Melissa Santos, PhD.    Here now are her Top Five Tips:

1. Eat right.

Make it easy for yourself: Decide on a meal prep day for your family and spend time together trying new recipes and making sure your fridge is ready to make it easy to eat right.

2. Keep moving.

The winter months can make it so hard to get moving, which can take a toll on mood. Take time each day to do something to move your body – start your day with yoga, have a dance party with your family, get out for a hike on the weekends or just use your phone or tracker to get your steps in.

 Related: 23 Indoor Activities for Heart-Healthy Kids

3. Watch your sleep.

Is there anything better than waking up all curled up under the covers on a cold winter morning? It’s so easy to sleep in. But we want to make sure kids aren’t getting too little – or too much – sleep. (Did you know you can get too much? Check out these sleep guidelines.)

Unfortunately, there’s no way to actually “catch up” on sleep. So focus on helping your child fall asleep and wake up at around the same time every day. If they have problems falling asleep, consider an app like Sleep Bug, which has lots of different sound effects to encourage sleep.

> Related: 3 Bedtime Challenges Your Kids Might Be Having Now – and How to Solve Them

4. Get some sunlight.

Humans are basically houseplants with emotions – and they need sun. Getting out in those rare daylight hours is so important to lifting our mood and getting good vitamins!

> Related: More Than the Winter Blues? Kids and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

5. Build in extra mood-boosters.

Since darkness and cold weather can easily impact mood, it’s important to be proactive in wintertime about building mood-boosters into your child’s day. When in doubt, have your child create a “mood jar”: Fill a jar with written reminders of things that always give their mood a lift – an activity, a memory, whatever. Go to the jar when they need a mood boost!

As always, if you’re concerned about your child’s health (or your own), please talk to your doctor. We’re here to help!

Thank you Dr. Santos. Here at The Shady Pines Gazette we will sontinue to bring you and your family news you can use. In the comments below, please let us know if this article helped. Stay safe and be well. ‘Til next time. – Zulah out!

Boomer is Jealous of Biden’s Rescue Dog!

Boomer is Jealous of Biden’s Rescue Dog!

A Doggone First

A new resident at 1600 Pennsyvania Avenue is in the spotlight and a famous resident of Shady Pines has a problem with that. Boomerang, the Australian Shepherd who lives with his adopted parents, Harold and Edna Sanders, is all fussed up. Boomer watches the television screen in his home on Dogwood Drive. He hears that a couple of German shepherds will be living with the new President of the United States!

“I don’t believe it,” he says.

But that’s not what’s got Boomer all hot under the collar. One of those dogs is getting a bunch of publicity for being adopted from an animal shelter. “Come on!” says Boomer. “I’m a rescue, too. What’s so great about him?”

Don’t Be Jealous!

Halley’s Comet can’t believe what she’s hearing. “What is wrong with you, you overgrown fur ball?  “You sound like you’re jealous.” Boomer whirls around and stares at her.

“Halley, you’re such a pain,” says Boomer. 

“Well, then, tell me why you’re acting this way,” she demands.

“I just don’t understand why everyone is making such a big deal out of this guy. I mean he even gets his very own ‘InDoguration’ ceremony! Look. See for yourself. It’s On TV Right Now.” CLICK HERE

Halley watches the screen as the story flickers in front of them. She is only mildly interested. The story is about dogs after all. “How come the First Family doesn’t have a cat?” she wonders.

The TV story says when Joe Biden and his wife Jill, move into the White House they’re bringing along Major, a rescue dog. The German shepherd is the first shelter dog ever adopted by a first family. He’s brother to another German shepherd named, Champ. The Biden’s adopted Champ as a puppy from a breeder in 2008 while Joe Biden was serving as vice president in the Obama administration. 

Not An Inauguration. An InDOGuration

The InDoguration is a virtual, zoom event to raise money for the Delaware Humane Society. That’s where Major was living when Joe Biden found him.

“Look at all those people in those little squares on TV showing off their pets. Why didn’t we get in on this Zoom thing?” asks Boomer.Adults reading a book

Halley shakes her head. “I dunno. Maybe mom and dad didn’t know about it.”

“This is unbelieveable,” says Boomer.

Halley walks around Boomer and stares him right in the face. “Will you cut it out? They want people to adopt pets from shelters. That’s a good thing, right?”

Boomer tilts his head down to one side. “I guess so.”

Living In A Blended Family

“Besides,” says Halley. “That author lady wrote a whole book about how WE were adopted. Did you forget that?” BOOMER AND HALLEY – LOST AND FOUND

Boomer looks up. “That’s true. We’re on the cover and everything.”

“So stop being jealous,” says Halley. “We wound up with great parents and a nice place to live.”

Boomer nods his head. “Yea. But do you remember what we were like in the beginning?”

Halley closes her eyes. “I have no idea what you mean.”

Boomer rocks back on his haunches. “Well, let me remind you!”

“Oh, No! Boomer!”

And with that, Boomer chases Halley out of the room and around the house on a beautiful day in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.