St. Patrick’s Day in Shady Pines has Boomer and Halley looking for Leprechauns

St. Patrick’s Day in Shady Pines has Boomer and Halley looking for Leprechauns

 Everyone’s Seeing Green

It won’t be long now and the excitement is building. The Shady Pines Community Center will soon hold it’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans event Friday, March 17th for the kids at the nearby elementary school.

Community Center Director, Rita Mallena, is excited. “Shenanigans means spirited fun with a little mischief mixed in. That’s what I think about when I think of leprechauns and it describes our students as well. So that’s our theme this year,” says Rita.

A lot of folks around town are pitching in to help, including the Sanders family.

Harold and Edna absolutely love this event. It gives Edna a chance to cook up something special in Edna’s Kitchen. Harold dresses up and their four-legged kids like the commotion.A happy family hugging their pets

An Irish Treat

Edna Sanders makes a list of things she wants to get at the store.

“In honor of one of the symbols of this day, I’ll make my special Shamrock Cookies. The batter is easy to whip up. Next, I use my heart shaped cookie cutter to make the shapes, top with green icing and voila! Everyone seems to really like them.”

Harold strides into the kitchen and makes a beeline to the refrigerator. “What do we all like, dear?”


Harold looks in the refrigerator. “Are there any in here?”

Edna shakes her head. “No, I’m going to make some for the Shenanigans Event.”

“Oh, okay,” says Harold. “Guess I’ll just have some fruit. That’s right. St. Paddy’s Day is coming up. Should I wear my leprachaun costume again?”

Boomer and Halley Get Into It

Boomerang, the couple’s Australian Shepherd, wanders in carrying his rawhide bone in his mouth. He drops it upder the window seat where Halley’s Comet is sunning herself. The silver streak of a cat opens one eye and looks down at him. “What do you want?”

“What’s a leprechaun?”

Halley sigh loudly. “Honestly you overgrown fur ball. Everyone knows that.”

Boomer tilts his head. “You don’t know, do you?”

“‘Course I do,” says Halley. “Legend has it they’re little Irish guys who live in the forest among the trees. They make shoes or something. Oh, and they guard their pot of gold.”

“How do you know?” asks Boomer.

“Because mom told the kids all about them at last year’s shin-dig,” says Halley. “Let me guess. You weren’t paying attention.”

Boomer growls at her.  “What if someone finds a leprechaun?”

Halley yawns. “Then they get to keep the gold.”


“Uh-oh.” Halley sits up straight. “Boomer. I know that look. What are you thinking?”

Making Human Connections

“You know dear,” says Edna. “I really enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a delightful way to celebrate the country of Ireland – it’s people, art, religion and all the things Irish people like to do.”

Harold sits at the kitchen table eating his apple. “I agree. I think it’s also a good way for kids to learn about people in far away places like the British Isles.”

Edna nods. “We need to remember that even if we live differently, and maybe eat different foods, people everywhere are alike in many ways. That’s something to celebrate.”

Harold looks around the kitchen. “Hey. What happened to Boomer and Halley?”

Can You Dig It?

“Come on Halley. Let’s go!” shouts Boomer as he explodes through the doggie door.

Halley is shocked. But before you know it, she skeedaddles right through the swinging rubber flap and out into the backyard.

“What are we doing?” gasps Halley as she catches her breath.

Boomer is already rooting through the pine straw under the pine trees that rim the fenced in yard.

“We’ll find ’em.”

“Find who?” asks Halley.  

Boomer digs frantically at one spot under the blooming cherry tree. “I’m looking for the leprachauns and their gold!” shouts Boomer.

“You’re doing what?” asks Halley

Boomer stays at his task. “Halley, think about it. We’re going to have the luck of the Irish.”

Halley throws her paws up in despair. “Boomer you nit-wit. The leprachauns are in Ireland. Not here in Shady Pines.”

Boomer stops digging and wheels around to face her. “Huh?”

And that’s where we leave the Sanders family just before St. Patricks Day in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.

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Shady Pines Wonders. Will March Come in like a Lamb or Roar in like a Lion?

Shady Pines Wonders. Will March Come in like a Lamb or Roar in like a Lion?

Marching In To a New Month

Here we are. A new month is right on our doorstep and that leads to questions. As winter gives way to spring, what kind of weather can the folks in Shady Pines Story Town expect?

In the sun drenched kitchen of the house on Dogwood Drive across from Copycat Lane, Edna Sanders is cleaning up the breakfast dishes.

Her husband, Harold, is about ready to leave for work. He owns the Nuts ‘N Bolts hardware store downtown on Main Street. Right now, he’s looking high and low for something.

“Honey, have you seen my keys?” he asks. Edna looks in a couple of drawers. “No,” she answers. “Maybe you should check upstairs on the dresser.”

As Harold heads to the bedroom, the Sanders’ Australian Shepherd dog, Boomerang, is lying under the kitchen table chewing his rawhide bone. Halley’s Comet, their silver streak of a cat, is perched on her pink window seat grooming herself.

Edna glances at her four-legged kids. “Boomer and Halley, where has this month gone? It seems like it was Valentine’s Day just a short while ago. And now the month is over.”

Harold bounds into the room with the keys in his hand. “Found ’em. They were right where you said they’d be.”

Edna places the last clean plate in the upper cupboard. “Harold I just realized tomorrow is a new month. Can you believe that?”

“Gosh, you’re right! I guess the question now is, will March come in like a lion and go out like a lamb? Or, the other way around?”

Edna turns and looks at him. “Where does that saying come from?”

My father told me it’s an old saying straight out of the Farmers’ Almanac.  It’s sorta forklore. Apparently our ancestors believed in balance.”

“What do you mean, balance?” asks Edna as she helps Harold on with his coat.

“It means if the weather at the start of the month is bad like a roaring lion, the month should end with good weather. You know, gentle, like a lamb,” says Harold.

“On the other hand,” wonders Edna, “if March begins mild it could end being wild!”

Harold gasps. “I never thought of that.”

Kindness Matters

Boomer stops chewing and looks over at Halley. “You know what that means don’t you?”

Halley rolls her eyes at him. “Oh, do tell, oh wonder dog. What does this mean?”

Boomer struts over to her. “In this story I am the mighty lion and you are the pitiful little lamb.”

“Oh pah-leez you overgrown bundle of fur,” hisses Halley. “No one would mistake you for a mighty anything!”

“Would too!”

“Would not!”

Boomer is so frustrated with Halley that he starts barking at her.

Harold takes Boomer by the collar and leads him away from the hissing cat. “What has gotten into you, two? Remember all those times we reminded you guys to be kind to one another?”

Edna is startled by the commotion. “In this house it seems March may be coming in like a lion!” she says stroking Halley to calm her down. Harold sits with Boomer and pets his head. “Easy boy. Pretend you’re a lamb.”

Boomer reacts with, “Grrrrr.”

Halley just grins.

And that’s where we leave the Sanders family on a quiet morning in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.

And just so you know, the forecast for Shady Pines the first week of March is supposed to be mild.


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Shady Pines Says Happy Birthday to the Man Who Invented the Light Bulb

Shady Pines Says Happy Birthday to the Man Who Invented the Light Bulb

From Poor Student to Genius Inventor

Here’s a story to inspire you to never give up on your dreams. 

I’m Zulah Talmadge, Editor of The Shady Pines Gazette news. Do you love your cell phone? How about movies or your digital camera? Well, we have one man to thank for those inventions and a whole lot more.

And you know what? When he was a boy a lot of people didn’t think he’d amount to much. 

Instead, he grew up to be one of the greatest inventors this country has ever known. That man was Thomas Alva Edison and his birthday is  Saturday, February 11th.

We all see better in the dark because Edison invented a more efficient electric light bulb. Just try and imagine how different life was before his inventions.

Shining Light Into the Darkness

The only way families could communicate with each other was through letters, which could take weeks or even months to arrive. For light, people used candles or oil lamps, which were smoky and messy.

Edison not only invented things but he also made improvements to equipment already in use.  Way before the cell phone there was the telegraph. Edison made the machine smaller and able to send and receive four messages at time.

Those changes let people send messages quickly. In war time or emergencies, telegraphs saved lives. When the luxury oceanliner Titanic sunk in the Atlantic Ocean, it was a telegraph that alerted rescuers to the disaster.

But Edison wasn’t always a brilliant inventor.

The Young Thomas Edison

The young Thomas was a busy, curious boy who got into trouble at school. His teacher called him “addled,” which means slow or dim. That’s right. They didn’t think he was very smart. Edison’s mother was frustrated with the school.

Nancy Edison knew her son could learn. She decided to teach him at home instead. Her ideas worked. Before long, she had taught Edison everything she knew.

He started reading books from the library and teaching himself.

Born in Ohio, Edison’s family later moved to Michigan. In 1859, he took a job selling newspapers and candy on the Grand Trunk Railroad to Detroit.

From Poor Student to Self Starter

In the baggage car of the train, Edison set up a laboratory for his chemistry experiments. At only 12 years old he was operating a printing press and started publishing the Grand Trunk Herald.

It was the first newspaper published on a train.

Unfortunately he accidentally started a fire while doing one of his chemical experiments and they kicked him off the train.

Famous Inventor Who Made American Lives Better

Thomas Edison lived a long and productive life. He submitted his last invention for patent when he was 80 years old. In all, he had 1,093 inventions.

Some of his other best known inventions include the phonograph (which recorded sounds and played them back) and the movie camera. That’s right.  Every time you watch a movie you now know who made that possible.

The best thing about Thomas Edison is that he never gave up. Even when he tried something new and it didn’t work out, he just kept trying until it did.

Happy Birthday to an American who inspires all of us to have faith in ourselves and know that anything is possible! 

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A Veterans Day Thank You from Shady Pines

A Veterans Day Thank You from Shady Pines

We Appreciate Your Service

Do you know what we should all be doing this Friday, November 11th? I’ll give you a hint. That’s Veterans Day. We need to say thank you to the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces of this country. I’m Zulah Talmadge, Editor of The Shady Pines Gazette news.

I will be thinking about my father on that day. He’s a retired Colonel in the Army. Since he’s not actively serving that makes him a veteran.

I haven’t seen him in a while ’cause he lives up north. But you can be dang on certain I will call him this Friday. He says he learned important life lessons in the army like teamwork, achieving goals, honor and the importance of service to others.

How Veterans Day Started

We have to go way back to the year 1919 to find out how it began. This national observance used to be called Armistice Day — a day to celebrate the end of World War I.

The name was later changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor veterans of all wars.

It’s kinda sad to realize just how many wars the United States has been involved in, isn’t it? So many men and women have made a lot of sacrifices for the freedom we enjoy today. Any chance we get, we should recognize them for their service.

Do You Know the Difference Between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?

I don’t know about you, but most people confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day. They’re actually very different. I did some digging and discovered the difference is important to keep in mind.

I found some information from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  “Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country. This is especially true for those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.

“While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military — in wartime or peacetime.”

Remember To Thank Them

I know we’re busy doing other things. We don’t stop and appreciate all that we have. Let’s face it. We tend to forget the thousands of Americans who have done so much to make our lives a little better.

Here’s an idea. Even if you know someone who is  currently serving, Veterans Day is a great time to tell them “Thank You For Your Service.” 

Why, here in Shady Pines, seven year old Ray Robinson’s dad is away right now serving overseas. Ray says on Veterans Day he’s going to write to his dad and make sure he knows how much Ray and his mom love him and hope he can come home soon.

Ray is very proud of his dad who taught him to be honest, kind and respectful of others. His dad reminded Ray to help out around the house and be good to his mother while he’s gone.

This  Friday let’s all take a moment to remember that someone’s family member may be a long way from home right now serving our country.

And their kids are waiting for them.

– Zulah out

Time to Fall Back with those Clocks in Shady Pines

Time to Fall Back with those Clocks in Shady Pines

Let’s Fall Back Y’all!

It’s that time again. The days are shorter and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. You know what you need to do. Here’s our mayor, Beauregard P. Fibbs with a reminder.

Hello good people of Shady Pines. This Sunday November 6th at 2am, Daylight Savings Time ends and the clocks turn back one hour.  Some of you think this is a bonus. After all, you get that extra hour to sleep in.

But some parents in town tell me when you have young children, it’s just one more thing you have to navigate.

If you think about it, when the clock turns back one hour, what used to be 7:00am is now 6:00am.  So it’s lighter earlier in the morning and darker sooner in the evening. Are your kids are early risers? Well, they will probably rise even earlier. EEE-Gads!

To help get ahead of “Fall Back”, I’ve got 4 tips to help your child adjust to the end of Daylight Saving Time.

#1 Plan a Few Days Ahead

Start a few days ahead of time to get the family ready for change. Move your child’s entire daytime schedule  a bit. On Thursday morning, have breakfast ready 15 minutes later than normal, then naptime 15 minutes later and so on until the entire daytime schedule has been shifted.

If your kids normally go to bed at 7pm, they should be going to bed at 7:15pm.  Do the same thing the next day but move their schedule later another 15 minutes.  The gradual shift helps their internal clocks adjust. They will be less likely to wake an hour early on Sunday morning.

#2 Block The Morning Light

Make sure your child’s bedroom is really dark. In fact, consider using some blackout curtains so the new early morning light doesn’t wake your child.  Experts say by keeping the room dark you encourage the production of melatonin. With that one change you help them stay sleeping.

#3 Avoid Rushing In

If your kids wake earlier than you would like, try to leave them alone until the normal wake up time. This gives their internal clocks a chance to reset.  By leaving them a little longer than normal, you also give them the opportunity to go back to sleep.

That should help you, too!

#4 Expose Them to Plenty of Daylight

If you can, expose your child to plenty of bright light, especially in the early evening. When you do that, it will shift their clock. That makes it easier for them to fall asleep later and wake up later.

Something else to keep in mind. Try not to worry if your children aren’t making the shift as fast as you think they should.  Kids who are easy going when it comes to schedules may adjust in just a day or two.

Children who are more sleep sensitive may have more trouble adjusting. Be patient and consistent and before you know it your kids will be back on track.

This advice may also apply to your four-legged family members. Why Harold and Edna Sanders tell me when the time changes, they have their hands full with Boomer and Halley.

Those two critters are a caution most days. But when their routine is messed with, it can be a whole ‘nother layer of commotion!

So take it easy out there and let’s all FALL BACK TOGETHER.

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Let’s Play in The Pumpkin Patch Shady Pines

Let’s Play in The Pumpkin Patch Shady Pines

Get The Scoop from the Pumpkin Patch

It’s that time people! Halloween week is special in Shady Pines. All around town folks are coming up with costumes and pickng up pumpkins to decorate. Plus when there’s a combination of an explosion of fall colors and cooler weather, there’s something else you gotta do. Yep. Let’s head to the local Pumpkin Patch.

I’m Scoop, the Cub Reporter with The Shady Pines Gazette and I’m going there now. My assignment is to discover why so many people say this is one of their favorite things to do each year as a family.

One thing I’ve noticed is it doesn’t matter if you’re a toddler or a teen like me, a pumpkin patch is fun for everyone. 

Good To Be Outside

We picked a beautiful day to be on the hunt for an orange orb. Most of these working farms are so big you don’t have to worry about bumping into people. Besides, running around looking for the perfect pumpkin is good exercise for kids  isn’t it?  Okay, I’m here. I’ve gotta interview people.

I interviewed a mom of two who made my point for me. If your kids don’t explore the outdoors very often, this is a great way for them to discover nature. Seeing how pumpkins grow out of the ground and are attached to vines is very educational. It helps them understand that pumpkins don’t just show up at the grocery store automatically.”

Here’s something else that’s good about a pumpkin patch. Around every corner children can discover things for themselves. That’s really important. I know I like to find those unexpected, special, moments.

For instance, take a look at this shot I got. Do you see the colors of that butterfly next to the pumpkin? Being out on the farm you can just be amazed at Mother Nature. I think this kind of stuff is really cool!

I met another mom who told me, “From the second we arrived, my children ran off with smiles, but quickly, they realized how much work it was to be in a field of pumpkins. Even running took work since the vines were everywhere, waiting to trip little, toddler-sized running feet.”

It turns out that not only is this a great way to spend time with the family, there are also some lessons to be learned. There aren’t a whole bunch of people working the farms these days. So a lot of  kids don’t realize it takes hard work to be a farmer.

One young girl I met was getting a little taste of that. Just trying to push a wheelbarrow with a big ‘ole pumpkin was something she hadn’t done before. She said she didn’t know pumpkins grew from tiny seeds. She also didn’t realize that they come in so many shapes, sizes and colors. “It’s kinda like people, isn’t it?” she asked.

I have to admit, I’d never thought of that before. One couple I met said they love coming out here each October. But this year it was especially important to them. “We know so many farms and other small businesses are struggling right now. It was important to us to come out and support them.”

Pumpkin Carving and Fun Recipes

That’s reason enought for me to go home with some pumpkins of my own. I don’t know about you, but our family usually has a pumpkin carving contest. Last year my dad won. It’s time for me to take the title back! The other reason I need to pick up some pumpkins is to inspire my mom. Around Halloween she likes to scare up some pumpkin dishes for us. I’m talking about everything from pumpkin pies to pumpkin pancakes. Here are some recipes for you to try: PUMPKIN RECIPES

There’s one more thing I want to mention.

These pumpkin patch visits make for some great family photos. Everywhere I look I’m seeing parents taking all sorts of shots.

Oh, look at the time. I’ve got to get back to the Gazette office. My editor, Zulah Talmadge, is probably wondering why I’ve been gone so long.  But this is just so darn much fun. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

– Scoop out.

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