Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Last Cup of Brandy: Bravery and Bombs

It's the cup of brandy that no one wants to drink.
For the 71st time, on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Fort Walton Beach , Florida,
the surviving Doolittle's Raiders gathered publicly for the last time.

They once were among the most universally admired
and revered men in the United States .
 There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942, when they carried out one of the
most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation's history
. The mere mention of their unit's name, in those years, would bring tears to
 the eyes of grateful Americans.

Now only four survive.

After Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United States
 reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to
turn the war effort around.

Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to
 Japan for the United States
to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25s
were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. \
This had never before been tried -- sending such big, heavy
bombers from a carrier.

The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle,
who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew that they would not
 be able to return to the carrier.
They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make
 it to China for a safe landing.

But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan.
 The Raiders were told that they would have to take
off from much farther out
in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. 
They were told that because of this they would not have 
enough fuel to make it to safety.

And those men went anyway.

They bombed Tokyo, and then flew as far as they could.
Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out,
and three of the Raiders died.
 Eight more were captured; three were executed.
Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp.
 One crew made it to Russia.

The Doolittle Raid sent a message from the United States to its enemies,
and to the rest of the world: We will fight. And, no matter what it takes,
we will win.

Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war.
They were celebrated as national heroes,
models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced
a motion picture based on the raid;

"Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson,
 was a patriotic and emotional box-office hit, and the phrase became part
 of the national lexicon. In the movie-theater previews for the film, MGM
proclaimed that it was presenting the story "with supreme pride."

Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April,
 to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different city each year
. In 1959, the city of Tucson , Arizona , as a gesture of
 respect and gratitude,
presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets.
Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider.

Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is
 transported to the reunion city. Each time a Raider passes away,
 his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion,
 as his old friends bear solemn witness.

Also in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac.
 The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jimmy Doolittle was born.

There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving Raiders,
 they would open the bottle, at last drink from it, and toast their comrades
 who preceded them in death.

As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February,
Tom Griffin passed away at age 96.

What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over a
mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid,
he became ill with malaria,
and almost died. When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to fly more
combat missions. He was shot down, captured, and spent 22 months
in a German prisoner of war camp.

The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts ...
 there was a passage in the Cincinnati
 Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on the surface,
 had nothing to do with the war,
 but that emblematizes the depth of his sense of duty and devotion:
 "When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home,
 he visited her every day. He walked from his house
 to the nursing home,
fed his wife and at the end of the day brought home her clothes.
 At night, he washed and ironed her clothes.
 Then he walked them up to her room the next morning.
 He did that for three years until her death in 2005."

So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain:
 Dick Cole (Doolittle's co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite,
 Edward Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s.
They have decided that there are too few of them for the public
reunions to continue.

The events in Fort Walton Beach April 16-20
 marked the end. It had come full circle;
 Florida's nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders
 trained in secrecy for the
Tokyo mission.
 The town did all it could to honor the men: a six-day
 celebration of their valor, including luncheons,
 a dinner and a parade.

Do the men ever wonder if those of us for whom
 they helped save the country
 have tended to it in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice?

 They don't talk about that, at least not around other people.

The men have decided that after this final public reunion
 they will wait until a later date --
 some time this year -- to get together once more
, informally and in absolute privacy.
That is when they will open the bottle of brandy.
 The years are flowing by too swiftly now;
 they are not going to wait until there are
only two of them.

They will fill the four remaining upturned goblets.
And raise them in a toast to those who are gone.

The above is a story that I did not write, but felt compelled to share.
 My brother passed this story along  to me and we wish we knew who authored it!

 I guess you could say I come from a family of fiercely patriotic individuals, lead by  a father who served in World War II. He put  his life on hold at the age of 24, as did so many, many  enlisted men,  upon the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. He rarely spoke of what he lived in those five years. What he did share has become like diamonds to us. 

Rare and beautiful.

I write much about my pride in my Dad and all US servicemen and women.  They epitomize selflessness. They live their value for freedom and are willing to lose their lives to ensure that their country continued to be The  Land of The Free and The Home of The Brave.

The war in Iraq is "over." Where were the parades? The confetti? The speeches of appreciation led by our Commander in Chief welcoming our heroes?  Are their jobs and businesses intact and waiting for them? Has the nation taken care of their mortgages and their children's student loans while they were serving to protect us? 

 The apathy our current administration exudes  for our armed forces is clear and strong.  It is contagious and dangerous.  I fear that my Dad would be quite saddened to see what we've become in this regard. 

Why wait until Veteran's Day to show how much we appreciate our way of life? 
And how much we respect our veterans? 

Thank you, Dad.
Thank you, to  all our  veterans.

The "clearest" picture I have of my Dad
in 1943, US Army Infantry.
Protecting the people of the beautiful Philippines
 during the Japanese occupation.
If you're new here, 
this is a reflection I posted several months ago,
that I'd loved to share.

Thank you for visiting, friends.
I very much appreciate the time you're taking to stop in.

(If you are new here, please stop over to my online mega book sale...
Curriculum, teacher resources, kid lit from preschool to middle school)
I look forward to seeing you here again, very soon.

Until next time,


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Forever West~ "Aces and Eights:" Fun and Wacky Sign Pictures of our 2013 Trip

Hi there friends and welcome!

When we started on these crazy cross country jaunts,
y-e-a-r-s ago,
(before children)
we decided to take a picture of every 
"Welcome to_____" sign
 we passed 
to  be a "header" in the photo album.
One thing lead to another and we've gone sign-happy.
We no longer actually print and make photo albums
 since going digital about 5 years ago.
 Though our window panes, refrigerator, walls and pretty much every flat surface
 in our house is covered with framed photos!
Yes, we're big picture people, as are, I assume,
all bloggers!
So now, not only have we continued to take the "obligatory" 
Welcome signs, 
we  also snap unusual, interesting, educational and just-for-fun signs too.
I wondered how to actually categorize the sign shots for my post
 and then went with the good old 
 state-by-state in chronological order way.....!

So here goes...
Enjoy our wacky sign shots!


630 feet high 
at The Gateway Arch

pro life billboard
Wow, is this amazing?
A state that funds and stands behind the sanctity of life 
as well as the harm abortion does to women and society?
Unheard of where I come from.


Now, is this the coolest sign ever??

Now, we thought this sign was tongue-in-cheek
until we began speaking with a ranger.
This was taken on the road to the top of Pike's Peak,
affeectionately known as 
"America's Mountain."
Turns out, friends,
that many rangers and residents of the area
 are seriously of the "We believe Bigfoot exists" mindset.
Well, we do not,
 but I'll tell ya, they gave some pretty compelling 'evidence!'

The Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine
right before we descended 1000 feet for a tour!
In Cripple Creek, CO.

Didn't know Colorado was a fertile ground for fossils??
You thought only of John Denver and the Rockies??
Think again!
Click here for more info!

~ Utah ~

on the Utah/Colorado border~ 


Now you know the hubby is an earth science teacher 
with a serious passion for all things geology, right?
This post discusses it and this picture defines it!


The next three shots were taken on Alcatraz Island, in San Francisco harbor,
 which has been a
national park for longer than  it was a prison,
but is still a chilling place to visit.

The wharf~~

 More of San Fran's spots~~~~
 If you have never tasted Ghirardelli chocolate, folks,
you are missing out on one of life's greatest pleasures!

 Oh yeah, ya gotta get excited about a tsunami warning sign
when you live no where near tsunami areas!
Now, hurricane evacuation signs?
Those are common around these parts.

 More rock awesomeness

Lassen is a  very under-visited national park, but spectacular.
The only place in North America where all four types
 of volcanoes  can be found together.

In the middle of no where
( literally, I guess)
in north-eastern CA.
Coming from an area where there'a 7-11 and a gas station on every corner?
This is pretty freaky.
I like it.
I could get used to it.
Pretty much our final stop~
Deadwood, South Dakota.
You know Wild Bill's story, right?
Click here for the scoop on one of the legends of 
The Old West.

And if you click here
you can see some pictures of Timmy playing Charlie 
in the reenactment of the assassination of Wild Bill Hickok
 at the Number 10 Saloon!
Now that was something!
The kids loves to act as I've written of
As you know.

( Nice family fun, right?
Assassinations, gunfights?!)

And there are more non Americans visiting Deadwood than Americans.
Which is sorta strange.
I guess it's quintessential
"Old West?"

Just beware the next time you're playing poker
and realize you're holding Aces and Eights.

So here you go.
The Scene Of The Crime:

And that pretty much does it for our signs!!

Thanks friends, for stopping in!
If you have a minute, please leave a comment.
I love hearing from you.

If you enjoyed this story,
consider signing up for email delivery of my blog posts 
whenever there is new content published.
It would be wonderful to stay in touch regularly.

Also, here are a few of my trip posts, if you'd like to click around:

You'll Ever Have, This Side of Fishermen's Wharf ~

Forever West:
Geology and Theme Thursday!

I am very happy to link this post with the 
Wordless Wednesday 
and the Collage Friday hops 
featured on my left sidebar.
Thank you so much to my blogger friends who are hosting.

Until next time, friends


Monday, July 29, 2013

Berried Treasure~

Welcome friends!

Now, doesn't this berry dessert 
look simply scrumptious?

Timmy made it at a library cooking class with a teacher
 from a local catering establishment/cooking school, Chef Rob.

And surprisingly, I can NOT find one reference online to Chef Rob, 
other than a
 class he gave about a year ago at a different library about 40 miles from my home!
Wish I could find a FB page or something to include here to at least credit him for this!

Well, here goes....
an easy, yummy and pleasing - to - the -  eye 
summery dessert 
for "just the family" or for  company~~

Vintage Spring divider

~Berried Treasure~
A Chocolate Coated Ice Cream Cone
with Fresh Berries

½ C sugar
4 oz semi sweet choclate
6 large waffle cones
3 C berries ( or a mix of fresh berries) Timmy used blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
Mint sprigs for garnish

1.      Heat chocolate in small saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until smooth
2.      Brush inside of cones with chocolate. The dip edges in sugar.
3.      Stand cones upright in small glasses and refrigerate until set ( about 15 minutes)
4.      Combine berries in bowl.
5.      Spoon berries into cones and drizzle with raspberry coulis (simply 2 C raspberries mixed with 2 T sugar, which can be refrigerated for up to one week after making.)
6. Lay cones on plate and garnish with mint sprigs.

~Here's a close up:

It is SO simple and fun to make with your littles.
We re-created it with both our kids in our own kitchen, 
since Chef Rob did give out the recipe after his class!

Enjoy! And be sure to leave a comment letting me know how it worked out for you! 

Hey, leave a comment, even if you did not get a chance to make the dessert, just to say HI. I love to hear from you!

I am gratefully linking this post to the weekly recipe, homemaking, DIY 

link ups that are featured on my left sidebar. 
Thank you to my fellow bloggers for hosting such fun blog parties!

Thank you for stopping in and
 be sure to visit tomorrow when I resume "trip blogging"
 with some educational, wacky and just plain fun sign pictures 
that we took on our cross country adventure!

I know, "sign pictures?"

Well visit tomorrow to check it out!!
Here are a few of my trip posts,
 if you have some time to click over:

Forever West: Our Cross Country Trip ~  By the Numbers!

You'll Ever Have, This Side of Fishermen's Wharf ~

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just enter your email address here
so we can be in touch regularly!

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You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Until next time,


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Looking For a Little Mid Summer Homeschool Inspiration?

Well, sure you are!
What if there was one resource, one blog post
that contained practical, yet inspirational tips and links?
What if there was one place to click to for answers to your curriculum questions 
as well as scheduling, set-up and organizational tips 
for your day, 
your week, 
your school year?
There is! 
Have I got an amazing post for you!

Katie, the crazy-busy sweetheart of a blogger
over at Paradise Praises
has compiled  a thorough and comprehensive array of links for 
YOU and ME.
Homeschooling Mommies everywhere will be  
pinning it
and rereading,

Here it is:

So head on over for tips, practical advice, curriculum wisdom and'general inspiration for when your homeschool day is not, well....

This September, we begin our ninth year ( ! ) of homeschooling.
I guess one might say I'm a veteran homeschooler?
Yet, I feel as if I  still have much to learn...
I'm always learning from those with whom I am blessed to walk this journey,.
I  just so enjoyed perusing the links at Katie's blog and was quite enlightened.

And here's pretty cool news:
A few of my posts are featured over there too~~~ 


Timmy's take on "Sunflowers"

Kev, as Hamlet

Timmy's artwork

my post on not letting the crazy get to you on those crazy days.....
 remembering The Reason why we serve in this vocation of motherhood/homeschooling.

And, me, a "Leading Homeschool Blogger?"
 Listed among some of my fave, rock star fun and sage bloggers whose posts light up my inbox?
Whose posts I click to with lightening speed ?
Well. wow.
That just about made my day, Katie!
Thank you.

So, please, friends, get yourselves over to Katie's blog,
for t-o-n-s of amazing homeschool info and tips.
You'll find your fave bloggers and
 you might possibly meet a few new friends as well!

Please stop over to my online mega book sale...
Curriculum, teacher resources, kid lit from preschool to middle school....
ongoing throughout August 2013...

Also, if you enjoyed this post, 
please subscribe so that we can stay in touch regularly.
You'll receive posts by email on a daily basis 
(if  new content is published that day.)
I'd love to stay in touch with you regularly.
Just scroll to the top left sidebar and type in your email address.

Have a  lovely day, friends and thank you for visiting!
I'll be back tomorrow with a sweet, berry  recipe that my Timmy made, 
which is perfect for a mid summer dessert!
It's called Berried Treasure and you don't want to miss it!
Until then,


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sunday Snippets~ 7/28/13

Welcome, friends, to my spot on the web!
Thank you so much for stopping in!

Time once again for Sunday Snippets, 
graciously hosted by RAnn 

Vintage Spring divider

I've a post from early in July, which I did not share here
 as of yet at the Carnival of Catholic posts. 
My contribution to the Hot Summer Nights marriage series,
was posted right  before my blogging break,
as my family was taking  off on a cross country trip.
If you have not clicked over to the HSN series, please do so!
Links are within my post to Jen's blog, where you can find
each article on marriage and family.

Vintage Spring divider

Since returning home on Monday,
 I've been blogging up a storm around our trip 
and feel I've barely gotten going on the details, actually!

I do have a couple of posts from this week which will fit
RAnn's link up guidelines...

They are ~~

Forever West: Our Cross Country Trip ~  By the Numbers!

You'll Ever Have, This Side of Fishermen's Wharf ~

Vintage Spring divider

Okay, there are a few more, but they don't really "fit" the linky.:)

Well, I am certainly looking forward to stopping by RAnn's
and clicking over to the bloggers who have linked to her weekly carnival!
It's always a treat.

Thanks, RAnn.

AND by the way, this marks day 7 of
 Jen's 7 in 7 blogging challenge!
Thank you, Jen, for putting the challenge out there for us.
It's been awesome and helpful to  me in getting on track with my writing,
 since returning home.

Well, even though there's no blogging challenge set for tomorrow, 
I do have a post in the works,....
So I hope to see you here again if your time permits!
Have a wonderful day!

THANK YOU for visiting, 
and please leave a comment to say hi if you have time!

Until tomorrow,