The Good Stuff

THE GOOD STUFF


By Elizabeth Mowers


This blog post is a wee bit late today. While many of my friends are binge watching Netflix during this strange quarantine time, I have never been busier. Bored? What's that?

Along with teaching and writing (my new book comes out next month! Hooray!) I am now homeschooling my children. This is something I enjoy doing when my to-do list isn't out of control for the day.

When quarantine began for us back in March, teachers and friends emailed me so many educational links to help keep my children busy and productive all day. There were websites for 101 different math games or 101 art projects using household objects. They could spend their days emerged in websites about science or history. They could learn new languages or, my favorite, they could take virtual tours of art museums from around the world!

As clever as all of these websites were, after a week of trying them all out, we gave up. It was too overwhelming to stay on top of all the options of edutainment; world news developments were overwhelming enough.

The Mowers House has entered a new season of homeschooling in quarantine that I refer to as "Catching Toads".

My youngest is obsessed with the toads that live around our back porch. We live in the country and are never at a loss for things to do outside. So once my children complete their assigned lessons for the day, I usher them outside to catch toads and play in the mud...or in the rain...or in the woods. We are all very happy with this arrangement.

My children have built their own aquariums for their pseudo-pet toads. Their favorite toad is a fat one we call "Chill" because he does not try to hop away after you catch him. The toads are in a catch-and-release program, spending time each day in their outdoor aquariums as my children have fun building huts for them out of bark and sticks. Then the toads are released before dinnertime. Somehow my children can always find their specific toad the next morning. I think that when my children think back on life in quarantine, they will think of Chill and all the cool forts they constructed for him.

So what is a memory of your favorite childhood activity? Did you play in the rain? Climb trees? Catch fish? Ride your bike all over town until the streetlights came on? What do you remember most? What did you spend long stretches of time doing during the summer months?



My new book, WHERE THE HEART MAY LEAD, comes out next month. One of my characters is a grade-school aged girl named, Lucy. I could not write this book without thinking of my own children and of my own childhood, especially all the time I spent playing near ponds and lakes. Lucy, who lives in a small town on the fictional Little Lake Roseley, strikes me as the kind of girl who would consider a day of catching toads, a day well spent. And why not? Days in the sunshine...toads in your pockets...that's the good stuff.




Love wasn’t worth the riskUntil she met himPaige Cartman’s quest to protect her family has brought her to the idyllic lakeside town of Roseley. Revealing her old life to anyone—especially to charismatic pilot Charlie Stillwater—could put others in jeopardy. Charlie is falling fast for warmhearted Paige, but her secrecy reminds him of another’s betrayal. Can Paige finally leave her shadowed past behind and trust that love has led her home?

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        “Thanks for dinner, Charlie.” Paige turned to leave, but he touched her shoulder, shifting to step in front of her.
“Why do I have the feeling I said or did something wrong?” he asked.
“You didn’t. I’m tired, but...”
“But?” he prodded.
“Charlie, I want you to know I had...” She knew she shouldn’t lead him on when she wouldn’t see him again. How could she explain what she was doing in Roseley or why she could never entertain a long-distance relationship with anyone here? Without mentioning Lucy or her past or why things were safest left a secret...she couldn’t.
“A fun time? I really hope that’s what you’re trying to say.” He blinked with the vulnerability of a child and eased into a sincere smile.
Paige’s shoulders softened. She warmed under his gaze, powerless to draw her eyes from his.
“Couldn’t you stay for a few minutes more? I’d really love to show you that view.”

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Order my new book, WHERE THE HEART MAY LEAD



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Comments

  1. What could be better than an outdoor education? Your family’s toad “catch and release” program sounds a bit like the fireflies my daughters liked to catch in jars at the cottage. Their release was quick, because fireflies have a short lifespan but for a few minutes we got to see them up close, though they were always so much prettier flickering in the dark. Congratulations on your upcoming release Elizabeth!

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    Replies
    1. Summer provides many catch and release opportunities, eh? Thanks for the comment, Janice!

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  2. We spent all day outdoors climbing apple trees, riding ponies, jumping through sprinklers and we had a toad hole by the foundation of the house. It was too deep to reach the toads just leaning over so I would lower one on my sister's into the hole to catch the toad between her feet. We carefully returned them to their home each evening. If we could capture more than one, we held races with them. Thanks for the reminder of childhood fun!

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  3. This takes me back. I remember catching toads as a kid. The best educational experiences often involve mud. Enjoy them while they're young!

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