Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Love Comes Softly Inspired Fanfiction: Grown Ups


Photo credit Hallmark Channel

Grown Ups

Love Comes Softly inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Disclaimer: This story follows the television movie characters, not the books. I do not own the Love Comes Softly television movies, book series, or any of the characters. I used some of the dialogue from the Love Comes Softly movie. 

Missie stood in the doorway of their cabin. She clutched the locket Marty had given her this morning. I hope Pa catches the wagon train in time. 

Grown ups made no sense. Wouldn’t it have been easier for Pa to ask Marty to stay in Anderson Corner with them rather than go chasing after her? They had all been so sad this morning as they loaded up Marty’s trunk and baby Aaron’s cradle into the wagon bed. Then they drove into town without saying anything, just like the day Pa brought Marty to live with them.

Missie ran her fingers over the locket. As she looked into the store glass this morning, struggling to keep the tears from spilling down her cheeks, she felt Marty’s hand on her back. She didn’t want to turn around. If she kept staring the opposite way, she wouldn’t have to see Marty and Aaron leave. Maybe she could even ignore the sounds of the wagon wheels against the dirt road as they rolled out of town.

Once Marty left, Pa and Missie drove home in silence. Somehow, she knew Pa would miss Marty just as much as she would. She once said to Marty that she wondered if her Pa could ever love someone again.

“He could, I guess,” Marty said, but her voice sounded sad, like she wasn’t sure it was possible.

Then one day, Missie found Marty and Pa standing in the yard together, out of breath and laughing. He laughed in a way she hadn’t heard in a long time. For the first time since Mama died, Pa looked happy. That’s why she got so angry when Pa told her Marty was heading back East with the wagon train. How could she just leave them? Weren’t they a family now?

When Pa and Missie returned home, she snuck over to play with the dollhouse Pa had made her for Christmas. At least the pretend people in her house could live happily ever after, like the people in the books Marty shared with her.

Pa had walked out to the lean-to to get his things. Now that Marty was gone, he would move back into the bedroom Pa and Missie had shared before Marty came to live with them. She wanted to scream no, but all she did was mumble, “Okay.”

Moments later, Pa barged back into the house screaming her name. “I’m going to bring Marty back.” He warned her not to leave the cabin. Then he turned away. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.” He was already racing out to the yard to grab his horse.

It seemed like hours had passed as Missie waited in her tree house. She fingered the locket, praying Pa would reach Marty in time. When the sound of wagon wheels pulling into the yard reached her ears, Missie climbed down. On the wagon seat, sat Pa with Marty alongside him, cradling Aaron in her arms. 

Missie’s heart swelled. Marty’s trunk and Aaron’s cradle sat in the wagon bed. They were home to stay. 

“Mama,” Missie whispered to herself.

Then she ran into Marty’s outstretched arms and squeezed her as tight as she could. Marty kissed her forehead. As they hugged, Missie could hear Marty’s heartbeat, and she knew everything would be all right.

With her arm around Missie, Marty walked into the house, followed by Pa, who carried little Aaron. As they sat around the kitchen table, drinking tea and nibbling on this morning’s bread, Missie smiled. This was her family. This was her home. This was forever. 

Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos – All Rights Reserved

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Reading Now: Little House Life Hacks by Angie Bailey and Susie Shubert

A humorous yet practical book of life lessons from the seminal Little House on the Prairie, blending Laura Ingalls Wilder’s timeless teachings with her surprisingly timely penchant for homesteading, crafting, and the lifestyle we now call Cottagecore.

Little House on the Prairie was a childhood TV classic for a generation of kids, and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novels have never gone out of style for young bookworms. Her stories of her family’s life in the 1870s offer countless gems of wisdom, and many facets of their lifestyle and the skills they relied on have become some of the hottest trends of today, from sourdough bread and modern pioneering to DIY prairie dresses and needlepoint.

Little House Life Hacks playfully compiles the most crucial takeaways from that world, practical enough to work for pioneering stock and updated for today’s evolving world. The Ingalls are the perfect reminders of what’s love, family, community, honest work, and integrity. Alongside the life advice are selected inspirational quotes from the Little House books and show and fun pop culture tidbits (like that The Rock’s first celebrity crush was original mean girl Nellie Oleson), as well as with meaningful takeaways for creating more balance, wellness, and fun in all aspects of your life.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Book Review: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder


"Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs." 

With those words, Laura Ingalls Wilder invites young readers into her world, which included Pa, Ma, Mary, and baby Carrie. The Ingalls family has a Little House in the Big Woods, which is also where her aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents live. 

Little House in the Big Woods opens the Ingalls family saga, which will span nine books, one of which will be published after Wilder's death (The First Four Years). Four-year-old Laura Ingalls shares what it is like growing up deep in the woods of Wisconsin: the industrious days getting ready for winter; visits with the cousins for Christmas; the stories her Pa tells her and her older sister, Mary, as they sit upon his knees; the thrill of going to town; the days of the growing season and harvesttime, and the nights falling asleep to the sound of Pa's fiddle. Readers follow Laura as she wanders through this year in her life as a child growing up on the American prairie. 

A beloved classic in children's literature, Little House in the Big Woods can often be found in classrooms and is popular with homeschooling families. Geared toward ages 5 - 9, Wilder's keen eye for detail, coupled with the delightful illustrations by Garth Williams, continue to engage young readers many years after it was published. 

Publisher: ‎ HarperCollins; 1st edition (January 1, 1971)
Language : ‎ English
Paperback: ‎ 256 pages
ISBN-10: ‎ 0064400018
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0064400015
Reading age: ‎ 5 - 9 years, from customers
Lexile measure: ‎ 930L
Grade level: ‎ 4 - 7

This book is from my childhood book collection. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way. 

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Reading Little House in the Big Woods

Over at Modern Prairie, we are reading Little House in the Big Woods for our book discussion on February 7th. I have the same book cover, with illustrations by Garth Williams, except that my copy was only $1.50 in the States and $1.70 in Canada (see upper left corner). 

I used to read the Little House series and the Anne of Green Gables series once a year, but since I have taken to blogging, there has been no time for that. I'm often turning books away because I don't have time to read them. 

Have you read Little House in the Big Woods lately? What is your favorite book of the series?

Friday, January 26, 2024

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum Launches Quarterly "Plum Creek Crossing" Newsletter


Photo From my 2014 trip to Walnut Grove

I just received my email newsletter from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove. They have launched a quarterly newsletter called "Plum Creek Crossing."

The banks of Plum Creek in 2014

Stacey Ulferts reflected on her first year as Museum Director. Palmer Hittesdrof introduced himself as the new curator. Other items of interest included information about items at the Gift Shop and an author event coming up in March. 

To find out more about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, you can visit them online.