An Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."


Everyday Gum…

Yes, the Journey continues. (I feel obligated to finish what I had previously started.)

So what defines a stick of ‘Everyday’ Gum? It’s the gum you can rely on for fresh breath, sound taste, and a pain-free chew.

Again, I feel that my knowledge in this field can assist you in finding the best choice for gum chewing. Especially for Everyday chewing- because this is the gum you can rely on!

From 8th-11th grade, I relied on Wrigley’s Extra Peppermint (but only a half-piece at a time) to maintain fresh breath. The green Spearmint was just a bit too strong, and slowly the chew became quite tedious- my chewing couldn’t keep up to the pace of the quickly vanishing taste. (And, in 7th grade, I placed a piece of Spearmint in my mouth, and instantaneously it turned into liquid. I was stuck in the middle of Mrs. Jones’ English Class with a mouthful of liquid gum- what to do…? Well, that’s another story.)

And yes, when Wrigley later revealed their new flavor- Polar Ice- that too became my ‘go-to’ gum. But, soon the crystals in the gum, which were the polar ice, became too strong- I no longer needed my sinuses cleared every time I chewed it.

Of course, there’s always the reliable Trident gum, which, was the first sugar-free gum on the market in the 1960s! So, needless to say, Trident has always been a substitute for my ‘go-to’ gum. I could rely on both the Spearmint and Original flavors. (The Original is in the blue packaging… I’m assuming it’s a mixture of Peppermint/Spearmint, and rather than name it PepperSpear, they dubbed it Original.)

One recent feature that helped the quality of Trident gum is the change in packaging. Rather than rip through the outside packaging to get to the next piece, (and have an excess in paper that ends up in your jeans pocket, to be later found in the dryer stuck to your black shirts…) simply open the back, take a piece out, and close the back by placing it in the open slot. Thank you Trident!

Orbit… Ah, Orbit. I love Orbit.

Orbit was introduced in 2001 with standard flavors, including Peppermint, Spearmint, Cinnamint, and Bubblemint. I quickly began choosing, religiously, Peppermint and Spearmint as my ‘go-to’ gum. The Peppermint, in the blue packaging, has a very sweet sharp Peppermint taste, and it’s yummy. And, Spearmint’s, in the green packaging, flavor has a long-lasting punch.

My technique for chewing Orbit was eating a half-piece at a time. But, soon, my gum chewing habit hit rock bottom. It did. My jaw hurt at the end of the day, and I was eating 1 pack of Orbit gum each day, which equals 14 sticks in a single day, and 70 sticks in an average work week. And, yes, Orbit is a pricier gum, so it also became an expensive habit. (A pack of gum at a Maverick gas station is $1.29. Wowzers.)

So, although I love Orbit, the elasticity of the gum didn’t last long enough- my jaw was hurting, I was buying a pack of gum a day, and I couldn’t stop. I needed a new alternative.

So, finally, after countless taste experiments, what is the best Everyday Gum?

Dentyne Ice’s Wild Winter in Soft Chew!

The Soft Chew is the crucial element to making this gum so dynamic. Dentyne gum usually has the coated shell, but the Soft Chew is different. No coated shell. No weird packaging that you have to push your gum out of- Just soft gum with a perfect flavor.

The flavor is a happy medium between Peppermint and Polar Ice. Not too heavy- sinuses aren’t fully cleared- not too sweet- you’ll continually be satisfied with the flavor chew after chew- and, the flavor is continually maintained.

If you haven’t tried it, which you may have not, since it’s new, go buy a pack. You won’t regret it.

Tip: Chew ½ pieces at a time.

What's your favorite Everday Gum?


Happy 3rd Birthday Malory Ann. (This picture was when you were 1.)


Why I’ve become a Connoisseur of Gum…

First, gum makes me happy… It truly does. And, gum’s fun- you can make annoying sounds with it, create some amazing bubbles, and keep your breath smelling yummy.

And, to boot, there are some great health benefits to chewing gum, including:
-Improving Concentration (Ah yes, definitely.)
-Eases Tension (Nothing better than using gum to ease that tension headache.)
-Freshens Breath (We can all attest this is true.)
-Provides a Low-calorie Snack (And, I’m always craving a high-calorie- so, why not easily subside that craving with a small, low-calorie stick of gum?)
-Helps Fight Tooth Decay (Damn the cavities!)

I’ve been a gum chewer for 23 years, 313 months, and yes, 9311 days (give or take the days that I wasn’t able to chew gum). And, I am proud to say, that I have found some of the best gum for everyday chewing, flavor, sweetest piece, and best bubble.

How did I find this amazing brand of gum? Well, if gum were cigarettes, I would be considered a chain smoker… So, needless to say, I have completed countless experiments with many different brands/flavors of gum.

So, over the next week or so, I will be analyzing my favorite gum for different reasons... My findings will be detailed here. (Lucky you! You'll never have to second-guess that the gum you purchase wasn't a wise one.)

First up: Best Bubble-Blowing Gum.

For me, it all started with the sweet smell of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit Gum. (You remember it- .25 for 5 pieces- yellow packaging.) Can’t you remember that smell? Heaven! Only problem- the elasticity of the gum became very hard within minutes of putting a fresh piece in my mouth. So, yes, although Juicy Fruit subsides a mean craving of something sweet, it becomes too difficult to chew, and thus, bubbles are difficult to create.

Next- Pink Bubble Tape. If you were a kid, your first pack of Bubble Tape was something extraordinary. This was definitely a step-up in packaging. You could pull out the amount of tape you wanted and use the packaging to cut the piece for you- genius! And, the chew of the gum helped create some worthy-sized bubbles. But, again, the flavor ran out too fast. And, the taste became an insatiable craving- once the current piece ran out of juice- it was a necessity to get the next piece in your mouth as soon as possible. For me, a pack of Bubble Tape only lasted 4 hours, at the most. And, the bubbles fell flat too fast.

Dubble Bubble. Wow, what an amazing piece of gum. To this day, Dubble Bubble is one of my favorite sweet pieces of gum. It’s all in the sweet, potent, almost creamy, taste that defines Dubble Bubble. There’s nothing better than first putting a piece of Dubble Bubble in your mouth. The first 5 chews are what the gum chewing experience should be! And, the types of bubbles one can create- I’ve been known to create some spectacular bubbles with a couple Dubble Bubble in my mouth.

But, again, the chewing soon becomes achingly painful for the jaw. And, that amazing flavor first experienced? Quickly, it is gone. So, because the gum becomes too hard to chew, it is not the best gum for Best Bubble-Blowing. (Another fascinating fact about Dubble Bubble- it’s great to chew while working out. Many different times I have found my little sister working out with a bag of Dubble Bubble- workin’ the jaw and the body, all at the same time.)

So, after all of these amazing, sweet, pieces of gum, what’s the best for bubbles?

Orbit’s Bubblemint. Orbit has created some amazing flavors (which, will appear in the next categories) of gum, and the packaging was also dynamic. (Dynamic enough to make Trident change their packaging to something quite similar to Orbit.)

So, what makes Orbit’s Bubblemint the best? Well, it’s the taste, the chew, and the bubbles. The taste is overwhelmingly new and refreshing. It has a very lite/minty taste to it. And, the next crucial element- the chew- is first-rate. I can have a piece of Bubblemint last in my mouth for up to 1 hour, without worry of the gum dissolving, or becoming hard. And, most importantly, the bubbles! The bubbles are easy to create, are surprisingly thin, and grow to be a healthy-sized bubble. And, it’s easy to create the perfect bubble repeatedly, as this gum stays juicy for a long time.

Tip: Chew 1 full piece at a time. Perfect for a beginner bubble creator.

Best Bubble-Creators I Know:
- Camie ‘Bucky’ Petersen
- Autumn ‘Bottom’ Ure
- Pam ‘I don’t smack my gum’ Carlson

What’s your favorite gum for blowing bubbles?


Happy 6th birthday, Elliot! (This picture was when you were turning 4.)

Beautiful Lilies from my husband, which reminded me of one of Jeff's favorite Cat Stevens songs, 'Lilywhite:'

Back up on the mended road I pause taking time to check the dial
And the Lilywhite I never knew her name But she'll be passing my way sometime again.
I raise my hand and touch the wheel of change taking time to check the dial. Thank the Lilywhite I never knew her name. But she'll be passing my way sometime again. But she'll be passing my way sometime again.

Who's up for another girl's trip?


'To You'
Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?

- Walt Whitman

The Pappas Family

Jeff got 'saguine,' and I attempted to add a 'd' to the end of it- saguined- it's not a word.

I spy an Elliot, Savannah, Hanna, and Kymbal Jane.

Jeff's new hobby: Creating the perfect Pizza Pie... And, he's almost there. (We've been eating Pizza every night until the secret family recipe is delizioso!)
My Dad's better than yours! Yep, that's my dad in the middle of me (on the left) and Polly.