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<<May 2015>>
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Holidays, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Happy Victoria Day! We are Amused...

When I was a girl, I used to call Victoria Day, ‘Firecracker Day’ for obvious reasons. I always loved going to watch the firework displays with my family during my childhood. There was something nostalgic and magic about it. Loved getting those sparklers and writing your name in the air with them too! Ahhh, the good old days…

But was it really that good back then for Queen Victoria during her reign? This got me thinking about her Royal Highness Vicki. So, I thought I’d do a little digging on some facts you may not know about her. This is what I found:

1. She was barely five feet tall. For an outspoken broad with an imposing reputation, this tidbit surprised me. In later years, her girth almost caught up to her height. Some accounts claim she had a 50 inch waist by the end of her life. Queen Vicki would have been a shoe-in for the Biggest Loser reality show!

2. She proposed to hubby, Prince Albert, and not vice versa. Vicki was only 16 when she met her first cousin Albert (yup, they were related) and was immediately smitten with him. Her uncle Leopold suggested that she propose to Albert since she was the queen, and he couldn’t propose to her. Guess it must have been true love—after all, they had nine children together!

3. She was raised by a single mom, and later became a single mom herself. Her father, Edward, Duke of Kent died of pneumonia in 1820 when poor Vicki was less than a year old. She was left to be brought up by her mother who was under the influence of her advisor, and not out for her daughter’s best interests. When Vicki was crowned queen, she booted mommy-dearest out of the limelight and to a distant set of apartments. Oh yeah, and she fired that useless advisor too. Royalty has its perks.

4. She was the first known carrier of hemophilia, an affliction that would become known as the ‘Royal disease’. Who knew marrying into the family gene pool would weaken it too? Hemophilia is a blood clotting disorder passed along the maternal lines within families; men are more likely to develop it, while women are the carriers. Bummer. Sufferers can bleed excessively, since their blood does not proper coagulate, leading to extreme pain and even death. Her son Leopold and three of her grandsons died from the disease. Presently, hemophilia appears to be extinct in the European royal lines. Someone got smart enough not to push the DNA envelope anymore.

5. She had at a least six serious assassination attempts made against her during her reign—most while she was riding in a carriage. At least two of the trigger-happy gents were found not guilty by reason of insanity. Another would-be assassin fired a gun loaded with paper and tobacco at the queen, but the charge was insufficient. Hmm…maybe he should have been chucked in the insane asylum too. One man even tried to hit the queen with his cane. She wasn’t amused. However, looking for the silver lining, every time there was an assassination attempt on Queen Vicki, her popularity soared among the British public. In these days, guess that would be the same as getting more likes on Facebook. Go, Queen Vicki, go!

6. Finally, she was an artist and writer. Knew I liked the old broad! Queen Vicki began drawing as a child, and throughout her life continued to sketch and paint. She also enjoyed writing, and wrote daily entries in a diary. Her daily journals eventually spanned more than 120 volumes, and this Queen Bee wrote about 2500 words a day. Can you say prolific?

Whatever you decide to do this Victoria Day, take a moment to think about how far we’ve come since Queen Vicki’s rule, then give her silent thanks when you see the burst of color streaking through the sky as you watch the firework display with your family or friends. Salute!

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2. April Fool’s round-up: it’s hard to make anything outrageous any more


See I tolja, it’s hard to be funny about this stuff any more with satirical sites the Onion and Clickhole, let alone ACTUAL sites like Daily Caller, Upworthy and thenTaboola promising 10 celebrity dogs who have aged badly at the end of everything we read on the ‘Net. A few people tried. io9 of all places had the old DC, Marvel Announce Merger story, albeit with some nice characterization:

“It’s like pie,” said Paul Levitz, President and Publisher at DC. “All these great flavors thrown into a bowl, mixed up with a bit of sugar and nutmeg, and now they all taste great together.”

Isaac Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel, nodded in agreement from the back of Levitz’ head. “I think it’s the best for all parties concerned,” he said in a half-rasp, now utilizing the same vocal cords as Levitz. “This merger is something we’ve been looking forward to, for ages. And now it’s here.”


The now leaderless, anarchic confederation known as the Outhouse announced that Heidi MacDonald—that’s me—would be taking over as editor in chief following Christian Hofer’s ankling a month ago.

“We’re really glad to have Heidi on board,” said Outhouse Ace Reporter Jude Terror at a hastily convened April 1st press conference. “I think that she brings a level of respect and professionalism that, frankly, we could really use. Sure, associating with us is likely to drag her reputation down, but as long as we meet somewhere in the middle, it’s a net gain… for us at least.”

According to Terror, MacDonald’s tenure will begin immediately, “as soon as she reads this article and finds out she’s got the job. Yeah, maybe we should have asked her first. Well, I’m sure she’ll say yes.” “I mean, could you say no to this face?” Terror asked, making his best attempt at puppy dog eyes, but looking more like he was suffering from a bad case of indigestion. “Could you?! Don’t answer that.”


Bleeding Cool unleashed a string of posts that were so indistinguishable from their actual content that a few hours letter they had to make sure everyone know they were jokes:

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3. Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing everyone a day full of love and wonderfully positive energy!




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4. Happy Valentine’s Day from The Beat!


We HEART you, reader!

Boom! Studios sent along a nice little comic:


And here are a few other randos for the season:

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It’s time to shave, Goofy.


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5. 7 Core Values to Celebrate During Black History Month

The month of February is a time when many communities pause and celebrate the great contributions made by African Americans in history. At Lee & Low we like to not only highlight African Americans who have made a difference, but also explore the diverse experiences of black culture throughout history, from the struggle for freedom in the South and the fight for civil rights to the lively rhythms of New Orleans jazz and the cultural explosion of the Harlem Renaissance.

We put together a list of titles – along with additional resources 7 Core Values for copy– that align with 7 core values and
themes to help you celebrate both Black History Month and African American culture all 365 days of the year.

It’s important to remember that heritage months, like Black History Month, can encourage a practice of pulling diverse books that feature a particular observed culture for only one month out of the year. To encourage a more everyday approach, we developed an 8-step checklist for building an inclusive book collection that reflects the diversity of the human experience. Teaching Tolerance also offers some helpful solutions to connect multicultural education with effective instructional practices and lists insightful “dos and don’ts” for teaching black history that are applicable to any culturally responsive curriculum or discussion.

How do you celebrate during Black History Month? Or, better yet, how do you help children discover the cultural contributions and achievements of black history all year long? Let us know in the comments!

Perseverance, Determination, & Grit

Leadership & Couragemain_large-4

Teamwork & Collaboration

Responsibility & Commitmentmain_Mooncover

 Optimism & Hope

Compassion & Love

Passion & Pridemain_large

Discussion questions when reading and learning about core values:

  1. How does/do the character(s) show (core value)?
  2. What positive effects are associated with having/showing (core value)?
  3. How do you show (core value)?
  4. How can you work towards having/showing (core value)?
  5. What core values do you think are important to apply in our classroom? Why?

Further reading on teaching core values with students:

Looking for additional resources for teaching Black History? Check out these lesson plans, videos, and tips:

veronicabioVeronica has a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.

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6. clouds are approaching. let's ruuuun away!

here is a pic of the sky at the beach a few days ago.
you can see this one and some by clicking on the image.

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7. Today’s reading: The Montgomery Story starring Martin Luther King, Jr.

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This educational comic from 1957 is credited with inspiring many to take on non violent protest as a means to achieving civil rights for all. Most famously, a young John Lewis read it and was inspired to march, a story told this week in March Part 2 by Lewis, Nate Powell and Alfred Aydin.

The comic, published by the Fellowship for Reconciliation, was written by pacifist Alfred Hassler and drawn by an unnamed artist in the Al Capp studio; it’s been translated other language and in 2011 used as a tool in Egyptian protests.

Its message is still strong.

comic book 1957pg3 Todays reading: The Montgomery Story starring Martin Luther King, Jr.

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8. Happy New Year 2015!

leyendecker baby 2015 Happy New Year 2015!

Better late than never!

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9. In With the New


Happy 2015, my friends.

May a large number of your wishes come true.

(But not all, because it’s nice to have some wishes tucked in your pockets for later.)

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10. Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a new year full of positive energy!




It's been a year of huge changes, a few setbacks and (multiple) stresses, and a LOT of learning-new-things for me. It's been quite amazing and I've loved every second of it, even those moments (a few) when I felt like giving up completely. Well, I can be pretty stubborn when pushed, and that comes in handy sometimes ... I refused to give up, have ploughed on, and am looking forward to the changes speeding my way (oh yes, they are there) this coming year. Yes folks, I'm taking my own advice and embracing a life full of infinite possibilities.

I received a lovely parcel through the post that wraps my year up beautifully: the calendar created from the monthly free printables I illustrated this year as give-aways for the subscribers of the Floating Lemons monthly newsletter. Couldn't believe how well it turned out, I love it. I haven't got my good camera with me (had to use the trusty iPhone) and of course am still in temporary quarters, so excuse the not-too-great quality of the photos below. Hopefully you'll get a goodish idea of how lovely it looks, up on the wall. A huge thanks to Zazzle for the amazing job printing it ...







6-june-2015"I Choose" Positive Affirmations Calendar 2015 by Floating Lemons for Zazzle


I don't want to overburden this post with too many images, so have placed the last 6 months of the calendar over at the Floating Lemons Treats blog, so if you'd like to see them just click HERE. And if you want to gift it to yourself or anyone you know who might appreciate some positive motivational quotes, click HERE.

Let me know what you think of it, and please forgive me for being just a teensy bit proud of myself at the moment -- not just of having created the art, but for having stuck to my promise and delivered an illustrated quote monthly even through the chaos of moving to a new country and (re)joining College!

So, have a fantastic and safe New Year's Eve and an even more fantastic 2015. Cheers.



ooops, almost forgot! As of the 30th of January the "I Choose" free printables from 2014 will no longer be available for download, as I'll be starting something new for 2015.

So if you're a subscriber and haven't yet grabbed one of the above, then do so very soon (you can see the 12 designs HERE, though they are formatted as A4 pages for you to download, for easier home-printing). If you haven't subscribed yet and you'd like to be able to grab one or all of them as free printables, please sign up for the newsletter soon as I'll be mailing out an extra issue just before the 30th, with the download link, before it disappears for good. Cheers!


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11. Merry Christmas!

I have recovered (marginally) from my food coma, so before the feasting begins again, I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!  Dean, the pups, and I have been lounging about the house, not doing much of anything.  Dean and I had a nice dinner yesterday to celebrate Christmas Eve, and we headed over to our favorite Indian buffet for lunch today.  I am taking the next few days off to unwind, so you won’t see another post until Sunday.  I plan on reading, playing Monster Busters (I can’t stop playing!), and cuddling with the puppers.  I hope you have an enjoyable day!  Did Santa bring you everything you wished for??

The post Merry Christmas! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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12. Christmas Comics: Street Angel Christmas Special

Xmas p1 color Christmas Comics: Street Angel Christmas Special

Another neo classic comic for the hols as Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca’s  homeless crimefighting skateboarder, Street Angel, teams with Santa on a brief adventure to find some missing reindeer in a bad neighborhood.

It’s all courtesy of Boing Boing, which is running new Street Angel comics regularly. And if you don’t have it already, give yourself a present by picking up the recent AdHouse edition of the original Street Angel mini series.



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13. Merry Christmas from the Beat

81arvKhs40L Merry Christmas from the Beat

Whatever holiday you celebrate, from all of us at Stately Beat Manor, wishing you a happy and safe one.


4 Comments on Merry Christmas from the Beat, last added: 12/28/2014
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14. A smorgasbord of Christmas foods

In many parts of the world, Christmas does not lack in spirit or rich flavors. Though sweets are a major highlight to this festive holiday, there are quite a few notable savory foods to consider. As you are sitting down to your third helping of turkey, take a look through just some of the Christmas foods people will be eating this year:

What sorts of Christmas foods do you have every year? Let us know in the comments below.

Headline image credit: Christmas decoration. Image by Hades2k. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

The post A smorgasbord of Christmas foods appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Speaking out about Holiday Programming at the Library

A few weeks ago, I wrote a rant about holiday programming in the library for Storytime Underground. We’ve been posting rants about things that we are super passionate about since October 2013 when Cory wrote about privilege and imposter syndrome. It became obvious that there are big issues our audience is riled up about, just like we are, but that not everyone is willing or able speaking up. So, we felt we should share our opinions in the hopes that perhaps others would feel comfortable to do the same, or that their point of view might be reflected in our writings. Additionally, we hoped to get people thinking more deeply (and dare I say, intentionally!) about what they are doing and why. To not blindly follow those who speak the most or loudest, or the majority, because that is sometimes easier than blazing your own trail.

So, after a discussion began on the Storytime Underground Facebook page about holiday programs in the library which left me feeling quite impassioned, I decided to publicly speak up in the form of a rant on Storytime Underground. Because, if a thing is not asked to change, it never will. To say this rant rattled some cages might be an understatement.

gifSchool Library Journal saw the post and asked if I’d be interested in writing a similar opinion piece for them. Of course! This issue is important and I want it to spark discussion among as many people as possible, and it has. Not everyone has been very satisfied with my statements, which bothered many others much more than it did me. One of the first things my mother said to me after reading the comments was, “I don’t know how you do this” and, second, I recognize that many people are afraid of the unfamiliar, which can manifest in defensive anger. There’s nothing I can do about that but let it go. I was quite blunt in my assertions and that can rub people the wrong way, but if there is one thing I have learned from working in libraries (and from being a blonde woman, actually), it’s that you must be assertive if you are to be heard and taken seriously. Even then, sometimes people make untrue assumptions about you.



Photo courtesy of guest blogger

Our guest blogger today is Kendra Jones. Kendra is a toddler and parachute wrangling Children’s Librarian in the Pacific Northwest and Joint Chief of Storytime Underground (storytimeunderground.org). She can be found on twitter @klmpeace, lurking on the Storytime Underground Facebook page, and sporadically on her own blog: Read, Sing, Play (klmpeace.wordpress.com).

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

The post Speaking out about Holiday Programming at the Library appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! Best wishes for the New Year!

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17. Christmas Comics: Kate Beaton’s yearly Christmas comics

tumblr nh0ez6J9Ot1rnw5qjo2 1280 Christmas Comics: Kate Beatons yearly Christmas comics
Every year cartoonist Kate Beaton returns to her parents house in the maritimes for the holidays, and the series of hilarious and touching comics that result are getting to be a holiday tradition, as the intersection of parental concern and parental eccentricities combine to form HUMOR. IT’s an experience that many of us are going through right now, and Beaton’s gentle, loving humor—while rooted firmly in her own family’s character—can also stand in for the universal experience.

She’s been posting her comics on twitter, but they’re also up on Tumblr, where they are easier to find. And should anyone be searching in the far flung future for them, here’s the direct link for the one shown above.

1 Comments on Christmas Comics: Kate Beaton’s yearly Christmas comics, last added: 12/25/2014
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18. A Merry Christmas Alpaca from Floating Lemons

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a fantastic New Year!




This alpaca is one of two that friends of mine are looking after at the moment. I've taken some creative liberties with proportions and perspective, but I'm sure they will forgive me for it. They are sweet, playful, and perfect for wishing everyone a warm, woolly Christmas and a friendly, positive, wonderful end of 2014. Have fun and be safe! Cheers.


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19. Webcomic Alert: New Christmas horror comic from Emily Carroll “All Along the Wall”

walltwo Webcomic Alert: New Christmas horror comic from Emily Carroll All Along the Wall

Talk about an early Christmas present.

Emily Carroll’s delicious and innovative horror comics are a yearly Halloween treat, and now she’s gifted us with a Christmas themed comic about two little girls who are perfect angels…or are they?

2 Comments on Webcomic Alert: New Christmas horror comic from Emily Carroll “All Along the Wall”, last added: 12/20/2014
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20. Holiday mode…engage!

10264471 10152554469872058 6148119029212554652 n Holiday mode...engage!

I imagine most of you reading this aren’t reading this, but are already off on your holiday travels. While the team at Stately Beat Manor is going to remain vigilant for exciting, world changing breaking news, we’re going into “holiday mode” for posting, which is about the same as the regular mode except we gave it a name. But to make the holidays bright, I have some previews, art, webcomic alerts and maybe a few other surprises lined up in case you get bored. In the meantime, safe travels and happy holidays to all.

Image mysteriously spotted on Facebook.

1 Comments on Holiday mode…engage!, last added: 12/22/2014
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21. Oxford’s top 10 carols of 2014

Christmas is the busiest time of year by far for the Oxford Music Hire Library. Oxford University Press publishes most of the carols the world knows and loves — the one that has just popped into your head is probably one of ours — with newly-composed Christmas titles added every year. Carol orders come in as early as August and keep rolling in until worryingly close to the big day itself. In 2014, our carols are being performed in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, Scandinavia, Hong Kong, Germany, South Africa, and more. So far this year, we have had orders for over 600 orchestral sets for Christmas titles for nearly 200 orchestras and choirs. Inevitably, the lead up to Christmas gets a bit frantic! We need to make sure we have enough copies of the most popular carols to supply any last minute requests, as unexpected changes to concert programmes can and do happen to us all.


Many of our most popular carols come from the much-loved Carols for Choirs series, and most of our top 10 can be found in the ever popular 100 Carols for Choirs. To help you get into the Christmas spirit, here’s a playlist of OUP’s 10 most-requested carols in 2014.

Looking more closely, here are the top 20 carols of 2014. Most are old favourites, but there are a few newer carols here too.

1. Shepherd’s pipe carol — John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 2 and 100 Carols for Choirs
2. Hark! the herald-angels sing — Mendelssohn arr. David Willcocks, from Carols for Choirs 1 and 100 Carols for Choirs
3. The twelve days of Christmas — John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 2 and 100 Carols for Choirs
4. Star Carol — John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 3 and 100 Carols for Choirs
5. O come, all ye faithful — David Willcocks, from Carols for Choirs 1 and 100 Carols for Choirs
6. Once in royal David’s city — Gauntlett arr. David Willcocks, from Carols for Choirs 2 and 100 Carols for Choirs
7. Angels’ Carol — John Rutter
8. Candlelight Carol — John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 5
9. Jingle bells — Pierpont arr. David Willcocks, from 100 Carols for Choirs
10. O little town of Bethlehem — Vaughan Williams, from Carols for Choirs 1 and 100 Carols for Choirs
11. A merry Christmas — arr. Arthur Warrell, from Carols for Choirs 1 and 100 Carols for Choirs
12. Jesus Child — John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 3 and 100 Carols for Choirs
13. Nativity carol — John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 2 and 100 Carols for Choirs
14. O Holy Night, Adolphe — arr. John Rutter
15. I saw three ships — John Rutter, from Carols for Choirs 3 and 100 Carols for Choirs
16. Ding dong! Merrily on high — David Willcocks, from Carols for Choirs 2 and 100 Carols for Choirs
17. Joy to the world — John Rutter, from 100 Carols for Choirs
18. On Christmas Night – Bob Chilcott
19. What sweeter music — John Rutter
20. The shepherd’s farewell — Hector Berlioz, from Carols for Choirs 1 and 100 Carols for Choirs


All images courtesy of the Music Hire Library.

The post Oxford’s top 10 carols of 2014 appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. Celebrating Christmas: three favorite new books (ages 3-10)

We are heading off to celebrate Christmas. Our packages our wrapped, suitcases are next. Before I leave, I'd like to share three favorite new Christmas books my students and I have loved this holiday season. I will be taking a break from my blog 'till New Years, celebrating with my family and finding plenty of time to read. Until 2015, enjoy these new holiday favorites!
12 Days of Christmas
by LeUyen Pham
Doubleday / Random House, 2014
Your local library
ages 3-8
Bay Area children’s illustrator LeUyen Pham (pronounced “Le Win”) infuses this classic Christmas carol with a delightful international flavor. A young boy and girl dressed in old-fashioned European costumes discover each of the traditional items, from a partridge in a pear tree to ten lords a-leaping.
"my true love gave to me/ 8 maids a-milking"
My students especially loved examining maids, dancers, lords and drummers in traditional dress from all regions of the world. Just look at these delightful interior spreads that Uyen shared with me.
"my true love gave to me/ 11 pipers piping"
These illustrations remind me of a special holiday tradition my mother passed on to me, displaying dolls in traditional dresses all around our Christmas tree. Pham's new illustrations for the classic song are a splendid treat.

'Twas Nochebuena
A Christmas Story in English and Spanish
by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
illustrated by Sara Palacios
Viking / Penguin, 2014
Your local library
ages 4-8
Using the familiar rhythm of “The Night Before Christmas,” this little girl describes her special family traditions--from hanging decorations to breaking a piñata. The rhythm and rhyming makes this great fun to read, especially with so many Spanish words woven in throughout. The meanings are clear from the context and illustrations, but there's also a glossary at the end.
"'Twas Nochebuena and all through our casa
every creature was kneading tamale masa."
I love the warm, joyful illustrations that celebrate family, friendship and traditions. My students loved recognizing some familiar traditions, but also learning about some new ones such as Las Posadas, where neighbors and families parade from house to house, and reenacting Joseph and Mary's journey on Christmas Eve.
Poems selected by Lee Bennet Hopkins
Illustrations by Helen Cann
Eerdmans, 2014
Google Books preview
Your local library
ages 5-10
As legend has it, all creatures are granted the power of speech for one hour at midnight on Christmas Eve. What might they say? How would they react to the story of Jesus's birth?

This beautiful book gathers together 15 poems reflecting the animals that might have been present at the birth of Jesus. These masterful poets convey a sense of wonder, awe, and humility that is echoed in Cann’s rich illustrations.

Learn more about Manger and Lee Bennett Hopkin's poetry at Sylvia Vardell's blog Poetry for Children.

The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers: Random House, Penguin and Eerdman's. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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23. Candy Cane Cookies compliments of Romance Author Sara Daniel...

My favorite holiday recipe is for Candy Cane Cookies. I love these festive cookies for their hint of almond flavor and the crushed candy canes on the top. I only make them once a year, and I double the recipe below.

 I will warn you to make sure that you only use peppermint candy canes (or peppermint candies). A couple years ago, I went around our family Christmas tree, plucking off all the red and white candy canes. I crushed them into the topping, which I then sprinkled onto the cookies. Well, you can imagine my dismay when I took a bite and discovered mixed in with the refreshing mint flavor was also the not-so-refreshing taste of watermelon candy. Yes, unbeknownst to me, one (or more) of the candy canes I crushed was watermelon flavored, not mint, and I can NOT in good conscience recommend it to anyone! This year I used round peppermint candies to ensure there was no mix-up!

Candy Cane Cookies

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1½ tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cups flour
1 tsp. salt ½ - 1 tsp. red food coloring
1 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candy

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine butter, shortening, and powdered sugar. Mix in egg, almond extract, and vanilla. Continue mixing as you add in flour and salt.

Divide dough in half. Place in separate bowls. Blend food coloring into one bowl of dough.

Shape one tablespoon of dough from each color into a rope. Place ropes side by side on a cookie sheet. Press together lightly and twist. Curve down the top third to form a candy cane.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle cookies with crushed peppermint candy.

Wait until cookies are cool to prevent breakage when removing them from the pan.

Enjoy the tastes and smells of the season. Happy holidays! ~Sara

Learn more about Sara Daniel on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Be sure to subscribe to Sara’s newsletter for updates on her latest books and contests.

0 Comments on Candy Cane Cookies compliments of Romance Author Sara Daniel... as of 12/26/2014 12:48:00 AM
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24. The longest night of the year

The winter solstice settles on 21 December this year, which means it’s the day with the least amount of sunlight. It’s the official first day of winter, although people have been braving the cold for weeks, huddled in coats and scarves and probably wool socks. It’s easy to pass over the winter solstice because of the holidays; however, many traditions center around the solstices and equinoxes, and even Christmas has borrowed some ideas from the midwinter celebration. Below are a few facts about the winter solstice and the influence it has had on religion.

1.   The winter solstice occurs when the sun at noon is in its lowest position in the sky, which puts it over the Tropic of Capricorn (22-23 December).

2.   The astronomical solstice is 21 December, but midwinter or Yule covers a few weeks during the time of the solstice. During medieval times, this period would stretch from the feast of St. Nicholas (6 December) and Christmas Day, then from Christmas to Epiphany or Candlemas.

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Winter. Public domain via Pixabay.

3.   It is most likely untrue that Christmas is the birth-date of Christ. However, it was likely set on 25 December to coincide with the already well-established Pagan holidays. In ancient times, the winter solstice was celebrated as the birthday of the two gods Sol Invictus (the invincible sun) and Mithras.

4.   In contemporary Paganism, Yule celebrates the rebirth of the sun with the winter solstice, as it is the darkest time of the year with the days get longer after the solstice.

5.   The Christmas traditions of gift-giving, candles, mistletoe, evergreens, holly, yule logs, Old Father Time, red and white colors, and others all come from Latin and Germanic yuletide celebrations. The word “yule” is thought to have originated from the Anglo-Saxon word for “yoke,” although it is possible it is connected to the words for sun in Cornish and Breton.

6.   “Calendar customs are cultural expressions of repetitive seasonal rhythms.” Generally, holidays and customs follow along the changing of the seasons. Midsummer and midwinter especially pair together as the longest day and longest night of the year.

Headline image credit: Winter forest. Public domain via Pixabay.

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25. Holidazed

Yay! I finally received my copies of the January spread I did for Highlights Magazine! Love love LOVE how the colors came out on this one.

I hope you guys get to pick up a copy! 


So for those that don’t know yet, we’re expecting our first baby!! Yipee!!! I’m nearing my final trimester, there are two books in the pipeline with very tight back to back deadlines so I’m trying my best to beat the 3rd trimester fatigue and getting as much done as I can while I CAN!

I’ve been so wrapped up with work lately it’s been challenging to find the time to indulge in any holiday fun. But this weekend I put my foot on the breaks and was finally able to let myself indulge in some seasonal goodies. It was a nice and much needed break!


All the while I was working over the weekend on sketches for them, I received this little fun card from the team at ABDO. Thanks ABDO!


We finally found time to actually buy a tree (his name is “Monty”) and make some christmas cookies for the postman and a few of our dearest and nearest…I wrapped them fast this year, or else they’d all end up in my belly..hee hee. I tell yah, there’s nothing like taking in some holiday music and the smell of cookies and pine to get you caught right up in all this season cheer!!

Happy Holidays!!

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