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1. Two Middle Grade Books 2014

Middle Grade Readers

1) One Dog and His Boy- Written by Eva Ibbotson, Published by Scholastic Inc. New York, NY 2014. Hal is just an ordinary kid with a large dream of owning a dog. On his birthday Hal is allowed to choose a pet that is when Fleck becomes a part of his life and an adventure begins after Hal finds him gone on Monday. Together with a girl named Pippa Hal rescues Fleck and running away is his only option, made trickier when Pippa announces that she and the other dogs want to come along. It not only teaches your children about the power of friendship and love  but it takes them on a journey through life. I highly recommend this book for your middle graders. Get out and pick up a copy today.

2) The Path of Names- Written by Ari Goelman, Published by Scholastic Inc. New York, NY 2013. Dahlia Sherman loves magic tricks, math and video games. She is not so found of campfire songs or lighting storms or mean girls her age. When she is placed in a sleeping camp strange things start happening like ghosts of little girls and an ancient maze guarded by a mysteries caretaker. This books take her on a journey through the past to discover what all this means. It is a mystery based on ancient Jewish scripture that is much better suited for your older middle grader. The book is a fun read and has a very strong connection to Jewish traditions and mystical culture.     


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2. The Tale of Two Labours - Eve Ainsworth


It dawned on me the other day that writing is very similar to raising children. Bear with me on this, it may sound crazy, but there are parallels.
I guess it goes without saying that I'm a mother - a bit obvious I guess and a bloody tired one at that. I'm not your 'Earth-woman' type. I hated NCT classes and physically recoiled if anyone pushed a childcare manual my way, but somehow, god knows how, I managed to raise two, slightly quirky but still very beautiful-to-me children.






One of my bundles of joy...













I guess my writing is quite similar. I wasn't particularly academic (never had the concentration), I hated reading any 'how-to' manuals, but somehow, god knows how, I managed to produce a book.

And the coincidences do not end there. I noted the following:

  • I fell pregnant the first time and it was a bright and exciting moment (this was long before the morning sickness and other uglies kicked in). You are full of hope and wonder. The world seems a bright and exciting place. You start writing an idea down, it's the same - bright and exciting. You can't stop thinking about it. It's alive and growing.  Everything is good.
  • In pregnancy you think of names. You toil with the absurd and the traditional. Something might grab you and stick. In the early stages of writing, you might gift your book with a title. For me It has to have one. I can't physically write without it. And it has to be right. This has caused me serious neurosis.
  • In both pregnancy and writing you grow. Pregnancy is pretty obvious, especially with my cravings for deep fried chicken and waffles. In writing, if you're like me, you'll eat constantly - grazing like a demented sheep. Crumbs will litter your keyboard like scabby snow. I know this because my bum has slowly expanded to the size of a cow.
  • Then birth, the agonising labour. Sweating and cursing to get that baby free from you.Not so dissimilar to the sweating and cursing at the last stages of the first draft. You start shouting at people (my husband in both cases) and you wonder why the hell you bothered in the first place.
  • Then relief. Love. A feeling of satisfaction - achievement perhaps?
  • That's until the sleepless nights kick in. After childbirth, the baby whines and moans. After drafts, it's me whining and moaning as I wait for feedback. I rethink sentences at night, torturing myself, wondering if I did enough.
  • A slow sense of worry claws at you. You wonder if you're actually any good at this, as you plaster the nappy on backwards (yes, I did do that...). Or re-read your book and hate EVERY SINGLE WORD.
  • You look at other writers/mothers. Why do they seem so 'together'. Why are their babies perfect and behave like they should. How do they manage to write so beautifully. Why can't your writing be like that?  
  • The baby is growing, the baby smiles and you feel good again. As you edit, your book is becoming stronger. You re-read a bit you love and feel good again.
  • Someone tells you how beautiful/well behaved your baby is and you glow. A blogger/reader tells you how wonderful your book is and you glow.
  • You look at the finished product with a sense of pride. You want to tell the world about it.This is what you wanted. This is what you must always remind yourself.


I guess the most important thing of all is that either in writing, or in children - or perhaps both, we have left some kind of legacy. Some sort of stick in the ground.
Although as I watch my little boy trying to walk backwards with a cat basket on his head....this could be a very wobbly stick indeed.







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3. Parental consent, the EU, and children as “digital natives”

Children have become heavy new media users. Empirical data shows that a number of children accessing the internet – contrary to the age of users – is constantly increasing. It is estimated that about 60% of European children are daily or almost daily internet users, and therefore, by many they are considered to be “digital natives”.

However, in our view, the use of this “digital natives” concept is misleading and poorly founded, and is based on the assumption that children are quick to pick up new technologies. A recent EU Kids Online study invalidates this assumption. The study shows that even though children actively surf on various online applications, they lack digital skills such as bookmarking a website, blocking unwanted communications, and changing privacy settings on social networking sites. Many children are not capable of critically evaluating information and changing filter preferences.Interestingly, the lack of skills to perform specific tasks while being online does not impinge on children’s beliefs in their abilities – 43% of surveyed children believe to know more about the internet than their parents. At the moment, no correlation between this proclaimed self-confidence and their actual understanding of how internet works can be done due to the lack of data. Nevertheless, it is worth questioning whether, and to what extent, it is reasonable to expect that children understand the implications of their behaviour and what measures could mitigate children’s online risks in the most efficient and effective way.

It is probably closer to the truth to say that, in terms of privacy and data protection awareness, children are anything but “digital natives”.

Indeed, children’s actions online are being recorded, commercialised and serve for the purposes of behavioural advertising without them actually realising. This media illiteracy is tackled by awareness raising campaigns and policy measures on domestic and EU levels. However, it seems that these measures only partially address the challenges posed by children’s online engagement.

Image credit: Photo by R. Nial Bradshaw via Flickr Creative Commons. This image has been cropped.
Image credit: Classroom laptops, by R. Nial Bradshaw. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr. This image has been cropped.

The European Commission (EC) seems to be in favour of legislative measures providing for a stronger legal protection of children’s personal data in the online environment. In Article 8 of the proposal for the General Data Protection Regulation, the EC introduces verifiable parental (or custodian) consent that would serve as a means of legitimising the processing of a child’s personal data on the internet.

Article 8 of the proposal foresees that parental consent would be required in cases where the processing operations entail personal data of children under the age of 13. The age of 13 would be the bright-line from which the processing of children’s personal data would be subjected to fewer legal constraints.

In practice, this would divide all children into two groups; children that are capable to consent (i.e. 13-18 year olds) to the processing of their personal data and children that are dependent on parental approval of their online choices (i.e. 0-13 year olds). Drawing such a strict line opposes the stages of physical and social development. Also, it requires the reconsideration of the general positive perception of the proposed parental consent from a legal point of view. In particular, it is necessary to evaluate whether the proposed measure is proportionate and whether it coincides with the human rights framework.

In a recent article published in the International Data Privacy Law Journal, we have analysed the proposal to distinguish between children younger and older than 13 years and found many practical and principled objections. Apart from the practical objections, which are often self-evident (e.g. what about the protection of children in the age group from 13 to 18 year old? How to ensure the enforcement of the proposed parental consent?), there are several fundamental problems with the proposed 13 years-rule.

The bright-line rule, which would require data controllers to obtain parental consent before processing personal data of children aged under 13, seems to be incompatible with the notion of evolving capacities. The proposed measure is based on the assumption that from the age of 13 all children are able to provide an independent consent for the processing of their personal data in the online environment. The proposed Article 8 ignores the fact that every child develops at a different pace and that the introduction of parental consent does not ensure more guidance regarding online data processing. We also regret that Article 8 in its current form doesn’t foresee a way in which children could express their own views regarding the data processing operation; the responsibility to consent would rest exclusively with a parent or a legal guardian. This set-up opposes the idea of children’s participation in the decision-making process that concerns them, an idea anchored in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and that is recognised by both the EU and its Member States.

Finally, our analysis suggests that children’s rights to freedom of expression and privacy may be undermined, if the proposed parental consent is introduced. As a result of Article 8, children’s access to information could become limited and dependent on parents. Also, the scope of their right to privacy would shrink as parents would be required to intervene in children’s private spaces (e.g. gaming accounts) to make informed choices. Therefore, it can be observed that the introduction of parental consent contradicts the key principles of human rights law enshrined in the UNCRC.

Featured image credit: Student on iPod at school. Photo by Brad Flickinger. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

The post Parental consent, the EU, and children as “digital natives” appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. December - Holidays Are Forever, Books, Movies, Kids and Dogs

                                             Best Wishes To All

BiscuitandGravy

  Holiday Dogs, Biscuit and Gravy, are courtesy of Richard Bradley's website, A Rock In My SHoe   

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Holiday Turning Point...

It was Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol that transformed Christmas, first in Victorian TinyTimchristmascarolJohnLeechEngland as the industrial age was barreling ahead, and then throughout Europe. Dicken's notion that the true Christmas spirit embodied caring and generouisity -- especially for those less fortunate --  influenced the thinking of multitudes and transformed the holiday.

The ancient orgins of Christmas and of Santa Claus have been traced to many cultures including Scandanavian (especially Danish), Germanic, Dutch and British. 

The legend of Santa Claus, himself, was greatly enhanced by the poem  A Visit from St Nicholas, written for his children, by the American, Clement Clarke Moore, in 1823.

Images by some of the great illustrators have deeply influenced perceptions of Santa and Chistmas. Nast-visit-st-nick This is especially true for children. However, significant impressions in the minds of adults were also made by the Dicken's illustrations of John Leech (and later by Arthur Rackham) in Great Britain, and the yearly illustrations by Thomas Nast of A Visit From St Nicholas in the USA.  

With the passing of time, the spirit of Christmas has changed. The idea of gifts for children, and then others, has evolved with stories, TV, films, merchants, and ceaseless marketing into an often overwhelming distortion of the original spirit of A Christmas Carol. But the spirit does live on.

A Christmas Carol

"Few works in the history of popular culture have had as much pronounced effect as Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, first published in 1843.  While Christmas Day had always been a sacred, Scroogesolemn feast day within the Christian faith (just as the Winter Solstice had been in many pagan cultures before it), it wasn’t until the middle part of the 1800s that many began to see it less as a site of religious devotion than as a holiday to be celebrated, and to be celebrated most specifically through the act of giving.  While A Christmas Carol didn’t spawn this tradition itself, it, more than any other force, popularized it throughout the western world.  Through its powerful, secular story of redemption through charity and love, Dickens imparted to all that Christmas was a time to celebrate all that was worthwhile about the human race, most specifically our love for one another, and our compassion for those less fortunate."...

 

To read the rest of this excellent article by Jonathan Morris, the Antiscribe, follow this link  It will take you to his comprehensive and instghtful article on the significance and lasting
Downloadimpact of Charles Dicken's and A Christmas Carol. 
Morris also provides, in this article, informed reviews of multiple film and TV versions of A Christmas Carol through the years; he includes photos and video links.
 
This link will enable you to download/read the original version of            A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens"

This link will take you to the 1971 Annimated version of A Christmas Carol produced by Chuck Jones, directed by Richard Williams, and with the voice of Alister Sim as Ebeneezer Scrooge. This is a classic and a favorite of Jonathan Morris: Annimated Christmas Carol

The top two illustrations on the left are by John leech. The illustration, on the right, is by Thomas Nast. The illustrator of the bottom left Christmas scene is unknown. 

Happy Holidays! 

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Vxp2_2"I don't know what to do.' cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings. `I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody. A happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here. Whoop. Hallo.' "--
 

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

 

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   A Foxwoods Holiday Celebration

FoxwoodsBrianPattersonArtist

This wonderful illustration is by Brian Fox-Patterson for a series of children's books by Brian and his wife, Cynthia. To see more of his delightful illustrations, visit  Foxwood Tales Illustrations.


ChristmasTreeBunnies"Their first story was published in 1985, and seven more followed. SnowmanCrittersSince then the series of eight children's books have become modern classics. Over 1.3 million copies have been sold across 18 countries." (Wikipedia)  
For summaries of six of the books, visit  loveReading4Kids. A compilation of four of the Tales can be found in the book, A Foxwood Treasury.

I discovered the Foxwood Tales through the illustrations. I haven't read the books, but I wanted to share the superb illustrations.

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Kwanzaa- A Holiday Celebration 

by Holly Hartman  

"The year 2014 will see the 48th annual Kwanzaa, the African American holiday Kwanzaacelebrated from December 26 to January 1. It is estimated that some 18 million African Americans take part in Kwanzaa.

 Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, nor is it meant to replace Christmas. KwanzaaKids2It was created by Dr. Maulana "Ron" Karenga, a professor of Black Studies, in 1966. At this time of great social change for African Americans, Karenga sought to design a celebration that would honor the values of ancient African cultures and inspire African Americans who were working for progress. 

Kwanzaa is based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years."...Kwanzaa ends with a feast and gift giving... Holidays are forever

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Albus_Dumbledore
One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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RoseBig

 The Spirit of Christmas Embodied in a Therapy Dog

This is about Susan and Rose. That's Rose in the photos. It is also about the thousands of therapy dogs bringing unconditional love to young and old. Susan Purser is a retired teacher and has been working for several years with Rose in schools , hospitals, nursing homes and hospices. These are Susan's comments about working with Rose. 


“No matter who you are or why you do pet therapy, it is the dog that opens the door…doors that RoseBig4would otherwise be closed to a well meaning human...

“I consider myself a facilitator…if my dog could drive, she would not need me. Rose seems to enjoy seeing people multiple times and developing a relationship with the people… She is a working dog by nature and she just loves these jobs.  I am constantly amazed at the doors that Rose opens…she goes to places I could never get without her…reaches beyond my reach, touches a person deeper than my touch.  The restless or agitated patient who is calmed by Rose’s touch...the child in the classroom who won’t settle down and get to work but when Rose sits by them, they quiet right down and the hyperactivity seems to dissipate.  The child getting excited about reading to Rose every week; they wouldn’t do that for me, but they do it for Rose...

It is their touch or look that gives people that inner peace when their world is shrinking or spinning so fast they have lost control.  When doors begin the final closing, there is that one last smile, nod, a hand that reaches for a dog that allows some of them to say good bye and close their eyes in peace.”
The photos of Rose are courtesy of Susan Purser.

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LitWorldGroupHappyKidsThe Gift of Reading from LitWorld

Here is a joyous video from Litworld, celebrating the joy of reading, the joy of being somebody, the joy of hope. LitWorld gives the gift of reading to disadvantaged and at-risk children around the world...and they do this not only during the Christmas season, but throughout the year! 

 

LitWorld supports hopes, possibilities and lives in fourteen countries around the world! This link will take you to an interactive map of where Litworld works, from Columbia to India and from Kosovo to California. Interactive Map.

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Interview With Santa

Santa-397KBThis interview was conducted as part of a program to determine the truth behind the incredible story of The Snow Valley Heroes....

 

Interviewer: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and clarifying things. 

Santa: I’m happy that the story is finally coming out. 

Interviewer: Is it a true story? 

Santa:  Absolutely. 

Interviewer: Why haven’t we known about it before? 

Santa:  I think it was lost in the mists of time…It took place hundreds and hundreds of years ago. 

Interviewer: Is it true that there was to be no more Christmas?  Pauli&Sledge-397KB

Santa: I’m sorry to say that it’s true. Until the dogs arrived. 

Interviewer: The dogs? 

Santa: It was a surprise to all of us in Santa Claus village. None of us, and that includes all the elves,had even heard of dogs. 

Interviewer: Is that because you were so far North and rather isolated? 

Santa: Well, that and the fact that dogs has just started arriving on planet earth. Prior to that time, there had been no dogs on Earth. 

Interviewer: Really! Where did they come from? And how did they find you? 

Santa: They had started coming down from their own planet – the Planet of the Dogs. They came down to help people. Somehow, they had heard we were in trouble, and one day, there they were, just like that...

 To read all of the Interview With Santa, click this link:  Interview with Santa 

The illustrations from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, are by Stella Mustanoja McCarty

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Podmeme2Free copies of Snow Valley Heroes, a Christmas Tale; Planet Of The Dogs; and Castle In The Mist  are available  for therapy dog owners and organizations, as well as librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs. Simply email us at planetofthedogs@gmail.com with your postal address.

All of the Planet Of The Dogs series of books are available through your favorite independent bookstore and online through Barnes&Noble, Amazon, and many other sources.  

 Here is a link to sample chapters of  Snow Valley Heroes 

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Bfp_logo_header


BFPBeagles

We're on Holiday...The Beagle Freedom Project found us a new home after life in a cage as a test animal....wow!

 

"The Beagle Freedom Project is a mission to rescue beagles used in animal experimentation in research laboratories and give them a chance at life in a loving forever home." 

This wonderful organization has several excellent, touching, videos and clear, basic information: The Beagle Freedom project 

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DrSeussXmas

 

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

―Dr Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas

 

 

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FindingFidoFinding Fido for Doglovers

"Finding Fido is a book that we believe each and every PetParent should not only read, but own. Finding Fido is a PetParent’s guide to: preventing the loss of their pets in the first place & also serves as a guide to PetParents for essential steps to recovering their pets if they ever are lost. If you’re a first time Pet Parent or a long time, seasoned Pet Parent, there are tips and tricks in here that will be helpful to you!...

As great as this book truly is, we’ve got one detail to share that completely sweetens the pot…the cherry on top if you will. All proceeds from the sale of Finding Fido are donated toward the Beagle Freedom Project Kaitlin Jenkins- PetParent  The cover design and content are by author and dog advocate C.A. Wulff 

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 Holiday Season at the Movies

Fun stories.fantasy and imaginative annimation characterize the holiday movies for children...while dystopia, conflict and bloodshed continue to pour out of YA films.

My hope is that children will see the films intended for them, and stay away from the violence of current YA movies, designed, as Christopher Tolkien says below, as action movies for young people 15 to 25.

Chriestopher Tolkien

 JRR Tolkien's son, Christopher, believes that the quest for commercial success by Peter Hobbit-raft-elvesJackson and the movie industry has destoyed the essence of what his father wrote about the world of Middle Earth in the Hobbit books. Here are excerpts from a post regarding Christopher Tolkien's deep disappointment that appeared on Worldcrunch. The quotes by Tolkien are from an interview he gave to le Monde. 

"Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? 'They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,' Christopher says regretfully. 'And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film.'.. 

This divorce has been systematically driven by the logic of Hollywood. 'Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time,' Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. 'The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing' "....

Read the full article on Worldcrunch: My Father's "Eviscerated" Work - Son Of Hobbit Scribe J.R.R. Tolkien Finally Speaks Out 

The illustration,"Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raftelves, is by JRR Tolkien.

The Hobbit, Battle of the Five Armies, opens Dec 17. Here is a link to the trailer: Five Armies:

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay1


MockingjayPt1KatnissintheDistrict

The story of the Hunger Games continues through the Holiday Season and beyond, with Mockingjay 1. It opened in late November and is off to becoming another huge financial success. Audiences seem to like the film despite the fact that many critics were dissapointed.

 

Here is an excerpt from the review in the Atlantic by Christopher Orr entitled, Hunger Games: Mockingjay1, Darker, More Relentles than Ever.

 "Is the film a bit baggy in places? Sure. Might it have been better if they’d squeezed the whole book into one movie? Probably. Nonetheless, Mockingjay Part 1 is a fine entertainment, shot through with moments of surprising emotional impact."

Here is a link to the Mockingjay1 trailer.

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The Dystopian Formula 

The dystopian story appears to be a theme for success in today's YA film market. In reviewing MazeRunner3The Maze Runner, Jack Cole wrote that The Maze Runner doesn't separate itself from its YA dystopian bretheren. Here is the headline and an excerpt from Cole's insightful review:In 'The Maze Runner,' the maze itself is a letdown and the film presents boring explanations to the plot's mysteries. By Jake Coyle, Associated Press.

Has a cottage industry ever sprung up as fast as the YA land rush brought on by "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games"? I'd like to use a mortal instrument to put an ender to this game. Please, giver me a break.

But to be fair, there isn't anything inherently wrong with "The Maze Runner," directed by special effects-veteran Wes Ball. It's just that it does so little to find its own path separate from its dystopia brethren. All of the recent young-adult formulas are adhered to here: the teenage rebellion against tradition, the coming-of-age metaphors, the heavy sequel-baiting.

Here is a link to the trailer for The Maze Runner. The film has grossed over one hundred million dollars and continues to play. It was not expensive to produce. There will be a sequel.

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Movie Violence and Children...

I believe that films with relentless violence, surround sound, fearful images and often in 3-D, will HobbitsSworddisturb children. How many children, twelve and under, are seeing the current crop of violent dyustopian films?

I presume the producers of these films, and to a lesser extent, the writers of the book series on which they are based, see violence as an important aspect of marketing and audience appeal.

Perhaps, many young adult viewers, after watching the Hunger Games, are more appreciative of the world they live in and of the fact that they are not one of the 25 million refugee children across the world.

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 The Giver 

GiverSkyAfter reading Jerry Griswold's enthusiastic comments about The Giver in the Unjournal of Children's Literature, I decided to research the movie and write about it. The film was based on a controversial, but well received book by Lois Lowry.The book was published in 1993 and the movie was released in July, 2014. The Giver had a different take on dystopia and the use of violence. 

I have now decided to see the movie before writing further about The Giver. To be continued...

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Into The Woods

Into-the-woodsLRRHoodInto the Woods, which seems to be a Disney family film for children, YA, and parents, is now opening on Christmas Day, 2014. The film's slogan, "Be careful what you wish for", relates to the witch, a central character, played by Meryl Streep. Music by Stephen Sondheim, adds to the story, as it did in the original long running Broadway production.

In the story, the witch uses her magical powers to teach lessons in living to Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk. The original production was a big hit with audiences. 

Here is a link to the trailer for Into the Woods.

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 Annie


Opens Dec 18... Annie, a family movie, is based on the hit Broadway musical. The cast Annie-Movie-includes Jamie Fox, Quvenzhane Wallis and Cameron Diaz...Here is a summary from IMDB where you will also find more information, photos and trailers.

Annie looks joyous and entertaining in the trailer preview.

"Annie is a young, happy foster kid who's also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they'd be back for her someday, it's been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan. But everything's about to change..." 

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 Holiday Children's Movies Galore

Here are three more kid's films that look good in their trailers and have been generally well received by reviewers. I have previously posted good notices for the following recently opened movies: Box Trolls, Book of Life, and Hero of Color City -

 Big Hero 6 

Critics Consensus from Rotten Tomatoes :  "Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching." In 3D. Now Playing. Box office: 200 million thus far. Here is the trailer for Big Hero 6 ...Looks like fun.

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Paddington

Paddington2
 Paddington Review...Here is an excerpt from the 3 star review by Xan Brooks in the Guardian
 
"Paddington, directed by Paul King from the original Michael Bond stories, spins the tale of a small bear (voiced very ably by Ben Whishaw) weaned on marmalade jars and idealised notions of England. The film is as warm as an eiderdown and as fluffy as its feathers. Cast out of his forest home, Paddington hops a cargo ship and comes to London, where his decorous dreams bump up against modern reality"
Opening December 12. Here is the trailer: Paddington Adopted from a classic children's book.
 
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Penquins of Madagascar
 
This is one I missed before...Opened in mid-November. Here is the trailer: Penguins of Madagascar
 
Critics Consensus from Rotten Tomatoes: "Penguins of Madagascar is fast and brightly colored enough to entertain small children, but too frantically silly to offer real filmgoing fun for the whole family."
 
 

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LightsSheepSheepdogsChristmas Lights Moving Through the Hills

A Holiday treat, and a wonder to behold, the moving lights are on hundreds of sheep, running in the darkness, guided by sheepdogs...this is a classic video...Moving Lights

 

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PlanetDogFondaton-Banner

From Rescue to Reading...A Holiday Salute

Brigadoon-grantee-picWe Salute the Planet Dog Foundation for their years of support for "the exemplary work of non-profit organizations training and placing dogs working to help people in need all over the country."

Through the years, they have given over one million dollars; in 2014, alone, they have given over one hundred thousand dollars.

For more information, here is a link to the Planet Dog website 

The photo is from Brigadoon Youth and Service Dog Programs in Bellingham,WA

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Circling The Waggins at Christmas

Here is an an excerpt from the doglover's book, Circling the Waggins, by CA Wulff. The dogs seen in the ebook cover (below) are the current residents of the cabin in the woods wherein this saga of a life with rescued dogs takes place.


CtWrevisedCoverKindle
"I feel like we are haunted by the ghost dog of Christmas past. The season brings a million reminders of our Troll, a dog who had loved Christmas more than any other time of year. He would get excited at the first signs of holiday decorations, and his eyes would shine with a child’s wonder. On Christmas morning, he would race to be the first dog under the tree, to tear at the packages full of biscuits and rawhides. Each of the dogs would tear at a package, but Troll unwrapped with such gusto and fervor, that they would all abandon their presents to stand back and watch him, and then make off with whatever treats he had revealed." 

CA Wullf also created the cover for her book.

 

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Way Cool Dogs On Finding a Puppy That's Good for Kids 

Choosing the right puppy is a critical decision...here is an excerpt from a helpful article on Way Cool Dogs.


POD-Miss Merrie-blog size"How do you choose a puppy that is good for your children? It is a question every parent should ask before deciding to adopt one of the small puppy breeds for their child. Toy puppies can make great companions for kids if they are chosen properly, and the child is trained to handle small puppies properly. And to be fair, a child is the only one who can keep up with the boost of energy that puppies seem to be born with!

The good news is that you have a variety of small puppy breeds to choose from: mini Yorkies, Maltese, Havanese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and many others. Smaller dogs seem to be less intimidating around children. If the puppies are small, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be aggressive with children. You just need to be careful when choosing a perfect small puppy for your home...

The illustration, from Planet Of The Dogs, is by Stella Mustanoja McCarty

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SunbearSqBigLogo

Sunbear Squad guides good hearted people like those who sent Sunbear this post.... 

Christmas Rescue of a Lost Rescue Dog

 

scooter (5K)Are you ready for a sweet Christmas story about a little lost doggy? We were walking our two dogs a few days ago and saw a little scared pup that looked like a Shitzu/Llasa Apso mix. He was limping, his hair was shaved, he had no collar. We scooped the little guy up and brought him home with us. We drove to Petco and Petsmart to ask if they recognized him. No one did. So we had him scanned to see if he was microchipped. He wasn't. So we listed the little fella on Craigslist and a lost and found pup website also. No luck. We called around to a few vet clinics in our area ... to no avail. So we took care of this little lost boy in our home for a few days.

 

We named the little guy Buddy. He was so sweet. He stayed with us and my two little dogs who played and slept and ate along with him. He seemed to limp a little less as the days went by. We wondered how his life was before he met us. We wondered if he was limping because he may have been a caged dog used for breeding because he was not neutered. We wondered if he came from a loving home or an abusive home. We were getting worried after our fourth day of loving on the little guy...

 

Here is the link to read the complete post on Sunbear Christmas Rescue. 

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  Charles-DickensTree"Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart." -Washington Irving

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5. ‘When I see Grandma'; A Compelling Account with Author, Debra Tidball

I love the way award-winning author Debra Tidball describes her view on valuing connectedness across the generations. I also love the sentiment in celebrating people’s personal histories and appreciating who they are now, and then. Having had a grandmother with whom I had a strong bond, ‘When I see Grandma’ really resonated in my heart. […]

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6. Give Back on Black Friday: Here’s How

Looking for a way to get your holiday shopping done AND give back to a worthy cause at the same time?  There are several ways to make it happen this holiday season.

1. TOM’S for Target has put out a line of chic home goods, apparel, and shoes in stores and online at http://www.target.com.  For every purchase, Tom’s donate one week of meals to Feeding America.

The following companies offer a “Buy one – Give one” guarantee:

2. http://www.handinhandsoap.com  For every 2-bar pack purchased ($18.00), the company donates a bar and one month of clean water to a child in the developing world.

3. http://www.yoobi.com  Buy a school item and one will be sent to a US classroom in need thanks to the Kids In Need Foundation.

4. Buy an 8 piece COASTER SET ($20.00) from http://www.outofprintcloting.com  and a book will be sent to an underprivileged community through Books For Africa.

5. Buy a clothing item from http://www.twiceaswarm.com  and a new clothing item will be sent to a homeless services organization in the US.

6.  Purchase a Give A Hoot Owl Pillow ($25.00) from  http://www.willowcreekstudio.net   and another will be sent to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, or The Highmark Caring Place.

 


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7. Howl at the Moon…and Beyond, For a Great Cause + A Holiday Centerpiece

If you and your kids or classroom would like to help create grants to fund SPACE EXPLORATION, RESEARCH, and education, try sending a MESSAGE TO MARS on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28,2014. 

You can also discover other ways to connect with the vast universe by naming Mars craters.  The science site is dedicated to bringing the wonders of space exploration to everyone.

For more information visit: http://www.uwingu.com

While you’re outdoors “howling” to Mars, why not collect some of nature’s seeds, pods and pine cones to make an easy centerpiece to decorate the Thanksgiving table.     holiday centerpieceSimple, festive, and fun.  No purchase necessary.


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8. Celebrate Thanksgiving with: PUMPKIN BREAD

Here is an easy, nutritious recipe you and your children can make using the flesh of a whole pumpkin you’ve chopped and cooked, or a can of pumpkin puree.  Both work well. If you use the whole pumpkin, you can prepare it by boiling it in a large pot until tender and then scooping out the seeds before mashing the flesh.  You can also roast the pumpkin in the oven like a butternut squash until tender.   To save time and make it easier for children to do themselves, use the canned puree. NOTE: Cooked butternut squash can be substituted for the pumpkin in this recipe.

PUMPKIN BREAD

1 C flour (I like to mix white and whole wheat)  1 C. rolled oats (use quick or old-fashioned- NOT instant)

2 t baking soda      ¼ t powder     2 t cinnamon     ¼ t each of ginger, cloves, nutmeg

3 eggs          1 t vanilla     3/4 C oil ( I substitute applesauce or yogurt for half the oil)

1 C sugar      2 C pumpkin puree     1 C chopped walnuts

  1. Measure dry ingredients together.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce (if using), pumpkin, and vanilla.
  3.  Beat until well mixed.
  4. Stir in flour until smooth.  Add nuts.
  5. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake for 35-45 minutes.  Test with a toothpick to see if it is done.  It should be dry after inserting in the middle of the bread.

This recipe also can be used to make muffins.  Makes 24 muffins.  Bake muffins for 20- 25 minutes.  These breads freeze well and can be made ahead of time to give as gifts over the holidays.

For a festive way to serve this cake-like bread, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt on  a slice and top with whipped cream.  It is also delicious spread with cream cheese.  HAPPY AUTUMN!


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9. Turkey and Mr. Bear

Turkey and Mr. Bear
Author: Jessika Daly
Illustrator: Terdell L. Johnson
Publisher: Yourmom206
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-692-23251-4
Pages: 28
Price: $19.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Turkey is excited because tomorrow is Thanksgiving and there will be cake and presents and a big party. But when he shares his enthusiasm with Mr. Bear, he finds out that those things happen on his birthday, not on Thanksgiving. Running through each of the holidays and events over the course of the year, Turkey keeps coming back to Mr. Bear, only to find out that, once again, he’s mistaken.

Mr. Bear only shakes his head each time saying, “Silly Turkey.” Finally, Turkey comes back and asks about what will really happen on Thanksgiving. Mr. Bear’s parting line is priceless, and I won’t spoil the fun by revealing it. But kids will roar with laughter when they hear what he has to say.

Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, and we know this story can’t end well. But since Turkey and Mr. Bear concludes with a humorous line, kids won’t dwell on what might happen to Turkey, and can simply enjoy the joke. This book is pure Thanksgiving fun.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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10. Sending You a Tropical Breeze - Review of Jan May’s Ocean Adventures Creative Writing Curriculum & a Giveaway!

by Sally Matheny

     
Sending You a Tropical Breeze
A cold wind may be whistling outside your window but today, a tropical breeze is coming your way.

     Do you have a young, reluctant writer in your home? I do. My fourth-grader freezes over when he’s required to write. He hates it. Which is why I was eager to try out Jan May’s curriculum, Ocean Adventures in Creative Writing.  Clearly stated on the front cover is the statement, “Even the reluctant writer will dive in!”

     
     Not only did I plan to get my reluctant writer’s toes in the water, but I also hoped the curriculum would splash enthusiasm into a homeschool co-op class I was teaching.

     The students ranged in ages from eight to twelve. Only a third of the class professed to enjoy writing. Here are a few of their comments upon completion of the class:

     I liked writing a story about my ocean adventure. I liked being able to choose my own animal instead of being assigned one. – Meredith (10)

     I’ve never been able to write this much in one week before. I never wanted to write this much before this class. – Samuel (8)

     I loved how fun it was. I liked the ocean theme. [The lessons] were easy to understand. – Zac (10)

     
     What makes this curriculum so likable to students?

Freedom
Ocean Adventures in Creative Writing
·         to research an own ocean animal of their own choosing
·         to create their own ocean community setting
·         to devise their own characters and plot
·         to focus on the story more than grammar and punctuation

Bite-Sized Lessons
·         Character, Setting, and Plot
·         Writing beginnings, middles, and endings
·         Spicing up your story
·         Editing

Fun Factor
·         Opportunities to interact with friends
·         Additional art and craft ideas
·         Spotlight presentation at the end


    What makes this 53-page curriculum attractive to teachers?

Easy
·         Easy to follow teacher notes
·         Clear and concise worksheets for students
·         Printables of twenty ocean animals and handwriting paper with an ocean-themed border

Adaptable
·         Easily incorporated into other school subjects
·         Written primarily for ages 8-12, it is great for use by students of various ages, within the same setting
·         For students at various writing skill levels

     The curriculum offers ten lesson plans before students present their final story. Jan May offers additional ideas that could easily stretch this curriculum over several months, if desired.

     A “spotlight theatre” is suggested for the culminating project where students present their stories. However, my class opted for a sunlight theatre outside. 





     The reluctant writers may not be in the deep waters of writing yet, but they sure enjoyed wading out past their knees.

     After presenting their stories, several students experienced the exhilaration of riding their first wave. That’s a great feeling and usually it prompts a desire to do it again!

     If your students are dreading the winter blahs of writing, consider sending them a fun, tropical breeze with the Ocean Adventures Creative Writing program.

                                                 *****
    

    
Author, Jan May is a veteran homeschool mom, freelance writer, and book author with a Christian worldview. Connect with her at www.newmillenniumgirls.com.

     Jan is graciously offering a free download of the Ocean Adventures Creative Writing curriculum to the one winner Rafflecopter selects on November 25, 2014. There are several ways to increase your chances of winning. 
Rafflecopter will accept entries between midnight on 11/17/14 and midnight 11/25/14.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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11. The Great Reindeer Rebellion

The Great Reindeer Rebellion
Author: Lisa Trumbauer
Illustrator: Jannie Ho
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1356-6
Pages: 32
Price: $6.95

Buy it at Amazon

It’s the week before Christmas, and Santa is frantic. The reindeer are on strike and decide they won’t be pulling his sleigh this year. So Santa decides to hire some new staff. Surely there are other animals who would be willing to help!

But poor Santa doesn’t anticipate the many problems he’ll run into as he attempts test runs with his new crews. Dogs, cats, elephants, and kangaroos all try hard, but just can’t handle the job. What can Santa do?

Using rhyming verse in the style of “Twas the night before Christmas…” this wacky book details Santa’s frustrations in attempting to replace his striking reindeer. Kids will giggle with delight over the silly predicaments the replacement animals find themselves in. But all ends well, as Santa and the reindeer finally come to an agreement.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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12. THE DAY I DELETED MINECRAFT; A LETTER TO MY SON By: Jennifer Reinharz

Today’s post was first published in Mamalode on October 8th and promoted on Twitter by Brain,Child Magazine.  It was an interesting – and somewhat controversial -  topic that I asked Jennifer if I could feature it here.  We’d both welcome your feedback.

Dear Bubbe,
I never intended to do it; really. One second it was a quivering icon, the next it was gone. Just. Like. Magic.

Honestly, it brought on a smile. I’m not trying to be mean. Chalk it up to a Mommy epiphany, a moment of clarity. The day I deleted Minecraft, I liberated myself and you of a virtual, addictive burden. Pressing that shaky, little X ushered you back to real life. That made me happy.

In the beginning, I was a fan.
Compared to the other choices the video game world has to offer, I could see why you wanted to tap the piggy bank to invest in one that requires players to scavenge for resources, earn survival treasure, design landscapes, construct villages, and defend against intruders. As a lifelong rock collector, forager of sorts, visual thinker, and creative designer it appealed to many of your natural sensibilities.

A popular topic of discussion at summer camp and later in the school cafeteria, Minecraft was also something to bond over with friends. Game play and conversations led to art projects, dissecting handbooks, sharing song parodies, and pretend play. It was a vehicle to stretch your imagination, apply ingenuity, problem solve, and socialize. So like organized sports, enrichment programs, and play dates, this Mommy approved video game quickly became outsourcing I could justify.

Not only did I feel like I was doing right by your development; it kept you busy, safe, in an earshot and out of my hair all at the same time. My afternoon was still my own and I didn’t necessarily have to entertain or engage with you all that much.
Then I began to notice screen time and giving up the screen made you cranky and angry. You responded less to Dad and me, ignored guests, and blew off friends playing outside. Preferred downtime was spent in the basement; alone in a Minecraft cave.
Even with the game shut off, I was living with a one note Bubbe on Enderman autopilot. It was all you wanted to talk, draw, write, and think about. And when The Skootch got access, twice the misery ensued.       jen post pic

So in an effort to find balance, we set up a schedule to earn and limit play time.

It didn’t work.

The timer chime was drowned out daily by your pleading, sometimes screaming voice, “I wasn’t done; I just found iron, I need a diamond sword, a creeper destroyed my supplies and all I have left is a raw chicken!”
It was only after the drama escalated to the point where I found myself ripping the IPad from your grip and yelling back, “Who cares; it’s not real!” that I knew we needed a big change.
All craziness combined led me to Deletion Day.

In the future, I’m not ruling out screen time completely; that would make me a hypocrite but Minecraft was sucking wind from your childhood and it needed to go away.
Proof of my decision came the morning after Deletion Day when I read an article about Steve Jobs; the man who invented the tablet on which you play. He was brilliant for many reasons, particularly in his choice to limit his own children’s access to technology.
A few hours later, you played with months old Minecraft Legos for the first time and said, “Mom, this is fun. I never would have known if I kept playing video games.” I then knew we were heading in a better direction.
Your Lego comment got me thinking more about fun and parent approved outsourcing, both today and when I was your age.

Like you, I kept busy after school and like you, my mother gravitated toward outsourcing. She didn’t have insight into child development or the value of play, I’m just pretty sure that when she came home from work, she didn’t want to see my face until dinner.
But I didn’t play video games, do gobs of after school activities, or have scheduled dates to see friends.
I was let out of the house and off the leash; in an earshot of only the person on the bike next to me and left in an unstructured and by modern standards, unsafe environment to play pickup games with neighboring kids, defend myself against obnoxious villagers, explore the nearby pond, collect crystals from a stream, build forts, and roam through the woods.
Call it my own, private Minecraft. No IPad needed.
And it was good fun.

Growing up isn’t easy but parenting isn’t simple. You can’t always get what you want when you want it, and I can’t always do what makes my life easier. In an effort to raise you to be a thinking, well adjusted, connected, kind, happy, independent human being I sometimes have to check myself and then love you enough to say enough.
Your childhood is just out of my reach, but it is not yet out of yours. Embrace. Enjoy. Experience. Take time in the real world to discover unchartered lands, dig caves, build cities, mix it up with the villagers, and have adventures. You’ll be glad you did.

Now go. I’ll see you at dinner.             jen photo
I Love You,
Mom

Jennifer can be reached at: http://www.redsaidwhat.com
Twitter: @redsaidwhatblog
Facebook page: Red said what?


2 Comments on THE DAY I DELETED MINECRAFT; A LETTER TO MY SON By: Jennifer Reinharz, last added: 11/16/2014
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13. Goldielocks and the Three Bears



In January I had the opportunity to work on a rather unusual project. This new editions of Goldielocks and the Tree Bears, published by Editions Fleurus, has a simple but lovely paper engineering. Each page is made by two rotating disks so the scene inside changes.
I'm very pleased with the print quality and how well the book was put together. One of my favourite projects this year!








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14. Suzy


Written by Sandra Solinet and published by Editions Fleurus, this is one of the stories I enjoyed the most this year. It's fun and well written and it was joy to work on!
I'm especially happy with the house in the woods.





 




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15. La Petite Poule Rousse


This past spring I've illustrated this lovely board book for Editions Milan. It was a nice challenge. Sometimes simple is not as easy to do as we imagine. This is also a reason why I do enjoy board books. Not only are the very first kids own, but they're a good design excercise.

La Petite Poule Rousse is an audio-book with tiny little buttons on the front so kids can listen to the story while reading each page. You can see a small video on my Instagram!





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16. La Collina dei Folletti

A selection of illustrations from "La Collina dei Folletti" published in Italy by Edizioni EL






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17. 50 States of Fun – Hidden Treasures

50 States of Fun
Author & Illustrator: Liz Ball
Publisher: Hidden Pictures
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-9843088-1-1
Pages: 56
Price: $6.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

It’s always fun to look for hidden objects in a drawing. And it’s even more fun when kids can then color the rest of the picture and learn a bit about each of the fifty states. In this book, each state is featured on its own page, with color commentary and fifteen to twenty items to discover in the line drawing above.

50 States of Fun – Hidden Treasures is a great resource for improving eye coordination, spatial skills, memory retention and concentration. But kids will only see it as an enjoyable puzzle book that will keep them entertained for hours.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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18. A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas

A Pirate's Night Before Christmas
Author: Philip Yates
Illustrator: Sebastia Serra
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1357-3
Pages: 32
Price: $6.95

Buy it at Amazon

Twas the night before Christmas aboard the Black Sark…” These pirates aren’t waiting for Santa Claus – instead they are hoping for a visit from Sir Peg. Riding a sleigh pulled by eight giant sea horses, and sporting an eye patch, peg leg, and hook, Sir Peg is a sight to see. But he comes bringing joyous gifts to all the crew.

With the same rhyming cadence as the original, A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas is an alternative and fun Christmas Eve read. Kids of all ages will enjoy it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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19. Easy Craft: Washer Necklaces…just in time for the Holidays!

If your kids would like to give their family and friends a home-made and unique gift for the holidays, why not try this simple and economical one: necklaces made from metal washers.  When I first spotted this on PINTEREST, I couldn’t believe how simple and clever an idea it was.  washer stuff  Assemble an assortment of washers (you can get them at LOWE’S, HOME DEPOT, SEARS, or any hardware store.  I actually found mine on the sidewalk. Then paint them with nail polish in desired colors.  You can use several coats and colors, but let each layer dry thoroughly before adding a second coat.  Then tie a ribbon or yarn through the washer to hang.  For mine, I added the smaller inner washer with a piece of jewelry wire.  You can also sprinkle glitter, add tiny sequins or whatever catches your eye.   washer necklaceThese are so easy and cheap to make, you can give them as party favors or to friends/neighbors as a “thank you”.

For more ways to decorate these washers, visit the washer jewelry pages on PINTEREST.  http://www.pinterest.com


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20. Justice

Justice is a matter of belief that fairness has won the day, that truth and honesty has prevailed …

But alas, Justice is only a perception that many times is corrupted by greed …JDMartRedRoadJustice11520142


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21. Howard B. Wigglebottom on Yes or No

Howard B. Wigglebottom on Yes or No
Author: Howard Binkow
Illustrator: Taillefer Long
Publisher: Thunderbolt Publishing
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-9826165-8-1
Pages: 32
Price: $15.00

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Howard B. Wigglebottom knows his friend, Buzz, is not happy, but he doesn’t know why. So he watches as Buzz is trusting friends he shouldn’t trust, having his things taken away from him, and getting into trouble for stealing. But when he starts to get into a stranger’s car, Howard steps in and yells, “NO!” Buzz doesn’t know how to say no to anyone, and Howard wants to help him.

Over time, Buzz learns how to determine if someone is trustworthy, and how to say no if they’re not. And he learns to never talk to strangers unless a trusted adult says it’s okay. Buzz is a lot happier now.

Kids (and even adults) have trouble saying no when they think people won’t like them. But this is an important skill best developed when children are young. Howard B. Wigglebottom on Yes or No is a great learning tool, giving kids an opportunity to observe the proper use of the word “No” and to discuss it in a classroom setting.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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22. David Roberts: master of endearing offbeat oddballs

Post by Heather Ryerson

David Roberts

David Roberts

David Roberts

David Roberts

David Roberts

David Roberts

David Roberts creates eccentric yet endearing characters with his lively illustrations. With more than twenty illustrated books for children published, Roberts—and his charming drawings—keep garnering more and more attention. His latest picture books Iggy Peck, Architect, Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau have made many ‘best of’ lists, including the New York Times bestseller list. He lives and plays in London.

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23. Sweet thoughts

DSC_1672Little bee, no swerving from your line when you deliver the goods back home.

A busy place with no door but when you enter you still use your buzzer.

Then back again from flower to flower, collecting the pollen that gives you power.

It’s home again, little bundles carried to feed the Queen


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24. Two Worthy Causes to Sponsor on Veteran’s Day.

Even though the holiday season is fast approaching, and thoughts of outdoor activities turn indoors, you can still show your support to two worthwhile causes throughout the year.

1. How can you honor Veteran’s on this Veteran’s Day?  Pick up a box of Band-Aids Our Veteran Heroes design bandages. With each purchase, the company makes a donation to TEAM RED, WHITE & BLUE, an organization that helps and supports veterans.  You can find them at Drugstores nationwide.

2.  Saturday, November 15 is AMERICA RECYCLES DAY.  Sort your cans, bottles,  and paper and help keep America beautiful.  visit: http://www.americarecyclesday.org


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25. Bald Eagle Costume

Bald Eagle Costume

Hope you had a happy Halloween. Ours was lots of fun, and thankfully, the cold and rain held off until right when we were all ready to go in anyway.

This year, I only made one costume, since my daughter only needed a thrifted dress for her “diva” outfit. Our son, seven, wanted to be a bald eagle. He has a thing for birds of prey. At one point it seemed his visions were never going to match up to reality, but in the end, both of us were happy with how it turned out.

It’s made from four thrifted items: brown jammy pants (unaltered), long-sleeved brown T-shirt (sized down), brown henley shirt (cut open and scalloped for the wings), and the cut-off top of a fleece hoodie (sized down and scalloped for feathers). My son made talons made of yellow foam and cardboard. He also made the foam beak, which he attached to a pre-bought plain white eye mask. I tried to convince him to just attach a beak to the hood, but he was having none of that.

I thought he did a great job making eagle poses here. For more semi-homemade costumes from previous years, click here.

Meanwhile, I’ve been slog, slog, slogging through my novel rewrite. Also, enjoying the fact that Bletchley Circle has new episodes. Woo!


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