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Results 1 - 25 of 1,064
1. Eight Ways to a Happy Earth Day – Part 1

Earth Day helps us focus on being kind to our planet.  We often take for granted all the wonders this beautiful place we call home provides.  To honor the earth, on Earth Day, and every day, here are some things you can do:

1.  Recycle EVERYTHING you can.  Find a list at http://www.recyclingcenters.org

2.  Repurpose and find other uses for objects you  used to throw away. One example is to use empty tin cans and jars for pencils or flower vases.  Visit  http://www.creatingreallyawesomefreethings.com   to find some great “tin can crafts”.

3.  Instead of the cardboard coffee cup sleeve, check ebay.com for unique and clever cotton and knitted reusable coffee cup sleeves.

4.  Learn how to make yarn from plastic bags (plarn)  at: http://www.wikihow.com

5.  Donate your old electronics by visiting: http://www.pickupplease.org  for details.

6.  When shipping items, use old newspapers for packing instead of Styrofoam peanuts.

7.  Catch rain in buckets to water the garden.

8.  Use bar soap instead of liquid in plastic bottles.

If you’re wondering where you can go to take part in Earth Day events, visit http://www.earthday.org  to find local events in your area as well as volunteer opportunities.  Being a good steward of the earth is important, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t also be fun.  I’ll post more ways to be a friend to the earth on Monday as well as tell you how to get free seeds for plants that attract butterflies to your garden.  Stay tuned.

 

 


0 Comments on Eight Ways to a Happy Earth Day – Part 1 as of 4/18/2014 3:09:00 AM
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2. A Single Red Sock

There was a young husband who took a young wife to live in a shoebox beside a busy thoroughfare. The young man attempted to treat his wife with utmost sincerity and kindness, but often found that his tongue got in his way. Dull and ill-advised words suitable only for bachelorhood unfortunately found their way from his mouth to his young bride’s ear.

While the ever-patient bride overlooked most of the offenses, the stupid young husband constantly felt it necessary to pay penance for his outbursts by aiding his wife in her chores. After one particular peccadillo, the husband took it upon himself to do the laundry.

Knowing at least that colors and whites must go separately, he sorted the clothes into piles and decided to begin with the whites. In went the slightly dingy load while the hopeful husband added soap and waited nearby. When the buzzer rang, he jumped to his feet expecting to pull out gleaming white clothes. What to his wondering eyes did appear, but a washer full of pink. Pink, the color of panic. Nothing was the same as it had gone in.

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With his bride due home soon, he frantically searched the load to find an offending single red sock. Casting it aside, he loaded the machine with bleach and ran the whites through once more. Bing – cycle over, no change. Pink panic.

A key at the door

A smiling bride

A kiss before the confession

Disappointment, accusation, regret

“My favorite shirt!” she exclaimed as she held up a blushing blouse. “Ruined!”

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” pled the husband. “I’ll buy you another. What else can I do, my darling?”

“I will tell you what you can do,” she fumed. “You can promise you will never, ever, ever do the laundry again!”

“I swear it, my love,” promised the young man on bended knee. “I will never touch dirty clothes for as long as you’ll have me.”

One score and two years later, the older husband is still bound by his oath and forbidden to use the washing machine with the following exception: his rag towels.

With a family so large, the machine seems to run day and night, but can he help? Not besides folding.

I ask you the following, was the young naïve husband really so foolish decades ago, or did he craft a cunning plan sure to guarantee a life of marital slackness? Could you place that much credit for forethought on the brash youth who couldn’t keep his pie-hole closed? Would the wife’s version tell a different tale?


9 Comments on A Single Red Sock, last added: 4/17/2014
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3. Viku and the Ivory Thieves

Viku and the Ivory Thieves
Author: Debu Majumdar
Illustrator: Lynn Wolfe
Publisher: Bo-Tree House
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-9832227-3-6
Pages: 52
Price: $12.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

In this sequel to Viku and the Elephant and Viku to the Rescue, Viku and his elephant friend, Haatee, are back again to protect the forest. Although two of the ivory thieves have been stranded on an island surrounded by crocodiles, some are still on the loose. With the help of the police, all of the poachers are rounded up and sent to prison.

But the dangers to the elephants and the forest continue, and Viku and the police must step up their efforts to protect them. When an evil scheme is uncovered, Viku and Haatee help to thwart it. One of the ivory thieves has now completely reformed and assists them in their efforts.

The forces of good and evil are portrayed very strongly in this series, with good always triumphing over evil. And in Viku and the Ivory Thieves, evil is even transformed to goodness. Kids will cheer for Viku and Haatee, wanting to see them succeed in stopping the thieves once again. I highly recommend this series for the positive values demonstrated.

Debu Majumdar shared his thoughts with us in an interview. Please be sure to read what he has to say!

Reviewer: Alice Berger


0 Comments on Viku and the Ivory Thieves as of 4/16/2014 3:01:00 PM
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4. Blue and Other Stories

Blue and Other Stories

Author: Suniti Namjoshi
Illustrator: Nilima Sheikh
Publisher: Spinifex
Genre: Children / Fables
ISBN: 174219839-2
Pages: 36
Price: $24.95

Available at:
http://spinifexpress.com.au/Bookstore/book/id=239/ (US & Canada)
http://www.ipgbook.com/ (US & Canada)
http://www.gazellebookservices.co.uk/ (UK)
http://www.gardners.com/ (UK)
http://www.wheelers.co.nz/ (New Zealand)

Suniti Namjoshi is internationally acclaimed as a poet, and Nilima Sheikh’s paintings hang in galleries all over the world. These two talented artists combine their skills to bring us Blue and Other Stories, a collection of myths and fables.

Five short stories are included in this book. “The Unloved Queen” tells the tale of a girl named Suniti questioning how she received her name. “Blue” shares her love of the color blue and the reactions of those around her to this obsession. “Kingfisher” is a tale of a smart bird and his quirky answers to those seeking his wisdom. “Frog Life” shows us vanity at its highest. And “Bird Woman” presents a girl’s unusual problem and her parents’ creative solution.

These interesting and unique stories are colorfully illustrated to complement the text. Blue and Other Stories is a beautiful work of art, both in words and pictures.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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5. #539 – Two Hands to Love You by Diane Adams & Paige Keiser

TWO HANDS TO LOVE YOU.

Two Hands to Love You

by Diane Adams & Paige Keiser, illustrator

Chronicle Books      2014

978-0-8118-7797-8

Age 4 to 8     36 pages

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“With two loving hands, an adoring mother cradles her baby after bath time and a devoted father introduces his toddler to the wonders of he world. Sister, brother, grandma, and grandpa all can’t wait to share what they love best about the world with their newest family member. And when it is time to step ot into the world, this caring family is right there alongside. In simple, heartfelt language, this soothing picture book for the very young will tug at the heartstrings and remind us all of the caring hands that helped us along our way.”

Opening

“When the world is a strange place, unfamiliar and new,

my two hands will hold you, will carry you through.”

The Story

In a nutshell, the story is about a couple who begin a family and the paths they take with their children as they grow and become a family of five—plus two involved grandparents. The first baby is gently cared for, everything new for everyone, not just the baby. As he grows, mom plays outside with her toddler, pulling him in a wagon after an afternoon bath in the sun.

Dad takes over, playing airplane with his son, then cradles the new baby and pledges his love. The first-born cares for the second-born, a girl as curious as her brother. Then the third arrives and the three kids guide and love each other.

Grandparents read to their grandson and blow bubbles for this newest child. The joys of childhood and a mother who races to her crying child. This all is part of this family of five, who love each other.

Review

My loyal readers know what I will write in this space and it will not be that I hated this book. The story is composed of fragments of time, caught like photographs. A mother holds her first-born close, never wanting to let go, but she does. With dad, the toddler continues to grow and this happy family of three thrives. Then enters child number two, a girl. It is daddy’s turn to hold the baby close, his little girl. The images that accompany each frame of time softly plays the scene out for us.

mom

Using watercolors and ink, the artist catches these tender moments, making them precious and tenderer, if that is even possible. Her images could tell this story without the text, which is what a good illustrated picture book should do—words for adults and kids, images for little ones, not yet a reader. I tended to pick up this book and turn its pages carefully, feeling the fragility of family, and the joys of one so close.

Children have real childhoods, playing with each other, guiding each other. Along the way, various hands help the children to grow: mom, dad, grandma and grandpa, and many more not shown.The sweetness is palatable. Two Hands to Love You may well have you thinking about your own little ones, whether they are still little or grown and on their own, maybe starting families. Alternatively, of your own childhood and what that meant to you.

dad

I love the rhyming text. The words fit together perfectly, meaning I did not immediately recognize the rhyme, just the smooth flow of words that belonged together in that precise order. I think this story can help others remember what a family needs to be—a shelter in the storm and a place to learn and grow without ridicule and maybe a little rhyme.

I love the inherent gentleness the illustrations give us. I love the extended family all involved in raising a child. I guess I simply love Two Hands to Love You, which is an ideal baby shower gift. This is also an, “Oh, my, gosh, you’re pregnant” gift. New parents will cherish Two Hands to Love You. It would be the couple’s first, How to Raise Baby book.

For children Two Hands to Love You reinforces that parents will always be there for them, no matter the distance. That home is a shelter from the storm. A place to recharge before heading back into the world. Children want to know their parents will also be there for them. That message rings loudly through the tender pages of Two Hands to Love You.

kids

TWO HANDS TO LOVE YOU. Text copyright © 2014 by Diane Adams. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Paige Keiser. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

To learn more about Two Hands to Love You, click HERE.

Make Two Hands to Love You yours by going to AmazonB&NChronicle Books—or your local bookstore.

 

Meet the author, Diane Adams at her website:   http://www.dianeadams.net/

Meet the illustrator, Paige Keiser at her website:   http://www.paigekeiser.com/

Find other incredible books at the Chronicle Books website:   http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

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Also by Paige Keiser

The Little Green Pea

The Little Green Pea

One Night In Bethlehem

One Night In Bethlehem

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. I Love My Hat (October 2014)

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NEW from Chronicle Books

I Didn't Do My Homework Because . . .

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . .

 Peek-a Zoo

Peek-a Zoo

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2 hands to love you

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Today is National Library Workers Day

Be extras nice to those who staff your library!


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: children, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, Diane Adams, family, family relationships, grandparents, growing up, Paige Keiser, parents, raising children

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6. Get Crafty For Easter.

With spring finally here, and Easter and Passover right around the corner, there are lots of ways to celebrate the season with crafts and egg decorating. Some of the easiest and festive kids crafts can be found on the RED TED ART sight.  There are 40 Easter crafts using eggs, pompom balls, and readily available materials.  http://www.redtedart.com

When I was a kid, we died eggs by dipping them into cups of colored water.  You can still  do that, but now there are many other ways to decorate eggs for the holiday. You can use non-toxic water color paints to create works of art.  Try paint daubers to make dots, Crayola or other non-toxic markers to draw designs. The Red TED sight has many other ideas for egg decorating.  If you wish to try the Polish art of PISANKY egg dying, you can order your own kit from: http://www.chinaberry.com

I decorated this egg at a workshop on how to do PISANKY.

I decorated this egg at a workshop on how to do PISANKY.

Here’s a unique way to give out chocolate treats for the holiday:  Create egg-shaped baskets out of balloons and dazzle family and friends with your talent.  Check out the how-tos for MAGIC BALLOON TREATS  at: http://www.thewhoot.com.au

Happy Easter and Happy crafting!


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7. Where were you?

Where were you when you first heard the sound? Good sounds – your husband’s voice, your baby’s giggle, the words “I love you?” Do you remember? Can you picture the scene and surroundings?

I experienced a condensed courtship with my wife because I was briefly called back to service during Desert Storm. I don’t recall the first expression of the four- letter L word in our relationship. I know it came, and stuck. I have said it to her every day for nearly twenty-two years. I say it every night to my girls and sometimes in front of other people, much to their chagrin.

I wish I remembered the first time I said it, though.

I will never forget the first time I heard the word Cancer as it related to my family. I was in the hospital just a week ago when it was introduced to me, while my little girl lay sleeping nearby. The doctor actually used the words “oncological event” before I made him dumb it down for me. Cancer.

I held my wife in my arms as she collapsed into a puddle. Doesn’t cancer affect other families? Why would he be saying this word? I felt an instant dislike for this man, but my mind clouded to nothing. My wife’s head heaved in my chest. I couldn’t think in more than three word bursts. I have no idea how long we stood that way. I was roused only by the sound of a man pushing a cart way down at the end of the hall. The wheel squeaked as he carried out his task and I remember thinking, “How can he be pushing that? Doesn’t he know? It doesn’t matter where that squeaky cart is! Why isn’t he stopping?”

It was then I realized this isn’t everyone’s diagnosis. It is Kylie’s and ours: our family’s, our friends and network of support. But the rest of the world will continue to march on around us.

I will add a link to Kylie’s Caring Bridge at the end of this post because I won’t allow cancer to dominate my writing. It will peak its evil head in from time to time, I have no doubt. But I won’t allow it to take over my life, steal my joy, soil my faith, or crush my little girl.

It took a while to determine the enemy. Until then, we’ve been punching at shadows. Now we start to take it out. We are at the beginning of a long road, but there is hope. Kylie knows what is going on, she is scared. We cried together and prayed. She has decided that this is happening because God must have a really big, great plan for her. I don’t know if I could have gotten to those words so quickly at twelve – she’s just chock-full of amazing.

image

The picture I added is one of Kylie as Annie in her school play a couple of years ago. She is an incredible actress and I can’t wait to see her on stage again.

Because our minds are reeling right now, the verse we’ve been holding onto is Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement, friends. I have to go now, the bell just sounded for round one…

 

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kyliemyers

 


11 Comments on Where were you?, last added: 4/10/2014
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8. Hidden Picture Illustrations

Below are some glimpses of hidden picture illustrations either published or fresh off the drawing board. These are a challenge but really fun to do!

april8 work 1

(c) Highlights For Children

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9. Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Mud and Rainbows

Howard B Wigglebottom Learns About Mud and Rainbows
Author: Howard Binkow
Illustrator: Susan F. Cornelison
Publisher: Thunderbolt Publishing
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-9715390-5-1
Pages: 32
Price: $15.00

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Howard B. Wigglebottom likes to fix things. So when his friend, Ali, is sad, he wants to fix her problems. But he learns from his mom that some things simply can’t be fixed.

Ali’s problem is that her parents are fighting and she is upset. But in this book, Ali never actually says this. We learn it from Howard’s mom when she explains why he can’t do anything about it. And when Howard finally does try to talk to Ali, he immediately falls in the mud and starts splashing around.

Kids certainly are not at fault when their parents are fighting, but that message doesn’t come across very clearly in Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Mud and Rainbows. I would have preferred to see Ali actually tell Howard some of the specifics about her problems, and Howard to respond with careful consideration, rather than simply talking to his mom and declaring, “It’s not your fault.” The discussion section at the end of the book might be helpful to fully explain the concepts in this story, and adult explanations will most likely be necessary.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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10. What Do Libraries and Poetry Have in Common?

April is the month we will honor and celebrate to very reading/writing related things: Poetry and Libraries.  April is National Poetry Month and also National School Library Month. What better way to celebrate than to gather poetry books from the school library and read aloud in class. This could be a lead-in to having kids write their own poetry.  Ken Nesbitt has a great website especially for kids:  http://www.poetry4kids.com   You’ll find all kinds of wonderful poems, a rhyming dictionary and even poetry contests.  Be sure to check out this wonderful sight.

To learn more about activities to celebrate School Libraries, visit the American Library Association website at: http://www.ala.org


0 Comments on What Do Libraries and Poetry Have in Common? as of 4/7/2014 4:45:00 AM
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11. Coloring Page and Hidden Picture Puzzle for Easter

A special treat! A hidden picture puzzle and coloring page for Easter by Liz Ball. To order books with her hidden picture puzzles or other books (like Topsy Turvy Land written by Mama Donna) from Hidden Pictures Publishing, click HERE. Enjoy! *Click on the picture, then print! It will print out full size ready to be colored. If that doesn't work with your printer, right click on the

0 Comments on Coloring Page and Hidden Picture Puzzle for Easter as of 4/5/2014 8:35:00 AM
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12. Calling Young Writers Grades 1-8.

The Society of Young Inklings, a non-profit with a mission of empowering young writers, publishes an annual anthology of the stories and poems of talented young writers–this year we are holding a contest to see whose pieces will be included. We are looking for fresh new voices to publish in our anthology.

Young writers in grades 1-8 with stories or poems are encouraged to enter the contest. Submissions must be in final draft and students must commit to completing an editing process if their piece is chosen. For more information on the contest please check HERE.

We’re looking for bloggers who might want to do a guest post about the contest to help us reach students who may not otherwise know about the opportunity. We also have an email specifically for educators in case anyone wants that to pass on to a teacher/librarian. If you’d like that email to forward on, email me directly, and I’m happy to forward it to you.

Here are some Q and A’s about the contest.

Q: Who is the Inklings Book Contest for?

A: All young writers who are ready to take their writing to the next level. Writing is just one part of the creative process. Just as it’s important for actors, musicians and dancers to perform, it’s important for writers to have their stories read and enjoyed. We learn new things about ourselves as writers when we prepare our work for readers, and also when we hear feedback about our published pieces. All writers, regardless of their age, need access to that kind of essential feedback. Plus, it’s inspiring to hear that a reader loved our story, and it makes all the hard work worthwhile. Positive feedback sends writers back to their writing desks to create again.

Q: How will I know if my story is ready to submit?

A: One excellent way to prepare a story for submission is to read it out loud to a friend or a group of friends. Ask for feedback about what’s working and what questions your friends may have. Aside from being a huge confidence booster, you’ll also find out what additions or changes may help your story be more clear and more engaging. Notice where people laugh, in particular, and see if you can magnify that effect. Humor often comes in threes. If you have one funny moment that’s working well, you can build on it by repeating the moment with a small change. On the Young Inklings website, you’ll also find a checklist to help you check the fine details of your story just before sending it in.

Q: Why do you ask all of the writers to revise for the Inklings Book?

A: When professional writers send their work into a publisher, they have the opportunity to work with an editor who helps them refine their work. At some point in the writing process, writers need an outside eye. This person helps us read the story from a new perspective: the perspective of someone who doesn’t have all of our personal memories, experiences and passions. We learn what we might need to add or change to help a reader experience the story fully. Some writers are worried about revising with someone else, because they feel their story shouldn’t be influenced by anyone but themselves. All artists are influenced by many factors, though. Our writing is influenced by the books we read, the experiences we have, the voices in our communities, and many other sources. When an editor provides us with outside perspective, this is just another way to make our writing even more spectacular.

Q: Is it a real, published book?

A: Yep! We’re thrilled because the Inklings Book is not going to only be available online, but also in the fabulous independent store, Hicklebees. Young writers and their mentors will all be contributing authors for the book, so the final product will be a collaboration of many creative minds.
******************
Naomi Kinsman

Executive Director
Society of Young Inklings

www.younginklings.org

Thanks for helping me spread the word to deserving young writers!

 

 

 


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13. FISH HAWK IN THE SKY: A Tale of Two Ospreys

Now that spring is showing  us some signs that it just might stay awhile, have you ever wondered how birds know – sometimes before we do – that the weather is warming up and it’s okay to hang around? My writer, scrapbooking, and nature loving friend Shiela Fuller is back with a very interesting post about Ospreys that sheds some light on that question.
Each year since May 2012, wildlife biologists have been studying the migratory track of two adult ospreys from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, New York to their wintering site in South America. Queens is the easternmost of five New York City boroughs and the second most populated. The main goal of the project was to gain public awareness of the refuge and cultivate interest in the inhabitants that live there.

The first osprey outfitted with a transmitter was Coley. During the summer of 2012 his movements were monitored 12 hours a day. He began his winter migration and headed south on September 10th, 2012. Seventeen days and 2600 miles later, Coley arrived at his winter home, Columbia, South America.
On May 5, 2013, Coley began his round trip back to Queens, NY and he arrived in 15 days and 7 hours.

Later in the month, Coley’s transmitter was removed and placed on another male osprey, Coley 2. Scientists would now track the movements of this bird. During the summer, Coley 2 spent a lot of time perched with his mate after nest failure. Staying close to the nest assured the pair that it would still be their home the following spring.      IMG_9450
Weather can affect migration and when Coley 2 left New York on September 2, 2013, he was headed into some pretty serious thunderstorms. He only traveled 44 miles and settled in Trenton, New Jersey for the first night of his trip. Coley 2 continued onward and made remarkable time considering his damp start. He arrived at his winter home, Lake Valencia in Venezuela, South America on September 17, 2013.
While at Lake Valencia, Coley 2 will spend his time fishing, eating, and resting until his internal signal tells him it is time to return to the nesting area.

What inspires birds to migrate north or south and how do they find their way? There are only scientific speculations but some say it is hormonal changes and/or the changes in the length of day/night hours that motivate migration. Navigation is a bit trickier to understand but some say birds rely on the position of the sun, those that travel at night rely on the North Star, and some scientists say that birds use landmarks to help them find their way just as humans do. That doesn’t explain a bird’s first migration. How would they know the landmarks if they never traveled before?

Scientists had been monitoring Coley 2 at Lake Valencia and were happy to note that he must know the weather is bad in the northeastern US and stayed a little longer at his warm winter home but on Sunday, March 16, 2014, just a few days ago, Coley 2 left and was traveling at a remarkable 250 miles per day.       IMG_9705
Scientists are not monitoring Coley 1, but he and his female partner were spotted on their platform nest in Jamaica Bay on March 23, 2014. Will Coley 2 be far behind? Will his female partner arrive before he does? Follow Coley 2 on his magnificent journey and you can even predict when he might arrive at his summer home:  http://www.jamaicabayosprey.org.

For more details about the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy osprey project and to predict when Coley 2 will arrive go to: http://www.jamaicabayosprey.com http://www.nyharborparks.org

Footnotes: Another fabulous place to visit is the Cape May Bird Observatory. Their website for information is:  http://www.njaudobon.org

 

 


1 Comments on FISH HAWK IN THE SKY: A Tale of Two Ospreys, last added: 3/31/2014
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14. Supper Smorgasbord

Muffin Tin Smorgasbord

I got this idea from the Instagram feed of Meg of Elsie Marley (one of my blog faves).  I’ve done it twice now, each time it’s been a big hit with the kids. It’s just a way of dressing up a simple meal made out of odds and ends. I realize it’s not a true smorgasbord, but that’s what we call it.

Full disclosure: I served GF boxed mac and cheese as a side with this supper. It’s all my kids would eat if I let them, but I serve it very rarely. I’m trying to establish mac and cheese as “just a side dish that we eat on a very occasional basis.” Good luck to me, eh?

My cooking mojo has been kind of depleted lately, maybe because I’m sick of soup season but it’s been too cold and wet for grilling and salads. That and the fact that my little one grumbles about complex flavors (curries, etc.) and I haven’t felt like fighting that battle in the last few weeks.

My writing mojo has been a bit down as well though I’m still plugging away. This week I’ve been making spreadsheets of my works-in-progress to chart how certain elements are working out. It’s a way of seeing the forest rather than the trees, which were all I was seeing.

For the novel I’ve made a column for each chapter, and for the nonfiction piece I’ve made a timeline-spreadsheet. Soooo revealing on both counts, though I have to admit sometimes it feels like it’s not “real” writing and like I should be doing that instead. Still, I think it’s essential to take a step back now and then so you can see what needs adjusting.

What about you? Discovered any good recipes lately? Read anything good lately?

I can’t wait to see Wes Anderson’s new flick, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Currently reading One Summer by Bill Bryson (about the summer of 1927) and on deck: Kids These Days by Drew Perry and Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart.

For more food posts, click here. For more on books, here, and for writing stuff, here.


2 Comments on Supper Smorgasbord, last added: 3/28/2014
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15. March Winds of Time, Books, Kids and Dogs

            MiyazakiHowl4

The boundaries shift and change as children grow with the winds of time. 

Children's stories, fables and mythology open doors to both the real world and to the world of fantasy and imagination.

Fairy tales have been retold and endured through many cultures. Aesop's fables have been part of children's literature for over 2000 years. 

This blog is dedicated to the power of story and the worlds of wonder and imagination that are the world of children's literature. And to therapy dogs, that help reluctant children banish fear of reading  

The illustration from Miyazaki's Howl's Movin g Castle

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 LITWORLD

Litworld opens the doors of possibilities in life to disadvantaged youth through books, reading, mentors, and guidance.

LitWorld celebrated World Read Aloud Day on March 5.

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 Lit World is bringong litereracy, books, and empowerment to underprivileged children in Ghana,India, Haiti, Kenya, Kosovo, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru the Phillipines, Rwanda, Uganda, and the USA.

More than 793 million people are illiterate worldwide. Two thirds of these are women.

 

LitWorld places a special focus on young women and girls ages 10-14

"LitWorld’s strength-based model of social emotional learning fills a critical gap in education... LitClub and LitCamp curriculum cultivates core strengths that inherently exist within each child. The LitWorld 7 Strengths – Belonging, Curiosity, Kindness, Friendship, Confidence, Courage, and Hope – are ideas that are key to building resilience."

Barking Planet salutes  LITWORLD and their founder and leader Pam Allyn for their wonderful work.

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Gabriel's Angels...helping heal abused children in Arizona.

Pam Gaber and her therapy dog, Gabriel, began working together in 2000 Gabriel and Pamin the Crisis Nursery, a shelter for abused children in Phoenix, Arizona. Gabriel had an immediate positive impact on frightened, withdrawn children. This was the beginning of Gabriel's Angels. During his 10 years of service as a Delta Society registered therapy dog, Gabriel visited over 5,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children.

The organization has continued to grow since that time. Gabriel's Angels GabrielsAngelsnow serves 13,00 children a year through over 115 agencies through over 150 volunteer Pet Therapy teams. Teams visit each participating agency on a consistent schedule to build trust, empathy and respect in the children.  

Here's a Link to a video that will take you into the world of abused children and the wonderful work accomplished by Gariel's Angels' therapy dog teams.

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This dog is a genius...

Mr-peabody-sherman-LINCOLNHis name is Mr. Peabody and he is winning at the box office.

Mr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, inventor extradinary, and his adopted son, Sherman, use their time machine for extraordinary adventures...

Dreanworks has a big hit, based on a dog as a parent to a miscievous boy and their travels on the winds of time...past, present and future.

 

Here's a link to trailer(s) Dreamworks IMDB

Meanwhile, Frozen has earned over 396 millon dollars; and The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, has earned over 424,000,000 dollars.

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Divergent

Divergent1

Reworking the Hunger Games with a book and a movie sequel...

Here are excerpts from reviewers of the movie and the book...

 Divergent was first published in 2011 and written by the then 22 year old Veronica Roth. The book made the best-seller lists the first week it was published in 2011 and has sold over 11 million copies. Like Hunger Games, it became a trilogy. Here is an excerpt from an insightful review by Susan Dominus, in the New YorkTimes 

 "...though Roth’s “Divergent” is rich in plot and imaginative details, it suffers by BookCovercomparison with Collins’s opus. The shortcoming would not be so noticeable were there less blatant overlap between the two. Both 'Divergent' and 'The Hunger Games' feature appealing, but not conventionally pretty, young women with toughness to spare. Both start out with public sorting rituals that determine the characters’ futures. And both put the narrators in contrived, bloody battles that are in fact competitions witnessed by an audience. Even the language sounds familiar..."

Here are excerpts from incisive movie reviews by Manhola Dargis in the NY Times and Ty Burr in the Boston Globe...

DivergentTrainJump"Veronica Roth, who wrote the book “Divergent” and its two hot-selling follow-ups, tends to avoid mentioning “The Hunger Games,” but the similarities between these young-adult juggernauts are conspicuous in the extreme. “The Hunger Games” is a dystopian tale set in a postwar North America divided into 13 districts; “Divergent” is a dystopian tale set in postwar Chicago divided into
five factions. Each series pivots on a gutsy teenage heroine who fights to the death like a classic male hero..."

Here is the Link to read all of Ms Dargis review.

And here is Ty Burr's impassioned review;

Divergent” is almost good enough to make you forget what a cynical exercise it is on every possible level. The original 2011 young adult novel by Veronica Roth — reasonably engrossing, thoroughly disposable — reads exactly like what it is: an ambitious young author’s attempt to re-write “The Hunger Games” without bringing the lawyers down on her head. The folks at production company Summit Entertainment are happy to turn the book into a movie because it allows them to crank up the franchise machinery that has worked so well for “Hunger Games,” “Twilight,” and the “Harry Potter” films, only without the bother of creating something fresh." Here is the Link to read all of Ty Burr's review:Globe

 Here is the link to the action filled trailer for Divergent 

Divergent sold $56 million in tickets for its first weekend...the YA market speaks!

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Movies inspire mock weapons for 8-12 year old girls

Here is an excerpt from a fascinating article inthe New York Times article by Hilary Stout and 

"Heroines for young girls are rapidly changing, and the toy industry — long adept at
GIRLSTOYS-DivergentKatnisscapitalizing on gender stereotypes — is scrambling to catch up.

Toy makers have begun marketing a more aggressive line of playthings and weaponry for girls — inspired by a succession of female warrior heroes like Katniss,  the Black Widow of “The Avengers,” Merida of “Brave” and now, Tris of the book and new movie “Divergent” — even as the industry still clings to every shade of pink...

The premier of the movie “Divergent” this weekend is only adding to the marketing frenzy
GirlsToysWeaponsaround weapon-wielding girls. A Tris Barbie doll, complete with her signature three-raven tattoo, is already for sale on Amazon...
 

All of this is enough to make parents’ — particularly mothers’ — heads spin, even as they reach for their wallets. While the segregation of girls’ and boys’ toys in aisles divided between pink and camouflage remains an irritant, some also now wonder whether their daughters should adopt the same war games that they tolerate rather uneasily among their sons...

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  FrogprinceWarwickGoble

 Five Hundred New Fairy Tales and a "harsher dose of reality"...

The headline and the article that appeared in the Guardian proclaimed that 500 new fairy tales had been discovered in Germany... a collection of fairytales gathered by historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth that had been locked away in an archive in Regensburg for over 150 years. 

This was in March 2012. However, I was unaware of the discovery that these tales existed until I RackhamGirlTree01recently read the following in Maria Tatar's children's lierature blog, Breezes from Wonderland 

"Returning to blogging after I finish translating The EnchantedQuill, an anthology of nineteenth-century fairy tales collected by Franz Xaver Schonwerth.  Once you read these stories, you will abandon any ideas about the literary transmission of fairy tales–these are tales in the raw, not cooked to suit the tastes of the literate..."

Reading this led me to read Ms Tatar's New Yorker article entitled, Cinderfellas: The Long-Lost Fairy Tales, 

.Here are excerpts from this informative and compelling article::

 "Bavarian fairy tales going viral? Last week, theGuardian reported that five hundred unknown fairy tales, languishing for over a century in the municipal archive of Regensburg, Germany, CruikshankjackBeanstalkhave come to light. The news sent a flutter through the world of fairy-tale enthusiasts, their interest further piqued by the detail that the tales—which had been compiled in the mid-nineteenth century by an antiquarian named Franz Xaver von Schönwerth—had been kept under lock and key. How astonishing then to discover that many of those “five hundred new tales” are already in print and on the shelves at Widener Library at Harvard (where I teach literature, folklore and mythology) and at Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley.

Schönwerth—a man whom the Grimm brothers praised for his “fine ear” and accuracy as a collector—published three volumes of folk customs and legends in the mid-nineteenth century, but the books soon began gathering dust on library shelves...

Schönwerth’s tales have a compositional fierceness and energy rarely seen in stories gathered by the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault,..Schönwerth gives us a harsher dose of reality than most collections..."

Here is the link to read more of this fascinating and informative article: Tatar

The illustrations, from the top down, are by Warwick Goble, Arthur Rackham, and George Cruikshank.

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Non-violence

2 Doghead 1.457 by 1.573 inchesI don't want to mislead our blog readers about non-violence in a violent world. But perhaps in our Planet Of The Dogs series they will see something of the possibilities for non-violence in the the "real" world, as the dogs, with their unconditional courage, loyalty, and cleverness overcome invaders, swords, and warriors on horses...and bring peace to the land. 

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               Newgrange- where time stands still  

 

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 Newgrange rests on a hill in Ireland.

It was in place 3000 years before Christ, a thousand years before Stonehenge, and 500 years before the pyramids.

In Ireland, it is known as a Thin Place...

Author Bonnie McKernan writes of Thin Places on her blog..."where time stands still, beauty enthralls, the bigger picture is glimpsed... 

Do you remember that stretch of road or river or mountainside you immediately felt a connection to? A place where the draw was so visceral it elicited a feeling of peace and excitement concurrently? It might have resulted from sensory delights like the sun on your face, fresh air in your lungs, a spectacular vie Cliffsof Clairew—or from a scene that stirred your imagination or recharged your faith. However this attraction defined itself, you were thoroughly transfixed, wanting to stay longer and feel more.

Early Celtic Christians once called such experiences thin places, where the veil between the natural world and spiritual realm seems especially transparent—where time stands still, beauty enthralls, the bigger picture is glimpsed… where one feels closer to an omnipresent God..."

In a future blog, I will write more of Thin Places and the myths, folklore and fairies of Ireland.

Here is a link to see a brief National Geographic video on Newgrange. 

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The importance of children's books in opening the mind to the door of life ConnorUSA-Oct-Nov-2013 072and the world of imagination is beyond measure. The importance of a dog in the life of a child is also beyond measure. It was from thoughts like these that the Planet Of The Dogs Series evolved - Read Sample Chapters at: Planet Of The Dogs 

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Fairy tale legends often have a timeless quality...

Boy, Snow, Bird...Snow White for Adults

Helen Oyeyemi has transformed Snow White into a critically acclaimed book for adults that deals with timeless questions, identity and mystery. Here is an excerpt from a top flight reviewer,  YVONNE ZIPP, fiction critic for the CS Monitor 


BoySnowBirdCover"Helen Oyeyemi upends the whole Snow White story, tossing out apple, dwarves, glass coffin – and replacing them with an unsettling book that casts a spell of its own...

As with her fairy tale counterpart, Boy Novak (a young woman) is fond of her own reflection.“Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy,” says Boy, who would gaze into them, kissing her reflection or setting two mirrors opposite one another to create an endless series of reflections.

Her daughter and stepdaughter have the opposite problem: Sometimes their reflection doesn’t show up at all.

All three women learn the ways that mirrors can lie during the course of the story, most of which is set in the 1950s in a fictional Massachusetts town called Flax Hill. The novel hinges on several plot revelations, which I am not going to spoil. This is one book where I would recommend you not read anything in advance, even the back cover: Just go buy it."

               SnowWhiteWalterCrane
                 Illustration for the Grimm's Snow White by Walter Crane. 

 
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"Someday you will be old enough to read fairy tales again."- C.S. Lewis

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  AdspringreadsPOD2012

Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs...You can write us at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series.

Read sample chapters of all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series by clicking here:Sample Chapters  

Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's, the Book Depository and... 

Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.

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"As a parent and a teacher, therefore, I argue for the continuance of books in an age Kids on booksmarked by visual technology. There remains nothing like the feel of a book in the hand, nothing like the security offered by a book in the bed ( an experience recorded in the West from at least the twelth century)...If there is a future to children's literature, it must lie in the artifacts of writing and the place of reading in the home. To understandthe history of children's literature is to understand the history of all forms of literary experience."-

Seth Lerer writing in "Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter".

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   PuppiesNatlPuppyDayMarch23

National Puppy Day was March 23..."a day to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. It’s also a day to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills, as well as further the mission for a nation of puppy-free pet stores. While National Puppy Day supports responsible breeders, it does encourage prospective families to consider adoption as a first choice"...To read more, visit the site of Colleen Paige, who founded National Puppy Day nine years ago. 

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 Circling the Waggins 

CtWHave you ever wondered what sort of chaos ensues in a home full of rescue pets? Author C.A. Wulff  lets readers experience the surprises, the laughter, and the wonder of it all in her book “Circling the Waggins; How 5 Misfit Pets Saved Me from Bewilderness”, a personal account of just such a household.Wulff’s pack of dogs, cats and mice all have unique personalities, some of them intriguing, nearly all of them challenging – even for a veteran of rescue! Circling the Waggins examines the bonds we create with pets, no matter how big or small, and how our pets affect and enrich our lives.
Wulff’s honest story recounts the ups and downs of letting furry family members into our hearts. Circling the Waggins is available in print and for kindle.
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"Imagine having a mother who worries that you read too much. The question is, what is it that's supposed to happen to people who read too much? How can you tell when someone's crossed the line." ” 
Helen Oyemeni, Boy, Snow, Bird
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Podcasting at the Children's Literary Salon

NYPLlogoThe New York Public Library annouces their  next Children's Literary Salon to be held on Saturday, April 19th at 2:00 p.m.: The Topic is Podcasting Children’s Books: Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs

These fascinating discussions are lively, informative and free...This event will take place in the Stephen A. Schwarzman building (the main branch of New York Public Library) in the South Court Auditorium. 

For any questions and comments please contact Elizabeth Bird at elizabethbird@bookops.org.
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Here's another excellent article for dog lovers at Way Cool Dogs...
 
 Six Reasons Why You Should Adopt A Dog From A Pound 

You should adopt from a dog pound — whether it is a nearby dog shelter or your local pound — CITM-Raku and the girl-blog sizeas it is one of the best ways to acquire a new and loyal companion. Unfortunately, many people opt to purchase their dog from breeders or pet stores, which often get their dogs from puppy mills and other unlicensed breeders.

Many dogs in a dog pound remain homeless and are often put down due to overcrowding. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, consider the following reasons for adopting a mixed breed from a dog shelter or dog pound:

Mixed breeds are healthier dogs

Mixed breeds are, in general, far healthier and longer lived than purebred dogs. Many purebred dogs are prone to diseases caused by genetic vulnerabilities which have been aggravated through centuries of  inbreeding. A mixed breed is far less...   Read about all six reasons at this link: WCD

The illustration is by Stella Mustanoja McCarty from Castle In The Mist

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Listen to the Wind in the Willows -- free 
 

WindInTheWillows1Thanks to the BBC, an audio version of Kenneth Grahame's  The Wind in the Willows  is available to all -- at no charge.  This link also offers several other free recordings of enduring children's stories.

The classic story of Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger is told in 10 episodes and read by Bernard Cribbins. The reading is delightful, very British, and accompanied by music and sound efects. Lesson plans and discussion ideas for educators, home schoolers, and librarians accompany the audio readings.

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Bringing the World of Reading to Kids

 NorwesterReadersBanner

Two hard working women believers in the canine conection organized and continue to guide Nor'wester Readers. Wendi Huttner, a mom and a breeder/ trainer of Labradors, and Deborah Glessner, dog lover and retired librarian. A grass roots, hands on organization, Nor'wester is a vital part of their Pennasylvania community in bringing the world of reading to kids.

NorwesterCanineBookBuddies

Here are some of the Nor'wester Canine Book Buddies, volunteer therapy reading dog teams participating in the Northampton Township Library program. "Several Nor'wester Readers teams volunteered at the Expressions Day Camp, a camp for boys and girls (age 4-18) with high functioning autism, Asperger's Syndrome, non-verbal learning disabilities, and other types of social challenges. 

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BookDepositorylogoComThe Book Depository

Free Worldwide Shipping of the Planet Of The Dogs Series 

Free Worldwide Delivery
The Book Depository (Guernsey) is an international bookseller shipping our books free of charge, worldwide, to over 100 countries. By working with various world postal authorities and other carriers, we are always looking to add more countries to this list.

All books available to All: Currently, The Book Depository is able to ship over nine million unique titles, within 48 hours, from our fulfilment centre in Gloucester, United Kingdom. This figure is increasing every day. Apart from publishers, distributors and wholesalers, we even list and supply books from other retailers.

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 “There is no psychology in a fairy tale. The characters have little interior life; their motives are clear and obvious.” Phillip Pullman in his Introduction to Fairy Tales from the Brother's Grimmm  

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What should you do,  what can you do, if you see an injured dog or one Sunbearsquad-logoin distress?

For answers, examples, true stories and more, visit Sunbear Squad...Let the experience of compassionate dog lovers guide you...free Wallet Cards & Pocket  Posters,  Informative and practical guidance...Visit SunBear Squad

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"A man may smile and bid you hail

Yet wish you to the devil;

But when a good dog wags his tail,

You know he's on the level>"

Author unknown

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16. Cake

Cake
Author: Joyce Magnin
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Genre: Middle-grade / Christian
ISBN: 978-0310733331
Pages: 224
Price: $14.99
Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Wilma Sue has been shuffled around the foster care system ever since she was born, spending time with various families and at the Daylily Home for Children. Now that her most recent home is no longer available, she finds herself staying with Ruth and Naomi, two missionaries who have recently returned from Africa.

If she expected a hum-drum life at Gray House, as she calls it, Wilma Sue is very mistaken. She’s expected to take care of the chickens, be nice to Penny Pigsworthy, and attend church with Ruth and Naomi. And she also helps Naomi bake cakes – those mysterious cakes that do unusual things to the recipients. Wilma Sue is determined to learn the secret ingredient. Will she ever find out?

In Cake, kids are gently reminded of how important it is to love and forgive others. This cute story will enchant middle-grade readers with love, chickens and a taste of peculiar.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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17. Go Green Part 3: Gardening With Children

I don’t know about you, but after this long and tenacious winter, I look forward to getting outdoors as soon as the weather is warmer.  Most kids love the natural world and what better way to introduce them to the wonders of nature than with a garden. Planting and watching things grow is rewarding, satisfying and good exercise. Don’t know where to begin?  There are many wonderful resources and websites with specific tips and ideas for gardening with children.  Before I list some of these sites, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Keep things simple. You don’t have to dig up your entire yard to reap the benefits of gardening. Start with a small raised bed or a large container or two.

2. Try fast growing crops such as lettuces, chives, radishes, spinach, herbs and the like.

3. Let your kids have a say in what they grow. If you’re trying to encourage them to eat more veggies, let them pick the ones they would like to try. I’ll bet they get excited about tasting them once they see them pop up in the garden.

4. Make weeding and watering part of the daily routine. That way you will keep the unwanted weeds under control and ensure that the seeds get a fair chance at sprouting. Always weed when soil is moist to avoid damaging roots of tender plants.

5. Check out the library for gardening books for beginners and children.             lettuce

Make it fun!  See whose seeds sprout first, whose veggies grow fastest, are tallest, etc. When it comes time to harvest, let the kids plan a meal using the fruits – and veggies – they grew.

Here are some great gardening sites to get you started:

Gardening with Children from Earth Easy

Ten Tips on Gardening with Kids from the American Community Gardening Association

Gardening with Children from the BBC  This site tells you how to compost, cultivate earth worms, use beneficial insects for pollination and has many child-friendly activities related to gardening and the outdoors.

 Stimulating Imagination in the Garden from Kids Gardening

My First Garden  from the University of Illinois

Happy Growing – and eating!                                tomatoes


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18. God’s Little Princess Bedtime Devotional

God's Little Princess Bedtime Devotional
Author: Sheila Walsh
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Children / Christian
ISBN: 978-1-4003-2293-0
Pages: 224
Price: $14.99

Buy it at Amazon

After a long day of school, friends, chores and play, a little girl needs to curl up in bed and be reminded of God’s love for her. Sharing God’s Little Princess Bedtime Devotional with mom or dad is the perfect ending to her busy day.

Topics like doing good for others, being obedient, being kind, and sharing God’s love, as well as many others are covered in each two-page devotional message. Bible verses in simple language introduce the topic, followed by a short message and a fun night-time activity, and then a closing prayer.

It’s hard growing up, and a girl needs a constant reminder that she is a child of God – our King’s little princess. This cute devotional book gives her a daily reminder that how she lives her life matters, and that she should always strive to act in a way that pleases God. I highly recommend God’s Little Princess Bedtime Devotional.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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19. Can you Fart at Cotillion?

My two oldest are in the show, Bye-Bye Birdie and a rather uncomfortable situation presented itself on opening night. I took my dancer daughter and sat in the patron’s section, making sure to look down upon the common folk in general admission. I don’t get to be a snob in my town very often as most of the houses around here are twice the size of mine. But with two in the high school drama program, the dues required made it about the same as paying to be a patron, so we joined the club and now enjoy reserved seating.

Last night I learned it is not advisable to eat risky foods prior to a two hour show. I love spicy foods and had been able to savor two distinct ethnic cuisines on this particular day. I don’t know exactly which one was the aggressor, but one of them crossed the line, instigating a border war deep inside. It started midway through act 1 and I did everything possible to keep the war contained to one front. At some point during the second act, one of the combatants wanted more territory like Hitler invading Russia and tried to open an eastern theater. I shifted in my chair so many times the poor guy behind me probably thought I was dancing with the actors, even when there was no music. Somehow, I managed to keep the entire battle to myself.

After the final bows, Dancer and I congratulated her sisters and friends on a wonderful show, took pictures, and left. I explained the raging war of the past two hours to my thirteen year-old, who rolled her eyes and said, “Dad, you need to go to Cotillion.”

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I have only approximate knowledge of Cotillion. I looked it up and found out that it is classes designed to educate children on social skills, proper etiquette, manners and dance. As an adult, I am all for manners, especially for the boys who someday might want to date my daughters. The boy inside of me can think of nothing I would hate worse, though. I wonder what happens if you have to pass gas there. Do they have Cotillion police to escort you out immediately?

On a note related to boyhood, I got a fantastic review from a children’s lit blogger this week. Since I had sent the book in December, it came by surprise, precisely at a time when my spirits needed it. LINK.  In her review, she ponders this question:

This book captures the essence of boyhood very well. I had to laugh numerous times at how well the author knows what it means to be a young boy. He either has a very good memory, or he never grew up, I’m not sure which one.

I would like to thank Mrs. McMahon for taking the time to read Virge and write such a glowing review. I can put her question to rest in two ways. First, my memory is terrible except for completely irrelevant movie and song trivia. Second, take a look at the title of this post.


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20. Go Green Part 1

With St. Patrick’s Day arriving next week, why not plan a Green Day and serve green foods, wear as much green as you can and plant some seeds in a pot to get a head start on the growing season. Lettuce, parsley, and chives are all quick sprouters and don’t mind the chilly days of early spring.   While you wait for the lettuce greens to grow, try this recipe for a healthy green salad:

MIXED GREENS SALAD:  1. Wash and pat dry a mix of salad greens such as romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, or any combination you like. Now the tasty fun begins.

Add any or all of the following to make a plain salad a satisfying main dish: sliced cucumbers, olives, shredded carrots, dried cherries or cranberries, sliced strawberries, blueberries, or grapes. Add toasted, slivered almonds or walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and grated Parmesan cheese (or any cheese of your choice). If you’re a vegetarian, you can stop here.   salmon salad

The photo version has a packet of salmon on top. I’ve eaten it with shredded chicken or tuna as well. ANY leftover meat works well.

Sprinkle with your favorite dressing – I used a raspberry balsamic with olive oil – and serve with breadsticks or garlic toast and you will get rave reviews.

Another GREEN food treat that is fun and easy for kids to make is KALE CHIPS.  Check the recipe section of this blog for the recipe.

Stay tuned for some kid-friendly gardening tips to make things turn green in your own backyard.

 


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21. A Whole Lot of Lucky: Behind the scenes look at title development

Titles--heartache city! The title must do everything a synopsis or query does: grab the reader, provide a summary, and hint at the action yet to come. A lot of time goes into working up a good title, and it's not just the author's work, either. The editor, the editor's coworkers, and sales and marketing all have their say; everyone's input must be considered.

Titles cooked up and rejected for A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY:

  • Two Flavors of Lucky
  • The Year of My Magnificent Luckiness
  • Three Million Dollar Girl
  • The Duplicitous Luckiness of Hailee Richardson
  • Serendippitydoo
  • Lucky Me
  • Impossibly Possibly Lucky
  • Hailee Richardson, Girl Millionaire
My editor and I brainstormed pages of titles and promptly rejected most of them. The problem lies in the word "lucky:" phrases involving "getting lucky" are imbued with the wrong kind of nuance! Also, we wanted to avoid words like jackpot or other buzzwords that are too close too gambling. (This was hard, because even the buying of a lottery ticket is gambling.)

My sister suggested "A Whole Lotto Lucky," and the powers that be loved her suggestion! With a bit of morphing, my sister's words became A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY.

Now you can try your luck without all the heartache my editor and I went through! For a free, signed hardcover of A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY, just enter the Goodreads contest!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Whole Lot of Lucky by Danette Haworth

A Whole Lot of Lucky

by Danette Haworth

Giveaway ends March 31, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

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22. Mixed Pattern Playdress

Mixed Pattern Playdress

This is one of my favorite sewing projects ever. It’s simple, was really fun to sew, and my daughter’s face just glowed when she put it on the first time. It’s just so her, but I love it, too.

As I’ve mentioned before, she pretty much refuses to wear anything but knits. I’m always trying to find knit play dresses, and I fell in love with some from a certain British catalog that rhymes with Odin. I’m sure they would rather me write “catalogue,” am I right? Their prices are pretty steep for such simple dresses, though, and I thought, hey, I could make that! I’m kind of famous for saying that, but in this case, I actually did it.

From the catalog, we borrowed the idea of mixing patterns (which is also a big part of my daughter’s style) and went to the half-yard clearance section on Girl Charlee. Little Miss picked out the fabrics. I tried to get her to go with a contrasting color mix, but that was a non-starter. She specified no sleeves and a higher waistline with a full skirt.

For the bodice I traced another dress’s bodice. The skirt part is just a gathered rectangle. I used to be so scared of sewing with knits, but really, it’s not so bad once you get the hang of it. I definitely do better with slightly weightier knits. I used a regular machine (not a serger) and used zig zag, serger-ish-like, and triple stitches, depending on the seam/ application.

For some great tutorials on knit finishes, check this and this out.

This time, there are no booty issues (like here).

DSC_0431-001

For more of my sewing adventures, click here.


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23. The Donkey That No One Could Ride

The Donkey That No One Could Ride
Author: Anthony DeStefano
Illustrator: Richard Cowdrey
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Genre: Children / Christian
ISBN: 978-0-7369-4851-7
Pages:32
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

A young donkey is weak and small, and no one is able to ride him. His owner gets frustrated at his uselessness, and ties him up on the edge of town. Then two men arrive and untie him, bringing him with them away from town. Worried and scared, he follows reluctantly.

The donkey has no idea that he has been chosen for a mighty purpose, and that Jesus intends to heal him first. Filled with renewed energy from the miracle he has received, the donkey proudly carries Jesus into Jerusalem.

The Donkey That No One Could Ride is a dramatized fictional tale told in rhyming verse from the donkey’s perspective. Kids will recall the events of Palm Sunday as they cheer for this poor outcast donkey. This book would make a great addition to any child’s Easter book collection.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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24. Spring Reading 2014


Picture Books


Rip Van Winkle- Retold and illustrated by Will Moses, based on Washington Irving's book. Philomel Books a division of Penguin Putnam Books for young readers. New York 1999. This book is based on a  classical folk tale about a man who goes into the woods and falls asleep waking up many years later to a new world. This classic tale is retold with a combination of wonderful illustrations and words. It is probably better suited for the older child because of complex words and storyline. This new version brings a wonderful story back to our modern world. The storyline and sophisticated crafted words make it more suited for an older child.  

 
Patti Cake and Her New Doll- Written by Patricia Reilly Giff and illustrated by Laura J. Bryant. Published by Orchard books New York an imprint of Scholastic Inc. 2014. The book describes one day in a life of a little girl named Patti and her home companions mainly a dog named Tootsie and a new doll she got. With an imaginative approach, the author turns an regular day into an adventure and makes the ordinary into the extraordinary. A good book for you to get for you kids.



 
The Fisherman & His Wife- Based on a story by Grimm and Illustrated by John Howe 1984. Published by Creative Editions Mankato MN, 2001. The fisherman is happy living a simple life until one day everything turns around when he catches a magical fish. The fisherman's wife cannot be satisfied with what she gets. Her greed takes away everything the fish gave them. It is a great book for the older reader and the illustrations are stunning.







   
   Trouper- Written by Meg Kearney and Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Published by Scholastic Inc. NY, 2013. The book is written from the point of view of a dog. The dog Trouper tells us his life story: how he lived on the streets t the time he was put in a pound and finally adopted. This book makes readers empathize with millions of abandoned dogs running on the streets or sitting in cages in the pounds waiting to find a loving home. I highly recommend this book to everyone.   




 
The Little Engine that Could
- Retold by Watty Piper and New Art by Loren Long. Published by Philomel Books a Division of Penguin Young Readers Group 2005. This is a great version of a classic. I loved how the writer and illustrator gave life to the characters. The story does not only teach children a lesson about never giving up, but it also introduces them to four kind of trains. I really loved this book and I strongly recommend you get it with your children. Each of us can accomplish anything we put our mind too.    


 Under the Same Sun- Written by Sharon Robinson and Illustrated by AG Ford. Published by Scholastic Press, New York 2014.  This is a great educational book about Tanzania a small country in Africa. One can vividly imagine the beautiful land of Africa with its lush scenery and many different animals. This book is very unique and the illustrations are amazing. The story is idle for a classroom setting.


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25. Go Green Part 2: Spring Planting

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of winter and being confined indoors.  Spring  officially begins today and what better way to celebrate than to make something grow.  You can start with a few pots of seedlings on  a sunny windowsill.  Chives, lettuce, spinach, radishes, parsley, or other herbs, all grow fairly quickly and are easy to care for.  Red Ted has some wonderful ideas for spring planting. Try their SEED BOMBS  http://www.redtedart.com/2014/02/12/how-to-make-seed-bombs-recipe/  and GRASS HEADS  http://www.redtedart.com/2012/04/04/kids-crafts-grass-heads/    and watch your kids get hooked on making things grow.  http://www.redtedart.com

As I stepped outside this morning, I was greeted by a sure sign of spring:  Daffodils. Check out this photo from one of my flower beds.              daffodilsHappy Planting and Happy Spring!


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