Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Ok, so it's actually Wednesday. I didn't get a lot of reading done this past week - I didn't do a lot of finishing at least. I still wanted to try to participate in the meme this week, especially since I did enjoy the book that I did get finished.

Fiber and Brimstone by Laura Childs is the latest in her scrapbooking mysteries series. The series is set in New Orleans and is about Carmela Bertram, owner of the scrapbooking shop Memory Mine. It's a fun series, and I enjoy getting pulled into the allure of the young twenty-something's life attending Mardi Gras and Halloween parties on a dime. I don't usually see the ending coming, and I'm not sure if there aren't really enough clues or if I just don't get them. Honestly, I just get a kick out of the fact that scrapbooking is the basis for the series.

This post is part of the meme "It's Monday! What Are You Reading?"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Groupon: Custom Book Deal

I post Groupon deals on photo books (and other things I think mamas would enjoy) on my Fun Mama Facebook page quite a bit. Those get picked up by Twitter, and deposited in the sidebar of the blog. I don't normally like to clutter up the blog itself with deals though.

I thought today I would make an exception. Today's Groupon deal for Fort Wayne (which can be used anywhere, because it's an online deal) is $20 for $45 worth of custom books at Blurb. The deal says it is for photo books, but the Blurb site does not seem to make any distinction between photo books and blog books.

I thought since a lot of you are also bloggers yourselves that you may be interested in compiling a book of your blog posts. Blurb imports your blog into their software (which is downloadable and free) and then you can create a book of your words and photos to share offline with your family.

I've had in mind all along that I would like to print out my blog as part of my Library of Memories (my scrapbook collection) but had not decided on which company to use. This deal was too good to pass up for me, though. My plan is to make a book for each year that I've been writing my blog.

A side benefit of printing you blog is that you can choose to make it available for other people to purchase. I know I've mentioned before that I would be willing to buy a collection of several of my favorite bloggers' posts.

If you click on the link for the Groupon and purchase it and you are not already a member of Groupon, I do get a referral fee. I would refer people to Groupon (and this deal) even if I didn't get that, but I hope they continue to give it!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Things That Caught My Eye Lately

I am retaking Shimelle Laine's class Blogging For Scrapbookers. (I took it originally in November 2009). Today's prompt is to share things that have inspired you or merely caught your eye. I realized I haven't really done a "link love" post in a while, so I thought I'd join in.

  • Book Retreat: Library in the Woods - My friend Amy pointed this library out to me yesterday. Check out that view! I like a good view while I'm reading. This reminds me of being a kid and climbing a tree to read my latest library books.
  • Kitchen Magic @What Do We Do All Day? - What a novel way to introduce science and get your kids thinking about their food. I think that much of cooking IS science, and if science had been presented to me that way I might have had more interest in it as a child.
  • Homemade Peanut Butter Cups @Wisdom of the Moon - Um, how could this NOT catch my eye. Oh my.
  • Making Toys and Learning to Sew @Angry Chicken - Monkey Georgia wants to learn to sew SO badly. And I wish that Amy Karol would write all the sewing books in the world, because I understand what she's saying. (I LOVE it if she wrote a simple book about making adult clothes.)
  • Ginger Syrup + Sparling Water = Homemade Ginger Ale @ Food In Jars - I love ginger beer because it is so gingery. I think I could make homemade ginger ale as gingery as I want? (Food in Jars is a relatively recent discovery and is altogether inspiring.)
  • One Little Word @Stacy Julian - A reminder that I need to get back to work on my own One Little Word project.

And that's probably enough for now. I'm sad that I haven't been keeping up with this, because I've seen some really cool stuff while I was on my unannounced blogging break. Oh well. Enjoy!

And if you're visiting from Shimelle's class, welcome! I hope you like what you see and will stick around for a while.

Spencer Magnet Articles today

I'm not sure if I will continue to post the links to my Spencer Magnet articles. Today begins the subscription only website, and I know it will be difficult for my non-local readers to enjoy the articles now. I'll test it out this week and see how it goes. Please let me know how it works out for you. (Feel free to get a subscription to the paper, though, if you really want to!)

Here are my articles for this week:

  • Homemade Granola is a Satisfying and Healthy Snack - This article is about my lifelong love of granola and my more recent search for a recipe I enjoy. I've finally found one that is highly adaptable and seems healthy. (Of course, if you can't have grains, or nuts or seeds or any combination of those, then it's not for you. I seem to be fine with all of those things, though.)
  • Children and Adults Alike Enjoy Finger Knitting - This article is about an SOS class that I attended last week. SOS classes stand for Sharing Ourselves, and are community taught mostly free classes (fees are for supplies). I've learned a lot through these classes. I wish all communities would hold these. This article mentions the next classes coming up. I also pointed out that there are detailed instructions for finger knitting in the books The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule (Soulemama).

I did help out with the test session for the finger knitting class. We tried to help my 4 year old daughter do the project to see how well a child could it. Monkey Georgia is very small for her age, though, and her hands are tiny. It was hard for her to keep the yarn on her fingers. The little girl pictured in the article is 5 and she was able to do the project easily. I'm going to try to finger knit with Monkey Georgia again in a few months and see if she has an easier time of it. Sometimes they just need to grow into their bodies a bit to reach the next skill.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ideas for Reading With Kids

I found a blog post about a year ago, and then forgot about it. I really wanted to share it here, and fortunately, I found it again recently. In the process of finding it, I learned about a lot of other posts on this blog that I want to share.

The blog is Booklights at PBS Kids. The blog ended a while ago but fortunately, they've kept the posts archived because they are very useful. I am sharing 2 related posts today.

Reading Resolutions is about setting an intention about reading with your kids. First, set a specific time to read to them. (Of course, additional reading is always ok too.) Second, make reading aloud fun for YOU by finding different titles to read. The post suggests several places to look for new book ideas. I would add How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell as an excellent source for book lists.
ETA: Third, it's important for your child to see you reading. If you don't read in front of your child, how will she know that you consider it an enjoyable activity?

Tips for Growing Bookworms is actually a post linking to 10 more posts with ideas to help your child love reading.

Why all the talk about reading for and to kids? Studies show that reading, and reading aloud to kids, is the single most important factor in predicting whether kids will succeed. Every thing else in school links back to strong literacy skills. Plus, reading (along with art and music) help develop and strengthen the imagination. Imagination is one of the most important qualities of humans.

Think about it. Without active imaginations, not only would there not be novels or plays or even television, there would not be inventions of all sorts. Airplanes. Boats. Indoor plumbing. The wheel. Someone had to imagine these things, and then try to make them work.

I hope you find these links informative.

I am a member of Amazon Affiliates. If you click on the book link above and then purchase something from Amazon, I will receive a small percentage of the proceeds. Thank you for supporting this blog.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I found a new meme today. I'm not very good at sticking with memes, but I thought it would be a good companion to the meme about what my daughter is having read to her.

The meme is "It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" It is hosted by Book Journey.

I think this will be a fun way to keep track of the books that I am reading too.

Books Completed Last Week:

I finished The Union Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini. I am rereading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which I actually just finished the week before. I also finished Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen recently, but not last week.

Instead, I've been skimming Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars by Sharon Lovejoy, The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (6th edition), and How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell.

Books I'm Planning to Read This Week:

I would like to read The Read Aloud Handbook all the way through instead of skipping around. I'll probably continue to do a lot of skimming though, because I am looking for the perfect lemon and lime curd recipes, and I am exploring different craft books. I read several novels right in a row and I usually need a break after that. I do need to start the latest Laura Childs scrapbooking novel though. I also just picked up Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman from the library and need to get it read before it's due.

Books I Acquired Last Week:

Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars by Sharon Lovejoy, The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (6th edition - I wanted to update from the 5th), The Ultimate Frozen Dessert Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough (my favorite gelato recipes), and The World of Little House by Caroline Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Eriksson. (I had a good week at the used book store, and an Amazon Groupon.)
I also got my Free Friday Nook book. This week was Millie's Fling by Jill Mansell. (Each Friday, Barnes & Noble gives a free downloaded book to Nook users.)

Books Ongoing:

The Happiness Project is a lot of fun. I need to do a review soon. I'm going through it for the second time.

What I Watched This Week:
Chuck, V, Bones, Fringe, Survivor, and Weeds. We've seen the first 2 episodes of Weeds so far, and I'm reminded of how much I love Mary-Louise Parker. I need to watch Fried Green Tomatoes again. It's my favorite movie ever. Weeds is as far removed from it as possible, and yet, Mary-Louise still has that innocent, girl-next-door quality.

I look forward to continuing this meme. As mentioned previously, I am a member of Amazon Associates. If you click on any of these links and then make a purchase at Amazon, I will receive a small percentage of the sale. Thank you for supporting this blog.

What did you read with your child?

When my daughter was a baby, I saw some advice in the book The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease to write down the books that you read to your child. I thought it was a great idea, and dedicated a black and white composition notebook to the project.

I wrote the books down for about 3 days.

Then last winter, I saw a blog post at PBS Kids about writing down the books that you read to your children. I thought it was a great idea, and made a note to write a post about it myself. I'm just now getting around to doing it.

When I was a kid, I made lists each summer after 5th grade of the books that I read. I wish I had lists from the years before that. There are a couple of books that I would LOVE to read again, but I can only remember the basics of the plot not the author or title. I know it would be so cool to see written down what I read as a child, even if it was just the title, author and date that I read it. Even better if there was a note about how I felt about the book.

The blog post says it doesn't matter HOW you make the list, whether in a notebook, or a pretty journal or on GoodReads (or on your blog - my addition), just that you do it. I think this is important:
It doesn't matter if you arrange it by day (for picture books) or by date the book was finished (for chapter books) or by year. (However you do it, I recommend numbering your entries).
It doesn't matter if you include just the title, date and author in your entry. Or if you write down your kid's reactions to the book such as "Emily loved putting her fingers through the holes of everything the hungry caterpillar ate." Or "John just wanted to find Goldbug on each page." Or "Jennifer didn't like the part with the Wicked Witch of the West."
The only thing that matters is having one. How do you make that happen?
Step 1: Answer the question that was at the top of this post: What book(s) did you you read to your kids last night? What book did your kids read to themselves? What book did you read?
Step 2: Write it down.
Step 3: Repeat daily.

So, I'm going to pull that notebook back out, and keep it in the corner where we do most of our reading. Or somewhere handy. Maybe I'll get Monkey Georgia to help me decorate it too.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What My Child Is Reading

This post is part of the What My Child is Reading meme hosted by Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

We are hedgehog crazy at our house. Well, I'm hedgehog crazy and I drag my daughter along with me. I checked a bunch of books out of our library with hedgehogs as characters, and we've been reading them for weeks:

  • The Three Hedgehogs by Javier Saez Castan - This one is a little odd. It's told in the literary form of pantomime (the subtitle is "A pantomime in two acts and a colophon). It's a cute story about 3 hedgehogs who steal apples from an orchard and about the cook's journey to discovering the culprits.
  • Hedgie's Surprise by Jan Brett - We actually own this one. Hedgie is a hedgehog who has to protect the chicken's eggs from a tomten. (Chickens and hedgehogs! Perfect for me!) I do think it's odd that this tomten is stealing eggs but the tomten from Astrid Lindgren's books is protecting the animals.
  • The Hat by Jan Brett - Hedgie gets a little girl's hat stuck on his head and is ridiculed by the barnyard animals. And yet, he manages to start a trend. My daughter loves looking through this one and repeating "Silly animal! Don't you know animals don't wear clothes!" like the little girl in the story.
  • Hedgie Blasts Off by Jan Brett - In this story, Hedgie works on the cleanup crew, but ends up becoming the astronaut he's always wanted to be. This book does not contain Brett's signature borders, but the illustrations are still lovely.
  • The Mitten by Jan Brett - This is an adaptation of a Ukrainian folktale. Several animals, including a hedgehog, attempt to burrow in a mitten.
  • One Winter's Day by M. Christina Butler, illustrated by Tina Macnaughton - Little Hedgehog's nest blows away in a winter storm so he sets off for Badger's house to stay until it's over.The hat and glove in this book are fuzzy, which my daughter loves.
  • The Special Blankie by M. Christina Butler, illustrated by Tina Macnaughton - Little Hedgehog babysits his cousin Baby Hedgehog one spring day during neighborhood a bluebell hunt. The blankie is fuzzy. My daughter asks to reread this one often. In fact, I've now requested ALL the books that Butler and Macnaughton collaborated on that our library owns, which led to:
  • One Rainy Day (Shimmery, Shiny Books)One Rainy Day by M. Christina Butler, illustrated by Tina Macnaughton - In this book, Little Hedgehog's umbrella is shiny. I've only read this once so far, as we just picked it up from the library Saturday afternoon. I'm considering buying the Little Hedgehog books for our own collection.

I'm sure there will be another hedgehog post in the future, since we're actively searching for hedgehog picture books.

I am a member of Amazon Associates, which means that if you click on one of my links and then make a purchase that I will receive a small percentage of that purchase. I appreciate your support of this blog.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Crafting Time With My Kiddo

Last night, I discovered that I had an extra Steralite box with a handle, and added some of Monkey Georgia's art supplies to it. (She already had one that her aunt gave her for the same purpose, but it's already full of supplies.) I even labeled them with my label maker (one of the best birthday gifts I've ever received).

This morning, I was woken up by the request, "Mommy, can we PLEASE make stuff from my craft box?"

So today, there was lots of gluing (with glitter glue - apparently the best kind), painting, cutting and making going on. I even made her her own book to design and decorate.

We have a lot of long brown paper leftover from a package we received, and I cut strips of it, then cut those strips in half. I folded the strips and then sewed a seam using my sewing machine down the fold. (Note to self: change the needle before trying to fabric.)

She thought that was great, and proceeded to paint her hands with glitter glue so she could put hand prints on her pages. Then she found some stickers that her Grandma sent her and added those to the pages.

I love it when little kids make their own books. My nephew made one for me when he was about 3 or 4 and it's a treasured keepsake. I need to work with Monkey Georgia on the concept of a story in her books, but today was a good start. She tells stories all the time and we read books together, but her experience so far of making books is watching me scrapbook and that's rarely a continuous story throughout.

I'll be posting more about book making in the future, I believe.

Do you make books with your children?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Elm Creek Quilts

I am fascinated by quilts and quilting, and keep struggling to try it myself. In college, I wrote several papers about quilting for my history classes and even did a long presentation on the subject. But when Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts series came out about 10 years ago, I avoided it.

I'm not sure why I chose not to read the books, or even if I made that choice. I kept telling myself I'd get around to it eventually. I finally picked up the first 2 in the series in December. I was pleasantly surprised by how well written and enjoyable the books were. (I've gotten used to some popular fiction having a decent plot, but poor quality of writing and I was pleased that this was not the case with Elm Creek Quilts.)

These books are very quick and easy to read, and the storylines are compelling. Quilting and sewing are integral to the plot, but I never felt like the author was stretching to include it.

I just finished the latest book in the series, The Union Quilters, which is set during the Civil War. I found the subject matter to be emotionally difficult, but not as difficult as The Lost Quilter. I can't really say why that one was difficult without giving too much away, but I had it from the library for a week or more before I could psych myself up enough to read it.

My favorite part of the books is the story of the relationships between the women. The story takes place in the 20/21st century and centers on a group of 5 women, but some of the books feature the history of family members and community members and take place in the 19th or early 20th century. I enjoy prequels and finding out the story behind the story, so I think this is a fun storytelling device.

You don't really have to be interested in quilting to enjoy these books, in my opinion. They can be read in any order, but I thought it was more meaningful to read them in the order they were released.

I hope you will enjoy these books as much as I did if you decide to give them a shot. I am a member of Amazon Affiliates. This means that if you click on any of these links and then make a purchase at Amazon, I receive a small percentage to help support this blog. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Ideas at the Spencer Magnet

This week, I focused on St. Patrick's Day in my articles for the Spencer Magnet. I featured a "Lucky" mini-scrapbook that I made 5 years ago, and my favorite Irish soda bread recipe (mentioned in this post 2 years ago).

As I promised in the article, I found addition recipes from the Irish Rover. My favorite dessert there - ok, the only dessert I've tried there - is the chocolate Guinness Cake (someday, I will try the Irish Cream Cheesecake). I was thrilled to find the recipe at Louisville Originals. While that link is directly to the recipe, out of concern that the page could disappear someday, I am including the recipe here. Other recipes from the Irish Rover at Louisville Originals include:

Chocolate Guinness Cake

3 cups chocolate chips
22 oz butter
12 eggs
2/3 cup Guinness

Melt 3 cups chocolate chips with 22 oz butter. Beat 12 eggs into cooled chocolate mix one at a time. Add 2/3 cup Guinness; blend. Pour mixture into springform pan dusted with cocoa powder.
Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes – 1 hour; makes two cakes.
When cool, cakes may be topped with chocolate mousse, or ganache, or whipped cream.
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What My Child Is Reading

One of our favorite bedtime rituals is reading to our daughter. My husband used to do it, but lately we've been taking turns.

Over the weekend, I found a new meme (through What Do We Do All Day?) called "What My Child Is Reading. The meme is hosted by Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

I really like the idea of participating in literacy projects and I like to share the books that we're reading, so this is perfect for me!

  • Bright Red Kisses by Teresa Toten - Mommy is getting ready to go out on a night on the town, and asks her little girl to help her. My daughter, Monkey Georgia, isn't especially girly in most aspects but she loves to watch me put on makeup and wear jewelry. (I know a lot of little boys who enjoy that too, so I don't really count that as girly either. Dress-up is fun, regardless of your gender!) My daughter enjoyed helping the little girl choose the right shade of lipstick! Monkey Georgia enjoys helping me choose my clothing and jewelry before we go out too, so perhaps that is part of the charm of the book for her.
  • One Mitten by Kristine O'Connell George - Monkey Georgia found this on a display at our library one day but when I tried to check it out, we learned it had been requested by another patron. Monkey Georgia cried and cried, but we let her pick out an another book and I made a note of the title. WE finally got to pick it up a couple of weeks ago. It's all about things that one mitten can do when the other mitten is lost. Monkey Georgia enjoys the illustrations and ideas for things to do with mittens. She uses hers as oven mitts for her play kitchen.
  • Cold Paws, Warm Heart by Madeleine Floyd - Cold Paws is a lonely polar bear until Hannah comes along and shows him the meaning and warmth of friendship. We're getting polar bears at our zoo again in late April, so we've been talking about polar bears a lot over the last few weeks.

Our other bedtime reading books have been from our Shutterfly photo book collection. It's fun to look over our pictures and remember happy times just before bedtime.

This post is linked to What My Child Is Reading.
I am a member of Amazon Affiliates. If you click on any of these links and then make a purchase, I receive a small percentage to help support this blog. Thank you.

Lime-ginger Marmalade

On Friday, I attempted to make key lime-ginger marmalade. It wasn't exactly spur-of-the-moment, since I bought the limes a few weeks ago, and have been searching numerous blogs, websites and canning books looking for the perfect lime recipe. I've never even had marmalade, but I was obsessed with the idea of making it.

(I saw an article or blog somewhere where someone made orange-lemon marmalade and then added hot water to a spoonful for tea. Love that idea.)

I finally decided to combine these two recipes to create my own:

  • Key Lime Marmalade @Dog Island Farm - I love this one because it is just a general recipe: throw these ingredients together, you can use this many lemons, or this many oranges, ect.
  • Lime and Ginger Marmalade @ABC North Queensland - I like this one for the addition of ginger.
On Thursday, I spent an hour chopping up a pound of key limes. I had little scrapes on my hands and didn't think to use gloves, so my hands were on fire. I started out doing slices and then chopping the slices, but I ended up just cubing everything. I left in the pith, the membranes, everything. I ended up with about 3 cups, and left it to sit for several hours. Then I grated about 2 inches of fresh ginger into the mixture and let it sit for 14 hours. (The time frame was an accident. I was just working up the courage to actually do it.)

I got all my stuff together on Friday afternoon, and started cooking the lime mixture with a little less than 3 cups of sugar. I stirred it periodically and tasted the drops from the spoon. Deciding that it was far too bitter, I added another 1/2 cup of sugar.

It then cooked for well over an hour before reaching the required almost 230 degrees. I had all the fans going in the kitchen because it was so much liquid to cook down.

When it finally reached temperature, I started ladling into the jars. As I reached for the 3rd jar (half-pint), I realized something smelled like it was burning. I looked into the pot and my lovely green was turning orange. I went ahead and jarred up as much as I could and put it in a water bath. (In part just to make sure the water covered all of my jars.)

All four of the jars sealed. Two of the jars look like the mixture is completely "caramelized" (which, let's face it, is just a nice way of saying I burned it). The second jar I filled looked like it's as hard as a rock. Only the very first jar I filled appears to have any kind of give to it. I'm a little scared to open it even. Every little taste I took when it was cooking was beyond bitter, and the lime peel was too chewy to swallow.

I have decided that it was a great, grand - and failed - experiment. I never have to make marmalade again. I know now that I don't like it and it is NOT worth the trouble to me.

Next up, lemon-ginger curd (and maybe lime-ginger curd) with the eggs I received at the club meeting Thursday night from the hostess. (13 eggs - all picked up that day from her chickens.)

Have you had any great, grand, failed experiments? Or successful ones. Revel in your glory and my defeat. ;-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Time Wall Art

This is another one of those things that I found last year, but forgot to share. I hope you enjoy it this year just as much. I think it's a pretty cool way to get art on your walls in the spring:

Spring Time Wall Art @ Blue Cricket Design

Friday, March 11, 2011

Feeling Better

After I hit "publish" last night on my post, I kept trying to make myself feel better but it wasn't working. I had a club meeting that I really wanted to go to but I didn't have the energy to prepare for it or take the things I needed (we were going to make sewing machine mats). I decided to chop up key lime instead for marmalade. You know, because that takes less energy.

After complaining about how cold and yucky it was outside, and how much I wanted to go to the meeting and had been looking forward to it but just wasn't in the mood, my husband finally said "If you've been looking forward to it, you should just go."

So I finished chopping my limes, grabbed my coat and left. (Limes have to sit overnight for marmalade anyway.)

I planned to only stay for an hour, especially since I didn't bring my stuff to work on. I ended up staying for 2 1/2. It was just so much fun to sit and listen to other people talk, and to have people ask how I was and be interested in my stories. Not that my family isn't, but sometimes it's nice to remember that someone else finds you interesting. (And to find other people interesting.)

Spending the time away from my family for a while helped me to remember the good things that happened today too:

  • my daughter waking up, climbing in my lap and holding me tight while lightly patting my back
  • my daughter asking me to "let me just finish my nap" at 9am (before the hugging episode) - especially since she told me on Tuesday that she is too old for naps
  • the yummy apple I had for a snack
  • reading the new Jennifer Chiverini novel - nice and slow which is new for me (I usually read them very quickly)
  • I bought overpriced ginger at the local grocery, but it turned out to be so fresh and juicy that I think it was worth it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today. . .

Today. . .

My daughter woke up "early" to hang out with her daddy before work, and then came back to snuggle me.

I dreamed about circuses again (I think). I finished Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen last night, so maybe they will stop now? (Not that dreaming about the circus is bad. It's just very intense and vivid - which may be a testament to the book.)

We went to a Homemakers meeting, where I presented the lesson (I attended the lecture for the month and no one else did). It was titled "Art is All Around You" and while it wasn't what I was expected, it was fascinating.

We had lunch (turkey sandwiches) with the Homemakers, and then did etched glass together.

I got to meet my new editor.

I saw snow coming down in between raindrops. The lake in front of the extension office is threatening to overrun the road. It was in the mid-30s and I forgot to wear a coat.

I bought some ginger and I'm going to attempt lime-ginger marmalade.

I let my daughter make her own sandwich. She did a good job! Note to self: let the 4 year make her own food sometimes!

I tried to watch Ellen to break out of my funk, but a basketball game was one. Here comes March Madness. Bleh.

I really hope the weather (and mood) is better tomorrow.

PS. I am a member of Amazon Affiliates. If you click on the link above and then make a purchase, it supports this blog. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Articles at the Spencer Magnet

I had 3 articles in today's Spencer Magnet. In the At Home section, which is my regular part of the paper, has articles about the SOS classes that begin in our county next week and my recipe for pistachio cake. In the front section of the paper is the 2nd article in my ongoing series about volunteering in the community.

  • Sharing Ourselves: SOS Classes Start Monday - SOS classes are near and dear to my heart. When my husband and I first moved to the county, we learned about these classes and took several gardening ones. I took the sewing machine class 2 years ago which led me to join the Homemakers and make some wonderful friends. And then last year, my daughter and I took the candy making class together and my pictures and notes from that evening became my first article for the Spencer Magnet.
  • Celebrate St. Paddy's With Pistachio Cake - I would love to find a recipe for a from-scratch pistachio cake but until I do, this is popular at my house
  • Family Resource Center Aids Local Families In Need - The 2nd article in my volunteering series. I hope this series inspires members of our community to get involved.

I learned today that after March 23, the Spencer Magnet's online content will be by subscription only. Without a subscription, there will only be limited access to the content. I do not yet know what that will mean for my articles. To learn more, see: Website to Become Subscription-Based Service

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Children's Books We've Been Reading

I actually wrote this last April and then I forgot to publish it! I'm glad I stumbled across it, though, because it's still winter enough around here that these books are relevant to us. (I'm especially excited to rediscover Flannel Kisses.)

I am getting ready to return to the library some of the children's books that Abigail and I have been reading for the past few weeks/months. I thought I would share some of our current interests. I usually have a few books in mind that I would like to introduce to her, and then I let her pick out any books that appeal to her.

  • My Family is Forever by Nancy Carlson - This book is about adoption. Abigail is not adopted, but she liked the illustrations enough to want to bring this book home. It was a great way to introduce to her the concept of adoption. The illustrations are bright and colorful and she asks us to read it often.
  • Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats - This is another book that Abigail picked. She does not have a younger sibling or one on the way, but she enjoys hearing how Peter learns to accept his new sister.
  • The Tomten and The Tomten and the Fox by Astrid Lindgren - These were favorites last winter and we spent this winter reading them too.
  • My Brother Loved Snowflakes: The Story of Wilson A. Bentley, the Snowflake Man by Mary Bahr - We read this as a companion to Snowflake Bentley. The last few sentences are about Wilson Bentley dying, which doesn't seem to be the best way to end a children's book to us.
  • Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin - This book was more uplifting and told Mr. Bentley's story in a more captivating way.
  • Flannel Kisses by Linda Crotta Brennan - Colorful snow illustrations! Love the flannels against the snow.
  • The Mitten retold by Jim Aylesworth - I actually prefer Jan Brett's version, but this was a fun one too.
  • A Winter Day by Douglas Florian - Very simple text, but there's a lot to talk about in the illustrations.