Monday, July 25, 2016

The Dog Days of Summer

We are in those Dog Days of Summer. You know, those hot, sultry, I don't want to go outside and do anything but maybe swim kind of days. And it is so hot here in Ohio, I had to resort to painting the front of my house as early as seven in the morning. But it's done now. I scraped and painted the garage door trim, the entire front of the house, the mailbox, the shutters, and the front door trim. Bobby even put up new front porch lights for me, so now the front of the house is no longer an ugly peeling mess!

This week we also attended a pool party where my dinner contribution was cranberry meatballs. They are so easy and convenient that anyone can make them. All you need is two pounds of meatballs (for a big crowd), two bottles of chile sauce (which incidentally should never be mistaken for hot sauce as I once did), two cans of cranberry sauce with whole berries, and a jar of seedless raspberry jam or jelly.

Place the meatballs in a large oval crock pot. I usually buy frozen meatballs for convenience sake. Then in a saucepan you add the chile sauce, the cranberry, sauce, and two heaping tablespoons of jelly. Simmer it over medium heat until everything is melted and completely combined. Pour over the meatballs stirring to coat evenly and then put the lid on and forget about it until supper time!


I also made Emily some fabulous french toast smothered in butter and fresh maple syrup form one of my farmers' market vendors. Doesn't the picture below just make you hungry for breakfast?



So when it was time to dive into a pile of great reading material this week I decided to go with the dog theme. I know the Dog Days of Summer don't actually have anything to do with dogs, but it's a great theme and I'm going with it.

The first book I read was Cosmo Zooms. It is quite simple and oh so sweet. Cosmo is feeling a bit downhearted because all his friends seem to be good at something and he is not. That is, until he takes an unexpected ride. I don't want to give too much away, so I will simply say that Cosmo happily, if accidentally, finds out what he excels at. This book is quite a few years old, but I would check to see if your library carries it like mine did. If not, there are some used copies available on Amazon.



The next book I read was The Dog Who Cried Wolf. This is the story of Moka and his girl Michelle. Michelle takes good care of Moka and even takes the time to read to him. One day she reads a story about wolves, and Moka begins to be discontent with the life he leads. The next day he runs away to live free like the wolves. His adventure isn't all he imagined it would be and he finally realizes the life he was living with his girl was pretty good after all!


And lastly, I read Puppy. It isn't your conventional dog story, but it made me smile. Trog, the cave boy, has great toys like a stick, a rock, and some mud, but what he really wants is a puppy. He finds one, or so he thinks, and some interesting adventures begin. This book has a semi comic book feel to it and is a super story for both boys and girls.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by and join the Literacy Musings Monday Blog Hop where you will find other great blogs, or my personal website, Fun With Aileen, where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own early grade Fern Valley chapter book series and my Quack and Daisy picture book series. And finally, you can find me on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Half Way Through and My Love For You...

I can't believe we are halfway through summer break already, but my family and I have been making the most of it. Every Friday Bobby, Emily, her Aunt Kay, and I go bowling through the Summer Bowling Program. We aren't fantastic bowlers, but what we lack in skill we make up with enthusiasm. So you can imagine my surprise when I made my first ever Turkey (three strikes in a row).


Emily and are are also continuing to enjoy Farmers' Market. She stays busy through the week making magnets to sell and I bake up a storm. My best seller has turned out to be my blueberry/banana bread.
We have a pool party coming up for a friends birthday, and Emily often has friends for overnight stays.

Something else exciting happened this past week. I won a recent contest hosted by KidLit TV and my prize arrived on Saturday. It was a autographed copy of My Love For You is the Sun. I was extra excited to receive this book because it is written by my Face Book friend Julie Hedlund; and it is illustrated by my friend and super dooper incredibly talented human being, Susan Eaddy. Julie's story of love for her child, told in rhyme, is tender and well done. Susan's sculpted clay illustrations are so strikingly beautiful and detailed it almost takes my breath away. This book is one of those books you will definitely want to have in your kidlit collection.




I also received a fun craft bag with my book that included sculpting clay and some accessories to make a creation of my own. And while I have yet to attempt a masterpiece, I will soon. Emily and I did a craft project last year that is similar and that was our salt dough project where we used cookie cutters and ink stampers on our dough.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by and join the Literacy Musings Monday Blog Hop where you will find other great blogs, or my personal website, Fun With Aileen, where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own early grade Fern Valley chapter book series and my Quack and Daisy picture book series. And finally, you can find me on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Fun, Family, and Fireworks!

This past week was a happy busy week. We came home from our camping trip, readied for Friday night bowling, readied for Farmers' Market, and had some hair raising stat-icky good times in our own back yard.



We also attended fireworks. Most cities host fireworks for the Fourth of July, but Shelby always waits until the following weekend and sets of fire works during the annual Bicycle Days. The fire works didn't last long, but I did manage to get a few fairly decent pictures during the show. And believe me, it was quite the job to get those few non blurry pictures.



 


And of course, I rounded the week out by reading two great books. Because let's face it, life with a little kidlit is always a good thing.

The first book I read was Five Little Ducks which is a retelling of the song by that name. The pictures are bright and colorful and there is even a cd version in the back of the book. So if your children love both music and stories like me, be sure to look for this book.

 
The second book I read was called Win Or Lose, I Love You. Written by Christian author Lysa Terkeurst, it is the story of good sportsmanship. All the animals of the forest are having field day and learn that winners shouldn't brag, losers shouldn't cry, and everyone should do their best in everything they try! And at the very end of the book, there are ten Biblical words of wisdom whether you win or lose accompanied by scriptures. This book would make a great Sunday school  read or even an addition to Christian home school curriculum.

 
Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by and join the Literacy Musings Monday Blog Hop where you will find other great blogs, or my personal website, Fun With Aileen, where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own early grade Fern Valley chapter book series and my Quack and Daisy picture book series. And finally, you can find me on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Smokey The Fireman

This week's blog will be short and sweet since I am in the middle of my family's annual camping trip and I don't want to miss any of the fun. You know the kind I mean, sitting around the campfire, blowing bubbles, cooking out.







Since our KOA is only about fifteen minutes away from home, each morning I run home to feed and water the cats and scoop the litter boxes. Glamorous I know, but a mom/authors work is never done. This does afford me the opportunity to quickly read and review, however, and since last night when we sat around the fire we heard the sound of the visiting firetrucks giving kids rides around the campground, I thought it would be appropriate to share Smokey The Fireman by Richard Scarry.
 

I remember reading Richard Scarry when I was a wee thing and the illustrations would keep me intrigued for hours. We had this really big book of bedtime stories by Richard which meant many nights of entertainment. Smokey The Fireman is a short, step into reading book, but still fun none the less. It is about Smokey and his adventures as he rescues Miss Kitty and puts out a house fire. It is about picnicking with Miss Kitty and ending up putting out a  nearby barn fire. And it is about eating lots and lots of pie. And let me tell you, you just can't go wrong with pie be it in a book or the real thing!

And if you happen to like the fire truck theme, here are two more great firetruck books.



Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by and join the Literacy Musings Monday Blog Hop where you will find other great blogs, or my personal website, Fun With Aileen, where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own early grade Fern Valley chapter book series and my Quack and Daisy picture book series. And finally, you can find me on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Saturday Trip

This past weekend Emily and I attended Farmers' Market as usual. I bought some fresh lettuce from a fellow vendor. Emily once again offered her face as a advertising billboard for our face painting vendor who paints her face for free every Saturday. And Emily bought and ate almost a quart of fresh cherries.






But instead of relaxing after we returned home and ate our lunch, My husband suggested a short day trip to the Velvet Ice Cream Factory. The factory, gift shop, and ice cream parlor are all located in an old mill that rests on beautiful grounds. There is a small pond with ducks. There is a short hiking trail next to the river. And best of all, there is ice cream to eat. This particular Saturday there was also a woman offering carriage rides, so Emily also got a little time with he favorite animals, horses. If you are ever in Ohio and find yourself near Utica, be sure to stop by.

 






But the most interesting event of the day, actually happened when we were just on the outskirts of Utica. We were driving along and suddenly my husband pointed to a bird gliding across our path and he said, "An eagle." Stunned to see one up close and personal and in a semi state of shock and wonder, I pointed too and cried repeatedly, "A bald eagle. A bald eagle. A bald eagle."

For me, life is really about the little things. Expensive family vacations, cars, and toys, are nice, but the little every day things like sighting a bald eagle in all its glory zooming across the road in front of us is what really makes me happy. That, and things like discussing wildflowers on the side of the road with my husband and dreaming of planting fields of them if we ever become the owners of a large piece of country property.

And speaking of wildflowers, the book I happened to read this week was titled Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers. It is the true story of the first lady Mrs. Johnson, her childhood, her love of flowers, and how she is the one responsible for wildflowers on the sides on the highway.

Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by and join the Literacy Musings Monday Blog Hop where you will find other great blogs, or my personal website, Fun With Aileen, where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own early grade Fern Valley chapter book series and my Quack and Daisy picture book series. And finally, you can find me on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 


Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer, Sunburn, and a Smidge of Sadness

Our week was full of preparations for farm market as is the norm from June to October and it was a beautiful day. My vendors had lovely produce. Emily bought her favorite peach jam from Dave the jelly man. And, afterward her friend picked her up to go the pool.



Father's Day was also a beautiful day. Emily and I gave Bobby his gifts of dark chocolate, season two of The Rifleman, and a new fluffy bed pillow. I then fixed my family breakfast and Emily had her newly purchased jam on toasty English muffins. When the noon hour rolled around Bobby took Emily and I to the pool for a few hours of swimming.

The Rifleman

We all slathered on the sun screen which was a 70 spf to avoid burning; but as is normal, I burnt anyway. I am not an albino or a redhead with milky white skin, but I inevitably always burn the first couple of times in the sun. What's a girl gonna do except liberally apply some aloe vera after.

Besides the sunburn, the only damper on the week was the reminder that Father's day bought. The fact that both Bobby's and my fathers have passed away. Thankfully, we both have good memories of time spent with our dads. In fact, it is my father who instilled in me my love of words and my love of literacy. I remember him telling my brother and I that children who could read well could grow up and do anything, something that has become my motto.

So the books I chose to read this week are very appropriate. The first book, Fun Dog, Sun Dog, is a great summery book which includes the normal summery things like swimming. Dog goes to the beach with his owner, but that is pretty similar to going to the pool. And the awesome rhyme in this story is the type of rhyme that writers are always told about. Rhyme done well.

Fun Dog Sun Dog

The second book I read was called, Ten Kisses For Sophie. It was a sweet story of Sophie who worried that there wouldn't be enough kisses for everyone at her Grandmother's party. Sophie was so worried that she snuck down in the middle of the night to count the candies and make cards for the guests. There were ten guests counting her so she relaxes. That is until her father gets a call and they find out that there will be an extra guest. Will there be enough kisses for Sophie to have one? I guess you will just have to read this book yourself to find out!

Ten Kisses for Sophie

And lastly, I read Here In The Garden which is a story of a boy dealing with the loss of his rabbit. Emily read this book as well and told me that she thought it was good but it was a bit sad. Losing a pet or loved one can be sad, this is true. But I love how the main character concentrated on all the good memories he had of time spent with his beloved rabbit. That is how I chose to deal with the loss of my beloved father. I don't dwell on his absence, but instead think about the wonderful lifetime of memories we created while he was alive!

Here in the Garden


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by and join the Literacy Musings Monday Blog Hop where you will find other great blogs, or my personal website, Fun With Aileen, where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own early grade Fern Valley chapter book series and my Quack and Daisy picture book series. And finally, you can find me on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

KidLit Giveaway!

I know I don't usually post on Tuesday, but I forgot to mention that I am hosting a giveaway of my latest picture book on Good Reads. Feel free to stop by and enter for a chance at one of four copies of Quack and Daisy - Beyond the Meadow. QDBW is the sequel to my very first picture book Quack and Daisy and is the story of two unlikely friends, Quack the Duckling and Daisy the kitten.

Just click on this link to enter!

Quack and Daisy Beyond The Meadow




         

Quack and Daisy 

Beyond The Meadow



Book Synopsis:

Title: Quack and Daisy - Beyond The Meadow              
ISBN: 9781682934869
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Page Length: 24
Genre: Children’s Fiction - Ages 4-8
Suggested Retail: $8.99 paperback

Quack the duckling and Daisy the kitten are best friends who spend most days playing in the meadow. One day Quack decides to tell Daisy a secret. She tells her of Mama Duck’s ominous warning to not go beyond the meadow. Will the two friends heed Mama’s words about the dangers beyond the meadow, or will their curiosity get the better of them?