Monday, January 23, 2017

Birthdays and Bunnies

This past week was a mixed lot as far as life's emotional roller coaster ride. I found out through FB that my publisher closed their doors, and I have no idea as of yet what that means. Time will tell, and while I wait, I will continue to work at improving my craft and gaining the notice of an agent.

On a cheerier note, this past weekend was also Emily's Birthday, and she got a double dose of birthday fun. On Friday evening, Bobby, My sister, and I took Emily and two friends to a birthday dinner at The Golden Corral. Before we left they played some kind of a jelly bean where they had identical looking jelly beans and some were tasty while some were plain down right gross. Flavors like barf and booger. I have no idea why one would want to eat gross flavored jelly beans, but the girls seemed to have a giggly good time.

 



On Saturday we hosted a party that was attended by her cousin and her school mates. We wore funny glasses. We played birthday bingo. We played hot potato. We played remember what's in the box. And we played a game called Spoons. Every girl received a spoon and they had to pass a mini Reese cup without using hands. It was much more difficult then one would think and made for some truly laughable moments.



And when the partying was over, I found time to do my weekly reading. Bunnies on Ice found its way into my hands and became this week's choice for review. Sparse on words but not on story, this story is a tale of childhood, ice skating, and self confidence. One patient and determined bunny waits all year to be a champion ice skater and when the time comes, she gives it her all and enjoys each moment. This book would be perfect for children ages four to eight.



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 Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 
 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Returning to Normal

This past week Emily and I began to return to normal. As we put my mother's passing and the Christmas break behind us, we dove back into school and Cook Book Club. The theme for January was soup, so I made Bean and Bacon soup. Strangely enough as much as I cook, I had not made this type of soup before. I thought it turned out quite well and have decided to add it to my repertoire of often used recipes. Emily made striped delight which went over quite well. It is a dessert I used to  make quite often but hadn't made in a while, so it was a refreshing change. It is the perfect dessert for a party or get together. Here is the recipe in case you want to try it.


Striped Delight

1 cup flour                                                              ¼ cup sugar
1 cup ground nuts                                                    2 TBS milk
½ cup melted butter                                                 1 container whipped topping
1 pkg cream cheese softened                                    2 boxes chocolate pudding prepared

Combine flour, nuts, and butter until well mixed and press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. When cool, mix cream cheese, sugar, milk, and whipped topping until smooth and layer on crust. Chill for at least thirty minutes. When chilled, prepare pudding according to box and pour over top of cream cheese layer.  Chill until pudding is set. Cut and serve.

Emily also made a birthday card for one of her friends. I know I'm probably partial, but I think her drawing abilities are quite good for an almost twelve year old.



And by coincidence, the book I chose to review this week, although not about returning to normal, is about returning. It is a follow up picture book to Tammi Sauer's, Your Alien. The first book was fabulous and this second book is equally wonderful. Your Alien Returns is the story of the alien taking his boy home for a play date. It is a story of working to fit in and not letting differences become hindrances to friendship. The illustrations are a bonus and add incredible dimension to the story as all good illustrations should.


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 Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 
 


Monday, January 9, 2017

Let's Get Cleaning!

A week into the New Year finds me with an urge to get my house in order and clean, clean, clean. I have already managed to organize and clean up the overflowing post it notes on my bulletin board, file my household paper work, and organize all my tax receipts. Next on the agenda is to do some extra vacuuming like the basement stairs, and the stairs leading to the second floor. And after all the fires in the fireplace, some heavy dusting is probably a good idea. Eventually I will tackle the closets, and I might even clean out my refrigerator, but that could be pushing it a bit; so we will see.

 I've also been participating in the wonderful Tara Lazar's Story Storm 2017. The idea behind Story Storm is that you think up one new story idea for everyday in the month of January. One of the story ideas that I came up with included giving a cat a bath. Coincidentally the book I reviewed this week was also about bath time. How To Wash A Wooly Mammoth by Michelle Robinson is said book and it definitely tickled my funny bone.


A young girl explains in a step by step process how one goes about giving a wooly mammoth a bath. It proves quite a difficult task, so the young girl has to be creative to get her mammoth clean. I loved this story. I loved the way it was written as a step by step how to guide. I also loved the illustrations including the end paper before the title page. It has some quite interesting bottles of shampoo and soap as well as cleaning implements like combs. If you take the time to read the bottles I think it will be quite worth the time.


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 Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 A Year In Review

Well, it's now official, I now have to remember to write 2017 instead of 2016. My family wrapped up the year nicely by spending time with Bobby's mom.


 By playing board games.


 By practicing Padawan skills.


And by celebrating with family and friends at the Berean Baptist New Years Eve Party.








So now, as is tradition, I will recap my favorite reads of 2016 in no particular order.

1. The Map Trap by Andrew Clement


2. Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry



3. The Night Gardner by the Fan Brothers


4. It Came In The Mail by Ben Clanton


5. Mary Smith by A. Uren
 

6. A Piece of Home by Jeri Watts


7.  Memoirs of A Parrot by Devin Scillian


8. Surf's Up by Kwame Alexander


9. Gator Dad by Brian Lies


and...

10. What To Do With A Box by Jane Yolan


And as a bonus, my first read of the New Year__

They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel which is a story about perception. Many animals see Cat. Cat even sees Cat. But how each one perceives Cat is quite different. The text and illustrations work perfectly together to make an interesting read.


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 Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 











Monday, December 26, 2016

The Missed Blog Posts

Hey everyone! I'm sure some of you noticed that I missed the past two Mondays, and I just wanted to explain why there were no blog posts or book reviews. My mother ended up in intensive care and passed away unexpectedly early Friday December 16th. Losing a loved one is never easy no matter what time of the year it occurs, but losing a loved one right before Christmas leaves one with extra stress.


Thankfully my family's faith has sustained us all. I know in my heart that my mom is with her Lord and Savior. I know in my heart that I will join her in heaven one day. I know in my heart that she would have wanted us to celebrate Christ's birth and our chance to be together with joy, so that is what we did. We opened our gifts. We ate lots of cookies I baked. And we even invited some friends over who had also lost their last remaining parent/grandparent this year.
 

  





And, I managed to read one book as I worked on finding my new normal. That book was It Came In The Mail by Ben Clanton, and it was highly amusing. After all, who doesn't love to get something in the mail? I know my daughter and I certainly do and so does the main character Liam. Unfortunately, Liam never receives any mail. So one day he decides to take matters into his own hands and he writes a letter to his mailbox requesting mail. The items that start arriving are unusual and fun but soon Liam has more then he can handle. Be sure to read this book for yourself to fine out just how Liam handles a mail overload.


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 my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 




Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Twelve Days of Baking Contest Entry!



The Twelve Days of Baking

Aileen Stewart



On the first day of baking my helper gave to me__ sugar.

On the second day of baking my helper gave to me __ unbleached flour and sugar.

On the third day of baking my helper gave to me__ baking cocoa, unbleached flour, and sugar.

On the fourth day of baking my helper gave to me__ baking powder and soda, baking cocoa, unbleached flour, and sugar.

On the fifth day of baking my helper gave to me__ salt, baking soda and powder, baking cocoa, unbleached flour, and sugar.

On the sixth day of baking my helper gave to me__ brown eggs, salt, baking soda and powder, baking cocoa, unbleached flour, and sugar.

On the seventh day of baking my helper gave to me__ olive oil, brown eggs, salt, baking soda and powder, baking cocoa, unbleached flour, and sugar.

On the eighth day of baking my helper gave to me__ vanilla extract, olive oil, brown eggs, salt, baking soda and powder, baking cocoa, unbleached flour, and sugar.

On ninth day of baking my helper gave to me__ fresh milk, vanilla extract, olive oil, brown eggs, salt, baking soda and powder, baking cocoa, unbleached flour, and sugar.

On the tenth day of baking my helper gave to me__ very hot water, fresh milk, vanilla extract, olive oil, brown eggs, salt, baking soda and powder, baking cocoa, unbleached flour, and sugar.

On the eleventh day of baking my helper gave to me__ a bowl of chocolate frosting, very hot water, fresh milk, vanilla extract, olive oil, brown eggs, salt, baking soda and powder, baking cocoa, unbleached flour, and sugar.

On the twelfth day of baking my helper gave to me__ one empty plate ‘cause she ate all my chocolate Christmas cake!