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?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hooray for Fathers!

When summer arrives, quite a bit of my week is spent in preparation for farmers' market and this past week was no exception. I spent last Thursday and Friday baking brownies, scotchies, and mini quick breads. It was another great market day and we had lots of great vendors. I came home with peaches, tomatoes, fresh garden lettuce, and some green onions to go with the soup beans Bobby asked me to make.


With the weekly market day out of the way, I set my mind to Fathers' Day which is just around the corner. Emily will be making a card for Bobby, I will wrap the dark chocolate candy I've been hiding, and I will plan dinner for him which will probably include a trip to the Rib King's tent. All these thoughts of Fathers' Day made me think of a gift Emily made several years ago. It was made using an envelope and was pretty easy, so I thought I would share it. First, you cut the very end off of a letter size envelope and then seal the back. Next, cut a small slit in the center of the top piece (about 1/2 inch) and fold down the ends to form a collar.


To make this envelope look like a man's outfit, you need some construction paper. Emily used a hole punch to make shirt buttons and a square to make pants. An alternate color of paper cut into a thin belt the width of the envelope creates a separation between shirt and pants. When they are all done, your child can slip their father's favorite candy bar inside!


In honor of fathers everywhere, I also read some great books where dads were the theme. The first book I read and probably my favorite of the three was Bertie: Just Like Daddy. As we all know, children try to emulate moms and dads and this adorable book has Bertie trying to be just like his father.


The next book I read was called Hunting The Daddyosaurus. It is a cute tale of a brother and sister in search of the huge and mysterious Dadyosaurus. The follow clues all over the house just steps behind the elusive creature, but in the end, they finally catch him.


And last but not least, I read Papa's Mark which is a beautifully written piece of historical fiction. Taking place at the time when colored men had just received the right to vote, Simms's  father eagerly awaits voting day. However, he can only write an x where his name should go. Simms, who isn't old enough to vote but who shares Papa's excitement, sets about to help Papa learn to write his own name. Night after night Papa practice, and on voting day, he proudly writes his name. I think this book would be a great addition to any American History lessons for both home school and traditional classrooms. It is a bit older having published in 2004, but worth finding a copy if you can.


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 6, 2016

Opening Day!

This past Saturday was the opening day of Farmers' Market and it seems to me that it was a great success. The rain held off, so we were all dry. Customers arrived, so we sold goods.The face painter painted Emily's face free for advertising. And I took pictures of everything.

 
The beautiful jams and jellies.


 The fresh strawberries.


 The child vendors.




 The wonderful vegetables.







 And works by local crafters.


As most of you can probably tell by my posts, I love to take photographs. So, I found it funny that the first book in my to read pile was a book entitled Photographer Mole.

It is the story of a mole who loves to take pictures of all his friends, local groups, families and so forth. But one day as he is admiring his photographs he realizes something is missing. To the regret of his friends, he leaves town in search of the missing something. At this point in the book, I still had no idea what Mole thought was missing so I kept reading in anticipation. When Mole finally finds what he was looking for and comes home, it isn't at all what you imagine it will be. At least it wasn't for me. I heartily recommend this book and I'm pretty sure that kids will keep reading with anticipation of Mole's discovery just like I did! This book is a bit older ( 2004) but well worth searching for.


The second book I read was called How to Find Gold. I wasn't nearly as impressed with this book and was left kind of confused as to if the characters were imagining all the incidents or not, but perhaps as an adult I was just over thinking the story. So my suggestion is, if  your library has a copy, check it out and see what you think. And if you figure it out, be sure to let me know.


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, May 30, 2016

Ordinary is Extraordinary

I find that the most ordinary events like attending a mother daughter pool party, having family over for a cook out, or finding a rabbit in the weedy flower bed is cause for celebration. Even making homemade granola in preparation for Farmers' Market brings joy. I don't always remember, but I try really hard to appreciate all the moments in each week because each moment is a blessing.

 
My ability to go to the local library, come home armed to the teeth with children's books, and my opportunity to share what I read with others is also a blessing. The fact that each of you tune in to share in my week and my literary ramblings is most amazing.  I ask myself if it gets any better then connecting with readers all over the globe that I might never have had contact with otherwise. I think not.

So this week as I looked over my massive reading pile, I was drawn to three books in particular. The first was a beautiful Jan Brett book called The Turnip. The badger family find a enormous turnip which they wish to harvest for winter, but they can't seem to pull it out of the ground. Neighbors and friends keep trying to help them pull the turnip out, but to no avail. Eventually the turnip is is y6anked front he ground by a homeless rooster. Or is it? I guess you will just have to read The Turnip for yourself to find out.

jan brett

The next book I read was Pirates On the Farm. Yes, I know there is a vegetable/farm theme going on. Just chalk it up to my excitement about farmers' market season. Any how, this book is a delightful and funny story of a group of pirates who buy a farm and attempt to fit in. Told from the point of view of the neighbor child, it is also a tale of making new friends and celebrating differences. This book is definitely worth checking out.

Pirates on the Farm

And the last book I read was one I have seen the cover of on many other book blogs. An intriguing cover that draws you in and makes you want to know just what is going on in-between the front and back covers. It is called The Night Gardener. First of all, I have to tell you about the truly magnificent, extraordinarily spectacular art work in this book. It is old timey in feel. Something classic that you will want to cherish for years to come. And the story, it is a bit mysterious, but happy and shiny at the same time. This book is written by the Fan brothers,Terry and Eric, and I don't know how they came up with this beautiful collection of pictures and words, but it is definitely a book to be cherished and shared.

The Night Gardener

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, May 23, 2016

A Concert, A Book Event, Discovering Nancy, and Getting Ready...

This past week was Emily's last choir concert of the year and as the event approached I realized my camera battery was low and needed to be recharged before the event. I diligently took out the battery, inserted it in its charger, and let it charge. The next day when it was fully restored, I unplugged  the charger from the outlet and put it away.
 
Before the performance on Tuesday, I took a couple of pictures of Emily dressed up so she could share them on Instagram. I figured I would take pictures of the concert with my fully recharged Nikon that evening. So you can imagine my great surprise and disappointment when I went to take pictures only to find I had forgotten to reinstall the battery.  Yeah, blonde moment of the year.




On Friday we went to SkyZone for a friends birthday party. SkyZone is classically a bulding with trampolines, trampoline dodge ball, and trampolines used to jump into a big pit of sweaty smelling foam chunks. I don't see the attractions, but Emily seemed to enjoy her hour of trampoline fun. What turned out to be fun for me was flipping quickly between the pictures below on my computer which mad it look like Emily was in motion. It sort of reminded me of those old books with little pictures in the corners that looked like the characters were running when you flipped the pages.









On Saturday I had an event at my local Barnes and Noble store. I had a great time and was super excited that a long time friend came out to support me, another friend brought a whole crew, and I also made a new friend. Books flew off the table and and a good time was had by all.



 
And on the book front, Emily finished her first Nancy Drew book; and she loved it. It was called Secrets Can Kill and involved Nancy going back to school under cover as a high school student. Emily has always loved a good mystery, and this classic was no exception. I'm pretty sure this series will be on this year's Christmas list.


And now all that's left to do is get ready for my local Farmers' Market which opens this coming Saturday. I have already started on my homemade granola and next I think I will tackle those candied pecan I shared about before.

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, May 16, 2016

Summer is Coming!

All of my spring traveling is now behind me and Emily and I are working diligently to finish up the school year. She just has one week left and a choir concert to participate in, and then we can focus on our summer activities which includes gardening and the farmers' market.

Emily has spent the past few months making bottle cap magnets to sell. We ordered 100 count packs of caps, packs of tiny magnets, glossy accent filler, and glue for the magnets. I also hopped over to Jo-Ann Fabrics to buy a one inch hole punch. We punch out small round pictures from almost anything: old cards, magazines, catalogues. Pretty  much anything that has super tiny pictures. Emily then pastes them into the caps with a minuscule amount of accent filler. When they are dry she applies a liberal amount of filler on top to seal the picture. And last but not least, she glues a small magnet on the back. They are just the cutest magnets ever and I'm sure they will sell well. She also has a few Perler Bead magnets to sell as well.




I just went to the store to stock up on supplies for the baking I do for farmers' market. Soon the smell of home-made granola, brownies, scotchies, and mini quick breads will permeate our  home. This year I am also going to add the candied pecans I took to  my author friends to my repertoire.

Bobby will soon be planting our Sun Sugar orange cherry tomatoes, sweet yellow onions, and some peppers. Hopefully the black raspberries I planted last fall will produce their first crop this year as well. All of this talk about farmers' market, garden plants, and planting makes me think about books on the same subjects, so here are a few of my favorites:









And although I have yet to read Jack's Garden, it looks like a book I definitely want to check out!


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.