Monday, January 22, 2018

Mixed Emotions And A Knowledge of Earmuffs

This past week I wasn't sure if I should cry or jump for joy. "Why the  mixed emotions?" you ask. The answer is simple, I now have a teen. Yes, that beautiful little girl I gave birth to is now thirteen. Her father and I have watched her grow over the years, and I can tell  you it has all gone by way too fast.



Some of her good friends helped us celebrate! 






Games like pass the stuffed peep, unwrap the candy kiss with oven mitts, a roll the dice game involving candy, and Twister were played.






 I have no clue exactly how her story will turn out, but I am confident her transition to adulthood will be even more exciting! 


So while I have no idea what will unfold in our days living with a teen, I do have a new found knowledge about earmuffs due to a book titled Earmuffs for Everyone. This book, written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy, tells the story of how Chester Greenwood became known as the inventor of earmuffs. I learned that many credited inventors did not actually invent the items they were credited with, but in actuality, merely improve them. This book is treasure trove of information with funny complimentary illustrations. It also included mentions of other inventions, famous improvers, and even women's rights.


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 15, 2018

Snow!

This past week Emily and I attended Cook Book Club and wouldn't you know, I forgot to take pictures. The theme was soup, but Emily made an eclair dessert she found on Pinterest (which was super delicious), and I made rolls to go with everyone else's soup.

We also had some roller coaster weather. You know that fifty degrees one day and zero the next kind of weather. And with the return to cold, we had snow. Lots and lots of snow. Of course we made provisions for our backyard buddies, but I'm pretty sure they are as tired of the snow as I am.



So I found it totally appropriate that the book I grabbed from my to read pile  for this week's review was titled Snow Bear. When I saw this book at the library, I just knew I had to read it even though it was from 1999. I had to read it, not only because it was a winter themed book; but because the paintings are by my superbly talented friend Wendell Minor. This story, about an Eskimo girl and a polar bear cub, is told from several points of view which I enjoyed. The mother bear watches. The older brother watches. And the girl and the cub become fast friends. Someone more dangerous than either mother bear or brother and his gun appears. But all ends up as it should. Wendell's artwork lends a hand in taking the reader on a wonderful arctic journey, and I'm pretty sure adults and children alike will love this book!


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 8, 2018

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

Hey everyone. It's good to be back after a couple weeks off. December was wonderful, but tiring. Emily made a three -d star for art class and finished a short story for entry in the Association of Christian Schools International.


I made way more cookies than any one person should make.


We invited Bobby's family over for a Christmas celebration at our home, and I managed to get a stunning picture of the only grand niece amidst a passel of six grand nephews, the three youngest shown below.




We celebrated at my brother's house with my side of the family where Emily only has three first cousins.




We celebrated, just the three of us, at our house where Emily sported the french braids her cousin styled for her. She also performed a concert for us for Christmas, and I'm not sure, but I think the cat tried to knock her out! Guess he was jealous that she received all the gifts.






We visited Bobby's mother, who missed our celebration because she'd been in the hospital.



And, we had lots and lots of fires which kept us warm while we admired our backyard visitors.









The month of December also brought me an invitation from an author previously unknown to me. He asked if I would read and review his book and took care to learn a little bit about me before asking. This consideration is probably what made the difference between a yes and a no from me, and I'm really glad because his story was fantastic. His name is Edward Dron and his book, The Pillow Parade,is a story of a rabbit who wishes to help children go to sleep. The sheep don't think a rabbit is worthy or capable of helping children slumber, but he doesn't let the nay saying of others keep him from trying. Don's story is quite original and well told. The adorable illustrations also add a layer of depth to the story and the combination is sure to keep children's attention from wandering. The pillow parade is definitely a book worth checking out!


As you can see, we wrapped the year up quite nicely and are now ready to tackle whatever 2018 has to offer. We started off by ringing in the New Year quietly. Well, Bobby and I were quite, but I can't say that Emily and her New Year friend were as there was a lot of giggling going on. Emily spent some time doodling in her sketch books, and we celebrated Bobby's birthday on Sunday. Not a bad way to say hello to a brand new year. I can't wait to see what else 2018 has in store, whatever it is, I'm sure it won't be boring. Wishing you all a very not boring New Year too!



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 11, 2017

A Science Project and A Red Balloon

This past week, actually for the past two weeks, Emily has been working on a project she was assigned by her after school science teacher. He had asked each of the students to make a diorama of a tsunami. Normally Emily is not a self motivated student, but this time she made me proud. She envisioned her tsunami as a mini 3d wave headed for the beach. It took me a few days to think what she  might use to make 3d waves and how the viewers of her project would see the fault in the sea floor that causes the waves that form the tsunami, but I prevailed. Carvable floral foam covered with paper mache on a cardboard base did the trick.


She was also fortunate that I keep boxes of every kind. I had just emptied a plastic cutlery box that had little windows in the lid. So, she used the bottom of the box to build her sea floor in and used one of the windows from the lid to make a view port. Of course it didn't occur to us immediately that  when the solid wave top was resting in place it would be too dark to see inside. But never fear, my creative daughter ran to her room and returned with some light up shoe lace lights from her last birthday that she never used. When glued to the bottom of the wave base they can be turned on revealing the inside of her magnificent ocean floor!


In between advising her on her diorama assembly and other home school assignments, I began the bake and freeze cookie regime I mentioned last week. So far I have the chocolate sugar cookies, the Swedish butter cookies, and the snicker doodles done. And I must admit that the chocolate sugar cookies were tasty even without icing.

And last but not least, I read an incredibly fun picture book titled, CONFISCATED, by Suzanne Kaufman. This book resonated with me because it reminded me of my nieces when they were little. They were two years apart in age and constantly fought over everything just like the brothers in this book. I remember one particular shopping day with my sister in which one of the girls found a small blank piece of paper on the floor, and the two squabbled and squabbled over that tiny piece of nothing.



The brothers in CONFISCATED squabble too. So much so, that their mom takes away everything they fight over until they have nothing left. The boredom is more then the two can take and they begin to talk to each other and share good memories. One memory is of a red balloon. In an effort to sneak the red balloon from the confiscation locker, they end up making a bit of a mess. You probably want to know how their mom reacted to that, but there will be no spoilers here, lol. So go grab a copy from  your library or get a copy of  your own.

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 4, 2017

Fancy is Fun

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is just around the corner. This means the decorating has commenced.

The family tree is up and decorated.

 

Emily's tree is up and decorated.


The dining room is fancy and festive.


And I'm in the midst of putting up my Christmas village.

Besides decorating, I'm preparing my plan of attack for cookie baking this year. Normally, I just wait until Christmas has almost arrived, and I start baking random cookies. But this year, I'm starting early. I've decided to bake several cookies that freeze well and when it's time, I will simply take them out and decorate them. This will allow me ample time to bake the cookies that don't freeze well.

I always bake some staple cookies that are family favorites like date nut pinwheels and Swedish butter cookies, but I also try new recipes each year (thank goodness for Pinterest). This year I'm going to try Chocolate Sugar Cookies and Puerto Rican Coconut Cookies to name a few. And because I am passionate about photography as well as baking, cookie variety is key. Colors and textures must be plenteous and a few cookies with fancy sprinkles or decorations don't hurt. Below are some of examples of bakes from Christmases past, and I can't wait to see what the photos for this year's cookies turn out like.







And in case you missed the word fancy being bandied about, that is the connection to the book I read this past week. It is a I Can Read Beginning Reader title Fancy Nancy Best Reading Buddies. If I didn't already love and recommend Fancy Nancy books, this one would definitely win me over. In this story Fancy Nancy has a reading buddy with definite flair and personality just like her. And when they aren't able to read together for a while due to unforeseen circumstances, Nancy grows sad. But don't fear, Nancy receives a surprise visit from her best-est reading buddy, and all is right in her world once more!


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.