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. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Hudson Children's Book Festival

I love to travel. I love to catch up with friends. I love to make new friends. I love books. So just imagine how much I love participating in the Hudson Children's Book Festival which occurred this past weekend!
This festival takes place each year in lovely Hudson, New York which is on the banks of the Hudson River and is quite a ways from my Shelby, Ohio home. So I set out on Thursday morning and drove many hours until I reached the home of my friends Barbara and Victor Mojica. They invited me to stay at the guest cottage behind their home and a lake view was included. Two more gracious hosts you will never find.



Victor is the creator of the CrossBones Comics and Eugenics as well as the illustrator of Barbara's Little Miss History Books. They both love, love, love history, which is evident in the fine books they produce. And if you happen to be visiting the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, be sure to check the gift shops for their books.



 


Victor and Barbara weren't the only authors and illustrators I was already acquainted with. I also had a blast with David Biedrzycki and his new selfie stick. David is the author and illustrator of several books including the Breaking News Series.

David and Me



There was also the Fabulous Susan Hood whose latest book released just days before the festival and David A. Kelly who writes the Ballpark Mysteries for all you baseball lovers. I particularly like book #6 The Wrigley Riddle because it reminds me of when my dad and I used to watch the Chicago Cubs together when I was a kid.

Beth Ferry, Me, and Susan Hood


There was Diane DeGroat a superb illustrator/author of the Gilbert books as well as illustrator of Ree Drummund's, Charlie books, the husband and wife team of Wendell and Florence Minor, and the creator of the Monster Needs series, Paul Czajak.

David and Diane DeGroat


David with Florence and Wendell Minor

David and Paul

 
I also met brand new author Katherine Gardner who is a pre-k teacher as well. She is just as cute as can be and the type of teacher every pre-ker dreams of. I met Beth Ferry, the author I mentioned last week, Daniel Mahoney, author of Monstergarten, and one of my table mates, Bianca Rell, who turned out to be with my very own publisher Tate.

Katherine Gardner and Me



Daniel Mahoney and me


Bianca Rell and Me


And did I mention I met Kwame Alexander, author of many books, including my favorite, Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band. For kids interested in the history of Jazz, this book is a must. It turns out, that Kwane is as sweet as he is tall and handsome!

Kwame Alexander and Me


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 2, 2016

Travel Season and Candied Pecans!

Since most of the book fairs and festivals are in the spring and the fall, these are my busy travel seasons. In my last post, I shared about my time at the Southern Kentucky Book Festival and the authors and illustrators I spent time with. Then I came home to the every day business of taking Emily to her Terra Nova Testing, Children's Church, and taking myself to the dentist. That wasn't nearly as much fun as the book fair, especially since I have to go back after I return from this coming week's trip to the Hudson Children's Book Festival. I'm not looking forward to getting my last wisdom tooth pulled, but I am going to be brave.



In anticipation of my upcoming trip, I have been making candied pecans for my friends. They are super easy, but they do require turning every fifteen minutes for an hour. And they pack into Wilton pretzel bags beautifully. I'm looking forward to meeting friends at Hudson as well as making some new ones.  One of the new friends I hope to make is Beth Ferry, author of Stick and Stone. I reviewed this book a while back and it is seriously worth mentioning again. It is a beautiful story of friendship and sticking up for others.


I will most certainly tell you about all my friends including the new ones and all this year's new book offerings next week when I return. Meanwhile, I will leave you with the recipe for the pecans. Once you eat these, you will have to use unusual powers of self control to stop at just one serving. Yes, they are that good!

1 pound Pecans
1 egg white
1 TBS water
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a stand mixer, beat egg white and water until foamy. Add nuts and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly coated in egg mixture. In a small bowl mix together sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour over nuts and stir until evenly coated. Spread out on a large baking sheet. Place in oven and set time for fifteen minutes. When timer goes off, turn nuts with a metal spatula. Do this every fifteen minutes for an hour. Allow nuts to cool thoroughly before placing in an airtight container.

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.