Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer Vacation Is Over But The Reading Goes On!

Summer vacation went by so very quickly that it was here and gone before I even recognized what had happened. Because of this, I was a little late changing the library's summer reading display to a back to school display. Fortunately, the local children had only been in school a week and a half, so I modified my display just a bit to read: Time to put on your thinking cap and read some good books! I love visiting our local library, I love choosing books for my reviews, changing out the display case, talking with the librarians, and so much  more.

 

Which causes me to think on all the ways that books touch my life. I learned to cook fairly well with the aid of cook books, a skill which I use weekly to feed my family and my farm market customers. I often read for relaxation, a good giggle now and then, and to learn new facts, all of which I hope are evident in my book reviews. I read my Bible for comfort and direction. And, I read to my daughter to instill in her a love of words and ideas which will help her world ever expand. These experiences are woven together so seamlessly like a fine woolen scarf that they are an integral part of who I am and why I think reading is so important. The reason why my motto is __ Helping children open the doors to the reading universe on book at a time.


So now that I have bent your ear with my soap box ramblings of the importance of reading, here are the two books I read this week. The first is Stanley's Garage. It is a really simple story with lovely but simple illustrations. Great for children from about three to five, this is the story of Stanley the hamster and his garage. Stanley helps many friends with their automobile problems and introduces colors along the way. Each car is a bright new color.


I also read Water Is Water which is a spectacular book about the water cycle. It covers every imaginable form of water from steam to ice and the illustrations are so incredibly beautiful. I love the well done rhyme scheme that the story teller uses and the added bonus facts at the end. This book would be a great addition to any science class be it home school or traditional.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)and my very first picture book, Quack and Daisy! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pets of All Kinds

At our home we have lots of pets. We have three regular pets in the form of cats which includes Max who sometimes thinks he's a dog, Daisy who is an itty bitty kitty without a tail, and her daughter Fluffy who is scared of feet. And then we have all of Emily's Webkinz which probably  number close to two hundred. She has received them as gifts, has found them at garage sales, and has saved them from unmentionable doom at the thrift store. To her they are more then stuffed buddies, and I am regularly called upon to make beds for them.

 
Daisy
 
 
 
This past weekend, I even found a large rectangle basket which I knew would make a perfect bed for one or two of them once I make a mattress and bedding. And if truth be told, I would much rather make bedding for oodles of pretend pets then have any hamsters, goldfish, parakeets, or such join the family.

By funny coincidence, two books out of my stack from the library had to do with pets. I'm beginning to believe that there really are books about everything related to my life. Anyway, the first book was called Someday When My Cat Can Talk. It is the story of a young girl who imagines that if her cat could talk he would tell her about his travels around the world. As an added bonus at the end of the book, there is a section that lists facts about the countries that the girl imagines her cat has visited. There are fun facts about England, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Greece, and Holland. This would be a good book for any young child, but it would be an especially nice addition to a homeschool curriculum where the child was studying countries around the world.

Someday Wehn My Cat Can Talk

The second book I read was Hi Fly Guy by Ted Arnold. A boy name Buzz goes looking for a pet when he runs into fly. He takes him home and decides he will make a great pet. Other people in Buzz's life seem to think a fly for a pet is not a good idea, but Buzz believes his fly, who he has named Fly Guy, is a very smart fly and a wonderful pet. Adventure ensues as they attempt to prove this fact.

Hi Fly Guy

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015) and my very first picture book, Quack and Daisy! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Busy Day And A Gluten Free Friend

This past week was the normal kind of busy with an orthodontist appointment, school shopping, and farm market; but Saturday was extra busy because on top of market, we went to the fair. I sure was tired at the end of the day, however, it was the kind of tired you don't mind because it was so much fun.

 

Richland County Fair

But previous to the fair fun, that morning during the market, I was talking to one of my vendor friends, and she mentioned she was on a gluten free diet. Thankfully there are many options for those who need to go gluten-free. I even noticed that Aldi stores now have a small line of gluten free products.

Amazingly, when I picked out books on Friday, they happened to be about a busy day and a gluten free birthday party. Who knew that was exactly what I would experience the next day. The busy day book I  chose was by Loren Long, and it was called Otis's Busy Day.


Otis is a tractor and he lives and works on a farm where he does many things. One of my favorite things he did in this story was to make a new friend. Simply written and smartly illustrated, this book and the other Otis books are great for beginning readers.

The gluten free book I happened to choose was A Gluten-Free Birthday For Me. It is the story of a small girl who was having a birthday party. Since she has to eat gluten-free, her mother made a special gluten free cake. The party was going well until it was time for dessert. One boy who also needed a gluten free diet felt sad and told her he couldn't have cake. She reassuresd him he could and the party ended on a very happy note. At the end of the story, the author also listed several web sites with gluten free resources.

  
Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015) and my very first picture book, Quack and Daisy! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

 


Monday, August 10, 2015

Getting Back To Normal

SunflowersAfter our fun Cedar Point trip, this past week was all about getting back into my normal routine. That meant baking away for farm market. One of the things I love most about farm market is my vendors who have become like an extended family to me. We laugh, we joke, we help each other, and we visit. And every Saturday, I take joy in each item that my vendors show up with whether it's a beautiful sunflower from Rosemary's garden or Dale's hot pepper butter.

Taking time to smell the roses, appreciating everything, working hard at all we do, or thinking of how we can enrich the lives of others is not always a concept that children grasp, but as a parent, they are lessons I want my daughter to one day practice wholeheartedly. And once in a while, I find some great books that subtly bring home these messages.

This week, one of those books was In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van. It is an extremely simple story told with very few words, but it conveys the importance of family. It starts with a small house in a fishing village. It describes the house. It tells who is in the house. It tells who occupants are wishing was with them. Finally, it comes beautifully full circle when it shows the fisherman wishing he was home with the family who was missing him. 

In a Village by the Sea

The second book I read was Moustronaut by Astronaut Mark Kelly. It is the story of a small mouse who worked hard in preparation for a space voyage despite the opinion of his fellow mice that he was too small to be chosen. Delighted beyond words when he is chosen, Mouse searches diligently to find a way to be useful to the crew. Eventually he finds his purpose and it brings him great joy. I imagine he felt the same joy I feel from managing the market and finding ways to be useful to my vendors.

Mousetronaut

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015) and my very first picture book, Quack and Daisy! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Cedar Point and Some Amazing Adventures!

This week I took a rare Saturday off from the farm market to attend my husband's company pic-nic at Cedar Point. Since neither Bobby or I are super big roller coaster fans, we let Emily invite a friend. I haven't been to Cedar Point since Emily was three and we went with her cousins, my mom, and my sister-in-law. My husband hasn't been since 1979. So needless to say, it was an amazing adventure.

We spent the morning riding rides in the main park and then after lunch, we went around to the water park side and cooled off. It was very exciting, except for the long lines at the most popular rides; and the girls had a barrel of fun.


 


The books I read this week were also about amazing adventures. The first was called, Ellie Makes A New Friend; and the second was called, Ellie's First Plane Ride. I won both of these books in a recent contest and wasn't aware until they arrived at my door that they were co/written by a ten year old and her mother. 

Ellie Makes A New Friend

Ellie's First Plane Ride

There were several pros for these stories, one of which was the age of the main story teller. I think when youngsters have books published it not only encourages them, but also other children who might dream of writing. These stories were about the authors two favorite stuffed buddies which is also something that children can relate to. Exciting additions to the books included a page that invited children to take a selfie with their favorite plush and share it on a special face book site, as well as the fact that a portion of every book goes to help children in need.

However, I did feel that there were several cons for these stories as well, one of which was the age of the main story teller. The fact that a ten year old wrote these stories probably accounts for the number of grammatical and punctuation mistakes in both books. Mixed verb tenses used throughout and a large quantity of sentences starting with the word "but" made the reading a bit more difficult. A family member is credited as having edited these book which may also have contributed to the numerous mistakes I found. 


Despite the first book having won a Mother's Choice Award, an award that you have to pay a large fee for, I would not say these books are stellar reads. But if you are looking for books written by a ten year old about friendship and new adventures; and you have children who love stuffed animals, then these books are worth taking a chance on.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015) and my very first picture book, Quack and Daisy! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Reading Finale and Small Moments In Time!

This past week we attended the library's Summer Reading Finale where Emily enjoyed spending time with her friend. There were centers set up with activities for the kids like hula hooping and craft making, and there was free ice cream. Now I ask you, who doesn't love free ice cream?



 
Bobby took Friday off this week so we had a cook out Friday evening and invited my mom and sister over before we all headed out for our Friday night fun__Summer Bowling. After, we stopped at a little ice cream shop for our second day of yummy ice cream.
 
We also participated in our usual Saturday morning farm market where one of my vendors had some vegetables that were so beautiful; I just had to capture the images permanently. And while I was managing, selling, and socializing, the children took advantage of the bubbles I brought.


 

And lastly, we spent Saturday evening at some friends house celebrating a birthday with a feast and a bonfire. Some very adorable tiny kittens were involved as well, but none of them managed to sneak into our car for the ride home.

 
Thinking about all the little things that constitute our week, I realized how important all the seemingly small events are. I realized that these ordinary everyday occurrences are what bind us together as a family. They are what help us to create the memories that sustain us throughout our life times.

The two books I chose happened to be about parents and children and the beautiful bonds we create. The first book was about a father and daughter and was called Ask Me. The father and the daughter in this story take a walk and along the way the daughter keeps asking her father to ask her what she likes. She then regales him with all the things she enjoys like lightning bugs and ice cream cones. It is simply written and quite a beautiful story that children and adults will more then likely enjoy together.

Ask Me

The second book I read was called Where's Mommy? It was the story of two girls, one human and one a mouse. The two girls are friends but they don't tell their family members because they fear that their families will not understand. One night, as each girl gets ready for bed, she comes to the realization that her mother is not there to tuck her in. Her mother is missing. Each girl searches for her mother and in the end, they each find a delightful surprise.

Where's Mommy

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015) and my very first picture book, Quack and Daisy! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.


Monday, July 20, 2015

A Great Hat and What I Do Best

This past week at my house turned out to be super busy. Emily had Bible School, and since the theme was western, we had to get her a cowgirl hat. She also had an overnight with a friend. I had a book event at the Findlay-Hancock Public Library where I met fellow Tater Tot (A Tate Publishing Children's Author) Tom Waggoner and visited with a long time friend and supporter. And then there was grocery shopping and all the baking for farm market.

 

I was extra managerial on Saturday as there was a special chef event at the market. There was also a visit to my mother-in-law's house to see her and my husband's aunt who was up from Kentucky. And finally a rain free day that allowed us to go swimming. Yes, it was an extremely busy week, but quite rewarding.

My reading choices were  quite rewarding as well. I managed to find a book called I Love My Hat. I really don't purposely go searching for books that somehow connect to something that has occurred in my week; it just seems to happen naturally. So you can imagine how tickled I was to read an adorable story of Farmer Brown, his well dressed singing animals, and his trip to town to get new clothes. The repetition of the lyrical songs that the animals sing will be sure to keep your five to eight year olds interested to the end.

I Love MY Hat

Next I read a fun book called Three Hens and a Peacock. Another farm themed book, Three Hens and a Peacock tells the story of the Tucker Farm. The Tuckers sometimes sold a few tomatoes, corn, or the occasional quart of milk, that is until Peacock showed up. Peacock would stand by the road strutting, fanning his beautiful feathers, and squawking at passers by until they stopped. Soon the Tuckers were selling everything including eggs. The chickens complain about the Peacock, calling him vain and useless until the dog suggests they trade places. Needless to say, everyone learns that they need to stick with what they personally do best.

Three Hens and a Peacock

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015) and my very first picture book, Quack and Daisy! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.