Monday, October 16, 2017

A is for Aligator

As my basement reno draws closer to being finished, I grow excited. I can't wait to start decorating with all my bookish things like event swag, autographed books, and my letter project. Recently I purchased four letters from my local Jo Ann Fabric store along with some fifty cent books from the thrift store. My objective was to take the letters and cover them in bits of book pages and seal them with modge podge thus creating the word read. I have three of the letters finished, and they are even cuter than I imagined they would be.




Emily had a project going on this week as well. She had a teen church party to attend, so she made soft batch chocolate chip cookies from a recipe we found on Pinterest. The youth minister particularly enjoyed them!


And since I had two books in my reading pile about alligators, I decided that "A" would be the letter of the week. The first book, Dance is for Everyone, tells the story of an alligator who decided to join ballet class. The students become used to having an alligator perform with them and soon name her Tonya. Of course, there are problems that come with having an alligator in class, but creative ideas soon take care of those problems. The ending is particularly unexpected and the end papers are worth admiring.


The second book, Alan's Big, Scary Teeth, takes the reader on an amusing journey. Alan the alligator spends his days scaring the other animals in the forest with his big scary teeth. But Alan has a secret. His teeth aren't real. When Alan's teeth come up missing, he goes from be the scariest to being the most laughed at. To find out who took Alan's teeth, how he gets them back, and what he does afterwards instead of scaring everyone you are going to have to find a copy to read for yourself!


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, October 9, 2017

New Things

This week since I didn't have all the farmers' market baking to do, I tried some new recipes out on my family. I made homemade garlic cheese bread sticks and apple cider pulled pork. Both were delicious, but the bread was extra good! I also found several new cookie recipes on Pinterest that I want to try this Christmas.


In addition, I finished canning pears, peeled, sliced and froze apples for fried apples this winter, and I am probably cooking apple butter as you read this. I certainly do love fall harvest!

And finally, I found an autographed book at the bottom of one of my piles that I had not read yet. It is titled The Little Ships and is a historical fiction picture book that I received when I attended Nerd Camp this summer. But don't let the words historical fiction fool you any, this book is based on the real life heroic rescue at Dunkirk.


I don't know about you, but I love autographed books, and although I wouldn't probably have gravitated to this book on my own, I'm glad it's now part of my growing collection. The Little Ships is a story of a boy in a fishing town fifty miles from Dunkirk England during WWII. His father and he, along with many other fishermen in their small ships, set sail for Dunkirk to ferry thousands of sailors to the navy ships waiting nearby. In all, 338,226 soldiers both French and English were rescued by the little ships. This amazing feat is brought to life by Louise Borden in a believable manner and the story is given depth with the muted water colors of illustrator Michael Foreman.

So my suggestion for all you history buffs, WWII enthusiasts, or just plain curious persons is to find a copy for yourself either from your library or at your favorite book store and get to reading!

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, October 2, 2017

Three Cats, Three Books

The weather this past weekend was a bit chilly, but it didn't keep kids from creating a little art at the market chalk-a-palooza where I manage. I passed out chalk and caramel apple suckers to the kids and sold almost everything from my table making it a pretty stellar day. And while I love the market, I am glad it's behind me as I am looking forward to taking a little break from baking until the holidays.




Something else I did this past month was run a cross a blurb showing that September was designated as Happy Cat Month. And though we are a few days into October now, I thought it would be fun to share three cat books I read for the occasion. But before I do, I'd like to introduce you to our family's three cats, Max, Daisy, and Fluffy.

Max

Daisy
Fluffy
 Do you see the theme I snuck in there?  Three cats owned, three books read!

The first book I read was titled, The big Meow. The story tells the tale of Little Cat who has a big meow. A meow much bigger than the meow's of his peers, and one that causes the others to leave him out of all their fun and games. That is until Little Cat uses his big meow to save the other kittens from Bruno the bullying Bulldog.


The next title was a cute book called, Cat Skidoo. Cat Skidoo takes the reader on a journey as they follow two kittens who are curious and manage to get into lots of mischief. This book would be great for kids four to six and has some very fun illustrations to admire along the way.


And last but certainly not least since it was my favorite of the three books was Goyangi Means Cat. It is the story of a small girl from Korea, Soo Min, who comes to America after being adopted. Her new parents only know four words of Korean but they have a Goyangi or cat. The cat helps Soo Min adjust to her new home that is different from anything she has ever known. But one day, the cat slips out the door and, Soo Min and her mother spend the day combing the neighbor hood for the naughty kitty.


I loved so many things about this book. I love the story's depiction of how a child might feel in a new and strange place no matter how loving the adoptive parents are. I love that she finds comfort in the family cat. and I love how both the parents and Soo Min make effort to learn each other's languages. But most of all, I loved the illustrations by husband and wife team Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. What they created on the pages of this book was a tapestry of Asian characters and patterns that made me the Korean culture a bit more deeply.

Since all these titles are a little older, I suggest you check you local library first. If that fails, there are some used copies floating around and Goyangi Means Cat is readily available in both Kindle and Nook form.

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, September 25, 2017

No Words and Rhyme Time

This week was less eventful than last. We home schooled, I got the oil changed in my car, went to my rescheduled car appointment, and enjoyed taking pictures at Farmers' Market. I do love to take pictures of fruits and vegetables!


 




And I even managed to read two books instead of one this week. The first book, Owl Bat/ Bat Owl, tells a tale of new friends without words. Now in all honesty, I don't normally like wordless picture books, but this book kept my interest until the very end. An owl family and a bat family share the same sleeping branch where everything but sleep seems to take place. This book offers the readers a wonderful opportunity to talk about the action each illustration offers and would be great for kids ages four to six.


The second book, There's a Bear on My Chair, told a tale with words a plenty. And not just any words, but rhyming words. Extremely well written rhyming words. A mouse shares  his feelings of outrage over a bear sitting in his chair. And quite frankly, the bear just does not care that he is sitting in the mouse's chair. A fun and colorful book, children from four to eight will think this story great!


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, September 18, 2017

You've Got The Power!

This week was a grab bag of good, bad, and exceptional days. Monday through Thursday were your ordinary good days. Emily made it through her home school lessons with little drama or whining. I accomplished my usual household duties like dishes, vacuuming, and grocery shopping with relative ease. And we attended our first Cook Book Club since it broke for summer. And by the way, Emily's Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars were delicious, especially since she used homemade cookie dough instead of pre-packaged.


Oh, and I almost forgot. I made some divine applesauce from apples a friend at Cook Book Club gave me!


But Friday, Friday was one of THOSE days. You know, the kind where everything that can go wrong will. I started the morning off by assigning Emily her work for the day and then set off to a car appointment I'd set up weeks before only to discover that through a series of mistakes (none of which were mine) my appointment had been canceled. No biggie, I simply rescheduled, but on the way there I noticed my low air pressure tire light had come on.

So I drove the thirty minutes back to my home town, scooted myself over to the tire shop, and had them remove the nail I'd run over. Now normally this wouldn't be a big deal either, however, this is the fourth item I've run over in three years, and I just bought these tires this spring. I swear I'm a metal road hazard magnet.


And the fun didn't end there. I took myself and my car with the newly patched tire home to finish baking the Scotchies I wanted to take to friends the next day. It was then that the dreaded sound filled my ears__ the sound of water splashing in the kitchen cabinet underneath my sink. Yep, you guessed it. My garbage disposal was leaking water through the motor and all over the inside of my cabinet. Needless to say, bedtime came early that night.

But the beauty of having one of those kinds of days is that I've got the power. The power to keep going. The power to think about how many more days were good compared to bad. And the power to look ahead to to a new day and what it might hold. That day was Saturday, and I was headed to the SCBWI Ohio North Conference.

Disappointment faded as the conference turned into a most exceptional day! I ran into some friends like authors Michelle Houts and Lisa Amstutz (be sure to check out both of their great websites). I received an amazing critique from the fabulous duo of Gloria Adams and Jean Daigneau who do a two for one deal. How can you beat two perspectives on a manuscript for the price of one! And I learned quite a bit at the sessions I attended.



I also managed to spend a little time with Debbie Ohi for the second time this year (squee). Not to mention I bought a copy of Where Are My Books which she autographed with a little image of me. That alone would have made this book special, but the story and illustrations are FANTASTIC! Like me, Spencer loved books. So much so, that he was devastated when his books began to vanish. To avoid any spoilers I'm not going to tell you who took his books or how Spencer resolved the problem. I will simply say, "RUN don't walk to your nearest book store and grab 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, September 11, 2017

The Ohio Renaissance Festival (Part 2)

Another week has come and gone and it's time for round two of my family's recent trip to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. As I mentioned last week, there are many things to do and see at the festival including variety shows. And our favorite show happens to be the one put on by the fabulous Kamikaze FireFlies.

The KF's are comprised of the couple duo of Rob Williams and Casey Martin who graciously pose with visitors after each performance. They hold four Guiness World records, have appeared on America's Got Talent, and have a variety of skills.

2014

2017

Casey twirls around in the German Wheel never spilling a drop of water out of the drinking glasses.




Rob cracks the whip and keeps everyone in line.


They juggle.

 

Rob likes to climb on people and fire always make its way into one or more act.



 
 
Rob spins a great pirate tale.


And Casey does amazing things with hula hoops.


 


So even if the Ohio Renaissance Festival didn't boast great dining opportunities, fantastic musical performances, jousting, costumed persons galore, the Queen and her entourage, amazing craftsmen, fun vendors, pirates and pirates ships, camel rides, bubbles, and more, it would be worth attending just to see Rob and Casey!

And in case you thought I had forgotten, I did read a great book this week titled, The Cow Who Climbed A Tree. It's the story of a cow who dreamed wondrous dreams and who thought the sky was the limit. Despite her family's declarations that what she dreamed was impossible, ridiculous, and nonsensical, she believed that anything was possible. This book reminded me of Rob and Casey and their dreams of entertaining people everywhere with their amazing talents.


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, September 4, 2017

The Ohio Renaissance Festival (Part 1)

As promised last week, this week I'm sharing all about our visit to the Ohio Renaissance Festival in Waynesville, Ohio.


If you've never been to the renaissance Festival, all I can say is what are you waiting for? And if you have been, you already know how much fun visiting this recreation of a 1572 English village is.

There are fabulous vendors and you can even watch some of them action. Two of my favorites were the glass figurine maker and the glass blower.





And then there are the wonderful musicians scattered throughout the complex. I especially enjoyed the hammered dulcimer player.


The musical glass player.


The harp player.


 And the guitar player/singer.


Lots of other people seem to enjoy this festival as much as me and my family if this picture is anything to judge by.

 
And although my twelve year old is too old for games and rides, this place is perfect for kids in the younger crowd. We are talking about bubbles and camels after all!



And then of course the Queen might pass with her entourage at any time.



But if you don't run into her on the street, you can see her at the jousting tournament. A word to the wise, however, get to the jousting arena early or you won't get a seat. Fortunately, we had witnessed the jousting three years ago when we attended, so I still have great pics to show you what the jousting experience looks like!

 

 
And then there are the performers. There are jugglers, comedy acts, and variety shows. Our absolute favorite performers are the Kamikaze FireFlies which I will share all about in my next post.


So if all these great pictures and descriptions have made you want to jump in the car and go visit this wonderful destination for yourself, I have a discount offer just for you. Get $4 off Adult and $2 off Child tickets by using Promo Code "queen17" when purchasing on the secure website at www.renfestival.com. Tickets valid any day of the 2017 season (Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day Sept 2 - Oct 29). Online discount only. Not good with any other offers.
http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php… .@usfg

And lest I forget, here is a great book you can read before you go! Because, the Renaissance was a time of great art, great music, and so much more. And here's a link to some other great resources http://zing-zoom.com/wpzz/the-renaissance/!


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.