Monday, October 26, 2015

A Looks Good, Smells Good, Feels Good Kind of Weekend!

Sometimes I wonder how we pack so many fun things into one little weekend. Perhaps this time it's because Emily and I started the weekend a little early and skipped our traditional home school work for a field trip. We started out by heading to a nearby town for a little shopping. Not your ordinary shopping mind you, but shopping for the Operation Christmas Child shoe box project that we participate in every year. I think it's a good reminder for us to remember how blessed we are and how little some other's have.

Next we went to Grandpa's cheese barn and Sweeties Chocolates. We particularly wanted to visit the cheese barn because Emily collects pressed pennies and I knew that there was a machine there. She has been collecting pressed pennies for many years now and keeps them in a pressed penny book that we found at a Cabela's store. For a long time, they were difficult to find, but recently, a friend told me about Penny Collector Dot Com where you can find listings for pressed penny machines all over the world. We printed of the listings for our home state of Ohio and are trying to see how many we can collect.

Finally, on the way home, we stopped at the Sandusky Hollow Nature Preserve and took a little hike. The autumn foliage was quite beautiful and it was nice to stretch our legs a bit. 

Saturday I spent cleaning our upstairs. Two bathrooms were cleaned. Bedrooms were dusted and vacuumed. I even cleaned out the spare bedroom closet while Emily cleaned her room. We ended up with two bags for the thrift store and two for the trash. While not a particularly interesting way to spend a day, it was good to feel productive.

Wrapping the week up seemed to call for some crock-pot apple butter makin' on Sunday afternoon. This is not a quick project as it has to simmer for ten hours, but the aroma that fills the house is so incredible you will think you have entered the gates of heaven. I will let you know how it turns out next week and I will share the recipe.

Since I experienced good sights and good smells this weekend, I thought it would be a great addition to review some books that brought about good feelings. And the two books I chose did just that. The first book, The Invisible Boy, gave me a feeling of such great joy because it had a beautifully happy ending. One boy finds himself on the outside looking in so to speak. No one notices him. No one chooses him for their team. No one seems to see him at all giving him the feeling that he is invisible. Until one day when a new boy who is different then the others comes to class. Because he is different, kids laugh at him. The invisible boy wonders which is worse, to be ignored or to be laughed at. He extends the olive branch of friendship and wonderful things begin to happen. Suddenly, he is no longer invisible. The illustrator did a tremendous job of adding tot he stories depth by portraying everyone in color except for the boy who feels invisible. But as the story progresses, I noticed the boy begin to get a little more colorful with each page until he was finally in full color like the rest of the characters. 

This book touched something inside of me. The something inside of me that knows what it's like to be laughed at and what it is like to be picked last. It touched a part of me that sees the invisible kids, the part of me that always encourages my daughter to notice the invisible kids and to include them. This book is truely a gem and worth looking for!

While the first book took me from sadness to joy, the second book just plain made me laugh. It was called That's (Not) Mine. Two characters spend practically the entire book fighting over a chair. Each one claiming the chair is theirs. Each one trying to get the other one out of the chair. Finally they both end up on the floor and realize how silly it is to fight and decide to go outside and play. But that is not the end of the story because as the two head out, a third character jumps in the chair and claims, "It's Mine." I had to laugh because this is so very realistic where kids are concerned and it reminded me of the time when my nieces fought over a blank piece of note paper one of them found on the shopping mall floor.  

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 sequels, Return To Fern Valley,  and Cooking In Fern Valley, along with my very first picture book, Quack and Daisy! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

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