Wednesday, March 30, 2011

She Looks Just Like You! (Oh I hear that all the time!)

I remember the days when I had time at work or home to pull together extra minutes to write a book review. Hah!   We are experiencing a crazy schedule and I have to pick and choose what I can get done.

I did manage to finish reading Peter and the Shadow Thieves tonight after our church dinner celebrating Haitian culture.  I simply came home, laid down on the sofa and read.  I wanted it finished for my 5th grade book club meeting at school, which meets today,  and no way did I want to listen to 5 students discuss the ending without having my own insight.  Now I can shout it from the mountain top-Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson wrote an a thrilling sequel to Peter and the Starcatchers.  I wonder what Peter and the Secret of Rundoon is like....hmmm....must add to list.

But I digress because today I'm actually here to tell you about She Looks Just Like You; A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood(2010)  by Amie Klempnauer Miller.  This is a "hot button" topic right now and one that I am firmly for-and I will gladly shout this from the mountain top as well- people should be able to love who they want.*

The description of Amie falling in love with Jane while they were both at a Midwestern college could mirror my own love story.   I'm probably preaching to the choir but my wish would be if just one person who is against gay marriage read this book with an open mind and had a change of heart would be mo.  It's about people and love and justice.  I feel without a doubt that this is the Civil Rights struggle of the 21st Century.  Same-sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexuals, to marry, foster and adopt children and to share health care. Amie explains how frustrating it was to have to go to court to adopt her daughter. 

Amie and Jane's love story and their decision to become parents after an 18 year relationship is personal, heart-warming and I recommend this book  for the story it shares. Okay, for her first book she does overwrite a bit-lengthy discussions and overly descriptive at times,  but it is her retelling.  Once Hannah is born the book made me laugh and cry because parenthood is funny and tragic all at once.

Nursing, late night trips to the doctor, over guessing every dang decision, worry added to more worry is what encompasses the second half of the book and that is the dream/nightmare most parents also experience. It brought back my nursing joys and baby love.   I nursed and hated weaning Groovy Girl.  Yet I was the one who wanted to wean her because she was old enough to ask for it on demand and Spring Break and summer loomed ahead and I knew I just couldn't take it anymore.  Ahhh, the irony of it all! 

The difficult part about reading this book is "watching" Amie and Jane's relationship crumble as they find their new roles as mom and mamma much more difficult than any parenting manuel can ever express. Thank you to Amie for writing a book that is honest about how hard it can be for anyone to be sleep-deprived, work full-time, try to write, try to placate your partner all while the child is wailing-it's painful but well-told. 

My favorite movie this year was The Kid's Are All Right, which has a similar theme of a longtime lesbian couple (Benning and Moore) with children and the children choose to meet their sperm donor father.  It is realistic and hilarious! 

Amie Klempnaer Miller's website and blog-keep up with the family!

A random quote:

"Pregnancy slaps you in the face with the knowledge that much of who we are is defined by our bodies.  On a daily basis, Jane is becoming less self-sufficient.  Her growing stomach limits the clothes she can wear, the things she can reach, and the spaces she can fit into.  Hormones course through her veins like hallucinogenic drugs, making her drop things, forget what she is saying in the middle of a sentence, and gag whenever she tries to brush her teeth.  Her body is hot and tired and beginning to swell.  And now she is surrounded by a room full of even hotter, more exhausted, and more swollen women, like perverse Ghosts of Christmas Future, presenting vision upon vision of what she will become."  (80)

Other thoughts:
Emily reviews it at What All the Cool Kids Are Reading...

I found my copy on the new shelf at my local library!

*disclaimer-understand this to mean I don't consider small children or young adult children to be love interest candidates for adults.  I've heard this argument before and clearly I know the difference between consenting adults who like each other or fall in love.  Often we don't pick who we fall in love with-it happens.  I happened to have fallen in love with a tall, brown-haired man who slurps his cereal and drives with his knee.    I still love him and find him incredibly sexy most of the time!

Do you feel GLBT can be good parents/partners?  Let me know in the comment section...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Cooking; Recipes for friends

Friends of ours came to visit for the weekend.  They live in Indiana, own a bakery and are food lovers like we are.  My friendship with Barb predates husbands and children, when her and I waited tables together in Denver, CO.  Eventually we both married, had children, she and her husband moved back to Chicago and eventually her hometown in Indiana.   She is the one friend who's visited me anywhere I've moved and the year we lived in Chicago she drove in often to visit and helped me find local great stores like Stanley's for produce.  Both of us were vegetarians for years (and years)and moved back into eating meat as local options came available.  Now she's added yoga to her morning routine so we sought out a Saturday morning yoga class at a nearby wellness center as my favorite studio held a pregnancy workshop this weekend. 

Friday night after school I grocery shopped for two recipes I planned to make, came home and  frantically vacuumed (vacuuming is the one thing I do to make my house presentable) the house (with Groovy Girl and Teenage Boy's help).  After cleaning for about an hour (moving piles around) I poured a glass of wine and started cooking, which is truly the *second  best reason  for having guests over.  I picked two interesting recipes that we would eat on Saturday afternoon that wouldn't involve me being in the kitchen all Saturday afternoon-the easy place to look for a recipe like that is in my Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker book by Robin Robertson. I wanted a recipe I hadn't made before and the Pintos Picadillos list of ingredients appealed to me.  On Saturday right before dinner I also whipped up this Couscous Salad recipe from Super Suppers Cookbook 2 by Judie Byrd-I talked about this cookbook and the Angel Biscuit recipe in another Weekend Cooking post. 

We ate both recipes last night with some spring salad greens and a Newman's Own ginger dressing, which was delicious!!
Everything tasted amazing and all the adults had second helpings.  My kids love Pearl Couscous but didn't love it mixed with all the veggies.   Conversation and wine flowed freely as we discussed a variety of topics and played several board games with our children.  They headed home this morning and the house is quiet. 

Other food-related news:   April's Vegetarian Times magazine arived in my mailbox on Friday and with all the vacuuming, cooking and hanging out I haven't cracked the cover but I look forward to paging through it today.  I checked out two awesome library books the other day...Earth to Table; Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann and Reducing Your Foodprint; Farming, Cooking, and Eating for a Healthy Planet by Ellen Rodger.  I will be reading these this week and I'm shocked that March is almost finished and April is right around the corner!!  Hopefully, warmer weather is just as close cuz I'm still freezing here. 

Two upcoming Weekend Cooking posts just waiting in my brain...My husband's birthday was this week and I cooked several of his favorite meals,  including Lamb Korma using an expensive cut of (local) lamb from our small organic store and I made Angel biscuits with a group of students after school one day last week.  Oh, and I have to make a coconut pudding for a Haitian dinner on Wednesday!  

Enjoy a pleasant and peaceful week...
*The number one reason for having houseguests is the shared conversation~sometimes lively, sometimes filled with laughter and sometimes in stillness.


Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads-stop over and see what she has to say about pressure cookers and Lorna Sass!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Feature: Women's History Month/Women Who Shook the World!

March is Women's History Month and while I'm not teaching this specifically with classes I do have three remarkable books that shouldn't go unnoticed.  I've used this timeline with 3rd grade students as we create a black history structure of our own and that is where I noticed the Women's History Timeline-what a great biography resource tool.

Here are three groundbreaking women:

1. Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt written by Leslie Kimmelman; ill. by Adam Gustavson (2009)

I love this book as much as I love Alice Roosevelt!  She is a fascinating character, filled with spunk and gumption.   This book chronicles Alice's adventures as her father tries to tame her.  It makes use of speech bubbles to add to its charm-not overdone as too many speech bubbles make it difficult to read aloud.  Find this or order it and enjoy learning more about Alice's life.  The illustrations are bright and colorful and some almost jump right off the page, especially the snake under the table illustration.    "The secret of eternal youth is arrested development.” ~Alice Roosevelt

2. Rachel; The Story of Rachel Carson by Amy Ehrlich; ill. by Wendell Minor (2003)

This one is not a read aloud length unless a teacher read it in parts but the Ehrlich's story is well-written and would be great for 4th-and 5th grade biographies.  Maybe because I'm such a nature freak myself I love the illustrations in this book as much I enjoyed learning more about Carson's life.  She was interested in writing at an early age and actually had a story published in a magazine at the age of 11.  It wasn't until she attended college at Pennsylvania College for Women that she found her love of biology.  Carson, with her love of nature, connected the idea of all things being interrelated, a web of life. "If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life."~ Rachel Carson   
Read more about Rachel here.

3. Wangari's Trees of Peace; A True Story of Africa by Jeanette Winter (2008)
Wangari's story, one of peace and justice, that I loved hearing about when it first hit the news-one women making a difference in her home country of Kenya.  Wangari studied in America as a young adult and noticed big changes when she retuned to Africa.   Trees had been overharvested , birds no longer sang and crops were scarce.  She begins by planting nine trees in her own backyard, plants many in an open space tree nursery and eventually hands them out to the village women.  This is a woman,  still living, still doing, still campaigning- a great lesson for us all.  There is much too do!  "We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own-indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder." ~Wangari Maathai  The Green Belt Movement-for more information.

What about you?  Do you have any amazing books you are featuring for Women's History Month?  Doing any groundbreaking yourself?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

George Washington Carver was amazing!

In the Garden with Dr. Carver
Susan Grigsby with pictures by Nicole Tadgell

First impression comes from the delicately illustrated endpapers done in a field guide style; identifying plants and animals.  Historical fiction picture books are a great way to introduce important heroes to young children.  This one does just that as it relays Dr. Carver's idea of a movable agricultural school through the South.  Adults and children learn about healthy soil, crop rotation, the damage cotton does Southern soil and how to do more with the sweet potato and the peanut. 

I loved this book as it took me through an average day with Dr. Carver and his outdoor school.  Oh, I how I long for a similar experience in today's over processed world.  We could use much of Carver's knowledge today.  Through his talks he encourages one young girl who wants to grow up to be a plant doctor to "listen to the plants and they will tell you what they need." 

This would make an excellent resource for budding scientists, plant biology, biographies, black history, animals, gardening and backyard creatures.  I picked it up from my local library but plan to order it for school.  Carver was such an amazing person and we need his knowledge today.  His ideas came to mind yesterday when my husband read me something about the Pepsi Co creating a bottle made from plant sources.  George Washington Carver would be proud of this modern marvel.  If we could create more plastics from plants instead of petroleum we could lessen our dependency on oil in other ways even beyond driving fuel efficient cars.  5/5 amazing stars

Monday, March 21, 2011

My favorite Organic Bathroom Products-you know you want to look in the cabinet...

Pleeeeeeese click over to Sarah's post at Desirous of Everything to read about my favorite bathroom products.  Yes, bathroom products...some awesome organic delicious smelling items I use to freshen and pamper myself.  I've been at work all day where many blogs are blocked by our lovely filter...and then I had a Union Meeting and book club meeting (great discussion about Lisa See's Shanghai Girls) so this is my first moment at home with my laptop to check out my own guest post and I really, really want you to hop over there and check it out as well!  Go now, what are you waiting for...her blog is well worth it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Guest Post

My funky Groovy Girl who has a Kerouac name.
Sarah at Desirous of Everything (such a cool quote from Jack Kerouac) asked me to write a guest post several weeks ago.  It was about the only thing I accomplished over Spring Break...other than relaxing, having fun and reading.  Go check her spunky blog out today and then again tomorrow to see what I came up with... 

I've been reading her blog for a few months now and am always happily entertained.  She lives in Manhattan (so fantastic!) and is a K-8 librarian and a writer.  One of the things I love about Sarah's posts is her willingness to share her life, put herself out there.  She writes about books but also her bathroom and the perfumes she loves.  She likes Kerouac and Jane Eyre, together. I love Kerouac-my daughter is named after one of his characters, really!   Thank you Sarah for thinking of me when you went looking for March sponsors.

What happened to the parents?...prequel will answer burning Boxcar question.

I was so happy to receive this news in an email.  I've read many of these books and have often wondered what happened to the parents.  The four children are so resourceful, thoughtful and nice to each other that they had to have had AMAZING parents.

Press Release:

Author of Newbery-winner Sarah, Plain and Tall to Write Boxcar Children Prequel

On Tuesday, March 15, Albert Whitman & Company announced that Newbery-winning author Patricia MacLachlan will write the prequel to The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. To be published in September 2012, the prequel brings together two powerhouse brands of children’s literature. The book will be published simultaneously as an e-book by Open Road Integrated Media. The announcement was made at the Gertrude Chandler Warner Boxcar Children Museum in Putnam, Connecticut.

Excited to be writing the prequel to The Boxcar Children, MacLachlan is particularly interested in the children themselves. “Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are kind to one another and embody the true sense of family. They are resourceful and positive. I find them both true children and true heroes at the same time. It occurs to me that perhaps their parents were the same. I’m looking forward to exploring that idea and more.”

Patricia MacLachlan, the author of over 20 books for children, won the Newbery Medal for her book Sarah, Plain and Tall.

The Boxcar Children, an award-winning series with over 150 titles and more than 50 million copies in print, has been continuously in print since the publication of the first book in 1942. Albert Whitman will celebrate the 70th anniversary of this beloved series in 2012.

Albert Whitman & Company President John Quattrocchi notes, “Young readers have long wondered how the Boxcar Children came to be orphans. We are pleased and honored that an author of Patricia MacLachlan’s talent and understanding of children will reveal the answer to the world.”

Making the announcement for Albert Whitman & Company was Senior Editor Wendy McClure. Rubin Pfeffer (East-West Literary Agency), MacLachlan’s agent, was also on hand. Representing the museum at the announcement were Fred Hedenberg (Founder and Curator), Patricia Hedenberg (Founding Boxcar Committee Member), and Barbara Scalise (Director). Also present were Bill Pearsall (President, Aspinock Historical Society), Sandra Ames (former grade school student of Gertrude Chandler Warner), and Julia Duquette (former student of Gertrude Chandler Warner and a relative of Warner).

I think Patricia MacLachlan is the perfect person to pen this prequel!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Raj the bookstore Tiger

by Kathleen T. Pelley
ill. by Paige Keiser

Felicity holds up her beautiful new kitty and christens him "Raj" because of his golden coat and his chocolate stripes.  Raj patrols Felicity's bookstore with the ferocity of a real tiger, happy with his life.  "Mornings began with a patrol of the storerooms, followed by sun basking in the front window."  and "after a face wash and a snooze, it was time to greet the customers with a leg rub or a hearty meow."   Oh the simple happiness.

And then Snowball comes to town...or at least to the bookstore and quickly dampens Raj's tiger tendencies.  Snowball now struts his stuff while Raj cowers under chairs.  The reason for Raj's sudden sadness...Snowball informs him that he's "not a real tiger.  In fact, you're just a plain old marmalade kitty-cat with muddy brown splotches that some people might call stripes."  (insert snarky cat tone)

Oh, the indignation and with those words Raj is not the reigning cat of  the bookstore.After days of kitty sadness,  Felicity reads from William Blake's  The Tiger , perking Raj up just a bit. Then Sanjiv Patel comes for the bookstore's storytime and shares a video of India.  A Bengal tiger roars on screen, scaring Snowball and  Raj, except he remembers Blake's poem and "roars" back.

Words can help or hurt and someone can easily take your gusto away just as it happens to Raj.  Reading this to students it could easily be applied to bullying and self esteem.  Would you rather cower under a chair or rise up and roar! 

Paige Keiser's illustrations are charming and softly drawn.  Kaiser has a wonderful blog...Fox in Socks.

Other thoughts:

Roxanne at Books That Heal Kids  and
Successful Teaching review it as well.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Break (slow down you move to fast...)

We are having a fantastic time in Little Rock, visiting friends and hanging out.  Groovy Girl and her friend, S, daughter of V, enjoyed the zoo and a few dress-up playdates.  The weather has been chilly and a bit rainy while my mother, back at our homestead, keeps texting me how warm she is sitting on our patio with our dog.  Hopefully tomorrow will be warmer as we wake early to climb Pinnacle Mt. together as a family. 

I'm reading Lisa See's Shanghi Girls while we are here and I hope to finish it so the return trip I can begin another book I brought with me.  We still have many more adventures before we leave and as always it will be difficult to say goodbye.  I did get to eat my favorite catfish tacos today so I'm all good.
Teenage Boy and his girlfriend, Caylee

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Feature from the Fair; part 2

Here is a quick list of fantastic picture books from our Scholastic Book Fair!!  Think great stories + illustrations of beauty!

My Forever Dress by Harriet Ziefert (2009).  "My grandma is magic!" [Love that sentence!]  "She takes an old dress and makes it new with a snip here, a stitch there, some buttons and bows, and loving care.  I call it my forever dress, because it will last forever, and ever, and ever.  I think that's magic, don't you?"  The relationship between the grandmother and granddaughter is one of shared love and respect as they work to create different outfits using the same dress. Perfect for burgeoning eco-friendly fashionistas as well a good example in reduce, reuse, recycle! 

Chalk by Bill Thompson(2010). Simple sidewalk chalk is the key element in this magical wordless book when three children venture out on a rainy day to the park.  Discovering a bag of chalk hanging from a jumping playground dinosaur each child in turn creates a visual masterpiece that comes alive, right up out of the sidewalk.  I loved sharing this with classes from Kinder-second grade and watching their faces light up as the first girl's drawing of a sun becomes real.  The illustrations are so well done my students were able to tell the story as we paged through it. Many had never experienced sidewalk chalk before but they knew it was chalk.  So now I know when the weather warms up we will be decorating our school sidewalks...


The Curious Garden by Peter Brown(2009).  Liam, on one of his many walks through his dreary city, finds a patch of a color up by the abandoned railroad tracks.  He transforms himself into a gardener as the plants happily respond,  flourishing under his care.  Students loved watching the city come to life with living things- plants, and flowers as well as other gardeners.  The first picture of the "dreary" city makes a great comparison when you flip to the second to last page-same view, better place to live.  It brought the meaning of the word "dreary" to LIFE!!

I'm always shocked when almost a whole week has gone by without blogging.  My Lenten plan is to be more authentic with my family-to be there. Even as I go through my day blogging ideas zing and ping through my brain.  Plus...I've had a busy week and it is (or will be in one hour)Spring Break!  I am heading to Little Rock to see my friend, V as she steps out for her directorial debut for the play, For Colored Girls Who've Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange.  (my review of this choreopoem)  I am so excited to be there and we have so many other fun things to do and I am hoping and praying it will be warm-I need a little sunshine.  Everyone could use a little  more sunshine...



Sunday, March 6, 2011

Midnight Weekend Cooking

Tonight we had friends over for a casual dinner. It's interesting how you often make friends through your children...our children are all in the same third grade class and have been together in school since kindergarten.  Even though it was casual  I did clean my house.  I  made fresh biscuits and two pans of lasagna. And went to a two-hour 4-H meeting with G.G.

The lasagna recipe I've shared before (from The Grit)except this time I did make the tomato sauce but the biscuits were a new thing.  The day passed so quickly I didn't even take any photos which would have been sweet as Groovy Girl took cutting out the biscuits and dipping them in butter under her proverbial 8-year-old wing. There was flour everywhere!!  I would make these biscuits again.  It made a lot and according to the recipe the dough can be stored in the ice box for 3 weeks, which means you could break out a chunk of dough and make a coupla of them each night for dinner. 

That recipe came from a book fair cookbook-on sale for FIVE dollars; Super Suppers Cookbook 2; More Everyday Family Recipes by Judi Byrd.  I bought it because I was impressed that it had a vegetarian section and more than a few of the recipes had whole grains and beans.  It also includes fun menu plans like for parties or well, um, casual dinners.  Just like what we had tonight except tonight our friends brought the side dishes and I just took care of the main course.  I did also make biscuits, endamame (our appetizer), green beans (kid-friendly veg.) and a spring mix salad.   I have "become"  my grandmother who never wanted anyone to leave her home the slightest bit hungry!  We had plenty!  One couple brought a rice pilaf dish with cranberries and the other couple brought cheesecake with fresh blueberries nestled on top a lovely layer of whipped cream.   Yum!

Angel Biscuits

Makes 16 biscuits (I think more)

nonstick cooking spray
5 cups of flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4-oz package yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups buttermilk
Flour for rolling
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

One: Preheat oven to 375 degrees (okay, really you don't need to do this until you are rolling out the biscuits, but that's just me).  Coat a 13x 9-in pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Two: in a large bowl combine the 5 cups of flour, the baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Three: In a small bowl dissolve yeast in warm water, add buttermilk.  (buttermilk can easily be made with a quick pour of vinegar added to reg. milk).  Using a fork, stir until just moistened.

Four: Pat or lightly roll dough to 1/2-in. thick.  Cut dough with a floured 2 1/4-in. biscuit cutter, rerolling scraps as necessary and dipping cutter into flour between cuts.  Dip each biscuit in melted butter and place in prepared baking dish.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden.  Remove biscuits from baking dish and serve warm. 

Plan Ahead:  Prepare recipe through Step Three but don't preheat oven or coat dish.  Cover and refrigerate up to 3 weeks.  (Bake when ready.)

Easy.  I used a mix of whole wheat flour and unbleached white (KAF).    I was a bit mortified by the dunking in butter so I tried one pan without dunking and they were fine but not quite as delicious/light and fluffy as the dipped.  Duh.

Hope everyone's having a marvelous weekend.  Now for the rest of the weekend I plan on resting and  finishing the two books I am reading; She Looks Just Like You by Amie Klempnauer Miller and Bright Young Things by Ana Godberson. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Fair Shopping

My book fair is all set up.  I stayed late to do it on Friday after school so it will be all set for Monday.   In between classes and during conferences I've done some serious browsing and there are so many books that I want; some for school and some for myself.  Here's a partial list:

1. The Summer of Moonlight Secrets by Danette Haworth. 

Welcome to The Merriwether, Florida's once-grand-hotel built on Hope Springs, where nothing is quite as it seems.  Hidden staircases give way to shadowy servants' quarters, and old-fashioned speakeasies make for the perfect hide and seek spot.  Allie Jo Jackson knows every nook and cranny of The Meriwether-she's lived there her whole life-and nothing surprises her, until the first time she spots the beautiful Tara emerging from the water of the springs.  Tara's shimmery skin, long flowing, and fondness for moonlight swims hint-and once Allie Jo and her friend Chase discover Tara's secret, nothing will ever be the same.

2. The Healing Spell by Kimberly Griffiths Little.

Eleven-year-old Livie is keeping a secret, and it's crushing her.  She knows she is responsible for her mother's coma, but she can't tell anyone.  And it's up to her to find a way to wake her mamma before anyone uncovers the truth of what really happened. 

3. Radiance by Alyson Noel. 

Riley has crossed the bridge into the afterlife-a place called Here, where time is always Now.  She has picked up life where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice neighborhood.  When she is summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn't just an eternity of leisure.  She's been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who's definetely hiding something.  They return to earth together for Riley's first assignment, a Radiant Boy who's been haunting a castle in England for centuries.  Many soul catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed.  But all of that was before he met Riley...(I enjoyed reading Everafter and this seems different yet similar)

4. Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow.  (and for my historical fiction craving)

World War II has just ended when 13-year-old Mikhail finds a dying man and his German shepherd, Zasha, in the woods.  It's dangerous-some say traitorous-to own a German dog after Germany attacked Russia, so Mikhail must keep Zasha a secret to keep her alive. 

5. 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson.

Lying in bed at night, twelve-year-old Henry York can't ignore the thumping and scratching he hears on the other side of the wall.  He scrapes off the plaster and discovers doors-ninety-nine cupboards of all different sizes and shapes.  Through one he hears the sound of falling rain.  Through another he sees a glowing room-with a man strolling back and forth!  Henry and his cousin Henrietta soon understand that these are not just cupboards.  they are, in fact, portals to other worlds.    I noticed on the author's website their are already books 2, Dandelion Fire, and 3, Chestnut King, ready in this series, which means no waiting around for more.

All synopsis notes are from the back blurb on the book. 

That is just from the fiction section. 
A whole 'nother post is waiting for the fabulous picture books from the book fair!!

and a Rant for the day:

The word of the day is BOOK-whenyou bring your child to the BOOK fair-buy them a book, then if they still want the pencil with the Pokeman eraser, go for it.  But the BOOK is the most important item.  After all it is a BOOK Fair, not a crazy writing utensil fair.  There I've said my piece.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February Recap

It was a good reading month for me.  I'm off to a better start on all my reading challenges.  I had promised to fulfill last year's 100+ challenge before I started anew and I accomplished that this month.  I'm feeling pretty happy about that

1. The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran;  old ARC from my favorite deceased bookstore in Little Rock, made the move with me here. I finally read it and need to pass it on.  Anyone interested?  Good story about trying to settle in, well,  Tuscany.  Reading from my own shelves project challenge.

2.  Sophie the Hero by Lara Berger (elementary fiction)cute story about a young girl trying to find her own special talent.   Read it with Groovy Girl.

3. Milo; Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg-best middle grade fiction book I've read in a long time, so innovative and personal.  Everyone should experience Milo!! Library Project Challenge. Click here for my review.

4.  The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters-book club read for Feb., spooky but filled me with questions.  Waters is an exceptional writer who I plan to read more of.  Click here for my review.

5. Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella-bought this at our local used bookstore when Tina suggested I read it.  I surprised myself by enjoying the heck out of it.  Plan to read more of them.  Perfect summer sitting-by-the-pool-read.  Last year's Reading from my own shelves project. Need to review.

6. Clara's Kitchen by Clara Cannucciari- great Depression-era memoir cookbook.  Food and Library Project Challenge. Click here for my post.

7. Come to the Table; The Slow Food Way of Cooking ed. by Katrina Heron-Lovely California farm stories withe recipes.  Food and Library Projects Challenge. Click here for my review.

8. The Bluest Eye  by Toni Morrison-I bought this one when it first came up, my mom borrowed it and "lost" it.  I rebought it at the used bookstore one day and decided this was the book to read from Reading from my own shelves project for this month.  Reading from my own shelves project. Need to review.

P.S. While I was feeling all spunky about reading 8 books this month my reading/blogging/librarian friend, TINA, commented that she had a good reading month with like 16 books!!  How does she do it??

I also had a great month of Rodale Plastic-Free thinking.  While I am already neurotically earthy this challenge did make me consider packaging more...I couldn't buy  a few favorite items and well, I lived through the month so I guess I don't need my fancy orange juice, every month.  Perhaps it will make it a rare and delicious treat.  I did point out to  my husband that I at least reuse the plastic orange juice jug time after time.

I do have a large collection of ball jars and Pyrex dishes for food storage.  This challenge did make me think creatively outside the box, digging deeper for solutions. 

I hope February was filled with innovative solutions, good cooking and lots of reading.