Archive for February 2010

The Ducklings Have Landed

February 26, 2010

“The kind of humor I like is the thing that makes me laugh for five seconds and think for ten minutes.” — William Davis

Visiting my daughter in Boston is treat. This past week I was treated to many things — a blow-up mattress, cooking dinners with limited ingredients, replacing light bulbs, using a tipsy chair, and deciding what to do with an old pillar purchased at an antique/restoration store. What can I say? That’s what mothers and fathers are for! 

Even though Boston had five inches of snow the day before we arrived, the weather was balmy with the hint of spring in the air. It was perfect weather for seeing the city, and my daughter insisted we take advantage of this. 

Since Bostonians drive by their own rules, we took the T. It’s Boston’s answer to mass transit and is a treat in itself. While waiting for the Red Line, my daughter entertained us by spotting mice crawling on the tracks, and if anyone remembers Charlie of MTA fame, I swear I sat next to him. He doesn’t look bad for his age!

Boston has it all from A to Z. We took in everything from academia to zipcars. That daughter of ours walked our little tootsies off, and I’m still nursing blisters — a treat for the feet! We were like Robert McCloskey’s MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS as we waddled our way around Boston.

Some highlights from our waddlings.

The State House — a little bling!

Boston Common — not so common.

Paul Revere resting.

Sam Adams

In the spirit of Sam Adams!

Never pass up a book store.

My favorite!

A light at the end of the Boston tunnels.

Soaking in some higher education at Harvard.


Our little duckling.

Boston rocks! There’s so much to see and do. Follow the Freedom Trail and become a part of history. Go to the North End and stop at a pastry shop for a yummy cannoli. There’s the Boston Seaport, Fenway Park, Charlestown, Cambridge, Newbury Street, the Back Bay, and where everyone knows your name — CHEERS!

Take me back!

Going to Boston? Frommer’s Boston 2010 by Marie Morris (Frommers, 2009), Top 10 Boston (EYEWITNESS TRAVEL GUIDE) by DK Publishing (DK Travel, 2009)

Books About BostonYou Wouldn’t Want to Be at the Boston Tea Party! by Peter Cook (Children’s Press, 2006), Beneath The Streets Of Boston:  Building America’s First Subway by Joe McKendry (David R. Godine, 2005), Colonial Voices:  Hear Them Speak by Kay Winters (Dutton Juvenile, 2008)

Picture Books:   86 Years: The Legend of the Boston Red Sox by Melinda R. Boroson (Brown House Books, 2005), Journey Around Boston From A to Z by Martha Zschock (Commonwealth Editions, 2001), Sleds on Boston Common:  A Story from the American Revolution by Louise Borden (Margaret K. McElderry, 2000)

For older readers:  Emma’s Journal:  The Story of a Colonial Girl by Marissa Moss (Silver Whistle Paperbacks, 2001), Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 1943), Liberty’s Son:  A Spy Story of the American Revolution by Paul B. Thompson (Enslow Publishers, 2009)




Making Way For Ducklings

February 23, 2010


Make way for ducklings on Friday. We’re still in flight! 

You’ve Got To Move It

February 19, 2010

“Laughter is inner jogging.” ─ Norman Cousins

You’ve got to move it, move it! You’ve got to move it, move it! Be physically fit, physically fit!

The fight against childhood obesity is on with Michelle Obama behind it. Gym teachers and parents unite! Make those kids move! Improve childhood nutrition and physical activity now. Move it! Move it!

When my daughter was in grade school, her gym teacher was adamant about physical exercise. There was no sitting around. It was all about moving and being physically fit. Running, jumping, rollerblading, sledding. Whatever it took to keep the kids active, she had them do it. But I must admit I was surprised when my daughter, who was in kindergarten at the time, burst through the kitchen door yelling, “Our gym teacher made us run around heaven!”

Now that was a feat, even for her gym teacher! After a bit of questioning, I found out they did laps around the cemetery that was adjacent to the school.

When the spirit moves you, say, “I Like to Move It” and do it!

Coming soon:  Keeping Kids Fit:  A Family Plan for Raising Active, Healthy Children by Len Saunders (LaChance Publishing LLC, May 1, 2010)

Lost and Found

February 16, 2010

Lost! Missing! Vanished! Gone!

How do they do it? One minute they’re with you and the next they’re not. I’m talking about family members who go astray while shopping. Does the store gobble them up? Do they hide and laugh while you frantically search for them? Do they think you’re lost and they’re not?

When my daughter was young and wandered away from me, I was a crazy woman until I found her. When she was a teenager I figured she had purposely disappeared so I wouldn’t embarrass her. I knew she would eventually find me because I had the keys to the car. But when your husband disappears, that’s a whole new game of hide and seek.

On Saturday we entered the department store together. He went one way. I went the other. We were to meet back in the middle. I zoomed through the store, knowing my husband hates to shop and would show signs of impatience if I took too long. (He will deny this, but it’s true!) I got back to the middle with my purchases and waited, and waited, and waited. I did a quick search of the store. Not a sign of him. A saleswoman asked if she could help me find something. I told her my husband. She laughed and walked away.

After twenty minutes, I’m thinking, where is this man? Is he like The Man Who Lost His Head? Was he searching for a new one and that’s what was taking so long? I took out my phone, which I was told to always have with me, and called him. The phone rang, and rang, and rang. Then it went to voicemail. I had been waiting for forty-five minutes. My happy face was no longer. I considered going to the service desk to have them make an announcement for a missing husband when he strolled over to me. It seems he had discovered shopping wasn’t so bad after all. He had been hiding in a fitting room for the past hour, trying on clothes and finding some great deals.   

When we got to the car, he picked his phone up off the floor where he had left it. “Oh,” he said, “I have a missed call.” I rolled my eyes and said, “Let’s go.”

More lost and found: Patches: Lost And Found by Steven Kroll (Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books, 2005), Corduroy Lost and Found by B.G. Hennessy (Viking Juvenile, 2006), Lost and Found:  Three Dog Stories by Jim LaMarche (Chronicle Books, 2009)  Lost and Found by Andrew Clements (Atheneum, 2008)

Coming Soon:  Nini Lost and Found by Anita Lobel (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010)

Bear With Me

February 12, 2010

Snorting, grunting, groaning. It’s six o’clock in the morning. It’s snowing. It’s cold. And I’m a bear! My family knows to keep their distance until later when I’m miraculously transformed into my charming self.

Okay, I’m not good-humored when I wake up. I need time and space before pleasant things come out of my mouth and so, too, does my daughter. Who knew grouchy was genetic? Recently, I said, “You’re as grumpy as I am in the morning.” My daughter’s retort was, “I know. That’s why I love you.”

Not all bears are grouchy. The bear in Kevin Henkes’ book, Old Bearis a perfect example of what I should be like when I get up in the morning. Everything about the book is cheery – the soft colors, the expressions on Old Bear’s face, his dreams, and his outlook on life. When I meet with my preschoolers in the library at 10:20 next Tuesday, I will be sharing this book with them. By that hour of the morning, I’ll be a happy person, and I’ll be able to do the book the justice it deserves.  

Whether we’re old bears, young bears, happy bears, or grumpy bears, bear with us!   

More bear books:  Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson (Margaret K. McElderry, 1st Edition, 2002), We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen (Margaret K. McElderry, 1st Edition, 1989), Bear’s Picture by Daniel Pinkwater (Houghton Mifflin Books for children, 2008), Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2007)

To Card Or Not To Card

February 9, 2010

Your teeth are like stars… they come out at night.

Your lips are so sweet… because you eat candy like a slob. 

Those are two of my favorite verses from Valentine’s Day cards I received when I was in grade school. Ah…, young love! Since then I’ve received many more Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, anniversary, and birthday cards. Over the years, I’ve saved my favorites and so has my husband. We have so many cards we could open our own used card store. What should we do? Stop buying cards? Take a look at our wild and crazy solutions.

The Card Date

This is my favorite. On a Card Date, you and your significant other go to a card store on or before the special day you would normally give a card. Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I’ll use that as an example. Once you’re in a card store, go to the Valentine display and separately browse through the cards. When you’ve found the perfect card for your loved one, come together and exchange them. Read your cards. Laugh, cry, or lovingly sigh. Then give one another a big hug or kiss. Afterwards, return the cards to their proper places. Card Date over. It’s simple, cheap, and fun. Try it. You’ll like it!


This is another way of exchanging cards without spending money or adding another favorite card to your stash. Go through that box of old, used cards. Find the perfect card for the occasion you’re celebrating. Pick the best of the best that you’ve hidden away for years. Give it with pride and love.  Recarding can save a tree, save a trip to the card store, save a five-dollar bill, and help you purge some belongings!  

Are these solutions crazy? Of course they are! That’s what makes our ideas work. So remember….

 Roses are red violets are blue.

Card Date? Recarding? It’s up to you!

Valentine gifts you can open again and again. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney (Candlewick, 2008), Valentines Are For Saying I Love You by Margaret Sutherland (Grosset & Dunlap, 2007), Valentine Friends by April Jones Prince (Cartwheel Books, 2007), Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse (Chronicle Books 1st Edition, 1991), Love, Splat by Rob Scotton (HarperCollins, 2008), I Love You More by Laura Duksta (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2007)

Paper Bag Luggage

February 5, 2010

It’s been ripped, smashed, and lost. If you do any type of airline travel, you know what I’m talking about. Luggage! Once you hand over your luggage to the care of the airlines, it’s put into the Tunnel of Terror and embarks on a horrifying experience. As it proceeds through the tunnel, it’s x-rayed, opened, closed, dropped, bounced, rolled, and tossed into the cold, heartless belly of a giant flying machine. The resulting scars are proof of the shocking experience.

If you’re anything like me, when you made your first luggage purchase, you went to a reputable store. You listened to the salesperson tell you the expensive luggage you were about to buy would withstand any type of mishandling. After a few flights, you noticed your luggage was showing signs of age. Creases and wrinkles appeared. The wheels didn’t roll as smoothly as before. The zipper forgot to stay closed. Then the time came when you had to put your luggage into the Old Bags Home. You replaced the old with the new – again and again. Finally, you came to the realization that it didn’t matter how much or how little you spent on luggage. It all ended up looking the same – saggy and baggy. Did you ever stop to think that you’re paying the airlines twenty-five to thirty-five dollars a bag to have it abused in this manner? It’s just not right!

My daughter came up with a perfect remedy for this abuse. While on vacation in Spain, her luggage was stolen. Being a highly creative person, she found an alternative solution to everyday luggage. When we met her at the airport on her return trip, she sashayed through the doors carrying a shopping bag filled with what was left of her meager belongings. Paper bag luggage! Ah…yes. She’s always the trendsetter!

Think of it. Paper bag luggage! You’re recycling! No more money wasted on expensive luggage that gets ruined on its inaugural flight. Paper bag luggage is light and flexible. Use it as your carry on. (You know you never need as much as you pack.) Paper bag luggage fits under the seat or in the luggage bin. There is no baggage fee and no waiting at the baggage claim. When you’re finished using it, you can store it in the smallest of spaces or toss it out. It’s the answer to all your luggage worries! 

Think of the choices!




In two weeks, I’m going to Boston to visit my daughter. I have my paper bag luggage ready and waiting. My daughter will be so proud of me when she picks me up at the airport.  But then again, she may be so embarrassed that I may have to bag the whole experience!

Traveling?  Smart Packing for Today’s Traveler by Susan Foster (Smart Travel Press, 3rd Edition, 2008), The Bag I’m Taking to Grandma’s by Shirley Neitzel (Greenwillow Books, 1998)


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