Archive for November 2013

Bag It This Thanksgiving!

November 28, 2013

I love Thanksgiving! It’s a time for family, friends, and tasty food. So let the good times roll.

But if you’re the one stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is gathered around the television watching football, the good times may not roll. So BAG IT! That’s right. It’s the perfect solution to take the stress out of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner and give you time to enjoy the good times with the rest of the crew.

Here is my new and improved menu for a stress-free Thanksgiving dinner.

Appetizers

Cheese cubes in a bag – open and serve with a variety of crackers from a bag in a box

Ready-to-eat shrimp in a bag – open and serve when defrosted

Popcorn in a bag – open and serve to those rowdy football fans

Dinner

Turkey – Stuff with stuffing from a bag.

Directions:  Place turkey in a bag. Roast the bagged turkey in a disposable container until golden brown. No basting needed. The magic bag does it all.

Side Dishes

Gravy in a bag found in the cavity of the turkey

Mashed Potatoes in a bag

Fancy-cut green beans in a bag

Directions:  Open and heat

Dessert

Pumpkin and oatmeal-craisin cookies in a bag

Directions:  Open and eat

Tableware:

Disposable plates, cups, napkins, and silverware all found in a bag

Adult Beverage

Wine in a bag found in a box.

Directions:  Pour yourself a glass or two and let the good times roll as you’re unbagging your Thanksgiving dinner!

I’m stuffed!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Picture Book Month – Biographies

November 21, 2013

Picture book biographies shine. They offer readers an easy way to learn about well-known people as compared to reading a longer biography that may be too daunting for them.

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Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball written by John Coy and illustrated by Joe Morse is a picture book biography that shines. In 1891 in Springfield, MA, James Naismith took over a gym class that no one else wanted to teach. In desperation, he created a game that required skill and rules that had to be followed if the players wanted to remain playing. His game piqued the interest of the boys, and basketball became a hit. Coy provides concise information about how James Naismith invented the game of basketball and how it became a national pastime. The graphic illustrations by Joe Morse offer readers a glimpse into the time period when basketball was invented. Make sure to look at the endpapers to see Naismith’s first draft of basketball rules.

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Another picture book biography worth reading is Louisa May’s Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Carlyn Beccia. Krull offers a slice of Louisa May Alcott’s life that played an important role in the way she ultimately looked at her own life. In 1862, Louisa traveled to Washington D.C. to help nurse the wounded and sick soldiers of the Civil War. Conditions in the makeshift hospital were horrible, and tending to the seriously wounded soldiers made Louisa come face-to-face with the reality of war. In her short time there, she saw the disparity between how white workers and black workers were treated. Three weeks into Louisa’s time in Washington, she became very ill and was eventually brought home by her father. Alcott’s experience in Washington was live-changing. Her heartfelt writing about what she saw in the hospital made editors sit up and pay attention. Her writing was suddenly in demand. Soon afterward, she was asked to write a book about girls. Little Women, set during the Civil War, was the result, and it became a best seller. Carlyn Beccia’s colorful illustrations and Kathleen Krull’s story give readers a new look into the life and writings of Louisa May Alcott. Back matter and endpapers in the book provide more information about the time period. A list of  websites related to Louisa May Alcott and a timeline of her books can also be found.

An ABC Book for Picture Book Month

November 14, 2013

How many ABC books can you purchase for your child? If it’s well done, there’s always room for one more. All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep is one to add to your collection. In this alphabetical book, author, Crescent Dragonwagon, and illustrator, David McPhail, create a serene setting for lulling a child to sleep. Who knew wild animals could be so calming?

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Crescent Dragonwagon uses a combination of rhyme and alliteration to create a world of well-known and some not so well-known animals that are ready to settle down to sleep. David McPhail’s watercolor and ink illustrations are soft and soothing to the eye and compliment the lyrical text that sets the stage for sleepy time.

This is a perfect book to share with your child who may not be quite ready to settle down for the night.

Picture Book Month!

November 7, 2013

As soon as my daughter was old enough to hold a book and turn the pages, I took her to the library. It was love at first sight. She surrounded herself with picture books and was in book heaven. If it hadn’t been for all those wonderful books made available to us in the library, I don’t think my daughter would be the avid reader she is today.

Revisiting Special Places

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Children’s Room-Boston Public Library

There’s nothing like a good picture book to keep children entertained, and there’s nothing like the Children’s Room in the library to offer up books, cozy reading places, story hours, and activities.

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The picture book biography, Miss Moore Thought Otherwise, written by Jan Pinborough and illustrated by Debby Atwell, is a perfect way to honor a woman who was instrumental in organizing one of the first Children’s Rooms in a library and fill it with exciting books for youngsters to read.

Annie, as she was known when she was young, was not your typical girl living in the 1870s. She loved the outdoors and listening to poems and stories her father read. She wanted to be a lawyer like her father, but his death changed things. Annie ended up going the library school at Pratt Institute in New York. After she graduated, she got a job at the Pratt Free Library where she set up a Children’s Room, but her pièce de résistance was the Children’s Room she designed for the newly built New York Public Library. It became a model for libraries, nationally and internationally, all because Miss Moore Thought Otherwise.

Give a shout out to Anne Carroll Moore and all the others who played a role in creating a special space in libraries for our children to learn to love books and reading!


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