Archive for January 2018

Let There Be Light

January 25, 2018

When we moved to a new state and a new home in a new housing development, everything was … new. Meeting our neighbors helped us feel more comfortable in our surroundings, and as we cultivated new friends, smiles lit up our faces.

Sometimes you find neighbors don’t always agree with everything happening in a community, but when the developer of our neighborhood put a new “street light” at the entrance to our development, we all came together. The decision was unanimous. The light must go.

It’s wasn’t a street light. It was a  light pole that belonged in front of someone’s house to light up a driveway or walkway. If you blinked, you’d miss the tiny glow it cast. I kiddingly said, “Maybe the snowplow will take care of it for us.”

It did.

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As of now, the light post lies face down in a puddle of slush. It’s a sad ending to the tale of the little light that didn’t shine brightly enough. The homeowners are in the process of replacing the light with a genuine street light that has a luminosity that will guide all those who enter our community.

Speaking of light …

Here are two sparkling books that will throw light on the subject of light.

Rabbit

The Way Home in the Night written and illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi, Kids Can Press, 2017

windows

Windows  is written by Julia Denos and illustrated by E.B. Goodale, Candlewick, 2017

Both of these books take place in the evening when lights illuminate the inside of neighborhood homes and businesses. Those looking in from the outside can catch a glimpse of what is happening on the inside. These slice of life images inspire curiosity, imagination, and a safe feeling of home and community. I especially love the lyrical language in The Way Home in the Night. The charming illustrations and text in both of these books make them a must read. And once you do,  I know you’ll agree with me.

Now, if you’re in the dark like we were this week because of a power outage, you might like this book.

blackout

Blackout is written and illustrated by John Rocco, Disney-Hyperion, 2011

When the lights go out, what’s a family to do? With the electronics down and out, a family learns how to reconnect with one another. Appealing text and illustrations show how family time can turn into quality time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Say It with Flowers

January 18, 2018

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” ~ Gerard De Nerval

Today is International Flower Day. Surprise someone with a bouquet.

Flowers are a beautiful way to say …

I love you

Happy Birthday

Get Well Soon

Thinking of You

Just Because

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Look at this bouquet! The unique combination of flowers puts a smile on my face. Flowers do that to me.

There are many artists who find flowers to be the perfect subject to paint. Two of my favorite artists who have painted flowers are Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet. I think my all-time favorite is Georgia O’Keefe. Her big, bold compositions immediately capture your attention.

Check out these books and introduce your youngsters to some famous artists and their painting techniques. van gogh

van Gogh and the Sunflowers written and illustrated by Laurence Anholt, Barron’s Educational Series, 2007

Linnea

Linnea in Monet’s Garden written by Christina Björk and illustrated by Lena Anderson, Source Books Jabberwocky, 2012

georgia

Through Georgia’s Eyes written by Rachel Rodriguez and illustrated by Julie Paschkis, Henry Holt & Company, 2006

hawaii

Georgia in Hawaii written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, Harcourt Children’s Books, 2012

“The earth laughs in flowers.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Books + Imagination = A Great Adventure

January 11, 2018

One flashlight. Three kids. An adventure in the making.

Author, Matt Forrest Esenwine, and illustrator, Fred Koehler team up to create an imaginative adventure that begs the reader to keep turning the pages.

flashlight

Flashlight Night, written in rhyme, begins with three children sitting in a tree house filled with books. When the older boy turns on the flashlight, the night comes alive, and so do their imaginations. The children embark on a grand backyard adventure following the path of the light. Each page turn brings the children into a new adventure. A kitten becomes a tiger, the underneath of a deck reveals an Egyptian tomb, a pool becomes an ocean with a pirate and a ship, sailing through rough waters where a sea monster suddenly appears. A stuffed teddy becomes an enormous bear that helps save the three adventurers and lets them return safely to their tree house. Keep a close eye on Fred Koehler’s illustrations done in pencil and digitally colored. They cleverly reveal what classic books motivate the children’s adventure.

What light shines on your imagination?

Putting Christmas Away

January 4, 2018

Ah… The Christmas Season! I love it! Decorations. Lights. Family. Friends. Festive foods. It’s like no other time of year. Our home is decorated to the nines. In every nook and cranny, there is something special. It’s been said our house throws up Christmas!

The holidays are over, and all I can say is – THANK GOODNESS! Yup, this is me, Mrs. Christmas saying, Bah Humbug!

The arrival of my daughter, favorite (and only) son-in-law, and three granddaughters on the day before Christmas Eve was the inciting incident. We were totally excited about celebrating Christmas with a four-month-old, and two-year-old twins. Yay! Fun times!

But wait! An unexpected Christmas gift came along with them. From the moment they walked through the door, the nasty flu bug was on their heels. Illness permeated the house. Suddenly, the happy family gathering became one of cranky little ones and cranky big ones, dealing with ear infections, coughs, and fevers.

On Christmas morning, I walked into the kitchen to be greeted by one of my granddaughters throwing up at the kitchen table. Fast action by my son-in-law caught the mess in his hands. (Merry Christmas, Mimi!)

The kitchen emptied out quickly, and I was the only one to remain. I spent the rest of the day there, carrying on a conversation with myself and preparing our Christmas dinner. (Hello, is anyone there? I could use some help!) No one listened to my call. They were busy napping or taking care of the sick. By the time six o’clock rolled around, everyone managed to present themselves at the dinner table. A champagne toast was made, and, as my granddaughters say, “we clinked glasses.” That one glass of champagne was the best Christmas present ever! (More, please!)

After our daughter’s family left, my husband and I took time to enjoy the peace and quiet after the chaos and recuperate. On Tuesday of this week, we began the task of “putting Christmas away.” This ritual always makes me sad. All the preparations and anticipation that go into the holidays disappear (poof!) just like that.

Well, almost. These are the last remnants of our holiday decorations. I’m sending them down to the dungeon to think about how they can make next year’s holiday season a more joyous and healthy one. Or better yet, I think my husband and I will spend Christmas at my daughter’s house and sit and enjoy whatever the holiday brings.

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Now, with a squeaky clean and disinfected house, it’s time to dive into 2018 with gusto. I have high hopes for a great year for everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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