Friday, August 31, 2018

Poetry Friday: Summer's End

is hosting this week's round-up of
poetic goodness. Be sure to stop by 
to see her poem, "Spider, Spider" published 
in Highlight's July Hello magazine. 

Even though autumn does not officially begin until September 23, I often feel that summer is over when school starts. Unfortunately for many people that happens in August. Our school starts on Wednesday after Labor Day. Here's a poem for all the students and teachers headed back to school:

Three Words

Three words
Most cruel:
Back to school.

-Douglas Florian

Even if you've been back in school for awhile, the three day Labor Day weekend provides a chance to savor a bit of summer. What will you pack from summer "...for a snow-packed day"?

Pack Up

Before the summer's gone-
Pack a rosy-fingered dawn. 
Pack a pond 
Or ocean spray.
Pack them for a snow-packed day.

-Douglas Florian

Both of these poems come from Summersaults by Douglas Florian. I love his series of four books that honor and celebrate each season of the year.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Slice of Life: A Delightful Monday!

I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice"
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, BethKathleen,
Deb, Melanie, Lanny, and Kelsey
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday
and nurturing our writing lives.

Normally, I don't watch my grandson Jack on Mondays, but this week my daughter's schedule was switched around a bit. So we found ourselves making a run to the library on Monday morning to return books that were due this week.

Jack has his favorite routines at the library: 

First stop is always the magnet board.

That's followed by playing with the orange dogs.
And then he makes his way to the board books. He spent a long time looking at his favorite books.

I wish I had a pic of him carrying two books to the checkout desk and trying to reach the counter to hand them to the librarian. Imagine my surprise when she lowered to counter to kid height. 

This week I limited our board book checkouts to ten. Here they are with a bit of commentary on each title.
Jack's favorites (ordered by preference & the # of times we've already read them):
Trucks to the Rescue!Sounds, and The Book of Things that Go.
Are you noticing a definite theme here?

Grandma's favorite: 
Blanket of Love, a lovely rhyming picture book, part of Little Simon books imprint
You can be sure that I'll be checking out the other two pictured on the back - Good Night My Darling Baby and Mama Loves You So.

Two books to sing:
Itsy Bitsy Spider and We Love to Sing Along!

One book to celebrate summer:
Good Night Summer

One book that focuses on nighttime routines:

One alphabet book:
O is for Orca
This boy is already identifying certain letters - O, D, and G were his first three.

Another Grandma favorite:
I Like It When . . . 
Can you see why I love it?
I love the opportunity to immerse myself in the books that Jack loves and read with him often. What are some of the favorite board books in the lives of the children you love?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Slice of Life: A Delightful Sunday Sighting

I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice"
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, BethKathleen,
Deb, Melanie, Lanny, and Kelsey
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday
and nurturing our writing lives.

Lance and I landed in the garage at the same time. This is highly unusual since I usually lag behind him which often prompts Imi to comment to Lance, "Mona's late again." 

As he headed back into the house, he called out, "Go ahead." That little something that he forgot brought a Sunday serendipity my way.

I turned the corner onto 78th street and headed up the hill toward 40th. Something moving on the left side of the road caught my eye. My head swiveled, my foot came off the accelerator, and I stopped in the middle of the road. There was a deer in the tiny front yard. The greenery on the side of the house parted and a protective mama emerged from the undergrowth. 

With frequent checks in my rearview mirror for other vehicles, I inched forward, ascending the hill slowly with the two of them. Soon there was a car behind me, but I was relieved to see that they had also noticed the deer and were content to move slowly up the hill too. Then I saw Lance's car in my rearview mirror. I continued my slow creep up the hill hoping that Lance might see the mother and child that had slowed our progress. All too soon, the deer ducked into the foliage of the next yard. 

I continued my short drive to church, filled with gratitude and delight (my OLW) for this Sunday morning serendipity. And yes, Lance saw them too!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Slice of Life: Book Finished Early!

I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice"
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, BethKathleen,
Deb, Melanie, Lanny, and Kelsey
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday
and nurturing our writing lives.

I'm in two book clubs and most months I'm dividing up the pages I have left to read by the number of days until the book club meets. Assigned reading! And I left high school more than a few decades ago. But this month I had motivation to finish the book early.

Our book for September is The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I picked it up from the library on Thursday, did the math, and figured out that I needed to read about sixty pages a day in order to finish it by Thursday when Kristin Hannah is speaking at Third Place Books. But along the way something wonderful happened. I became so engrossed in the story that I read beyond my assigned reading pages. And Monday morning, I woke up at 4 and read until I finished the book. (I rarely read past 11 or 12, but waking up early to read is a guilty pleasure that I love to indulge.) I wonder why I don't do this more often. After all, I am semi-retired (there are those three days a week that I do the grandma gig). 

I'm headed to the author reading with several friends from our book club and a friend who lived and taught in Alaska for thirty years. I'm sure we'll have fun quizzing her on the way to the reading. 

Has there been a book that captivated you recently, something that you could not put down, that kept you up reading past your bedtime or pulled you out of bed long before you usually get up? Tell me about it in the comments.

Friday, August 10, 2018

#PB10for 10 and Poetry Friday

I love this day each year when we join with other picture book lovers to share titles.  A giant thank you to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for creating this special day!  Here's a link to the google community for #pb10for10.  

This is my fifth year to participate and here are my previous posts:  
2013 - Golden Lines about Night

I pulled some of my favorite picture books off the shelf, trying to find a unifying theme. But this year's collection has no theme, just ten of the many picture books I love. Perhaps it could be called "old" favorites since several titles were published in the 20th century and the "newest" title was published in 2014. I love new picture books too, but I wanted to highlight some old faves this year! While I don't have a theme, I was able to pair titles that had a connection.

Some Things Go Together, with Charlotte Zolotow's dancing lines of couplets and Karen Gundersheimer's sweet illustrations, reminds us how wonderful it is that some things go together, especially you and me.

Mittens belong together and Annie is in search of her lost mitten in The Mystery of the Missing Red Mitten . My copy, purchased at a used bookstore, is autographed by Steven Kellogg and has a photo inside the front cover of the young girl who received the book in Dec. 1994.

Old Henry by Joan W. Blos and illustrated by Stephen Gammell is an ode to nonconformity. When Henry fails to conform to the neighbor's standards, he finally leaves with the words, "I am sorry I came." It doesn't take long for the neighbors to realize that they miss Henry and for Henry to realize that he misses his nagging neighbors. The insight reached could be useful for today's world: "And we don't have to make such a terrible fuss because everybody isn't exactly like us."

In Cynthia Rylant's An Angel for Solomon Singer with paintings by Peter Cantalanotto, we meet Solomon who doesn't like his lonely life in a New York hotel for men. When Solomon discovers The Westway Cafe, he finds a place to love and someone who makes him feel at home.

Mother and child have differing views about what to pack in The Bag I'm Taking to Grandma's by Shriley Neitzel with pictures byNancy Winslow Parker. I can't wait until Jack and Teddy are old enough to enjoy the cumulative verse and rebus pictures in this book.

In the previous book, the mother says there is no need to pack books, that Grandma will have plenty of books. And this grandma does! One of my favorites, Where Do I Sleep? A Pacific Northwest Lullaby by Jennifer Blomgren has wonderful rhyming text  that features animals of our region with gorgeous illustrations by Andrea Gabriel. 

The delightful illustrations by Jim LaMarche in Dennis Haseley's A Story for Bear will pull you into  this summer fantasy about the magic of friendship and the wonders of reading.

Philip Stead's Bear has a Story to Tell and illustrated by Erin E. Stead is a lovely story of friendship and patience as Bear tries to get one friend after another to hear his story, but everyone is busy with their own preparations for winter.

My Two Blankets by Irene Kobald and illustrated by Freya Blackwood captures how a young girl feels when she emigrates to a new country to be safe. Everything feels strange, she feels alone, and feels like she is no longer herself. All that begins to change when a girl in the park waves at her and reaches out to become her friend. This book belongs in every classroom.

I've looked for a copy of The Cozy Book for a long time and finally found one at a recent library book sale. I had given my copy to a friend whose family had "cozy" as their word for the Christmas holidays quite a few years ago. This totally cozy rhyming tale by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Betty Fraser follows a child from cozy waking in the morning to cozy dreaming at day's end. 

Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone 
is hosting this week's round-up of
poetic goodness. Be sure to stop by and read
Molly's "The Solace of the Ocean:  A Sonnet."

I'm piggybacking my #PB10for10 with Poetry Friday.
My favorite picture books include four filled with poetry
that I've highlighted here:
 Where Do I Sleep? - four line stanzas
The Cozy Book - verse tour of the things that make up a cozy day
The Bag I'm Taking to Grandma's - cumulative verse  
Some Things Go Together Rhyming couplets 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Slice of Life: Cars, Closets, and Cobblers

I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice"
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, BethKathleen,
Deb, Melanie, Lanny, and Kelsey
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday
and nurturing our writing lives.

Jack was spending some time with me while his mom was at a doctor's appointment. We were playing with the Little Tykes Cozy Coupe in the driveway. Jack kept reaching underneath the dash and pulling up spider webs which troubled him. So we decided it was time for a car wash. Bucket, washcloths, and sponge in hand, we washed that cozy coupe from top to bottom. We flipped it over and made sure there were no lingering spider webs. When we set it out to dry, his mom drove up the driveway from her appointment. 

Sara was planning to have Jack take a nap at my house while we tackled my closet. Since we couldn't really work on the closet until Jack took his nap, I decided we should make a peach cobbler. I had six very ripe peaches that were perfect for this endeavor. We tried a new recipe as part of my search for a cobbler recipe like the one my mom used to make. This one came from a friend on FB when I recently sent out a plea for cobbler recipes. It's the one my husband and daughter thought I should have made last time when I tried the one in my Homesick Texan cookbook. 
 This was Jack's project while
we assembled the cobbler!

Once it was in the oven, we had lunch and got Mr. Jack down for a nap. I pulled half of the clothes from my closet and laid them on the bed. We retrieved the cobbler from the oven. It smelled heavenly!

And then we went to work on the two piles of clothes while the cobbler cooled. I'm happy to report that I parted with a few more clothes, especially the ones that my daughter reminded me were too dated (she remembered some of them from when I taught 3rd grade and she was a middle schooler . . . that would have been almost twenty years ago).

And before we knew it, we had a huge bag of clothing to donate and the cobbler was ready to consume. We're both avid milk drinkers, so of course, we added a mug of milk to each serving of cobbler. We settled down at the table, cobbler, milk, and books in hand for our well-earned reward!
This was the remains of the cobbler.
A friend stopped by and Sara packed 
some to take home to share with Jack.
It was delicious, but I'm still searching 
for a recipe more like my mom's, with a 
topping that is more like pie crust than biscuits.
Let me know if you have a cobbler recipe
that fits the bill. I'm sure we have time for
more trials before peaches are out of season.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Celebrate This Week: Blue Angels, Boys, and A Big Box!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

It's Seafair Weekend and that means the Blue Angels are performing over Lake Washington. As they scream over our rooftops, I scan the skies. Mostly I just hear them and sometimes see the plumes of smoke, but occasionally I do have a sighting. 
Teddy and his mom, Stefi, have been in Utah for the past two months helping to care for Stefi's grandmother. You can see the special bond these two share over doughnuts!
 Teddy and family were lucky to spend time at Bear Lake,
a summer tradition for Stefi's family. 
 Here's Teddy with three of his cousins
on a doughnut floatie!
(Are you seeing a theme?)
Just in from the library & the first thing Jack
wants to do is read his new books!
 Jack and I use the step stool, a book, and
a cutting board to fashion a ramp.
First thing Jack did after nap time
was to retrieve his cars.
This last pic isn't a celebration, but
this box gave us the best laugh of the week!
Amazon mailed the tiny light bulb
(see the red and gray card, bottom center of pic)
that my husband ordered in this box.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Poetry Friday: A Sampling of Rhyming Picture Books

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading is 
hosting this week's round-up of
poetic goodness. Be sure to stop by to 
see Mary Lee's delightful Blitz Poem.

When I haven't yet decided on something for my post, I tend to wander around other folks' posts for ideas. And when I landed on Laura's post asking us to read a poem to a child on September 29, I was all in. You see, I read poetry to my eighteen month old grandson every day we're together. So for today's post, I rounded up a sampling of some rhyming picture books he loves. When we finish a book, he returns to the cover for a rereading. We never stop at one time through! Sometimes, it's three or four or more rereadings. 

Here are some highlights beginning with the books we sing:

1. Hello (from Highlights) - These are delightful, monthly magazines that are perfect for birth to age two. We love checking on the poets to see if it's anyone we know from Poetry Friday. There's always a rhyming song set to a familiar tune.

2. Five Little Ducks illustrated by Anthony Lewis - Jack loves the Child's Play books which include actions through mime and ASL signs. We were introduced to this series by Nancy Stewart, a local musician who does story time at our indie bookstore.

3. Hush Little Baby by Sylvia Long - I love giving this book to new moms. Sylvia wrote this version of the familiar song by providing comfort in the natural things of the world and the warmth of a mother's love (instead of the things the mother promises to buy the child in the original version).

4. Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig & illustrated by Marc Brown - A new find from my most recent trip to the library, each farm animal's page begins with these words that you'll end up chanting: 
(insert animal name) can't sleep.
(insert animal name) can't sleep.
(insert animal name) can't sleep
'cause they got that beat!
Until finally, Farmer Sue is awakened and can't sleep 
'cause she's heard that beat. 
Soon everyone's dancing to that beat. 
...they fall in a heap!
And on the last page, as the sun rises, the rooster sings - 
I've got that beat.

5. Super Submarines by Tony Mitton & Ant Parker - part of a boxed set of books that my daughter received as a shower gift. Each book is a different vehicle and the final page of each book shows parts of the vehicle with explanations. 

6. Bus by Chris Demarest - simple illustrations with four word rhyming sentences. I love the final two pages - "Turn corner, brakes hiss. Hop off, hug, kiss." That hug and kiss is delivered to the dog who's been waiting for the child's return. This is one we've checked out more than once.

7.  I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney & illustrated by Tim Warnes. Another recent library book find, this delightful rhyming story is based on a verse that Caroline wrote for her own children (now grown) and is her first picture book. (Full disclosure here - Jack won't let me read this one to him, but I love it! How does he already have such strong opinions on what he will listen to?) 

8. Sleepy ABC by Margaret Wise Brown & illustrated by Karen Katz - Originally published in 1953, Karen Katz's 2010 pictures make these 26 ways to say goodnight shine. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Spiritual Journey First Thursday - Returning to Fall

Welcome to Spiritual Journey First Thursday,
a group of friends who blog monthly about our spiritual journeys. 
Pat, our host at Writer on a Horsehas chosen things
we can't wait to return to as our focus for this month.

I love all the seasons of the year. Each one fills me with joy and makes me think of these words from Psalms 118:24:  "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Each season brings us reasons to rejoice. I am blessed to live in an area where we have four distinct seasons. I delight in the turning of each season, but fall is my absolute favorite. Thanks to Pat for the encouragement to think about some of the things I can't wait to return to when summer turns to fall. . . 

Rustle of marching feet at the homecoming parade, the
Enchantment of Halloween and the aromas of Thanksgiving,
The brilliant colors of fall leaves, relaxing
Under a cozy blanket with a book & hot chocolate on
Rainy gray days, and a crisp
Nip in the air perfect for bundling up & swishing in the leaves.