Because I’ve been to Boston in the Fall…

What do ducklings, blueberries, and a harmonica all have in common? Robert McCloskey. I realize he’s probably not the most prolific writer I could have picked, but the ones he does have are well worth the reading. Most are set in the era and place they were written–mid-1940’s small town America, and the charm that he found is resonated in the characters he created. From the policeman who stops traffic for ducks, to the boy who found his music in a harmonica, you’ll come back again and again to visit the people and places that live on drawings and stories of Robert McCloskey.

Besides, this last fall we visited a park in Boston where the story of one of his books was based. Awesome.

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Not Cornflakes

Sometimes I’m just really not very good at describing things.¬†Steven Kellogg does that to me. He’s the author/illustrator for the spotlight on a-great-writer-that-also-colors-the-pictures-in-books-for-children today. I think the reason I’m having a hard time describing Kellogg’s work is probably because it’s very unique–there’s absolutely no mistaking a Kellogg book. If you click on the link above, it will direct you to his website and show you some samples of his art and characters.

The reason I’m picking Steven Kellogg, is probably because his work embodies some key characteristics of great children’s literature. The quality of the illustrations and writing is excellent, the characters are imaginative and intriguing for young and old minds alike, and they encourage young readers to finish the darn book because they can’t put it down.

So, next time you want cornflakes for breakfast, think “Kellogg” and write “visit the library” down on your to-do list.

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Children’s Literature, Bird Poop and Fat

Okay, so back nearly a year ago, I made a delicious concoction in my kitchen that I named The Fat Monkey. I then took a picture and submitted it to a website called This is Why You’re Fat. For reason’s I do not understand, there are now two websites (thisiswhyyourefat.com and thisiswhyurfat.wordpress.com) and even though I submitted to the original website, I just found out that my creation is finally posted, but on the new site. Oh well. Okay, so maybe its nerdy, but Ive been waiting a year to get that creation to join the annals of fatness. I think it’s about time to make The Fat Monkey Again. Here is the direct link to my blog post in case you want to see some pictures of the process from last time.

Next up, (yes I’m working backwards from the title) Bird Poop. Today, out of a lovely blue sky, a bird pooped on my shirt. I was sitting on a park bench and I heard a little “Plop!” I looked down and there just below my collar bone was a bird turd. Not cool. I still have the stain on my shirt to prove it…which reminds me–I’m still wearing the shirt. Is that gross?

Lastly, this week I’ll be blogging everyday with a spotlight on an author/illustrator who has written some great children’s books. I was blessed enough to have parents that valued children’s literature for it’s ability to develop reading and writing skills, imagination, and help children understand¬† more about the world around them in relate-able terms. I hope that by highlighting some great examples of children’s literature, you can be encouraged to spend an afternoon with your kids surrounded by a boatload of books.

There’s no better way to start this spotlight off than with Bill Peet. One of my most favorite and extremely prolific; Bill Peet’s history as a sketch artist and later an artistic director for some early Disney movies makes his books stand out for their creative storylines and excellent illustrations. All of his characters are refreshingly original, the plots are engaging, and the pictures help even the youngest listeners stay interested. Next time you go to the library (like tomorrow), make sure you bring some of these home with you.

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when rhythm isn’t a given

Today The Ugandan Orphans Choir came to our church. They came to sing traditional Ugandan songs and dance while promoting the ministry of Childcare Worldwide. I’m not sure which was more entertaining; watching the children dance, or watching the dancing children watch the white people try to clap on beat. Since AJ is a drummer, he has a pretty natural sense of rhythm while I have to concentrate to clap without biting my lip and furrowing my brow. I realize I have no place to mock others, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to watch.

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The Park of Awesome

First, thanks for all the tips for folding bottom sheets. Angela, of course–youtube! I’m just going to look up a video of it because that would probably be a lot easier than reading all your answers and trying to figure them out ;-). Also, i realized too late that the “other” answer in the poll doesn’t actually allow for actual answers. Apparently a bunch of you must have a method for folding them though…

Today we went to Forest Park in Everett. IT.WAS.AWESOME. You should go if you have children, or if you don’t.

eating fishies out of her purse on the way…

Henry was asleep until we got ready to leave.

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Not Suzy Homemaker

Ok, so I have a confession. I have no clue how to fold a bottom sheet. No clue.

I need your help, please answer the poll below and if you have a suggestion, please enter it in the “other” category.

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garfield, throwing up, and salad

For some reason, Violet always wants me to read to her from one of our Garfield comic books. Regardless of how you feel about Garfield, you must agree that it makes for some pretty boring storytimes. Case in point: here is the dialogue from two pages in the middle of the comic book.

page one:

Ring…Hello?

Yes, Mrs Feeny?…Your little dog?…Collar taken?…Shaved bald?…Painted green?…Uh-huh?…Yeesh

No, he’s been here asleep all day. Yes, all day, really. Uh-huh…goodbye.

page two:

So, Garfield

How’s the laziness business?

Slow.

Cats and mice are supposed to be enemies!

Fascinating

Merits discussion.

Cheese? My place?

I’m tired of looking at that face of yours, Odie.

Cool! Now do a hamster.

Do you understand my dilemma? I’m all about exposing Violet to different types of literature for various age groups, but comic books require a certain amount of improvisational story skills to make the story interesting.

Oh, look! Jon is going to talk to someone on the phone. Yeah, he has a phone like Mama has a phone…and there’s the kitty. His name is Garfield. See the collar he’s twirling around in the air? Yeah, he wasn’t nice to that doggy. No that’s his friend the Mouse. Yes, they’re very good friends aren’t they? See how they are sharing that piece of cheese? Yes Violet, sometimes kitties like to eat plants. I know, bad bad kitty.

Next up, in today’s edition of Boys Will be Boys, we were at a playground today covered in kids. There was an old sit-n-spin at one end that a couple of junior high boys were using in an attempt to make themselves throw up. I realized this about halfway into their “game” when one of the boys stopped spinning around and just stood there, doubled over, and holding his stomach with a string of drool coming from his mouth. The other three watched closely.

“Is he going to throw up?

“Are you going to throw up?

“I don’t know…”

“Spin more!”

“Yeah, I think you need to spin faster.”

“Can one of you guys spin me then? I’m pretty dizzy.”

Its not like they were picking on him either, the others had a go as well. Fortunately, no one threw up.

Lastly, Salad. One of the things I love about summertime is that I enjoy salads the most in the summer. Don’t get me wrong; I like salads any time of the year, but there’s something about coming in out of the cold and wet to eat something cold and wet that just doesn’t sit right with me.

Here’s the “recipe” for the salad we had for dinner tonight.

a layer of chopped romaine,

a layer of chopped tomato,

a layer of shredded carrot,

a layer of avocado slices,

a layer of red onion slices,

a layer of fresh corn,

a layer of sliced mushrooms

a layer of sliced cucumber,

a layer of shredded cheddar cheese,

a layer of chopped, cold, barbecued pork,

a layer of crumbled corn chips,

a layer of ranch dressing with dots of barbecue sauce

Okay, so maybe I added a few ingredients while I was typing. It all sounded too good. I think we’ll have the full recipe later on this week because avocados and tomatoes are on sale and I have a bunch of cold barbecued pork in my fridge. Seriously, this ain’t your grandmother’s salad.

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