Saturday, December 24, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories, Day 24

Hark! the aardvark angels sing: A story of Christmas mailHark! the aardvark angels sing: A story of Christmas mail by Teri Sloat

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For our big finish on Christmas Eve...aardvarks. Hey, we sang, we laughed and fun was had by all.

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25 Days of Christmas Stories, Day 23

Santa's Crash-Bang ChristmasSanta's Crash-Bang Christmas by Steven Kroll

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You can't beat Steven Kroll, or Tomie DePaola. Nor can you bean my kid's laugh, which she did through this entire book.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life for Kids, TooIt's a Wonderful Life for Kids, Too by Jimmy Hawkins

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Pretty confusing for Kate and myself. It's a wonderful movie, but maybe not a wonderful kids book.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories, Day 21

The Longest NightThe Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Of all the animals in the north woods, the strong moose and the clever fox, it is the tiny chickadee with her cheery song who can bring back the sun after the longest night of the year. Not exactly a Christmas story, but appropriate nonetheless.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 20

The Joy of a Peanuts Christmas: 50 Years of Holiday Comics!The Joy of a Peanuts Christmas: 50 Years of Holiday Comics! by Charles M. Schulz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's Christmas Charlie Brown. Nuff said.

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25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 19

Kirsten's Surprise: A Christmas Story (American Girls: Kirsten, #3)Kirsten's Surprise: A Christmas Story by Janet Beeler Shaw

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think this was the first American Girl Series I read, and Kate picked it out for our Christmas story. We only read the first chapter together, then she finished on her own. In this chapter Kirsten is impatient for her families things to be delivered from town. Sounds like the lead up to Christmas to me.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories, Day 18

The Last StrawThe Last Straw by Fredrick H. Thury

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautifully illustrated story of a camel who carries not only the wise men's three gifts but many more gifts from many more people. His elderly knees are aching, but his pride will not let him share the load.

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25 Stories of Christmas, Day 17

Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico (Picture Puffins)Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico by Marie Hall Ets

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one was perfect to go along with Kate's curriculum, Christmas around the world. A young girl celebrates her first posada by picking out a beautiful pinata. Feliz Navidad.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 16

Morris' Disappearing Bag (Picture Puffins)Morris' Disappearing Bag by Rosemary Wells

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Christmas story where the child enjoys it so much more when his older siblings disappear for the day...realistic I guess.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Christmas Day KittenThe Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kate found this one on my childhood bookshelf. I believe this is her very first James Herriot story, an author who is one of the landmark storytellers of my childhood. We both loved the story of Debbie, the stray cat who doesn't accept a home for herself, but brings her new kitten to the safest place she knows when she can't take care of him anymore. The story starts out sad, but Buster is so full of life and fun that it's still a great Christmas story.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 14

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Picture Books)The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We loved this one. I sang the whole thing and we stopped on each page to follow the story going on in the background and try and pronounce "Merry Christmas" in different languages. Lots of laughs when we got to Russian.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 13

Snappy BuilderSnappy Builder by Derek Matthews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kate loves nativity sets, and this one comes with a set to build yourself. Nona found it last year, and we still love it.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 12

The Littlest AngelThe Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the books from my childhood collection. It was still a bit long for Kate, but she liked the part where the littlest angel's halo falls off and he chases it through the street. I still like the stuff in the box best.

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25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 11

Hannah's Bookmobile ChristmasHannah's Bookmobile Christmas by Sally Derby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What could be better than Christmas eve spent on a bookmobile with a friendly cat, a favorite aunt and all the Christmas treats from your patrons. This one is a gift from Nona of course.

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25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 10

ABC is for Christmas is too old to have a goodreads record, but it's a good old golden book, and we liked it.

25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 9

Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous ChristmasFancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O'Connor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fancy Nancy is pretty popular at our house, and this is one of our favorites. I love the part where we learn new words, and Kate loves the part where everything has bows and glitter on it.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories, Day 8

How Santa Got His JobHow Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Silly story about how Santa picked up all the skills he needs to complete his yearly mission. From zookeeper to human canonball, the man in the red suit turns out to be qualified for only one job.

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25 Days of Christmas Stories, Day 7

Christmas MouselingChristmas Mouseling by Dori Chaconas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A mother mouse searches for a warm bed for her new baby on a cold winter night, and finds a warm stable to share with several animals and another newborn child. Simple, sweet and lovely.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 6

An Angel Came to NazarethAn Angel Came to Nazareth by Maggie Kneen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The angel asks four beasts, a donkey, a camel, a horse and an ox who will carry "the greatest of them all." The donkey chooses last, but best. Lovely pictures.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 5

How the Grinch Stole ChristmasHow the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Without question, the best Christmas story there is. We've read it so many times, I can very nearly do it by heart. Kate loves when I do the Cindy Lou Who voice best.

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25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 4

A Christmas with Peek A BabeA Christmas with Peek A Babe by Krista Simonetti

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is what happens when people give you books they found at a garage sale. In the spirit of comment.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stores, Day 3

Christmas EveChristmas Eve by Sucie Stevenson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Two little bunnies squabble with each other over Christmas eve tasks, but eventually create a present for Mom and Dad, a sculpture of themselves. The squabbles seem realistic anyway.

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25 Days of Christmas Stories, Day 2

The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving (Berenstain Bears®)The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan& Mike Berenstain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brother and Sister Bear learn about the joy of giving all on their own, without any lectures from Mama and Papa. Oh, if only.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Stories Day 1

How Many Miles To Bethlehem?How Many Miles To Bethlehem? by Kevin Crossley-Holland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful illustrations, each page a piece of art, and a lovely introduction to the characters of the Christmas Story.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's been fun

Last day, first clear sunrise. But with it came fall temperatures. All week, the temp has been warm no matter the weather, this morning I stepped out on the deck to take this and nearly froze my feet off. Time to head home.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Ya don't need the floating swimsuit if you never hit a wave.

The tide

The tide is pretty grand here. Here's our beach at high tide:

And here's our beach at low tide:

Yesterday we went down to the southern tip of the island and found a huge tidal area. Some of it was covered in teeny tiny crabs, but mostly it was just huge and flat. This pictures is taken from about half way across looking north. You can see the grass on the dunes where high tide reaches.

And from the same spot, looking south:

We saw some gray gulls (much bigger than the regular gulls) an osprey, and some swallows. It was really cool

Thursday, September 29, 2011


From our deck, we saw dolphins this morning.


So....the sun finally came out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wildlife Report

For those who might be interested, we've seen

Sandpipers (several varieties)

Love the way the fly in formation right over the waves, and sometimes disappear behind them.


Crabs (really crabby ones who were just trying to go out at night and got netted instead.)
and Jellyfish (really unhappy ones who had already met a sad fate.)

Also, by request (you know who you are) here's some pictures of our place.

And finally, the education level of the reading material is gettin' kinda low down here. I guess people magazine is a beach read.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Going on a Crab Hunt

All decked out to catch crabs on the night beach. We caught several with the throw net, and one caught Daddy.

We swam all morning yesterday and built a great sand castle, which the tide ate last night. Rained in the afternoon, but that's OK, we all needed a nap anyway.

The waves are still big, but Kate likes it most of the time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wet is Wet

Kate did not want to walk in the rain with me. She would get wet. After 2 minutes on the beach in the rain, she wanted to strip down to her swimsuit and swim. What is the difference between rain wet and ocean wet?

Our second morning at the beach is no less cloudy than the first, a bad sign for the day. However, a day at the beach in the rain is still lots better than a day at home no matter the weather.

P.S. the ocean is lots of fun:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It takes this long...

It takes this long to get to North Carolina.

Also, don't beach houses have the best furniture? That's our couch in the background.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hello from the beach

First look at the ocean. She was soaked to the skin less than 10 minutes later, and still happy as a clam.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Too Busy Livin'

So, every night, I stand in my garden with the hose and compose a blog post. Then, once the garden is watered, and the kid's in bed, and the laundry is folded, I... fall asleep. No blog, no post, no pics, just the backs of my eyelids. So, here is a random list of what I should have been saying for the past month, but didn't.

1. We visited Pittsburgh which deserves its own post but the short version is aviary and science center are awesome, driving is not so much. Kate got to hand feed a lorakeet and we got to see a falcon and some black kites fly on the roof. Completely awesome.

2. Garden, should also have its own post. The yucca bloomed for the first time ever and the hollyhock is doing well. The nasturtiums are pretty great, growing like crazy and blooming too. I trapped 10 strawberry runners and transferred them to my new growbed, so next year the strawberries won't be directly under the bird feeder (seriously bad idea). Kate's zinnias are blooming as well.

3. Harvest is also going well. I've frozen some broccoli, and am currently canning pickles. I'm not sure how well it's going, but it's a little bit fun instead of a little bit scary. I thought for sure a few pints of pickles would use up the crop, but it seems I'll have another round soon.

4. I have come into possession of a borrowed spinning wheel with which to further my fiber obsession. And extremely kind friend of my aunt's sent the wheel home with me almost before she met me, and I've put it to some use in the last month.

5. The finished yarn went with me to dyeing day, our second annual. My dear friends Diana and Sarah have been kind enough to include me in their pastime, dyeing natural fibers. It's a whole day out doors (this year on Sarah's deck surrounded by her collection of plants.) using dye, vinegar, and a microwave to create beautiful colors on our bare yarn.

6. Kate had a banner vacation with her Nona and Papa last week. They took her to the cottage at Lake Erie and then to Geneva on the Lake for the day. She got to do mini golf, bumper boats, go carts and lots of other cool things. She thought it was awesome and frankly so did I because I hate that stuff, and so I didn't have to do it. Yay.

7. Finally, Kate had her very first haircut. Yes, that's right, she's five years old and we've never done anything but trim her bangs. Her hair just doesn't seem to grow, it doesn't even touch the collar of her shirt. But it was kinda crazy with the curls and all, so we decided to give it a little shape. She was very well behaved, and doesn't care much about the hair because she got her little nails painted and that was the BEST.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In The Strawberry Patch

Now, if you've read any of this blog, you will be aware that I have a healthy respect for grandparents, my own and my daughters. Yesterday, however, I witnessed an act of monumental patience by some grandparents completely unknown to me. Here's the story.

Having just dropped my own little monster at Bible School so as to pick in peace, I arrived here at around 9:30. I was directed by a nice young man to the far end of the field, since I was, as he stated, "less than eighty". (Once he mentioned it, I noticed the pickers at the near end of the field were definitely of a certain quality vintage.) Once I had settled in, and met the obligatory acquaintance (in this case my third grade teacher who promptly told me how many years she had been teaching, leading me to question my own vintage) I was ready to pick; a rather boring prospect until...

Down the patch came a Nana, a Papa and FIVE grandchildren. Two were of an age to be useful in the strawberry patch. Three were of an age to be the complete opposite of help. The conversation proceeded in this fashion:

"Okay, here's our spot. No, don't pick that....okay, from now on, we are only going to pick the really red ones."

"Sammy stay with Papa please."

"Now, everyone please be careful of the plants, only walk on the straw. No, don't pick tha...okay, from now on, we only pick the really red ones."

"Now honey please be careful of the plants." "Why, Nana?" "Because they are making more strawberries." "We are making strawberries?" "No honey, the plants are." "How, Nana?"

"Sammy please stay with Papa."

"Here's a good one." "Nana, put that one in our box, we are going to win." "Nana, that's not fair." "Now we are all going to share the strawberries, it doesn't matter which box. No, don't pick th...okay, how about this. Don't pick any strawberries until Papa or I look at them."

"Nana, how about this one?" "Nana, how about this one?" "Nana, how about this one?" "Sammy stay with Papa now." "Nana, how about this one?" "Nana, how about this one?"

"Look our box is almost full. We have more than you." "Nana, we need more in our box, they are winning." "We are all going to share them honey, it doesn't matter."

"Sweety you have strawberry juice on your shirt." "Nana, why don't I have strawberry juice on my shirt?"

"Sammy stay with Papa please."

And on only one occasion which trust me shows supreme patience, "SAMANTHA RAE, stay with Papa."

And finally, "Okay, I think we have enough strawberries, is everyone ready to go back to the car?" All three little ones in a chorus, "No!"

"snorfl" (The sound of a blogger two rows over trying desperately to laugh up her sleeve so as not to offend Nana and Papa.)

I don't know much for sure, but I know some not-quite-ripe strawberries got picked, and that those are some darn lucky grandkids.

Also overheard in the strawberry patch,

Teenage Boy (looking at his cell phone): How long will we be here today?
Grandma (in the voice which I can't describe, but which I'm positive you will recognize by his reaction): As long as it takes.
Teenage Boy (very quickly while stuffing his phone in his pocket): Well sure, I mean I don't have anything else to do today.

Grandchild: Are we going to fill up this whole box?
Dad: Don't worry, your grandmother is the fastest strawberry picker on the planet. We'll be here ten minutes, tops.

So, at the end of the day, I've got three priceless conversations, 9 pints of strawberry freezer jam, 6 containers of sliced/sugared and 4 containers of whole frozen strawberries. A pretty good day.

It's strawberry season, if you don't go for the berries, go for the entertainment.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Garden Log, No Pics

Too busy gardening to blog about it, but if I don't, I won't know what I planted where and when, so...

Here's the info, but sadly, no pics.

The tomatoes have started putting on new growth, as have the cucumbers. The peppers still look a bit small, but then, awful looking pepper plants usually make great peppers. The eggplant seeds did nothing, and I replaced them with green bean seeds today. I added some spinach seeds to the pot, and I've got a pot of patio tomatoes coming along well too. The zucchini plants went in, but look a little small. The pumpkins (3) look pretty good though. I added a row of onion seeds today, between the peas, which are also up. I also tossed in a few nasturtium seeds.

In the flower garden we've harvested about 20 strawberries, the pink peonies are bustin out and the yucca is about to bloom for the very first time. My lilies are also ready pop, any day now.
So, barring catastrophic weather (which happens weekly around here, 3/4 of an inch of rain one hour) we should have a few veggies in a few weeks.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where the blimps sleep,

We had another big day with Nona and Papa.

We visited Wingfoot Lake. It's a new State Park in our area that used to be a recreational facility for Goodyear Tire Co. Just across the lake from the park, is a hangar for Goodyear Blimps. It's a great place with a wonderful playground, tennis courts, picnic areas and a disc golf course. If you are scratching your head over that one, click here.

We played on the playground, admired some baby goslings, had a picnic lunch and took a quick walk around the grounds. While we were standing on the boat dock, we saw the blimp come in over the trees.

It's a pretty awesome sight up close, though we were not as close as Nona and Papa got on Sunday when they were in their kayaks on the lake. While we watched they snagged the cables on the front, and backed the thing into the hangar. I'll have a video of that for you tomorrow, but it might take all night upload. (The Blimp moves pretty slowly.)

Next we searched for four leaf clovers.

Kate carried her own snacks on the hike in her butterfly backpack.

After our walk, we took Kate for her first round of putt-putt. I don't have much hope for her on the WPGA tour:

But we ended the day with ice cream, so overall, a successful day.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What happens when you give the five-year-old the camera and leave her alone.

What happens when there is no food in the house.

That's a meatloaf, beef stew, fresh spinach quiche, steamed cauliflower and broccoli, fresh peppers, fresh bread and chocolate chip cookies. (In defense of the stew, it was very dreary this morning when I planned this, now however, it's beautiful.)

And here is what is living in the bluebird house out back. It is not a bluebird, but it is also not a sparrow, so that is progress. It's a barn swallow.

Pics From Yesterday

The blooming chives continue to fascinate me.

This is the neatest my garden ever looks. (Please note: for those of you who might be trying to learn how to garden, this is the way NOT to do it. My plants are way too close together. I am a greedy gardener, and a silly woman, and I will regret this in about two months. Just sayin)

The master gardener hard at work.