Thursday, December 31, 2009

snowed in

How is this for a snowed in problem! Needless to say I had to have some help getting to work this day. This was taken BEFORE I went to Miami Beach. The snow in front of my shed was just removed yesterday, the 30th so that I can put away all my Christmas decorations tomorrow - my typical New Year's Day chore.

The story by Laura Ingalls Wilder "The Long Winter" which can be seen on my next blog may well be the story of us Iowans this year. This much snow falling only in December and even before the actual beginning of Winter may signify a very long winter in deed - especially with our temps staying below freezing even as a high!!
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snow bear

Just changed one of my displays from Christmas to winter books. As mentioned in a previous blog the book by Laura Ingalls Wilder "The Long Winter" may well apply to many in the Midwest this year. I have read several adult novels by the author Lauraine Snelling and her Red River of the North series. These books depict the lives of our pioneers from Norway who settled in the Red River area of North Dakota. Historical fiction is one of my favortie genres. Reading this particular series gives the reader a lot to be thankful for that we have indoor plumbing as well as well heated homes during winter months!!
The book above entitled "Teddy's Snowy Day" actually has a picture inside that looks just like my stuffed bear on the table.
The Snow Angel is by Debby Boone and is a heartwarming story of a village that had forgotten how to dream until------ooops! Read the story and find out.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas in Florida

Here are some pictures from my trip to Miami Beach, Florida. My two children and two of my grandkids live here. The alligators are in the entrance to a go-cart place in Orlando. My daughter and granddaughter spent one weekend in Orlando so I could attend the Arabian Nights dinner event (a Christmas gift to myself).
About the Arabian Nights ---I did enjoy seeing all the horses and especially the black one representing the black stallion of those Walter Farley books I loved as a child but----I wasn't expecting to attend a Christmas version of the Arabian Nights story!!! Instead of the Arabian ambiance I had anticipated for months (except for the main princess, Sherazade and her prince) I watched the story enacted by such holiday characters as elves, clowns, Santa Clause and even Jack Frost !! I must give credit though to the chef. The meal was delicious and I did come home with my usual souvenirs of a magnet and deck of cards, both of which had pictures of the black stallion. I will plan another visit someday when it isn't during the Thanksgiving-December holidays!!
The other 3 pictures were taken in the Coral Gables area of south Miami.
I lived in Miami Beach for two years and in all honesty the only thing I miss about the area are the beautiful foliage. Being so far away from my children is also the main disadvantage but even all the snow and cold of Iowa where I have returned to live doesn't keep me from moving back to Florida!! The traffic is atrocious not to mention the cost of living, parking problems and cost of gas!
Here's wishing you a blessed new year in 2010 and hope everyone who had to do any traveling in Iowa during Christmas while I was in warm Florida made it home safe.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas star

This story by Mireile D'
Alllance is a simple story of a little bear who oh so wants to help decorate the Christmas tree but because he is too small ends up dropping ornaments and causing other problems in his attempt to help. As the cover picture shows the little bear's help is finally needed to reach the top of the tree in order to place the star on top and proving again as in similar story plots that size doesn't have to mean useless.
Another book (not pictured) that I recommend that has a special "star" in the story is Jingle, the Christmas Clown by Tomie dePaola. It is a heartwarming story of an Italian Circus group who traditionally perform a Christmas Eve show only to find the town now only has a few residents, and mostly the "senior citizen" variety who can not pay for the circus performance. The main group decides to move on to a different town but cannot take the baby circus animals because they have already traveled so far and the animals are tired. How a young clown who is left to care for the baby animals turns Christmas Eve into a very special night is what makes this story so very special.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lakeside snow

How is this for a change in snowfall! The first picture was from a much lighter snowy day and the next one is on the morning of the big Iowa blizzard of 2009 we just had this past Wednesday!
It was a good day for staying home and reading books. In fact, we did have several people come in the day before to "stock up" on books and video material in anticipation of the bad weather forecast!

Monday, December 7, 2009


Since we had our first significant snowfall of the season during the night I decided to showcase my penguin book section. (Remember to click on any picture/book to get a close up view when desired. ) The books shown here are Splash - A Penguin Counting Book by Jonathan Chester & Kirsty Melville; Penguin Pete by Marcus Pfister, 365 Penguins by Jean - Luc Fromental & Joelle Jolivet; North Pole South Pole by Nancy Smiler Levinson and then a few not shown are the ever humorous books about the penguin named Tacky by Helen Lester. We also have the large, full color book March of the Penguins as one of our memorial books. This has also been made into a movie. In fact, the Weather Channel was showing it a few weeks ago. Don't have any penguins here but there were some trumpeter swans near my shoreline this past weekend! This town is also becoming well-known at least regionally for its pelicans. We now have an ambitious councilwoman who started an annual Pelican Fest that is held the first week in April. Unfortunately the one last April had to be cancelled due to severe weather. Hopefully April of 2010 will be more cooperative.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

This somehow didn't get attached to the previous post!!

Christmas tree/elf decor

Aren't these cute!? My elf book was checked out today and I couldn't find another book with an elf on the cover so my colorful "guy" is all alone right now on his shelf. And isn't this stuffed Christmas tree unique!! I was delighted to find it in my favorite store for such items.The books in the pictures are: What the Little Fir Tree Wore to the Christmas Party by Satomi Ichikawa and The After-Christmas Tree by Linda Wagner Tyler.
The book Night Tree by Eve Bunting is a wonderful book to read as it tells the story of a family who traditionally decorate a live tree in a forest with real food for the animals to enjoy. Another "tree book" we have is The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston.
Of course, one can also enjoy singing or playing the song "Oh, Christmas Tree" for an added touch.

Friday, December 4, 2009

wild things

Maurcie Sendak's book "Where the Wild Things Are" is now in movie format. Haven't had the opportunity to see it yet but remember reading this book to elementary students in the past. This book along with "Cloudy and a Chance of Meatballs" has given movie producers some fun material to work with. Can't wait to see them at the "movies".
Ranger Rick magazines were also a source of reading material I found very interesting as a parent and elementary teacher. How do you like my Rick, the Raccoon?
We had a special "wolf" presentation in October by a county conservation specialist. She has become a "favorite" with children in this area as she brings in lots of visual material and has a wealth of active games the children love. Oh to be young enough to run around as much as she does. Another reason for the wolf event was kind of a prelude to our "Twilight Dinner Party" and the now released movie "New Moon" which features werewolves!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


How is this for an aweseome sunset!! Just one of many I get to view from my lakeside home.
The book I want to "showcase" along with this real life tree in the sunset is a book I just recently discovered amidst the non-fiction section of our childrens' area. It is a book entitled Sky Tree by Thomas Locker with Candace Christiansen. It is a book about "seeing science through art" and has 28 full page paintings of a tree through different seasons with absolutely gorgeous colors!!
The pictures above don't do it justice. There is also a brief narrative with each painting and then at the end of the book the pictures are repeated in smaller format with narrative that also asks a particular question for consideration . The question asked about the winter tree pictured above is "How does this painting capture the stillness of a snowy day? The question for the fall tree above is "Why does this painting make you feel sad? Is the tree dying?" I feel like I discovered a real "treasure" with this book and can understand why someone chose it as one of our many memorial books.