My daughter, Marie, was chosen for a special snowboarding program for students with psychiatric disabilities. A team of trainers from a local mountain have donated their time, and the mountain has donated the snowboarding equipment to coordinate a comprehensive, six week snowboarding school. Marie, who loves the snow, skiing and snowmobiling, was thrilled to be selected.
I was thrilled for her to be chosen, not only because it will be a great program for her, but because for Christmas it also gave me something to buy a child who “has everything”. My husband and I visited a local winter sports store that had a 75% off sale because of a recent fire, (yay! I love bargains!)) I delighted in choosing snow pants, little socks with the toes in them, which are then worn under insulated socks, little gloves with fingers in them which are then worn under insulated snow mittens…
I’ve been reading some amazing picture books (PB) as well as middle grade (MG) these past few months and want to pass along the titles to share with your children and friends.
In the PB category, pick up THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN by Tiffany Strelitz Haber. Poor Onster lost his “M” which is his mean and gets teased by the other monsters. In order to win back their friendship, Onster has to find his mean. But, instead of being mean like the other monsters, Onster is helpful and kind. Will it be the end of his monster days? Or, will he learn to be his own kind of monster? The illustrations are perfect and the theme of “be yourself” is just right for young readers. Visit Tiffany’s site @ itsrhymetime.com.
In the MG category there are 2 books I’d recommend: THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY by Niki Loftin tells the story of a perfect school where you get your own endless bowl of candy, and you can talk on the phone or sleep during classes if you want to. Perfect, right? Until you walk through the door. There’s something in the food that is making all the children…..read the book to find out what happens. The second MG is THE GREAT UNEXPECTED by Sharon Creech. Two friends – Naomi and Lizzie – are surprised by a boy named Finn who falls out of a tree and sets in motion a mystery involving mysterious trunks, dead ancestors, and expecting the unexpected. It’s a wonderful story of family, friendship and believing anything is possible.
Start the New Year off with some great stories. Make resolutions to learn one new thing this year, eat a new food, visit someplace you’ve never been to, and teach someone else something you’re good at. What better way to celebrate the start of 2013!
Here is a simple finger food to enjoy for New Year’s Eve celebrations or other party days. PARTY NUTS: All you need are the following: 1/2 C sugar; 1/2 tsp each of: cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon; 1/4 tsp salt; 8 oz. of unsalted mixed nuts of your choice (walnuts, almonds and pecan taste especially good); 1 large egg white.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine sugar, spices and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, toss the nuts with egg white until coated. Then toss nuts well with the sugar/spice mixture.
2. Spread the nuts on a parchment lined baking sheet, separating them as much as possible. Bake 15 minutes. Using a metal spatula, scrape the nuts and break them apart; return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
3. Let cool at room temperature before serving. You can add some dried cherries to the mix before serving if you wish.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! MAY 2103 BE PEACEFUL, PROSPEROUS AND JOYFUL TO ONE AND ALL. Thanks to all my readers and followers for making my first blogging year a successful one. I hope to hear more from all of you in the coming months.
I know how hectic and crazy these last few days/hours before Christmas can be. Children can especially get anxious and fidgety waiting for the “Big Day”. Why not take some quiet time and allow the whole family to slow down a bit and savor just being together. Make up a pot of hot cocoa or warm apple cider, set out a plate of cookies and watch your favorite Christmas movie, play a board game together, or read some classic Christmas stories aloud. Some favorites include: THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (aka A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS), HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL, THE GIFT OF THE MAGI, or one of my new favorites, THE CHRISTMAS QUIET BOOK by Deborah Underwood.
As the evening grows darker, bundle up and take a walk around the neighborhood to admire all the decorations and lit up houses. Recruit a few friends or neighbors to sing some carols like days of old. It sounds so much better in person than on the radio.
Don’t worry if presents aren’t wrapped or food not bought. Christmas will come whether we are ready or not. So…enjoy the beauty and wonder of this time of year and pass on a little peace and quiet. Joy to the World!
Here is a website with wonderful last minute crafts and ornaments kids can make for the tree or to give as gifts. These projects are perfect to keep kids busy while waiting for Santa. Visit:http://www.redtedart.com. The wine cork Santa is one of my favorites and easy enough to do in a couple of hours.
Here is my recipe for a delicious and easy no-bake treat we call PEANUT BUTTER BON BONS. You need the following ingredients to create these candy-like cookies: 2C graham cracker crumbs, 1C powdered sugar, 1/2C shredded coconut. I 12 oz. package of semi-sweet morsels, melted. (see below for how to melt) Set these ingredients aside as you heat the following in a large saucepan: 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter, 3/4 C. peanut butter.
1. Once the wet ingredients have melted, stir in the dry ingredients and shape into 1 inch balls and place on waxed paper. See photo A.
2. Now you will melt the morsels. You can follow package directions and melt in a microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until completely melted. Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to thin out the chocolate so it is the right consistency for dipping. You may add a bit more oil until it is the consistency of chocolate syrup…not frosting. Dip each ball into the melted chocolate until covered. Use a spoon or toothpick to help with the coating process. Set them on a waxed paper or foil lined cookie sheet and refrigerate until hard. See photo B
You can store these in Zipper bags in the refrigerator and take them out when ready to serve. This recipe makes about 3 dozen. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
My blogger friend Gail Terp has done it again. She’s collected a sampling of some great books you can read or give as last minute gifts for the Christmas Holiday. Check out all the titles she’s posted over the past two weeks and be inspired to read some great Christmas Stories. http://www.gailterp.com. Happy Reading!
Here is an easy, no-bake candy treat you and your children can make for gift giving or as a party dessert. To make CHOCOLATE JUMBLES, you will need the following:
1 – 12 oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate morsels.
1 – C cheerios, 1/2 C raisins, cranberries or dried cherries, 1/2 C peanuts, or other nut of choice, coconut if you wish. You can experiment a bit and add sunflower seeds, or other cereals. Also try using butterscotch morsels or white chocolate. Combinations are endless – just keep the proportions the same to get the correct consistency.
Melt morsels in the microwave following package directions. Stir in other ingredients. Drop spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm. Enjoy now or package in ZipLoc containers for gift-giving.
Sure there are plenty of wonderful Christmas lights and holiday displays to dazzle the eyes this time of year. But how about looking to the sky for another light spectacle. Make some hot cocoa, grab some lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy a special meteor light show this Thursday, 12-13-12. Meteors should begin around 9-10PM, but the peak time for viewing will be 1-3AM (EDT). You should count as many as a hundred if conditions (low light pollution) are good. Enjoy one of nature’s spectacles at the perfect time of year.
If you’re looking for some good books to buy for gifts, I have two wonderful books I want to recommend. The first is a middle Grade titled RUBY HOLLERby Sharon Creech about orphan siblings who are sent to spend the summer with an elderly couple in a remote holler filled with wonderful opportunities. This book has so much heart, joy and spirit, it will be enjoyed for years to come.
The second book is ROCKET WRITES A STORY by Tad Hills. This picture book takes the main character Rocket – a dog – on a journey to find words he can use to make a story. It is perfect for beginning readers/writers who are looking for ways to find ideas for stories of their own. Want to find an idea for a story? Collect new words. Go out and see, hear, smell, and touch the world and ideas will come to you. Good advice for any of us writers out there.