Festive Nuts Recipe + New Years Eve Traditions From Around the World.

If you need a last minute snack or treat to bring to a party, try this EASY recipe for FESTIVE NUTS. The kids can help, since it is mostly measuring and stirring.  The spices give the nuts a nice tang, and they are not too sweet.  You can adjust the sugar to suit your own tastes as well.  Try using all kinds of nuts – I used ALMONDS and WALNUTS.

Ingredients: 2015-12-21-01-32-13FOR 8 OZ. of NUTS:

1/3 C sugar, 1/2 t. each of the following: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves.  Set aside.

IN a second bowl, combine an egg white and the nuts and stir until nuts are coated:   2015-12-21-01-36-34


Now toss the nuts with the sugar-spice mixture until coated.

Spread nuts on a baking sheet, separating them as much as possible.

2015-12-21-01-39-23 BAKE for 15 minutes.  Scrape up the nuts and break apart.  Return to the oven for 5 more minutes to dry them completely.

Let them cool to room temperature.  Serve with dried cherries, cranberries, or other dried fruit.



While the nuts are baking – or while you’re EATING them, take a look at some of the ways people around the world celebrate NEW YEAR’S EVE..


HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL, and to quote a well-known Vulcan: MAY YOU LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!


We Are All Multi-sensory Learners

Today’s post is a re-blog from 2013 from a friend Gail Terp who does a fabulous job providing books, activities, games and links using a multi-sensory approach to learning.

We Are All Multisensory Learners!   by Gail Terp

How do you learn best? Would you rather to listen to an explanation? Read about the subject? Watch a demonstration? Conduct some trial-and-error experiments on your own? Perform a combination of the above? This last choice is an example of multisensory learning.

Multisensory learning is when we use visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile ways to learn and to remember what we learn. We link our visual (what we see), auditory (what we hear), and kinesthetic/tactile (movement/what we feel) pathways.

Multisensory learning works for everyone and it especially works for children. As adults, we have learned how to gather information using whatever modes are available to us. When we are presented information in just one way, such as in a book or through a lecture, we’ve figured out, more or less, how to get what we need. Children usually haven’t learned how to do that.

Multisensory teaching, providing learning experiences that combine more than one sense, is often recommended for students with learning difficulties. But really, it’s important for all learners. Why? There are several reasons. Using more than one sense:

·     helps to compensate for a weaker sense

·    is more engaging

·    helps overcome distractions (they’re everywhere!)

·    opens up more ways to gather information

·    helps build memory of what is learned

·    taps into nonverbal reasoning skills

·    is more fun

The Lexicon Reading Center  http://www.lexiconreadingcenter.org/what-is-multisensory-teaching-techniques.htmloffers many multisensory techniques that can be used to assist in learning. Here is a modified list:

To stimulate visual reasoning and learning:

·        Posters, computers or flash cards

·         Using color for highlighting, organizing information or imagery

·         Student-created art, images, text, pictures and video

Auditory techniques

·         Books on tape, paired reading (read text together, either simultaneously or taking turns) and computerized text readers

·         Video or film with accompanying audio

·         Music, song, instruments, speaking, rhymes, chants and language games

Tactile teaching methods (using the sense of touch)

·         Sand trays, raised line paper, textured objects, finger paints and puzzles to improve fine motor skills

·         Modeling materials such as clay and sculpting materials

·         Using small materials (manipulatives) to represent number values to teach math skills

Kinesthetic methods (using body movements)

·         Pair jumping rope, clapping, or other movements with counting and singing songs related to concepts.

·         Pair large movement activities (dancing, bean bag tossing), with rhythmic recall and academic competition such as quizzes, flash card races and other learning games.

 Additional resources to look at:

Reading Rockets  http://www.readingrockets.org/article/6332/

Lexicon Reading Center  http://www.lexiconreadingcenter.org/

International Dyslexia Associationhttp://www.interdys.org/

This Reading Mamahttp://thisreadingmama.com/2013/06/09/multi-sensory-activities-teaching-reading/

Heidi Songshttp://www.heidisongs.com/ (Be sure to check out free downloads)

Gail is a retired elementary teacher. She writes kids’ books and is currently working on a non-fiction series about animals and nature.   She also runs a blog for kids who hate to read.

You can visit her at: http://www.gailterp.com

                     gail photo








Keeping Kids Busy During the Holidays.

With all the excitement and preparation that takes place BEFORE the holidays, our kids often seems to bounce around, get bored, or underfoot.  If you’ve exhausted the usual “let’s decorate or bake together” options, try some of the great activities found on the BuzzFeed website:


Here is also a quick and EDIBLE Gingerbread Play Dough option that kids will love.  This recipe comes from Hannah Holt at Lightbulb Books:

Gingerbread Playdough


1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1 packet unsweetened orange […]

You may view the latest post at:  (It also includes a recipe for peppermint snow

Hannah Holt

Remembering Animals This Holiday Season.

For many of us, our furry and feathered friends are just as much a part of our family as humans are.  You can show other animals how much you care in a special way by adopting a pet longing for a home.  Visit Home 4 the Holidays for more information.  http://www.Home4theHolidays.org

The NATIONAL DISASTER SEARCH DOG FOUNDATION recruits rescue dogs, trains them and then pairs them  – free of charge – with firefighters and other first respondents to help find victims buried by natural disasters such as earthquakes.  To donate to this worthy cause:  http://www.searchdogfoundation.org

Remembers the Critters this holiday season!

50+ Easy Ornaments and Crafts For Kids.

Every year, when I take out my many Christmas ornaments, I relive the moments I shared making many of them with my kids.  The collection has grown over the years and my son and daughter now have boxes of their own to take with them when they are ready.

If you haven’t already, why not start a tradition of crafting some simple ornaments this year.  There are  plenty of sights with numerous ideas to get you started. Here are some of them.

From Play Ideas:  http://www.playideas.com/25-christmas-ornaments-kids-can-make/?utm_content=buffer4636d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

From Red Ted Art:   http://www.redtedart.com/category/christmas-2/

The walnut owls are easy and delightful.

From Family Fun:  https://family.disney.com/crafts/

There are crafts for every skill and interest, using on hand materials such as paper, felt, pipe cleaners, walnuts, yarn and more.

Why not create some holiday memories with a few hand-made ornaments.  Here is a sample of my own from past years.     2015-12-10-00-24-21

If you’re interested in a specific one, leave a comment and I’ll send directions.


Book Giveaway – The Warden’s Daughter – Jerry Spinelli

Writing and Illustrating

Newbury Award Winning author Jerry Spinelli has a new book, THE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER hitting the book shelves on January 3rd. He has agreed to join our Holiday Book Giveaway Extravaganza. I loved it. It’s a rich, heartwarming middle grade story that is perfect for children and adults. It was so much fun being taken back to 1959 with hula hoops, black and white tv’s, the music of the day, Bandstand, and Sputnik. If you enjoyed reading Maniac Magee, then you will love returning to Two Mills – I know I did. Jerry delivers a well written diverse book. Don’t miss this one. Here is the link to pre-order.

All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you…

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Rodney Whittenberg Presents Live Interviews With Civil Rights Leaders.

For today’s post it is my joy and pleasure to bring an interview with Emmy Award Winning Composer RODNEY WHITTENBERG, whose new CD WE STOOD UP, explores the experiences of civil rights leaders through interviews and songs.  Sit back and enjoy this amazing project.

Nancy Rogers (NR): Lincoln Financial Foundation

First, a little background for context…Our company’s association with our namesake, Abraham Lincoln, goes back to our founding. In 1905, our founders asked permission of President Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, to use his father’s name for their new company – to reflect the ideals with which they intended to operate. 

Fast-forward to 2016…We Stood Up actually grew out of a 3-year initiative – which we called “Lincoln’s Legacy” – to celebrate the 150th anniversaries of the Emancipation Proclamation (2013) and the 13th Amendment (2015).  As part of the Lincoln’s Legacy initiative, we recorded oral history interviews with a wide range of people who spoke about how the ideals of freedom, opportunity and equality have evolved during their lifetimes. It was our intent from the beginning to produce an anthology of a selection of the interviews. We began with the premise that children would be most influenced – and perhaps most inspired – by other children. In many cases, the interview questions were posed by grandchildren, relatives or mentees of the interviewees – and you can sense the personal nature of some of the questions and answers.  We provided some suggested questions, but the kids were also encouraged to ask about what interested them. In several cases, these recording sessions were the first time that the children had asked questions about how their grandparents or mentors had felt about the things that happened when they were young. That realization helped shape the tone and spirit of We Stood Up. The addition of songs and poems seemed like a natural way to complement the stories being shared – and another vehicle for communicating complex ideas and feelings.     we-stood-up-cd-cover

The creative process was amazing on so many levels. First, there were the oral histories. Our own employees videotaped the interviews. They went to locations the interviewees had chosen, where they were surrounded by people and things that were important to them.

For Julian Bond, it was Florida during a family vacation; for Franklin McCain, it was the Woolworth lunch counter exhibit at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro; for Andrew Young, it was the Andrew & Walter Young Family YMCA in Atlanta; for Shirley Franklin, it was the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the museum she oversees as board chair; for several others it was their own homes. The locations themselves informed the creative process. And of course, the stories and reflections shared during the interviews.

Our video team members were in awe, and so honored to be playing a part in something so meaningful. They worked countless hours to get the edits just right, and to do justice to the content. Our Lincoln staff has continued to work on the project, and they remain committed advocates today.

But it became clear to us as we moved forward that we needed a dedicated professional, with experience in producing both films and records, and we were introduced to Rodney Whittenberg of Melodyvision – who has been our partner in this project for over 2 years.  His creativity and guidance have been invaluable, and he has brought talent and passion in equal measure to the production of We Stood Up. Then there was the music. The music evolved the most significantly over the course of the project.

At first, we thought we would produce a spoken word album. As the album took shape, we realized that we needed a narrator to provide context and connect the interviews. Then, we began to realize that music would raise it to a different level – from an artistic standpoint, an entertainment standpoint, and an emotional standpoint.

 All of the songs are original, and are tailored to the interview content, and Rodney wrote and performed in all of the songs.  One of the truly gratifying things about this whole experience was the willingness of professional musicians and singers to donate their time and talent because they believed in the project. We had contributing performers who specialize in children’s music, but we also had R&B legend Sarah Dash – who couldn’t have been more supportive of the album. On the track, “Someone Thinks,” Sarah sings with her niece, and another niece runs the school where the kids’ chorus comes from.  The music was written for kids, but with adults in mind, too – so that it’s enjoyable during a long car ride with the family!  We also wanted it to feel new and old at the same time…to pay homage to the civil rights era, bus still sound current and relevant today.     

Rodney Whittenberg: Emmy Award Winning Composer.  Songwriter Composer Producer – We Stood Up:  l_r_whittenberg_001

For me this was a passion project. From the moment I first spoke with Nancy and learned about the Lincoln Legacy project I was hooked. I have been working on educational and art projects for the longest time and this made me think we could create something really special. The process started with listening to the interviews they had  created, then traveling around and doing interviews. The high point for me was The John Lewis interview. He was so inspiring, his commitment and courage seams superhuman.

The songs were inspired by the interviews and the stories. Working with legendary singer Sarah Dash was a high point of the process. She really helped and connected me with Sprout performing arts school in Trenton NJ.

My favorite moment on the CD is “John Lewis on Non – Violence” in to the song “Love”.

The best part of the CD is that it’s free for teachers, schools, libraries, and it is available on iTunes.  All of the proceeds go to Boys and Girls club of Phila. 

a-3820397-1399737314-6298Rodney Whittenberg is founder of Melodyvision where he works as a Creative Consultant by using his skills as a composer / song writer/ multi instrumentalist, producer / engineer / filmmaker and educator. He brings a fresh and unique perspective to each client and project adding value that results in creative solutions to often complex problems. Rodney has composed music for over 34 films and TV shows, and countless dance performances. Projects include: Anthony Bourdain’s show a Cooks Tour; PBS POV Documentary The Camden 28; horror cult classics Infested and Return to Sleep Away Camp. He’s received a regional Emmy for his score for the TV Documentary Mother Dot’s Philadelphia and Best Sound Design at the Terror Film Festival for Toll Taker.  

Rodney’s work as a filmmaker centers around his passion for telling a story from start to finish in a creative way. Projects include: HBO Family segments 30X30: Kid Flicks; WHYY Wider Horizon educational spots; and numerous music videos and short-form documentaries. His most recent passion project is as co-producer of the feature-length documentary Caregivers: Their Passion, Their Pain, which was recently featured on Radio Times and written up in The Guardian.  More info at www.melodyvision.com

We Stood UP


We Stood Up iTunes link



Sound-cloud Link


The Gift of Books…Keeps on Giving.

As you go about your holiday shopping, keep in mind that books are a wonderful gift for anyone on your list.  Many of my blog posts have featured authors and the wonderful books they write.  From picture books, through middle grade and young adult, you can find something for every taste and interest.  Not sure what kind of books to buy?

You can browse online to find some of the most popular books as well as Award-Winning titles.  Look on the CHILDREN’S BOOK COUNCIL site for past and present titles.  Books there are listed by grade and subject areas.   http://www.cbcbooks.org

Brightly – a Random House Site – has a wealth of books to recommend for the holidays and beyond.


Here are a few other links to great books for all ages:  http://www.kidlitauthorclub.com

 The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) provides titles of it’s members who are authors and illustrators for children.    https://www.scbwi.org/readinglist/ 

You can also ask your child’s teacher what kind of books she might welcome in the classroom.  It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Here is a great list of CHRISTMAS BOOKS from the CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW.

20 of the Best Kids Christmas Books

And The Winner’s Are…

This post is LOOOONNNGGGG overdue…I am pleased to announce the winner’s to last month’s free book give-away:

For a signed copy of Carol Levin’s Historical Coloring Book: Remembering the Ladies: From Patriots to Petticoats, goes to Shiela Fuller.

And, the winner of a copy of Nancy Viau’s MG book: Just One Thing goes to Robin Newman.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all for participating.  Happy Holidays!