A book is a friend for life. The words stay with you, even when you put the book down.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dance Your Heart Out

My daughter loves taking dance. Her favorite is tap, but she really loves all styles. Last night was her annual Halloween Dance Party/Recital at dance class.

She had to miss her very first 6th grade basketball game to make it to dance. She chose dance (no surprise). She always has such a great time with all the girls at dance class, even though most of them attend a different school and participate in different events than she does.

Her favorite part of the evening was taking pictures with her dance teachers. These two ladies are so special, and such an important part of my daughter's life. So blessed to have such great Christian dance teachers as mentors for my daughter!

Here's a reading idea: I just finished reading Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina with my daughter. It's a biography about a famous dancer from Oklahoma. My daughter loved it, and the artwork is outstanding!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Creepy Creek Halloween

I am not usually that excited about Halloween. It's not my favorite holiday, and probably will never be. My kids like it, but don't get overly jazzed up about it, either.


The girls in my daughter's class are very Halloween-crazed. They love everything spooky, from Monster High (my daughter) to ghost stories 24/7 (the rest of her class). So I should not have been too surprised when I got a call from one of the moms asking for help taking the girls to the local spook-fest, Creepy Creek.

If only she had known how much she was asking of me! I don't like anything scary. I try not to watch tv in October, just because there are so many icky things on. I don't even watch creepy commercials or read books that I think might be frightening. (I blame all of this on a childhood friend who made me watch "Lost Boys" twice when I was a teen. Yep, this is all her fault.)

However, I am a sucker when it comes to my kids. So, reluctantly and with great trepidation, I said okay. We ended up with 13 6th-grade girls, two moms, and a college girl who (thankfully) came along to help us. Once we got to the trail, we were split into three groups. Then, each group departed for the unknown.

Let me be completely honest. I was scared. My throat was sore afterward from screaming. I'm sure everyone in a 5-mile radius could hear me. And I feel sorry for the girls in my group. I kept stopping in the middle of the trail, with the girls pushing me from behind! And jumpy? Why yes, yes I am.

The worst moment happened right at the end of the trail. Our "guide" said we should choose which way to go to get back to the campfire. Well, we didn't know what to do, and ended up running around in circles, going every way except the right way. All the while being chased by "zombies", a guy with a "chainsaw", and a ghost of some kind. Oh, and our guide was chasing us, trying to get us to go the right way. Eeeek! (And, I fell down just as we crossed the creek to safety. Nice.)

Even when the trail was over and we were sitting around the campfire with the entire group, enjoying hot dogs and cocoa, I still caught myself looking over my shoulder for creepy creatures who might be jumping out from the shadows at me. Nothing did, but still...

I did not sleep well that night, but thankfully, I was okay by the next night. (I'm not sure my daughter slept well, either.) However, the girls seemed to have a great time just being together, so it was worth it.

I don't believe that I will willingly volunteer for this again, however. I will just politely say no. (Okay, maybe not.)

What's an interesting Halloween book -- that isn't too creepy? Perhaps Save Halloween by Stephanie Tolan. A unique perspective on Halloween!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Family Landmarks

This weekend was full of family landmarks.

We moved into our new home over Fall Break. It took a lot of work, to move in our furniture, but it's accomplished! The best feeling in the world was being able to sleep in our own beds in our new house. This morning, making coffee in my kitchen, I'm thankful (even for a Monday morning)!

I love watching my kids grow into young adults. They have become so responsible, putting away dishes without being asked, helping to cook dinner, and putting up their clean clothes. I love how much hard work they are putting into the new house.

A wonderful moment occurred on Sunday evening. My nephew was baptized!
It brought back some great memories, of my own baptism and of my kids' baptism just a few years ago. The preacher asked for a show of hands of people in the congregation who had been baptized. Such a moment to watch my kids, smiling, raise their hands in acknowledgement. That moment was real, deep in their hearts -- just as it was in mine. What a great landmark to celebrate as a family!

Can't wait for Thanksgiving in the new house, making more family memories and family landmark events!

A great read about family life and family landmark events: Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen. (a classic Newbery and worth the while)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Author Discovery

Sometimes it happens when you least expect it ... that discovery of an author. Maybe you've just picked up a book because of the cover. Maybe someone has recommended a title. Maybe it just arrived across your desk, and you were bored so you picked it up.

However it happens, you find yourself devouring the book. Then looking for another by the same author. Then scanning online for a list of all the books by that author. And reading as many of them as possible. You find yourself waiting anxiously for the author to write a new book so you can read it as soon as it hits the shelves.

This scenario has happened to me many times before, and yet I'm always amazed at the process.

Today, it's been about Sarah Dessen, author of many chick-lit teen titles. I have enjoyed all of her books, but haven't read any of them in awhile. Today, I picked up What Happened to Goodbye, and I can't put it down. I'd forgotten how much I loved her books. I now remember why teen girls love her novels so much!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

House Work

We have been working hard at our "new" house to get it move-in ready.

We had an extra-long weekend last weekend, so we spent nearly all of our time working on the house. (Note: when I say "we", I do indeed mean myself, my husband, and both kids.)

Here's a list of tasks we have accomplished:

*Sacking up all (bags and bags and bags) of Grandma's clothes and delivering them to Goodwill
*Sacking up trash (cleaned out from drawers, shelves, and closets) and taking to the dump
*Removing old, broken, and unwanted appliances, dishes, pots, and pans from the kitchen
*Moving and removing Grandma's furniture to make room for some of our own, while utilizing the furniture already in the house
*Washing load after load of laundry, including but not limited to towels, sheets, curtains, furniture covers, and blankets
*Eliminating decor (knickknacks, bric-a-brac, odds and ends) left over from the 1980's (all in gold and dusty rose, if anyone is interested)

Okay, so not everything on the above list has been completed. But we have certainly made a dent in the daunting task.

Every afternoon this week, we will be working more. Tired, yes. But it's all worth it.

For some "light" reading about making a house a home, try Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon. Actually, anything by Jan Karon will make a reader feel right at home! Or pick up any of the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Noisy Library?

Actually, my library is a lively place. If you walk in expecting to hear a pin drop, you'll be highly alarmed.

I think a bustling library is a sign of a useful library. Is it quiet in here? Not if it's being used!

The elementary library is a good example. Especially during last period. During last period, I teach a class of 4th graders for Library Skills. Also, during this same time, I have 2nd graders coming in and out doing AR tests and checking out books. Often, the herd of 1st graders come through to check out books during this last hour of the day, too. And on really busy days, I will sometimes have the 5th & 6th come in for books, and the Kindergarten if they were running late. No, it's not quiet. It's busy. That's how I like it!

Sometimes the high school library is WAY too quiet. That's because it's not being used. Today, I'm enjoying the noise. 8th graders have been in to type essays, and now I'm hosting a group of students who have discovered the high school iPads and the learning games. Nope, not quiet, but that's all right with me.

Although the clucking chickens on Chicktionary are a bit much.

Reading suggestion for today: with thoughts on the farm (inspired by the never-ending chickens mentioned above) try the Dairy Queen series by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Reading for Class Assignment (and for fun)

I am really enjoying my grad class this semester! I'm taking Children's Literature, and although there is a lot of reading involved, I am having so much fun!

I'm enjoying the lively discussions with other classmates from around the state, via the college discussion boards. One particularly lively discussion centered around The Giver by Lois Lowry. I enjoyed reading the book, and its sequels, and I relished the responses given by other students about their interpretations.

I also had to read a couple of books from this year's Sequoyah reading list (available here:
I read Strange Case of Origami Yoda and reread Moon Over Manifest. Comparing the main characters in each, and then creating cross-curricular lesson plans, was an enjoyable task!

We also had a couple of great assignments that involved writing. Each assignment involved reading something from a selected list, and then writing about it by following the course rubric. The hardest thing about these assignments is learning how to pare down my writing. For example, one assignment called for a ONE-PAGE paper about an illustrator; however, the instructions also called for us to become an expert on that illustrator by reading several of his/her works and research him/her on the internet! Let's just suffice to say that my paper was actually 2 pages, not one. I used Chris Van Allsburg as my illustrator, and discovered so much about him and his unique books.

Another assignment asked us to suggest a poem for class study and for a detailed plan to teach various skills (not just poetry) in a cross-curricular format. I really enjoyed that assignment! I used the book Whiff of Pine, Hint of Skunk as the basis for my lesson, since there are so many ways to connect it to science curriculum (and much more)!

Most recently, we were given an assignment to read two different children's books that re-imagined a fairy tale. There are so many great ones out there, I had trouble deciding. I ended up going for a Gingerbread Man retelling, by using The Sugar Child and The Stinky Cheese Man. These two books are roughly based on the same story, but are polar opposites in reality. It made the writing so much easier, and the reading so much more fun! (Of course, this paper was supposed to be 1-2 pages, and ended up 2 1/2. Proud of myself for keeping it that short!)

Can't wait to see what the next assignment will be!

Reading suggestions? Well, any of the above, obviously. And dive into the above assignments on your own! You never know which book will spark your enthusiasm until you try!