Kitchen connected

I  will admit that I am addicted to my Ipad.  I read  ebooks off of it, connect with my email, Facebook and various social media, blog,  take quick photos, utilize it for library duties, even give Accelerated Reader tests to my students  on this device.

Sometimes I prop it  up in the my kitchen (carefully)  to cook from, or watch a cooking demo by my hero , Martha Stewart.  All the while, nervous of errant splatters, or granular sugar scratches appearing on the screen.  Ultimately, I prefer my traditional paper cook books, many of which are stained with flour and memories of the dish and the occasion it was prepared for. Or with whom is was prepared with……often I think of my Grandmother Rivier when I pull out her  cookbook and read her hand written notes in  the various margins.   See previous post, click here.

Thankfully, Williams and Sonoma are keeping up with the societal shift to the Ipad, by offering a kitchen stand,    blue tooth speaker   and  splatter screen cover  in their Christmas sales catalog.  Tech savy cooks can consult a recipe , watch/listen to   cooking demos,  crank on a tune from their  Spotify channel…and perhaps a panicked  Facetime  consultation with Mummy  (in Canada)  when  the yeast is not rising properly….all while whipping up  supper…without fears of cooking spatters on said electronic device.

Further proof of  the Ipad’s cemented  integration into our daily lives.  Maybe,  I would like one?  St. Nicholas, are you reading this?

Literary Characters I would like to friend on Facebook…..

Sadly, I admit to wasting away part of my holiday weekend with Facebook.  (Never mind the  piles of laundry which need my attention.)  Eoin brought me our current bedtime novel to read,  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. We are enjoying reading many of  the classics together;   I,  reliving them from my childhood.  Many of these characters are like old friends whom I am reconnecting with, much like Facebook is a source for people to reconnect with  others. I then began to think about  fictional characters I would like to friend on Facebook.

Here are a few.  And why.

Elizabeth Bennett…one of the most complicated literary characters ever written.  Pride and Prejudice is one of the great romances of all of literature but yet extra special because it seems so romantic and realistic.   Elizabeth became attractive  to Mr. Darcy when he discovered her true personality, despite   not holding the same status as was required of couples in Victorian England.  Jane Austen introduces a couple that is not glamorized by beauty but fall in love with the personality of the other. Austen created characters with contrast.  Besides, I so love the Colin Firth movie version of Mr. Darcy.

Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables devilish curiosity, personal strength, helped her overcome the harsh hand life deal this orphan and as a result became a teacher. I so love her vivid use of imagination.

Charlie Buckett from Charlie and the Chocolate factory.  While this is a current read in the Potwin household,  I am reminded of Charlie’s kind  and gentle disposition as well as his honesty, despite being presented with the opportunity to profit greatly by deceitfully  participating in industrial candy espionage.  Besides, I would warn him to stay away from the  nasty Veruca Salt.  Not only is she a spoiled little girl, but has dreadful manners.

Nora Krank from Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, became multi million dollar grossing movie Christmas with the Kranks.  Anyone who celebrates the Christmas holiday with as much vim and vigor as Nora has my undying appreciation. I can totally relate to her and teh demands of holiday preparation.  Plus, I would love some of her holiday decorating tips.

Paddington Bear ( who, admittedly,  is really not a person).  Perhaps  meeting up for coffee…or tea…would be a better  initial meeting , before deciding to ‘friend’ Paddington.  I am not sure about having an actual meal with a bear, though in the whimsical spirit of this blog,  I would elect to have a proper British tea, including marmalade sandwiches, with the  Bear from deepest, darkest Peru,  most likely in Harrod’s Food Court..or possibly Fortum and Mason’s…or the like.  Hold the cream …I know that Paddington would make a mess of the cream and then I would be responsible for wiping off his whiskers. And use paper cups,  I do not wish to be responsible for  broken china.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Raven,  though I would choose when  to accept this friend request…..distinctly not  in the  bleak  December. Yes, I too choose to read as a form of escapism, though not  for seek solace  of  Lenore’s lost.  And yes, I too feel for the narrator’s sense of undying  devotion, though perk up buttercup…madness is not the answer.

Colin in the Secret Garden.  I would love to discuss his transformation from  doom and gloom to being a sunny optimist.

Eloise…living in that New York hotel for so long, I am sure she has become accustomed to  a certain level of service and a ” joie de vie” when approaching life.  Friending Eloise would be a must.  When she returns from Paris, of course.

Babar…I want more tidbits of life behind the palace walls.

Birdie Boyers…the Strawberry Girl  depicts Florida Cracker life,  in lieu of a friend request perhaps a nice meal out on the town, perhaps a strawberry short cake  desert would  be welcomed.  I would like to  learn more about how she   applied herself to hard work around her. If there is one thing which I value above all else in this world, it  is hard work and those who apply themselves to a challenge.

So many great books, so many great characters…many of them are like old friends.  I look forward to revisiting them,  perhaps not through Facebook, though through readings with my son as he grows to love the expressive written word as much as I do.

Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noel!

Not as whimsical as our CCL tree, eh?

Given that many librarians, particularly children’s librarians, still hold fast to the traditionalist models of using felt as part of their storytelling programming, I felt this to be acceptable graphic to share during this festive season. A craft project, on display in one of the Toronto Public Library’s satellite branches, this felt Christmas tree does seem like an ambitious project, yet a joyful way to ring in the new year…in a Cindy Lou Who/ Grinch sort of way.

Admittedly, I am not a traditionalist librarian, who employs felt storyboards or puppets to engage and inspire our children to read…..though my inner Martha Stewart does feel challenged. Perhaps a smaller version would be a doable decorating project…..?

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year to my fellow Falcons! See you on January 4th, 2012.

13 more days until Christmas and counting…

I admit it….I can’t stand the wait…..

The food, the baking, the excitement my son feels….it is all driving me crazy with anticipation….I simply love Christmas.  I also love that Eoin and I can read during the time off.  Sadly, we  do not tackle as many books as I anticipate,  though I suppose that I can  arrange our waiting tomes in the manner above, in lieu of them  causing my nightstand table to groan further….

Here are a few titles which Eoin and I are currently enjoying;  part of our Christmas holiday celebrations.

The latke that wouldn’t stop screaming by Lemony Snicket (Eoin dude adores this one.)

The carpenter’s gift : a Christmas tale about the Rockefeller Center tree by David Rubel

The Christmas coat: memories of my Sioux childhood by Virgina Drivign hawk Sneve

The Golem’s latkes by Eric Kimmel

Jingle Bells : how the holiday classic came to be by John Harris

The third gift by Linda Sue Parks

The Nutquacker by  Mary Jane Auch

Balloons over Broadway: the true story of the puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

Friends,  please try to tackle a few great leisurely reads over the holiday season…on the plane to Grandma’s house, or curled up with a cookie and warm mug of  hot chocolate…..try to find the time to read.

T’was the night before Christmas….

Twas Holiday Vacationsanta1
(Or: How to Keep Your Kids’ Minds Occupied and Your Home Intact Over the Holidays)

‘Twas holiday vacation for two whole weeks long,
And mommy and daddy wanted nothing to go wrong-
The presents had been chosen by relatives with care,
In hopes it would save them from losing their hair!

But children were zipping and zooming about-
“We’re bored, we’re bored!” they exclaimed in a shout,
So mommy looked at Daddy with a twinkle in her eye,
“I have a solution that money can’t buy!”

And bundling their children they decided to gosanta1
To the public library (in spite of the snow).
They pulled in the lot and opened the door-
Creative Corner had begun with room for two more!

They heard a grand story about a mean, ugly Grinch-
And created a craft; it was all such a cinch!
They beamed with pride over the things they had made,
Then dashed to the wall with the book shelves to raid.

“Look, here’s Junie B. and Artemis Fowl-shortest
These titles will keep us busy for a while!”
The parents let out great sighs of relief-
Children reading books meant an end to their grief!

And back to their home they soon did travel
With a stack full of mysteries to soon unravel-
So when this vacation at once came to an end,
They brought back the books they’d had out on lend.

When back at the school the kids they did chatter,
Of books they had read all about matter!
And the teacher exclaimed with the utmost delight,tamales2
“Joy over reading is a wonderful sight-
It will bring your learning to a commendable height,
So tell me the tales that you read before bed,
Or share that adventure still swirling in your head,han1
Reading is the best gift you gave to yourself,
Lasts longer and better than one from an elf.
I wish happy holidays to each one of you
And may you read many-a-book all the year through!”

~Stacey Greene Wicksall, librarian friend to Mrs. Potwin

If you are thinking of something to do with your children over the holidays…how about reading?   Local libraries in our area operates throughout the holiday season, sometimes even offering  seasonal programming. Contact the Manatee County Library or Sarasota County Library Systems for more information.Also,  a recent NPR podcast relating to children and seasonal reading is available by clicking here . (includes a link to children’s seasonal books.)

Merry Christmas, my friends! See you back on campus on January 5th.


Christmas books

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. Bright holiday lights, shiny decorations, up beat music, great food and good friends to visit. Christmas themed books are always well sought after in our library. And we are very fortunate to have a sustainable collection of Christmas /Hanukkah/ Kwanza books. What are your favorite holiday themed books? Which stories help put you in the holiday mood? Often in our library we read “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg or “T’was the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Moore (the Mary Engelbreit version).

Do you have special holiday books which you read only at this festive time of year? I can remember each Christmas, my mother would unpack two seasonal pop up books with the Christmas decorations. One book, “T’was the Night Before Christmas”, was mine. “The First Christmas” belonged to my brother. These books were special; not only were they pop up books which we handled gently, but they were read only during the holiday season. I look forward to reading these books to my son on our return to Canada later this month.

Do you have any holiday favorite books?