Friday, June 29, 2007

What's Your Rating?

How's this for a blog rating? Liz over at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy had this fun little rating link. Appears to be a freebie service offered by a dating service. Although as A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy discovered it has an interesting definition of what a bad word is.

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Have a great weekend.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Seek and Find

Don’t you just love seek and find books. These were some of the favorites amongst the elementary school kids especially grades 3 and 4 at my former school. If you have fond memories of these books or the seek and finds like those in the magazine Highlights, take a look at the following. Can you find the mommy and baby robin? Have fun. (Oh, I took this in my backyard this weekend. We have two trees with robins' nests. This is the only nest that was successful. Also, I’m several feet away and stretching my short legs as far as they go to get it.)

Labels: , ,

Friday, June 22, 2007

Picture Books - Little Quack's New Friend

Everyone needs a reminder now and then about friendship. The great thing about Little Quack’s New Friend (2006) is that Little Quack ignores his siblings and plays with a new friend even though the new friend is a frog. Ribbit too helps provide a little insight on how it is best to forget a slight and invite those that originally snubbed him to join in the fun. Of course, I doubt seriously if my wee one took away the same thoughts from reading this book as I did, but I hope it lays a foundation of acceptance that all kids should have as they grow. Luckily for us most kids do not see the differences adults see. Too bad us adults aren’t as accepting of others different then ourselves like Little Quack and as forgiving as Ribbit. I don’t know what author Lauren Thompson’s intent was, but this is a really good picture book to share with toddlers on up. In addition, illustrator Derek Anderson created a unique family for Little Quack that also can be used in a meaningful way as well. Each of Little Quack’s siblings is very different in features from each other, which may be useful for families dealing with something similar. If the subtle meanings don’t do anything for you, the text is just plain fun. Give it a look-see. There are several other Little Quack stories, but we have yet to test drive any of those. Happy quacking.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 18, 2007

Picture Books - When Sheep Sleep

Ah, with the previous said now I can return to the regularly scheduled program about books. We are having a great time as usual with reading books. Fortunately, we have a wide variety to select from. One of many favorites we are reading at nighttime is from Laura Numeroff and illustrated by David McPhail. When Sheep Sleep (2006) is a unique take on what to do if you can’t sleep and the sheep you try to count are already asleep. The illustrations are so wonderful the story almost tells itself. Suggested (by me) for toddlers on up. Sweet dreams.

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Social Commentary - Code for Opinion

I’m sure many of you are aware, if not affected by, the constant battle of late in the news about “working moms” versus “stay at home moms”. First, let me say everyone needs to do their own thing that is best for them and their family. But, it is funny how so many women seem to be up in arms over this issue and seem to think everyone should be like this or that.

Back when I was a wee one my mother was a single working mom. In those days there were no daycares, but just neighborhood moms that watched my sister and I. From kindergarten through probably at least 6th grade my sister and I were the only ones in school that had a working mom. And, we lived in a fairly large metropolitan area. Even when my mom remarried she still worked as my dad didn’t have medical benefits and to help make ends meet. It wasn’t easy, but I think my sister and I turned out pretty good. When I graduated from college years later it seemed women and working outside the home had totally flip flopped. It became more of a trend for women to work and the majority of families became two outside income homes.

So, for me I spent 20 years in the “work” force before I became a stay at home mom. I spent my years climbing the corporate ladder, bought my own home, paid off school debts, started an IRA, traveled the world, obtained my masters, and lived a relatively social life along with the companionship of a great dog and cat. I never really entered the “working mom” versus “stay at home mom” debate, as it didn’t really affect me. Plus, I am a firm believer that one should not try to push their lifestyle ideas upon others.

However, recently this debate came up in several instances and it really caught me off guard. I met my husband as some would say late in life followed by having a wee one later in life when most of my friends’ kids are either entering high school or graduating. It seems that when I got married then became a stay at home mom, people that I have known for years all of sudden have forgotten my previous life of working overtime, traveling non-stop for work, and having successfully lived on my own without being in debt.

One instance came up this past week when a former classmate contacted me. During this call it was mentioned a number of times how fortunate I am to be able to stay at home and have all the things that my husband and I have. Then it was mentioned how spoiled I must be especially with all the things my husband does for me. At first I thought yeah I am pretty spoiled, but then I realized the comments were genuine and not the jesting kind. I didn’t say anything, but when I got off the phone I thought hey what a minute. Both my husband and I worked hard for the lifestyle that we have and I have contributed equally to it. Now, I personally think single working moms have the hardest lifestyle and responsibilities bar none. However, I still believe that stay at home moms work hard and have enormous responsibilities as well, we just do not get a cashable paycheck for it. So, where am I going with this? Since I know for sure this classmate doesn’t read this blog, I am using it to vent rather then waste my time confronting someone who has closed minded views. The one good thing that came out of the call was a reminder to myself that everyone is different and one should not try to put their way of thinking or lifestyle on another because very few shoes fit the same feet.

So, no matter if you are a “working mom” or “stay at home mom” being a mom is a blessing and we all know it is a difficult and challenging task, but so worth it. To those that have overbearing and demeaning views on either side of the fence, get off your soap box and worry more about what you are doing in your life then everyone else’s. And, to those that think women are wasting their higher education to stay at home, I say what is wrong with having a little extra knowledge when raising your own kids? I am so thankful to the many children’s authors that create books that fit the many lifestyles that kids live in.

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Chapter Books - The Dragon of Lonely Island

Okay, I had this fairly interesting write up completed for Rebecca Rupp’s The Dragon of Lonely Island (2002), but for some reason it has disappeared. Unfortunately, for me once I empty my brain of its thoughts about a particular topic it seems also to have a retrieval problem. So, let me just say this about the book (re-release). It involves two sisters and a brother who accompany their fiction-writing mother for the summer to an island inhabited only by a caretaker and his wife, or is it? They are staying in their Great Aunt’s home and soon find that there is an adventure to be undertaken. While searching the house and the island they discover their Great Aunt’s secret friend Fafnyr, a tridrake. The three-headed dragon lives in a cave on the island. After overcoming a brief uneasiness the children come to know and cherish the story telling dragon. The tale is brief, but captivating and leaves the reader wondering, but luck would have it that the author has since written a sequel that I have yet to check out. It is a good quick summer read for probably 3rd graders and up.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Picture Books - Emma Kate

Well, it is going to be hard to top the fact that an author has visited this site and included a kind message (Thank you Vivian French you made my day). But, I will move forward and see what else the book world has in store of me. So, let’s start with a shout out for the picture book Emma Kate by Patricia Polacco 2005. We just picked this one up in the paperback form a few weeks back. This is a story about a little “girl” and her imaginary friend Emma Kate. The artwork is very interesting in that it is almost completely done in pencil with just a splash of color. Spoiler - At the end of the story you find the splash of color is our little “girl’s” imaginary friend. For some reason my wee one has taken an extraordinary liking to it. It is a good book, but I just didn’t picture the wee one head over heels for it. She usually reserves the extra love for a different style of book. But, hey the fact that at 27 months she can name the titles of all her books and requests particular ones throughout the day is amazing to me. Emma Kate would be a great gift to a preschooler up through 8 years or so girl. Young boys may like it as well, but it tends to lean heavily toward girlie situations.