Five Minute Friday: Exhale

Exhale . . .  Yesterday I watched a friend’s kiddos while she had to work.  This summer she and I are swapping days with our kiddos who are identical in age so that each of us has time to exhale.

The kiddos and I visited one of our favorite parks and ended up staying for over two hours.  Children’s laughter . . . exhale.

They then fed “dead bread” (expired bread/cereal) to the ducks who happened to be M.I.A.  Exhale . . .
 

LOVE


A short walk to the local library followed where the kiddos selected books and movies . . .  Their love of reading . . . exhale.

A day I wish didn’t have to end . . . exhale.

Share your idea of LOST in only five minutes . . .

Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday:  Lost

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Reading Camp Rocks- Week 2

     My oldest squirt and her buddy attended Week 2 of Reading Camp offered through Saint Louis University.  We barely were able to finish the homework in time for class due to the fact my squirt was attending camp during the evenings and sleeping late throughout the mornings, and, to be honest, she felt it was “boring,” a new term she had learned and embraced wholeheartedly from some of the older girls at camp.  Anywho- workbook pages were completed, CDs were listened to, and a dramatization of a picture book completed.  Mistakenly, I had her watch with me a video intended for parents, to be fair, which was “boring.”  I loaded her into the van with her final words, “I am never going to Reading Camp again,” escaping the sliding door.  While buckling my seat belt, I assured her that one week was already down with only four more to go.  Really only three more to attend if she considered “today” as a completed Reading Camp day.  Besides, Miss Rebecca (the young, energetic teacher) would miss her . . . .
     Arriving at the high school and following last week’s route through the building, we discovered that our class was to meet in another room due to ACT testing being offered concurrently.  Thus, with both squirts leading the way by following the arrows, we made our way to the new classroom.  We decided potty breaks were needed, so all four of us hustled down towards the bathrooms so as not to miss the beginning of class.  Again, my inner immaturity (since being in a high school setting) eventually found its way out when I wet a paper towel and threw it into my friend’s stall (hey- at least I didn’t throw it up on the ceiling).  Stifling giggles, I listened closely for her reaction, but heard nothing.  When she opened her door and exited her bathroom cubby,  a mere, “Did you do that?”  She had figured her son had performed the act in question.  I suppose being out of high school for twenty plus years along with motherhood does and should mellow or mature most of us (or at least make us better examples for the youth of today . . . as my daughter watched my actions with wide-eyed amazement).
     Class started promptly on time, and questions were asked of the 4 and 5 year-old students.  Excited hands were raised, and before we knew it, it was story time with Eric Carle’s A House for Hermit Crab.

Each student was given a copy to “read along” with the teacher.  After the reading, Miss Rebecca discussed the story with the students and then wrote a short story of her own on the board and drew a house to her liking- red with green stripes.  Students then were asked to narrate his/her original story to his/her parent with the parent writing the story verbatim- taking no grammatical liberties.

  Rhyming and phonetic work ensued before class ended with a reading of Audrey Wood’s big book,  King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, an entertaining read with beautiful illustrations where each page takes on a color scheme of its own.

Class was dismissed for the week, and we plan to have our student squirts take part in a homework session together to promote the “fun” of reading and working together.  Of course, today is Tuesday, class is Saturday, and we have yet to crack the books.  Aaaaaaah . . . the humanity!!!!!

Learn More about Author Sondra Wright

 A film that brings tears to your eyes . . .
The movie “Imitation of Life” always evokes such strong emotions in me. The pain and hostility surrounding Sara Jane’s lifelong identity struggle; the toll it takes on her mother Annie, until she finally dies of a broken heart, and in the end Sara Jane realizing the hurt she had caused the mother who loved her and showing up much too late to ask her forgiveness.
Describe your first kiss…
My first kiss came very much by surprise. I was at my friend Sylvia’s house and her younger brother just swooped in and planted one on me. It was like the 4thof July going off in my head.
Your favorite children’s book, and why . . .
Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. I still pick it up and read it sometimes today. It’s such a soothing and relaxing little story. It’s so beautifully illustrated and I love the way the little bunny acknowledges every item in the room with a good night.
A cause that’s closest to your heart, and why . . .I have an enormous passion for children and the elderly. These are often defenseless populations whose needs are easily overlooked. The Kinship Care Coalition and Advocacy Group of North Carolinais a startup organization that’s very near and dear to me right now. The organization raises awareness for the strikingly large number of grandparents who are raising grandchildren today; to make sure they get the support and services they need.
If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be?
My Shero – – the woman behind the horse — Penny Chenery, Secretariat!!
Explain the worst job that you’ve held.
In my early 20’s I worked for a job listing service. Job seekers paid a fee and in return we gave them a list of employers that they could have probably located on their own for free. I hated it because I felt like we were scamming people! I remember talking with clients and at the same time trying to give them an “eye signal” to take their money and run. It was pretty bad.
A quote that motivates you . . .I heard someone say once, “God is watching…give Him a good show.” And that’s a quote that really moves me to give my best, be my best and do my best at all times – in every situation.
The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island . . .
Bustin Loose by Chuck Brown never fails to elevate my mood. It makes me happy, it makes me want to move – it makes me feel like I can conquer the world.
Three Wishes
   1. That everyone would know God’s love
   2. That there was no such thing as a hungry child
   3. That people learn to value and respect each others differences
Favorite game you played as a child . . .
Scrabble! My mom played with me every week. In the beginning she beat me so badly I would cry, but she never cut me any slack and that was a good thing. Playing against such a tough competitor not only forced me to build my spelling and vocabulary skills but really served to develop my critical and strategic thinking skills as well.

Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse Book Club Ideas

     Rebecca Janni’s Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse is an ideal choice for not only teaching kiddos that what one may want is not actually what one may need, but also to motivate a young reader to learn to ride his/her bicycle.
     In order to experience this children’s book, attempt to find a park complete with a paved path for bicycle riding and a lake for the book club meeting.  After reading through Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse, have children first complete  the “chore,” similar to the main character, of feeding the “free-range chickadees”( with bread or crackers) or in the case of the park, ducks and swans.  After chore-time, gather tricycles, big wheels, and bikes from the car so that the kiddos may enjoy riding their horses of choice.  Just when the kiddos are running out of steam, announce snack-time complete with cherry tomatoes (since Nellie Sue ended up in Mama’s tomato patch) and mozzarella mini-balls on Popsicle sticks.  For the pickier eater (ahem, like my kiddos), use maraschino cherries- to mimic the look of tomatoes- and banana slices.

Rebecca Janni

Learn More about Author Annie Fox

A film that brings tears to your eyes . . . Just one?! But I’m so easily moved to tears! OK how about 3: Ghost, Tootsie, Up 

Describe your first kiss
. Two 11 year-olds at the beach. Surprising. Sweet. Fantasy-inducing.

Your favorite children’s book, and why . . . 

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Such pathos, such empathy in just a few words and some simple line drawings. 
A cause that’s closest to your heart, and why . . . Bullying. While kids grow, their sense of self is so vulnerable. When they’re targeted by others (at school or at home) the way they think about themselves is altered in unhealthy ways. They can start to assume there’s something “wrong” with them that makes them “deserving of disrespect.” That will undoubtedly erode their self-confidence and hold them back in life. Kids whose aggression is tolerated are also being changed. They assume that threats, manipulation and violence are acceptable ways to behave. That can set them on a path of regrettable choices. And there’s a third group… the largest one playing a part in the dramas that take place daily in schools around the world: the silent bystanders. The Culture of Cruelty changes them as well and they begin believing that they’re powerless in the face of injustice.  That’s no way to help develop a new generation of leaders.

If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be?
Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. She brought herself and others out of darkness into the full bloom.

A quote that motivates you . . .
“If you’re not modeling what you teach, you’re teaching something else.” (I don’t know who said it first)

The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island . . .
“Defying Gravity”  
 Wishes:
To work together to make our own corner of the planet a safer, saner, cleaner, greener more equitable place for everyone.
 
Favorite game you played as a child . . .  Pretending that my bicycle was a horse and riding really fast

Annie Fox

Learn More about Author Susan Stephenson

A film that brings tears to your eyes: The Blind Side.

Describe your first kiss
: I don’t remember my first kiss, but fortunately I can recall the last one in complete sensory detail – sweet and romantic.

Your favorite children’s book, and why
: My favourite children’s book changes day by day. But an old favourite is Enid Blyton’s The FarawayTree. I love the world that Blyton built and how it feeds our imaginations.

A cause that’s closest to your heart, and why
: Children’s literacy is of huge importance to me. I love to read, write, create and educate myself. I believe many of the world’s ills could be solved by such education, particularly encouraging parents to read to their kids. And the thought of libraries closing due to lack of funding absolutely appals me.

If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be?
I would be Anne in Anne of Green Gables. 

Explain the worst job that you’ve held.
My worst job was being Latrine Officer in a children’s camp. When one of the kids dropped her gold watch into the pit, it was my job to fetch it back for her. I came to fully understand the meaning of trust as I was lowered by my ankles.

A quote that motivates you
:“It is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life.”  (Barthold Georg Niebuhr)

The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island
: “Oh I do like to be beside the seaside” – in the hope that such a positive affirmation will help me withstand the solitude!

Three Wishes

   1. For me: I wish, oh how I wish, that I could draw.
   2. For my family and friends: health and happiness.
   3. For the world: an end to greed.

Favorite game you played as a child:
Imaginative games – roleplaying Robin Hood and building cubbies in the bush so we could spy on the Sheriff.

The Book Chook

"Baby" Book Clubs

A child is never too young to instill the love of reading. . .  In honor of National Children’s Book Week, I have decided to form a book club for my daughters, ages 3 and 5, and their friends.  My friend and I founded one when our kiddos were approximately 3 and 1 which included a story, snack, and craft.  Now, I feel it’s time to elevate the “Baby” Book Club and add more adult elements such as a copy of the story for each child and/or family.  Thus, I intend to e-mail the book title in advance to member parents so that they may order from the library the book title in question prior to “discussion.”    With this advance copy in hand, I am hopeful a prereading of the story will follow, which, in turn, will allow more silliness and participation on actual book club day if, for example, there is a catchy rhyme or repetition of words.  The book club attendees will be more likely to join in the reading if they are familiar with the storyliine.  In addition, “Baby” Book Club also includes snack and craft.  Field trips entail storytimes at the library, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and independent bookstores where children’s authors often conduct signings and readings.Children’s Book Week