Monday, June 30, 2008

Even Fire Fighters Hug Their Moms by Christine Kole MacLean

The book Even Fire Fighters Hug Their Moms has changed the way I play with my kids. I love the pictures. They are so creative. It has shown me a new and exciting way to create fun for my kids. We now are able to explore, imagine, discover and create anything or be anywhere we want. We have recently been scuba diving, fighting fires, cured the sick and flown planes all in the surroundings of our own home. I recommend this book for anyone who has children. It really helped me to be able to access my inner child and be able to pretend better.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My New Book List

I have been working off of a couple booklists for the books that I choose. Most of the books that I have read lately are juvenile fiction. That is sortof where I chose to start since I did not read much as a youth. Now, I have found a new booklist with deeper content and interesting subjects. This list is from a course taught by Oliver DeMille who I highly respect. I will continue to read the Newberry award books, whatever dear Katie and I decide on for book club and whatever I get my hands on, but will also strive to read books off of the following list also. If you want to read along and make comments on these books you can get started. Here it is:

Allen, Collection of Writings of George
Hamilton, Mythology
Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
Madison, et. al., The Federalist Papers
Plato, The Republic
Aristotle, Politics
Warren Bennis, Why Leaders Can’t Lead
Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive
Collins, Good to Great (with supplement for
Walton, The Deming Management Method
The Shell Global Scenarios 2025
Jung, Synchronicity
Coelho, The Alchemist
Hughes, The Vital Few
Jacques Barzun, Teacher in America
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
George Turnbull, Observations upon Liberal
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
Henry Newman, The Idea of a University
Josiah Bunting, An Education for Our Times
Skousen, The Making of America
Eldridge, Wild at Heart
Eldridge, Captivating
Arbinger Institute, The Peacegiver
Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Hugo, Les Miserables
Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Course on Miracles
Darwin, Origin of the Species
Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell
Feynman, Lectures on Physics
Buber, I and Thou
James, Pragmatism
Jaworski, Synchronicity
The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
Nibley, Ancient State
Wilber, A Brief History of Everything
Nietzsche, selected readings
Rand, Fountainhead & Atlas Shrugged
Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Freud, Collected Writings (ed. by Peter Gay)
Aurelius, Meditations

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins

Criss Cross is a snippet from the lives of a couple teenage friends who are now discovering the opposite sex. I rather enjoyed this book. It was a cute story that could relate my teenage years to. I liked the character of Debbie. At the beginning of the book she wishes for "something different... [to] happen. Something good. To me". She is a little nervous around certain boys and blushes easily. I was so her 10 or 15 years ago, could I really be that old? I think that anyone who reads this book will be able to find a character that they are most like and identify with. I recommend this book to anyone who is a teenager or has a teenager.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Favorites Cookbook

To purchase a copy of one of the best cookbooks ever go to this link.

It is a fabulous cookbook, and you can feel good purchasing one because it is for a good cause. I am actually making the lemon chicken recipe from this book for our dinner tonight. The salads in this book are to die for. Everything I have ever made in this book is so good. Here is a sample salad recipe.

Book Club Chicken Salad

6 to 8 Chicken Breasts

Cook chicken breasts for 30 min at 350 degrees. Cool and cut into small pieces. (I cooked the chicken in a frying pan on top of the stove.)

Sugared Almonds:

8 oz. slivered almonds
4 tbsp. sugar

In small skillet, sprinkle sugar over almonds and cook over medium heat until almonds are coated and sugar has dissolved.

2 bags European blend salad mix (I just used romaine.)
1 head iceberg lettuce, torn into pieces
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup craisins
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese


½ red onion, or less if onion is large
2 cups sugar
4 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 cup red wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
2 cups vegetable oil.

For dressing, finely chop red onion in food processor. Add sugar, dry mustard, salt and vinegar and bled until frothy. Slowly add oil. Toss chicken, lettuce, bacon, craisins, and cheese together in a large salad bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle sugared almonds on top and serve.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Fledgling by Jane Langton

The Fledgling was one of my favorite books as a youth. My copy of this book is falling apart and had to be taped back together. I enjoy reading well loved books. I really connected with Georgie, who has a hideout, vivid imagination and thinks she can fly. Her family is concerned with her fascination and belief that she can fly; they worry that she will get hurt.

"Poor Georgie...She is too young to know the limits of human possibility. For Georgie, anything is possible! She lives entirely in the pure ideal. And, after all, why should she not have been born with wings?...It's too bad! What a terrible cosmic mistake?"

This is a cute story that shows that anything is possible. There are a couple of crazy characters Madeline Prawn and Mr. Preek who are concerned about "the child" and her association with the geese that live on Walden pond. I recommend this book to anyone who has wanted to do the impossible.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows is a cute story about friends who stick together to the end. The groups of animals which Graham has set up is interesting to watch unfold. The woodland animals, river bankers and the underground dwellers all live by the rules of their society. I found Toad fun and interesting. Rat was kind and friendly. Mole is loyal and genuine. I did not know what to think about Badger at first, but by the end I found him to be of great character and an honorable friend. The story unravels as Toad, the adventure seeker, finds himself infatuated with cars. His friends don't want him to get in trouble or end up hurt so they banish him to his room. This is where the adventure really begins. The rest is full of, escapes, car chases, police, weasels, guns, fighting, trains, disguises and more. This would be a great read aloud book, but there is an "occasional use of an affectionate British insult which some Americans find offensive."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Peter Pan is the classic tale of the boy who never grew up. I was surprised to see how closely the book is followed by the Walt Disney cartoon version of the same tale. It is fortunate that Peter stayed a boy though, for if he were to choose to grow up a little and then stick somewhere in the teenage years, he would become the worlds greatest heart breaker. For some reason girls cling to him and stick around even though he does not treat them well. Pan's search for a mother figure in his life, brings to light the importance of a mother's love. Wendy is sure that her mother has and will always leave the window open for her to come back from her adventure in Neverland whenever she is ready. Peter does not believe it. "I thought like you that my mother would always keep the window open for me: so I stayed away for moons and moons and moons, and then flew back; but the window was barred, for mother had forgotten all about me, and there was another little boy sleeping in my bed." This is sad. I could hardly believe the feelings that Peter had towards his mother, who he did not really remember. I was also shocked at how crude, rude and jealous Tinker Bell was. The one saving grace for her is that she put her life on the line to save Peter. I think this was an entertaining book, but I would suggest that it should be read by children that are older than eight. There are some swear words and some rough behavior.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hitty Her First Hundred Years

Although this book is a little slow at times, I enjoyed it. The story follows Hitty (a wooden doll) through many adventures in her first 100 years of existence. There were many times in my childhood that I wished my dolls could talk. This is a chance to see the world from a dolls perspective. The story is based on a real doll that is displayed in a museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This would be a great book to read out loud to a daughter. The author does have a sense of humor about the different scenarios. I had to laugh when Hitty wanted to learn to dance and she said something like the mind was willing but the pegs would not comply. There were also many times that Hitty wished she could help with the different situations that she found herself in. I enjoyed seeing that perspective. Now if only my mother's "Bride Doll" could talk. I would love to hear what she had to say.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Shel Siverstein

Shel Silverstein poems are classics from my childhood. I prefer "Where the Sidewalk Ends" of his poem books. My brother was given that book for Christmas one year and I received "A Light in the Attic". In the summer my mom would have us practice our handwriting by copying Shel Silverstein poems. His poems are silly and outrageous, but I love them. Here are a few of my favorites.

My dad gave me one dollar bill
'Cause I'm his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
'Cause two is more than one!
And then I took the quarters
And traded them to Lou
For three dimes -- I guess he don't know
That three is more than two!
Just then, along came old blind Bates
And just 'cause he can't see
He gave me four nickles for my three dimes,
And four is more than three!
And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
Down at the seed-feed store,
And the fool gave me five pennies for them,
And five is more than four!
And then I went and showed my dad,
And he got red in the cheeks
And closed his eyes and shook his head--
Too proud of me to speak!

My mom read this one to us often.

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out
Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out!
She'd scour the pots and scrape the pans,
Candy the yams and spice the hams,
And though her daddy would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out.
And so it piled up the ceilings:
Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
Brown bananas, rotten peas,
Chunks of sour cottage cheese.
It filled the can, it covered the floor,
It cracked the window and blocked the door
With bacon rinds and chicken bones,
Drippy ends of ice cream cones,
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel,
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,
Pizza crust and withered greens,
Soggy beans and tangerines,
Crusts of black burned buttered toast,
Gristly bits of beefy roasts...
The garbage rolled on down the hall,
It raised the roof, it broke the wall...
Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,
Globs of gooey bubble gum,
Cellophane from green baloney,
Rubbery blubbery macaroni,
Peanut butter, caked and dry,
Curdled milk and crusts of pie,
Moldy melons, dried-up mustard,
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,
Cold french fries and rancid meat,
Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.
At last the garbage reached so high
That finally it touched the sky.
And all the neighbors moved away,
And none of her friends would come to play.
And finally Sarah Cynthia Stout said,
"OK, I'll take the garbage out!"
But then, of course, it was too late...
The garbage reached across the state,
From New York to the Golden Gate.
And there, in the garbage she did hate,
Poor Sarah met an awful fate,
That I cannot right now relate
Because the hour is much too late.
But children, remember Sarah Stout
And always take the garbage out!