Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Storytime

Well, another week has passed and I've only posted about Storytime. Ah well. So it goes.

This week's storytime's theme was THANKSGIVING. Of course. There are not a lot of books (that we own) about Thanksgiving that aren't SUPER wordy. So picking & choosing things didn't go as easily as I had hoped. I also wanted to do more books about autumn, harvest, etc but with early snow & extremely cold temperatures here this year, that didn't feel right.

In the end I found a few things that worked, and we had a great time!

In November by Cynthia Rylant
A great book which is perfect for this chilly, snowy November! Beautiful illustrations, talks about animals, people, the Earth...in November. :)

Next we did a Turkey Felt Board (idea courtesy of Kathryn Roach)

I cut out a turkey shape (free hand) along with feathers. LOTS of feathers. Since we have a lot of kids at Storytime, I wanted to make sure everyone had a feather in their hands. I used all the different colors that I had on hand. It turned out pretty cute. I wish I would've taken a picture after the kids had put up all their feathers!

The song is to the tune of Are You Sleeping?
Our Poor Turkey
Lost his feathers.
Let's all help, everyone.
Do you have a * (red) one?
Come on bring the * (red) one.
Oh what fun!
Oh what fun!

*change the color each time.

The kids had a great time waiting to put their feathers on the flannel board. It was pretty darn exciting! Thank you Kathryn for this great flannel activity!

Next we read Look Who's in the Thanksgiving Play! which is a really cute lift-the-flap book and seemed to get the kids settled back down after the excitement of the Turkey flannel!

Fall Mixed Up was next. Even though we're a month or two behind on this one, the kids enjoyed it an LOVED seeing all the crazy things that are happening in this book. They thought a lot of it was incredibly silly. And it is!

Next up we did the "Turkey Pokey" - yep, essentially the Hokey Pokey (but not in a circle because we don't have enough room) but using turkey body parts - wings, claws, wattles, beak. The kids really enjoyed this & I heard quite a few adults singing along too!

We finished up with Tomie dePaola's My First Thanksgiving. A more simple board book which talks about the first Thanksgiving and what we do to celebrate Thanksgiving today. It's always nice to end on a short book!

Overall it went pretty well. The kids seemed to be interested in the books & were eager & excited to tell me what special plans they had for Thanksgiving Day.

We had 66 at Storytime today - whew!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Colors Storytime

I do Storytime every Tuesday at 10:15 at the Mount Royal branch library of the Duluth Public Library system. I enjoy it. I really do. I enjoy reading to the kids (my weekly "performance"), I love putting together themes, activities & songs to go along; I really enjoy creating flannel boards & fun activities to go along with it. 

I've decided I'm going to start blogging about my Storytimes as it's a great resource for me down the road. I sometimes forget what worked & how well; what failed; what wasn't worth it and what TOTALLY was. I also lose track of what books/songs/fingerplays I do with what books/themes. 

So here ya go. Today's Storytime:

Today our theme was COLORS. A fun Storytime theme and one I've used in the past & will use again in the future.

Opening song - The More We Get Together

Early Literacy Aside #1 - We talked about VOCABULARY as today's enhanced storytime element. Vocabulary is my favorite. I love talking about this because it's SO GREAT to learn new words & increase kids language awareness. Plus it's easy. You can read any book & find words that little ones don't know the meanings of. And non-fiction books are SUPER great to use.

Color, Color, Where Are You Color?  by Mary Koski
A great book to play "I-Spy" with and talk to the kids about all the objects, plants, animals, etc featured in this book. Excellent for exploring vocabulary!

Dog's Colorful Day - by Emma Dodd
I made a quick & simple flannel board to go along with this book yesterday. A little tracing, a little cutting and wham! A super cute flannel that the kids LOVED.

The Great Big Green - by Peggy Gifford
Another great book exploring the color green and making it very easy to talk about vocabulary - plants, animals, people, art (ooh! collage!)  I did my 2nd Early Literacy Aside right before this: As we read this book, I will stop to point out different animals and to point out words in the book. Factual books are a great way to introduce new words to your children! Reading & talking about new words increase your child's vocabulary. Studies show that the larger a child's vocabulary is when they enter school, the easier it is for them to read. READ READ READ!

Bear Sees Colors - by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman
An adorable new "Bear" book. Love these. The kids were great at picking up the idea of the next color by use of the rhyming text! Two birds with one stone! I love rhyming books. And it's great to have the kids shout/guess the next color!

I Dream of an Elephant - by Ami Rubinger
Basically the same concept as Bear Sees Colors, but the pictures are so cute & the kids love guessing the colors with the elephants. Orange is my favorite! Kind of a bonus book (didn't really need to do it as we were pushing 30 minutes, but I couldn't resist).

Early Literacy Aside #3 - Keep in mind that reading books is not the ONLY way to increase your child's vocabulary. You might talk about the ambulance, fire station, ice cream truck, etc etc on a walk to the park. Talk about the different types of birds, talk about the buildings & the signs. Talk at the doctor's office, in the home and when you're out running errands. There is a neverending supply of experiences to enhance your child's vocabulary...and it will pay off in the long run!

We ended the Storytime with a rousing edition of "If You're Happy & You Know It!"

58 people in attendance. I thought it was more (we often have 75-85 people!) because they were quite squirelly today. I usually have a "core" group that sits right up front and gets into it...but with that many people it's hard to keep everyone focused (usually the adults!). Somedays are better than others!

NaBloPoMo '14 FAIL

Yep - I failed. I made it 10 days. Oh well. I kind of feel like I'm blogging in a vacuum or void or something so I know that the only real person I've disappointed is myself. Ah well. I"m going to try to continue blogging more. I really enjoy it as a journal of my own life, if not for connecting with others.

So, onward.

Monday, November 10, 2014

10. 10 November

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
by Gordon Lightfoot 
The Edmund Fitzgerald
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down 
of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,
that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the "Gales of November" came early. 

The ship was the pride of the American side
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
with a crew and good captain well seasoned,
concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.
And later that night when the ship's bell rang,
could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
and a wave broke over the railing.
And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too
'twas the witch of November come stealin'.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when the Gales of November came slashin'.
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin'.

"Fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya."
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,
(**2010 lyric change: At 7 p.m., it grew dark, it was then he said,)
"Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!"
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
and the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
the islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
with the Gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call "Gitche Gumee."
"Superior," they said, "never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early!"

Sunday, November 09, 2014

9. Reality

Okay  - so it wasn't "vacation," but it might as well have been. My kids got to hang out with cousins & grandparents, eat popcorn every day, go have fun "Sassy Strawberry" frozen yogurt treats, make craft projects, play with video games (Dahlia is seriously ridiculously good at Wii bowling - what the heck?!?0, get spoiled by grandparents, see Great Grandma (what an excellent 'title'); there were train tracks, board games, super-yummy meals, sleeping over (in Mommy's bed - SHOCKING!), ETC.

We love going to Grandma & Grandpa's house. We played, created, enjoyed, indulged, etc.

And then I had to drive home. Bahhhhhhh.

I absolutely LOVE my parents. And my sister. And her kids (duh, of course my family/kids). We have so much fun. I feel a TAD BIT like I'm a lazy loser as my Mom & Dad prepare food, activities, etc while I 'zone out' and knit or run errands or whatever....but seriously - we all love it.

If my kids constitute a weekend with grandparents as VACATION? I will take it. Shouldn't we all be so lucky?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

8. Canvas & Chardonnay

This is a stupidly, ridiculous, fun time. And the people that came up with it are probably millionaires by now. Give people wine/cider, a canvas, the paint, the painting/inspiration, an instructor & a Friday night to work it all out. GENIUS. We did ours for My Mom's & Aunt's bday's and it was AT the actual vineyard. So much fun....... I could do this once a week. I'm not lying.

Ordering beverages

My blank canvas, paint, brushes & my cider (no ACTUAL Chardonnay - lame!)

Ready-set-go! Blank canvases in front of us.....

Step 2

Serious concentration

Step 3


And another step (note, my painting is upside-down...)

A weird panoramic of all of our paintings.

My latest work of "art."

I adore how these all look together!!

Friday, November 07, 2014

7. Christmas City, Wonderful City

The Christmas tree is on it's way to it's seasonal home at the MN Power Plaza in Duluth. 

We watched it drive by from work. I could almost smell the pine needles.

I almost hate to admit it, but I start getting excited this time of year!!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

6. School Carnival

We had a school carnival at Dahlia's school tonight. It is put on every fall by an education "club" from UMD. A very busy evening of activities & dinner put on by bright-faced, energetic, future teachers. It's a lot of fun. We skipped the dinner (spaghetti) in favor of doing all the activities. Last year we ran out of time. The kids participated in an inter-active "funhouse" (they were training to be clowns - had to stretch, do jumping jacks, hula hoop, jump rope & do crunches); They played charades; they made a bouncy ball at the science table, an optical illusion at the optical illusion table; did some math & spelling & played a "musical chairs" type game featuring different world cultures. They also got to make a cotton candy art project & eat REAL cotton candy (they both like it for about 3 bites & they are done). The made masks & got a free book too.

It's a little crazy & hectic, but they really had fun so I'm glad we went. I appreciate how many fun family nights that her school has. I know not all the kids have as much access to doing different types of activities & it is very important to foster a good school culture.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

5. Hibernation

It is dark. And cold. And I'm so so tired. Hibernation season is here. A veil has been drawn around our little house & we live inside concentrating on our life in here. And going to bed early. Good night.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

4. Voting

Of course I voted. I vote in all the elections. Even the primaries. I feel it's important. I read up on candidates (although sometimes not enough - who in the heck are all these judges?!?). I try to come up with my own feelings about whose running - regardless of what party they are affiliated with. I don't watch TV so I've been saved from the bevy of political mud-slinging and search out alternate sources for researching the candidates online. It's not perfect, they're not perfect. I am NOT perfect in my research, but it works for me. I voted for several different parties tonight....I sometimes feel like I'm "wasting" my vote by voting for some of the "littler guys/gals" but at the same time, if enough people step back & look at whose running & what they're running for, maybe things will change. I think a 2-party system is arcane & is not representational of the citizens of our country. I put up my flag this morning, I voted, I took the kids voting & explained a few things to them (about how important it is to make up your own mind, vote who YOU want to, etc etc) and now am going to eat my crock-pot dinner. America!

oh! And in these election results, it looks like it's a toss up for favorite movie & favorite breakfast cereal....BUT favorite villain was a landslide - Zach from Wild Kratts. Congratulations, Zach!

Monday, November 03, 2014

3. Chester Park

Not my photo...but man, I love calling this space my "backyard." *sigh* I wish summer/autumn could hold on a little longer....

Sunday, November 02, 2014

2. Outside

Well, I didn't really take any pics of Steve opening his gifts (Hullo Pillow, Brewhouse t-shirt, wood burning tool) and I am only now making his bday dessert (pumpkin bars) AND we didn't even MAKE IT out for dinner last night....so we're headed to the Brewhouse tonight.

Launching the boats.
We stopped at "our creek beach" and launched some boats. It was quite hilarious to hear the kids scream in terror as if the boats would be lost forever (the creek is very slow going this time of year...all were rescued).
My handsome husband.

We did take a lovely hike. Well, mostly lovely. Dahlia crabbed & screamed & whined most of the way until I bribed her with snacks & then she had fun. Oy vey. Heartbreaking when she says she "doesn't like hiking" any  more. She's going to be in for a rude awakening when that's what we're going to keep doing!

Me & my little cutie (photo by Dahlia).
We stopped in the middle of the creek to eat our aforementioned snacks. It was so cold on the rocks but so warm in the sun. Ah autumn. I am happy it was clear & sunny. It makes it that much easier to put off thoughts of winter. I'm just not ready.

Two of my favorite guys.  Love that they match!
August REALLY wanted to show me the "swimming pools" (had been talking about it for 2 days). Dahlia REALLY wanted to go home...so I hiked on up with August...I don't think he paused for 2 seconds the whole way. All stream-of-consciousness. Sometimes it gets really annoying. But it was really sweet today & perfect. He held my hand and excitedly pointed things out & led the way. Oh my boy.  We did find the "swimming pool" and sat & he had round 2 of snacks.
August at the "swimming pools."

August through the culvert. 
We collected some wood & bark along the way so we could use the new wood burner eventually. I'm looking forward to Steve getting crafty! As are the kids. :) I hope it likes it.

Okay - gotta frost the pumpkin bars & get out for dinner! Yum!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

1. Halloween

Day one of NaBloPoMo - we'll see how I do this year! Hopefully I will be inspired & committed to posting each day in November. It's always hard but let's do it!

DPL Main Library Staff
Halloween was a lot of fun and a lot of hectic too. Work was good. A lot of us dressed up - especially from Circulation which is always a good time. I was pretty lazy with my costume this year. I couldn't get inspired. I ended up buying a bright orange wig & thought maybe I'd be a scarecrow, but ended up being some kind of "good witch" instead. It worked okay. ;)
Me, dorky as usual
Farmer Jess

I left work a bit easy to get the kids "early" so we could attempt to eat & get our pumpkins out before going trick-or-treating. It's always such a hectic mess. Trying to get two hyper kids to cooperate sometimes is like herding cats.

Spiderman & Mike Wazowski
Our friends Tomas & Angie headed over with their son Milos & we were all off. We didn't stray far from home but hit a lot of houses with front lights on. August was complaining that his bag was TOO HEAVY - oh the woes. They scored a lot of treats, we met a few more neighbors & it was a good time. There was a lot more action in the neighborhood than in previous years. It was cold but clear. It was fun to see so many people out & about. Well,not on OUR street, but down a block. Our block is pretty lame. *sigh*

Add caption
After trick-or-treating we headed inside to warm up & view IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN which is tradition. We had yummy popcorn & snuggled on the couch until almost all of us were asleep. ha. Steve ended up carrying a very tired August up to bed & I read about a 1/2 a book to Dahlia before we were both out.

Pippi Longstocking & Frankenstein's Monster
I woke up two hours later (grrrr) and Steve had gone to a bonfire at our neighbor Jim & Sally's house. I was so mad that I slept so long! All I wanted to do was end my day & go to bed....which is what I ended up doing. I'm such a party animal these days. :)

We're celebrating Steve's birthday today since Halloween gets so crazy. More on that tomorrow. :)