Saturday, November 24, 2012

Speak Your Mind About: Barnes and Noble

As a person with a career in Early Childhood and as a Mom and a Thinker there are things that really upset me. In our country right now we have millions of children. Of those children there are so many struggling with reading and speaking properly. In our classroom at school we make sure to have a wide variety of different types of books in all different formats and styles. It is extremely important to engage their brains and encourage them to read, write and think. Books teach lessons, comfort and soothe, teach about the world around you and help to widen children's vocabulary. At home, I highly encourage reading and find it frustrating when others overlook this crucial link in creating children who love learning. So imagine my frustration when at Barnes and Noble Booksellers this evening we couldn't find many paperback picture books. For most of their picture books they were only selling hardcover copies. Which would be all well and good if they weren't $17.99. COME ON! That is insane. How can we expect our children to learn to read and love it, if we can't afford to get our hands on books? Libraries are great. Don't get me wrong, but there is something very satisfying about having your own bookshelf with books you know frontwards and back. It builds confidence in readers to know how the story goes and to be able to retell it. The ones they did have in paperback were mostly commercial ones: cartoon characters, television shows etc.  If that is all you can buy and read, at least it is something. But I was so upset that Barnes and Noble has begun to make reading and book owning something that only the children from higher incomes can afford. So naturally I had to send off a letter to Barnes and Noble. It is not as scathing as the Disney Channel letter was, but at least it gets my thoughts out there.

To Whom It May Concern:

This evening, November 24th, 2012 I was in your Big Flats, NY store looking for copies of several children's books in paperback. You see, these are not new books, but books that are popular and should have been available in paperback picture books. The only copies I could find were hardcover books. As I looked around the children's area I saw that not only were these books only available in hardcover, but most other children's picture books as well, except for the commercial books such as Dora, Disney Princess, Curious George etc.  Now the hardcover books, they are beautiful, and much sturdier than their paperback counterpoints. However, you are selling hardcover children's books for $17.99. The paperback versions to these books are available online for $6.99. I think you can see that someone would be able to buy more paperback books for the price of one hardcover book. Also by selling only the commercial books in paperback, it really limits what our children are reading about. The greatest children's books teach so many lessons that are absent in these more commercial books.  Can I tell you what you are doing by reducing drastically the number paperback books available? Because of this, fewer parents can afford to buy books for their children.  Not only that but children will not have the variety in their libraries that helps to promote literacy. Parents need to have the ability to purchase many different types of stories; ones that are written in rhyme, poems, song, and story to name a few. This helps to encourage language. If you do not promote literacy at a young age, you will lose your readers. If you lose your readers, you have no business in the future. Just because books are now available on electronic devices does NOT mean that all children have access to those devices. Furthermore, those that need the books the most probably really don't have access to those electronic books. Please reconsider your stocking in stores. It really is important to your customers that books remain affordable so that we can get them in the hands of the kids that need them. Does it not stand to reason that a Book Store would want the generations of children growing up now to become and remain readers?
Thank You for your time.

And of course I signed it and what not. I doubt I will even get a response and that's okay. But sometimes i really think these people running these companies don't actually think about what the implications of what they are doing are. I may be wrong...but I doubt it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Where did the time go?

I haven't blogged in a really long time. Duh you say. Duh. Pretty obvious when my last post was January. Woops. I just haven't felt much like sharing things. Isn't that sad? When you stop sharing your life with others it is almost like it isn't happening. Almost. During the summer our family was blessed with 2 new bundles of absolute joy.

My beautiful niece Roryanna Jessica
My stunning daughters!
My nephew Benjamin and his girlfriend Belle:)
And of course my girls and the babies and their aunts:) on Halloween of course!

 Now there have been other things that have happened as well. Such as:
First day of Middle School!

First day of Kindergarten!

 Plus we went to the beach!

All the Nieces and Nephews from my husbands side of the family!! SO ADORABLE!

And we lost my Grandma to cancer

The summer was full of wonderful things, and very hard things as well and as glad as I was to see it come I am glad it is over. I feel like I needed Fall to regroup, take stock and prepare to move forward. It may not be all planned out, but at least I know it's time to move ahead and am prepared for whatever that brings.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I know Christmas is over but-I wanted to share the work I did

This year for our secret santa thing at work I happened to get one of my bestest friends. I couldn't just go with your run of the mill stuff. There were 4 days of $1 gifts and then 1 final gift with a cap of $10. I decided to make things, but knew that if I gave her what I was making for those dollar gifts she would know it was me. So I started off the week giving her a can of tuna. It was funny. She immediately knew it was me, but at least I could have fun with her. Anyway, one of the gifts I made was one I had seen on Pinterest. They were scarves made out of upcycled T-shirts.

Not entirely sure what happened to the pictures I had of the actual scarves once I was done with them, but I can't find them. Anyway, I also knitted her a scarf, and crocheted her a washcloth and gave her a bar of Oil of Olay soap. No, she doesn't smell, I just liked the idea of giving her something that smelled wonderful.

Gorgeous cream color

So that was my gift for a very good friend of mine. I also made scarves out of t-shirt for my lovely sister Shawna over at A Very Dandoislion Life and knitted a scarf for my wonderful mommy!

Thrifty Lamp Fun

 Yesterday evening, or yesternight:) I went to the Salvation Army. I have a tendency to go there once or twice a week because you just never know. I went the day before that and there was nothing I wanted. In fact the shelves were almost empty. I went back yesternight(hey, this may be the next new word) and found a bunch of clothes and two lamps. The lamps have clear bases and the lampshades match...well except that one of the lampshades was stained a bit of yellow.
The lamps in their original condition.
 My hope was to ombre dye the lamp shades so that they would be darker on bottom and gradually fade to lighter colored. I also had a brighter green color in mind, more a lime green. However, this was not to be. The big batch of color didn't turn out the same color as the test batch, I must have miscounted or something. Then the lampshades didn't absorb the color as I as hoping. Plus to further irritate me, I didn't have a large enough bin so that the lampshade could go deep into the dye. I had to use the sink. They barely fit into the sink. So I had to dye all the way around it on it's side first, to cover the whole thing. Then I did the bottom and the top. Unfortunately that left a wide swath in the middle and very definite lines on them. As the dye started to dry, the shiny squares on the shades came out more and actually gave the lamps a sort of Mad Hatter at the Tea Party type look. I may add a ribbon around that middle section. Maybe. I also may redye them. But for now I am in like with them. NOT in love.

So jury is out. What do you think?

Decorating the Christmas Tree

Putting the tree up this year was interesting. The tree I decided to use was one that had been in the basement a couple of years and needed to be cleaned. All the labels had also fallen off of all the branches and there happen to be over 60 branches. So I lugged all the branches up the stairs from the basement then all the way up to the second floor. Washed them in the tub and let them dry. That took forever and eventually I just started putting the tree together, figuring that getting them on the tree would get them more airflow so they would dry faster.
my progress after 4 hours of washing and trying to figure out where the branches were supposed to be. Notice it's not right yet!
Eventually I got the thing together. Then I had to go buy new white lights. Did I buy enough? No. So we couldn't decorate the tree until I got around to the store a couple of days later. They were out of the 100 light string so I bought a 50. Well when I got them home and open, they were a closed circuit string of other words there was no plug on the other end. So I ran to Home Depot in desperation. They were out too. Except for a garland string of lights which had 3 lights in a cluster along the whole thing. It had to do. I was getting very upset about not having a tree up!

So there you go. After hours and hours of work, our gorgeous tree. Now when I took it down yesterday I labeled each branch and put them on in bins to protect them from muck. Next year will be a piece of cake!!! I even made a list with the order of the colors so there is NO guesswork!

Pre-Christmas Stuff

I just happened to realize that I hadn't posted about the stuff that we did leading up to Christmas. We baked cookies...twice! The first time didn't go as well because the mixer broke while we were trying to make the frosting! What a bummer. It was mixed enough to use but it didn't have that magic goodness. Of course the second time, we did them, we made 9 billion! No exaggeration. Here are some pics!

I think anyone who says kids can't help bake is insane. Both my girls helps with ingredients, mixing and rolling out the cookie dough. Do they need help? Sure! But how else do children learn if they aren't allowed to do things? Anyway they may not have been professional quality but it was fun, messy and yummy!