Thursday, July 31, 2014

August

Did you notice?  It is getting darker.  I walked home from my art class the other night and it was dark by the time I got home.  It was such a sad, sad moment.  I'm feeling a little anxious about the end of summer. Mostly because it means the end of good weather and I can feel my heart yearning for sunshine year round.  Alas, I am wedded to this beautiful city, in sickness and in health, through warm weather and cold weather.  I can be a little weepy but with some good books, and good winter boots, I know I can do this.

In the meantime, I have three-ish weeks of summer left before school.  I head back on August 21st, with students arriving on August 28th.  Here are some book events I might try to squeeze in before I get back to work.

Boston

August 2
* Meet author and illustrator Bob Staake at the Eric Carle Museum, 1 pm
* Author/Illustrator Greg Pizzoli, winner of the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award in 2014 for his book The Watermelon Seed,  reads from his new book at the Eric Carle Museum, 3 pm

August 6
* A YA Panel with authors Marjorie Agosin and Eileen O'Connor (I Lived on Butterfly Hill), John Plotz (Time and the Tapestry), Laurie Stolarz (Welcome to the Dark House), will present their writing at Porter Square Books, 7 pm


August 9
* Brookline Booksmith is celebrating Moomin author Tove Jansson's birthday with a party! They will have crafts, stories, and more. 10:30 am
* Author Nicole Groeneweg and illustrator Hazel Mitchell present their book One Word Pearl at the Eric Carle Museum, 2 pm

August 16
* Author/Illustrator Lita Judge presents her book Flight School at the Eric Carle Museum, 2 pm

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hats Off to Madeline

Right, so it has been a minute since my last post thanks to some spontaneous travel... because of a summer without any real plans.  Two weeks ago I felt the itch to get out of Boston for a bit.  I booked a cheap bus ride and found myself on my way to NYC.

These streets will make you feel brand new.
I love New York.  It is epic in every way.  The buildings are taller.  The streets are busier.  The people walk faster.  At any given moment you can find greatness in its crowded streets.  I used to want to live there but now I am happy to be close enough that I can whisk myself away for lunch and a cool art exhibit, which is exactly what I did!



This year marks the 75th anniversary of the publishing of Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline books. This is why his work is being featured in an exhibit at the New York Historical Society at Central Park West.  Bemelmans spent his childhood in Europe but eventually found his way to New York.  It was here, in a bar no less, that he started writing the stories about twelve little girls in two straight lines.  In Pete's Tavern Bemelman wrote his first lines of Madeline, drawing inspiration from his own childhood and life in NY. I also learned that he was a hat collector and, given that Dr. Seuss was also a hat collector, I believe I am in fine company and destined for greatness.

The original: Madeline
These pictures are from my own books

From Madeline and the Bad Hat

The exhibit had the REAL hat that inspired this hat.

From Madeline and the Old House in Paris

From Madeline and the Old House in Paris

The exhibit featured original artwork from the Madeline books but also some of Bemelmans' other work.  There are a couple of panels he created for the Onassis yacht, some cartoons from his early work, and drawings he did of the old Ritz Hotel in NY.  Did you know he also did cover illustrations for The New Yorker? Although the Madeline books take place mostly in Paris, the exhibit is really a love story to New York.  You will even find a map of all Bemelmans' favorite haunts in the city that you can check out here.

Lunch


I love their chalkboard signs!
I rounded my trip out with a trip to Bankstreet Bookstore and then treated myself to lunch at a French restaurant next door.  If you find yourself in the NYC area, or just feel a little wanderlust and need to grab lunch and a quick peek, the exhibit runs until October 19. 

On my walk back to the bus I saw the most amazing things!



Alice is everywhere in NY!

Going!


Want some more NY love?

Check out this hysterical recreation of the famous scene at Katz's Deli from When Harry Met Sally.

Also, some interesting film trivia about how space is used in that same movie.

Feeling a little LA rivalry?  Here is a video to satisfy your needs.

Ok, Boston folks, you need some city love too?  Apparently, we like cats.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dance Friday!! With a Garden Bonus

In my perusing of many, many new blogs this week, I came upon a link to this video.  What luck!  I was sooo ready for Dance Friday.

I'm off to the library, for the 2nd time this week, because I have read three books since I last visited and two more books just arrived for me.  (This is the reason why I have been blog-reading for the past two days.) 

Enjoy this dance video and some bonus pics of our urban garden!  Geoff, my sister's bf and third member of our little home here in Somerville, is really into his plants.  We definitely benefit from this.  All week we have had lots of fresh basil to add to our meals.  Yesterday, Jessie and sat on the front deck and marveled over all the freshness blooming in our garden.

Happy Friday!!











Thursday, July 10, 2014

This Post Doesn't Have Anything to Do With Books.

Did you know that every year there is a special week of the summer called Popsicle Week?  Yeah, me neither!  In my first full week of summer I have spent my time reading, relaxing, attempting to work out, and scouring the internet for new food and fashion blogs.  Yes folks, I do more than just read children's lit blogs.

In my web-surfing, I came upon two blogs that deserve a shout out.  The first is Wit & Vinegar.  That's the blog that hosts Popsicle Week every year.  Billy, the writer, invites other bloggers to submit their very own popsicle recipes for one special week.  This year there were over 40 popsicles!!!  Take a look, some might look familiar.


Mmmmm, lots o' berries!

White pants + lots o' berries = apron required

I found this week's popsicle via Wit & Vinegar.  Stephanie, over at I Am A Food Blog, submitted these fruity treats.  Last week's Frozen Lemon Mousse Pops were very rich, although they are now in the lead for favorite popsicles, so Geoff requested something with strawberries.  Thank you Popsicle Week for having what I needed!

Blend all that red fruit

Pour it in molds

These were the simplest popsicles to make.  Dump some raspberries into a blender.  Add sliced strawberries.  Put in watermelon.  Add 1/4 cup of sugar.  Blend. You add some more sliced fruit after blending so your popsicles will have fruit chunks. My friend suggested I add something like mint.  I said meh, but I actually think that might have been good.  Oh well!  If you try it let me know!

I cheated and bought already chopped watermelon.  I mean, I was wearing white pants for heaven's sake...a girl has to take care of herself.  I whipped these bad boys together and they are currently doing their thang in the freezer.

I had extra juice so I sipped on it while
relaxin' on the back porch.

Here is the full recipe from This Is a Food Blog:

Raspberry Strawberry Watermelon Popsicle Recipe makes 6 pops, depending on popsicle mold size

  • 1/2  personal sized watermelon, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Reserve half of the raspberries and strawberries. Toss the sugar with the remaining fruit and then blend slightly, until liquid but still a bit chunky. Mix in the reserved raspberries and strawberries. Pour into molds and freeze until set. 


Right.  So I promised you two blogs.  Wit & Vinegar was the first.  The other blog is an everything blog called A Cup O' Jo.  This NYC mom has awesome little tid bits about fashion, food, design, and relationships.  Because of her, I discovered these T-Shirts:






I also found new ideas for hairstyles.  I'm trying the three twisted buns today.  I tried to get a picture but it turned out weird.  Trust me, it looks gorgeous.

This is the picture from A Cup O' Jo

Instead of a book pairing, check out some new blogs on the interwebs while you nibble on this week's popsicles.  There are quite a few gems out there! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Reality of the Situation

Dissed in my happy place.
Not the Zen I was hoping for. Wah-Wah
I've read articles in the past that say we shouldn't trust the smiling faces of social media because they make us feel like everyone else is leading amazing, glamorous, and blissfully happy lives.  Instead, we should realize that, in fact, everyone has shitty days but they just don't write about them.

Yesterday, I was poised to live the dream.  I had popsicles freezing away, a song in my heart, resolutions abound.  With my laces all snug, I set out to run, breeze flowing through my hair, strength pumping through my legs.

Alas, dear reader, my social media glamorized life turned back into reality.  And so, I am here to let you all know that it did not turn into the zen moment I had planned.

For my run, my legs felt like they weighed about 10,000 pounds.  I ran maybe half a mile before I felt like I was going to pass out.  My running buddy, who had just completed a 50-mile bike ride the day before, was ready to keep going and I didn't want to get in his way.  I told him I would meet him on the other side of the Charles River, just as soon as the Esplanade stopped spinning.  Off he went, as I tried to regain my balance.

As I was waiting, a gentlemen sitting on a dock of the Charles called out to me.  "Man," I thought, "these new sneakers are really working it for me! Zen and love, here I come!"  However, the young suitor proved to be either high or inebriated, and quite possibly both.  As I started walking toward him, he stopped, stuck out his belly, checked me out up-and-down, and....licked his lips.  Yes.  He did that.  In my state of shock, "Woah!  That actually just happened!" were the only words that could come out of my mouth.

He proceeded to talk to me, lord knows why I continued this conversation, and then after a lovely chat concluded there was "no way possible" he would ever date a girl like me. When I asked if he was trying to make me upset, again, no idea why I was still standing there, he said, "I don't think a person like you could actually cry.  You really don't give a shit about anything." He also laughed when I said I had been single for 3 year years claiming, "Woooah!  That is a really long time!"  All true.  All in my happy place.  All when I had just proclaimed on social media I was ready to let it go.

After that charming interaction, I walked home and was too tired from my attempt-at-a-run to even eat the damn popsicles.  Oh, and the gentlemen upon whose texts I was awaiting...never texted. This is something I should be used to by now but it still makes my heart crumble.

So you see, dear reader, it ain't all that great.  I did, however, try out one of the popsicles tonight and they were pretty freakin' awesome.  And that is the for real truth.

This popsicle will NOT help
me run more miles...Meh.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Let It Go: Frozen Lemon Mousse Pops

This week I am reading The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet.  I must admit that at first I was a little distracted by the character's extreme attention to detail which caused my mind to wander.  (Although that might also be the result of waiting for a gentlemen to text me back.  It's a toss up.)  Regardless, as I continued to read, I became totally wrapped up in Spivet's world and found myself losing track of time and unsent text messages.  And then, just as Spivet's world became my own Neverland, I read this:


"After awhile, I gave in to the slow, inevitable progress of the train. ... Accepting the inevitability of my destination brought a certain peace to my body."

Thank you, T.S. Spivet, for reminding me to let it go.

After a weekend of reading, snuggling with Mr. Pumpkinhead, and a day trip to Maine with my roommates, it only took an extra three hours of reading in my hammock to do just that.

Started my weekend right with reading in bed

Spontaneous trip to Freeport Maine

We all know the song Let It Go from Frozen right?  I mean, you can't go a couple of hours without it being referenced somewhere.  Well, in honor of T.S. Spivet, his kind reminder to me to let it go, and that connection to the movie Frozen, I made this week's popsicles, Frozen Lemon Mousse Popsicles.

Nikolas is reeaallly good at letting it go.
He is my zen role model

These were a simple, delicious, and healthy-in-my-heart treat to make.  Four ingredients: one lemon, condensed milk, heavy cream, and ginger snaps.  I swiped the recipe from The Sugar Hit blog.  Folding lightly whipped cream into a mixture of lemon juice, zest, and condensed milk was just the zen moment I needed to complete my let it go mantra.  So, here are two recipes for you.  One for the popsicles, one to let it go and accept the inevitability of your own destiny.

Let it flow!  Pouring popsicles.


T.S. Spivet Moment of Zen
Author: Meg
Serves: Millions

Ingredients

* Frozen Lemon Mousse Pops
* The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
* Running Gear

Instructions:

Read T.S. Spivet or another great book.
Make Frozen Pops
Go for a 6 mile run along the Charles River
Eat Frozen Pops
Let it all go.  
 
New kicks.  Definitely make me run faster and jump higher.

Frozen Lemon Mousse Pops


Author:
Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 1 x 14oz (397g) can condensed milk
  • Juice and zest of one large lemon (approximately ½ cup/125ml juice)
  • 1 cup (250ml) cream
  • 6 gingersnap biscuits, crushed

Instructions

  1. Place the condensed milk, lemon zest and juice into a bowl and whisk together (the condensed milk will thicken slightly).
  2. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form (less is more).
  3. Fold the cream into the condensed milk and lemon mixture, and then pour the mixture into your popsicle moulds, and pop in the popsicle sticks. Depending on the size of your moulds this should make 4-6 pops.
  4. To serve, dip the mould into warm water for about 20 seconds and then try and pull one out, gently but firmly. It sometimes helps to run a sharp knife around the top edge of the mould.
  5. Serve each pop with a little cup of crushed gingersnap crumbs to dip in.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dance Thursday...Because I Had To

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and I was planning on doing a whole dance for America schtick.  Then I got home from camp and tried to move as little as possible because of our ridiculous
humidity.  Of course, this means perusing the good ol' interwebs.  My friend Jen posted this amazing dance video and I JUST HAD TO POST IT IMMEDIATELY!  And really, can you think of anything more American than Michael Jackson's influence on the whole world???!!  I can't!

Go 'Merica!

I have seen my fair share of MJ look-a-likes and dancers.  This kid, however, he is the freakin' business.  Since I missed last week's anniversary of the passing of my beloved MJ, this should do.

Gentlemen of the world, I am not picky, I just want you to dance like this. *smirk


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Walter Dean Myers, You Will Be Missed

On a break from summer camp just now I checked my twitter feed.  The first postings are out, and I can't find a news article yet, but if it is true, children's literature champion Walter Dean Myers has passed away.  He was a former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and a big voice behind the movement for diverse books in children's literature.  

Take a minute to read this powerful article he wrote in March.  Let's keep his fight going!  We need diverse books!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July is for Reading

Find Waldo at your
local bookstore in
July!!
There aren't too many author events in July.  I firmly believe this is the book world's way of saying, "Hey!  Read during your summer vacation!"  If you want to venture out for a couple of events, here is
what you have to look forward to.

Update: The Horn Book recently started doing book events in the Boston area as well.  They tend to travel past the T stops, which is where I draw my lines with the exception of the Carle Museum, but here is a link to their events listed (including the author of Divergent!) Horn Book Events

Nationwide
This July marks another year of the Find Waldo Local campaign, brought to you by IndieBound and Candlewick Press. Visit your local bookstore to participate in your local hunt for Waldo and win great prizes at the end of the month!  Brookline Booksmith, Porter Square Books.

Boston
All July
* In addition to the Find Waldo campaign, this month the Eric Carle Museum is hosting a summer reading program with therapy dogs!  Children ages 4 - 11 get to read aloud to a dog in one of eight sessions.  What a cool opportunity this summer!

July 18
* The Eric Carle Museum is taking part in Free Fun Friday.  Visit between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm for free!

July 19
* Author/illustrator Aaron Becker, whose book Journey won a Caldecott Honor, will present his upcoming sequel, Journey, at the Eric Carle Museum, 1 pm