Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Five Favorite Pins This Week

Hi, I'm Danielle and I'm addicted to Pinterest.  Haven't been there yet?  It's a brilliant site where you can "pin" pictures onto virtual boards, kind of like you would on a real life inspiration or bulletin board.  The boards are a simple and visually appealing way to keep ideas, projects, inspiration, etc. all saved in one handy dandy place.  Here's a peek at what my Easter Goodies one looks like.

Plus, you can browse other people's boards to find more ideas, projects, inspiration, etc.  So as you can probably imagine, Pinterest is a cornucopia of eye candy and other such goodness which is exactly why I just can't get enough of it!

Since I find so many wonderful things on Pinterest, I've decided to share some of my favorite pins each week here on AFOMFT.  I'm going to try to limit it to five at a time but man, oh man, is it hard to pick!  Here we go:

#1: Laundry is never going to be fun so it might as well be pretty!  Decorate your washer and dryer with vinyl decals to brighten up your laundry room. {Pin via Kendra Halterman from Belle Maison}

#2: These Watermelon Cupcakes are just right for a summertime get together. {Pin via Chrissa King from My Bakingdom}

#3:  I love this idea for displaying your children's artwork - on the stair treads!  {My pin from Family Fun}

#4:  Looking for a meaningful piece of art for the nursery or playroom?  Why not create a footprint timeline like this one? {Pin via Christina Kober from First Home}

#5:  Wishful thinking. {Pin via Sami Cronin from}

So there you have my Five Favorite Pins this week.  If you'd like to check out my boards on Pinterest, you can find them HERE.  If you're already on Pinterest, I'd love to follow you so post a comment here with a link to your boards so I can check them out.  And if you're not already a member and need an invite, post your e-mail address and I'll send you one.

Happy Pinning!

Images: Belle Maison, My Bakingdom, Family Fun, First Home &


Congratulations ROBYNL!  You've won a City Saky Bag in Mod Floral from Saky Sacks!

Congratulations DOROTHY!  You've won a set of Tweetie Bird Wall Decals from Pop & Lolli!

Congratulations CATHERINE!  You've won the Shabby Apple Dress of Your Choice!

If you were one of the lucky ones listed above, please e-mail me at by end of day Saturday, April 2nd to claim your prize. If I do not hear from you by then, a new winner will be chosen.

If you didn't win but still want a Saky Sacks bag or a Shabby Apple frock, you're in luck because we've got two exclusive discounts just for you!

Take 25% off all purchases at Saky Sacks with code AFOMFT and get 10% off at Shabby Apple with code MYFAVORITETHINGS10OFF (through April 24th).  Happy shopping!

National Poetry Month Resources for 2011


Poetry Writing with Writers (Main Page)

Poetry Writing with Jack Prelutsky (Grades 1-4)

Writing I Spy Riddles with Jean Marzollo (Grades 2-5)

Poetry Writing with Karla Kuskin (Grades 4-8)

Poetry Idea Machine


Celebrate Poetry…all year long!: Find some great poetry ideas for teachers from award-winning poet Kristine O’Connell George.

Favorite Poem Project’s Poetry Lesson Plans and Projects: Find ideas for poetry activities developed by teachers who participated in the Summer Poetry Institutes for Teachers, which were sponsored by Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project and the Boston University School of Education.

Representative Poetry Online from the University of Toronto: This site includes more than 3,000 English poems by 500 poets, a glossary of poetic terms, and a link to the Canadian Poetry website.

Teach Now! National Poetry Month (From Scholastic): Here you will find a wealth of poetry ideas and resources under the following headings: Poems and Classroom Activities, Poetry Writing Workshops and Events, and Poetry Resources.

Poetry Resources: Tricia Stohr-Hunt provides links to more than two dozen websites with poetry resources at Open Wide, Look Inside, her blog about using poetry and children’s literature across the curriculum.

April Is National Poetry Month! (From Read Write Think): Includes links to poetry lesson plans and other resources.

30 Ways to Celebrate (From the Academy of American Poets)

National Poetry Month and the National Writing Project

Poetry Teaching Resources (NEA)


From Crayola: Poems and Paintings

From Crayola: Poem in My Pocket

From Poem in Your Pocket Day (April 29, 2010)

Magnetic Poetry

From Harcourt Trade Publishers: Free Classroom Kit for Julie Larios’s poetry book Imaginary Menagerie


New Poetry Books for Young People 2005-2010 (Compiled by Sylvia Vardell, Professor at the School of Library & Information Studies at Texas Woman's University)

CCBC Words to Share: A Bibliography of Poetry for Children and Teens (Compiled by Megan Schliesman)

From RIF: Judy Freeman’s 40 Favorite Poetry Books for Children

From The Horn Book: Recommended Poetry Books

From Scholastic: Poetry Month Booklist

From Pick a Peck of Poems


2011—J. Patrick Lewis

2009—Lee Bennett Hopkins

2006—Nikki Grimes

2003—A Poem Is a House for Words: NCTE Profiles Mary Ann Hoberman

2000—X. J. Kennedy

1997—Eloise Greenfield

1994—Barbara Juster Esbensen

1991—Valerie Worth

1988—Arnold Adoff

1985—Lilian Moore

1982—John Ciardi

1981—Eve Merriam

1980—Myra Cohn Livingston

1979—Karla Kuskin

1978—Aileen Fisher

1977—David McCord

Printable Poetry Winner Sheet


A Poetry Workshop in Print (From Teaching PreK-8) At this site, you will find brief articles about many different children’s poets written by Lee Bennett Hopkins. (Many thanks to Tricia Stohr-Hunt for the link to this site)

From Scholastic: Interview with Nikki Giovanni


Linda Ashman

Calef Brown

Leslie Bulion

Kalli Dakos

Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Ralph Fletcher

Betsy Franco

Kristine O’Connell George

Nikki Grimes

Anna Grossnickle Hines

Mary Ann Hoberman

Bobbi Katz

J. Patrick Lewis

Deborah Ruddell

Laura Salas

Joyce Sidman

Marilyn Singer

Eileen Spinelli

Janet Wong


Jeannine Atkins

Douglas Florian

Linda Kulp

Julie Larios

Heidi Mordhorst

Laura Salas

Toby Speed

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater


The Academy of American Poets (Main Page) & National Poetry Month Page

American Life in Poetry

Favorite Poem Project

The Poetry Foundation

NPR Poetry Page

Poetry Daily

Poetry Out Loud

Poetry 180


The Children’s Poetry Archive

The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor


(Listed Alphabetically)

Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Douglas Florian: Part 1 & Part 2

Lee Bennett Hopkins

Paul Janeczko

J. Patrick Lewis

Joyce Sidman

Janet Wong


POETRY FRIDAY: The Poetry of Mary Ann Hoberman

More Mary Ann Hoberman

New Children's Poet Laureate Announced!

The Poetry of Rebecca Kai Dotlich





Welcoming Spring...with Poetry

POETRY FRIDAY: Summersaults and Lemonade Sun

Fall into Poetry

POETRY FRIDAY: Winter in Poems & Paintings

POETRY FRIDAY: 'Tis the Seasons


Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems

POETRY FRIDAY (Includes reviews of Busy in the Garden & Beware, Take Care: Fun and Spooky Poems)

Red Sings from Treetops: A Book Review & An Invitation

Book Bunch: It's All about the Weather

Poetry Books about Winter

Children's Poetry Books for Halloween

ONE BIG RAIN: A Poetry Book Review & Some Original Poems


Stella, Unleashed: Poetry Book Review

Poetry Book Review: On the Farm

Butterfly Bonanza

Poetry Friday: Toad by the Road

Leaping Lizards! It's the Year of the Frog

Into the Sea Once More

Over in the Garden

POETRY FRIDAY: Animal Poems by Valerie Worth

Poetry Book Review & Videos: Our Farm by Maya Gottfried

The Frogs and Toads All Sang: A Book of Poems by Arnold Lobel

Poetry Friday: Animal Haiku

Ubiquitous by Joyce Sidman & Beckie Prange

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman


Poetry Friday: Going Back to School...with Poetry

More School Poems: Review of School Supplies

Hamsters, Shells, and Spelling Bees: School Poems

Poetry Friday: Swimming Upstream

Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School

Countdown to Summer: A Poetry Book Review

Going back to School…with Poetry (Messing Around on the Monkey Bars)


Poetry and Science, Part I

Poetry and Science, Part II

POETRY FRIDAY: Science & Poetry

POETRY FRIDAY: Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars

UPDATE: Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars...and Pluto

POETRY FRIDAY: Joyce Sidman, Part I

POETRY SATURDAY: Joyce Sidman, Part II

The Sun in Me: Poems about the Planet

The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature Science and Imagination

Book Review: Sky Magic Compiled bt Lee Bennett Hopkins

Ubiquitous by Joyce Sidman & Beckie Prange

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman


POETRY FRIDAY: Happy Haiku to You

Poetry Book Review: Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico!

Poetry Friday: Animal Haiku


The World's Greatest: Poems--A Book Review

Book Bunch: Looking at Langston Hughes

Poetry and Art

Words...Wonderful Words, Words, Words

POETRY FRIDAY: Here's a Little Poem

POETRY FRIDAY: Yoga Poems (Includes an interview with author Janet Wong and illustrator Julie Paschkis)

POETRY FRIDAY: This Is Just to Say

POETRY FRIDAY: Fairy Tale Poems

Poetry about City Life

Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes by Alice Schertle

My Cat Is in Love with the Goldfish and Other Loopy Love Poems

Poetry Book Review: Incredible Inventions Complide by Lee Bennett Hopkins


Recipe & How to Make... Poems, Part I

Recipe & How to Make... Poems, Part II

Recipe Poem: How to Make a Morning

How to Bring Spring: An Original Poem


Children’s Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman Presents: Laughing Time Mary Ann Hoberman reads from William Jay Smith’s Laughing Time (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1990), a favorite children’s poetry collection of the Poet Laureate and her family.

The Hypnotizer by Michael Rosen—This may be the world’s first video poetry book. Here’s Rosen’s explanation of The Hypnotizer: "I wrote a book of poems for children called 'The Hypnotiser' some years ago and then it went out of print. I couldn't get anyone to reprint it, so I asked my son Joe to film me performing the book for this website."

Hatchling’s Song from Judy Sierra’s Antarctic Antics (Weston Woods)

April Rain Song—by Langston Hughes (Animated Poem from the Poetry Foundation’s Classical Baby Video Series)

A Very Valentine—written & read by Gertrude Stein (Animated Poem from the Poetry Foundation’s Classical Baby Video Series)

Mariposa—written by Federico Garcia Lorca & read by Andy Garcia (Animated Poem from the Poetry Foundation’s Classical Baby Video Series)

Chromosome Poem—written & read by J. Patrick Lewis (Scholastic)


Audio Poetry: A Call to Words by Kristi Jemetegaad (May/June 2005)

On Originality in Children’s Poetry by J. Patrick Lewis (May/June 2005)

“Writing poetry for children is a curious occupation”: Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath by Lissa Paul (May/June 2005)

Purposeful Poetry by Susan Dove Lempke (May/June 2005)

On Poetry and Black American Poets by Ashley Bryan (February 1979)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Skipping a Beat {GIVEAWAY}

I admit it.  In the first few months after having Gabrielle and Alaina, I didn't pick up a single book.  Okay, who are we kidding?  It was more like the first 24 months!  Yes, I went two years without reading anything longer than an article in Us Weekly, and for someone who adores reading like I do, it was a tough pill to swallow.  But I didn't have the time to dedicate to following a story from beginning to end so I anxiously awaited the day I'd be able to curl up with a good book and when I finally got the chance, I picked up The Other Side of Me by Sarah Pekkanen.

It's the story of adult twin sisters who've grown apart but who come together again at a pivotal point in their lives, and I couldn't put it down.  I was so sad to leave the characters of Lindsey and Alex when the novel ended that I immediately headed to Amazon to look for any other books written by the same author that I could get my hands on.  No luck - The Opposite of Me was her debut but through friends who had recommended Sarah's book, I found her Facebook fan page and "liked" it, figuring someone would share when her next one would come out.  I was so surprised to find that Sarah regularly posts and interacts with readers on her page.  It was there that I learned about a reading she was having in NYC to promote the release of her second book, Skipping a Beat, and I was shocked when I e-mailed her about it that not only did she e-mail me back, but went out of her way to make sure I was on the guest list.  So so sweet.

At the reading, I found Sarah to be as genuine in person as she is on Facebook.  She read an excerpt from Skipping a Beat and answered questions from the attendees, and her energy was infectious. 

It was so inspiring to hear her talk about how she got her first book published (she visited bookstores, made a list of the people who edited her favorite books and then sent them copies of her manuscript!), how she manages life as a mom and an author (she actually writes in her car while waiting to pick up her kids from school) and what she's working on next (here's a scoop - it may be the story of three couples whose lives are intertwined).  I headed home with a new copy of Skipping a Beat inscribed just for me:

And I couldn't wait to start reading it.  When I did, Skipping a Beat was all I expected it to be.  It's the story of Michael and Julia, two high school sweethearts who manage to achieve all of their dreams but whose lives change dramatically when Michael has a near-death experience.  I won't give too much away, but prepare to become totally emotionally invested in the marriage of two people you never met.  Sarah's writing vividly depicts what happens to a couple after being together for years and how they start to drift apart despite having everything they could ever want, and as a reader, you'll start to question how you would handle a similar situation.  I finished Skipping a Beat on a plane ride this weekend and was mortified to find myself sobbing through the final chapters.  The guy in the next seat looked at me like I was nuts but I couldn't bear to put it down until I knew what happened so I pulled out some tissues and just kept reading.  It's a book makes you think, make you cry and makes you wish it wouldn't end.  But alas, it did.  Now there's nothing for me to do but stalk Sarah's Facebook page, hoping for some news on when her next one will be out!

If you're a fan of authors like Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin or Jodi Picoult, I think you'll enjoy The Opposite of Me and Skipping a Beat.  Now the next time you're looking for a good read, you know where to look!

Sarah has graciously offered to give away one copy of Skipping a Beat to a lucky AFOMFT reader!  To enter, post a comment here telling me what your favorite book is (this is mandatory). For additional entries:
  • "Like" AFOMFT on Facebook
  • "Like" Sarah Pekkanen's Fan Page on Facebook and leave a comment that A Few of My Favorite Things sent you.
  • Follow AFOMFT on Twitter (@AFOMFT or click the birdie icon on the sidebar) and tweet this post by clicking the graphic above or this giveaway: #Win a copy of Sarah Pekkanen's book "Skipping a Beat" at @AFOMFT
  • Click here - Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs - to vote for AFOMFT on Top Baby Blogs and post a comment here that you did. You can vote once per day per computer so if you vote every day or on different computers, be sure to post one comment for each one.
  • Blog or post on Facebook about this giveaway with a link to this post (worth 2 entries so please post two comments) and make sure your comments include a link to your status or blog post.
  • Donate $10 to the Red Cross to help the relief efforts in Japan by texting REDCROSS to 90999 (the donation will be billed to your cell phone bill).  (This is worth 5 entries so please post five separate comments saying that you made a donation)
Please leave a separate comment for each entry (two if you've blogged about the giveaway) and make sure to include a link to your tweet, blog post, etc. All entries must be posted on AFOMFT as a direct comment to this post. Comments on Facebook will not count as entries. This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and ends April 5th at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be selected by and announced on AFOMFT on April 6th. If the winner does not contact AFOMFT within 48 hours, a new drawing will be held so be sure to check back to see if you've won!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Here & There: March 28, 2011

QUESTION: Is anyone else having trouble with Blogger lately? I originally typed the following links in a list--but when I published the post, everything was all squished up together. I've had to add HTML line breaks. I've also been having a problem uploading pictures.

Women’s History Book Resources (The Horn Book)

Notes from the Horn Book (March 2011 Issue)

Includes a link to the following:

- Five questions for Lee Bennett Hopkins

- Passing the poetry

- New books for young readers

Fall Children’s Books Sneak Previews(Publishers Weekly)

About Children’s Illustrator Sophie Blackall (Publishers Weekly)

ALSC & YALSA 2011 Book Picks (School Library Journal)

Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth: 2011 (Booklist)

Everyday Poetry: Poetry Tag (Booklist)

Classroom Connections: Discovering the Magic of Books—through Books (Booklist)

Books and Authors: Talking with Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer (Booklist)

Chris Van Allsburg: Stories enlightened by ‘Higglety Pigglety Pop!’ (The Boston Globe)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Crocus Poems: Variations on a Theme

Sometimes, I like to write different types of poems on the same subject. Today, my subject is crocuses. I posted three of these poems previously at Wild Rose Reader--the acrostic, haiku, and tanka. I just wrote rough drafts of the cinquain and mask poems this morning.

Coming up, I’m coming up,
Reaching through the softening soil, poking my petals
Out of the earth,
Collecting sunlight in my purple cup.
Up, I’m coming up.
Spring is on the way!

Look! A starting line
of crocuses ready
to sprint into spring

Tanka (3/5/3/5/5)

pierce the softening
soil, push up
purple periscopes,
search for spring’s warm face.

Cinquain (Rough Draft)

Can’t wait for spring,
Pokes its purple head out
Of the ground. Showers in sunshine
All day.

Crocus Mask Poem (Rough Draft)

I poked my head up.
What I found:
A snow quilt
Covering the ground.
I think I’ll stick around.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at A Year of Reading.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic--A Book by Robert Burleigh & Wendell Minor

If you’re looking for an excellent nonfiction picture book about one of America’s most daring and courageous women to share with children during Women in History month, I highly recommend Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic. The book was written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor. It is an outstanding package of text and art that provides a gripping account of Earhart’s historic transatlantic flight from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, to a pasture in Northern Ireland in May 1932.

Burleigh’s text is lively and lyrical. Here is how he describes the takeoff of Earhart’s Vega—her Little Red Bus:

The plane swoops like a swallow
Over dark puddles and patches of tundra.

The shore gleams in waning light.
The waves are curls of cream-colored froth.

As the pilot flies east into the darkness, Burleigh describes how the sky appears to her:

The moon peeks between wisps of shimmering clouds.
Distant stars flicker and fade. Her mind soars.

Earhart’s flight appears to be off to an auspicious start—but around midnight it becomes an adventure fraught with danger. That’s when her plane is pummeled by rain during a thunderstorm. About an hour later, her altimeter breaks. Earhart tries to climb above the storm. Her plane becomes sluggish because ice has formed on its wings. It begins to pitch and spin. Then the plane starts to nose-dive downward. Earhart finally gains control of it after it bursts through the lowest clouds. She manages to level her Vega just ten feet above the surface of the Atlantic Ocean!

Earhart isn’t out of danger yet. She still has many miles to go before she’ll reach land. Alone in the cockpit, she sniffs salts and sips juice from a can. Around three o’clock, flames stream out of the cracked exhaust pipe. By 6:00 a.m., Amelia’s eyes burn and her stomach “churns from the smell of leaking gas.”


Black turns to a watery silt. The gloomy sky pales.

Splinters of sunlight stab down through cloud slits
And brace themselves on the vault of the open sea.

Earhart looks out of her cockpit and sees: a boat…a drifting gull…an emerging coastline...train tracks. She finds a smooth pasture where she lands her plane safely.

Two thousand and twenty-six miles. Fourteen
Hours and fifty-six minutes.

A great peace wells up.
She knows she has crossed something more than an ocean.

Amelia Earhart had crossed over an ocean and entered into the halls of history. She was the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic—and the very first woman. She was indeed a true American heroine--a brave woman who broke down barriers and pushed the envelope.

Night Flight would be an excellent book to read aloud to children. Burleigh’s text is a concise and dramatic account of Amelia Earhart’s compelling and historic adventure. Wendell Minor’s paintings add to the tension and excitement of the story. He uses two-page spreads with no borders, changing perspectives, close-ups of the Vega and of Amelia in her cockpit, and a dark and foreboding color palette in a number of the illustrations. Minor draw us up into the wide-open sky with Amelia…into the ominous gloom of that stormy and eventful night. He takes us along with a fearless protagonist on her treacherous--and successful--fifteen-hour solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

The back matter of Night Flight includes the following:
- An afterword by the author
- A technical note by the illustrator
- A bibliography
- A list of Internet resources
- A selection of Amelia Earhart quotes.

Book Trailer

Amelia Earhart Last flight video

Amelia Earhart Audio Slideshow: Part 1

Amelia Earhart Audio Slideshow: Part 2

Amelia Earhart Tribute

Amelia Earhart Rare Interview

Amelia Earhart & Her Lockheed Vega (Smithsonian)

Learn More About Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart's Biography

Amelia Earhart's Achievements

Amelia Earhart Quotes

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Use of Singapore CPF Medisave for treatment of Bipolar Disorder in Singapore (The Straits Times, ST)

Medisave Singapore - Bipolar Disorder

Use of Medisave for treatment of bipolar disorder in Singapore

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by!

I have been very busy lately and not able to post or visit much. It's so good to be back again and count my blessings with all of you!

♥  Thank God for giving me much grace and strength in these recent weeks when I am busy with work, family and serving in church. Thank God for giving me simple peace and joy in Him daily.

♥ Thank God that Medisave has been approved for use in treatment of Bipolar Disorder in Singapore! This was reported recently in The Straits Times (ST) Singapore newspaper, 18 March 2011. This is indeed helpful to some patients as treatment for bipolar disorder is long term.

Here is a copy of the newspaper article (Click at the image to see a larger version). It is also available online here.

Medisave (Chinese: 保健储蓄) is a national medical savings account system for Singaporeans. The system allows Singaporeans to put aside part of their income into a Medisave account to meet future personal or immediate family's hospitalization, day surgery and for certain outpatient expenses. This Medisave is part of every employee's contribution to the Singapore Central Provident Fund (CPF) every month.

Thank God that now Medisave can be used to pay part of the outpatient treatment of bipolar disorder patients. It was reported that more people are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, affirming the recent move by the Health Ministry (MOH) to free up Medisave funds to cover their outpatient treatment bills.

♥ Thank God that I can serve the Lord through this bipolar disorder blog and help to contribute a little bit towards the awareness of bipolar disorder in Singapore, and share some resources available on treatment of bipolar disorder.

Thank God that through this blog, the reporter from The Straits Times (ST) Singapore, Miss Poon Chian Hui kindly approached me for an interview regarding this report on the approval of the usage of Medisave for the outpatients treatment of bipolar disorder. 

Thank God that through the interview I have the opportunity to share some of my concerns regarding bipolar disorder in Singapore. It is sad that there is still a lot of ignorance, misunderstanding and terrible stigma associated with bipolar disorder and depression in Singapore. Like others with this neurological condition, I too feel that much can be done to raise awareness of this condition so that more compassion and understanding can be extended to us. I suggested in the interview that employers could be urged not to discriminate against mental patients. I also suggested that employers be offered financial perks if they allow extended time off, or shorter and flexible working hours for employees with mental illnesses. Hopefully in future, there will be more acceptance and help for this condition and other mental health condition in Singapore.

♥ Previously I was also interviewed by Straits Times Singapore regarding Bipolar Blog in Singapore on how blogging helped me to cope with Bipolar Disorder. I posted about it here. Thank God that the article has helped some of my readers.

♥ I thank God for all of you, for your prayers and encouragements. Thanks for stopping by!

Take care and have a blessed week!

Warm regards,

My brother took this lovely picture in New Zealand.
GOD, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Congratulations MELANIE!  You've won a $50 gift card to iTunes from our Valentine's Day Giveaway!

Congratulations DOUBLY BLESSED!  You've won a $50 gift card to Ann Taylor Loft from our Valentine's Day Giveaway!

Congratulations ELIE!  You've won a $50 gift card to Old Navy from our Valentine's Day Giveaway!

Congratulations TAMIV!  You've won the It's Timmy Time! DVD and plush doll!

Congratulations SARA!  You've won three DVDs from Nickelodeon!

Congratulations KAREN PROPES!  You've won a copy of our new favorite book, Who Said Coo?

That's a whole lot of winners!  If you were one of the lucky ones listed above, please e-mail me at by end of day Wednesday, March 23rd to claim your prize. If I do not hear from you by then, a new winner will be chosen.

And don't forget to enter the three great giveaways we've got going on right now!

And stay tuned for lots more to come this week!

Pens v Rangers (L 2-5)

Wwweeellllll, that did not go exactly as woodstock and I had hoped. The Boys lost the game due in large part to another act of wanton stupidity from Matt Cooke. (We'll get to that in a minute...) But I finally got to see Alexei Kovalev in a Penguins jersey again!!!!!! :D :D :D The only thing that could be better would be to see Kovy and Siddo on the ice together on the same team. [*crosses fingers*]

I took all the photos in today's post. :) If you'd like to check out more of my pics from yesterday afternoon's game, click here.

Now, back to that "Matt Cooke incident:" Even as it happened, as I saw his elbow rise into Ryan McDonagh's head, my only thought was "NOT AGAIN!" You see, last year, woodstock and I were in attendance at the Bruins game when Cooke ended Marc Savard's season. Thankfully, McDonagh was not seriously injured.

When is Cooke going to get the message? How can he continue to do dumb things like this - especially after his team's owner, general manager, coach, and captain all spoke out against such behavior? I don't understand why he doesn't get it. But that's the enigma of Matt Cooke. He's a very talented player who fills a role and scores goals for us. Unlike a guy like Trevor Gillies, Cooke doesn't need to be an "intimidating" presence to be noticed in the NHL. Yet he continues to make poor decisions. That incident was the turning point of the game - despite Kuni's shorty. Cooke's not just biting the hand that feeds, he's cutting it off.

On a brighter note, the NHL Network's bottom ticker says that Siddo participated in non-contact drills with the Boys yesterday. :D So that must mean that things are going well, and he's feeling much better. Take your time and do it right, Siddo! We want you back at 100%.

Right now the Boys are in Detroit. It remains to be seen whether or not Cooke will be in tonight's lineup. Time to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and kick some winged wheel butt.

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Early Drafts of Two End-of Winter Poems

I write a lot of poetry. I've completed several poetry collections. Yet, I rarely submit my manuscripts to publishers. Why is that? I'm one of those writers who thinks she's never finished with a poem...who thinks she can always make a poem better. It's a good thing I don't have to support myself with my writing. Then again, maybe I'd send out more of my work if I needed money!

What I like about having a blog is being able to post rough drafts of poems...or poems that haven't been polished yet.

Here are two end-of-winter poems I began work on this week. The first one was inspired by a grimy patch of snow in my front yard.

In Our Yard

Winter left behind…
one patch of snow,
littered with leaves
and crusted with grime.
It’s only time
before it melts into the past.
It will not last.
Spring arrived here yesterday
and frightened old Jack Frost away.

Winter’s fading fast.
Winter’s tuckered out.
It packed its bags. It’s leaving town.
It heard Spring’s boist’rous shout:
“Make way for me, old man…
And take your ice and snow.
Now it’s my turn to rule the land…
And time for you to go.”
At Blue Rose Girls, I have an original list poem titled Things to Do If You Are the Ocean.
At Political Verses, you'll find Scott and Dot--a feminist nursery rhyme written by J.Patrick Lewis.
The Poetry Friday Roundup is over at A Wrung Sponge.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Women in History Month Post Featuring Author Jeannine Atkins

Here I am with author Jeannine Atkins
at the March 16th dinner meeting
of the Massachusetts PAS North Shore Council of IRA.

I hadn’t thought about something when I first invited Jeannine Atkins to be the guest speaker for our reading council’s winter dinner meeting on March 16th. March is Women in History Month. A second sense must have guided me when I chose her to speak to our council members…because Jeannine's books–whether nonfiction, historical fiction, or poetry—celebrate the achievements, intelligence, and courage of women.

Jeannine has found inspiration for her writing in nature, in the past, and especially in the lives of women who bucked convention and carved out lives for themselves as scientists and explorers. The famous—and not so famous—women that she has written about include Maria Sybilla Merian, Anna Botsford Comstock, Miriam Rothschild, Louis May Alcott, Marie Curie, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anne Huthchinson, Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, and Jane Goodall.

I couldn’t wait to meet Jeannine in person. I LOVED her most recent book Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters. Once I picked up the book and started reading it I couldn’t put it down. Her narrative poetry in Borrowed Names really drew me into the lives of those three accomplished women—a popular children’s author, a wealthy black businesswoman, a famous scientist who won two Nobel Awards—and their daughters.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Madam C. J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove)

Marie (Sklodowska) Curie

I think Borrowed Names is a perfect book to share with children during Women in History Month. So, too, are some of Jeannine’s other books—which include Aani and the Tree Huggers, Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon, Anne Hutchinson’s Way, and Girls Who Looked under Rocks.

Jeannine says that during the years when her daughter was growing up, she wrote about people who hadn’t yet found their rightful places in history books—female Arctic explorers, seventeenth century naturalists, paleontologists, pilots. In an interview with Glenn Hoveman, Glenn asked Jeannine about the women she wrote about in Girls Who Looked under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists.

Glenn: Some of the women naturalists you write about in Girls are well known, like Rachel Carson and Jane Goodall. But others are not well known at all, like Maria Merian and Anna Comstock. How did you find out about them sufficiently to really write about them, especially as children?

Jeannine: Writing about women from history often brings me to my next subject, as one life may bump into another. Both Rachel Carson and Jane Goodall wrote beautifully about their own experiences, and expressed thanks to those who taught them, which led me on paths back. For instance, Rachel Carson’s mother used Anna Comstock’s massive book to answer her daughter’s scientific questions, and since Anna Comstock had been a respected professor, her letters and notes had been saved. While a woman such as Maria Sibylla Merian isn’t a household name now, she was highly respected in her day, then essentially forgotten. I love doing the “detective work” of going back to buried records of achievement.

If you’re looking for books about women that you can read to/recommend to children during Women in History Month, I suggest you think of author Jeannine Atkins—a woman author who writes about women.
Learn more about Anne Hutchinson: The Trial of Anne Hutchinson (PBS Kids)
********************Learn more about Mary Anning here.

******************** Learn More about the Chipko Movement: India’s Call to Save Their Forests
You can see a picture of tree huggers here.