Friday, November 21, 2014

Ready Teddy (repost from MJL)

Matthew wrote a bit about Teddy's arrival--to tide you over in case you didn't see this yet.

Ready Teddy

Friday, November 14, 2014

Another Katie Video

More pre-recorded posting...

No school on Halloween, which meant we had time for life as it should be lived.  Katie made Baby a Halloween costume.  Here she is to tell you about it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ingleside 10/28/14

I took these pictures a while ago but haven't had a chance to put together a post.  Here's what life was like last month.  

Katie really wanted to wear this shirt as pants.  

I did the Pinterest thing and got a big drip pan from Amazon to use as a magnet board.  Then I was grouchy about magnets on the floor.   We started with letter magnets, but they were all over the floor and in a frustrated fit I took them all away.  Then they took all the magnets off the fridge and left them on the floor.  The past few weeks have been better, and I think I'll be less grouchy about it (everything) when it's a bit easier to bend over.  :)

Baby diapers are so impossibly tiny!

We got out the baby stuff.  

I took the girls shopping for some dress shoes for Anna and found glitter shoes for both girls on clearance.  I haven't done something spontaneous like that with Anna and Katie for a long time and it made me really happy.  

One night at bath time I kept picking up books around the house that I was in the middle of, and the three of them together made me laugh-Siblings Without Rivalry, Introduction to the Devout Life, and Donna Parker at Cherrydale.  I enjoyed all three!

I'm glad these days are behind us.  This is what time I gave up on waiting for MJL to get home and went to bed one night.  

Surely some day we'll have a baby post, right?  :)

Monday, November 10, 2014


Here's the end!  I was so happy to finish this before my leave.  And I got all the books processed and in the library-so this week is just pretty relaxed!  I've got my classes to teach, and books to pull for teachers, and last minute notes to write up for my sub, but compared to the last month of working as hard as I can, this is easy.  :)

L is another big letter.  This was a clever story about a cat and a mouse trying to outwit each other. 

I like the Froggy books, they're especially good for kids who are reading at a higher level, but don't need to dive into chapter books full time.  

Arnold Lobel is one of my favorites.  I always read Mouse Tales aloud to 1st graders and then they check out like crazy.  This is one from the picture book section which has nice stories and is a Caldecott winner.  

A sweet story, appealing to boys and girls. 

Funny historical fiction tall tale.

Another good dog book!  About noticing the good that is in front of you. 

A town works together to solve a big problem. 

A really fun read aloud.  The kids have to find what the letters are for.  

The title is hard to see- Ellis Island Christmas.  You know I can't resist an immigrant story.

More historical fiction, from the point of view of a Chinese family. 

I just got this one last year.  There are many stories about lost things making the rounds and finding their way back again-someday I'd like to gather them together somehow and do some comparing and contrasting with the kids.  There's something very appealing about them.  This one circulates all year round, the kids really like it.  

I love this song, and this version is a Caldecott winner.  

An animal book!  And I don't even like animals very much.  This story about two pets that survive Hurricane Katrina was surprisingly touching.  

That's it for picture books this semester!  If you read any, let me know what you think!


All of Ezra Jack Keats is fun, but I really liked this one and I'd never heard of it before.

A true story from Pioneer days!  I'm going to have to read it aloud to the kids because even though it was on my featured shelf, STILL no one checked it out.  And it is great.  

When we were in Las Vegas at the ALA convention, Jon Klassen walked by in the exhibit hall and I felt like I was seeing a celebrity.  I told MJL "Do you know who that is?  'This is not My Hat'?  'I Want My Hat Back'?"  and he laughed at me.  

But these are great books.  Fun for kids and grownups alike, and nice and simple.  A great 1st/2nd grade level book is so important!  How else are we going to hook them on reading?

I like to read this one at the beginning of the year, though sometimes it almost makes me cry.  A sweet story inspired by the lions at the New York City Public Library.  

This is one of my all time favorite Halloween Stories.  It has a little witch in it, but it is a great story and not a bit scary.  

These are all pre-scheduled posts.  We're past 40 weeks now, so hopefully there'll be a baby soon!

Friday, November 07, 2014


I finished!  All of the "Everybody" books with authors F-L!!!  Here are my favorite J's.

A new book I bought last year.  What a relief that it is good!  It's about  a little girl who feels bad that her family is not eating turkey for Thanksgiving, but she finds out there are lots of different ways to celebrate.  

A really fun take on the "Princess and the Pea" story.  

Simple pictures, simple story, but this boy trying to convince his mother he should have a pet snake was charming.  

Another great farm book, I think 4H kids, kids who love animals, farm kids would all love this one.  

I like Simon James.  I like his pictures and his stories, and this one was my favorite of his.  And it's always nice for kids to read about something completely different from Kansas.  

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Books from Penguin Random House!

We got our $5000 in books from Penguin Random House in late September.  8 boxes.  342 books.

It took me a couple of weeks to quit being overwhelmed and start the giant project of getting them processed and into the library.  

 They're all in the computer, all stamped, all have call numbers on the spines, all have "donated by" labels inside, and all the books for regular checkout have clear plastic dust jacket protectors on, but I'm still working on finishing up the novel sets.  But they're ready for checkout today!    


Is there anything better than kids and books?  What a blessing for our little school.  

Monday, November 03, 2014

Bossy Betsy:Halloween Clearance

I apologize if you all already know about this--I thought everyone in the world did, but this Halloween season I saw several references to pumpkin carving being dangerous--even one from one of those giant parenting blogs with zillions of followers--so I just have to make sure.

If you are still trying to carve pumpkins with sharp knives-STOP!  Your life is about to get awesome.  The little pumpkin carving kits are amazing and wonderful and totally safe and about a katrillion times easier to use than knives.  AND they will go to at least 75% off, probably 90% off if you're patient, now that Halloween is past.

You just need to wait as long as you feel comfortable, then buy a kit for each one of your children, because the knives are a bit flimsy.  I broke two this year because I was being impatient.  But you can afford that because each kit has multiple knives and they're 75% off.

Now--throw away the instruction book that comes with the kit!  It will just give your children grandiose ideas about what pumpkins should look like, steal their creativity, and frustrate them.  Plus it's much easier to store a little baggie full of knives.  Just throw it inside your Halloween box or in one of your trick or treating pumpkins.

I think it's OK to keep all of the other little tools because they're fun to experiment with and don't cause too much trouble.

Last year I bought a couple of these scoops-and they were great.  They really got the guts out quickly.

Don't we look happy?  All of these kids carved pumpkins with very little supervision.  No injuries, all fun.  

Bossy Betsy out.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Katie sings.

I asked Katie to clean up the play-doh.  She told me "There's a song for that."

Monday, October 27, 2014

Anna plays piano

This week- just some video snapshots of what life is like these days.  Anna first.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Watching stuff

That weekend when I was sick we found some fun things to watch together as a family.  Or at least things that I like watching and Anna likes watching and Matthew tolerates and Katie likes anything on TV and Jimmy likes to snuggle so he's happy.

House Hunters International is on Netflix now and has fun insights into what daily life is like in different countries.  Language teachers refer to that as "small 'c' culture", and it's one of my favorite things.  Did you know that in Germany, people move with their kitchens?  So it was hard for the girl teaching English to find an apartment to rent that came with a fridge and oven!  And in Denmark, you bring your own light fixtures to a house!  We all enjoyed it.

The day I was home sick I watched hours and hours of Flea Market Flip.  Anna loves it too.  Teams buy things at flea markets, and then work with a team of craftsmen in a big shop to make them over into wonderful things, and then they sell them at another flea market to see who can make the biggest profit.  It's really fun and inspiring.

We've been having "Movie Night" on Friday nights, but I need some recommendations for movies.  We really can't tolerate scary things around here-last week we watched the first 3 minutes of "Tarzan" and then switched it off and tried "The Great Mouse Detective" and then happily landed on "The Tigger Movie".  We like clean and happy and easy and funny.  We are, apparently, not the general market.  Any tips?  I have free Redbox codes from McDonalds right now so it could even be a newer movie!  But really, we need some help.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Food Success

I've been thinking on my meal success in September, and trying to figure it out so I can replicate it and here's what I've come up with so far:

  • In September MJL is busy, but he's cleaning seed and stuff and so he can come in for dinner.  I am about a zillion times more likely to make food for him if he can come in and eat it with us.  
  •  I didn't have ANYTHING on the list that required a recipe really, or anything new, or anything on any level that is fancy or different.  Only "regular" food that is easy to make and quick.  
  • Sometimes I let the kiddos watch a show while I was fixing dinner.  
  • I made my menu weekly, and made the shopping list, and one of us actually went to the store.  
  • I cleaned and reorganized the fridge, pantry, and freezers in a nesting frenzy, so I actually know what we have and can find it.  

Now we're into October, and it's totally different, but I'm figuring that out too (I've only been married to a farmer for 15 years, so it makes sense that I'm JUST NOW figuring out how to eat during the different seasons, right?)
  •  In October there is a lot of driving meals around and driving farmers around and I should NOT try to eat dinners at the table.  I should plan to feed everyone things they can eat on the go.  
  • Hot sandwiches are easy!  I can fix a bunch at once, and then heat them all up together while I'm filling up the rest of the stuff in the bags, and then each kiddo gets a bag and there are bags for the farmers and we're off.  
  • My meal planning should reflect the reality of life for whatever season we're in.  I should only plan portable meals during Fall Harvest, instead of planning regular meals and then getting frustrated.  
  • Check the day old bread for rolls for sandwiches and sometimes the lunch meat gets marked down too!   
  •  Wrap hot sandwiches in foil.

So now I need some more hot sandwich ideas!  Anyone have anything good?

Monday, October 20, 2014


I took the kiddos to Wal-Mart on Friday and as I walked back to the van I noticed that I was parked funny.  I guessed that the person next to me had been parked funny when I got there and now they were gone and that was the problem.  We had actually had a pretty good trip to the store and I got everyone buckled and drove away smiling and then on the road I noticed this sign under my windshield wiper.

It actually made me laugh, and then I felt a little bad because clearly that wasn't the reaction the writer was going for, and then I felt really bad because that is a LOT of effort to go to for negativity!  I can't imagine actually getting a pen and a bit of paper and writing on it, and putting it under the wiper, and then how yicky the person must feel for the rest of the day.  Very sad.  It reminded me that it's so so true that we find what we look for, and that it is important to be careful what I am investing my energy in.  Anyway-I'm sorry, person who was having a bad day.  I probably am a terrible parker.  I'll try to do better.  Or at least return to parking far away soon when walking is a bit easier.  :P

We've had our van Snowball for almost three months now, and I've discovered that the reason people have those little families on the back of their vans is that there are SO. MANY. VANS.  I'm not good at picking ours out of the crowd.

Matthew can make me a sticker to put in the back window, whatever I want.  That's daunting.  I keep thinking words-because I like words, but it's hard to think of a quote that I will love forever, and that will be short enough not to cause anyone to be distracted, and that will make me smile when I see it.

At first I thought "Peace begins with a smile"  but I've changed my mind about that one already and it's not even on the van.

So-any help?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Meandering Thoughts

A month or so ago, on one of those buzz feed quizzes I got sucked into in a moment of weakness, I was asked the question "Do you look at the sky when you feel happy or sad?"  I suppose it was just the sort of question to find out what you default to if you don't know the answer-I chose happy- but I've been thinking and thinking about it.  I haven't come to any sort of answer-but I did notice that I can't help looking at the sky without taking a deep breath. (I also tend to wonder if this is the day that something will happen that will change everything forever-not in a worried way, just a curious one-I've noticed I think that when looking at the sky.  That's normal, right?)

That led me into thinking about what else there is in the world that has the same lovely deep breath effect.  What things are there in the world that can't help but relax me?  (I think I had 20 minutes alone in the car or something-generally seems to be the only time I have time to think along rabbit trails).

I've tried to think of something for each of the five senses.

Sight:  The sky-clear or stormy, blue or gray, it's so nice and big and naturally calming and I would say "centering" except that sounds so blegh and barfy.  But the sky reminds you that you are so very small, which is as it should be.

Sound:  Arvo Part-Spiegel im Spiegel

I play it in the kitchen when things threaten to overwhelm me, and it always helps.  I know it's strange and so minimalist, but I love it.  It helps me to breathe just like the sky.

Taste:  I feel silly-but I honestly think a grape sno cone!  I think about eating a grape sno cone, and I know with the first bite there's a nice deep relaxing breath.  I don't think I could be stressed while eating that.

Touch:  I had a hard time thinking of this one at first-for the kiddos I think their blankies do the trick, and I do love my bear Zaca, but it didn't seem quite right.  Then I thought of water.  Swimming in the summer and baths in the winter.  When I can get myself into water everything gets better.

Smell: This one was the hardest, perhaps because I don't smell so well.  But I think rain, or lilacs in the Spring, or when the corn is pollinating.  I think it's the corn.  I know there's a farm smell sometime that makes me feel very happy and alive.

So what about you?  I really enjoyed this little game-and I'm so curious about what other people think!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bossy Betsy: Pride and Prejudice

We have been watching the BBC Pride and Prejudice with Grammy Joan this past month.  It's the 6 hour miniseries, and EVERY time I watch it, I am reminded that it is the best thing I've ever seen.  Have you watched it?  It's hilarious and wonderful and touching and clever and romantic and sweet.  I've probably seen it 5 times and it never gets old.

I found this trailer, but really, you just need to find it and watch it.  Surely your library has it?  Or maybe you need to borrow my copy, but you'll have to give it back.  :)

Bossy Betsy knows best.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lonely I, and a pop quiz

And then here we are at "I", with only about 10 books!

This one was funny.  A story about a pig who loves chocolate and goes to the park.  

That's it for I!

Here's another edition of "Could you be an elementary librarian?"

I got this email from a teacher--

"Can you pull the Polacco one about the class of special needs and the one boy dies at the end?"

This one is harder, I think.  It's a newer book.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

So many H's!

One funny thing about reading all of the books in alphabetical order is that you notice things like "lots of authors have H last names"

This one is about an ocean storm.  It's simple and powerful and conveys a world totally different from what our kids know, in a way that is easy to relate to.  

Another about the ocean-a fun book about Horseshoe crabs.

This one follows bunches of families as they go about their morning on a very important day--at the end they all become American citizens.  It's lovely.  

I am often tempted to skip the 1st grade easy readers.  I can see why Mo Willems has a lock on this category-his books are simple AND funny and interesting.  But this one was surprisingly good!  We have a few Pup and Hound books, I'll need to feature them for the 1st graders.  

Who doesn't love a good Christmas story?

Kevin Henkes is wonderful and I love ALL of his books.  This one was new to me.  So nice.  

Pat Hutchins has several books too, and I liked them, this one was the best.  Fun and easy to decode because the boy keeps mixing up the list, a bit at a time, so there are many hints for the reader.  

A new fairy tale!  I hadn't read anything like this one.  

James Herriot is one of my favorite adult authors.  I was excited to find these picture books-which have nice high vocabulary and pretty illustrations in a smaller package-will be good for my animal kids who are daunted by a chapter book but who need to move into something a bit tougher.  And for the younger kids who are ready for more but are still young.  

I love an immigrant story.  

Farm helping and working together and caring for the land.  

This one appeals to my use it up sensibilities.  A great lesson in what it used to take to survive, and how to thrive in it.  

A fun and inspiring book-I think that kids would want to play with paper after reading it, and it has some great vocabulary to talk about.  

Another good easy reader!  A sweet family book.  

A Christmas story to make you cry.  

Kids love this book about an exceptionally patient mother, and when I started asking them why-that was their answer!  "Because of how the Mom is".  I guess they would like us to be that patient and perfect.  ;)