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Friday’s Library Picks

Today was the Pre-School Story hour at the Mashpee Public Library.  This is the story hour for the 3+ year old children.  It’s by far one of the best story hours we have been too.  The Daughter loves it because not only does she get to see some of her friends from pre-school, but also because she is able to hear new stories, sing a song or two, and then make a fun craft to bring home.

Today’s stories were fall themed and featured the animal so many of us associate with fall: Squirrels.

The first of three stories was

Look Both Ways: A Cautionary Tale

The story was a cute rhyme that told the tale of a little squirrel who, in his haste, did not stop to look both ways.  No, he did not meet an untimely and messy demise, but he did learn the importance of stopping before crossing the road.  This one was perfect because recently, the Daughter and I have been working on looking both ways and being safe in parking lots.  It was a cute little tale that hammered home the message of street safety.  Remember folks, when you see a ball roll into the street, there is most likely a child right behind it!

The second story was a great positive tale of how to turn a bad situation into a positive situation.  A tale that accentuated the notion that everything happens for a reason.

A Good Day

I think when the Daughter gets a little older, we will revisit this one when she can get a better understanding of the underlying message to this one.  It was cute, though.

The librarian’s third selection was a very nicely illustrated book.  I’m a sucker for well illustrated children’s books.  The art in children’s illustrations are amazing.  A comment on a recent blog post I wrote had me thinking about how fantastic some of the artwork in children’s books is.  But I digress…

The last tale of the story hour was:

The Busy Little Squirrel

The repetition of why this busy little squirrel could not stop to enjoy the day with all the other animals really got the children engaged.  They eagerly waited for the moment to answer and then when it got to the end, they were surprised to find out why the squirrel had been so busy.

After the Daughter created her own squirrel with a very bushy tail made out of grass that grows in the salt marsh, we went to find our own books to bring home.  After reading all of them tonight for bedtime, I have to say this week was a good selection of books.

1) Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble – We have recently been on a huge Skippyjon Jones kick.  We recently took out the first book in this delightful series.  I love reading aloud to my daughter so when this little Siamese kitten decided that he was really a chihuahua, I found the voices for this story to be too much to resist.  Poquito Tito is my favorite to be honest.

2) Necks Out for Adventure – The illustrations in this one were the main reason why I picked this book off the shelf.  Following the story of Edwin Wigglskin and his thirst for adventure, this tale teaches the importance of not being afraid to be yourself and sticking your neck out there.  Though, I don’t know that my daughter will ever eat little neck clams again, let alone go clamming with the family again.

3) And Here’s to You! – A celebration of life and how wonderful the world truly is.  A story that definitely ends with a hug and a kiss.

4) Oh No, Gotta Go! – I picked this one because it was bilingual.  My sister-in-law is Mexican and all of her family still lives there and when we went last year for the wedding, I realized that maybe I should have taken Spanish instead of 8 years of French.  So, every chance I get to expose my daughter to Spanish (we’re going to start with this one), I do.  This book was great because it didn’t translate all the words, but rather left them as context clues in the story.  The daughter understood all but one word which was good in my opinion!

5) Is Anybody Up? – This was a sweet tale of how even when we feel alone, there are people all over the world who are doing the same thing and are just like us, even if they speak a different language or are in a different place.  A sweet story.

So, those are the five Library picks for this week.  Have you read any of the above books?  What did you think?

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The Perfect Fall Soup – Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

 

As much as I love the summer fruits and vegetables, I think the harvest of fall flavors is what really excites me.  The squashes, the apples, the pears, the eggplants.  All of them are just so delicious.  What makes these flavors even better is when you can transform them into a flavorful soup that warms up the cool autumn nights.

We went apple picking a week ago today and stopped at a few farm stands. We came home with a giant sack of apples and a few great freshly grown butternut squash (among other vegetables!) and I knew that we had to do something with the apples so that we didn’t lose any of them  by not eating them quickly enough.  My mom learned this great recipe from a neighbor for Butternut Squash soup.  We’ve had it quite a few times and last year, we did it with pear and it was delicious.  This time, I knew that I had heard of people doing it with apples so I wanted to give it a try.

My new favorite vegetable!

First, I quartered the butternut squash, removed the seeds, and loosely wrapped it in aluminum foil and baked at 375○ F for one hour.  Once it was cooked, I scooped out the cooked squash and set it aside.

In a large (4 quart) saucepan, saute one onion (diced), two apples (peeled and sliced), and two tablespoons of butter for five minutes (until the onions are translucent).

Apples, onions, and garlic sauteing. Smelled so wonderful!

Add 1 clove minced garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Then add the squash and 32 oz (1 quart) of chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat on low and let it sit for 20 minutes or so.  Once it’s cooked for about 20 minutes, put into a blender or, use a hand blender if you have one, and blend it until smooth. If you use a regular blender, return it back to the pot and add 1/2 cup of cream (I use light cream) if you want and stir it in.

All the ingredients simmering on low – stirring occasionally.

I also add 1 tsp (or more to your liking) of cinnamon.  Nutmeg works well too but I found that the cinnamon worked very nicely!

Serve warm and enjoy how wonderful the taste of fall can be!  I didn’t take a picture of how it looked when it was finished because I was too excited to enjoy a bowl for myself!  Next time, I will be sure to grab a shot.  I am proud, though, that I was able to grab some snaps while I was cooking.  That is a small victory for me and my blogging – it’s the small things.

For Weight Watchers Points Plus, I plugged in and got a very friendly 4 PP per 1 cup serving.  1 cup of this soup (when left a little thick) is more than filling!

For MyFitnessPal.com, I got the following nutritional info:

127 calories

19g carbs

6g fat

2g protein

2g fiber

7g sugar

A perfect meal for a cool fall day and it’s perfect for those who are trying to eat with their health in mind!

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Filed under Food, New Recipes

Apple Picking and The Best Season of the Year

Fall is by far my most favorite season of the year and September is my most favorite month.  The skies seem bluer and the air is full of fantastic smells.  The cooler nights mean perfect sleeping (even if the ragweed is currently wreaking havoc on everyone’s sinuses in the family) and the early morning dew makes the air seem that much more crisp because it’s visible.  Even though technically, by the earth’s rotation, this is the last weekend of Summer, it felt like a proper Fall weekend.

It was an action packed weekend too!

The Daughter and I were very happy to go back to story hour at the Mashpee Public Library.  This is, by far, one of the best story hours I have ever been to.  The children’s librarian does an amazing job with the 3+ year olds.  Three stories, a couple of little songs and dances, all finished off with a craft. It’s a wonderful story hour.  This week, we read stories all about Bears.

This was a very cute book.

I enjoy it as a mom because it gives me a chance to kind of sit back and relax while the Daughter gets some very important kid time and reading time – it’s a win-win-win.  I worry sometimes since she is an only child that she doesn’t always get as much interaction with other kids as she should.  Yes she’s in daycare two days a week but I wonder if that’s enough sometimes.  Story hour is good because a couple of her friends from daycare go too so she gets to see them and there are other kids as well so she gets to make new friends too.
I’m so happy that she loves to read and loves the library. Reading is probably one of the most important skills in my opinion so I’m thrilled that she seems to love it and looks forward to our weekly trip to the library and our nightly bedtime story ritual.

Saturday was even more excitement for the Daughter.  We surprised her with Disney On Ice – Rockin’ Ever After at the Providence Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  I have very vague memories of my first time ever going to Disney on Ice.   I was around the same age as the Daughter and I remember Peter Pan was in the show we saw.  It was so much fun to see her face light up when Mickey and Minnie skated out on to the ice.  She almost jumped into the rafters and it was amazing!  The excitement and the joy at seeing the Mouse and his “gang” as she called them.  She was a little sad that Pluto and Daisy weren’t there but after we told her that they must be back at the Clubhouse making sure that Pete wasn’t lonely, she was ok.  Then there were the princesses.  They were supposed to be the main event, but for the Daughter, they were second fiddle to the mouse.

The Grand Finale

But the fun didn’t stop there!  Oh no!

Today, we did our annual family trip to Pippin Orchards in Cranston, RI. Every year, we usually will drive out here to go apple picking.  Today was the day because one of the Brothers was running a 5K in downtown Providence so it made sense that after we went to the race (which we didn’t exactly make), that we continue on to go apple picking.  They said that they had honey crisps ripe.  Sadly, the few trees that had the honey crisps had nothing but rotten apples on them.  That was sad.  Luckily, the Macintosh apples were ripe and ready to be picked.  Though, the ripe ones were so high up in the tree, we had to jump to reach them.

All the best apples were out of reach and they hadn’t brought out the pickers yet – said it was too early. 😦

It was the perfect day to be out and enjoying the day with the family and tasting the delicious, fresh apples.

When we got home, we pried the Husband away from football, and the three of us went for a walk down to the lake.  It was just after sunset and peaceful.  The lake was like glass and the minnows were in the shallow end grabbing their supper, making ripples every few minutes that spread slowly over the smooth surface.

The clouds reflected perfectly.

The colors of the sunset reflected on the water.

A neighbor’s sailboat on the glassy water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The walk home was shorter than the walk there only because the Daughter was on a mission to get home for a “special treat” for eating her dinner and going for a walk.   That pretty much meant racing home the whole way shouting “I’m winning.  I’m winning.”  But she did end up making some time to hold hands with Daddy and talk about what a wonderful weekend it truly was.

Hand in hand. ♥

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