Sunday, October 15, 2017

Halloween Reads for Children!

Halloween, despite the scary movies, is one of my favorite times of the year. I say "times" because our neighborhood civic association sponsors events and activities for the children beginning the Saturday before and lasting until October 31st. Halloween is an occasion for the little ones to dress up and enjoy themselves.




There are many delightful books for children, although they don't seem to get as much attention as Christmas and Valentine's Day reads. While some stories have a teaching goal, most are aimed for children to simply laugh and have good time.

Here are some Halloween theme books that little ones will enjoy!


Room on the Broom
by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler



The witch and her cat are flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch's hat, then her bow and then her wand. Luckily three helpful animals find the missing items and all they want in return is a ride on the broom.

Buy Links:

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Room-Broom-Julia-Donaldson/dp/0142501123/

Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/room-on-the-broom-julia-donaldson/1100469056

Books-A-Million:
http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Room-Broom/Julia-Donaldson/9780142501122


The Night Before Halloween
by Natasha Wing and Cynthia Fisher



Little monsters and goofy goblins take center stage in this silly, spooky spin on Clement C. Moore's beloved poem.

Buy Links:

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Night-Before-Halloween-Natasha-Wing/dp/0448419653/

Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/night-before-halloween-natasha-wing/1101720294

Books-A-Million:
http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Night-Before-Halloween/Natasha-Wing/9780448419657



The Biggest Pumpkin Ever
by Steven Kroll and Jeni Bassett



Desmond and Clayton must work together to win the Biggest Pumpkin competition.

Buy Links:

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Biggest-Pumpkin-Ever-Steven-Kroll/dp/0590464639/

Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/biggest-pumpkin-ever-steven-kroll/1100417994

Books-A-Million:
http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Biggest-Pumpkin-Ever/Steven-Kroll/9780590464635


Have a great week, Everyone!



(photo c/o morgueFile.com)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Autumn in Philadelphia...

Autumn or "Fall" is my favorite time of year. The weather is generally cool and crisp and there are lots of outside activities to enjoy before Winter, and snow, creep in!



Here are a few events we look forward to in Philly!




Chrysanthemum Festival at Longwood Gardens



Saturday, October 7th - Sunday, November 19th; A beautiful variety of mums everywhere. A little bit of a drive from Philly, but if you love flowers and gardens, there's no better place than Longwood Gardens.

FMIhttps://longwoodgardens.org/



8th Annual Mums & Mutts Fall Festival



Saturday, October 14; Family Fun in the Park; Games, Contests and Prizes; Raffles, Eagles tickets, Hotel stays, and more! Doggie Costume Contest! Bouncey House, Face Painting, and Arts and Crafts!

Over 15 Local Shelter and Rescues with adoptable pets -- all breeds, ages, and sizes looking for forever homes!



The Bigger-Than-Ever Harry Potter Festival



Friday and Saturday, October 20th-21st; Fortune tellers, crafts, costume contest, live performance and more!



Halloween



Saturday, October 28th-Tuesday, October 31st; Although the "official" date for Halloween is October 31st, in Philly the celebration begins early. On Saturday, the 28th, most of our neighborhood civic associations hold parades and parties for the children leading up to the "big trick-or-treat event" (on a Tuesday this year)!


Veterans Day Parade & Festival 



Sunday, November 5; Lots of food, fun, and a chance to honor the Veterans of  the United States Military, and give them our thanks.

FMI, http://www.phillyveteransparade.org/


Thanksgiving Day Parade


Thursday, November 23rd; Even Mickey and Minnie love coming to Philadelphia to be part of our parade! Floats, marching bands, and fun for the family.

FMI, facebook.com/6abcThanksgivingDayParade/

Wherever you are, enjoy Autumn!

(Peanuts photo c/o facebook.com/snoopy;
 chrysanthemum photo c/o facebook.com/Longwood Gardens;
 Mums/Mutts photo c/o facebook.com/morrisanimalrefuge;
 Harry Potter photo c/o facebook.com/harrypottermovie;
 Veterans photo c/o facebook.com/TheVeteransSite;
 Parade photo c/o facebook.com/6abcThanksgivingDayParade)


Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Stroll Through Philadelphia's Society Hill...

When William Penn found Philadelphia, the city was merely two square miles along the Delaware River as opposed to the over 120 square miles it is today. Society Hill is not only a beautiful section of the city, but one filled with an abundance of history.




The neighborhood known as Society Hill was named for the Society of Free Traders in the early 1700s. Influential merchants, the group engineered the commercial interests of the newly formed colony. 

Although perceived as an elite area due to its many prominent residents (including future president, James Madison), by 1776 Society Hill was a diverse neighborhood and home to various social classes.

As lovely as Society Hill is today, that wasn't always the case. Despite its impressive initial days, the area had slipped into despair by the early 20th century. Given that many of the historical buildings remained standing, in the late 1950s Edmund Bacon, (actor Kevin Bacon's dad), a member of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, stepped in with a plan to bring Society Hill back to its original prominence.

Now a mixture of residential, historic, and commercial sites, Society Hill was one of my recent Walking Tour Strolls sponsored by The Preservation Alliance for Great Philadelphia.

With her impressive research notes, our awesome Tour Guide was eager to share her knowledge. Our tour group consisted not only of Philadelphians, who like me enjoy learning more about our city, but visitors from California and Canada! Our brochure listed over twenty stops. Here are a few of my favorites.


Headhouse Square



Built in 1775, and used as a fire house back in the city's early days. The houses surrounding the square are from the 18th and 19th century and are a mixture of commercial businesses and private residences. Head House Square is popular during the Spring and Summer for holding a variety of Flea and Farmers Markets. The blocks, which I always thought were cobblestone, I learned are actually "Belgian Blocks."


Man Full of Trouble Tavern



Built in 1759, this is the last surviving Pre-Revolutionary War tavern in the city. A short stroll from the river, the tavern was generally patronized by mariners and dockhands. In the 18th century, taverns were more than just the place to meet, drink, and eat. They were also the "go to" place for the latest news. 

The cellar of the building was used as the kitchen, storage, and quarters for the maids and hired hands. Rooms for sailors, who were away from their ships, were on the second floor. 



Society Hill Synogogue



This building has a wonderful history with a heritage of religious freedom (William Penn's goal for the city). Built in 1829, this building originally was home to the Spruce Street First Baptist Church. In 1916 a Roumanian American Congregation purchased the site. The Yiddish words for "Great Roumanian Shul" can still be seen above the synagogue's main entrance.

In 1967 a Conservative congregation acquired the building which was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. 



Hill-Physick-Keith House





Built in 1786 by Henry Hill (who was also the executor of Benjamin Franklin's will) and purchased by Dr. Phillip Physick in 1790, this is the last freestanding mansion in Society Hill. A respected physician, Dr. Physick is also remembered for inventing "soda pop." The lovely garden, complimenting the house, includes plants common in the 19th century.

As with almost all businesses of the day, Dr. Physick's medical office was in the house where he treated famous patients such as Dolly Madison and Chief Justice John Marshall.


Samuel Powel House



The house was built in 1765. Samuel Powel, one of the colonies' wealthiest men, purchased the home in 1768. Along with being the first mayor of Philadelphia after the Revolution, Powel and his wife, Elizabeth, were respected for their party planning expertise. George and Martha Washington, friends of the Powels, visited the house on many occasions.

The lush narration of the Powel House can be chronicled in its decorative arts assortment, detailed portraits, and lavish garden. Powel died in 1793 during the Yellow Fever epidemic. 






The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia is a nonprofit organization whose goal is safeguarding historic properties through education and activism. To find out more about their mission, events, and activities, check out Preservation Alliance's website, http://www.preservationalliance.com/



Thanks for stopping by, Everyone, and, have a great week!



(photo, Society Hill neighborhood c/o facebook.com/visitphilly;
 photo, Head House Square c/o southstreet.com/about;
 photo, Man Full of Trouble Tavern c/o ushistory.org/tour/man-full-of-trouble;
 photo, Society Hill Synogogue c/o facebook.com/Society-Hill-Synagogue-315447885193300;
 photo, Hill-Physick-Keith House c/o facebook.com/ThePhysickHouse/
 photo, Powel House c/o facebook.com/PhilaLandmarks1931/;
 photo, Preservation Alliance c/o facebook.com/preservationalliance)








Sunday, September 10, 2017

In the Mood for a DVD?

On a rainy, do-nothing-Saturday, I spent the day hanging out at home with plenty of snacks, lots of sweet tea, and some new DVDs.



Here are several that you might want to consider adding to your "to be viewed" list!


The Founder



The true story of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) met Mac and Dick McDonald and worked to create a burger empire.

FMI, https://www.amazon.com/Founder-Michael-Keaton/dp/B01LTIAQEG/



Loving


In 1958, in the state of Virginia, the idea of interracial marriage was not only considered to be immoral to many, it was also illegal. When Richard (Joel Edgerton, Black Mass) and Mildred (Ruth Negga, World War Z) fall in love and marry, they are arrested. The couple take their case all the way to the Supreme Court in their fight for the right to love, and for justice.




Fences



Based on the Broadway play by August Wilson, a 1950s working-class African-American man (Denzel Washington), who once dreamed of becoming a major league baseball player, attempts to come to terms with the events of his life. 




The Shack



Based on THE NEW YORK TIMES best-selling novel, THE SHACK takes us on a father's spiritual journey that will help him find the truth about love, loss, and forgiveness.

FMI, https://www.amazon.com/Shack-DVD-Sam-Worthington/dp/B06ZY6F9GX/


Have a great week, Everyone!



(photo c/o facebook.com/snoopy)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The "unofficial" End to Summer...

Although the calendar tells us a few more weeks remain of Summer, the Labor Day holiday weekend generally means the end of the season for most folks.



Almost everyone has finished their summer vacations. In Philly, all of our school children will be back in their classrooms by Wednesday.

So, Friends, enjoy the last holiday of the Summer of 2017. Relax, be happy, and most of all, be safe!

Have a good week, Everyone!





(photo c/o facebook.com/winniethepooh)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Teaching Children Respect for Animals...

Visitors to my Facebook and Google Plus pages often see posts with animals. Sometimes funny, frequently poetic, and often reminders that our furry friends have rights and feelings, too.




A love, value, respect, and responsibility for animals and their rights begins at an early age. Listed below are some releases in children's books, aimed at friendships between little ones and animals. By reinforcing a bond, and teaching children to have a regard for animals and their welfare, children also learn to respect, appreciate, and forge friendships with other children.



Lola Gets a Cat
by Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw



Lola wants a cat, but Mommy says taking care of a pet is a lot of work. So Lola does her homework. At the library she finds books about cats and pet care and she and Mommy learn as much as they can. She pretends her stuffed kitty is real and practices taking care of it. When the time comes, Lola is allowed to pick out her new friend at an animal shelter. With patience and care, her kitten settles in at home.

Buy Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Lola-Gets-Cat-Anna-McQuinn/dp/1580897363/

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lola-gets-a-cat-anna-mcquinn/1123809815

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Lola-Gets-Cat/Anna-McQuinn/9781580897365


Friends
by Aiko Ikegami



A girl from a faraway place begins her first day at school. She doesn’t speak the language and she looks different. She just doesn't fit in. But one day, she makes an unexpected friend—a squirrel! Then a rabbit joins them. Soon the girl’s fuzzy woodland friends are followed by human ones and school becomes more fun! When a surprising new student joins the class, the girl and her new friends know just how to make him feel at home.

Buy Links:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Friends-Aiko-Ikegami/dp/0807525502/

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/friends-aiko-ikegami/1122642862

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Friends/Aiko-Ikegami/9780807525500


Lucy loves Sherman
by Catherine Bailey and Meg Walters



Lucy loves Sherman from the moment they meet at Flotsam’s Fish Market. Oh sure, he’s an eighteen-pound, eighty-year-old crustacean, but he’s also polka dotted. And blurble-y. And he smells like the ocean! Unfortunately, Nana is not hooked on the idea of a pet lobster.

Things only get worse when Lucy meets Chef Pierre and discovers that Sherman’s fate is on a plate! She must rescue Sherman, even if it means getting into hot water with all the grownups. So Lucy takes action. But will the efforts of one little girl be enough to save Sherman from the bib and butter?

As humorous as it is inspiring, Lucy Loves Sherman explores an unlikely, yet utterly charming friendship, and the challenge and thrill of finding your voice and being an activist.

Buy Links:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Lucy-Loves-Sherman-Catherine-Bailey/dp/1634507053/

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lucy-loves-sherman-catherine-bailey/1123362564

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Lucy-Loves-Sherman/Catherine-Bailey/9781634507059


Strictly No Elephants
by Lisa Mantchev and Taeeun Yoo




Today is Pet Club day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn’t understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend.

When the local Pet Club won’t admit a boy’s tiny pet elephant, he finds a solution—one that involves all kinds of unusual animals in this sweet and adorable picture book.

Imaginative and lyrical, this sweet story captures the magic of friendship and the joy of having a pet.


Buy Links:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Strictly-No-Elephants-Lisa-Mantchev/dp/1481416472/

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/strictly-no-elephants-lisa-mantchev/1121191063

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Strictly-No-Elephants/Lisa-Mantchev/9781481416474


Have a good week, Everyone!


(wolf photo c/o facebook.com/WolfSanctuaryPA)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Head to the "Jersey Shore..."

Since my birthday is in August, while I was growing up my dad would always take my birthday week as our family vacation. Living in Philadelphia, the most natural place for vacation was one of the many New Jersey beach resorts.




I included the New Jersey "shore" (as we call it in Philly) in my short story "Burgers and Hot Chocolate" for the Winter Wonders anthology, and in my novel, Magic Moment. Although the name of the town I penned, "Magic Lake Island," was fictional, inspiration came from childhood retreats in Wildwood and Cape May. 

Here are several of my favorite "shore" spots.




Wildwood



Best Boardwalk! You can sit with a treat and "people watch" for hours...



Cape May


The southern tip of New Jersey beach resorts.


Ocean City



Best Day Trip Destination...a simple hop, skip, and a jump from Philly.


FMI, check out the following websites:

www.wildwoodnj.org

www.capemay.com

www.ocnj.us


Have a great week, Everyone!


(photos c/o facebook.com/snoopy,
 facebook.com/dowildwood,
 facebook.com/CapeMayCity,
 facebook.com/OceanCityNJVacation)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Happy Birthday, Snoopy...and, me, too!


Growing up, I always felt a "kinship" towards Snoopy. At first, I just thought it was because I l-o-v-e dogs.



Last year, while making my daily visit to Snoopy's Facebook page, I discovered that Snoopy's birthday, is August 10th. We're both Leos! 😊

So, Happy Birthday, Snoopy! Enjoy your special day! Me? I'm taking two weeks off from blogging to enjoy our birthdays!!!

Enjoy August, Everyone!


(photo c/o facebook.com/snoopy)



Sunday, July 30, 2017

Philly's Walking Tour of Sacred Sites...

As frequent visitors to this blog and my Facebook page know, I enjoy strolling through the Historic District of Philadelphia. This Summer I started taking theme-related walking tours sponsored by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.




The tours are a fun way to spend a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. Our wonderful guides are eager to share their knowledge on the subject matter, and walkers are a friendly, sociable group. We all have in common a love for our city, Philadelphia, and a desire to learn more about it.

Two of our recent outings focused on the Sacred Sites in the Historical District. Given the boundaries lines of Philadelphia were more limited in those early days, and how William Penn created the city with the idea of religious freedom, I found it rather poetic that there was a church of a different faith on nearly every street corner.

We visited ten sites on our first stroll; on our second, eight. Our itinerary focused on both the historical background, and architectural design of the building. I thought I'd share a few of our stops with all of you.


Christ Church



Founded in 1695, and also known as "Historic Christ Church," many of our country's prominent names worshiped here (George Washington, Betsy Ross, Benjamin Franklin to name a few). The church, and its burial ground, are frequent stops of tourists to Philadelphia.



Old St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church



The second Catholic Church, Old St. Mary's was built in 1763 after Old St. Joseph's (built in 1733 and also on our tour). Commodore John Barry, father of the American Navy, is one of several historical figures buried in St. Mary's Cemetery which is adjacent to the church.



St. Peter's  Episcopal Church 


St. Peter's Church was founded in 1758 by members of Christ Church who had settled in the Society Hill area. William White, Rector of both churches, was also Chaplain to Congress during the American Revolution. St. Peter's, like Christ Church and Old St. Mary's, has a cemetery with notable citizens buried there, including seven Native American chiefs.


Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church



Founded in 1787, Mother Bethel is one of the first African American churches in the United States. The church also serves as a museum which houses many artifacts from the era including the tomb of its founder, Rev. Richard Allen. Along with his religious duties as pastor, Rev. Allen was a political activist involved in the abolitionist movement.


Old Pine Presbyterian Church



Founded in 1768. During the Revolutionary War, British troops overtook the church, using it as a hospital and stable for their horses. The pews were destroyed for fire wood. Although the inside has been redone, the church stands on its original structure with its primary brick walls.


Congregation Mikveh Israel


Founded in 1740, Congregation Mikveh Israel is the oldest continuous synagogue in the United States. Mikveh Israel had several notable members including Haym Salomon who helped finance the American Revolutionary War.




The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia is a nonprofit organization whose goal is safeguarding historic properties through education and activism. To find out more about their mission, events, and activities, check out Preservation Alliance's website, http://www.preservationalliance.com/


Have a great week, Everyone!


(photos c/o facebook.com/elfrethsalleymuseum,
 facebook.com/ChristChurchPHL,
 facebook.com/Old-St-Marys-Church-235761779800743,
 facebook.com/stpetersphila,
 facebook.com/MotherBethel,
 facebook.com/Old-Pine-St-Presbyterian-Church-121153817898413,
 facebook.com/MikvehIsrael, 
 facebook.com/preservationalliance)






Sunday, July 23, 2017

RWA Conference 2017!

This is the week Romance writers anticipate all year long...the annual Romance Writers of America conference. 




Romance writers from all over are headed to Orlando, Florida to enjoy four days of special events, workshops, networking, and catching up with friends.

To those who are traveling and attending, best wishes for an informative week, be safe, and have a great time!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

"Little Golden Books..."

Last week, as I browsed in a bookstore, I found myself thumbing through the Little Golden Books display. My thoughts traveled to my late grandmother, and when I was a child. Every other Friday evening, we would walk to Woolworth's (aka "the five and dime") on Broad Street in South Philadelphia.




My grandmother would treat me to a soda or hot chocolate, depending upon the season, and buy me a Little Golden Book. I didn't realize, until I was a teenager, the reason we did this every other Friday was because her employer paid the staff every other Friday.






Strolling home from the bookstore on this particular day, I thought about how much I miss my grandmother who passed away over twenty years ago. Since "Grandmom" had always encouraged my childhood writing, I wish she had been here to see my first short story published. I also thought about the Little Golden Books she had purchased for me. Although reprinted several times over, many of these titles are still available.


The Night Before Christmas
by Clement Clarke Moore
Corinne Malvern



I can recite this word for word, and the illustrations are awesome!



The Poky Little Puppy
by Janette Sebring Lowrey
Gustaf Tenggren



I still have my "tattered" copy from those "Woolworth Days."


Cindrella
by Ron Dias
Bill Lorencz




My grandmother introduced me to Prince Charming. Maybe she knew I would one day try my hand at romance writing.



Animal Friends
by Jane Werner Watson
Garth Williams




This books is probably where I got my love for animals!



The Christmas Story
by Jane Werner Watson
Eloise Wilkin




This book, no matter what time of year, makes me want to put up my Christmas tree!



For information on Little Golden Books, including recent releases, http://www.randomhousekids.com/brand/little-golden-books/

Have a great week, Everyone!


(Winnie and Tigger photo c/o facebook.com/winniethepooh,
 Snoopy photo c/o facebook.com/snoopy)