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Retold Fable by Caldecott Illustrator as Nearly Wordless Picture Book

I think that Jerry Pinkney is one of the finest watercolor illustrators ever to grace a children’s book. I would include Alan Say in that category as well. There is just something magical about Pinkney’s storytelling abilities when he puts brush to paper. Even as he conveys an old and well known fable, he brings his own spin to the story. I don’t want to be a spoiler but there’s a subtle surprise ending that kids seem able to easily interpret. It’s a good message for kids, particularly those who compete in sports.

I also like his wise elder message to adults, and it rings particularly true for me. Slow and steady wins the race but also remember to enjoy the journey. There are so few  words are in this gloriously illustrated practically wordless picture book set in the American Southwest, and yet he manages to convey several story threads. I guess that is why he is a Caldecott honored illustrator!

What is your favorite Jerry Pinkney book? Or your favorite watercolor children’s book illustrator? Please share!


Picture Book of the Day

The Tortoise and the Hare by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney

Pinkney says in his artist’s note, “‘Slow and steady wins the race’ was particularly meaningful in my youth, since I often struggled in school beause of dyslexia, but the moral rings truer than ever today. As the pace of our lives continues to speed up, many yearn for a less hurried approach to life. The tortoise proves that it can be wise to have a goal, but one should relish the process of getting there.” [nearly wordless picture book for ages 2 and up]

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Puritan's Pride

Refecting On One Small Change

I am grateful to Puritan’s Pride for their challenge of having me make one small change towards a healthier lifestyle as part of a compensated bloggers’ program. I used to make exercise a low priority for myself. There were too many other things that I needed to do. Doesn’t it seem that exercise goals for women often take a back seat to parenting? But for once, I made exercise a priority as a result of staring down my upcoming 50th birthday.

Nonantum Boxing Club, a small change, boxing for women, boxing for kids,Read more…

pink slime and McDonalds

I’m Sponsoring Study On Pink Slime and Autism: $3000 Research Stipend

When I was nineteen-years-old, I went to my local hospital, the Long Beach Veterans Administration, and slid my resume with a cover letter under all the doors of the doctors in hopes of getting medical research experience as a volunteer. A doctor, Dr. Larry Parker, in the Endicronology department called me and put me on one of his projects that looked at the relationship between hydrocortisone shots and bone density. It was widely believed at the time that hydrocortisone weakened the bones. My  job was to go through all the medical records of veterans who had hydrocortisone administered to them, and find out if they had ever suffered from a broken bone.

The medical records were kept in the bowels of the Long Beach VA and I spent many hours that summer in the basement reading musty records. When I finished, the data — the veterans that the hospital treated being a large sample size — was given to a statistician and crunched. My doctor wrote up the results and many, many months later the paper was published. There was, in fact, no correlation. And I was the third author of my first (and only) medical research article.

In posting on McDonalds’ use of Pink Slime which includes Ammonium Hydroxide, I realized that there is very little, if any, research on the effects of Ammonium Hydroxide as a food additive. I speculated in my post that there might be a correlation between Pink Slime and cancer or autism and now I want to offer students the same opportunity that I had as an undergraduate to find out. Read more…

Double Vision: Code Name 711 by F. T. Bradley

Books for Boys 5th Grade: Spy Chapter Book GIVEAWAY!

I’m pleased to be on the blog tour for a fun spy chapter book called Double Vision: Code Name 711 by F. T. Bradley. She wrote it with reluctant boy readers in mind, but I had trouble putting it down! Her sense of pacing is perfect. It’s a real page turner with characters you can relate to (kind of like the Percy Jackson gang).

This is the second book of a trilogy. I’m giving the first two books away along with spy gadgets! Please enter below! What is your (or your child’s) favorite spy chapter book? Anyone’s kid into spy gadgets? Please share!


Double Vision: Code Name 711 by F. T. Bradley

I’ve been reading a small pile of spy chapter books geared for boys, I think, but this one nailed it for me. It’s fast paced, packed with U. S. history, and it’s funny too! F. T. Bradley says it’s a MG spy thriller for reluctant readers but I think it will draw in readers of all kinds, reluctant or otherwise. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

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Jellyfish, jelly fish, Monterey Bay Aquarium, will jellyfish take over the world?

Will Jellyfish Take Over the Oceans?

Will we all be eating jellyfish in the future because jellies have taken over the oceans? It’s entirely possible according to marine biologists.

In waters from the Sea of Japan (aka East Sea) to the Black Sea, jellies today are thriving as many of their marine vertebrate and invertebrate competitors are eliminated by overfishing, dead zonesand other human impacts. How have these drifters of the sea reversed millions of years of fish dominance, seemingly overnight? Huffington Post


Will Jellyfish Take Over The World?

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, their scientists note that this has already happened. Most jelly populations are stable, but overfishing has changed the balance in the ocean, causing jelly populations to skyrocket. This has already happened on isolated occasions in several parts of the world, notably off Namibia, Africa.

When fishing boats remove too many fish, their absence leaves more uneaten plankton to feed jellies. Those well-fed jellies produce even more jellies, which eat small fish and tiny fish larvae in addition to plankton. If jellies become too numerous, fish populations may not have a chance to bounce back, even if overfishing stops. Monterey Bay Aquarium site

What keeps jellies in check? Who are jellyfish predators? Blue rockfish, molas, dogfish, anchovies, chum salmon and mackerel all eat jellies. Sea turtles, an endangered animal,  also love to eat jellyfish. Read more…

pink slime and McDonalds

Pink Slime is Everywhere

I’m in a bit of a Twitter war with McDonalds {my kids giggle as they read this}. You see, I’ve only recently found out they put Pink Slime in their hamburgers. While they have ceased this disgusting additive about a year and a half ago, my kids were eating McDonald’s hamburgers as part of their Happy Meals when the Pink Slime was an ingredient. So I’m angry. Angry at the deception. And disgusted by the tactics McDonalds will take to offer 99 cent hamburgers.

Then I learned that McDonalds’ restaurants in Mexico and Canada never included Pink Slime. Many in these regions were quick to note that their hamburgers are not sourced from the USA. I can’t say I blame them. The USDA seems to think that Pink Slime is a perfectly wonderful additive. In Mexico and Canada, they think Pink Slime is not fit for human consumption and use it for dog food. Honestly, I wouldn’t feed Pink Slime to my dog. It would give him cancer!

Why did McDonalds stop including Pink Slime? It was chef Jaime Oliver who persuaded them in this video:

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martial arts for kids, martial arts books for kids

10 Martial Arts To Consider for Your Kids

When PickyKidPix did martial arts with her siblings a few years, Chun Kuk Do, it did not come naturally to her. That’s weird because she’s very athletic. Now, after doing kickboxing and boxing with her, I realize it was the martial art style that didn’t quite suit her. She’s not good at memorizing sequences of physical movements for “forms.”

I haven’t tried that many different styles of martial arts, so I am by no means an expert but I thought it would be fun to match up different martial arts with who it might be best suited for. In a perfect world, you would have all these different karate studios within a reasonable commute. (I laugh as I type this since Boston is not a hotbed of martial arts compared to Los Angeles where I had lived previously.) Ah well, let’s go with my fantasy.

Personally, I think martial arts is great for both kids and adults for fitness, self-confidence and self-defense. Just like finding the  right genre or book to get kids reading, I think there is a martial art out there for everyone and you just need to find the right one. Like Cinderella and her glass slipper. I hope this helps!

What martial art are you doing or thinking of trying? I’d love your input on what martial art is good for what type of person or child! Thanks!

Martial Arts for Kids: Books and Matching Up

Kung Fu

I wanted to start with the Chinese martial art Kung Fu since most kids are familiar with Kung Fu Panda movies. You might have heard of Shaolin Kung Fu or the Shaolin Kung Fu monastery where it comes from. I’ve never done Kung Fu personally so I had to watch a lot of videos to get the gist of it.

Here is also a wonderful picture book about Kung Fu by one of my favorite picture book authors.

Beautiful Warrior: The Legend of the Nun’s Kung Fu by Emily Arnold McCully Read more…

jump rope for women, jump rope for moms, jump rope challenge for fitness

My Jump Rope Challenge

It all started with one small change: I booked a boxing class for a small group of mom friends and me. That one small change motivated our group to get in shape and soon we were boxing or doing cardio boxing classes two or three times a week. It still wasn’t enough for me. I was so easily winded. The 2 minute jump rope warm up that we occasionally did felt like an eternity. But there was one obstacle …

It started a few years ago when I was doing Zumba once a week. Zumba, for the uninitiated, is dance aerobics based on Latin, Hip Hop and Pop rhythms. One of the moves was a kind of jumping jack. And this is the dilemma. If you’ve delivered kids the old-fashioned way (i.e. NOT Cesarean), then jumping up and down can cause embarrassing incontinence. In the presence of other mom friends, we could all laugh, but still, not a very fun revelation!

So you can see how jump rope for a 40-something mom can be particularly challenging! Gone are those days of elementary school recess when skipping rope with friends was a song and a dance. Remember how we used to jump rope … for fun?! And so effortlessly! Youth is wasted on the young.

My Jump Rope Challenge

The challenge of jumping rope for me is how others might view scaling mountains. 15 minutes four times a week was my goal. My boxing trainer said that 5 minutes of jump rope is the equivalent of running 1 mile. Read more…

nacho bites, Jose Ole Nacho Bites

After School Snacks for Teenagers to Make

This is a sponsored post and my teen actualy did make José Olé Nacho Bites on her own!

It was a hectic Columbus Day Weekend. My two younger kids played in soccer tournaments and my oldest, now 13-years-old, only had one early soccer game. She opted to miss her siblings’ seven games. I can’t say that I blame her. The Sunday games required a 6:30 am wake up time.

So we left her. In bed. She’s in 8th grade after all, so she was fine. And she slept until 11:50 am. But we didn’t leave her with any kind of meal, either for breakfast or lunch. We barely ate ourselves and had to rush out the door, barely coherent. (I am not a morning person!)

After School Snacks for Teenagers to Make

Her week of cooking camp came in handy, though. While we were gone, she found the José Olé  Nacho Bites in the freezer and made them herself for breakfast — I guess you could call it brunch —  eating them with plain since we had no salsa or guacamole in the house. I’d add those myself if I were eating the Nacho Bites for a snack!

Nacho Bites, food that teens can make themselves Read more…