Thursday, July 28, 2011

Healthy Snacking

Are you a picky eater?  New foods can be scary yet also exciting and summer is a perfect time to try some!  You can pretend you’re a scientist and the kitchen is your laboratory.  What new recipes can you invent?  You can pretend you’re a famous chef and your customers want new taste sensations.  Craft a menu and let your family “order” their snacks and meals.  If you have a brother or sister, get them to help by being a waiter.  You can even be an artist, “drawing” pictures with food and then eating your creations! Don’t forget to wash your hands before cooking and clean up any messes when you’re done!

Eating a variety of healthy foods during your school day is important and packing these foods properly is key.  Freeze a water bottle or 100% juice box to keep foods cold is handy.  At lunchtime the water or juice will be nice and refreshing!  Ever open your lunchbox only to find a flat sandwich?  There are some great reusable sandwich containers available.  As a bonus you’ll be recycling and helping save our planet!
The best time to plan/pack your food for your school day?  The night before.  This helps cut down on the morning frenzy.  I pack my food for the week in individual containers on Sunday night.  Then all I have to grab and go in the mornings during the week.
Fresh out of recipe ideas?  The internet is a wonderful resource.  Have a grownup help you find new recipes to try.  The Family Fun site is one of my favorite websites with lots of ideas for cooking and more! Also check out the Choose My Plate website for a mini poster:  “Kid Friendly Veggies and Fruits.”    Check out some cookbooks to help you get started. I found some great books HERE.
Happy sampling!  Do you have a favorite recipe?  Leave me a comment.  I’d love to hear from you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brian Lies Answers Questions from the Kids of Room 46

Brian Lies (pronounced “lees”) graciously answered the following questions from Emma, Gigi,  Hailey, Jackie and Vincent:

1) HAILEY, VINCENT: What inspired you to write [illustrate] in the first place?

BRIAN LIES: I've always liked making stuff, and making stuff up. Plus my older sister was always going to be a writer, so like a lot of kids, I wanted to do what she did. I also loved reading books, and the idea of maybe being able to make a REAL book which other people could read was magical.

2) GIGI: What did you want to be when you (grew up) were a kid?

BL: I ran through a lot of different things I wanted to be. Here's the list, more or less in order, for my whole life so far: Fireman. Astronaut. Chemist (my father worked in organic chemistry). Herpetologist (snake scientist). Palentologist. Actor. Writer. Clinical psychologist. Political cartoonist. Children's book author and illustrator.

3) GIGI: What do you like to do besides write [illustrate]?

BL: I think that maybe I like doing too many things! I like to garden. I build furniture, and work on my house. I bicycle. I cook. I read. I paint. I like to travel, when I can.

4) GIGI: What is the book you are most proud of?

BL: It's hard to say. But if I were really forced to choose, I'd have to go with BATS AT THE LIBRARY. I had a lot of fun with the book, and I really love libraries.

5) GIGI: What is your real name?

BL: Valbeersten von Weebleborgen. But since I was born, I've gone with Brian Lies (and it's pronounced "lees.") My last name, Lies, comes from a country called Luxembourg, and arrived in the U.S. with my great-great-great grandfather.

6) GIGI: Did you like school when you were younger?

BL: I liked most of school. I liked the challenge of learning. But I didn't like some of the other students, and a couple of my classes.

7) GIGI: What is your favorite color?

BL: Blue.

8) EMMA, GIGI: How many books have you written [illustrated]?

BL: I just finished illustrating my 25th book. Out of those 25, I also wrote 5 of them.

9) EMMA, GIGI: Who are your [favorite] characters?

BL: My favorite character in MY books is the little bat with the yellow floaties who's experiencing new things for the first time. In other people's books, some of my favorites are the main character from Jean Craighead George's "My Side of the Mountain," Hagrid from the Harry Potter books, and Wilbur, from "Charlotte's Web."

10) JACKIE: How many times on average do you rewrite a book before it is approved by an editor?

BL: A lot depends on the book. With my rhyming books, I go through 24-31 rewrites, trying to tweak the words so that they sound like someone talking instead of someone beating you over the head with rhyming words. Once I'm working with my editor, I may only rewrite a story two or three times.

Some great answers to other burning questions can be found on Brian’s website. Make sure you have a grownup with you when you “surf the web.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Helmets and Safety

Do you like to ride a bike, scooter, roller blades or anything else with wheels?  How good of a “driver” are you?  Do you know the “rules of the road?”  That’s right, if you’re not obeying the traffic laws, you could get a ticket!

Every year children are injured while riding bikes, etc.  In most states if you’re under age 13 you MUST wear a helmet!  But more importantly, you must ride safely! 

Here are some other tips:

·        Make sure your bike is adjusted to fit you properly—a bike that is too big or too small can be dangerous!

·        Adjust your helmet correctly, too.  A helmet that is too loose can fly off in a crash and not protect you at all.

·        Never wear headphones/ear buds while biking, etc.  You really need to hear the traffic!

·        Don’t ride after dark.  It’s just not safe.

·        Always assume that the driver can’t see you or isn’t paying attention.  Chances are they can’t/aren’t!

·        Ride on bike trails and in bike lanes whenever possible.

Have fun and enjoy your ride but remember to be safe!  Do you have a favorite bike trail?  Leave me a comment—I’d love to hear from you!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fun At the Shore

Have you ever been to the beach?  When my children were little we would go to the beach at Rocky Neck State Park in Connecticut.   It is a family friendly beach with very little waves.  My son Nick loved to dig holes in the sand.  We were always very careful not to let him dig too deep!  Sand is very unstable and we didn’t want him to get hurt!  Kate loved building sand castles.  She especially loved collecting shells to decorate her creations.

Another fun thing to do at the beach is catch critters such as crabs and small fish, crayfish, butterflies, and the like.  We were always very careful to keep them only a short time before we gently set them free back where we caught them.  There’s nothing worse than seeing a stinky pile of dead creatures left behind by some thoughtless humans.  Please be respectful of our critter friends.

Digging in the sand is always fun as you pretend you’re hunting for treasure!  However, if there’s a lot of trash at the beach, that’s no fun.  Do your part to keep the beach clean—don’t litter!

Running in the sand is fun!  Kicking sand onto other people and/or their blankets is not!  Be considerate of others.  Think of personal space as you walk by their blankets and other belongings.

There’s nothing worse than a sunburn after a long day at the beach—ouch!  Be sure to wear sunscreen and reapply it often!  Ask a grownup to help you.  If the bugs are biting, ask for some insect repellant.  Be sure to watch wear you walk—jelly fish stings hurt!

Enjoy your day at the beach!  Be safe.  Be smart.  Be respectful.