Showing posts from August, 2018

D.I.Y. – Preschooler’s Seagull Craft

I love summertime for one reason – the beach! The sound of crashing waves, the smell of the salty air and the feel of warm sand are just right for the ideal summer daytrip for the family. Unfortunately, the weather this summer has had other plans in mind. Between sporadic thunderstorms, heatwaves and humid days, going to the beach was not so easy for my family. Luckily, I found a fun craft to do in the A/C to bring the feel of the beach to us.

Here is what you need:

Paper plate
Yellow construction paper
Markers or crayons

Here is what you do:

1.Trace a “bowling pin” shape from the top of the center of the plate to the middle (this will be the seagull’s head and neck).

2.Cut along the lines to form the wings and fold down wings.

3.Trace a beak and feet on yellow construction paper and cut out.

4.Glue on the feet and beak, draw eyes, and decorate any way you like!

When you are done, relax with a few good picture books about the beach:

Fun In The Sun by David Catrow

Day At The …

Summer With The Butterflies

It's the end of summer vacation and if you are lucky, you've had wonderful summer adventures that have left you with amazing memories of trips, laughter, enjoyable family moments and more.  I was fortunate to have had a really busy and fun summer spent with family and friends.  Just hanging out with everyone, talking, laughing and reminiscing about our childhoods are some of the new memories that we were able to make together.   Sometimes it can be tough to figure out what activities will be enjoyable for the whole group.  With different age ranges and different preferences, it is often difficult to find locations or events that will be fun for everyone. We had a 4 month old baby, grandparents, and just about everything in between! Going to the movies, beach trips, and amusement parks are definitely some fun things to do when family gets together.  And of course, our libraries offer tons of programs for all ages that are enjoyable, educational and FREE!

When several of my fam…

Books To Get You Thinking

In the early years of civilization, survival hinged solely on hunting and foraging for food.  Evolution saw the use of tools increasing - initially just stone tools, then gradually the use of mechanical devices.  It is only in the last few centuries that man has developed machine tools and engineering infrastructure that scales productivity levels by several orders of magnitude. From horse drawn carriages to steam engines to supersonic jets, our transition to the modern economy is a story of relentless innovation and invention in science, engineering, and abstract ideas. Each of the books featured in this post captures different facets of these innovations – the emergence and use of various energy and power sources, precision engineering of tools and machines, and the constant refinement of ideas that has led to a streamlined system of global trade, the stock exchange and intellectual property rights.

Energy: A Human History by Richard Rhodes

Richard Rhodes, a Pulitzer Prize and Nation…

Is That Still a Thing, Part 2

The following is part two of a two-part series on revisiting older technologies that are still relevant today.See last month’s post for information on blogs and blogging.
If you see me reach towards my phone to pause what I am listening to, I am usually not listening to music or an audiobook - I am most likely listening to a podcast. Podcasts are a great way to learn something new, keep up to date on the news or your favorite sports team, or even get sucked into a fictional world.Whether you just have a few minutes to listen or need something to make your hour commute bearable, there is a podcast on the right topic and at the right length for you.
Podcasts got their start as the audio extension of blogs.So-called audio blogging can find its roots back in the 1980s. As internet speeds and connectivity grew and evolved, these audio blogs changed from being MP3 files you could access through an RSS feed to high quality digital files automatically delivered to your smart device.The inve…

Travel—Not Only in the “Travel Section”

Normally if we are looking for travel guides, we go to the Dewey numbers 910-919, the home of Fodor’s, Michelin, Lonely Planet, etc.  There is where we would also find narratives on a particular place, or the journey there, like works from Bill Bryson and Paul Theroux.  But that is not the only place in the library to find inspiration to travel, armchair or actual.  

For example, in 796.51 you will find hiking guides, such as Outdoor Adventures’ Acadia National Park and Walking on the Amalfi Coast.How about taking in some architecture or a museum?They are in the early 700s, places like Louis I. Kahn's Trenton Jewish Community Center and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide.
The History section (930+) has plenty to investigate.Perusing books on ancient Egypt (932) might lead you to book a trip (if so, then do not forget the guidebooks in 916.2).Peter Genovese’s New Jersey Curiosities (974.9 NEW) can send you to the four corners of the great Garden State.
Science (the 500s) leads us t…

Oh for the love of…

My family has lived in Robbinsville for over 11 years.When we moved here, we had 3 kids who were 6, 4 and 1, and our home included dogs.We had a house full of love but not much stuff.In fact, we had a whole room that was empty.I don’t mean that it was spare; it was empty.It was so empty for so long that when my daughter played with her dollhouse, she left one room empty – that’s how normal it was to have an “empty room” in our house.
Now that the kids are not so little, my husband and I looked at that empty room and thought it might be fun to make it into a “real” room.
We pulled up the old, ratty carpet, painted the walls and installed new lights.
It was starting to look like something.
Next, we needed to start furnishing it.
We found a rug we liked.Actually, we found a rug we loved.And it went on sale.And the store had it in stock. (No shipping charge!)We jumped in the car and bought it.That was on a Saturday.
It looked great!We congratulated ourselves on our luck and good taste.The kids …

Your Smartphone as a Reading Companion

I was not an early adopter when it comes to Smartphones.I really enjoyed my little bright blue slider phone – it fit perfectly into my hands and was so easy to use for texting.After a while, though, I caved and got my first iPhone (a 4).I have progressed to now having the iPhone 7.
Now, I am always – ALWAYS – using my smartphone for reading.Not reading as in reading ebooks or listening to audiobooks.Although I do that, too – and doing both is free with your library card through hoopla and eLibraryNJ.While I read a regular, paper book, I use my phone to learn about anything and everything I wonder about in the story.Sometimes I use it for confirmation of what I think I already know – like the definition of a word; sometimes I want to see what the place described in the story looks like; sometimes I check if something mentioned is fact or fiction; sometimes I don’t know what that something mentioned is at all and need to know more.I have discovered so much from being curious beyond the…



We have a plastic problem – in America and all over the world.  How to recycle it, how to contain it, how to keep it out of the waterways, the seas, and our bodies.

My parents did not grow up with plastics - the ubiquitous plastic toys, plastic containers, plastic water bottles, plastic wrap, plastic straws, plastic packages, and much more. But I did - as did anyone born after the mid 1950’s - when the widespread commercial use of plastic in consumer society took off.

Today, the largest market for plastics is packaging and this creates a real recycling challenge. More and more we use plastic containers that are intended only for ‘single use’ and not reusable. Think about the plastic water bottle you picked up today at any local grocery or mini-mart. You probably used it once, finishing the liquid, and then tossed it.

Plastic, most of it, is made from fossil hydrocarbons. Talk about plastic and usually you are referring to products made from ethylene and pr…

5-4-3-2-1 Blast–Off!

It’s not rocket science…or is it?! My Little Explorers class learned quite a bit about rockets using a milkshake straw, some duct tape and a balloon. We started our experiment by reading about how rockets work. We learned that when rockets launch it is kind of like letting the air out of a balloon. The air moves one way and the balloon moves in the other direction. A rocket burns fuel which becomes a hot gas. As the rocket launches, it shoots the gas towards the ground which pushes the rocket up. This is a very basic description of jet propulsion.

We then tested out the balloon theory. I would suggest blowing up the balloon a little and slowly releasing the air before building your rocket. This will make it easier to blow up during your experiment.

1. Assemble all your materials. You will need a balloon, milkshake straw, scissors, and duct tape. If you want to decorate your rocket, you could use markers and some paper to create tail fins.

2. Cut the lip off of the balloon. 
3. Stretch…