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Showing posts from November, 2019

You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out: A Holiday Movie Quote Quiz

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The holiday music has been playing on the radio and in the stores for a couple of weeks already. Winter decorations adorn the street lamps and shop windows. Advertisements for holiday gifts and sales have taken over our media outlets. The “Christmas Spirit” is everywhere. I wouldn’t call myself a “Grinch,” but I’m always caught off guard at how early the push for Christmas starts each year. There is one part of the holidays, however, I welcome with much enthusiasm: holiday films and television specials.

Back in the day, I had to wait for the specific broadcast network to air holiday-themed movies and specials. There was no “on demand,” video tapes/discs, nor streaming services to automatically fulfill my desire to watch whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. The winter special, Frosty the Snowman (1969), came on once a year. When its upcoming air time was announced, the date and time were written on the family calendar to ensure that I, along with my three siblings, didn’t miss t…

Casting a Light on Community Theater

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Photo courtesy of John M. Maurer “Jennifer, stop singing,” my father said as he knocked on my bedroom door.  A minute passed, then two.  Creak.  Finally, he was walking back downstairs.  “An English teacher.  An English teacher.  If only you’d been an English teacher,” I began to belt.  “Jennifer!”  Sigh.  How was I supposed to prepare for my very first leading role if I could not practice the music at home?  These were clearly not suitable conditions under which to begin what would be a long and prosperous career.  I mean, I can’t imagine that Julie Andrews’s parents cut her rehearsals short!

I was only 12, but my passion for music and performance had been brewing for quite some time.  Rumor has it that I began singing in the womb, and I believe it because people constantly catch me mid-song—outside of my house, at work, in the store.  As for performance, maybe I waited a few years post birth; however, once I dabbled in the art, I was hooked, and I chased every opportunity available…

Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

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Do you know that gingerbread houses have been around for more than 1,000 years?
And that they probably originated after the publication of the well-known Grimm’s fairy tale Hansel and Gretel?
Decorating an edible gingerbread house is a popular family tradition and is a fun activity during the holiday season. They can be easily made with graham crackers and icing.

Here’s what you’ll need:
One box of graham crackersVanilla frostingZiploc bagSerrated knifeCandy for decorationsDirections:
Use vanilla frosting to glue the graham cracker pieces together. Fill the Ziploc bag with icing and press it into one end of the bag. Make a small cut in the corner of the bag.
You will need seven full size graham crackers. Follow the template in the photo above to cut each side.

Making the Patterns:
    1.    Glue two graham crackers by spreading icing in between the long edges to make a flat base, as shown below.
    2.    For the front and back, split one cracker in half.
    3.    For the sides, place …

Books to Get You Thinking 2019 Holiday Edition

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November ushers cool, crisp Autumn air and the wonderful anticipation of the warmth and festivity of the Holiday Season just a few weeks away. It’s also the time to start thinking of gifts for family and friends - wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could find that perfect something for everyone on your list, all in just one place – I’m of course referring to your local bookstore! The shelves are just popping with exciting titles for you to pick up – books that will excite the curiosity, enrich the mind, extend the imagination and transport you to places you’ve never been before. Inspired by all the new titles the Mercer County Library has recently added to its collection, here is a list of books for gift giving that will make holiday shopping a breeze.  From all us at the Mercer County Library System, we wish you Happy Holidays!

Nonfiction and Biography

The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains by Joseph LeDoux
LeDoux, professor of neural sc…

Desi Reads

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Growing up in the 80's and 90's, I loved to read The Babysitter's Club series by Ann M. Martin and Sweet Valley Twins by Francine Pascal.  They were fun fiction books for tween and teens but I couldn't completely relate to the characters because I came from a different background and my life at home was very different than that portrayed in these books.  My parents were immigrants from India and Pakistan.  They were still adjusting to the new environment, new language, and new culture.  My childhood was always a combination of American and "Desi" (Indian-Pakistani) culture. Although we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas, the holiday menus were filled with a fusion of two different cuisines.  Turkey as well as Tandoori Chicken (juicy, tender oven-baked chicken with aromatic Indian spices) were on the menu along with mashed potatoes and spicy zeera aaloo (seasoned potatoes with roasted cumin seeds).  On special occasions I went to school with henna designs o…