Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Changes are Coming

I have noticed the past few months I have neglected these two blogs. I promise it wasn't intentional, I just got extremely busy with my parents-- especially my mother. She's been really sick this past year and even ended up getting half of her foot amputated after a long battle you can read about here. 
So after careful consideration, I have decided to merge these two blogs into one. In the next few weeks, these blogs will be deleted and recreated to be helpful to people with children for birth until they hit the teen years. I will have book reviews, craft ideas, story time plans and music recommendations. My new vision for the blog is to be one stop shopping with anything you may need for story times or just an afternoon with the kids. 

I hope you'll join me on this new adventure and thanks for following me on the past journey and I hope you'll continue to follow as I embark on a new one. Happy reading! Amberdenise

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Feature Coming Soon.

I am excited to announce a new feature on the blog. The new feature is called Newbery Nook. I will read and review Newbery winners and honors and telling you how I feel about them. I hope you'll enjoy the new feature once I get it up and running.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

American Girl's History Club: Julie Albright Reconstructed

Since I've been floating around Library land and different branches this past year (my home branch is under renovations, but I'm going back in about 3 weeks!) I decided to try my American Girl History Club again. This time, it was a HUGE success. This time I had about 28 girls attend (with a sign up of 35) and each girl made 3 crafts.

Craft one: Flower/Daisy crown. I cut several flowers out of pink, blue, yellow and light green cardstock and green bands to go around each girl's head. The girls then picked the colors they wanted for their crowns and glued them on.

Craft 2: CD Wall flowers
I found the idea for this craft in Cool Crafts with Old CDs by Carol Sirrine. The book called for 8 Cds, a permanent marker, glue gun/hot glue, 4-foot long ribbon, small gems and adhesive wall hooks. What I actually used was: 8 Cd's, permanent marker, long ribbon and GLUE STICKS. (I wasn't about to have 7 year olds use a glue gun and there weren't enough adults to help out, so GLUE STICKS worked very well.)
The permanent marker is used to mark where each cd goes before you glue them together. The girls LOVED making cd wallflowers and it got rid of a lot of old cd- roms, so this was a win-win proect!

Craft 3 was probably my favorite: Make Your Own Daisy Barretts.
For this project, the materials needed were: artificial daisies, medium size barrette, Ailene's Craft Clue or a hot glue gun, and glitter, I used glitter glue that I found for $1 a bottle.
I went to Michael's (our local craft store) and bought a huge daisy chain (which was on sale!), and 2 packages of medium size hair barrettes. I took each daisy off the daisy chain and plucked several leaves off as well. Then I glued a leaf and daisy to the barrette, held it until it adhered to each other and then decorated it with glitter.
I think this was the favorite craft of the program.

To incorporate the 1970's I wrote out some of the major events of the decade on poster boards and posted them in the room. I also got a map of Pennsylvania and charted the route Julie may have taken on the Freedom Wagon Trail during the Bicentennial Celebrations. (Remember Julie went to visit her cousin and rode in the Pennsylvania wagon train) I also charted the route we would take if we were going from Philadelphia to Valley Forge like Julie.

I made a cd of hits from the 1970's to play in the background of the program. It was totally groovy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Old Irish Proverb

"May God give you. . . For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer."

"For every storm a rainbow. . . " this has definitely been the summer of storms in the Puckett family. From Grandma's heart catherization in May to Dad being admitted for WAY too low blood sugar (53 when he's a diabetic) and then to Mom, I feel as if I have been in hospitals more this summer than my ENTIRE life. Oddly enough, Mom's stormy summer started with a hiccup. Seriously, a insignificant hiccup started the storm to end all storms, so to speak. . .
     Mom was at her doctor appointment when she had the audacity to hiccup. The doctor heard her and decided he needed to take another look. That simple look sent her to an Endocrinologist to investigate her thyroid. The scans from the Endocrinologist showed a goiter—the odd thing was on top of her goiter were nodules and the largest one was over 5 cm in diameter. (Evidently, that's a bad thing) So, that meant Mom had to go for a Fine Needle Biopsy to make sure it wasn't cancerous. (Interestingly enough, we have since learned that fine needle biopsies are basically POINTLESS in determining the type of Thyroid Cancer Mom ended up having) the biopsy told us that she was CANCER FREE. It lied. Seeing the biopsy coming back clean, we all breathed a sigh of relief and scheduled mom's surgery to remove the nodules. Then on surgery day, the doctor canceled her surgery because her PTT levels were to high and he was afraid her blood wouldn't clot properly after surgery. (According to Dr. C, the throat has a tendency to bleed a lot when you cut into it. . . good to know.) So then we had to deal with mom having to go to a hematologist. The results of her blood tests came back and kind of confused us even more. Lupus Anticoagulant Syndrome—not Lupus, but some weird thing that causes your blood to appear to be too thin on tests, but in actuality it's too thick and requires blood thinners to regulate. So, the rescheduled the surgery after the hematologist cleared her and Dr. C removed the left half of her thyroid and the isthmus. After her half-thyroidectomy, Dr. C came out, told us it went well and that she looked CANCER FREE.

     So, thinking that we made it through another medical drama, we started to relax. Then mom goes for her post op appointment to check on her progress (guess what, her neck started swelling pretty bad after having her thyroid removed) and Dr. C breaks the news that Mom does in fact have thyroid Cancer. The type of Thyroid Cancer she has is called Follicular Thyroid Cancer with the Hurthle Cell variant. Then we learned that the Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy she received way back on June 9th is pointless in determining the FTC with HCV because that particular cancer CANNOT be determined by a FNAB. The particular cancer she has can only be determined when part of the thyroid is removed and then dissected. Grrr. So within moments we became a cancer family. It's still hard to acknowledge. I mean my brain knows and acknowledges it, but my heart and emotions want nothing to do with it. . .

     I have to acknowledge that while this summer has been 1 COLOSSIAL storm, there have been a few rainbows as well—coaching my group of teenagers through BOB this summer and letting them surprise me, and my adorable Kindergarten and 1st graders at church who have kept me laughing.

"For Every Tear a Smile." This has really been a summer of tears—happy, sad, stressed and ANGRY, but a summer full of tears. Thankfully, it's been a summer full of laughter as well. Most laughs have come from the children mentioned above, but reruns of Glee, listening to random music, funny stories and have helped.

"For every care a promise and a blessing in each trial" I have to trust in God's promise to be with my family through this crazy time in our lives. I have to have faith that God knows what's best for my family. One "blessing" in this odd time is that the Cancer was actually discovered. Who knows how much worse it could have been or become had it not been found NOW.

"For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share. . ." I know good and well that I would not have made it through this summer without my friends. My friends have been an amazing rock for me. They have been there for my ups and downs and talked me out of a few panic attacks. I don't know how to express how grateful I am for them.

"For every sigh, a sweet song. . ." Music has kept me afloat these last few weeks. On a normal basis, I have a song for almost anything, but I feel it has been increased these past couple of months. I almost believe my iPod is psychic. It tends to play exactly what I've been feeling, or songs that I need to hear to pick my mood back up. Also certain devotional songs have invaded my mind and bring a peacefulness to me that I know comes from ABOVE.

". . . and an answer for every prayer." Even though some of my prayers haven't been answered EXACTLY the way I wish for them to be (i.e. Mom being Cancer free) God has answered my prayers. This summer has definitely been a reaffirmation of God's will and power. I am also learning the meaning of NOT YET. The incredibly impatient human side of me wants Mom to be cured RIGHT NOW. I don't want to have to WAIT, but God is showing me how to be patient because this isn't something that will just disappear. It has to follow a process and I have to trust in HIS timing. Not my own.

This summer has been a crazy rollercoaster, but I know that God has been there every step of the way. I do know that I will be really excited to see this summer end. :

Sadly, this summer appears to not realize it ended. Even though the wearther is beginning to turn colder, my mother's medical issues have not gone away. My mother is still battling her cancer and trying to kill the rest of her thyroid with Radiation, and yesterday she twisted her hip and we had to take her to the hospital. The doctors did x-rays and didn't see a break, however, there was something "suspicious" in the x-ray so they had to keep her overnight.

With all this going on with my mom, my reading schedule has fallen behind at a CRITICAL rate. Hopefully soon I will be able to be back on track, but it may take awhile. So I am officially calling a hiatus from the blogosphere and hope to return in the New Year (if not Christmas time.) 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

A city buried below the ground for over 200 years. The citizens have no clue that their dark sky is really underneath everything. More than 200 years underground is taking a toll on the city's electricity and resources. Blackouts are becoming more common as the city is falling apart. Doon Harrow realizes something is wrong, but without his friend Lina Mayfleet, the city may just die without a solution to be found.


I'll admit, I was a little skeptical to read something called The City of Ember when I learned it was about people who were basically buried alive. However, when I started to actually read the story, I couldn't put it down. I liked reading about how the city worked and saddened when I realized they were underground and never had seen a blue sky. (I knew from the beginning they were underground, but it really hit me in chapter 10.)

I am looking foward  to reading the sequel, The People of Sparks.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

American Girl's History Club: Felicity Merriman (1774)

To continue the American Girl History Club Series, we are going to focus on Felicity Merriman. I chose to showcase Felicity in the month of April largely because of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem Paul Revere's Ride. I remembered how much I like the poem as a child and decided April would be the best month to talk about the Revolutionary War.

To prepare for the program, I visited the Colonial Willimasburg website: and . I also visited the American Girl's website: and the Mount Vernon website (did you know the Mount Vernon site has a link to "Harpsicord Hero"  how cool is that?!). I wanted to make sure I found some cool things for the girls to do and learn.

Two books that were extremly helpful in finding activites for the girls were Little Hands Celebrate America! by Jill Frankel Hauser and Colonial Kids: an Activity Guide to Life in the New World by Laurie Carlson.

The crafts I chose to use for the program were paper lanterns (to go with the poem Paul Revere's Ride by Hendry Wadsworth Longfellow), churning butter and making Wampum.

For the paper lantern craft, I found the instructions at . I found the instructions to be simple enough that on the third lantern I made, I no longer need to look at the instructions and felt comfortable teaching the kids how to make the lantern.

For the butter, wampum and rag rug crafts, I found them in the Colonial Kids book.

The wampum was really fun to make because I learned that you can dye pasta noodles with a little rubbing alcohol and food coloring. Since the wampum the colonist used when trading with the Native Americans was purple, I used red and blue food coloring. I tried a few different shades, and the one I like best was made of 10 red food coloring drops and 4 blue food coloring drops (the same you would use if you were dyeing eggs). All you have to do is drop the UNCOOKED noodles into the food coloring and let it sit for awhile. I let teh noodles sit for at least 10 minutes. Once they were dry, they were really cool!

The butter was really easy. All I did was put some heavy whipping cream in a baby food jar, tighten the lid and shake it vigorously until it thickened into butter. The liquid you see in the picture is just the buttermilk residue that comes when the butter seperates a little.

Monday, April 05, 2010

American Girl's History Club: Addy Walker

In February, I did another American Girl's History Club program and in honor of African American History Month, I chose to showcase Addy Walker. Addy Walker is the Pleasant Company's first American Girl of non-white origins and is still the only African American Historical figure for the company. Addy is a young slave who runs away on the Underground Railroad with her mother during the Civil War. Since quilts were such an important part of slave life, I had the girls design their own "Freedom Quilts" for their dolls. I had patterns that would have been used in the Freedom Quilts slaves owned, but also allowed them to make their own patterns. The girls had a blast creating quilts for their dolls.