Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Summer has sped right on by, the kids are back in school, and baseball season is winding down, which must mean that fall is right around the corner. With other deadlines and a big late summer vacation beckoning, I've decided to dig into the archives for some of this post, so if some of it sounds familiar, I hope you'll indulge me.
Normally in our area fall means football (be it Redskins, Ravens, Terps, or your favorite team) but for the first time in at least 43 years, Washington's guys on the gridiron will have to compete with their ballpark counterparts for attention. With any luck the playoffs will beckon both the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles. Anyone for a "Battle of the Beltways" World Series? While the area's sports nuts will be brimming with excitement, there are plenty of other ways to frolic this fall.
Getting outdoors and enjoying the fresh air is one of the joys of fall. There are plenty of places in our area to take advantage of it too. Climb up Sugarloaf Mountain and enjoy the scenic vistas while catching a glimpse of soaring hawks before they migrate south for the winter. Closer to home, take a stroll or a ride on horseback through Wheaton Regional Park or Rock Creek Park.
A Youtuber's Hike on Sugarloaf Mountain
Fall also brings with it one of my favorite childhood excursions....visiting the local apple orchard and picking (and eating) fresh, juicy apples. My favorite orchard even has cute farm animals, including some acrobatic goats! After you've picked your apples, come in and visit the library to find that perfect apple pie recipe. Yum!
Here's to a leaf loving, apple munching, colorful autumn!
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably noticed that we seem to have lost a season
somewhere between fall and spring. And now it appears that we’re headed straight for summer, albeit about three months too soon. No matter what season we started on yesterday’s Vernal Equinox
, your local MCPL branch
can help you enjoy it or spend it productively.
On the productive side, spring is everyone’s favorite time to spruce up house and home. Check out the 648.5
s for a selection of helpful reads on cleaning and organization. (Clutterbugs should check out the 648.8
s.) For the digitally inclined, check out an electronic copy of titles such as The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Cleaning. EBSCOHost Masterfile
is the place to look for Consumer Reports
ratings of vacuums, cleaning products, and other related items. For those who would prefer to have others do their (ahem) dirty work for them, the Washington Consumers’ Checkbook
online (in-branch use only) offers customer ratings for everything from air duct and carpet cleaners to power wash and housekeeping services. (And while the cleaning crew is at your house, why not take your car for a spin to one the area’s best car washes, according to the WCC
Once you’ve maxed out on productivity, take some time to enjoy the warmth and sunshine. Check out a local park or hiker/biker trail. (Rock Creek Park
, Brookside Gardens
, and the Capital Crescent Trail
are some of my faves.) Root on your favorite local softball or baseball teams or go pro and take in a game at Nationals Park
in D. C. (could this finally be the winning season Nats’ fans have been waiting for?) or Oriole Park at Camden Yards
in Baltimore (now celebrating its 20th season
), both within 40-45 minutes of Montgomery County. Of course, the crown jewel of this season in our area is without a doubt the famous cherry blossoms, gifted by Japan exactly 100 years ago. It appears this week
may be the best one to catch them (just as the expanded 5-week Festival
kicks off). Did you know that some of those prized trees reside right here
in our county? You could also take a page from Mary Poppins
(not literally, please!) and go fly a kite
at the Blossom Kite Festival
on the National Mall.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Fall comes around, the weather is great and festivals abound, why not catch a weekend trip or amusement?
If you need ideas, you could try the Maryland Calendar .
On the first Saturday of October, Germantown will celebrate it’s Octoberfest!
Take the Children to Glen Echo Park to see the Tales of Beatrix Potter by The Puppet Company.
A great puppet show, and of course, you know the tiny books for young children:
But did you know that Miss Potter has herself become a literary character? You may enjoy Susan Wittig Albert’s charming mysteries set in the English Lake District in the early twentieth century. In our Catalog...
Whether the draw is Halloween, a Fall festival or the aviation museum, there will be something to hold your interest on October 29th. How about a day at Flight Fest? The College Park Aviation Museum wants you to wear your costume and enjoy a day of fall-themed activities in College Park
But first, why don't you read "Take Off!" to the youngest members of the family? Just to get in the mood, you know.
Or how about a quick jaunt up to Baltimore? The B&O railroad museum has an exhibit all year about the Civil War; The War Came by Train. But first read 'All Aboard!' by Susan Kuklin for the kids.
Or maybe you’d like to brush up with 'Civil War: A Visual History, yourself.
And we have lots of resources online at our US History in Context database.
Wherever you go, enjoy yourself!
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
A BOOK of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
O, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
Sounds like an invitation to a picnic to me!
What do we need for a picnic? Food, an outdoor place in which to eat, and good company! Amusements, activities and ants are extra.
Originally, a picnic was a communal meal to which everyone contributed... what we today would call a potluck. Try The Garden Entertaining Cookbook for inspiration and whip up a batch of Basmati Rice Salad with Fresh Peas, Corn and Chives (page 100) to go with anyone else's main dish.
Where shall we eat? Especially with children, a short trip to a new a different (but not too different) place is fun and exciting. There are lots of free picnic locations in local parks and many of them have sports or other amusements for the family.
Why don't you read Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack to the youngest children before you go? You can make a game of finding things from the book at your picnic destination. And if the neighborhood is devoid of blankets, ducks, eggs, goats and hens, you can always make your own alphabetical list of facinating objects sighted.
But what about that book of verse? Omar Khayyam is classic, but he doesn't suit every occasion. Choose Books and Authors from our Reading & Literature resources and you can zero in on just the kind of rhyme (or free verse) that touches you.
And if Omar is your cup of tea, you can always download the "Rubaiyat" to your e-reader from Project Gutenberg.
What's left? Ants, of course! The kids will be facinated by Pestworld's take on ants.
Or, if it rains, pop in the classic movie "Picnic" or, for the kids, try this one!
Have a great summer!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Ahhhh, spring… the sun is still shining when I leave the library, robins are returning from their winter quarters, trees are beginning to bloom, daffodils and crocus are popping up all over and youngsters are walking around in shorts and tank tops (no matter that the weather is still too chilly for that- the calendar says it’s spring, by gosh!). It’s that time of year when the sparkling sunshine makes me realize how dirty my windows are and the extra daylight means I notice the dust building up on the floorboards and in the corners. Time for spring cleaning!
Lucky for me, I live in a smallish apartment that requires only one day for a thorough spring cleaning. I remember my teen years, though, when my sister and I would help our grandmother with some of her spring cleaning chores. It seemed endless because there were three floors of row house to be dusted and scrubbed, lots of windows and their screens to be washed before they went in the windows (back when screens weren’t permanent and the windows didn’t tilt in for easy cleaning) and china cabinets full of quirky dish and glass sets that were never used but which still got a thorough wipedown each spring.
Nowadays, in families with both parents working full-time or multiple jobs and children’s activities consuming evening and weekend hours, there just doesn’t seem to be as much time to fit in spring cleaning. Cleaning services can come to the rescue! Even if you don’t have the extra cash to hire a weekly or monthly cleaning service, hiring someone to do the heavy work once or twice a year might be worth saving for.
Want to tackle the job on your own? Here are some resources to help you get organized and tackle the tasks efficiently:
1. Start with a cleaning checklist from household diva Martha Stewart
2. Find ideas for getting the whole family involved in the book Help! Around the House: A Mother’s Guide to Getting the Family to Pitch In and Clean Up.
3. Studies are showing that all the anti-bacterial products we are using more and more often may actually be doing more harm than good. Consider going green in your cleaning with help from books like Organic Housekeeping and Naturally Clean.
4. Keep your home looking great by organizing and creating better storage (or by getting rid of things, if you tend to be a hoarder). Books like Clutter Diet and Room by Room Storage Solutions offer suggestions that will get you started. There are lots of other books on house cleaning and organizing your home available from the libraries. You can even find instructional videos on youtube.
5. Don’t forget to turn up your favorite music to give you energy for the tasks! Or sing the happy working song along with Princess Giselle from the Disney movie Enchanted.
Remember that spring cleaning isn’t just about the house! Maybe you need to organize your digital life, which may include getting rid of some of your less desirable facebook friends. Still have mementos tucked away from an ex? Do some spiritual cleaning and toss ‘em!
Perhaps your finances are in a tangle and you need to get them organized? We have many books on personal finance in the library. There are some useful online tools also: planning tools from the Smart Cookies investing website, comprehensive money tracking and planning tools from Mint.com (easy to use and FREE!) or from Quicken (also easy to use but you pay to download online or buy from your local office supply store). While you’re at it, take the time to check your credit reports. (I do this each year around the same time I file my taxes.) Many websites and companies advertise that they offer free credit reports, but there is only one website that lets you do this free: AnnualCreditReport.com. Other sites will charge fees somehow or another. Note that the *reports* are free but you do get charged if you want to know your actual *score*.
You could also take some financial advice from the original Domestic Goddess (but I really wouldn't recommend it).
If you’re more in the mood for living vicariously through someone else’s housework, look for Barbara Colley’s mysteries featuring New Orleans super sleuth/cleaning lady Charlotte LaRue or Thrity Umrigar’s The Space Between Us, which explores the intimate and yet formal bond that develops between a housemaid and her abused employer in contemporary Bombay. Opt out of cleaning for a movie like Sunshine Cleaning or Spanglish or episodes of the BBC series Upstairs Downstairs.
All this talk of cleaning wearing you down? Do you hate cleaning? You aren’t alone! You might want to take a look at the case AGAINST spring cleaning or get yourself a magnet to show everyone how you feel. Maxine, the cranky silver-haired star of her own line of greeting cards, puts it this way, “My idea of housekeeping is to sweep the room with my eyes.”
Montgomery County Public Libraries