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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Holidays Have Begun

Even though the stores have been promoting the holidays since September, you may have put off thinking about gifts until now. There is time, albeit not a lot, to make something instead of buying a gift. A handmade present is always welcomed, but, rather than knitting a scarf, try one of these more unusual gift ideas:

You've all heard the wonders of coconut oil being touted over the past few years. Use coconut oil to make beauty products for gift giving. Look for Natural Beauty with Coconut Oil: 50 Homemade Beauty Recipes Using Nature's Perfect Ingredient by Lucy Bee [646.72 BEE]. You control what goes in, so there's no worry about unnatural ingredients.

Ever see fancy bottles of vinegar in specialty stores? You may not have time to ferment your own vinegar, but there's time to put herbs into a pretty bottle, pour some store-bought vinegar over them, cap and tie up with a ribbon. It'll cost a whole lot less! Look for Making & Using Vinegar: Recipes that Celebrate Vinegar's Versatility by Bill Collins [641.62 COL].

If you've got old photos in a box, or thousands of new ones on your phone, spend the long weekend sorting through them. Then, use your favorites in a variety of ways. Borrow Fun with Family Photos: Crafts, Keepsakes, Gifts by Jennifer Barry [745.593 BAR].

If you want to get your kids involved in making gifts, there's Earth-Friendly Clay Crafts in 5 Easy Steps by Anna Llimós Plomer [J 731.42 LLI]. You can start off by making a vegan clay! Again, you'll know what's in your materials, so there's no fear of the young crafter ingesting something harmful. And, a small child-crafted object always finds an honored place on a grandma's display shelf!

Make or bake a pie! Borrow Ken Haedrich's Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie [641.8652 HAE] or Kate McDermott's Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life [eBook}. Spend a little time browsing the recipes for something too good not to make, then do a test run. With a month to go, there's plenty of time to try out different recipes! There are probably family members who wouldn't mind playing guinea pig! Then, when you've found the perfect pie, bake several to give away!

Enjoy Thanksgiving tomorrow! Remember the Library is also closed on Friday, but we're open again on Saturday so you can browse our shelves for even more holiday gift ideas.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Not edible peanuts, but the characters created by Charles Schulz. Yesterday I mentioned A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving [J DVD CHA] for holiday viewing, but we have a gazillion more Peanuts characters DVDs to keep your kids entertained while you cook Thanksgiving dinner or drive to celebrate at a distant relative's home. Here's just a few:

A Boy Named Charlie Brown. [J DVD BOY]

Happiness Is--Peanuts: Snoopy's Adventures. [J DVD HAP]

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown
. [J DVD I]

The Peanuts Movie

Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown. [J DVD RAC]

If your kids (or you) have had your fill of DVDs, then jump on the computer and design your own Peanuts character. Click here to begin. (Don't be fooled, there isn't a new Peanuts film coming out in December 2017, the film, for which this design program was developed, came out two years ago. It's a good thing Peanuts characters don't age!)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Viewing

Thanksgiving is on Thursday, but if you're not traveling or baking up a storm, then you may want to sit back and watch a Thanksgiving movie or two before then.

There are Christmas movies galore, but not many Thanksgiving ones, a fact that is the subject of a New York Times article by Glenn Kenny, "It’s Time to Talk Turkey About Thanksgiving Films." Kenny reverts back to his childhood, and his annual viewing of the classic, King Kong [DVD KIN].

Here are some titles from our collection to watch by yourself, or with your family.

Capturing the Friedmans. [DVD CAP]

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. [J DVD CHA]

Garfield: Holiday Celebrations. [J DVD GAR]

Home for the Holidays. [DVD HOM]

Planes, Trains and Automobiles. [DVD PLA]

A Danish film, Babette's Feast [DVD BAB] although not about our American holiday, is one of the best films ever about people gathering together for a feast. [Note: if you don't do subtitles, this movie is not for you.]

And here's the clip of the dinner toast from Funny People, which Glenn Kenny mentioned in his article:

Friday, November 17, 2017

Poetry Friday--"Thanksgiving Magic"

Here's to the cooks who will be preparing family feasts next Thursday. Rather than cooks, let's call them "magicians."

To celebrate these culinary magicians, Rowena Bastin Bennett has written a little ditty. It is found in both Merrily Comes our Harvest In: Poems for Thanksgiving (selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins) [J 811 MER] and The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (selected by Jack Prelutsky) [J 811.008 RAN].

Thanksgiving Magic

Thanksgiving Day I like to see
Our cook perform her witchery.
She turns a pumpkin into pie
As easily as you or I
Can wave a hand or wink an eye.
She takes leftover bread and muffin
And changes them to turkey stuffin’.
She changes cranberries to sauce
And meats to stews and stews to broths;
And when she mixes gingerbread
It turns into a man instead
With frosting collar ’round his throat
And raisin buttons down his coat.
Oh, some like magic made by wands,
            And some read magic out of books,
And some like fairy spells and charms
            But I like magic made by cooks!

The Poetry Friday Round-Up for this week is hosted by our Canadian neighbor, Raincity Librarian.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Happy Birthday, Diana Krall

Canadian jazz vocalist, Diana Krall, was born on this day in 1964. With her mellow voice, she has become a Great American Songbook star keeping old jazz and big band standards alive. Her latest CD, Turn Up the Quiet [CD JAZZ KRA] is a prime example with her renditions of Cole Porter's "Night and Day," and Rodgers and Hart's "Isn't It Romantic," among others.

She tackles popular songs from a more recent period in Wallflower [CD JAZZ KRA], where she sings a fabulous medley of "California Dreamin'," "Desperado," "Superstar," and "Alone Again (Naturally)," with Michael Bublé.

We have quite a number of Krall's CDs in our collection, as well as individual songs by Krall on many "duet" albums such as Tony Bennett's Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues [CD MALE VOCALIST BEN].

It is nearing the season for Christmas music, so get ready to sing along with Krall's Christmas Songs [CD HOLIDAY CHR].

Here's wishing Diana Krall a great birthday and many more years of songs!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Season of Eating

We're fortunate to come from an area where food is abundant and readily available. This fact is, sometimes we tend to forget that others may not be able to avail themselves of the abundance. The New Hampshire Food Bank, based in Manchester, has compiled some statistics that may surprise you. Here's one:
Approximately 10% of all men, women and children in the Granite State are food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal will come from.
That's one in ten NH citizens. And yes, there are food insecure people living in Windham!

If you want to do something, contact the Shepherd's Pantry on 1 Church Road in Windham to volunteer your time, or, better yet, make a monetary donation.

Rather than prepare more food than you can possibly eat over Thanksgiving weekend, make a bit less and donate the money you would have paid for another two side dishes, or two extra plates of cookies, or whatever your family and friends don't really need.

Make this coming season of eating food, a season of giving food. A donation to a food bank would be a fine gift for someone who doesn't need another coffee mug or a tie or a "favorite teacher" ornament. The NH Food Bank has special holiday cards for your giftees.

To learn more about food insecurity, look for Food: The New Gold by Kathlyn Gay [YA 338.19 GAY] or watch the DVD A Place at the Table [DVD 338.19 PLA].

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thanksgiving's Coming!

This romanticized version of "The First Thanksgiving, 1621" was painted by Jean-Leon Gerome Ferris around 1915.

If you haven't planned your Thanksgiving meal, you're running out of time!

For inspiration, borrow one of our many cooking and entertaining books:

Drummond, Ree. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations. [641.568 DRU]

Garten, Ina. Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. [641.555 GAR]

Let's Talk Turkey...And All the Trimmings 100 Delicious Holiday Recipes, Tips, and Ideas from America's Top Magazines. [eBook]

Rodgers, Rick. Thanksgiving 101. [eBook]

Sanna, Ellyn. Thanksgiving. [641.568 SAN]

Stewart, Martha. Holidays: Recipes, Gifts, and Decorations, Thanksgiving & Christmas. [641.568 STE]

If you want to get your kids involved, look for The Berenstain Bears' Holiday Cookbook: Cub-Friendly Cooking with an Adult [J 641.568 BER] or My Very Own Thanksgiving: A Book of Cooking and Crafts by Robin West [J 641.568 WES].