Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 29

Did you know…..

Until 46 B.C., December only had 29 days. But the Roman statesman Julius Caesar added two days to December, which made it 31 days.
Today in history:

Richard Atwater was born December 29, 1892

Molly Garrett Bang was born on December 29, 1943
She wrote Ten, Nine, Eight and The Paper Crane.  She has also won several Caldecott Honor Awards for her illustrations.
Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, was born in Staunton, Va., on December 29, 1856.

Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States, was born in Raleigh, N.C., on December 29, 1808.

William E. Gladstone, the four-time prime minister of Great Britain, was born on December 29, 1809.

Texas was admitted to the Union on December 29, 1845.

Make your own mark in history and do something spectacular today!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

It’s the third day of Christmas also known as December 28.  We are bombarded with Christmas sales, music and decorations before Thanksgiving and on December 26 Christmas is packed up, put away, ready for November 2012.  Did you know that the Twelve Days of Christmas actually start on December 26 and ends on January 6?  Santa has come, the presents have been opened and now is the time to truly enjoy the spirit of this holiday season throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Start by joining us today for a Magic of the Season magic show presented by magician Jim Mitchell at 10:00. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Reflection

The New Year's holiday always causes me to take a few minutes and reflect on past years.  The first year on my own, the first year married, the first year in my own home, the first year my home was filled with children, the smiles, the frowns, the contentment and the panic that goes hand-in-hand with life fill my memories.  While searching for a blog topic today, I found a website, that offered an easy-to-use "Today in History" link that broadened my personal reflections into one filled with historical events from around the world on any given day.  Today, December 27 for example, did you know that The Hawaiian Fire Department was established in 1850?  Also on this day in 1932, Radio City Music Hall opened in New York city.  In 1968, Apollo 8 returned to earth.  And Knots Landing premiered on CBS-TV on this day in 1979.  It was really interesting to see what had happened on my birthday, my anniversay, and my kids' birthdays.  As you reflect on years gone by this New Years, take a minute to explore this fun site.  Wishing you a safe, fun, and happy new year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Hanukkah!

Christmas is not the only special holiday in December.  Those of Jewish faith will celebrate Hanukkah for eight nights beginning December 20th and continuing until December 28th.  Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights commemorates the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem.  This holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah each night, playing the dreidel game, gift giving,  and the making of special foods including latkes (potato pancakes).  Children enjoy learning about other cultures and celebrations.  One way to do this is by reading.  We have several books you may want to check out to share with your family.  One enjoyable book for four to eight year olds is Mrs. Greenberg's Messy Hanukkah by Linda Glaser.  It's a lively and fun read which introduces children to Hanukkah and also includes a recipe for latkes. Happy Hanukkah!

Christmas Pudding

“In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered – flushed, but smiling proudly – with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.

Oh, a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage. Mrs. Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind, she would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. Everybody had something to say about it, but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.”
Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol

Christmas puddings of the Cratchit’s time often took weeks to prepare. For those of us out of time or kitchen-challenged,  I found a more modern version of Plum Pudding with Brandy Butter Sauce that could be served as a grand finale to your Christmas meal. 

Plum Pudding with Brandy Butter Sauce
(from Christmas Cheer: Recipes and Party Ideas Anne Van Wagner Child, ed. 1993)
1 pound pitted prunes, chopped
1 cup brandy
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground mace
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup molasses
½ teaspoon dried grated lemon peel
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped alnuts

2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brandy
    Ground nutmeg to garnish

For plum pudding, combine prunes and brandy in a medium bowl.  Cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and mace.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, molasses, and lemon peel; beat until smooth.  Beat dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately into creamed mixture.  Stir in walnuts and prunes (including brandy).  Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan.  Bake 1 hour 30 minutes, cover with aluminum foil, and bake about 15 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove sides of pan.
For sauce, combine sugar, butter, cream, and vanilla in a medium saucepan.  Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil.  Stirring constantly, cook 3 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat; stir in brandy.  Garnish with nutmeg.  Cut pudding into wedges and serve with warm sauce.  Yield: about 18 servings.

May your Christmas dinner be shared with close family, friends, and good food,
just like the Cratchits.  Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Read Around the Christmas Tree Tonight

Join us tonight at 6:30 for our family storytime event Read Around the Christmas Tree.  The program will last about 30 minutes and is geared for all ages.  We will read a few holiday stories, sing a song or two, and dance the jingle hop all by the light of the Christmas tree.  See you there!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Word Trivia

Check out this Trivia about language and the origins of a few words and “sayings.”
1.     “Aromatherapy” is a term coined by French chemist René Maurie Gattefossé in the 1920’s to describe the practice of using essential oils taken from plants, flowers, roots, seeds, etc., in healing.

2.     In the 19th century, craftsmen who made hats were known to be excitable and irrational, as well as to tremble with palsy and mix up their words.  Such behavior gave rise to the familiar expression “Mad as a hatter.”  The disorder, called Hatter’s shakes, was caused by chronic mercury poisoning from the solution used to treat the felt from which they made their hats.  Attacking the central nervous system, the toxin led to behavioral symptoms.

3.     The term “bonfire” comes from using old bones, stored up through the summer, to make a fire with in winter and to keep warm.  It is also thought to come from the 1500s when the Bishop of London named Edward Bonner ordered the burning at the stake of over 300 men and women, because of their lack of faith.  Hence the name Bon Fire.

4.     “Burning the candle at both ends” comes from the days before electricity when clerks to wealthy people would work late into the night.  Of course, they used a candle to light their work.  To make more light, they would light both ends of the candle, but the candle would burn out twice as fast!  So, the term came to mean someone who would work hard but wear themselves out.

5.     “Long in the tooth,” meaning “old,” was originally used to describe horses.  As horses age, their gums recede, giving the impression that their teeth are growing.  The longer the teeth look, the older the horse.

6.     “Second string,” meaning “replacement or backup,” comes from the Middle Ages.  An archer always carried a second string in case the one on his bow broke.

7.     The “O” when used as a prefix in Irish surnames means “descendant of.”

8.     The idiom “pillar of salt” means to have a stroke, or to become paralyzed and dead.  Remember when Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family were leaving Sodom and Gomorrah?  The Bible says Lot’s wife looked back in longing to return to the place they were leaving and “turned into a pillar of salt” as a result.

9.     The last thing to happen is the “ultimate.”  The next-to-last is the “penultimate,” and the second-to-last is the “antepenultimate.” 

10. The phrase “sleep tight” originated from when mattresses were set upon ropes woven through the bed frame.  To remedy sagging ropes, one would use a bed key to tighten the rope.

So, “sleep tight” and “don’t let the bedbugs bite!”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Making Memories

Christmas time is full of rushing and chasing and crazy schedules.  Taking time to read is a gift you can give yourself.  Find a few moments to curl up with a favorite holiday story and treat yourself.    If you have little ones, model for them the joy of reading as you set aside special time to read some holiday classics together.  These are the memories that will stay with you and will be cherished by your child.  Some of my favorites for preschoolers include:

Dream Snow by Eric Carle

Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell

I'm Not Santa by Jonathan Allen

One Christmas Night by Christina Butler

Whatever you choose, enjoy the relaxation that comes with a good read.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spirit of Christmas by Tillman

Bring home a holiday book to share with your family.  And, join us next Tuesday, December 20 at 6:30 for Read Around the Christmas Tree, a storytime event for the whole family.

Monday, December 12, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Christmas - Library Style

'Twas the Night Before Christmas - Library Style
by Fullerton Public Library
by Lisë Chlebanowski (with help from Clement Clarke Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, not a book to be found
Not a textbook, a paperback or tome, spiral bound.
The stockings were hung from the chimney with care
In hopes that the Librarian soon would be there.
The children were gathered, bored silly in their beds
For no books could be found out loud to be read!
There were toys and games and puzzles and maps
But nothing to read – might as well take a nap!
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter!
We sprang from our beds to see what was the matter
Then, what we saw – what was that? Rats?
No! A miniature bookcart led by eight tiny cats.
With a gorgeous driver, by the name of Marian,
I knew in a moment it must be the Librarian!
Faster than speed reading, the cats flew with perfect aim
And Marian whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
Now Gatsby! Now Holden! Now Lorax & Grinch!
On Rhett! On Scarlett! On Atticus & Finch!
The cats echoed their names to one and to all.
They flew to the roof and they flew to the wall!
And then, from the roof I heard tiny paws
The prancing and preening of kitty cat claws
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Marian came with a bound.
She was dressed in her work clothes, from her head to her foot
The bundle of books she carried was covered in soot,
She had come straight from the library where books are free.
To patrons with cards it’s a book potpourri!
A wink of her eye and a twist of her head,
She distributed books and left nothing unread!
She spoke not a word, but went straight to her work,
And filled all the stockings; She was more than a clerk!
Then she sprang to her bookcart, to her team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard her exclaim, as she drove out of sight,

"Season’s Readings to all, and to all a good-night.”

Dan Belden's 80 Day Journey

The front page of this morning's Journal Times details Waterford's own Dan Belden's trip from Waterford to the Gulf of Mexico in a canoe.  Congratulations Dan!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gift Wrap Event

Members of the Teen Advisory Board will be at the library today from 12:00 - 2:30 to wrap your holiday gifts for you!  They are hoping for donations to start a project fund.  Bring your gifts in, pick up a movie for tonight, and leave with a big chore accomplished!  See you there!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Merry Christmas

It doesn’t seem possible, but this is the eleventh year the Waterford Public Library has hosted the annual tree lighting of the village Christmas tree following the Winter Wonderland Parade.  Last Saturday evening, seven year old Gracie Lunceford flipped the switch to the delight of about 600 spectators.  And I have to tell you just how lucky I feel to stand at the front of the room and witness the reaction of that many people dazzled by the sight. I’ve never gotten used to it and it always puts me in the Christmas spirit!

If you have a chance, stop in during the holidays to check out your favorite Christmas CD, DVD, cookbook , novel or... just to get a closer look at the tree! Please let us know if there’s something else we need to order to brighten up your family holiday.

On behalf of the entire library staff, I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas!                                           Pam Belden, library director

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor - December 7, 1941

Posted in remembrance of all those who served, those who suffered, and those who died.  There are resources available at the library to learn and read more about this event.  "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."  George Santayana

Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941 by Standley Weintraub

Pacific Crucible: A War at Sea in the Pacific by Ian Toll

One Day in History--December 7, 1941 by Rodney Carlisle

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Magazines and Newspapers

Did you know the library carries over 100 magazine publications and 8 daily and weekly newspapers?  Newspapers and weekly magazines are located just before the beautiful picture windows in our main reading lounge.  Magazines are located to the right of the reference desk and in the juvenile/parenting area.  With Wisconsin's snowy days yet to come, reading at the library and enjoying a winter view of the Fox River flowing along outside will add to your day.   

Monday, December 5, 2011


I just finished reading Triangles, a new novel by Ellen Hopkins.  It was recommended to me by several Waterford Library staff members, so I checked it out.  I was skeptical.  The story is about three women facing the various trials of love, marriage, and children.  Although it hardly sounds like a unique plot, Triangles is set apart by the form in which Hopkins writes.  At first glance the writing looks like poetry, but it reads like prose.  The chapters alternate between the perspectives of Holly, Andrea, and Marissa. The last page of each chapter is reflective, and often does read more like poetry.  The last words of each chapter blend into the first of the next, making it difficult to put the book down.  The way Hopkins plays with words provides a lot of the entertainment in reading the book.  Despite my skepticism, I found myself riveted.  I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick read.

Friday, December 2, 2011

St. Nick December 5

Don’t forget to have kids hang their stockings the evening of Dec. 5th for St. Nick to come and fill them up.

Did you know that this is not a tradition observed everywhere?

Like the fish fry and frozen custard, the celebration of St. Nick's Day, though not exclusively a Milwaukee tradition, is especially strong here. Tradition calls for children to hang their stockings or put out their shoes in the hopes that St. Nicholas will visit in the night, leaving a trinket or two for good children. Naughty kids will find a lump of coal or a switch instead.

Weekend of Fun

Tomorrow, December 3 at 5:30
Don't miss the Winter Wonderland Parade followed by the tree lighting at the library.  Bring your camera for pictures with Santa!  Gift bags for all of the kids will be provided courtesy of Runzheimer Intl.

Thursday, December 1, 2011