Category Archives: Odds&Ends

On a Personal Note…

A few things:

*As requested, I finally posted a picutre on the “Meet Mrs. Cropper” page.  Now you know what I look like.  🙂

*I’ve added some links on the blogroll.  One is my new personal blog.  It’s called anne with an ‘e’

*A quote to live by:  “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”      –Emilie Buchwald

p.s. Don’t forget to scroll down and read about the new Novel of the Month!


Where I Was and What I Hope You’re Reading

Remember that funny scene in You’ve Got Mail where Tom Hanks’ character, Joe Fox, is trying to write an explanation for not showing up to meet Kathleen (Meg Ryan) at that coffee shop?  (Of course, he did show up, but didn’t reveal that he was, in fact, her cyber-friend.)  And as he sits at his computer he comes up with this convoluted story about a business trip in Vancouver and being stuck in a building during a power outage and the phones were out too, etc. etc… 

I know that was a random intro to this post, but roll with me.  I was thinking it has been so long since my last post, that I felt like I owed some sort of an explanation for my absence!  (Not that you’re all just chomping at the bit for Mrs. Cropper’s next amazing post, but still…)  So I thought of how we’ve been busy with family in town and with things at our church, etc., but none of those are the real reason.  See, usually I blog at night when Blaine has gone to bed and Taylor is doing his homework.  But guess where I’ve been lately during that quiet evening time?  I’ve been deep inside Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!  A couple of weeks ago I realized that if I didn’t hurry and read books 5 and 6 of Harry Potter, I wouldn’t be ready for book 7 on July 21st!  And so I dove in to book 5 and have been almost as bad a Harry Potter junkie as many of my friends are 24junkies!  Taylor keeps asking me, “Who do you love more–me or Harry Potter?”  And the other day as he was commenting on something about the book I sassily snapped, “Taylor–you have only seen the movies!  You don’t even know Harry Potter!”  At this he chuckled and said, “You’re right, Anne.  I don’t!”  I’m sure in his head he was thinking “And neither do you, because he’s not real!”–as he so often has to remind me about Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. 🙂

So now my question for you is, are you ready for book 7–Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?


If you haven’t read any of J.K. Rowling’s series, I am here to say, READ IT!  I was super late getting on the bandwagon.  I was just sure I wouldn’t like it because I don’t generally like fantasy.  I didn’t see what all the fuss was about.  I really only read book 1 because I figured every elementary school teacher needs to be well-versed in Harry Potter.  But then, like my friends predicted, I became totally enchanted by the unbelievably magical, ingenious, complex world that Rowling has created.  It really is wonderful literature, and the writing gets better with each book. 

If you think, “Well, I’ve seen the movies–that’s about the same”–I am here to politely correct you.  It isn’t the same!  The movies barely cover the basic plot and all the action scenes.  But without reading the books you miss all of the excellent foreshadowing, character development, clever side-plots, etc.  

If you are like me and aren’t up to date in the series, I am here to cheer you on and remind you that you still have 108 days to prepare for book 7! 

If you are wondering at what age your child could read it or have it read to him, here’s what I have to say:  Book 1 is rather simple and easy to follow.  You could read it to your first grader.  Some second graders can read the first book or two independently.  They won’t get all the vocabulary and such, but will be able to comprehend it quite well.  I think book 2 is really scary though, so you may want to check it out first.  As the series progresses, the books become more mature and complex–both literarily and content-wise.  She has brilliantly aged the literature along with Harry, so the older he gets, the older the readers get.  (So you can use Harry’s age as a guide.)  

I LOVE HARRY POTTER!  Read it!  Read it!  Read it!  I hope you are as excited as I am about reading the 7th and final installment.  I know Taylor is excited–once I’m done reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows he just might get his wife back!      

Some Book-Buying Tips


A weekend trip to T.J. Maxx inspired this post.  Not only is it the greatest place to get sassy designer pumps for 1/5 of the “suggested retail price,” but it is also a perfect store to find children’s books for cheap.  Thus inspired, I give you my favorite places to shop for children’s books…

*T.J. Maxx, et al.  Greaties like T.J., Ross, Marshalls, etc.  are ideal for book-buying.  They have lots of your favorite authors’ titles at discounted prices.  At T.J. this weekend I was drooling all over the many Sandra Boynton board books available for $3.99, and Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat (hardback, of course!) was only $5! 

*Have you become friends with the Dollar Spot at your local Target yet??  I am slightly obsessed with Target, and always browse the Dollar Spot before I check out.  Twice now I have found some great board books there.  Our favorites are this little series, Fun With Shapes, Fun With Numbers, Fun With Colors, etc.  They have little lift-up flaps that Blaine enjoys playing with.   And they were a buck each!  Taylor and I cannot figure out how they can put that all together and ship it to the U.S. and still make a profit by charging us ONE DOLLAR!  (Gotta love China!)  Anyway, of course the stuff in the Dollar Spot changes frequently, but don’t forget to check it out. 

*Thrift Stores.  When I was collecting hundreds of books for my classroom library, I cleaned out Goodwill, Deseret Industries, The Salvation Army, etc.  You can often find classic titles, slightly worn, for a quarter.

*Yahoo for yard sale season!  It is just about time for everyone to do their spring cleaning and display all their unwanted belongings on their front lawns.  I have found some serious winners at yard sales.  Two summers ago I got 4 or 5 brand new Roald  Dahl novels for a dollar or two (total, not each!).  What a score!

So those are some hints from me to you.  If you have more suggestions or ideas, please post a comment.  I love and SO appreciate all of your wonderful comments and feedback.  Happy shopping and happy reading!