Summer Reading

Posted by mrssmythe on July 30, 2014 in Family, libraries, Science & Technology with Comments closed |

We stopped by the library today on the way to the grocery store. A batch of holds I’d placed were in, and that’s always exciting for me. It’s a bit like Christmas. The library system is so vast here, you can find almost any title in its digital catalog. Then, it’s just a matter of requesting the book. In most cases, it will be delivered to your local library within a day or two.

This is especially helpful if you are reading through a series (like Ginger) and your local library only carries a few of the titles. Ginger can go ahead and start Judy Moody: Around the World in 8 1/2 Days, confident that when she finishes, some library, somewhere in Massachusetts, will have a copy of Judy Moody Predicts the Future for her to borrow. DSCN3787 Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to read more about science. The last formal science class I took was twenty years ago, and there have been significant scientific developments made since then. For example, I had no idea someone had discovered a fifth state of matter. And what exactly is a Higgs boson?…Or Dark Matter, for that matter.

And that’s just a sampling of the things I’m ignorant of. (Never mind that I can tell you exactly what the Duchess of Cambridge wore during Day Two of the Commonwealth Games.)

So, in an effort to fill the gaps in my education (and use my reading to better advantage), I’ve been scouring the juvenile section for interesting science titles. DSCN3799 I think I found some good ones today. And, I’ll add here that I’m a huge fan of the juvenile non-fiction section. Juvenile books are easily digested with nothing too technical for you to bog down in. They’re colorful. They’re short. They’re great for increasing general knowledge. And, if you do happen to find a topic that fascinates you, you can always dart upstairs to the adult section for a book that’s a little meatier.

Pepper, on the other hand, is very anti-juvenile. When we arrive at the library, she heads straight to adult non-fiction. Here’s what she picked out today: DSCN3797 I know. A little light bedtime reading, right? I didn’t ask. She’s always checking out enormous books. And, I’m never sure how much of them she reads. But, she does read incredibly fast, so…who knows?

I’ll tell you one thing. She knows what Dark Matter is.

From the dining room table, getting ready to embark on “A Grand Tour of the Cosmos”,

Mrs. Smythe

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Poppies and Cardinals

Posted by mrssmythe on July 29, 2014 in Critters, Garden, On the Home Front |


I was admiring the plants on our patio today. The flower seeds I planted back in June are finally beginning to bloom, and Pepper’s cucumber plants have taken over.

It’s crazy to think that it took only thirty-seven days to go from this:


To this:


I’m so glad we planted those seeds. We almost didn’t, you know. We were about a month late getting them into the soil, and at that point, I almost scrapped the whole project. I was thinking we’d missed the magic window. But, as it turns out, it wasn’t such a big deal after all.

Some of the seeds I’m most happy we planted are the poppy seeds.


(Actually, Pepper is the one who planted them).

I’d never had any success with poppy seeds before and was ready to toss the seed packet when Pepper (who doesn’t give up so easily) decided to give it another go.

I’m so glad she did. The poppies that have come up are lovely. They remind me of helium-filled balloons, the way they bob and sway in the breeze.

I’ll certainly plant more next year…or have Pepper plant them for me.

And one final note:


We’ve had cardinals at our feeder this week! I’m so excited. They’re incredibly beautiful, and I’m always struck by how vividly red they are. I hope to get better pictures from the front porch soon. Until then, this will have to do.

From the dining room table, already thinking about what sorts of things I want to plant next year,

Mrs. Smythe

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Cabbages, Marshmallows, and a Very Wet Dog

Posted by mrssmythe on July 28, 2014 in Critters, Family, libraries, Out & About, Science & Technology |

A hodge-podge of wacky snapshots to start the week.

On the road…

IMG_0314A crazy “accident”. Zucchini and cabbages were everywhere! I’d never seen anything like it. Every time the light changed, construction workers would run into the road to grab whatever they could. Coleslaw anyone?

At the East Longmeadow Public Library…

A fabulous “marshmallow molecules” display. I’m really loving this year’s science-themed summer reading program. Ginger is knee deep in Judy Moody books, and Pepper is logging some serious bedtime flashlight reading as the two make one last push to meet their reading goals before the program ends.

In the bathroom…


One really wet dog. Pepper decided that Kipper stunk, so into the bath he went. The girls had so much fun, they dragged Ursa in next. Manny, however, could not be persuaded.

about us (25 of 30)

And, finally, outside the ice rink…


puddles almost the size of the ice rink. Somehow we managed to completely miss a thunderstorm that knocked out power, downed trees, and sparked tornado warnings in two states.

A spectacular end to a eventful few days.

From the dining room table, happy to be facing a rather dull evening after all that excitement,

Mrs. Smythe


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