August 19th, 2014

A “Berry” Sweet End to Summer

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“Blackberry” has a certain connotation these days – a small hand-held device used for constant communication, right?

Well, at our house, instead of technology, we think of plump, dark, juicy berries, hanging in heavy clusters off riotous berry canes along a homemade fence. After planting a few bushes last fall, we were rewarded with a bumper crop of the most delicious blackberries we’ve ever eaten. We have blueberries and raspberries, too.

We’ve been picking daily for weeks, and started counting our bounty in gallons, not pints. We’ve eaten fresh berries to our heart’s content; we’ve frozen them for smoothies and made berry muffins. But now what?

My cousin told me about a curious fruit drink called a shrubthat you can make to create a home-made soda. Instead of making a simple syrup with berries and sugar, you add cider vinegar, too, to give it a more savory, sophisticated flavor when added to plain seltzer water. You can use your choice of berries.

CCPL has hosted local canning expert and author, J.R. Coffey, for a number of programs over the summer, including on Wednesday, August 20 at the Perryville Branch.

If you haven’t or can’t make his delicious and informative programs, check out this great list of canning and preserving resourcesand have you checked out CCPL’s Pinterest canning page?

I’ve also been getting ideas for using my berries from a variety of cooking magazines that CCPL offers via Zinio, which are digital magazines that I can download and keep on my home computer, or even my blackberry!

What are your favorite ways to preserve the taste of summer?

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August 4th, 2014

Countdown to Kindergarten

IMG_20140311_115902_2435, 4, 3, 2, 1…the countdown has begun.  In just a few short weeks, school bells will be ringing for students in Cecil County.  Though each school year represents a new beginning for enthusiastic students of all ages, students heading to kindergarten for the first time may be among the most eager.  New adventures, new friends, and a whole new world of opportunities await this group who are just beginning their educational journey.

Going to kindergarten marks a major milestone in a child’s life and can be exciting.  However, it can also be an anxious time for both children and their parents who may worry about making new friends, meeting a new teacher, or finding their way around a new school.   Luckily, we have a number of books on this very topic, and sharing these stories together can lead to open discussions which can in turn alleviate some of these anxieties.  Find the book you need by going to any branch library, searching our online catalog, or by checking out our Getting Ready for Kindergarten Pinterest page where you will find recommended books along with numerous ideas for activities designed to help your kindergartener practice the math, reading,  and science skills needed for kindergarten.

Reading books together about going to kindergarten for the first time is just one way to help your child get ready for the big day.  Attending one of our Countdown to Kindergarten programs for students entering kindergarten in 2014 is another.   If your child is going to kindergarten this year, they will not want to miss sharing stories, songs, and crafts all related to their first kindergarten experience.  Register today.

When you visit the library, be sure to give your child some time to play and learn on our AWE computers found at Elkton Central, Chesapeake City and Perryville Branch Libraries.  Jumpstart Kindergarten, Getting Ready for Kindergarten, Millie’s Math House, and Sammy’s Science House are just a few of the preloaded educational games perfect for you and your kindergartener to play together.

Whether you decide to start with a special book, a library program, or a shared computer game, be sure to enjoy this special time in your child’s life, and remember the library is filled with resources and staff ready to give you a helping hand.  We look forward to seeing you soon.

Still need to register your child for kindergarten?  Visit Cecil County Public Schools’ website for information on registration and for additional resources to help you and your child get ready.

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