Monthly Archives: December 2011

Family Traditions: New Year’s Eve

Do you have any special traditions to welcome the New Year?  Many families like to stay up until midnight and scream “Happy New Year!” to each other.  Some families like to eat 12 grapes (which symbolize 12 months in a year) when the countdown to midnight begins.  Other families might fondue, view fireworks, or even make a New Year’s scrapbook with all their favorite memories throughout the year.

Here is one of my family traditions:

Around ten minutes until midnight, we each grab a pot and a spoon.   Then we gather bread and pennies and place them at our front door.  When midnight comes, we all go out the back door of our home and run around the house banging our pots as loud as we can.  Then we enter the front door and grab one piece of bread and one penny.  This is our way of getting rid of the old and letting in the new!  We eat the bread in hopes that we will never go hungry, and we take one penny in hopes that we will prosper in this new year.

No matter how you celebrate your New Year’s Eve, we wish you the best!  If you would like to learn more about how New Year’s Eve is celebrated around the world, here are a few great books to check out:

book cover
Happy New Year! by Emery Bernhard, Illustrated by Durga Bernhard
J 394.2614 BER

book cover
Happy New Year by Abbie Mercer
J 394.2914 MER

-Mrs. Ashley

Christmas Memories – the Dollhouse

When I was a little girl I received the best gift ever – a wooden dollhouse, taller than I was.  Standing on four legs, the house had 7 rooms and an attic, 4 glass windows, and stairs that went up to the second floor.  Best of all – it had electric lights!  This house had been my mother’s and my grandmother’s before her.  They had played with it outside in the backyard.  During the winter, it was stored in the basement.

My mom still had a few items from the house; a china doll, a wooden footstool, a metal highchair and some tiny brass lamps.  And the house was still in my grandmother’s dark and creepy basement, just waiting to be rescued.  Grandma lived in Oak Park and we lived in Minneapolis.  How could we ever get it home?  A colleague of my dad’s tied it to the top of his car and drove it to our house.  He was my hero!

We cleaned and painted the house and wallpapered the rooms.  Dad made tiny versions of the furniture in our house.  My friends and I played for hours with the dollhouse family.  Every year I decorated the house for Christmas.  From the bushes outside our house I snipped evergreen sprigs for the mantel and hung little stockings.  Most magical of all was the Christmas tree.  My dad had electrified a six-inch tall artificial tree with tiny red and green lights from a train set.  I even had a Santa with his sleigh and reindeer to put on the roof.  With the lights down low and presents under the tree, you’d expect that Santa was about to come down the chimney.

Wendy's house

The house is still a part of our family.  It is now more than 100 years old.  To learn more about my house, click on its picture or on the URL below.  You can read about it and other dollhouses.  On January 28, 2012 the library will celebrate Hobby Day.  My husband and I will be on hand to talk about dollhouse miniatures.  Come see us! We’ll bring some of the furnishings from “this old house.”

-Miss Wendy   is the link to the page about the house.

Don’t be bored!

funny pictures of cats with captions

The library is open three days this week, and we have three free activities for children every day!  On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we have

  • Movies in the Morning at 10:30 a.m.
  • Wii Gaming at 12:30 p.m.
  • Afternoon Crafts at 2:30 p.m.

You don’t need to sign up for any of these activities; just drop in.  While you’re here, you can stock up on books, music, movies, and games!

Out of school today? Need something to do?

DVD cover

You can come to the library today and watch a movie for free!  We will be showing Disney’s A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carrey, at 6:00 p.m. in Meeting Room B.  The movie is rated PG.  You don’t need to sign up or get a ticket ahead of time.  All ages are welcome but preschoolers must be accompanied by an adult.

Just a reminder– this is the last day the library will be open for the next four days.  We will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. today.  Then we will close and will reopen on Tuesday, December 27, at 9:00 a.m.  No library materials will be due while we are closed.

Best Wishes,

Ms. Sarah

Children’s Winter Break Activities

Come into Children’s Services during Winter Break, December 27-29, and enjoy a variety of special events!  In the Story Park starting at 10:30- 11:30 a.m., you’ll see several short, entertaining films.  At 12:30-2:30 p.m. in Meeting Room A, you can play many fun Wii games with your friends.  Spend the late afternoons in the Creativity Park, where you’ll make a beautiful craft to keep as a reminder of a terrific Winter Break!  These activities are for all ages, preschoolers with an adult.

– Miss Nancy



Video Games for Children

As you might have seen earlier on our Facebook page, the library is now displaying some video games that are available for same-day checkout.  The Children’s Services department offers a few additional formats: we have games for Nintendo DS, PS2, and even (a few) PSP in addition to games for Wii, PS3, and XBox 360 (including games for Kinect).  Come see what we have!  If you see a game you like, just bring the empty box to the desk and we will help you check it out.

If you don’t see the game you are looking for, you can still put it on hold and pick it up later at the Information Desk.

All games checked out this week will be due January 3, the day the library reopens after the New Year’s holiday.

-Ms. Sarah

Christmas Memories – The Thorne Miniature Rooms

Checking out one of the many Thorne Rooms

When I was a girl living in Minneapolis, we often visited our grandparents in Oak Park and Deerfield for Christmas.  What fun we had!  I remember marveling at the holiday windows in the department stores, visiting Santa Claus at Cloud Cottage at Marshall Field’s, and celebrating two Christmases with family – one on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas morning.

One of my favorite places to go was the Art Institute of Chicago, which was home to a magical exhibit for imaginative girls like me.  The Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute were reproductions of historical European and American rooms.  Set into the walls of the exhibition hall, each room was amazingly detailed.  I was partial to the early American rooms; they reminded me of my own dollhouse and the furniture my Dad had made for me.  We always returned home inspired by what we’d seen.

Early this December I visited the Thorne Rooms with my husband and my mother.  We were eager to see how some of the rooms had been decorated for the holidays – a new custom that started just last year.  A traditional Christmas tree stands proudly on a table in a Victorian parlor.  A Hanukkah menorah and tiny blue and white packages adorn a modern room; there’s even a teeny dreidel and some Hanukkah gelt on the carpet!  Our favorite was the Southwest Room decorated with the finest paper garlands and plates of goodies, including tamales and pine nut cookies.  The holiday display will be up through January 7.

Modern room decorated for Hanukkah

Southwestern Room with decorations

If you can’t visit the rooms in person, you can see some of them online at

There is even a game to play called Escape the Mansion.  Move your mouse around the screen and click to find your way out.  You will be amazed at what each room holds.

Come to the library and check out The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone.  In it two children discover a way to make themselves small enough to explore the Thorne Rooms.  They have quite an adventure in the exhibit.  A second book, Stealing Magic, will be available in January.

-Miss Wendy