Friday, November 20, 2015

October Fun In The Library

Feeling Fallish

As many of you know I love fall, it happens to be my most favorite time of year. I enjoy the cooler weather, football, pumpkin everything and especially our family visit to the pumpkin patch.


We worked on bats  in the library this week and enjoyed a lesson on fiction and non-fiction. We shared the books; Bats In The Library By: Brian Lies and Bats by Natasha Wilson


Last week we worked on Scarecrows and had fun sharing The Scarecrow's Hat and The Lonely Scarecrow.

1st Grade:

Worked on Acorns and a writing. We enjoyed reading Earl The Squirrel by Don Freeman. We read several stories about squirrels and made an anchor chart.

Our Halloween decorations have been a big hit.

Pumpkin Everything:

Pumpkin Pancakes click on this link for the recipe.

Book And A Beverage Online Book Club

This is the funny, light hearted book we are reading. I'm enjoying a Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks.
Happy Reading,
Mrs. Shamhart

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Check Out What's Happening In The Library...

Guess Who Is Back...?

Our lovely Mrs. Pitts! She is back from here knee surgery and we are so happy! It just wasn't the same starting back to school without her. 
In The Library...

We are working on introducing to kindergarten students our "Book Character Wall" We have several book characters depicted on our library wall (as you can see below). I enjoy sharing these characters and their stories with all of my friends. 


From left to right; Koala Lou by Mem Fox, Cat In The Hat By Dr. Seuss, Curious George By H.A. Rey,  Franklin By Paulette Bourgeois,  "The Nook"  From Dr. Seuss' One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,  Arthur by Marc Brown,  Clifford By Norman Bridwell and Corduroy By Don Freeman.

Many of the students think I painted these wonderful characters on the wall but our previous, art teacher, Mrs. Holaday is the amazing artist that recreated these book characters for Kennedy kids, to enjoy.

Our First grade kiddo's read The Strega Nona books by Tomie DePaola. We enjoyed Strega Nona,  Strega Nona Her Story,  Big Anthony And The Magic Ring  and  Big Anthony His Story.  We also learned facts about the author Tomie DePaola. We discussed some of the stories we had shared last year that we read of Tomie DePaola's  and shared some of the other stories we have in the library that they may enjoy checking out.


Books and Bloggers Swap:


My Swap partner was so amazing, I enjoyed getting to know her and checkout her videos.  I absolutely loved everything she sent.  See all the wonderful things my partner sent. Jen Wesner is my partner and you can find a link to her youtube channel here:    Jen Wesner  


My Next Swap:


Hey all I've decided to participate in Swapoween - a Halloween swap hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! When I saw this swap I knew I had to participate.  I've been involved in this swap for the last 2 years and it is a favorite.

Here's what's involved:


Get to know your partner and send them a fantastic Halloween-themed package with goodies that meet their style/preferences/favorite things about the holiday.


Include at least 5 Halloween-related items
Cost $20-$30, before shipping (to ensure relative value)
If you want to know more check out their post on SWAPOWEEN!

My Book Club:


At my book club we shared the story of Harper Lee's book Go Set A Watchman. I was very reluctant to read this book. To Kill A Mockingbird, is my all time favorite book. I read it the very first time as a freshman in high school. Since then, I have probably read at least 6 other times. I love to share this book and discuss it. 

Naturally, when I began reading Go Set A Watchman I came in skeptical, but I loved this novel for exactly what it is: a brilliantly written, beautiful southern novel about a young woman who discovers who her father is.

I also, can relate as to, why Harper Lee might want us to have this novel now, at this point in her life. She need the story to be told and let the readers decide. That is what I have done... curious?

I love the dynamics of the relationship between Scout and her father, Atticus Finch. Harper Lee was able to build on the foundation established from her first novel, reflecting the character development in a beautiful way. 

In our discussion of the book some felt Go Set A Watchman destroys the heroic portrait of Atticus Finch and erodes the adoration of his daughter, but I see it as an extraordinary coming of age story about Jean Louise. When faced with the humainty of her family and childhood community, questions about racial equality and women's freedom, surface. It seems tht these had always been personal convictions rather than family values. She has to decide if she can accept the people she loves most, despite their conflicting perspectives. 

She misses the feelings of belonging, that her small town provided her, she doubts their ability to accept her because of her progressive views. In the end she emerges with an identity all her own, forged by the very people she shares a history and possibly a future with.

In the end I am grateful to have read this book but To Kill A Mockingbird is still my favorite.


For my book club I made my infamous Pecan Pie Cheesecake. I have had so many people over the years ask me for this recipe and I will share it here.

 Pecan Pie Cheesecake

¾  cups vanilla wafer crumbs
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar  cup butter, melted

Pecan Filling:
1 cup sugar
 cup dark corn syrup  cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 eggs
 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pecan Filling:

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into crust and set aside.

Cheesecake Filling:

Reduce oven to 325°. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in cream and vanilla. Pour over pecan filling. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 1 hour. Remove from oven and run a knife along the outside edges to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Let cool. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.


Happy Reading,

Mrs. Shamhart

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Dot.. Just Make Your Mark And See Where It Takes You


I am listening to the news as I attempt to prepare this weeks blog. I am absolutely loving the idea of spending time with all my kids, this long weekend. I am thinking about Labor Day weekend. I am desperately anticipating the cooler weather ( I love the fall).  I am needing new glasses.  My goals for this school year are much the same as every school year: Have patience, stay organized and believe in yourself, students and family this school year. 

In The Library:

The Dot by Peter Reynolds has to be one of my favorite children’s books of all time. If you only read one art-themed book to your stu­dents or child this year, this should be the one! This is the story of a young girl named Vashti who, intim­i­dated by a blank piece of paper announces, “I just CAN“T draw!”. Her very wise teacher is able to get her past her artis­tic block through the use of inspi­ra­tion and encour­age­ment, and then instill in her the con­fi­dence to keep going. This is a book you can (and will!) refer back to many times, so it’s a great way to kick off the new school year! I read this to my first graders, then use it as inspi­ra­tion for dec­o­rat­ing their own dot. See the video of The Dot by Peter Reynolds below.

  I really enjoyed working with some of the other specials teachers in an effort to bring this book to life. We read the story, sang the song, watched the video, created our own dots and shared them in the hallway. It wouldn't have been as effective with out all the support from Art, Music and Character ed. teachers, Mr. Ward, Mrs. Christner and Mrs. Coup. Big Thanks to all!

The quote from the book..."Just make a mark and see where it takes you". Then we also shared all the classes down this hallway: Library, Art, Music, Reading, Character Ed. Science and Booster. 

We also worked on taking good care of books in the library this week.
We discussed the process of checking out books and also shared this anchor chart. We then were able to check out on Thursday. We each received a bookmark and a letter was sent home, explaining that kindergarten has checked out for the first time. It really is an exciting time. Many of my kindergarten friends have never been to a library. They did a fantastic job!

Some smiles after kindergarten friends checked out books for the first time.

We then shared the book A Bad Case Of Stripes by David Shannon. 

We created books for our class, see them here:


 We also have a new area we will be creating a garden in, it will be a prairie garden. In our science rotation, with Mrs. Goodman and in our classroom we will be working on the garden and learning about the garden. This is a photo of Mrs. Smith's 1st grade class taking their first look at the garden. 



My Current Read:


This week I am reading a wonderful book called Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave   
Happy Reading,

Tula Shamhart



Sunday, August 30, 2015

The First Week Back...

Welcome Back!

In The Library:

I always enjoy the hustle and bustle of the first week of school. The students and staff are thrilled to begin a new school year, excitement fills the halls this first week. I had students come into the library on their tours of school or on their hunt for Pete The Cat or The Mouse (from If You Take A Mouse To School).  I only had one day with students in the library for lesson this week. I am very impressed with how much our kiddo's enjoy books.      

This is what I think I look like the first week of school.
Ever the constant reminder of our quiet voice in the library.

I always go over the rules of the library and we say good-bye to our summer and hello to our school year. These rules are our basic rules of what to do in the library. We talk about them over and over again. 

I always like to share a book before they leave. I always read a picture book with the kindergarten classes. I tell the kindergarten students,  how excited I am,
that they will learn to read today and they all beam. I explain that the first step to reading is to be able to read the pictures. This is a favorite lesson for me and for my new kindergarten friends.

My first grade friends were awesome, they reminded me of the rules in the library. I don't think they left anything off the list. I have seen a lot of growth in our first grade class, over the summer. It was so nice to see them all here in the library.

We shared a favorite book of mine called The Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. It goes right a long with rules and manners in the library. The best part of sharing my copy of this book is that some of the kindergarten classes signed this book and gave it to me at the end of the school year last year. It was very nice to be able to share it with all my first grade friends. 

The Library Lion

Not Only A Librarian:

I am also a grandparent this year. I can hardly believe my grandson, Carter is here at Kennedy. I thought that when my children went through school, here in Abilene, that the time seemed to escape me. With my son graduating from Abilene High School this May, he was my last child to graduate. But now, with my grandson here in our district and at Kennedy with me, I feel like I am going to relish this time with him. Best part of it all is that I get to see him each and every day. 

New Wow Book:

In the library we have several new books that will be featured in our WOW book display. This weeks WOW book is none other than Pete The Cat And His Magic Sunglasses. What a great book to say good bye summer and hello school.

DIY Adult Book Marks

The ladies in my book club shared this link (above, just click the link) with me for a free coloring bookmark by Dawn Nicole Designs. These adult coloring items are quite popular. I hope you enjoy them. I am using mine everyday.

What Are You Reading:

I am often asked "What are you reading?".  I like to share the books I read both independently and through my book clubs. I hope these selections inspire you to pick up a book. Last week I told you of some of my favorite summer reads and I have received several messages about these selections and how others have enjoyed them or are going to try them. 

Let me tell you of the latest book I finished and my current read that I just started. Actually, I am also listening to an audio book too.

 Last week I had showed you I was reading Kimberly McCreight's book Where They Found Her. This book trailer and a bunch of blogger/book club friends convinced me that this should be my next read and I am so glad they did. 

 My Review: This author, Kimberly McCreight is new to me. She has another novel out that is called Reconstructing Amelia which is on my tbr pile (who knew?). This is creepy but very well written and I couldn't put it down. Things unfolded and kept me reading into the night.

This novel combines psychological suspense with an emotionally powerful story about a community struggling with the consequences of a shocking discovery.

At the end of a long winter, in Ridgedale, New Jersey, a body is discovered in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. No one knows who, or how her body ended up out there. But there is no shortage of opinions.

When freelance journalist, Molly Anderson is called upon to cover the story for the Ridegdale Reader, it’s a risk, given the severe depression that followed a recent loss of her  own. But the bigger threat comes when Molly unearths some of Ridgedale’s darkest secrets, that goes back some, twenty years.

Told from the perspectives of Molly, Barbara, and Sandy, Kimberly McCreight’s profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth about the death revealing that these three women have far more in common than they realized. And that their lives are more intertwined with what happened than they ever could have imagined. 

I hope you will read it and let me know your thoughts. I am anxious to discuss this book with my friends who recommended it to me. 

My Current Read:

The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens

 The other book I am listening to on audio is the second book in The Outlander Series Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon. I got hooked on the HBO series and now I am listening to this book on CD. It has 33 disks so I am glad to be listening to it instead of reading it. I think I will get through it a bit quicker.

Happy Reading!

Mrs Shamhart


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ready Or Not Here We Go....Back To School

What The What? 

Is it really time for school to begin? What happened to summer? As I contemplate these thoughts, school time is upon us. As teachers prepare their rooms and students prepare to give up the lazy days of summer, I reside in the library processing books and updating inventory.

Summer Happenings

I have had a quick but peaceful summer, which was exactly what I needed. I haven't posted here for sometime. I am excited to get back into the swing of blogging again after my hiatus.  

This is how I spent my summer:

1. My son graduated from High School (Whoop!).

2. We had several camping trips, in Kansas and in Colorado (which I loved).

3 We spent lots of time with my grandsons (which I loved).

4. Lots and lots of time spent reading (which, come on you know I loved that).

5. We had friends and family visit (which I always love).

6. Went to 2 weddings (who doesn't love a wedding?).

7. Enjoyed time at the pool and beach (doesn't get much better than that).

8. Enrolled my grandson in golf  lessons (oh what fun that was). 

9. Enjoyed several festivals and fairs as well (loved all the music I was able to hear this summer).

10. I spent a lot of time at the library (I even found a golden ticket).

Here are a few pics from my summer of fun. 

Books of Summer

Well you may be surprised to know that I did a lot of reading.

I am a part of an online book group with some friends both near and far. We read Mosquitoland by David Arnold.

This is a wonderful story, beautifully written, easy to read and I couldn't put it down. David Arnold is a first time author and it tells a story of Mim Malone who had her entire life uprooted after her parents divorce. Her father and step-mother moved her about 1000 miles from her mom, in Ohio. She completely despises her step-mother.

Mim comes to find that her mother is ill. She begins to wonder if her father left her mother because of her illness. Mim decides to go see her mother in Ohio. She buys a bus ticket to Ohio and along the way she meets a cast of characters. A catastrophe occurs on the trip and Mim begins to re-think everything. 

This story made me feel as if I had known Mim, her whole life. Mim also has a struggle with mental illness, she suffers from schizophrenia albeit, she doesn't allow her illness to define her and even finds strength from it. She has some unique quirks that makes Mim likeable and memorable; from her misplaced epiglottis, burnt-out right eye and her lipstick warpaint (read it to know what those quirks truly mean). 

I can't wait to read David Arnold's next novel he is one to watch.

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica 

Another first time author but you wouldn't know it. This book was an amazing read that kept me wondering why things happened as they did and not so much what's going to happen next. This story is about a 20 something girl named Mia she goes out to a bar and disappears and we find out that she has been kidnapped. 

Initially, I loved several things about this book right off the bat, it takes place in Chicago (where I grew up and lived most of my life), the story is written from 3 perspectives; Mia's mother, the detective and the kidnapper. Lastly, I enjoyed the intrigue that drew me in from the very first chapter. Without a doubt this was my favorite read of the summer.

I really liked that the author was unique in her delivery of Mia to the reader. As the story jumps back and forth in time through the different perspectives and we find out fairly early on that she was kidnapped and even know that she survives. It becomes less of a whodunit and more about putting the pieces together.

 The Rumor by Elin Hilderband

 My summer wouldn't be complete without a Nantucket based, Elin Hilderbrand book in my hand. The Rumor, is aptly titled, for the story concerns two best friends, Grace and Madeline, and their families who live on Nantucket Island.

The book provides a fantastic overview of life in this small community, where just about everyone starts and pays attention to the rumor mill. Whether true or pertinent to daily life, Hilderbrand provides the reader with rumors about the families and their impact on these two families and their lives.

I have read all of Elin Hilderbrand's books and this one is as good as it gets. Hilderbrand once again, brings Nantucket to life. In this easy to read, beach read,  the rumors start, take on lives of their own and spread everywhere on this small island. This could easily be any small town America. From the start, I found myself caught up in the book, as I eagerly read on to find out what was going to happen next. I found the characters, true-to life and well done, as they always are in this Hilderbrand's books. The story flowed along smoothly and quickly for me, from start to finish.

These next few photo's are from our online book club A Book and A Beverage.

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel 

I honestly had no idea that I would love this book as much I did!  I was most hesitant about reading the book because of the comparisons to the movies, Sliding Doors and P.S. I Love You.  I figured it’s been done already. But one of my favorite chick-lit books is P.S. I  Love You so I had to give it a try.

Well, I am so glad I opened the book up and started reading it.  Within the first few chapters, I was hooked! I was in complete sync with Kate, the main character.  As she goes to a dinner party, where she will be proposed to, I was kind of indifferent. I found myself wanting to know more about Kate and her late husband and wanting to know more about what she had lost. Then, as Kate evolves and the reader learns more about her past and how it connects with her future,  the story takes on a life of its own. You are gently drawn toward the here and now.

This is a beautiful story of second chances at love, listening to your intuition, and believing that there is always a plan for a future, even when it seems like all hope is lost. It’s a story that I kept thinking about, long after the last page and is definitely a favorite of mine for 2015!


  Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster

All of us, who have ever read a time travel book knows that changing the past tends to alter the future. And that's exactly what Lissy Ryder, hopes to do.

Ryder is a once-popular cheerleader who ruled high school and married the star quarterback. At 37, she is broke, unemployed, divorced and living in her parents house, her glory days well behind her. When she thinks life can't get much worse, she receives an invitation to her 20-year high school reunion. It then becomes apparent that Ryder wasn't well liked by her fellow students and that the key to a happier future could be in changing her past. Lucky for her, an unusual classmate has just the potion for this sort of thing one drink and Ryder finds herself back in 1992.

This was an easy fun read. I laughed out loud, numerous times.

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

This is a triumph. An inspiring, heartbreaking, uplifting, and incredible story.  No, it's not an easy book to swallow, and at times it's gut-wrenching, yet it's one of the most hopeful books I've ever read. Reminds me of The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. Gorgeous writing, captivating characters, and a powerful story that lingers, with an ending you want to hug. I haven't been able to forget about I'll Meet You There or its characters 2 months after finishing it. I doubt I ever will. I think the potential for a sequel is there and I will be ordering my copy.



 Objects Of My Affection by Jill Smolinski

I was first introduced to Jill Smolinski in her first book Next Thing On My List. We shared it at my book club 6 years ago. I loved her writing style, so easy to read, like sitting with an old friend.

This book tells the story of Lucy, a woman who is kind of a rock bottom. She is in dire financial straits after selling her house to pay for her son's stint in rehab, and she recently broke up with her boyfriend. However, Lucy is determined to get her life back on track. She starts by accepting a job to help an eccentric artist organize her possessions, and she dives right into the work. Unfortunately, the artist isn't very cooperative and she doesn't exactly appreciate the help that Lucy is offering.
Through it all, Lucy realizes that her life is full of new challenges. Like, cleaning up the artist's house before the deadline, convincing her son to get help for his drug problem, discovering an attraction to a new (and younger) man, and reconnecting with her ex. As she works her way through these issues, she manages to form a friendship of sorts with the artist and discover some valuable life lessons along the way.

I loved this book.


 The Summer's End by Mary Alice Monroe


I could not wait to read this last book in the Lowcountry Summer Series. I always feel like I am visiting a group of old friends when the next book in the series comes out. Do any of you feel the same as me?

This book focuses on Harper the youngest and richest of the three sisters. There is definitely outright resentment about that coming from Carson. Dora on the other hand hides it a little better while Carson is  confrontational at times about Harper’s funds. Which brings me to my one criticism, Harper is a bit whiny in this book while Carson on the other hand is a bit too harsh at times about the money issue. The funniest parts of the book was the exchange between the girls two grandmothers Mamaw, lowcountry and down to earth and Granny James, upper crust and upper class British! Mary Alice Monroe is such a descriptive writer I felt like I was on Sullivan’s Island and I know what it is like there because I have been there. Harper’s character is a bit more loose and she comes into her own in this book, not to give too much away, but her mother is awful and keeps her under her thumb back up in N.Y.C.

This last book is a good wrap up of the series. I read this book on the beach and enjoyed every minute of it.


These books were the highlights of my summer but I read several others. I hope you will share your summer reads with me and/or try out some of these. You won't be disappointed.


 I'm Currently Reading


I am involved with several swaps. As a blogger, I have many blogger friends and we create swaps to get to know each other.  I am currently involved in 2 swaps.

OTSP Secret Sister Swap: This swap is put together through On The Same Page . It is a six month long swap. We are each assigned a partner that we send to and someone else, is assigned to send to me.  We use social media to answer questions and share things with our secret sisters. 

I just received my first swap package and I also received a card prior to this delivery. This swap is based on books and our love of books. I feel lucky to have met so many people in this OTSP Secret Sister community.


My other swap is one that I absolutely love!!! It is through the wonderful ladies at Chaotic Goddess Swaps . They have different swaps and I have been swapping with them for several years now. This particular swap is called books and bloggers. This swap is a book swap. You swap 3 books; 1 book you love, 1 book you can't wait to read and a book from your partners wish list. Click on the link and check out some of their swaps, you won't be sorry.


Happy Reading, 

See you soon!