Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Carolyn Crimi!

Hey Everybody! We hope you will join us in wishing our dear friend and silliest of chicks, Carolyn Crimi, a fine, fluffy and feathery birthday! And since the Coop is full of wonderful snacks and treats from so many Honorary Silly Chicks, it's time for us to have a party! Chicken Dancing for all!

It has been a great year in the Coop and we hope you've enjoyed hanging out with us. Thank you to everyone who took time to donate to Heifer International and made a difference! Here's to a wondrous New Year of Books and Bean Dip shared with Our Fine Feathered Friends everywhere!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Honorary Silly Chick - JoAnn Early Macken

Welcome JoAnn Early Macken! We're so pleased to welcome JoAnn to the coop. JoAnn is a wonderful children's author. Of course, JoAnn is also very silly and loves silly kids' books. A silly children's book that always cracks her up is An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni. It even has chickens in it--sort of. And talk about mad skills? She can turn my car into a garage! Top that Britney Spears! And since everyone else seems to be bringing desserts to the party, JoAnn is making a batch of nachos with guacamole on top. Yum! You know we loves the Guac!!!! Happy holidays and welcome!!!!

Honorary Silly Chick - Sheila Welch

Welcome Sheila Welch! Children's book author and illustrator extraordinaire. Having to pick ONE favorite children's book is . . . well, HARD to do! But Sheila probably couldn't have raised her seven kids without the classic (A.A. Milne not Disney) Winnie-the-Pooh books. (Absolutely one of our all time favorites.) She has also enjoyed reading them to one granddaughter. As for mad skills, Sheila's takes the cake. Well . . . it takes they cookies. Sheila makes "storybook"'cookies (cut-out gingerbread cookies based on children's books'characters) each Christmas to display on the kitchen shelves. Here's a sample of some of her handywork. How cool is that?

To create them, Sheila sketches the characters on light weight cardboard, cuts them out, and uses these as patterns -- lays them on the rolled out dough and cuts around them with a small, sharp knife. She's even sent us the recipe! See below:

Thanks for your generosity, Sheila! Welcome to the coop!

Molasses/Gingerbread Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup light molasses
1 tablespoon vinegar
6 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (can be left out)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon2 eggs, beaten

1) Combine sugar, shortening, molasses, and vinegar in a saucepan; bringto boil; cook 2 minutes. Cool.

2) Sift together flour, salt, soda, baking powder, and spices.

3) Add eggs to cooled molasses mixture. Add dry ingredients; mix well.Chill. (I form the dough into about six balls before chilling.)

4) Roll out on lightly floured board, about 1/8 to 1/4 inches thick. (Ifthe dough is too stiff, let it warm up more or sprinkle with a smallamount of water and knead it in.) Cut; put on greased baking sheet. (Usevery little grease or the cut out shapes spread out too much.)

5) Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) for 8 to 10 minutes or until done.(Use a metal spatula to get them off the cookie sheets -- works betterthan plastic.)

Honorary Silly Chick - Candace Ryan

Welcome to the coop, Sudo Nimm. If that IS your true identity.

In fact, we know it's not! Sudo is the alter ego of one Candace Ryan, a picture book author and blogger. Candace's favorite funny picture books make her laugh and think simultaneously, which inevitably results in a major bout of the brain tickles. Currently, she possess a mad skill of being able to write punny math and chemistry jokes, which, hopefully, will spread the contagion of brain tickles to hordes of defenseless readers. Candace is bringing yummy bowls of miso soup for everyone.
Welcome Candace (and Sudo!) and thanks for helping a family through your donation of chicks!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Santa Duck

Santa Duck
by David Milgrim


ISBN: 978-0399250187

Worried about "another year of socks and underwear" under the tree, Nicholas Duck sets off to find Santa so he can tell him what he really wants for Christmas this year. But on his way out the door, he finds a surprise: someone has left him a Santa hat. Pleased by the gift, he dons the cozy warm hat and sallies forth, until he's stopped by a persistent chicken (bock!), who starts to tell "Santa Duck" what he would like for Chistmas. Soon after, a cat, turtle, squirrel, rabbit and a gang of other excited animals rattle off their (hilariously detailed and extravagant) Christmas wish lists. Duck thinks they've all gone bonkers and runs far away, straight into the real Santa Claus. "No way!" Duck says. "Way," says Santa. Duck tells Santa what all the other animals want, but forgets to tell him about his own list. Poor Duck! Will it be another year of socks and undies for him? Check out this perfect holiday read-aloud to find out!

p.s. The final illustration shows all the animals cheerfully enjoying their gifts from Santa, who has given each of them something they wanted, although not everything they wanted. Thank you, David Milgrim, for ending this charming book in the true spirit of the season -- parents everywhere will appreciate this small yet important detail!

Honorary Silly Chick - Heather Frederick

There are few things we enjoy more than clown(fishing) around with the marvelous and talented Heather Frederick. Besides being a super-talented children's author and new blogger, Heather possesses a mad skill which makes us oddly envious. She can cross one eye!

That's something we could watch all day if we had a good snack at hand. Fortunately, Heather is bringing one to the Coop! It's a snack with literary roots – they’re from the late, lamented, and fabulous novelist Laurie Colwin’s “Home Cooking”:

Thanks for your generosity and the snacks you Silly Chick!


2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups walnuts
Melt 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter with 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Pour this mixture over 2 cups walnuts, tossing to coat them. Bake the nuts on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Honorary Silly Chick - Jenny Meyerhoff

Hey Jenny Meyerhoff! We are so glad to welcome you to the Coop as an Honorary Silly Chick. Nice beanie, btw!

Jenny Meyerhoff is a children's author who loves silly books. Her favorites are the George and Martha books by James Marshall.
Jenny's mad skill is planning kids’ birthday parties. Her kids have had a Captains Underpants party, a Medieval Tournament party, an I Love Reading Party, a bouncing party, an Improv party, a Transformers party and more. You name it, she can make a party out of it!

Jenny is bringing apple crisp to the coop and here's here recipe. Thanks, Jenny for your generosity and bringing food plus your mad skills to the Coop! We're sure you'll jazz up our parties!

Jenny's Apple Crisp

Peel and core five apples. Cut into pieces. Put in baking or pie dish.
In a bowl mix 3 tbsp white sugar, ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup flower, ½ tsp cinnamon, and ¼ cup butter until crumbly.
Sprinkle dry mix over apples and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Honorary Silly Chicks - Jenn Knoblock!

Hey Jenn Knoblock! Welcome to the Coop. We are so glad you have joined us as an Honorary Silly Chick. And we share your love of the fabulous Adam Rex's THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY. Atsa funny book!

Jenn's most useful mad skill is being a walking dictionary for her oldest daughter and her snack would have to be chips and mango-peach salsa, or any kind of cheesecake.

Yum! And thank you for your generosity!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Honorary Silly Chicks - Jo Knowles and the Mystery Pirate!

We know a great many silly people. And a great number of kind ones. And don't you know it? They are the same people! Such is the case with our lovely friend (and faboo YA author) Jo Knowles.

Jo always gives freely of her time and energy and talents to help others. We were not surprised when Jo and her friend, the Mystery Pirate, bought 2 flocks of chicks. They are in honor of Mystery Pirate's grandparents which is very, very cool!

The Mystery Pirate is also very generous and has shared his recipe for a great snack. One that we shall enjoy with them in the Coop!

His favorite book is Harry Potter and he possesses the mad skill of doing belly rolls! We possess mad bellies and enjoy rolls, but do not possess the talent of doing belly rolls. Perhaps one day you can teach us!

Thanks Mystery Pirate and Jo "Mad Hatter" Knowles! You rock!

Chocolate-covered pretzels with your favorite sprinkles.

All you have to do is melt some chocolate chips, then dip pretzel sticks in the chocolate. Then when the chocolate starts to get hard, dip it in your favorite type of sprinkles, like red sprinkles, colored dots, or chocolate sprinkles. Then you put the sticks in the refrigerator until the chocolate gets hard. Or you can eat it fresh. It's really good.

Honorary Silly Chick - Terry Golson!

Wow! We are so thrilled that Terry Golson is coming to the coop. AND, she's even got her own chickens!!!! Plus, since two of her hens are still laying, she's bringing deviled eggs. YUM!!!!

Terry says that asking her for a favorite kid's book is like asking which of her chickens she loves the most - not fair! (We hadn't thought of that!) But, since no one has mentioned David McPhail recently, she'll choose anything by him. Smart thinking!

Welcome, Terry and chickens and thanks for your generosity!

Honorary Silly Chick - Brenda Ferber!

We are most honored to welcome children's author, Brenda Ferber to the coop! Brenda is a wonderfully silly chick. And a stylin' one, too. Not many can pull of the full Carmen Miranda head gear!

Brenda doesn't have just one favorite funny children's book, but she will say that The Dumb Bunnies gave her kids and her belly laughs for many years.

Brenda's mad skill for the coop is that she loves to hear people's dreams, and is very good at interpreting them. She's like a combination of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and Joseph.
As for snacks, Brenday says that you can never go wrong with chocolate chip cookies! We couldn't agree more! Thanks, Brenda!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Honorary Silly Chick - Kenn Nesbitt!

Hey Kenn Nesbitt! Watch out! There's a shark on your head! Oh wait! It's a good shark. The kind that says, "Thanks for your generosity and becoming an Honorary Silly Chick!"
Kenn is a poet with several collections of funny children's poetry and more on the way. His favorite funny kids' book is currently M.T. Anderson's Whales on Stilts. Kenn possesses many mad skillz include using Jedi mind tricks on computers to bend them to his will. He also makes pizza so good it has caused marriage proposals. Yikes! That's some serious pizza!
For coop snacks, Kenn is bringing a 30 oz. tin of Cougar Gold; Mmmmmm... it's yummylicious. Thanks, Kenn!

Honoray Silly Chick - Lisa Yee

Welcome Lisa Yee! Of course, we've known Lisa a long time. We often read her blog to learn about the sexy Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. We even interviewed her in the Coop, once!

But we didn't know that her favorite funny kids' book is RAMONA THE PEST. We are equally impressed by her mad skill. Evidentally, Lisa once willed a Dairy Queen to appear. Having often willed Haagen Daaz into our freezers, we know how handy a mad skill like that can be.

Lisa is bringing some Jalapeno chips and Diet Pepsi to share. Yum!
Thanks, Lisa for your generosity!

Honorary Silly Chick - Julie Bowe

Welcome children's author, Julie Bowe, Honorary Silly Chick Deluxe! We say, deluxe, because Julie brought her own heifer! How cool is that?

We share Julie's love of funny kids' book TRACTION MAN IS HERE! by Mini Grey. Oh that Mini Grey!
Julie's mad skill is foosball, but we suspect that she also has mad baking skills because she's bringing Andes Mints Cookies to share! AND she brought the recipe!

Thanks for your generosity, Julie! (And the cookies!)

Andes Mints Cookies
¾ C butter
1 ½ C brown sugar
2 Tbls water
2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 ½ C flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 boxes Andes Mints

Melt first 3 ingredients over low heat. Remove from heat and mix in chocolate chips. Put the mixture in a bowl and cool for 10 minutes. Add eggs and beat at high speed. Add flour, soda and salt. Chill for 1 hour. Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake 8-9 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven. Do not over bake. Cookies will appear soft. Remove from oven and place one mint on top of each cookie while still hot. When mint melts, spread like frosting. Remove cookies from pan.

Hint: Have mints unwrapped ahead of time (a good job for the kids!) Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dinosaur Vs. Bedtime

Written and illustrated by Bob Shea
Hyperion Books for Children
ISBN 978 1 4231 1335 5

We love a good dinosaur book. We love a good bedtime story. We love it especially when the two are combined, as in this book. And if the word "ROAR!" is used repeatedly, well, we're in Triassic Heaven.
Bob Shea has created a feisty little character here, filled with bravado and verve. Nothing stops this guy! Not talking grown-ups. Not a bowl of spaghetti. Not even bathtime and toothbrushing! But what will happen when our fearless fellow faces his biggest challenge--bedtime? Will he win, or will bedtime prevail?

Shea uses just a few squiggly lines and a bold dash of color to make his dinosaur come alive. Fans of Mo Willems will love Bob Shea's work, too. We think this book would go nicely with Franny Billingsley's Big Bad Bunny and a big bowl of spaghetti. Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Honorary Silly Chick - Peggy Reiff Miller

Hurray for our new Honorary Silly Chick, Peggy Reiff Miller. Peggy has an especially interesting connection to Heifer International. She has researched the start of the Heifer Project, written a book and produced a DVD about the Seagoing Cowboys who were the men who helped deliver animals to Europe after World War II, including some chicks!(Part of the profits from the DVD go to Heifer International!)

Peggy likes Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner and is bringing some home-dried fruit (as sweet as candy) to share in the coop!

As for mad skills? Peggy has mad researching/documenting skills when it comes to the Seagoing Cowboys!

We want to thank Peggy for also bringing two new children's books to our attention. Both are about Heifer International and how this great organization can make a difference! Thanks Peggy for becoming an Honorary Silly Chick and bringing these great stories to our attention!

Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier about a girl in Africa who receives a goat from Heifer and how it changes her world.

Give a Goat by Heifer founder Dan West's daughter Jan West Schrock about a fifth grade class that raises money for a goat and makes a difference.

Honorary Silly Chick - Kelly Milner Halls!

Welcome Kelly Milner Halls, a children's author and all around Silly Chick! Kelly writes fun nonfiction books about topics that she describes as a little weird and a lot of fun on topics from Dinosaur Mummies to Albino Animals to Tales of the Cryptids.

Kelly's favorite silly book (by another author) is IS YOUR MAMA A LLAMA? by Deborah Guarino, illustrated by Steven Kellogg.
Thanks, Kelly!! Welcome to the Coop!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Honorary Silly Chicks - The Greider Gang!

Larry and Susan Greider from Davenport, Iowa, have purchased two flocks of chicks in honor of their very silly grandkids (L to R: Hillary, Chad, Natalie, Ryan, Kyle). They are bringing Granny's world-famous orange salad to snack on. :-)