All things literacy — Authors, Books, Connections . . .

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sharing the Birthday Pie

Peach & blueberry pie ready for my friend who shared my birthdate and is a pie guy. He also compiles our winning stats for our monthly 5 Crowns card games. So much fun.

The pie is an adaptation of one my mother always made with rings of cherries, apples, and raisin as filling.  This one is a combination of peach filling and blueberry filling.
After making the bottom pie crust I filled the edges with the peach filling (ringing the edges but keeping it from spilling over into the center) - only a small layer.  Then I  filled the center with the blueberry filling.  Finally I filled up the peach layer on the edges.

The top was made with cut out pie crust shapes - small circles around the edge and card symbols in the center.  Note in the 5 Crowns game that we play the suits are hearts, diamond, clubs, spades, and stars - hence the stars her in this assemblage of shapes.
Ideas for creating other pie crust toppings can be found here: 
How To Make a Decorative Pie Crust - Topless Baker.  Youtube at
Six Easy Decorative Pie Crusts: Howdini Baking.  Youtube at
3 Amazing Pie Crusts Designs! (Braided, Leaves, and Floral Crusts). Youtube at

Using these ideas - get creative and make your own designs.  Check out the basics: How to Pretty Up Your Pie with Pastry Cutouts.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Whose Birthday is September 13? #3

Whose Birthday is September 13? #3

Ten Things we know:
  1. Her series of books about Little Bear was illustrated by Maurice Sendak. 
  2. Born on September 13 in 1920, she died on 12 July 2012.
  3. She was born in Fredericia, Denmark.
  4. Moved to the United States at the age of four.
  5. She was widowed at the age of 43.
  6. She was a first-grade teacher in New York City and later moved to New Hampshire.
  7. She remarried (1970) and after the death of her second husband, Pulitzer-winning journalist Homer Bigart (1991) she moved to North Carolina.
  8. She wrote her books in longhand.
  9. Her last book was Little Bear and the Marco Polo.
  10. She died of complications of a heart attack, at the age of 91.

    Author #3 is Else Holmelund Minarik.  Her first husband who she married at age 20 was Walter Minarik. Before she wasa a first-grade teacher she was a journalist writing for the Daily Sentinel - a newspaper of rome, New York (curing World War II).

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Whose Birthday is September 13? #2

What author is our #2 author to share our September 13 birthday?

Ten things about this author:

  1. Born in Jackson, Mississippi on September 13, 1943.
  2. Grew up in Toledo, Ohio.
  3. Currently lives in Colorado.
  4. Has one daughter.
  5. She graduated from the University of Toledo (Ohio) in 1965.
  6. Authored several books about the struggle of the African American in the deep South.
  7. Stories based on her own and her family experiences.
  8. Won the Newbery Award in 1977 for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.
  9. In 1987 she wrote The Gold Cadillac.
  10. Other titles include Song of the Trees (Book 1 of the Logan series, 1975) and Let the Circle be Unbroken (Book 3 of the Logan series, 1981).

    By now you should know that the author is Mildred D. Taylor.  Learn more about Taylor on her publisher's site at

Monday, September 11, 2017

Whose Birthday is September 13? #1

Who shares my birthday of September 13 - what author is associated with this clue?

Ten things we know about this author:

  1. This author was born on September 13, 1916 in Wales and died on 23 Nov 1990.  
  2. His parents came to Wales from Norway, and the author's first language was Norwegian.
  3. His best known books include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  4. He served in the British Army in 1939; and then in the Royal Air Force from 1939-1946.
  5. His books sold more than 250 MILLION copies throughout the world.
  6.  When he was eight he was among a group of boys that put a dead mouse in a candy jar at a local sweet shop - "Great Mouse Plot of 1924"
  7. When he wa in boarding school as a boy he was very lonely and wrote his mother every week.  When she died in 1967 he discovered that she saved every letter that she wrote him.
  8. He was six feet, six inches tall.
  9. He was a fighting Ace pilot for the British Air Force during World War II
  10. He is buried in the St Peter and St Paul's Church in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England.

    And if you don't already know the first author who shares my birthday is Roald Dahl -- 
    In November 1996, the Roald Dahl Children's Gallery was opened at the Buckinghamshire County Museum in nearby Aylesbury.  

Saturday, September 09, 2017

The official birthday week - Day 1

The first official birthday celebration.  Check in the next several days to see what literary people share my birthdate - September 13.

Check your skills - follow the blog.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

The Best Birthday

Many years ago I got an early birthday present - exactly 1 week before my birthday -- my first son was born.
Today - September 6th is his birthday.
Happy Birthday to someone who leads the way... for three brothers and two sisters; and countless others who were/are members of his units, squads, teams etc. all over the world - 82nd Airborne, Rangers, Special Forces - and those who now serve with him as a civilian paramedic, a deputy sheriff, RWB members, Team Rubicon, and just all-around great guy.
Visit his blog at
Follow him on twitter at
Visit his medical/gun safety web site
Facebook - or

A legend before his time. 

Sunday, September 03, 2017

September Birthday Notes - Sept 3

Today the birthday celebration includes FIVE CROWNS.  Once upon a time we played Euchre (always a small town Iowa game to pass the day away), and five hundred.  Never Bridge that is for the serious player and we are never serious.  So this afternoon it will be "Five Crowns" - never mind how many odd or even number will come to play, but one does need a unique card set.

We find, that since the wild card changes from hand-to-hand, as does the number of cards dealt each player, that a score card is helpful.  Here is our score card.  Download it and print 4 to a page.
So the official birthday party card game has just become Five Crowns.  Have a great time playing it with friends.

The Backstory:
The game is a rummy style game that has no Aces and no twos.  There are five suits - black spades, red hearts, yellow stars, green clovers, and blue diamonds; and two of every card in the deck.  Jokers and the featured numeric card are wild.  For example on the eight hand, eights and jokers are wild, and each player gets dealt eight cards.  On the ten hand, tens and jokers are wild, and each player gets dealt ten cards.  The object is to create enough runs or books in your hand that you can lay down all your cards at one time.  The first one to do that forces the others to earn points (not a good thing).  After the first player lays down, each of the other players get one more chance to draw (and discard), construct as many runs or books as they can, and lay those down.  The cards that could not be booked or put into a run count as points and must be recorded on the score card.  Zero is the best score.

This card game has only been around since 1996 when Set Enterprises, Inc. developed the game.  Set Enterprises, Inc. is a game publishing company based in located in Fountain Hills, Arizona.  Complete play instructions can be found on the Set Game website at,
The company was founded by Marsha Jean Falco who was researching canine genetics - and ended up with a canine focused matching game titled SET. She was doing genetic research in Cambridge, England at the time the game was developed.  She has a M.S. in population genetics from Michigan State University and her B.S. in animal science from Arizona State University.  SET was released in  1991 (but was first developed in 1974) Later she developed several other card games before releasing Five Crowns in 1996.   Marsha has retired and Marsha and Robert Falco's daughter Colette Falco runs the company (2017).