this week at the FPL

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It was Halloween party day at the Front Porch Library. What a gathering! Let me just say I can’t remember the last time I have felt this tired–but happy, yup, very happy. We had kids and kids and volunteers and volunteers.

John was in the kitchen cooking up the glue for popcorn balls–what a great smell (not really glue, but lots of Karo Syrup, sweetener of my youth).

Outside, Meg and the kids were making masks with fabric and real glue (Elmer’s, glue of my youth) Kary and Hanna handled the face painting. The costume table was in full swing.

Meanwhile, we had three large pumpkins. It is a little known fact that you can get at least three faces on a pumpkin if it is big enough. Carving was handled by Michael and Cole–the kids drew the faces on with magic markers. Giving them knives seemed unwise, even to me.

The guts of the pumpkins went home with Meg who lives on the corner and has chickens.

For my part, I told that not-so-famous scary story, The Hairy Toe.

Apples floated in a wash tub. The apple bobbing champ was Corrin, with ten apples in two minutes–and Jorge had twisted the stems off to make it a greater challenge. I now have a large number of apples with bite marks in them. Don’t worry, I’ll work around those bite marks.

Cut-throat games of Spot-It were played on the rug in the living room. The kids almost always beat the volunteers who are not cutting them slack. It takes a great deal of humility to accept being beaten by a four-year-old. Luckily, we have some seriously humble volunteers.

Finally, I have to mention the GIANT CAKE given to us by Roberta Losee Burton It must have weighed 12 pounds. It was a huge hit and what was left over went home to four different families. What a great party at the library!

Join the neighborhood clean-up …

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For those wanting a chance to help in the neighborhood before the next FPL Sunday, there will be a Seminole Manor Community Garden Workday and Neighborhood Clean-up on Saturday, starting at 9am.  There will be donuts, some friendly neighborhood chatter, and the chance to Make a Difference in our little corner of Tallahassee.

Make a donation to the FPL

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Thanks to PayPal, you can make a donation directly to The Front Porch Library today.  The Front Porch Library relies on your donations to pay for craft supplies, snacks, educational materials, and to send kids to a week of summer camp.

You are donating to the Seminole Manor Neighborhood Association, Inc. which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.  All donors will be provided with written acknowledgement of their contribution.  Your contribution may be tax deductible.

this week at the FPL

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DeeDee has been bugging me for cupcakes at the library every time I run into him. “Miss Adrian, why don’t we ever have cupcakes anymore?” The answer is complex. a. they cannot be divided into as many servings as might be needed on a boom day, b. you have to make real icing, not drizzle, and c. those little paper liners you bake them in cost money, but we made them today (John Woodward in charge of the kitchen). I think DeeDee was pleased, but sensing my weakness he said, “And when are we going to have gingerbread again?” I’ll say one thing for DeeDee. He has a great memory for all his gastronomic experiences at the FPL.

But what did we do today besides consume sugar? We talked about butterflies–it is butterfly season here. Yes, they really do taste things with their feet. We talked about the community garden and the upcoming work day. Some of the kids said they’d seen the fliers Miss Kary stuck on every mail box. What did they notice? The free donuts.

We did a blind relay race–which was very cool. Each team had a volunteer and a kid. One was blindfolded and the other gave directions on where to go and what tasks to perform, which included things like opening a box and identifying the object inside by feel, locating a saw horse, deciding how it was oriented and putting it back on its feet, finding the killer whale floating in the wash tub, counting rocks and putting them in a container, spinning a globe and stopping it with a finger–which was repeated until the finger hit land. Oh boy, Patagonia!

I loved watching the blindfolded half of the team find their way by feel, and hearing the one giving directions say things like, “No, your other left.”

We did A LOT of reading–we give treat rewards, which we have to replace with a strategy requiring less sugar, but it was a booming day at the library. By my rough count we had 13 kids, which may not sound like a huge number, but imagine them all in motion–especially after consuming their I-read-a-book treats.

this week at the FPL

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Our neighbor, Meg, rolled her wagon over to the Front Porch Library, loaded with clay and the stamps she had made to show the kids. What ensued was a flurry of slapping slabs of clay on just about anything that had a texture and didn’t move.

The kids made stamps (we will print fabric using them after they are fired) of sneaker soles, basketball hide, fingers, tabletops, driveway gravel and plastic soldiers. They came out great! Meg’s wagon was wheeled home carrying all the pieces of imprinted clay. When they come back we will go to town printing bags that can be used to carry books or groceries home.

Of course there was tree climbing, hoop shooting, read-alouds and cake eating. One of our new Leon High volunteers brought a football and it was thrown, bullet-like, up and down the street while I prayed for all nearby windshields.

Tiffany, who heads the volunteers of Leon High’s Key Club donated a huge supply of chips and gold fish, the incentives for reading aloud to a volunteer. They’ll keep kids reading for weeks to come (no, we are not above bribery).

Meanwhile, Jorge tackled the dreaded back room where art supplies go to multiply.

Heather and Joe worked on cataloging books, starting a new YA section.

We have yet to log a dull moment at the FPL.

this week at the FPL


The population of the FPL is tidal, it ebbs and floods, and friends, today we were at flood. Loads of kids, loads of volunteers–many of Leon’s Key Club members joined us.

I just got back from an English teacher’s conference in Orlando where I spent a day with Jackie Mims Hopkins, who writes fractured fairy tales. In her talks she explained that she prefaces her tales with nonfiction information. Today the read-aloud was her book, “The Three Armadillies Tuff,” (I don’t have to tell you the fairy tale she fractured, do I?), so I got to talk up the many biological wonders of armadillos. Bet you didn’t know they can hold their breath for five minutes or jump four feet in the air.

I even had a bit of armadillo armor for the kids to see. I don’t know why this made me think “textures” but we made rubbings of all kinds of things, including the partial armadillo.

In the meantime the twins were making parachutes for plastic soldiers and dropping them from the high branches of the ligustrum. Zion and Braden were building a fort. Talese was decorating various girls’ hands with henna designs, Jorge and a changing cast were playing Spot-It. Books were being sorted by Hanna, Heather and Key Club volunteers.

And it was frozen cake day at the library! Yes, chunks of cake leftover from other weeks made a return, topped with ice cream. No one complained. A very lively and super-fun day at the FPL.

this week at the FPL

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It was puppet making day at the FPL. The puppets fell into two categories. The ones you could glue things to and draw on and the ones that required a thread and needle. Kalesia made a stunning puppet of the glue-on variety. By punching holes in the top edge of the paper bag she tied on lots of lengths of yarn which she then braided. She glued on bobble eyes–more than were strictly required.

The twins and Braden went for the socks. The twins produced magnificent snakes with button eyes, felt tongues and scales. Braden recreated Dracula–he also lost the button on his shorts which we sewed back on.

I bought a package of fake mustaches (at the FPL we are drawn to bouts of false mustache wearing) but this time I was sure they would go on the puppets. Wrong. As always they went on the kids, but this time there was a twist. We had the glue and the bobble eyes out so many got glued to foreheads (eight or ten per forehead). It was as if we had a bunch of mustache-wearing spiders there today.

In the street a gaggle of older boys shot hoops. Everyone enjoyed the chocolate cake.


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