Riddle Me a Riddle!

What lives in winter,

Dies in summer,

And grows with its roots upwards?

For all of you vocabulary buffs:

Have you ever thought much about the meaning of the word, riddle?

Off the top of our heads, the definition that usually comes to mind for this word is a puzzle or a brainteaser. It’s actually quite a fascinating word, for it has many meanings and can be used as a noun, a verb or a transitive verb.

If you and your children love learning new words, The Free Dictionary by Farlex is a fun site to practice your skills.  You will find sections on: Word of the Day, Article of the Day, Quotation of the Day, English Language Forum, In the News, This Day in History, Today’s Birthday, Today’s Holiday, and even your Horoscope. There are also games that introduce new exciting words: Hangman, Spelling Bee, Match Up, and Words Within Words.

Riddles can even come in the form of songs, such as the traditional American song, “The Riddle Song”.

It is a riddling fact that you can be riddled with riddles. So here goes!

What word can be written forward, backward, or upside down,

and can still be read from left to right? 


There are so many marvelous books that introduce the world of riddles, jokes and tongue twisters. For the younger crowd on these wintry days when we are riddled with snow, try this one out that comes from Monika Beisner’s Book of Riddles:

I saw a man in white,

He looked quite a sight.

He was not old,

But he stood in the cold.

And when he felt the sun

He started to run.

Who could he be?

Do answer me.



What's in a snowflake?

As I sit here at my computer this evening with a winter storm warning in effect for my area of New England, I am once again fascinated by how these tiny crystals can impact whole regions of the United States.

Some of you may have read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. That story is about actual winter storms that raced across the prairie lands in the winter of 1880-1881. In his book The Children’s Blizzard David Laskin gives an account of the deadly prairie blizzard of 1888 and also gives a very excellent description of the different types of snowflakes there are and what the conditions are that create them.

The Native American Indians had many ways to predict the weather by observing what was happening in the natural world around them for clues. In the 1880’s the weather news was sent via telegraph across the United States from Army base to Army base. The weather often arrived before the news of its coming. Today we have the National Weather Service and technology to help us predict storms and to warn us of storms.

If you are interested in learning more about snow crystals, go to your library and find  Snowflake Bentley. You may also want to visit snowcrystals.com.

New Devices and Apps



This seems like such a common question these days!

If you got a new device recently, it may seem quite a challenge to know what to download to it. My head is spinning with all the apps that are available! Some people suggest things that I think are ridiculous and a waste of time. Sometimes I download something that sounds great and then, after a few tries, I find out it really isn’t. Some lure me to try the app and then I find out it costs money to really use it. (I don’t like to pay!)

Well, I found a terrific solution!

Common Sense Media has reviewed and written about some available apps that might be of interest to you. I think the coolest thing about the Common Sense Media reviews is that each review answers the questions, “What’s it about?” and “Is it any good?” The reviews also give suggestions as to what a family can talk about when the app is used and what age group it’s appropriate for.

Give it a try and put that new device to work for you!