The Mysterious Benedict Society

Review by: Cyndi Paxton Johnson

The Mysterious Benedict Society

by Trenton Lee Stewart

ISBN 13:978-0-316-05777-6

Reminds me of:
Harry Potter series Charlie Bone series Spiderwick series

“Are you a gifted child, looking for special opportunities?” When this ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. But only four very special children will succeed and begin a very secret mission at the Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.

This book grabbed my attention immediately, and soon ensnared my 10 year old daughter, as well. The characters are delightful, the suspense builds without graphic violence, and the plot continued to surprise me throughout the book. The four main characters, two boys and two girls, are smart and gifted in very different ways, and therefore respond differently to the various situations. I enjoyed the demonstration that there are many ways to be smart.

A delightful read, I highly recommend this book!

Wild Game Hunting - In my Kitchen!

Thrill of the Hunt!!Thrill of the Hunt!!

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

I carefully pick my way through the underbrush, my eyes always alert for signs of my prey. I see one! Stealthily I approach, line up the beast in my sights and.....STRIKE! Success!! I am triumphant - but not for long. Another beast catches my eye. I sigh.

One fly down....4,367 left to go.

What is it with flies in 1900 house kitchens??? Did they lay eggs in the floorboards a century ago? What is one woman to do?

Introducing...Rambo-Momma. She leaps, she strikes, turns and strikes again. My kitchen is a battle-zone, littered with the bloody carcasses of the million flies I have slain since breakfast....

Explore Your Creative Side in Cambridge!

Artist at workArtist at work
Learn something new! Painting, drawing, pottery, and more!

Dorchester Center for the Arts, Inc., formed in 1970, is dedicated to enriching Maryland's Eastern Shore community through high quality, engaging programming in the visual, literary, musical and performing arts. A non-profit organization, the Center for the Arts is situated on Historic High Street in Cambridge where it offers gallery shows, arts classes and an artisans' gift shop.

The Center for the Arts is home for artists in all media -- drawing; painting, including watercolor, pastels, and oils; basketry; pottery; quilting; photography....

To Consume or to Conserve

Egg basketEgg basket

by Paxton Johnson

We are in the Wal-Mart era of history: buy cheaply, dispose eagerly, repeat. We are the quintessential consumer – we consume. Literally, we devour, we eat up, we waste. In fact, the average American throws away 600 times his/her adult body weight. That means each of us leave behind over 100,000 pounds of garbage. That’s a scary number, and a disgusting legacy.

Many of us are torn by conflicting desires. We want to save the planet and her resources, but feel overwhelmed by people telling us we need to do 927 things daily to conserve.

Now there’s a good word – conserve. To use carefully, avoiding waste; to protect from loss or harm. Pretty much the polar opposite of consume - which might explain why we are trained to think of ourselves as consumers, not conservers. Better for the economy – at least better for those who are doing the selling!

But what’s best for us? Yes, we have a tendency to accumulate stuff – maybe more than we need. But how do we determine need from want? And really – don’t we deserve the things we want? Where does it end?

The Snake Whisperer


by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

You know you’ve adapted to life in the country when you step off of your back porch and onto a small snake – and your heart continues to beat! In fact, after the initial gasp of surprise, you turn it into a learning experience and call the kids out to see – then carry the snake out to the field, in the hopes that the rye grass will protect the poor baby from predators! Maybe it's not the country life - maybe it's me. I have a history with snakes. 

Rockapella at the Avalon

The Avalon Theatre
40 East Dover St. Easton, MD 21601.
Box Office: 410-822-7299

December 3, 8 pm

Rockapella’s a’capella Holiday show is back at The Avalon with 5 part harmonies as spectacular as ever. This show highlights the group's incredible talent and bright arrangements all crested with voices and no instruments. The current group line up consists of tenor Scott Leonard, tenor Kevin Wright, vocal percussionist Jeff Thatcher, bassist George Baldi, and tenor John Brown


Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox, Elaine Bruner
Simon & Schuster, New York, 1986

Reviewed by: Angela Bourassa

What it is:

Lavender, White-Chocolate Scones

Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe (can you say, “Low-fat & guilt-free”???); these are my family’s favorite breakfast treat! Light, fluffy & delicious – I always make a double batch!

2 cups all-purpose flour (white wheat does NOT work well here)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup fat-free milk
1 large egg white
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup dried lavender (I used Harney Lavender tea – make sure yours is edible!)
1/3 cup white chocolate chips

2 teaspoons fat-free milk

The Gamemaker's Apprentice

The Gamemaker's Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners

Jacob Habgood and Mark Overmars

ISBN 1-59059-615-3

Reviewed by: John K Johnson

This book will not teach you how to write your on version of Doom, Quake or any of the other incredibly rich, detailed 3D games that are the market, but it is a great first step on the path that will get you there.

The software that comes with this book (also available as a free download at ) takes most, if not all, of the technical hurdles away and lets you create simple to complex 2D games of your very own, without having to write code (unless you want to).

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Antique Dodge in the Junkyard

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