Picking back up…

We had a rather long break from storytime, and I’ve had an even longer break from blogging. But now we’re both back!
I’m currently in the midst of week two back on the storytime train and it’s been crazy! My first week back we had almost 50 for my Monday night session and around 70 for my Thursday morning session…week two has so far only increased with around 60 for my Monday night and around 60 again for Thursday morning! I wish I had a more accurate count, but our clicker broke a while back and we’ve yet to get a replacement and there’s no way I can count, greet, ring the storytime bell, and hold the door all at once so I’ll have to just keep guestimating. hah

My first week back I did apples!

Gif-Apple

FOREVER APPLE

I’ll be honest….the books I read weren’t my absolute favorite, but even though I started planning these way in advance, I just couldn’t get my hands on too many apple books! They weren’t bad, just maybe not something I’d pick again.

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I read The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall which I quite like. I think the illustrations are cute and the book talks about the changing of the seasons in relation to an apple tree so it’s a perfect story for transitioning to Autumn. this was my favorite of the three and the kids seemed to enjoy it as well.

After our first book I passed out the egg shakers and did our first active rhyme: Five Red Apples which you’ll find all over in storytime-internet-land. I’ve modified it to fit my usage more comfortably (as per usual. hah)

Five Red Apples

Five red apples growing on a tree (place apples on flannel board)
Some for you and some for me. (point out then point to self)
Let’s shake and wiggle the tree just so (Shake shakers/scarves/wiggle body around)
And 1 red apple will fall below (Remove 1 apple from board. Hands fall or have the kids fall down)

Four red apples growing on a tree (place apples on flannel board)
Some for you and some for me. (point out then point to self)
Let’s shake and wiggle the tree just so (Shake shakers/scarves/wiggle body around)
And 1 red apple will fall below (Remove 1 apple from board. Hands fall or have the kids fall down)

I continue each verse counting down to none and usually end with something like

No red apples hanging on the tree
None for you and none for me
What should we do with a tree so bare? 
Let’s pick more apples from over there! 

or

No red apples hanging on the tree
our basket’s full for you and me
What should we do with apples piled high 
Let’s go inside and bake a pie!

This worked great with my first session but then we encountered and issue with my second session in that I ran out of shakers and had to resort to bean bags for the extra empty hands. Unfortunately we had a lot of too little littles in preschool storytime for this session who had a difficult time with understanding the concept of one per person or egg or beanbag, not both. This is not surprising, but it did derail us for a hot minute there. Oh well! After we finally had ourselves sorted, the rhyme went great and we then moved on to our second book. Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins… which I continually slip up and call “Ten RAD Apples” haha

Speaking of Rad Apples...

Speaking of Rad Apples…

I’m actually not really a fan of this book; the illustration style, uh, weirds me out. Sorry! 😦
However, I thought the concept looked fun to read with the kids and the interactive bit about guessing which animal comes next and having them make the noise is always good. I’ll admit, about 1/2 way through I was wishing I’d picked a different book; I apparently have a “Yippee, fiddle-dee-fee!” limit, and it’s not 10. oops.

After book 2 we went on to our next rhyme, another five little rhyme that is all over the place, in many incarnations and that I’ve used for apples, cookies, uh, maybe even donuts, basically anything round!

Five little apples sitting in a bowl (hold arms in bowl shape)
One fell out and started to roll (roll fists)
It bumped the table and hit my feet (pat legs then touch feet)
How many apples left to eat? 

Each time I do a round we try to go faster and faster until we all basically erupt into giggles. I didn’t actually get to do this rhyme with my Thursday session as they were quite rowdy already and there were 582604756 of them so we hurried through to craft time.

Our third and final book was the classic Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell. I wish this book were physically larger because it’s so cute but quite small. It’s a quick read and at the end I love to chat about the different costumes with the kids.

For our craft, we made apple pies! I used our die cut to cut out different shades of green and red apples and then had a volunteer cut a million strips of brown paper. We then glued the apples and strips (crust) onto paper plates. had I thought ahead, I would have brought in spice shakers to sprinkle cinnamon on so they’d smell like apple pie. Next time!

As usual, I brought back our Sign Language word and today it was, you guessed it, Apple

Apple

Apple

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hippity hoppity

Easter’s on its way

Sorta.

Once again, a loose take on a holiday theme. This time, Bunnies for Easter. This is my second year doing a bunny/Easter theme and this year, much like last, I kept it pretty bunny-centric without mentioning Easter much. I was hoping to do “Boy and his Bunny” again but couldn’t get my hands on it so I picked some new ones.

The first book I read was Muncha, Muncha, Muncha by Candace Fleming. ah, yes, I love these books. I considered doing “Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, hide but decided against it as it was more wintery themed so I’ll save it for another time. both of those books are great reads and excellent for reading out loud. The kids had fun trying to figure out how the bunnies would get around each obstacle.

After our book we did our first action rhyme. Bunnies lend themselves very well to movement activities so we moved around a lot as opposed to doing flannel activities. I’ve seen about 32786545 versions of the following rhyme with different animals and creatures doing different actions and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of them.

Bunny, Bunny

Bunny, bunny, hop real low
Bunny, bunny, say hello
Bunny, bunny, hop up high
Bunny, bunny, touch the sky
Bunny, bunny, wiggle your nose
Bunny, bunny, stomp your toes
Bunny, bunny, hop around
Bunny, bunny, please sit down

My second book was  The Little Rabbit who liked to say Moo by Jonathan Allen. This book read very interactively as all the kids wanted to make the animal noises which was great. I always love being able to give them free reign to make a bunch of noise. I like the illustrations in this book, and the concept behind it, but I will admit that I get a tad bit bored reading it. It feels quite repetitive to me, and maybe the kids don’t mind or enjoy it, but I do worry that they’ll also find it boring when each page is “What noise do you make?”

wait…. who am I kidding, what kid doesn’t want to scream “quack quack quack!!” at the top of their lungs in a library. 😛

On to our next active rhyme. The original for this can be found here and I tweaked the version below just a tad.

 

Little Bunny’s Ears

Little bunny’s ears are flop flop floppy,
(Place hands by ears and flop)

Little bunny’s feet are hop hop hoppy.
(hop)

His fur is soft,
(stroke arm)

And nose is fluffy,
(touch nose)

His tail is short and powder-puffy! (wiggle hands behind back)

We did this rhyme a few times in a row. I usually try to go through it once quite slowly to introduce them to the rhymes and the actions and then we’ll do it again and then almost always they ask to do it faster, then faster, then super-uper-duper fast which usually ends with me trying to do it as fast as humanly possible and then just flailing my arms and making funny noises because that’s always good for a laugh.

Our final book was Piggy Bunny by Rachel Vail which I LOVED. the illustrations were adorable, the story had some cute jokes (even if the kids didn’t quite get it), and honestly, it sent a really awesome message of “be yourself” without being too cheesy. If nothing else I think the kids enjoyed it because how silly is it to see a pig dressed as a bunny? (hint, it’s puh-retty silly).

In my first session on Monday I think I actually also read “Hey Rabbit” but I can’t clearly remember since I’m writing this up so far after. Either way, it’s on my outline notes so maybe I was just thinking about it? oh well. bunny
Our craft this year was a bunny ear headband craft. SUPER simple and yet SUPER adorable! I LOVED seeing all the little bunnies hopping around the storytime room and kid’s area after. Parents were snapping pictures left and right, just too fun. I *did* have some pictures of my set up but my phone was stolen and I sadly lost all my stuff. 😦  Here’s an excellent example I just pulled from online. Other versions I’ve seen have had fancy paper used for the accent color on the ears, that would be lots of fun too and you could do all sorts of neat things like polka dots or stripes, but I just used our plentiful stash of construction paper in white and brown with pink for inside the ears. They were equally as cute. 😉

 

Hoppy Easter!

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Snow snow snow

So last week we had an impromptu break from some of our storytimes due to being closed for that little blizzard that visited the Midwest; thanks, Linus. Because we were closed during the time I’d normally do my Monday session, but not for my Thursday session, I decided to switch out the theme. I hate working hard on planning a theme and craft and sometimes writing up my own rhymes and such to only do it one day, ya know? 😛

Anyhow, so instead of doing Dinosaurs (hence that little chompy dude at the end of my last post) I did ….

wait for it…

SNOW!

Surprise, right? hah

The books I read were:

Snow by Steve Sanfield
Danny’s First Snow by Leonid Gore 
Winter is for Snow by Robert Neubecker

I wasn’t in love with the Sanfield book, but it worked well, the other two though, I quite liked. Danny’s First Snow has adorable, soft illustrations and is imaginative and fun. They talk about seeing animals in the snow and I liked that though the shapes were recognizable, they weren’t too obvious so it was fun for the kids to figure it out. Winter is for Snow was also a fun read. The story follows a brother and sister who have two very different views of snow and winter. One voice is grumpy and pouty while the other reads wonderfully cheerful and excited. It also has a nice little message about trying new things. The brother is convinced that winter is terrible and cold and no fun and wants to stay inside, but the sister knows better; she knows that winters is great for sledding and snowballs and all sorts of fun stuff. Eventually the brother caves and tries it and…has fun! *gasp*

One of the action rhymes I did was a short little rhyme about sledding

Sledding Fun

Climb, climb, climb – up the hill of snow. (mimic climbing)
Jump on our sleds (jump!)
Down we go! Weeee! (pretend to slide)

We did several rounds of this and before each round we decided how we were going to sled down the hill; sometimes we went down slowly, sometimes super fast (usually super fast), sometimes backwards or on our bellies like penguins. It was really fun and a good way to burn off some energy if you have a rowdy group.

I also did I’m a little snowman which I got from a preschool express page that has bunches of great snow rhymes and songs.

I’m a Little Snowman
Tune: “I’m A Little Teapot”

I’m a little snowman
Short and fat,
Here are my buttons,
Here is my hat.
When the sun comes out,
I run away
Before I slowly
Melt away!

Since we had a smaller crowd and it was only one session, I broke out something extra awesome for our craft, MARSHMALLOWS!
We has some left over marshmallows from a previous event so I figured I’d put them to use and we made marshmallow snowmen which the kids loved. Unfortunately I didn’t get and good pictures, but here’s a great example.

I was a tiny bit worried that the kids would try to just eat all the marshmallows, but before we moved to the craft room, I had them pinky promise that they wouldn’t eat the craft. This brought lots of giggles from the crowd, why would one EAT a CRAFT? I have to say, I did not see one single kid eat one single marshmallow! they were so great! I mean, there was nothing really wrong with the marshmallow, I was just a little worried because I had put them out on the craft tables in out usual craft trays which often house crayons and stickers and glue sticks and are touched by lots of little fingers so they aren’t exactly something I’d eat off of.

Overall, it was a pretty good storytime and an excellent craft.

Dinosaurs will have to wait a bit longer because next week is all sorts of mushy but I promise I’ll eventually get to those big lizards.

Love is in the air

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Love is in the air!

For Valentine’s Day, and many other holiday themes, I like to keep things pretty generic as far as the book that I read go. I usually will engage the kids by asking if anybody celebrated any holidays recently and then chat about their answers before starting the books, but I don’t really, or try not to, read too many holiday specific titles. For Valentine’s Day I chose 3 books about love.

My first book was “Henry in Love” by Peter McCarty I LOVE the illustrations in this! they were simple and the colors are rather muted, but they stand out well on the page and are simply adorable. The text is a bit long so I don’t know that it would work with younger kids, but having it as the first book worked well for my preschoolers. I will admit that I did find a few of the transitions (or lack there of) a bit abrupt or awkward, but that may have just been me.

After our first book, I went right into our second title, “How do I Love You” by Leslie Kimmelman unfortunately our copy is a bit…well loved, but the illustrations are bold and fun and the text has great flow and rhymes. This book is actually in our concept collection as it teaches basic counting skills, but it worked very well for storytime.

After we made it through 2 books, we did our first active rhyme. Actually, I guess I’d call this more of an interactive flannel board. This is yet ANOTHER version of what I like to call a hide-away flannel. I’ve seen a few of these floating around the storytime blogosphere and my preschoolers love it. I’ve done a hat themed one, a lovebug themed one, a school themed one, and I think maybe even one more that has slipped my mind currently. Either way, it’s a great way to refocus any extra enthusiastic kiddos, or kill some extra time if your books go faster than planned or whatever. I also just love how much fun we all have.

For this theme we did “Lovebug” which I originally found on Deb’s Design blog

Lovebug, lovebug, oh so smart
Are you under the ______ heart?

Each time you say the rhyme, the kids get to yell out the color you’ve picked. I find it’s easiest if I explain the game then ask them which color we should pick first, then, we do the rhyme and that way they all know what color to call out in the rhyme. After we finish the rhyme, we remove that color item and see if the object is hidden under and we guessed correctly or if we have to pick a new color. We usually play 2 or 3 rounds of this depending on how quickly they find the item. I always try to trick them a little bit by pretending there’s no hidden item or picking the wrong colors or something. They always find it silly and love to correct me. 😛

After a few rousing rounds of that, we read our final book, “A Kiss like this” by Mary Murphy which is super cute. We read this as an interactive book where I asked them how they thought each animal would kiss. For giraffe I got lots of tall kisses and for the mice I saw lots of teeny tiny kisses, and for fish, fishy faced kisses! 😀

Aside from the 3 books and the hide-away flannel, I also did my valentine card rhyme on the flannel board. I think I’ll need to make new cards next year because I made them from paper last year and they were a bit rough looking after being stored for a year. hah

I originally found the rhyme on Storytime Katie’s blog and made the cards myself.

Six little Valentines were sent to my house,
The first one said, “I love you, From Mouse.”
Five little Valentines in my mailbox,
The second one said, “Be mine, Love Fox.”
Four little Valentines full of love,
The third one said, “You are sweet, From Dove.”
Three little Valentines just for me,
The fourth one said, “Be my honey, Love Bee.”
Two little Valentine’s mailed with care,
The fifth one said, “Here’s a hug, From Bear.”
The last little Valentine, from my friend Jay,
This one said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

I held each card up as we counted and then open them when we got to the second line and had them call out the animal they saw. (I’ll try to get pictures and upload them later)

For our craft, we made silly love bug headbands. I cut long strips of construction paper and then cut out a bunch of construction paper hearts and put those out with some googly eyes and glue sticks and let them go to town.
It’s always fun to watch them make something they can wear after storytime. hah

So next week I’ll finally get to that Dino storytime that has gotten bumped back a few times. RAWR!

 

 

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Mittens in the Mitten

It’s certainly becoming mitten weather in the Mitten State, what better time to do a mitten storytime?

We got a good dusting of snow recently and I wanted to incorporate that into a storytime theme,  but it’s still mid November so I didn’t want to do anything too wintery and that’s when I decided upon mittens! They’re worn in cold weather and are great for making snowballs! 😉

The books I read were:

One Mitten by Kristine O’Connell George

The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Three Little Kittens by Paul Galdone

 

Ok, I didn’t actually read the last book because for both of my sessions this week, we had a super small turnout of around 10-15 as opposed to our typical 40-50  and the groups were quite subdued. I had to really work to get them to interact at times. It always nice when they all sit quietly while we read, but it rough when you’re trying to do rhymes and fingerplays and you’ve got a tiny group of sleepy eyed kids just staring back. hah. This weather sure has calmed them down.

I did one rhyme (I only did it with one group because the other group was so tough to get to interact) and one flannel board. With the flannel board I actually got a pretty good response and ended up milking it as long as I could by asking them lots of questions about the pieces and really having them think about lots of the details. I found a rhyme online about ten mittens and I used some mini clothespins that we had in the craft room and some yarn and printed out / laminated some mitten clipart and made myself a little mini clothesline for my mittens!

 

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Ten warm mittens

Ten warm mittens, hanging on the line,
One blows away and then there are nine
Nine warm mittens, one without a mate,
A squirrel carries one away and that leaves eight.
Eight warm mittens, just eight not eleven,
One gets buried in the snow and that leaves seven.
Seven warm mittens, which one do you pick?
I’ll pick the red one and that leaves six.
Six warm mittens, put one on to try.
Then you take it from the line and that leaves five.
Five warm mittens, we had ten before!
A fluffy bunny needs one and that leaves four!  
Four warm mittens, two for you and two for me,
I lost one on the ski slope and that leaves three.
Three warm mittens, looking very new,
One falls into the mud and that leaves two.
Two warm mittens, drying in the sun,
A bird comes down and snatches it and that leaves one.
One warm mitten, what good is one?
A little mouse can have a bed, and that leaves none!

 

Originally when I put the mittens on the board, they were in random order, all mixed up, then we did the rhyme and I took them down, one by one. Then, I put one of each pair up with an empty clothespin between them and I asked the kids to help me match my mittens. I had them help by calling out the number of the matching mitten to the one I held up. For example, I held up a blue mitten and the matching mitten was the 3rd mitten on the board so my mitten matched mitten #3. it was kinda tricky, but they caught on pretty fast and it’s excellent practice for counting, matching, and comparing! Yay! Secret math! I made sure to have some mittens that were similar but not the same so that we could discuss. “The blue mitten with zig zag stripes does NOT match the red mitten with zig zag stripes, but what is similar about them? The red mitten with zig zag stripes does NOT match the plain red mitten, but what is similar about them?” Activities like that are always good for building their language skills. THEN, we went a whole step further (which was probably a bit beyond their skill level still, but not too far) since we had the mittens matched up, we counted by TWOS! They’re a smart bunch.

 

The other rhyme I had prepared but only used for one session was a basic fingerplay. I actually had trouble remembering BOTH my rhymes this week, maybe my brain is slowing with the cold weather, but even with a few round of practice, I had to read my sheet much more than normal. boo.

Mitten Finger play
by Lucia Kemp Henry

Here is a mitten, (hold up one hand)
A snug, fuzzy one- (rub palms together)
With a place for my fingers (wiggle 4 fingers)
And a place for my thumb (wiggle thumb)
Here are two mittens, (hold up two hands)
A colorful sight. (hands back and forth)
One for the left hand (hold up left hand)
One for the right. (hold up right hand)
Here are OUR mittens, (hold up two hands)
As soft as can be (stroke the back of one hand)
A warm pair for you (point to the neighbor)
And a warm pair for me (point to yourself)

 

For our craft, I did a very simple design a mitten craft. I printed mitten outlines on colored cardstock and gave them crayons and foam stickers and let them go to town. Again, very open ended craft that gives them the freedom to do whatever they want but is also very simple and easy to prepare for staff, always good.

I enjoyed this theme and wish the crowds were a bit bigger because I always like to feel like I got my money’s worth out of a theme. 😛

 

Soon I’ll be posting about an underwater storytime we did with a craft that I loved but worried would be too much for the kids. Stay tuned!

 

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Last Saturday we hosted a Sadako program at the library; October 25th is the anniversary of her death in 1955. Our program was presented by Ming the Magician. Ming and his wife and assistant, Barbara, came in and did a book talk and origami crane folding demonstration and class. Ming talked about the story of Sadako and why she folded paper cranes as well as the legacy she left behind. We also learned about the origin of origami and were each taught how to fold our very own paper crane.

The group we had was not huge, but for events like this, it’s nice to have a smaller crowd so that everybody gets some one on one hands on help if needed. Though the group was not very large, it was very varied, culturally and age wise, at least! I enjoyed very much watching the young and old learn together and got some great feedback about the program. Many of the attendees stayed after and chatted with Ming and Barbara about origami and

Here are some pictures of the event.

 

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Summertime and the living’s easy

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Last week was a very summery storytime! After doing a 4th of July storytime, I thought I’d celebrate some other summery things. I read 3 books this week and did two active rhymes as well as a flannel board and craft, we were busy busy!

The books we read were

Summery Saturday Morning by Margaret Mahy

Happy Dog Sizzles by Lisa Gruff

It’s Summer! by Linda Glaser
I really liked the rhythm of Summery Saturday Morning but wished the book was a bit bigger or the images were brighter or more eye catching, it felt like a better book to read to a small group or just one on one, not sure why. The story is cute though and it moves quickly so it keeps interest pretty well and because each page repeats the line “On a summery saturday morning.” I did noticed some kids mouthing out the line as we got to it which is great!
I LOVED Happy Dog Sizzles! It was a really cute and fun read about a dog and a cat that are super hot and trying to cool down but in the process see a contest for the best walla-pa-do; I wanted to act parts out and wished that I had more time to think up a craft because I would have tried to have them make their own”Walla-pa-doos” It’s a fun guessing book and the illustrations are super bright and colorful and very unique, I really dug it.
We also did a flannel board version of the board book “Mouse’s First Summer” by Lauren ThompsonThis was fun because it’s very self explanatory in that the whole story is basically Mouse and Minka running into summery things and wondering what they are so I basically had the flannel pieces in order and just kinda fed off the kids and ad-libbed.

The whole thing went along the lines of “Mouse looked to her right and spied something new! it was (insert description of item here). “What’s that?!” said Minka!” and then the kids would either shout out their guesses or I’d try to help them before I’d put the item on the flannel board. I also used it as a memory game, as I often do with my flannel boards, and asked them questions like “What did Mouse and Minka see that way juicy and sweet?” and then I’ll give them more clues if they get stuck, it’s nice and interactive.
The two active rhymes we did were:

I’m a Little Sunflower

Tune:  I’m a Little Teapot
I’m a little sunflower look and see (stand up straight and tall)
Here is my stem and here are my leaves. (put arms to side then raise out like leaves)
When the sun comes up, I turn my head. (raise arms above head in arch and look up)
When the sun goes down I go to bed. (swing arms down then pretend to sleep)

And then I took “Two Little Black Bears” and made it into “Two Little Sunshines”

Two little sunshines

Two Little sunshines
Two little sunshines shining on a hill
One named Jack and the other named Jill
Run away Jack, run away Jill
Come back Jack, come back Jill

Two little sunshines shining on the snow
One shines fast and the other shines slow
Run away fast, run away slow
Come back fast, come back slow

Two little sunshines feeling very proud
One shines quiet and the other shines loud
Run away quiet, run away loud
Come back quiet, come back loud

Two little sunshines bouncing with a ball
One bounced short and the other bounced tall
Bounce away short, bounce away tall
Come back short come back tall

For that rhyme I wore yellow ribbon danglers bracelets and had two little die cut paper sun “puppets” that I used to demonstrate. The kids LOVE that rhyme regardless of if it’s bears or suns or whatever, they just love the motions involved and often come up with their own great ones. This time when I asked if the had any other things for the sunshines to do, one suggested “TICKLE!” so I made a verse

Two little sunshines tickling the green grass
One tickles slow and the other tickles fast
Tickle away slow, tickle away fast
Come back slow, come back fast

I think the slow fast verses are their favorites. hah. This rhyme would be great for an “opposites” themed storytime and I’m sure I’ll use it for that eventually.

I then ended with our last book, It’s Summer! because it led right into my craft. The book is part of a 4 book series about seasons and this one talks about different things one sees in the summer. I love the illustrations as they are full of dimension and it is also a book where the main character happens to be ethnically diverse. The book mentions sunflowers a couple of times and has an excellent image at the end of great big sunflowers.
The craft that we did was paper plate sunflowers. I had paper plates with the center cut out, then squares of brown paper, and strips of yellow and gold paper that I put out with brown crayons and glue. The premise was to color some seeds on the brown square then glue it the the inside of the plate, then glue the strips of yellow/gold paper around so that when you flipped it over, you had a great big sunflower! I also put out some flower stickers for them to use because who doesn’t love stickers?  I actually really loved this project because it was full of big bold shapes and colors which prompts great talks and give them a chance to use a variety of the fine and gross motor skills; then, in the end, they come out with a HUGE sunflower that was super simple to make!

 

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The youth department was so cheery with all the sunflowers floating around after storytime. 🙂

Next week I’ll continue my summery theme because there are just so many fun things to use and then after that is my second StoryTech! I STILL haven’t written about the first one so I think I’ll just hold off and combine the two.

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