Parent to Parent: Gift ideas for nieces and nephews of all ages | Parenting

Q • We’re a couple married almost four years but do not have children. My husband served in the military and we have moved quite a bit. We have plenty of nieces and nephews of all ages, but we don’t live near any of them. We’re hoping to get some gift suggestions for Christmas. There’s a lot of stuff to choose from.

From a reader • We have nine kids, and books are their thing. Here are some that they love: “Not Quite Snow White,” by Ashley Franklin, about a bubbly little girl, Tameika. She captures your attention and brings you into the story. She has a “believe in yourself” attitude and expresses that no matter who you are you can succeed.

“Lizard From the Park,” by Matt Peet, is a book that has twists and turns to keep kids hooked. A little boy, Leonard, finds an egg in the park. He has a fun-filled afternoon with his special egg and then out pops a not-so-ordinary lizard.

“Dactyl Hill Squad,” by Daniel José Older, is a great tween read. It’s a fast-paced story filled with emotion. There’s a ton of dinosaur action and adventure.

“My Life in the Fish Tank,” by Barbara Dee, is a good read for middle school aged kids but is also a great family discussion book as it addresses mental illness in a way that a child can process and relate to and is quite educational for siblings and others.

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20 holiday gift ideas for Pacific Northwest book lovers of all ages

Between intemperate weather and the pandemic, it’s a great time to be staying at home and curling up with a good book. And local authors, booksellers and publishers could use our support. Here are 20 Pacific Northwest-flavored titles great for gift-giving that can be supplied by independent bookstores in Portland and elsewhere in Oregon, and through Bookshop.org, which supports independent bookstores.

For adults

“The Apocalypse Factory: Plutonium and the Making of the Atomic Age,” by Steve Olson ($27.95)

Decommissioned for decades, the Hanford Site in eastern Washington hardly makes news these days. Science writer Steve Olson, who grew up nearby, restores Hanford to its rightful status as the site “where people confronted for the first time all the dilemmas of power, pollution, destruction, and sustainability associated with nuclear energy.”

“As the World Burns: The New Generation of Activists and the Landmark Legal Fight Against Climate Change,” by Lee Van der Voo ($27.95)

It was a lawsuit made for headlines: In Juliana v. United States, 21 youth plaintiffs represented by a Eugene organization sued the federal government, asserting a constitutional right to a sustainable climate. As Oregon journalist Lee Van der Voo tracked the suit, which was dismissed in January, she got to know the plaintiffs, who include 11 Oregonians, and their motivations.

“The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are,” by Libby Copeland ($27 hardcover, $17 paperback)

When a Clark County woman named Alice Collins Plebluch sent off a sample of her DNA for analysis, she took the first step on a long journey that ended with a stunning revelation about her family. Plebluch’s story is the primary thread in Libby Copeland’s engrossing book about the payoffs and perils of genetic testing.

“The Night Swimmers,” by Peter Rock ($25 hardcover, $16 paperback)

Portland writer Peter Rock’s autobiographical novel flows through layers of memory, relationships and life as the narrator looks back two decades to the strange period when he and an older widow spent summer nights swimming for miles in Lake Michigan’s open waters. This is a story not so much read as steeped in.

“Pale Morning Light With Violet Swan,” by Deborah Reed ($15.99)

The latest novel from Deborah Reed begins with an earthquake rattling the Oregon coast house where Violet, an abstract painter, has lived for 75 years. The quake becomes the epicenter of more ruptures: truths admitted, secrets revealed. The biggest secret of all? The life Violet led before Oregon, a life her family knows nothing about.

“Pansies,” by Carol Barrett ($10)

In this lovely collection of literary vignettes, 2020 Oregon Book Award finalist Barrett reflects on her experiences with her daughter’s babysitter. Abigail, an Apostolic Lutheran, finds a way to weave herself into the life of the outside world with a minimum of friction amid unwavering devotion to her faith, to her community and to the child she cares for.

“Salmon: A Fish, the Earth, and the History of Their Common Fate,” by Mark Kurlansky ($30)

Pacific Northwesterners tend to think of salmon

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Fashion History – Clothing of the Middle Ages in Western Europe

The Middle Ages encompasses the time from the Fall of the Roman Empire in 400 CE until the beginning of the Renaissance, around 1500 CE.

Clothing of the Early Middle Ages, or Dark Ages, was basically a tunic and under tunic, both sewn from a cross shaped piece of fabric that was folded and hand stitched. Later, the tunic was cut in two pieces, then four piece for a better fit.

Peasants and serfs made their clothes at home of wool and hemp. The shearing, and cleaning of the wool; the spinning, and weaving was a long drawn out chore before the invention of the spinning wheel and the horizontal loom. But the garment were durable and long lasting. One garment could last a life time.

While the upper classes and aristocracy wore basically the same type of clothing, their under tunics were made of linen which was made for them by workers. Upper class women sewed tunics at home and some were made by professional tailors.

Due to the loss of trade that followed the end of the Roman Empire, trade was minimal, so the importation of fine fabrics was expensive and rare. But finer weaves, borders, and embellishments made for better clothing for the elite.

After the invention of the horizontal loom and spinning wheel, the manufacture of clothing became easier. These technological improvements made finer clothing more available and affordable. The Crusades introduced silk, damask, and other luxurious fabrics and designs into Europe. And when Marco Polo's adventures heralded a new interest in the Far East, trade increased, creating greater availability of textiles, design ideas, and new patterned fabric to Europe.

Clothing worn by the nobility and merchants began to change, introducing the concept of fashion. While the Church dictated certain aspects of dress for modesty, such as veils for women, alterations in the in the types of fabrics used varied the styles that became popular. Women wore veils made of sheer muslin, interwoven with golden threads. Gowns became more ornate with variations in the neckline, sleeves, and hem lengths.

The establishment of guilds and improvements in the manufacture of clothing created an upwardly mobile middle class able to emulate the clothing styles of the upper class. New styles emerged including the elaborate head dresses of the later Middle Ages. The head dresses that looked like horns were wildly popular for a generation, as was the classic fairy tale princess style of hat called a hennin. A hennin was a tall, conical hat worn with a veil, a style much identified with the Middle Ages.

The later Middle Ages saw women's gowns grow trains, and sleeves elongated so that long flaps reached the ground.

The changing of style and middle class interest in emulating the clothing styles of the elite created what we think of today as fashion.

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