Dec 9, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Christmas Update, Part II

All Christmas letters are printed AND signed.  Cards have been acquired, and the list has been found.  The dance recital is successfully concluded.

Someday I shall return to actual blog posts…

Dec 7, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Christmas Update

Cards have been ordered and will be picked up tomorrow, as well as gifts for at least 6 people.  A Christmas letter draft has been written, a gift for my dad should be in Idaho next week, and more piano practicing for the recital happened today (as well as dance practicing for THAT recital).  What shall I do tomorrow?

Dec 5, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Snack Review

I spent the morning in our storage room, taming the chaos and (FINALLY!) finding the winter coat my two-year-old will be wearing this year, which means that my lower back is killing me.  Here, then, is a short review of unhealthy snacks, for your reading pleasure:

Hershey’s Gold Bar:  Weirdly delicious.  Even my hubby, who was disappointed when he read the wrapper and realized it wasn’t actually chocolate, liked it when he tasted it.

Hot Cocoa Oreos:  Mmmm.  These are tasty, too.

Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Tidings:  Hmm.  Love the white ones, the red ones are pretty good, and the green ones are just weird.  Gummy candy shouldn’t taste like a Christmas-Tree-scented candle smells.

What snacks are YOU enjoying this holiday season?

 

Dec 3, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

A Little Like Christmas

You know that feeling you get when you finish a book and know, just KNOW, that someone you love is going to love it?  I finished Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society last night, and I’m kind of ridiculously excited to hand it off to my daughter.  What’s not to love about a rigorously tested group of gifted kids saving the world from the plans of an evil egomaniac?  If you can imagine a mashup of Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, Ender’s Game, and the movie “Sneakers,” you’ve pretty much got The Mysterious Benedict Society–and if you enjoyed all four of those, I’m betting you’re going to love this!  (And if you need a Christmas gift for a reader who loves mystery and adventure, look no further.  I may not bother giving my oldest the library’s copy, considering…)

The Mysterious Benedict Society


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Dec 1, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Sorry Not Sorry

Okay, so I know I skipped a post on Wednesday, but that was because my fabulous hubby took me to see Billy Joel in concert.

We were a little busy.  And it was AWESOME.

I suppose I’ll spare you the play by play, however, since it would take forever to type, and instead pass along this lovely recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes.  Everybody in the family likes it, doubling it just feeds our family of six (although our youngest is two, so definitely triple it if you have four kids but they’re all in elementary school or older), and it’s beautifully forgiving.  Forgot to do self-rising flour instead of regular?  No worries, just throw in some baking powder and salt before you pour the batter on the griddle.  Want to do half whole wheat?  You’re good!   Don’t have quite enough leftover pumpkin?  Just use more applesauce instead.  If you want a lovely fall breakfast–or breakfast for dinner–my family can wholeheartedly endorse this one.

 

Nov 27, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

I Remember Nothing

Okay, that sounds ominous, but it’s true; I got the second Babysitters Club graphic novel and decided to read it for fun before giving it to my older girls, but other than the title–The Truth About Stacey–I remember nothing about the original.  I did enjoy the graphic novel, although the premise was a bit more unlikely (also a bit more sitcom-episode-y?).  The rival ‘Babysitters Agency’ made for a neat plot conflict and resolution, while Stacey’s parents’ efforts to help her diabetes was a nice contrast.  Both situations, however, read a little differently from a parent’s point of view!  Bottom line?  If you have an interest in reading it, pick it up and enjoy it; if you’re not drawn to it naturally, you probably won’t miss it.

Do with that what you will.

Nov 25, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Bravo!

Can we all just take a moment to appreciate the gift to children’s literature that is Andrea Beaty?  Because really.  Her picture books are a delight–Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Iggy Peck, Architect, and Ada Twist, Scientist, not to mention Hush, Baby Ghostling, etc.–and the Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies duo is quite the romp, but I LOVED Dorko the Magnificent.  I texted screen shots of pages to more than one person just to share the laugh, and yet if Robbie had had a different style of narration I probably would have cried a few times as well.  (The style worked perfectly for the book, though, and there was plenty of poignancy.)  If Joan Bauer had Anne of Green Gables on the brain–in a very contemporary setting–she might have written Dorko.  Robbie has all the passion for magic that her characters have for their various hobbies, but with Anne’s penchant for getting into scrapes rather consistently.  And Grandma Melvyn could conceivably be a modern-day mashup of Marilla, Rachel Lynde, Mr. Harrison, Mrs. Gibson, and whatever other of L.M. Montgomery’s crotchety older characters  that you can think of.  (Although she’s also very much her own person.)

Anyway.  Comparison can only take you so far, however, because Andrea Beaty is fabulous in her own right.  Robbie’s quest to wow the world (starting with Hobson Elementary School) with his magic act intersects with Grandma Melvyn’s move into his home in an unforgettable mix of disaster and triumph; the relationship between the two of them, however, is what makes the book great.  It’s a classic plot–the sort that’s classic for good reason–and it’s executed almost flawlessly.  Get this for your kids, read it yourself, and recommend it to a friend, because it’s a thoroughly delightful read.

Dorko the Magnificent


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Nov 21, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

A Nice SHORT Read

Because really, my oldest is still sick, and I’m still sick, and Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow…yeah.  It seemed the perfect time to read the fourth ‘Tale from Deckawoo Drive,’ Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package.  And while it wasn’t my favorite of the bunch–the climactic transition seemed a little sudden–it was (as always!) a delightful read.  Eugenia Lincoln has been a joyless martinet for books and books now, but in this one we finally see a softening.  Not a complete transformation, you understand, but a softening.  Pick this one up and open her package right along with her!

Okay, that’s an awfully short review/post, but ugh, this virus!  Have a happy Thanksgiving, folks.  I’m off until the 25th in hopes that more rest will get me better faster…

Nov 19, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

No Longer Hanging

Sadly, I have finished the last of Matthew Loux’s Salt Water Taffy:  The Seaside Adventures of Jack and Benny graphic novels; I could happily read 5 more just like them, but it doesn’t seem like I’ll be given the chance.

Sigh.

Still, you should read them.  Caldera’s Revenge:  Part 2 resolves Part 1‘s cliffhanger nicely, although the wrap-up is perhaps on the speedy side.  With a ghost whaling ship, a cranky albatross, and fermented whale blubber, how can you go wrong?  Sunny the young giant squid and Caldera, a whale of monstrous proportions (and temper!), have impressively drawn personalities, I have to say–even if I still don’t love the way Loux does hands.  (It bothered me again in this one, albeit briefly.)  I wouldn’t vote this best in the series, but it’s not a disappointment, either.  What IS a disappointment is that some of these are out of print; I did, however, manage to buy used copies of all of them.  Seek them out at your library today!

Salt Water Taffy: Caldera’s Revenge! Part 2


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Nov 17, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Viruses Are Miserable

My oldest stayed home from school today with a cough, exhaustion, and a low-grade fever (but NOT an appetite).  I ended up taking her in since it’s downright freaky to see her that lethargic, and of course, she has a virus.  By the time the day was firmly started, I was experiencing enough of the same symptoms to realize that this is going to be one of those bonding experiences that no one actually wants to have; we had leftover soup and toasted English muffins for dinner, and I’m trying not to fall asleep before my kiddos are in bed and I can do so without failing to do something major, because I just feel yucky.

On the other hand, I did finish Kristy’s Great Idea, the graphic novel version of the first ‘Babysitters Club’ book.  From what I remember–I did read the original when I was a kid–it’s pretty faithful to the story, and Raina Telgemeier’s art adds the kind of emotion that only perfectly drawn facial expressions can.  It’s fluffier than her memoirs, which is no surprise, but it’s fun.  If you have elementary-age girls, give this a try, and if you read the series as a kid, enjoy this one for nostalgia’s sake!*

*If you’re too young for the original series (or lived under a rock in the late 80s!), the Babysitters Club books are about a group of friends who form a club (!) that parents can call to reach four babysitters instead of one.  You read about their babysitting jobs, their friendships, and their problems, and most of the girls I knew were fans in elementary school.)

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