Category Archives: books

Favorite Kids Books- January Edition

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We stumbled across some fun, fun kids books lately that I wanted to share before I forgot about them!

CrayonsThe Day the Crayons Quit: This book is a series of letters from all the crayons in Duncan’s box. All Duncan wants to do is color his picture, but his crayons want to lodge their complaints first. We had a blast with this book, giving all the crayons different voices and talking about why each crayon may feel a little slighted.  Loved it!

Tiger
The Day Mr. Tiger Goes Wild:
An absolutely gorgeously illustrated book about breaking the rules and being true to yourself. The kids were mesmerized with the pictures and the story- I think we read it every night we had it from the library.

Hiccup
How to Train Your DragonEver since we put the breaks on reading the Harry Potter series, I’ve struggled to find a series we could love as much. We got these books for Christmas and I wasn’t too enthusiastic about them as we had already seen (and liked) the movie by the same name. Seemed a little repetitive to read the book, but we gave it a shot- and haven’t put them down yet. While the character names are the same, the plot is very different from the movie. These books are hysterical and suspenseful and a little scary and written so well that I’m loving them just as much as Scorch is! Bean listens in, but I think she’s still a tad too young to really enjoy them but I’m so glad we gave this series a chance! Since Christmas we’ve blown through book 1 and are 3/4th of the way done with book 2!

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Winter Ramblings

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Last night I had the craziest anxiety dream- I was studying to be a baker and I had to create a new breakfast pastry combining a croissant and donuts. While snakes were biting me and my pants were falling down because they were too big and I didn’t have a belt.  All this because I haven’t wrapped a single gift yet- so forgive me if this post is disjointed.

First- meet David/Davis. He is Scorch’s newest Hermit Crab that he bought with his own money on Monday.

Davis

Too bad I’m 99% David/Davis is dead as he hasn’t come out of shell once that we’ve seen since Tuesday. Awesome. Merry Christmas kid, let’s talk about the Circle of Life.

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The kids had a snow day on Tuesday.  It was freezing out with a -12 with the windchill in the morning, so I made the kids wait until the afternoon and then we went out to sled!  (I dread the day my kids won’t let me dress them in goofy winter hats.)

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Only it wasn’t sledding snow- we just sunk right to the ground.  So we decided to follow the dog and take a hike instead.

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I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again- I don’t know how people who don’t live in the country do it. Between our 2 acres, our creek and the woods around us, my kids would stay outside all day, every day if I let them.  We hiked until the kids were freezing and tired (just how I like ’em) and then I set them up with some hot chocolate and Good Luck Charlie on Netflix and worked for a few hours until it was time to play a few cut-throat rounds of Old Maid.  Not a bad way to spend the day!

Snow

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After finishing the first 3 books in the Harry Potter series, we’ve been struggling to find a book that captured all our attention again. We read the 3 Stink Moody books and we enjoyed them- but they didn’t suck us in like a really good book does. We were recently given the first 3 books of the How to Train Your Dragon series as a Christmas gift so we decided to start the first one. Both Scorch and I were reluctant because we’ve seen the movie and we figured it would be the same exact thing.  So glad to say we were wrong- the book, thus far, is great! We are absolutely loving it- Scorch loves the story and I love the story telling. Two huge thumbs up from us!

A New Favorite

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While I’ve been on a bit of a reading slump lately (as in nothing’s holding my attention), the kids and I read the best book today called Dozens of Cousins by Shutta Crum.  It took me a few pages to find the cadence because some passages rhyme and some don’t, but once I got my groove, I fell in love. It’s a book about a pack of cousins (collectively called the beasties) at a family reunion for the day and the mischief they cause.

By the time that coals are all that’s left to glitter,

we’re adrift in the murmuring river of adults.

Our bare feet drag through the settling dew.

We claw our way onto laps, steal hugs,

and snatch at splashes of song.

 

Oh, we are weary ogres!

We float, munching on tasty words

that well up in stories,

and on the soft lapping of laughter.

Ahhhh, tender beastie food.

The kids and I had to stop and talk about what some of the pages were saying, like the one above, but once they got it you could see their eyes light up. It reminded me of the fun you can have only with the people who you’ve known your whole life. If you’re looking for a lovely, funny story about extended family, this is it.

Boring & extraordinary

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So lately my life has neither been wicked or crazy, although it has been slightly awesome in that nothing-has-broken-no-one-has-died sorta way.  This past week has just been exhausting as we settle back into our new normal of school and basketball and swim lessons and homework and fall temperatures and birthday parties.  All of which are good, good things- they just all hit at once.

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Scorch continues to love school with a fiery passion and is as happy as a lark to get out of bed each morning and get going!  The Bean, on the other hand, needs to be dragged out of bed most mornings and usually starts crying about going to school right around the time we pull into the parking lot.  In case you were wondering, it is loads of fun to drag a crying 5 year old across a parking lot, across the street and into her classroom every day, thank you very much. *sigh*  Thankfully she’s fine 2 minute after we leave (I peek in on her most mornings) and each afternoon when I got to pick her up, she runs away from me because she wants to stay and play.

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We are trying to eek out every ray of sunshine and speck of warmth that we can from Mother Nature because fall is quickly approaching, with winter waiting in the wings.  While I miss the sun being up when I leave the house early every morning, for 2 weeks I was treated to the most gorgeous sunrises on my way home from the gym.  I was pulling over every single morning just to capture the pink skies on my phone because they were awe-inspiring.  I mean, have you ever..?!

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I haven’t read a really compelling book in a long time. I’m in the middle of Dan Brown’s Inferno but right now I’m annoyed / depressed by it. Annoyed because in the copy I have from the library, random words/passages are bolded for emphasis by the author/publisher. If I’m not smart enough to place my own emphasis while reading, well then, I have no business reading at all.  And depressed because the book talks at length about how the world is going to hell in a hand basket due to over population sooner rather than later.  Not exactly bedtime reading material. Next on my to-read list is The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, so here’s hoping that’s better. I have, however, managed to watch both seasons of Scandal in the past 3 weeks. Make of that what you will. 😉

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So, that’s the state of us and our average, normal, extraordinary life! How’s your life?

Books, Books, Glorious Books

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Last week,  before the Plague hit, Scorch and I finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I didn’t want him reading the Harry Potter books this young- but many of his friends were and he begged for months before I finally gave in.  We went slow- just 3 or 4 pages a night- and he loved them. He begged to read them on his own* because he couldn’t stand how slow we were going but since we were reading on the Nook, I got to dictate the pace.  As we got close to the end, I got him his own paperback copy of the book and we used that for the final 3 chapters.  When we read the last chapter, I admit, I got choked up.  I mean the part with Neville getting the final points for Gryffendor always gets me, but the fact that I was sitting there, reading one of my favorite books, with my kid who was cheering out loud during the whole thing just put me over the edge.  If I haven’t it said it before, let me say it again, books are awesome (and the  kid isn’t half bad either!).

Since HP has been taking up a lot of our time, we’ve haven’t read many other books lately with the kiddos, but here are a few that we’ve loved recently:

> The Diary of a Wombat books are precious! The are sweet and funny and beautifully drawn- we love them all!

> We just read a new-to-us Mo Williems books tonight (Should I Share My Ice Cream with Gerald and Piggie- our favorites!) and we loved it. Heck, we love all his books.

> Please, Puppy, Please may be one of our all time favorite, sweetest books ever. Seriously- the illustrations will get you as will the lovely, simple story about kids and their puppy.

As for me, I seem to be in a reading drought. I’m reading a lot- but nothing is really grabbing me.  I’m up for any recommendations you may have, please!

 

 

*I wouldn’t let him, which I think earns me a seat in hell because that’s some grade-A torture for him right there!

Chalk

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I’m tired and cranky tonight- even my festive PJ bottoms aren’t doing much to raise my spirits. I feel like Little Lama in Lama, Lama, Holiday Drama- there is simply too much going on right now and not enough time to do it all.   So to counteract all the blech, here’s what makes me happy right now:

> The kids and I read a wonderful book tonight called Chalk. There are no words in this book, just gorgeous illustrations and a wonderful story about the power of imagination. Scorch was not pleased when we started it, but by the end, he asked to read it again.  Love it.

> I got a compliment today that makes me hope that my crazy workout schedule is paying off.

> I know what I’m buying everyone for Christmas- now I just need to actually purchase said gifts.

> I love, love, love opening the mailbox and getting all the Christmas cards. Love them.

Ok, that’s all I can think of. Let’s hope tomorrow is a better day.

Let’s Talk…

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About what, I don’t know. There is so much going on in our little world- big and small- that I’m stuck as to where to start.  So here goes my brain dump:
> The end of summer sneaks up on us every year- kinda like Christmas. And every year we try to jam in a lot of things in a very short period of time. This past weekend it was a Renaissance Festival a few hours away and swimming at a nearby waterfall even though the water was 68 degrees.

> The kids and I loved the Ren Festival- they had a blast with the archery, horse back riding, dart throwing, jousting and rides. I just wish I had more time to shop. I thought the people dressed in costume (both the actors and visitors) were a ton of fun, but I could not get behind all the bare foot folks wandering around. I don’t care how authentic it is or isn’t, I couldn’t stop thinking about what they were stepping in and how likely they were to get hurt.

> We had Scorch tested for allergies yesterday. We knew he didn’t have any food allergies thanks to testing we did when he was 2, but it was clear he had environmental allergies (by clear, I mean the poor boy has been miserable all spring/summer).  Basically my poor kid is allergic to the great outdoors (all of it) and he still have hives on his back from the test yesterday. So we start experimenting with meds and see if we can make next year a bit more bearable for him.

> I’m re-reading one of my favorite books (Outlander by Diana Gabaldon). *sigh* It’s like visiting old friends- I love that book.

> I bought a few tickets to tonight’s Powerball drawing. I don’t need to win the grand prize- even getting 5 numbers is good enough for me. That’s roughly $1M. On our drive home from a fantastic family picnic tonight, I mentally figured out how we’d spend every dime of that money after taxes. Am I the only one that does that?

Here’s hoping next time I write, I’ll be writing as millionaire!

 

Sanity Saver: Book Edition

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The other day when we were able the library, I picked up a book on CD for the kiddos on a whim.  The book is Young Fredle and I got it because the cover art was adorable and it was right by the librarian’s desk. The book is about a young house mouse name Fredle who suddenly finds himself outside- where he has to make new friends, find a new home and figure out how best to live.  The book (we’re about half way through) is utterly charming- but best of all, it’s long (about 5 hours give or take).

This, ladies & gentleman, is why my kids no longer fight in the car. My kids are enthralled- they are so busy listening they forget to beat each other up!

Honestly, the book is a little old for them. I found out after I got it that it’s targeted for kids 8 and up and there are some parts that go right over both kids heads (Bean’s especially), but they love listening to it and we find ourselves talking about Fredle a lot even when we’re not in the car.  Scorch is having a lot of fun trying to guess what things Fredle is describing since a house mouse has no words for things like a lawn mower or flowers.  We stop the CD often to talk about words the kids don’t know- like “impenetrable” or “hesitant.”

My impulse grab has turned out to be my best decision in a long time!

 

Soundbites: Kiddos, Book, Camps & Activies

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For some reason I don’t seem to have a whole coherent post in my head this week and instead of forcing it, y’all can just get my brain dump:

> After  a week of crazy, my kids are charming the pants off me. What ever was clogging up their hearing has come out, they are using manners and getting along (more or less). So glad I don’t have to give them to the circus.

> We had the Bean’s pre-school end-of-year concert today.  Her class sang 3 songs and they were as cute as can be (as were the other classes).  The kids were so very excited to be the center of attention up there on stage with all their families watching- some kids couldn’t stop waving long enough to actually sing.  What surprised me was that for as crazy as my kid is, she was very reserved up on stage. I’m guessing American Idol isn’t in her future.

> We’ve read a bunch of great new (to us) kids books lately:
Doggone Dogs by Karen Beaumont: A counting book with rhymes about a man who can’t keep up with his 10 crazy dogs.
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont: A book about a kid who just can’t help painting- everywhere! Fun rhymes dealing with body parts- my kids loved guessing                        what was getting painted on next. And the pictures? Gorgeous!
Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems. Honestly, there isn’t a book by Willems that we don’t like and when he brings tears to my eyes, they’re usually tears of laughter. Not this one,
this story about Trixie growing up made me choke up for a whole new reason.  Absolutely perfect ending to this charming series (read: Knuffle Bunny & Knuffle Bunny Too if you
haven’t.)

> I’m trying to figure out the fun that is summer camps for my kids. My life was much stinking easier when we had Mary in it. The kid’s school offers full day summer camp, which is fantastic because the Bean is too young for most other full day camps around here. But Scorch wants to do Baseball camp as well, so I’m trying to figure out how to juggle it all.

> I’m feeling, in general, that its hard to figure out what the kids should be doing. Even in a small town, at any given my time my kids have the options of dancing, doing gymnastics, playing various sports, swim lessons, karate, music and on and on and on.  They are too young to really really know what they want to do, so I want to offer them everything- and that’s just not logistically possible. I know I’m over thinking this and it’s making me crazy.

That’s all I got- So You Think You Can Dance is calling my name.

5 Good Things

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Given that I don’t actually have anything of substance to talk about today, I’m just going to share 5 good things going on in our lives:

1. The kids and I read a new book today that made us laugh called Hattie the Bad. Hattie is a little girl who thinks being good is boring, so she decides to be bad- she put frogs in the fridge, likes to scare people and tries to sell her brother at a garage sale. Hattie is so naughty that while the kids all love her, the parents tell them they can’t play with her any more. So Hattie decides to be the best she can possibly be- only that is a little boring. None of her friends want to hang around her anymore since she’s so very good. So Hattie has to figure out what is the mix that makes her her. While I’m not entirely sure how I feel about a book that portrays a child being super good as one with no friends, the book itself was funny, beautifully illustrated and it prompted a great conversation between Scorch and me.

2. Finally, finally, our grocery store has amazing watermelon in stock. I don’t know where it was made- it could have been dipped in all sorts of crazy chemicals for all I know- but it was amazing and that makes me (and my kids!) happy.

3. I found a way to download all my old Facebook posts!! I’ve been wondering how to do this for quite some time as some of my family’s funniest moments and greatest memories are written there and I was thrilled to find out how stinking easy it was. Formatting isn’t perfect- but at least I have something.

4. Little League starts this week for Scorch. We’ve been talking about this forever so I’m beyond happy that the season is finally starting. I’m a little nervous as Scorch is on a team with 6, 7 and 8 year olds, but the Hubs is coaching along with 2 great friends and long time baseball coaches, so I’m sure we’ll be fine.

5. I’m off tomorrow and Friday for the last 2 days of the kid’s Spring Break. I have no idea what we’re doing or how we’re going to pass the time, but I’m excited for a 4 day weekend with the family!