What We’re Reading

Dear Kristen,

Procrastination looks good on Little Mister!  I loved his costume! Simple. Clever. And unique!

We weren’t so clever or unique – but simple was the name of the game.  Batman and Tweak.

Costume Recipes:

Batman: pajamas with a homemade cape attached with safety pins to the shirt. Perfect for Little Man.

Tweak: Found it on the internet, bought it, and it arrived at our doorstep.  It doesn’t get much easier than that!  What do you do when your daughter insists she wants to be a green bunny engineer from her favorite TV show (Octonauts)?  Well, you don’t try to make a light green sweatsuit with bunny ears, that’s for sure!

So people thought she was the Easter Bunny or weren’t sure what to think.  But she was happy.

And reading is making her happy, too, so I thought I’d share what we’ve been reading of recent.  Munchkin is entering the world of reading all on her own (little squeal of delight!) and so we’ve been working to have fresh, exciting library books available and fun things to explore!

Munckin’s Recent Reads

  1. Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems.  51olbjkb2bel-_sx363_bo1204203200_I think I’ve mentioned these before – but there are a variety of them and she can make out many of the words all on her own.  She also has a quick memory, so she can usually recite it after the second reading…so then I’m not positive how much reading is being done….
  2. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  51o8luyt2il-_sx378_bo1204203200_Silliness and rhyming out the wazoo – all good things!
  3. Hop on Pop by Dr. Suess.  51clhaltlfl-_sx355_bo1204203200_We got this as a listening book at the library.  God bless audio books!  But seriously, if I had to read Hop on Pop as often as she listened to it, I might go slightly nuts.
  4. The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson.  51gthz-af4l-_sx385_bo1204203200_Another audio book, but since Halloween is over, Christmas books can come out!  And her brother likes this, too.

Little Man’s Recent Reads

  1. Little Blue Truck (any of them) by Schertle and McElmurry. 51m07baimtl-_sy448_bo1204203200_“Boo Truck!” is how he asks and its adorable.
  2. Frankenstein by Adams and Oliver. 519fcmyv-ll-_sy498_bo1204203200_“Monster!”
  3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Martin and Archambault. 51hsu2qlyhl-_sx378_bo1204203200_“Boom! Booooommmm!”  He likes singing the alphabet song at the end, which is awesome with his gibberish.
  4. Anything his sister is reading……which makes for epic fallouts….. Is it better that they are fighting over books?

So there you have it!  Reading with the 5 and 2 year olds is bringing delight and smiles.  Today, I’m giving thanks for those moments of joy. (And for coffee.  I’m giving thanks for that, too.)

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I’ll Take A Cherry Limeade, Please

Dear Kristen,

Remember me? I’m your sister!  I bet you forgot you had one since I’ve been silent on this here blog for…..cough……well, forever.  I’m sorry!  I’ve been off in Lime Land.

Lime Land: noun.  A state of being that is interesting, tart, confused, and slightly under appreciated.

You know the saying, “When life gives you lemons…”?  It categorizes things in life that are hard, and then you’re supposed to think optimistically about it to make it all better.  But what if I want to know that the hard things are necessary and good, even if hard?  I don’t want to just mask it with superficial sugar.

Life has been different for the past couple of months.  Hard, but not really hard, per say, just…life.  Limes are a wonderful fruit, perfect for understanding us.  They make things interesting, different. Are they for savory things or sweet?  Are they sweet and innocent or appropriate for bars and the night life? They’re all these things!  Limes force someone to do a double take, they evoke thoughts of sunshine, and they’re cute and little and awesome.

Limes added to rice make a WHOLE different dinner.  Limes in a pie?  Nothing is quite like it – even lemon meringue pies can’t compare with the delightfulness of Key Lime Pie.  Limes take mixed drinks to a whole new level – a drinkable level in my opinion.  Give me a Moscow Mule without a lime and I won’t touch it.  Give it to me with a lime…I’ll taste it!  Don’t mask the lime, just let it meld with everything to give a richness to it.

And my favorite, a Cherry Limeade.  All things wonderful in a glass.

So…we’ve been in Lime Land.  Which really is just normal life.  Can I give you an edited run down?img_4027

  1. Munchkin is in Kindergarten.  It has been emotional and hard at moments.  But she is doing great…and its nice to have only one kid talking my ear off all day instead of two.  (Is that bad?)  She’s growing up, making friends, learning new things, and none of that is a bad thing.  In fact, they’re beautiful life things!
  2. Little Man has had an allergic reaction to something – maybe a dye free and fragrance free dryer sheet, maybe some other mysterious thing. But it doesn’t bother him!  And since we have lots of fun with allergies around here, it wasn’t NOT expected.

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    Mommy, can I have a cherry limeade?

  3. Our just over a year old (and slightly past warranty) dishwasher broke.  We could spend the amount of money for a replacement expensive dishwasher to fix it or buy a new one.  We bought a new one. A less expensive one.  (Our track record for appliances is abysmal at best.  Thanks Consumer Reports for teaching us that even you are imperfect.) Our kids, however, have enjoyed their “rocket ship” continually since we got it. (Yes, we’ve just had a huge box floating around our house.) So there’s been lots laughter to combat the memory of weeks of hand washing. (And the old one became a cheap therapy session for some high schoolers who broke it all into little pieces…) img_4191
  4. Little Man is a full blown two-year-old, which means tantrums on a daily basis.  And I can’t think of anything to make this better.  But he will get through it.  We will survive this.  We’ve done it before.
  5. We’ve been in and at weddings and wedding events for the past few weeks – and although tiring – weddings are always awesome. img_4176
  6. The weather has cooled down, which means its time for pants.  Which means Munchkin Meltdowns before school because she decides she doesn’t like the jeans she picked out at the store YESTERDAY any more.  Hello, mirror.  Its so fun to see my five-year-old face sassing me in the same way I did Mom years ago.  Sorry about those moments, Mom.

This isn’t a comprehensive list.  But really, if everyone wrote down all the challenges and joys of a week (not to mention a couple months), it would be epically long.

Our Lime Land life has had its share of challenges and joys. But combined it makes for a rich life.  So I’ll take a Cherry Limeade, please.  Some sweetness, some tartness, and more than a little splash of interesting.

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from urbanstrawberries.com

Geeking Out – YA Books…

Dear Kristen,

I’m sorry I stole HP from you….

Or at least a little sorry. In my defense, our likes are so similar that it was bound to happen. Except, I think, for this next one.  I’m pretty sure I’m alone in this.

YA Books – specifically those in the Fantasy/Science Fiction genre.

I feel like this needs an explanation.  Because I’m 35, which is not “Young Adult” and so there are probably those out there that are like…”huh? Did you not grow up or mature in the last 20+ years?”

I know, I know.  Sometimes when I put these books on hold, I’m a little embarrassed to take them to the librarian to check out.  Its not like I can plead, “Oh, I’m getting this for my daughter,” since she’s next to me…and 5 years old and only wants to read Mo Willems.

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But trust me, I got into these for very logical reasons.

#1 – I taught middle and high school for 9 years, and some of my students were avid, precocious readers and invested their reading time in certain books that I wasn’t so sure about.  Were they okay?  Were they appropriate for them to read?  (It was the same argument that teachers originally had about Harry Potter books, too.)  So, in the interest of wanting to both know the answer to my questions and have a chance to share something with the students I cared so much about, I read the books they read.  And I liked some of them.

#2 – There are books that are written for an adult audience that have been recommended to me, are national best sellers, and have surprised me with X-rated scenes.  I’m not talking about the kind of book where its expected – I avoid those.  I’m talking about ones that you are reading and enjoying and then WHAM!  The author went there – and I feel dirty.  So I put those books aside and look for something that is more PG-13 but still entertaining and possibly even sophisticated in its story telling ability.  So…YA fantasy/science fiction.

See?  Completely logical!

So here, I’m going to share some series that I enjoyed, would recommend to others and got a little geeky over.  Geeky like, I put the whole series on hold after reading the first chapter of the first book.  Geeky like, I obsessively checked to see if the library had ordered the newest book in the series yet to be released so that I could be the first in our county to read it. Yup. Geeky.

  • The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins – Yes, everyone and their mother know about this, but it really was very fun.

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  • The Divergent Series, by Veronica Roth – Same as above.  Roth is coming out with a new series next year, so I’m interested in checking that out, too.

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  • The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer – Fairytales turned into science fiction novels.  It was clever and engaging and overall very fun!

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  • Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier – If Matt had seen the cover of the book with the girl on it, we would never have checked out the audio book.  But he saw a different one, so we did.  This is a time traveling series that was pretty creative.  It also helped that a British woman narrated the book and that always makes a book extra awesome!

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  • Throne of Glass, by Sarah Maas – I suggest this with the disclaimer that it is rated R, but if you like magic, assassins, etc. and can take some pretty violent scenes and some language, then you might like this!  But, you’ve just been warned.

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There are definitely others that were pretty fun, easy to read, and enjoyable for adults who need a break from…adult fiction…but these were the ones I enjoyed the most.  And I realize they all feature strong female leads, many that have a warrior bent.  I don’t feel like I’m type-casting myself, more just stating where YA fantasy/science fiction books have settled of recent.

I do feel like I need to now write about adult fiction books that I’ve liked to show I have some sophistication…but I will refrain.  Mainly because I already wrote about geeking out over Jane Austen – and she is the epitome of sophistication.

 

Geeking Out – Potter

Dear Kristen,

Pushing Daisies was SUCH a fun show!  I loved the colors, singing, and weirdness, too.  Plus I like pie, so the idea of endless pie is, well, awesome.  There’s a cookbook I still sometimes glance through and wonder, would this be as good with GF crust?  I think I should try it out more.  Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pies. Deee-licious!  And if it had a recipe for Crack Pie like the one sold here, it would be the perfect dessert collection.

For those of us who like pie, that is.

My next (and silghtly belated) geekery is one that is the fave of pretty much everyone over the age of 22. And many under the age of 22, too.

Harry Potter.

(I did meet another 3o something who was only just NOW reading the books for the first time, now that her children were in elementary school.  I was flabbergasted to say the least.)

Harry. Potter.

It is AMAZING in book form, AMAZING when read by Jim Dale, and pretty great in movie form.  (I know I just offended someone by not describing the movies as AMAZING, but the first few are just okay.  The last ones are AMAZING, but the series overall grade is an A-/B+…which is not failing, so I feel good about this.)

To show you how I feel about these books, let me give you some facts.

  1. I have only pre-ordered two books in my life.5128atd9dsl-_sx418_bo1204203200_51by71ubtal-_sx329_bo1204203200_
  2. When the Deathly Hallows arrived, I shut myself away from my husband for 2 days to read it, taking a break only to go to work.  And he was okay with it.  Because then HE got to read it.
  3. When Mud-Blood Prince was released in America, I was in Ireland.  And I couldn’t wait until I got back to the states to read it…so I bought the grown-up looking Brit version.  I get warm flutterings in my heart when I see it, EVEN THOUGH it messes up the symmetry on my bookshelf.IMG_3884
  4. And now there’s Fantastic Beasts coming out and I may not be able to wait until it comes to Red Box.  AMAZING.

Seriously though.  Harry Potter is AWESOME!  Like, really, who doesn’t want to delve into a book so imaginative that it started a whole new style of books for kids/young adults?  And its EPIC.  And its QUIRKY.  And it has twists and surprises NO ONE could have guessed and they work perfectly.  How many children have been born and named Harry because of these stories?  People who were fans from the beginning are now having children and spreading the love for them.  I know people who had a real (though illogical) hope to receive an acceptance letter to Hogwarts when they turned 11, only to be disappointed.  So fun! (And funny – I think those children need a lesson in fiction vs. nonfiction….)

I love it.

And as soon as I finish the book I’m currently reading, I’m going to start reading them all over again.

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Geeking Out – Pirates

Dear Kristen,

I totally remember your Powerpuff Girl phase.  It was awesome!

And hilarious…

But probably no more hilariously weird as my next one:

Pirates!

Walk the plank! Aarrgh!

Why is it weird?  Do you know anything about real pirates?  They were AWFUL. Morbidly awful.  Horribly evil in many cases and yet, you make a Disney ride about them and I am ALL IN.  This is probably all connected to my obsession with historical figures and events and the idea that humanity can be both messed up and wonderfully beautiful all at once.  I’m not sure pirates fit that description unless they are make-believe.

Thank you, Disney, for making that a reality!

Did I have Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise before there was a movie?  Yes, yes, I did.  Is that the first ride we go to when we visit the Magic Kingdom. Of course.  And did I go  really a little crazy when Johnny Depp came into the picture?

Um…..yes.

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Please and thank you.

But really, what’s not to love?  You get to sail the ocean wide, visit beautiful islands, fight with swords, and be overall extremely clever.  It’s perfect.

So, Munchkin was a pirate one Halloween, Little Man will probably get a pirate ship for his birthday, and who knows, maybe one day they’ll learn to talk pirate.  Saavy?

Yes.  There is nothing wrong with me.  Skulls, death, pillaging and plundering….Yeah, really nothing wrong with me at all….