Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Have You Seen My Sad Tiger?

I found this- Disneyworld trip (Feb.) He cracks me up!

Yummy Mysteries

I'm hooked on these fun murder mysteries that combine food, recipes, and dead people. Check them out and bake some of the fun recipes included. I ended up downloading many of them to my Kindle so I could bookmark the recipes and cook them right from my computer screen!

Beware! They'll make you want to bake and eat cookies!

Vacation and Musing

Time to roll another year. Yes, tomorrow is my birthday and we are spending it up north for a change. My family accidentally happened upon a tradition of which we are quite fond. Four years ago we rented a cottage in the UP the week after school got out. I initially thought it was crazy due to trying to pack up my classroom and then pack five people for a week away from home. We have, however, continued this tradition for each consecutive year because 1) it forces me to finish my classroom the day I get out of school and not drag it into the following week; 2) it is a GREAT stress reliever to have a small place that is easy to clean, tons of magazines to read, walks each day and oodles of family time! 3) this year, especially, we get to celebrate Father's Day and my birthday up here. It is warm and peaceful and, if I get my birthday wish, I'll be able to listen to the song of the loons in the morning. We'll see.

So, yesterday so many of the lives I've lived converged. I took my family to Fisherman's Island State Park which I haven't visited in about 18 years or so. The last time I did I was with another person and I was (gulp) tent camping! Lake Michigan is my favorite lake of all of them surrounding the state of Michigan, so that was another plus to this park- miles of Lk. Michigan beach. We saw enormous lake trout vying for food as soon as we stepped foot on the sand. The kids climbed small dunes and we looked for petoskey stones for about an hour- found tons! Baby twin and I walked all the way out to Fisherman's Island which isn't even an island anymore due to the recession of the lake levels. Now, you just walk out there! She didn't understand the the beach we were traversing used to be under water. When we found shallow, sandy bottom (where we sat was rocky and full of algae), she dove in and swam around like a little fish. It made me so happy to see her enjoy my favorite lake so much. I wish I hadn't found out once we were up here that my camera battery is so dead it won't charge anymore!

This place makes me happy to be a mom- so many things to do with the kids! I am glad the cottage we rent here is for sale way above it's property value so maybe no one will ever buy it. My hubby still yearns to hook the elusive walleye or trout, but his effort is admirable. Life is good (as my t-shirt says).

Matched by Ally Condie

My new favorite ARC that I haven't had time to blog about was sent to me by Penguin. Out in Nov., 2010 (and also in the hands of greedy 8th graders already) is the novel Matched by Ally Condie. A fantastic combination of The Giver and The Hunger Games, Matched is the dystopian story of Cassia who is living in a futuristic society where you are "matched" with a life partner at 17 years-old via personal data by the Officials. The novel begins as Cassia discovers her "match" to be her best friend, Xander, who is by all means, perfect. Cassia couldn't be happier and when she puts the microcard into her "port" at home to see all of Xander's information (even though she knows most of it already) his picture fades away and is replaced by another face she knows- that of Ky. This sets into motion all sorts of events, leaving Cassia to wonder who her real match truly is. This novel will suck in all readers trying to decide between Peeta and Gale and those who adore Katsa and Po. The love story and the current trend toward can't-put-it-down-dystopian novels will have this book flying off the shelves. I read this on a three day trip to Chicago with the 8th graders and as I finished on the bus, four girls were begging me to allow them to read it over the summer. I have a list of five others to pass it on to after I receive it back in the mail. For sure, this one is a winner. Another book I'll have to have 6-7 copies of in my library once it's published. Thankfully, this is a trilogy because I really want to do more traveling around this world with Cassia.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

48 Hour Reading Challenge Update

With a very wide open Saturday, I am sorry that I didn't get in more reading hours. I spent many of them in a weird "funk." I was able to spend the following hours:

1.5 hours- Read/finished The Books of Elsewhere: Vol. 1: The Shadows by Jacqueline West: I loved the premise to the whole novel which was that Olive Dunwoody, after moving in to an old victorian with her geeky Mathematician parents, finds a pair of spectacles which allow her to go into the pictures hung about the house. She discovers early on that the pictures cannot, by any force, be moved off the walls. In the paintings, she discovers the "bad man" artist who painted all of the unmovable art in the house. The plot turns sinister when Olive's parents leave her alone overnight and she needs the help of the 3 talking cats to help her destroy the evil lurking around her. If you've read Teri Lesesne's book Reading Ladders, possibilities for ladders here are: The Graveyard Book, Beautiful Creatures and The Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink. I'm surprised I haven't yet read any reviews of this book as I found it fresh and creepy all at the same time. I will definitely recommend it to my students next year.

30 minutes:
finished All The Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn. Another ghost story! This one has brother and sister Travis and Corey staying in grandma's B & B for a while and "waking" the haunting children who once lived and died on the property. There are many of these children/families buried in the back due to cruelty on the owners' part. The ghost children just want to be put to rest and Travis and Corey enlist the help of their grandmother to do that. Then, I fell asleep--napping--shouldn't read in my own bed. Too enticing.

12:30 a.m.-3:00 a.m.: Yes, I'm sure Mother Reader didn't have these kinds of hours in mind when she started the 48 Reading Challenge, but we had torrential downpours, thunder & lightning and flooding of the front yard (think old carpet rolls being flung onto the front lawn because husband's "friend" hasn't come to dispose of them like he promised) and garage (floating tennis shoes and old double strollers. Thank goodness the freezer is on a pallet). Needless to say, I couldn't get back to sleep so I read another Mary Downing Hahn novel: Deep, Dark and Dangerous. Ali is spending the summer with her aunt, Dulcie, and Dulcie's daughter Emma. There is a secret about why Dulcie and Ali's mom (sisters) won't talk about this old cabin that Dulcie has had refurbished after 30 years. A girl drowned while in a canoe with Dulcie and Claire 30 years ago and her body was never found. So, what connection is there between this drowned girl, Emma's new bratty friend who doesn't seem to have a home, and the destruction of Dulcie's artist's studio and all of her paintings? Another fascinating ghost story for kids!

Total Hours for Saturday- A disappointing 3.5 hours. More than a regular Saturday, though!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

48 Hour Book Challenge....Coming Up!

I am so looking forward to the 48 hour book challenge this weekend. My challenge will be fitting it in between three soccer games and a meeting, but I think I can manage! I am looking forward to finishing the Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West (Penguin, June 2010) and then moving on to more ghost stories and Countdown, which everyone is raving about! I will curl up in my cozy green chair (a la mama) and read until my eyes are crossed. And, I will definitely be blogging as I finish!