Monthly Archives: March 2012

WWW Wednesdays – March 28, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

I managed to finish two books this past week. Not because I had a lot of time to read (I didn’t) but because I realized I only had a few days to read one of them before my book club meeting. I then found out I couldn’t renew the other book at the library. It was due two days later and I was only three chapters into it. Can you say speed-reading? Phew, I made it!

My bookshelf

The Necromancer by Michael Scott

The Necromancer by Michael Scott

– What I’m currently reading
I’ve just started  The Necromancer (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel) by Michael Scott, the sequel to The Sorceress, which I finished a few weeks ago. It continues right where the previous book left off and I’m already sucked in. I have a feeling this is going to be a quick read…

– What I recently finished reading
The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I understand this book’s original title was “A Solitary Soul”, which makes more sense as you read the story. I can’t help but feel sorry for Edna Montpellier, who lives a boring life with no true purpose. Today this lady would be reading “self-help” books but at the time, she got poor advice from the people surrounding her and got lost along the way. The writing itself is very pretty and poetic and the story is short and easy to read.
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart. The plot of this book is SO much better than the first Mysterious Benedict Society. The author takes time to develop the characters and the story is not as wacky as in the first book. I’d definitely recommend it for teen readers and adults alike who are interested in adventure, peril and riddles.
 
– What I think I’ll read next
I’m actually not sure since I have no more books from the library waiting on my bookshelf but I just ordered a few more. If I don’t get them in time I’m done with my current book, I’ll probably grab a book off my personal bookshelf.
 
My kids’ bookshelf

The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan EmmetWhat they’re currently reading
The Princess and The Pig by Jonathan Emmet. Priscilla the baby princess accidentally switches places with Pigmella, the farmer’s piglet. Every event following this switch is “what happens in fairy tales”, citing several of them. Even though this book is about a princess, my two boys loved it. It’s a very, very funny book.

We’ve also been reading and re-reading several hilarious Irving & Muktuk books by Daniel Pinkwater, including Bad Bears Visiting and Bad Bear Detectives. These two have to be the funniest polar bears in the children’s book world. Who knew polar bears liked blueberry muffins so much?

What they recently finished reading
Dear Tabby by Carolyn Crimi. A feline advice columnist (get it, Dear “Tabby”?) helps other animals with their problems, including a parrot who talks too much and a cat who complains about being pampered and spoiled.
No more monsters for me! by Peggy Parish. Minneapolis Simpkin’s mom (I’m not making this up, it really is the girl’s name) tells her she can’t have a pet so she decides to bring home a monster she finds outside. Unfortunately it gets bigger and bigger in the basement and now Minneapolis needs to get rid of it. 
Johnny Boo : The Best Little Ghost in the World! by James Kochalka. Presented in a comic book format, Johnny Boo and his friend Squiggle are both ghosts and decide to have some ice cream. Unfortunately the ice cream monster shows up and causes mayhem.

– What I think they’ll read next
I have a lot of new books to pick up at the library and I didn’t look at the list very closely so it will be a nice surprise to discover what they all are.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WordPress weekly photo challenge: Through

I had a photo all picked out for this week’s WordPress photo challenge, until I took my boys to a local county park called Dos Picos this past Saturday. It’s one of the very few local parks in the San Diego area with a good amount of trees and green grass. Well, let’s enjoy the green part until it turns yellow as soon as our daily temperatures start rising up.

While at the park we played on the large playground, had a picnic by the pond and went for a nice walk in the woods later. As we were walking on the path, I found the perfect setting for the photo challenge. This is the most “through” the woods you can walk in this park and I really like it. If you look closely, you’ll notice an opening right after the first set of tree branches, then another set of tree branch coverings.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Through

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Through

As we were walking back towards the parking lot, we noticed a park ranger giving a talk to a group of kids and their parents. I didn’t feel like crashing the party but one of the moms told me it was free to attend and participate so we joined in. The boys got a chance to take part in the building of a native American house (our local tribe is called the Kumeyaay). The house is called an “ewaa” but my four-year old kept referring to it as an “ewok”. Should I mention the kid has never seen a Star Wars movie? 

Here’s what an ewaa in the making looks like. The structure is made of larger and smaller branches tied up with ropes (originally strings made from yucca leaves). The Kumeyaay would then cover the whole structure with reed leaves they’d collect by the pond.

Building a Kumeyaay ewaa at San Diego's Dos Picos County Park

Building a Kumeyaay ewaa at San Diego's Dos Picos County Park

The park ranger then took us on a nature walk and we got the chance to spot and try an adventure bite of “miner’s lettuce (officially named Claytonia perfoliata). My five-year old was very excited to pick something off the ground and eat it “without having to wash it first!”

Our nature walk was then followed by a beading session. The kids got to make their own necklace and they loved it. I had no idea taking a walk through the woods would lead us to such entertaining activities but it was a great way to spend our Saturday. We’re all for doing this again in the future, especially since Ranger Ron does this every Saturday. Shame on the regional park closest to us (San Diego Mission Trails) for organizing nature walks for kids only on school days, and not during the weekends or vacation time! You’d think they schedule the classes this way on purpose…

WWW Wednesdays – March 21, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

Fortunately my kids have had more time to read books than me this past week. At this point I’m mentally and physically exhausted so I’ll give you a quick update. Even if time constraints can get it the way, the important part is enjoying the reading while it lasts.

My bookshelf

– What I’m currently reading
I’m still reading The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee StewartThe Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart. I’ve also started  The Awakening by Kate Chopin since I need to finish it before my book club meeting next Monday (argh…).
 
– What I recently finished reading
Nothing since last week. :-(

– What I think I’ll read next
The Necromancer (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel) by Michael Scott, the sequel to The Sorceress, which I finished a couple of weeks ago. I’ll then still have to read two more books to finish this amazing series and the last one isn’t coming out until May 2012.
 
My kids’ bookshelf

How to potty train your monsterWhat they’re currently reading
Snarlyhissopus by Alan MacDonald. This hilarious story shows how quickly you can distort a name, starting with “hippopotamus” and ending up with “snarlyhissopus” while scaring to death half a jungle along the way.
How To Potty Train Your Monster by Kelly DiPucchio. This potty-training guide is a must-have for little kids and their mothers everywhere going through the potty-training stage, or those of us past this stage for a good laugh.
When A Monster Is Born by Sean Taylor. I love this monster story exploring the possibilities from the day a monstern is born. Each page starts with “there are two possibilities. Either… or…”, both pretty absurd. The author picks the second option and goes on with the story. A fun concept for kids to explore.

What they recently finished reading
Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman. A great book to show kids the different things lines can do, from curve and curl to zigzag. And kids can follow the path of the glittery lines with their finger.
Bunnies On The Go : Getting From Place To Place by Rick Walton. Rick Walton has had a lifelong love affair with the English language and how he tries to pass  along his passion in all the children’s books he writes. In this one, the bunny family takes a trip using many different types of transportation (car, train, balloon, tractor, etc), all in rhyme with a hint on the previous page.
Suddenly, Alligator : An Adverbial Tale by Rick Walton. A very funny story about a boy who happens to run into a hungry alligator, with a new adverb used to describe the scene on every page.

– What I think they’ll read next
I requested a number of books about Easter so hopefully we’ll start getting some of them soon.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WordPress weekly photo challenge: Unusual

WARNING: Photo below not for the squeamish…

When you have kids, life is anything but usual. As much as you try to establish a routine, things can get off track pretty easily and test your parenting skills. But I believe most of us wouldn’t have it any other way, right?

On top of that, so many things can happen during any given day. Some of them are unexpected, even unusual. One November day last year, an uninvited visitor decided to stick itself right on our sliding window.

I took this picture and then realized my close-up effect made the grasshopper look humongous and quite threatening. My only regret was not to have cleaner windows for the occasion…

Grasshopper visits us on the window

Grasshopper visits us on the window

This guy was pretty big (about two inches long) but not as long as the gigantic grasshoppers we sometimes see in our yard. The funny thing is, it wouldn’t get off the window, no matter how hard the kids banged on it. But hey, how often do they get to see a grasshopper up close?

And if this grasshopper’s close-up  is not unusual enough for you, hopefully this will do it – two ducks take a stroll in our backyard… Go ahead, guys, make yourselves at home!

Ducks walking in our backyard

Ducks walking in our backyard