Monthly Archives: May 2012

WWW Wednesdays – May 30, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan– What I’m currently reading
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan and  Bret Witter. I’m about a third into it and have learned how Tuesday was trained to be a service dog from Day 3 of his life. I’m now learning about Montalvan’s time in the Army and his service in Iraq. He sure doesn’t have many nice things to say about military generals and the politics behind this war in general. Quite an interesting, first-hand perspective. And yes, that’s the real Tuesday on the book’s front cover. Doesn’t he look like the coolest dog?
 
– What I recently finished reading

Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West. After reading the hilarious and delightful Gone With a Handsomer Man, this book was a little disappointing. The main character is supposed to dig up some unknown information about her family’s past but by the end, nothing discovered was that earth-chattering. This is still an entertaining read, but not West’s best.
 
 – What I think I’ll read next
A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron, the sequel to his bestseller A Dog’s Purpose. I loved the first book so much, I can’t wait to read this one!
 
My kids’ bookshelf

Wow! Ocean! by Robert NeubeckerWhat they’re currently reading
Wow! Ocean! by Robert Neubecker. The latest release in Neubecker’s Wow! series is EXCELLENT! This time Lizzy and her little sister go around the world’s oceans, where they meet lots of underwater sea creatures (all are labeled so you get to see different types of whales, turtles, seashells, etc). We love it and I think this is the best one in the series.
Secret Agent Splat! by Robert Scotton. Scotton’s newest Splat adventure features a search for disappearing wooden ducks. I love Rob Scotton’s sense of humor and my kids can’t get enough of this story.
Mr Putter & Tabby Spill the Beans by Cynthia Rylant. We’re re-reading the Mr Putter & Tabby books since they’re one of our favorite series. In this one, Mr. Putter and his cat Tabby attend a cooking class with Mrs. Teaberry and her dog Zeke  to learn 100 ways to cook beans. It doesn’t take long for the beans to spill! I love Rylant’s writing style and the hilarious illustrations always are a perfect match.

What they recently finished reading
That Pesky Rat by Lauren Child (famous for her Charlie & Lola books and TV series). A brown street rat longs to be someone’s pet and have his very own name, so he asks the pet shop owner to let him post a for-sale sign. Lucky for him, an old man with extremely poor eyesight is interested in buying this “cat” (it sure read like cat on the sign!).
Goldie and the Three Hares by Margie Palatini. As Goldilocks runs away from the three bears, she falls down a rabbit hole and hurts her foot. The family of hares tries to help her but Goldie happens to be quite a demanding, borderline obnoxious, guest they can’t wait to get rid of.
Spot It!  and Spot It Again! by Delphine Chedru. In both books created by a French illustrator, kids have to find the animals hidden in colorful patterns. Both my kids love these books, even though you’d think they’re too old for them. I think it’s because everything is very well hidden, small, and hard to find.

– What I think they’ll read next
We have so many books from the library to still read, I’m sure we’ve got lots of good reading ahead of us. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WordPress weekly photo challenge: Summer

Even though summer days can be quite hot here in San Diego, they are my favorite time of the year. I love the extended daylight in the evening, the blue skies and the summer fruit galore: peaches, nectarines, cantaloupes, watermelons, berries…

I wanted to share the great harvest my garden can bring in the summer, but since it’s not summer yet, I have to use pictures from last year’s garden. I planted a couple of raspberry bushes last spring and our first summer harvest was small but delicious.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: summer raspberries

WordPress weekly photo challenge: summer raspberries

The raspberry bushes kept on producing into the fall, even this winter. Today I have tons of raspberry canes in my garden and they’re forming new buds. I can’t wait till we pig out the whole summer!

Of course, Southern California weather is great for growing tomatoes and I usually get quite a lot out of my plants.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: summer cherry tomatoes

WordPress weekly photo challenge: summer cherry tomatoes

Unless I get unwanted visitors like this gross, yet beautiful, insect called a tomato hornworm. It’s about 3 inches long and if left alone, will devour tons of tomatoes and tomato plants, which it turns into green poop. Lovely. Those suckers hang on so hard to the tomato plant, you have to cut the branch off to get rid of them.

Tomato hornworm

Tomato hornworm

Summer is also about blooms and butterflies. Check out this beautiful tiger swallowtail butterfly, as busy as can be, sucking the nectar out of my bougainvillea. He could care less I’m right there to take his picture.

Tiger swallowtail butterfly on bougainvillea

Tiger swallowtail butterfly on bougainvillea

What’s your favorite part about summer? I wrote a list of my summer favorite activities about a year ago. Feel free to share your list too.

WWW Wednesdays – May 23, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

Mermaids in the basement by Michael Lee West– What I’m currently reading
I’m still reading Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West. I’ve been busy working on several projects at night and I’ve had little time to read. The book’s font size is also a little small for me, which doesn’t help with the reading speed.
 
– What I recently finished reading

Nothing new since last week. :-(
 
 – What I think I’ll read next
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan and  Bret Witter. With almost 600 five-star ratings on Amazon, I have a feeling this book is quite special. It tells the true story of a decorated U.S. soldier who came back from Iraq physically and emotionally injured, and how a golden retriever helped with his recovery. Tissues, please…
 
My kids’ bookshelf

Wild & Woolly by Mary Jessie ParkerWhat they’re currently reading
Wild & Woolly by Mary Jessie Parker. Wild, a bighorn sheep, and Wooly, a ranch sheep, decide to try each other’s lives for a day but find out they prefer their own after all. At the end of the story, I love asking my kids which sheep’s life they’d prefer to have and why. It gives me great insight on their thinking patterns and personal tastes.
–  Little Monkey Lost by Keith DuQuette. Little Monkey is bored and decides to find adventure in the jungle. There he meets nine different kinds of monkeys who teach him fun new things. The end of the book features many facts about the New World Monkeys pictured and my kids like sharing the names and facts of each monkey type.
The Birdwatchers by Simon James. “When I go birdwatching, things happen,” Grandad says. After hearing so many stories about birdwatching from her grandfather, Jess decides to join him one day. By the end of the day, she’s had the opportunity to seen plenty of birds, including a pair of dancing penguins! A very sweet story teaching respect about nature.

What they recently finished reading
Dinorella : A Prehistoric Fairy Tale by Pamela Duncan Edwards. What a wacky and funny story: imagine Cinderella but featuring dinosaurs. And I hope you don’t have a problem enunciating the letter D because this book is full of Ds! As in, “Dinorella is dying to go to the dance, but her dreadful stepsisters, Doris and Dora, declare she’s too dowdy and dull.” Fairy-Dactyl to the rescue!
I Dream of Trains by Angela Johnson. This is the poignant story of the son of a sharecropper who dreams of leaving Mississippi on a train with the legendary engineer Casey Jones and his black fireman Sim Webb. My kids are a little too young to grasp all the concepts in this book (slavery, cotton picker, the great migration, etc) but it was a great introduction. I also had no idea who Casey Jones was until then, but the last page of the book gives a lot of information about him and the themes in general, so this was a good lesson for all of us.

– What I think they’ll read next
I got so many books from the library this past week, you wouldn’t believe. I’m sure there’s some good stuff in there! What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WordPress weekly photo challenge: Hands

These are the hands that tickle Elmo’s nose when he gives a hug to my son for a picture at SeaWorld San Diego. That will teach him to try to sell millions of Tickle me Elmo dolls.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: hands - Elmo and Bert at SeaWorld San Diego

WordPress weekly photo challenge: hands – Elmo and Bert at SeaWorld San Diego

These are the painting hands that let the artist’s creative juices flow freely.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: hands

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Hands

These are the firefighter’s sturdy hands that sometimes need a little extra help from the jaws of life to save lives. Thank you, hands.

Firefighter holding the jaws of life in his hands

Firefighter holding the jaws of life in his hands

Of course, I couldn’t help myself from including Jewel’s beautiful and inspiring Hands song for this weekly photo challenge, so enjoy it!