Monthly Archives: June 2012

WWW Wednesdays – June 27, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

Before I start this update, let me ask you this. Did you hear about this school principal who challenged his students to read 10,000 books in the school year? He lost his bet and had to dress as Lady Gaga and got to milk a cow. I know you won’t believe me until you see it!

My bookshelf

The sisterhood of the traveling pants by Ann Brashares– What I’m currently reading

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. After the obnoxious Fifty Shades of Grey, this is a much more enjoyable read.
– What I recently finished reading
The Enchantress by Michael Scott. This is the last book of the series and my very favorite. I love how Scott wraps up everything so nicely, where it all makes sense. Wrapping up the past with the present, ending a world to start a new one. And what happens to Josh is brilliant, I never saw it coming. I recommend this series not only to young adult readers but to anyone looking for a great adventure, full of magic, mythology, courage, revenge, evil, and lots of good. I can’t believe they haven’t made movies out of this series yet.
 – What I think I’ll read next
My kids’ bookshelf

Baby Brains by Simon JamesWhat they’re currently reading
Baby Brains, and Baby Brains and RoboMom by Simon James. In Baby Brains, Mr & Mrs Brain’s new baby happens to be very intelligent and gets to do a lot of things reserved for grown-ups. But a space walk far away from Earth reminds everyone that Baby Brains is still just a baby. In Baby Brains and RoboMom, Baby Brains invents RoboMom to do all the household chores and give his tired parents a rest. But RoboMom is overzealous and ends up overheating…
Dog Tales by Jennifer Rae. This book tells several fairy tales from a dog’s perspective, including “Cindersmelly,” “Jack Russell and the Beanstalk,” and “The Doberman’s New Clothes.” Of course, a dog’s book wouldn’t be complete without wisecracking cats commenting on the stories. Guess who has the last laugh.

Sneakers the seaside cat by Margaret Wise Brown

What they recently finished reading
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss. Although we enjoy The Cat in the Hat’s DVDs and my kids have learned a few things watching them, I really can’t stand this book. The cat is so obnoxious, making a huge mess and waiting until the last minute to clean things up. You can see the poor kids are really sweating it! “Your mother won’t mind at all if I do.” Yeah, right.
Sneakers, the Seaside Cat by Margaret Wise Brown. In this book with very lively illustrations (Sneakers looks so real my kids wanted to kiss him), a little cat named Sneakers experiences the sights, sounds, and smells of an ocean beach, just like a young child would.

– What I think they’ll read next
I have no idea! What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WordPress weekly photo challenge: Create

Although imagination and creativity are a little different (since imagination doesn’t always lead to creation), I really like this quote from Albert Einstein:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Young children have so much imagination and creativity inside them. That’s until the school system and many grown-ups manage to suppress both as the kids grow up. So I try very hard not to do that at home. I let my kids access most of the art & craft supplies on their own, and my dining room table features a container of colored pencils as a permanent decoration. My kids draw every day and I often draw with them, especially since it’s the only time of the day I have time to practice my drawing skills.

Here are some of the latest creations at our house…

My four-year old is now starting to draw recognizable shapes. Most of them happen to be vampire robots covered with blood, so I’ll spare you the gory drawings. We’ve been watching Alvin & The Chimpmunks – Chippedwrecked a little too much recently (it’s actually a pretty funny movie), so my son decided to draw his own island, palm tree included, surrounded by the ocean and some big waves, and mountains in the background. I can see all that and you probably will too, after looking at it for a little while.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Create

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Create

Continuing with the ocean theme, he painted this underwater scene at school last week. His teacher is very creative and I’m jealous she gets to do stuff like this every day.

Wordpress photo challenge: create - painting of an underwater scene

Believe it or not, there’s more to go with this ocean theme. A couple of months ago, my five-year old decided to create a game consisting of “finding the hidden… in the picture”. Even though the creatures are not hiding very well, I still give him kudos for his creativity and his artistic talent.

Wordpress photo challenge: create your own scene with hidden creatures

My five-year old is also very fond of superheroes and practices drawing them all the time. Sometimes, he decides to extrapolate by creating and drawing new superheroes. Here’s actually what he would look like if he got to create his own superhero costume. I love the head gear…

Wordpress photo challenge: create a superhero

WordPress photo challenge: create a superhero

As for me, I managed to find more time to take pictures than to draw and it happens to be my only creative opportunity for now. Sometimes the photos come out great, and sometimes they don’t. I tried my best for the photo below but the light was just in the wrong place, at the wrong angle, and only a few pictures of the jacaranda turned out OK. We’re lucky to have many jacaranda treesin the San Diego area, which display their beautiful purple blooms in May and June. After taking many close-up photos of the blooms, I’ve come to the conclusion the tree looks much more beautiful when pictured as a whole. I’m running out of time to take more pictures this year so I’ll have to fine some good looking trees next year. But a not-so-good photo can still turn into a pretty sight if you use creativity and the magic of Photoshop. Here’s my average jacaranda photo as a bright and colorful painting. What do you think? 

Artistic photo of a jaracanda tree

Artistic photo of a jaracanda tree

WWW Wednesdays – June 20, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

Oops, my WWW Wedsnesdays is one day late! What can I say? Work projects and my kids interfered with my blogging time. At least I have my priorities straight, right?

My bookshelf

 The Enchantress by Michael Scott– What I’m currently reading
I’m finishing up The Enchantress by Michael Scott, paying my 25-cent-per-day fine because I couldn’t finish it by the time it was due. But it’s all worth it and I’ll review it next week. 
– What I recently finished reading
Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James. This book is garbage, absolute garbage. Erotica is not one of my genres, so I’d never read it if it weren’t for my book club. Even though I skimmed the last 3/4 of the book, those are a few hours of my life I’ll never get back. Reading this book is like watching porn: lots of bad sex scenes, and no substance in between. With better writing and editing, the story would have been 100 pages. This book looks like it was written by a teenage girl who can’t write and has limited vocabulary. I have no idea how many times I read roll her eyes, smirked, muttered, mumbled, bit my lip, cocked his head, and so on, but I’m sure someone has kept a tally. The 22-year old female character is more naive and gullible than a 12-year old. The 27-year old character is perfect: billionaire, the most beautiful man in the world, he speaks fluent French, and is working on solving world hunger. Pleeeeeaaaase. The sex scenes would have been the best part of the book if they hadn’t been so repetitive and laughable. Anastasia has orgasms by just hearing her name and have Christian look at her. Right. If you haven’t read this book but still want to, do it at your own risk. I bet any other book in that genre will be better than this one.
 – What I think I’ll read next
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. Perfect summer read, I hope.
My kids’ bookshelf

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley BreathedWhat they’re currently reading
Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed, the author of the Bloom County comic strip. This book will have to go on my 2012 list of favorites! It is funny, heartwrenching and inspiring all at once. I think I heard my kids say wow, and I know I did too. This is the story of Pete the pig is lonely and sad but doesn’t know he is. When Pickles the elephant turns his life upside down, Pete eventually realizes that a perfectly predictable, practical, and uncomplicated life is not always better, and he finds a new friend along the way. A MUST READ!
Meet Wild Boars by Meg Rosoff. You can try as much as you can but it’s very hard making friends with wild boars because they’re dirty and smelly, bad-tempered, and rude. Spoiler alert: the end is quite shocking, and smelly. My boys loved this book.
Spuds by Karen Hesse. Maybelle, Jack, and Eddie want to help their mom by putting something extra on the table, so they decide to go out at night and take potatoes from a nearby field. But it’s hard to pick potatoes out of the dirt in the dark. When they get home and empty their sacks, they’re shocked to realize they only harvested rocks. But a kind and caring farmer may end up helping the thieves after all… This is a wonderful story about kids trying to help out a parent, facing disappointment after hard work and how something negative  can turn into something positive.

A bad case of stripes by David ShannonWhat they recently finished reading
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak but we read it in French as Max et les Maximonstres. You can’t go wrong with a classic, which we’ve read in English many times. I’m glad my library has the French version and the kids enjoyed it.
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. To remain popular at school, Camilla Cream always does what the other kids expect her to do, even pretend she dislikes lima beans when she loves then, until the day she ends up covered in stripes. A great book on peer pressure and the importance of self-identity.

– What I think they’ll read next
I have no idea! What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WordPress weekly photo challenge: Close

Isn’t close always better than far, distant? We enjoy close relationships and being close to the finish line. OK, sometimes things can get too close for comfort. For me, that would be spiders.

When it comes to photographs, unless I’m aiming for a panoramic shot, I always think closer is better, even if it means cropping my picture when I open it on the computer. The best photos I have of my kids as babies are close-ups, featuring their beautiful blue eyes and rosy fresh skin. It’s more of a challenge today since my kids rarely sit still long enough for this type of shot, and their smiles often look more forced than candid. But I’m not giving up on these shots; I’ll probably manage to get a few when they’re a little older.

My best subject for close-ups today? Nature, especially on windless days. Here’s a picture of lupine I took a few months ago at a regional park not far from my house. I entered the park’s photo contest with it and I don’t think I won anything, but I’m still happy with the way the photo turned out.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Close - lupine

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Close – lupine

I love taking close ups of flowers and their pollen. Sometimes you can even find a bee in there. There was a bee buzzing around on the day I took this picture but it was camera shy so it refused to make it into the shot.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Close - flower pollen

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Close – flower pollen

As for the last picture, I took it the night of the “supermoon” in early April 2012. Clear skies and a large moon make for a great close-up.

Close-up of the April 2012 supermoon