Sunday, September 14, 2014

Forever Friday - Book Review

I had forgotten to review this book way back when I read it last year.  I received it through Blogging for Books and just never actually sat down to write up my thoughts on it.

On the amazon page for this book it has these three lines:

Every Friday, a postcard.
Every Friday, a love poem.
Every Friday for sixty years.

That about sums up this book. A guy sends his wife a postcard with a love poem every Friday.  Another guy goes through the personal effects of a lady as he prepares her house for an estate sale. He finds these postcards and gets wrapped up in their love story.

I remember thinking this was a little over the top for the schmaltzy love story genre and I almost had trouble finishing. This is a story withing a story. The letter were found and read and they effect the live of the man who finds them. I wish this portion of the story had been more developed. It was a little flat and wasn't explored as much as I expected or wanted.

This was a great book for those that want a love story. It reminded me a lot of a Nicolas Sparks like novel. It just needed to move along a little more quickly and I really wanted more from the modern parts of storyline.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

As You Wish

 Everyonce in awhile I get to read and review some really fun books.  One day while looking through availiable book on Netgalley I saw As You Wish with a picture of "the man in black" on the front cover I quickly asked to review it.  And shortly the book was sent for me to read on my kindle.

This is a book written by the Man in Black himself, Cary Elwes. He recounts his experiences associated with his role in the movie The Princess Bride.

This movie came out in 1987. I was only 12 years old.  I don't think I got to see the movie in the theater but I know we watched it plenty on VHS.  Through high school and even college it was a movie we watched over and over again because everyone could watch it and everyone enjoyed it.  I know for a fact we wore out our VHS tape and had to buy another one. Thank goodness DVD last through more watchings.

It is one of the films I have introduced to my kids and they too love it. It apeals to my boys as well as my girls. But anyway.. enough about the movie. I am supposed to be talking about Cary Elwes's book.

Making movies sure sounds like a lot of fun. He also doesn't gloss over the amount of time and work went into the making of this classic film.  His recollections are also interspursed with quotes and memories from many of the cast,  Rob Reiner the director, and William Goldmen the writer/screenwriter. 

Since I had a kindle version of the book, the formating was a little wonky. The thoughts from the different people interupted the ongoing flow of Cary Elwes's tale. I had to often flip forward a few screens to finish a sentence from Cary's thoughts and then back a few screens to catch all the great little added tidbits from the recollections of the others that had been popped in.  A hard copy would most likely be a better format for this type of book. I also would have loved some pictures. Perhaps the hard copy will have a few added in.

For anyone who is a fan of The Princess Bride than this book will make you laugh and cry and want to watch the movie one more time to see if you can see the pain in the eyes of the man in black when he delivers the line "Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something" and knowing why.  Or Westley limping toward the fire swamp. I certainly will never look at the sword fight the same way again knowing how much Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes had to do to make that epic battle come to pass.  I am sure I will watch the movie with new eyes and see aspects of it in a different way because I read this book about the making of the Princess Bride.  

Henry's Busy Weekend

Henry celebrated his "Day of All Days" this week. He has been counting down the days and minutes until he could open presents and have his party. 

 His morning present was a rip stick.  It certainly kept him busy most of the day. He kept going outside to try it out again. He got a bit frustrated at first because it was more difficult than he thought it would be. But after a few hundred tries he started to get pretty good. He loves it now.
 He asked for an orange cake. Orange like Emmett the contruction worker. Henry's birthday was all about legos and especially the Lego movie.  He had a few friends over for pizza and to watch the Lego movie. It was pretty funny to sit in a room with 9 young boys who all love the film and have seen it dozens of times. They were all reciting lines and talking about which characters, contraptions or events were the coolest or most Awesome!
 Today was also Henry's first soccer game. He decided to join a team this year and give it a go. He isn't the most skilled player since this is more or less. He did play when he was about 4 but I don't think he even remembers it. He plays hard. We have some skills to work on but he loves it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

First Week back to School

While I would love to do a weekly report every week of the school year to document what we did that week, I know it isn't going to happen. But I figured I can at least do this week since I have a moment now and hopefully I can get off to a good start.

 First day of school was spent going to the orthodontist. Sophie gets her braces off at the next visit. They are going to do a fake tooth on her retainer to fill the gap where the cleft is. She is very excited to get the braces off.
 So Monday didn't end up being the first day of school really, since we had to go into the Bay Area. We did run into our favorite old library to return and pick up books. We also stopped in on some friends to chat and play for a bit.  Great way to start off the school year!

Tuesday the official school work began.  Molly of course wanted to make breakfast. She insisted on Merida's Scottish Scones.

 They turned out yummy. I used craisens rather than raisens.
Then we got to work. After starting with our scripture/devotional time we jumped into History. We are doing Story of the World Volume 4 this year and it started with Queen Victoria and the crystal palace. So of course we built one out of paper.

This week we also read a bunch of books about Victoria, Charles Dickens and England. The chapter also had a section about the British in India so later in the week we watched Lagaan.

The three older kids are all doing Saxon Math and they enjoyed starting their new books because the first few lessons are all review and they could get through them quickly.  Molly started doing Math Mammoth addition. I didn't have a math book for her so printed out pages from Math Mammoth that I bought for Henry years ago. It seems to be working out fine.

Molly has also been doing her reading each day. I haven't been moving ahead yet, mostly review what she is has already done. We haven't been dilligent about reading lessons over the summer so she was a bit rusty.  We will get there!
Molly's selfie.

She is also still very excited about her cook book and we finally got around to cooking that sheepherd's pie. Ours wasn't nearly as beautiful as the picture in the book and didn't come out in a nice square piece like they displayed in the picture but everyone agreed it was tasty and that we should make it again some time.

 So far so good with the Disney Cookbook.

We did the first week's assignments in our Physics too. We did all the experiments and even made the hovercraft. I only had large yogurt tubs to make the hovercrafts out of and the boys would like to try other smaller cups or tubs but these worked and the boys had races across the table blowing their ships along.

So lets see.... Math, History, Science, Cooking, Reading.... oh yeah there was a little spelling practice that went on this week too. The kids each are still slowly making their way through their Spelling Workout books that I got them last year. I guess it won't hurt to finish off last years books before moving onto something new.

Sophie started her Williamsburg Intermediate classes on Wednesday. She loved getting back into the groove of waking up early and getting to her class. She really does love those classes. There was mostly orientation type assignments this week but she already has the checklist for assignments and readings for next week. She better get started! The list looks long.

We also found a new treet for the end of the day. Microsmores. We cover a plate with animal crackers, sprinkle on some chocolate chips, Then place some mini marshmellows on top. We microwave the lot for about 20 seconds. We take more animal crackers to "top off" the smores and then gobble up the sticky gooey mess.

 Everyone seems to enjoy these treets.

Our Audiobook for the week was Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It was great and the kids flew through the disks because they wanted to hear more and more of the story. They would listen in the car and bring it in when we got home.
We talked a lot about kindness and being different.  Great book for discussion!

Molly's favorite book this week. Falling for Rapunzel.

She loved the rhyming text and the funny things rapunzel kept throwing down. I think I read this one everyday this week and she got the other kids to read it to her too. She couldn't get enough of this one.

Peezy keeps us on our toes. She is getting big like a cat but is still very playful like a kitten. You have to watch out for her as she runs, jumps, pounces and climbs on everything.

That was pretty much our week.  I hope next week goes as well. We got done pretty much everything I had planned with a bunch of extras thrown in too. That almost never happens.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cooking like a Princess

Yesterday at the library Sophie found a book she thought Molly might enjoy.
Molly carried it home and poured over the pages.  I thought she was just looking at the pictures of all the different princesses cooking but she was actually studying.

Later when I asked the kids what they wanted for dinner. Molly pulled out her cookbook and showed me what she wanted. She had Shepherd's pie picked out but I had to turn her down. I had already decided that some left over spanish rice was going to be the main dish.  Molly quickly changed her plan and flipped to a page to show me her desired project.

I looked at the recipe and decided we could give it a try. The braided bread was really biscuts with ham and cheese thrown in. I didn't have ham but we did have some cheese and the other ingredients to make the braids. We set to work adding flour and baking poweder and even using the pastry cutter to break the butter into the batter.
Molly had a great time mixing and adding and finally getting to cut strips and braid her dough into little biscut braids.
She watched them while they cooked and then enjoyed them with our leftovers
Everyone seemed to enjoy this new recipe. I have a feeling we are going to be making them again.

This morning when I asked her what I should make for breakfast she pulled out her recipe book and showed me the pancake recipe.  She got her wish and we made pancakes this morning before church. She is still waiting for that shepherd's pie and the really wants the scones, monkey bread, magic wand cookies, and especially the bulls eye pizza.

It really is a very cute cookbook and so far the two recipes I have tried have been very easy and yummy. My little princess certainly is having fun planning meals. We may have to renew this library book as many times as they will let us or else we will just have to get a copy of it to her for Christmas.

Monday, August 4, 2014

What is the Plan?

I keep reading posts on blogs that list out and explain what their curriculum choices are for the coming year. I always feel a bit overwhelmed when I read these because they sound like they have their act together and I feel like I am winging it.  I do have a plan of sorts but if I know how I work I tend to mix things up later, add and drop things here and there and yet somehow my kids seem to know how to read, do some math and write. The rest (History and Science) just falls into place because of the environment we create in our home.

But just for the record. We do have a plan.

Sophie - 8th Grade
She is taking a full class load at Williamsburg Intermediate.
 Here is her book list. I have been trying to read the ones I hadn't read already and these are some challenging texts for me to get through. They certainly stepped up the reading for 8th grade.

This should cover all the subjects so I am more of a cheerleader in her schooling rather than the teacher. However, I am not overly excited about Williamsburg's use of Khan Academy as their Math program so we will be using it mainly as a supplement and working through Saxon Algebra 1.

Sophie will also continue to take piano lessons. We will have to fit in some Physical activity too. Once the weather cools down we should take more bike rides and trips to the tennis courts again.

Ian - 5th Grade
Ian is taking two online classes with Leadership Education Academy. I signed him up for a Writing course and the Literature class. I know these are not his favorite subjects but I figured if he wants to be ready to start Williamsburg Intermediate next year he needs to get used to the idea of taking classes like these.

This leaves me with History, Science, Math and any other electives.

Ian is doing Saxon Math 65 this year.

History and Science will be done with Henry. We should be covering Modern history. I have Story of the World on the shelf and we may use that but I really want to focus more on American history. So we will cover the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution this Fall.

Science will be Elemental Science Physics for the Grammar stage.

Ian will also have piano lessons and he is already half way through his Mod design class with Youth Digital.

Henry - 4th Grade

I signed Henry up for his first online class. He is taking the Science Explorers class with LEA. It is an experiment to see if he can handle online classes. In the past he just wanted to type in the chat box and do silly things so we will see if he is mature enough to handle classes now.

He will be doing Saxon 54 for Math.

Doing history and science with Ian. We had to do some California History again to appease the charter school we are a part of but that shouldn't be hard since we just did it last year when Ian was in 4th grade. Maybe we will take a trip up to Sacramento this time to visit Sutter's Mill and such. We have done the California Missions in the past and don't need to repeat them.

I will need to figure out what I want to do with Henry's Writing and Language arts. I know we will be doing Spelling and finish up IEW most likely but I haven't commited to anything yet.

Henry also has piano and this Fall he will be on a Soccer Team. This of course means we have two practices and a game every week for the next 12 weeks. Should be fun!

Molly - Kindergarden

I am really not planning on doing a whole lot with Molly's Kindergarden year. We will focus on learning to read mainly.  We have 2/3 of the IEW Pal Reading and Writing left to get through. We will continue with that program.

I don't have plans for anything formal for Math. I haven't started Singapore math until the kids are reading pretty well. I don't want to have to read every math problem to them and they usually jump into Singapore math 1 pretty easily sometime in Kindergarden or 1st grade.

Molly will sit in on history and science with the boys but not have the writen assignments.

Reading and writing is pretty much it for Molly. She is such a tag along kid, I feel bad sometimes.

We will be doing scripture each day and have some piece of poetry we are memorizing. We were doing great with Shakespere before Summer distracted us. I would love to continue. It is just too cute to see Molly recite Shakespere and all the kids love to talk about the characters and tell the stories of Shakespere's plays.

The boys have cub scouts and Sophie has Young Women's activities.

I would love to have an artist and musician each month but haven't planned it yet.  I also have Latin sitting on the shelf which should be a part of the schedule.

We will just have to see how it all fits into our packed full days.

I may not have everything completly planned out but at least we have somewhere to start.

At the moment I need to ween my kids off of the t.v. or computer screen. I find screen time is harder and harder to keep control of. It usued to be so easy when each kid got their hour of play and a movie every once in awhile. Lately it has become an all day affair as Ian does his Mod Design class or is "programming" his Mindstorms. Sophie is "checking her email" and chatting with friends on the computer. Henry just wants to have as much screen time as everyone else is getitng and Molly is always in need of easy entertainment. It is the major dilema in our home at the moment. I wonder what would happen if we went without screens for an whole week. I can't really commit to that since I have to be in communication with people (There is always drama going on in Primary!).

Like most things we will just see how it all plays out.
I try not to stress too much about it. It always works out in the end.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Spent a Week at Girls Camp

Sophie and I just returned from a week at Girls Camp. This was Sophie's 2nd year. I was asked to be a 4th year councelor. On Monday we headed up to Clark's Fork. This is the same camp grounds I went to as a youth. Sophie actually went to this same camp last year when she attended camp with her cousin. A lot has changed in the 23 years since I was last a girl attending camp at this location. This is where I went to camp my first and fourth years of girls camp.  I even found one of my camp pictures hanging in the lodge. 

 The theme for camp this year was "In the competition between good and evil, play on the Lord's team." This was taken from Elder Holland's talk "We are all enlisted" that he gave in 2011.  With this the theme it ment there was all sorts of Sports analogies.

 While most of the week is spent on more spiritual things there were quite a few opportunities to do some things these girls had never done before. They brought in a climbing wall and the girls got to give climbing a try. These are pictures of Sophie's first climb. She made it all the way to the top and pressed the button to ring the buzzer.
 Evidently she didn't think that was too bad so she tried it a few more times. She got so good at it she had someone time her to see how long it took her to climb up. I can't remember what the time was. I was just happy she was willing to give it a try and had enough courage to do it a few more times. I gave it a go and got almost to the top before my grip slipped and I fell slowly to the ground.
 As a 4th year councelor I got to go on a pretty good overnight hike. My group of girls backpacked up into the Sierras. Our hike was only about 4.5 miles but it was almost all uphill. We started at 6,300 feet and camped for the night at a resevoir that is at 7,100 feet. Evidently the highest point in the trail was 7,600 feet.

 We were pretty tired when we got to the resevior but still took a short swim. The water was pretty cold.
 We didn't get enough climbing in because once we reached our campsite and had our dip in the lake we had to climb the rocks and look down on our campground. I don't think I have ever see the sky so blue as it was up here in the wilderness.
It was a great week at camp. I am a bit sun burnned and my back and hips hurt from sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag all week, (even with a mattress pad the floor isn't that comfortable) but I had a great experience and look forward to doing it again next year.