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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Introducing a few classics to my kids.

I admit I watched a lot of tv when I was a kid. Or at least it feels that way because I am constantly telling my kids about movies I remember watching over and over again while growing up. Lucky for me many of these films are availiable to watch instantly on Netflix. 

 Today my kids are enjoying the air conditioned house rather than the 100+ weather. They are watching the Muppets take Manhattan.  I don't remember this one quite as well as the Great Muppet Caper or the Muppet Movie but I certainly remember watching the Muppet show. I even had a Muppet show lunch box when I was in early elementary school.  So my kids are now aquainted with Fozzy Bear and Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.  Even though these muppet movies are rather dated my kids still really enjoy the mayhem caused by these muppets.
The other day I also introduced them to Muppet Treasure Island. We tried to watch the old Disney version earlier in the Summer but my kids kept saying no. They assumed it would be boring. But throw some Muppets into the cast and all of the sudden the story looks like a lot of fun. 

 I felt really dated when my kids watched Honey I shrunk the Kids. I think I watched this one a hundred times. My sister, Julie, loved this one and would watch it over and over again until the tape (yes VHS. I know.... I am old) wore out. I don't think she has seen this one in years but now it is availiable on Netflix. My kids thought it was funny when the daughter in the story is talking to a friend on a Kitchen wall phone with a long cord. She gets all tangled up in the cord. I don't think my kids have ever seen a phone that had a cord. They also pointed out that the Mother uses a pay phone at the Mall to call someone. You certainly don't see pay phones anywhere anymore.  My kids loved the movie and were excited to find out that there were a few sequels. I had to remind them that sequels are never as good as the original.

I am going to have to peruse the Netflix library and see what other gems I can uncover and show my kids.  Summer afternoon movies are becoming a daily occurance so I need to add a few more films to the instant queue for them to choose.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What I have been reading this Summer

Summer hasn't gone quite as planned. I had this idea that we would continue to do school and my kids would do chores and not have their faces glued to a screen all Summer. While some of those things are happening I am afraid my kids get quite a bit of screen time and chores are either left undone or I get to them when I have the time.  I started off well and then lost my drive to crack the whip.

Hot Summer afternoons are great for staying indoors enjoying the air conditioning and reading. My kids usually watch a movie and I curl up in a chair or the couch and read.  Here is what I have been reading the last few weeks. Some of these I have read because I agreed to review them and others I am reading because they are on Sophie's list of books for the Fall. I figured I can help her understand her books and discuss them with her better if I have actually read them. Plus some of the books on her list are quite challenging and I figured it doesn't hurt to have me already aquainted with them.

 I thought I had read just about every book L.M. Montgomery wrote. I have many of them on my shelves, but Sophie's class is assigned to read Kilmeny of the Orchard. This is one I didn't have on my shelf and hadn't read before. Thank goodness it was free for the Kindle!  It was a quick read.  It certainly didn't take me long to read through. Since I have read so many of Montgormery's book I felt like this one followed her usual formula.  It almost felt like a Novella rather than a full novel. Since I only have the Kindle version I can't compare the thickness of the book to others I have on my shelf. It felt more like a short story. The characters weren't as developed and certainly not as vivid as Anne of Green Gables or Emily of New Moon. Infact this one is told from the man's perspective. I have never thought Montgomery fleshed out her male characters enough. And Kilmeny is mute so is a rather drastic change from "run on at mouth" Anne.  This was a fine book. Of course it was clean and I have no problem having Sophie read it. She shouldn't have any trouble getting through it. I just wonder why, of all Montgomery's books, her school picked this one. I guess we will see what direction the discussion goes.

Elantris is another book chosen for Sophie's Fall Schedule. This one is for her Humanities class and I am guessing they are reading this novel for the message it has about leadership, freedom and faith.  I really liked this one. It was a little hard in the begining. It is a fantasy world with lots of names and magic that I needed to get straight. It was hard to put down once I had those things sorted out in my mind. The characters and events became real and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next.  Sophie may have a hard time with this one. She isn't very patient about books and if it requires too much work at first she may get frustrated but hopefully she will give it a good chance and let herself get wrapped up in the world of Elantris.

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes is one that I agreed to read and review. It looked like a fun light read and sounded perfect for a hot Summer afternoon read at the park while my kids splashed in the fountains.  While I read through the frustrations that Kat and Lucas have as they navigate the world of friends becoming more than friends, I couldn't help but be so glad I was happily married and that those things were left behind.  Betsy St. Amant wrote a lovely story about Kat and Lucas each following their dreams and figuring out how they can each have what they want and sill be together. I wish the book came with recipes. The Kindle review copy I was given didn't but hopefully when it is released it will include at least some of them. The cupcakes that are described in this book sound so good. I don't know if I would be talented enough to make any of them but I would be willing to give them a try, just not in large amounts.

Miracle in a Dry Season is a strongly christian novel about forgiveness and acceptance. Perla's sins are apparent to everyone and she is judged harshly because of that. The book does a good job of teaching the scripture "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone".  It is a lesson every person needs to be reminded of. We tend to hide and justify our own sins or faults while condemning others when we see there shortcomings. Lucky for us, God is forgiving and we can all enjoy being clean again. This was a lovely read and a sweet romance. Another nice book for a hot Summer day. Although the descriptions of drought hit a little close to home. In CA where we are living with water restrictions and burnt up lawns the descriptions of the weather and the prayers for rain felt very familiar.

Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons was very fun to read. These ladies are great at looking at Mormon culture and seeing the humor in it. The book feels like blog posts and skip from topic to topic so you don't have to read it all in one sitting. It was fun to pick up for a little fun here and then a little laugh there.  I even looked up Zandra and Tamu's blog Sistas in Zion to see pictures and any further information on these two funny ladies.  They will keep you giggling and smiling the whole day.

 We have been taking a few long drives this summer and have made it through a number of audio books as a result. While on our drive to Utah a few weeks back we made it through both the Candy shop war and the Arcade Catastrophie. Everyone including the adults enjoyed these stories. It made the long stretches in Nevada go by a little more quickly.
My kids liked but didn't love The Dark is Rising. I remember having this one read to me in about the 5th grade. The teacher read for about a half hour each afternoon after lunch and recess. This is one of those books I remember being read but not a whole lot of the story.  Since it was a Newberry Honor book I figured we could give it a go.

The kids enjoyed the movie after we finished the book but not enough to continue the series.

The next audio book I picked was The City of Ember. I had to explain what a Dystopia was since my kids have not become aquainted with that genre yet.  I didn't know much of anything about this book before getting it at the library. I had seen it on book lists but not read many reviews of it. It is a nice place to start as far as Dystopia books go. It is age appropriate for Middle grades. Certainly not violent like many Dystopian novels go.

The boys enjoyed the book and we watched the movie version of the book (not a close following of the book) but Sophie liked it so much she went and checked out the other books in the series and is currently reading through them. Maybe I will have her read The Giver so she is ready for the movie that is coming out of that book soon.

I am sure I have missed a few books but this is what I have been making my way through in June and some of July.  I still have a few more weeks before we have to jump back into our normal school schedule. I guess I will make it through a few more of the books assigned to Sophie for the Fall and I have a few more books in my Kindle that I have agreed to review. And before I know it it will be Autumn and cooler weather will set in. Great time to curl up with a book :) When isn't it a great time?!