Sunday, March 29, 2015

Five Days of Joshua

This week has been characterized by snot, drool, and sleepless nights.  And yet, I still think about ninety percent of what Joshua does is absolutely adorable.  I'm constantly tempted to update Facebook every three seconds with the utterly genius thing that Joshua just did.  I've decided to document this week  by the happy things Joshua did.

Monday - Joshua took Peek-a-Boo into his own hands.  While sitting on my lap he would push my face away.  Then, pull it back.  He would giggle wildly as if he didn't know he was going to see my goofy faces.

Tuesday - Joshua stood up on his own without support.  First, he pulled himself up on the laundry basket, then just let go.  He stood there looking around while I praised him.  Without wobbling, he decided he was done and grabbed the basket again.  Great changes are coming!

Wednesday - I went through a bag of hand-me downs from a friend and found overalls.  Every little boy should have a pair of overalls.

Seriously, I can't stop looking at this picture.

Thursday - During pizza night, Joshua ate and loved his first olive.  This guy eats anything we give him.  Now I can pick the olives off my pizza sans guilt.

Sunday - Friday and Saturday were rather unremarkable, but today after months of coaxing Joshua decided that clapping is a pretty cool thing to do.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Easter Egg Shakers

I put in a request to the Easter Bunny to hold off on a basket full of candy for at least a year.  Instead he came up with musical shaky eggs made from Easter eggs.  He said it was easy, inexpensive and far less time consuming than those blasted JELL-O Easter eggs that seem to be trending.

What You Need:

  • Plastic Easter Eggs
  • Fun Patterned Duct Tape 
  • Food Storage Items - For Joshua the Easter Bunny used dry pinto beans, rice, and popcorn kernels.
  • 10 minutes 
Fill the plastic eggs with various dry foods.  Ir you want to get fancy get some tiny bells from the craft store.  The Easter Bunny used varying amounts and types in each egg to create different sounds.  Wrap duct tape around the slit in the egg.  Voila!  Your easy, healthy, and fun Easter basket is done.

The only candy this kid gets to enjoy this year are the gummy bears he can look at on the tape. 

Joshua absolutely loves songs that involve shakers.   This is his favorite.  The version we listen to uses shakers instead of body movements.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Princess Academy Series

Last week, I posted a picture of The Forgotten Sisters, the final book in the Princess Academy series on Facebook which spurred some discussion about why I love these books.  Now that I've finished the third book, I would like to elaborate on why I love this series.  I will do my best to avoid spoilers.

For books with princess in the title, they aren't that princess-y.  Seriously, The Hunger Games has more of an emphasis on fashion than these books.  Miri, the main character, is a frail girl who sleeps with the goats in her small home on Mount Eskel, an impoverished village.  She and the other girls in the village are forced from their home to train for the possibility of becoming a princess.  What they are really given is the chance to educate themselves and improve the lives of their families.

Strong female characters.  These books are full of young women, who seize the opportunities they are given, make their lives happen, and don't wait around to be acted upon.

Linder - The mystical qualities of this light fantasy come from the stone Miri's village quarries.  By the second book, I had such an affection for linder.  Weird, right!  It's almost like the stone is character in the story.  I absolutely love it.  

The writing style is stunning.  Many successful books have compelling story lines and I get sucked in.  But when I finish, I think to myself, "Wow, that was some clunky writing!"  Not so with these books.  Shannon Hale took great care to craft each sentence and each word.  It feels like I'm in a bubble bath of beautiful language.

They are cliffhanger free.  I'm growing weary of series with no resolution at the end of each installment.  Authors use the last sentences of the book to leave you hanging.  I hate that!  Each book in this series could stand alone and has a separate setting and plot.  It's a personal preference, but I like it. 

It may or may not strengthen my argument, but I don't love all of Shannon Hale's books.  Some are fun one time reads, others I couldn't get into, and some I'm not interested in at all.  This is how I am with most authors.  This series does the job of entertaining, enriching, and making you feel great at the end.

Here are links to descriptions of each book.

Princess Academy - the first in the series and my favorite.

Palace of Stone - This is probably my least favorite in the series, but it is still very good.

The Forgotten Sisters -  This book was a wonderful surprise.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

LIterary Tourism - British Columbia

Since I'm Canadian by marriage and I came across a fun book set in Vancouver, I figured I would expand my literary reviews to the north.  It may be difficult to find books about every province and territory in libraries here in the States, but I'll see what I can do. 

I visited Vancouver about two years ago.  There was a lot going on and we didn't have a lot of time to explore the city, but I loved what I saw of it.  I'm a city girl so this isn't surprising.  This book helped add to my list of what to do on our inevitable next visit.

Word Nerd by Susin NIelsen

When bullies almost kill twelve year old Ambrose by slipping a peanut into his lunch, Ambrose's mom makes him begin correspondence courses.  Utterly lonely and bored, Ambrose becomes friends with Cosma, his neighbors' ex-convict son.  Behind his overprotective mother's back, Ambrose begins attending a Scrabble club and eventually enters the tournament.  Through Scrabble Cosmo and Ambrose bond and get into some trouble along the way.

The setting in this book was excellent.  The author really brings you to Jericho Beach, Granville Island, and Chinatown.  Ambrose and his mom rely on public transportation which feels real.  The Canadian phrases like the hydro poles, washrooms, and marking papers made it even better.  This book was a ten out of ten for fitting with my goals of the project.  Nothing was in there as a stereotype.  The details were naturally included.

As a word nerd myself, I enjoyed this book.  Ambrose was a perfectly developed twelve year old character.  He is big-hearted and smart, but also brutally honest, obnoxious and sometimes gross.  The story is more than a synopsis of scrabble games and really had some depth to it.  This is definitely a YA novel, not a children's novel.   

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Let Him Eat Cake

Yesterday, we had a little party for the little man.  Jerry recently got one of those phones that you can take pictures of your food with.  We took approximately 3901 photos of Joshua and his cupcake with daddy's new toy.  During this time, he had everything from a questioning look to a grimace.  He took the experience very seriously.

I've been dreaming of this moment - party hat included- for about 11 months.  Here are some of my  favorites with captions.

"So, this is that thing called sugar mommy loves so much."
"She knew what she was talking about."
"Wait! Why isn't she letting me eat the whole thing?"
What you can't see is the table cloth strategically placed under the table which caught about 3/4 of the cupcake.