Life and other complications

Well, my writing New Year’s resolution has completely gone out the window. February was a busy month. My husband traveled to Maryland and passed his commissioning exams with the Methodist church. Hooray! This means we are moving to Maryland (although we don’t yet know where) this summer. Just before he left (because when I do something, I like to do it thoroughly), I got a bulging disc in my spine. It was not fun, but drugs and physical therapy are helping me heal. This led my parents to come down for a week to help out and enjoy the second snowfall of the winter with us. It also meant that, while I’ve gotten almost no writing done in the last month, I got a good bit of reading done.

Aside from those major events, life keeps trucking on with school, church, library time, music class, birthday parties, etc. Time continues to fly.

My major goals over the next 4 months are to heal completely (or completely enough to get on with regular life) and to get us moved to Maryland (enjoying our time left in Durham in the meanwhile). Writing time will probably continue to suffer accordingly, but I’m not giving up, and I hope to attempt adopting more of a writing routine again when July comes.

For now, here are some pictures from the last month. First, a baking success from my husband’s birthday in January:

Chocolate jelly roll with ice cream in the middle...on the way to being baked Alaska.

Chocolate jelly roll with ice cream in the middle…on the way to being baked Alaska.

The person he has to meet with for his performance reviews is one of the owners of Maple View Farms. Yes, we lead a charmed life. Anyway, she gave him a whole lot of ice cream for his birthday, and we decide the best thing to do was make baked Alaska. I used the instructions from Joy of Cooking (we have the 1997 edition), which included the possibility of making a jelly roll, and then I followed the jelly roll instructions (including things like lining the pan with waxed paper, flipping the jelly rolls several times and peeling off and replacing paper with tinfoil). And, lo and behold, they worked! I was both surprised and pleased.

Next, a few snow pictures:

Snow!

Snow!

 

Snowman (He wasn't melting yet, just really small.)

Snowman (He wasn’t melting yet, just really small.)

 

And finally, we have begun the packing process:

Books in piles.

Books in piles.

Books in the garage.

Books in the garage.

We may do some decluttering in the process of moving, but the books are not on the decluttering schedule, apparently. M. makes the point that we could be placed in a church near a very small public library, so we are simply being prepared.

 

 

 

 

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Library Books Enjoyed, 2/10/14

Three more books my kids enjoyed, plus one I read for myself (still not really an adult book, but since I read YA as much as actually grown-up books, it will have to do).

Knock, KnockKnock, Knock by Sophie Blackall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My kids are completely into jokes these days, especially knock-knock jokes. They still don’t quite “get” what makes jokes funny (although with me for a mother, they may never…), but that doesn’t stop them from laughing their heads off when one of them tells (or makes up a joke). This collection was neat because each joke was illustrated by a different artist, mostly well-known children’s illustrators. The jokes ranged in both their level (some I could explain to the kids, some I didn’t bother to) and their humor (although, again, that could be me), and I think the illustration quality varied, too, but overall, it was a great collection. It certainly merited lots of individual paging through by the three jokesters-in-training.

Amanda Pig and the Awful, Scary Monster (Oliver and Amanda)Amanda Pig and the Awful, Scary Monster by Jean Van Leeuwen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve at least heard of this series for awhile, but this was the first installment that I actually sat down and read with my kids. It was a little long for reading aloud, but we all enjoyed it despite the length. I particularly liked how the book dealt with a real-world fear (a monster in the bedroom), and that the fear was overcome in a realistic way–it took some time, as well as the help of her family. Her brother, Oliver’s, suggestions were a bit hit-or-miss, in a real sibling manner, but you could tell that he really did mean well (most of the time). Oliver’s name was also a hit in our family, because we have a cousin with the same name.

An Undone Fairy TaleAn Undone Fairy Tale by Ian Lendler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This author and illustrator basically took the concept of a story not being finished quick enough for the reader and ran with it. The story starts as a fairy tale, but soon, the narrator is having to interject and ask the reader to slow down because Ned, who seems to be the artist, casting director, handyman, and all around guy-in-charge, is having trouble getting things ready when they are supposed to be. He tries to make emergency substitutions (first small–a donut for a crown–but then bigger, like grape popsicles for a wall), and eventually gives up as the story devolves into hilarious chaos. This one really just hit the perfect note for my kids–they thought it was absolutely hilarious and made us read it over and over.

Alice on Board (Alice, #24)Alice on Board by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another fun installment in the Alice series…this one won’t be a favorite, but I enjoyed it just fine, and I’m all set to read the last one now…

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Library Books Enjoyed, 2/3/14

I’ve been meaning to get some more of these posts in, so here we go…no particular theme here, just a few books that we enjoyed in January:

Awesome Space RobotsAwesome Space Robots by Michael O’Hearn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, already I see in my 5 year old son an affinity for reading nonfiction. I saw this robots book and grabbed it because he’d expressed an interest in the Mars rovers. We only read the introductory chapter and the chapter on Mars robots together, and the book was probably a little above his age, even for listening, but he was still engrossed. I’m interested to see his reading choices in a few years…

I thought the book was well-done, with interesting pictures and pull-out facts, an organization that made sense (even to someone who’d had no prior knowledge about the variety of robots that get sent into space), and fairly simple text.

A Isn't for Fox: An Isn't AlphabetA Isn’t for Fox: An Isn’t Alphabet by Wendy Ulmer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what I thought of the concept of an “isn’t” alphabet, but this one worked pretty well–for each letter, a couple of “isn’ts” led to an “is,” and there was a pretty catchy rhyme scheme. The fun pictures contributed, too.

Good Night, Sleep TightGood Night, Sleep Tight by Mem Fox

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a nursery rhyme book in disguise, albeit a small collection of nursery rhymes. Bonnie and Ben pester their favorite babysitter, Skinny Doug, for more nursery rhymes at bedtime. He obliges…until they absolutely must go to sleep. Something about this completely clicked with my two girls (perhaps that the request for more rhymes was its own rhyme), and we reread this many times. I loved that the illustrator put the three characters into each rhyme as well.

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