Sunday, August 26, 2012

What I've been Reading

Saw this idea on a friend's blog the other day, and thought I'd give it a whirl.  I've been spending some time reading lately, and here's a bit of what I've gone through.  Bear in mind, I read pretty much purely to be entertained--I love books that I can get caught up into, and feel like the characters are real people.

And on THAT note. . . .

Fablehaven (book 1) by Brandon Mull

This was a quick, easy read.  I liked that.  It wasn't amazing, but it wasn't horrible.  It was enjoyable, and I'll continue the series as I get the books.  I gave it 3 stars.  It's a book I would be willing to read to my kids (in a few years).

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin.

I love her books, and this one was no exception.  One of my favorite aspects of her books is pulling in the main character from a book as a minor character in another.  You would only know if you had read said book.  4 stars here.

The Death Cure by James Dashner

I'm so glad this series is done.  While I enjoyed it, it dragged on too long.  How many trials can this kids end up in??  And then all of a sudden, the book is over and everything is happy.  Wait, what? Very abrupt ending.  3 stars on this one.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I'm still undecided about this one.  I didn't hate it, didn't love it either.  The characters were real though, and I appreciated that.  I could really feel for them.  The subject matter was interesting, and I didn't care much for the slightly cliche ending.  3 stars.

Coming up:

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

I picked this book for my book group this month.  I haven't read it, but my source *cough*Ashley*cough* says it's very good, and I think my book group will like it.  I hate picking books for a large group of diverse people.  The last book I picked was Marley and Me (which is one of my top books) and I don't think the group cared for it very much.

EDIT: So that was the wrong book.  I actually picked THIS book for book group.  Thanks Ashley! Dog Stars is in my TBR pile, just not right now.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

This is the REAL book for bookgroup.

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

All I can say is this better end better than the last book.  I wanted to throw it against the wall when I finished it.  I really love this series, but I'm also really ready for it to be done.  Simon rocks though.

Rapture by Lauren Kate

The teenage angst in me loves this series way too much.  I can't wait to see how this series is wrapped up.

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

I love a good feel-good novel, and this one should be perfect.

Shadows In Flight by Orson Scott Card

I can't believe I didn't know this book existed until a few days ago.  I really am just shocked.  I'm a huge fan of the Ender series--both lines.  This is the Shadow line, following the character Bean.  AND Card is writing another one after this one!

To Ride A Pegasus by Anne McCaffrey

A friend recommended this to me.  We'll see how I like it.  There's a whole series.

PS-Are you on Goodreads?  Add me as a friend!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cabin Trip

WARNING: Overload of Pictures.  This is for Heather.  You asked, I gave :)  I'm awesome like that. 

About 2 weeks ago, I packed up the kids and took them camping with my grandparents.  Well, it was kind of camping.  A different type of camping than I'm used to.  We stayed in a cabin of some friends of theirs.  So we had electricity, running water, soft beds to sleep in.  It was great.  I need more camping like that.  The cabin was located about an hour and 1/2 from my parents house, which means my house is even farther.  Thus making it impossible for Matt to be able to join us, even for an evening.  He didn't have any vacation time available to use, thanks to Martin's awesome hospital stay earlier in the year.  

Regardless, I took both kids and crossed my fingers it wouldn't be too much.  And surprisingly?  It was a VERY relaxing trip, even though I should have been stressing about the Relief Society lesson I would be giving on Sunday, less than 24 hours after we got home.  

We left after lunch on Wednesday, and caravaned our way to the cabin.  Good thing too, or I would have been very lost.  Stranded somewhere.  Our first evening there, we took a short walk with grandma and grandpa.  It was short, but it took us a long time!

Mostly because of this boy, and his need to pick up rocks.  Every two steps, he'd crouch down, pick up a rock, show it to me, and then throw it.  The kid's got an arm.  Which made me laugh since his therapist thinks he doesn't know how to throw since he refuses to throw balls at the little basketball hoop she brought for him.

Here's grandma and Katryn standing with the welcome bear.  The other side of that welcome sign says "go away!"

Late wednesday night, Glenn and Natalie showed up.  This is not when they showed up, because they showed up LATE.  This is the next day.  Chloe and Katryn hanging out on the swing.

My camera battery died about this point, because I tried taking a picture of Glenn playing grill-master.  Thankfully my sister and her kids were coming up later that day (Thursday) and she has a charger that fits my battery.

And here's the kids eating breakfast on Friday!  Got a little crazy with all the kids, but they had a blast together.

Glenn took to spending his time taking morning naps and afternoon naps.  As soon as he got in the hammock though, everyone else tried to join in.

And Chloe wanted her own throne.

We got a VERY nice thunderstorm on Friday afternoon, and the kids took full advantage of it, running around on the deck, dancing in the rain.  The deck around the cabin is quite large, and the have gates in front of the stairs.  We could just let the kids and Karma (Glenn's dog) outside and they couldn't go anywhere but the deck.

Lots of great views, since the cabin in located on a bit of a ledge, looking into 2 different valleys.

 The kids also loved these camp swings.

We made sure to feed the hummingbirds while we were there.  LOTS of hummingbirds came around!  Wow!  It was fun to watch.  Not as many fights as I expected.  My in-laws hummingbird feeder always has a few 'alpha-birds' pushing the other birds away.

We took a short hike down the cliff-side to a little camp-spot on the property.  They have a tee-pee poles set up, and a little rustic cabin with some bunks in it.

Katryn was VERY hesitant about this hike.  She was about a lot of things this week, I think because she wasn't feeling good.  She had a fever the whole week, and not much energy.

 There's the cabin we were staying at.  If you look close, you can see someone standing on the deck watching us.

Karma felt the need to lead the way, and try to catch lizards.

Chloe wasted no time getting dirty.

Martin and his Great-Grandpa.  He sat on his lap and went around pointing to everyone, and grandpa would say their nap.  Martin would then attempt to repeat it.

On Saturday, we took another hike down to the tee-pee site, with grandma and my aunt and uncle who were there the whole week with us.

Katryn did a lot better this time around.  Probably because she had a walking stick.  Those things must be magical if you're 4.

I love this picture.  Martin loves to mimic everyone.  Usually Katryn, but this time he picked me, and straddled the bench like I was.

Katryn found a cactus, and reluctantly showed us all.  Kind of like "it's just a cactus mom, they're EVERYWHERE".

 We hiked a little farther to the little cabin again.

Martin just wanted to hang out in the little cabin.  This is part of his tantrum. The kid has skills, I tell ya what.

 And then the dirt playing commenced.

I told you.  Mimics everything everyone else does.  But as long as they aren't fighting, I really don't care.

There was this little chair in the camp, which Martin couldn't decide if he liked it or not.  but he stayed there long enough for a picture!

Katryn wanted me to hold her on the way back, and since I couldn't hold both her and Martin (although we did try--her on the back, martin on the front) my Uncle Robb carried her back.

 They even managed to get attacked by a bush, much to Katryn's delight!

 Here's a view from the 'trail' of the canyon area we hiked into.

After the hike, we enjoyed snack time.  Boy do both those kids love cheetos.  Katryn has doritos, and Martin has cheetos.  They were sitting there swapping snacks and playing games with each other.  Love to see them play together happily!

We played lots of card games up there, and I learned quite a few!  It was lots of fun.  I'm ready to get together with people any play some more!  (any takers?)

Saturday afternoon, we put Chloe down for a nap, and let Katryn and Martin play on my kindle for a while.  Martin came upstairs to the loft area and colored/whined.  So I went to check on Tryn to see if she wasn't sharing with him and I found her sound asleep, drooling on my kindle!  She had a BUSY week.  

It was such a relaxing trip, surprisingly.  I have already determined that our family needs a cabin, so I can go out there whenever I want.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to School!

We're gearing up around here.  Getting ready to start school next week.  I've already talked about what I have planned for Katryn's school year.  Almost everything is purchased.  Still need to purchase the materials for piano and history.  I had planned on using Confessions of a Homeschooler's Road Trip USA, but that doesn't really cover history--it's more geography.  And I don't think she's ready for that yet.

 It took me a while to find a history that I thought would work for her age, and didn't require a ton of prep on my part.  I was leaning towards waiting to start a formal history until next year until I came across this history.  It's perfect.  Not too much busy work, and gave me options for extra stuff.  Also has everything planned out--tells me what we should cover each day.

We had plans to start school the first week in august, but instead we went camping with family.  And had a BLAST.  It was such a relaxing break (more on this in another post).  Only we came back and had a funeral to attend (more on that in another post as well). And Martin has been sick all week, just getting into the upswing of things, so school will be starting NEXT week.  I'm not too worried about when we start, because I ran out of stuff by the middle of April if I remember correctly.  Now school will just last a little longer.

I think I'm ready.  I've been working hard on planning everything out--what subjects what days, going through all the books, assembling everything. . .I think we're as ready as we're going to be.

And she's not the only one starting 'school'.  I am too!

Kinda.  Sorta.

Maybe not really.

However, I AM changing my scripture studying.  I have these two books to help me out.

Hopefully between them both I will get some wonderful, spiritually-fulfilling, studying out of them!

Not just that as well, I'm also going to be starting a 12-week photography course, to help improve my photos for my recipe blog.  

(photo from: The Food Bitch Blog)

Hopefully by Thanksgiving I'll have some awesome skills using my DSLR.  I've had this fancy camera for probably close to 4 years, and I still shoot in automatic.  It's rather embarrassing.  But we're not going to discuss that OR how I would have failed my photography class in high school if it weren't for my good friend and his personal dark room.     

Wish us luck!!