Monday, June 30, 2014

To Be Sung UnderwaterTo Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't give five stars very often.  This book, simply put, is a book that must be read slowly, savoring each word.  It is beautifully written and eloquent and slow.  The characters are multi-dimensional and lovable, despite their flaws.  The last time I read a book that made me want to go somewhere quiet and shut my family out was when I read The Help.  This is one of my top ten.  It is amazing.  Sad, relatable, exhultant.  A must read. 

View all my reviews

Monday, November 11, 2013

We Have Been Reading...Halloween edition

We have been reading lots of Halloween books in the last 30 days.  We love them (well, I do, and so the children are mercilessly subjected to them - I only stopped and put them away today).  Here are some of our (my) favorites!

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
This is a fun book that we have read countless times.  It is one of Abby's all time favorites - and not just during haunting season - she asks for it all year long.  It is written in rhyme and emphasizes generosity in spirit.

Another popular title in our house right now is this one
CinderHazel by Deborah Nourse Lattimore

As you can probably guess, this is a spin-off of a popular fairy tale.  The illustrations are deliciously smudged with grime and the witches are whimsical, not scary.  Cute, cute book!

The third book on the list is a Barbie book.  We have three girls.  We like Barbie.  So sue me.

A Boo-tiful Halloween by Mary Man-Kong
If you are familiar with Barbie books, you know that there is usually a message about friendship and kindness.  This is no different, except for the glow-in-the-dark pages and stickers!

I am a huge Fancy Nancy fan.  I have the privelege of knowing a little girl who is Fancy Nancy in the flesh (Penelope, Ms. Mindi misses you!!).

Fancy Nancy: Halloween or Bust! by Jane O'Connor

This book, in true Fancy Nancy style, both expands the vocabulary and delights the eye with colorful illustrations that beg more than one look with lots of little details.

This next book is a Caldecott Honor book.  The illustrations are to-die-for.
Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds
This book is like The Twilight Zone for children.  Seriously.  Get it.  Read it.  Love it.

I like most books written by Dav Pilkey.  This one is no exception.  This is about a little dachshund who is ridiculed for his size.  He turns out to be a hero.  I'll let you read to find out how.

The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey

This book is part of the popular Gossie & Friends series.  The illustrations in this book are adorable.  So simple.

Ollie's Halloween by Olivier Dunrea

The message in this one is sweet, too.  Sharing is better than scaring.

The next book is sumptuous.  The illustrations are amazing.  The story is whimsical.  Monsters all get together to put together the best party every for their trick-or-treaters.  The party is a little too...monstrous for them, though!

Halloween Night by Marjorie Dennis Murray

Do you like the Scaredy Squirrel books?  I do.  He is absolutely my favorite worrywort.  That he is featured in a book about my favorite holiday makes my year!

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watt

Such a great book for kids who are nervous about trying new things.

Last but not least, a treasure from

Click, Clack, Boo by Doreen Cronin
Once I read Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type, I fell in love with the farmer and his ill-behaved barnyard friends.  I cannot get enough of their antics.  Wonderful!

Well, friends.  That's it.  Our top ten for Halloween.  Save the list for next year, eh?

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

August in Pictures

August was a big month for us.  We traveled east to see the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  We started a new school year (at least four of the five of us did - c'mon Dan, get with the program!), Samara started a new year of swimming, soccer and tennis (and her last year as an elementary schooler) and Abby and Juli started a new year of gymnastics. Daddy took the girls bowling and we also hit the local Renaissance Faire for some frivolity.  Whew.

Juli's first day of pre-k and Abby's first day of 2nd grade.

Mommy's first day as a Special Services Aide at LHS

Abby playing baseball with Uncle Mike, Aunt Lou and her sisters

Nice stance!

Juli chose to hang out with Uncle Larry instead of playing baseball

Abby and Juli always make it a point to set up to play near Dakota, their big fur-sister.  We would not want for her to feel left out!
Juli usually ends up sleeping on YaYa at some point every summer

Juli wishing Abby luck on her first day
Setting up her pre-k cubby at Goddard School
The Barrel Ride
Sister Pirates at the bow of the ship at the Ren Faire
The Lord of our castle and his little Lady
Renaissance Faires wear some of us out
Such a big ball for such a little girl...thank goodness for big sisters!

Doing it on her own
Yucking it up at the local lanes

Thursday, August 01, 2013

July in Pictures

July was a great month for us. We had Samara for most of the month and the girls attended VBS (vacation bible school) at our church. They had a great time - in fact, Abby cried on the last day, as she did not want to leave. Work continued on the disaster that used to be our basement. The girls started selling pink lemonade at the softball games that occur at the park beside our house, which in turn funded some much needed trips to the local pool

Juli helps her daddy clear debris from the basement.

Abby helps by keeping him company downstairs.

Gonna go make some pool money!

On their way to the park to sell pink lemonade.  They are crossing our neighbor's side yard and then they are there!

We now have a much better appreciation for duct work.  What a difference this expense made to our family.  So much cooler in the summertime and, hopefully, it will be warmer in the wintertime.  Pretty, huh?

While she seemed to enjoy VBS, Juli was not at all comfortable with singing her newly learned songs to the congregation.  So, she performed them, with the motions, while standing in our pew.

Abby and Samara, however, braved it out in the stands.  This was taken just before Juli fled the scene.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

June in Photos

We have had an interesting June. The weather has been wonderfully cool here in the Chicago burbs. They say it is not normal for this time of year, but I'll take it! Here is what we have been up to..
Abby helped Daddy demolish the basement
We went to the botanical gardens
Juli took her turn swinging a hammer
We saw lots and lots of butterflies!
We explored pond life
Juli helped Daddy mow the lawn
We celebrated Father's Day
We celebrated Daddy's birthday!
We went camping...
...with some of our favorite people
We played in the pool...
,,,on warm, sunny days.
One of us got her hair cut!
And finally, we got a new sump pump!
 We have been super busy this summer - how about you?