Jonathan’s Reading – July 2009

July 31, 2009 Categories: Books , Homeschooling | Comments Off  

Yu-Gi-Oh! Volume 2: The Cards with Teeth by Kazuki Takahashi

Winner of Jim Breuer: Let’s Clear the Air DVDs

Categories: Contests | 1 Comment  


Thanks to Click Communications, I actually have two copies of this DVD to give away. The lucky winners are:

Lisa and Matt Dolly

Congratulations! Please check your e-mails, as I will be contacting both of you for mailing info.

Noah’s Reading – July 2009

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Bone, Volume 1: Out of Boneville by Jeff Smith

Natalie’s Reading – July 2009

Categories: Books , Homeschooling | Comments Off  

Pants on Fire by Meg Cabot
Being Nikki by Meg Cabot
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
The Darkest Hour by Erin Hunter
Without a Trace (Nancy Drew: All New Girl Detective #1) by “Carolyn Keene”
Waiting for Morning by Karen Kingsbury
A Race Against Time (Nancy Drew: All New Girl Detective #2) by “Carolyn Keene”
Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

Josiah’s Reading – July 2009

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The Littles and the Trash Tinies by John Peterson

Links for Friday – July 31, 2009

July 30, 2009 Categories: Homeschooling , Movies , This and That , Videos , Writing | 2 Comments  

Can you believe that it’s the last day of July already? We start our homeschool year on the 24th of August – it’s going to be here before we know it. Natalie’s science books came in the mail this week. These are completely new to me, so I was very happy to finally get my hands on them. I’ve gotten the year scheduled out, and just need to do some reading to make sure I understand what she’ll be learning! 7th grade science looks much harder than I remembered it.

This weekend is busy – tomorrow (I’m posting this Thursday night) Natalie is singing at a local arts festival called Rendezvous. She is very nervous, but I know she’ll do fine. We plan to spend Saturday at the lake, and then if we’re not too beat, we will be heading back to Rendezvous to hear An Dochas, a local band who has hit it big in Gaelic music circles. Their CDs are often played in our house and van.

Sunday, we hope to visit a friends’ church – if we’re not completely wiped out from the rest of the weekend!

Do you have any big weekend plans?

~ If you’re longing to do a re-read of the Harry Potter series, or if (~gasp~) you haven’t read it yet, sign up for the Harry Potter Reading Challenge.

~ Ever get angry over poor customer service? This guy had a creative way to get back at United Airlines.

~ The new Tim Burton film Alice in Wonderland looks really amazing.

~ I love this new take on a wedding processional.

~ Writing advice from Stephen King and Jerry Jenkins. (Who’d have thought that King and the writer of the Left Behind series would be friends?)

~ The upcoming New Moon film now has an official site.

Extreme Health Makeover

July 28, 2009 Categories: Extreme Health Makeover | 19 Comments  

I am embarking on a new adventure, called the Extreme Health Makeover. I want to tell you all about it, but I think some background is in order first.

I have struggled with my weight since puberty. I was overweight in high school and college (although when I look back at those pictures now, I think I looked pretty darn good!). I did manage to lose some my last year in college, but then I fell in love with the wrong person and tried to drown my sorrows in another relationship. When that one inevitably ended (he lived in another state), I was lonely, and I comforted myself with food, gaining back all the weight I had lost – and then some.

During this time, I went back to church after a long time away, and I met Kevin, and we got married. (Kevin thought I was beautiful, just the way I was. And he still does, many pounds later.) Unhealthy eating habits, four pregnancies, and comfort eating – you do the math. I am now at the heaviest I’ve ever been, and it’s taking its toll. I get out of breath walking one flight of stairs. I can’t keep up with my kids. I have acid reflux, back pain, sore knees, varicose veins – you name it. I can’t live like this anymore. It is time to make a huge change.

About a month ago, a friend of mine invited me to go to an event at the park, called Get Fit Colville. For the last two years, our community has been participating in Washington’s drive to become the healthiest state. They have a big kick-off event in the summer, and then people work hard to lose weight and get fit. There are prizes for percentage of body weight lost, and one pound of non-perishables are donated to the local food bank for every pound lost. So far, people in Colville have lost over 3,000 pounds.

The Get Fit Colville committee is also sponsoring Extreme Health Makeover. People who are determined to make a change apply and go through an interview process. 30 people applied, 11 were chosen – and I was one of those 11. I have received a year’s membership to the local gym, including an hour a week with a personal trainer. I will meet with a nutritionist to form a reasonable food plan, and will attend weekly meetings with the other participants for support and accountability.

I am very excited – and hopeful for the first time in a long time. I thought about setting up a specific blog for my weight loss journey – but this is my personal blog, and what is more personal than this? I will be sharing my journey and progress here, week by week. I am counting on all of you to help hold me accountable and get on me when I get discouraged or am tempted to give up.

I’ve already been attending the gym in the mornings – so far just walking on the treadmill. On Monday, I have my first appointment with my personal trainer, and in the evening, the first meeting with the rest of the participants. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Family vacations to Vegas

July 27, 2009 Categories: This and That | Comments Off  

Las Vegas used to be known as Sin City, but that has changed as Las Vegas has tried to foster a more family-friendly reputation. Many of the hotels, resorts, and casinos are doing their best to attract families with children and there are now a ton of kid-appropriate attractions, museums, and restaurants. Most travel agents can hook you up with different types of packages for cheap Las Vegas vacations.

Here are a few of the best places to take kids in Vegas:

GameWorks: Located right next to the MGM Grand, GameWorks offers over 200 interactive games – with something for every age and gaming level. My boys would go crazy in this place!

Adventuredome: If there are thrill-seekers in your family, then the Adventuredome is the must-see destination. The names of some of the rides make me shudder (Sling-Shot, Canyon Blaster, Inverter, Chaos), but those of you who like an adrenaline rush will definitely find one here.

Mandalay Bay Shark Reef: For those of you whose kids geek out over Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay would be a great place to visit. It’s designed to look like a sunken shipwreck and give you the experience of being up close with the aquatic wildlife.

Take in a show: If visual entertainment is more your family’s style, take in a magic show by Lance Burton, have a medieval banquet and take in some jousting at Tournament of Kings, and visit the world’s largest permanent circus at Circus-Circus.

Lied Discovery Children’s Museum: Science museums are always a big hit with kids, and the Discovery Children’s Museum is no different. Take part in some hands-on science and explore over 100 science and art exhibits.

CSI: The Experience: If you’re not planning to visit Las Vegas until later this year, the new attraction at the MGM Grand should be ready. CSI: The Experience gives visitors the chance to play crime scene investigator and solve one of three mysteries.

These are just a taste of the many family-oriented attractions now available in Vegas. As you can see, taking a family vacation to Las Vegas means a lot more than gambling and nightclubs.

(This is a sponsored blog post.)

Featured DVD: Dragonball Evolution

July 24, 2009 Categories: Movies , Reviews | 1 Comment  

(Dragonball: Evolution was provided to me for the purpose of this review.)


Based on one of the most popular Japanese manga series of all time, Dragonball: Evolution follows a young warrior on an epic adventure to discover his destiny…and save the world from the forces of darkness.

For his eighteenth birthday, mild-mannered Goku is given a mystical Dragonball, one of only seven in existence, which combine to grant a perfect wish to whoever possesses them. But an ancient warlord named Piccolo has escaped eternal imprisonment and is on his own quest to gather the Dragonballs. Goku must enlist the help of his friends—and the power of his evolving martial arts skills—to defeat Piccolo before it’s too late! Packed with spectacular visual effects, high-flying action, and over an hour of hard-hitting extras, Dragonball: Evolution Z-Edition brings the legend to life as never before!

Noah’s Review: I thought this was a good movie, but it seemed like they were just making up the story as they went along – some of it didn’t make sense or fit very well. 4 stars.

Jonathan’s Review: It was a really good movie. My favorite part was when the Dragonball GoKu turns into a monster. 5 stars.

Josiah’s Review: I liked the movie because it was cool when the GoKu turned into the monster and it was really fun. 5 stars.

Dragonball: Evolution will be available on DVD on July 28th. The DVD special features include: eight deleted scenes, featurettes, gag reels, a music video and much more.

Links for Friday, July 24, 2009

July 23, 2009 Categories: Books , Contests , Funnies , Movies , Reviews , Television , Videos | 6 Comments  

Sorry I didn’t have a links post last Friday – I was too busy having fun! My sister Debra drove over from Silverdale with her three kids and we spent all day Thursday and all day Friday playing in the sun. Then Saturday, my kids had Tae Kwon Do seminars in the morning and a Tae Kwon Do tournament in the afternoon. In a very hot dojang stuffed full of people and sweaty kids. I was glad to get out of there!

On Sunday, I came down with the little gift my sister left for me – stomach flu. It wasn’t horrible – for me. Kevin, however – well, he had a rough time of it on Monday and Tuesday. Poor guy.

This week has been slightly less busy. Natalie got her hair cut – I’ll have to post pictures, because it’s adorable. I went to the gym three times this week so far. I’m embarking on a program called the Extreme Health Makeover – but that’s too big of news to be an aside and demands a post of its own in the next few days.

I’m posting this Thursday evening, because tomorrow morning we are heading south to Spokane to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince! We have been so excited to see it, but last week was way too busy. I was hoping it would come to our teeny one-screen theater this weekend, but it didn’t, so we’ll drive the 60 miles south and see it at what my kids call “the big theater.” I’ll be sure to let you know what we think of it. Have any of you seen it yet?

Saturday we will spend the day at the lake, weather permitting. Sunday, we have been invited to a friends’ home for a BBQ. Should be a fun weekend. What are your weekend plans?

Here are the links I’ve saved to share with you:

~ Tim Hawkins is becoming one of my favorite comedians.

~ Brian Regan is another favorite.

~ Speaking of comedians, there is still time to enter my contest to win a Jim Breuer DVD.

~ The trailer for the upcoming season of House has me ready for fall.

~ Any mother who has had an inferior mother complex will appreciate this comic.

~ Nothing makes my day like a funny baby video.

~ This blog is dedicated to the forgotten items left in books as bookmarks.

~ I love these recycled book handbags!

~ Like mother, like daughter: Natalie has her first author interview posted on her review blog – with Lisa Samson.

~ Great post: They’re On Their Own: Why I’m Not Paying for My Kids’ College.

At Books and Movies lately:

~ Book Review: Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman.
~ Book Review: Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure by Emma Campbell Webster.
~ Book Review: Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.
~ Self-analysis: sexual content in books.
~ Book Review: The Way Home by George Pelecanos.
~ Monday’s Movie Review: The Changeling.
~ Book Review: The Sister by Poppy Adams.
~ Favorite YA fiction, part two.
~ Book Review: Wings by Aprilynne Pike.
~ Monday’s Movie Review: The Proposal.