Books, movies, and TV

November 14, 2009 Categories: Books , Contests , Movies , Television | Comments Off  

~ Book Review: Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
~ Whatcha Watchin’? Wednesday: V, Fringe, Bones, etc.
~ Book Review: The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle
~ Movie Review: UP
~ Book Review: The Geography of Love: A Memoir by Glenda Burgess
~ Book Giveaway: The Purloined Boy by Mortimus Clay

Links for Friday – September 18, 2009

September 18, 2009 Categories: Books , Extreme Health Makeover , Kid Stuff , Movies , Reviews , Television , TV on DVD | Comments Off  

Today is Jonathan’s birthday – he’s turning 10. Which means that our house will be inundated with Playstation-playing boys this evening. Three extra boys, plus Natalie’s friend for a sleepover equals 8 kids in our tiny house. Kevin may run away.

I haven’t done an Extreme Health Makeover post in a couple weeks. We didn’t have a meeting on Labor Day and I had a week where I gained 1 1/2 pounds, then the next week lost 1 1/2 pounds, so no further loss so far. Workouts are going well – starting to get into a routine. Listening to the fourth Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book on audio – makes the workouts go faster.

We’re in a routine with our homeschooling, too – the kids are doing well. The boys love the Horizons Math (we switched from Saxon). Natalie’s not completely thrilled with her history, though I don’t think that’s the curriculum’s fault. She’s enjoying her science and I’m enjoying the short stories we’re reading and discussing.

Even though my web surfing time has been seriously curtailed, I still managed to save a few links to share with you all:

~ Ten Scariest Sea Creatures – and Kevin wonders why the ocean is one of my biggest phobias.

~ The Telegraph: 50 Things That Are Being Killed By the Internet

~ New trailer for New Moon – two people in this house are very excited to see it.

~ Our own Andrea of HJ has an awesome post: Why I Still Homeschool

At Books and Movies recently:

~ Literary Road Trip: Author Jennifer Bradbury
~ Book Review: The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
~ Whatcha Watchin’? Wednesday – Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season
~ Book Review: The Twelve by William Gladstone
~ Book blogs you should be reading
~ Still time to enter my BBAW Giveaway – win one of eight books. Enter by 11:59 pm PST tonight.
~ Book Review: Girls in Pants by Ann Brashares
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Terry Davis
~ Book Review: Holly’s Inbox by Holly Denham
~ Whatcha Watchin’? Wednesday – Monk: Season 7
~ Monday’s Movie Review: District 9
~ Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

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.

Links for Friday, July 10, 209

How did it get to be Friday again already? This week just whizzed by!

We had a great Independence Day: mid-day at the lake, home to watch – what else? – Independence Day – then fireworks when it got dark. Stayed up way too late.

Stayed up way too late Sunday night, too, since I took the kids to the drive-in to see Up and The Hannah Montana Movie. Loved Up (I don’t think there is a single Pixar movie I haven’t loved) and was surprised that the second feature was actually pretty good – and had some catchy music that I can’t get out of my head, because my daughter has been singing it ever since.

Went to the gym three times this week and walked on the treadmill. Increased my speed and duration each time. My butt and thighs hurt.

Got a haircut today for the first time in ages – my hair had grown out fairly long, now it’s a little longer than chin-length and layered again. Much cooler for summer.

Tonight, Natalie and I are going to a mother-daughter campout. I will stay for hot dogs and campfire songs and the scavenger hunt, but come home to sleep in my bed so a dozen tween-aged girls don’t keep me awake until o-dark-thirty.

Five days until my sister Debra gets here for a quick two-day visit. Haven’t been able to hug her in real life since her divorce. Can’t wait to get all caught up.

We have two members of our extended family undergoing treatment for cancer. My aunt is having radiation treatments to follow up on a lumpectomy for breast cancer. Kevin’s sister will undergo surgery and then chemotherapy for liver cancer. Prayers would be greatly appreciated.

Well, I’m off to run errands in 20 minutes, so I better get on with the links:

~ This comic is funny, and sadly, true. We love our public library!

~ The Best Books of the Year So Far.

~ ABC is holding a contest for budding song-writers: write a mock theme song for LOST.

~ This video is amazing: A choir uses their hands to simulate a rainstorm – and then they sing Africa.

At Books and Movies recently:

~ My favorite YA fiction, part one
~ Book review: Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult
~ Book review: The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark

Have a great weekend!

Links for Friday

May 22, 2009 Categories: Blogging , Books , Homeschooling , Movies , Television , Videos | 1 Comment  

The kids all doubled up on assignments this week and finished Math. Natalie has the proof-reading and final draft stages left for a research paper on Venice, and we have two afternoons of Science. History will continue as part of our read-aloud time in the summer, because we need to complete Story of the World: Book 3 for Natalie to be ready to start her 7th grade history, which begins with the Civil War. So we are mostly done with our school year and heading into summer break mode: reading and read-aloud time in the morning, and then afternoons at the park or pool! I am so, so ready.

Last weekend, Kevin and the boys worked hard, building two four-by-four raised gardens.


They then mixed the peat, compost, and vermiculite – the perfect mixture according to Square Foot Gardening.


After mixing, they filled the boxes and Kevin applied a lattice-grid to help keep track of where they would plant everything.


Natalie got out of all the hardest work, because she was on a sleepover at a friend’s house. She did help with the planting, though.


They planted romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, pear tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, chives, beets, cantaloupe, onions, green beans, and carrots. We’ll have some yummy salads this summer!

This weekend will be more low-key, since Kevin is in the midst of a nasty cold. Everyone around us is planning to head to the surrounding lakes to celebrate Memorial Day weekend. We, however, prefer the lakes on non-holiday weekends, when there are less partiers. I received three DVDs to review via UPS this afternoon: Taken, Valkyrie, and Defiance – so we’ll have some good movies to watch. I will probably do some homeschool record keeping and organizing to finish up the year.

I finally got to watch the House finale – and, wow! Spoiler alert: don’t read the following paragraph if you have episodes of House waiting on your Tivo. ;) Scroll down to the white space and you should be okay.

That was intense and crazy. Hugh Laurie is brilliant – the look on House’s face when he realized that the whole thing had been a hallucination was devastating. I liked Cameron and Chase’s wedding, although I think Chase was a lot more understanding about the whole “I want to keep my dead husband’s frozen sperm” issue than I would have been. It will be interesting to see what the next season brings.



Okay, you’re safe.

Lots going on at Books and Movies lately. Last Saturday, I posted a list of links that included a lot of book giveaways – many of which are still open. I’ll post another list. tomorrow. I posted part one of my list of favorite memoirs, reviewed Justice Hall by Laurie R. King, and posted the trailer for the upcoming Sherlock Holmes film, starring Robert Downey, Jr.

Here are some other links I saved to share:

~ NY Times: Some thoughts on the lost art of reading aloud

~ Bookroom Reviews is giving away the six Disney Animation Collection DVDs I just reviewed.

~ Funny video: awkward questions about Jesus.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Links for Friday – May 15, 2009

May 15, 2009 Categories: Books , Homeschooling , Movies , Television , TV on DVD | 9 Comments  

Three weeks of school to go. I am so ready to be done and have summer break – more so than I remember feeling in the past few years. Math has been a struggle this year for both Natalie and Jonathan, and all three of us are ready to not look at numbers for a few months. Can I just say that 6th grade math is insane? I am having to relearn so many things that I really have no reason whatsoever to relearn – except to teach them to my kids.

This was the week of series finales on TV: House (which I haven’t watched yet), Castle, Fringe, Lost, and Bones all sailed off into the summer season of reality shows. Tentative news says that Castle will be picked up for another season, which makes me much happier than a mere television show should, but it’s Nathan Fillion as a mystery writer – Captain Tightpants himself! If I can’t see him helm the Serenity, I’ll happily watch him banter and solve mysteries. (Speaking of which, did you see Nathan Fillion on Craig Ferguson?) Plus, Castle ended with a bit of a cliff-hanger, so I’ll have to pitch quite the fit if it doesn’t get picked up.

Speaking of cliff-hangers, anyone else out there watching Fringe? If so, what was with that grave Walter visited at the end?

Lost was so mind-blowingly fantastic and weird-making that I still haven’t processed it yet. Biggest question: Is Jacob good or evil?

Bones was the only finale that I found very disappointing. I hate it that they wasted an entire episode on a coma-induced hallucination. And then that last line: “Who are you?” And we have to wait until fall? Aargh!

As you can see, TV has occupied much of my time and thoughts this week. Now that all our favorite series are gone for the summer, we will be very happy with our Netflix subscription. We are waiting on the next season of many favorites: Monk, Psych, Burn Notice, Eureka, and Battlestar Galactica.

Other than TV, I’ve also had some great reading time this week, and finished three books: Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine, and Evidence: Poems by Mary Oliver. (Click on the title to be taken to my review.)

Besides reading and watching TV, I’ve been going through Michelle withdrawals, since my best friend and her family have been across the country visiting grandparents for two weeks. They come home tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to some long conversations – and the boys can’t wait, either, cause they’ve missed their weekly playdates with her boys.

This weekend, Kevin and the kids will be putting in some box gardens, using the methods in All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. I’m looking forward to lots of yummy produce this summer. Any of you planning a garden this summer?

Here are the links I saved to share with you:

~ Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) talks about becoming a mom overnight through adoption. Have a kleenex handy!

~ If you Twitter, check this list to see which of your favorite authors tweet, too.

~ Cormac McCarthy’s The Road was a favorite read last year (or was it the year before?) and the trailer has me looking forward to the movie.

~ Michelle at Scribbit has a hilarious post displaying things she will never wear. I can positively say – me, either.

~ Have you seen the trailer for the new Fox series Glee? I can’t wait.

And lastly, be sure to check out Books and Movies on Saturdays, when I do a purely book-related links post. You’d be amazed at how many book giveaways there are each week in the blogosphere.

Have a great weekend, everyone. :)

Friday thoughts – and a little bit of faith and politics

May 7, 2009 Categories: Books , Faith , Homeschooling , Politics , Television | 2 Comments  

I have short-timer’s disease. You see, we only have four weeks in our homeschooling year, and I am really ready for summer break. It is so easy to get lax in the final weeks – I’m a soft touch when I hear, “Can I just do 1 through 10?” or “Can we skip grammar today?”

We’re having a typical Northeastern Washington spring, which means one day it’s 80 degrees, and the next it’s raining and freezing cold. Sometimes it’s beautiful in the morning and then cold and rainy in the afternoon, or vice versa. When the weather allows, we are spending time at the park. With trips to the park and dentist and orthodontist appointments, I’ve had lots of extra reading time, and I finished Specials, the third book in Scott Westerfeld’s series, and also The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which was outstanding.

Natalie and I sang at a Mother’s Day Luncheon on Saturday and Kevin posted a video at our family web site.

Monday, I took Jonathan to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and we both loved it. In fact, as much as I liked the X-Men movies, I liked this one more. Of course, it helped that Hugh Jackman was in it. :)

Kevin and I are watching the HBO mini-series John Adams, and the kids and I are watching the PBS series Liberty’s Kids – can you guess what part of history we are currently studying? :) John Adams is excellent, by the way. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t vouch for how well it follows, but it’s enthralling and extremely well-acted.

We’re also enjoying ABC’s new Monday night show Castle – and keeping fingers crossed that it is renewed for next season. We continue to enjoy some old favorites this season: Bones, House, and NCIS. I’ve been watching Lost and Fringe, which Kevin refuses to watch with me, but I record to enjoy on rare occasions of alone-time.

Okay, on to a complete change of topic.

Today was the National Day of Prayer here in the United States. It saddened me to see a Christian post on Facebook that she is actively praying for the destruction of President Obama. Is this what Paul intended by 1 Timothy 2:1-4? Is it any wonder that the media portrays us as hate-filled? Is this how we walk in the steps of Christ? As I read those comments, the faces of President and Michelle Obama’s two beautiful daughters came to mind. I pray that they are protected from the hate-filled words spoken about their father.

Please don’t construe my comments to mean that we shouldn’t speak our mind when we disagree with the president and with Congress, and their actions. We should make our voices heard. I just happen to believe that when we pray for our president, our time would be better spent praying that God would grant President Obama wisdom and a heart that seeks Him.

Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox now. :)

We will have Mom and Dad over for Mother’s Day on Sunday – Kevin is grilling steak and Dad is bringing a yummy (most likely chocolate) dessert. I hope all of you also have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

Links for Friday – April 17, 2009

April 17, 2009 Categories: Blogging , Homeschooling , Movies , Music , News , Television | 4 Comments  

What a week! We’re on Spring Break this week, which has translated into more reading time than normal – but not as much as I would have liked. We’re also working on a refinance on our house, which has taken time gathering paperwork and talking on the phone. Then two days ago, I was notified that is no longer paying their bloggers per post. Not that I was making a lot anyway – $1 per post – but was always told that if I built my traffic up, that amount would go up. Well, I increased my traffic by 500%, but they cut me anyway – and when I logged onto the forum to see what was up, I discovered it wasn’t only me.

Kevin has been working on his own domain and web hosting, though, so I’ve moved to his domain, and he has customized my template for me. Books and Movies is the new home – and that’s where I will do my book blogging and some movie talk. This blog will continue as my personal blog where I will write about my life, parenting, homeschooling, DVD reviews, and links of interest – as well as whatever else pops into this brain. :)

Anyway, starting a new blog from scratch – and moving all links, sidebar info, etc. – as well as notifying everyone of the change because won’t let me post a link re-directing my readers – has taken a ton of time this week. I’m glad it’s pretty much done.

We were planning to take the kids to the lake to go bike riding and practice archery, but it’s been raining all day. Tomorrow’s supposed to be nicer, so we’ll try again. The kids have been enjoying days with no schoolwork, afternoons at the park or indoor pool, and extra gaming time. They’re not happy that spring break is only one week, though, and it’s back to normal on Monday. Only two months till summer break!

~ I know most of you have already seen Susan Boyle’s amazing performance on Britain’s Got Talent, but I had to post it anyway. I can’t watch it without tearing up!

~ China’s “one child” policy – and the resultant selective abortion of girl babies – has resulted in a 32 million surplus of males under the age of 20. 32 million extra boys and men!

~ Proof that the world of mommy blogs is pretty amazing and full of wonderful people.

~ The Weird Homeschooler: Myth or Fact?

~ Mel Gibson’s wife files for divorce after 28 years and seven children.

~ Check out the cast of the film adaptation of New Moon.

Links for Friday – April 10, 2009

April 9, 2009 Categories: Holidays , Poetry , Television | Comments Off  

Sorry for the lack of a links post last week – I didn’t have a lot of time for web surfing or posting. Today, though, we finished up our week of school – and we’re heading into Spring Break! I am so ready for it. Our weekend will be busy first, though, but with fun stuff. Tomorrow (I’m posting this on Thursday night), we have a play date at Michelle’s house and then tomorrow evening we will dye Easter eggs. Saturday, Josiah is promoting at Tae Kwon Do for the first time. Sunday is Easter, of course. After playing the piano for the service at church, then we will all head to Mom and Dad’s for Easter dinner and an egg hunt. Then Monday, break starts!

~ Did anyone watch House Tuesday night? Spoiler alert! Were you as shocked as I was over Kudner’s suicide? The actor, Kal Penn, had a good reason for leaving the show – he’s going to be working for President Obama.

~ Here’s a snippet of a poem to get you in the mood for National Poetry Month. You can read the rest here.

How to Read a Poem: Beginner’s Manual
by Pamela Spiro Wagner

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma,
your steel-tipped boots,
or your white-collar misunderstandings.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Links for Friday

March 27, 2009 Categories: Faith , Funnies , Homeschooling , Movies , Poetry , Television , This and That | 4 Comments  

Some random thoughts:

I love spring, but I would love it even more if someone could invent jeans that completely repel grass stains.

I think it’s sad that it has been necessary for the staff at Subway to put up a sign that says, “Please refrain from using your cell phone while placing your sandwich order.”

How is it possible that I’m purchasing fall curriculum for a 7th grader?

I am very proud of Kevin, who gave up chewing tobacco eleven days ago.

I re-connected with an old friend/flame on Facebook. How is it fair that he looks exactly the same as he did the last time I saw him – 16 years ago?

I hate that my sisters live so far away from me. I miss them.

PG-rated movies from the 1970s and 1980s are a lot more adult than PG movies made recently.

I’m going to be very angry if NBC cancels Life.

And now, some links:

~ Anne Hathaway will play Judy Garland in a biopic. Brilliant casting, in my opinion!

~ 1 More Chapter has the new trailer for Terminator Salvation. Can’t wait to see this one.

~ Take Your Vitamin Z has the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are.

~ Any of you moms Twitter? You’ll get a kick out of this comic.

~ Does Satan exist? If that topic fascinates you, check out the Nightline Face-off on this topic, in which Christians Pastor Mark Driscoll and Annie Lobert debate Deepak Chopra and Bishop Carlton Pearson.

~ This little girl singing The Lord’s Prayer is adorable.

~ April is National Poetry Month. If you’d like to receive poetry in your inbox every day during April, you can sign up at and Borzoi Reader.