Links for Friday, September 4, 2009

September 4, 2009 Categories: Books , Contests , Funnies , Homeschooling , Movies , Reviews , TV on DVD , Videos | 2 Comments  

Well, we made it through our first week back to homeschooling – it went well, we are all still speaking to each other, so far, so good. Natalie is getting used to her bigger load – she’s in junior high now – and will start her weekly babysitting gig next week. (It’s hard to believe that the baby girl I used to take to Bible Study nursery, where a homeschooled teenager would babysit her, is now the homeschooled (almost) teenager doing the babysitting!)

I only have a couple minutes before I’m heading to the gym. Fun way to spend Friday night, right? Actually, I love the gym on Friday nights – it’s so empty and quiet.

I just finished reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner – if you like science fiction, dystopian fiction, YA fiction – actually, if you just love a mind-blowingly good story that keeps you turning the pages, you should definitely read it. It’s being released on October 13th. I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC for review – my review will be up at Books and Movies in the next couple of days.

~ A Life in Pages: Send a man to the grocery store – this video is a bit long, but so funny.

~ Mommy Brain was linked to from the Rural Health Blog, as part of the Get Fit Colville program.

~ Scribbit: Should children have allowances? Some good thoughts here.

~ A Life in Pages: Funny wedding moment – another fun video.

~ Moomin Light: For Star Wars fans – this guy is incredibly talented.

~ Don’t forget to enter my Ginger Kids giveaway – it’s a great tool for teaching cooking and geography!

At Books and Movies:

~ My ever-expanding list of must-reads
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Michael Harmon
~ Whatcha Watchin’? Wednesday: Scrubs, Season 8
~ Book Review: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
~ Book Review: The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
~ My Life According to Literature Meme
~ Favorite classics (so far)
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Meghan Nuttall Sayres
~ Book Review: Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff
~ Whatcha Watchin’? Wednesday: Psych
~ Found in the pages of Bookmarks Magazine, September/October 2009 Issue
~ Book Review: Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
~ Monday’s Movie Review: Stop-Loss

Big catch-up post, plus some links

August 23, 2009 Categories: Books , Homeschooling , Kid Stuff , Movies , This and That , Videos | 1 Comment  

Whew – it’s been a whirlwind week, with no signs of slowing down. Adding in my weekly support meetings and weekly training sessions, plus three trips a week to the gym on my own, has made things feel very busy – not that I’m complaining, since it’s working. Plus we have one more week of summer vacation before our homeschooling year starts back up on the 31st, and the kids want to suck as much free time and fun up as they can, while they can, so there has been a lot of shuttling kids to the city pool and park.

Friday, the kids and I headed down to Silverwood for our once-a-year amusement park day. We went with a friend and her daughter. The kids all read their 10 hours (outside of school reading) for a free ticket. Why don’t they have a similar program for adults? My admission ticket was $43.75. Add to that snacks – not even a meal, just snacks, because they won’t let you bring in any of your own food – and it was a very expensive day. Glad it only happens once a year. And also grateful that they do have the reading program for kids, or we would never be able to afford it.

The kids were all at sleepovers last night, so Kevin and I went out to Mexican food to split an order of chicken fajitas, and then came home and watched Psych on DVD. I love that show. Slept in this morning. I have to go pick up the boys here in a couple of hours, and then this evening we head south to Mom and Dad’s to celebrate Mom’s birthday.

The upcoming week will be just as busy, but with fun stuff. We’re having an extra play date with Michelle Tuesday afternoon, because she leaves on her dream trip to Edinburgh and London on Thursday. For four weeks. Sob. I’m so happy for her that she gets to go, but what will I do without our weekly gabfests?

Then, next weekend is the fair, and Natalie is competing. She will be singing twice for auditions on Thursday, and then if she moves on, again for the Talent Show on Friday, and, possibly, the Grand Revue on Saturday. She had an extra lesson with her voice teacher on Saturday, and I cried: she sounded so beautiful and looked so grown up.

After our fair weekend, it’s time to get back into our school routine. I’m ready. I think the kids are, too, though they might not admit it.

Well, it’s almost time to go pick up the kids, and I haven’t even put my makeup on. I just have enough time to share the links I’ve been collecting:

~ Win some cool Simply Fun family games at 5 Minutes for Giveaways.

~ Sherry has a great post about Miley Cyrus’s recent exhibition of poor choices.

~ Project 2996 is a project for bloggers to help commemorate the Americans lost on 9/11.

~ Am I the only grammar geek who has dreamed of doing this?

~ This little boy is an amazing guitarist.

~ Ever feel stumped for the perfect retort? Check out this list of imaginative insults.

Here’s what’s been going on at Books and Movies lately (By the way, Books and Movies was nominated for two Book Blogger Appreciation Week Awards: Best General Review Blog and Best YA Lit Blog, so thanks to anyone who nominated me!):

~ Book Review: Daniel X: Watch the Skies by James Patterson & Ned Rust
~ Literary Road Trip: YA Author Chris Crutcher
~ Book Review: Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant
~ Book Review: The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
~ Enter to win a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
~ Movie Review: Lost in Austen
~ Book Review: Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich
~ Some movie links and trailers
~ Author Interview: Elle Newmark, author The Book of Unholy Mischief
~ Book Review: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

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.

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!

Alice Hoffman take note…

July 8, 2009 Categories: Videos , Writing | 2 Comments  

…this is a much more gracious – and humorous – way to deal with bad reviews.

Links for Friday, July 3, 2009

July 3, 2009 Categories: All About Me , Books , Kid Stuff , Videos | 3 Comments  

It’s late, but it’s still Friday in our time zone. Here’s what’s been going on in our house:

~ Natalie sang at the Relay for Life last Saturday. The organizers set up live acts to entertain the people walking for cancer research. It was her first public performance on her own, and she did beautifully.

~ We met friends at the park Monday afternoon, friends that we don’t see very often during the school year, as her children attend a very structured classical education Christian school with tons of homework. It’s been nice catching up during the summer – and I get my baby fix by interacting with her adorable 1-year-old daughter. :)

~ Tuesday, we met my mom at the park in her town, where there is a creek – the kids had a blast playing on the equipment and in the water while Mom and I visited.

~ Wednesday morning, Noah and Jonathan each had a tooth pulled at the dentist. Jonathan was extremely nervous, and so the dentist had prescribed Valium for him to take an hour before his appointment. Let me just say that Jonathan on Valium is about the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages.

~ Thursday afternoon was spent at the pool. I got some lesson planning done while the kids played. It’s been very, very hot here this week – in the high 90s – so the pool was a good place to be.

~ Today, we had Michelle and her boys over for a play date this afternoon. I really need to invent some boy-addicting Pokemon/Yugioh/Bakugan-style game that involves collecting cards so I can make a bundle! It’s funny to watch how intense they can get over these battles.

~ Tonight, I had an appointment with a trainer at the local fitness center to learn how to use some of the machines. I am determined to get there every weekday morning to use the treadmill and work on strength training.

We will be celebrating Independence Day tomorrow by heading to the lake during the hottest part of the day, and then shooting off some fireworks tomorrow night. How will you be celebrating the 4th?

Here are the links I saved to share with you all:

~ Harry Potter, the Musical – This musical was written and produced by college students. Only one video is up so far, but more are to come – and it’s a lot of fun.

~ Renae has a great post at Heart of the Matter Online: Raising Children to Live a Normal Life.

At Books and Movies this week:

~ Favorite children’s novels, part two
~ Book Review: The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale
~ June Reading Wrap-Up
~ DVD Giveaway: Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
~ Book Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Links for Friday – June 26, 2009

June 26, 2009 Categories: Books , Just for Fun , Movies , Videos | 2 Comments  

Well, summer is officially here – and the weather is finally cooperating. The boys have been in VBS every morning all week. I like the quiet house in the mornings, but the running around gets a bit old after awhile. I’m looking forward to next week being more low-key.

I hope you’re all enjoying your summer vacations! Here are the links I saved to share with you:

~ Buffy vs. Edward – I’ve never watched Buffy, but I still found this video funny.

~ Popular and Unique Soft Drinks From Around the World – I can’t even imagine drinking some of these.

~ Saying More Than We Can Say: Why the Arts Matter Even During a Recession.

~ Deadline: Post-It Stop Motion Film – Some people are so creative – and have a lot of time on their hands!

~ Academy Expands Best Picture Nominees to 10 – Maybe this way movies that people have actually seen will be nominated!

At Books and Movies lately:

~ Favorite children’s novels, part one
~ Me and My Books Meme
~ Found in the pages of Bookmarks Magazine July/August Issue
~ Book review: The Wet Nurse’s Tale by Erica Eisdorfer
~ Favorite contemporary fiction, part three
~ Book review: Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted
~ Book review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
~ Book review: Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
~ Book review: Back Creek by Leslie Goetsch

Links for Friday

June 12, 2009 Categories: Books , Homeschooling , Kid Stuff , Movies , Music , News , Politics , This and That , Videos | 3 Comments  

Wow – it’s been a while since I’ve done a links post! We have finished up our school year, but nothing seems to be slowing down. This happens every June – I forget that June includes friends’ birthdays, Noah’s birthday, Father’s Day, and Vacation Bible School! It should slow down in July, right? Except of course, there’s Independence Day, and my sister’s visit from the coast, and Dad’s birthday, and Natalie singing at Rendezvous, and….. Can anyone relate?

Last weekend I headed to Michelle’s Friday night for Mom’s movie night – we watched Last Chance Harvey, which was very good. Saturday I did some chores around the house, and then Sunday Michelle and I visited the local Episocopal church. It was a wonderfully reverent service, but not a church for a family with children. There were only sixteen people in the service – including Michelle and I and the priest and the organist! Not sure if I’ll be able to try a new church this Sunday or not, since Kevin is thinking of taking Noah on an overnight fishing trip Saturday night, and I usually don’t take the kids with me on the first visit to a new church.

We spent this week at the park, mostly. I’ve been working on getting as much lesson-planning done as I possibly can, since I won’t have my curriculum until the beginning of August. I also wrote up the kids’ end-of-year reviews and packed away the years’ work and records and assessment results away into storage, making room on the shelves for the new stuff.

Last night, all four kids were at various sleepovers. It’s amazing how quiet this house is with no kids in it! The two oldest boys came home while I was at Michelle’s picking Josiah up this afternoon, and I come home to two boys completely conked out on the couch. They slept until 6 pm! Turns out they stayed up until 4 am and then woke up at 8. They played on a zipline, jumped on a trampoline, caught snakes and tadpoles in the pond, and played X-Box. A thoroughly boy-style slumber party.

Tomorrow morning, Josiah has a Tae Kwon Do promotion, trying for his yellow belt. My only other plans for the weekend are to get caught up on laundry before we run out of things to wear.

Here’s what’s been going on at Books and Movies lately:

~ My favorite memoirs, part two
~ Book Review: Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center
~ Book Review: The Sense of Paper by Taylor Holden
~ Book Review: Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton
~ Book Review: Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
~ Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman
~ My favorite contemporary fiction, part one
~ My favorite contemporary fiction, part two

Other links:

~ Short film: Validation, starring TJ Thyne from Bones.

~ Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program – if your kids read eight books this summer, they get a coupon for a free paperback.

~ 100 Best Movie Lines in 200 Seconds.

~ My Friend Amy is giving away a copy of Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn.

~ If you ever watched Saved By the Bell, you must watch this. (Go ahead, I won’t tell anyone.)

~ The theater major (read: geek) in me will be watching Chess in Concert on PBS this Wednesday. Starring Josh Groban and Idina Menzel!

~ The theater major in me is very sad to read that WSU is cutting their Department of Theater and Music. (This is where I attended, but didn’t quite graduate.)

~ NY Times: The Case for Working With Your Hands.

~ Is Anyone Minding the Store at the Federal Reserve?

~ Will Higher Education Be the Next Bubble to Burst?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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!