Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle #1)The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first delve into "fantasy" and I was reluctant. But a friend with trusted taste recommended it so I reserved it through the library, and by the time it came up my turn I had totally forgotten. Why not, I said. I've been on a pleasure-reading hold for a long time. The last few I tried I couldn't get into. I figured this would be the same, and even if I liked it, no way could I finish the almost 700 pages in the 3 weeks I had it from the library. WRONG!

Finished it in 2 weeks and I am a very slow reader. The first 100 pages were especially slow, trying to get my bearings. Trying to figure out what this new world was all about and what would be important for later. But once it gets all set up and takes off it is SO EXCITING. A perfect escape.

It's kind of fun learning about a "new" world, what constitutes magic, what the physical laws are, who can do what, the superstitious/religious traditions, social structure, etc. Similar enough to our own to relate (i.e., money = power), but different enough to tickle the brain and keep me awake. Plus I have come to adore the main character. Excellent, excellent characters, pacing, and just enough twists and turns.

The hold-my-attention-ness of it reminds me of "Outlander" but thankfully without the monumental amounts of graphic sex - take note - it's clean! Good for prudes and youth as well as anyone else. I can't wait in the library queue for the second in this trilogy so I have ordered it and will then trade it on paperbackswap. But the third isn't written yet! I'll just have to savor the second and try to read it extra slowly.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Art Tuesday: Bubble Prints

Among other things, summer is bubble season. And colorful. And a good time to make messes. So that was Art Tuesday this week.

No clever picture books. No famous artists. Just us. And soap, paint and straws.

Bubble Prints
What you need:
  • aluminum pie or cake pans
  • tempera paint
  • bubble solution (or make your own, see below)
  • scissors
  • straws
  • paper (printer, construction or watercolor)
  • newspapers
What to do:
1. Cover the work area with newspapers. This is a splattery project!

2. In each pan, combine 1 cup bubble solution and 1/2 cup tempera paint. Stir well. (To make homemade bubble solution, combine 3 cups water, 1 cup dish soap and 1/4 cup corn syrup.)
3. **SUPER HELPFUL TIP: Cut one or two small holes in the straws - this will still allow blowing but help avoid accidental "sipping"!

Stick one end of the straw in the paint solution. Gently blow until pan is just overflowing with bubbles. Some may pop in this step and splatter on the newspaper and kids' arms and faces.
4. Place paper over bubble pile and lower down, allowing the paint bubbles to pop against the paper.
You can do multiple pops and/or colors on each paper for a cool look.
These prints can make nice background "mattes" for photos in frames, or, laminated, cool placemats. I did a few prints on heavy watercolor paper and plan to frame them for more homemade art decor in our family room if I ever get the darn thing painted and rearranged. I've only been planning it for a year.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Backpack Time, Yet Again

Some of you may think it's still summer, but for us, mid-July is practically back-to-school. Hazel goes into FIRST GRADE August 2. Which means school supplies and a detailed wardrobe assessment. Her Land's End backpack from last year is still in good shape, though the mesh water bottle holder is wearing through, what can you do?

Then, come September, Ginger will go back to preschool. And this year, as a 4-year-old, she will stay for lunch two days a week. Which means the girl needs a lunchbox. So I poked around a bit online. Liked what I saw at Garnet Hill, and then when I read closer, I really liked it. This summer (through August 9), if you buy a kids' backpack you get the matching lunchbox free. And free shipping.

GH's backpacks are average in quality I'd say, and their greatest flaw is lack of reinforcement across the bottom where holes are sure to wear. But what I really love about them is the sternum strap. My kids can barely keep a backpack on without one so I did a home-sew job on their packs last year. I can't believe all kids packs don't have them. But Garnet Hill does so that is a double-bonus point in their favor.

Ginger picked the aqua/cherry blossoms set. Pretty cute.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Art Tuesday: Abstract Art Pillowcases

This week's Art Tuesday was not exactly a start-to-finish project, but rather a combination of a la carte art components. First, we discussed the concept of abstract art - that sculptures, drawings, and paintings do not necessarily have to look like something to be great art. Combinations of lines, shapes, and colors can evoke energy, mood, feelings and images to both artist and audience.
Next, we discussed the idea of planning and sketching. Leaning on last week's Seurat lesson, Seurat made dozens (hundreds?) of sketches and plans before painting La Grande Jatte.

Those both being said, we gave the kids white paper and nice art pencils and encouraged them to do some abstract sketching. Kids are way better at that than adults, at least in my house.

Finally, we handed them their blank canvases (white pillowcases) and medium (fabric markers) and told them to recreate a finished copy of their sketch in color on the pillowcases.

Ginger was especially focused on this project. Her sketch was not abstract; I think this first introduction to abstract art did not sink very deep. She drew our family. But the concept of sketching and planning drove home - she must have done three or four sketches before being satisfied and taking on the pillowcase. Sorry I forgot a picture of the final project - it took her so long the rest of us had moved on by the time she finished.

So this project doesn't really have a supply list and directions. It was abstract! But any one of these components - abstract art, planning, pillowcases - would be a great foundation for any number of art days.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Chris" & Goo

Here's how the text thread went with my friend this afternoon -

G: Edward barbies are on clearance at target. $19!! Just thought you should know. :D
Me: Did u buy them out?!
G: No. I'm not the big fan...Still here. Want me to pick one up? 2 left.
Me: Yes just 1 pls.
G: You got it!

So a little while later she showed up with my new distance-impulse-buy. I thought the girls would make good use of a boy doll to play father/brother/husband/son/boy cousin roles with all our girl dolls. And if we're going to have a boy doll, I can think of none better than this extra tall romantic vegetarian vampire with sparkly skin!

I pulled him out of the box and showed him to the girls. I told them his name is Edward. They just laughed, thought it was a joke because their Dad's name is Ed. So they decided to rename him: Chris Edward Contagible. That is what they agreed upon.

Hazel wanted to know about the movie he's in; I told her I'd tell her when she's older. Knowing how it affected me, let's avoid that obsession as long as we can!They immediately got out their green goo they made at camp last week and started making stuff for him. Here is his jumprope. And here is a purse for whoever he marries. (He is currently betrothed to at least two dolls, Ariel and Golda, and is cousin to Mulan, who our girls call Muland.) I love a purse with long straps. And since I've started writing this post they've made scarves for his children, a rug and a fireplace for his house (note to self: fireplaces in real life probably shouldn't be made of "goo.") Oh, my, and Hazel has just gone upstairs to get a bunch of dolls to be his family. And Ginger just told me, "Whew, all this carpenting is making me tired. But I can do it! A carpenter never gives up!" I may have written this post too soon, this may be an hour or more of play.

Yeah, it's a good day at our house.

UPDATE, 11:23 pm - "Chris" joined us at the dinner table. He sat on Ginger's lap and ate part of her food. We checked his legs to see if they are sparkly - no. Hazel begged again to know the story of "Twilight." I resisted. Our friend/houseguest that is staying with us saw the doll and wanted to take me to bat over the Edward/Jacob thing. But it came out she's only seen the movies, not read the books, so she only has half the story. In the movies, yes, Jacob wins. In the books, I don't think so.

UPDATE, 8/7/11 - Poppy has adopted "Chris" as one of her favorite toys and carries him around the house saying his name. She likes to put him to bed in boxes with a small blanket over him, comb his hair, and hold him during diaper changes. Tonight she wanted him for her snuggle lovey when she went to bed. It's safe to say he has been lovingly embraced by our whole family.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Camp Week!

Phew. This last week the girls went to summer camps. Ginger was in "Vacation Bible School" 9 to 12 every day at the local Presbyterian church - there was a cafe/cooking theme where she learned "God's recipe" for her, including Bible crafts, stories, and verses each day, plus of course songs, cooking and playground time. Her friend Charlotte from our church was in her class, and me and Charlotte's mom seemed to be the only ones daring enough to park in the Mormon church parking lot across the street during pick-up and drop-off. There was a color each day that they dressed in, and lots of other cooking-Bible theme stuff that was hard to get the straight story on, but Ginger loved it. And it was cheap.

Hazel went to lacrosse camp. We've always kind of had lacrosse in mind for her, at least to try, and rising 1st-graders are the youngest that can start, so we decided to jump her in. Rented a stick and mask, bought and molded a mouthguard, and showed up the first day to Marymount campus, where we checked her in and she ran off to the field, immediately starting to toss a ball with another girl. She'd never touched a stick before, never seen the game played. Hazel is just that kind of kid. Camp was every day 9 to 3 - she ate lunch in the cafeteria, mostly root beer floats and the occasional slice of pizza from what I can tell, and a dip in the college pool after lunch for a break from the heat, then back on the field for drills and scrimmages. Campers - about 50 of them - were age 6 to 17, and Hazel was the very youngest. After the first day, the coach told me cheerfully, "She is such a character!" and "Everyone knows her name!" Hmm. Hazel's end-of-day reports were as spotty as Ginger's, but she seemed to love it, especially all the socializing with older girls. Check out this sportsgirl:
And Poppy, well as usual she went to Mommy camp. But on Monday morning she must have felt the buzz of something new happening, because she kept trying on both of the other girls' backpacks, and squawking protest if we took them away. So I hunted down Hazel's old toddler backpack, put Poppy's cup in it, and there. She was ready for her week. She wore that backpack every morning out to the car, and held it on her lap once buckled in. By Wednesday she figured out how to unzip it and to her delight found some fruit snacks in the pocket for her trouble.As for me, I was a busy bee all week. Between the 9 o'clock drop-offs and the 12- and 3 o'clock pick-ups, I tried to get Poppy her naps and also get some serious to-do tasks done, like:
  • Scheduling our HVAC maintenance
  • Calling our health insurance to clarify some points of coverage
  • Setting up a consultation to finally have my mole removed (yes, that mole, the one that frightens children and distracts adults)
  • Hiring an interior designer to help me finally, once and for all, pick some darn colors to paint the family room and downstairs
  • Hosting an Art Tuesday
  • Preparing a four-family meal for a dinner exchange some friends and I are trying
  • Doing a 4-meal session at Let's Dish (more on that in another post)
  • Cleaning out and taking inventory of the freezer
  • Constantly picking up the entire house
  • Doing everyone's laundry
  • Catching up on both blogs
  • Balancing the budget
  • Getting over a cold
  • Two trips to the library
  • Helping the girls sort and count their piggy bank money, run it through the Coinstar machine, and buy food for the Arlington Food Assistance Center (an outreach project of Ginger's Bible school)
  • And of course watching a few shows from Netflix and the DVR - currently obsessed with Firefly and Income Property.
Now that camps are over, we are just realizing it is a holiday weekend. And that it's July. This is our one big summer month since Hazel goes back to school the first week of August. Things on the calendar include but are not limited to - a sleepover at Grandma's, a trip to Pie Gourmet, swimming lessons, a show at the Discovery Theater, several playdates, Art Tuesdays, getting the darn family room painted, and maybe even a date with Ed! But that might be asking too much.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...