Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer is for Reading!

     It's no secret I have a love affair with books. It's no secret that I want my kids to have that same passion. Books take you where nothing else can.....into the recesses of imagination where there are no barriers of time or space, taking journeys to destinations one can only dream of in their lifetime. There is nothing like losing yourself in a book on a hot summer day, only to resurface a few hours later with new knowledge, new perceptions of life in another time and place. During the summer break we require that our kids read some everyday. We did this with our older kids and as adults they are voracious readers themselves. These days I find Blondie, hair askew, huddled under mounds of blankets most nights after midnight finishing a book she had begun just hours before. (Her hair deserves it's own post. She's 10 and I still haven't figured the stuff out. Must have post graduate degree in hairology to do her hair on a daily basis....period. ) The love of reading will continue to make lifelong learners of all of us way beyond the level of education we earned that diploma for. With the little girlies it's a juggling act. It's hard to find great books these days which aren't filled with drivel......that are moral.....and aren't a waste of time. Also, with three different grade levels...3rd ,4th, and 5th, (and one with dyslexia) I'm constantly on the prowl to peak their interest while pushing the limits of their individual levels. It's hard!! It becomes alot of what I research as I have time in summer. I also have to work around reading lists from school. I don't have them read what I know is coming up in their new grade. There are many classics missing from this list. Some they have already read.....some they will read this coming year in school and some they just haven't liked. Believe it or not.....none of them have an interest in mystery series. I don't get it...but I respect their crazy wishes.
     So, here is some of what Nature Girl, Blondie, and Mei Mei are reading and LIKING this summer.....(p.s. if you 'require' that they read a certain amount each day you can do reading time in the car, and low and behold......that car ride sure becomes a lot more serene.....said the Mom of girls who are entering pre-adolescence and have a hobby of pushing each others emotional switches at the top of every hour).
I have been systematically reading myself through all Patricia Reilly Giffs books. She is a remarkable Newberry winning author of historical fiction and just plain fun books. 'Storyteller' is one of my favs about a girl in the Revolutionary War paralleled with a modern day girl. I love how she weaves a story!!

Lily's Crossing. Newberry winner. Another Patricia Reilly Giff fav dealing with WWII.

My Side of the Mountain. You can't leave childhood without reading this.! Jean Craighead George is another fantastic author.

Just plain fun. Robert McCloskey wrote the classic 'Make Way for Ducklings' that is a childhood staple.

Newberry winner Blue Willow is a depression era tale writtten in the 40's by Doris Gates.

Puppy Place series....easy reads about animals....enough said.

Matilda by Roald know...the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory guy.

A Year In Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem. Our aunt introduced these to us and they are timeless classics!!

The Littles series by John Peterson. Certain to give the giggles and spirit of adventure to your littles.

I think I have read every Elizabeth Enright book out there. Gone Away Lake is a childhood memory not to be missed!! Comfort book at it's finest.

Return to Gone Away continues the adventures of Julian and Portia as they uncover more secrets at Gone Away Lake.

The Melendy series starts with 'The Four Story Mistake' again by fabulous Elizabeth Enright. This is another timeless comfort book your daughter will read and re-read for years to come. There are 4 books in this series that are just as great.

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. Another great animal adventure inspired by Nature Girl.

Blondie's fav series (other than Gone Away) for the summer. "Ivy and Bean" are unlikely friends who encounter great adventures. There are many in this easy to read series. Mei Mei is reading them too.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Crazy Busy Summer--Part 3

This year we have ended up with passes galore. We are not complaining. We live in the 'land of entertainment' and during school our entertainment is Summer means using those passes till we drop.....and drop we are. "Keep 'em tired" is our motto.....(deep isn't it?). Needless to say we have had a blast lately discovering what Disney World looks like close to midnight (not a whole lot different but the ladies were giddy at the thought of being on Space Mountain at bedtime) and scavenger hunts at Epcot. A few free Cokes thrown in there doesn't hurt......(this is part 3 to avoid a gazillion pics on one post....scroll down for parts uno and dos!)
Hangin at Epcot. Our new fav park.

Fountain jumping.

This kid is an animal magnet. She has some sort of telepathic communication with them I swear.

Passes mean you find every nook and cranny of the park and all the fun extras they offer for kids. These two are playing a storm safety game.

Sampling free Coke flavors from around the world. This one is watermelon flavored from China. Don't remember actually having this in China but it was pretty good!

Coke samples from Egypt, Israel, China, Africa, Japan and others. Some were disgusting....some were actually pretty good!

Playing Agent P's Adventure at Epcot. It's an interactive scavenger hunt using a cell phone like device the park gives you. You go to a 'country' .....use the phone to solve clues all over that country and save the universe! When you solve a clue something 'happens' like a statue coming up out of a pond, pinatas giving you secret number clues, statues talking to you, etc. Best thing ever at Epcot and it's free!

Getting a new clue on our Agent phone.

Getting our clue from the parrot. When you point your phone at the parrot he talks to you code of course!

How we get around Disney. A must have.

You can take a kid out of China but you must take her back for the noodle bowls.

Love the extra activities they have for kids here!!

Beware the Norse Nature Girl needs a snack.....which is what Disney specializes in. Food and more food.

Blondie solved all Agent P's Adventures and is ready for another!

The "How To Be Just As Crazy Busy As Ever" Rules of Summer--Part Deux

We haven't even been out of school a month and are cramming in activity from morning till night. The girlies are loving it. I am too because if there's one thing I can't stand is free time (sarcasm is my specialty!). Actually, I love having the girls busy.....we want memories.....we want to fill their days and not waste a minute. Mission accomplished. More of what we've been doing here.....
Blondie is confused, heh.

Both girls qualified for the National AAU Gymnastics meet held at Disney World. Oy vey. Huge. Hundreds of girls. Overwhelming. Exciting. Spectacular and can'tbelievetheydidthis.

How the girls get up in front of hundreds of people and focus amid chaos is beyond me. They are rockstars in my book. Blondie placed 7th on floor and 9th all around at Nationals!! She's my hero!!

Here's what a rotation schedule looks like. Because of a birthday glitch Mei Mei's credentials got screwed up (yay, it was our kid!) and she had to wait hours to compete.....then had to move groups. It was nuts. Good thing we're patient (uh, no we weren't). We moved it into the "this is a little kids gym meet and won't really matter when she's 30" category and cheered her on in spite of the setbacks. We learned alot.....hopefully not to be repeated next year. Oy vey on the whole day.

Even with age group glitches she placed 7th on bars at Nationals!! Woot woot for this itty bitty girl!!

Father's Day. My son's mini me, only she's a girl. She is her Mimi's doll.....and hysterical to boot. 

Chalk paint. Nothing better than summer.

We swim for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just serve them food in the pool.'s where they can be found. 

Grandpa, praying for our Father's Day. He's hit some health challenges and could use some prayer.

Gamps and newborn Mollie. Oh the sweetness.

Our son. Best Dad ever.

We have been having sleepovers and I Love Lucy marathons. Notice the child on the left doing a narrative of the ENTIRE show word for word to the poor ears on the right. He doesn't seem to mind.....his ears are full of pool water.

Pool+ice cream+buddies= Blessed summertime!

We have a practice gym bar at home. So, he had major back surgery not even a year ago but thinks he can do this. You should've seen him get down. Heh.
Trip to the barn!
Love watching her do what she loves!
Because everyone should have a goat in their car.....
Learning to do horse stuff in the arena. 
Nature Girl and Leo.
This mule followed Mei Mei everywhere and finally cornered her. So. very. funny.
Chasing the scattering barn cats till you catch one keeps one occupied for a while= what she likes to do.

We have baby cardinals right outside our front door to watch grow up the next few weeks!!