Kids Book Corner

  • Goose Girl
  • Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH
  • Peter and The Shadow Thieves
  • Peter and The Star Catchers
  • Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper
  • Stella Brite and The Dark Matter Myster
  • The Island of The Blue Dolphins
  • The Phantom Toll Booth
  • The School Library Journal
  • The Sisters Grimm
  • Tuck Everlasting


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Clever Idea of the Day from Rachel...

You see Noah has a natural tendency to give really tight hugs, so Rachel excitedly told me of the name she came up with to describe her little brother...Here it comes...Wait for it...


I love it!

Hugs to y'all!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Snow and Ice(ing)


Noahism of the Day

There is a tradition at the kids' elementary school to create Dicken's inspired snow villages. Rachel made a beautiful inn she called "The Out Inn" when she was in 5th grade:

While sitting at the table Noah lamented that he couldn't use this box design that he created on Sunday for his snow village:
Noah said, "I guess they wouldn't want a Fusion Reactor Core Generator at School."

Haley's 13th birthday

Rachel was invited to Haley's birthday party held at an awesome place in Senoia called Cutie Pies and Cakery;

The girls decorating their cake boxes. Each girl iced and decorated their own cakes:

Rachel loves to design with circles and the color blue:


These are photos from the day before Thanksgiving when the girls baked and decorated cupcakes:

Here is a mash up of two of my favorite pics of the cousins:

Off in a little bit to take photos of this year's snow village.

Monday, December 06, 2010

A Pinch of This and That:

The tree lot has been set up since the day after Thanksgiving. The proceeds go to pay for a portion of the boys' camp costs. Pippi has garnered a lot of attention on her trips around town, so Michael had her hang out at the tree lot to help get some attention for the tree lot.

Aaron next to a load of trees:

Eve helped unload trees because she loves to help with stuff like that (cleaning her room is a big NO, but she is eager to carry trees):


Zoo Atlanta with my sister, Tracy, nieces, Jessica and Haley, and with the Taylor kids:

Noah wanted to be helpful by reading the map:

The birds were very skittish. After 10 minutes, Jessica was the only one who could get a budgie to eat from the seed stick we bought:

Eve loves to hang out with her big girl cousins:

Rachel and Haley...Beautiful:

Komodo Dragon:

Komodo Dragon and a boy that probably tastes like chicken:

Dead mice...nom...nom...nom:

Jessica gets a close up:

Eve gets to pet a hedgehog:

The second time around the budgies are a little less skittish:

Rachel worries that mom is not around to get the photo. (Oh ye of little faith):


Baking Braided Christmas Bread:

Sister Weiler pouring salt. (I love how the salt granules are suspended in the air)

Rachel was an enthusiastic participant:

This song kept going through my mind as the girls worked the bread:

Music education

Rachel was busy switching channels when I heard this amazing voice throw out a few words and made her go back. I love the voice of Lou Rawls and this song makes me remember listening to the radio as a kid, so I offer this great youtube video (it also uses the word "need", so I see a running theme in my own twisted way):

Monday, November 29, 2010

Relaxing Week and a Couple of Book Reviews

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We spent the day at my Dad and Alice's house. We watched a couple of movies (State of Play and Leap Year)along with some old The Office episodes. The girls made adorable cupcakes with m&ms and candy corn to look like turkeys. Alice made some tasty pecan pies too. I will attempt to post some photos later. Here are some book reviews in the meantime:

I am a fan of the type of books that delve into how easily most humans will give up their freedoms, but that a rogue few have to use their wits to save the world from its cattle/sheep mentality. In this prequel, Laurie and Andy witness the initial invasion of the Tripods. In short order the Tripods are destroyed. The humans pat themselves on the proverbial back and people go on with their lives briefly. The Tripods are able to use television to control the minds of many. Swiftly the world changes and the Tripods use the concept of fierce nationality to separate the humans into manageable groups. The author makes a very good point when he compares the free band of humans to rats when he explains that humans have been trying to eradicate rats for centuries and what they achieved was killing the weak and dumb rats, while being left with the strong and clever. The author shows that the Tripods are accomplishing a similar idea with culling out the easily manipulated humans from the strong willed.
This series is a set of quick reads, interesting ideas, a great understanding of human foibles, human resolve, and simple science fiction (nothing too techie).

15 year-old Penelope Lumley becomes a governess for 3 children who, until a hunting trip by Lord Frederick Ashton, had been raised by a wolves. I enjoyed the, mostly, unflappable Penelope. She was willing to take on the challenges put before her with her chin up and best foot forward, so to speak. Her tender consideration for the children, common sense, and book smarts made her an interesting character. The children where infinitely likable, as well. My problem with the story is that too early on in the book I realized it was being written as a sequel. That certain plot points seemed needless strung out. It reminded me, unhappily, of the journey I took with the Rama series by Arthur C. Clarke (my husband is beyond tired of hearing me fuss about that series). I do not like to be treated like a donkey with the perpetually hanging carrot in front of my face. This author has the ability to deliver the goods, and I wish she would have completed the task in this book.


Friday, November 19, 2010

I am Thankful for...

by Noah Taylor:
I am thankful for wasps because they clean up dead insects.

I am thankful for ants because they prove my nervous system is functioning properly.

I am thankful for paper cuts because they prove I have blood.

I am thankful for shots because they keep me safe.

I am thankful for heat because it makes me sweat proving I am hydrated.

(addendum by mom):
I am thankful for Noah because he helps me see the world in a whole new way.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


The background to this is that several mornings I would make Noah cinnamon sugar toast and Rachel didn't get any. I would usually make her oatmeal, or a blueberry bagel, but she longed to be included in each sugary breaded breakfast treat.

I asked the kids, "What do you want for breakfast?"

Rachel responded, "Are you making anything special for Noah?"

Me: "Yes, because I like him best."

Rachel: "I'll have that."

Another successful interaction with my children to start the day.

:::::::::::Book Club::::::::

Today is the last session of Book Club with Eve's 2nd grade class. They are smart kids and quite silly. I baked them cupcakes for our last treat.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remain Calm!!!


Yesterday Eve was acting like a maniac with a pair of safety scissors. She was threatening her moon project by saying, "I will cut you!" I was trying to get everyone to calm down to say a blessing over breakfast, so as they promise that they are ready I look up at Noah who has his arms crossed like Bela Lugosi and has his eyes rolled back in his head. I start snickering, but try to get on with the prayer.

Rachel said, "Mom you obviously lack self-control."

Noah quipped, "She lacks all kinds of control."

Pot to kettle, my friends!

A few minutes later Rachel meets me in the hall to relate the next Noahism. She said she had stolen a piece of his cinnamon sugar toast and popped it in her mouth. Noah told her, "That acid will burn through your sarcophagus!"

Rachel: "My sarcophagus?"

Noah: "Yeah, your sarcophagus, you know, that thing in your throat."

Rachel: "You mean my esophagus?!

Of course, I wrote these things down to wit Noah said, "I'm very quotable today!"

:::::::::::::::::Last Minute Science Projects R US:::::

Now to help with Rachel's project where I can!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ooga Booga and Books Galore:

I think tonight is pumpkin carving night. Michael has been in design talks with the kids. I am looking forward to helping and documenting their progress.

Michael and I are thoroughly tired of being sick and tired. Colds are such nasty drags!

I just love the phrase, "Ooga Booga". No scary costumes for this year. Noah is going to be a robot. Michael has the box cut out and spray painted with silver metallic paint. I got Noah a pair of gray sweats and some cookie tins. I look forward to seeing what the guys put together. Eve decided she wanted to wear Rachel's Kimono from 2nd grade, so easy peasy there. Rachel is going to be a white fuzzy die with black fuzzy spots. Should be weird. Good stuff!

To the Books::::

This was the second book I have read by Mary Roach. I was intrigued by the subject of what a person would have to do to get ready for and possibly expect in long term space travel. Mary Roach's style is to ask questions that are not usually asked due to their embarrassing nature, or social taboo. Her book Stiff was one that thoroughly fascinated me, as well. I found the discoveries of how the body works under long periods of forced bed rest, no bathing for several days, processing different types and consistency of food, and withstanding extreme G forces interesting. The author often interjects her thoughts and feelings, so you feel you are her silent partner along for the experience. The part that seemed tedious and unnecessary was the several pages devoted to tracking down and watching footage from a porn film because it claimed that it showed how people could have sex in zero gravity. Well the footage was just an obvious camera trick and an annoying tangent to a story that could be served with a footnote.
I did like that the book was footnoted throughout. These asides I, mostly, found pertinent to the overall story.
How animals were and are used in the space program was very informative and interesting. The Russians preferred dogs, while the U.S. used monkeys.
One of the most fascinating parts of the book was the psychological tests that the potential astronauts have to endure. The scary part is the potential for problems because if there are psychological issues astronauts will deny them because they realize they will be scrubbed from the mission. Trying to figure out optimum crew make up was pretty cool. They have found mostly male crews with a few females would probably work best for long term travel.
The book was worth the read, but the tangents were often distracting to the more interesting information in the book.

Mary Quinn accepts a new assignment that uses her early life experiences of being on the street. This time she has cut her hair and donned the clothes of a street urchin boy and gets a job hauling bricks at the construction site at the Clock Tower at the Houses of Parliament. She meets up again with James Easton who is brought in to help determine the safety of the job site after a man has fallen to his death from the tower. Mary and James have a smoldering relationship that is blanched when Mary reveals some of her past to James. The setting in Victorian England and the descriptions of life for the poor is vivid and jarring. Especially riveting is the character of Jenkins. The series continues to have a modern feel, which I wish it would shake off some how. I like the characters and feel that the writer continues to show a lot of potential.

The Story of Henry Lee, a first generation Chinese boy in Seattle and his life changing encounter with a Japanese girl, Keiko. The story moves between two time periods. The war years of the 40s and close to present day in the mid 1980s. Henry's father wants him to learn English, so doesn't allow him to speak Cantonese. This communication barrier isolates Henry from his family. Henry is also ostracized by his classmates who are caught up in hatred of anyone who looks Japanese (which means anyone with Asian characteristics). His father makes him wear a button proclaiming, "I am Chinese". While working in the school lunchroom, Henry becomes friends with Keiko. Their friendship is put the crucible of war time drama. Through machinations of his father, Keiko and Henry are separated. Their ultimate return to each other is a long time coming, but done in a satisfying and gentle way.

The themes of father-son relationships, racism, bigotry, war, internment camps, friendship, and love are explored in this novel. A thought provoking read and a great book for discussion.

I am a science fiction geek, so books in this genre help me consider interesting "What If" scenarios. This book continues to be told from Will's point of view. Will is small, scrappy, and impulsive. His strong desire to maintain his identity by avoiding Capping by the Masters has led him to a group of rebels seeking to overthrow the Masters through subterfuge. Will is able to enter the City of Gold and Lead by winning a competition held to take the strongest representatives to work for the Masters. He, along with Fritz, enter the city and find out several important secrets of the Masters that the can use to fight them.

The world created by the author was well thought out and plausible. Well plausible, if you totally dig the idea of creepy, domineering alien species. I plausible, YES! This is a cool read aloud. My son keeps asking questions about the What Ifs. Curiosity...not so bad sometimes. Enjoyable series.

Charles Lennox is an upstanding gentlemen in Victorian England with a loyal butler, and an equally loyal fiance. His brother who likes to help out in Charles' detective work is also a great character. In this book of the series, Charles Lennox is running for a seat in parliament. The political machinations for running for election are a large part of the book. Lennox has to alternate his running for election with solving murders in London. The clues and characters were interesting, but I kept feeling that there was too much time spent on the run for parliament.

This is a solid detective series with good character development. This may be a bit of a vanilla review, but I like to think of it as a vanilla bean review because it does have that little somethin' somethin'.

Happy Halloween, folks!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How Did You Save Your Games?

Conversations with Noah:

On Friday we were going to my mother's house for the kids to sleep over. Noah was playing a handheld video game and was shutting it down to go get in the car. He cocked his head sideways and asked curiously,
"Hey mom, what did you do when you were a kid to save your games?"

Me: "I would leave them out on the table and tell everyone not to touch the pieces."

Noah: "OOOHHH."

I love those little family history moments.

:::::::::::::Noah's Business Venture:::::::

On Thursday we took the kids to Steak and Shake where Noah ate his usual request of chicken tenders. He decided that he should get a job. He understood that he was too young for getting a job out of the house, but he had come up with a clever plan:

"I have a great idea to make money. People could pay me money to play video games for them. I would play to increase their high scores. I would have to have a disclaimer that stated "Results May Vary"."
He is ten, but is already making sure his legal bases are covered.

I'm sure the offers are going to come pouring in.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Math for the Literally Minded...

Noahism of the Day:::

"Hey Mom, you know people don't really get in lines to get on the bus. They get into line segments".


A few minutes later Noah asked us how to draw a crowd, so Michael started waving his arms and yelling different things.. I started yelling I've got free money. I've got chocolate. He explained that he meant he needed to literally draw a crowd. So much for homework help.