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


Friday, July 29, 2011

Fire and Ice

Here is Aaron making his glass flower using black and violet:

I'll post some other things this weekend.


One of the things I love to do with my time is to help researchers go through their mountain of data. If you would like to help out, scientifically, with a bit of your time here are several things to check out:

Ancient Lives

Help transcribe ancient papyri, written over 1,000 years ago by the citizens of Oxyrhynchu, the City of the Sharp-Nosed. Everyday life and writing, that we need your help to uncover.

I "helped" out transcribing and measuring a couple of fragments. It is quite hard, but I can see where familiarity would make things easier in a little bit of time.

Ice Hunters

Help to discover Kuiper Belt Objects with just the right orbit and just the right characteristics to make them eligible for a visit from the New Horizons mission.

This is the one I've been working on the most. I was invited during the beta phase and Eveybug even came an sat down with me to look for solid round objects and possible asteroids. Super cool...literally!

Planet Hunters

Using public data from NASA's Kepler mission, we are looking for planets around other stars.

The Milky Way Project

Sorting and measuring our galaxy, the Milky Way; we're asking you to help us find and draw bubbles in beautiful infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Old Weather

Help scientists recover worldwide weather observations made by Royal Navy ships around the time of World War I.

Moon Zoo

Explore the Moon in unprecedented detail using images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Galaxy Zoo: Hubble

The latest version of the original Zooniverse project. Help astronomers figure out how galaxies form and evolve by classifying their shape. Now with added Hubble galaxies.

Solar Stormwatch

Help spot explosions on the Sun and track them across space to Earth. Your work will give astronauts an early warning if dangerous solar radiation is headed their way. And you could make a new scientific discovery.

Galaxy Zoo: Mergers

Understanding what happens when galaxies merge is one of the most important questions in astronomy. Help astronomers by trying to match a merger from SDSS with a simulation.

Galaxy Zoo: Supernovae

Help us to catch an exploding star. Astronomers are following up on your best candidates at telescopes around the world.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review Catch Up

These are all the books I have read from March until now. There are several I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. I hope you get a chance to grab a few. If you have a book suggestion please let me know.

Myth busting at its finest. Mr. Martinez presents several science myths and lays out the evidence to refute them, while clarifying their origins. I am in agreement with the author in that truth is so much more fascinating. Grab a copy and do some myth housekeeping in your brain too.

Dated dialogue and contrived plot. Not one of her better stories.

Though she had many salient points her indignation was so extreme that it was very off putting. Her acid tongue often had me flinching, even when I agreed with her premise. I agree she had a right to be upset, but she is a masterful enough writer to have presented her ire with the same backbone without losing her reader in the cascading waterfall of anger.

Well researched, as always. Some things are touched on more deeply in his previous books, so you may want to read those first. The scholarship and detective work gone into to explain the books of the New Testament and their authorship is amazing and on going.

A dystopian, not to distant future, where children are pressed into workhouses for the spending sins of the parents. If a family overspends their debt limit the oldest child is put to work to pay it off. There is another sinister twist in this tale. It is a quick read for the young adult set. Interesting, but not spectacular.

Three kids backed by their membership as Realitants take on a mission to stop the evil, Reginald Chu and his nefarious plans. The story is a bit long in the tooth, but moves pretty quickly. Dark and a bit scary, not surprisingly. This is one that appeals to elementary and middle school ages.

Engaging characters, quick-paced story line, and a fantastic setting makes this book great for the older elementary school kid to adult in appeal. I look forward to reading the sequel.

WOW! Thoroughly fascinating physiology and behavior. These creatures intrigue me and the research going on is amazing.

Some great information about slugs and snails, also how to coexist with them. I have to say their number of teeth and ability to replace them like sharks unnerved me a bit.

A little spoiler...yes, you can get hooked on lip balm. Even though you know that little tidbit there is much more too learn in this book about beauty and hair facts.

Fabulous book on invasive species and the toll they take on the ecosystem they are found. Well written essays create each chapter.

A book with a gypsy fortune teller is bound to be interesting and this one is. It is always great to see what Flavia has managed to get herself into, hang out with Dodger, and learn more about the mystery of Flavia's mother. A sequel I quite enjoyed.

Sarah Vowell brings so much pithy charm to her presentation of history that I look forward to each installment. Learning some Hawaiian history and about American imperialism was eye opening.

Phyllis Diller, with some assisstance, writes about her life. She has had a pleaser personality since she was born to older parents who weren't interested in having a baby. Her poor self esteem was fuel for her comedic routines her entire life. She had a 25 year marriage to a man with a severe mental disorder and who had 2 children that suffered from different degrees of the same problems. Her life was one of much turmoil and traveling, but she proclaims belief in positive thinking turned things around after she read The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol.
I learned that she was an accomplished singer and piano player, as well. I like her zany, off-beat humor when I was growing up in the 70's and 80's. My kids know her voice from "A Bug's Life."
This book has a smattering of bad language and a few crude jokes... not surprising. I thought overall that it offered a glimpse into the life of a woman that made me laugh from time to time, so it was interesting to find out a bit about her life.

Brilliant book. Fascinating research and proposals.

Abigail Adams, a prolific letter writer, gives insight into her feelings and the politics of the time during and after the American Revolution. The author is able to use the primary sources to interpret the feelings of Abigail on many topics. Abigail's New England upbringing molded her strong sense of duty and service. Her love and bond with her husband, John, is a wonderful story apart from the history of the fledgling United States. The narrative seemed to bog down several times due to explaining abigail's actions versus what she said. Overall, the book gave a perspective of a woman who had a large part to play in the history of our nation.

The characters and subject of this story are painful simplistic and boring. The Nate the Great series makes me feel sorry for the trees felled to put print on them.

I am a fan of mysteries and problem solving books, so I was surprised to find that I disliked this book from beginning to end. The characters are not interesting, nor is the mystery to be solved. This is the second book that my daughter and I read together from this series and I had hopes that it would be written better than the first one she selected, but it was not.

Atticus "Tick" Higginbottom is sent a mysterious letter that sends him on a perilous journey. He is blessed with a supportive family, which and softness and comfort in a world turned upside down. The story drags on a little too long to get to some of the major plot points, but the subject matter dealing with quantum physics peaked our interest enough to keep turning the pages. Two of my four kids found it very interesting and were interested enough to read the second book in the series.

3 of my 4 kids were part of the faction that took umbrage that Pluto was "demoted" to dwarf plant status, or Trans-Neptunian object. Michael and I have always been of the opinion that Pluto does not care how it is classified. Neil deGrasse Tyson does a marvelous job explaining his reasoning and giving the floor to others to voice theirs in the discussion of how to properly classify Pluto along with similar objects in the solar system. Dr. Tyson's ability to remain respectful to others sets him apart as a true class act. He received the ire of people of varying age groups, but especially 2nd and 3rd graders who learn about the planets and get upset that there is one less. Humans love to persona objects. Pluto was also more endearing to Americans because of its discovery by an American, Clyde Tombaugh. Clyde Tombaugh was an amazing astronomer and the homemade telescopes he created are down right cool. Unfortunately, being a great person and making cool stuff doesn't override the science. When we learn we often have to adjust.
I, particularly, liked the letter of apology Dr. Tyson received from a second grader that he uses to open his book. I cry every time I read it.
This is a book about science, history, civility (uncivility), and learning to see things from a new perspective. The companion dvd was fantastic too.

This was an insightful look at what it meant to be human. It is written to an audience of aliens who find earth after the human race is extinct. The book resembles a school text book and is written by a group of writers from The Daily Show. If you ever watch The Daily Show you will be aware of the off-colored language and suggestive and sometimes pointed remarks about human nature. If you are not a viewer take in to account the previous sentence as a warning.

One of my favorite comments was on skin color, "...pigmentation was a quick and convenient way of judging a person. One of us, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once proposed we instead judge people by the content of their character. He was shot." Another comment I liked was in the chapter titled "Society" that said, " Through war we arrived at definitive answers to questions at the very heart of our existence, from "Which is the one true religion?" to "Which European power gets to kill the Zulus?" (Answers: Pantheism, Judaism, Roman Paganism, Christianity, Islam, Christianity again, Catholicism, Nazism, then finally Democracy; and the Dutch.)"
Another one that had me laughing was the comment on advertising, "Early 2000s, Our relationship to commercial products entered a new phase, wherein we believed we were expressing our individuality by paying to adorn ourselves with advertisements for good that other people profited from."
So it is great commentary on human behavior, but sprinkled liberally with colorful language.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shiny Things!

(Paislee Press, Oscraps, and font called Pea Our Best Bites)
The kids were thrilled to make their own glass flowers on our vacation.

Rachel creates a glass flower at The Holdman Gallery at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah:

I will upload photos and video of the boys tomorrow. I tripped the breaker, on purpose, but didn't realize my computer was on that particular breaker and I was working on some photos of Noah.

***********Hanging with Eve*****

Eve has been sick since yesterday and has turned the corner this evening. Her siblings have been getting her water, cool damp wash clothes, fresh towels, and sitting with her if I had to step out for a moment. I was able to finish painting our bathroom during a Rachel covered break. It was nice having such willing help.

***********Bathroom Renovations*****

Rachel well tell you I lack a bit of creativity. I found a color I really liked and a style, so I used it for both of our bathrooms. I went with white painted bead board on the bottom of the wall with a chair rail, and white crown molding. I am pleased as punch with the color I chose from Home Depot's primer paint in one. The color is "Crystal Waters." I just need to throw on another coat of white on the crown molding in both bathrooms and one on the bead board in our bathroom to finish the painting. Michael and I will get the vanity sometime this week. FINALLY!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lovely Granny's Traveling Pipes

I didn't realize, until today, that I forgot to post these photos of my mom's visit to Eve and Noah's elementary school. She played the chanter and the Uillean pipes. She won over a kid in the kindergarten who did not initially like the sound. She was thanked multiple times for coming and told she was cool. (March 17th, 2011)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

We're Back!!!

(Noah riding Cisco with Margie looking on).

Thank you to Lynette and John for throwing a fun family reunion! Thank you to Shalene, Grant, and Sharon for letting us shower and do laundry at your house! Thank you, Carol and Myron for inviting us to the parade and birthday barbeque! Thank you, Don and Margie for inviting us over, cooking us wonderful food, teaching us about horses and letting us ride, giving us a place to sleep, shower, and wash clothes, taking us on a tour of Durango, and the companionship of Crazy Cooper (and sometimes Cosmo).

I will post some photos later, but I am going to see the last installment of Harry Potter. I hope to remember the tissues. Rachel is going with her friend Sabrina, and a towel.