Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ten on Tuesday.

1. New England is digging out from 3 feet of snow, yet here in Minnesota, in January, we barely have a dusting. More grass than snow. The whole entire point of winter is snow, so if it's not going to do that, it might as well be spring.

2. Fisher is having a visitor from Children's come to his class tomorrow to speak about Type 1 Diabetes. He is so excited about it being 'his day.'

3. While I was looking through photos to send to the representative from Children's, I thought I'd send along the link to the blog post where I wrote about his diagnosis. I had completely forgotten that there was a short video at the end of it, and oh my gosh my heartstrings. You can read the post here, and the video is at the end of it.

4. The weather here is downright balmy, which is contributing to the epic snowmelt. 30s and 40s are quickly becoming normal, instead of how we'd usually describe those temperatures in January: "hot."

5. Dinner tonight was the last quarter of our Christmas Eve meatloaf that we carefully freeze and save til we can no longer stand not eating it. Sad to see it go.

6. Alla was thankful, yes, for the delicious meatloaf, but even more for the mashed potatoes that so perfectly went with it.

7. That girl had her winter orchestra festival last night, and played lovely. I am hoping that she sticks with the violin.

8. Fisher is looking forward to his first chess club this Sunday at the library, and Alla is looking forward to her Advanced Knitting Class for the next two Tuesdays. Again, at the library. I love our library. There are always like fifteen things waiting for us.

9. I'm just going to say one more time that we would love a big storm. A real good dumping, crippling dumping of snow. We will stock up and stay put, and make fires and play outside. We live in Minnesota, so I feel like we deserve it.

10. So, Super Bowl this Sunday. I do not love football, like at all, but my family loves nachos. Nacho Sunday, then!

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Favorite Books of 2014.

In 2014 I read 58 books, and these are my 5-star picks. I am very happy that I get to sit down with my children at bedtime (Ron and I alternate reading nights, and each have our own book we're reading with them), because this allows me to read more books and push my own reading agenda.

Of the 58 books, 12 were books I read aloud to them.

43 were either middle grade or young adult, but most of those 43 were definitely middle grade. I love middle grade children's literature.

In my 5-star Top Ten here, all but two are either middle grade or young adult, five were read aloud to the kiddos, and two (Flora & Ulysses and The False Prince) were books I re-read from previous years.

Notes about some:

I'll Give You the Sun Goodness those chapters were long, which is not my preferred style of book, as it is harder to feel accomplished if you're endlessly in the middle of the chapter, but it was so worth seeing those two perspectives come together by the end.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and A Man Called Ove tied for my favorite books of the year, though I'll Give You the Sun was close behind.

It is really too hard to pick a favorite middle grade book, so I'll single out Rain Reign, simply because it is the only middle grade of the bunch that I read on my own, versus to the kids.

For read aloud, though, you really cannot go wrong with anything by Jonathan Auxier, and I have a feeling we'll be in withdrawal a bit this year without one of his splendid adventures.

I've now perused the Best of lists from all.the.places. and have made quite a ginormous list to read in 2015. It's quite laughable, however, when I compare the "official" to-read list with what I actually end up reading. Invariably, a kiddo will thrust something surely spectacular in my hands, or something new will show up on my radar, and every December I am left wondering why I didn't stick to my list? Why did I ever make the list?

Because for a reader, half the fun is in the discovery of new books, especially, with the goodness of Goodreads, as they appeal to others.

May 2015 be a happy reading year!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Ten on Tuesday.

(dusting off keyboard)

It's been too long, but there is something to be said for a break. Also Life proceeded whilst I was away from the keyboard, which means there's loads of back material there. Maybe that's the ticket. Just step away for awhile, live life, take pictures, come back and play catch up. I'll think it over, and in the meantime we'll just start 2015 nice and easy with a traditional Ten on Tuesday.

1. It's cold here. Thankfully Ron got me the perfect Christmas gift (from Etsy!), my very own Snock. Don't laugh, I'm toasty.

2. Due to the arctic temperatures, my skin is dry as a desert. Currently on the lookout for a new moisturizer that will make me look less like a crocodile. I wonder when companies formulate moisturizers for 'dry skin' if they really know what dry skin in a Minnesota winter looks like.

3. Over the Christmas break we watched season 1 of the wonderfully British Happy Valley. Highly recommend.

4. I also read two wonderful books, A Man Called Ove and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. Both highly recommend.

5. I believe my holiday photos are still on my camera, due mostly to #3 and #4.

6. Over the two-week break from school, I was rarely asleep before eleven (see #4), and rarely awake before eight. Consequently yesterday morning was quite a shock.

7. We saw two movies, Annie and Into the Woods. Rent the former, GO SEE THE LATTER. Soon.

8. Appetizers in front of a movie (Elf) on Christmas Eve works out very well.

9. One thing I love about December is the onslaught of Best of booklists. One thing I love about January is the forthcoming Newbery and other medals, so I can add even more books to my list for this year, which reminds me that my own Best Books list is forthcoming.

10. As I type this the temperature sits at three above and the windchill hovers at seventeen below, and I am hoping that our school district will close tomorrow and we can have a day at home to do, oh, all the random wonderful stuff we did for the last two weeks.