This Week – Teacher Work Days

After almost two years of homeschooling I discovered something this week. We need teacher planning days too! I reached a breaking point on Tuesday and cancelled all of Gage’s mom school time for the rest of the week. He still had a few Outschool classes and his reading tutor two days, but I disconnected from the school day completely and we’re both so much better off for it. The plan is to homeschool next year and, rest assured, there will be a scheduled teacher planning day once a month so that a another breaking point isn’t reached. There are so many posts I finally feel like writing about homeschooling, but I’ll save them for another day.

I finished 3 non-picture books this week. I’ve read 150 total books this year.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Bauxbaum, 328 pages, 2016

I loved this book. Jessie has recently lost her mother and her father remarried and moved them across the country to LA. A new stepbrother and ultra rich private high schoolers is a lot to take, especially with no friends and mean girls targeting her.

Enter SN, who begins anonymously emailing her with encouragement and tips on how to navigate her new life. Suddenly it all becomes bearable. But who is he and why can’t they meet?

Such a rich story, full of the drama and insecurities of youth. I’m a little late to the party on this one, but happy to recommend it. Just make sure you make the waffles 🧇 .

The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon, 134 pages, 1960

Originally published in 1960 it’s the story of a cricket from Connecticut who accidentally finds himself in the Times Square subway station. He’s taken as a pet and makes friends with a mouse and a cat. Oh, and he becomes a famous musician and hundreds of people crowd around while he makes beautiful music.

Gage and I read the first half together and then finished independently (yes, I did! I needed to know what became of Chester Cricket). It was a sweet, silly, old-fashioned story about friendship and I’m glad to have read it. I’d say this is more geared to a 3rd grader. 134 pages (with some illustrations).

It’s an oldie but goodie. Did you read this as a kid?

Edutoons: A Jumpball Melee of Editorial Cartoons About the Politics of Public Education by Ron Hill, 138 pages, 2016

We were lucky enough to get a few new board members for the Friends of the Solon Library, and one of them is the author of this book, Ron Hill . This is a few years old and a compilation of his editorial cartoons about public education in Ohio and more specifically our region. I’ve always enjoyed his cartoons in the paper and this a quick, fun read about the state of education.

This book just happened to come in with donations, but I know he has a new one out that I’ll have to check out soon.

Movies watched

As part of my teacher ‘break’ I took my student to the theater, lol.
I came for Jacob Eldori and and left with tears. (watched on Netflix)

On TV

We started the new series, The Lincoln Lawyer, on Netflix. We’re over halfway through.

What’s your favorite burnout solution?

This Week – What day is it?

I took this on our family walk last night. Beautiful, right? Life is crazy busy right now, but taking ten minutes to check in feels like a necessity for my sanity. My to do list is 15 very important, all a bit time consuming, things that need to happen in the next few weeks, all while trying to finish up Gage’s 5th grade year strong. I know I’m not the only one with a crazy May.

The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day, 4.25/5 stars, 408 pages, pub. 2017

The Day I Died is one of those dark thrillers that has as many secrets as revelations. We know the main character is hiding and moves around with her son for that reason. We don’t know exactly why, but do get plenty of hints. She’s a handwriting expert for the FBI so she gets drawn into a missing child case, an entanglement that makes her itch to flee yet again. It was a nicely paced thriller with a complicated main character. Great combo!

The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis, 4/5 stars, 384 pages, 2020

The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis is a beach read with some serious issues. Brynn is recovering from an embarrassing life choice when she runs into Eli, a camp crush from her teens, who offers her a place to live. He forgets to mention that her frenemy, Kinsey, also lives there and she is also seriously ill.

I loved Brynn’s moms. They were most definitely the best characters, full of love and spice. The story of the three roommates coming together was good, even if it ended a little too simplistic for me, but hey, that’s what summer reads are for! And the cover will look good at the pool or beach.

I’ve read 143 books so far this year.

On TV the last few weeks

We finished Ozark. I didn’t dislike the end to this series, but it lacked some of the punch the rest of the seasons had.

We watch Harlan Coben’s Hold Tight on Netflix. It was solid, like most of his book adaptations are.

Movies

Dark.
Silly.

Plans for the rest of the day

We’re planning a hike in the park after dinner, but right now I need to spend a few hours pulling out homeschool year together and getting it ready to be assessed. This is required by Ohio. We can choose taking a standardized test or having a teacher assessing progress. It’s time consuming, but a good way for me to personally assess what worked and what didn’t.

What about you? Anything fun this weekend?

April Favorites

I ended my book a day streak April 15th and my reading, as I feared it would, has fallen off a cliff. It’s been an extremely busy few weeks that will continue for a few more, so I am trying to sneak in more reading time. A real bonus of taking my time with books is that I’ve completely abandoned two audiobooks already whereas before I would have probably powered through just to finish. I love the luxury of just moving on, abandoned books in my wake.

I finished 23 books in April, bringing my yearly total to 139. I read 7 fiction, 4 nonfiction, 7 kids nonfiction picture books, 4 kids fiction picture books, and 1 kids nonfiction chapter book.

My 5 favorites were

A Sparrow’s Disappearing Home by Mary Ellen Klukow and Albert Pinilla, 5/5 stars, Nonfiction kids picture book, 24 pages, 2019

One of our Earth Day reads and I loved everything about it. The illustrations were fabulous and the story of the sparrow’s search for his native habitat in an increasingly hostile world was powerful. The story ended by showing the heroes that were doing something about it, those working to save the environment and the birds. It also had a list of ways to help the birds and a map. This is part of a series and you can be sure we’ll be checking out the rest.

Infinity and Me by Gabi Swiatkowska and Kate Hosford, 5/5 stars, 32 pages, 2012

A beautifully illustrated book about infinity. Infinity is a big, huge thing for small kids and somehow this book makes it work. We follow a girl as she asks her classmates and some adults in her life what they think infinity looks like and, not surprisingly, everyone has a different answer. This had a sweet ending and led to a good discussion.

The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli, 4.25/5 stars, 320 pages, 2012

Terrier Rand was from a notorious family of thieves. They were all good at stealing money, wallets, expensive items from your house, and doing it without violence. Until Collie goes on a bloody rampage leaving 8 dead. As Terry comes home for the lethal injection of his brother he finds himself more fearful than ever of the blood that runs through him.

I was drawn into this one right away and loved the balance between action and introspection. The Rand family was captivating and I loved the gritty reality of them. Terry has a follow up book and I’m going to have to see what Terry does next.

Falling by TJ Newman, 4.25/5 stars, 304 pages, 2021

Are you a fearful flightier? Terrified at turbulence? Skittish of soaring 20,000 feet in the air? Me too! And yet this thriller managed to entertain not invoke nightmares.

The pilot’s family has been kidnapped and he is ordered to crash the plane or they will die. Will he choose his family or the souls onboard his plane?

Fast paced and pertinent to today’s politics this was a great audio book.

I’m always jealous of happy fliers. Are you one of them?

Past Tense by Lee Child, 4/5 stars, 382 pages, 2018

This is #23 in the Jack Reacher series and I’ve read them all in order up to this point. I love the Reacher and especially love the books that have a family connection. Reacher spontaneously gets off the bus in the small town his father grew up in and wants to see if he can find where he grew up. But, nothing is easy with Reacher and I like it that way 🙂

This Week – For the Birds

Have you have had a bird eat out of your hand? Gage went to his weekly Nature Kids Adventures and the coordinator sent me this pic. He had 12 chickadees visit his hands and he is begging Jason and I to take him back so that we can all try it. I love this group and also appreciate the 3 hour break I get from homeschooling and the time that Gage gets to spend with other kids during the school day 🙂

Gage had his first appointment with the orthodontist this week. He wants to remove two permanent teeth before putting on braces. I’ve never heard of this being a thing and I’m not sure about it. I’ll be looking for a second opinion before going forward. Have you had to do this?

Books read this week in the order I liked them best

Loved this story of a thief going home because his serial killer brother on death row needed him.
Loved this fast paced (at least until the end) thriller.
This is one of a series of beautiful picture books about animals and their threated environment with actionable things for kids to do to help. I hope to get them all!
Our second picture book for Earth Day this year and it was more informative than I’d hoped. I my have even assigned weekend homework from it 😉
I love Tommy and Tuppence and this final book in the series also happened to be Agatha Christie’s last book written before she died. It was meandering and showed her ages, but since T&T were also in their 80s it kind of fit.

Currently reading

Watching

We started watching the new Harlan Coben Netflix series, Hold Tight, last night but the wifi was too glitchy for us to get very far. Maybe tonight!

We’re watching the first season of Ghosts and still watching the current season of Survivor.

Puzzles finished

Plans for the weekend

We’re headed to a county maple festival today. What are you up to this weekend?

This Week – All good streaks must come to an end

Happy Easter everyone! Gage has already found his eggs and is playing around with gifts.

BIG NEWS After a year, 4 months, and 15 days my book a day streak has come to an end. I’d been thinking about it for a few weeks, even intending to purposely end it last week before reading a book for homeschooling and realizing that I continued without even trying, lol. I went longer than I thought I would and am actually quite proud of myself for this challenge. There are also the obvious downsides (where do I find the time) but also the small ones that showed up (am I choosing a book for its quality or its length). I found myself giving up family time for reading one too many times.

What finally tipped me over the edge? I spent most of yesterday with a sinus migraine in a dark room, moving as little as possible. By the time I got around to being mobile, I wanted to give my full attention to my guys, at least as much as the headache allowed. It was a fitting way to end my book a day challenge, but I still feel that small twinge of regret.

What I read – Hopefully I’ll get reviews posted this week.

Posts this week

My newest challenge!

Currently reading

Movies

TV

We watched the first three episodes of the network show Ghosts and thought they were funny.

We’re also into this season of Survivor, we’re seen them all. We each picked a winner in the first episode and all three have made it to the merge.

Plans for the weekend

It’s cold here! And the last two times I’ve spent an hour or two outside this week I’ve ended up with terrible sinus migraines, so I’m homebound today.

What about you? Anything exciting this Easter weekend?

A Wager

Let me tell you about a little wager between Jason and me. If I lose 35 pounds by the end of the year, I pick out the vacation next year, anywhere in the world. I don’t even have to take this trip with either of the guys living in my house. I don’t need to take their interests into my planning at all. (Can I really do that? Probably not but it’s nice to dream)

The mug is from our trip to Italy in 2008. I’m still trying to narrow down where I might like to go. Top 3 at the moment- Ireland, Greece, Australia,

What would yours be?

If I don’t lose the 35, Jason chooses and I’m pretty confident we’d be headed to Egypt.

This started April 1 and I’ve lost 3.5 pounds using Buddha’s Diet. But let’s call it what it is, intermittent fasting. You eat 9 hours of the day, preferably starting when you wake up. No alcohol, but no other food restrictions.

The book is good. It has some information about Buddha’s life and also the science behind some of the aspects of fasting and other factors like stress and exercise.

I’m sure that this won’t be my only diet modification, but it’s where I’m starting this month. This wager comes out of love. Last year I wanted to read a book a day (done and still going) and lose 50 pounds before I turned 50 (not even close).

Wish me luck! And tell me where you’d go! I love inspiration 🗺

This Week – Birthday Movie

We started the week with this beautiful dusting of snow. And ended it with Jason’s birthday

We went to the movies for the first time since 2020 and saw Sonic 2. Even though it was Sonic I was so happy to be back in the theater! We went to the noon show on Friday so there were only a few other families in a very big theater.

This week has been ridiculously busy. Jason birthday prep, book sale prep, election training prep, and still managing to finish a book a day! Oh, and trying to get all of our homeschooling stuff together so we can get it approved. I may have even found a camp for Gage for most of the summer, but I’m still waiting for details.

I won the March Madness wager this year and so we spent last Saturday watching the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Yes, over 9 1/2 hours of Middle Earth. It was so much fun introducing Gage to one of our favorites. I most certainly counted it for my book of the day, lol.

Currently reading

What I read this week (post here)

9 books this week, for a year to date total of 125

On TV

We watched Bridgerton, season 2. We didn’t like it as much as the first season.

What should our next binge-worthy series be?

Migrations Across Borders

Trying to be better about logging my books!

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy, 4.25 out of 5 stars, 256 pages, pub. 2020

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy is our book club read for this month. I had no interest in it during the first bit of listening, but the slow moving story grew on me as it weaved between past and present. It’s one that I’m sure will benefit from a group discussion.

Franny is desperate to find a boat to help her find the last of the Arctic terns as they make their last migration. We feel her despair even though we don’t understand it until the very end of the book when we learn of her past. Frankie was a complicated character, both heroic and prickly, and always, it seemed, utterly true to herself.

I don’t know if I liked it because I went in with such low expectations or if the underlying environmental theme drew me in, but either way I think this will stick with me for a while. And I look forward to our book club discussion.


Drawn Across Borders: True Stories of Human Migration by George Butler, 4 out of 5 stars, 56 pages, published 2021

My friend Diane (Bibliophile by the Sea) sent this to Gage a few months ago, but I’m the first one reading it! I’m curious to see how it works as a kids book because I loved the heartbreaking insight into the tragedy of loss and the beautiful art.

Artist George Butler made his way across war zones and refugee camps to document the people he found there. Looking for the many reasons people choose or are forced to move from their homes to places where they are often unwelcome. The places he visited were in Europe or the Middle East and I was captivated by how much could be gleaned from 4 pages about each place.

I wanted more detail and more stories, but as a book for older kids it worked. A great book to consider what makes a person a refuge or migrant.


The Sensory Team Handbook by Nancy Mucklow, 4,5 out of 5 stars for Teens, 180 pages, pub. 2009

This is a great book for preteens/teens who have any kind of sensory issue. It is a positive book with enough science to explain what is going on in their bodies without being overwhelming. It’s full of easy at home weekly and daily exercises to help them gain more control of their body. Will be so useful for many.


What You Must Know About the Hidden Dangers of Antibiotics by Jay S. Cohen, 3.5 out of 5 stars, 144 pages, pub. 2018

Gage has had too many antibiotics in his few years and finding an alternative is sometimes possible, but always more time consuming.

This book is about the family of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, (Cipro, Levaquin, and others), but I found it’s usefulness beyond that. Author Jay S. Cohen, MD did a good job in laying out the many supplements that are helpful not only for people injured by these antibiotics, but also for those just trying to heal from other toxicity.

*there are times when antibiotics are the only answer, yes.*


Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress by Alicia D Williams and April Harrison, 4.25 out of 5 stars, 48 pages, pub. 2021

Loved this book about Shirley with its overriding message of persistence.


The Eye That Never Sleeps: How Detective Pickerton Saved President Lincoln by Marissa Moss and Jeremy Holmes, 4 out of 5 stars, 48 pages, pub. 2018

A story I’ve never heard before about the threat to Lincoln’s life before he became president. I liked the illustrations, but they were very busy.


Peter Pan: A Graphic Novel by Blake Hoena and Fernando Cano, 1.5 out of 5 stars, 72 pages, pub. 2016

Um. just no.

February & March Movies & Money for Your Charity

You know the drill, add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity. Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity. Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to. Anyone is welcome to join in at any time. Click here to see past movie posts.

We’re at $84 right now.  Your charity could be next 

Shows I binged these last few month…Ozark (first part of season 4), Great British Baking Show (season 9), A Discovery of Witches (season 2) , Reacher (season 1)

A Quiet Place, part II, 2020 (Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Dijmon Hounsou, John Kransinski) Grade B

Love this post apocalyptic family!

This post apocalyptic family one more time. (Bill)

The Three Faces of Eve, 1957 (Joanne Woodward, David Wayne, Lee J. Cobb) Grade B

So much personality! wink, wink

The King, 2019 (Timothee Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Robert Pattinson, Lily-Rose Depp, Sean Harris, Ben Mendelsohn) Grade B

Unprepared King Henry V navigates throne.

Unprepared Henry V assumes the throne and finally succeeds. (Bill)

The Adam Project, 2022 (Ryan Reynolds, Walker Scobell, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Catherine Keener, Zoe Saldana) Grade C+

Fun idea, many head scratching moments.

Fun idea, some head scratching moments but it has Ryan Reynolds. (Bill)

Through My Window, 2022 (Julio Pena, Clara Galle, Pilar Castro) Grade C

Sexy romance with some seriously bad lessons for girls.
He’s All That, 2021 (Addison Rae, Tanner Buchanan, Madison Pettis, Rachael Leigh Cook, Peyton Meyer) Grade C

It had its moments with nod to the original.

The Royal Treatment, 2022 (Ellen Marano, Mena Massoud) Grade C-

Cute enough royalty romcom.