Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Sundays with Gage – Learning about Artists

As a summer daily project I started doing themed mini-lessons with Gage.  We read a book about a particular subject and then he draws a picture from the book.  This, of course, serves two purposes and both have worked very well.  We hang up each day’s picture in the kitchen until the end of the week when we take them all down and put them in a folder with labels.  He is so proud of this book of his art and it’s nice to see the growth of his artistic abilities.

My favorite so far was the week and a half we spent reading about artists. I checked out the picture books about painters at the library and found seven that worked.  artbooks

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle Markel.  Mary Cassatt by Mike Venezia. An Eye for Color: The Story of Joseph Albers by Natasha Wing.  Monet Paints a Day by Julie Danneberg.  The Yellow House: Vincent van Gogh & Paul Gauguin Side by Side by Susan Goldman Rubin.  The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinksy’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock.  Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe.

Both The Noisy Paint Box and Radiant Child are Caldecott books and deservedly so. They were my favorites, along with An Eye for Color.

If you follow me on Facebook you saw what happened at the end of the week when I set him up with some paints and an easel.

IMG_0257He painted a portrait of me 🙂  I think playing with proportion might be his thing, lol.

As the grand finale I planned a trip with him to the Cleveland Museum of Art.  I checked to see which artists we would find in the museum and then printed all 9 paintings and told him what room to find them.  He had to find them on the museum map, only two rooms so it wasn’t hard, and then get us there and find the pieces.  I knew he would just race around so I told him beforehand that I had to take his picture with each one. That slowed the racing only marginally.

We did walk around a bit after and he loved the video art.  So much so that Friday after his camp at the Botanical Garden across the street he asked if we could go back and see it!

IMG_0385I’m feeling like our first art study was a success!

Other topics we’ve covered are feelings, Disney (the week before our trip to Disney), and jobs.  Next time I’ll show you his art book 🙂

If you have any good ideas for good themes please share!

 

July 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Sundays with Gage – First plane ride and Disney!

I have resisted taking a long vacation with Gage, one that required an airplane and less access to food from home,  but when Jason had to go to Orlando for work last week I couldn’t not take advantage of the opportunity.  Gage is sensitive to loud sounds and I was afraid that the airplane might be too loud.  It wasn’t.  I was afraid of trusting restaurants to handle Gage’s diet.  I was right on that one.  But, in the end we had a fantastic family vacation and Gage gave Florida two thumbs up, which according to him means, “we’re coming back soon.”  We’ll see.

disney2We flew Frontier for the first time on the way there and except for the dirty snacks all over the floor, it was fine.  Gage loved the flight!

We stayed at Coronado Springs Resort in Animal Kingdom at Disney World and it was really nice.  I was under the impression from different people that Disney did a good job accommodating special diets and I guess they did, but to a bare minimum.

disney3We ordered at their restaurant and when they brought out his chicken, potatoes and grapes there was a big smear of melted cheese on the plate!  These are the things that keep moms like me on the crazy side when it comes to food.  He always found something to eat in the 2.5 days we were there, but I have no doubt there was gluten in there somewhere.  We saw behaviors that we haven’t seen in years, but better gluten than dairy since that would have sent us to the hospital.  So, the silver lining was that there were no hospital visits 🙂

Two tips that I had from people before we went.  One, we rented a stroller and it was a lifesaver.  Gage is 6 and I donated our strollers 2 summers ago, so I was a bit skeptical of this advice at first, but it came from mamas who had kids older than Gage. Without a doubt he would not have lasted 9 hours at the park had we not had the stroller.  It also saved us from having to drag or tell him to hurry all day.  The second tip was to get the fast pass.  We didn’t, BUT we did wait 20 minutes when we got there to get the disability pass, which they give to kids on the spectrum.  So, when we went to a ride and there was an hour wait, we signed in and came back in 50 minutes to ride.  Essentially, we still had to wait (minus 10 minutes) but we could go do other things instead of waiting in line.  It was free and we only had to sign up the first day and it was good for a month at all the Disney parks.  It’s a great feature.

disney4 disney1We spent our first day at Magic Kingdom and we all loved it.  It was hot and busy, but it was Memorial Day so that was to be expected.  The second day we spent at Animal Kingdom and I was miserable.  It was 95 and a worker there told me that because of the greenhouse effect of all the trees the park was often 10 degrees hotter.  I was dripping sweat within about 15 minutes. Gage barely made the height requirement for Expedition Everest, but he wanted to ride the big coaster and he did twice – with dad.

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We then moved on to the Hyatt Regency where Jason had a conference.  Gage and I got to spend a few days hanging out together in Orlando.  We didn’t venture all that far, but had fun.  When Jason was finished on Friday we headed to Sea World and had a great time.  This was my favorite park.  The crowds weren’t too bad and the weather was more reasonable for this Ohio gal.  Gage insisted on riding this water ride four times, twice with Jason and twice with me.  He claimed he loved it.  But look a little closer at his face the third time he rode it…disney6  disney7Look at that face! He looks like he’s being tortured! Jason looks like he’s having fun at least 🙂 Makes me laugh a little every time because I know that he kept begging to ride it.  We had a fun day there, even if it got cut short by rain.

The trip was a success, but the food was a problem, so I’ll be planning a little better next time.  I’m so glad that we were able to do it.  And I got to be the parent that told his kid’s teachers that he was missing the last two days of kindergarten to go to Disney World 🙂

 

 

 

June 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Illustrating the Gender Gap – Loganberry Books

I love Loganberry Books in Cleveland Heights. They are eclectic, cozy, huge and they have a cat!  For Women’s History Month they created a unique display that showed the disparity between the number of women and men authors in fiction.

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On their fiction walls they turned the books written by men backwards so that only those written by women are showing.  As a former bookseller and librarian I appreciate all the work that went into this.  Check out the  2 minute video of the walkthrough.  So cool. Here are a few of my pics.

I was excited to see the bookstore tackle something like this.  This was only the two long fiction walls and the poetry section (didn’t get a picture) and didn’t include genres or any of the rest of the store. I loved it.  The story got picked up by a few online sites and I was so disappointed by the comment sections. We have so much more to accomplish as women, not the least of which is respect.  I was surprised by the number of women bashing the women who came up with this idea.  We should be supporting each other.  I honestly get so discouraged by reading almost all online comment sections.

I also loved this idea that you could contribute to local charities and a few national ones that are fighting hard battles right now.

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I went yesterday and spread my $5 worth around 🙂  They also had  this display in the middle of the store.

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This store is a local treasure and the haters only made me spend more money when I stopped by yesterday 🙂

This display is up through today.

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Postcarding my wall, it gets political

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Lots of cards this week!

The train postcard is from Jessica in Great Britain and had a gorgeous train stamp with Union Jack that you can only get at the National Railway Museum in York. Very cool.

The van postcard is from Matthias in Germany who loves to goes to the movies.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy is his favorite. Can’t disagree with him there.

The koala postcard comes from Pamela in Australia who sys she will send a train postcard later if she finds one 🙂

The cute kitten came from Doris in Germany and this is what she wrote, “This postcard says ‘The biggest power in the world is the Pianissimo!’ Hopefully some presidents in the world will realize that!  Well, at least this postcard is still allowed to come into your country without being asked for passwords…  Hope for peaceful times for all countries, best wishes.”  Doris and I continued to exchange a few political private messages online. She encouraged me to stand up, protest any way I can, because the rest of the world is watching.  Powerful stuff coming from a stranger.

The one with the woman in a field is from Taiwan. Jewel told me about the special teas thy make there, oolong being one of my favorites.

The pretty mountain view with water came from Joey in Western Norway.  A favorite book of hers is I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven.


I added the van to my window that started out as a miscellaneous collection of cards that I liked.  It turned out the right side is now the graphic side since I had so many.

I’m not putting up every card I receive. Of those six from last week I only added the van and the train and cat went to Gage’s collection.  The rest of the cards are in the box on top of the trunk.

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February 24, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Postcarding

I’ve written about my love affair with Postcrossing before (you can do a search if you want to see my old posts) but now I may have gone a step too far.  In October we painted four rooms that had previously been covered with wallpaper.  All rooms look great, BUT our front room remained bare because I had not decided what to do with it. The color is okay, but I decided to get rid of the blinds and curtains so it’s been plain Jane ever since.  I came up with an idea for Gage to display his train postcards in his bedroom and made the mistake of checking out Pinterest.  Well, I decided to use my favorite postcards to accent our front room.  It’s been fun.

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This is the corner where I’ve grouped food and books and movies.  I’ll reveal other spots later.  So, now that I’m obsessed with getting more postcards I’m writing as many as I can (17) in hopes of getting more creative on my walls 🙂  I received three this week, only one for me but it will be added to this display.

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Both cats wanted to be involved.  That’s big boy Razzi up top and little Sammi looking right at you.

The beautiful bookshelves came from Annika in Stockholm, Sweden,  She takes the pictures herself and has them printed as postcards.  Love it!

The white postcard with the train on it came from an 4th grade class in Taiwan. Each of the kids take turns writing postcards. Ours came from Danny and he had excellent handwriting.

The other train postcard came from Alan, a retired teacher in France.

Come back next week to see another wall and postcards I’ve been lucky enough to receive.

February 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Film Friday

I have been a little out of the loop movie-wise but I can always count on the Oscars to help steer me toward wonderful films.  Let’s take a look at the nominees in the big categories.

Best Picture

Arrival (loved it)

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land (liked it, but had some problem spots)

Lion

Manchester by the Sea (tore me apart but what a great movie)

Moonlight

Opinion – the three I’ve seen are all worthy.

Best Actress

Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

Ruth Negga (Loving)

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Emma Stone ( La La Land) (she really carried the movie)

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Opinion – I’ve only seen one performance and she was fantastic

Best Actor

Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) (incredible performance)

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

Ryan Gosling (La La Land) (good lead)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic) (he kills it every time and this was no different)

Denzel Washington (Fences)

Opinion – Personally I’d choose Casey or Viggo but I know La La is getting all the love)

 

So, tell me what you think about the ones that you’ve seen and maybe I can get to them before the Oscars!

 

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Love Between the Covers

Jason and I are watching a documentary a day for our January 30 day challenge.  We are on schedule with the watching but two reviews behind. I blame it on the snow day Gage had yesterday.  Over the weekend we watched one that I thought my romance reading friends might like.

Love Between the Covers, 2016, is on Netflix.

For three years, we follow the lives of five published romance authors and one unpublished newbie as they build their businesses, find and lose loved ones, cope with a tsunami of change in publishing, and earn a living doing what they love—while empowering others to do the same.

They had a few of my favorites – Jennifer Crusie, Kristan Higgins, Eloisa James, Nora Roberts and many others.  Have any of you watched it?  What did you think?

You can read our thoughts here and scroll through the documentaries we’ve watched (and reviewed) here.

 

January 11, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I’m turning 9 today!

Who knew that when I published my first post here that I would still be around nine years later talking about books, movies, trips? Not me that’s for sure. I think that years 2-4 were the most successful ones. I was active in the book blogging community and I had time to visit my blogger friends EVERY DAY.  Times have changed and bloggers have come and gone, but there are many of you who have been here since the first few years and I appreciate your friendship so much.  Thanks for sticking around and being a part of my on-line, and often real, life.

I plan on another great blogging year with the admission that the weekly quizzes are gone for the forseeable future. I think it’s fun, but it takes up too much time. I’m not sure how I’ll replace them but I’ve got some ideas 🙂

Here are my favorite pics from each year of blogging.  Tell me if you have a favorite. I may use it on my front page this month.

Trevi Fountain in Rome2008

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2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

harry2013

IMG_1379[1]2014

IMG_1752[1]2015

first book2016

 

 

 

 

January 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

2017 First Book and One Word

Each year Sheila at Book Journey hosts First Book and First Word.  I’ve done the First Book for a few years and here’s this year’s selection…

img_1956Here be Dragons:A Parent’s Guide to Redicovering Purpose, Adventure, and the Unfathomable Joy of the Journey by Annmarie Kelly Harbaugh and Ken Harbaugh.  Annmarie contacted me in October to read the new book she had written with her husband.  I saw that she was local and decided to take it.  I started it in November, but since I was writing a book (NaNoWriMo) I was wasn’t devoting much time to reading.  I decided to table it until the new year and here we are. I will be picking it up on page 53, after she’s had her first baby and decides she needs to go back to work.  The book is good and the Harbaugh’s sound like the couple everyone wants to be friends with (hey, we’re local so who knows? ;)).

One Word is something Sheila does every year and I’ve always been intrigued by those who could decide on just one word.  In the last week or so a word came to me and I’m going with it.  Those who know me or follow me on Facebook or Twitter know that the election in November saddened me for so many reasons.  I think we are in for a tough, long four years, BUT in a way it also opened the door for me to become passionate again.  I plan on using Facebook and Twitter to highlight my word every day this year.

I want to live an INSPIRED life.  I want to be inspired by God, my country, my community, my family and friends, and myself.  I want to weed out the noise and negativity and look around that the good that is happening all around me.  When I see an injustice or a problem I don’t just want to complain about it. I want to find the people who are doing something about it and become one of them.  I want to look outside at the beautiful earth we live on and be inspired to be a steward. I want to be inspired by those who know God. I want to find those changing the world and support them.  At first it seems that inspired can be a passive word, but if you are truly INSPIRED you will be changed and have the power to inspire those around you.

What’s your first book of the year? And did you choose a word this year?  Why not be inspired along with me?

 

 

January 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 19 Comments

2016 Book Favorites and Stats

Books

I read 68 books this year.  That’s 8 more than last year.

53 fiction, 15 non-fiction. That non-fiction number needs to go up next year.

Of those 53 fiction 28  were by authors new to me.

45 female authors, 23 male authors

24 of these books were audio.

I continued with 8 series that I had already started (Cormoran Strike, Jack Reacher, Kinsey Millhone, Harry Potter, Lincoln Rhyme, Mrs. Pollifax, Myron Bolitar, Lucas Davenport)

And started 2 new series/trilogies that I will continue (Kick Lanigan, Charlie Cates)

I read 3 books for the Classics Club. I have 3 years to finish 39 more. (Ethan Frome, The Bluest Eye, Up From Slavery)

Oldest book read – Up From Slavery by Booker T Washington, 1900

Shortest book – The Croquet Player by HG Wells, 82 pages

Longest book – 11/22/63 by Stephen King, 849 pages

Most read author – Harlen Coben, Sue Grafton, JK Rowling each with 2 books a piece.

My 5 favorite books of the year

Title: Ethan Frome (Wisehouse Classics Edition - With an Introduction by Edith Wharton), Author: Edith WhartonEthan Frome by Edith Wharton. A classic that stands the test of time.

Title: After You, Author: Jojo MoyesAfter You by Jojo Moyes.  A worthy sequel to Me Before You, a favorite read from last year.

Title: Home (Myron Bolitar Series #11), Author: Harlan CobenHome by Harlan Coben.  These are always going to be favorites because he makes us wait so long between Myron and Win books!

Title: I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend, Author: Martin ShortI Must Say by Martin Short. I can only speak for the audio that Short narrated himself. I laughed and I cried.

Title: 11/22/63, Author: Stephen King11/22/63 by Stephen King. What a feat. I didn’t care for the very end, but this book, WOW!  JFK would’ve liked it, I bet.

If you’ve done a year end list please put a link in the comments so I don’t miss it!

December 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments