Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some summer birthdays!

I have a December birthday, and I was always so jealous of the kids who got to get presents in the summer! Here are a few of the WOMS summer birthday kiddos. Hope everyone has a GR8 summer!!!!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Not to say I told you so, but...

Recently my husband got a video link from a friend saying saying that if you pried open a 6 volt battery, you would find 32 AA batteries, but it turns out it's a hoax. The picture there is a snapshot from the blog of the people who were reporting it!

We LOVE that!

Happy Friday, everyone :-)

Poetry Friday - "Travel"

Oh, I am getting SOOOOOOO excited to go to Australia this summer. We'll be there for five weeks, and I cannot wait! It is going to be awesome. I'm especially looking forward to seeing kangaroos in the wild, lots of new birds, and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. It's going to rock! Hope you have a chance to travel somewhere this summer. You can go anywhere with a book, you know! :)

Enjoy your summer, everyone! I'll look forward to hearing about your adventures when we get back in the fall!

by Robert Louis Stevenson

I should like to rise and go
Where the golden apples grow; ---
Where below another sky
Parrot islands anchored lie,
And, watched by cockatoos and goats,
Lonely Crusoes building boats; ---
Where in sunshine reaching out
Eastern cities, miles about,
Are with mosque and minaret
Among sandy gardens set,
And the rich goods from near and far
Hang for sale in the bazaar;--
Where the Great Wall round China goes,
And on one side the desert blows,
And with bell and voice and drum,
Cities on the other hum;--
Where are forests, hot as fire,
Wide as England, tall as a spire,
Full of apes and cocoa-nuts
And the negro hunters’ huts;--
Where the knotty crocodile
Lies and blinks in the Nile,
And the red flamingo flies
Hunting fish before his eyes;---
Where in jungles, near and far,
Man-devouring tigers are,
Lying close and giving ear
Lest the hunt be drawing near,
Or a comer-by by seen
Swinging in a palanquin;---
Where among the desert sands
Some deserted city stands,
All its children, sweep and prince,
Grown to manhood ages since,
Not a foot in street or house,
Not a stir of child or mouse,
And when kindly falls the night,
In all the town no spark of light.
There I’ll come when I’m a man
With a camel caravan;
Light a fire in the gloom
Of some dusty dining-room;
See the pictures on the walls,
Heroes, fights and festivals;
And in a corner find the toys
Of the old Egyptian boys.


Crusoes -- Robinson Crusoe is a character in a book who was stranded all alone on an island.
Mosque -- a temple or building used for worship Muslims
Minaret -- a tower of a mosque; used for calling Muslims to prayer
Bazaar -- a place where things are sold from rows of little shops or stalls
Palanquin -- a form of transportation, usually for one person; it looks like a little enclosed box on long poles that rest on the shoulders of those who carry it.
Caravan -- a group traveling in line

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mother Daughter Book club - last meeting of the year

We had our last meeting of the year last night, and it was great. We shared book and movie ideas, summer plans, and yummy snacks. It's been a great year for book club, and I will really miss all the 8th graders who are moving on to the high school. But I'm also looking forward to next year! Current 5th, 6th and 7th grade girls and their moms are welcome to join us next year. Watch for more information in the fall.

Audiobooks I've listened to lately

I forgot about the audiobooks I've listened to lately, and there have been several. All of these except Maisie Dobbs: Among the Mad are grown-up books.

Maisie Dobbs: Among the Mad - Jacqueline Winspeare. I've read (mostly listened to, actually) several of the books in this series, and I really enjoy them. Maisie is a young woman in post-Crimean war England who was a nurse but now has become a detective. I just love her style, her smarts, and her accent. One of the reasons I love audiobooks. This story was a bit more depressing than other stories in the series, as it focused on war veterans who were struggling with what we'd undoubtedly call PTSD nowadays but which had no label, and very little help at that time. I have to admit, the red herrings in this book did throw me off a bit. That, combined with the dark storyline, made this my least favorite in the series, but I'm still waiting excitedly for the next one because I won't give up on my Maisie.

Little Bee - Chris Cleave. A brutal grown up book that left me completely wiped out after finishing. The wirting was lovely, the accent was lovely, the story line was awful (events, I mean, not the putting together of the events), and they just seemed to keep getting worse. I read several reviews afterward, and some people mentioned that htere were to many coincidences and poor choices, which I do kind of have to agree with. A little TOO much suspension of disbelief required. I did also read about Nigeria and the situation with the oil companies there, and it's been pretty horrific. I never knew Nigeria was the 6th largest oil producing nation. Is all the backlash worth it? We've GOT to get off this oil dependence!

Peace Like A River - Leif Enger. Another difficult book, but I LOVED this one. The writing was amazing. Of course it was recommended by my friend Suzanne, so I should not be surprised by this. Young Reuben Land's brother Davy has been jailed for killing two boys. He did it, and everyone knows it, but the question is, was it in defense of his family or a set up? Before his trial, though, Davy escapes from jail, and most of the rest of the story is his family's journey to try and connect with him. There is a lot of pain in this story, but so much overflowing love, too. This story also requires a lot of suspension of disbelief, but somehow I found it more do-able than the other book. did I say already that hte writing in this book is incredible? Because the writing in this book is incredible. Probably the best written book I've read in a year.

The 19th Wife - David Ebershoff. Interesting story, but I was not a fan of how this book was made up of so many parts. There were about five different storylines coming together in this book, and as an audiobook, it was challenging. They did use different readers, which helped, but it just didn't flow for me, and I found myself wanting to skip parts I wasn't as interested in and get back to the parts I really did like. I actually DID skip some parts of this book, but not too many as that gets kind of tricky on audio. I have read other polygamy stories before, and this was similar, but had some different twists that I thought were nice inclusions. It had a lot of historical background about the polygamist sect and how and why they broke off from the LDS church which I didn't know and I found interesting. But there was a little TOO much of it. The audiobook was 19 hours of listening, and if it's going to be that long, it ALL needs to be compelling, because there's no skimming. There were storylines about kids who'd been kicked out of their homes, about a 19th wife who was accused of murdering her husband, about a grad student researching LDS/polygamist history, and about Brigham young himself. LOTS to take in. I preferred the similar novels Sister Wife and The Chosen, although those books did no provide hte background information this one did.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

OBOB Championships - Gatlin wins!!

After a LOOOOOOOONG drought of not winning the OBOB Championships, Mrs. Gatlin's class finally came away the winners, but it was a hard fight and came right down to the wire. Ms. Darby's class should be commended for their excellent performance as well! YEAH everyone!

7 more books last week!

I had a terrible cold last week, but the silver lining is I read a bunch of great books!

Going too Far - Jennifer Echols. This was a romance book better for high schoolers. It was about a girl who made some bad choices and she ended up on a train trestle just before a train came. She and her three friends were nearly killed. A police officer happens to see them. He is NOT too pleased about it; later on in the story it comes to light as to WHY he is so upset. In the meantime, the girl, Meg, and two of the friends are assigned to ride-alongs. One with the police officer, one with the fire dept. and one with the ambulance. Meg gets the police officer. At first she hates him because he wrecked her spring break plans, but as the week progresses she finds herself attracted to him. It's a suspenseful story that has a lot of layers to it. Mature 8th graders and up.

Borrowed Names - Jeannine Atkins. This is a book I picked up from a display at the public library during National Poetry Week, and it turned out to be quite fantabulous. It's all written in verse, adn it's three stories about mothers and daughters. One about Rose and Laura Ingalls Wilder, one about Marie and Irene Curie, and one about Madam C.J Walker and her daughter. I learned a lot of history through reading it, and because it was written in verse, it went super fast. I really, really enjoyed it.

Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles. This was a very interesting story about two very different kids who were complete opposites forced to work together at school. At the beginning of the story they pretty much hate each other, in large part because they're both hiding from the truth in their lives and they're afraid, I think, of being vulnerable. And as much as they fight it, they begin to see things in the other that make them actually like each other. In fact, they fall in love. There are giant barriers, though, especially Alex's gang involvement, and whether they can work through that provides an incredible amount of tension. Sure to be a hit with romance fans,even boys, as the male character is quite strong. Best suited to mature 8th graders and up.

Lost - Jacqueline Davies. thsi was an interesting story centered around a young woman who worked in the miserable conditions of the Triangle shirtwaist factory in New York in 1911. Many immigrants worked there, and many young women, and there was a terrible fire in this factory where hundreds of young women died as a result of the awful conditions. Most of this story takes place before the fire, though. Main character Essie tells the story, but it alternates in chapters from earlier times to later. The difference between them is clearly identified by different colored pages and different font, but still the reader needs to pay attention and may, perhaps, be somewhat confused about what's going on with Essie and her younger sister. There's also a third character that becomes a major player and adds even more mystery to the story. Readers who can follow the twisting plot lines will be rewarded with an excellent piece of historical fiction.

Love You Hate You Miss You - Elizabeth Scott. This was a tough read, but it was a good story. 16 year old Amy's best friend died in a car crash, and Amy blames herself. True, she was there, and true, she was drunk, and true, she had shown her friend something she definitely did not want to see. But does this make her responsible for Julia's getting behind the wheel and crashing the car? Amy's had some time in alcohol rehab to think about that. She really feels like it IS her fault, and so do some people like Julia's mother. Other people do not. Now it's up to her to decide how to deal with that she's feeling ,much of which she does through letters to her dead friend. This novel is definitely best for older readers.

A Season of Gifts - Richard Peck. Loved this newest book in the Grandma Dowdel books - it's a companion to A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicago. Grandma Dowdel's got new neighbors, a minister and his family, and Grandama Dowdel's. Peck's fabulous character development is alive and well in this novel, obviously with Grandma D., but also with narrator Bobby, his darling little sister and various and sundry characters along the way. Super fun and a quick read!

Nothing Like You, Lauren Strasnick. This was a book best suited for high school students that I really did not enjoy. The main character in this book is grieving the death of her mother, and handling it very poorly. She seeks love from the wrong boy and in all the wrong ways. She realizes this on one level, but she doesn't change her behavior. Unfortunately, the consequences are disastrous, and she really loses the only two good friends she has. I was just so disappointed in Holly's choice and disappointed that the grown-ups around her weren't doing more to help her, that I really did not enjoy this book.

7 books reviewed

I really have been reading bunches of books of late, but I haven't been posting my reviews lately, so here's a whole slew of great summer choices:

Swim the Fly - Don Calame. This was a very funny book that I think older boys would enjoy. It's about some kind of geeky boys who are friends and their goal for the summer is to see a naked girl. As if they've got a chance of that. They're all on the swim team, and in an effort to impress one of the girls, Matt volunteers to swim the 100 yard butterfly for the team. Small problem, he cant do it. Now I don't know if you've every tried to swim the fly, but it's DANG hard, and I can't even imagine 100 yards of it. Neither can Matt. All kinds of hilarity ensues as he and his friends try to realize their goals.

City of the Beasts - Isabel Allende. Had this book on my list for quite a long time, and finally read it just before I was going to hear the author speak downtown few weeks ago. That woman is hilarious, and I loved the story. It was full of suspense and excitement. Set in the Amazon it has elements of the supernatural, and a mix of the traditional and the modern world. A fascinating tale.

Brava Valentine - Adriana Trigani. A grown up book that continues the story of shoemaker Valentine Roncalli. I really enjoy this series, although I didn't like this one quite as much as some of Trigiani's others. I thought Valentine was a little annoying in this one.

Runaway - Meg Cabot. This is a continuation of the Airhead series. Emerson's brain was transplanted into supermodel Nikki's body, and she's just now getting to the bottom of the mystery. But it's fairly dangerous for her, since what's going on is highly illegal and if the people behind it are exposed, it will be really bad for them. This book is based on an interesting idea, but I only like this series, I don't love it. It's not terribly compelling - I'm not dying to read the next one, you know. I think it's better for older readers, but I think there are better series books out there.

After Ever After - Jordan Sonnenblick. This book continues the story begun in Drums, girls and Dangerous Pie, but several years later, and it focuses on Jeffrey, the younger brother who had leukemia in GDaDP. Jeff's older brother Stephen, who was the main character in DGaDP has gone off to Africa to study drumming, and although Jeff longs for him, we don't hear much from him in this novel. This novel is more about how Jeff is coping with his post leukemia life, and his friendship with a classmate in the same situation. Jordan Sonnenblick is the master of taking a really difficult topic and presenting it in a way that infuses just enough humor into the situations to take the edge off the pain. It's beautifully done and another fabulous story from this author.

The Opposite of Me - Sarah Pekkanen. Another grown up book about twin sisters Alex and Lindsey. Lindsey always felt she had to be the perfect twin, so when she gets fired and has to move home with her parents, she doesn't tell anyone the truth about why she's there. Both Alex and Lindsey have secrets they're keeping, and it's not until they begin to share their real feelings and fears with one another that either of them are able to find peace.

It's Raining Cupcakes - Lisa Schroeder. Loved this sweet little story, but I am telling you that if you are on the Game On! Diet, you should definitely not read a book where every chapter is another kind of cupcake, and the main story is about opening a cupcake shop. I don't even really LIKE cupcakes,and all I wanted to do was go to St. Cupcake and buy one of very flavor! Twelve year old Isabel dreams of traveling, but she never really gets to go anywhere. She hears about a baking contest and the grand prize is a trip to New York, so she decides to enter. The problem is, Isabel's mom really wants her to bake a cupcake recipe, and Isabel's mom is pretty fragile, so to appease her mother, she decides to do that, even though it's not what she wants. I thought this story was very clever and a great middle grade book. Thanks to the author for sending me a copy as a winner in her online contest!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Holy smokes, I got a little behind on birthdays, and apparently June is a busy month in the maternity ward, because today I have TWELVE birthday kids to post for you. Can you guess which ones are the twins? Enjoy their suggestions!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Poetry Friday "I, Too"

Another favorite by Langston Hughes. Enjoy!

by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed-

I, too, am America.