Escapism

It is official—que dramatic music—we are MOVING. And not just one of those 10 miles away moves, but to Arizona, land of the sun, and cacti (not to mention creepiest of bugs, but also citrus trees galore). My generous parents are letting us live with them while The Grizzly Kid goes back to school, and we feel so good about this decision, now. But, as very independent people it is unnecessarily hard to accept so much help from anyone, even family, even when it enables The Grizzly Kid to chase a life-long dream in a way we could not do without the help. So we hemmed and hawed about the decision before deciding this is what is right for our family, despite it meaning having to leave all of our wonderful family and friends here in Utah.

This will be good for us, the warm weather sounds blissful with an impending snow storm coming here this week, and The Grizzly Kid and Wallaby have never lived outside of Utah, so this will certainly expand our family horizons and perhaps teach us introverts and planners of every minuscule detail to be better at going with the flow.

Naturally with just 2 months to de-clutter, pack up, and move I am avoiding any sense of realism—like the true procrastinator that I am—and delving into wonderfully diverting books instead. Last week I started of by reading this book

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and it was wonderful, so full of impressive historical details about English society just before WWII really hits. As soon as I finished I was dying to read the 3rd book in the same series, but instead after a month of being on hold for Allegiant at the library it came in so I dived right into that book

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 which wasn’t exactly a shocker in how it ended, but still an enthralling read and have you read it? because I really need someone to talk to about it. And once I finished that series I went back to the Montmaray series to finish the third and final book

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which was again such a vivid description of English society, this time throughout WWII, and absolutely heartbreaking at points, but also comedic, and slightly scandalous as only a story written about a young lady trying to figure out the facts of life in a close-mouthed 1940’s upper class society could be. I loved it—a perfect finale to a lovely trilogy.

After reading 3 books last week I should really get to work on packing but instead I am in the middle of Reckless by Cornelia Funke and just started this book as well. But once those are finished I promise I will buckle down and get to work—maybe.

Do you have any book recommendations to help enable my inner escapist? Please share.

Reading Fiction

It is my dream to get my Masters of Library Science. I have always loved reading and an inclination to become a librarian was never far off. Which is why Neil Gaiman’s lecture: “Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming” obviously struck a cord. You should definitely take the time to read it. It gives me hope that all the times I read to Wallaby while he crawls away playing will someday pay off. Wallaby has lately taken to pulling the book I’m reading out of my hand, or putting his toys on my page, or even lying down on top of my book, just to turn my attention from whatever I am reading to him. And while he probably sees my reading while he plays as negligence, I am hoping that someday he’ll see it as a passion for good literature that will someday rub off on him. Gaiman mentions teaching children to love books without forcing them to read, and I hope that The Grizzly Kid and I will be able to do that for our children through example, and our own love of books.

Here are two of my favorite quotes from his lecture, but really, the whole thing needs to be read to catch the importance of what Gaiman is talking about.

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Neil Gaiman

 

 

Picture Books for Parents

We’ve been reading to Wallaby pretty much since day one, because we like to read and because, what the heck else does one do with a newborn? I was seriously unprepared for how much of nothing a new baby does and how exhausting all that nothing can be. Now that Wallaby is bigger, cuter, and way more fun, we still like to read to him, but now our routine has changed from him lying perfectly still staring at the ceiling light to him climbing up us to eat the book out of our hands. Let’s face it, he has no clue what we are reading to him so the picture books I choose at the library each week are mostly for me and my choosing consists of two requirements. 1. Good illustrations and 2. Not too many words. Number one seems clear enough, but my reasoning for no. 2 is that we read most often before naptimes and bedtime and I do not want these books to drag on. No. If I want to read paragraphs per page I will pick up my own book after Wallaby is sleeping.

Of the average 15-20 picture books we bring home from the library each week most are tolerable, some are dreadful, and one or two are wonderful. Someday I want to have a true home library Beauty and the Beast style and I’ll need a reference for all the picture books I want to add, so every so often I am going to do a picture book review here to keep track of my favorites. My biggest requirement for a good picture book? the kind of book you don’t easily get sick of. Someday Wallaby will be able to request his favorite books be read over, and over again and if we only own books I too love then life will be less annoying.  So let’s get started.

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Written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Oh

I’m Bored is clever. A little girl, like every child has, states her boredom and along comes a potato to show her just how unfun a bored person can be and in the meantime she discovers how much there is for a little kid to do and how to have fun.

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The illustrations are simple and fun and the layout of the pages is eye-catching with the text running around the pages in an unconventional fashion. The whole book is funny, cute, and a definite keeper.

Book Review: One Sweet Cupcake

One Sweet Cupcake by Janell Brown is a cookbook, which isn’t the type of book I usually read from cover to cover, but the  pictures alone tempted me through this one, not to mention the mouth watering cupcake names—Coconut Key Lime, White Chocolate Raspberry, Caramel Pecan, Mayan Hot Chocolate, etc. Then there is the section of perfect fillings and frosting, and a recipe for marshmallow fondant that seems simple enough even for a novice baker like me to attempt. What I love most though is the lack of crazy ingredients that you have to go to multiple stores to find—okay, maybe vanilla bean paste is on the pricey side, but I made the Peaches and Cream Cupcakes with just the regular vanilla extract and they were delicious. With a Cupcake Wars win under her belt, you know that Janell Brown knows her cupcakes and I am so excited to try out more recipes from this book.

The Grizzly Kid was the editor on this lovely cookbook which means I have an advanced copy to try out! Janell Brown’s book is available for pre-order on Amazon and won’t disappoint.

Reading Time

I love few things more than a good book, and sometimes even a terribly cheesy book. I have been an avid reader always, but especially since my one year stint in eighth grade of being homeschooled—I hated school that year so my mom pulled me out and I went back the next year after we had moved. Reading was about the only academic thing I did that year; from Anne of Green Gables to Ivanhoe, I consumed books like food. Naturally, in college I looked to my first love for my major and found that I not only love reading, but I loved sitting around discussing what we had read, and even writing papers on a good book is not so bad—of course, I am probably romanticizing the papers, since I have been out of school for a year and miss it some times.

I spent the three weeks between the time I quit my job and had Wallaby doing nothing but reading. I made trips to the library about every other day to sustain my cravings, and the stories helped suppress thoughts like, “Why the heck am I still pregnant” and “Will I ever be able to see my feet again?”. Then Wallaby came and I read while he slept in my arms or on my chest, and when he was about two weeks old I started reading Harry Potter aloud to him before naps and bedtime along with hundreds of picture books from the library. Often he would fall asleep in my lap as I read to him, but now he tries to love the books with his little hands and slobbering mouth so I try to keep him entertained with toys while I read to him and he crawls over me trying to attack love the book. And I, being the devoted parent that I am, read to Wallaby despite his oncoming fussiness and clear signs that he is ready to sleep, for his own growth and development, not at all because I am dying to finish the chapter, and then just one more page after that. You see we are currently 200 pages into the sixth Harry Potter book and I would never read on without him, I’d hate for him to miss out, so instead I give him a different toy or his binky and try to comfort him with one hand while I  we continue to get drawn deeper into the  story. Eventually, we get to a good stopping point and Wallaby goes down for a nap while I busy myself with tasks around the house and then reward myself with some quiet reading time of my own, because I would not dream of neglecting chores in favor of a good book. Usually.

Here are our current stacks, for we are ambitious folk.

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