Monday, March 29, 2010

The artist we just studied was? Henri Matisse

Collage by Matisse

by Matisse

by Matisse BLUE HAIR

by Bec-ster

by Child #1

by Child #2

by two super cousins

by Aunt Kami

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

Scary! I liked this ghost story even though I NEVER read scary books. My sister said it was worth the time to read. It was. BUT I am still scared! This was a short read, took me a few hours in two days. I think it would be good for 10 or 11 yr. olds.

I thought it was very clever how the author told the story from a little girls point of view about another little girl who see's the ghost first. The whole family is going through a hard transition. The mom remarried and the new dad has a mean daughter working through her own baggage of emotions. Everyone has to learn to love and trust each other but then there is this ghost girl! Okay I won't give it all away.. AND I love happy endings so this was a feel good book despite being so scary! Did I mention it was a scary one?

Healing Book

An Actor and a housewife by Shannon Hale

I actually liked this book. I really loved her humor. Of course it wasn't as good as her fantasy fiction type books but this one was, relate able. Not the part about the screenwriting or her husbands cancer or even being best friends with a famous Hollywood star BUT the parts where she is a housewife with kids and the day to day part of getting through it, being pregnant and post postpartum stuff... That I can relate to. I also liked how the book really made me think about my own values and what I think would be the right thing to do. I didn't agree with her on quite a few levels but at least I liked the ending. I usually don't. The funniest parts actually came from her take on utah mormons. She isn't mean just humorous and mostly right with her stereotypes. She did ramble on a lot but if you can get through that she has a good story!

Healing Book

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Art class - Artist Geogia O'Keefe

Since this was the month of St. Patrick's Day I picked an American artist with connections to Ireland. Georgia O'Keefe's dad was Irish. She also died in March after living to be almost 100 yrs. old. So we kind of celebrated an anniversary. She is a wonderful artist that likes to paint it the way she sees it not the way anyone else does or wants it to be painted.

She is famous for her Large flowers painted bigger and brighter then you normally see them. She made the blossoms so big so that everyone in New York despite being in such a hurry couldn't miss them. She also liked to paint cattle skulls in the dessert. I liked these. They were very well done and actually beautiful.

Here is our art around the one picture in the book that is hers.

She also liked to draw the dessert in New Mexico where she lived most of the end of her life and she painted shells. Here is the nephew's shell drawing. I loved it!

I really enjoyed learning about this artist. She was famous before she died. Many people told her to give up, she was a girl, she was poor and she had a controlling husband BUT she didn't loose her dream to be paint what she loved and make something of herself. She did that and did it fabulously. You can learn more about her here. I love to just look at all the images of her paintings when you google her name. She inspired me so much I bought my own pastel oil paints.

Okay just one more because the colors are so brilliant!

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

This was a pretty good book. Very feminist and a murder mystery. I rarely read mystery and steer away from murder stories. This book was based on an actual murder of Grace Brown in the North Woods of Maine in 1906. It is in the voice of a young girl named Mattie and she loves words.

I love this part of the book. She has a word for each day. She then finds a way to use it despite it being abstract or super long and almost unpronounceable. She has a hard life. She is only 16 yet has to do the tasks of an adult because her mother passed away. The farm and her siblings need looking after but finds time to write and learn new words.

She has a wonderful school teacher that goes out of her way to help her academically and inspire her to see further then just living on a farm the rest of her life.
I love how the author writes about the quirky realities of woman's roles at the turn of the century. Mattie works at a resort to earn extra money during the summer, there is a nasty pervert man that all the waitresses can't stand. They can't tell on him because then they would loose their jobs or be forced to quit. They all take advantage of the opportunity to earn extra money in tips by putting up with him. Yuck! When they get back at him later he can't tell anyone either. Too weird too funny and I am glad I don't have to deal with such things.

There is a young black character who is bold and smart. He has his own problems to deal with and the consequences to face. I really like his spunk. He doesn't let his color hold him back.

There is also a family with so many children. They are poor and hungry. I felt so sorry for them. And as the story unfolds even more sorry for the position their mom puts them in. Mattie helps them whenever she can.

Mattie also has to decide about marriage. AND the same old question comes up, does he really love her or is it a marriage of convenience? Young people can be so wooed by passion. Everyone wants someone to love and to feel special. Mattie is no exception.

The murder part of the story is bizarre yet intriguing. It was a story all in itself and I liked the parts that didn't have anything to do with this story best. There is a great lesson to be learned from the dead girls life so because of that I'm glad it was in the "story" even though it was supposed to be the story.

Broken Book, Healing Book

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sapphire Flute: The Wolfchild Saga By Karen E. Hoover

This was such a good book! My 12 year old son and I both read it and enjoyed it! I can’t wait for the next book to come out and this book wasn't released yet when I read it! I received an advanced reader’s edition from Valor Publishing Group and was asked to just tell what I thought about the book on my blog. I am not getting paid to do this but I kind of feel like I should pay them for giving me this sneak peak because it was just so much fun to read this book ahead of everyone!

Karen Hoover's novel, The Sapphire Flute, is the first in The Wolfchild Saga. It was released on March 16, 2010, so you can get it on Amazon here.

A brief overview of the book by the publisher: The world of Rasann is dying. The mages in the land have been working together to weave their magic into a net to hold the world in one piece, but those cords are breaking down. They need a white mage, the rarest of them all, to step in and take over where they are falling down, but there hasn’t been a white mage for over three thousand years. Their only hope lies in finding the magic keystones, long hidden, which will bind the world together.
Kayla has been given charge of one of those keystones, the Sapphire Flute, and been told not to play it. Along will come another, destined to play the flute and bring the magic within it to life. She has never met this player, and has no idea where to find such a person.
In the meantime, Ember has discovered a secret – her father had the ability to shift himself into the shape of a wolf, and she has that gift as well. When she takes upon herself her new appearance, quite by accident the first time, she discovers a family she never knew she had.
Lurking behind it all is C’Tan, the sorceress. She wants the keystones for herself, and she will stop at nothing to get them.
“The Sapphire Flute” is Karen E. Hoover’s first publication, and is the first of a series of seven. A new book in the series will be published each spring.

My review...

I think the book was definitely written for teens. It was complex in its own way yet has a simple innocence to the characters. It is basically a Fantasy Fiction book about two girls. One girl comes of age to get her magical powers. She has all kinds of problems with her mom, ends up going on an adventure far from home and luckily meets some people on the way that become her friend and help her get to the right place at the right time. She finds out interesting things about her father and mother which really change her world. I like this character the best. She is set up to really do some interesting things. I can't imagine what but can't wait to find out in the next books...

Parallel to her story is the story about the other girl. She plays a flute and wants to be important in society. She is really talented and has a handsome cool boyfriend. She is also spoiled in many ways. She receives something from the king that changes her life. Can you guess what it is? She also meets up with some interesting, people that help her on her dangerous journey. She really needs some help because she doesn't know much when it comes to ruffing it on a dangerous adventure in the outdoors!

I found the book to have MANY side characters. They had such different and imaginative names that I had to make a list to keep track. The book went back and forth each chapter between the two girl’s adventures. This was a bit annoying but I stuck with it. They have different cultures. There was some new terminology for their native lands, plus all the people around them were interwoven into the story in their own complex way. This book really moved along. This really kept it interesting for me. My advice, pay attention or it gets all mixed up in your head.

This first book in the saga seemed to have a lot of foreshadowing for stuff that will come later in the series...A little hint here and a tad bit there. I think the two girls will eventually meet up so they can accomplish their goals, which possibly is to take out the bad guys and save the world. BUT that didn’t happen in this book yet, maybe it won't. Anyway that is just my guess. There will probably be a few more characters to meet up with and of course there are some smaller bad guys to defeat along the way. One main evil magician, of course needs to be annihilated in the end, but we will see!

I really can’t wait to read what with unfold next! I loved the book! Imagination has no limits. I hope you will love this one too!

Here is the site where you can order a copy of the Sapphire Flute and one to learn about the author here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Almost Super - A Novel by Matthew Buckley

Matthew Buckley's third book!

I really am excited to read this book. If anyone has ever read a book by this author then you know what I mean when I say it will make you roll on the floor laughing! They are funny, creative and full of imagination that both children and adults love. The first one was Chickens In The Headlights and the second was Bullies In The Headlights. This third book needs a little help getting published. Please take some time to check out the links and listen to a part of the first chapter.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Weekly Art class With the Kids

We love to learn about art and then create. We never know what the kids will come up with after we have learned about the artist's life and their creations.

Here is the time we studied Dali.

We learned about Egyptian Art.

The kids had fun with clay.

Grandma Moses! This was very interesting. She painted very flat and simple yet way more complex then you would think. We found this out as we tried to make our own landscapes.

This is Grandpa Tom's backyard with the row of grapevines down at the bottom of the hill. Painted by child #2.

And here is the delicious Apple Pie (homemade preserved filling) that number 4 child helped me make. We forgot to take a picture when it was cooked. It was delicious!

These are called Tuna Twirls. The recipe is a favorite old time college casserole. The kids like to make it and actually eat it because by the time it is made they are so hungry they would eat anything.

Tuna Cheese Twirls
3 Tab. Chopped onion (can used dried)
1 teaspoon Salt (I leave this out)
1 1/2 cup milk (this was too much)
1 can tuna drained
1 Cup peas or other veggie
1 Tab. Butter melted
6 Tab Flour
2 Cans chicken or mushroom condensed soup

Saute the onions. Combine sauce ingredients and pour into 9X13 casserole pan. Mix Biscuits. Roll dough 1/4 " thick. Sprinkle wtih 1/2 C Cheese. Roll up like a jelly roll. Cut in to 1/2 " slices. Place over sauce in pan. Bake 350 F for 30 min. or until browned.

2 C. Flour (add a bit more when rolling out.)
1/2 Tsp. salt
1/4 C. Butter
3/4 C. Milk or less
3 tsp. Baking Powder

Friday, March 05, 2010

Bountiful Baskets

I have been meaning to share this for a while. There is this crazy food co-op in Utah called Bountiful Baskets. I think it is produce from Arizona or something. It only makes sense to buy fruits and veggies with BB instead of at the grocery store if you have a drop off really close to your home otherwise it is a waste of gas. Luckily mine is just down the road about three miles without any stoplights.

Every 2 weeks (some drops are weekly) we make a mad dash to register for a basket online. The area I am in it fills up in less then 20 min. so I usually miss it. BUT luckily my visit and teacher sits at her computer and as soon as it is open to register for our area she buys a basket for herself and one for me!

Here is what we got the first time around:

We Loved the strawberries! And the huge Pomelo's were pretty good! They are a Thailand citrus fruit.

This is what we got the second time:

My kids were excited about the asparagus. We had Salmon and the asparagus spears with potatoes and fresh lemon squeezed on eat bit.

I liked the food co-op we did in Berkeley when we lived there. It always had weird veggies to add to a stir fry. And with this Bountiful Baskets co-op I also had some weird things to make a stir fry with. My kids of course make a lot of noise about this but most of it gets eaten. This time we had Swiss Chard. I would have never bought this from a store but since it came in the box, it went in the stir fry!

Yes we did use chop sticks and this makes a stir fry tons of fun. I spend half the clean up time picking up the rice on the floor but that is okay.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Fantastic, which honestly was a surprise to me.
Tarzan was a little more savage then the old television shows portrayed. He ate raw meat and murdered cannibals mercilessly. The girl part had a bit more the the story too. I always thought she had taught him to speak English but he actually doesn't speak English but French and was taught by a guy he rescued in the jungle.
Some of the story just doesn't add up. Like teaching yourself to read and write but never hearing the language before. I don't think so. And then the whole going to
America thing...well that was a bit much. Anyway the book did have a bunch of interesting things about the jungle and a whole lot of adventure.

Healing book