Category Archives: Uncategorized

House Projects: Entryway

Since we finally have a house of our own, I’m slowly trying to decorate it the way I want it.  I’m trying to go for a minimalist decorating style.  I’m tired of being surrounded by so much stuff.  And, since we have a bigger house to clean, it makes it easier if we have less stuff in the house to be cleaned.

I’m working on the entryway right now… or at least this week.  I’m trying not to get too bogged down in each area of the house, or I’ll neglect everything else and not get anything finished.

Here are some pictures of the entryway from different viewpoints.  I did the “Command Center” area already, and now I’m working on the small table and that wall above it.

My front door also has a small window beside it.  I want to find some small curtain to go there.  That’s project #2!

I asked some people’s opinions about what I should do above the table, and a lot of people seem to think that a mirror would look good there.  I’m going to paint the table first, and then see what kind of mirror I would like to put there.  At least to try it out.  I think that’ll be a good idea!

Project #1

The previous homeowners left a lot of paint here from the different projects they had done around the house.  One of the small walls in the dining room has one wall painted gray.  I’m going to use their leftover paint and do the table the same color.  I tested it by starting inside the drawer, then if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have anything to cover up!

I liked the way the table turned out.  Now I just have to find the perfect mirror set to go on the wall above it.  But that’s for another time.

Little Women

 I had never read Little Women.  I kind of knew what it was about because I had heard references to it, and maybe it was assigned to me in High School, but I didn’t read much of the things I was assigned to read, so I had never read it.  I almost didn’t want to read it this time, but it was next in line at the library, and if I want to finish this challenge, I have to read it, so I got it.  First of all, it was really long and the words were TINY on the pages.  I was so worried that I wouldn’t like the book and wouldn’t want to finish reading it.  And I did feel that way at the beginning, but that was because I couldn’t keep all of the characters straight.  Once I was able to tell them apart, they came to life.  I had a lot of fun reading the book and was actually telling my family members about the characters like they were read people.  I was anxious to finish because I knew that Jo would eventually fall in love and I couldn’t wait to meet the man who would match her.  I was not dissapointed, and I loved the book a lot.

I immediately went and watched the 1994 movie on Amazon as soon as I had finished the book.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the movie, but again, I enjoyed it.  The book is so long, and the movie couldn’t possibly tell everything that happened in the book, but I think they did a good job or getting the point of the book across.  I also loved the acting in the movie.  It was weird to see all of those big-named actors in this movie when they were so young.


I decided to give Little Women it’s own review because it is such an iconic book and I got so caught up in the March family that I felt like they deserved their own post!   I loved how the girls were all so different yet they were each special in their own ways.  I think that’s what made them easy to love.  Their parents were wonderful and way ahead of their peers in their thinking on women’s rights.  I’m sure that was Louisa May Alcott’s way of bringing out her own thoughts on women’s rights, but since I know nothing of her life, that might not be accurate.  I just assumed she patterned Jo after herself because she was a writer, but that too is just conjecture and might not be true at all.  I definitely saw a lot of myself in Jo.

The only part of the movie that I didn’t like was the end.  The end of the book showed all of the March family together years after Jo’s marriage, and they all had children running around and Meg’s twins were 9 or 10, I think.  I was looking forward to seeing them all together like that in the movie, but it didn’t happen.  It ended with Jo getting engaged.  It was still a good movie, just not the ending I was hoping to see.  The book was better, overall, but that’s also because you can always get inside the characters better in a book, so they are generally better than the movie.

Now that Little Women is behind me, I’ll move ahead to the next library book.  I hope it’s just as good!!

Click here to see what I’m reading now!!

Library Challenge

So, I know I’ve said I’m doing a Library Challenge.  In case you didn’t see the post where I first talked about this, I’m going to try to read through all of the books in the children’s section of our library on Ellsworth Air Force Base.  I thought I needed a place to keep all of the books here and I’ll link to my review of them and then where you can get the books if you want them.

Abbott, Tony (Review 1 and 2)

Ada, Alma Flor (Review)

Adderson, Caroline (Review)

Adler, David A. (Review)

Adler, Susan S. (Review)

Airgood, Ellen (Review)

Alcott, Louisa May (Review 1 and 2)

 

It’s October!

I’m trying a new tradition of decorating our dining room table for each month.  I’m not doing much, and mostly using things I have around the house, or things I can get from the Dollar Tree.  Here is what I did for October…

I got the black trees from target.  I already had the glass vases.  I got the rocks, eyeballs, and spiders from the Dollar Tree.  I put them all together on Satuday night so that on October first I could get up earlier than everyone else (like I do anyway), and get the table all ready for them to come in and see it.  I was very pleased with everyone’s reactions.  They all liked it and discussed when they thought I did it (the night before or early in the morning).  Anyway, I like how it turned out.

I also decided to make a dessert for the first day of the month that was themed also.  I let Wesley and Price help me pick it out and they wanted this Chocolate Chip/Riece’s Pieces Cookie with Eyeballs!  It was really yummy and lasted us three days!  I can’t wait for November!  I’m looking for ideas now for my table and the dessert!

Video Games

The boys and I have been watching a lot of youtube videos.  They watch more than me, but I recently started trying to watch their favorites so we could discuss them together.  They seem to really like the videos where people play games and video themselves playing.  At first, this seemed weird to me, but as Price pointed out, the people who are really good at making the viewer feel like they’re part of the story are the best ones to watch, and the ones with the most followers on youtube.

Anyway, this got us thinking about them making videos of us playing games.  I wanted to get in on the action, so I started looking at software to record the computer screen while you play.  We have finally figured out how to record the xbox one while they play, so we should have some videos posted really soon.

Wesley wants to build things on minecraft and video himself building them so others can make the things he builds.  He’s great at it, and very fast… we just have to record him doing it and figure out the editing so we can post it.

Price wants to do all kinds of games and make videos of himself playing those.

I decided to get in on the action and play the one game I actually have played before.  The Sims… they are on the 4th version of this game, and I’ve played every version they’ve released since Price was a baby.  I don’t get to play very often anymore, and I actually have relegated all of my playing to the weekends when I have time.  So my plan is to play The Sims 4 and record myself playing.  I tried a little this weekend and have one video that I like and is ready to go.  I’m not going to be loading that video just yet, as I want to have enough that I can release one a week and not miss any weeks.  So I will probably release the first one in a few more weeks.  So far, this process has been free, but the software I’m using to edit the videos is super easy, but only a trial version.  Apparently there will be a watermark on it when I finally publish it, but that’ll be okay for the first few videos.  I’m still not sure that I want to spend the money on the software for something that is just going to be a hobby.  We will see what I decide.

Anyway, stay tuned here for our youtube videos to be shared and then you can follow the link from here and like our videos and subscribe to our channels (if you subscribe, you will get a notification every time a new video is loaded).  If you don’t play The Sims 4, you might not like the first few videos where I’m creating the character and moving her into her apartment, but after that, it will hopefully be like a reality show! 🙂  Only not real reality 🙂

Book Reviews – Alma Flor Ada

I finished another couple of books from the library by new, to me, authors…  Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta.  A mother-son writing team.  It was the first book they wrote together, but definitely not the last.  We have two of their books at our library, and I checked them both out at the same time because I knew it wouldn’t take me long to finish them.  The first book I read is called Dancing Home.  It’s about a girl named Margarita and her cousin Lupe who comes to live with Margarita from her home in Mexico.  Margarita has done everything she can to make herself completely American without any of her Mexican heritage, including refusing to speak Spanish to the point that she’s nearly forgotten the language.  Lupe only speaks Spanish, but she quickly starts learning English after moving to America.  Margarita eventually comes to terms with her heritage and finds that she loves all aspects of who she is.  My favorite quote from Dancing Home was near the end when Margarita had decided to embrace all the aspects of who she is instead of focusing on only what will make her fit in in her mind.  She says, “I am American, and I am Mexican.  Both are important to me and neither one has to be better than the other.”  This sums up how I think she’s come to now see herself through her journey in this book.  This book felt so much like I was reading a nonfiction biography.  I loved it.  

The second book from our library is Love, Amalia.  I liked this one better than Dancing Home.  Probably because of the fact that Amalia is dealing with her friend moving away as soon as the book starts and then she’s dealing with her grandmother’s death right after that.  This summer, we moved from Spain to South Dakota, and my father-in-law passed away while we were in the midst of our move.  I find myself thinking of Amalia like one of my kids and I hate how sad she is by all of the changes in her life.  She’s going through the same things my children just went through.  Her abuelita (grandmother) used to tell her stories about her children and read her letters from them and she would take her time and write them letters back with handmade cards.  Amalia starts to feel better and starts to see how she can move on now that her grandmother is gone when her mother gives her the box her grandmother kept all of the letters in.  Amalia starts making cards and mailing them to her family as she reads the letters from them to her abuelita.  She also write to her friend who moved away and shares with her what’s been going on in her life.  I really liked this book and think it would be a nice change of pace from most of the writing for this age group.  This book says it’s for grades 3-5, and I think that’s good.  It could be read by younger children, but they need a bit of maturity to be ready for some of the topics that are dealt with in this one.  I definitely think that sometimes kids need to be exposed to more than just fluff.  I’m going to recommend all of my kids read it.

 

What books are y’all reading??

The Copernicus Legacy: The Serpent’s Curse… and Droon

Book Number 2 of the Copernicus series!  I’ll continue my review of The Serpent’s Curse in a minute, but first I learned more about the author.

I didn’t realize that Tony Abbott (the author of this series), is also the author of another series with over 40 books in it.  It’s called The Secrets of Droon and follow two boys and a girl who find a magical entrance to the land of Droon in the basement of one of their houses and thus begins many adventures for the three of them.  Our library only has one of these books, and it happens to be #20.   I know we’ve bought the first book in this series, or I’ve at least seen it in other libraries before, but our library doesn’t have it.  So I read book #20, In the Ice Caves of Krog.  It was really good, but was definitely for a younger audience.  It is for about 3rd grade reading level, and I think that is a good age for this series.  The book would be really exciting and fast paced for this age group.  I’m sure it’s a great series for young readers who are looking to move up to chapter books.

NOW… back to Copernicus!

These books are written for a 4th-5th grade reading level, but they are really long, so I would say a mature 4th grader.  They are also great for adults who want to read good stories that don’t seem to be as predictable as I first thought.  They are constantly moving and there is constant action.  These children (and various adults around them) are flying all over Europe and some of Asia in this latest book.  We begin in New York, where they were headed to when the last book ended.  Although, I discovered that there was a smaller book in between books 1 and 2, but I don’t think I missed much by not reading it.

Here come the spoilers…

The entire story line of the series is that Copernicus invented and used  a time machine and then decided it didn’t ever need to be used again so he took the machine apart and sent the 12 relics from the machine to people he knew who would guard them and pass them down from guardian to guardian.  So far, it seems that each book will be about one of the relics.  In the first book, it was pretty straightforward for this type of book and it went about like I expected.  The kids, and Wade’s dad, got the first relic and started the search for the second one.  This second book, however, doesn’t follow what I thought would be the standard form of each book.  They do spend the whole book looking for the second relic and during the search for the relic, and Darrell’s mom (who’s been kidnapped by the Order), they fly all over Russia and even to Venice and London once or twice.  However, I fully expected them to get the second relic at the end of the book and follow it to the third one and so on… BUT… the Order ends up with the relic at the end and they end the book being kind of unsure where to go next because without the second relic, they aren’t sure how to find the third.  They do come up with a plan before the book ends, so I’m sure that’s where the third one will begin, but something else happened at the end that I’m not sure about and I guess that’s why you’d need to keep reading.  To find out how Becca ended up going back in time, but not really.  I think there are 4 books in this series so far, and I think in between each book there is a smaller book about one of the kids.  The book I missed in between 1 and 2 was about Wade, and I think the one between 2 and 3 is about Becca.  I do want to keep reading these books, but they aren’t in our library and the reason I read them to begin with was because I’m trying to read all of the Children’s Fictions books in our library.  So, I’ll request that the library purchase the rest of the series and see if that becomes a possibility.  We will see… in the mean time, feel free to see what I’m reading next from the library over at my goodreads account!

Library Challenge Book Count: 3 total

The Orville

This new show was created by Seth MacFarlane and set 400 years in the future.  We actually saw a commercial for this when we were in Spain, and we decided we wanted to watch it.  We missed the first episode, so we caught it on Hulu, and then watched the second one the next day.  We were definitely not disappointed in it.  We all laughed, even the teenage girl who doesn’t like anything “geeky”!

We even talked about our favorite characters around dinner the night after we watched it.  All of us like the helmsman (I’m not sure that’s an actual term, but we love him).  His name is Gordon Malloy played by Scott Grimes, and we love him.  From the very beginning, before we ever meet him, we know he is a rule breaker, so we expect spontaneous things from him.  He is just great!  The writing in the show is magnificent, and the one-liners are some of the funniest I’ve heard in a long time.

We all were looking forward to watching the second episode the next night.  It was more of the same goodness, with a little bit of poking at some of our cultural norms that some might disagree with.  The next episode is this Sunday night, so set your DVR’s, or just turn the TV to Fox to watch some football and leave it there when the game ends… I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Well, you might… if you don’t think funny things are funny! 🙂

Also, this show is rated TV-14, so be warned that they do say all the words they are allowed to say and to get that rating.

Boxes… Boxes… Everywhere…

We have been surrounded by boxes since our stuff arrived on Sept 12th.  None of us like seeing boxes sitting around, so we are pretty diligent about getting the boxes open and the things taken out.  This time is different for two reasons.

  1. I actually want to decorate this house.  I care, this time, about what colors go in each room and where things hang on the walls.  I’ve never cared about that before, so until now it’s never mattered, and I’ve left all of those decisions up to Ron.  He’s done a good job, but I just want something different this time.  So, we have a lot of pictures sitting around which is not okay with his need to have everything done.  So we’ve compromised (welcome to 18 years of marriage) 🙂  And I’ve picked where I want the frames to go even if I’m not happy with the pictures in the frame yet, and he’s going to go ahead and hang them and then I can come later and change out for the picture I want.  It’s a process we are both happy with… again, welcome to 18 years!
  2. We don’t have as much space in some areas, so we have things sitting around this time waiting to be donated to the thrift shop.  It’ll feel more settled when we get those things taken away and free up some more space.

So, now we are surrounded by boxes of things to donate and boxes of paper that was used to wrap our stuff for its arrival.  The good news is that nothing was broken… the bad news is, we have a lot of stuff!  We’ve been putting a lot of things into the donate boxes… we are embracing the purge as we start to free our lives of clutter.  This is step one and I am so excited to see it working!!

On the Road to Nowhere

Sometimes you have a great plan and you think everything will work out.  It can be a huge plan or something really small, but if it doesn’t work the way you planned, it can be frustrating.  I am usually not so easily frustrated by these little bumps in my plans, but if I’m tired or not having a good day, I lose it easily.

A few days ago, Ron said we were all going on a surprise trip.  We were told that we would be going to Marbella (about a 2 hour drive) to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe (we are obsessed with finding these restaurants).   After lunch, he said we would be having a surprise.

All 5 of us driving in our car is not ever fun for anyone in the backseat.  If we have to spend any amount of time in that car, the “you are on my nerves” starts.  We were all prepared for an uncomfortable car ride, but the promise of a surprise made it doable.

We love this abandoned train station not far from our house.

We drove through some beautiful hills and valleys along the way to Marbella.

We made it to Hard Rock and had a great lunch… now on to the surprise!!

We were close to a Starbucks (with a very cool bed in the store next door), so we had to stop by for coffee and to plot our next stop.  Ron and I wanted to take the kids to a birds of prey sanctuary about 45 minutes away.  So we put it in the GPS and headed out.

He really wants this bed to be his… “but black, not white”

We found the bird sanctuary, but it wasn’t open.  The sanctuary is located on top of a mountain and the wind was blowing too much for the birds to fly.  Back to the GPS… and home.

We were able to spend the day together, but didn’t get to do what we had planned.  We drove nearly 5 hours round trip for Hard Rock Cafe.  While we do like their food, I’m not sure being crammed in the car for that long was worth it.

The good parts of the trip… These beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea, the views of the hills around us, and the greatest little podcast.  We all listened to Mike Rowe’s podcast called The Way I Heard It.  They are less than 10 minutes and remind me of The Rest of the Story with Paul Harvey.