Wednesday, December 24, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you from us!!

My little boys decided to serenade in our Christmas with their own rendition of
"the twelve days of Christmas"enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Orbis Terrarum Ended for 2008


Hey all you OT Challengers!!!

The Orbis Terrarum challenge ended on the 20th, (three days ago) I am not going to be too particular with the date, I just wanted people to not have to mess with finishing it up during the holidays. If you are really close, finish on up!

Here is what I am going to do, for those of you who have finished, I am going to add a MR. Linky below. And you will get an extra 5 entries for the final giveaway, which will be 3 books (as always slightly used, and I will have to get back to you with the titles, sorry but it is Christmas!).

Orbis Terrarum 2008 Challenge survey:

1.) What did you like about the challenge?
2.) What would you like to see change for next year?
3.) About the rules, or the non-existent rules...did you like that?
4.) Are you going to join us next year?
5.) Pretty please give me any suggestions for changes, the betterment of the challenge, or just anything that you would like to see changed for next year.
6.) Would you like the challenge to be more involved? What if we read books together sometimes? Would that interest you?
7.) would you be interested in helping somehow next year? How would you like to help?

Here is the low-down on how to enter yourself:
1.) each link to a book review you have on the give us a link to your travels mr. linky will count as one entry.

2.)A Wrap up post!!! each wrap up post that includes links to all your reviews,AND answers to the survey questions above, is worth additional 5 entries.
For the links to count you must include this information along with your link: book title, book author, country.

(wondering why it is worth so many??...because it will make my life so much easier if you do this, because I wanted to do a conglomerate of all the books that were read and links to all the bloggers that read them and their reviews.!!!)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Giveaway winners for the three cookbooks!

Here are the winners:

Katie Brown Celebrates

The Flavor Bible

Confetti Cakes for Kids

All of you click on the "email me" button below my header and send me a message with your addresses.

I will get all the links up to the recipes soon.

PS. I don't notify by email, that is why you are supposed to pay attention :) If any of the books aren't claimed in 5 days I will pick another winner.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

lending books!?! do you do it? lets talk!!!!

AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I just let 5 of my "highly recommended" books walk out the door. Am I a Scrooge to write down the girls' names who borrowed them and the titles they took???? Oh, please say I am normal! I have lent books before, but really I would like to not do it. How can I get out of it? I am sure some people LOVE to lend books, I do it reluctantly, if I think I will get them back.

Am I a freak? Am I a selfish-silly? I know I can't be the only book-lover-non-sharing-lover out there, right!? Tell me YOUR system for getting books back, do you hound, hassle and get siggies like at the library? If you don't lend books, how do you do that in a way that is not rude? In all honesty I would feel horrible having the wealth in books that I do and not sharing...but I know it is out of guilt that I share and not out of my desire to enrich the other people's lives.

Give me your thoughts on this, I'd love to hear what you have to say!!! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Christmas Carol

Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Pages: 160
Genre: Classics, Seasonal, Christmas
b's Yearly Count: 98

Fantastic! This is a classic, and as most classics go I had yet to read it. I am so behind in that department. I have read some, and actually A Tale of Two Cities also by Dickens is one of my all time favourite classics. Dickens does ramble. I remember that from the other book and this one (as short as it was) he did ramble as well. I like that style though, rambling and all, it seems more conversational for that period.

I know seriously everyone has seen a play, watched the Muppet version, the mickey mouse version or one of the other 100 renditions, so you should all know the storyline at least. I won't go there. But, it is for sure about much more than just the spirit of Christmas, it is the spirit of giving, of loving, and of caring for not just those that have less but all of those around you. I think that Christmas is the perfect time to bring that plan into action, and I I think that is why Dickens chose this season. Hearts are more open, emotions revved, and your ear is naturally more bent toward others. I love this season, I love Christmas and the celebrations and the family time.

I am so glad I FINALLY read this classic, I should have read it a long time ago....but at least I did this year right!? :) What is your favourite Christmas story? (or your favourite classic)

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

reading or resting?

I wish I could nap like a cat, seriously the boys are running around like crazies and "spider" sleeps on. She also stole my seat! The sun shining in, the spot I had been warming, I don't think she could resist that.

What is funny is that this is how you will find either (B) or I on a regular basis after the crazy boys are in bed. (B) does this almost every night, I do it more randomly as I have an agenda to finish books fast. The life of a cat though, that would be the life for me!!

snowy sunday salon

I have been mostly working on reading and reviewing so that I will have 100 books complete for this year. I started in March, so I had about three months to catch up to. Anyway, I am currently at 97 and so super excited about it.

But, if you like to cook I have some exciting news for you, I am currently hosting three cookbook type giveaways. Oh, but there is a catch, I want something from you. I want you to post one of your favourite recipes to share with us all on your blog.

Yeah, for more information and to enter the giveaways go here:
Confetti Cakes for Kids (5 copies)
The Flavor Bible (3 copies)
Katie Brown Celebrates (5 copies)

Happy holidays!!!

Confetti Cakes for Kids (another review and recipe giveaway!)

Title: Confetti Cakes for Kids
Author: Elisa Strauss with Christie Matheson
Pages: 224
Genre: Cake Cookbook,
Yearly Count b:97

Making confetti cakes now seems so much easier than it did to me before. I am amazed at this book! Confetti Cakes for Kids is filled with the most hardcore cakes I have seen in my life!. I have never made a cake as fancy as these, and even thoguh I am still pretty intimidated to do so, this book brakes down the steps, the tools and the process into a format that I could handle.

Christmas Ornament Cupcakes, Easter Sugar Cookies that are so pretty you would never have the heart to eat them (I have two little boys that wouldn't even give eating them a second thought though!!). My favourite recipe that I HAVE to try, maybe for my littlest's next birthday are the Lollipop Cookies (p. 88) they certainly are the best of both worlds, soft, buttery and sweet and full of pretty bright colours and on a stick! Yes, it really doesn't get much better, does it? YUM!

Just look at the deliciously gorgeous cupcakes!

These would work great during this season these Ornament Cupcakes (p. 125) are stunning.
photo used with permission from Confetti Cakes for Kids, taken by Paul Whicheloe

And just because at this point we need to remember that spring is coming, where bees will buzz and flowers will bloom again. Check out these Garden Mini Cupcakes (p. 115)!
photo used with permission from Confetti Cakes for Kids, taken by Paul Whicheloe

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The giveaway part!!
Here are the details:
-I have 5 copies of Confetti Cakes for Kids to give(thanks to Anna at Little, Brown!!!!)
-Post a recipe (the whole recipe) on your blog, previously posted recipes work as well....but I am looking for some of your favourites here, so please make sure it is a favourite!
-Comment below and paste the link to your recipe in the comments.
-Yes your recipes posted for the other giveaway count, but you will need to comment on THIS post if you want me to count you in on this giveaway (the same recipe is fine unless you are feeling into it, I'd love more recipes!!!)
-You have a week to do it, you can send me your recipes up through the 19th. I will select winners the next day.
- Sorry, only US and Canada and no PO boxes

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Flavor Bible (review and fun giveaway!!)
authors photo by Michael Donnelly

Title: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide To Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs
Author: Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
Pages: 380
Genre: Cookbook, Culinary Reference Guide
Awards: IACP Award- Winning Authors of What to Drink with What you Eat
Yearly Count b: 96

This is insanity, insanely amazing for sure! The Flavor Bible was written as a reference type guide for when you have several ingredients but enhancing their unique flavours for the best culenary experience result is just beyond you. How does it work? Well, you figure out what you are interested in working on, for me that means what I have in the fridge that I need to eat, or sometimes what I buy on impulse at our amazing Saturday Market and then blunder because I have no idea how it should even be cooked. After you have your ingredient/s you check out what pairs well with it, and for each ingredient or spice there is a crazy long list that you can drool over and choose from. And probably designed especially for me, there are sometimes parings to avoid and they are also listed, YAY!

There are also sections titled Flavor Affinities where you can plan a trio of yummy delight, or the " understanding [of] what herbs, spices and other seasonings will best bring out the flavor of whatever it is you're cooking" (p. 33). I can't wait to try some of the ones I see listed! More than a cookbook, this is a reference guide that any person who likes their food to taste good would enjoy. The Flavor Bible lists so many options for most ingredients, many times probably saving you the trip out to the store for that unnecessary item, and that extra candy bar (for the road, you know!).

Most of the book is what the authors call, Flavor Matchmaking: The Charts, but there are two other chapters as well. The first chapter is titled: Flavor= Taste + Mouthfeel + Aroma + "the X factor": Learning to Recognize the Language of Food. And really it is a great chapter emphasizing the importance of things such as saltiness, temperature, bitterness, texture, and pungency. I was intregued by "the X Factor" and that is how the food affects us emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

The second chapter is called, Great Cooking= Maximizing Flavor + Pleasure by Tapping Body + Heart+ Mind + Spirit: Communicating Via the Language of Food, seriously that is a great title as well! This Chapter discusses things such as " Understanding the Essence of the Ingredients", the " Understanding the Essence of the Moment" (p. 25)

This really is a great one, in so many ways! I actually think it is "practically perfect in every way" haha, that is no joke though, it is exquisite! Check out this video below and then you will want it even more :)

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The giveaway part!!
Here are the details:
-I have 3 copies of The Flavor Bible (thanks to Anna at Little, Brown!!!!)
-Post a recipe (the whole recipe) on your blog, previously posted recipes work as well....but I am looking for some of your favourites here, so please make sure it is a favourite!
-Comment below and paste the link to your recipe in the comments.
-Yes your recipes posted for the other giveaway count, but you will need to comment on THIS post if you want me to count you in on this giveaway (the same recipe is fine unless you are feeling into it, I'd love more recipes!!!)
-You have a week to do it, you can send me your recipes up through the 19th. I will select winners the next day.
- Sorry, only US and Canada and no PO boxes

Yummmm!!! I can't wait to eat what you guys love, this is so fun!!! I will post all the links for both the giveaways after the date is up, then you can all enjoy each other's favourite foods!! YAY! (I think this is really fun, and hope you enjoy it too :)

Did you miss my giveaway, or does no one like to cook?

Hey all, maybe you didn't miss it and just are not into cooking, but I thought it would be fun to do this cookbook giveaway in a different way. I love getting treasured recipes from people, and even though you are bookies I am guessing some of you like to eat food too!

To be entered into my giveaway for Katie Brown Celebrates (an amazing cookbook and entertaining book by the way) just post a recipe on your blog and then post a link on either this post or on the review post. I would love your favourite recipe of all time! It can be cookies, fudge, main dish, candy, playdough, a special drink....a recipe that is all. If you got it from a cookbook let us all know which one!Oh, and yes I do want the recipe...meaning the whole thing written on your blogs, that way we can all enjoy your favourite, scrumptious food. Ohhhhh I am hungry!
I have 5 copies of Katie Brown Celebrates to give you you my buddies, so post your favourite recipe and comment me the link to it!!! I can't wait to see what you all enjoy.

You have through the 19th, that is a week from today. If you really want to have tons of good recipes, than post yours really early and give publicity so all your friends will join in! (completely up to you though).

Sorry, the publisher can only ship in the US and to a non-PO box address. (sorry)

The Lucky One

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author photo by Alice M. Arthur

Title: The Lucky One
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Pages: 336
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Genre: mainstream fiction
Yearly Count b: 95

I have never read a Nicholas Sparks book before, and this time I didn't really read it, I listened to the audiobook version of it. I love audiobooks right now, since I am in the middle of knitting up a storm for Christmas gifts. I liked it, it was really good and like many of his other books, I believe that it is movie worthy (The Notebook, Message in A Bottle, A Walk to Remember....I am sure there are more :)

The Lucky One is about destinies, and making your own. Logan, a soldier in the Iraq war has a sense that everything will be okay, that he is safe, because he holds a picture of "his lucky gal" however the strange part is that he has never met her. When his time is up will he go find her? Does he owe her for this protection her photo has provided for him?
Goodness, it was good. It could be weird based on that description I have right there, but it isn't mystical or strange, it all feels just really right and makes complete logical sense to me. Maybe it tugged on my heart strings, I know it did, and I let it because I wanted it to.

This was a romantic book, not chick lit, not romance, fiction and yet it was somehow more tidy than most. I need a book like this many times after reading the gore of a modern lit novel. I need bad to be bad and good to be good and there be separation between them. I really enjoyed this book on so many levels it is a sweet book of life in small town America. Many of us have, at least at some point, lived in that small town type place and will be able to relate easily to Sparks The Lucky One.

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Author Website: Nicholas Sparks

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Katie Brown Celebrates: simple and spectacular parties all year round

Title: Katie Brown Celebrates: Simple and Spectacular Parties All Year Round
Author: Katie Brown
Pages: 192
Genre: Cookbook
Yearly Count b: 94

This cookbook is amazing! I have used several of the recipes and they have been excellent, simple and yet truly spectacular. The book is set up by months, and I enjoy that as sometimes I feel out of the loop as to what to do during a season, yes I know that BBQ's are better in the summer and hot soups are better in the winter, but I mean seasonal things, and little cutesy things. This book is packed with recipes, but is also an idea book filled with how-to-make things for entertaining. I love the quilt type rustic table cloth, and the ideas for 'Spicy Invitations' which you fill little bottles with Moroccan spice and then delicately wrap your invitation around it, for the party of a lifetime! I tried the Peanut brittle and the Apple Brownies, Oh goodness! Those are things that the kids will beg me for for sure really soon, and I know this cookbook will be put to good use.

There are amazingly simple and yet stunning centerpieces. I love the one on page 165, the Cork Runner and Nuts in Vases, amazing, just perfect for that natural feel that I love. Ideas on how to design neat menus that I will probably never get with it enough to make, but if I did I would copy her style exactly. This is an idea book just as much as a recipe/ cookbook. I can't wait to try more of the recipes, I need to get me some parties set up so that I will NEED to entertain with class. Oh, and for those of us with kids there are also several sections on how to entertain a kids party, complete with cake recipes, crafts that would be fun for that age group and art things to do with kiddos.

The recipe I am dying to try next is the Deep-Dish Country Quiche, oh goodness. I have 11 chickens and soon they will all be laying, I know that when they are I will be scrounging for things to use up my beautiful fresh eggs. I know that this Quiche will be perfect, YUM!

Here are two exquisite recipes from Katie Brown Celebrates listed under the December Holiday brunch section. Enjoy them with friends and family during this season.
Tomato Bread Pudding used with permission,taken by Paul Whicheloe

Tomato Bread Pudding (Katie Brown Celebrates, p. 182)
Serves 12 (makes one 13 by 9-inch pan)

This is a a great way to use up tomatoes and bread that are about to go. Combine them with cheese and spices, and you will have a delicious pudding.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Large Onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
5 Tablespoons fresh thyme
1+1/4 Cups Heavy Cream
2+1/4 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Tablespoon Salt
1+1/2 Teaspoons black pepper
2 eggs
10 Cups cubed french bread
2+1/2 Cups grated Parmesan
6 Cups Halved Cherry Tomatoes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Heat a medium-size saute pan over high heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add onion, garlic and thyme. Lower heat to medium and cook until onion is soft, about 6 minutes. Place mixture in a large mixing bowl and allow to cool. Add cream, stock, salt, pepper, and eggs, and whisk until well combined.

3. Add bread, Parmesan, and tomatoes, tossing well to coat everything, and allow mixture to sit for at least 10 minutes. Place in a greased 13 by 9-inch pan and bake until top is golden brown and pudding is set, about 45 minutes.
Turkey Bacon and Eggs Photos used with permission,taken by Paul Whicheloe

Turkey Bacon Eggs (Katie Brown Celebrates, p. 180) Serves 12

What brunch would be complete without bacon and eggs? I love this dish because it combines both of them in a quick and easy fashion.

12 3-inch ramekins
Olive oil or nonstick booking spray
36 Pieces turkey bacon
4 Tablespoons Olive oil or butter
4 Shallots, Chopped fine
2 small bags baby arugula (or spinach)
12 eggs
2 cups grated Gruyere Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Prepare ramekins by brushing insides with olive oil or spraying with nonstick spray. Wrap 2 pieces of bacon around insides of each ramekin, closing all gaps around the sides. Cut the remaining 12 pieces of bacon in half. Place 2 of these pieces in bottom of each ramekin, covering all gaps.

3. heat large saute pan on high, add olive oil or butter, add shallots, and reduce heat to medium. Gently cook shallots until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add arugula to pan and cook until wilted. Remove arugula from pan and allow to cool. Squeeze out any excess water with your hands.

4. Combine eggs, Gruyere, and arugula, season with salt and pepper. (remember that the cheese will add some salt of its own. ) Fill each ramekin three-quarters full and bake until eggs are set and tops are golden and puffed, about 20 minutes.

3. Remove bacon and eggs from ramekins while hot, using towels to prevent burning yourself. Serve immediately, as eggs will loose volume as they sit.

Author Website:
Katie Brown Workshop

Want to get yourself a copy?? Send me recipes!!
I have five available to you lucky-hungry-winner types (thanks to Hachette!!)! The giveaway part!!
Here are the details:
-I have 5 copies of Katie Brown Celebrates (thanks to Anna at Little, Brown!!!!)
-Post a recipe (the whole recipe) on your blog, previously posted recipes work as well....but I am looking for some of your favourites here, so please make sure it is a favourite!
-Comment below and paste the link to your recipe in the comments.
-Yes your recipes posted for the other giveaway count, but you will need to comment on THIS post if you want me to count you in on this giveaway (the same recipe is fine unless you are feeling into it, I'd love more recipes!!!)
-You have a week to do it, you can send me your recipes up through the 19th. I will select winners the next day.
- Sorry, only US and Canada and no PO boxes

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Green Beauty Guide

Title: The Green Beauty Guide
Author: Julie Gabriel
Pages: 400
Publisher: Health Communications, Inc.
Yearly Count b: 93
Genre: How to do Health and Beauty Organically.

Have you ever been curious about what synthetic cosmetics and cleaners do to your body? Well, if you haven't you should be. I was a little curious, but not ready to change my low-maintenance beauty routine until I got wind of this book, The Green Beauty Guide. I can't get enough of her potions and concoctions that are actually very easy to make and apply. I now know what is going on my face and what it is doing to me.

Okay, I am not one of those you all need to be like me people, in no way am I saying that you should feel guilty for applying your MAC or covergirl if you have it, but I am saying that if you are at all curious about homemade stuff, knowing more about what you are using than thank Julie Gabriel as she has spelled it all out for you in this book. Ahhh, this is a good one. I love it! There is so much that I could share about this book, The Green Beauty Guide.

I am going to put a personal spin on this review. I loved reading it, it takes the focus off of what I can cover up, and calls me to embrace what I look like and the beauty in each of us. There were certainly some "AHA!" moments in reading this book. The first one is under the "Forget about Skin Typing"(p. 137) section saying all of us have imperfect skin, and that the cosmetic industries goal is to keep us buying products. There are no ideal skin types, and our skin will go through phases and constant change. Immediately after this section there is a list of organic options for cleansers based on what you like the best and makes your skin feel the best to you, and then my favourite section on "Making Your Own Cleansers" (p. 150).

There is so much to take away from reading this book, and I know this one will be put to good use in my home. I love making things, and making skin care products and natural cleansers and cosmetics is so much easier than I would have ever expected.

I have loved the bath soaks and salts, here are a couple recipes for you to try, these recipes are directly from The Green Beauty Guide (the pages they are found on are listed below). Enjoy:

Cleopatra Milk Bath (p. 240)
1 cup organic reconstituted or condensed milk

2 tablespoons honey

2 drops vanilla extract
1 drop chamomile essential oil

1 drop lavender essential oil

You can use whole milk straight from the carton in this recipe, and any baby formula works as well.
Blend the ingredients well and use immediately to create a soothing, deeply moisturizing balmy bath.

Yield 4 ounces

Herbal Bath Blends
(p. 243) (great gift idea!!)

Winter Soothing Bath Blend

1/2 cup chamomile flowers
1 cup dried lavender blossoms

1 cup dried fennel seeds

1 cup dried rose petals

This blend soothes dry, wind-blasted skin and aching muscles better and a Swedish massage session! Oat bran nourishes the skin, while rose petals add a warm, luxurious touch.

The best way to use an herbal blend is to put it into a small unbleached muslin (or organic cotton) bag and tie it with a ribbon or string. Just put the bag under running water as you prepare your bath. When you are done bathing, remove the bag, let it dry, then discard the contents and rinse the bag. It's ready to be used again!

Yield 4 ounces

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I am the last stop on the TLC Tour, Hope you enjoyed the journey with us :) Happy reading!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wife in the North

Title: Wife In The North
Author: Judith o' Reilly
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Genre: memoir
Yearly Count b:92

So many times we mothers are faced with the decision of being honest about our daily struggles or pretending that we have it all together so that our friends will think better of us. haha, all my friends know I am the freak mom that has chickens in her backyard and lets her kids get really (REALLY) dirty, life is too short! In Wife in the North, her fears, her doubts and her temper tantrums are all laid bare as a release. Judith began documenting her struggles in the form of a daily diary on her blog, Wife in the North and soon it took off, took off into a book contract for the book named by her blog title, Wife in the North.

Judith is a mother, a wife and a city girl who will have to adapt to living in the country for a set period of time. At least she has that, that after the alloted time period the family will make the choice to stay in the northern far-and-away town with no good shopping, or they will embrace the chaos and business of city life by moving back to London. Judith in this memoir is not into sugar coating anything, she hates it. She lives daily in loathing of where she is at and wishing that her husband would come home from his business trips and stay with them for a while. Judith speaks of loneliness, loss and the desire to fit in and at the same time not fit in because that would alter her London city girl image.

I enjoyed this read, I did find it a tad bit negative, but really if I had my inner thoughts written on paper they would be slightly to extremely negative depending on what was being asked of me. More than anything I eat up honesty and Wife in the North is filled with it. I could feel her grief, her loss, her loneliness and feelings of not belonging, not fitting, and that her kids were driving her crazy. It was extremely personable. If you enjoy memoirs, read this one and tell me what you think!

I will soon have an author interview and a giveaway for your own copy of Wife In the North, so stay tuned :) In the mean time, answer me this: What kind of mom or dad are you? Do you let your kids practice the 10 second rule (in our house it is more like the minute rule!)? Do you scrub everything bare with disinfectant and essential oils? What does your day look like as a parent?

Here is her blog, it is really funny, take a look: Wife In The North

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Monday, December 8, 2008

year end goals and new year resolutions, let's talk.

Are you a believer in resolutions for the new year? I am generally anti-resolutions, but after our last talk I decided that I need to make some bloggie changes. I need to cut back on the ammount of time I spend doing blog related things. I spend a lot of time reading, not when my boys are awake, but when they go to bed and that is fine. I want to cut down on the ammount of time I spend staring at the computer screen when they are up. I have never been an all-out type, I never burned any bras or broke any bad CD's...I do know that simplifying brings so much peace and that is my goal. I don't know what it looks like exactly, but I know for sure it means accepting less ARC's or Review Copies and not feeling guilted into accepting them because I feel bad for the author. It also means setting a timer and closing the mactop when it is chiming. No more saying, "oh, in just a second (ten billion times in a row) to my kids". Yes, I will still be present, still be here, and reading, just better at organizing my time.

So far for next year I have only signed up for one challenge, The Latin American Lit challenge. I had no problem using the ARC's and Review copies this year to finish up my challenges....still next year I will play by ear. I am relieving myself of pressure, that is the part that makes this feel like a job, the tenseness of having to finish a book, needing to review it...that is the part I can do without. The community aspect is really sweet and what keeps me here, I will stick with the community part.

Thanks for all your comments on my last little debate! It was not about Twitter or blogging or reading, it was about how much time we spend and if we are happy with that or think it is a little out of control. If you spend more or less it is for sure a personal thing, and I am not at all trying to make you feel singled out....I just wanted to hear where you all were at, to learn from you all!

I am sure we all have year end goals, weather it is finishing up some of our challenges or reading a certain number of books. I have a goal of finishing up 100 books. I started book blogging and reading like crazy in march, so I am missing three months, still I don't want to cut myself any slack for that. I want to finish 100 books. I am at 91 read and reviewed and I have 3 more that I have read but haven't reviewed. That means I need to finish 6 more this month. We'll have to see if I can do it!!!

What are your goals, are you embarrassed to admit them because you are so far away or do you think you will go all out this month and be determined to finish them?? Oh, there are plenty of goals that I haven't reached, this one, this year I think I will accomplish. How do you feel after an accomplishment? I am usually very excited and then there is a let down. I think that is normal....maybe. Does it happen to you too?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Child's Christmas In Wales

Title: A Child's Christmas in Wales
Author: Dylan Thomas
Illustrator: Chris Raschka
Pages: 48
Genre: Children's Christmas
Yearly Count b: 91

This is the first time I have been exposed to the book by Dylan Thomas. Since I was young we would watch the TV version of this and loved it. Since the book was selected for the online book club, Travel the World (from a comfy chair) this month, and it is really short I read right through it. I read it to my little boys. They were mostly curious as to why kids would think it was fun to throw snowballs at cats. My two little ones have three cats and they knew that was a naughty thing to do for sure! I couldn't help but see them smile during the description of the fire where the slipper is being waved around. It is neat being able to share this with my kids.

I like reading it allowed, the words flow so strongly from the lips and even though my boys are too young to understand their beauty, sharing beauty even at their age is priceless to me. It is all about exposure to the arts at this point and to give them wings. Even if the beauty goes over their heads, the pictures are so amazing that they stare at them the entire time. Chris Raschka is the artist and the book received A New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book for his illustrations. I don't think I need to say much more than that, other than that they are somehow earthy in tones and colours, rustic in their perfection and perfectly, intensely real as well. The lines are jagged, and imperfect and yet the detail of the paintings brilliantly glows through to form a whole image that is nothing less than spectacular.

So, there you go, the words are amazing...many of you have heard this short story of Wales, and the pictures I believe equally match the performance of the words, a marriage meant to be (at least in my book ;). I am going to institute the tradition of reading this book allowed to my kids, even when they can read on their own, or when they can read on their own they can read it to us! I think every household should own a copy of this book!

Here is the inside of Dylan Thomas' writing shack, yes he had a writing shack in Wales. I would guess most writers have a special place they like to write....this one looks pretty neat to me!

It is interesting that many times when a gift is so strong, other areas are very weak, almost as a compensation. Check out Dylan Thomas, as he is listed under the neurotic poets! If you love to read about all the strange things these amazing writers can do, head there they have tons of info on weirdies for sure (I mean that in the sweetest possible way, as I am a weirdie as well).

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Challenges for 2009



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I am using the Into Thy Word Bible Reading Guide, I am starting a month late, but hope to make up my lost time. This is the most important book to me, and although sometimes I forget it really should be more important to me to read it. I am going to try to read it all this year. I will cross off the books as I go along. This challenge is hosted by becky at Operation Actually Read Bible. (thanks becky!!)

Out of the Silent Planet

Title: Out of the Silent Planet
Author: C.S. Lewis
Pages: 180
Yearly Count b: 90

The story of a dude named Ransom ( I know, Ransom!?!) who hap haphazardly wanders himself into a science experiment of sorts to another planet. He arrives there in a comatose state, having been drugged and brought there for reasons he doesn't know. It is a science fiction book written in the 40s. If when you see the name C.S Lewis you think Chronicles of Narnia and about white witches and dark dungeons and wardrobes, think again. Out of the Silent Planet is not fantasy or anything close, it is all science and fiction :)

In truth it wasn't my fave, but it wasn't horrid either. C.S. stunned me with his writing, he is insanely good. Even if at times he is what I would consider wordy, his words are beautiful even when I have no idea what he is saying! I may have read it to fast and it may be my fault, but it seemed too descriptive for me. It was written when saga descriptions were all the fashion, so that my be part of the deal, but they just didn't keep my attention that well. I had a hard time following from one type of alien creature to the next, and figuring out who Lewis was talking about. I also kept holding out for the symbolism, and really there is some but it is not even a tad as blatant as that in The Chronicles of Narnia.

My overall feelings on this book? It was decent, but I think if you could love it much more than I did. I love reality, what can I say?

This was my first attempt at science fiction and since I have never been a science person I figure I am not going to be into science that true? Is that how it works? If you are interested in science do you love science fiction? It seems like it would be somewhat correlated at least. Maybe not.

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