Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The One With a Farewell to 2014 #slice2014


Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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Another year has come and gone. Time flies when you're having fun, right? 

In 2013, my one little word was "simplify". Then this year, in 2014, my one little word was "patience". It was long into 2014 that I wondered if by choosing the word "patience", the universe threw all sorts of experiences and situations at me that encouraged me to learn to practice patience. Maybe that's the case or maybe I was just more aware of needing to be patient. Either way, this year was a jam-packed, fun-filled, non-stop type of year. Looking back at this year, I feel like I've learned so much about myself, about others, about life. Just so much. I don't know where to even start to reflect and I'm actually feeling like it might be better off to look ahead instead of delving too much into reliving the ups and downs of 2014. Yup, I think looking ahead is a great idea.

So I've been thinking about my one little word for 2015 for a couple of weeks now. I honestly thought my 2015 word might be "risk" because there are a few things in my little brain that I'd like to dive into this year BUT more recently the word "grace" has resonated with me. 
The word "grace" first of all makes me think of being gracious and grateful and appreciative. That's the meaning that stands out to me most. I would like to make 2015 a year of truly appreciating everyone and everything I have in my life. More than being thankful though, it reminds me to be humble and accept things with grace. Keeping this at the forefront of my thoughts and actions is super important to me. Otherwise, "grace" makes me think of being graceful in two different ways. One is to take time to make thoughtful and meaningful decisions - which I'm not always very good at. The other is to be graceful like a dancer and I'm not sure how that will fit into my life in 2015...but I'm always up for some good dancing!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/29/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
It's here. The last Monday of 2014. Wow. I'm still reading My True Love Gave to Me and The Lean Startup but I'm also reading What If by AJ Pine. On the way home from our roadtrip to Minnesota, I couldn't read in the dark so I zoned in on AJ's book on my phone. Gotta love having a reading emergency plan! 


Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I actually have to return Shopaholic to the Stars today so I really have to finish it today. One more week of winter break means I'm hoping I can actually finish My True Love Gave To Me and The Lean Startup and What If. And then I have all sorts of other things to read but I'm going to wait and see what I get to and what I pick up next! Happy reading!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Let's Celebrate One Last 2014 Indie!

It's time to CELEBRATE This Week with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.  Every week Ruth invites us to share our celebrations from the week and link up at her blog. What a fun way to reflect on everything there is to be thankful for. 

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This week I'm celebrating one last 2014 Indie!

*throws confetti*

Last weekend we drove up to Minnesota to visit the Mall of America. We went a couple years ago and loved the amusement park in the middle of the mall. Yeah, it's kind of crazy to drive six hours in December with a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old to a ginormous mall but we're always up for some crazy around here.

We actually had a great trip, barely any snowy-rainy-windy weather, the kids played nicely and slept during the drives and we spent most of our time at the hotel water park or the amusement park and neither was crowded compared to the actual mall part of the mall. One of the highlights for me was stopping in at Wild Rumpus as soon as we got to town. It was nice to walk into this cozy little store and do some quiet shopping before heading to the hotel. I'll be talking about my Un-Boring List later this week but visiting more independent bookstores was on the list and this was a great last 2014 indie visit!

Wild Rumpus has some pretty exotic animals roaming around the store! The kids were shocked to see a black feathery chicken as soon as we walked in. Then we spotted this store worker with a rat!
We looked at the birds, the chinchillas, the tarantula, the cats, the dog and the ferrets!
 
There were all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore. Back in the corner, there were two kiddos reading a book together snuggled up with a white chicken. It was very cool. My kids were amazed!
 
 
There was great artwork all around the store. Little Bean thought it was awesome that there were a crack in the ceiling. We found a picture book to give to a cousin, finger puppets, a graphic novel, a sticker book and a giant blank book we're going to illustrate ourselves. It was a great trip!
 This is one of the most unique bookstores I have ever visited. Overall, this year, I discovered some wonderful independent bookstores and made more trips to my local indies that I love. I'm excited to see what other Indie I discover in 2015!
(Can you see the purple door behind us? There was an adult-sized door and a kid-sized door so you could go in through either one...complete awesome in every way.)

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The One With Cardboard Creativity #slice2014


Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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Back in October, I visited a school that invited me to see (and play!) cardboard arcade games students created as part of the Global Cardboard Challenge. It was inspired by a boy named Caine and the arcade he created out of leftover cardboard boxes. You can visit the Caine's Ardcade website for more information and to watch the video I'm sharing here below. 

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I know we're going to have lots of cardboard rolling around. I'm going to save as much cardboard as I can and am asking my brother to do the same so that when his family comes to visit, my sons and my nephews can create their own cardboard arcade.

Seeing how Caine comes up with his own version of classic arcade games makes me think of the books Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell and Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light. Both are examples of characters creating their own fun and art instead of waiting for it to find them. 
I'm hoping to pair up a kiddo in our family with an adult and then to set the timer and see what we can come up with in a short period of time. It'll be an epic challenge and then we'll show off and play the games we come up with. I have no idea if this will work or if my family will be up to it...but I thought I would share in case you might want to save up some of your own holiday cardboard and have some good old-fashioned do-it-yourself type fun this holiday season. Maybe we'll have to also create some original artwork and have a gallery showcase a la Louise Loves ArtI know we're always looking for cost-thrifty ideas to keep the kids busy and to try and avoid the b-word....boredom

Have any arcade game suggestions for me to try and recreate? 
I'm leaning towards air hockey or foosball but am open to ideas!

If you do try this at home, I would love to hear how it goes! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/22/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Happy Monday, everyone! I am super close to finishing up Shopaholic to the Stars on audio but I stayed home sick with Little Bean on Thursday and Friday so that meant I didn't listen on my commute. I'm still plugging along with The Lean Startup and My True Love Gave to Me. I'm about halfway through each and keep trying to find time here and there to fit in my reading. We'll see if I can keep up with #bookaday - it'll take lots of picture books, I'm sure. I did manage to read Bird and Squirrel On Ice by James Burks, Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applgate and The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak. All super great. Oh! Little Bean was also on a Knufflebunny mood this week so we read all three books in the series a few times. Gotta love Trixie!

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm planning to keep listening to Shopaholic to the Stars this week and to finish The Lean Startup and My True Love Gave to Me. I also have a couple new art books I'm reading as research for a new project. They are completely beautiful and I can't wait to explore them. (I'm also trying my reviews again so I'll probably be rereading these picture books!)

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Let's Celebrate Shiny Happy People Laughing!

It's time to CELEBRATE This Week with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.  Every week Ruth invites us to share our celebrations from the week and link up at her blog. What a fun way to reflect on everything there is to be thankful for. 

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This week I'm celebrating shiny happy people laughing!

*throws confetti*

This is my family. I'm so happy to see the shiny happy people laughing in this picture. 
I want to cheer We've made it! Hooray for us and 2014!
The last two weeks have been stressful. Partly it's just this time of year but we've also all taken turns being sick with colds and/or the flu. I'm so thankful that we're mostly better now! (I'm still waiting for my voice to come back...)

Looking back at this entire year, there have been all sorts of ups and downs along the way. We're still adjusting to what it means for me to be in a job that involves long hours and is an hour away. This is my third year in a position like this but it's still hard to get used to not being as home as much as I would like.  Believe it or not, we're also still adjusting to what it means to have a seven-year-old and a four-year-old in our house. I have no idea where the time went! Suddenly my sweet toddler and baby are both kids with so many thoughts and opinions and the ability to express themselves and talk through them all. It's fascinating how our family dynamics have changed as the boys get older. And I'm also adjusting - or maybe accepting is a better word - what it means to truly not have enough time in the day for all the things I want to accomplish. I'm a pretty driven person. I love to set goals and make plans to get there but I've had to adjust and be realistic so that I don't disappoint myself but also so that I can still get things done without going overboard. It means saying no to some things...or no for now...and that's not always easy. My One Little Word for 2014 was patience and it was a good reminder that sometimes saying not doesn't mean never. Instead it might mean that I need to be patient and wait until another time.

Despite all the messiness this year, I'm here. Shiny and happy and laughing along with my guys. I truly do want to cheer, but also sigh in overwhelming relief. I'm looking forward to 2015 and to what it might bring my way but to prolong the 2014 celebration a bit, here's REM singing Shiny Happy People. Feel free to dance along!

What are you celebrating this week?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/15/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I listened to half of Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella. I rarely read adult fiction so it's a nice break for me and a fun read. I've been reading The Lean Startup and have read a few stories in My True Love Gave to Me. I'm enjoying all of them...just need more time and less sickness in my life.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm planning to keep listening to Shopaholic to the Stars this week and to read more of The Lean Startup and My True Love Gave to Me. After Peanut and my husband being sick all of last week and then me being sick the end of the week...I didn't get any review or posts up. I'm hoping to get back on track this week. I'm thinking a lot about how to prioritize everything and making everything fit in...might be a Slice of Life post in the making actually!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!