Faberge Eggs for Easter

It all started with Scooby Doo, The Princess asked me explain Faberge eggs. She had been watching Scooby Doo Cyber Chase and there was a joke in the story about Daphne’s mom trying to boil Faberge eggs. And they say TV makes you stupid!

After explaining my limited knowledge of Faberge eggs (essentially that they were made in Russia for the Zcar and they very fancy and covered in jewels), we decided to make our own eggs.

We came up with two versions. One is made of tin foil with jewels glued on it. Super easy!

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The second involved the kids taking clay and sticking the jewels straight into the clay. This was developed by The Princess, after all she is only five and anything with jewels qualifies as fancy right?

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We also added construction paper eggs and a basket. This was way less work than actually dyeing eggs. No one ever eats the boiled eggs so they got to waste. Plus I end up getting dye everywhere and the eggs end up the color vomit! So this was a happy solution.

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The Three Edwards by Thomas Costain

The Three Edwards (The Plantagenets, #3)The Three Edwards by Thomas B. Costain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For his third book on the Plantagenets, Costain does it again. He continues to tell the story of the English Kings while adding interesting side notes on the period and the people of the realm.

One of my favorite side notes was his discussion of the origin and use of the button!

Additionally although he seems to favor King Edward, Costain does provides a very fair re-telling of the king’s treatment of William Wallace.

I also enjoyed Costain’s discussion of Mortimer’s escape. He took the time to present the story well.

If you like his other books on this famous family, you will enjoy this too.

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The King’s Grave: Reviewed by Booky MoM!

The King's Grave: The Discovery of Richard III's Lost Burial Place and the Clues It HoldsThe King’s Grave: The Discovery of Richard III’s Lost Burial Place and the Clues It Holds by Philippa Langley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

England’s cruelest king? Just about everyone has heard of the “two princes in the tower”. And, most people know it was evil uncle Richard who sent them there. And, to be honest that’s about all knew either — until now.

The book mixes the discover of Richard’s bones with a look at the history of and surrounding the king.

It’s a quick and interesting read. And, we get an accessible look at excavating and archeology. As an American interested in the topic, it never ceases to amaze me what is hiding just under our feet-particularly in Europe. Of course we have digs of native Americans in the US. But finding a king in a car park is just wild!

Readers are treated to the role science plays in teasing out history. And, we are treated to an understanding of the physical challenges facing Richard.

As for resurrecting Richard’s reputation, I am not sure the book fits the bill. The author is clearly pro-Richard, but she does a nice job of still presenting the facts.

I did find a few parts about the project to be filler and or an ego trip. So I simply skimmed them.

AllĀ in all, a fun read.

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Emma of Normandy is such an AMAZING figure… She deserves a better book!

Emma: The Twice-Crowned Queen: England in the Viking AgeEmma: The Twice-Crowned Queen: England in the Viking Age by Isabella Strachan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Almost every book I review gets 3 or 4 stars. So you know something is great when I give out 5 stars or really not great when I give out 2. Sadly, Emma The Twice Crowned Queen is not that great.

Her story is amazing and belongs up there with other other British Queens such as Eleanor and Elizabeth. However, this author provides us with a rather flat story that drums along recounting history without getting us dancing to the beat. The writing is dry and really forces the reader to plough through.

I wanted to give up on the book and it took me months to read. But, I made it. Still, I would not recommend it to others.

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The Norman Conquest!

The Norman ConquestThe Norman Conquest by Marc Morris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

1066. Its one of the key dates in British and to a certain extent world history. But, why and how did it get to be such a pivotal date? Marc Morris offers us a look at the circumstances and players in this period and discusses what sort of transitions took place in the 30 years following The Conquest.

The book is thoroughly researched. The work provides readers a forthright look at what happened using both primary source documents as well as later historical theories. He cites multiple versions of The Anglo-Saxon Chronical and truly digs into the famous Doomsday Book.

Despite heavy research, Morris does an excellent job keeping the reader engaged. Readers are not bored too death by a pedantic, professorial style lecturing. The writing is excesable and story is well told.

It is a short book packed full of information and is a great overview if the conquest.

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Snow…snow…snow

Living in Las Vegas means we almost never get snow days. As a kid growing up in CT, we got them all the time. Still, I’ve got to expose Cinco and The Princess to making snowmen. So in honor of that winter weather back east, we created our own pom-Pom snowmen and women!

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A hot glue gun, buttons, and Pom-poms is all you need. We added ribbon scarves and a feather boa, but you get the idea! I also glued the snow people to a larger button so they had a base of support.

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Then the kids started getting a bit creative and we even made snow-aliens!

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Ender’s Game: The Booky Mom Finds It At Last

Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1)Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some how in my youth I missed out on reading Ender’s Game. I am wondering how it happened. I liked the sci-fi genre but spent most of my time reading Philip K. Dick. Reading the book is an interesting experience. While the story is told from a child’s point of view, its themes are adult.

The themes and topics of the novel are complicated. I found the us vs them issues to pervade the novel— human vs. bugger, children vs. adults, free world vs. communist. The idea of competition and survival were highly relevant in the Cold War period. But, it is a universal struggle that people and animals face. Card does a nice job dealing with that on many levels to high light his themes for the reader.

I am also reminded of the classic example of “Game Theory”, The Prisoners’ Dilemma. A game that encourages both plays to betray each other rather than co-operate. As in the case of Human-Bugger relations without communication there is no option but destruction.

Card also addresses human manipulation through words and language. He gives power to words and shows that a lack of words has power also. This is a theme seen most clearly with Peter and Violet. But, also comes forward in the Human-Bugger relationship.

SPOILER ALERT!!! Read no further….

Still, with everything going in the novel I was truly caught off guard by the ending. Ender’s roll as the Speaker for the Dead and the power that words and understating that Card highlights through Ender’s transformation were unexpected. Although, I do find it to be the most interesting aspect of the story.

I find the pseudo-religious aspect of pouring out your life to a third person who then tells people who then retells it when you’ve passed intriguing. It seems that Card is telling us communication is vital to understanding others point of view. But, he presents us with a structure where the point of view of the other is not reveled until the other is dead. Does death make it easier for us to accept the other as a whole? Do we reserve judgement for the dead because they cannot speak for themselves? Or is that that they are no longer a threat thanks to their departure from earth? Being magnanimous is now easy for us because the other is no real threat?

I am very interested to follow this book up with Card’s Speaker for the Dead.

Finally, I listened to Ender’s Game on audio book. It was a dramatic narration with multiple actors and was a very agreeable way to follow the book. Included at the end of the recording were a few comments from the author about the book and his writing which I also enjoyed. This is another case where the audio version is worth it!

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