Monthly Archives: July 2014

Let the Dinosaurs Roar: Mom Camp Days 30


After all the traveling and the days of real camp, Mom Camp is back in business.  The kids actually complained that they have been too busy this summer and that they haven’t gotten enough “TRUE MOM CAMP” days.  To be fair, we have been doing a LOT of other things and our traditional mom camp activities have taken a backseat.

We all agreed on getting back on track with a few days dedicated to our favorite prehistoric pals, Dinos!

20140731-153637.jpg We started the day off with some arts and crafts.  Even before school gets out I am on the look out for anything I can use during mom camp.  I got the wooden dino puzzles from the Target dollar section and the fold your own dino kit from Michael’s.  20140731-154403.jpgBoth sets were easy for Cinco and the Princess to put together and provided plenty of entertainment.  They not only assembled the kits, but then enjoyed some play acting with the toys that they created.

20140731-153656.jpgNext, we attempted to make our own dino fossils.  On pinterest I found a recipe using coffee grounds, salt and flour to make a sort of cement.  I was surprised to find I had no flour in the house, so in my typical mom camp way, I substituted pancake mix for flour.  I am not saying that definitely ruined the mix,20140731-155701.jpg but our mix simply did not “pan-out” the way it should have.  It was a shame because we gathered some really fun items to make into fossils.  We were going to use a glow in the dark dino skeleton head and bone-shaped dog treats to make the impressions.

20140731-153847.jpgThe kids were somewhat disappointed by the failed attempt so it was time to hit our local natural history museum. They have a pretty elaborate room dedicated to large-scale dinosaur models.

20140731-153739.jpgPlus, the museum hosts traveling exhibits every few months.  It just so happened we got lucky and the current exhibit was all about dinosaur eggs!  Lucky us.  I didn’t even plan it that way…although the kids thought I did.  Shhhhhh….. don’ tell them.

There were a number actual fossilized eggs on display.  Additionally, there were tons of hands on experiences for the children.  Lots of displays for them to touch so they could get the feel for the texture of the eggs.  They learned that different dinosaurs had eggs with different shapes: some oblong, others more oval, some large, some small.

20140731-153757.jpgThe Princess and Cinco also had the opportunity dress up in dino costumes.   There were two sets and one of them even had feather on costume, which was fun! They spent quite awhile in that section of the museum laughing and playing at being dinosaurs.  20140731-153824.jpgThey wiggled the dino tales and played in the dino nests.

We also played a few of the computer games set up at the exhibit.  Cinco and I played dino hangman and The Princess made a series of cute little dino pictures.20140731-153903.jpg

All and all a productive day!






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July 30, 2014 · 12:07 am

The Lemonade War

The Lemonade WarThe Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Lemonade War is a clever book about sibling rivalry that plays itself out through a lemonade sales competition.

Each chapter opens with a the definition of a “business” term that relates to the plot of that chapter. Additionally, the book highlights the math used in the business, simple addition, subtraction and little bit of multiplication and division. The book tries to sneak a little more education in the story– which of course appeals to a mom!

Both of my kids liked the story (5,8yrs)and were interested to see how the challenge ended. All and all a good book for some summer reading!

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Another Judy Moody Review

Judy Moody, Girl Detective (Judy Moody, #9)Judy Moody, Girl Detective by Megan McDonald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is our second Judy Moody book. It’s based on Judy solving a mystery as if she were Nancy Drew.

Personally, I have never read a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys story in my life. Do kids today still read that? Do kids today know who that is? For me the book was less-than-exciting because of the Nancy Drew focus. But, my kids seemed to roll with it.

My five year old daughter and 8 year old son were at least paying attention to the same book. Finding common ground for them can sometimes be a challenge.

I continue to love Stink better than Judy and may try reading the kids one of his books next. Still, it’s better than Junie B. Jones!

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Judy Moody’s Not So Bummer Summer: A Bookymom Review

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (Judy Moody, #10)Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my first Judy Moody Book. I don’t always read the same books as my kids nor do I always read the books with my kids. But I did end up reading this one aloud with them over the summer, I am sure you can guess why based on the title.

I must say I much prefer the character of Judy Moody to that nasty little girl, Junie B. Jones. I really can’t stand Junie. Any child who acted the way she did would banned from house forever!

In this book, Judy Moody is left with her aunt Opal for the summer. She plans a summer of adventures that all seem to go sideways. At the sametime, Stink (Judy’s younger brother) is hunting for Bigfoot.

The Bigfoot subplot as well as the crazy aunt add a lot to book and certainly make it entertaining for kids.

As something for kids to read over the summer, this book hits the mark.

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Let it Rain

I cannot count this as mom camp, but I’ve got to share it!

On one of our Long Island days, we got a bit of rain. And The Cutie Cousin got a bit bored. Teaming up with another teen who came to visit, they created a wonderful of delightful mischief.

Spare google eyes were left over from the clam project and suddenly appeared everywhere!


P.S. Thankfully no one was electrocuted! But, I do not recommend putting google eyes on light sockets!


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Mom Camp 27,28,29: Lazy Summer Days

When you are in a cottage two blocks from the beach, it’s water, water, water! All the days seem to be rolling into each other — get up late, eat pancakes by Pop-Pops, put on suits and head to the beach. At the beach, we gather shells, 20140718-094204.jpg torment hermit crabs (we just look at them and keep them in some plastic cups until we set them free), and search for jellyfish.

You see, the Cutie Cousin had a sad run-in with a jellyfish on one of our boating/swimming trips. It was a terrible entanglement and could only be remedied by a quick return to the house and a baking soda solution. I love baking soda, by the way. It cures so very many things…But that is beside the point.

Then each night to was time for a little backyard whiffle ball. Cinco is really the star of whiffle ball. It must have something to do with the timing of the ball. He was in a charity whiffle ball tournament in the fall and out hit the start Little League players. If only, there was such a thing as a professional whiffle ball league.

After dinner and whiffle ball we have one of two desserts…’smores grilled over the backyard fire pit or ice cream cones from “The Magic Fountain”.

Of course, we also had a few outtings: boating to Sag Harbor, and a super fun boat ride to dinner across the bay. What could be more fun than going to and from dinner on a boat? Plus The Captain and I had an amazing meal of lobster, clams, mussels and crab… yum!

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Zombie Baseball Beatdown: Why Middle Grade Books Are So Hard…

Zombie Baseball BeatdownZombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi My rating: 2 of 5 stars First of all, I would qualify this as a middle grade book. In general, I find middle grade books very difficult reads. So many kids I know are reading above grade level and get into the middle grade books at younger ages– don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. However, the content of middle grade books can be rather ify. The language is boarder line with insults like ‘dumbwad’ (used in this book and the wimpy kid series). The plots and subplots also cross the line at times. For example, I don’t really care for the anti-biz and pro-illegal alien messages in this book. They are not appropriate for the age group and I would consider a subtle form of propaganda. I loved the Origami Yoda series until the Princess Leia book. Again, it dealt with the issue of students being gay. I simply don’t think that is appropriate content for a middle grade book. So, if I was frustrated with the content and language, why 2 stars and not just 1? The story flowed well and kept me and the kids interested. The author did a nice job of knitting the plot together and coming up with devises for the kids to be on their own and without parental supervision during a zombie brake-out. Also, for a book called Zombie Baseball Beatdown, I didn’t feel as if there was enough baseball action in the book. The baseball content skirts the beginning and ending of the story and is missing from the middle! Personally, I don’t recommend the book, but other readers are free to make their own choices. View all my reviews

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Equal Parts Guy de Maupassant and SNL: One More Thing by B.J. Novak

One More Thing: Stories and Other StoriesOne More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak My rating: 5 of 5 stars Equal parts Guy De Maupassant and SNL’s Deep Thoughts, is how I would describe this book. Most people will know B.J. Novak from his work with the TV show The Office, but this book is NOT at all a replay of the show’s old jokes. Novak creates a series of witty and smart short stories and each one is clever from start to finish. He offers us a look at our own absurdity through his humor but without casting judgment on us. Novak allows us to cast judgment on ourselves. He never comes across as disappointed in society or people. Rather, he wants expose us to the humor behind our behaviors and assumptions. And, should you read too much into his work, Novak brings us all down to earth with silly one-liners and ubershort stories. To pick out the best short stories in the collection, is a difficult task. It would almost be easier to pick out the not-so-good ones. He opens the book with “The Rematch” a hilarious retelling of the classic tortoise and hare story. Other standouts are “No One Goes to Heaven to See Dan Fogelberg”, and the final story “J. C. Audetat, Translator Don Quixote”. As for “J. C. Audetat” it is one of Novak’s longer stories and I thought it was starting to drag. But, let me assure you, the ending makes it all worth it! I must add that I listened to the book. Most of the book was read by B.J. Novak himself. However, he also has a number of Hollywood Stars narrate different parts. I cannot say if the stories would be as appealing on the printed page, but the audio version is a must! Much like World War Z, the audio production is amazing. Friends who know me, know I don’t often find 5 star books. My rating should tell you how very much I enjoyed this book. View all my reviews

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Mom Camp Day 26: A Day at the Beach

Having made it to Long Island we are all about the beach and living the ocean life.

We organized a beach combing trip to collect shells. Cinco and The Princess collected a number of interesting items. We also played with the hermit crabs.

Dinner included clams. What do you do with a bunch of leftover clam shells? 20140715-125124.jpgWell, The Cutie Cousin (as I will now call my niece) came up with the idea of making google-eyed clam shells! Awesome…




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In the Air Again: Mom Camp Day 25

Everything that right with the flight to London, went wrong with the flight to New York.

First off Cinco woke everyone up at 5am with a nosebleed. Our flight was at 11:35am— so there was a lot of time to kill.

I was also flying solo with the kids–which made things a lot harder! Both kids had to go everywhere with me at the airport…

The Captain booked us tickets on Virgin America with a 35 minute layover. Sadly, that connection time proved to be something of a problem. So we had to get booked on a later flight, ok… But that meant changing the car we had meeting us at the airport and arriving at our final designation at 1:30 in the morning.

But, we boarded the plane not knowing if our luggage was going to make to JFK.

I had three different sticky drinks spilled on me. The kids went to the bathroom about 7 times between the two (no joke). And the screens to watch movies on board kept freezing up! Oh the joy.

I brought fewer mom prizes because we ended up not needing as many on the trip to England and I didn’t want to be bogged down. So, that made the kids a little cranky.

But we did have a good time reading a Judy Moody book and making owl crafts. The kids also put on an owl dancing and signing show.




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