Monthly Archives: July 2014

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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Frozen Day! Mom Camp 24

With Cinco at camp, The Princess and I planned a mom camp day dedicated to Frozen!

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First thing in the morning, we made popsicle. Don’t ask what I was thinking— I let her put sprite and skittles in the popsicle molds and stuck them in the freezer.

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Frozen Gummies, Anyone?

We also decided to invite one of her friends over to join in the fun– let’s call her Snowflake from now on. Before Snowflake arrived, we read a Frozen book and I gave The Princess a cute Frozen sticker book to play with while I was at the gym. It seemed to keep her occupied.

We rushed back home to meet Snowflake and let our crafting begin. There are tons of Frozen resources online and some very cleaver ideas.

20140710-074018.jpgI printed out a few items including:

PLUS….

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Snowflake models her bracelet

After making The Princess and Snowflake each a packet of printables… I got to work on our projects.

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The Princess’ necklace

Each girl got to create a Frozen inspired piece of jewelry. I gathered a bunch of clear, crystal-like plastic beads. I was concerned the jewelry would look too dull if they only made of “icy” beads. I decided to add a few beads in different shades of blue and threw in a purple or two for good measure.

Snowflake opted to make a bracelet. The Princess decided on a necklace. Both girls looked very fashionable in their creations!

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Our next craft were a set of Anna and Elsa crowns. I printed both crowns for each girl–no fighting during mom camp! While the crown’s creator suggests using glitter to glamorize the crowns, that as going to be too messy for me. I went out and I got some self adhesive pearls and diamonds to bling out the crowns.

Next, it was time for the popsicle taste test… Everyone agreed they were a bust, BIG TIME! Both girls rejected them and begged for popcorn instead. No problem.

Now it was time to start the movie…within minutes, Snowflake and The Princess were wearing the crowns and singing their hearts out until Snowflake’s mom picked her up.

I’ll count that a successful Frozen Day!

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All Things British: Mom Camp Day 23

20140710-152608.jpgOf course we did many things to prepare for our trip to Great Britain. (See the Blog posts on Stonehenge and Dunkirk). But we kept up the Anglophile spirit when we returned home as well!

One of the first projects were clothespins soldiers! If you want to make your own here’s all you need to do…

What you need :

Clothespins
Red paint
Black paint
Gold paint
A paintbrush
A glue gun and accompanying glue sticks
Black pom-poms

Here’s what to do :
Have your kids layout the clothes pins.

Avoiding the roundhead, paint the top half of the body red. Then let it dry. We live in Las Vegas so the drying part happened very quickly! Still if you only do one light coat it shouldn’t take long. By the time you finish the last red body, the first red body ought to be dry.

Follow it up by painting the bottom black. Again let it dry!

Use some gold glitter paint to buttons and a belt! Let it dry!

Paint on the face. If you have other colors like blue or green those would work well for the eyes. If not, Just use the black paint again–simple.

Now, it’s glue gun time. Personally, I think Cinco and The Princess are too young to use the glue gun on their own. I always do it. Glue gun the black pom-pom on the head of your soldier.

Then with the kids have fun playing with it.

Cinco was inspired by the British soldiers, he used a little duct tape to create some knights!
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We also read the book A Walk in London written and illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino. I cannot recommend the book enough. It offers a delightful presentation of London. The pictures capture the city and appeal to kids. This book is a winner. Plus, it allowed us to re-live our own trip through the city!

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Mom Camp Day 22: Saying Good-Bye to Britain

Finally, it was time for our trip to end. Both Cinco and I weren’t ready for it to end. I was wishing I had added on the extra week for Ireland. The kids did so well, I think we could have made it 3 and 1/2 weeks. But, when I was jjkoplanning The Captain convinced me it would be a nightmare to push forward. Better safe than sorry. If the kids had been more difficult or enjoyed the trip less and extra week could easily have been a bridge too far. Plus, this way, maybe some day we will do a trip to Ireland and Scotland… you never can tell.

We had a long, but direct flight from Manchester, UK straight to Las Vegas. Bags were packed— including the kids back packs (and yes they were re-filled with goodies and treats!) Car drop off was okay, although it finally started to rain on way out of town. But really, the last day there… who can complain!

Again, Virgin Atlantic saved us as the kids mainly watched the TV’s in front of them. Although, they did dive into some of the treasures I had for them. We kept them for the bulk of the time on the plane and when we finally landed, Queen Gram was at the airport to meet us.

Coming off the jet lag took about 3 days, but that was fine. No school, no camp, just hanging out and getting used to being home! But, don’t worry we won’t be home for long this summer— stay tuned… more adventures await.

 

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London Lecture: Booky Mom Review

London: A Short History of the Greatest City in the Western WorldLondon: A Short History of the Greatest City in the Western World by Robert O. Bucholz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bucholz does a good job taking listeners through almost 1000 years of London history in a few short lectures. Clearly, he cannot cover everything and he does skimp on the Anglo-Saxon period. But, to his defense, the city’s pre-Norman Conquest importance was not very great.

Bucholz humanizes the city by presenting through the eyes of the people who lived there. He spending telling listeners what the city like during Shakespeare’s time, Samuel Peeps’s time and Charles Dickens’ time. He takes the listener on “walks” through the city and describes landmarks. Key moments in the city’s development are also explained in brief to the reader.

If you are looking for a quick understanding of the city from the Romans to the Modern Day, I recommend this lecture series.

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