This past weekend the boy and I had our niece and nephew over for the night. Our niece has spent the night here before, but it was our nephew's first time, which also meant it was our first time having the two of them over. After we all had dinner, we got to do something I've been wanting since we moved into our house, roast marshmallows in the backyard.
Of course if you're already roasting marshmellows, you have to go all the way and make s'mores.
Our niece loved them, and said she'd seen people make them on tv before, but never had done it herself.
Our nephew on the other hand, didn't quite get it. After taking a bite or two of his s'more, decided he would just rather stick marshmallows in the fire for a second or two and eat a warmed marshmallow.
After a bath, they were watching Aristocats before bed. (I did my best to find a movie they hadn't seen before, and as far as I could tell only one of them had possibly scene it before.)
After an early morning wake-up, the boy made us all breakfast. We had bacon, eggs, plus blueberry biscuits.
The biscuits were actually from a can, and while I was a little skeptical of them wound up being pleasantly surprised. It was definitely a fun weekend, although I'm not sure I'm quite ready for regularly being woken up so early on a weekend.
When was the last time you had a s'more? I'm pretty sure before this weekend, I was going on close to 10 years.
There's one more special dance I wanted to share from our wedding day. This one wasn't planned, but it's probably one of the clearest moments from our wedding day. The dance was to "The Circle Game" by Joni Mitchell, a song I first remember hearing at sleep away camp. I remember once I was home, singing the song to myself while in the car with my dad, where he remarked on the fact that my mom loved that song and Joni Mitchell.
Since my dad first association when I sang that song was my mom, it makes sense that it was one of the songs he wanted played at my mom's funeral. A lot of that day is blurry to me, but one of the clearest moments is when the artist switched from John Denver, "Leaving on a Jet Plane" to "The Circle Game." At that moment, I noticed how within the first words it made an immediate impact on my mom's closest friend from college. Until that moment she had been she had been holding herself together, but hearing the words of a Joni Mitchell song, an artist who they had seen together in live, brought her to tears.
A ticket stub from a concert they went to together, which my mom's friend saved all these years.
via my mom's facebook wall
Considering the song's lyrics, that life continues, that time is finite, that "There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty before the last revolving year is through," I felt it would be fitting to have that song play during dinner at the wedding. I thought it would symbolize that do bad things happen, but good things do too. And as much as you may want to, "drag your feet to slow the circles down," we know that "we can't return, we can only look behind from where we came."
I wasn't expecting anyone else to notice the gesture, but wanted to make sure it was played, even if it was just for me. What I wasn't anticipating is for others to get it. I didn't realize that during the song my mom's best friend from high school, my godmother, and my dad would dance to it together.
It turns out, what I didn't know at the time is that my mom also played "The Circle Game" at her wedding. Except instead of having a DJ play it, my godmother was the one who sang it. She had song this song for my mom at her wedding, and now she was dancing to it with my dad at her daughter's wedding without my mom.
It's funny in a way, because when you normally think of someone's passing you say how hard it must be for their family, but how often do you think about their friends? I know my mom's unexpected death was hard for everyone who knew her, in different ways. But you also expect to loose your parents. No, you don't expect it to happen 10 months before your wedding, but it's something you wonder about. Except when do you ever think about what it would be like to loose your best friend? I remember talking to my MOH about this after the wedding. What would it be like if one of us died and less than a year later we had to attend the other's daughter's wedding. How hard would that be?
I've heard people call their wedding the happiest day of their life. Except while our wedding was amazing, and there's a lot of special moments, and I would love to live it again, there's no way I can call it the happiest day of my life. There was too much of a hint sadness to think a day so bittersweet could be the happiest day of my life.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
When I first heard they were turning these books into movies, I was so excited to see how it would turn out. And then I started seeing the previews, and thought it looked like a cheesy mess. Thankfully though, I thought the actually movie fell in between those expectations, not awful but not as amazing as it could have been.
There were a few differences from the book as expected, but overall there weren't as many as there could have been. Although it's been over 3 years since I read the book so there could be details I'm forgetting. Especially since I even thought they left out the rest of the Lightwoods, but they're aren't actually in the first book, so it makes sense they wouldn't be in the movie either.
As for the ending, I was really afraid they were going to change it (a la The Golden Compass), but thankfully it's still in there. Although they do add an extra line in to give you a better idea of the truth. Part of me understands why they did it, but still, I would have rather had the crazy cliffhanger.
If you're a fan of this series, I think you'll appreciate this adaption. I think it would be hard to fall in love with the story if you haven't read the books, but I could see the movie convincing people to pick the books up. Hopefully though, they decide to continue the series, although even better in my opinion would be if they decide to make The Infernal Devices into a movie.
I'm few days late from when I normally post, but I still made it to share my daily photos.
August 17, 2013 - 229/365: We went to BJ's Brewhouse this day and I tried another of their small plates. (I love these options. So far they've all been delicious, and for only around $2.50, it's a good amount of food especially for an appetizer.) I went with their Watermelon & Feta salad so I could finally try that combination and found it delicious. I really want to try making a version myself at some point though.
August 18, 2013 - 230/365: The boy had planned on making eggs benedict this morning, except the hollandaise got a little too warm and scrambled. But even without it, on top of a croissant with bacon, it was still a delicious breakfast and pretty picture. (The boy said something like, "Aren't you happy you can finally show me failing at something on your blog?" Not quite what I was thinking, but I do hope you appreciate his failure!)
August 19, 2013 - 231/365: I tried another one of the new Campbell's soups. This time lentils and curry. Again, it's a great choice.
August 20, 2013 - 232/365: A sneak peak of a post from next week. Any guesses as to what I'm cooking?
August 21, 2013 - 233/365: The expected Whole Foods lunch photo.
August 22, 2013 - 234/365: Nibs & Brittle Sucre Chocolate Bar.
August 23, 2013 - 235/365: My reading pile of books I need to read next to the bed. And yes, I realize just how ridiculous this is!
Where you keep the books you've yet to read? How many books of the ones you own are still waiting to be read?
Three weeks in a row I'm sharing three books with Mailbox Monday. Funny how that works out. I guess we'll see how many books I'm sharing next week. I'm linking up at BermudaOnion's Weblog who stepped up to host for the month of August.
From Goodreads Home to Whiskey Creek by Brenda Novak
Nothing like a good Romance novel, right? But besides that, don't really know what this one's about.
From Paperback Swap Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
I've heard so many great things about this and was surprised at how quickly I moved up in the queue to receive it. From what's I've heard it's about India and adoption, and I'm really hopefully it's one I'll enjoy as well.
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
With the new movie out, I though it was a perfect time to read this. Of course I didn't actually see it in the theaters, and at this point it doesn't look like that's going to happen. (Especially since the boy decided to see it without me. He insists that if I want to see it, I can go see it by myself just like he did!) But I figure eventually I'll see it, and at that point will probably read the book as well.
What did you find in your mailbox this week? And how often, if ever, do you decided to go to the movies by yourself?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Published: January 10, 2012 by Dutton Books
Like so many others I was hesitant to read this book. With so many amazing reviews you have to wonder, "Is it really possible to live up to your expectations?" For that reason, I had been avoiding it. After all, if I never read it, I wouldn't have to deal with being let down. But I finally took the jump, and I have to say, it was well worth it because like so many others I LOVED it.
As expected I was started crying about halfway through and didn't stop. But what was unexpected were all the moments where something amusing happened and you were literally laughing out of loud through your tears.
I was also surprised with some of the minor characters. Yes, I loved Hazel and Agustus, but what struck me more was how much I enjoyed the characters of Hazel's parents.
Except, I did have one huge complaint of the book, one that actually took me out of the moment and got rid of my tears because I spent so much time frustrated by it. At one part in the book, a part that is almost the emotional climax, Hazel is describing the size of infinities and says that there are an different type of infinities (true), but that the number of numbers between 0 and 2 is greater than the number of numbers between 0 and 1. Except that's incorrect. The amount of numbers in both sets is the same. And in fact both number of elements in both sets (defined as the cardinality) is equality to the cardinality of all real numbers put together.
The fact that she said something that was so wrong bothered really bothered me, at least until a found a FAQ on John Green's website. There he made note of the fact that he intentionally made Hazel understand infinities incorrectly. He thought that at 16, Hazel probably would be able to understand relative sizes of infinities and made an assumption based on information she heard. Which is what I kept telling myself, but it's nice to have it confirmed.
Now that I've probably lost everyone with my math lesson for the day, I will finish up and say again, I loved this book! The morning after I finished it found myself thinking of various scenes and had to force myself to stop, to stop the tears from starting again. There's so many perfect scenes, and so much to think about with this, that I'm already looking forward to reading it again.
This past weekend was our niece's 6th birthday party.
The party was at fitness center type place, with a room of bounces houses for the kids to play in. Although from what I saw, everyone stayed pretty entertained running up and down this giant ramp.
While the kids had spent most of the time running around, the actual theme was monkeys, complete with monkey cupcakes, monkey plates, monkey napkins, and a monkey "Happy Birthday" sign.
As for our gifts, we may have gone slightly overboard, but isn't that what aunts and uncles are supposed to do?
Back in Florida, I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, and she told me she wanted a talking unicorn. Turns out she wasn't kidding, and I managed to find a Walking Talking Pinkie Pie My Little Pony. Of course, I had to buy her an outfit for her American Girl, and went with Marie Grace's nightgown. (After all, all dolls need something to where to sleep, don't they?)
Finally, there were books too. I tried to buy the ones I most remember my mom reading to me in 1st and 2nd grade, and for that reason went with the first four Ramona books (Beezus & Ramona, Ramona the Pest, Ramona the Brave, and Ramona & her Father). The cover pictured isn't the one we bought, but the one I remember owning growing up.
We didn't stop there, and also went with a copy of Caddie Woodlawn, the last book I remember my mom reading to me at night before I only wanted to read to myself. Again, this isn't necessary the cover we bought but the one I remember sitting on my self throughout my childhood.
It's funny, because she's getting to the age where she's going to start remembering things, and I'm awfully curious as to what she'll retain. I still remember parts of my 6th birthday party even. It was a pool party at the JCC, about a month or so before my October birthday before school started. It was actually a triple party with one of my friends and older brother, which worked since we were at a huge pool, there wasn't really a size limit. (If you're curious these are my posts from my nieces 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th birthday.)
What, if anything, do you remember from your 6th birthday party?
The Bequest of Big Daddy by Jo-Ann Costa
Published: April 1, 2013 by Koehler Books
Going into this I expected a story during the Civil War, telling the life of Big Daddy, a man who was an awful person. Except that's not quite what I received. Instead Big Daddy was born to a Civil War widow, and while there is a chapter telling the story of his parents during the Civil War, the majority of it takes place afterwards. As for Big Daddy himself, he actually isn't that mean of a person. Yes, he has his vices, and he made some hard choices by circumstance, but deep down I think he's a good guy.
There are certain aspects of this book I really enjoyed. I loved the hints of Gone with the Wind throughout. I loved reading about all the crazy situations Big Daddy got himself into, and how he escaped. And individually, there's a lot of subplots I loved.
But taken as a whole, I wasn't a fan of how it flowed. There aren't really chapters throughout, instead it's broken up into 7 sections, and I think adding in chapters could have really helped. Also, funny enough, even though I enjoyed the first half more, the second half seemed to read for quicker.
I'm still not sure what to make of this book. It wasn't what I expected (nor anything close to what the cover implies), but in some ways I liked it more than I anticipated. And I also can't help but have a soft spot for this since one of the main characters (and the author herself) made the move from the South to Southern California, the opposite of me!
Not long after the bridal party speeches, it was time for the parent dances. We decided it made the most sense for the four of us to share a single dance. (Maybe part of the reason, was so I could argue that the Backstreet Boys' The Perfect Fan was the perfect song, but needless to say, it didn't make the cut.) Instead we took a while trying to come up with our choice, and the night before our decision was due to the DJ, decided on What a Wonderful World by Eva Cassidy.
My dad and I had fun with spins
.While the boy and his mom spend most the time swaying and talking.
Although if you look closely, we did have two tiny little interlopers on the dance floor with us.
And once our niece and nephew got tired of dancing with eachother,
they decided to cut in with their uncle and grandmother.
Lucky for you, I even have a small clip of our first dance, so you can see all 3 couples out on the dance floor.
Did anyone else decide to combine their parent dance into you? And what did (or would you choose) for your parent dances?
Kick Ass 2
I'm a little conflicting writing this review, although looking back my thoughts are awfully similar to what they were with the first.
To start, I LOVED Chloe Grace Moretz in this. I thought she was fantastic, and loved her whole story line. (Hence the reason I'm using her character's poster as the movie image.) I really do think she's amazing, and can't wait to see what's to come from her. (They actually showed a preview of her in Carrie, which just in the preview, I'm impressed with her.)
But again, what I dislike about these movies is how hard to watch they are. People get hurt, and people die, and it feels real. It doesn't feel like you're watching a superhero movie, where it doesn't really matter. But instead, more like something that could be happening in real life, where dying is exactly that.
There is an extra scene after the credits, and given that and the movie's ending, there will be a third. Although, hopefully by the time that movie ends the characters will have realized the smart thing to do is hang up their suits.
Another awesome week of books. I know I'm almost jealous of the books I've been picking up lately, so I can only imagine how you all must be feeling. But I guess it's just been an awesome few weeks for me. As normal, I'm linking up with Mailbox Monday which is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog for the month of August.
From Goodreads The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Taken directly from the cover this is the true story of "Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics." This looks like it'll be really interesting, especially since there was so much going on behind the scenes at the Olympic games. I'm really intrigued by this, and hope it stands up to those expectations.
More Things in Heaven and Earth by Jeff High
I'm not really sure what to expect with this one. I think it's being marketed as Southern fiction? I guess we'll find out!
From Paperback Swap The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Last week I wrote aboutThe Fault in Our Stars, a book I've been dying to read that I finally picked up. This is another one of those! I'm so excited to finally get to this one, and with the movie coming out this fall it seems like a perfect time to start it.
What books did you find in your mailbox this week?
Instead of a silly intro that you're barely going to read, why don't we just get straight to my daily photos!
August 10, 2013 - 122/365: We've been going to Voodoo BBQ for years, but they've recently changed up their menu. One of their new additions was this Mardi Gras Salad with mango, cranberries, sugared pecans, and goat cheese. So delicious! I think I may have found my new favorite there. Although next time I may ask if I can substitute as a side with brisket.
August 11, 2013 - 123/365: Rain storm looking into the backyard.
August 12, 2013 - 124/365: I went to Chick-fil-a and finally tried one of their new salads. Again, I think this may be a new favorite and what I'll be ordering each time. Plus after I instagramed my photo, chick-fil-a replied to my tweet!
August 13, 2013 - 125/365: Freeze dried mango and a book before bed.
August 14, 2013 - 126/365: The boy made these handheld chicken pot pies. They probably weren't his high point of the summer, but they weren't bad either.
August 15, 2013 - 127/365: Our baby peach tree in front of our shed.
August 16, 2013 - 128/365: I tried this Campbell's Red Pepper with Gouda soup. It was more gouda-y than expected, but still really good. Plus I have a few other pouches in the pantry that I'm looking forward to try as well.
How often do you change up you go-to meal at a favorite restaurant? I so rarely do it, which is why it's surprising I seem to have made two changes to regulars this week.
Coming Home by Mariah Stewart
Published: March 23, 2010 Series: The Chesapeake Diaries #1
When I first read The Long Way Home I loved the overall story, but hated the feeling of coming into the series in the middle. It wasn't that I was confused, but more that I wanted to know all the back stories of all the characters. Which is why I was really looking forward to this one, so I could start from the beginning.
Except, as I soon realized, while this is a first of a series, it's a spin off of Mariah Stewart's Last series. So I still felt like I was missing a back story, which was disappointing considering that was what I was looking forward to.
I guess I could go and read the Last series, except instead of being a bunch of cute romance novels it's more of a thriller series. Knowing that. it wouldn't have been too much of a surprise when there was a big thriller subplot. At least it wouldn't have if I knew what I was getting into.
But alas, I wanted and expected was cute and cheesy romance, and while I did get a cute story of a girly shop owner and mountain man, there was more suspense than what I'd like. I do get the feeling if I continue with this series, it will be a lot less thriller-y and a lot more romance-y so that's a comfort. But even so, I'm guessing I'll be waiting longer than I would have expected before getting to the second in this series.
Disclosure: I was provided this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra
Published: August 6, 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
It's not often you read a true life fairy tale, except here, in Regina Calcaterra's memoir, we experience a true rag to riches story. Instead though, of being rescued by a handsome prince, Regina rescues herself with a lot of time, hard work, the help of her siblings, and luckily a few positive role models.
Regina is the middle child of 5 siblings, and throughout her childhood they're shuffled from foster home to foster home, or living with their mother in a car, or with all of them in a house abandoned by their mother taking care of themselves. They're abused physically, verbally, and sexually by their mother and even at times their foster families. So much of this book is disheartening especially when you see time and again how the system fails these children and they fall through the cracks. While parts were hard to read, Regina still knows when to pull back, and avoid some of the more graphic details. Yet despite her upbringing, Regina made something of herself and currently serves the governor of New York and is a political consultant on television.
What's surprising about this, is that even though it is a memoir, it doesn't quite read like one. Instead it reads a bit like a work of fiction, with a bit of a mystery. It's filled with almost cliffhangers at the end of chapters, which makes it the type of book you can't put down. There's even a bit of legal drama in this book, and while it's not quite to Jodi Picoult level, it does bring an interesting perspective.
If there's a message that comes across in this book it's that education can save you. Life can give you some of the hardest circumstances, but as long as you're willing to work hard and continuously strive to learn all you can, you have the tools to help yourself climb to any height.
Disclosure: I was provided this book through TLC Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.