Sunday, May 26, 2013

Silly boys

 Silly boy eats with his whole face
 He does this to get me to pick him up!
 I love those cute lil' teeth!
  I added legs to his toy and he was excited!
 And so he pushed it across the living room.  On his knees.
And here's Ben doing what he usually does.  Drawing animals that he makes.  He even draws progressions (like Pokemon).  He's also currently reading three (or more) books.  A Dork Diaries book, a Harry Potter book, and a Beyonders book.  He takes a break from one to read from another.  Funny kiddo!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dragon Run (book review)

A couple weeks ago, I went to a Scholastic Warehouse Book Sale.  I asked for requests from my kiddos before I left and so I looked for those books while I was there.  Ben asked for some specific book that he couldn't remember the name of or anything.  So, I spent an hour and a half looking for his book and finding all kinds of other things!  Including some super cool books that I knew he would like!  One was Dragon Run by Patrick Matthews.  The premise fascinated me, and since Ben is very much a fantasy reader, I got it!

About Patrick Matthews (from his Amazon Author Page)

"Patrick Matthews is a writer and game designer who lives in Florida. When he's not writing or playing, he can usually be found exploring the roads, searching for new adventures with his wife and two boys.
You can learn more at"
About the Book (from Amazon)
"A boy goes on the run in this fast-paced fantasy debut.

Can a zero become a hero?

Testing Day is supposed to be a day of celebration for Al Pilgrommor. Born into a wealthy family, he expects to follow in his successful father's footsteps. Of course, that all depends on the rank number Al receives at the testing. The higher the rank he has tattooed onto his neck, the better his life will be.

To his surprise and horror, Al is revealed to be rank zero, the lowest of the low. He's now not only an outcast - he's also a danger to his entire family. So Al goes on the run, fleeing the brutal Cullers, men who hunt down zeroes . . . and put them to death.

Cast out of his home, cut off from his friends, and armed with only a sword and his wits, Al is reduced to just surviving. As he meets other outcasts, however, he begins to suspect that he is a pawn in a larger game - and that he might have the power to tip the scales in a high-stakes struggle between man and dragon."
My Thoughts
Wow!  What a ride this author takes you on!  It starts off with a prideful Al who is quickly humbled by his Rank and the whole book is how he changes his life to really see as others see.  This is a great book to help students understand more about poverty and homeless, without them knowing about it!  It is a fantasy adventure and slightly reminded me of Dragon Slayer (By CJ Hill) for younger kids.  Al is a twelve-year-old that is focused on his family and friends, so losing them was incredibly hard for him.  He still manages to do what he has to and finds a new friend "Bird."  My ten-year-old son said that this was the bad part of the book, because he lies unclothed for an Earther holiday.  Since it's a book and it was dark, I'll let it slide.  The whole ranking idea fascinated me.  The very best was a seven and a 1 was horrible, so zeros were killed along with their families?  Craziness!  It made me think of bullies that decide who is worthwhile (such as Hitler deciding that Jews were zeros and killing them).  Those with high rankings were given the best of the best and those with low rankings became the homeless and those that were shunned.  What a horrible way to live life!  All based on a number that you're given when you turn twelve that is tattooed on your neck.  That number can only be changed by an illegal skincarver.  Yikes! So, we have twelve-year-olds all getting tattoos (which hopefully isn't encouraged in real life) and having to live their life based on that.  Al doesn't stand for that!  Luckily he has friends that are willing to help him, no matter what his rank.  They have an awesome adventure and things change.  But, I'm going to impatiently wait on the next book to see what happens!  And I'm not going to give anything away, because you'll want to read it yourself!  I recommend it for third graders up (although high flyers younger would enjoy it as well).  I loved it.  My fourth grade son loved it.  And I'm going to read it to my family once we're done reading Fablehaven (we're on the fourth book)!  This would be a great read aloud story for a teacher that wanted to get students excited about reading!
Buy it!
You can buy your own copy from Amazon for $13.96!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I graduated!

I think this is me!
After walking back to my seat!
My kiddos at Walnut Park
My cute family
I was pretty excited about my cake!
Ben and the "love of his life" Aurora
Me in my honor cords with my diploma holder!  I graduated cum laude (over a 3.5 GPA)!
After Ben had Aurora time (lots of it), he was happy to pose in pictures!
And photobomb mine!
What a full day!  We had to leave at about 7 (although we actually left at 7:30) in the morning.  I got my name card and assigned spot in line.  I was 82 ( I think), near the back of the line.  We got to walk in and sit down.  I was desperately trying to figure out where my family was, although I knew they were in Section 5.  Turns out they were right up on my left.  Almost as if they knew where I would be sitting!  Mom, Kim, Leah, Cecilia and Josh hung out outside where it wasn't so high up and crowded.  Apparently some of my kids are afraid of heights!  And it was SUPER hot in there!  I have an allergy cough, so I had my purse and a water bottle (although it was empty after I got my degree holder).  We were all bored and hot!  I was wishing for my Kindle!  But, I'm all graduated!  Woohoo!  We went to the park and Kim and Dad went to get food.  Then Cecilia was feeling hot, so Kim took her to Walgreen's and got her tons of helps to help her feel better.    I was super excited that some of our Emporia friends came!  Nathan Rytting, a couple Easts (one of Emma's friends and one of her big sisters), The Davaloses (she was our babysitter), and the Starrs!  We LOVE the Starrs!  The whole family took us in when we moved in and helped us feel so welcomed into the ward!  My visiting teacher (and I was her visiting teacher) was Chanda and she is awesome!  Then Ben "fell in love" with Aurora and they mail each other every few months!  It's so cute!  We took lots of pictures and headed to my mom's house to get the family back together.  We were supposed to go to the Ward Barbecue, but with Cecilia sick and me exhausted, we skipped it.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fugitive by Shirlee McCoy

It seems like a lot is stacked against Logan and Laney.  Logan is wanted for murder and Laney has been abused and both her dad and husband have died.  She decides it is time to move on and that's when the suspense begins.  I like how real the people are, but didn't like how many people were going against the law.  I liked the banter and sweet kisses, but didn't like knowing who was the problem person in the middle.  I didn't feel like there was really any religion at all in it, which I liked.  Sometimes those can seem so contrived that it doesn't ring true.  All-in-all I really like the book and finished it pretty quick.  I just wished that the Kindle version didn't have so many quirks, weird chapter starts and occasional wide open spaces in strange spots.

Spoiler Alert!

I thought that the whole abuse and murder etc was a little strange.  It seemed as if Laney was so abused that she didn't even recognize that someone had been killed and buried in the backyard.  So, number 1:  How did she manage to live through all of this?  Number 2:  How did this family keep getting foster kids?  Number 3:  Why didn't she stick up for herself?  That drives me crazy!  If she saw that foster kids were disappearing or being mistreated, why didn't she stand up for them or maybe anonymously report it?  Number 4:  How did Logan manage to live there so long?  It just seemed too strange for me.  I still liked the book though!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Last day with my Kindergartners

This past week was CRAZY!  I thought that since I wouldn't be teaching that it would be easier.  Nope.  I was busy working on the kids' presents (Reading Strategies bookmark with their picture on back), doing homework, going to the Zoo with my Kindergartners, and making a photo book with the best of the pictures.  We worked together to add captions to the photos.  I made the mistake of reading my book that I had made for my Children's Lit class.  They liked it so much that they asked to keep it.  Oh-kay.  Apparently it was good?  It was a sad day for me, because it was my last day and the kids didn't know beforehand.  They were expecting a party for me.  And there was no party.  They got cookies from my Mentor on Thursday and I brought cupcakes on Friday.  I was super glad for the other Interns though!  They got awesome presents!  I was pretty bummed by the whole thing.  Then I felt selfish that I was bummed that my students didn't get me anything.  I was super spoiled last Semester.  After that I felt like maybe I stunk as a teacher and that's why my first Mentor never wrote a Reference letter and my Second mentor didn't want to change my Reference letter to take out "will do well with mentoring" part.  I was feeling pretty sad.  Then the washer has been acting up and not spinning and we couldn't plug in our computer, so it died.  But, my kids are super cute though!  Look at my handsome lil' man:
  Plus I got my graduation announcements in (and out in the mail)!  It's fun to see the pictures that I took of myself with a self-timer on my camera that was set on top of our trash can!  And Kira took the picture of Scott and I!
Then on Friday night, I managed to get gas for only .189 cents a gallon!  So, I filled up my tank for $2.85!  Fantastic!  It all comes from shopping at a store with fuel points and buying so much food that you have a hard time finding a place for it!  We will be able to eat pasta once a week for the next three months or so.  No problem.  
Yesterday Kira, Josh and I went Garage saleing and picked up some cool stuff for cheap!  I got Ben shirts for a quarter each, which is fantastic considering that his latest stim is chewing his collar.  He has ruined a lot of his shirts!  Josh got some toys and I got some teaching stuff!  Then I got to see Iron Man 3 with my mom and two of my sisters.  It was fantastic!  There were lots of laughs, along with the adventure and suspense.  If you see it, make sure and stay until the credits are over.  Funny stuff!  That was what my Mom wanted for Mother's Day.  Kira, Emma and I also cleaned her van on the outside and inside at a car wash.  So, it was a service gift.  I love doing service for others!  It really helps me remember what is really important!  The Gospel and my Family.  If I really do stink as a teacher, then I won't be able to get a job, but I still have both of the things that are important to me!  I don't really think that I stink though.  I think I do my very best, and that it's pretty amazing.  I can't wait to see where it will take me!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ashes, Ashes by Julie Coulter Bellon

I was super excited that I saw when Julie was offering her book in exchange for a review!  I have LOVED her Saint Squad books and her new Hostage Negotiation Series!

About the Author

Julie Coulter Bellon loves to write international romantic suspense because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books.  Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London.  She taught journalism at BYU for fourteen years and that kept her on the cutting edge of current events and world news, which is where she gets her story ideas.
Julie offers writing and publishing tips, as well as her take on life on her blog.  You can also find out about all her upcoming projects at her website or you can follow her on Twitter @juliebellon.

About the Book

Are you ever really innocent until proven guilty?

Sophia Naziri is wanted for questioning in the murder of a U.S. Senator.  She's worried the police will show up on her doorstep any moment, but when Detective Colby Black appears, it's to help her put out a kitchen fire, not take her in.  His easy smile and persistence in getting to know her pushes all her troubles to the back of her mind, until a hit man tracks her down.  Getting arrested becomes the lest of her worries and the handsome detective could be her only way out---if she tells him the truth.
Colby Black's sniper skills have been a blessing and a curse to him.  As a member of a Hostage Negotiation Team, he can use them to save people, but sometimes he can't protect the innocent despite his best efforts.  When a hostage situation goes bad, he tries to put it behind him by helping out his mysterious next-door neighbor, Sophia Naziri.  But she pulls Colby into a web of lies and conspiracy that will force him to use every skill he has in order to survive.  Faced with the moment of truth, can he trust anyone around him---including the woman at the center of it all?

My Thoughts

I loved it!  This is the Second book in this series (after All Fall Down) where we met Rafe and Claire.  I like that they had a small part in it and we got to hear a little more of their story!  Colby was the epitome of an awesome love interest.  I couldn't believe it when she turned him down!  We're talking a guy that cleans, bakes, serves others, and undoubtedly easy on the eyes.  Apparently she was super stressed, although not as much as I would have been!  I loved the suspense and action!  It was just right for my very short attention span!  There was some nice kisses and that was it!  I love how clean her books are!  I had a hard time putting it down, especially when my husband kept taking the laptop!  All-in-all I give it five stars!

Buy it!

You can buy it for $6.99 on the Kindle!

*Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated.  My thoughts are my own!*

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Counting down

Only 2 weeks until I graduate!  I'm done with my full-time student teaching and am now observing (and going to class) for another six days (and give my Kinders and mentor a present) and then I GRADUATE!!!  I made my graduation announcement/party invitation.  It came in today, so they'll be out in the mail on Monday!  I love reviewing things for free (or mostly free)!  I'm just having a little get together at the park I tried to fix up.  I ordered my cake today and am super excited!  It would be awesome if friends came by to say hi and have some cake, but if not, our family will be having cake and enjoying Braum's ice cream anyway!  My kiddos are so excited that I'm almost done!  As much as they love their mamaw, they want their momma more.  So, bring on the summer!  Scott's working this summer (and starting "night" school in June), and I'm going to be cleaning/ decluttering/storing/looking for a job.  If we figure things out and can move, we'll probably move.  With no ac unit still (he's not very good at keeping promises) and a HUGE bubbling piece of sheetrock on our Living Room ceiling, I'm done. 
Anyway!  I'm super excited about what we made for my mentor!  Last Semester I made a fun class picture for my mentor.  This time we made a book with each of the students writing a letter to her about what they like about her!  Plus we made a fun acrostic poem for her!  I'll probably still do a class picture too (since I have some)!  For the kids I just printed out cool bookmarks with reading strategies on them that I got for free on Tpt (and laminated them).  Plus we're finishing off the awesome Mother's Day cards!  For the outside I took a picture of each kiddo with their hands up and I'm going to print them (4 by 6) and cut them out for them to glue on the front of their card along with a heart that they're going to write something on.  In the middle will be their "Mom" acrostic poem that we wrote on Thursday.  Phew!  I hope their moms like it!  I know I would!
For Mother's Day this year I bought two of my kiddos "I love Mom" shirts!  Happy Mother's Day to me!  Plus I bought earrings that match my school colors for Graduation.  Plus cute shoes (At least I hope they're cute shoes) to graduate in!  I know, fun, right!
Either way, I've taken some fantastic pictures of my kiddos lately, so I'll post those, because the dryer's beeping at me and I can hear Cecilia crying, probably because she is soaking wet (she refused to put on a diaper before bed).  Mom to the rescue!

 My beautiful kiddos
 My girls
 My boys
 Right after the pigeon ate out of her hand
 With the "Penguin" at the Zoo
 She's so pretty!
 Look at those cheeks!
 What a fun smile!
 She was excited to ride the Polar Bear!
 Kira posed all over the Zoo!

Kira took this one for us!