Saturday, July 25, 2015

Fun with Munchkin: Impossible Dream Playground

I have decided to add a new post to my list of things that could happen on the weekends.  As part of my resolutions for 2015, I wanted to do more fun things with Munchkin and as a family.  I will be posting sporadically about some of the fun adventures we are having together.
There has been this playground near us that I have been wanting to take Munchkin to for some time.  It is run by a non profit and suited for kids from toddler all the way up through elementary age and kids of all abilities. It is called the Impossible Dream.  We were finally able to go and meet with one of Munchkin's close friends from his old daycare.  I guess it gets pretty busy but we lucked out, it was a cloudy day with rain potential so it was nearly empty.  It was an awesome playground, they ask for a $2 donation for each kid but it is totally worth it.
It is all padded with a rubber mat, and they have bikes and cars for the kids to ride.
Lots of different play houses
Lots of slides of all sizes
Swings too
A pond full of fish to feed
And so much more! There is a mini golf course and a train that runs from time to time. The also rent it out for birthday parties. It really was a lot of fun and had tons of room for getting all that little kid energy out.
In the end it is all about the smiles

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bedtime Story: Pete the Cat Construction Destruction by James Dean

Synopsis: "Pete the Cat builds a playground in New York Times bestselling artist James Dean's Pete the Cat: Construction Destruction. When Pete sees that the playground is in bad shape, he gets a totally groovy idea--make a new playground! Pete calls in construction workers and cement mixers, backhoes and dump trucks to build the coolest playground ever. In the end, Pete learns that to make something special, you have to dream big. Complete with over 30 stickers!"

My Review: Munchkin loves Pete the Cat and of course construction vehicles. It was a fun and simple book to read. Munchkin enjoyed seeing them rip up the new playground to build new. Of course they run into problems but in the end Pete thinks outside the box and comes up with a great new set up.
My Rating: With Munchkin being such a Pete the Cat fan we have read several of these books, this one wasn't quite as good as the others. I lost the Pete the Cat funk too. We give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

After Dark Review of Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston

I have added After Dark Reviews to my blog as a way of notifying you of a review of a book with Adult themes and scenes. From now on I will keep my reviews of all books I read that have explicit scenes in them for late night posts for those of you who prefer to avoid them or easy to find for those of you who seek them out ;)
Read for: Mount TBR, Series Challenge
Synopsis: "Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad’s untimely and unexplained demise.

That’s where Vic Barinov comes in—or his house does. Vic can’t step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he’ll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge…"

My Review: This was just an okay book for me. I did enjoy that we had at least met both characters before and both were intriguing enough that I wanted to read their story. With that said the list of characters that make an appearance in every book has gotten so long and their appearances so brief that they have lost what makes them each unique. I did however really enjoy all the Russian characters and their accents, I found that to be a fun change of pace. I am also happy to say that this book got back to the main underlying story line of the whole series and brought it to some finality, thank goodness! With that said Laurenston did leave herself some openings to continue with this cast of characters but I really hope she leaves this series behind, it has lost all momentum and interest for me, even the steam is gone for me.
My Rating: I am so happy that the series is over (at least from what I can tell, and honestly hope) that it is hard to focus on just rating this one book.  It was an improvement from the last book but still not great. The honey badger idea was a good one though.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Pen to Paper: Quirky Desks

Good morning everyone, did you complete last week's mission? I wish I had taken a picture of mine to share with you.  I started out attempting a doodle but it was a disaster so I decided to put a sticker over it, I then had to go get the dog who was barking in the back yard.  I came back to find several more stickers on my letter, I guess Munchkin thought it needed more flourishes! Thank goodness it was just a letter to my mom so she will understand LOL! For another letter for a fellow book lover I added a bookmark I made, I was very happy with how it turned out!
Anyway back to the subject matter of the month . . . desks.  Well we all know what modern desks look like so I thought I would share some of the more unique desks I have come across in this wonderful online world.
I adore this repurposed piano, I love how the keys and hammers are still there and visible through the glass. Granted this would take up a large amount of space but how cool is it?!
And here is a different version with the same idea only with the strings showing instead.
Are you an on the go type person? Here is the desk for you! It wouldn't be half bad if you didn't have to sit on that tiny bike seat all day!
They even had a sense of quirk way back when, check out these two vintage desks.
For the on the go and camping types
For a the secretive type or you just want to surprise people
Are you super stressed when you are sitting at your desk? Here is just the desk to make you feel like you are always on vacation, digging your toes in the sand. All you need is a drink with an umbrella!
And for those geeks, and I am definitely one of those, your very own Han Solo! Doesn't that spark your creativity?!
So which desk do you like? Which desk suits your style best if space, money or any thing else didn't matter? Are you a vintage desk person, modern desk person or a quirky desk person?  I have to say I am still stuck on that big secretary's desk but some of these quirky ones are very tempting, especially the piano, sand and of course Han Solo.
Your Mission for this week: Write about a silly thing that happened to someone who might need a smile or laugh. Sometimes we all go through a time when we are down and it seems nothing is going right. Sometimes a smile or laugh can turn things around or even just give a glimmer of light in all the dark. What better to way to use the power of our letters?!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review of Paladin by Sally Slater

Read for: NetGalley/ Requested Review
Synopsis: "Brash, cocky, and unbeatable with a sword (well, almost), Sam of Haywood is the most promising Paladin trainee in the kingdom of Thule… and knows it. The only problem is that Sam is really Lady Samantha, daughter of the seventeenth Duke of Haywood, and if her father has his way, she’ll be marrying a Paladin, not becoming one.

But Sam has never held much interest in playing damsel-in-distress, and so she rescues herself from a lifetime of boredom and matrimonial drudgery. Disguised as a boy, Sam leaves home behind to fight demons-—the most dangerous monsters in Thule—-alongside the kingdom’s elite warriors. Pity that Tristan Lyons, the Paladin assigned to train her, is none other than the hero of her childhood. He hasn’t recognized her–yet–but if he does, he’ll take away her sword and send her packing.

Sam is not the only trainee hiding secrets: Braeden is a half-demon with a dark past that might be unforgivable. Whether he can be trusted is anyone’s guess, including his.

As demons wreak havoc across the land, rebellion stirs in the West, led by a rival faction of warriors.

A war between men is coming, and Sam must pick a side. Will saving the kingdom cost her life–or just her heart?"

My Review: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I can tell that there is a strong influence from Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness series (which I loved) just from reading the synopsis, this is not an issue for me as long as it isn't a duplicate. There was enough differences that I didn't end up comparing the two. I did however struggle a lot with the time frames, the author and editor needed to read this book again because there are major issues (ie. in the Prologue Sam is 6 months from her 17th birthday, when she must marry, and then throughout the book she hasn't yet reached that date but the events that take place at that time are mentioned as years in the past). I found that issue very distracting throughout the book. It also has the love triangle that seems to be required of any YA book anymore but I find needless. I did not find Sam to be tomboy enough for the roll she is set in either, yes her girlie side is going to slip from time to time but it is made so obvious that it couldn't be hidden. I did however very much enjoy Braeden and almost wish the book had been written from his viewpoint. Paladin has some interesting elements and has the ability to become a great epic fantasy series, I just hope that more attention is paid to details during the editing process.
My Rating: I am having a tough time rating this book because from the fantasy story end there is huge potential and it was enjoyable but the time framing issues and character issues were so distracting I had to at times push myself to continue reading. In the end I am going to have to give it a middle rating of Two Paws.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tasty Attempts: 4th of July Party Treats

Last year I had started posting What's For Dinner. While I really enjoyed those posts, it was hard to keep up with a weekly post, especially since Munchkin is getting a little more picky about his diet and we are having a lot of repeat meals (sometimes the same thing several times a week). I still wanted to keep posting tasty recipes but include a little more variety (like the appetizers and desserts that I make for various parties). So I am now posting Tasty Attempts every other Tuesday. The posts will include a variety of recipes, maybe some of them turn out tasty, maybe others are failed attempts.
We always get invited to an insane amount of BBQs and parties for the 4th of July, at least that means I never have to host a party for that particular holiday. It also means I need to figure out travel friendly dishes to take to all the various parties.  This year we picked two gatherings to attend, one we go to every year and it is huge and the other a much smaller exclusive gathering. I wanted to pick dishes Munchkin could help with so here is what we decided on.
The first party has a lot of young kids and as I said is huge so I made 2 dishes to take with us.
First was an idea from Pinterest that I expanded on to add mini marshmallow bits to make stars in the blueberry field. We almost always have blueberries and strawberries on hand, luckily I also had the marshmallows and the pretzels too. So it was quick and easy to make at not much extra cost.
The second was also from Pinterest. Munchkin loves marshmallows and I keep them on hand as rewards so again I had everything on hand for these and Munchkin enjoyed helping. The only issue with these is they didn't hold up real well with all the heat and humidity. They were fine for a while but if left out more than a couple hours they got really sticky.
And for the second and last gathering of the day, I knew we would be there too late for meals but figured a nice snack type food would be great. This Firecracker Popcorn from Pinterest was a huge hit. It was simple to make and I had everything on hand except the pop rocks so those got left out. Munchkin also really had fun helping with it and told everyone he made the popcorn.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review
The Untouchables by Eliot Ness
Ratha's Creature by Claire Bell
Wolf with Benefits by Shelly Laurenston (After Dark)
To the Rescue by Mercer Meyer (Beginning Reader)
Look, A Book! by Libby Gleeson (Bedtime Story)
Ravine Vol. 1 by Stjephan Sejic (Graphic Novel)
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

The Jolly Postman = 1pt
Bite Me = 3pts
Paladin = 3pts
The Unwritten = 2pts

Currently Reading:

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen - PB - on page 64 of 288
Fever by Maya Bankes - Audio - 34%

 Books to be Read Soon:

Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner (Mount TBR/ Series)
Sphinx's Queen by Esther Friesner (Mount TBR/ Series)
Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes (Mount TBR)


Total Points Earned
    235 points + 9 points earned + 5 points for completing series (Pride Series) = 249 points

Pages Read/ Time Listened
36,159 pages read (940 read this week)
105:31 listening time

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Gosh, it was a crazier week than I expected.  I did get some reading done, posting caught up a little bit and some messages and emails done. I am nearly caught up on my crafting too but guess what, my house is a mess now LOL! I guess you just can't have it all!  Hubby was also away this weekend so Munchkin and I had a little fun ourselves so there will be a bunch new Fun with Munchkin posts coming up. I try to plan to take him to the planetarium since he wants to be an astronaut, only to find out the one in Rhode Island doesn't allow kids under 4! I was beyond pissed but thankfully with a little research I found one in CT and the one in Boston actually has a show that features Sesame Street for little kids. So that will be on our to do list later this summer!