A Sidewalk

When we first got Zeke whenever we went for a walk he called it a “sidewalk.” He doesn’t say that anymore and hasn’t for quite some time, but now Joel has started requesting going for a sidewalk sometimes. He’s quite a fun sidewalk companion. He spends the whole time holding my hand and not running ahead and singing his little heart out.

Reading to the Class

Noah loves to “read” books to us. He holds them with the pictures facing out like his teacher does and babbles like he’s reading what’s on the page to us. Then he turns the page and “reads” that page to us through the whole book. I sent this picture to his teacher and she said he really likes when she lets him hold the book she’s reading and turn the pages for her so she’s not surprised he’s “reading” to us at home, too.

Owlcrate Black Friday: Owlcrate Boxes

I got five regular Owlcrate boxes during the Black Friday sale. Some of the bookish loot ended up as stocking stuffers and two whole boxes were for Ani for Christmas. The rest is for me. I love Owlcrate. The stuff in the boxes is always amazing and the books are good, too.

Potions & Poisons (July 2021)
This is one of the boxes for Ani.

Go Your Own Way (June 2021)

Beneath the Waves (December 2021)
This is the other box for Ani.

Dreaming in the Dark (November 2021)

Wield Your Blade (October 2021)

January Reads

I read fifteen books in January for a total of 5024 pages. I started off the month by finishing reading Rise Up From the Embers by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons to the boys for their bedtime story. I gave it four stars. It was a good conclusion to the duology. It took forever to finish reading it because I was in the car accident and then got sick and couldn’t read aloud for a couple months. After that I read Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas. I gave it five stars. I have a love/hate relationship with the Throne of Glass series. This book came firmly down on the love side. Next I read Pandora Gets Jealous by Carolyn Hennesy. I gave it five stars. It was quite a cute take on the Pandora’s Box myth. I won’t be continuing with the series, though. Maybe in a few years to read it to the little kids when they are a bit older.

My next book was The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I gave it five stars. That’s the most thought-provoking book I’ve read in a long time. After that I read Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales. I gave it two stars. That book had so many things wrong with it. The writing was just not that good. Then I read The Bitter Taste of Betrayal by CeeCee James. I gave it four stars. It was a well written cozy mystery, but the big reveal came pretty much out of left field and I didn’t really like that.

After that I read One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. I gave it five stars, again. It was a re-read because I chose it for our January book club book. I read it about nine months ago and I really think it was even better the second time knowing what was going to happen. Next I finished reading The Book of Mormon which of course is five stars. I read one chapter a day and it took me about 2/3 of a year to complete it. Then I read Looking for Alaska by John Green. I gave it five stars, again, as well. It was another re-read because it was the online banned books book club pick for January. It had been almost nine years since I last read it so there was a lot I had forgotten. I always enjoy John Green’s books.

My next book was Happy Doomsday by David Sosnowski. I gave it three stars. It started out so good, but then the last quarter it just kind of got lost. It was really too bad since it had such great potential. Then I read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I gave it five stars. I’ve been meaning to read it for years and finally did because I was invited to do a Buddy Read of the series and I can’t figure out what took me so long. I should’ve known it would be amazing since the author is the wife of Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine author) who was the roommate of John Green in college and truly any book by an author in John Green’s orbit is an excellent one. The writing style was so unique and beautiful I could barely put it down. After that I read Madly, Deeply by Alan Rickman. I gave it five stars. I already loved Alan Rickman and now I love him even more because he was a bullet journaler. The book is an edited version of his bullet journal.

My next book was Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton. I gave it five stars. That book is a Harry Potter fan’s dream. So much Potter awesomeness from the guy who played Draco. After that I read An American Princess by Annejet van der Zijl and translated by Michele Hutchison. I gave it four stars. It’s a very engaging biography about a very fascinating woman who literally became a princess (for a while at least). My final book of the month was Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi. I gave it five stars. This book is a novella in the Shatter Me series. I’m truly looking forward to finishing that series over the next few weeks. Such good books so far.

This was my best reading month in a long time with lots of hits, mostly five star ones, and only a couple misses. I also read way more books than I normally do. It was just a great reading month all around!

My favorite book of the month: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

My least favorite book of the month: Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

Number of 5 Star Books: 10
Number of 4 Star Books: 3
Number of 3 Star Books: 1
Number of 2 Star Books: 1
Number of 1 Star Books: 0

15/100 books read for my goal of the year

I read half the books on my January TBR, so that left Sisters of the Snake, Aries, Murder on the Hill, Darling Girl, Live Wire, and Goblet of Fire to roll over to February. I added the next Throne of Glass book, Queen of Shadows, to my list as well as The Westing Game (which has been requested as the boys’ next bedtime story) and One of Us Is Next and A Rover’s Story. I added Just Mercy since it’s my online book club’s February pick and Cinder because it’s my in person book club book this month. That brought me up to twelve books, same as I had on my January TBR. And then, because I’ve fallen in love with the Shatter Me series, I added the other eight of those books. And, honestly, those are probably going to be the ones I read first. No chance I’ll get all twenty books read, but I should be able to get through a good chunk of them during the month of February.

Owlcrate Black Friday: Owlcrate Jr.

I got seven Owlcrate Jr. boxes during the Owlcrate Black Friday sale. These are middle grade books which I quite enjoy reading on occasion. I used some of the stuff in the boxes as stocking stuffers and for my best friend’s Christmas present and for a little gift exchange and, of course, to treat myself.

Elephants on Parade (March 2021)

Sagas & Swords (May 2021)

Campfire Stories (June 2022)

Jump Off the Page (July 2022)

Mission to Space (October 2022)

Inner Magic (January 2021)

Write it Down (February 2021)

Owlcrate Black Friday: Random

I really enjoyed shopping the Owlcrate Black Friday sale. I ended up with 15 books (13 for me) plus some smaller books and lots of bookish stuff. The first and last days of the sale I got lots of random stuff, some that I used for stocking stuffers.

The first day I got a handwarmer and Angel of Music coffee (for Ani), an outer space book (for Mayci), a seek and find book (for Zeke), a Camp Half Blood sticker (for Haley), and a multicolor pen and outer space Washi tape for me.

The last day I got a pillowcase (for my best friend) and a sticker, a pen, a wooden bookmark, washi tape, a Christmas tree ornament, a keychain, a really cool tin, a patch, a reading planner, and the books From Twinkle, With Love and Strangeworlds Travel Agency.

Pre-K Progress Reports

Near the end of the second semester we got Nicky and Noah’s progress reports. Nicky is all over the place thanks to ADHD so he’s having trouble remembering (or, more likely, letting the teacher know he remembers) what he’s been taught. Everything he didn’t get mastery on is also because of his ADHD. Noah knows all 26 uppercase letters and 25 of the lowercase letters. He can count 1-10, skips 11-19, and says 20. He apparently loves when he gets to be in charge of his teacher’s keys. I’m so glad he is able to be in ECSE. It’s made a huge difference for him.

Nicholas has mastered telling his age, pinching things to pick them up, identifying colors, reciting the alphabet, and that the number counted indicates how many there are. He’s progressing on participating in classroom and movement activities as well as following the morning routine. He’s in the social play stage meaning he plays together with others.

Noah has mastered pinching things to pick them up, participating in classroom and movement activities, identifying colors, and reciting the alphabet. He’s progressing on telling his age as well as following the morning routine. He does not yet understand that the number counted indicates how many there are. He’s in the parallel play stage meaning he plays near other children, but does not play with them.

Zeke, Mayci, and Anthony’s Second Quarter Grades

Zeke works so hard in school. He earned every one of his grades with a lot of hard work. It’s amazing how hard he’s come over the last couple years. School comes easy for Mayci. She’s very smart and (when she doesn’t make careless errors) it shows in her grades. She loves school so much.

Starting in first grade kids get percentage grades for language arts, math, science, and social studies. They get E (excellent), S (satisfactory), or U (unsatisfactory) in everything else.

Zeke’s Grades
Language Arts – 88%
Math – 74%
Social Studies – 78%
Science – 83%
Conduct – S
Health – E
Art – S
Theater Arts – S
Music – E
PE – E

Mayci’s Grades
Language Arts – 95%
Math – 91%
Social Studies – 100%
Science – 97%
Conduct – E
Health – E
Art – E
Theater Arts – E
Music – E
PE – E

Kindergartners get lots and lots of grades on a 1-5 scale with 1 being well below grade level and 5 being well above grade level. Most of the grades given are 3s. Anthony is doing really well, especially in conduct which is something we’ve been working hard on since pre-k.

Anthony’s Grades
Music – all 2s
PE – all 3s
Participation – all 3s
Conduct – almost all 3s, a couple 2s, and a 4 in respecting authority figures
Language Arts – two 2s and a 3
Reading – an even mix of 2s and 3s
Math – mostly 2s and a 3; he can rote count to 29
Social Studies – an even mix of 2s and 3s
Science – all 3s and one 2
Health – 3