Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March Books

One of my favorite things to do in the whole wide world is to talk about books. I love, love, love to hear about books people are reading - why they're reading it, do they like it or not and why, would they recommend it, and so on. And I love to talk about the books that I have read. If it's good I want everyone I know to read it. And if it's not so good, well then I don't want my my friends to waste their precious time reading it.

That's one of the reasons I love the blog world so much. There are people out there just like me! People who do not think it is a huge waste of time to make reading lists and to set reading goals and to share with each other about books. And even though I love reading "Book Blogs," I would still much rather sit across from you on the couch and goosh over a book than write it up in paragraphs. Partly because when I blog about a book I never really feel like I am really doing it justice.

So here's my solution. Instead of pulling teeth to write something eloquent about each and every book I read, I will instead do a monthly summary. Some books may get paragraphs, some may get sentences, and some may get bulleted lists. And no promises that any of them will qualify as eloquent!

So here goes March...

1.) Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell (03/06)
Eh, this one was just okay for me. I haven't seen the movie yet and the book didn't really leave me wanting to run out and see it ASAP. Julie was likable enough I guess, but I had trouble relating to her in a lot of ways. She seemed pretty negative at times and ranted a lot about all of the "dumb Republicans" she worked for. If you know me, you know that didn't really sit well. I did find some of her descriptions of cooking the food interesting, but it seemed like a lot of food I would never eat. We're plain folk around the Borland homestead. Plus, some of her descriptions were down right disgusting. I mean, really, I could have lived a fully happy, healthy life never knowing how lobsters are killed or how marrow is dug out of a bone. Yuck. Combine that with my queasy pregnant gag reflex and, well, you can just imagine.

2.) How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (03/10)
This book was too cute! And, unlike my first book of the month, it did leave me wanting to see its movie version. This book is pretty short and filled with cute kid-like sketches. This made it a super fast read. But, unlike some fast reads, it still had substance. The hero was likable and very relatable for a wide age range. The plot kept me pulled in and waiting to see what happened next. I definitely plan on checking out the other books in this series in the near future.

3.) The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game (03/25)
I loved, loved, loved this book. I don't know what it is about this month and my apparent "movie theme." I promise it's not on purpose. But this book definitely DID leave me wanting to see the movie version. I fell in love with Michael Oher and would like to research more about him. His story is absolutely incredible! The only thing others may or may not like about this book is that part of it (like whole chapters) is devoted strictly to the history and strategy of the NFL. These chapters were still interesting and I did learn a little. Sometimes, though, I was kinda confused. But the confusion never lasted long and didn't effect the book at all. Plus, I am lucky enough to have a football-lovin' husband to (not s0) patiently explain things to me when needed. : )

4.) Nancy Drew 5 - The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene (03/28)
This one was my fifth Nancy Drew of the year. I'm working on reading a lot of them for this challenge. I liked the plot of this one, but a few of the same things annoyed me. Like how Nancy and her girlfriends are out of high school, but have no jobs and no plans for college or anything. Also, Bess, one of Nancy's friends seems to be maybe a little heavier than the other girls - and this fact is apparently important enough to allude to several times, always in a negative way.

5.) Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (03/30)
The second installment of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. This one surely did not disappoint! I had to speed through this one because it was requested by someone else at the library, but I probably would have read it just as fast anyway because it was so good! I can't wait to get my hands on the third one. I definitely recommend this series to anyone ages 10-110.

6.) Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices (03/31)
This book was really neat. It was a very quick read (like, less than 20 minutes), but since it is part of my Newbery Challenge, I am going to count it. As you might have guessed, the book is full of poems meant to be read by two people. The poetry is great and the way it is presented is even better. I think I may have my higher reading group work with a few of these just to see how they do. Plus, I have no doubt these poems will sound better when read aloud the way they were meant to be. 

7.) A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard (03/31)
Once again, this is a very short book, but since it is for my Newbery Challenge, I am going to count it. This is another collection of poems, but I was not nearly as impressed with this one as Joyful Noise. Sorry Newbery committee, you missed your mark this year. Especially since one of 1982's Honor Books was Ramona Quimby, Age 8. I mean, come on - Ramona could whip the pants off this book!

Another Twilight Book?!?

This came from the Scholastic Blog, InkSplot26. Just had to pass it along...

BREAKING NEWS! Stephenie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series (for ages 12 and up), is releasing a NEW book in the Twilight series on June 5, 2010! Titled The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, it will be shorter than the other Twilight books - only 192 pages, and told from the perspective of Bree, a character originally featured in Eclipse.

Here's a quick summary: 
"In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion."


It sounds really cool, but wait there's more! The book will go on sale on June 5, but if you can wait until June 7, you can read it online in English for free until July 5, 2010. It's Stephenie Meyer's way of saying thank-you to her fans. On her website she says, "You all have bought a ton of my books, and I wanted to give you this story as a gift."

Thanks, Stephenie!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baby Borland Update - 28 Weeks

At 28 weeks I feel like I am really at the peak of pregnancy. I feel pretty good right now. I feel like a lot of the hard parts are behind me, or ahead of me. Some days I feel awesome, almost like I'm not even pregnant and nothing has changed (almost). Then I have days where I feel very, well pregnant. You know, my back aches, my skin is stretched, I can barely move, and I am Exhausted with a capital E. And as little Jacob continues to grow and grow, I have a feeling I may start having a lot more of the pregnant days than the awesome days. So my plan is to enjoy them while they last.

I went to the doctor yesterday and received an okay bill of health. They still didn't have my glucose/iron results back from four weeks ago which kinda frustrated me, but what can you do? My blood pressure was not high, but a little high for what I usually run. My doctor also reminded me to lay off the salt, which is a big challenge for me. Not only do I like to salt my food to give it more taste, but I have also had a lot of cravings for things like pickles and Doritos. : / Oh well, everything in moderation, right?? 

Of course we got to hear little Jacob's heartbeat again and it was just as cool as ever. Even though I can feel him move more and more everyday, there is just something so real about that heartbeat. And once again, he was moving around so much she had to chase him down to find it! By my next appointment though, he will probably be starting to run out of room. Speaking of next time, my next appointment is 3 weeks away instead of the usual 4. Yet another sign that we are getting closer to meeting our baby boy. I will have appointments at week 31, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40...

People keep asking me if I am ready. Ha - of course not. But I am hoping that I will feel a little bit more ready after Spring Break. My plan is to get a lot of work done and get the nursery closer to being ready.

Please continue to pray for each and every Borland...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fab Five Friday

My friend Jenny started posting her Fab Five each week because her friend, Emily, started it up on her blog. Then, our friend Sabrina joined in on the fun. So now yours truly cannot take it anymore - I'm jumping on the bandwagon!

The point is to highlight the five tangible things that made your week/life fabulous. Here are my Fab Five for this week:

1.) March Madness - March is definitely my second favorite month. I love basketball and I love the madness! And yes, I know this is not really something that is tangible, but I just can't help myself!

2.) Flash Drives - Seriously, what did we do without them??

3.) Nail Polish - My toes are finally flip-flop-fashion ready.

4.) Daffodils - A sure sign that Spring is here and that Easter is on its way : ) 

5.) BrainQuest Cards - My kids, especially those on Academic Team, LOVE these things. And they're a great way to fill your head with tons of cool facts.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fab Five Friday

My friend Jenny started posting her Fab Five each week because her friend, Emily, started it up on her blog. Then, our friend Sabrina joined in on the fun. So now yours truly cannot take it anymore - I'm jumping on the bandwagon!

The point is to highlight the five tangible things that made your week/life fabulous. Here are my Fab Five for this week:

1.) Kitchen Gloves - I know this is going to sound really prissy, but whenever  I wash too many dishes, my hands turn to crap. The skin will literally start to peel off my fingers. And yes, I have a dishwasher! I'm talking just washing one or two pans a day. That's all it takes. I even experimented with different brands of dish soap. While some helped, none took care of the problem. So my solution? Kitchen gloves! My hands love them! PS - Mine are not nearly this cute. Just plain white and a WalMart special made by Mr. Clean.
2.) Bookmarks - Why not? I do have a lot of cute ones. Check out the post I did earlier this week to celebrate Bookmark Day with the Bibliophilic Blog

3.) My EZ Grader - Such a time saver for me when I have 77 tests to grade!

4.) Flip Flops - I'm wearing my first pair of the year today!! Bring on 70 Degree Days!!

5.) Caffeine Free Mountain Dew - Because let's face it, I don't think I can have a Fab Five Post without something full of calories. I have to make myself pass up this aisle at the grocery so that I don't drink myself up to the size of a house. But lately my will power just hasn't been there. Oh well! At least it's caffeine free! 


Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Bookmark Day!

The Bibliophilic Blog is hosting Bookmark Day today, March 15th. Head on over and check it out! To celebrate, I am posting this, of course, and my homeroom kids will all be getting I Love Reading bookmarks today. 

I must admit, I'm a sucker for a good bookmark. There are just so many! They come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. I have bookmarks that I love because I think they are just too cute, some that are dainty, some that feature my favorite books, some I love for the Bible verses they quote, the list goes on and on...

But here's the thing. Half the time, my bookmark ends up being a receipt or a post it note or something. Why is that?? And another thing - why do some bookmarks have to be so stinking expensive? I refuse to pay big bucks for a bookmark - I would definitely lose it! Just check out this out. It's the bookmarks for sale on Barnes& Over $30 for a bookmark?!? Just think of all of the books you could buy with that instead!

Just for fun, the bookmark I am using right now is one that I got a few Valentine's ago. It's one of the nice metal ones that has a metal heart attached to it with a piece of thick string. It is read and pink, of course, and has pictures of Valentine foods on it. The quote reads: "The miracle of love is that love is given to us to give to one another." So true. And it reminds me of one of my favorite sections of scripture: 

"And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:5
How true is that? The only reason I can love anyone else is because it is the overflow of the love that God has poured into my heart. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

baby Bump (with a capital B!)

Even though I said I wouldn't, I finally broke down and posted some belly pics on facebook. It's funny how early in my pregnancy, I didn't want anyone to see my 7 week picture. Now, I see how much my body has already changed to accomodate this baby and it just amazes me. I mean, seriously. How can anyone witness all of these changes a woman goes through and still deny that the Lord plans all of this. I mean, really. How else would my body be able to handle all of this? How else could two little cells come togehter to form such an intricate being?? Even as a believer, the whole process boggles my mind!

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. "
~Psalm 139:13-16

October 31st - almost 7 weeks : ) Still not feeling very pregnant here. The first trimester hit me hard and all at once right at 8 weeks.

February 3rd - Between 20-21 weeks, very soon after we found out were were having a baby boy.

Another from February 3rd.

March 9th - Between 25 and 26 weeks. Enjoying the second trimester, especially all the little movements he makes. It seems like he's moving a little more and more everyday : )
We've taken pictures as close as we can to the end of each month. I only put up the ones where I thought you could really see a difference. As long as we can remember to take some more the end of March, I'll try and post those then. Oh yeah - and anyone else notice how fast my hair has grown??
Please continue to pray for each and every Borland : )

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fab Five Friday

My friend Jenny started posting her Fab Five each week because her friend, Emily, started it up on her blog. Then, our friend Sabrina joined in on the fun. So now yours truly cannot take it anymore - I'm jumping on the bandwagon!

The point is to highlight the five tangible things that made your week/life fabulous. Here are my Fab Five for this week:

1.) Tervis Tumblers

Apparently, these make great teacher gifts. I have received several of these in the past year and I love every one of them! (Just about every teacher in our building has at least one. Some have many more!) They are great because they do not sweat at all. This means you can sit them on top of anything on your cluttered desk and not worry about getting water rings on anyone's paper. They also come in different shapes and sizes, as well as with different style lids/straws. There are tons of patches to choose from and they can be personalized with a name of monogram. I have one just like the UK one below that has my name in pretty blue letters on the other side. Plus, it's a great way to make sure this momma is drinking all the water she needs to be drinking each day!

2.) Samoas
There really isn't any "thing" in this world that I love more than these things. Where I am from they were called Caramel Delights. That pretty much sums them up, in my opinion : )

3.) My Mixer
Kind of a weird thing to make your week fabulous, I know, but it's true. Lately I have discovered smoothies. I don't really have any recipes - I just kinda throw in whatever. I use ice, frozen or fresh fruit, juice, and fat free vanilla yogurt. It's such a good way for me to get in servings of fruit and even calcium and potassium from the yogurt. Let me know if anyone has any good smoothie suggestions!

4.) Tummy Butter
This one may be a little bit of TMI for some of you.
I made it 24 weeks without a single stretch mark. I put Cocoa Butter lotion on every morning and every night and was feeling pretty good about myself. Until the middle of my 25th week. A tiny, curved, reddishpurplish line appeared out of nowhere. And it was only on one side of my abdomen. How I can get them on one side and not the other is beyond me. But since that one little booger popped up, a few more have decided to cluster around him. At least these seem to be smaller and lighter-colored. But needless to say, I felt I needed to take a step up from the regular Cocoa Butter lotion. So I purchased this Tummy Butter to use on the spots that seem prone to the most stretching. The rest of my abdomen still just gets Cocoa Butter for the time being. And let me tell you something about this Tummy Butter. When they say butter, they mean it! This stuff is so thick it is almost hard to get out of the jar! But it feels so good on those days when my skin feels especially tight!

5.) How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
I saw a lot of previews for this movie during the Winter Olympics and had remembered thinking the book looked cute. When I tried to read it a few months ago, the library did not have it. I checked back recently and saw that it was in the catalog and labeled "Coming Soon." Apparently "Soon" finally came this week and I read it in two days. It was one of the cutest books I've read in a long time! I hope the movie is just as cute because reading the book made me really, really want to see the movie. Click here for the official movie site.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Newbery Medal Reading Challenge

Since 1922, 89 Newbery Medals have been awarded. Of these, I have read 16 of them. However, I only really remember 8 of them. 8! Can you believe it? And as an elementary school teacher, I feel like my number should be a lot higher than that! No, the Newbery Medal is not the be-all, end-all of what makes a good book. I sometimes read a book and get frustrated that it is such an awesome book and yet received no recognition. On the other hand, sometimes I read a book that has won a prestigious award and I hate it. But no one can argue that on the whole, Newbery books are awesome books for intermediate children and as an intermediate teacher, I feel I should definitely make an effort to read more of them.

So what am I going to do? My goal is to read 12 NB books a year until I catch up. That's an average of just one a month! Totally do-able, right? And at that rate, I will catch up by... sometime in 2017. 2017?!? Hmm, not quite as soon as I thought. Oh well. Maybe I will really get on a roll and knock them out much sooner than that!

Here are the Newbery Medal Winners that I have read (and remember well enough for them to count!):
  1. 2009 The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (04/30/10)
  2. 2008 Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (04/15/10)
  3. 1999 - Holes by Louis Sachar (BeforeChallenge)
  4. 1994 - The Giver by Lois Lowry (BC)
  5. 1991 - Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (BC)
  6. 1990 - Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (04/22/10)
  7. 1989 - Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman (03/31/10)
  8. 1986 - Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (BC)
  9. 1984 - Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (BC)
  10. 1982 - A Journey to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard (03/31/10)
  11. 1978 - Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson (BC)
  12. 1968 - From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by EL Konigsburg (BC)
  13. 1963 - A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (BC)
2010 Total: 5
Next up - 1988's Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman

~Wish Me Luck!!~

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Growing TBR List

How is it that my To Be Read List can get so out of control sometimes?? For example, right now I have ten books on my list:

  1. How to Train a Dragon by Cressida Cowell (The movie looks cute so of course I wanted to read the book first!) FINISHED 03/10
  2. The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis (Again, the movie looks good and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE most sport stories.) FINISHED 03/25
  3. Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore FINISHED 04/15
  4. Baby Laughs: The Naked Truth About the First Year of Mommyhood by Jenny McCarthy (Loved Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Being Pregnant. In a lot of ways she is so dead-on it's scary!) FINISHED 04/04
  5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (A recent Newbery Winner, looks spooky) FINISHED 04/30
  6. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Billiett (Comes highly recommended by one of the Scholastic staffers that I have always agreed with)
  7. Nancy Drew 5 - The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene (for the Nancy Drew Reading Challenge) FINISHED 03/28
  8. Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf (Can't remember where I saw it reviewed, but it sounds really good)
  9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Almost half way through the audio book - but it's 13 HOURS LONG!! I also have the actual book to read too.) FINISHED (04/13)
  10. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (reread) (Because I heart HP and it's for the Harry Potter Reading Challenge)
So my new goal is going to be not to add any more books to my list until I have read at least 6 of the 10 listed above. Can I do it???? I don't know. It's going to be tough, that's for sure. There are just too many good books out there!

How do I decide which books to read first?
Good question. Lately the library has been deciding for me. I love BGPL, especially since they make it so easy to request books. I can go to the online catalog to find books I like. If they are checked out, or are not checked in at the branch closest to me, I can have them sent to the branch of my choice. If the book is available, it only takes a day or two. But for popular books, like Julie and Julia and The Blindside, I may have to wait several days or even weeks! And then when I finally get the book, I only have two weeks to read it since someone is usually waiting for it after me (and I HATE to pay fines!). On the other hand, I have the library here at school too. Books checked out from this library do not have to be turned in by a certain time, so I can keep them as long as needed. But if I keep them too long, I start to feel guilty thinking about the kids who can't check it out just because it is gathering dust in my stack.

So my hope is that by posting about my problem, I will stick to my goal of reading 6/10 before moving on to any others! Some of these are pretty short so I should be able to kick them pretty fast!

Update 03/19 - So my turn just came up for another book that I have been waiting on for weeks from the pubic library. Since it is probably requested by someone else after me, I will need to read it as soon as I finish the one I am on. THEN back to the list!

Update 03/25 - I really do want to read all of the books on this list, I promise! But there are just so many books out there that it is hard to make myself stick to a list of just 10 books! So we'll see. I am already feeling VERY tempted to read other books before I get to some of these...

Update 04/15 - Finally! 6/10 Read!
How am I doing???
7/10 Read

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Autumn Winifred Oliver Now in Paperback

Whether you are in fourteen, in fourth grade, or forty, you can enjoy Kristin Tubb's Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different. My kiddos and I really enjoyed the book and I posted a "review" here. Miss Tubb came to visit our fourth graders and did an amazing job! 

Today, Autumn makes her debut in paperback. Check it out!

And all my teacher friends out there - check out Miss Tubb's website for info on contacting her for a visit. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lil Angels Attic Sale - Bedding!!

Every year there is a huge children's consignment sale at one of the church's here in BG called Lil Angels Attic. This year my mother-in-law and I signed up for a volunteer shift just so we could go to the preview sale on Thursday night. This allowed us to see everything without having to fight the maddening crowds. Yes, it's true that they drop the prices on Saturday, but then you chance something you really want being gone! I will probably still go back before my volunteer shift on Saturday just to see if there is anything else I can't live without. 

So anyway, here is what I came home with:

  • 15 articles of clothing - Some onesies, pj's, overalls, pants, etc. My favorites? A tiny Cubs onesie and some really cute puppy dog outfits. They're just boy all over! Maybe I will get motivated and post some pics.
  • Teeny Tiny New Balance sneakers : ) - I know sneakers for such tiny feet are probably a waste of money, but they were so cute and such a steal that I just could not resist!
  • Bookends - Not really a need, I know. But still. They were really cute and I just couldn't pass them up. Even if we don't use them until he is older. One is Pooh and one is Tigger. Each has a little book inside the bookend that slides out. I tried to post a picture, but couldn't get it to work. Go here for to check them out.
  • 2 Books for Mommy - What To Expect The First Year by Heidi Murkoff and The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp (a book that has been recommended to me by several moms)
  • OUR BEDDING!!! - It feels like such an accomplishment having our bedding picked out. We found a great set that we like and got one heck of a deal! Thanks so much to Grandmother, who purchased our bedding as a gift to Jacob! I have included two pictures below because even though it is the same bedding, it looks very different in the two different colored rooms. Our bedding set included quilt, crib sheet, dust ruffle, bumper, and valance.