Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

WOW! In a whirlwind of 5 days I managed to read the entire Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

I've been waiting for months to read this book. I'm not stingy, but I prefer to read for free! Unfortunately the hold list through the library is very, very long. I believe I was number 47 a few months ago. Last week I received the email informing me the wait was over; the book was waiting for me at the library. Perfect timing! The kids (and I) just started a 3 week winter break from homeschooling. Virtually uninterrupted reading time!

As usual, it took a few chapters before I was completely hooked. However, once I reached that point there was no stopping. I'm very glad I'm a straggler, because I don't think I would have endured waiting for each subsequent book in the series to be released!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Review: Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

I do not like romance novels. The last thing women need is to perpetuate a warped idea of what real romance and love is. With that said, this book isn't a typical romance novel. Initially I thought it was based on the title, Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos.

I had my reservations about the book being a little romance-esque as it was detailing the thoughts of a young woman and how her life changed when a man walked into her life. However, the following chapter was narrating the life of an 11 year old girl and the onset of her mother's mental breakdown. It took me less than a paragraph to diagnose the mom - Bipolar! As someone who struggles with Bipolar - I was determined to read the rest of the book.

If you've ever read The Help, then the chapters are structured in the same way - back and forth between the characters, ultimately all tying into one another.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Do You Choose a Book?

I have a book review scheduled for tomorrow. I thought it would be fun to post how I stumble onto the books I read and ultimately review.

For the most part, I've done fairly well picking random books from the library. Unfortunately, from time to time I hit a rut and need reading inspiration. Costco, my favorite I-Love-It-I-Hate-It store, has a nice selection of bestselling books. However, I don't typically buy books unless I find them in a thrift store, at a library book sale, or it's such a good book I absolutely must have it (I also score quite a few free books for my iPad).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Stealing: The Community Meme

Sunday Stealing: The Community Meme

1. As a blogger, what do you draw inspirations from for your posts?
I usually post about my real life experiences, thoughts, frustrations, etc... My blog is my digital journal that I share with the world (even if the world isn’t really paying much attention).

2. If you could swap blogs with another blogger for a post, who would you switch with and why? Interesting question... I’ve come across so many blogs that are primarily money making blogs aimed at providing [compensated] product reviews and giveaways. I prefer lighthearted and meatier blogs, but haven’t really found one I absolutely LOVE. So, at present time there isn’t really another blogger I would like to swap posts with.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

I love book series! While I tend to prefer reading all the books in a series straight through, I also enjoy the anticipation for a new release. I recently discovered The Lying Game series from Sara Shepard (she's a best selling author known for the Pretty Little Liars series - which I haven't read).

While the series is geared towards tweens and teens, I still enjoyed reading the first and second book, Never Have I Ever. I pre-ordered the third book, Two Truths and a Lie, which will be released the first week of February 2012. ABC Family is also producing a TV series loosely based on the book - click here for more details.

Following is a description of the book from Amazon:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

GIVEAWAY: $100 Amazon Twitter Blast

Want a chance to win a $100 Amazon Giftcard? Do you have a Twitter account? If so, then entering to win is fairly quick and easy! Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you win!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blogger Giveaway Opportunity

Do you have a blog? Are you looking for ways to increase your traffic? Lots of people keep up to date via Facebook and Twitter - so increasing your followers on these social networking sites will help drive traffic to your blog...

Here is a FREE opportunity to gain new Twitter followers AND offer your readers a giveaway with the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card!

Click HERE to sign up today!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Stealing: The Questions Galore Meme, Part 2

Sunday Stealing: The Questions Galore Meme, Part 2

21. What was the last song you listened to that wasn’t sung in English?
Frère Jacques (Brother John in French)

22. One of our SS players generally leaves a critical comment on our memes. Which is fine. All's fair. Do you let meme authors know when you hate their memes?
No - granted, there are some cheesy questions at times, but it’s all for fun.

23. What TV show would you like to be on?
I’d like to be on House - as a Muslim patient who finally cracks the craziness that is House and gets him to believe!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

LOVE: Cost Plus World Market

I've been itching to go to Cost Plus World Market for YEARS! It's not too far (there are a few locations within 15-20 minutes of where I live) - however, since it's not conveniently situated in my general network of stores, I have yet to go.

Months ago I came across an ad online for a simple, but colorful set of stackable mugs. I desperately needed a new set of mugs because mine were all discolored on the inside. I would be so embarrassed when I served friends tea in them because I didn't want them to think the cups were dirty. However, for whatever reason I didn't order them online at the time (probably because I had already ordered too much stuff).

Ever Regret a Purchase?

Typically I make informed decisions when I shop- even on everyday items like detergent or toilet paper. For the most part, I shop online because going to the store with my three kids is a migraine waiting to happen!

Unfortunately, there are times when shopping in-store would be more ideal but what I need is only available online. Shortly after my little man turned 2 I started stocking up on cloth training pants. Having worked in the cloth diaper "business" for more than a year knew which ones I wanted - Little Beetle Learners.

Having already potty trained my daughters - these were everything I wish I had in a trainer back in the day (the aggravation from watching the girls pee on the carpet was almost more than I could bear). The oh-so-soft organic cotton velour fabric, absorbent enough to contain a full-accident, snaps on the side for easy access in the event of a messy accident, and NOT waterproof. Yes, you read that right - NOT waterproof (I wanted to know when he had an accident - and I wanted him to be aware of it too).

However, given the higher price tag, especially on something I wasn't going to use nearly as long as cloth diapers - I couldn't justify dropping a small fortune on an entire stash all at one time. I bought them 3 at a time - every few months. I ordered the size large because after carefully reading all the reviews many people indicated the trainers ran small and shrunk a bit when washed (and my little man was already above the weight range for the size large).

When the first order of trainers arrived I was concerned they were too big, but assured myself they would be fine once I washed them a few times and they shrunk a bit. Fast forward several months and 9 pairs of trainers later - we're ready to start potty training again. I prep all the trainers (about 5-6 wash/dry cycles) and lo and behold - the trainers are still too big. Frog legs and fiddle sticks!!!

A slight panic set-in... the trainers couldn't be returned because I had already washed them. What to do what to do? Being the brilliant problem-solver I am, I whipped out my snap pliers and plastic snaps and started adding extra snaps on the sides hoping to make the trainers fit better. Initially, I admired my handiwork, the trainers did fit much better. Two minutes later, however, we're back to saggy, ballooning training pants. Curses!

The little voices in my head finally had me concede to defeat. I ordered a medium pair to see how they fit - go figure, a perfect fit! Just snug enough to not sag and balloon, but still able to easily be pulled up and down. Thankfully I can sell the large training pants and order new medium sized ones without losing too much money.

No folks, the frustration doesn't stop there! I also ordered two pairs of custom knitted wool pants from Etsy - so he can wear his training pants outside the house (wool, for those who don't know, is waterproof). I was excited to finally receive the first pair the other day as I had been waiting a couple weeks....

They were too big! The rise was about 1.5" too high (I could have pulled them up to just below his chest) and the legs a tad too long (I wanted them longer so he could grow into them - but I had to cuff them twice in order to fit properly). Also there was no stretch to the elastic waistband at all - it was simply too loose. The knitting was also too loose - I could see through the knitting in some areas.

***Cue the flying monkeys***

I'm wholeheartedly regretting this purchase. While I would have no hesitations in trying to resolve the problem with a company - this is just an individual person trying to make a little extra money by selling their skills/creations through Etsy. However, on the other hand - it's not like I have money to throw away and chalk it up as a loss...

What would you do? Have you ever regretted an Etsy purchase? Did you do something about it?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

A few weeks ago I finished reading ROOM by Emma Donoghue. The author did an amazing job writing the entire book from the point of a view of the 5 year old character, Jack. For the first few pages I had a hard time getting into the book, however, once I got to the point where it becomes evident the boy and his mom are in captivity I couldn't put the book down; I longed to know how the story would end.

I wasn't enthralled by the ending, I wanted just a big more... Nevertheless, it was a disturbingly good read.

Following is the book description from Amazon:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mo peas, tank 'oo!

My little man Ilyas started speech therapy last week. We are very blessed to have one of the best speech programs for preschoolers in the San Diego school district only 2 minutes from our house!

I'm very happy to see him being encouraged to use his words! His second lesson he said, "Mo color peas, Miss Howee." (More color please, Miss Holly.) He's now intimating this same concept at home.

He still has a way to go - but I'm excited to eventually see our days of communication frustration come to an end!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Homeschooling is Pure Entertainment!

Homeschooling my kids has been an entertaining experience. Is it frustrating at times? Absolutely. However, I've laughed so many times it's almost worth the frustration.

Last week Miss Halimah met with her "check-up" teacher to assess her for her first grade courses. I brought her to the assessment confident she would do extremely well (based on her performance at home thus far). Unfortunately in the beginning she was a bit shy, during the middle she started getting sassy and was making mistakes, and by the end she wasn't paying attention.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

All I Have to do is Dream...

I spend a significant amount of time in the kitchen. Unfortunately, my kitchen is small and ugly. White formica cabinets and countertops = pathetically drab! However, that’s not the worst of it - check out the floor...