the kiddos

the kiddos

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grandma Grape Would Have Liked Michael Buble

My Grandma and Grandpa Grape were litrally (yes, litrally) two of my most favorite people. In fact, I would say for many years, my Grandma was my best friend! I can't tell you what one thing made them so special....but I could tell you a million! It hurts my heart ( I know that is a corny way to say that and I don't really care) when I start remembering things about them because I miss them so much! So, in typical Carri fashion whenever a thought or memory surfaces, I typically push it way back down and purposely think about something different. Many would say that is unhealthy but it seems to work for me most of the time.

However, this morning as we were driving to school, listening to Michael Buble I thought about my grandparents. I think my grandma would have liked him. They absolutely loved dancing and I can remember them dancing in the cute way that they did. My grandpa doing this little shuffle thing with his feet and my grandma twirling around. They really were very good and it was precious! In fact, one of the memories I hold most dear is the way my grandpa would look at my grandma and smile his sweet smile. They were so in love! I guess after a lot of years, lots of couples don't still like each other, much less love each other...but they did. Their eyes would light up at the sight of the other. And the sweet way they took care of each other throughout the years was an example of compassion and love like I have never seen anywhere else.

Scott and I are getting ready to celebrate 16 years of marriage so I am maybe a little sentimental right now...maybe that is why I allowed myself to think about my grandparents this morning. The memories I have are like snapshots of some of the best moments of my life. I am so thankful for the heritage of marriage they created. It is my deepest heart's desire to someday model that kind of love to my kids and grandkids. There has never been a more wonderful couple or a more perfect set of grandparents...ever. And today, I may let myself picture them dancing and remember the way my Grandpa Grape smiled at Grandma. I think they might have danced to Michael Buble.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Grimm Legacy - A Book Review

Okay, so it has been quite a little while since my last post - I want to say this about that - it did not take me that long to read this book!  I couldn't put it down! I just had some other things I had to tend to before I could sit down to share my review with you!

I described this book to my daughters as similar to the movie "Enchanted" where fairy tales and fairy tale characters find their way into the real world.  If you are opposed to fairy tale magic and Disney type witches and spells...this book is not for you or your children.  If, however, you are okay with stories like Snow White and the idea of magic carpets, etc. this may be a book for you to enjoy.

I loved it! AND I do think this book, unlike "Warriors in the Crossfire" could win this year's Sequoyah award! Below are my notes with page numbers for your reference of things I think might cause a mom or dad pause...I will leave that up to you!

page 39 - Aaron stares after Anjali with a "look of naked longing"
page 51 - reference to technology as "modern magic"
page 52 - discussion about modern magic and "the old kind"
page 68, 83 - urine
page 85 - Elizabeth tells a friend "I suck at music"
page 85 - Elizabeth has a conversation with the magic mirror
page 86 - Elizabeth realizes that everything in the Grimm collection is magic
page 98 - mention of a fairy tale about the "Spirit in the Bottle"
page 108 - the seven leagues boots
page 112 - more fairy tale magic...and can I just say from this point forward - any page could have fairy tale type magic both happy fairy kind and scary creature is what the book is about :) So I am not going to note it any more...seems kind of silly, don't you think?
page 113 - mention of spilled beer
page 129 - protection spell
page 130 - "you should be safe-from bad magic, anyway"
page 150 - comment about Elizabeth's mom "always looking for the soul in things"
page 152 - the kids that worked at the library lied to their bosses
page 153-154 - Elizabeth is trying to keep a conversation private and when a boy keeps pressing her to tell him what she was talking about, Elizabeth tells him they were talking about "girl stuff". After he continues to press, she begins to give him an explanation about changes in a girl's body, hormones, blood flow, etc. It is a brief sentence or two but worth noting in case you haven't had that talk with your child yet (another subject for another day)
page 173 - a ceremonial vessel used to hold a chief's gold and spiritual treasure
page 175-177 - Elizabeth was led in a little chanty vow type thing to forfeit part of her in exchange for the use of an item from the Grimm collection. She chose to put her sense of direction down as a deposit. It came out of her body into a sort of blob and was placed in the vessel until the safe return of the mermaid comb she borrowed
page 198, 201- slow kiss between Anjali and Mark (slightly intimate)
page 209-210 - instructions on making the protection bracelet
page 226 - "you suck"
page 230 - Elizabeth and Aaron are in his bedroom and the mirror shows a reflection of the two of them making out, followed by straightening their clothes (obviously also slightly intimate)
page 231 - Elizabeth was having a hard time keeping her mind off of what their reflections were doing "under that blanket". I believe the implication was that the mirror was covered back up with a blanket and the reflections were under that blanket but who knows for sure what the author was trying to imply...
page 268 - magic wand
page 281 - crystal ball
page 315 - discussion about whether or not a ghost could administer the kiss of true love to bring a person back to life (after having been turned into a figurine)
page 323 - a little more kissing as I typed this out I remembered the kissing did bother me a little.  For me, I would definitely let my HS freshman daughter read it...maybe not a fifth grade daughter. But like I said before, that is your call - I am here to provide info. You must take the info and make the right decision for your kiddos!

My plan for the next blog post is fun with the foundation repair man...I am sure you won't want to miss it!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Warriors in the Crossfire"

"Warriors in the Crossfire" is a nominee for the Sequoyah Intermediate Award for the 2012-2013 school year. The Sequoyah Award, sponsored by the Oklahoma Library Association, is given to one book from the list each year and is voted on by students. The intermediate level is for grades 6 through 8.

"Warriors in the Crossfire" is a historical fiction set on the island of Saipan during World War II. It is the story of a young boy and his family and their quest to survive the war and all of its effects on a family and their village.  This village, quite literally, was caught in the crossfire between the Japanese and the Americans.

I typically enjoy historical fiction but I didn't love this book. However, someone interested in this culture and era might.

When I review a book, I make notes about words or sections that I think might be important in deciding if this would be an appropriate book for a child to read. I try to note things that would bother me as a parent, but I also try to take into consideration the concerns of parents who may be even more cautious than me. 

So, here it notes on "Warriors in the Crossfire":

page 14 - Joseph and Kento have a plan to lie if they are questioned about where they have been
page 17 - A prayer to the "spirits of the sea" for safe travel and guidance, sighting of fairy terns believed to be a good omen
page 20 - In hunting turtles, Kento is told to ask the turtle permission to "take him", and ask his spirit "to give you his courage"
page 21 - mention of a good omen
pages 34, 35 - teen boys joked Joseph about his sister's "ripe mangoes" (apparently the females in the tribe wore only a skirt)
page 40 - chant to their ancestors
page 41 - soldiers drinking and getting drunk on sake and beer
page 41, 42 - drunken teen boys taunting Joseph about his pretty, naked sister, with "breasts as round as melons"
page 45 - mention of cockfighting
page 56 - Joseph's dad takes him to the cliffs and tells him to never return to this place of death and mentions the "white woman's hungry scream" and the fairy terns call to the lost souls who "forever search for home"
page 63 - mention of an omen
page 70 - thanking the spirits for their food
page 74, 75, 76 - the story of their ancestors (includes a spirit commanding them to get up, dance, chant, strike their warrior spears...then instructing them to teach their children the chants and the dances)
page 82 - instruction to "touch your spirit" in preparation to dance
page 83 - mention of ghosts (more of a question, not really an implication of the presence of actual ghosts)
page 91 - cry to our ancestors
page 93 - dark spirits that would steal the soul
page 96 - Joseph was given the responsibility of carrying his deceased father in the burial mat to the sea at Sa'dog Tasi the beginning of his "spirit path"
page 98 - Joseph prays to his ancestors to come and welcome his father
page 110 - a prayer to the Mother of God
page 112 - thanks to the spirits
page 113 - question "was this Kento? or his ghost?" It was Kento but it had been some time since they had seen him...hence the question
page 115 - place of lost spirits
page 118 - a scene where a mother and her children were shot and beheaded
page 118-120 - people leaping and stepping off the cliffs to their deaths 
page 120 - lady shot in the head
page 131 - a scene of dead bodies..."swollen like dead fish"
page 132 - thanks to our ancestors
page 138 - "our ancestors were dancing - spinning, sweeping, flying"

I think there is the potential for this book to open up a dialog with your children about the effects of war and the value of honoring and cherishing your family. I think the discussion throughout the book about spirits and ancestors can be used to discuss the differences between that and a Christian worldview. I don't think that this book will cause any children to forsake their Christian belief system in lieu of praying and chanting to our ancestors and various spirits of the sea, etc...BUT I do not think this is going to become the next young reader sensation either. And while I think it is valuable to read things like this to be reminded of how incredibly blessed we are to live in a relatively peaceful and prosperous  place and time, I personally do not expect it to win this year's Intermediate Sequoyah award!

Stay tuned for my review on "The Grimm Legacy"!!! So far, I can't seem to put it down!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012


In deciding to create a blog I wondered if anyone would really be interested in what I have to say but I decided to dive in and give it a try!  Hopefully, I can share information that is useful to you in one way or another, helps you see things in a different light, maybe give you hope, or even make you laugh a little! So here it goes...

The purpose of this blog is three-fold
1. Review popular school-age fiction books
Here's the deal. I never knew that I loved to read until I worked at an elementary school where I fell in love with the librarian and realized that she needed help.At this particular school, almost every book is reviewed before it is put on the shelf for children to check-out, and this lovely librarian had fallen behind. So, in an effort to help her catch up, I began to read and review books for her. In the process, I fell in love with reading. I have so much fun recommending a book to my children! However, I know that not all moms love to read and not all moms have/take the time to read, so I would love to provide a resource for moms to use to preview books before they allow their children to read them.
2. Share the things I wish someone had told me
Over the years I have often found myself thinking - "I wish someone had told me that". It is my goal to share those things with you so that you will know what I didn't...hopefully in time to help!
3. Confess my progress
I feel like I had a lot to learn as an adult. I mean A LOT!!! My guess is that some of those lessons may be things others need to learn, too. I probably don't mean you but maybe someone you know...wink, wink! And quite honestly, there are a lot of things I didn't learn in time but have admired in others so maybe we can muddle our way through those life lessons together! And then your life and mine can be a "Life in Progress"!