Saturday, January 31, 2015

Annotating--It is a Reading and Writing Strategy!

So today I was really trying to decide what to write about--I didn't want to do another post about reading since I felt like I'd done that a lot this week.  I was looking at my Pinterest board of blog writing ideas and stumbled across a list of things to blog about--one of which being to re-post one of your old articles.  This made me wonder, what was I blogging about in January 2013--I was still excited about this project then and was trying to come up with ideas.  I stumbled across a post from January 10, 2013 which now has over 1,000 page views! I was surprised because I thought my knitting pattern review was still higher.  I read this post again, and it really fits with what I'm dealing with right now.  I'm trying to teach my 7th graders that reading needs a closer study and if they mark things then their writing and evidence would be better! Though the story is a bit old now, and I'm pretty sure this student has not thought once about reading since he left my old school--seeds are still planted and I will have one student some day go--I am so glad that she taught me that!

From January 10, 2013

Today I am inspired by a quote:

Books are not made to be believed, but to subjected to inquiry.  When we consider a book, we mustn't ask ourselves what it says but what it means...--Umberto Eco (Author of The Name of the Rose)

Honestly, never heard of that book or author, but I like the sentiment.  Part of reading is actively thinking about what you are reading and responding to it.  One of the things that is hard for students to do is actively respond to their readings--especially if it is a non-fiction reading.  With stories they can relate to the characters or the plot line gives them motivation to keep going. But with non-fiction readings students respond with, "It's boring!" or "It's too hard!" or "It's too long!"  Sometimes they will just skim it and then they do not do well on the project, analysis, etc. that you have after the reading.  As a result, I have started to make students write all over their readings. I taught one of my new students this technique because he struggled a lot with a Thoreau reading.  After working with him individually on the first few paragraphs, he began to figure out that as long as he was thinking about the reading and writing that thinking down he will understand it better. I call it active reading writing assignment with my students.  The cool thing is that after a while it becomes second nature to them and they respond without me prompting them.

What do you do to help students understand "what it means"?
Thank you to

Friday, January 30, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Wait

Here comes the next Five Minute Friday:  the word this week is wait.

FMF - WaitI feel like a lot of times we end up waiting for whatever comes next.  I am waiting for life to calm down so that I can down other things that I really want to do.  But if I keep waiting then I will never get to do that because we all know that life never really calms down.  I will then end up waiting for forever.  However, I often wonder if I need to let some of these to not fill up my plate so much.

I love music.  However, I don't often make time for music.  I joined the Uintah Basin Orchestra and Chorus so that I could enjoy my love of singing and continue to learn more.  This season I came back to the Roosevelt Pops--community orchestra here, because I hadn't gotten my violin out in way too long.  It was so nice to play it for the first time in years a couple of weeks ago.  However, it is very hard to remember to practice.  It is very easy to have other things take priority because they have to be done by tomorrow and push the practicing to the next day.  Did that yesterday....have I practiced today? Nope. I will be going to bed after I published and share this post.

I am also really needing to set up a gym membership and go so that I can be ready for trek come summer. And I know that it is something that I should do to relieve my stress.  However, I have been trying to go sign up since Wednesday and I still haven't.  We have a habit of waiting as procrastinators....but is it really worth it?  Is the stress really worth all of it or do we just stress ourselves out more as a result?

Five Minute Friday - 4

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book Review: The Brothers

Prologue: The Brothers (The Great and Terrible, #1)Title: Prologue: The Brothers
Author: Chris Stewart
Genre: Religious Fiction/Drama
Rating: 5 out of 5

Why Did I Read? My book club suggested it.

Summary: It is before the Earth has been formed and the spirit children of Heavenly Father have just been presented the Plan of Salvation. This plan allowed for us to come to Earth and be able to grow and progress.  We meet four spirits: Samuel, Luke, Ammon, and Elizabeth.  They are getting prepared for their time on Earth, but are also being tempted to join the side of Lucifer.  Will they give up their chance for salvation or take the risk of going to Earth?

What Did I Love:
  • I really love the story line--the fictional characters become very believable and the liberties that the author takes with sacred figures becoming characters in the book is done very tastefully. 
  • I loved the insights that I learned about myself and why I am tempted the way that I am.  If you aren't LDS but just Christian, you will still benefit from the insights and the Spirit that is in this book.
  • The narrator for the audio book does a great job!
What Did I Hate:
  • Honestly nothing--I immediately wanted the next five books in the series. Currently listening to #2.  This is the Great and Terrible Series

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What Challenges I Am Doing This Whole Year!

I loved my challenge post from before and it was a lot of fun to put the pictures together.  Okay so I might have just completely overwhelmed myself--but I want to motivate myself to read more!!  I am hoping I can read a lot over the summer too. So here are the reading challenges that I'm doing this year:

Challenge #1:
Absolutely am super excited for this one because I have been wanting to finish sequels/series! There are points attached to the books that I do finish so even if I don't get a lot done its not like I didn't do anything!

Challenge #2:  This challenge is all about spelling out Mocha Girls 15 with the titles and author's last name of books.  This was is going to take some planning, but I really liked the concept.

PageLines- mochagirls-650x650.jpg
Challenge #3: 2015 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge---I liked this one because it is going to encourage me to get some variety. They picked 24 "tasks" and I am a little bit interested to see if I like all of the tasks...a couple will be really easy--others will be really hard.  I am excited to join the Goodreads group and Tweet with #ReadHarder
goodreads footer
Challenge #4:

I am sure everyone has seen this....I am excited to see how many of these I can get.  I'm not going to necessarily try to do all of them...just see how far I can get!

Challenge #5: 2015 TBR Pile Challenge

I talked about Roof Beam Reader's pile challenge earlier this month.

Challenge #6: 40 Book Challenge with school--I started this in August with the students--but I don't know where I am exactly and I need to figure that out!!  And I will finish with this school year and start back up again the next school year so I need to keep it on here so that I can keep track.


Monday, January 26, 2015

50 Question Survey Part 1

From The Classics Club 50 Question Survey that I stumbled on awhile back--I am going to do this in two parts. 
  1. Share a link to your club list.
  2. When did you join The Classics Club? How many titles have you read for the club?  I joined the club in 2013.  I have finished five books....unfortunately I'm behind my idea of reading 10 a year.
  3. What are you currently reading? I'm currently listening to Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot and reading Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor
  4. What did you just finish reading and what did you think of it? I just finished listening to The Brothers by Chris Stewart-- I loved it and it is the first in the series so I'm excited to get the next books.
  5. What are you reading next? Why? I want to read the second book in The Great and Terrible Series--the series I mentioned earlier.  The first book is really like chapter 1 of a six part series.
  6. Best book you’ve read so far with the club, and why? My favorite Classics Club book so far would have to be 1984.  I loved teaching it to my six seniors!
  7. Book you most anticipate (or, anticipated) on your club list? I am excited to re-read Little Women again. 
  8. Book on your club list you’ve been avoiding, if any? Why? I am avoiding Pickwick Papers because I started it and it was very boring.
  9. First classic you ever read? Um....not sure-I have read Classics since I was very young
  10. Toughest classic you ever read?  The Fountainhead
  11. Classic that inspired you? or scared you? made you cry? made you angry?  My favorite classic will always be The Blue Castle 
  12. Longest classic you’ve read? Longest classic left on your club list? One I've read? Maybe Catch-22...actually probably The Fountainhead....left on my list? Probably Les Miserables
  13. Oldest classic you’ve read? Oldest classic left on your club list? Not sure of the oldest....
  14. Favorite biography about a classic author you’ve read — or, the biography on a classic author you most want to read, if any? I have read many sections of biographies on Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott and I have enjoyed both 
  15. Which classic do you think EVERYONE should read? Why? I think everyone should read 1984.
  16. Favorite edition of a classic you own, if any? I love Oxford Classic editions of my book
  17. Favorite movie adaption of a classic? Love the newest Pride and Prejudice
  18. Classic which hasn’t been adapted yet (that you know of) which you very much wish would be adapted to film. I would love to see a new version of Anne of Green Gables
  19. Least favorite classic? Why?  Not a big fan of Steinbeck books
  20. Name five authors you haven’t read yet whom you cannot wait to read. Emily Bronte, H.G. Wells, John Milton, A.A. Milne, and Tennessee Williams
  21. Which title by one of the five you’ve listed above most excites you and why? Wuthering Heights 
  22. Have you read a classic you disliked on first read that you tried again and respected, appreciated, or even ended up loving?  Catch-22
  23. Which classic character can’t you get out of your head?  I love Mr. Darcy :)
  24. Which classic character most reminds you of yourself? I have always related to Anne Shirley
  25. Which classic character do you most wish you could be like? Valancy Stirling from The Blue Castle

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Today has been a day where I have been super overwhelmed with everything that I have to accomplish--and honestly I really don't feel like this blog post is a huge priority right now.  However, I am grateful that I have an outlet to write, even if I only write for a minute or two everyday. I feel like it is a lot of who I am--to express myself.  I don't see myself as a writer per se, which is why I think I like doing this blog because I would like to become a writer.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Book Review: The Wish List

The Wish ListTitle: The Wish List
Author: Eoin Colfer
Genre: Drama
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Why Did I Read? My book club suggested it.

Summary: Meg Finn has gotten herself in some trouble...really big trouble because it got her killed! On her way to either heaven or hell she gets stuck in limbo.  She has an equal amount of good and evil in her "aura". She goes back to Earth to try to help with the amount of good and helps out the man that she was robbing when she died.  He has three things that he wants to do before he dies, and she helps him get it done.  

What Did I Love:
  • I liked the plot line--it seemed very well planned out and I liked how the characters developed. 
  • Speaking of characters--Meg is a strong female character that seems to learn a lot and tries to improve.  
What Did I Hate:
  • The audio book is unique.  It is read by a British narrator, and he probably does it right--with the Irish accents too.  However, it made it hard for me to multitask and listen at the same time.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

2 Quotes That Just Fit Today

One of the things that is hard for people to deal with is the idea of change.  We all mess with it---and it is on my mind today.  Since it is very late and I'm very tired--we go with the quote angle :)
Always one of my favorites--from Mormon Channel

Thank you to my friend Diannah for sharing this today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Three Blogging Challenge To Try--My Guest Post

Guess what!!! I'm a guest blogger!  I have "met" Karissa over at A Fresh Start and she needed a guest blogger. Click this link and go check it out!!! I wrote about the three challenges that will help any blogger to get going.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Quote of the Day

I saw this quote today and thought that it would be cool to share with everyone today
One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.  Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.  Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away. --Stephen Hawking
I loved it because it really puts everything in perspective.  You should really live life to the fullest. Try to make sure that you don't just get stuck in a rut and with your head down.  Tuesdays are my long days and I can feel like that each morning.  I've been home about an hour and should really go to bed--but I will never give up!

black and white photo of Hawking in a chair, in an office.
Thank you to Wikipedia for the pic!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Freezer Meals

Freezer Meals are an absolutely great idea!! I wanted to tell you some of the things that I have done and figured out today.  First of all, I want to tell you that there are a lot of people that do this online.  I stole everything for this day at Who Needs a Cape? blog. She has a post called 40 Meals in 4 Hours.  She actually put up all of the recipes--to double so you can get 40 meals.  And then she put up a grocery shopping list.

Second--you really need to block out a day--this took me WAY more than 4 hours!  The grocery list was so helpful because making that the last time I did this took sometime.

Third--make sure you have a good spot in your kitchen with a bunch of room.

Fourth--make ones that fit your family.  I love crock pot ones because I don't have to be home to start it 90 minutes before we want to eat.

Fifth tip--I'm not sure where I read this but it made a lot of sense to me--put the meat in last!  This actually really helped me with this, because I did the first half of some of the bags one day and then put the meat in the next day.  It also puts the meat at the bottom of the crock pot.

Sixth tip--Come up with a schedule and put together a binder.  I put all of these recipes in a binder and then we pick one or two each week to plan on having a certain day.  I have to start defrosting the night before so having it scheduled ahead of time makes sure that we actually use them! And this way I can mark what we might change, what sides worked, etc.  So I can do it all over again eventually.

Finally, label your freezer bags before you get started.  This helped me to make sure I got everything in the bags that were suppose to and then you have it on the label for the freezer too.

Here's my pictures :)

This is my command center--the kitchen table!

I filled up my whole bottom two shelves of my freezer!

Brian got a picture of me working away.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Raspberry Rib Knitted Blanket

I have not done a knitting post in awhile so I thought today might be a good day to do that. This pattern is called Raspberry Rib Blanket.  I got in a book called Easy Timeless Blankies sold by E-Patterns Central. I think I will give this one 4 stars because it can be really easy to get off set with whether you are doing a knit stitch or a purl stitch.  Because I am often a multi-tasking knitter, I like simple patterns.  But I absolutely hate having to tear things out because I messed up.  And with this pattern I didn't notice a HUGE mess up until I was rows and rows away.  I think that's the other issue is I put a blanket up for awhile and I don't get back to it for weeks--so I forget where I am!

See that big mess up!
The other thing with this blanket is that either I am really bad at measuring or this is a pattern that is really hard to measure!  It ended up being huge! I measure as I get farther and then I figure out how many more rows I need.  People that do this for real probably do a gauge before they start, but I just want to get to making something that I don't really gauge. I guess somewhere down the line with this pattern I thought I needed so many more rows before I measured again.  I didn't really need that many! I thought about tearing it out but it looks fine, it's just huge.
See what I mean?!
This, however, is the first blanket that I made with the intention of selling it.  Usually I make blankets with someone in mind but this one was just for fun and I thought about selling it.  Would you guys buy it? With or without the mess up?  Now that I know what I'm doing I could just do another one and try not too mess up :)

What it is suppose to look like :)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Put the Lord First

President Benson taught that we should put the Lord first in our lives.  This what I am teaching tomorrow and it is the first lesson in the new manual.  I wanted to share these two quotes.  I can't take credit for the pretty--but I gave credit to some great blogs!

Love this reminder- takes all my stress away and reminds me what's most important

Friday, January 16, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Send

So I quick introduction before I get started--I found out about this community that has a word that they just write about for five minutes on Fridays--all they do is write.  They don't edit it, they don't re-read it and fix it, they just write what comes to mind. I will definitely be fixing typos as I go....It is the English teacher in me.But I promise I won't re-read or change my thoughts after it is written.  So here is my first attempt at this!

The first thing I actually thought of was the last snail mail I sent out.  In the state of Utah our end of year test are called SAGE.  Because last year was the first year with this new test, the students didn't receive the scores until almost Thanksgiving.  I had a lot of students whose parents didn't come to conferences and who I knew would not actually give the scores to their parents--so I mailed them home.  It actually took quite a bit of time because I hand wrote each envelope and stuffed each one full.  I did about 40 all in one day.  The interesting thing about that is people send us things all the time-but do we actually acknowledge that they sent them to us. I haven't heard from any of the parents that it was helpful or not.  I did hear one of my students say--hey you mailed that home---but that's just the one.

That's the other thing about sending---we send information out all the time.  Does anyone actually care? I was thinking that today as I considered what to write about and then remembered this little deal.  Does anybody really care what I write about? If I just send these blog posts out into the void each night and then suddenly stop, the world doesn't clamor--did that once before.  No one really notices but me--and maybe that's the point--I am suppose to care and it really is only for me.  Though it would be nice if it was for other people too.

Final thought on send since my five minutes are almost up.  We send a lot of emotions around to people on a daily basis--how does that affect your day and their day?  Do we even think about that or do we just move on with our lives.  Interesting to think about....

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 TBR Pile Challenge List

This year I want to try again with the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge with Roof Beam Reader.  I am excited to get through some of the books I didn't get through last year and add some more to the list!

So this year's list will be (the first four are what was on last year's list that didn't get done):

  1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2009)
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
  3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (2011)
  4. Lady Susan by Jane Austen (1791)
  5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1847)
  6. The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen (1988)
  7. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (2002)
  8. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (2003)
  9. The Princess Bride by William Goldman (1973)
  10. The Firm by John Grisham (1991)
  11. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (2009)
  12. Son by Lois Lowry (2012)
I gave myself quite the variety so hopefully that helps!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More From President Benson's Life

This is Flora
So a couple of weeks ago, I shared some insights about President Ezra Taft Benson.  I started writing too much and decided two posts would be here's part 2!

I loved this story that was shared of how President Benson met his wife Flora.
In the fall of 1920, Ezra went to Logan, Utah, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Whitney, to enroll at the Utah Agricultural College (now Utah State University). He was with some friends when a young woman caught his eye. He later recalled:
“We were out near the dairy barns when a young woman—very attractive and beautiful—drove by in her little car on her way to the dairy to get some milk. As the boys waved at her, she waved back. I said, ‘Who is that girl?’ They said ‘That’s Flora Amussen.’
“I told them, ‘You know, I’ve just had the impression I’m going to marry her.’”
Ezra’s friends laughed at his declaration, saying, “She’s too popular for a farm boy.” But he was undeterred. “That makes it all the more interesting,” he replied.
Ezra went on his mission after they started courting, and shortly before returning Flora felt that Ezra needed to finish his education before they got married and settled back on the farm. She later said
“[I] prayed and fasted for the Lord to help me know how I could help him be of greatest service to his fellowmen. It came to me that if the Bishop thought I was worthy, [he would] call me on a mission. The Church came first with Ezra, so I knew he wouldn’t say anything against it.”
So she went on her own mission and Ezra finished his degree.  I just thought that this was an amazing example of a woman who knew that she needed to act on the idea that education was important and support him in this matter.  She turned it over to the Lord, and he helped her find a solution.  This education served him well as he was continually asked and given jobs as agricultural agents. He helped many farmers through the Great Depression and eventually served as the Secretary of Agriculture under Dwight D. Eisenhower while as a Member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. Without that decision early on, he might not have gotten that appointment which served as a great moment for the Church to be heard of by more people.

When he was called as a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, he was naturally very overwhelmed and surprised by the announcement.  In the story that relates this experience, it is said that President Grant told him:

 ‘The Lord has a way of magnifying men who are called to positions of leadership.’
This quote really resonated with me as the men that are called to these positions do not necessarily have the background to lead such a massive organization, but the Lord helps them to have the background and gives them what they need.

I have always been so very impressed when I learned that President Benson served as Secretary of Agriculture. This story impressed me even more because it really shows the missionary opportunities that come from Latter-day Saints that live their faith in prominent positions.
Even in his role as a government leader, Elder Benson was open about his Christian ideals, his testimony of the restored gospel, and his devotion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Whenever he conducted a meeting with his associates in the Department of Agriculture, the meeting began with a prayer. He sent President Eisenhower passages from the Book of Mormon that prophesied of the destiny of the United States of America, and the president later said that he had read them “with the greatest of interest.”70 He gave copies of the Book of Mormon to many other world leaders as well.71 In 1954, Edward R. Murrow, a prominent television news reporter in the United States, asked Elder Benson for permission to feature the Benson family on a Friday night program called “Person to Person.” Elder and Sister Benson declined at first, but they later consented after listening to their son Reed, who saw the invitation as a great missionary opportunity. On September 24, 1954, people all over the nation watched a live, unrehearsed family home evening in the Benson home. Mr. Murrow received more fan mail as a result of that program than he had received for any other. People from all over the country and from varied religious backgrounds wrote to thank the Bensons for their shining example.
I felt like I gained two great mottos from reading this section as well:
He repeatedly said, “Remember, Brethren, in this work it is the Spirit that counts.” And he had one standard by which he measured all the quorum’s decisions: he asked, “What is best for the Kingdom?”
The First Presidency when President Benson was prophet

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Great Video to Demonstrate Similes and Metaphors

This is a great video to demonstrate similes and metaphors.  I used this in ESL and they really enjoyed it--it was something to hold on to for them and they can think back to it!! Enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bout of Books Wrap-Up

A successful Bout of Books to me is when I have read everyday--even if it is just a little bit.  Then if I finish a book that is a bigger plus! I successfully did both despite being in school!  Today was a super long day so sorry this is all you're going to get, but I successfully read about 75% of a book in a week. Not bad!

Bout of Books

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bout of Books Day 7

This last day of Bout of Books has been a lot of different kinds of reading for me.  I love the #insixwords challenge from Falling Down the Book Hole for today because I can tell you about everything that I've been reading today and give it to you in SIX WORDS OR LESS!! Eek!

My new fiction book: Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor--Off on a new adventure

January 2015 Ensign---Put God First In Your Life

Old Testament 2 Kings 9-13--Be obedient to the prophets

New Testament Luke 1 and Matthew 1--My soul doth magnify the Lord

Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 1--See the tender mercies from above

Bout of Books

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bout of Books Day 6

I just barely finished my audio book!  The book is pretty good..probably 3.5 out of 5 stars by the time I get to doing a review--probably next week sometime when Bout of Books is over.  I'm just proud that I got it done.  That's actually why this post is so late--too late for Bout of Books--is because I just barely finished.  So to make sure that this post ends up on today, that's probably all I'm going to say. I'm going to probably pick a new audio book to start listening to and go keep cleaning.  I have gotten a lot of the kitchen done with the need to declutter!

Bout of Books

Friday, January 9, 2015

Bout of Books Day 5

I have about 45 minutes or so left of my audio book, The Wish List.  Too bad I'm falling asleep while I am writing because I would probably try to finish it tonight. Oh well--probably tomorrow. Today's challenge is your book in pictures.  So let's see what we can find:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bout of Books Day 4

The Wish ListI am continuing to keep working on reading The Wish List by Eoin Colfer.  I should finish this week if I just keep going at it. I thought it would be a good book to do today's synopsis challenge on from Lulo FanGirl. I need to write a summary in 3-5 sentences.  Here goes:

Meg is a teenager girl that has gotten into the wrong crowd that do a lot of criminal activity.  This activity causes an older man to be injured and her death. For Meg's life, it is not clear if she should go to heaven or hell, and she gets a chance to correct it by helping the injured older man fix the things that he has regretted over his lifetime--his wish list.

Tired it is going to be short today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bout of Books Day 3

Bout of Books
Day 3 :)
So here we are on day 3...just got done with an awesome Twitter chat! In terms of my progress yesterday--I did not get very far, probably about a half an hour of reading on the drive.  I need to really close this computer, turn off the noise and loose myself in a book! I should probably grade a bit too--or clean--or something.  My idea of getting going on the first full week of the New Year with all of these new habits is NOT going well! Okay self-ranting moment over.

The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars, #1)
From Goodreads
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
From Goodreads
Today's challenge is a character coupling hosted by Writing My Own Fairy Tale.  The idea is to hook up characters from two different books.  Sounds like fun, though it took me a bit to think of who to connect.  I would totally hook up Harry Potter with Alyss Heart, because of what they have in common but also how different their lives are.  They both use magic, have both lost their parents of were killed by their arch nemesis and have to fight the arch nemesis for control over their domain.  They also both know what it is like to live in a non-magic world.  However, there are differences in how their magic works, and I think they would both benefit from having someone that understood their past experiences and support the sacrifices they have to make.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bout of Books Day 2

At least this is the only thing that isn't really falling off the New Year's Resolutions idea...I have been wanting to read more and work less into the evening so my house can be a bit cleaner--but no such luck yet.  Maybe one day.

The Wish List
Courtesy of Goodreads
I did get a bit more of Wish List read yesterday. Now that I'm finally in to it more, it is actually getting a bit easier to follow the audio book and plot.  I was a little worried it was going to be a book that I wouldn't be a big fan of.

The challenge for today is pretty cool--Top 10 Recommendations in a Bookstore from Tree of Reverie.  First of all I have to say that it really depends on what department that I'm in and who I am recommending to. Since I am a teacher I am often recommending books to students.  Right now they are working on a 40 book challenge which also has them do a variety of genres.  So I organized my list by genre.

Realistic Fiction:
1. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
I chose this book because I love the story--it really keeps you guessing.  It also starts off a quartet, and now apparently there is a fifth book so I should stop saying that but then you have a lot more books to read!
2. Angels Watching Over Me by Lurlene McDaniel
I chose this book because it is a story of perseverance and not giving up.
3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
I chose this book because it is an issue that we really need to do need to talk about and I think this book gives you a perspective that you don't get everyday.

Traditional Literature:
4. The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
It is a short book!  You probably already know the story--but that you can get through another book.
5. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Anne is a great character that has a lot of trouble growing up--so figure out how she survived and what she had to go through!
6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
There are four girls that all go through different experiences.

Science Fiction
7. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The boy who is chosen out of nowhere to become the next space warrior against the Buggers!

Historical Fiction:
8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is a great book about the Holocaust from a different perspective--look at the relationship between the characters and you will learn a lot and have an awesome book at the same time.

9. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
This is a great book about the fairy world and other animals that live all around us--what are you missing on a regular basis?

10. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
This is a girl who was about your age--who had to go through the Holocaust inside a very small space as she hid from the Nazis--how did she do it?

Each question that the challenge asked too:
    Bout of Books
  • Why did you choose these books?--I wrote this underneath each book
  • What would you say about each of these books when recommending them to a customer or library patron?--Honestly I would say exactly why I picked it and probably a bit of a summary so that they know what it is about.
  • What would be close favourites for book recommendations that didn’t make it onto your list? The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery is my absolute favorite book. I was thinking about poetry books because these are the books that I need to make sure they read--Casey at Bat came to mind too.
  • Is there anything else that you’d like to mention about the books you’ve chosen to include on this list? Bottom line--pick a book and if you don't like it then pick something else!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bout of Books Day 1

Bout of BooksSo as the first day of Bout of Books, this is typically when I plan what I'm going to read and set goals.  This time around Bout of Books felt that they didn't want to set goals.  So I'm not going to set goals specifically as a to-read list for this week.
  1. Wish List by Eoin Colfer (Audio book)
  2. Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor
  3. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by 
  4. Book of Mormon
  5. New audio book (Because I hope to finish Wish List during the week)
There are two challenges for today that I thought I would pop on to because they are both pretty low-key and quick to do.

The Book That is talking about New Year's Resolutions with books.  One of the things that I have been thinking about is a challenge that I found out about on Prequel and Sequel Challenge Novel HeartBeat and read some series that I've been wanting to read again/finish etc.
  1. Anne of Green Gables series--reread as an adult--I've done #1-3 as an adult a few times but not past that
  2. Harry Potter series--I've never actually read #5-7 a second time after publishing--I've started #1-4 a few times to go through the whole series and I just have lost steam each time
  3. The Face on the Milk Carton--there was a new conclusion book that I found that I want to read--and I want to go back and reread the first books again
  4. Finish Fablehaven 
  5. Re-read and read Dan Brown Robert Langdon series
  6. Finish Looking Glass series
Caught RedHanded is a Book Scavenger Hunt....the link has the specifics of what to find. This is what I found: 
My finds--explained below
Book with the color yellow: Silver Linings Playbook
Find an author's name with the letter "S": Sarah Dessen--Just Listen
Find a book with a female protagonist: The Face on the Milk Carton
Find the longest book you own: Norton American Literature Anthology
Find a book with a map in it or on it: Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Find a book with a face on it: Anne Frank the Diary of a Young Girl 
Find something on your shelf that isn't a book: My bookshelves have a lot of things on top--typically shoe boxes that store mementos/scrapbook items

Excited for the upcoming week of reading!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What Can We Learn from President Ezra Taft Benson?

So as my regular readers will know, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will often refer to my experiences with my faith and beliefs on the blog.  Today I thought that I would start 2015 off with some of my favorite things that I learned today about President Ezra Taft Benson.

President Benson was the 13th prophet and president of the restored Church.  Members of the Church believe that a prophet is God's spokesman on the Earth here for us.  In our third hour meetings this year, we will be studying some of the topics that President Benson discussed during the time he was an apostle and prophet.  An apostle, like those of old, are special witnesses of the Savior.  I will be spending a lot of time getting to know President Benson as I teach these lessons to the sisters of our congregation.  I am especially excited for this year because I actually remember a bit about President Benson.  He is the first prophet that we have studied that I was actually alive for!

The beginning of the book always starts with a biographical sketch of the prophet and that was what our lesson was on today.There are so many stories I could share. Here are three inspiring quotes and facts about this Idaho farmer boy for today and I will share more on a different day.
  • He was born 11 3/4 lbs.--that is huge! They weren't sure if he was going to live because of his size either. 
  • He really does look like a big baby! This was taken in 1900, he was born in August 1899.
  • His father was called away to a mission when he was 12.  As a result, young Ezra kept up with the family farm.  He later reflected, 
“I suppose some in the world might say that his acceptance of that call was proof he did not really love his family. To leave seven children and an expectant wife at home alone for two years, how could that be true love?
“But my father knew a greater vision of love. He knew that ‘all things shall work together for good to them that love God’ (Romans 8:28). He knew that the best thing he could do for his family was to obey God.
“While we missed him greatly during those years, and while his absence brought many challenges to our family, his acceptance proved to be a gift of charity. Father went on his mission, leaving Mother at home with seven children. (The eighth was born four months after he arrived in the field.) But there came into that home a spirit of missionary work that never left it. It was not without some sacrifice. Father had to sell our old dry farm in order to finance his mission. He had to move a married couple into part of our home to take care of the row crops, and he left his sons and wife the responsibility for the hay land, the pasture land, and a small herd of dairy cows.
“Father’s letters were indeed a blessing to our family. To us children, they seemed to come from halfway around the world, but they were only from Springfield, Massachusetts; and Chicago, Illinois; and Cedar Rapids and Marshalltown, Iowa. Yes, there came into our home, as a result of Father’s mission, a spirit of missionary work that never left it.
“Later the family grew to eleven children—seven sons and four daughters. All seven sons filled missions, some of them two or three missions. Later, two daughters and their husbands filled full-time missions. The two other sisters, both widows—one the mother of eight and the other the mother of ten—served as missionary companions in Birmingham, England.
“It is a legacy that still continues to bless the Benson family even into the third and fourth generations. Was not this truly a gift of love?
I just loved that quote because it really shows how one event--especially particularly trying events--can bring so many blessings and sometimes blessings we don't even know are possible until we see the after affects.

  • Another story from President Benson that I loved was his account of working with the young men and with Scouts.  He commented,
“One of the joys of working with boys is the fact that you do get your pay as you go along. You have an opportunity to observe the results of your leadership daily as you work with them through the years and watch them grow into stalwart manhood, accepting eagerly its challenges and responsibilities. Such satisfaction cannot be purchased at any price; it must be earned through service and devotion. What a glorious thing it is to have even a small part in helping to build boys into men, real men.”
This is a real reason that I love work with the youth--you really feel like you can shape their lives and they are so receptive to it!  President Benson visited the ward again much later in life and asked after the 24 boys that he instructed.  22 of them had remained in the Church--he tracked down the other 2, helped them come back to the Church, and sealed them to their spouses--how cool is that!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

End of Year Reading Survey

I came upon this survey by Perpetual Page Turner that asks questions about what you read over the past year.  I thought that it seemed like a fun thing to get involved in. 

Number Of My Books I Read: 30 books
Number of Re-Reads: Zero
Genre You Read The Most From: Surprisingly fantasy…between book club things and Fablehaven I have become a bit of fan

Best in Books:

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?
This was tricky…I have three. I think even though it sounds like what everyone is saying: The Fault in Our Stars was the one that I really connected with on an emotional level. On an intellectual level, I connected to The Night Circus.  On a “ooh I want to recommend this to my students” that would be The Looking Glass Wars

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Gone Girl—oh my don’t read it unless you want to read some really dirty stuff

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
The Kite Runner ended up surprising me because it took me a bit to get into and then I ended up enjoying it a lot by the end.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
If I Stay—if I found out a student had read  TFIOS I immediately recommended this one—great genre for them right now. 

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?
Fablehaven is the series I started this year---and I really need to get the last one read. So that
would be the best sequel too... In terms of series ender, I didn’t actually read one.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
I have gained a new appreciation for Neil Gaiman…yes I blame my book club J

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I don’t usually read the fantasy genre—I like reality type books—so The Night Circus was really amazing.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The Looking Glass Wars

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
No Promises in the Wind and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle—ah the life of a teacher
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?
A certain cover of The Looking Glass Wars

11. Most memorable character of 2014?
Liesel from The Book Thief

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
Actually….The Book Thief had so many historical connections

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?
The Fault in the Stars

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
“Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone, remember that.” 
― Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Shortest: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Longest: Gone Girl

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
 As much as I did not like the writing of Gone Girl—that plot was really shocking!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Hazel and Gus from TFIOS

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
King and Maxwell from Split Second

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Grip of the Shadow Plague

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
The Looking Glass Wars or The Night Circus

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
I don’t get crushes…..

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
The Plague Legacy: Acquistions by Christine Haggerty

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
The Night Circus

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
The Looking Glass Wars

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
The Fault in Our Stars

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
The Sea of Trolls

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Gone Girl

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?
The Ocean at the End of the Lane

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Thirteen Reasons Why

Book Blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?
 Honestly not sure…I stumble on blogs all the time but I don’t know when

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
With the lack of blogging…not a lot of discussion has occurred…

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Probably Bout of Books

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?
 My favorite was doing a Right Now I Am….I hadn’t blogged in so long and it felt good to put writing what was going on

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Which apparently is the one that got the most views too!
A is for Allegiant was the one that got the most comments I think ever on Inspirefly

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Honestly…just looking at the numbers I really can’t pick because the ones with lower numbers were probably not that great of posts.  But one actually surprised me…the Grip of the Shadow Plague Book Review

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
A little book called The Book Whisperer that I’m still reading

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I did do 30 books like I challenged myself on Goodreads to do

Looking Ahead Books 2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
The Help

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
The Plague Legacy Book 2

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Don’t know any debuts coming….

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?
See above

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?
Keep up on my blog!

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone: N/A