Three Things Thursday – Double Edition

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

I just couldn’t narrow things down to three pictures this week, so I decided to just double up…so, really, it’s Six Things Thursday. :D

 

I love, love, love the front of our library. :D

I love, love, love the front of our library. :D

I may have been a bit slack about cleaning off the top of the mower...and now grass is growing out of the mower. :D It amuses me so much that I can't bring myself to remove the grass from the mower. :)

I may have been a bit slack about cleaning off the top of the mower…and now grass is growing out of the mower. :D It amuses me so much that I can’t bring myself to remove the grass from the mower. :)

I recieved this awesome ton of loot from the Secret Santa exchange hosted by Sincerely Kate. :D Squeeee!

I recieved this awesome ton of loot from the Secret Santa exchange hosted by Sincerely Kate. :D Squeeee!

Grace's half-sister is spending the week with us. She volunteered to set the table and included our names at each place. :D A nice touch, I think!

Grace’s half-sister is spending the week with us. She volunteered to set the table and included our names at each place. :D A nice touch, I think!

We decided to give fish fingers and custard a go at dinner last night because, well, Doctor Who. The look on John's face when he went for his first bite made me giggle. :D

We decided to give fish fingers and custard a go at dinner last night because, well, Doctor Who. The look on John’s face when he went for his first bite made me giggle. :D

Grace's little whirly-bobber "robot." ;)

Grace’s little whirly-bobber “robot.” ;)

 

So, what made you smile this week?

Summer Reading & Writing Upate: Round 3 Results

Round 3 of the Summer Reading & Writing Program is all wrapped up and the points have been tallied! We have 3 winners for this round…

In first place, we have Hannah G.!!!

She submitted such fancy things as this picture…

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And her thoughts on The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig:

I don’t usually like romances because I either don’t connect with them or find them incredibly sexist, but this book is amazing. It could legitimately be termed historical fiction, but there are enough romantic elements to be fulfilling, too. The history is well-drawn and natural, not strained or so overly-detailed that it’s distracting. The characters are realistic – varied and unpredictable, yet consistent in their own ways. And I have to mention that each character is seen differently by every other character, adding another layer to the realism that really makes it seem like real people with real lives. The writing is glorious and yet it keeps you moving from page to page without delay. What really impressed me most was Willig’s skill in choosing where to move from time period to time period, where to drop in a revelation at just the exact moment and when to hold off, keeping you at the edge of your seat. It feels like an effortless book, yet it must have taken unbelievable care to create. I read the first 50 pages one day, then the entire rest of the book in one sitting the next!
She even scored some bonus points for referring someone. Nice! :D

In second place, we have Fern!

Fern read The Dark Mirror series by M.J. Putney and had this to say:

Very enjoyable YA Science Fiction. Set in England, Wales and France, it involves a group of young mages, time travel via Merlin’s mirrors and real history from both 1804 and 1940. Loved the main characters, the writing and fast paced action. Bonus – learned things about Napoleon and World War 2 that I had not heard about before! Reading these books definitely brought some magic into my life! :)

And, in third place, we have Grace!

She didn’t have any new pictures to offer up, but she did finish reading Animal Farm and Arise (the second in the Hereafter series).

And so today begins Round 4! You have through August 5th to get your submissions in, so get to work on those challenges! :D

Not signed up for the Summer Reading & Writing Program yet? It’s not too late! You can sign up here.

The space and alien themed prizes are pretty spectacularly goofy, so you don’t want to miss your chance at winning. :D

The Adjective Game: Round 4

The game is super-simple! I’ll give you 5 adjectives, and you dream up a noun they could be describing. Be as creative or realistic as you’d like…have fun! :D

Your Randomly Selected Adjectives:

 

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Check out Round 1, Round 2, and  Round 3 to see some of the awesome responses from last time. :D (I do love the things y’all come up with!)

What could those 5 adjectives possibly describe???

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday: July 23

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“The Rules”

  • Try to keep your responses to 100 words or less.
  • Feel free to submit responses in the comments or send to nerdinthebrain@gmail.com.

I love hearing from all sorts…authors, students, well-trained reptiles.  You’re all welcome to join in the fun. :)

Enjoy! :D

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Last Week’s Prompt(s) and Awesome Responses:IMG_7177.2014-06-30_171830

From Walking Back to Myself:

(David Attenborough narrates in hushed tones) “Despite its size, the smaller of the two dinosaurs defends its territory fiercely, unaware of a second threat from above.”

The Puzzle of Life: Live Happily Ever After

*part 20 in a series about life…for Grace…based on an actual puzzle*

Sorry some of the circles are impossible to read in the picture. They're hard to read in reality, too. ;)

Sorry some of the circles are impossible to read in the picture. They’re hard to read in reality, too. ;)

Grace,

Oh, the puzzle is really getting into some icky territory this week with all sorts of things that I think are pretty goofy. ;) Today, Puzzle of Life tells us to Live Happily Ever After.

That makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

“Live happily ever after” is part of fairy tales. You know the thing about fairy tales? They’re not real. They’re not meant to be real. Fairies? Not real. Tales? A word that specifically indicates a made up story. Not. Real.

No one will carry you off into the sunset to a life that has no worry or sadness or anger. You can’t even do that for yourself.

You can, of course, choose happiness for all the rest of your life (like we talked about in a previous post). You can be ever-grateful and aware of the fabulous people and events and things in your life. You can make the choice to see the events of your life unfold under a positive light.

But…live happily ever after..like in the fairy tale sense?

That’s not really a thing that happens here on the planet where I live. Even if you choose happiness (and, oh, I hope you do), that doesn’t mean a perpetual state of bliss until the day you die. No, even happy people have bad days. Happy people experience loss and sadness and anger and disappointment.

Don’t believe the fairy tale hype…it’ll just set you up to believe that you’ve failed in some way if you’re not bright-as-the-sunshine, joyously happy to be slurping in air every moment of every day.

In my opinion, this bit of “advice” is another example of the sayings tossed around that are pretty much meaningless and just create a crazy pressure to live this glowing, perfect, and unattainable life…and a sense of failure if you don’t attain the unattainable.

* * * * *

Want to keep up with the whole series? I made a page for that! ;)

What do you think? Is “Live Happily Ever After” a realistic thing to aim for? Should we be kicking ourselves if we’re not currently in the midst of the “happily ever after” portion of our lives? What does it even mean to live happily ever after? Should all Disney-type movies be thrown in the trash for teaching us to expect this kind of thing? ;)

This Is How We Social Studies: The Beginnings of a Vampire Scrapbook

As I’ve mentioned before, we will be using the Vampire Carlos to help us through our North Carolina History adventures this year. As Carlos has been in North Carolina since 1382, he’s seen quite a lot of events go down. ;) We’ve already tackled the first couple of pages of his scrapbook…well, the cover page and one entry anyway.

Here’s what we have:

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Grace is quite pleased with the “family crest” she picked out for Carlos. :D

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Well, of course Carlos had to have a page in his scrapbook for his trip to Town Creek Indian Mound. :D Grace is so clever…she wrote the description from the vampire’s point of view as though he had visited in the 1300s. She added such lovely nuggets as:

The priest must drink a black herbal tea to “cleanse his spirit,” which is really just projectile vomiting.

 

In more pleasant news, I made a pot while I was there. I also met a snake, whom I have named Patrick. (In reference to making pinch pots and buying a wooden snake in the gift shop.) ;)

 

I also sampled some of the local cuisine, which was quite delicious. (Regarding the ice cream cake provided in the museum portion of the site.) :D

I think she’s having a good time writing from Carlos’s perspective. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what Carlos has to say about future field trips!

Speaking of Carlos writing for each field trip, you may be wondering how we’re handling the “journaling” part of the scrapbook. Simple! I found these nifty black and white pockets (I believe they were intended to go in the back of books old-school-library style) that nicely hold index cards. We’ll add a pocket to each page, and Grace will add her (or Carlos’s?) journal cards to the pocket. Easy-peezy! :D

What do you think of the beginnings of the scrapbook? Have you ever used the vampire method of education for anything? (Yeah, I’m totally calling it the “vampire method” now. Perhaps I’ve invented something! It’s sure to revolutionize teaching across the globe.) :D

Where All The Bloggers At?!?

Over the past few days, I’ve noticed a serious drop in views. That’s okay…I don’t obsess…much. ;)

Participation and interaction have been down quite a bit, too. :(

More importantly, it seems that my blogging friends aren’t posting nearly as much. It’s like crickets out there in the blogiverse. Or is my reader goofing up again?

Where all the bloggers at???