Holiday Reading A Hit!

At first, Hannah Rose was a little perplexed when I explained what we would be doing with the reading at night…the whole unwrapping “surprise” books for story time. Once she got it all straight in her head, she was happy. But not as happy as she was each night when she got to open a “present.” She loved it! Have to admit, we loved the look on her face each night. It was precious. I think it’s definitely going to be a repeat tradition next year.

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Free Books!

I gladly interrupt my daily chores to bring good news to y’all!!

I was checking to see if Brandon Sanderson had posted any new annotations to his Mistborn series of books over at his website, when I noticed his latest blog entry:  Free Mistborn Ebook! (Again)

Apparently, I missed it the first time around, but the lovely people over at Tor having been handing out free eBooks!  How can a self-respecting bibliophile pass up something like this?  Seems they were handing out one a week-but for a limited time only (until 27 July!!!) you can get all of them–for FREE!!!  They have them in a variety of formats, and are also offering up quite a bit of artwork.

Don’t delay–rush over to Tor today and grab those books!!!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Brandon Sanderson’s work–may I strongly suggest that you at the very least download his Mistborn book–it’s the first in a trilogy, the last of which is due out this October.  The first two books were awesome and we’re looking forward to the release of the third!  He’s the author who is writing A Memory of Light, which will complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series!

Make Time for Story Time

We have story time every night before bed–that’s when Chris always reads a book to Hannah Rose.  But, there are sooo many good books out there that story time only at bedtime just isn’t enough.  I’m trying to read more with Hannah Rose during the day, but some days we’re just so busy.  Where do I find the time???

So I start thinking….(watch out, grab your fire extinguishers, and the like!)

Hannah Rose and I have been doing a lot of driving-and we’ll be doing a lot more driving in the near future. (An hour to her school, an hour home–or worse with accidents, snow storms, etc.) We don’t have a DVD system for the car, nor do we want one.

Then the thought occured to me: Audio books!!! I’ll enjoy them–and she’ll get introduced to a lot of great literature that way. It’s something to keep from total boredom in the car–for both of us, and it’s time well spent. I’m a huge bookworm, and there are so many books I want to introduce to her!!!

This last week we started with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. (She’s already a Harry Potter fan because of all my Harry Potter stuff. hehehe) Being only 5–we’re not going to introduce her to all the books yet, and she has yet to see any of the movies.

We picked up a few other audio books this weekend. Anne of Green Gables, A Wrinkle in Time, and the Chronicles of Narnia. That should keep us occupied for a few days! Once we’re done with Harry Potter, that is!  (Which should be soon, we’re on disc 5 and book one only has 7 discs if I’m not mistaken!)

I’m very excited about this. She’s really enjoying it too. Chris and I hope she develops a true love of books like we both have.

Welcome to the Wacky World of Food Allergies

Hannah Rose was recently diagnosed with milk and egg allergies. So we’ve embarked on quite the new journey.

We’ve replaced milk with Soy Milk. (Silk makes a very vanilla and a chocolate flavour that enriched for kids). In fact, we’re buying a number of soy “replacement” products: soy cheese, soy butter, soy yogurt–you get the idea. We’re also looking for alternative sources of calcium (like calcium enriched OJ, and the aforementioned enriched soy milk, along with foods naturally containing calcium).

We’re also reading labels like never before. Which is how we found the soy cheese that contains milk proteins. (No we didn’t buy that brand of soy cheese!) We’ve managed to find bread that doesn’t contain any milk or egg. (Thank you Whole Foods )

I’ve gotten a new cookbook:  Allergy-Free Cookbook by Alice Sherwood which contains recipes for avoiding eggs, dairy, nuts, and gluten.  (Although not always all 4 ingredients at once!)  I’ve also been researching on how to adjust current recipes with replacements for milk (and milk products) as well as egg.  It seems as if there are quite a number of options out there–it’s just a matter of trying out these “experiments” and finding the ones our family likes best!

We’ve been thinking, talking, and doing research into this whole thing.  Did I mention it’s still very new to us?  While Hannah Rose’s allergies are on the milder side, we still want to avoid them completely.

She likes to go to McDonald’s occasionally.  OK, so probably more often than occasionally–but like most of us, she doesn’t always get what she wants as often as she likes.  I decided to look up McDonald’s Nutritional Information.  I wasn’t too surprised to find out that the Chicken McNuggets have milk.  Most breaded items will have either milk or egg.  I was pleased to find out their hamburgers (including buns) have no milk or egg.  However, I found it oddly strange that their French Fries have milk.  Apparently hydrolyzed milk is a starting point for their beef flavouring.

I’m finding some good resources on-line in regards to food allergies–one being The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network

Like I said, this is the beginning of a new journey–and I’m sure I’ll have much more to write on this subject as we travel down this road!

It’s Odd Time, Again!

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz came out yesterday.  I had to get it right away.  I’ve started the book and am sad to say that I have not finished it yet.  Hopefully, I’ll have it done within the next couple of days.  Depends on what all else I have to do as well.

For those not in the know–Odd Hours is the fourth of Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas books.  Odd being the character’s given name–not a description of him, although he might be a little odd as well.  The first book was simply titled Odd Thomas.  It was supposed to be the only Odd Thomas book–at least that’s what Koontz had intended.  Right from the get-go Odd was a hit!  I remember the first time I read the book–it was one of those readings where I literally could not put the book down and had it read in a day.  It was the kind of book where you have to get to the end so you know everything and then once you’ve gotten there, you feel a little void. 

I really enjoy Koontz’s writings.  One of the things I enjoy about reading his books is unlike with some authors, you’re not reading the same story over and over again.  Granted, you can always expect some suspense in his books–usually something a bit out of this world, and more than a twist or two. 

The Odd Thomas books are written from the character’s perspective.  Odd is a talented writer, although he’s much more talented as a fry cook.  Oh, and he sees dead people.  But differently than in the M. Night Shamalyn movie.  Oddly enough, the dead never talk.  Odd doesn’t know why–they just don’t.  Odd doesn’t want fame and fortune–he’d like to live a simple life as a fry cook in Pico Mundo, Cali.  But destiny has a little something different in mind for young Odd.  What that may be in this current book, I don’t yet know.  But I do know it’ll be an adventure finding out!

If you haven’t read any of the Odd books yet–you really ought to.  My friend Emily gave it a go after I recommended them to her, and she loved them.  And why not?  Odd is an amazing character. 

Unplugged Play

Chris and I recently got the book “Unplugged Play” by Bobbi Conner.

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 I’ve read it through and think it’s a fantastic book!  I would recommend it to any parent with a child under the age of 10! 

We picked it up because it looked like it was something that would mirror the philosophy of the Waldorf school we’re applying to get Hannah Rose into for the fall.  Their early childhood curriculum is play-based. 

This book talks about the importance of play for kids…but it’s more than that!  It’s got ideas for parents who might be short on them, or who have forgotten some of their own favourite childhood play exploits!  There’s a section for toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary kids.  There are ideas for getting them to play with other kids, play alone, or play with mom and dad.  The great thing about a lot of these ideas is that they are educational in some fashion–but what matters most to a child is that they’re fun!  Truth be told, childhood is all about learning!  Play is how children work at learning!

I think part of the reason this book appeals to me so much (as does the Waldorf philosophy) is that it fosters creative and imaginative thought!  That’s the foundation for problem-solving later in life.  Instead of putting a child’s mind into a box with a finite number of possibilities (something t.v., video games, and the like do), this kind of play opens up an infinite amount of possibilities to a child.  Later in life, they’ll be that person who is able to think outside of the box to get the job done…  That, and they’ll have a much richer and more fulfilling life.

Chris and I are actively restructuring Hannah Rose’s play…from how we play with her, how we encourage her to play, the toys we buy (and don’t), and the amount and quality of her screen time (that’s all t.v., video, movies, etc.).  We’re going to limit her screen time to 1-2 hours a day MAX right now.  We’re not going to encourage her to use a computer, yet.  She can start doing that in a few years.  (Again, goes along with the Waldorf philosophy).  That’s kinda like teaching a child the basics of arithmetic before giving them a calculator!

If you’ve got small kids–I suggest you read this book!  If you’ve read it already–I would love to hear your take on it!