Monday, May 17, 2010

Reading: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

My best friend accidentally left this book in my car the other day.  I thought I'd better take the opportunity to read it BEFORE returning it!

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne is the tale of a naive little boy living in Germany during the Second World War.  The story tells of a special friendship that develops after an unsettling move from his comfortable home in Berlin.

I had no expectations when I picked up this book.  I had no idea what it was about and I was quite surprised at the way this author approaches this delicate subject matter.  The book left me a lot to think about, and has a very different viewpoint than most Holocaust books.  It vaguely reminded me of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, in that it told a story of this time from the perspective of a German child.  This is a big contrast to The Diary of Anne Frank which tells of the Holocaust from a Jewish child's perspective.  Although the story is about a 9 year old boy, it is not written for 9 year olds.

It was a very quick read and I found that I just wanted to finish it in one sitting.  If you want something that will make you think then pick up this book!  It was apparently made into a movie, and I'll be looking for that now.

Have a whimsically wonderful day!
Alice.





Friday, May 14, 2010

New Year's Resolutions REVISITED!

It is hard to believe that we are already over 5 months into the new year!  Time has been flying by!

I think it is time to revisit my new year's resolutions, so I can renew my energy and revive my spirit!

1. Reading:  I have NOT been reading to my boys on a regular basis... so I've got to get back to this one!  It is something I think is very important so I'll have to renew my energy to make it a priority!
However I have been reading a lot lately, so I feel that on that part I'm doing pretty well.  I'd like to work a few more classics in there though!  I did read Life of Pi on my way to India, so that was awesome!  I was actually in one of the areas they talk about in the book!

2. Scrapbooking:  I have been doing a fair bit of scrapbooking, maybe not 8 layouts a month, but there has been progress, and I did COMPLETE my WHOLE album about my trip to Drumheller, so that is AWESOME!

3. Financial:  Well, this was going great, but then my bookkeeper quit... so I need to get on top of this again!

4. Homeschool:  The boys have been getting a lot of work done lately, and fairly consistently!  Yay!  We might not be quite "scheduled" though!

5. Fitness:  I haven't been doing as much swimming as I would like, but I have added ballet classes to the mix!  It is SO much FUN!  I love the way it challenges my body and my mind!  Now, just to get the swimming back to where I want it to be!

6. House:  There has been lots of progress!  The backsplash is done in the kitchen!  I have pantry shelves.  I have cupboards in the laundry rooms.  And best of all... I have a CLOSET!  Oh yeah, and yesterday we planted two apple trees in front of our house!  More to go, but so far it's looking great!

7. Organization: I completely forgot about the 365 Days of De-Cluttering Challenge, but I have been getting a LOT done!  (I hired an awesome housekeeper, that helps me get rid of piles!)

8. Relationship:  I don't know about setting dates, but I'm happy with my social calendar lately!

9. Cooking:  I have been trying baking and cooking.  Maybe not on a consistent level yet, but it has been pretty great, and I learned how to decorate a cake!

10.  Me... well, I know I'm important, now I'll just have to make sure I show everyone else how important they are to me!

Great!  I have been doing well, and there's room for improvement.  I'll update again soon!

Reading: Ginny, If I Stay

So this week I have read two more books! Yay me!

Ginny by Eric J. Brown is a tale of love and friendship about a young woman who defies her family and goes out west with the man she loves to homestead in Alberta.  The Albertan author writes about an interesting time in history and describes life of a pioneer in a realistic but heartfelt way.


If I Stay by Gayle Forman is about a young girl who is faced with the toughest choice of her life.  This book was very quick to read and was quite the tear-jerker.  I loved all of the musical references tied throughout the story!  I'll definitely find something else by this author to see what else she has written!

Happy reading and have a whimsically wonderful day!
Alice.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Reading List - The Book of Negroes and Bitter is the New Black

I recently finished reading The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.  It was a great book!  This is a very big book and I was worried that it wouldn't hold my interest.  Boy was I wrong!  I was captivated by the story about the life of the main character, Aminata Diallo.  I would strongly recommend this for you if you are looking for a book that is written in an autobiographical style, with stories straight out of history, and an incredible personal tale all woven together as one.  I sat in my bathtub for hours, refilling the tub three times one night, because I just couldn't put this book down!  Aminata's journey; from her life in Africa, to becoming a slave and travelling to America, Canada, England and Africa again, is so compelling that you'll barely notice the free history lesson you are getting while you read it.





The next book I've read recently is Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster.  This book was a super-fun read!  I loved the author's sense of humour and her witty style of writing.  I would definitely compare it to Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, although I enjoyed this book more.  I loved the way everything is written SO dramatically, and I must confess to relating with the main character, a self-centered shopaholic a bit too much at times!!  This book is based on the author's life at a time when she ended up unemployed.  Who knew that being unemployed could make for a book filled with so many laughs!  I can't wait to read another one of her books!  I wonder what kind of tragedy will strike next time?!
Happy reading and have a whimsically wonderful day!
Alice.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Aussie Chicken!

Aussie Chicken!  Yum Yum!  I came across this recipe The Frugal Girl and I thought it sounded absolutely delicious!  Turns out I was right!  So I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Kristen for her inspiring cooking!  Her recipe's are always include a printable version and her descriptions have awesome pictures so you know exactly what it should look like!  If you are looking for something new to try for dinner tomorrow... try this!  You won't be disappointed!

Aussie Chicken is a chicken breast topped with mushrooms and bacon, drizzled with homemade honey mustard, and topped with cheese!  I wish I'd taken a photo, but I was so distracted by the delicious smell coming from MY oven!!!  that I completely forgot!  Luckily Kristen (The Frugal Girl) has plenty of pics!

Cake Decorating 102


I was so excited about learning some basic cake decorating tips that I decided I needed to give it a shot on my own!  After my initial set up costs; purchasing cake bags, tips, an icing spreader and some awesome food colour, I was ready to get started! I had baked my cake and it was frozen, so I was all ready!  So here's my final results!  I'm thrilled!  I know that I will learn a lot more, but for my first solo attempt I am pretty happy!  Next I will need to learn about making icing... but that's for another day!