Driving and “Reading”

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Friends – I have an apology to make.

To all those friends, co-workers, associates, bloggers, Instagram people, WHOEVER –

Who has ever said, “You should try Audible. It’s great for people who love to read!”

Or something like that…. I want to say I’m sorry I didn’t listen when I did. I claim ignorance and a money-saving philosophy at the time.

My commute is now 45-minutes in each direction. After two-months of commuting, I wanted to listen to something else other than the radio.

As most “look-what-I-got” stories start, I was feeling sorry for myself one-day that I couldn’t get through the books on my reading list. While perusing Amazon to make myself feel better ~because if I buy the books, I have to read them right?~ I was about to push purchase on two more paper books when I decided to take a look at my own wish list to see what I’ve saved to purchase in the future.

Sure enough, Amazon’s brilliant marketing said that if I signed up for one free month of Audible, I could get that book for free.

Well, that seemed like a no-brainer and a few clicks later, and the download of the app on my phone, I started listening to the latest book I completed, The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher.

I regret not getting this book sooner. It was a great book for this Star Wars fan.

Oh man.

I regret very few things in this life but I can honestly say that I regret not reading or picking this book up sooner. My Star Wars fanaticism was only increased by listening to Carrie Fisher read her own book.

I was able to listen to Ms. Fisher and her daughter, Billie Lourd, read the book over the course of four days, as I traveled back and forth from work.

Sure, there’s a pile of books I have that I haven’t read at home.

Yes. I know I’m not “reading” the book, I’m just “listening” to it. And I agree, it’s not the same as reading it myself.

But you know what?

I don’t care. Get over yourself.

I did. I’m going to soak up as much knowledge and work by artists while I can on this planet and this is my new way of doing just that.

So – A short review:

Carrie Fisher’s style of writing is unique. She writes as if she is talking to you so this book was perfect to hear her inflections and pauses as she reads her own words.

In some cases she speaks as if she is another person, as she is reading a dialogue that she recalls with a fan. Those pieces were hard to follow as the recollections weren’t readily announced as a ‘conversation’ but she sounded different as she read, which indicated she was pretending to be someone else.

Overall, (and keep in mind I’m a huge Star Wars fan) the information was both exciting and sad, as she recalls her affair with Harrison Ford forty years before and gives the listener tidbits of information of one of the greatest movies ever made. (In my humble opinion, of course.)

As none of us usually want to be judged for our sins, all I will say I’m impressed that she was able to keep that a secret for so long.

This is the ninth (9th) book I’ve read in #DsAugustToAugustReads for 2019.

I’ve already started on the next audio book, even though I’ve got two books sitting on my dresser ready for me to complete the one I carry around with me everywhere.

I will always love the smell of paper books and going to book stores but for now, at least I’ll save some space in my shelves.


D’s August to August Reads – 2018

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Ahhhhh reading.

The simple pleasure I don’t get to do very often anymore because of life, but the choices I make to replace reading are certainly my priorities, such as being a mommy to the growing kids I’ve been blessed with.

There is a time for everything, as the saying goes. 🙂

Well into my third year of having this blog, I’ve written posts before with the tag of “book.”

Here it is, January 2019 and I’m starting up my blog again (if I have the time.)

I started this blog so my children could learn more about me, maybe make a little money on the side, and most certainly, do some writing other than my day-job-Engineering-info writing.

I bring you my first D’s August to August reads list, mostly just notes I put on Instagram of all the books I read between August 2017 and August 2018.

As I write this, I’ve started the next year, and we’ll see how that goes….

Book #1 – finished September 8, 2017: “The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded,” by Jim Ottavani.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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9.8.17 I haven’t been very good about keeping track of my book count like others on Instagram, so I’ve decided to use my birthday as the starting point for a year’s worth of tracking to see how many books I can read in a year. This is book No. 1, ‘The Imitation Game – Alan Turning Decoded’ by Jim Ottaviani, and illustrated by Leland Purvis. 📚 I opened up a package on my desk a couple weeks ago with this book inside. I flipped through it and realized it was in an illustrated format, like a comic book. At first, as I watched the movie sometime this year, I wasn’t really interested in reading it, but within the last week or so, I began reading it and couldn’t put it down. I think my visual-learning brain got so much more out of it than just reading a book with words, that I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would. Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician to is credited with coming up with the basis for computers. There were a few words I had to look up like morphogenesis and some I knew the reference for, such as the Fibonacci sequence. As his homosexuality was such a significant part of his story, the book covered it tastefully and I could see the sadness and social anxiety with the illustrations, in a way that made more sense to me than just reading it. I recommend this book as a 4/5 as it might be too simple and not at the depth of language for some in the comic style format. #emptybookshelf #DsReads Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2gPKo0x

 

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The next three books I posted about were as follows:

#2: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

#3: My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

#4: The Witches by Roald Dahl

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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10.29.17 For the sake of record keeping, I’m posting books 2, 3 and 4 that I’ve read (or completed reading) this year, starting the year at my birthday in August. 📚 Book 2: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was completed on 9-19-17. My oldest son (age 11) and I started this book in May and by far it has been the book that was SO MUCH better than the movie. It was also SO DIFFERENT. Little things like Cho being given the serum to make her tell the truth made the movie almost cringe-worthy and sad, but reading the book and it NOT being Cho to rat them out was so-much-better for the story (just as an example.) 📚 Book 3 is “My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannet, finished 9-20-17. A quick read, this was a book we read as a family and I think with the 15-minutes of reading time here and there it took us less than three weeks to read entirely. The younger two really loved the story of a young boy wanting to help the dragon no matter what the cost was. 📚 Book 4 we finished tonight: The Witches by Roald Dahl. With typical Roald Dahl style, this book was weird, but kept us all looking forward to the next chapter. It was our family-time book and we started the book on October 1 with the intent on finishing it before Halloween. My husband commented that there was a lot of yelling characters in this book, which I try to give animation to while I read the parts. 🎃 👻 I promise that I personally read non-fiction books too, and look forward to completing the book I’m reading now called “Do Over” by Jon Acuff. • You can purchase any of these books on Amazon or find anything else you need of course: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-2301412

 

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 The next book completed was Holes (Holes Series) by Louis Sachar.  My youngest son LOVED this book.  I don’t know why….

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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11.25.17 Book No. 5 – Holes by Louis Sachar 📚 My youngest son (6-3/4 years old) watched this movie with the family early this year. For some reason, when I told him that the movie was based on a book, he asked me, “Can I read that book?” I bought it for him and I think I started reading it to him late August. We finished the last couple chapters tonight and now he wants the next one in the series. For the record: He wants you to know that there is 233 pages. ❤️ It was a fantastic book that kept my attention as well as his, and we got to talk about bullies, good and bad kids, and bad grown-ups along the way. #ReadWithYourKids #SmarterThanWeThink

 

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 Books number 6 and 7 were continuations of two different series we started this year.

 Book #6: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowling

Book #7: Elmer and the Dragon (My Father’s Dragon) by Ruth Stiles Gannett

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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Books number 6 & 7 in my August to August Year of Reads: Number 6 was literally Book Number 6 of the Harry Potter series – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Read with my 12-year old, this book solidified my thoughts that Snape seems so evil. If it weren’t for already have watched the movies, I don’t think I would think of Snape as have having a shred of good in him. Oh and the detail of the Horcrux’s is explained so much better in this book than the movie portrayed to me, even though I’ve seen the movies probably over five times each. ✅ Book number 7 read this year is the second in a series of relatively short books about Elmer and the Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett. These books keep the two younger ones entertained, and I enjoy the imagination it takes to picture the scenes of canaries talking, singing and dancing. We are looking forward to the next book about the Dragons of Blueland. #DsReadsAug2Aug

 

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 I posted about books number 6 &7 on Christmas day 2017.  Sheesh.  Tells you what was important at the time I guess.

Book #8: Pride and Prejudice: The Graphic Novel (Campfire Graphic Novels) illustrated by Marvel.  See the Instagram post below for my notes, but I loved this book.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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12.26.17 Book No. 8 – Backstory: My mom’s favorite book of all time was Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen. I tried reading that book at least three times growing up, but I don’t remember getting past the first third of the book. It was never the kind of book I could get into much to my mother’s chagrin. 👏🏼 Fast forward to a short time ago (a few weeks maybe): An Instagram friend posted that she found this graphic novel-style book and I was like “Wha??? They made this book into a graphic novel?” 👍🏼 So today, I literally had a few hours to kill (that’s another story) and finished this book. It re-emphasized my affection for graphic novels, and made me get through a story that I would have otherwise never been able to enjoy. Sorry friends who love Jane Austen but I just can’t get into books that are exclusively about drama over relationships. I know it’s supposed to be about the “time frame” and “that’s just what people did back then” but none of that stuff interests me if it’s not in the fantasy world of sci-fi. The artwork in this book was phenomenal though and I’m so glad I didn’t have to push through a 250-page book of young-women and teenage angst of just words. Whew. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I got through it though for my mom. And now I totally get why she liked it so much. She loved reading about relationship drama and young-women angst. Oh and especially how people treated each other because of their ‘status’ in the world. 💪🏼💜🎁 #ForMyMom #DsReads #AugToAugReads

 

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In January I posted about books I read a while back, but still in the time frame of August to August.

Book #9:Bloodline (Star Wars) by Claudia Gray

Book #10:Shredderman: Attack of the Tagger by Wendelin Van Draanan

Book #11:Do Over Hardcover – 24 May 2015 by Acuff (Author), Jon (Author) by John Acuff

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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Posting for the memories: Books number 9, 10, & 11. I finished Bloodline by Claudia Gray in early November but never posted about it. An excellent Star Wars Book in the new cannon, it’s like I needed this book to feel closer to this new Star Wars universe, post George Lucas. It takes place sometime before the Force Awakens, and still has Han Solo which is exactly what I wanted post watching the Force Awakens. 👏🏼👌🏼 Book number 10 I finished last night with my youngest, the second book in the Shedderman series. Although this book is about 10-years behind today’s technology, it was a great read with my oldest when he was 6 years old, and it’s been just as good with my youngest. He can’t wait to get to the third book in the series. Book number 11 I finished tonight. It’s called “Do Over” by Jon Acuff. It’s meant to be a book for a Career Jump or for anyone who would like to learn about how to build up his or her career and move forward with a literal “Do Over” in life. I’m not fond of his style of sarcasm and wit in his writing, but I do enjoy his honesty. He talks about his personal Do Overs, including the good and messy-life and the mistakes he’s made, which really help me to appreciate the books he writes. #DsReads #AugToAug

 

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Book #12: Shredderman: Meet the Gecko by Wendelin Van Draanan

Book #13: The Borrowers Afloat by Mary Norton

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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1.18.18 Books number 12 & 13: The third installment of the Shredderman series, my youngest son and I finished this book on Monday and we immediately got into book number 4. I think this was his favorite book yet. We got through it so fast! The 13th book read from my August to August year is the “Borrowers – Afloat” by Mary Norton. This is the second time reading this series, but the first with my daughter. Just like my oldest son, the interest is difficult to decipher for her because it’s just not a book she would have chosen herself. But, she asks me about words she doesn’t know, and she noticed tonight that it was hard for her to read the words in the order that the characters say them in. She asked me why they spoke that way, and I told her it’s because they [many of the characters] couldn’t read so they don’t know how to say things in the right order…. ☺️ #DsReads #AugToAugReads

 

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In March 2018, I posted the following Instagram post on the next three books.

Book #14: The Dragons of Blueland (My Father’s Dragon) by Ruth Stiles Gannett

Book #15: Shredderman: Enemy Spy by Wendelin Van Draanan

Book #16: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) by J.K. Rowling

 

Book #17 is the The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Harry Potter) by J.K. Rowling.

Book # 18 was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, which none of us really liked BTW.
Book #19: The Borrowers Aloft by Mary Norton

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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4.18.18 These are books 17-19 for my August to August record of how many books I read in a year. Not pictured: No. 17, The Tales of Beetle the Bard by JK Rowling finished in about a week – because it was so good. Book no. 18 is a classic, but was not entertaining for my family – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Right from the start of reading this book as a family book, (7, 8, and 12) the kids and I were not able to handle the weirdness of it all. As soon as we were done reading it this evening though, we were ready to watch the Disney movie classic to reset our brains on the love of the film. That may be a weekend thing. Book no. 19 also ended today and that was the Borrowers Afloat by Mary Norton. I read this with my oldest when he was around 8 and tonight I finished it with my daughter (who is also 8!) Only one more to go in that series with her and it’s been great to talk about big words and how some folks don’t learn as much as others do when they can’t read and write. I’m looking forward to finishing a different book this week with my youngest too! 📚 #DsAugustToAugustReads #ReadToYourKids #ILoveBooks #RaisingReaders

 

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 I started a new series with my youngest called the Far Flung series.  He and I read the first of the three books, Book #20, called Fergus Crane (Far-Flung Adventures by Paul Stewart

 

Book #21: by Christopher Paolini

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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5.26.18 Book No. 21 of #DsAugustToAugustReads – Forty days after we started it, we finished the first book of the #InheritanceCycle. Can’t wait to start the next one. #ReadWithYourKids #KeepingTrack

 

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The last and what appears to be the final book of the year was #22 finished with the youngest: 

As it’s January 2019 when this post got published, I started keeping track again for all the books I read, both for myself and with my children.

Please feel free to follow me on Instagram, and I hope you get in few good reads this year too!


Week One Round-Up of Fun & Crazy

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Round Up Week 1

Our #scarfie photo only took four tries to get right! I made the kids scarves and am wearing one I made for myself too.

Week one for me “ends” on Saturday, January 3, 2015.

And it has been a really rough start to the new year.

My mom went to the hospital on the first day of the new year with pain in her legs and was unable to walk around herself.  She needed an extra dialysis, which is becoming a more frequent need in her ability to function.

My father, her estranged husband who is a better grandfather than he ever was as a father, has been helping me out while I take care of my children and try to continue to keep a job and be a wife/mom/daughter/sister, etc. and this is during his own recovery from open heart surgery in November.

Some could say “crazy” is my middle name.  This week proved that I can tackle crazy like a boss.

Here’s the weekly round up of fun and crazy in the life of DeAndrasCrafts.com:

Monday - December 29 - Thank you!

Monday – December 29 – Thank you!

On Monday, I went to work and didn’t notice until almost 1015 AM that I had the “Thank You” sticker my youngest son put on me from the local supermarket.

I sent the photo to the left to my husband and told him I felt like a true mommy today!

He told me to own the sticker like a boss and continue to wear it.  I did for a while, but chickened out around lunch and took it off.

Tuesday and Wednesday (December 30 & 31) were great.  I worked out in the field on those days, something I didn’t think I was going to be doing much since going back into the office a couple of weeks ago.

I took off part of the day on the 31st so my husband could go to the doctor.  He was diagnosed with a slew of ailments, one of which was bronchitis, and was put on antibiotics with icky side-effects.  He also took it like a boss.

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My daughter's Hello Kitty head is finished - direction are from the Book Hello Kitty Crochet by Mei Li Lee

My daughter’s Hello Kitty head is finished – direction are from the Book Hello Kitty Crochet by Mei Li Lee

In the afternoon of the 31st, I began working on my daughter’s Hello Kitty crocheted stuffed animal from the Hello Kitty crochet book I got for Christmas.  The pattern is definitely for a seasoned crochet-er and I’m going to have to purchase pink brads for the cheeks and some pink tulle.  I almost can’t believe I don’t have any pink tulle (for the ballerina dress, page 16) lying around….

We stayed up with the two oldest until 9 PM on the 31st, and I rang in the new year in tired mommy and daddy fashion of staying up until about 10 PM and going to bed.  My husband was in bed before I was and the only reason I stayed up was to read a chapter of Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s book, “Smart Money Smart Kids.”

I’m trying to read twelve (12) books this year as part of my goals, and I chose this one as the first one to complete because I’ve had it for a while and it is SO IMPORTANT!

Thursday was the day my mom went into the hospital.  She ended up getting additional dialysis, and that made her feel much better.  My father was instrumental in getting her over there, and helping me out on Friday evening when she got out.

The first of the new year wasn’t fun in our house as we are still dealing with pink eye that my youngest son brought home with him last week around Christmas.  It’s been difficult to say what the worst thing has been about the experience of pink eye – it’s either the giving-your-child-eye-drops or the fact that it doesn’t seem to go away!  Ugh.

This is my "Do Over" plan for the next 10 days.  I am planning on reconnecting with my family through writing, journaling and blogging.  #DoOverBook by Jon Acuff

This is my “Do Over” plan for the next 10 days. I am planning on reconnecting with my family through writing, journaling and blogging. #DoOverBook by Jon Acuff

The evening of Thursday, January 1, 2015 I began a 10-day challenge from the author Jon Acuff.

You can read more about this here: 10-day Do Over Challenge

So far, so good in my “Doing Over.” As I write this post I am three days into the challenge and I’ve got a game plan for blogging about our family’s weekly events, good or bad.  I’ve also started an enormous list of “To Do’s” that I plan on organizing and separating by month, by need, by want and by importance.  My Type A brain is so excited about getting organized and hopefully in the process a little more simplified (hitting those 2015 goals!)

On Friday, the two oldest and I learned how to finger knit.  I think the hardest part for me was watching and listening to my 3 (almost 4-year old) complain that he wasn’t doing it.  After working with my five year old daughter, I’ve determined that finger knitting is definitely for children ages (mature) 5 years old and up (at least in my family.)

We used Lion Brand Homespun yarn. – Click on the link to look at it on Amazon.

RUW1-Finger KnittingThe 9-year old was able to catch onto the pattern of wrapping the yarn around the fingers easily, something the 5-year old wasn’t able to grasp as easily and I had to watch her wrap the yarn around her fingers so she wouldn’t miss a loop.  We watch a video by Fiber Flux on You Tube, and although the oldest admitted it was cool to learn, he was done after about 15-minutes or so.  The five year old spent a little more time with it, but she too was done after 20-minutes.  We were all trying to keep our hands to ourselves (so the pink eye could stop being spread around) and I was hoping this was going to take more time up during the day.

Oh well.

I was blessed Saturday morning by my children not getting out of bed until 7 AM.  My coffee was hot and I turned on the fireplace to blog by the fire.  It was a day of taking down the Christmas tree and putting all the Christmas stuff away.  It seems bittersweet but like we tell our children, it’s all about making Christmas a special time of year.

For next week: I am hoping and praying for normalcy to resume in our household once again next week.  It was a productive week though, despite the unfortunate interruptions of having to get my mom from the hospital and dealing with a sick husband and pink-eyed kiddos. I’m hoping to start my goal board this week and get the kids excited about doing life together.


My Book Review System

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One of the things I am grateful for as a mom is having children as an excuse.

I’m being very selfish (yet honest) with this but I can use my children as an excuse to not go out with people.

I use my children as excuses to make myself cookies, because you know, they want some too and it’s good to cook with mommy.

And one of the most wonderful things I am grateful for having children is getting to do things (even as an adult) that I couldn’t afford or I didn’t do when I was a child.

I try to tell myself that I am not living vicariously through them, but I will admit, it upsets me when they have no idea how amazing and blessed their little lives are.  But that’s another discussion for another day.

Today I’m going to tell you about my book review system.

DeAndrasCrafts Book Review System OverviewOne of the ways I use my children – as an excuse to read books I didn’t get to read when I was younger.

I have purchased books from Amazon that started off from a list I found on Pinterest, from an article called 67 Books Every Geek should read to their kids before the age of 10.

Since pinning that pin back in May 2013, my oldest son (7-years old last year, now 8-yrs old) and I have read over twelve books together. And we don’t include the ones he read for school in that total.  He’s only in second grade going into a summer of reading with momma so I’m excited what is to come.

I have two younger children, now ages 3 & 4.  I have been reading books with them since they were little, but it wasn’t until this year that my 4-year old got really intersted in chapter books and sitting down and listening to me read for good 15-minutes chunks of time.

The three-year old still gets bored of listening after about 10-minutes, and we are still in the board-book phase with him.

My plan right now is to review books with a three star system, also separated by category because I just can’t see comparing a life enriching book to a children’s book in the same way.

‘Highly Recommended’ books will have three stars and I plan on using that to describe the Life Enriching catagory as “You must read this to move forward in life.”   If a book in the Life Enriching catagory gets a ‘Good’ rating, then I can probably put my finger on why the book wasn’t a page turner and I didn’t finish it in a week.  The ‘Okay’ rating is to put the book on the bottom of the pile and it will be my suggestion to “get to it when you get to it.”

The Just for Fun catagory is going to be very random.  Usually I pick up a book because I don’t want to watch the movie and would rather read the book.  I did this with the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series – one that I cannot stress how well written and page turning it was, although I couldn’t imagine watching the movie after I read what it was about.  Eww.  I let those things be visuals in my own head, not see it on screen.

In the Read with Children catagory, I will observe my children when they hear the story and make note of which books kept their interest and which ones they asked me to stop reading because they were tired.

I am looking forward to recommending books and giving my reviews, as I love to read reviews myself, especially the honest ones.  I hope to do that for you and start soon.