Wednesday 1 June 2016

What I Am Into - May 2016

What I Am Into :: May 2016

On My Nightstand:

I have been thoroughly enjoying N.T. Wright's After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters. As expected, it's slow going as Wright's words take time to settle in before moving on to the next bit, but it's progressing nicely nonetheless. Highly recommend.

I recently finished Erin Hunter's Into the Wild, at Jay's request. He's been enjoying the series and thought I might like it as well. It wasn't quite as bad as I expected (I admit, I was a teeny bit hooked by the end). It did give him the opportunity him to tell me about the rest of the books he'd read so far, and I could ask relevant questions to find out what had happened to various characters. He reads so much (to his little brother's frequent frustration) that I couldn't possibly read everything he does, but it was nice to share this one with him.

Otherwise, I've been on a bit of a dry streak as far as reading goes. DH just finished with Gaiman's Anansi Boys, so I'll be picking that one up next; DH chuckled his way through the whole book and then fervently recommended it to me as soon as he was done.

On Jay's Nightstand:

Speaking of Jay and his current nine-year-old reading habits, he's a bit of a funny kid. When we go to the library, he'll choose a wide selection of whatever his current favourite comic book is (right now it's Asterix). I'll go stand in front of the children's novels and sift through all the ridiculous tripe in hopes of finding some quality novels to quietly stack beside his bed. He'll roll his eyes and tell me he's not reading any of those because they all look boring - and then we get home and he'll pick one up and we won't see much of him for the rest of the day. He rarely returns any of my selections unread and usually asks if the author has written other books and if so, could I please put them on hold at the library for him? He's read some fantastic books lately. Particularly noteworthy ones:

* Colin Meloy's Wildwood Chronicles
* Jonathan Auxier's Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes
* Charles de Lint's Seven Wild Sisters
* Tony DiTerlizzi's WondLa Series
* Jacqueline Wilson's Katy
* Rachelle Delaney's Ship of Lost Souls
* Kate DiCamillo's Flora & Ulysses

In My Ears:

Audiobooks. All of the audiobooks.

I used to browse our library's audiobook selection before long road trips. The selection was always rather dismal, but I'd usually find a few to put on when the drive started to feel like it needed a good distraction. Somewhere around the best part of the book, invariably, the CD would be too scratched to continue and the rest of the disk would refuse to play. It was rarely a positive experience.

And then I discovered online audiobooks through our library.

I can browse an incomparably larger selection of audiobooks, borrow them for free, download them directly to my phone, and play them through our vehicle's speakers. It's been amazing. Forget saving them for long road trips - as soon as we get in the car, the kids as for our current selection to be put on. Our car rides are silent now. Silent.

And so many good books! We began with Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, read by David Tennant. That was a lovely gem of a book, so we quickly listened to the next three in the series, written by Frank Cottrell Boyce and read by David Tennant. They lacked something of the charm of Ian Fleming's original, but they were highly entertaining nonetheless.

After that, I chose at random Jessica Lawson's Nooks & Crannies. THIS. BOOK. IS. BRILLIANT. Oh my word. It is everyone's current favourite book ever, mine included. It's basically a children's murder mystery and it is...I'm repeating myself, but it is brilliant. So enjoyable to listen to. Clever and witty and gripping and just brilliant. Susan Riddell did a delightful job of reading it, which just made the whole experience that much better. Love.

I have a frightening amount of audiobooks marked as favourite for future listening, as well as an actual CD audiobook of How to Train your Dragon, also read by David Tennant. This is a good problem to have, really. We have Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (one of his children's novels) all set and ready to go for this afternoon's drive.

In the Kitchen:

Nothing spectacular has been going on in the kitchen lately, other than a spectacular fail of an attempt to use our dusty breadmaker. Right. That's why it's been sitting ignored in the back of a cupboard for the past couple of years. Because I can't make bread in the breadmaker worth anything. So the next day I bought two proper loaf pans and I'll just make my own bread, because somehow I find that much easier than this blasted breadmaker.

The kids wanted to make "cookie cutter cookies" last week, so I made a batch of sugar cookies and let them go to town, cutting and baking and decorating. It was all grossly unhealthy and equally fun, and baby Min took the opportunity to figure out that if he pushed a chair over to the counter, he could steal cookies basically whenever he pleased. So it was a fantastic experience for the kids all around, and a rather cringe-worthy one for me as a parent. Oh well. (Also, if you have a cookie recipe that is healthier than sugar cookies or butter cookies, but also works well with cookie cutters, please do let me know.)

What We've Been Doing:

The oldest two are currently in a weekly outdoor adventure camp for homelearners, which has been great. Today is archery and next week is canoeing, so to say they're excited would be putting it mildly.

They're also taking skating lessons right now. Kai has often been in skating lessons, but Jay was never interested. I signed him up for this current session because he had expressed interest in learning how to skate, but then when the time came, he decided he didn't want to go after all. I sent him out on the ice anyway, and afterwards he told me that he hated to have to admit it, but he kind of enjoyed it. Kind of enjoyed it is high praise from that one.

On the way to that first skating lesson (after two days of being grumpy with me), he told me that there was a two percent chance he might like it, but only because there weren't any other kids in his class so no one would laugh at him for not knowing how to skate. I told him people wouldn't tease him anyway, just like he didn't tease his friends for not knowing things that he knew. "Thanks," he told me, "now there's only a one percent chance I'll like it, since people wouldn't tease me anyway."

I took away his silver lining, apparently.

Lessons and camps aside, we've been enjoying plenty of trips to the park, a couple of visits from extended family, some kite flying, one morning of turning the entire living room into a giant fort, and another morning of using shaving cream to make marbled paper. Good times.

What I'm Looking Forward to in June:

We have a family road trip coming up at the end of June - and yes, I'm already planning what audiobooks to borrow for the trip. Other than that, June will be a quiet-ish month of finishing up our current round of activities and settling back into our usual routine.

Well, friends, that is What I've Been Into this past month. What about you?

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