Archive for September, 2017

Having grown up on military posts, I like that there are more children’s books with kids who have a parent (or two) in the military. If I see a book like this I pick it up, but sometimes with reluctance. Sometimes the scenarios of the books are so far off from when I was a kid. Either times have changed, and that’s a good possibility, or the author takes quite a bit of liberties with the story line.

For instance, in some books the kids are almost mini-soldiers, using military lingo and doing things the ‘Army way’.  In a few books, the kids sneak in places that are off-limits and just go wherever they want. In the latter, I guess, for the sake of adventure that’s okay. Not that I like those kind, but I’ll go with it.

Still, it’s not like real life. I can’t remember any of my friends going around playing or talking like soldiers. We did play with those plastic army men, but I think, everyone did. We did play army dodge. That’s where if you’re hit by the ball, wherever it hit, you were ‘wounded’, but not out. I actually liked that version.  We played a lot of dodge ball. Basically we were just regular kids who had a parent in the Army.

There was no sneaking around the base. I never even entertained the thought. Not only would I get in trouble, but so would my Dad. If someplace was off-limits, it stayed off-limits. There was a time when we used to be walk through Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg (now closed and maybe even torn down) to school, but when they tightened restrictions, forget that. We had to walk all the way around and if you wanted to go in, be prepared to show that ID.

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Every evil castle needs a master. The minions at Castle Hangnail are hoping for a good one, nice and evil that is. Like the Vampire Lord. They’re not picky. An evil vampire or a dark sorceress, or even a loathsome hag will do. Who they get is Molly. Yes, she’s an evil twin, but she’s, well, twelve. And she’s short. But she does wear black boots with serious steel tips. Still, the guardian of the castle has his doubts whether she’ll pass the tests to save Castle Hangnail especially since Molly’s hiding a few secrets.

I’m so hoping there’s a second book to this. All the characters were wonderful from burlap Pins to the sweater wearing, hypochondriac goldfish to the Minotaur cook who hates the letter Q. And, of course, Molly. I liked how the townspeople didn’t think it’s strange talking to creatures, like the Minotaur or to the scarred, hunchbacked guardian of the castle.

This is a delightful fantasy with a plucky girl who wants to live her dream


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Solar Eclipse

Yes, this is about a month late, but hey. It was on my mind.

We’re lucky enough to live in an area which reached totality. For days we were inundated with the solar eclipse. In the newspaper. On the local news. We even had an ‘official’ meteorologist.

On the day of the eclipse, I wheeled my mom to where others had gathered. There were cookies and moon pies, but we arrived to late for that. Using our official glasses, we scanned the skies. It was cloudy and there was a real chance the eclipse would be eclipsed.

Mama said she couldn’t see anything, she couldn’t tilt her head back enough. I hoped I could figure out something before we reached totality. When we reached the spot where the others were, all elderly ladies, she did manage to see it. It was here I was told I couldn’t put the eclipse glasses over my regular glasses. Well, it was that or see nothing but blur, so I only took quick peeks.

Meanwhile, the clouds clustered closer together, smashing together to create larger ones. And the clock was ticking down. Fifteen minutes to totality. Ten. Five. One.

The cloud covered the sun/moon.


And the clouds parted. I snapped a few pictures. Using the LCD panel to see and leaning against a pillar, I snapped a few pictures, hoping for the best before putting the camera down and admire the view, to experience totality. It was cool. I didn’t find it mind-blowing, but it was pretty neat. Definitely something one had to see once.

Mom liked it too although I’m not quite sure she did see it. She first said she didn’t, then said she did. I should have checked on her better. Still, she had the experience. Totality.

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Learn Freely @ The Library

For the past summers, my local library, Richland Library, has a Saturday where it offers workshops and activities from ten a.m. to two p.m. They offer a variety of interests and in the past there’s been knot tying, writing, and arts and crafts. Last year I didn’t find much to tempt me. This year they had numerous ones that piqued my interest.

In order to fully participate, I arrived early. With construction ongoing, parking is always a problem. After grabbing the schedule, I made the rounds. There was Fiber Arts: Loom Knitting. I wanted to know if that was something my mom could do. While I was complimented on how quick I picked it up, I didn’t find it my cup of tea. Still, I got to know more about it.

There was DIY Cat Toys. Had to do that. I’ve made things for my kitties they appreciated. I walked away with two items for my sister’s cat as mine are sadly gone to Kitty Heaven. On the top floor they had Inflatable Archery! I had to wrap my head around that one, but, basically, it’s an inflatable target (big so no one can miss it) and arrows with like marshmallows on the end. Cool.

There was Friendship Bracelet Make and Take. I made and took, but I learned forgot about anything like this. My mind would wander and there went my braiding. It was a hot mess. I also learned about a local watershed, one they plan to make into a greenspace with hiking and learned some welcome drawing techniques. All in all, it was a good day. Should I move to another town, I’ll be asking them to have something similar.

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Twenty-five girls win scholarships to spend a week at camp. It promises a variety of wonderful activities, rock climbing, swimming, horseback riding in a luxurious setting. When the kids arrive, on the unnecessarily long and winding road, it’s anything but. Twenty-five girls. Five cabins. Five different fates. The first one being the cabin to which they’re assigned. Will they meet love? Will they be successful in the competition with the campers across the lake? Just surviving the camp may be the biggest challenge.


It was the teaser on the flap that made me pick this up. That and I’m a sucker for a book set in a camp. I never went to one and feel deprived. When I started reading, my initial reaction was that this wasn’t going to be as great as I thought. But I kept reading. So glad I did. I love this book.

With twenty-five campers running around, plus a few more from the other side of the lake and then the counselors, one would think it’d be hard to keep track of everyone, but Ms. McCoy tackled it with ease and I had no trouble. It helped that the chapters were divided by cabins. Some of the girls didn’t have names, but were called: The girl with a million freckles, and the girl with the thousand beads. This put an instant picture in my head.

This is a fast paced, action book with plenty of twists. Great read.


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