Saturday, February 15, 2014

Books Read in 2013

While only reading 32 books this past year, I would have to say that the overall number of pages that I read might be much higher than some years, as I read several lengthy, nearly 1,000 page books like Gone with the Wind, Vanity Fair, Brothers Karamzov, Nicholas Nickleby.

Some of my favorites from the year were the Peter and the Starcatchers series, To the Lighthouse, and So Good they Can't Ignore You.

The First Phone Call from Heaven- Mitch Albom
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck- Jeff Kinney
Inferno- Dan Brown
So Good They Can't Ignore You- Cal Newport
The Harbinger- Jonathan Cahn
Code- Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs
And the Mountains Echoed- Khaled Hosseini
The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby- Charles Dickens
Brothers Karamazov- Fydor Dostoyevsky
A Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens
Cutting for Stone- Abraham Verghese
Virals- Kathy Reichs
Tender is the Night- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Day of Doom- David Baldacci
The Power of Everyday Missionaries- Clayton Christensen
Vanity Fair- William Makeplace Thackery
The Bridge to Neverland- Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Gone with the Wind- Margaret Mitchell
Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength- Roy Baumeister and John Tierney
The Buccaneer's- Edith Wharton
A Room of One's Own- Virginia Woolf
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel- Jeff Kinney
The Mark of Athena- Rick Riordan
Peter and the Sword of Mercy- Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Night and Day- Virginia Woolf
To the Lighthouse- Virginia Woolf
Peter and the Secret of Rundoon- Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Peter and the Shadow Thieves- Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Bones of the Lost- Kathy Reichs
The Importance of Being Earnest- Oscar Wilde
David and Goliath- Malcolm Gladwell

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Books Read in 2012

2012 was a tough year for reading, having a very active little girl who is not the best sleeper meant that when I did have some free time to read, I usually ended up falling asleep while doing it :-) I also read some longer books, like Moby Dick and Middlemarch and so I wasn't able to have quite the volume. I only read 26 books.

Some of my favorites included East of Eden, How Will You Measure Your Life?, and Peter and the Starcatchers series (so clever).

The Timekeeper- Mitch Albom
The Amber Spyglass- Philip Pullman
Frozen Heat- Richard Castle
Shatterproof- Roland Smith
The Subtle Knife- Phillip Pullman
Raising Your Spirited Child- Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
Bones are Forever- Kathy Reichs
Frankenstein- Mary Shelley
The Demigod Diaries- Rick Riordan
Under the Greenwood Tree- Thomas Hardy
How Will You Measure Your Life?- Clayton Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon
Peter and the Star Catchers- Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The Golden Compass- Phillip Pullman
East of Eden- John Steinbeck
Bringing Up Bebe- Pamela Druckerman
Heat Rises- Richard Castle
Imagine: How Creativity Works- Jonah Lehrer
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection- Alexander McCall Smith
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea- Jules Verne
The Dead of Night- Peter Lerangis
Middlemarch- George Eliot
Far from the Maddening Crowd- Thomas Hardy
The Little Book of Hindu Gods- Sanjay Patel
Ramayana: The Divine Loophole- Sanjay Patel
North and South- Elizabeth Gaskell
A Murder, A Mystery, and a Marriage- Mark Twain
Moby Dick- Herman Melville

2013 is already off to a better start

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ohlone Village Day at Deer Hollow Farm

Since Jane's birth, I have been on the lookout for some more family activities that I haven't done yet and one was going to Deer Hollow Farm at Rancho San Antonio preserve. Once a year, they open up their Ohlone Village to the public and have demonstrations of what life was like for this group of Indians.

I absolutely loved it and found it fascinating- William like it but said that he learned nearly everything at Scout camp.

They showed us how to make a bow and arrow
An archery demonstration 
Had us sit in a replica sweat lodge where the men went to remove their smell before going hunting

They even had a replica redwood tree home which was really tiny- even smaller than our previous studio apartment :-) William and Jane nearly filled it completely
The most fascinating station for both of us was where they used ground acorns to make flour. What a laborious, time intensive process. They had to grind the particles several times so that they were small enough and then they had to soak them for several days so that they could at least be edible. It made me so thankful for our modern convenience of flour. 
We then went to Deer Hollow Farm which had your basic barn yard animals of cow, duck, and sheep 
The old barn
We then went back through one of the upper trails of Rancho San Antonio back to our car
I loved the sunlight streaming through the trees

Filoli and Pumpkin Patch

We had a Google offer for Filoli that we had to use before it closed for the season, so one Saturday in October we went. It was William's first time and so he really enjoyed the house but since it was the end of the season, the gardens were fairly dead. Not nearly as impressive as when I went in April with all of the tulips- that is really the time to go.  
Filoli Fall Decorations
We then tried to go to Ardenwood Farm's Harvest Festival because I went last year and LOVED it and sadly, the website said that they were open until 5 but in reality it was only 4 :-( But at least we were able to go to the pumpkin patch just across the way. 

Jane in particular loved this one pumpkin. She clapped for it
And even kissed it.
So we just had to buy it to her delight (and yes, that is dirt all over her bib- she had way too much fun playing with it and sampling some :-) 
What big ears and hair you have :-) 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Halloween 2012

Jane was Tinkerbell this year for Halloween and she was able to wear her costume several times to Googleween, ward trunk-or-treat, and then on Halloween.

I was so excited for us to use our Mickey Mouse Ghost buckets that we had gotten at Disneyland earlier in the month as they had two sizes- one for mama and one for baby :-)

Jane really is such a character when she is out in public as she loves to be the center of attention, making all Weof these funny faces and poses  

Stop- Hammer Time
She particularly loved the candy part- you can see her in the photo reaching down for some

And then look how happy she was that she managed to get one in each hand :-)

She loved walking around to all of the trunks, particularly though to this one where a little boy was handing out candy. She stayed there for 10 minutes and I took her away crying and put her down but she managed to find her way back to him ;-)

She had such a great time that she was completely exhausted

I did manage to get some holiday decor up. I know that I am way behind the times on making these but I saw the idea on Our Best Bites this year and made them out of baby food jars

Here they are with the Mickey's

And then our pumpkins

Jane wore her costume at the small in-home day care that she goes to and her awesome provider termed her "TinkerJane" :-)

And here she is with her two buddies, Gracie and Sadie

We also went to a fun little Halloween party where there were fun songs and games. We didn't officially go out trick-or-treating but we did have a few people come and trick-or-treat us and that is the first time it has happened since we moved to California!

 I have to include this final photo because it shows her toothy grin where you can see all 6 teeth. And her "I Love Mummy" shirt :-)

Googleween 2012

This was the first year that we ended up going to the kid's version of Googleween and it was super fun, but we learned that you need to get there as soon as it starts to beat the crowds. At least we know for the future :-)

They even made the pumpkins "Googley"
 Jane was obviously super excited at the prospect of going trick-or-treating, though we actually spent our time doing the activities and not waiting in line for the treats

They even had a little pumpkin patch where Jane literally picked out the pumpkin she wanted :-) 
 But Jane's absolute FAVORITE part of the whole experience was the petting zoo. We spent at least 30 minutes in the pen as she petted an alpaca
 Chased after the ducks
 She has absolutely no fear with these animals like the goat, bunnies, turtle- one of the workers of the petting zoo said that kids her age were usually really frightened by the animals but obviously not Jane :-) She now goes up to dogs that we see in the park and wants to pet them as much as these ones and most are not as patient as these ones :-)
 We were also able to go on a tractor ride, which Jane liked as well (I love her tongue sticking out!)

They also had cannon blasters, face painting, and bead necklace making that we passed on this year. Thanks to Google for providing such a fun and memorable event!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park

I now have Mondays off so on those days, I try and do a bigger excursion with Jane and so the Monday before Halloween we went to Uesugi Farms. I had been a couple of years ago with my sister Sarah and loved it so I was excited to take Jane and thankfully, she enjoyed it as well.

 Jane enjoyed Pumpkin Pete's Enchanted Hay Ride- and I absolutely love her shirt :-)

 The hayride took us through a beautiful field of sunflowers
 and thousands of marigolds.
The GIANT pumpkins
and Jane has a lot more growing to do before she catches up to this pumpkin
She is standing tall this fall though :-) 
And the Elf Princess became the Pumpkin Queen
 She liked dancing with Dora
 Attempting to push the wheelbarrow
Playing with the squash
Walking through the kiddie corn maze
And riding the train
This place definitely puts me in the Fall spirit