February 24, 2009

Raid on the Library

Posted in Artsy Stuff, Books, Days of my life, Family life at 11:14 AM by Robin

library-booksI took all the kids to the library last night (tip: strollers, while bulky and annoying, are a MUST for anyone visiting a library with a toddler who gets a kick out of running away from their mother amidst the maze of bookshelves).  As I was stacking up the various books on the counter in preparation for checking them out, I had to chuckle at the interesting variety of selections.  For a trip which included me and four children, we checked out a total of 25 books, three music CDs, and 1 DVD, on three different library cards.  (See if you can figure out who picked out each book!)

Charlie Bone and the Beast

Ghosts Beneath Our Feet

Neil Armstrong: A Biography

Renaissance Music For Inner Peace (music CD)

Shrek the Third Motion Picture Soundtrack (music CD)

Smallville: Soundtrack (music CD)

Little House in the Big Woods                 book-bigwoods

Abigail, the Breeze Fairy

Bella, the Bunny Fairy

Evie, the Mist Fairy

Katie, the Kitten Fairy

Georgia, the Guinea Pig Fairy (Yes, there is, in fact, a guinea pig fairy)

Harriet, the Hamster Fairy (who, I’m sure, is best friends with the guinea pig fairy)

Molly, the Goldfish Fairy

A Marital Relationship Book (which will go unnamed to preserve our dignity)

Ariel’s Beginning

Baby Signs for Bedtime

Five Little Monkeys Go Shopping (Thanks, Liz, for that suggestion–so funny)

Five Little Monkeys Wash The Car

Let’s Go, Froggy!

Froggy Rides a Bike

The Big Baby Book (for babies, not mommies)

My First Signs

The Sword of Shannara Trilogy (all in one big heavy book–rereading the classics!)  sword

David Copperfield (the Dickens one, not the magician–those book lists on Facebook have motivated me)

Scrubs: The Complete Fourth Season (DVD)

Up, Up, and Away: an Adventure in Shadows and Shapes

The Daughter of a King (by Rachel Ann Nunes-I love the art)  index_cover

The Secret of the King (the sequel)

Enchanted: True Love’s First Kiss

Yeah. That’s a lot of books.

I have also forbidden any children to check out either DVDs or computer games at the library, since a dollar a day can really add up quick.  Anyway, in case you were wondering what the Lambert family was reading, there you go! Your curiosity has been satisfied.  Have a great day.

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February 20, 2009

The Nature of Confidence

Posted in Artsy Stuff, Books, Deep thoughts, Just thinking... at 12:08 PM by Robin

Here’s a little deep thinking for you all today…

I’m afraid I’ve gotten caught up in the whole American Idol thing again.  At the beginning of every season, I tell myself that I’m not going to watch it this time, that I’m going to hold myself aloof.  Or at the very least, I’ll wait until they narrow it down to the top twelve before I’ll watchdanny-gokey, or develop a favorite.  And then I violate all my principles and watch all the garbagey audition stuff anyway, although thanks to the magic of the DVR, I do skip through an awful lot of it (2 hour program seen in 45 minutes).  Like I said, I try not to develop a favorite this early, mostly because they really don’t show you all the contestants at first, but I have to admit, I’m really pulling for this Danny Gokey guy. I know, I know, it’s all about the emotional backstory the producers have been pushing–how his wife died four weeks before the audition, how he and his best friend tried out together and nearly made it all the way together.  I fell for it.  But, seriously, he seems like a really cool guy.  I mean I don’t necessarily think he’s incredibly good looking, but check out this picture, and just tell me that those eyes don’t make you melt!  I’m not going gaga over him, but I would introduce him to my single sister, if I knew him!

Anyway, one thing that always kind of bugs me on this show is how they’re always asking people “Are you the next American Idol?”  They love it when people get up there and go on and on about how good they are and how they know this is “their time”.  This is their dream, and we are somehow obligated to let them achieve it.  Usually, we find that those who are most vocal about their abilities don’t have the talent they think they do.  Other times, the judges berate some contestants for their lack of confidence on stage.  Even if they’ve got a great voice, if they don’t have an  interesting stage presence, they don’t cut it as a performer. There is a balance these Idol hopefuls have to find between having the right amount confidence in themselves and their ability to give a good performance, and having that confidence be misplaced, or turned to arrogance.

Now, if you know me, you know I am not the sort of person who will get up and demand the spotlight.  I’m also not the sort of person who will freak out or withdraw in embarssment if the spotlight happens to fall on me.  While there’s no way I would ever try out for a TV talent show (believe me, I know limitations), there are certain areas in which I feel a sort of confidence, a kind of internal swagger, about the quality of my performance.  Writing, for instance.  Writing comes to me very naturally.  I feel like I can express myself in writing as well as, if not better–okay, usually better–in writing than I can speaking in person.  I can analyze literature, write a satiric commentary on motherhood, compose a persuasive essay stating my thesis and supportive arguments in a logical progression, or express my views on LDS doctrine in a clear and interesting manner.  I feel very confident in my writing abilities in this area.

On the other hand, I admit, I have a fear of writing fiction.  It’s true!  While I wrote quite a few articles for the Friend during my internship, even the stories were based on something sent into the magazine by someone–the “true story” they always tell you their stuff is based on. They would send in a letter saying, “I know someone who had this cool thing happen to them,” or “my daughter had this learning experience.” I would then turn their brief relation of the episode into a full story, adding details and dialogue.  However, I haven’t done any really true all-on-my-own creative fiction writing since high school.

You see, fiction is hard!  You have to not only come up with a plot, but you have to come up with characters, and then you have to figure out what kind of setting they’re in (which, if you like fantasy, like me, is kind of a big deal, because you have to figure out things like magical rules, structure of government, relationships between different countries, racial tensions between different mythological beings, etc).  Then, you have to figure out what style your prose is going to be: simple and straightforward?  Or poetical and descriptive?  How do you use setting to influence the mood of the piece or the way characters relate to each other? 

You see?  Writing fiction is HARD!  Writing like I do when I’m blogging is easy because I just write what I think, and that doesn’t take too much planning.  I have a great deal of confidence in myself as an editor, as well, in my ability to work with someone else’s writing and help them turn their ideas into a more readable, more interesting piece of work.  What I lack confidence in is my own ability to be creative.  Whenever I come up with an idea, I’m too afraid to follow through on that idea and turn it into a real story.  I second guess myself too much.  The funny thing is, I still have this internal sense that I know I could write something good, if I could only get over my insecurities and just DO IT.

So I’ve got an idea I’m working on…We’ll have to see if I can get past the first page this time.  Finding occasion to write is difficult with small children around the house, of course, but I think I want to do it, just so I can prove to myself that I can. That doesn’t mean I’ll let any of you read it, though, so don’t hold your breath!

December 5, 2008

Chick Lit

Posted in Books, Girl Stuff, Just thinking... tagged , , , , at 9:45 AM by Robin

bridgetjones

friday 5 december

Have just started reading Bridget Jones’ Diary, thanks to suggestion (and loaning of book) by sister-in-law Liz.  Can no longer think or write in complete sentences. Adding that extra first person pronoun wastes far too much time.

Am depressed that Bridget, who is supposed to be charmingly plump, only weighs 131 at her highest point.  Can’t remember ever weighing 130 lbs in entire life.  I think I was born weighing 150.  Poor mum. (Adoption of British terminology to match imitation of Jones’ writing style).  Am even more depressed that Renee Zellweger had to gain something like 30 pounds in order to play Bridget Jones at her scale-topping weight of 130 lbs.

Am glad I am LDS and can therefore not have to worry about additional vices of cigarette and alcohol consumption in addition to calorie consumption. 

Laugh that sister-in-law gave me book with swear words in it.  But come on, don’t they sound a lot less offensive when it’s British people saying it?  Like how “bloody” to them is really offensive and to us it just sounds charmingly British? (sorry, any British readers I may have collected)  Which reminds me of the time I happened upon an Irish blog in which the f-word was used profusely, but they actually spelled it every time “-ook”, or “-ooking”, which made me laugh a lot, and also think about the arbitrary nature of swear words.

Think to self, must really finish silly chick lit book and get around to reading serious literary stuff for Book Club.  If I can remember what it is I’m supposed to read.  Because I never write things down.  And then I have to ask my neighbor what the name of the book was.  Think it was french. Or was that the book they suggested reading, but didn’t officially assign?  Can’t remember.  Oh well.

In other news: Christmas shopping 85% accomlished.  So far, so good.  Now I need to clean my house for when my mother-in-law babysits tonight.  Difficult task as 1-yr-old is running from room to room systematically emptying every single cupboard, drawer, and bookshelf within his reach.  Christmas tree ornaments have been migrating higher and higher every day.  Actually not that bad, since I threw out all the ugly old plastic ornaments and now have just enough nice new ornaments that I bought on clearance last year to decorate upper half of Christmas tree most abundantly.  Would look awfully sparse if we had to decorate the whole tree, though.

Must go rescue my can opener now.  Ta!

July 17, 2008

The Future is Now!

Posted in Books, Days of my life, Deep thoughts, Just thinking..., Something exciting! tagged , , , , at 8:12 PM by Robin

So, usually Andrew is the one writing a blog about some new technological gadget he’s all gaga about, but I’m actually going to venture into the gadgetsphere and toss this idea out for discussion.  I’ve just happened upon some information about the Kindle, a new electronic reading device designed and distributed by Amazon.com.  It’s kind of Star Trekky, but it seems really cool.  In just about every futuristic sci-fi show there is, people no longer read their literature off of actual physical paper.  No, they’ve all got some hand held mini-computer that has access to all the great literary works, from the classics to today’s newspaper (digital though that paper may be).  And since we all know that Star Trek inspires today’s product development (think the flip phone), it makes sense that making this electronic book thing a reality was only a matter of time. 

Of course, ebooks have been around for several years now.  You can purchase and download a book and read it on your computer.  The problem with that is that nobody wants to curl up on the sofa with their laptop.  They’re heavy and awkward and staring at a computer screen for long periods of time can hurt your eyes.  So the whole ebook thing has never really caught on with the general public.  However, this new product, the Kindle, promises to overcome these issues.  It’s small, lighter than your average paperback, and has the ability to download any book, newspaper, blog or wikipedia entry in seconds without hooking up to a computer or charging any wireless connection fees.  Seriously.  No contracts.  After your initial purchase price, you pay only for each book that you download, most of which are under $10, quite a bit cheaper than a paper book (For example, I was looking for New Moon, by Stephanie Meyer.  The hard copy at Amazon was $20 plus shipping, the Kindle version was $6 and could be downloaded for free in less than a minute).  In addition, its display screen mimics the actual printed page of a three-dimensional book, including font size and type, headers and footers, and illustrations.  They say the Kindle “disappears” as you read it, in the same way that you are no longer consciously aware of the physical paper of a normal book that you read. So, anyway, go check out the website to get an idea of what I’m talking about: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FI73MA/ref=sv_kinc_0  There are a couple of interviews, like with Martha Stewart and Toni Morrisson, that are really interesting.

So, my question is, do you think that we as a society will ever really make the full conversion to digital literature?  I mean, I’m sure that there will always be hard copies of books around, for decorative purposes if nothing else!  But do you really think that book clubs will one day all bring their Kindles (or whatever the improved product of the future is) over to someone’s house for a discussion and goodies?  Do you think that English teachers will tell children to pull out their Kindles and ask everyone to download chapters 12-15?  Instead of picking up our morning paper off of the sidewalk, will we sit down and press a button instead?  I don’t know.  It’ll be interesting to see as the future unfolds.  In the meantime, I think I’ll still be picking up my reading material at the three dimensional library, at least until that $359 price tag comes down quite a bit.

August 15, 2007

More books

Posted in Books, Just thinking..., Something exciting! at 12:49 PM by Robin

For some reason, this website WILL NOT let me comment on my previous book blog, but I can’t let this go unmentioned.  Yes, indeed, it looks like the author of one of the series I listed actually read and commented on my blog!  Wow, isn’t the internet amazing?  You just never know who’s going to be reading the stuff you put out there.  After reading her post, I clicked around a little bit and realized that she has had several more books in the series come out since I last read them (I think that was back when I was nursing Lily–I went through a lot books back then, and I’m sure I’ll be going through a lot more in a couple of months), so I’m excited to pick them up.  So, what I want to know, is why didn’t J.K. Rowling comment on my Harry Potter blog?

(Just a note to those of you concerned about LDS standards–I think the books are pretty clean.  She does move in with the boyfriend she meets in the first book, so there probably were some references to pre-marital activities, but I don’t think it went into detail).

OK, a few more books to mention that popped into my head.  I was thinking series before, but now I’m thinking of individual books that I liked.  These all happen to be “young adult” books, but I think they appeal to “not so young” adults as well.

Jackaroo, by Cynthia Voight: jackaroo.jpg Set in a medieval kingdom, this is the story of a teenage girl who finds the costume of Jackaroo, a Robin Hood/Zorro type of figure, in her grandmother’s cabin. Of course, she has to put it use.  There’s a very sweet, but understated romance involved, and the actual heroics of Jackaroo are not the only interesting storyline.

 

 

 

Beauty, by Robin McKinley    beauty.jpg  Not only does this author have a great first name, she also was, as far as I know, the first to take classic fairy tales and turn them into full-length novels.  This one is about Beauty and the Beast. It fleshes out the characters into believable human beings, rather than fairy tale stereotypes.  Here, Beauty actually is not really a beauty, at least not as beautiful as her older sisters, but is very intelligent, curious, and wise (her love of books was probably an influence on the Disney princess version).  Robin McKinley also wrote several of my other favorites, including…

The Hero and the Crown, and The Blue Sword

sword.jpg

I’m not sure which was actually written first, but The Blue Sword is kind of the sequel.  Hard to sum this one up, but suffice it to say they’ve both got female heroes who use a magical blue sword to save their country.  Other books by the same author that I like: The Outlaws of Sherwood,  a retelling of Robin Hood, and The Door in the Hedge, more fairy tale retellings.

August 14, 2007

Books that you should read (especially if you’re making a movie out of them)

Posted in Books, Deep thoughts, Just thinking... at 3:23 PM by Robin

I just recently saw a trailer for the movie “The Seeker: The Dark is Rising.”  Apparently, this is the movie version of the first of the Dark is Rising series written by Susan Cooper sometime back in the 60’s.  To me, this series is on a par with the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter.  However, it is vastly different in style, setting, and tone from each of those.  I loved this series.  It is haunting, mysterious, spooky, and unique.  Unfortunately, from what I could tell from the trailer, the movie is none of the above.  The main premise (in the book) is that a shy, reserved English boy, the seventh son of a seventh son, moves into the English countryside, and through a series of events on his eleventh birthday, discovers that he is the last of the “Old Ones,” beings such as Merlin and other legendary figures, who use their powers in the great and eternal battle between good and evil, or the “Dark” and the “Light.”  Reflective of this huge burden and responsibility, Will is characterized as being solemn and wise beyond his years–an adult in a boy’s body.

Now, somehow, in the movie trailer, Will and his family are definitely American and the setting seems to be suburban America, he’s somehow become older–thirteen or fourteen maybe–he plays video games and is dealing with learning how to talk to girls.  When he finds out about his unique powers, he says something like “Cool!” and asks if he can fly as well.  To me (and to the many other fans commenting on the trailer), this interpretation is almost sacreligious.  You might as well have put the Narnia kids in Orange County or put Frodo in jeans.  I don’t know what they were thinking when they put this movie together, but unless the trailer is misleading, they have completely butchered this book.  People who have not read the books think that maybe this show is some sort of rip-off of Harry Potter, when the only thing they have at all in common is that they are both set in England and they both have boys who find out about their powers on their eleventh birthday (not sure what the significance of the eleventh birthday is–maybe it’s an english thing). I will, of course, go see it, in the hopes that it’s not as bad as the trailer makes it seem, but I will have very low expectations. 

So, in thinking of these books, I thought I would mention from time to time books that I loved as a kid, but I don’t think are as well-known as they ought to be. Unfortunately, I can only think of a few right now, but if I think of more, I’ll just write about them later.  (I’m afraid you will notice a predisposition towards fantasy novels.  I’m sorry, but that is my main reading fare.)   

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle:  I’ve mentioned this series to a few of you before, but I highly recommend reading these to your kids.  It’s about a neighborhood widow who loves all children and has a sea chest left to her by her pirate husband that contains magical cures to all of the normal childhood ailments.  We’re not talking measles and mumps here, we’re talking classic childhood illnesses such as talking back, refusing to take a bath, being a slowpoke, not cleaning your room, slow-eater/tiny bite takers, bullying, and so on and so forth.  Kids will love the inventive and ridiculous cures, but in reading them to my kids now, I find some of the biggest charms being the glimpses into 1940’s small town dynamics (hello, Maybury), the ridiculous names, and the classic interactions between the parents as the frantic mother calls all her neighbors for advice about her child’s issue (some things never change).  I think there are five or six books in the series.  Try the first one and you’ll be hooked.  This would be a fun one to see made into a PBS mini series or something.

The Oz books:  There are many more adventures after Dorothy returns to Kansas, far more to the land of Oz than the Munchkins and the Yellow Brick Road, and many more characters that you would love to meet.  For the older reader, there’s some interesting historical satire: a feminist revolt, for instance, where all the women in the Emerald City decide that they no longer wish to do all the cooking and cleaning and so storm the palace (where the Scarecrow is king), using knitting needles as their main weapons.

The Meg Lanslow mysteries, by Donna Andrews: not kids’ books, but really fun modern-day mysteries with a quirky spin.  All the books have birds in the title, such as We’ll Always Have Parrots, Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos, and Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon.  The heroine/amateur detective is a blacksmith artist, and the settings of the murders range from a sci-fi convention to a video game software company, to a colonial/Revolutionary War re-enactment fair.  The guy who died usually deserves it, and the guy who did it is always a surprise.  If you’re into bone-chilling thrillers, this is not the series for you, but if you like your whodunnits filled with wacky characters and witty repertoire, you’d enjoy this series.

July 25, 2007

My thoughts on Harry Potter

Posted in Books, Deep thoughts at 10:50 PM by Robin

WARNING:  This blog contains spoilers.

harry.jpg

So I FINALLY finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I still have to laugh that I say “finally” when the book only came out five days ago.  But I still felt like I was running behind everyone else, since Andrew got to read our copy first, and he did it within the first 48 hours after its release.  It took me slightly longer, since I didn’t get it until we were in the middle of our Bear Lake vacation.  I read the first half of it on the beach at the lake the first day, but wasn’t able to read much at all the next day until I’d gotten home and put the kids to bed.  I then read until 12:30 AM and had to force myself to go to bed before reading the chapter “The Battle at Hogwarts” because I knew I had to get the kids to their first day of school on time.  But I was able to finish it this morning, and so here are my thoughts on the subject!

First of all, I want to mention how this whole Harry Potter phenomenon is so interesting.  It’s like everyone in the world is in the same book club or something.  The cashier at Harmon’s on Saturday had it sitting next to her cash drawer.  The family next to us at the beach were making sand sculptures, one of which was a basilisk.  Not a snake, mind you, a fifteen foot, highly detailed basilisk.  When she saw me reading the book, the lady mentioned that she was in the middle of listening to the tapes and we found out that we were at about the same place and had an interesting discussion.  My family on both sides either have already finished or are in the middle of reading.  I tell you, it’s bringing the whole world together in a universal cause!  Amazing, really.

Anyway, about the book.  I agree with Andrew  that it was a very satisfying conclusion.  I was fairly certain that she wouldn’t kill off Harry.  But she also made it that if you thought Harry would need to die in order to kill Voldemort, you were still right.  I didn’t feel like the plot was rushed at all, as some people have claimed, but I did feel that it did lose something by focusing solely on the journey of Harry, Ron and Hermione.  There were so many other characters that either got left by the wayside or were just briefly mentioned in passing that I’d like to have found out about, but I really don’t think that Rowling could have done so and managed to fit the conclusion into one book.  As it is, I can just imagine the people who are making the Harry Potter movies as they read this book shaking their heads and going, “Oh Boy, how are we going to fit this all in to two hours?”

Despite the fact that people were dying right and left, nobody died that I really was sad about, probably more because of the almost casual manner in which she knocked them off than that I didn’t like them as a character.  I was not entirely surprised that Fred died, if only because I knew that the Weasleys were going to have to lose somebody due to the sheer number of them involved.  However, I felt that he deserved a bit more fanfare, something a bit more dramatic than the anonymous explosion that got him.  I also thought that the deaths of Tonks and Lupin deserved some sort of detailed story, some tale of heroism, rather than just seeing their liefeless bodies in the aftermath.  This is where the story lost its emotional grip on me.  Not that I wasn’t involved in Harry’s story, which was gripping, especially his walk into Voldemort’s camp to sacrifice himself.  It just seemed a little vague on any detail outside of Harry’s point of view.

My favorite part was the battle at Hogwarts.  It was great fun to see Professor McGonagall in action, sending an army of desks charging at the enemy, and to see the evolution of Neville into the leader of the Hogwarts resistance.  I liked seeing the complexity of the characters of Dumbledore and Snape, and I think that Voldemort’s character was fleshed out a lot too, reminding us that he really was just a human with flaws in judgment and reasoning–he was not all-powerful and all-knowing.  His downfall was really due as much to his own hubris and lack of foresight as it was to Harry’s sacrifice.

OK, so here’s a question–what is the picture on the cover representing?  It looks like it’s Harry and Voldemort’s final battle, in the Hogwart’s Great Hall, with an audience around them, right when Harry disarms Voldemort and is just about to catch the Elder Wand out of the air.  However, I must then ask, where is Draco’s wand, that Harry should have been holding in his other hand? Did I miss a detail?  What do you think?

June 26, 2007

Kids and food

Posted in Books, Family life, Just thinking... at 12:19 PM by Robin

I was just reading this article on the ingredients and processes used to make certain favorite kid’s foods like chicken nuggets and american cheese.  It makes me feel somewhat self-superior to say that most of the products listed in that article I refuse to buy.  However, it’s not for health reasons, but more because I really don’t like the way they taste.  I have never liked american cheese.  It tastes like plastic to me.  And while I quite like some chicken nuggets at certain fast food places, I have yet to find a brand of frozen chicken nuggets that I find palatable.  Same problem with fish sticks.  And I think that I have bought a sum total of three packages of Kool-Aid mix in my whole tenure as a parent.  (Of course, we’ve gone through plenty of Capri Sun and Hi-C pouches, so I can’t claim complete health nuttiness there).

Interestingly enough, my kids don’t really go for the fake stuff either.  I guess because they just don’t get it very often.  I’m hoping they have developed a taste for real, nutritious food somewhere in between their cookie and ice cream and yes, sugary cereal cravings.  I’ve decided that in order to encourage nutritious eating, I need to get the kids more involved in the actual food production.  I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking that all of their food comes out of the freezer and goes into the microwave.  So I actually let Parley help me cook dinner last week.  Seriously, cooking on the stove

I got the idea from a Rachael Ray cookbook for kids.  I was ambitious to provide structured family acitivites for my children over the summer, and so I decided that we would have a cooking day.  Of course, I was originally think that they could help me make easily mixable snacks, like cookies and stuff.  So when we went to the library last week, I decided to get a kid’s cookbook.  Rachael Ray’s had cute illustrations and looked fun, so I grabbed it. rachael-ray.jpg

However, when I got home and opened the book, I realized/remembered that Rachael Ray doesn’t bake.  She had no bakery type items in her cookbook.   But she did have an interesting forward about learning to cook with her family.  She said the kids in her family were raised to be confident in their abilities.  She wrote, This is not to say that we were treated as adults.  We were treated as children, with rules to follow, and were taught right from wrong.  But, when given a direction to follow, we were spoken to in a way that assumed we were capable. “Rachael, clean the potatoes and add them to the pot, please” is a very different statement from, “Rachael, can you clean the potatoes?”

She goes on to say, “Cooking can give kids a wonderful sense of accomplishment, because they see the results of their labors and creativity immediately–tangible, great tasting food that others can share and enjoy.  Kids develop a real sense of pride when given a pat on the back for something they did all by themselves, despite their small size and age.”

She also said that you are never too young to be in the kitchen, and that as long as you keep a close eye on their work, especially with knives and the stove, that kids of all ages can be involved in cooking.  So, I decided to give it a try. 

At first, Parley was reluctant to help, but once he found out that he was going to do real cooking, he got very excited.  I had him put a pot of water on to boil, and add the pasta.  Under my direction, he seasoned the chicken breasts and put them in the pan, and turned them over when they were browned.  He cut the broccoli into florets and put them in to boil.  I did strain the pasta myself, since that was a little heavy for him, but he got to cut up the chicken breasts, put all the stuff together in the pot and stir in the alfredo sauce. After a brief demonstration of each step by me, he did all of it on his own.  pasta.jpg

When we were done, he was so proud.  There was a lot of jumping up and down going on.  He was so excited to serve the meal to his sisters.  He said the next time I was gone, he could show Daddy how to make dinner.  I felt pretty good, too.  Gold star on the forehead for Mommy!  I get to teach my kids about real food, learn a life skill, and increase their self confidence all at the same time!  Thank you, Rachael Ray!

June 4, 2007

A treasure rediscovered

Posted in Books, Days of my life, Something exciting! at 7:29 PM by Robin

Today I went to Kid to Kid to try to sell back some of the piles of girl clothes I am trying to get rid of.  However, although I sorted them very carefully and discarded any clothes I thought had any sort of stain or sign of wear on them, they only accepted four or five things–not even the cutest things!–and so I made a grand total of $4.  The girls and I had to wait half an hour for this great fortune, as they sorted through the laundry basket I had brought.  I have to admit, looking around the store, I couldn’t see a difference in the stuff they had out for sale and the stuff that I offered them, but apparently it just wasn’t quite good enough.  Anyway, the time spent there would have been a total waste if I hadn’t made a brilliant discovery in the used book section of the store while we were waiting.  There, sitting casually on the shelf, in perfect condition, was a copy of a book that I had memorized when I was a child.  It’s called “A Treasury of the World’s Greatest Fairy Tales,” and I have been looking for it for ten years.   fairy-tales.jpg  (Sorry, I can’t get rid of that blue outline).

My grandparents had a copy of this book and it’s second volume, the “Second Treasury” in their home in Manti, Utah, and being the little bookworm that I was, it was the first thing I headed for when we came to visit.  I spent many happy hours scrutinizing the details of every beautiful picture and living in the magical worlds of the fairy tales.  This was no Disney-fied facsimile, but the real stories, from Brothers Grimm, Arabian Nights, Hans Christian Anderson, and Greek and even Indian and Chinese mythology, written in a beautiful and enchanting way.  It included many of the classics, like Puss in Boots, Hansel and Gretel, and Rapunzel, but also many other stories that I have seen in print nowhere else, like “Snow White and Rose Red”, and “Prince Kamar and Princess Budur”.

When I got married and began my own family, I longed to share the book and its memories with my children, but my grandparents’ copies had vanished long ago, and I couldn’t remember the exact title of the collection.  Every internet search I made turned up countless fairy tale collections, but never the one I was looking for.  Therefore, this unexpected find at Kid to Kid was a real thrill to me.  As I opened the book, I was amazed at how well I remembered each and every picture (and this is a long book).  Admittedly, the colors didn’t seem quite as bright (although maybe that’s just because it’s an older book), and the font and artistic style is a little dated (it was published in the seventies and all the princesses look like Nancy from the movie, Oliver), but it’s still wonderfulNow that I’ve found it and know what the title is, I am searching for the second book, which was actually my favorite of the two. fairy-tales-2.jpg

I remember it had the original story of Cinderella, where the ball went for three nights and she actually got three different dresses, as well the stories of the Goose Girl and Cupid and Pysche.  The title is listed on Amazon.com, but apparently is no longer available.  If anyone ever happens on this book, please let me know.  I’m just so glad I at least got the first book and can share these timeless stories with my children and, hopefully, create wonderful memories for them as well.

UPDATE:  I’ve been searching on the internet for the second volume, and the only copy of it I could find was $99!  Apparently, I’m not the only one who places a lot of value for this book! And I got it at Kid to Kid for $2.50!