Spelling V

December 20, 2015 at 9:30 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , )

15706485.jpgTitle: Spelling V

Author: Meb Bryant

Format: Kindle

I finally found a cover for my kindle – one that fits, one that I like.  It’s a little brown leather ditty with quotes embossed in ink-black cursive.  Finally, it has the feel of a book rather than a device; something I can set down and not tuck away in the box it was shipped to me from Amazon.

I bought the cover at Half Price Books last night.  First thing this morning I charged my kindle and chose what book to tackle first.

Then I remembered Meb Bryant.

“She had an orange belt in karate… he had a leather belt in the loops of his jeans.”  I read that and snickered.  Good one, Meb.

Bryant is clever and has a way of writing something shocking with prose that urges you to continue to read something horrific and not be shocked.  Think Nabakov writing Lolita – except with stories Bentley Little would be proud of.  The only way Spelling V could be more disturbing is if Bryant had lingered over the story for a few hundred pages.

Bryant artfully maps out the lifetime of a control freak, a codependent, and psychopath, and it’s pretty darn riveting.  I especially love that one of the characters reads Bryant’s novel Harbinger of Evil.  I’m a huge sucker for when authors do this.  I like the idea of one interconnected world within an authors fantasies.

Give the best holiday gift this season: buy yourself a short story to read in between holiday meals and excitement and leave a review.  You deserve a break and indie authors thrive on reviews.

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The Snail and the Whale

January 19, 2015 at 12:51 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I used to do a Weekly Low Down on Kids Books.  Well, I used to pretend to do them, and really they were haphazard and sporadic at best, but sort of happened a few times a month at least.

I’m back.  I’m back with a mission to share all the marvelous books we’ve been reading.  Because, well, we have been reading more than we’ve let on.  I know, our silence is stifling.

P1000708Title: The Snail and the Whale

Author:Julia Donaldson

Illustrator: Axel Scheffler

I bought The Snail and the Whale on impulse.  I’ve been trying to do less of that lately, but it was too darn cute and the kiddo had been working on a snail painting.  Plus, I was feeling a little bit guilty over keeping Christmas as sparse as I was.

A few new picture books seemed a good addition to a Jake and the Neverland Pirate lego set (the third set to polish off the Jake collection); but we purposely are trying to keep Christmas gifting simple… “What you want, what you need, what you’ll wear, and what you’ll read.”  Accumulatively, we’d like for her to get no more than 4 presents from each category once all the grandparents have pitched in.  Ideally I’d keep it to four items total, but I’m practical and I know the family members won’t let that fly.

P1000654So she got the rest of her desired lego collection, a Frozen tiara and tambourine, socks, new boots, and a handful of new picture books.  There were some stocking stuffers and some other odds and ends – a geode science project for her school work, new paints, a painting apron, some canvases – and they were given to her in waves, not all at once on Christmas day.  It gave her time to enjoy each gift before getting overwhelmed with another.  We enjoyed it.  She was spoiled without being spoiled.  It felt like a nice simple holiday, yet kiddo managed to get everything she’d asked for.

Although The Snail and the Whale feels like a summer book – crossing oceans, travelling the world, visiting islands – we were excited to read it while cozied up in blankets and pjs.  I can’t wait to read it to her at the beach once it warms up, though.

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Working on her Snail painting, which has an actual shell glued to the canvas.

After reading this book for the second or third time, I finally asked kiddo, “So what are your thoughts?”

Kiddo, age four, says, “Other kids should read it, that’s my thought!  But how about we put it where people can’t find it. So no one can tear it up.”

I think she was missing the point of the conversation.  We started talking about the illustrations and what she thought.  She likes the pictures, but thinks they got the font “mixed up.”  I think the font is appropriately cute, but she’s learning to read and I think some of the swirly snail words were hard for her to recognize.

The book, however, is wonderful.  The rhymes are fun, the pictures are fun.  It’s all about adventure, having courage, and taking care of your friends.  It’s definitely a great gift book for any little one, no matter what season.

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Oh The Holidays of April…

April 20, 2014 at 11:12 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

4-20, Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, Spring Equinox, Earth Day (on the 22nd)… so many things to celebrate.  Today, we hid from them all and took to the woods after doing some spring cleaning and moving of furniture.

So as we practiced the catechism (“Who made you?” “God made me.” “What else did God make?” “All things.”  And so on), we gathered wildflowers in an ‘Easter’ basket and frolicked in the sunshine.

It looked a bit like this:

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This time in the woods was refreshing, as always.  And much needed after the exciting week we had.  All day yesterday I was out celebrating Earth Day with S. Smith on her last day in Houston, while kiddo was with her Grandmom dyeing Easter eggs (a tradition I can only get behind because I love eating hard boiled eggs).

Below are pictures from the Earth Day Celebration Seed Savers Signings at HPB Humble and then HPB Montrose.

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There’s more celebrating to be had.  S.Smith will be touring San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas before she heads back to Oregon; and HPB Humble will be giving away reusable bags to the first 25 customers Tuesday morning.  Next Saturday (HPB Humble) there will also be a seed presentation by the Mercer Arboretum volunteers!

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Book Coma

December 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

Christmas tree with bookI’ve been a slacker these last few weeks.  At least it feels that way.  I am behind on my reading – but when am I not? My house is not nearly as clean as I would like it to be – since when is this news? And I’ve been doing an awful lot of just ‘hanging out.’

Just thinking about the act of doing nothing makes me cringe sometimes.  I’m a doer.  Albeit a relaxed doer, but a doer nonetheless.

Then, I realized, it’s family season.  I’m supposed to be hanging out.  Thanksgiving just passed.  It’s almost Christmas.

Plus, sometimes the reading bug is in a coma because it’s still caught up in the last book you read.

You know that one, “the book hangover.”  You can’t move on to a new title with the same level of zest because your brain keeps lulling back to old characters.  I felt that way pretty heavily after I finished reading The Hunger Games series in a two-to-three day stint.  And now, I have half a mind to re-read the book that has induced this coma… Heirloom by S.Smith.

It is not uncommon to find me looking something like this... and my house does look something like that.

It is not uncommon to find me looking something like this… and my house does look something like that.

How appropriate that in this season of friends and family, Heirloom has such a gloriously familial title.

There’s just nothing more appropriate in the holiday season than a search for a missing father.  Questions that rise up in every little girl’s heart, whether her father is present or missing are subtly addressed in Smith’s book as Lily asks, “Do you think my father will like me?”

Of course, another character responds, you’re his daughter so he loves you.

Little girls just can’t hear that enough.

Then as Lily finally (*spoilers*) makes her way home, I just want to bask in the hominess of it all.  I’ve been lurking around in a Seed Savers hominess fog for weeks.  In my impatience I want to scream, “When do I get a copy of Keeper!?”

My only response is the last page of Heirloom, “Keeper, Coming in 2014.”

2014 cannot get here fast enough.

heirloom cover

If you haven’t purchased your copy of Seed Savers: Heirloom, please do so by clicking the link with the title.

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Happy Homey Holidays

December 19, 2012 at 4:47 am (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , )

Silhouette

I am currently reading A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, I thought it would be a nice holiday book that has nothing to do with the holidays.  Instead, it’s about the warmth of family and the joys of a well-used kitchen.  However, I’m not very far into it, and that’s not really what this post is about.

I adore homey, cozy things.  A thick homemade quilt, a pie, a dog, a cup of coffee, a good book (like the one mentioned above), these are all things that make my home feel like the kind of home I want people to remember.  A big part of my home, too, is Scentsy.

I adore Scentsy mostly because candles got way too expensive for how quickly I go through them, and a wickless candle lasts much, much longer.  There’s all the familiar smells: Hazelnut Latte, Baked Apple Pie, the usual suspects in my candle purchases, but instead of a $5 candle that lasts a few days, I can get a $5 bar of wax that lasts months.

I’m sharing this with you for several reasons:

1. It has truly helped me maintain an affordable good smelling home.  Glade plugins and candles were becoming way too much in this economy, and my house smelling good is too high of a priority (for me with 3 dogs and a kid) to just stop buying those kinds of things that help me feel relaxed.  Although those old school gel cones from Wally World are awesome, I also like being able to have my things out in sight of visitors, something that produces ambiance.

2. It is Christmas and they make great gifts.  Order online and get it shipped straight to the intended person.

3. Money is much tighter than usual, and being a stay at home Mom/ part time Event Coordinator/ Writer/ Scentsy Consultant /Kung Fu Instructor without a solid and dependable source of income of my own, I could really use the cash.  Ha! There, I said it, this post is in part a ploy to get you to open your wallet.

So all pride aside, I present in a link  My Scentsy Site and offer a heartfelt thank you to my followers for reading my blog, whether you are a Scentsy shopper or not, I truly appreciate you all and hope you’ll forgive my groveling.

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Cyber Monday

November 26, 2012 at 5:05 am (Events) (, , , , , , )

If you plan to do your Holiday Shopping at Amazon.com, I would appreciate it if you would kindly Click Here.  Thanks!

If Scentsy products are on your list of needs or wants, please shop: https://akklemm.scentsy.us/Scentsy/Home

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Dickens on the Strand is Coming Up!

November 24, 2012 at 2:54 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Do you have tickets yet?  If not, win some at Half Price Books in Humble!

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Falling Back with Scentsy

September 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm (The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

It is a bit silly that during the time of the year when money is the tightest for my family, I feel highly unmotivated to push my Scentsy products.  Mostly because I have few summer scents that inspire me.  Just Breathe is heavenly and Pixie and Cerise are both a bit like crack in that you start sniffing them and you just can’t stop.  But for the rest, eh, they aren’t my cup of tea.

Fall and Winter on the other hand is divine.  So divine, in fact, that before last year’s Fall/Winter catalogue expired, I found myself stocking up on Honey Pear Cider bars and Cozy Fireside room sprays.  As my best friend will tell you, ‘the house always smells like cinnamon and food.’

Well, now they are back.  Caramel Pear Crisp, Clove and Cinnamon, Cinnamon Pear.  Check out the catalog: https://akklemm.scentsy.us/Scentsy/Browse

I am a little sad that last year’s December Scent of the Month did not return (Comfort and Joy), I uncharacteristically adored it and warmed in 24-7 until I was all out.  For some reason a lot of people thought it smelled like soap.  I thought it smelled like a clean Christmas morning.

With or Without Comfort and Joy this season, know that the Scentsy pairings will be back for fall.  I’ve been warming Weathered Leather for almost every book I’ve read this summer, but it will soon change!  Expect to know what smells are tickling my nose.

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Reason for the Season?

December 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm (In So Many Words, The Whim) (, , , , , )

I’m not a big fan of Christmas.  I hate the consumerism, I hate the blow up creepy Santa Clause’s in people’s yards.  Oh, also, I’m a Christian. That being said,

Nothing chaps my hide more than hearing fellow Christians tell me: “Remember the reason for the season!”

The reason for the season, if they looked a bit closer into history was to help aid in the conversion of pagans who already celebrated December 25th, Yule, Mother’s Night, Winter Solstice (whatever you wish to call it) with carnivals, gifts, food, and lots of hooplala.  The theory was to keep the month of partying and give the holiday Christian symbolism  so that they would not feel such a loss of fun when they converted.

For instance, mistletoe was a plant collected by Druids to ward off witch craft and protect the carrier, pretty much an all around healer.  Now, we use it as an excuse to kiss people in doorways.  Either way, it has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with “Christmas” or Winter Solstice Celebrations.

Now, with all that being said, I don’t mind that Christians today use it to celebrate the birth of Christ.  I think the birth of Christ should be celebrated.  But don’t tell me to remember the reason for the season when the season existed long before this particular reason.  If you want to celebrate the birth of Christ without the consumerism and drunken partying – don’t overlap it on a holiday that was created thousands of years ago for that exact purpose.  Pick a different day and celebrate it with all your reasons in tact and no distractions.

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