Dancing Princesses


July 24, 2014

This, friends, is what summer is all about. Dancing in fancy dresses in the backyard. (Neon painted toes optional but highly suggested.)

A Whole Lotta Darcy


July 22, 2014

Blogging is a funny thing. I was going to do a post on this really adorable book of fairy tales from India, and I still will, but I was placing a hold at the library for a sequel to 'Pride & Prejudice' that I had heard about, and the topic was in my head in the first place because now that we've finished watching 'The Wire' (we're in heavy mourning), I'm making Andrew watch the Colin Firth version of 'Pride & Prejudice' and watching him watch the show (he's never seen it!) is pretty much the funniest thing IN THE WORLD, and I got started looking up 'P&P' book sequels and went down a huge rabbit hole, and THAT WAS THE LONGEST SENTENCE EVER.

So apparently I'm just not remotely cool enough to pretend to be French, like at all. I'll give it one more stab before summer's over. I'm just a died-in-the-wool faux Brit. (don't forget Scandi and Japanese! but my SOUL is Brit.)

And did you have any clue there was this much spin-off action to 'P&P' by Jane Austen????? I mean, I guess I did, but I didn't really. What I've shown you here......only the tip of the iceberg my friends. And here's another funny thing.....most of the titles have 'Mr. Darcy' or 'Darcy' somewhere in the title. I guess we know who the big draw is with these books, eh? Mr. Scowly-Face FITZWILLIAM DARCY, that's who.

So if you fancy a little more elaboration into the relationship between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, here's some material to keep you occupied for awhile.....

1) 'Darcy & Elizabeth, A Season of Courtship' by Sharon Lathan, gives a new spin to the time period between failed marriage proposal #1 and successful marriage proposal #2 from the original story.

2) 'Mr. Darcy's Diary' by Amanda Grange is a classic amongst Austen fan fiction novels. This one outlines all of Mr. Darcy's Most Secret Thoughts & Heartfelt Yearnings, as he falls in love with Elizabeth, which he oh so helpfully writes down in his diary. Because hey, Darcy can be a diary inscriber AND be manly, yo.

3) 'Mr. Darcy's Refuge' by Abigail Reynolds is also highly regarded in the pantheon of Elizabeth-Darcy continuing romance books. This one is described as a 'variation' tale of the original story, in which Elizabeth and Darcy have to work together to stem a flooding river that threatens to engulf the town of Hunsford. What the what? Ok.

4) 'An Assembly Such as This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy' by Pamela Aiden is another from-the-perspective-of-Darcy books. Now that there's a mouthful of a title! There's more backstory thrown at Georgianna and Wickham's previous dealings with one another, as well as more of the internal thought process behind Darcy's initially unwilling attraction to Elizabeth.

5) 'Mr. Darcy's Daughters' by Elizabeth Aston is a book I own and read years ago. It's set 20 years after Darcy and Elizabeth's marriage, and they now have five daughters of their own. This one's all about the travails and romantic tribulations of his various daughters, and I recall that it was very fun and cute.

6) And I've saved the best (?????) for last. 'Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife' by Linda Berdoll is supposedly a rolicking jaunt through the early married life of Elizabeth and Darcy. Apparently their wedding night is described in *cough* explicit, yet Austen-eque detail. Um, this I have to read. If you think this sounds offensive in any way, you might want to steer clear, but I for one think it's probably a hysterically entertaining must-read, ha ha ha!

HAVE FUN, Darcy lovers! You're TOTALLY WELCOME! (for the record, my husband Andrew thinks that Darcy has some kind of social functioning disorder and does not even remotely understand the appeal. I think he's just jealous.)

(this post contains Amazon affiliate links)

27 & 28/52


July 20, 2014

(a portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week in 2014)

 Julia: hula hoopin' and blasting bubbles with something called 'Amazing Bubbles'. Some kid at a BBQ had this and Julia and the rest of the kids quickly discovered that the REAL fun was in using the bubble blower to shred dry, fallen leaves.

Oh and let's just throw in a few more. These pix are from the same week, so I really shouldn't be cheating and using pix from the same day, but I realized I was WAY behind, I'm supposed to be on Week 29, I think I majorly messed up my counting somewhere.

Aside from a week of very hot (for us) weather, near 90 ~ it's been a great summer thus far for the little missy. I had these ambitious plans that we'd embark on these fun summer learning units....well THAT never happened. We're watching movies and negotiating how many different kinds of treats we can fit into a day instead. I'd make a terrible homeschooler! Ah well.

Ok, 'My Doctor & Me ABC' giveaway news! We had two copies to give away, and according to that number gizmo thingamabob at random.org, the winners are Dena and Whitney!! Congrats guys!! Your littles are going to LOVE this book!

Cool Stuff I Like


July 18, 2014

Happy Friday everybody! That amazing bowl is not mine, so don't ask me about it!!! I know, I want it too. And I forgot to ask the host of the bbq we attended from whence this beauty of a bowl came. Oh well. Let's admire it all together shall we? And those blueberries.....that's really the color! In fact I decreased the color saturation TWICE on this pic, and they were still that vividly hued. Or should I say, vividly blued? Ha ha ha. Apparently the bowl owner picked them fresh.

So happy to be back sharing things I found in internetland with you!

Did you all have a chance to enter 'The Doctor and Me ABC' giveaway?? You do not want to miss a chance at this adorable book!

Simple Summer Pastas.

Summer uniforms.

Just saw 'Shrek the Musical' on Netflix and it was amazing, I liked it better than the original movie!

Tiny little game sets from Djeco.

I need me some of this action right now, I'm covered in skeeter bites.

Blondies, yo.

REALLY have been hankering (yes, hankering) to read this book for awhile.

I had a major Blistex addiction for about two decades, and now I'm totally going to find this lip balm.

Sleepover Mad Libs. (Julia would LOVE)

Lately I've been especially loving The Black Apple site ~ it reminds me a treasure trunk of magic found in an old enchanting attic.....

Cool Book of the Week: And speaking of the Black Apple site, artist Emily Winfield Martin has a new picture book coming out this fall, and I'm sure it will be every bit as amazing as her other creations. 'Day Dreamers' details the fantastical reveries one can create when imagination is set free. Emily's books are pretty much the most gorgeous things you will ever lay eyes on! Keep-forever, give-as-gifts special.

Have a lovely weekend! I've been busy with photos! I've been doing family sessions, headshots, and I also did my first high school senior photo shoot, which was amazingly fun. And.......I was tapped to photograph a small wedding this fall ~ I'm very nervous and excited about that one. Also, after many moons, I finally have business cards ordered. Now I can be 'that-person' who hands out business cards you don't want! If you haven't already, come visit my photo work here and on Facebook.


My Doctor & Me ABC Giveaway!


July 16, 2014

MY FRIENDS!!! I'm really excited to oh so proudly share my very first sponsored post, which was created in partnership with Dr. Stephanie Cox, the author of the utterly charming and darling book, 'My Doctor and Me ABC'. And not only do I have a fun interview with Dr. Cox to share about kids' health, she's provided not one, but two, of her books to give away today!

I first asked Stephanie about what prompted her to create a children's book about visiting the doctor. (oh how I wish I had had this book in my hands when Julia was a tiny tot or preschooler/kindergartner!)

"The book evolved over about two years time - as a mom I've been reading to my kids since they were babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics just came out with a position statement on reading during infancy - (here's a link to a news report on the issue) - and as a family physician I've been telling parents of my pediatric patients to read daily to their babies, toddlers, children.  So I decided it would be fun to write a book to help foster a lifelong love of reading and learning. 

I decided to use an ABC format, as it would be age appropriate for my target audience, the preschool/early elementary age.  I've found that there are basically 2 types of kids that come into the office: the ones that are frightened and don't want to be there, and the ones that are really interested in what you are doing (they want to use all the equipment, they ask a lot of questions).  So I wanted to help both types - give the one group comforting knowledge about what we do in the doctor's office, so they would feel better prepared and more at ease when they arrive for their visit. For the other group, I wanted to give them fun and exciting knowledge about the human body and medicine.

 And for all kids I just wanted to get them on the right path to lifelong great health, so the book is sprinkled with tips on how to be healthy!  It was fun but challenging to come up with age appropriate medical terms that kids could relate to, and then pair them with fun and educational rhymes.  I kept a pad of paper next to my bed, because sometimes I would wake up in the middle night with a rhyme and would write it down so I wouldn't forget it.

My 11 year old has a VSD (a small hole in his heart) and we've spent a fair amount of time at the cardiologist's office, so I know what it's like to be on the parent/patient side of health care. But thankfully he's doing great, we've been very fortunate so far."

How did you find the delightful artistic talents of Emily Burger, whose happy and adorable illustrations so perfectly complement the ABC rhymes found in the book?

"I was talking about the book at my office, and a friend and co-worker of 10 years mentioned Emily. (Emily's mom had worked at the front desk of my office at one point.) So we got together and I showed Emily the manuscript, and then she e-mailed me a sample page - it was the 'A is for abdomen' page - it was so cute, I fell in love instantly."

Besides reading your adorable book, what are some ways that parents can ease any fears, potential or actual, that their kids may have in regards to seeing their doctor?

"I think that if parents are open and honest with their kids - 'yes, you may need a shot today but it helps keep you healthy,' and keep the lines of communication open....that can help decrease the fear level. Don't blindside them with a visit to the doctor's office; let them know ahead of time. Letting kids know that everyone goes (or should go!) to the doctor, both kids and adults, and that it's an important part of staying healthy, helps them understand that it is just something that we all do to live a long and healthy life.  Don't use going to the doctor as a punishment, or at least getting vaccines - I've heard more than one parent say, 'If you don't behave I'll have the doctor give you a shot.'

Personally, I always try to address the children and get them engaged in the conversation/visit rather than just talking to their parents.  Getting the kids involved and really listening to what they have to say helps put them at ease.  While it's generally faster to get the answers from the adults, talking directly with the kids let's them know that they are the most important person in the room."

So Stephanie, of course I have to ask what your three kids are reading.....

"I have an 11 year-old boy currently reading the Alex Rider books, he generally likes adventure books and sports books. 

My 9 year-old has discovered the Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder series. What 9 year old boy wouldn't like books about farts! (AWESOME! ~ Melissa)  It's actually my fault, I got the first book in the series for Christmas last year, and he also likes Geronimo Stilton books.

And my 6 year-old daughter would sit and listen to anything; she just loves to read and to be read to.  We've started the Rescue Princesses series - I really like to read books with her that have strong female characters that encourage science, math, friendship, being brave, athleticism, etc., rather than books that steer girls towards all glitz and glamour. I feel there is enough of that in society as it is, and I want my daughter to know that she can do anything she wants to.  I want to foster her interest in all sorts of things so we try to mix up what we read."

Stephanie, if there is one piece of advice you could share with parents about their children coming to the doctor, what would it be?

"I think that the best advice is to try to keep it a positive experience, let them know that they are going to the doctor's office for a well child visit, sick visit (whatever the visit may be) and let them know that the doctor is on their team, working to help keep them healthy."

THANK YOU Stephanie!! For the interview and your delightful book! You can also check out Dr. Cox's 'My Doctor and Me ABC' Facebook page for more tips on helpful medical or social issues regarding kids' health, diet, activity, and new recommendations (i.e. reading, seat belts, etc).

My friends, I've got TWO of Dr. Stephanie's marvelous 'My Doctor and Me ABC' books to give away today ~ just leave a comment down below before midnight on Saturday the 19th, Pacific time, and I'll announce two winners on Sunday, July 20!

~the giveaway is now closed~

(this post contains Amazon affiliate links)

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