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Monday, August 25, 2014

it's a girl!!!!

Let me introduce you to our newest member of the family, Dingo!!! She's an Australian Shepherd mix with perhaps some Collie (hence the stubby legs) and maybe some other, smaller dog. 

The boys first fell in love with Dingo at summer camp, where they host rescue dogs from the Milo Foundation in Northern California. 



We decided to adopt her, and although she was ours on paper, she stayed up at camp for seven more weeks to play with the other kids. I think it was a great decision as she is so social and friendly. She loves playing with people, with toys, with balls, with books (uh oh, I have a lot of those).


We are crate training her and the potty training is coming along in baby steps. 


This pet shark (inspired by shark week) is her favorite:



We wondered (and worried) about how Reba - our 11 year old terrier mix - would get along with her. At first Reba was non-plussed.


But last night, I caught them cuddled on the same dog bed - albeit, Reba constructed a barrier of stuffed animals in between the two of them. 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

summer on the farm

In June, I went up north sans kids to help out with the art program at Plantation Farm Camp - a most beloved place in northern California. I first began as an eight-year-old camper here thirty years ago! I ended up staying til I was fifteen and then returning as a seventeen-year-old and working there until I was twenty-five. The kids have been to their family camp for four years and this summer, Mr. P. was old enough to be a real live sleep away camper. 

But of course I followed him to camp. I helped out with the art program (I bunked on the opposite side of the farm) and Doodle was able to participate as a day camper and bunked with me at night. 

Here are some photos from our adventure!!!












It was so fun seeing them in such a rustic environment - away from the city and electronics. They loved milking cows, training the puppies (more on that front later this week!), creating archery targets, writing and staring in a drama, pottery, shucking corn, making new friends….it was all such a great experience!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

summer reading 2014

While I haven't been blogging a whole lot this summer, I have been reading! Because I spend so much time with the kids over the summer, I don't get a lot of writing done, but as long as I have a book with me everywhere I go, I can sneak in reading!! I tend to gravitate towards fast, summer reads over the summer. So, here's what I've been gobbling up! I've starred the ones I really liked. The synopses come from Amazon. 



*A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

"Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption."


*The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai

"Meet the Devohrs: Zee, a Marxist literary scholar who detests her parents’ wealth but nevertheless finds herself living in their carriage house; Gracie, her mother, who claims she can tell your lot in life by looking at your teeth; and Bruce, her step-father, stockpiling supplies for the Y2K apocalypse and perpetually late for his tee time. Then there’s Violet Devohr, Zee’s great-grandmother, who they say took her own life somewhere in the vast house, and whose massive oil portrait still hangs in the dining room.

Violet’s portrait was known to terrify the artists who resided at the house from the 1920s to the 1950s, when it served as the Laurelfield Arts Colony—and this is exactly the period Zee’s husband, Doug, is interested in. An out-of-work academic whose only hope of a future position is securing a book deal, Doug is stalled on his biography of the poet Edwin Parfitt, once in residence at the colony. All he needs to get the book back on track—besides some motivation and self-esteem—is access to the colony records, rotting away in the attic for decades. But when Doug begins to poke around where he shouldn’t, he finds Gracie guards the files with a strange ferocity, raising questions about what she might be hiding. The secrets of the hundred-year house would turn everything Doug and Zee think they know about her family on its head—that is, if they were to ever uncover them.

In this brilliantly conceived, ambitious, and deeply rewarding novel, Rebecca Makkai unfolds a generational saga in reverse, leading the reader back in time on a literary scavenger hunt as we seek to uncover the truth about these strange people and this mysterious house. With intelligence and humor, a daring narrative approach, and a lovingly satirical voice, Rebecca Makkai has crafted an unforgettable novel about family, fate and the incredible surprises life can offer."




Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty 

"Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
 
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive."



*We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.




The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe

"An astonishing debut about friendships made in youth, The Girls from Corona del Mar is a fiercely beautiful novel about how these bonds, challenged by loss, illness, parenthood, and distance, either break or endure.

Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends: hard-hearted Mia and untouchably beautiful, kind Lorrie Ann. While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregnancy at fifteen, and younger brothers she loves but can’t quite be good to, Lorrie Ann is luminous, surrounded by her close-knit family, immune to the mistakes that mar her best friend’s life. Then a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall further—and there is nothing Mia can do to help. And as good, brave, fair Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is, and what that question means about them both. 

A staggeringly honest, deeply felt novel of family, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship, The Girls from Corona del Mar asks just how well we know those we love, what we owe our children, and who we are without our friends."



The One and Only by Emily Giffin

"Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.
 
But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.
 
Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living."



*The Vacationers by Emma Straub

"An irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca.

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole."



If I Stay by Gayle Forman

"In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Now a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time"




*The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


"A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.
This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real…"


*California by Edan Lepucki

"The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant. 

Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.

A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, Californiaimagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love."

Friday, August 15, 2014

super healthy kids

I know, I know. I am horrible at this blogging thing over the summer. With mere moments free with my thoughts, I just can't pull it together to post! Two more weeks and then I'm back. I promise! In the meantime, I recently discovered this website, Super Healthy Kids, aimed at getting our kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. Since I'm trying to add more to my life as well, I thought I'd check it out! It has tons of great recipes and lunch ideas and ways to make food fun! 



Check it out!

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Kitchen Cure 2014

It's time once again for The Kitchn's Kitchen Cure! I signed up last year and boy, what a difference it made in my kitchen! Sign up and you'll get tips and schedule that will clear out and clean up your kitchen over a four-week period and get you ready for some fall cooking! 

Who wouldn't want that??