Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Review: All People's Lives Matter

All People Lives MatterAll People Lives Matter by Billy McCoy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holly is a 20 year old liberal student who joins the All People Lives Matter Movement as a matter of course - she’s destined to change the world after all. Unfortunately, the world she was destined to change was completely foreign and unintelligible to her, and she did not realize that until it was far too late…

I picked up this with interest, as the title was certainly an allusion to the Black Lives Matter movement, and I wanted to know the author’s take on it. I lived roughly 10 - 15 minutes away from Ferguson, MO, during the Michael Brown shooting, and watched both local and national media (and the stark difference between the two) unfold during that time. I am a Missouri girl, and the state of race relations here really saddens me, especially as they have probably devolved since that incident rather than improved. I really enjoyed how the vignettes in this book explored some of the ways racism is structural in the systems we rely upon, rather than the blatant racism most of us assume, because that is a huge part of the issue in the STL metro area, in my humble opinion, and that is not easily illustrated without a lot of complicated historical and economical information. Hopefully stories like these of Holly and some others in the greater Minneapolis area, while fictional, can illustrate to people exactly how racism can affect even when it’s not overt.


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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

FREE Ecourse to Teach Kids Knife Skills!

I found author Katie Kimball through the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle 2016, and I will be reviewing her book Kids Cook Real Food Recipe Book soon, but I had to tell you about this FREE ecourse...to teach kids knife skills!  

 
It's only available for the next two weeks, then it gets locked away in the vault. This is something that terrifies me as a mother but I know it has to be done. I'm looking forward to seeing how my kids take to it, and then forcing them to help me cook :) Check out the video below for the description of the course, text is below if you can't play the video.  Feel free to comment with how you liked the course!
 
Imagine your kids eating vegetables, helping prep for dinner, and making breakfast for you while you sip your coffee. Working with food encourages kids to try new things, but fruits and vegetables almost always require knives...
Does the idea of letting your kids use knives make you squeamish? Let a trained teacher bring knife skills and safety to your children in the comfort of your own home.
For two weeks only, you can get 3 free classes from the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. Watch one with your kids like a regular class and polish your own skills with the other two (they're just for adults). 
What you'll learn in these short videos:
  • Basic knife skills and techniques for kids age two to teen
  • Mastery of the three safe ways to hold food while cutting
  • How child development impacts your child's readiness to learn new skills
  • The #1 mistake that destroys your chance of enjoying time in the kitchen with your kids
  • A tested 3-step process for teaching kids in the kitchen so young cooks learn basic skills the right way
They'll all disappear back into the course on June 6, so sign up now and plan a day to work with your kids in the kitchen - you'll be amazed at what they can do! 
The 3 videos are:
  1. Knife Skills Training for Kids
  2. Adult Tips: Challenges You Might Encounter
  3. The Biggest Mistake Parents Make


COURSE SKILLS TAUGHT
Here’s a little list of what is covered in the course:
BEGINNER 
  • Carrying glass dishes to serve
  • Spreading
  • Peeling vegetables
  • Slicing with a dull knife
  • Dull knife cross hatch pattern
  • Measuring ingredients - spoons and cups
  • Blending spice mixes
  • Soaking dry beans
  • Careful Pouring
  • Making a salad
  • Working with dough
  • Peeling hard-boiled eggs
INTERMEDIATE 
  • Setting the table
  • Making homemade salad dressings
  • Introduction to sharp knives
  • Cracking eggs
  • Mixing simple recipes independently
  • Cooking rice
  • Stovetop safety
  • Flipping pancakes
  • Rolling dough
  • Browning ground beef
ADVANCED 
  • Sautéing vegetables
  • Using a small appliance (food processor taught)
  • Sharp knife skills, levels 1-4 (straight vegetables, peppers, onions, melons, apples)
  • Crushing garlic
  • Making a white sauce/cheese sauce
  • Oven safety
  • Cooking eggs
  • Steaming vegetables
  • Cooking dry beans
  • Washing the table

 

REVIEWER TESTIMONIALS
  • “My kids (ages 8, 10) absolutely love it! It has even helped my picky eater want to try new foods. We have multiple food allergies in our home and try to cook only real food already, but I didn't know how to teach my kids the techniques. I am learning so much too!”
  • “You laid everything out so well that we had a GREAT laid back experience at the stove with FIRE. Who would have thought?!?! SO THANKFUL for this.”
  • “Since my daughter is helping with making the seasonings, she now doesn't hate ranch dressing and taco seasoning!!! woohoo! Its as though making it herself changes it.”
  • “I loved the practice the boys got on those basic kitchen skills. They were both excited that they're on their way to being able to cook on their own. My 7-year-old was like, “Now I can follow any recipe and cook anything!’”
  • “Actually, it was the best time I've had in the kitchen with my kids for a long time!”
  • “As soon as I started [the adult video], I don't even know how the kids knew, but they were swarming like bees. They love this cooking class!”
  • “I LOVE that this lesson enabled my daughter to make a dinner that the whole family enjoyed - the rice was amazingly delicious!”


Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Review: High Hopes

High HopesHigh Hopes by Sue Lilley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grace had always been unlucky in love, although successful in many other areas of her life. When her ex-husband moved to New York for a year she took solace at Penrowan, the home of her two best college friends. The problem is she also brings with her a secret that could tear Sam and Dixie’s marriage apart. Will she be able to tell them about the baby she placed for adoption all those years ago?

As I work for an adoption agency (www.agiftofhopeadoptions.com) stories from the birth parent perspective, especially search and reunion stories, always intrigue me. Adoption in general is much more open than it used to be, often with children growing up knowing who their birth parents are and where they are, but that is recent enough that there are still lots of birth parents and adoptees who have not reconnected. What I liked about this story was the whole family coming together around the idea of being there for the adoptee, despite the drama. At the end the focus was children, which is exactly the whole point. I know that the adoption was kind of a vehicle for the romance, but honestly I appreciated how it was discussed and that ultimately Grace was at peace with her decision, even with the difficulty. I hope it’s discussed in this way more!


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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book Review: Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall


Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Barra has always been a natural explorer, but finding her dead father’s secret journal may send her on a journey from which she can’t return. Will her fall help her save her tree and everyone in it? Or will the deadly rot that no one seems to understand destroy them all? Can she finish her father’s story, and avert the fate he warned the Elders about? Follow Barra and her two best friends on a journey through the floating treescape of Cerulean as they try to discover the way to fight the rot for good.

Sunborn Rising is a fantasy tale of a society that lives in a tree that, ironically, has forgotten its roots. The imagery and social engineering of the story felt like Fern Gully meets Avatar, and the writing draws you in much the same way. I also loved the illustrations, which really made the characters and setting come alive in a coherent way, and lended a context to the reader’s imagination as the plot unfolds. This book is sure to please the YA set and fantasy connoisseurs alike.


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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book Review: The Great Pretender: Confessions of a Semi-Incorrigible Southern Catholic Boy

The Great Pretender Image
The Great Pretender: Confessions of a Semi-Incorrigible Southern Catholic Boy by Robert R. Randall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Johnny Malloy is just a typical Catholic kid growing up in the Deep South during the 40s and 50s, but he never quite feels like he fits in. While he struggles with typical kid/teenage things like girls, school and money, as well as some deeper issues like discovering his father is actually his step father and that he and his close friends all have a dark, common link, he can never quite shake the notion that he is not meant to stay in Meridian, MS. Will he decide to enlist or head to CA or NY to chase his musical dreams?

The Great Pretender works well as a memoir, more than a novel in my opinion, and there were some writing quirks that started to annoy me, such as the overuse of the adjectives “embryonic” and “incorrigible.” But I did love the description of the time, and some of the honesty about reality of the atmosphere in the Deep South during the 40s/50s. I would have liked some more in depth self analyzing on why Johnny felt so different, as it was constantly mentioned but never explained even after obvious links such as his step father’s alcoholism. It is still a wonderful glimpse into that time, which Iove, as there is just something about living history stories that pulls you in. If you enjoy reading modern history this will enthrall you as you sink into the post WW2 South.


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Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Free Comic Book Day 2016


Free comic book day 2016

Did you know the first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day? I love ebooks of course, but I'm all for any book in your arsenal that can get kids (or adults!) into reading. Free Comic Book Day events are held all over the country, so put in your zip code to find one near you! Don't believe me?



Well look, Alan Tudyk agrees with me. So there. 

Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Book Review: Tiago

Tiago (A Kurupira Romance #1)Tiago by Reily Garrett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Brielle has just witnessed the brutal mother of her mother, and received cryptic instructions from her right before she died. Brielle and her mom have always loved traveling the Amazon together, but why is it so critical for her to go now? How is her destiny wrapped up in the jungle? And who is the strange, glowing protector she finds there?

I have read other Reily Garrett books before, and while those were YA this is definitely a more adult romance, including sex. Disclaimer aside, if you like supernatural/paranormal romance this book fits well with Garrett’s succinct but deliberate style that unfolds a story into an adventure. Like her other books, I actually thought the book could have used a little bit more leading and tension rather than such a quick resolution, but it was still a great quick read, perfect for a beach book or surviving the airport.


View all my reviews Please note, while there may be affiliate links or payment for reviews, all opinions are my own. You can't buy a good review from me, people. I am way too mouthy for that.