The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

Top Ten Tuesday #95: Ten Facts About Me July 12, 2016

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Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Facts About Me

  1. I’m a photographer. I love photography. I really should get off my butt and shoot more photography!
  2. I wanted to get a PhD in French and work as an interpreter for the UN or State Department when I was in high school.
  3. My internet on campus was frozen once when I was researching the Iranian nuclear program for a Model UN assignment. I’m probably still on some watch list for that assignment too haha!
  4. I’m a history glutton. I love studying history. There is so much to be learned from the past to help shape our future.
  5. My favourite colours are cerulean and emerald green.
  6. I hated reading as a child. I liked when people read to me, but I hated reading for myself.
  7. I used to tell people my name was Kimberly cause I wanted to be the Pink Power Ranger so badly.
  8. I’ve been to Europe three times, and want to go back. I love Edinburgh, Paris, London, and Rome.
  9. I want to live on a farm, but I don’t want to work on a farm. I also like living close to town.
  10. Being a mom has been the biggest blessing I never knew I couldn’t live without.

 

Tell me about yourself!

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Flashback Friday #5: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare September 12, 2014

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 8 May 2012
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: hardcover, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book five of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:
The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues—and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon.

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

My thoughts:

The reread binge has come to an end for The Mortal Instruments. I ended up forcing myself to take my time with City of Lost Souls because I ended up reading through the series faster than I anticipated. I would’ve started with The Infernal Devices if I had known I’d be able to breeze through soquickly. I still have to say I don’t like Sebastian as an adversary. I still prefer Valentine. Sebastian feels too evil to be believable. The action surrounding him in City of Lost Souls is better than in City of Fallen Angels. The first read, I had a sense of maybe things could’ve changed just like Clary. My second read, I could see that he’s too evil to be redeemed. This time around, I feel like the quest to save Jace is too drawn out. Some of the adventures of Jace, Clary, and Sebastian are too much of page fillers. Also the change in Jace is so drastic, he becomes unlikable for me. A brave move by Clare, but one I wish hadn’t happened. I also feel that Isabelle is abit out of character. I think it works nicely though because she’s never felt the way she does about Simon. That first rush of love is always unsettling even for someone as sure and confident as Izzy. I love that Jordan and Maia are working through their issues. They are easily my favourite couple in this book. I wish we’d gotten to see more of Luke and Jocelyn’s romance. Not delving into it makes me fear for their safety in City of Heavenly Fire. Why put so much work into something you’re going to destroy? The relationship between Clary and Sebastian truly makes my skin crawl. He is definitely one character I absolutely despise. Not just dislike, but outright hatred. I still feel the first trilogy half is the stronger of the two trilogies in this series. City of Lost Souls is stronger than City of Fallen Angels, but I still feel like it’s filler to set up for the epic showdown in City of Heavenly Fire. I have a feeling Jace has a larger role with the heavenly fire part. There is definitely action and unexpected twists which were incredible the first read, but not as thrilling the second time around. I can understand the beating a dead horse feel with more and more books being cranked out in this universe. I’ve already ordered City of Heavenly Fire. I think I will  borrow the next series before deciding to buy it. Hopefully, it will be more on the level of The Infernal Devices and first half of The Mortal Instruments. The more I think about it, the more I feel the second trilogy hasn’t been as well executed.

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

http://www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

http://www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

Tot Time Thursday #4: What We’ve Been Up To Lately July 31, 2014

“Tot Time Thursday” is a bi-weekly event hosted by Punk & Bug, here, on The Whimsical Mama. They showcase some of their favourite children’s books. This week’s book is: not actually a book! HA!

 

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve not posted much the last two weeks. Last week was because I was doing all the things before Punk’s very belated birthday party. This week. Well. That’s the point of this post! My mom and her boyfriend, David, got the kiddos a subscription to Little Passports: World Edition as part of Punk’s birthday present. OMG. I’m so excited. They still don’t know about it. (: I’m waiting to surprise them! In anticipation of that, my old obsession with sewing and quiet books kicked up again! I’ve made a few quiet book pages for the kiddos in the past few years. I’ve just never gotten around to finishing it. That’s changing now! If you have kiddos &/have kiddos in your family and you like to sew, you simply MUST check out Imagine Our Life. Stephanie is brilliant. Cause I’m in the middle of a million and one projects, I’m going to use her images to show you what I’m making/going to make! (The images are the property of Stephanie. I’ve linked back to her original posts, just click on the picture!)

 

First up is the mailbox.  Punk and Bug get a book each month from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library so they love mail as it is. Now that they’ll be getting letters with their Little Passports subscription, I wanted something to make it even more special that it’s JUST for THEM. I remembered that Stephanie had done a Valentine’s Day mail set. That started project one! I only did the mailbox, but here’s a look at what the full set would look like based off of Stephanie’s!

Amazing isn’t it? Our mail box is tan. Once it was finished and showed it to the kiddos, Bug clapped and Punk kept asking if he had mail yet. So. If anyone would like to write them letters, email me and I’ll get you our address! You will get original works of art back! (:

 

The second part is extremely ambitious and I haven’t started it yet because I don’t have enough felt. Hubby laughs, but seriously. Just like books, I don’t have enough felt. Anyway. Since they’re expecting the World Edition of Little Passports, I remembered Stephanie also did a world quiet book. YES! Now. I have to say. I’m currently planning on only doing the continents. I’m not sure I’m gutsy enough to attempt the animals and landmarks. We’ll see how well my current project turns out! Without further ado: The first thing they’ll get from Little Passports is an adventure set with a world map. So, to start, I’m going to work on an interactive map like Stephanie’s. (Hopefully) it will look something like this:

Like I said, HOPEFULLY. I should be running ALL THE ERRANDS tomorrow, so I’m hoping I can get started on the map this weekend. I’m super excited. The kiddos are excited about all the projects I have going right now too. Once I get the map underway and they get their first Little Passports mail, they get a letter with a clue about the first country they’ll get. Being the sneaky mama I am, I’ve fully investigated the Little Passports site, and know they’ll be getting Brazil first. So, I’ll be working on South America as I work on the full map!

Look at that detail! I’m not half bad at sewing, but I’m really having to work up the guts to attempt the critters.

 

If you follow me on Instagram, (no offense to anyone, but I accept very few requests as I post pictures of my kiddos and we like our privacy!) you’ll have seen a few of the pages I’ve completed this week. It’s been an audiobook and sewing like mad kind of week! I’m planning on starting to work with the kiddos a bit on their alphabet and such (at Punk’s request and I’m printing a duplicate set so Bug can “participate”) and I’m using a sort of curriculum I found on 1+1+1=1. I had thought about maybe homeschooling the kiddos cause I HATE COMMON CORE. My mom is a teacher, so yes, I have direct exposure to changes in education. I’ve done hours upon hours of research and stumbled across Carisa’s site. Back when I discovered it, Punk fell under her Tot School level. Now he’s basically preschool level. I’ve worked with him without actively working with him and he’s very smart. I’m going to do a mix of her Tot School and her Raising Rockstars Preschool programs. To go with the alphabet and theme packs, Stephanie has some quiet book pages that fit great! Here’s a look at the ones I’ve finished or have in progress currently: (again, Stephanie’s pictures, not mine. 1. I’m lazy and don’t want to hook up my phone to get the pictures. 2. Stephanie’s are brilliant and you can see what they should look like!)

Mine is not turning out anywhere near as good as I was hoping. But then again, looking at Stephanie’s I will always feel sub par! I’m currently working on this page set, so it’s strewn across my coffee table. Hoping I can get it done today!

 

This is proof I need more felt. I have ALL THE PIECES except the red of the actual firetruck cut out. Go figure, right? My two pieces of red had both been partially used. *sigh* Punk is super excited about his fire station set. Bug is excited about the Dalmatian! She growls every time she sees it. This is only part of an independent set. I plan on making the whole thing for the kiddos. This will go with our F is for Firefighter theme I’m gonna do! (:

 

 

Even though Punk knows this is a Stegosaurus, he calls it a Peekaboosaurus. He’s a goof! He’s excited for our D is for Dinosaur theme. Dinosaur Train and his plastic dinosaurs are a huge hit at our house currently! I knocked out this page in an afternoon. He’s asking for buttons on his dinosaur, so it may not be done!

It’s hard to say who is more excited for this page! They both are excited about it. Punk loves to help me in the kitchen so he thinks he’s big stuff “making” his own cookies. Bug delights in pulling them off the buttons. They were so pleased I let them pick the order the buttons went in on the cookie sheet. (: They love being mama’s helpers!

 

So this is a glimpse into what the Tots and I have been into lately and why I’ve been a bit quiet. I didn’t stay ahead of schedule like I hoped. August is a new month though! (: I have several other pages in progress, but figured this post was getting long enough. If you check out Stephanie’s quiet book section on her website, you can see what I’m planning on doing. I’ve finished several of her pages already and have a few more I’m planning on doing. I showed Bug the doll house set she has and Bug clapped her hands and said “DIS DIS DIS!” so I’m thinking I’ll be working on it for her for Christmas! (: Hope you’ve been having a great summer! (: Punk and Bug will be back “reviewing” their books in two weeks!

 

 

 

Flashback Friday #3: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare July 18, 2014

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 24 March 2009
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: paperback, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book three of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:
To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

 

My thoughts:

Re-reading binge continues with City of Glass. The action picks up shortly after the events of City of Ashes. Preparations are being made to travel to Alicante in Idris. Clary is on a mission to save her mother. Jace tries to leave Clary behind, but the determined Clary makes it anyway.

Along the way, the group comes across several new characters – all of which have an impact on the story. The most important being Sebastian – who isn’t all he seems.

They’re hurtling toward a battle with Valentine and his demon army. He’s certain his hidden followers in the Clave will ensure loyalty to him. He never expected the Clave to align with the Downworlders.

It’s clear that this was originally intended as a trilogy, but enough things are left open for the second trilogy to take place. The battle with Valentine is over, but the battle against Sebastian has only begun.

I really enjoyed getting to see even more perspective in City of Glass than City of Bones or City of Ashes. I really loved having more interaction between Alec and Magnus. I also enjoyed a closer look at Isabelle. She’s a tough warrior, but she also has her own insecurities. I found myself torn over Aline again. I like getting to see other Shadowhunters, but she also feels like an annoying character. She feels like she’s one that has to grow on you.

I will say that the length got to me this time around. Not sure why, but it felt like I was reading two books in one. It might be because I’m excited to see where everything ends up or it might be because I’m trying to remember what happens in each book.

Obviously being longer, there is much more chance for action. City of Glass definitely has highs and lows in action and slowly reveals everything that was alluded to in City of Bones and City of Ashes.

I do believe that you can read the first three books as a trilogy and not feel you have to commit to a six book series. However, I do think the events in the first three are necessary to the story for the next three. I do not see the second trilogy as standalone in their arc. They are reliant on the first three books.

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

Tot Time Thursday #3: Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses July 17, 2014

“Tot Time Thursday” is a bi-weekly event hosted by Punk & Bug, here, on The Whimsical Mama. They showcase some of their favourite children’s books. This week’s book is:

Pub date: 1 October 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s
Genre:Children’s book, picture book
Format: ebook, personal copy

Summary:

Pete the Cat is back in New York Times bestselling artist James Dean’s picture book Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses, written by Kimberly Dean. Pete the Cat wakes up feeling grumpy—nothing seems to be going his way. But with the help of some magic sunglasses, Pete learns that a good mood has been inside him all along. Fans of Pete the Cat will love watching him take his positive outlook and transform a grumpy day into an awesome day!

 

Mama’s questions & Kids’ thoughts (Punk – red, Bug – purple):

Have you ever been grumpy?

No! I be happy mama!

*shakes head*

 

Do your sunglasses make you happy?

Yeah, sunglasses make me happy!

*digs in diaper bag for sunglasses*

 

What do you do when you’re sad?

I’m not sad! I HAPPY!

*claps hands*

 

What do you do when no one wants to play?

I play!

*goes and gets a toy*

 

What makes you happy?

Pete make me happy! Big books!

*hugs mama’s leg*

 

Who are you friends?

Sissy! The boys!

*pats Sheldon*

 

This week’s Pete is one of my favourites. I love the drawings in the book. I also think this is one of the better lessons to be taught. You can always find something good in a bad day. (:

 

Flashback Friday #2: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare July 4, 2014

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!! Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!!

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 25 March 2008
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: paperback, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book two of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation

 

My thoughts:

Picking up close to where City of Bones left off, City of Ashes quickly kicks up the action and snark. City of Bones introduced us to the Shadow World and City of Ashes drives us deeper and deeper into the drama. City of Bones also mainly focused on Clary and we get the chance to see other characters have a chance to shine. We also are introduced to a wide variety of characters – Downworlders and Shadowhunters.

While the main focus is thwarting Valentine’s next move, there is a large focus on the realisation that Jace and Clary are siblings – or are they? Clary tries a relationship with Simon. Jace refuses to visit Jocelyn. They’re still attracted to each other. Emotional drama to the extreme and vague hints dropped that you have to be on the look out for or you’ll miss them!

Clary struggles with learning Valentine is her father. She clings to Luck, adamantly proclaiming that he’s always been a father to her. Not that I blame her. Luke did help raise her. He’s always been there for her. Valentine is still – well – a creepy psycho. Luke is also there for her to help her navigate the Shadow World.

Jace is forced to come to terms of the fallout from discovering Valentine, not Michael Wayland is his father. Maryse Lightwood turns against him. The Inquisitor has it out for him. Clary’s his sister. Alec’s hiding something. Simon gets turned into a vampire. All in all, it’s the pits for Jace. He keeps his snarkiness top notch though. Never fear for the snark!

Now in possession of two of the Mortal Instruments, Valentine sinks to a new low raising even more demons and slaughters children. His ego and power know no bounds. An epic battle breaks out between the Shadowhunters of New York and Valentine’s demons. Losses are heavy on both sides, but some good does come out of it.

Valentine disappears, but no one truly believes he’s dead. (The obvious mystery is well done!) The quest to prevent him from getting the third Instrument begins!

The last bomb is dropped as Clary learns there is only one person who knows how to save her mother. Just another piece in the growing puzzle.

Again, I highly recommend City of Ashes and the whole Mortal Instruments series. Onto City of Glass!

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

Tot Time Thursday #2: Pete the Cat Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean July 3, 2014

“Tot Time Thursday” is a bi-weekly event hosted by Punk & Bug, here, on The Whimsical Mama. They showcase some of their favourite children’s books. This week’s book is:

Pub date: 26 February 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s
Genre:Children’s book, picture book
Format: hardcover, via public library

Summary:

In this hilarious ‘I Can Read’ tale, Pete makes a sandwich so big that he has to share.

Mama’s questions & Kids’ thoughts (Punk – red, Bug – purple):

What do you like to eat?

Uhhh… CHICKIE! Nana bread! Nana!

Nana nana nana nana pease!

 

What’s your favourite sandwhich?

TELLA! (Nutella)

Tuh tuh tuh! (Nutella)

 

If you could eat anything, what would it be?

Popcorn!

Nana!

 

Do you like to share?

Uhhh….. nnnnn-yes?

*chatters and hands me a toy*

 

What does Pete say about sharing?

Share with friends!

*claps*

 

Would you eat Pete’s sandwich?

No! Silly Pete! I eat popcorn *munch munch munch*

*shakes her head*

 

 

 
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