Monday, August 12, 2013

Shadowhero Book Review

Ninth-grader Jared Brooks is tortured by the shadows of his life. The shadows distract him during tests, they keep him up at night, they bring out the worst in him. And they give him so much power that he almost never loses in a fight.

Sadie knows what Jared is and what he can do. When she invites him to join a group of high school students who carry out questionable tasks for the secretive Shadowcouncil, Jared begins to hope he can use the darkness inside himself for something better.

After discovering he’s a Shadowhero, Jared thinks there’s nothing he can’t do. When his brother offers him a chance to go boxing, he can’t say no. But one bad choice leads to another as Jared’s shadow takes him down a dark path.

When Sadie gets hurt, Jared must choose between the darkness offered by his shadow, or the new life that Sadie has shown him.

Every Shade does something they regret...

I read this book and I really liked it!  Bonus, the author is giving away a Kindle Fire HD to someone willing to read his book and review it on Amazon!  How cool is that?  So, go pick up an e-copy of Shadowhero on Amazon, read it and go to Jacob Dunn's website to enter the contest.  Good luck!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Homework 'Station'

 This week, my boys started school!  I quickly realized that they needed some school supplies at home (I'd sent everything to school with them and forgot to buy extras), so I headed to Walmart to pick up some colored pencils and such yesterday morning.  I found these cute little buckets for $1 each and thought they would be so cute for holding our school supplies.  So, I bought them, came home and totally rearranged my downstairs! 

Last November, I decided I want to create a homework space in our playroom upstairs and picked up a 6 ft long desk at Ikea for that purpose.  For the last 9 months, it's been a pile on spot in the upstairs and never used for homework, like I'd originally thought.  So I moved it to the dining room and I love it there!

 In the left corner, I have a magnetic whiteboard for my kids to display any art/school work they like.  Next to that, I have some wall files, one for each kid in school and folders for them to save any important school work throughout the year (journal entries, artwork, important tests, what-have-yous).  The little orange nightstand stores extra school supplies (paper, art supplies, etc.) that I either don't need on the table or that I want my cute 2 year old in the corner to not find (she ignores some furniture in our house and that's one of them).  I've got crayons, markers, scissors, glue, pens/pencils and colored pencils in the little buckets and baskets on the table top. That may change depending on my daughter. The teal frames on the far right hold my kids' chore charts.  Each day, they are expected to make their beds, do a single chore, play outside, read books, and practice the piano before they can play video games (the carrot at our house).  They check them off as they do them each day.  This is a new thing and we'll see how it goes. 

My boys loved the homework 'station' and sat right down and worked harder and faster than ever yesterday.  I think it had something to do with them facing a wall and not their little siblings playing in the living room.  I hope this continues to be a good arrangement.

Speaking of arrangements... I had to rearrange my downstairs to accommodate a huge desk in my dining room. I had to move my new buffet to make room for the desk and I thought about floating it on the tile (it's completely finished - moulding included - on the backside), but I didn't like that idea since it stores all my china and my kids like to run around and would likely bump/move it over time.  So, I moved my couch and put the buffet against the back of it!  I really like the current arrangement, though I'm a little nervous for my antique green glass lamp in the picture below.  My boys like to do head stands on the couch and I can see them kicking it off the buffet accidentally.  So, it might not stay there. 

Our TV has in the past been on the blank wall in the picture above, but I wanted to move it to what used to be our gallery wall yesterday. Sorry about the bad lighting, we needed to wait for the kids to be in bed before taking our TV down and moving everything around.  I filled all the holes in the wall and thought out wall looked like it had acne! 

Possible future changes: We might move our piano into the living room to the empty wall in the photo above.  If we do that, the little bookcase next to our TV will likely be moved to the office (where the piano is currently) and the office will get a rearrangement.  I'm super excited about that possibility, but because our piano has a cast iron back, it's heavy and we're only going to move it if we REALLY like everything else we've done so far.  So we'll see.

Kitchen hardware

 We had one of our kitchen drawers break recently. I reglued the cracked part and all was mostly right in the world.  I decided that part of the reason the drawer broke how it did was due to pulling the drawer open unevenly and that hardware would fix the problem.  I found these beauties on Overstock for cheap and used a 15% off coupon to make them even more inexpensive.

 We installed them together one evening.  I asked my oldest the next morning if he noticed anything different in the kitchen.  In a total deadpan voice, he said, "Yeah, there's stuff on the cabinets and wood shavings everywhere."

Backyard progress

The backyard is not trenched and ready for our sprinkler system!  Last weekend, we rented a trencher and my hubby got to work.  My husband sister and family came down for a surprise visit, so my BIL helped David with the trenching.  I know it doesn't look that hard in the picture, but that thing was HEAVY and it was 100+ degrees out.  I spent the day helping where I could, running ice water out to the working men and taking care of kiddos.  

The orange lines in the picture below are now trenches.  We're putting the trampoline in the ground (that'll be fun!) in the middle of the grass, so the sprinklers have to run around the frame.  

It was a long hard day, but will be worth it in the end.  This weekend's plans: laying the sprinkler system! 


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