A Holiday Read: A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

I am always on a lookout for good holiday-time reads as my family has a tradition of reading special holiday stories every December. The newest addition to our “Book Advent” library is “A Boy Called Christmas” by Matt Haig. We opted for an audiobook this time, read by Stephen Fry.

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The book is a take on a story of Santa Claus, who he was and where he lived before he became, well, what he is now. It is a story of a small boy Nikolas, nicknamed Christmas for being born on Christmas Day. He lives in Finland with his father, until his father goesaway in search of evidence of an elf village. Nikolas heads in search of his father and goes through plenty of trouble before he reaches elf village. He has to deal with his awful aunt Carlotta, help a stray wounded reindeer and fight a murderous troll and a crazy elf. There are cute sidekicks such as tame mouse, a kidnapped elf-child and little Nush (another elf) and her grandpa. The story was exciting and kind, there were moments that almost brought my kids to tears, and those that made them roar with laughter (i.e. a reindeer getting a sweet revenge on a dreadful aunt).

Overall impression in my son’s words: “I enjoyed the story, except the part with Aunt Carlotta. It taught me that people are not what they seem and that things that you believe can actually be real.” My daughter says: ” I loved this book because it was full of wonderful adventures.” They are listening to it again as I type it, so it’s definitely a favorite for this holiday season.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

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Goodbye May, Hello June

May is over, June is here. Summer, at last. We are slowing down, trying to sort our thoughts, calm our minds and let our bodies truly rest.

We still had some activities going and there are some ahead of us yet, but it’s nice to know that we can take a step back if it gets unbearable. I was re-evaluating our school year and decided to scale back on activities. Kids loved what they did, I loved watching them try hard and excel, but on the other hand, their schedule took over our life and affected my health. Clocking in 200 miles per week in activities driving alone was difficult for me and I was sick a lot. I also want to have more slow afternoons, more unstructured play time for kids and especially more chances to get out and be in nature. So next year I will lighten up our schedule and combine kids’ activities where I can. I must admit, I do feel guilty about cutting things, but I believe ultimately it will all be for the best.

This past week brought great joy for us– we finally went for a hike (we haven’t been on a proper one since October). Just breathing in all the fresh air, getting our faces washed by gentle spring rain, oh it was a blessing indeed.

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Meyer Ranch Park in Conifer, CO

Another lovely outing was in nearby Audubon Center, we enjoyed a wonderful display of Redwing Blackbirds, swallows were going crazy and flying around us on the eye level, the birdsong was incredible.

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Kids are reading with gusto, now that they have all this time. C. re-read “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo (maaan, I read the ending when she was done and cried, again). D. is completely immersed in The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. He is done with first three books and halfway through the final, fourth one.

I am re-reading “The Enchanted April” by Elizabeth Von Arnim, probably because it is full of something I’ve been craving desperately- rest and flowers.

 

Mama makes:

I have made a new keychain out of polymer clay and finally painted an initial letter for my studio upstairs. Very happy with both projects.

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JANUARY READS

What my children read in January (listing only new books, there were many many re-reads as always)

Sunflowerous Reads

D, 10 y.o.

  • The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farmboy (Star Wars) by Alexandra Bracken
  • The Adventures of a South Pole Pig : A novel of snow and courage by Chris Kurtz
  • Heart of the Samurai by Margi Preus
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Threader, The Silver Chair, The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
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D. read in January

In Russian:

Жюль Верн “Дети Капитана Гранта”

 

C., 7 y.o. read a lot of picture books, I will only list those that she herself chose as her favorites

  • The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski
  • Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick
  • Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones
  • The Right Word : Roget and his Thesaurus by Jennifer Fischer Bryant
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C. read in January

In Russian:

Виктор Драгунский “Денискины Рассказы”

September Reads

September is over, more than 10% of our school year is done (am I not the optimist :D). Today I just want to write down what children read throughout the month, to keep track mostly.

Sunflowerous Reads

D.:

In English:

  • Rudyard Kipling “The Jungle Book”
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Skelling by David Almond
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Wildwood Imperium by Colin Meloy
  • How to Break a Dragon’s Heart by Cressida Cowell

In Russian:

  • Галина Демыкина “Мой капитан”
  • Э. Сеттон-Томпсон “Винипегский волк”, “Мустанг-иноходец”
  • Ж. Реми-мл. “Битва за огонь. Пещерный Лев”

Plus re-reads that I couldn’t possibly keep track of

C. read

In English:

  • Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo
  • Captain Cat by Inga Moore
  • Arrietty (from Studio Ghibli Picture Book series)
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
  • Room on Broom by Julia Donaldson
  • Whale Shines: An Artistic Tale by Fiona Robinson
  • Together we are reading (taking turns) Appleblossom the Possum by Holly Goldberg Sloan

In Russian

  • “Минус и Большой Мир” Свен Нурдквист
  • “Серая Шейка” Д.Н. Мамин-Сибиряк
  • сборник “Волшебное Слово”
  • Басни Крылова
  • Аля, Кляксич и Буква “А” Ирина Токмакова
  • Вместе : “Мы живем в каменном веке” (Пешком в историю)

And again, lots of re-reads I didn’t write down

also we read Haiku Books

What have I noticed this month:

D. absolutely insists we wait for him for read-alouds, no picture book is too simple or too childish. I am really glad he cares still. I have made a resolution to have D. read at least one “classic” and one “award” book per month, but still let him have his way with series that he enjoys. All of these work out. The most re-read book for him was Harry Potter, that is his nightstand series of choice. There doesn’t seem to be a non-fiction in my records, but I am sure he read something…will ask him tomorrow morning.

C. is a confident and independent reader, she likes comic books a lot, much more than D. I do wish we had more time for read-alouds. This will be next month’s goal.

School Year is finished+ round up of two weeks in May (5/11-5/24/2015)

Unbelievable, our school year is finished! The past two weeks were crazy, but we made it.

Photo of the week:

It's been wet and overcast  on and off for a couple of weeks now, yet I love it

It’s been wet and overcast on and off for a couple of weeks now, yet I love it

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Two weeks roundup: March 30- April 12, 2015

What a whirlwind!

Photo of the week:

Spring has officially came and settled in

Spring has officially came and settled in

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Week’s Roundup: Two weeks edition: March 13- March 22,2015

Wow, I realized I skipped a roundup last week, we were so busy and life got so chaotic. I must make an effort and do better.

Picture of the week:

Spring is here and ground is slowly being covered in flowers

Spring is here and ground is slowly being covered in flowers

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