Photo Challenge #7 / Pop of Colour

20190212ma_0302“Pretty in Pink” / Theme: Pop of Colour

A little about this photo…

There’s not a lot of colour this time of year. So, when the Christmas cactus decided to show off some coral pink blooms for Valentine’s Day, I decided this would fit nicely with the “Pop of Colour” prompt. (I guess it’s a Valentine cactus this year!)


THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2019picoftheweek

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A Valentine’s Story

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I don’t often post twice in one day, but I am today.

This is a short story I wrote for a Valentine’s Day writing contest. The theme is “Oh, Guilty Heart!”


DON’T BREAK THE BED

by Maria Antonia

Word Count 214

Kira had the best Grammy in the whole world. And she was here to visit!

Kira jumped out of bed and sprinted to Grammy’s room. She opened the door and made a flying leap…

“Goodness,” Grammy cried. “Don’t break the bed.”

Kira grinned. Grammy always said that.

The next morning, Kira waltzed to Grammy’s room. She opened the door and made a flying leap…

“Don’t break the bed!” Grammy cried, laughing.

The morning after that, Kira tiptoed to Grammy’s room. She opened the door and made a flying leap…

“Don’t break the—”

Rattle! Whomp! Clunk!

Kira’s mouth dropped open. She couldn’t look at Grammy.

She dashed from the room. Grammy always told her not to break the bed. And she had done it at last.

Kira slipped into her secret spot behind the couch. She swallowed. Grammy must hate her now.

“Kira?” It was Grammy.

As her face popped into view, Kira’s lip quivered. Grammy dropped something on Kira’s lap. It was a tiny candy heart.

“For my special Valentine,” Grammy said.

“But I broke the bed.”

“I know.”

Kira sniffed. “Can we fix it?”

Grammy smiled and held out her hand.

Kira climbed out and gave Grammy a big hug.

She always knew she had the best Grammy in the whole world.

THE END


Note: There’s a little backstory to this… This is something my own grandmother would always say to me when she would come to visit. And yes, I would wake up super early, take a flying leap, and land right next to my grandmother. I’m pretty sure she loved it.

Unlike Kira, I never did end up breaking the bed. But I always kind of wondered what would have happened if I did…

Photo Challenge #6 / Rainy Day

20190206ma_0269“Coated in Ice” / Theme: Rainy Day

A little about this photo…

This is what happens on a rainy day in February… The temperature drops and the rain turns to ice. It’s certainly pretty! However, I’m glad I don’t have to be out on the roads in this weather. Just walking to take this photo was a slippery adventure.


THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2019picoftheweek

Winter Reading Bingo Challenge / January

mgc-bingo-jan2019

Here’s my bingo card for Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge. This month, I finished nine middle grade books. Well, eight titles that fit the descriptions on the bingo card. (I actually read more than nine books, including a few books for adults.)

How Does It Work?

Pick your challenge, grab a book, and fill in the squares. Try and get 5 in a row, or attempt to fill in the whole sheet if you’re a speedy reader.

Rules

  1. Because this is a Middle Grade Carousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads. Find out more about Middle Grade books here.
  2. Each square needs to be filled with a unique book. You cannot use the same title more than once, even if it fits multiple themes. Choose wisely!
  3. You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during this month.

Here are my results… (The * means that’s the book that got me my Bingo!)


*Graphic Novel

The Little Mermaid // by Metaphrog

little-mermaidMG, Graphic Novel, Fairy Tale (2017)

So, this is the Hans Christian Anderson version of the fairy tale. (But it does borrow some elements from the Disney version!) The illustrations did not blow me away, but I did like a few of them. Particularly when the sea witch bargains for the little mermaid’s voice. They did the whole thing in pink and it is striking!

The one thing I didn’t like was the ending. They got it wrong. 😦 She doesn’t turn into sea foam! She joins the daughters of the air. [4 stars]


*A Book by a Favourite Author

Ramona and her Father // by Beverly Cleary

ramona-and-her-fatherMG, Contemporary (1977)

This is perhaps the most perfect of the Ramona books! Okay, I love them all, but this one is extra special. And it definitely earned the Newbery Honor.

I love how it tackles her dad’s job loss and his smoking. Ramona has come a long way from her days as Henry Huggins’ nemesis. I think that’s what I really like about these books. Ramona still does things her own way, except now we get to see it through her POV. And, frankly, that makes all the difference.

The scene with the burrs? Wonderful! [5 stars]


*First in the Title

Jacob Two-Two’s First Spy Case // by Mordecai Richler

jacob-two-two-first-spy-caseMG, Contemporary (1997)

This was a fun read in the same sort of vein as The Phantom Tollbooth. Jacob Two-Two breaks into espionage when his neighbour turns out to be a Master Spy.

Lots of fun word-play. (The villains are Mr. I.M. Greedyguts and the Perfectly Loathsome Leo Louse.) And lots of little Canadian jokes 🙂  [4 stars]


*A Tail on the Cover

The Unteachables  // by Gordon Korman

unteachablesMG, Contemporary (2019)

Gordon Korman’s back on top of his game for this book! Hooray 🙂 As for the tail… yes, there is a tail on the cover of the book. See the little lizard sitting on the desk?

I enjoyed getting to know the group of kids nicknamed the Unteachables. As in many of Korman’s books, we get to see things through several differing viewpoints… including the teacher Mr. Kermit, and even the principal. [4 stars]


*Author’s First Name is Jonathan

Bridget Wilder: Spy-in-Training // by Jonathan Bernstein

bridget-wilder.jpgMG, Contemporary/Espionage (2015)

This book reminded me of the Spy School books. But it’s a little weirder than that. There were some nice twists and turns, but I wasn’t crazy about a few of the things that happen in the book. Mainly with regards to the big brother Ryan, who is constantly in trouble. But this all seems to be part of a running joke in the book. Maybe I was taking it too seriously. Anyhow, this book was okay, but nothing to get excited about. [3 stars]


Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

    • Double O’s in the Title // Cool Zone with the Pain and the Great One // by Judy Blume
    • A Book that was Recommended // The Moffats // by Eleanor Estes
    • Pick Your Prompt / A Mystery // Room One // by Andrew Clements
    • A Quest // The Dark is Rising // by Susan Cooper

Final Thoughts…

January Bingo: Complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #12

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In response to Crimson’s Creative Challenge #12

Crimsonprose posted a photo: “Two (almost identical) bulls stand guard on the entrance to Blickling Hall, (Nr Aylsham, Norfolk), both hold a shield to display the family’s heraldic devices. The family? The Boleyns.”

My response: A photo from my archives. This is one of the two lions that stand guard at the entrance of the New York Public Library (on 5th Avenue in Manhattan). The lions even have names. I believe this one is called Fortitude. (His twin is Patience.)


Check out the original Creative Challenge post here

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #9

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Response to Crimson’s Creative Challenge #9

Crimsonprose posted a photo of steps surrounded by water with this explanation: “The tide runs high on Cromer beach, North Norfolk Coast.”

My response is a photo of something else that really shouldn’t be surrounded by water… This isn’t exactly due to the tide (well, maybe partly). I took this photo back in 2017 when we had so much rain that they were worried about flooding in Montreal. (Montreal is really not that close to us!) They closed various dams and such, which caused flooding all over Lake Ontario… I love how the bench on the pier is completely surrounded by water!


Check out the original Creative Challenge post here

2019 Photography Challenge

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A whole new year is coming up. And that means another photography challenge with a whole new set of prompts.

Come join me, each Saturday, in posting a photo. Above is a list of the prompts to help inspire us. The order of the photos won’t matter. In other words, you don’t have to start at the top and move toward the end. For this challenge, you may pick any prompt on the list and start with that.

Bonus! If you count the number of prompts, you’ll find there are more prompts than necessary to complete the year. That’s because I find it a little easier to complete some prompts over others. So, if there’s one that’s really stumping you, no worries! You can skip it.

Want to join me? Please make sure to include the tag #2019picoftheweek so I can check out your posts! I’d love to see what kind of photos you come up with.

See you in the new year! 🙂


List of Photography Prompts for 2019:

Frozen
Wonder
Mist/Clouds
Here I Stand
Peek-a-boo
Rule of Thirds
Historical
Isn’t it Ironic?
All in a Row
Road Worthy
Solo/Duet
Under Water
Leading Lines
Take a Seat
Urban
Technology
Round/Square
Which Way?
Pick a Colour
A Long Time Ago
Sunshine
Flower
Feet/Hands
Hidden
In Good Time
Opposites Attract
All’s Well
Good as Gold
Rainy Day
Bridge
Decay
Hello!
It’s Hot
Sunrise/Sunset
Bokeh
A Small World
Three of a Kind
My Favourite Things
Silhouette
Macro
In Your Hand
Pop of Colour
Nighttime
Delightful
Home Sweet Home
Soft
More Please!
Natural Beauty
The Great Outdoors
Delicious
Authentic
Playtime
Legacy
Enigma
Serenity
Contrast
Up a Creek
In My Book
Celebrate
Into the Woods

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #6

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Response to Crimson’s Creative Challenge #6…

Crimsonprose posted a photo of “Breydon Water, all that remains of the one time Great Estuary; it hides away at the back of Great Yarmouth.” And while I know the original photo has nothing to do with dinosaurs, my first thought when I saw it was that those were dinosaur bones peeking out of the water!

Note: This dinosaur is from my visit to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta, Canada back in 2015. I highly recommend this museum to any dinosaur lovers!


Check out the original Creative Challenge post here

Autumn Reading Bingo Challenge / November

mgc-bingo-11nov2018

Here’s my bingo card for Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge. This month, I finished only eight middle grade books. Well, eight titles that fit the descriptions on the bingo card. (I actually read more than eight books, including a few books for adults.)

How Does It Work?

Pick your challenge, grab a book, and fill in the squares. Try and get 5 in a row, or attempt to fill in the whole sheet if you’re a speedy reader.

Rules

  1. Because this is a Middle Grade Carousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads.
  2. Each square needs to be filled with a unique book. You cannot use the same title more than once, even if it fits multiple themes. Choose wisely!
  3. You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during November.

Here are my results… (The * means that’s the book that got me my Bingo!)


*A Book of Short Stories

Funny Business // by Jon Scieszka, ed.

MG, Contemporary (2010)

funny-businessThis is a Guys Read book. I’ve seen these around for quite awhile, but this is the first time I’ve ever picked one up. And I’m glad I did. While I’ve read many of the authors before, there were some that were new to me. It was nice to get a hint of what they write. It was also nice to read new-to-me short stories by authors I already knew.

I particularly enjoyed the story “Artemis Begins” by Eoin Colfer. From what I can tell, this is a true story about his brother being the inspiration for his character Artemis Fowl. And then there was a story called “Your Question for Author Here” by Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka. It’s about a boy who has to write an author for a school assignment, and he gets a little more than he bargained for! [4 stars – Most stories were 3 stars, but there were a couple really good ones!]


*Red Cover

public-school-superheroPublic School Superhero // by James Patterson

MG, Contemporary (2015)

This book is about Kenny, who has been labelled by the school bullies as a “Grandma’s Boy”. But he’s invented an superhero alter-ego: Stainlezz Steel. After an incident, he (the victim) ends up with the same detention as the boys who pick on him. This eventually leads to him having to teach chess to one of the bullies: Ray-Ray.

This was an interesting book. I really like the story arc with Ray-Ray. And I love the principal. And the grandma. And of course, Kenny, himself. [4 stars]


*Pick Your Prompt / Based on a Classic

pinocchioPinocchio // by Michael Morpurgo

MG, Fantasy (2013)

I’ve never read the original classic written by Carlo Collodi, but I have seen the Disney movie LOTS of times. (I always hated the part about the donkeys!) So, when I read this, I could see some of the differences, especially the changes Walt Disney made. (And to tell the truth, I thought his changes were pretty decent. For example: In the end, Pinocchio is [SPOILER] swallowed by a shark. Disney changed this to a whale, which generally makes more sense to me. Wouldn’t a shark just rip both him and Geppetto to pieces? Whales, on the other hand, swallow their food whole.) [END SPOILER]

I enjoyed this book, which is told through the voice of Pinocchio, himself. Although, I will say that Pinocchio drove me crazy with all his stupid decisions! Just go home to Geppetto, Pinocchio. And apparently Morpurgo departs from both the Collodi and the Disney ending slightly with regards to Pinocchio becoming a real boy.

And the part about the donkeys? Yeah, it still bothers me. [4 stars]


*A Disabled Character

al-capone-throw-me-a-curveAl Capone Throws Me a Curve // by Gennifer Choldenko

MG, Historical Fiction (2018)

The disabled character is Natalie (she has a form of autism). Choldenko based her on her own sister. I love how this book (series) tells of the challenges and rewards of living with somebody like Natalie. I love how Moose struggles with this, but how their dad (especially) remains so positive and loving towards his daughter.

This is the fourth book in this series. While it’s not the best in the series, it’s still worth the read. (I absolutely love the first two books.) [4 stars]


*A Best-Selling Author

spy-school-goes-southSpy School Goes South // by Stuart Gibbs

MG, Espionage (2018)

I do love this series. However… the past few books aren’t quite as stellar as the first books. (I hate to make the joke, but they really have started to go south. Yikes!)

There are still things I like about this book, though. Erica Hale, for one. And her mother! And Ben still remains our likeable protagonist. (I’m not crazy about Mike being in Spy School. And I’m not sure what I think about Zoe.) The Farkles Family Reunion is a cute part of the plot. And I’m glad Murray is part of the plot from the beginning and does not just swoop in with the bad guys at the end of the story like he has in the past. [3 stars]

P.S. I feel like this might need a more in-depth review in the near future.


Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

    • Color in the Title // Diary of a Mad Brownie // by Bruce Covill
    • Case in the Title // Case of the Purloined Parrot // by E.W. Hildick
    • Author’s Last Name Starts with “B” // Freckle Juice // by Judy Blume

Final Thoughts…

November Bingo is complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.