Photo Challenge #27 / Tree or Bush?

20210625ma_1375“Baby Robins in a Nest” / Theme: Tree or Bush?

A little about this photo…

A few weeks ago, we noticed this robins’ nest in our plum tree. And lo and behold, some few new little arrivals have shown up. It was hard to tell, but sometimes it seemed like there were three little birdies and at other times only two. I think it might actually only be two. (If you look carefully, you’ll see the mom behind the head of the bird on the left.)

Think they’re hungry?


THIS 2021 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – For more information about the list of prompt, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2021picoftheweek

Photo Challenge #36 / Watch Me

20200815ma_1099“King of the Castle” / Theme: Watch Me

A little about this photo…

Came across this statue of King George VI… and these birds were sitting on his head. As you can see, I managed to get one in flight. (The other bird still on the head left shortly afterwards.) And just look at King George’s face. He doesn’t seem to mind a bit.

THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2020picoftheweek

Photo Challenge #20 / What a Sight

20200509ma_0340“Robin in the Snow” / Theme: What a Sight

A little about this photo…

This is a shot from last Saturday when it snowed. In May. It doesn’t usually snow in May around here. Fortunately, this is about as bad as it got, but it was enough to confuse the birds. Like this robin. And that’s where my choice of prompt comes in: What a Sight to see a robin in the snow in the month of May.

I wonder what that poor robin was thinking…

THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2020picoftheweek

Review: Birdie

BirdieBook: Birdie (2019)
Author: Eileen Spinelli
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars

Basic plot: Birdie and her mom are living with Birdie’s grandmother Maymee after the death of Birdie’s dad. But suddenly, love birds are everywhere: Maymee, her mom, and even her best friends. Birdie is having all sorts of trouble, yet when she embraces some of this change, she finds that maybe it’s not as bad as she feared.


1) I loved Birdie! I loved her voice, her character arc, everything about this book.

2) Birdie’s Maymee is adorable. At first, she’s obsessed with dying (picking out her coffin and all that). But then, that all turns around when a certain somebody shows up in town. I love how this whole Romeo and Juliet scene happens in church as the pastor is reading from the Bible. Everything halts and the “chapter” ends with: “Pastor Carey smiles. ‘May I resume the reading now?'”

3) I like the themes of this book… of loss and death and even the changing relationships of friends. We have the love stories of the grown-ups mirroring those of the young middle-schoolers. Spinelli weaves all this together.

4) The resolution with the relationship between Birdie and Officer Downey was particularly poignant. I love how she goes from completely rejecting him to the scene at the cemetery.

5) The cover is adorable.


1) Nada.


My rating is 5 Stars (out of 5) – I absolutely loved this book. I’m not always a fan of books written in poetry, but Eileen Spinelli (in addition to Sharon Creech) is one author where this works for me.


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #21 / All’s Well

IMG_9043“A Family of Geese” / Theme: All’s Well

A little about this photo…

This is a little family of geese living in a pond near us. There are five goslings. See how Papa stands alert? Making sure the human with the big black “Canon” isn’t going to come any closer. He’s making sure that “all’s well” with his little family.

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

Photo Challenge #15 / A Small World

20190219ma_0350“A Colony for the Birds” / Theme: A Small World

A little about this photo…

This is just part of the tree… I love walking past and seeing all the different little birdhouses. And if you look carefully, they’re even numbered!

Bird 1: Yeah, I’m in #59 this year.
Bird 2: How did you manage to snag that one?
Bird 1: Luck of the draw.

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

Photo Challenge #12 / Hello!

20190307ma_0471“First Robin” / Theme: Hello!

A little about this photo…

This is seriously the first robin I spotted this year. And I managed to capture this shot of him in flight! It’s always nice to see the robins return… because it means Spring is that much closer. (And in actual fact, Spring is here since the first day of Spring was on Wednesday!) 🙂

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

Review: Okay For Now

Okay-for-NowBook: Okay For Now
Author: Gary D. Schmidt
Genre: Upper MG, Historical Fiction (1960s)
Rating: 4 Stars

Basic Plot: Doug and his family have just moved to a new town and he hates it there. But then he discovers Audubon’s book, Birds of America, in the library. He goes every Saturday and the librarian sets him on a path to to learn how to draw the birds. Soon he discovers that the birds are slowly being cut out of the book to be sold by the town council. That’s when Doug takes it upon himself to find the missing birds and return them to their rightful spot in the book at the library.

Note: This is a companion book to The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt.


1) I loved learning about John James Audubon. Each chapter begins with a picture of one of the birds from the book. And I enjoyed the art lessons at the library with Mr. Powell! I was definitely rooting for Doug to get all the missing birds back into the book.

2) Doug’s English teacher decides that her eighth graders are going to study Jane Eyre (the 160-page abridged version, which for Doug is 160 pages too long). I love Jane Eyre and any book that uses this book as part of their plot is almost a sure bet in my eyes. I also love that this book (Jane Eyre) ends up inspiring other aspects of the plot.

3) I liked how the author had Miss Cowper’s “County Literacy Unit” fit into solving one of Doug’s problems in the book. I love this teacher.

4) The Baseball Quiz/Game at the work picnic for Doug’s father’s work was a fun chapter. Especially in light of the fact that Doug is dealing with some hard things at this time and here he really is able to shine. He’s the one that is able to help his “partner” go for the gold.

5) I loved the character growth and arcs for Doug’s brothers, his father, Coach Reed, Principal Peattie, et al.

6) The relationship with Lil is very sweet.

7) I liked how Schmidt worked the various themes into the book… The flowers (or lack of flowers) for his mother show the growth and the family’s ability to flourish (or not flourish). And the use of the various stages of the Apollo moon mission (Apollos 8 through 11) also is used well to show how much hope and hard work can accomplish.

8) Doug has a great voice in this book.


1) I felt that some of the teachers/classes were not necessary to mention. I kept getting some of the lesser ones mixed up with the teachers we needed to know about. (For example: I think the Geography teacher could have disappeared from the book and nothing bad would have happened.)

2) In one of the chapters, Doug lists the birds that are missing from the book. I wish this list had been repeated later on in the book with an update on which birds had been successfully retrieved and which ones were still missing. I even tried to go back to find that first list and couldn’t find it easily. That annoyed me.

3) The title of this book is just… OKAY. (Ha ha!) The Wednesday Wars (the companion book) is a great title. Okay for Now… Hmm, not so memorable. (I keep having to look it up to know what it is!)


Can you imagine anyone buying tickets to Jane Eyre?

Can you imagine Joe Pepitone buying tickets to Jane Eyre?

Me neither.


My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – Okay, so I LOVED The Wednesday Wars by the same author. This is a companion book and I LOVED this one just as much (almost as much?). If these two books had to be ranked in which one I liked better, I don’t know who would win. 🙂


Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!