Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Craft - Beeswax Candles

We just finished making some very pretty beeswax candles. Not surprisingly, most were designated as holiday gifts, but I was surprised atthe diversity of intended recipients - everyone from friends to aunts to teachers. Since this was a fairly quick project to complete, we also decorated bags to complete the gift. Check some of them out below.
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Mrs N's Been Reading - The King's Fifth

Went back and read an old one this time - Scott O'Dell's The King's Fifth, originally published back in 1966. If you've read Island of the Blue Dolphins or The Black Pearl, then you know that O'Dell does a nice job with historical fiction, with a young main character. The King's Fifth was true to O'Dell's reputation. This one has a young mapmaker on trial for cheating the Spanish king out of his share (the fifth referenced in the title) of gold that was found on an expedition to Mexico in 1541. During the course of that trial, he is also accused of murdering his superior officer. The story switches between his trial, and his recollection of events of the expedition. During the trial, officials at nearly all levels are trying to get in good with the boy, because it seems that he's the only one left alive who knows where the gold is hidden. The King's Fifth gives a good look at what it was like to be on one of those expeditions, both the physical conditions, and the way that the idea of lots and lots of gold affected some of the men psychologically. A good adventure story, with a likable main character. I recommend it!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Guitar Hero World Tour Tournament

Just wrapped up our first Guitar World Tour Battle of the Bands Tournament. Eight teams of 2 (guitar and drums) battled to a thrilling conclusion, with Kody B and Aaron R emerging victorious and Jared M and Ryan M pulling out a second place. As purely an observer, never having actually played the game, it appears that the key is having a good drummer. With the popularity of regular Guitar Hero, there are a lot respectable guitar players out there. Finding a drummer seemed to be a whole 'nother story.
If you missed it, pics below. Watch for another one in the near future.

Monday, December 08, 2008

What Mrs N's Been Reading - The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie

Actually, I finished Jaclyn Moriarty's The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie a while ago, but just getting around to writing it up (in other words, the book just now bobbed to the surface of the piles on my desk, reminding me to take care of this.) This is the story of Bindy, an Australian teenager, who is a bit of an overachiever, with a really pushy father. She is temporarily living with an aunt and uncle. As a new school year starts, the usually top of her class, super organized, etc., Bindy seems to be spiralling out of control. As I was reading, I was thinking, "My goodness, I'm watching someone descend into a complete breakdown!" Basically I wish that the entire book had been more like the last 100 pages or so. Parts are funny, but I had a hard time getting behind Bindy's character. Frankly, she was pretty annoying. You can see why she had problems dealing with other kids at school. With the help of a group from a "Friendship and Development Project" class that is meant to provide "a life raft through the tricky seas of adolescence" we find out what is really happening to Bindy, but perhaps too late to safe her. That's that last 100 pages or so. There were some good twists and turns as the truth unfolds. Just wish the editor would have reeled in the first couple hundred pages and sped things up a bit.