Monday, October 29, 2012

Fun- have it all the time!

I remember being told often that life is hard. 


As a six year old, though, I don't remember that being true. Life was great! You got to play, in fact, does "Just get out of here and go play" sound familiar to anyone else? Our parents encourages us to play, be outside, swim, be involved in spots, and just about anything else to keep us busy. At six, I had few chores and the worst thing EVER was cleaning my room. Looking back, that being the worst was pretty amazing. What else made six the best? Candy, games, kindergarten, coloring, watching the same movie a million times, toys, the magic of holidays (really the magic of everything: the first snow, camping, the stars...) and I could go on!

Basically six is amazing because life was filled with fun. So, naturally, I try to add as much fun to my every day as I possibly can. 

For example, we bought a pack of Angry Bird wall decals for no other reason than they were cool. But what to do with them? I decided that I would place them throughout the house and create an unending game of hide-and-seek (well, mostly just seek.) The door into the garage also happens to be covered in Mario wall decals. 

Another family favorite is the story game we play while we eat occasionally. Each person is allowed to say one word at a time, moving around the circle from person to person, progressing the story one word at a time:













You never know where the story will go.

Granted, it is easy to find the fun of a six year old with one in the house but I try to harness as much of it as I can. I know I will never say, "Gee, I think life is getting a little too fun, I better mellow it out!" Hehe!

What do you do for fun? Don't forget to laugh...


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

paper & ink

I love to read. There is not much that compares to the time spent deep in the pages of a book, becoming entwined with the adventure, glimpsing into another’s challenges and being with them as they succeed (or fail) at what life throws at them.

While I have enjoyed a many great deal of books there are a few that rise above the rest. These books are ones that have embedded themselves so deeply that their ideals and inspirations have woven themselves through my heart strings becoming a part of me. This is not just a list of favorites. These are the books that make up my reader persona. [that’s a real thing- I’m pretty sure]

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I was 14 the first time I picked up The Sorcerer’s Stone. Still young enough to think of myself as growing up with the novels. It will always be at the top of my list. Sometimes it sounds juvenile admitting that Harry Potter is my favorite book. I guess that makes me one of “those”, whatever that means, but when you spend ten years absorbed in a story, waiting in angst for the ending, all the while never wanting it to be done, how can it not affect you so deeply?

The world Rowling created is so real and fantastic and clever. She spells out every child’s dream of being able to do magic, in a world where flying is normal and pictures can talk. Where even children can take on evil and defeat it.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Shrouded by controversy this trilogy tends to get a bad rap. Yes the author is atheist and yes he kills “god” in the story. But its a great story nonetheless. I love the characters and the somewhat “steam-punk” era that its set in. 

It was after reading this trilogy that I realized my favorite genre: fantasy. 

King Raven Trilogy by Stephen Lawhead

Robin Hood is a story I have heard and seen countless times growing up. Same old, same old. While I do love the many renditions of the story this one is by far the best. Lawhead's knowledge of Britain is clearly extensive as he was able to dredge up a story that is a more likely scenario of the anti-hero we know as Robin Hood. His character surpasses the original Robin Hood in valor and integrity, while plotting creative retaliation on his enemies.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

If you have read this book, then you know why it has made my list. While romance novels rarely touch my shelves, this story beautifully composes the story of redemption in a tangible way, the power of unconditional love and the hope of second and third and fourth chances. I cried a lot.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin

Anyone that considers this purely a love story has missed the best parts of Jane Austin’s work. She is witty and clever. She uses lots of irony and satire [a few of my favorite things] to put a hysterically ingenious twist on the typical love story. Every time I read the book or watch the movie I realize some clever bit that I had never noticed before. Well and Mr. Darcy.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

I can’t remember what types of books I read before reading this one. Everything I knew about books and reading changed. Perhaps because this was the first book I read that wasn’t required reading or on my mother’s shelf. Perhaps because it wasn't some random selection at the library, perhaps because it is just that awesome. Ever since, Card has been one of my favorite authors. His writing is outstanding and one of my greatest inspirations as a [hopeful] writer. Plus Ender is a third, and being a third born as well, we are pretty much the same.

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

I didn’t want to flood this list with a bunch of C.S. Lewis books, which would be easy for me to do. He is my inspiration as a Christian, as a writer, as a person. The first memories I have of my Dad reading to us at night was of the Chronicles of Narnia. I remember staring at this cover wondering why a girl in a funny dress that covered her head was fighting a man with a sword.

See what I mean?
Reading The Great Divorce was more of a life altering moment. Not blatantly, but it was a moment in which I realized how narrow minded my view of God was and how he is so beyond what I can fathom. C.S. Lewis offers a tiny glimpse into that knowledge and shows how one dimensional our views can be, and how they can hinder our understanding.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

So random its genius, or maybe its so genius its random? There were times when I was reading this series that I could not stop laughing [enough to get weird stares from my husband]. There were also moments that I realized I had no clue what was going on or what he was talking about. But there were a few moments where everything came together and chaos all fit together and made sense. Its brilliant. Just brilliant.

Abram’s Daughters by Beverly Lewis

In steps random books about Amish. This is the first series I read of Beverly Lewis and about the Amish. Growing up in Colorado the only thing I knew about Amish people was that they dressed strangely and didn’t like electronics. Not only are they great reads but they also inspire me to work hard and want to bake pies.

The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

I have already talked about these books in previous posts. While its been more recent that I read this series, I was totally sucked into these books. What can I say? I read the Goodkind....[and there it is]

Twilight by Stephanie Meyers

Just kidding. [making sure you're paying attention- for the record, I super dislike]

I’m cutting myself off. I realize there have been many books that have shaped me. Hopefully I continue to find them.

Yours Truly,

Friday, October 19, 2012

12 Names- Girl Edition

Here it is, the 12 sci-fi/fantasy names you must name your little girl.

12. Lyra

I can’t help but picturing a bobbling two year old with pigtails: sweet but not cutesy, frilly. I must note that I prefer the way I pronounce it (where y = i as in infant) over the way it should be pronounced (where y = I). The choice is yours- either way, it’s a great choice.  

11. Trillian

For those hoping for a fresh, space-age-y name, this should be the perfect fit, right? Not to mention, Trilly makes a pretty awesome nickname for a kid to out grow. 

10. Rosamond

I originally contemplated Rose (a lovely, safe and simple name used in both LOTR and DW), but why stop there? I think I love Rosamond even more because of the story around the name. If you haven’t yet, read The Lost Princess by George MacDonald and this name will quickly climb to the top of your list! It is a beautiful name that could potentially be rooted in several sci-fi worlds, whichever one you fancy.

9. Tamina

I will admit that this name is probably on here because Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time happens to be my current all time fave. **This is where I must apologize to all the gamers out there, to which this is probably a disappointment. But, ultimately, that is why Tamina is hanging in position 9 as opposed to the top 5 where I originally had it.

8. Hermione

My first choice was truly Bellatrix, but without Helena Bonham Carter behind the name it is just a villain with a cool name. Therefore it is probably not appropriate for your little angel. Beyond that, HP is loaded with great names, how do you just pick one? Simple, Hermione happens to be in the rolling credits for Star Wars Episode IV.

7. Emia

You probably have not heard of this name, but it is my go to name for many of my fantasy novels. It is a spin on a classic that is super cute, yet has that fantasy twist. It also happens to be the safest name on this list. So, if you want to go sci-fi/ fantasy, but you don’t want to go over the top, this is the name for you.

6. River Song

Could this name pairing be any more perfect? No. I thought I would just use River over River Song, but let’s be honest… River Song is what makes it such a phenomenal sci-fi name. (You could use Melody Pond, it is just as great!)  It is just as versatile with last names as well- River Song Dunham, River Song Beale, River Song Starbird… need I go on?

5. Karena

What can I say, my parents got it right. It is unique and awesome, any little girl would be lucky to have such a fantastic name. And yes… I am sci-fi, therefore, the name is sci-fi.

4. Aravis

Love this name. Even more so, I would love to meet someone with this name. C.S. Lewis could spin a good name, brilliant man. Aravis Gracie Ullrich has an amazing sound to it; I think the Ullrich crew could totally pull off Aravis…

3. Yvaine

There is more to this name than the fact that this character is a star (my absolute favorite things in all of space and time!!) It is cool, it looks awesome in cursive (so if you don’t write in cursive, forget about it, hehe) and did I mention it is the name of a star?

2. McKenna (or Makenna, depending on your spelling preference)

Once again, I am not too sure how sci-fi/ fantasy this name is, but it should be. Not only do I know a McKenna that could have come straight out of fantasy series (yes, little… er, not so little Miss Gwin- that would be you), I can think of plenty examples where McKenna would have been a better name for the series. McKenna is the perfect fit for the fairy in your own fantasy series.

1.  Rohan

Beyond epic! I cannot tell you how much I love this name. Every little girl deserves an epic name, right? I often kick myself for not thinking of these names before I had kids. My eldest should be a Rohan Faith Bost. I would be happy with a Rohan Fitzpatrick though, Liam agrees. No pressure…


Sunday, October 14, 2012


loving life. While this may come naturally to some people its definitely a learned skill for me. I’m still learning but with every new day I am greeted with a cup of coffee it gets a little easier.

reading the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, specifically the Dragon Reborn. And At Home by Bill Bryson. And Parenting with Love and Logic (then again I'm always reading that one)

writing my outline for Nanowrimo next month. For once I feel like I actually have a story to write and am excited about it. 

listening to Mumford & Sons. new album <3 ...and the Brave soundtrack (but lets just keep that between ourselves)

wearing clothes. and different ones everyday at that.

missing fall. The mountains and changing aspens. The cold weather and pumpkin patches. Wearing long sleeved shirts and jeans and scarves. Its my most favorite time of year.

teaching my son to do other things than watch movies. Its a challenge to come up with enough activities in one day to keep him occupied but I don't feel like a such a terrible mom at the end of the day. He still asks a quadrillion times a day.

playing Portal 2. And Small World. Its becoming one of my new favorite board games.

drinking Italian sodas. Anything with “soda” or “shoppe” sparks a childlike desire in me. I’m sure at one point in my childhood I was denied a beverage from the "Soda Shoppe" and am just now finding my redemption. That, or they are just super delicious. And refreshing.

sleeping far too little (see reading)

Yours Truly,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Geekery Project: Sonic Screwdriver

Toys are for kids. Unless they are my toys, in which case I would rather my kids leave them alone. For example, my Lego Christmas Village pieces are mine, and no, the kids are not aloud to play with them. So naturally, with the arrival of my Sonic Screwdriver I became overly protective, much to the disappointment of my children. Much to the happiness of everyone, I had a brilliant idea.

Enter: project make your own Sonic Screwdriver!


3/4 inch wooden dowel (we got one that was about a yard long for $1.39 at Hobby Lobby)
1/4 cm square wooden stick- used for the buttons (also at Hobby Lobby for about $1)
Craft paint (black, grey, silver, and we got a pearly colored one to add texture to the middle section)
Paint Brushes
Hot Glue
Garden Stones (the colorful ones you put in a vase- blue)
Circular Saw (or traditional saw, just some means to cut the dowel)

Step 1:

Cut the wooden dowel down, into about 6 inch sections.

Step 2:

Sand down the edges to make it smooth. 

Step 3:

Cut the square wooden stick into small sections (button sized.) Some of us ended up cutting the small sections in half again for a more low profile button, where others kept them thicker. 

Step 4:


Step 5:

Hot glue on the accessories! (The buttons, as well as the garden stones on the end.)

Yay! For an awesome project!


The fun didn't stop here though! We invented a game- nothing beats a run-around-the-house-in-the-dark sort of game, eh?


The Doctor and his Companions are under attack of Dalek Sec and they must rescue all the Sonic Screwdrivers and get them back to the TARDIS to defeat Dalek Sec, but if you are not careful: EXTERMINATE!

To start, get three buckets, baskets, containers (or whatever will hold the Sonic Screwdrivers.) Place all three of these containers in different parts of the house. In the Dalek's bucket (whichever one you chose) place all of the Sonic Screwdrivers. In your group, assign one person to be the Dalek, all others will be Time Lords or Companions. Turn out all (or most) of the lights in the house. The purpose of the Time Lords and Companions is to get a Sonic Screwdriver and bring it back to the TARDIS (represent by the other two remaining containers.) The Dalek's mission is to stop them from reaching the TARDIS. If the Dalek catches a Time Lord or Companion two things can happen: 1) If they don't have a Sonic Screwdriver the Time Lord/Companion must stay frozen for the count of 15. 2) If the Time Lord/Companion does have a Sonic Screwdriver you must play a game of Sonic Screwdriver/ TARDIS/ Dalek (rock/ paper/ scissors.) **You can make your own symbols for this, we did! Play best two out of three. If the Dalek wins, he gets to return the Sonic Screwdriver back to his bucket, if the Time Lord or Companion wins they must remain frozen for the count of 15. The game ends when all the Sonic Screwdrivers are returned to the TARDIS!

**We found it useful for the Dalek to carry a flashlight to be used only during the Sonic Screwdriver/ TARDIS/ Dalek face-off.