* Reading for Kids *

My kids are pretty voracious readers. My son can pick up a book and be lost in it for hours.  My daughter is just finishing Grade 1 and is also reading some easy chapter books on her own.

Our kids did a lot of reading over the summer break, but that’s not the case for all children.  So, if you need a few books to ease your child back into reading before school starts, this might be the post for you.

I thought I’d share some of the books my son has loved over the past years.  Harry Potter and Percy Jackson are solid favourites and already pretty well known.  Here’s a few you might not have heard of:

Zac Power

This series by H.I. Larry is about a 12 year old boy and his older brother who are secret agents for a government agency.  The chapters are fairly short and easy to read.  Best for kids 8-10.

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Captain Awesome by Stan Kirby

My son received this for a birthday gift when he was 6 and it’s a fun series of books.  The Captain is 8 year old Eugene McGillicudy and he has adventures throughout his neighbourhood with a crazy cast of characters.  Easy to read and probably best for kids in Kindergarten to Grade 3.

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National Geographic Kids

Our family loves these books and pretty much all the National Geogrpahic books.  These are the books that we take to restaurants, leave in the car and bring along to appointments.  Lots of fun facts, great pictures and easy to read.  Also look for Myth Busters, Sticker Activity Books and more from this great organization.

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Ratburger by David Walliams

About 6 months ago, my son (aged 9) received Grandpa’s Great Escape by the same author and since then, he pretty much powered through all the books by David Walliams.  The writing is funny, the characters are unique and quirky and best of all, the kids laugh out loud when reading his books.

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The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen

This one was introduced to us by friends about 3 years ago and we still love it!  The illustrations alone are worth it.  The story rhymes and teaches us about friendship in the most fun way.

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Geronimo Stilton by Geronmio Stilton

If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.  We started when my son was 5 or 6.  They are chapter books, but they have a lot of colourful illustrations and the type is done creatively in different colours and types.  Geronimo takes us around the world on adventures with his sister and cousin.   My son still loves these books and now my daughter (aged 7) has started reading them, too.

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House of Robots by James Patterson

You may know James Patterson from the crime novels, but he also writes books for kids.  This series is about a boy entering Grade 5 who lives with a house full of robots.  We just picked this one up and haven’t read it yet, but the reviews are great and it looks like a fun read.

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MasterMinds by Gordon Korman

Gordon Korman has written over 80 books!  This series is about a group of kids who think they live in the most boring town in the world.  Until….a friend disappears and the kids have to investigate what is really happening in their town.  Best for middle school age kids.  If they like this series, there are lots of others by Korman to choose from.

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Spy School and Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs

These books are about Ben a middle school student who ends up in a school for spies.  Super fun series and my son can’t wait to read Evil Spy School next.

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These are just a few of the books on our shelf.   What did you kids read this summer?  Please let me know in the comments!

linking up with:  Sincerely, PaulaGood Random FunA Little Bit of EverythingMom Home GuideShelbee on the EdgeCurly Crafty MomBy BMG

Last Day!!

It is pouring rain as I type this.  It is June 27th and it is pouring rain!  Today happens to be the last day of school for most of us living in British Columbia!  Where did the past 10 months go?!  Back in September when my son was starting grade one, the summer seemed oh so far away. But here it is!

Although, I am excited at the thought of not making lunch and racing out the door at 9am, I am also a little afraid.

I’m a little afraid of all the time we will be spending together.  I’m afraid, the kids will squabble more, I’m afraid I won’t have enough playdates, or fun things to do.  Don’t get me wrong, I am so ready for the change in routine.  But, I’m just a little afraid.

But there is still one last lunch to make and rain boots to find.  So, I had better get to it!

Last Day of School

I made the last school lunches of the year this morning. Hallelujah. One of my least favorite chores, this morning I packed those lunches with military precision and had them ready to go half an hour before my girls had to head out the door.

Last night I asked them if they could have anything in their lunch boxes for the last lunch of the year what would it be. “A lunch box full of powdered doughnuts!” was the first thing out of my 7-year-old’s mouth. Try again, I told her.

Like so many parents (including one mom who was featured on Today due to her brilliant blog) I have been so overwhelmed by end of the year STUFF!!! Homework assignments, teacher gifts, class parties…ACK!!!

But lunches are my nemesis. Last September, a mom at our school posted on Facebook that she and her daughter had started a challenge for the mom to provide 100 school lunches with no repeats. Really? Who has that kind of time? And while she posted pics of said lunches on almost a daily basis I could have been inspired but instead was resentful. “Showoff!” I often thought to myself. And while I could have tried to replicate those lunches (not all of which would have looked too appealing to my kids I might add) I instead thrilled at the prospect of having leftover cheese pizza from the previous night’s dinner!

I admit to Mini-Ravioli from a can! My oldest daughter once told me “That Chef guy is a really good cook!”

The 100 Lunch mom admitted to using leftovers from dinner the night before. I worked in reverse. Cooking up spaghetti, tortellini or penne at 7 a.m. and then reheating at 6 p.m. that night. Voila!

The saving grace? My kids will eat almost any vegetable. The peeling, chopping and bagging of something green made me feel like I was doing right by them even as they enjoyed their less than creative and sometimes less than good for you main course.

Next year, as I do every year, I pledge to be use fewer canned goods, less sodium and more imagination. But, like my daughters, I l will still look forward to cold pizza day. I can only do so much.

All you need are friends.

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Friends can be a funny thing. There are the friends you met in school. The ones from college or university. Those that you met on the job. Or maybe you have new friends from the dog park. Last but not least, there are also new mom friends.

I have some friends in all most of those categories. High school for me was almost 30 years ago (wow!). So, I don’t have a lot of friends still from that time. There are a couple of girls that keep in sporadic touch (read: facebook) and I know we will always be friends, but we just don’t see each other.

I would say I now have 2 groups of friends that I see and spend most of my time with. There is a group of us that met while working for the same company about 18 years ago. None of us work there anymore, we have all married and had children, but we still text, email and get together fairly regularly.  We are like minded and have a good time when we are together.

The last group of friends are those I have met with my children. Or should I say, my children have met friends because I have become friends with the moms at my kids’ schools. Did you catch all of that ?  My kids are just finishing up preschool and grade 1 and some of the first friends they had were a direct result of me.

Yes, me.  I was one of the moms jockeying for position at school drop offs/pick ups to meet other moms, to have playdates and someone to talk to in the park.  And you know what, a few years in and I am still friends with some of those moms.

There is one other group to mention.  The family friends.  People you have known forever.  Since before high school (why does everyone use that as a marker of time?).  Our parents were friends and we, the kids became friends.  These friendships go through ebbs and flows.  Good years and bad.    Staying in touch with this type of friend has not been easy for me.  It might be easier to get an audience with the Pope (should you choose to) than to pin this girl down for a coffee.  It really shouldn’t be that difficult, but sometimes it is.  And. it. bugs. me.  I really don’t think anyone is that busy.  But when you finally get to have that coffee with her, you pick up right where you left off and its nice to have someone that knows you; your background, your story, your life.

But there is a time when you have to let a friendship go.  Or not work so hard at keeping in touch.  Yes, you had fun when you were together, but life has changed.  Maybe you no longer work together.  Maybe the fun neighbour moved away and those few extra blocks make a difference.   Or, it’s the mom whose kids go to a different school now and have different activities.  It is just not so easy to get together and you don’t enjoy her company enough to keep it going.

So, I think it’s ok to let it go.  I believe there are friends for different times of your life and there is nothing wrong with that.   I like the people in my life now.  Well, most of them and they know who they are.