Noah - A Book review

6:41 PM
The story of Noah has to be among the most well-known and overtold ever. And for good reason... it is bone chillingly terrifying but hopeful, and it involves a lot of cute fuzzy wuzzy creatures.

Probably more because of the creatures than the terror, the idea of Noah and the flood has been particularly popular for children's books, toys, songs, decor, etc. Noah's ark shape sorters are standard, but what baby has an Egyptians-drowned-in-the-Red-Sea bedroom?

That said, who knows how many Noah related picture books I've read over the years, as a kid and now to my own kids. They kind of all blur together.

Not this one though. This one stands out. For one thing, there are no words. I'm not sure how much I would have valued this before I had kids, but now I just can't believe how brilliant it is. Without the words, I am reminded to tailor the story to the level of whichever of my kids I happen to be reading with at the moment. There's no risk of that one random theologically sketchy line that bugs you every time you read it. It's kind of delightful to watch the kids taking in the images on their own and coming up with questions

The pictures themselves are realistic enough to feel reverent and thoughtful rather than cutesy, but fanciful enough to make it clear that the artist is expressing his own vison and not under the illusion that he is under divine inspiration. The creative and often unexpected details kept the kids' interest (and mine as well). The only problem is that since there's no text, it's kind of tempting to take the book apart and frame pages. !!

(The back of the book advertises the fact that there is a teeny tiny sketch of a mouse hidden in each picture. My kids are still a bit young for that, but I won't confess how much time I spent poring over the illustrations to find Squeakers. Ahem)

~I received this copy for review purposes, and I was thrilled to find it in the mailbox, but the opinions here are my own.~

Read On 0 sprinkles of fairy dust

Flash Fiction Friday

5:23 AM
Because at some point in time you have to just be bad, in order to get back in the saddle...

From Esther: 

“H-o-t D-o-g”  

It was all Kilen knew how to spell, and so it was all he got to eat.  It had been three days since the new fridge had been delivered.  “It’s a sign of the times!” mom’d said.  “singularity will happen before I die.”  dad said shaking his head like he still didn’t quite believe it.   “Can it really make anything?” his older sister asked skeptically?  Just for kicks and giggles she’d rearranged the letter magnets to say “horse poop”. At least that’s what she told Kilen later.  At the time she used less letters, which made mom fuss at her while dad tried to hide a grin.   Dad stopped smirking though, when he had to disinfect his brand new fridge. But Kilen had marveled. The point was... it had worked.   Whatever you spelled, you got.  

The fridge looked kid friendly.   It had the same brightly colored alphabet magnets that his grandmother used to talk about.   He wasn’t sure if his parents had gotten this particular fridge because they thought they thought their children would find it user friendly, or if it was because it was vintage and eclectic.  His mom considered herself an urban stylist, who created “clean vintage fusion”.   Kilen was pretty sure that translated into English it meant “deceptively untouchable”.   In the case of the new fridge, it meant “hungry”.  His mom stopped cooking meals, his dad stopped writing grocery lists that included edible foods like “peanut butter” and “oatmeal”.  In fact, nobody wrote any grocery lists at all.  After all, why would you? When you could just arrange the letters to say “Pasta Bolognese”, open the door, and your steaming plateful of noodles would be waiting for you?  

That was all fine and dandy if you could read and write.  

Kilen tried mentioning a few times he was hungry.   His mom gave her usual answer of “just one minute dear.”  She was a busy designer though, and there were lots of minutes in a single minute.  He asked his dad for a banana, but his dad was big into self actualization, so all Kilen got was a book on phonics and a bunch of vocabulary flash cards.   He would have asked his sister...he liked how she looked in his direction when she talked to him.  She never patted him on the head.   He was sure she would have gotten him food, and it wouldn’t have been horse poop, but she was never home.  

“They” had said on TV that boys don’t like to read, but Kilen figured they’d probably have more success if they locked up all the food in the world behind letters.   At least it had worked on him.   Which gave him a happy thought, maybe his parents had done this on purpose to make him learn how to read.   Maybe he was invisible on purpose.  Maybe the only way to become un-invisible was to learn to read.  

After “hotdog” he learned how to spell “s-n-a-c-k”  which was a big improvement because at least that way you got something new every time you arranged the letters and opened the fridge door.   Kilen got so good at spelling stuff, the biggest problem he had was not enough vocabulary cards to copy and memorize.   He started copying everything around the house, but “toilet paper” had gotten him some sort of weird mush, and it had taken him two weeks to figure out that “shaving cream” was tastier when you left off the first word.  

The best word he found was the sticker off a banana his dad had peeled and thrown away.   Surely if he showed his dad he could read “banana” then he wouldn’t be invisible anymore.  

But the only one who appeared to remember his birthday was his older sister.  She came home for once, and seeing the array of chips ahoy spread around his room, she’d marched into her mom’s office.   After that his parents did remember his birthday.  They quickly rushed into the kitchen and arranged the word “cake” on the fridge.  It came out red and green with a christmas tree, but that didn’t matter.   It had two whole candles on it, and Kilen could proudly read now.  “Happy 2nd Birthday Kilen!”  


From Bethany: 

It was 2am, and nobody was leaving.

That was the nature of Merrirose’s parties.  Not because everyone was tipsy and crazy though, of course it wouldn’t be for the normal reasons, Sorrel thought.  There was Merrirose herself, trying to out-Shakespeare a reedy man who was currently playing Hamlet at the local community theatre.  And across the room, three mermaid-haired girls were taking turns composing lines to a sonnet.  A card game on the floor in one corner, a small crowd knotted around the piano in the other.  Sure, there was alcohol involved, if you counted the dusty absinthe bottles and the fruit-infused liqueurs home-brewed by the reedy man and his mermaid-haired girlfriend.

When the dark haired man playing the piano winked at Sorrel, she realized she had been staring.  It really wasn’t her fault.  He did have an enormous curly mustache, after all, the sort that looks like it is about to jump up and run off growling on its own.  Hastily looking away, Sorrel grabbed a pad of sudoku off of the coffee table and began arranging numbers.  Whew.  That was much better.

All this arts and crafts stuff was Merrirose’s.  Concrete stuff?  That was Sorrel’s.  It was hard to not divide things up like that just to keep sane.  

“You complement each other,” their mom said, but moms always say that kind of thing.

Mom also said that it was nice that they still wanted to share an apartment when they moved out.  How dumb was I to take Merrirose’s offer to live on her couch? thought Sorrel.  Beggars can’t be choosers, right?  Beggars also aren’t known for getting the best nights’ rest, and Sorrel’s “bed” was currently being sat upon by a bunch of scruffy dudes who looked like they probably bathed about as often as beggars.

This sudoku was way too easy.  Sorrel glanced back around the room as she filled in all the 8s.  Merrirose ran to the kitchen to get sugar cubes and the slotted spoon.  Reedy man infiltrated the sonnet club.  The Mustachioed Flirt laughed loudly at a comment thrown to him by one of the card players, a tiny woman with a halo of curly white blonde hair.  

If this were Peter Pan, she would be Tink, Sorrel thought.  Mssr. Moustachio would be Hook, of course, albeit a bit too dashing, and reedy man would be a starving Smee.  Merrirose would be Wendy, and all the scruffy dudes would be the lost boys.  The mermaids were an easy guess.  Peter would be the babyfaced card shark rakishly tossing the deck at Tink.

But who am I?  Sorrel wondered.  

Merrirose, or rather Wendy, reappeared with refreshment.  Sorrel watched the tableaux change, this time with amusement rather than impatience.  A whole house full of amateur players not realizing that they were putting on a play.

The sound of the old family grandfather clock striking 3am brought her back to this world and her lack of a bed.

But she only frowned for a moment.  Who am I in this silly farce?  The answer made her snicker, catching puzzled glances from the lost boys.  

I’m the Crocodile.  Tick-tock, tick-tock.  Your time is up, you crazies.  
Read On 4 sprinkles of fairy dust

Stop And Smell The Skunk Cabbage Vol. 49

7:50 PM

1. 5,000 spewing forth out of a window looks like magical world come to life.

2. Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies...gluten free. With this magical ingredient called fleur de sel...which turns out to be salt.

3. Instead of a flower bouquet...brooch bouquets. Weird or cool?

4. On adoption. The perspective of a mom who was adopted as an older child. Rescued.

5. I (esther) am probably the only one who would use this thermos to cart around a half gallon of soup, but seriously... The stay-hot and stay-cold capabilities of this coffee thermos look amazing.

6. I'm sure all the Downton Abbey fans have seen this spoof already, but just in case there's one person out there who missed it... Downton Arby's is pretty hilarious.

7. Want to feel like you stepped into a storybook? Maybe you should stay here. If there was something like this more local, I'd be prepping my begging eyes.

8. Nerd skirt alert! I could see a tardis version of this being equally awesome.

9. Google always has something clever for April Fool's Day, but this year Tor was pretty hilarious too.

10. Catechism question for the week: Which is the second commandment?
Read On 0 sprinkles of fairy dust

Stop And Smell The Skunk Cabbage Vol. 48

7:57 PM
1. Continuing our love of all things potato. What could be tastier than potatoes stuffed in bread?
Tired of all the controversy surrounding red meat? Or does it excite and interest you? Either way, here's an interesting article about the dangers and non-dangers of red meat.

2. Excavating dinosaurs from ice. Not for real...but for fun with the kids. I'm pretty sure this would keep certain kids occupied for ages.

3. X-rays of flowers. They look like they're made out of liquid crystal.

4. Rocket ship autopsies. The fascinating innards of your favorite space shuttles.

5. Painting shoes is a favorite pastime, this DIY, neon-toed heels look awesome.

6. Overheard question: So is Orson Scott Card kinda like Brandon Sanderson? No! It's the other way around. The famous and well-loved Ender's Game is finally... finally being made into a movie.

7. Ever feel like your bookmark isn't quite always there for you the way you'd like it to be? Apparently there's a solution to that.

8. You know how owners and pets start to look like each other? I wonder if Sherlock Holmes ever owned an otter. Why? This. It's uncanny and hilarious.

9. Whether you grew up playing roshambo, jan-ken-pon, or one of the more boring names for the game, this necklace is an awesome tribute to a childhood staple.

10. I can't imagine how difficult this is to make, but what boy wouldn't love this cake?

11. Driving around town with kids in tow, I've often wished that more stores offered drive-throughs, but here's another option, a car babysitter. I actually had one this past week, and if you are a mom you know just how amazingly decadent it feels to be able to run in and out of a store in mere minutes!

12. Imagine if the seven dwarves had been named Hickey, Thrifty, Strutty, Flabby, Shifty, Dirty, and Hotsy. It could have been!

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Stop And Smell The Skunk Cabbage Vol. 47

5:16 PM

1. It's fun to use sponges, q-tips and toothpicks to paint with.
Here's a tutorial on how to make cherry blossoms with the bottom of a soda bottle. Love it.

2. Is a full night's sleep not normal? And no, this isn't a joke about parenting...

3. For Airbender fans... a new trailer has been released for the Legend of Korra!
It reminds me a little of Howl's Moving Castle.

6. Beanbag chairs are awesome. Potatoes are awesome. So, how about a potato beanbag chair?

7. Is it just me or does Katniss have the same expression in every single still of her? Of course, considering her personality in the books...maybe that's intentional.

8. Hilariously accurate pros and cons of cloth diapering. There's a reason I don't have a diaper sprayer!

9. Catechism question for the week: What is forbidden in the first commandment?
Read On 2 sprinkles of fairy dust

Stop And Smell The Skunk Cabbage Vol. 46

8:17 PM

1. This isn't usually an ad space, but since a lot of our friends have babies on the way, I thought I'd throw out that I was googling Ergos for a baby shower and came upon this store, which has some discounted prints, free shipping, and the option of free Ergo brand teething pads. I ordered this one for a friend, and when I got the package, I was blown away by how amazing it looks up close. Wow. And for so long I thought Ergos were boring.

2. Curry Shrimp with Spicy Mango Quinoa with Thai Basil Yogurt Dip. Mango, curry and basil is a combination that is a gift from God.

3. Build Serenity (Firefly) out of legos! If that sentence makes no sense to you...don't worry, it means you're not a nerd (but should still watch Firefly anyway).

4. See if you can remember what on earth this song originally said before you got marmosets on the brain....

5. A magnificent aspect of bonsai growing I had never considered.... mini treehouses.

6. You know those fruit snacks that kids are obsessed with (and adults sneak too)? Here's a homemade version sans the sugar, HFCS, red dye and processed junk that's in the store bought kind.

7. Up for a little nerdy home decor? How awesome would a full set be? Although a bear to store....

8. Two doctors have created a free ap to help you optimize the amount of caffeine in your bloodstream. So you can have a whole day of being like Hammy, instead of back and forth between Eeyore and Hammy.

9. What toothpaste is your dentist's fave? Really?

10. 30 kids activities for promoting fine motor skills... also known as "occupy 3 year old".

11. If you don't have a creepy stalker, then good news... Target's new marketing program comes eerily close.

12. Catechism question for the week: What is required in the first commandment?
Read On 1 sprinkles of fairy dust

Stop And Smell The Skunk Cabbage Vol. 45

11:11 PM
1. A collection of haunting songs... more deeply contemplative, but still helpful if you're in one of those moods where the world seems fusterclucked.

2. Is an elephant bean bag chair the perfect place to read or write fairy tales? we're don't know, but it'd be nice to find out. *grin*

3. Cauliflower crust pizza. Gluten free, paleo, low carb. Pretty much the perfect dish if you're eating healthy but still craving pizza.

4. An interactive map of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry night. Hypnotizing.

5. Highly disturbing. Muscle leggings make your legs look like a cross between a chunk of steak and those anatomical posters at your doctor's office.

6. Bathing in knowledge. A bathtub made out of books...that you can really take a bath in! Perhaps not terribly functional, but very whimsical.

7. How to place an order at Sonic (or anywhere else for that matter)

8. Ever see a drama-filled facebook "discussion" and wonder what it would look like if the people were to say such things to each other in real life? Well here ya go.

9. Catechism question for the week: Which is the first commandment?
Read On 0 sprinkles of fairy dust