Friday, June 21, 2019

Summer Reading & Our Library Bag #7

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It's summer reading season!  I love that "summer reading" is such a powerful phenomenon.  Last night while organizing digital photos I listened to a Libromania podcast simply titled "The Summer Reading Episode".  It was quite delightful, and in it a question was posed that I'm curious how other book loving people would answer: 

Is your summer reading different from your regular reading?

I don't think my summer reading is different from my spring, fall, or winter reading in any remarkable way.  I have added quite a few more titles to my Want To Read list due to so many favorite bloggers publishing summer reading lists . . . but I think that I work through that list pretty equally throughout the year.  (Of course, there are times when I read more than other times.  I'm currently in a book heavy period of time and loving it.)

With all this talk about books, I think that it might be time for another episode of "Our Library Bag"!

Graphic including books, dragon, castle, frog, the earth, and more.

1.   I finished The Shadow Throne.  It's the third book in Jennifer A. Nielsen's Ascendance Trilogy.  It's really good!  Having said that, it might be the most predictable and least exciting of the series making it the weakest of the trilogy.  I think The False Prince was the best, it just seemed the most clever.  By the third book the "twists" weren't surprises.  Definitely recommend this series and I'm very sad to say goodbye to these characters. (The Shadow Throne is free right now with an Audible trial.)

2. & 3. I really enjoyed Renegades.  Marissa Meyer just knows how to tell a story.  The pages flew by and I eagerly dug into the second book, Archenemies.  The conclusion to the trilogy, Supernova, doesn't come out until November and I can hardly wait!  At this point, I give these a qualified recommendation.  It's targeted to a YA audience, but some of the themes are a little more on the mature side.  The first two books read very much as "part 1" and "part 2" of a larger whole, so while I enjoyed reading both books, a part of me wishes I hadn't begun until all three were available.

4. I checked out every single National Geographic Reader that is in our library system for the kids.  These readers are super simple, and vary in the quality of writing, but most have great pictures and some basic factoids.  My middle child loves the "Stump Your Parents" section.

5.  My daughter read Princess Academy and now I'm reading it.  This morning I set the kids up with play-doh and managed to read about 150 pages.  (Play-doh for the win!)  I discovered this positively delightful book via Read Aloud Revival's book list for girls 8-12.  I think both my daughter and I will devour the entirety of this list. 

6.  Once I finish Princess Academy I am going to start The Accident.  I added this to my list courtesy of The Modern Mrs. Darcy.

7.  This one isn't a library book, but since it is currently the most read book in the house it deserves honorable mention: Barnyard Dance.  As far as toddler books that are read on repeat ad nauseam, it's rather enjoyable.  It has a pleasant rhythm and watching the various dancing antics of the toddler are pretty adorable.

That's all for now, everyone!  I'm going to go read. Do tell me about your summer reading plans and habits!  I'm really curious. 

I'm going to link this little blog post of mine around the blogosphere. Some places that I like to link include: 

This Ain't the Lyceum

This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

WIPS: Works In Progress

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It's been a long time since my last WIPS post.  Life is starting to give me a routine where I can more easily work with yarn again.  I have a project list a mile long! 

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I've cast on a Hylan Sweater for my daughter.  The pattern is from The Velvet Acorn.  The yarn is Caron Century Collection in Robins Egg.  I've made a couple of mistakes already, to be expected as a self-taught, sometimes impatient, knitter.  I realized I was doing my left slant increases incorrectly.  I decided that this time it didn't bother me enough to frog it -- so I am forging ahead!

I'm trying to keep track of my progress using Ravelry's Project page. How do you like keeping track of works in progress?  Sometimes I don't think there's a need to catalog every project, but I do like being able to look back.  Also, it's especially helpful to have detailed notes if you have to put a project on hold for a day . . . or year.

I also have a small pile of so-very-close-to-being-finished projects.  These just need tails woven in or buttons.  Sometimes the last step of the project is the hardest.

How about you?  Are you currently able to fulfill your creative needs?

Linking up with Small Things and Frontier Dreams

Monday, April 22, 2019

Disney World Adventures: My Solo Park Day at Disney's Hollywood Studios

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Disney World isn't just for kids.

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time at Hollywood Studios all by myself.  I had a great time!  Yes, I missed my family, but it was nice to have a little Mom time.  It was rather fun to be the one completely in charge of the itinerary.

Below is a breakdown of my day with a few tips at the end for single travelers. 

I am a big proponent of getting to the parks early, and today was no different.  In fact, without any kids to buckle into car seats or strollers to push, I scanned in quite early, about 8:15, despite leaving at our "regular" departure time.

The park didn't officially open until 9 AM, but they've been unofficially opening Toy Story Land early and I was hopeful that they would do the same today.  I was not disappointed.  At exactly 8:45 the cast members began walking the massive crowd to Andy's Backyard.  The crowd can get mob-ish with hundreds of people trying to be the first to get to the same place.  Since I was all by myself this wasn't a big deal, but it could be stressful with the kids and a stroller.

I waited in the line for Slinky Dog Dash for about five minutes.  The line moves pretty quickly first thing in the morning, but it doesn't take it long to back up.  The line was out the door and around the bend by the time I was off.

After Slinky Dog I quickly walked over to Toy Story Mania and waited about 10 minutes.  I was so hoping to break the 200,000 mark, but I failed.  I had a great time anyway and I was "Best in Vehicle"!  (This is a rarity for me as my wonderful husband usually is the one to claim this honor.)

My first FastPass was Rock 'n' Rollercoaster, which I picked up using the app while in line earlier, so I headed over there and had a blast.

The lines were getting pretty long at this point, and I couldn't modify my FastPasses to get anything better, so I hopped into the single rider line for Rock 'n'.  I waited only about 20 minutes, which was great since the posted wait time for Stand By was 65 minutes.  (While in line I was able to modify my second FastPass to a better time.)

After the roller coaster thrills, it was time for a quiet show and food.  I love the live Beauty and the Beast show!  It's a Broadway style show with singing and dancing.  I found it really relaxing to watch the show alone.  I used this time to eat some of the snacks that I brought with me.  (Food is allowed in this semi-outdoor theater!)

My second FastPass was Slinky Dog Dash, so I skipped on back to Toy Story Land.  At this point the park was packed and Stand By wait times were quite high.

As I was exiting Toy Story Land, I realized the Indiana Jones show was about to start, so I quickly worked my way there.  The cast members warned that it was standing room only by the time I got there, but being a party of one it was pretty easy to get a seat on the edge.  (Then the family in front of me left after about five minutes, so I ended up having a great view, even if it was a little off center!)

My third FastPass was Tower of Terror.  I'm a little bit unique in my perception of this attraction.  I find the theaming to be excellent, but in all honesty, a little creep-tastic; while the ride itself is a blast and not even a little scary.  I do really enjoy it though, so I was really thankful to have the FastPass as the Stand By line was at 105 minutes!  Even the FastPass line was a little backed up, but that gave me the opportunity to take a few photos.  I have to say, I'm pretty happy how this one turned out!

At this point I was thinking about heading out, it was crowded and I already had been able to do many of the big attractions, but decided to see what was available.  I refreshed the app a few times and to my amazement scored another FastPass for Slinky Dog in ten minutes!  I couldn't pass that up, so back to Toy Story Land I went.  (You might not know it from this blog post, but Slinky Dog Dash is currently one of the most difficult to obtain FastPasses.)

At about 1:30 I decided to call it a day.  It was a great day!  Being a local passholder is so much fun, but it is a little disjointing to go from the magical World of Disney in the morning to running mundane errands in the afternoon. (I'm looking at you, Sprint.)

Photo courtesy of Disney's PhotoPass System.

A few tips for a solo Walt Disney World Disney park day:

  1. Use the My Disney Experience App.  The smaller the party the easier it is to score great FastPasses.  Keep in mind that you might need to refresh the page often.
  2. Pack light.  I wore a sling cooler (older and not as cool as this KAVU Ropesicle Insulated Cooler Rope Sling Bag).  This was plenty big for my lunch, snacks, phone, wallet, keys, and portable cell phone charger.  I realize many people wouldn't consider this "packing light", but since I typically also have diapers, wipes, baby blanket, a change of clothes, sippy cups, pins for trading, a camera, three kids, etc., this was light for me.  
  3. Utilize single rider lines when available. Only a few attractions in Disney World have them, but when they are available they are almost always better than Stand By.    

What about you?  Have you enjoyed a Disney park solo?  What are you favorite things to do?  Have you been able to ride Slinky Dog Dash?  What are some of your favorite things to do at Hollywood Studios?

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