When We Believed in Mermaids- by: Barbara O’Neal

Usually when I read fiction I read something in the Scify-fantasy realm. I decided to venture out and try something different. Broaden my horizons!

Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s being a mom, maybe it’s being on locked down with the kids for 6 months and I’m going somewhat insane. I have been drawn to more sentimental type stories. So I googled popular books and this one came up, not going to lie, the title grabbed my attention more than anything as I have always loved mermaids.

When I was little we lived in South Florida and my grandparents had a boat that we use to go out on. We would snorkel and swim between fishing sessions ( in different spots of course). I had always felt out of place and sad as a child. I never felt like I quite fit in anywhere. I wasn’t really bullied in school and I had a good home, it wasn’t perfect, but my parents provided everything we needed. I was the sweet and quite girl; because of that other kids assumed I was smart. After “The Little Mermaid” was released from Disney, I wished more than anything I could turn into a mermaid and always pretended to be one when we were at the pool or in the ocean. I think it’s all of those memories that drew me to the title.

Once I got started with this book, I couldn’t put it down. It was very well written and I didn’t get bored with the characters because the chapters bounced from Kit to her sister Josie. Showing different perspectives to the same story.

The story is about sisters who grew up on the coast of California. Their parents owned a restaurant and were not very involved with their daughters. The girls were allowed to sleep on the beach and run wild and on their own until an runaway boy came to live with them and took on the responsibility of looking out and caring for them. The three kids loved one another and would to anything for each other.

A broken family, as they grew the problems grew and the kids couldn’t hold on to one another as they became adults. While Kit was is college, Josie became a party girl and disappeared. Fifteen years later, Kit goes on a mission to find her sister and while doing so finds a happier version of herself.

It’s a beautiful story of overcoming the tragedies that life sometimes gives and about letting go of the hurt and giving yourself permission to forgive. In so doing, finding love and acceptance. Families may be living in the same story, however we see from different perspectives and still experience different circumstances.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for inspiration to let go of their hurt, find love, and who want a good cry at the end.

Getting My Kids to Exercise

Like the rest of y’all, our house is trying to get along and make the best of the over abundance of family time we have had the last few months. In between the murder hornets, COVID-19, hurricanes, riots, and every else that happens, we get out to nature or a park to get some vitamin D via sunshine. But we are in the house a lot. My kitchen table is my office and my kids school desk, I set up my mobile gym right next to me so I can stop and exercise for a few minutes or do some stretches. My gym is a jump rope, (2) 10lb weights, exercise ball, and a yoga mat. After i serve dinner I run on my treadmill, which has been one of my best purchases ever!!!

The problem is my kids are getting lazy. Well, lazy until I make them stop watching Netflix or Minecraft videos. Then all of the pent up energy comes out and usually turns into them trying to kill each other, then my blood pressure goes up and de-escalating becomes tricky at this point. I know I should not have been letting them watch so much, but I still have to work and if they aren’t watching something they are very literally making me crazy because being Mom and outstanding employee takes 2 different mind sets and skill sets. Trying to do both simultaneously for 8-10 hours a day has been a headache to say the very least.

So as a solution I tried having them do exercise videos on YouTube, which they enjoy and there is a lot of cool videos for kid work outs. But after a few weeks they started getting tired with it. So I tried to get them to do at least a mile on the treadmill, and that was a battle because they got bored after a quarter mile and start wining. Then I came up with, “so you want to watch Minecraft videos, ok. But you are going to watch it while walking on the treadmill.”

It has been a beautiful compromise. They walk 1.5-2 miles before they realize how far they went. No more fighting to get them to move and they go to sleep easier too. It has been a WIN WIN. Now they ask me if they can walk /run on the treadmill during the week because that’s the only way they get YouTube time now.

I noticed their moods have improved since we started this compromise also. 🥳

The Sword of Truth Series by: Terry Goodkind

When I was 24 years old I walked into a Barnes & Noble with a Starbucks in hand, just kinda wondering around wasting time. I liked to read, but I wasn’t really into reading. I enjoyed going to book stores because it always felt like there was possibility of finding something spectacular in them.

My thing was walking the rows of books (all genres), browsing the titles, waiting for something to just jump out at me and whisk me away on an adventure. On this particular trip, I remember going through the store and not really finding anything of real interest, so I started to head out and I noticed a collection of books on the Science Fiction end cap that I had missed. I studied it for a moment from several feet away, debating if I should check them out, took the last gulp of my cinnamon dolce latte and wondered over. (It’s hard to imagine now that there was a time when this was the biggest decision I had to make in a day. Go check out the books or don’t check out the books, hmmmm)

I walked out of Barnes & Noble that day with the first book of the Sword of Truth Series, Wizards First Rule and 14 years and 24 books later am still hooked. There is actually more than 24 books related to Sword of Truth series, I am 2-3 behind waiting for the price to drop. Needless to say, I am now a dedicated citizen of the world he created in these books.

I feel like anything I say about these books and about the world he created just won’t do him justice. It’s a world where magics are used instead of technology, there’s forbidden love, fighting for human rights, sick and twisted power hungry people trying to take over the world, unbreakable friendships, and most importantly, lessons to learn from. It’s the whole package.

I will admit, there were 1 or 2 books in the middle of the series, up till now, that I found a little repetitive and had a hard time getting through. I won’t say that every single one had me on the edge of my seat, but most of them do. The first 6 books of the series are by far my favorites, I listen to them on audible now while I work, and I encourage anyone looking to start a wonderful adventure to go on this one.

“The Last Kids on Earth” by: Max Braillier

I liked it. I thought it was a fun action packed story where kids who normally don’t “hang out” became best friends as they fight to survive their new normal world filled with zombies, dozers, winged wretches, and vine thingies, among others.

When we started this book, I had the boys reading it to me, and they did ok with it. My boys are 7, are are a little behind on the reading level, but more than that they are a little behind on the maturity level also. They weren’t really understanding the dialogue between the characters and the witty sense of humor Jack Sullivan (the main character) has. So I decided to make it our bed time story book, where I read to them. After a few chapters I realized it wasn’t helping much for calming down and going to bed but I enjoyed the book so much I just kept on reading. When I read to them, I typically get really into the story with cheesy character voices, sound effects, and emotion. Not to mention its an action pack monster bashing adventure. Not really the right ingredients for bed time. Anyway, once I took over the reading they enjoyed it more but I had to constantly explain the sarcasm. Which isn’t a negative towards the book or the author, I loved it, it’s just something to consider if your kiddos are seven and take words very literally.

I bought the trilogy, so we will be eventually reading the second book to see what kind of new big bad tries to destroy the rest of the world and what this monster bashing team of friends does to stop it.

What the kids have to say:

Ninja D: ” I liked it because it had a lot of action in it, and I love action.”

Robo D: “I didn’t like it that much. I didn’t really understand what they were talking about most of the time. But I like the cartoon on Netflix.”

Disclaimer: All opinions and context are my own and are not influenced by any other parties. I was not paid or compensated for this review, this was only me sharing some thoughts about the book.

“Ninja Farts- Silent But Deadly”

I have yet to meet a boy who doesn’t want to be a ninja at some point in their life or think that farts are the funniest thing on this Earth. So what better combination for a kids book?

My 7 year old twin boys love Ninja Farts by JB O’Neil. It’s one of the few books that they will read over and over, of course they prefer me to read it because I get the crazy sound effects and voice character voices going, but regardless it’s one that never gets old.

Milo is very relatable for young boys as he finds school extremely boring and often finds himself dreaming about fun adventures using the power of the fart to do good in the world. Even though weirdly gross, there is a moral at the end of the story for kids to learn from.

There are several books in the “Fart” collection from JB O’Neil, I have ordered some of the other adventures for us to go on and can’t wait to share them with you!

We highly recommend going on these stinky fun adventures with Milo Snotrocket, they are fun and entertaining, and extremely gross. All of the major ingredients for fun in a boys mind.

Though my kids are not one for words, this is what they have to say about this story.

Robo D: “I like Ninja Farts because they are farty and it’s funny to fart while reading Ninja Farts! LOL

Ninja D: “I like Ninja Farts because I am Ninja too and farts are funny!

I Think I Need to Teach Quiet Time

When is the last time your kid had to just sit still without a phone, tablet, t.v, or an adult engaging him or her?

I took them to one of the city parks near me on Saturday to get some fresh air and do some jogging. I’m trying to run outside more often rather than on the treadmill, I think it’s a much better workout. They have electric scooters they like to ride, but I also want them to exercise so I intentionally didn’t charge them before hand, I figured I could do about 1-2 miles by myself while they rode around before the scooters died, then they could jog/walk with me the last couple of miles.

Right on time, the scooters gave out. They did about a quarter of a mile before the crying and whining began, I wasn’t going to let them ruin my work out yet again, so I sat them in the middle of the park (the paved path around it is just a little bigger than a football field and goes in a circle) under some nice shady pine trees, gave them the water and told them not to move from this spot. To just sit and relax since they were so tired and they better not move because someone might run away with them. Basically scaring the crap out of them not to move. I could see them at all times where they sat and there was only 1 other family there, the park I might add is away from the road mostly hidden by trees, so I wasn’t to worried about it. I just wanted them to sit still and stop whining so I could get the last of my jogging in.

As I ran my laps, I watched them and realized that I can’t remember the last time they just sat without something keeping their mind going. In fact, besides bedtime, they have NEVER just sat and talked to each other or be alone with themselves and they are nearly 8 years old. This was a mind blowing realization because it was a normal thing for us to do when we were kids. Sit under a shady tree and talk or play; lay in the grass and look up at the clouds and ponder life. They are not learning how to be comfortable with themselves, with their minds. This wasn’t something that ever had to be a lesson for kids, it was something we did because there was nothing else to do.

As I finished up, they joined me for my last lap and they started asking me questions about the world and talking about more relevant things instead of going on and on and on about Minecraft and YouTube characters. It was wonderful seeing them express interest in the real world.

Going forward, looks like we need to add yoga and meditation to the list of things to do. I wish I had listened to the recommendations do keep electronics away from kids for as long as possible. I am going to start having quiet time with them twice a week to begin, I think it’s important they become comfortable with their own minds and silence. I will need to start with short periods and work my way to 30 minutes, they are not going to like it at first. Their brains are over stimulated and with hyperactivity a factor, it’s going to be a challenge.

Challenge accepted!

Let’s see where this goes, I will keep you posted.

Salute!

“Chronicles of The One” by Nora Roberts

Pandemic.

That single word makes this story very relatable for the times we are living in. I started reading this series when a Pandemic was just the basis of a good story line.

The Doom has wiped out the majority of the human population through out the world. There is chaos, anarchy, mayhem, hypocritical religious groups, riots, and the worst of humanity being exposed. As the darkness and fear rises, so does friendships, love, inner strength, and the best of humanity. With the Doom, magic is also returned to the world which makes it for a much better story than real life.

I really enjoyed this trilogy. It was a wonderful story of light pushing back the darkness and the Love and Strength of human kind. These were the first books I have ever read from Nora Roberts, I look forward to reading more of her novels.

Day 1-It’s Time

Better habits. Habits that will lead me to my goals.

That’s the idea right?

I love to write. I have always wanted to be successful at it, but have never seemed to muster up the determination to do it. I guess that would mean that I didn’t want it bad enough or it wasn’t the right time. Either way time to make that change and make this happen for myself.

I have just begun reading “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley and so far it’s had some really good advice and valid points. She talks about things that should be common sense stuff, but for reason didn’t become common sense until I read it. If that makes sense.

She talks about like any habit, you have to do it everyday. Changing doesn’t come naturally, so you need to schedule time to at least write 30 minutes a day to develop the skill set. Just like running or exercising, you have to force yourself to keep the schedule, otherwise it will never happen. Which is also something I am trying to get better at, hence the title Reading, RUNNING, and Adventures. 🙂

So, here I am. Day 1. Actually it’s 10:30pm, does that make it night 1? Maybe we just go by calendar dates. Anyway,

Day 1. June 19th 2020 10:30pm

I should write everyday……………..

What to write about?

Tick Tock Tick Tock………WAIT!

Clocks don’t make noise anymore, some people will have no idea what that means. They will think I’m talking about an app or something completely irrelevant.

Maybe I should describe how clocks had hands and the second hand made a tick sound as it went around the clock.

What do you mean “what did the first hand do?’

My tea is gone and clock is pointing to bed time.

You know what, maybe you should just google the anatomy of a clock. You may find it interesting.

Good Night/Good Morning/Good Afternoon

Have a Fantastic Time!

White Board Assignments-Writing lessons

I have noticed that writing is my kids weakest area, so while distance learning we started a journal where they copy what I have on the white board. The questions I ask and have them answer vary, because part of this is to get them talking about feelings and thoughts, but they always include a tongue twister because it’s fun and helps with pronunciation. Copying this stuff may seem simple. But it is an excruciating emotional hour long challenging my love & patience. That is how much Robo D hates it. I have found this is his biggest trigger for meltdowns. Copying ANYTHING from a white board. The next would be talking about emotions and his own thoughts. When I combine all of those things, it takes at least 2 hours to get through a journal entry. Then after, I tell him how great a job he did for finishing and that he is getting better or his hand writing is getting better. Something positive in hopes that the next time WILL be better.

Ninja D doesn’t mind but he speeds thru and makes mistakes a lot. But he loves talking about everything, sometimes it takes him a while to get his thoughts out properly, but it doesn’t bother him unless you cut him off or try to speak for him.

This is part of my journey in trying to help my kids handle their super powers better. #reading #learning #writing

Suches, GA Such a Beautiful Place it is

If you are looking for a beautiful quite place to get away from it all, I highly recommend Suches, GA.

I hesitate to tell y’all about this place because I loved it so much. It’s a small town located in North Georgia with the windiest roads I have ever been on. I grew up in in Paulding County, GA but I have lived in South Florida for nearly 20 years. We only have 90 degree turns here that take you left or right. There is no up and down windy roads anywhere in these parts. These roads in Suches, made me a little bit nervous going into it for the first time.

We drove from South, FL all the way thru. It was about 12, 13,14 hours…….with the kiddos and stopping at Wal-Mart to stock up on food before we got into town, it was a long trip, I lost count of the hours. But it was worth it.

We rented a cabin from one of those rent your house apps, which isn’t as weird as some folks think. We have done it on a few trips now and have always had a good experience, (knock on wood), it had everything we needed. Seclusion, Jacuzzi, near-by River, and Mountain View. Basically PERFECTION.

I was able to teach my boys what Lightning Bugs (also known as fireflies) are and how to catch them and put them in a jar. We played in the rivers, went tubing down the Tocca River, they mined for Gems at the Lily Pad, I showed them all of the critters that hide under rotting logs like salamanders, giant centipedes and millipedes, night crawlers, rolly pollies, and beetles of all kinds. They destroyed all the beautiful mushrooms we found, after I took pictures of course, and really got to experience the simple life. The fact I got to show my kids this world without electronics, the world I grew up in, meant a lot to me.

Living down here, life is fast and expensive, and overall high demanding without any woods to disappear in, it can be stressful. Sure we have the Ocean and a lot of city and county parks, but it’s just not the same I love the ocean. But I think I love mountains and waterfalls a little bit more.

My parents and brother’s family still lives up that way, my dad and brother actually hunt and fish in Suches. It was a fun coincidence that they were there the same weekend we were. The kids got to play with their cousins and spend time with family. We went waterfalls, a suspended bridge, and the Chattahoochee National Hatchery where they breed the trout to restock the streams and rivers. I have to warn you though, getting to these places is a challenge if you’re not use to dirt roads up a mountain.

If you ever do find yourself in Suches, GA a few must do things that I have first hand knowledge are:

Toccoa River Swinging Bridge

Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery

Toccoa Valley Campground and Tubing

Lily Pad Gem Mining