My Real Life

March 4, 2012

The Cow Says Woof

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
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We like books.

It’s a simple fact.

And so, we spend an enormous amount of time reading books, whether we are 40, 11, 8, 6 or 1.

Our hope for the books we read to our 1 year old is that they might help him make some kind of contextual sense of the world around him.

That they might help him learn.

So, imagine my disappointment when I opened up this book to share with Tiny.

I’ll admit…I didn’t actually browse through it when I bought it.

It said both “John Deere” and “ABC” on the cover.

Around here, either one of those terms makes a book golden.

Saturday night was the first night that Tiny was going to bed without being nursed to sleep.

It was time, and although I wasn’t ready, I thought he might be.

However, I wasn’t just going to dump him in his crib.

We started the ritual we have with the other monkeys, which is books, songs, then bed.

I picked this book out of his bookcase, as we hadn’t cracked the cover on this one yet.

We sat in his rocker and I opened and began to read.

First page went by just fine.

He was pointing at things, I was reading, there was learning going on.

(Okay, in MY mind, there was learning going on.)

Then we turned the page.


Okay…I can get on board with that picture to describe the word.

However, while I realize this is a book manufactured by John Deere who has a product to sell, my guess is that the majority of children who will read this book will not make the connection between the letter “G” and this farm machine.

Yes, it happens to be called a “Gator” but, really?  There was nothing else on a farm that started with the letter “G”?

Like, maybe a Gate?

We moved on.

I was somewhat stopped by the picture of “Ice Cream” on the opposite page, but I let it go.

Not really farming terminology, but my Grandma grew up on a farm, and I visited many times as a kid.

There WAS ice cream.

So, okay.

However, the next page made me pause, once again.

I see a barn AND a silo, and if I’m a little one, I’m focusing on the bigger part of the picture which ain’t the silo.

They couldn’t just put a picture of a lone silo in there?

Would that have been so difficult?

Here’s the one that really got me going, though.



You can barely see the udder!

That girl is barely a A-cup.

I’m not sure how this is a picture of an Udder.

I think we all know who will be to blame when hundreds of kids go to nursery school, and when asked “What sound does this animal make?” call out “Squirt! Squirt!”

It was udder-ly ridiculous.

I’m sorry.

So sorry.

I couldn’t resist.

Finally, we came to “X.”

It was at this point that I realized the author, (and I use that term in the loosest sense of the word), wasn’t even trying.

It even took me a minute to figure out that it wasn’t the row of doors that was important in the picture.

It was the design of the “X” ON the door that mattered.


Lessons learned:

1.  Look at the pictures in a picture book before you buy it.

2.  Forget the whole novel writing gig.  Apparently anyone can publish a picture book of ABC’s.

3.  Tiny is only 1.  He probably wasn’t going to learn anything from that book anyway, so I should just calm down and not have an udder about it.

January 13, 2012

Magical Books

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
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My friend, Heather, sent me a link to this YouTube video last night.

She said she saw it and thought of me.

And I’m so grateful.

Because I love it.

I’ve watched it so many times, since she sent it, I could probably tell you which book is going to do what and when.

It’s magical.

I’ve always dreamed/wished/hoped/thought that books, which are full of stories of incredible journeys, human passion, hysterical laughter, and more life than most people life in their lifetimes, came alive at night.  Although I always imagined the words moved around and the stories changed, or the characters popped off the pages and acted out their stories for the other characters.

In my imagination, libraries and bookstores were always most exciting after hours.

So, watch, enjoy and may it captivate your imagination as it did mine.

If nothing else…be impressed with the amount of time and tedious work it took to make.

October 1, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:43 am
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I’m a big believer in repurposing items in the home.  You know, things that you used to use in one capacity, but now use in another.  It fits with the whole reduce, reuse, recycle thought process.  My motto, at the Frugal Village, used to be “Use it up, Wear it Out, Make it Last, Do Without.”  So, you see that this is a big deal to me.

We’ve recently come into a lot of free books for Monkey Girl.  She has a desk with a bookcase attached that is basically full.


Speaking of repurposing and reusing, Monkey Girl’s desk/bookcase is actually the desk/bookcase my parent bought for me when I was twelve.  I’m 37.  For that matter, she’s sleeping in the bed my parents bought me when I was 13 and her dresser is the dresser that my parents bought when I was 7.  So, we practice what we preach.

She also had a tiny bookcase that was in my father-in-laws house.  It was full of books, and had books stacked on top and in piles in front of the books that were lining the shelves.  There were books spilling on to the floor, sitting on her dresser, her nightstand, her bathroom sink…you get the picture.

In the foyer, we had a bookcase we bought for $20 at a garage sale when the people across the street moved a few years ago.  I had family pictures, my grandfather’s beer steins from Germany and a few candles on it.  It was basically a display piece.

I decided to make it functional. 

I moved all of the photos up to the living room and distributed them around to the mantle, the end tables, the bookcase.  The steins joined the other steins in the kitchen and on top of the piano.  The candles have been dispersed around the house as well.

And now?


She still has a small pile of books that doesn’t fit, but this is a MUCH better solution.  She has her write-on, wipe-off board up top, as well as her “bed” she made for her American Girl doll.  She likes it being up higher so the Monkey boys can’t touch her “stuff.”

I think it’s important to take stock of what you had when you find a need.  So often you’ll find that you already have what you need.  You just need to be a little creative.

September 27, 2009

Afternoon at the Library

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:14 am
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The monkeys and I hit the library once a week, every week. 

We take out tons of books and then one dvd for each monkey. 

Baby Monkey likes to start reading his books right there, in the library.  He’s an instant gratification kinda guy.

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He goes from one book to another.

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Monkey Girl likes to look things up on the online card catalog.

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Gotta tell you…online card catalogs rock my world. 

Remember when you used to have to pull out a little wooden drawer and find the index card with the book you were looking for?

Now you can cross reference, check if other libraries have what you want, reserve things, place things on hold.  My favorite is being able to renew items from home by just logging in.  So convenient!  Love the helpfulness of the high-tech library.

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Now, today was the first day that Monkey in the Middle noticed the computers.  He usually spends most of his time pulling out one dvd, then finding another one and putting the first one back, then getting another one and putting that one back, etc. 

However, today he was lured to the computer.

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At our library, there are a few computers that have kids games on them.  So, he found Pajama Sam: Thunder and Lightning Aren’t So Frightening.  Despite the fact that we have this game at home, he was thrilled, so I let him play for awhile while I read to Baby Monkey and Monkey Girl searched for some more books.

We left with 3 dvds and a pile of Halloween books.  I’ve always loved the library and I am so pleased that I’m instilling that love in my children.  It’s such a part of our lives that I know that they’ll grow up to continue to be library users.

Makes a mama proud.

And, on the way home, even though I have a minivan that seats 7 quite comfortably, my monkeys like to all squish together in the back seat.  They’d always rather be together than be apart…even just separated by a seat.

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Makes a mama prouder.

September 14, 2009

Paring Down

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:48 am
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In the fall, I always feel the desire to settle in, to nest, to fill my cheeks with nuts in preparation for the long winter ahead.  Okay, perhaps not the last one, but you get the gist.

I’m usually pretty good at fighting the urge, but it’s tough sometimes.  It’s the law of nature to stock up and settle in as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder.

This year, I’ve decided to not only fight the urge, but to take myself in the opposite direction.  Instead of padding my nest, I’m going to purge my home.

Now, I’m a decluttering fanatic, so the truth is, we don’t have a lot of “stuff.”  I don’t really do knick-knacks, and I’m not a collector of things.  I thrive on organization and neatness.  I had toyed, for some time, with becoming a professional organizer.  Obviously, I didn’t.  Still think about it from time to time, however.

So, given this paucity of junk, what am I going to purge?

I’m starting here.


If you know me, you know that this is normally the last place I’d purge.  Books are breath to me.  There is nothing like the written word.  Holding a book.  Smelling a book.  Getting lost in a book.  Ahhh…

So, for me to start my purge here is a pretty big deal.

However, I started to think that many of my books are just decorations.  I read them.  I loved them.  But, I’m probably not going to read them again.  At least not many of the books on these bookshelves.

I have a few authors who I have collected over the years.  James Patterson.  John Sandford.  Jeffrey Deaver.  (Hmmm…they all start with the letter “J.”  Maybe there’s something to that.)

Anyway, I have all of their books.  Many of them are signed.  But, truth be told, while I loved them when I read them, I’m not going to read them again.  So, why do I keep them?

Now, these books…

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…these books, I will (and already have) read over and over.  These are books that touched me in one way or another, outside of the story.  So, these I will keep.  I’ll refill the shelves with these.

I’ve already listed the James Pattersons on eBay.  The Sandfords are next and then the Deavers.   I’ve loved all those series because I love the main characters.  Patterson writes about Alex Cross.  Sandford writes about Lucas Davenport and Deaver writes about Lincoln Rhyme.  Great main characters.  Really. 

However, I’ll wait for their next ones to come out and then I’ll borrow them from the library.  Because, again, I’ll read them, I’ll love them, and then I’ll put them on the shelf to never be read again.

Maybe you want to think about an autumn purge yourself.  Take a look around.  Do you love it all?  Do you need it all?  Will you use all of it again?  If not, perhaps it’s time to let some of it go.  After all, you can’t take it with you.

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