Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Month in Review // June

Possibly my best Photoshop job ever!!
And I can't make a cool face to save my life...
June, you've been awesome! Summer has finally started to become productive and fun! (Yes, I'm that person who has to something productive or I have a breakdown and think I'm good for nothing....) Oh June, have you been awesome! In fact, only a few bad things have happened, and they didn't really turn out bad in the long run (well, this cold hasn't decided if it's a cold or something worse...)! Let's just go week by week, k?

WEEK ONE: 5/31 - 6/6
My Mamaw stayed with us this week while my parents were on vacation. We had a blast. Well, at least during the times that I wasn't doing SAT practice tests.... My parents had fun and brought us a lot of cool stuff! We each got a snorkel from the boat! (Actually, that week my sister had found our other snorkel and learned how to blow it like Susan in the Chronicles of Narnia.) We all got these cool woven backpacks. Saturday, June 6, I took my SAT. I felt really confident about it. Scores came out last Thursday, and I did great!! Yay!!

I'm the second from the right in the front row.
My brother is the blond kid with the white bandana tied around his head..
Also, Winchester is a type of rifle
WEEK TWO: 6/8-6/13
On Monday, we left for camp! I've only been to camp three times, but I think this was the best time, or tied with the first year! Everybody from my church was in the same brother/sister cabin combo, so that was fun! My counselor was awesome! We both loved languages, and because she was a Spanish major, my friends and I would talk to her in Spanish!! We had a verse competition with our brother cabin. Guys, I memorized an insane amount of verses because there was a guy in my brother cabin was a just-as-good-if-not-better memorizer than me. We finally decided to tie and let the competition rest on other people's shoulders... The girls lost but it was a lot of fun. My team (RED) lost the week, but we won verses. We said we were more spiritual because we won verses and had more Pastor's Kids..... NOT. I had so much fun! I learned how to play Dutch Blitz and Pygmy Pit. I played lots of Nine Square as usual. I finally did decentish at archery. Most importantly, I got a lot closer to God. He really spoke to me about pursuing Him more and having a closer fellowship with Him.

Cuz Steve McQueen jumping over the fence is just cool!
WEEK THREE: 6/14-6/20
Vacation Bible School! Yay! Sort of! Let's just say there weren't enough adults on my team's side, so the teens had to do some babysitting for some, shall we say strong-willed, children... We won though! Also, it was ridiculously hot out during game time, so the water games were a blast! We also had a flight simulator! (we made it) It was awesome! One time we took six of us teens into the four seater flight simulator and broke it... Another awesome thing I did that week was watching The Great Escape, and thus having an absolute favorite movie for the first time in forever! (hahahah you have that song playing in your head now :D ) And the Warriors won the NBA Finals!!! #BandwagonWarriorsFanForLyfe

I should have bought this!
WEEK FOUR: 6/21-6/30
On Wednesday, I left for a vacation in KY/TN. I was flying by myself, and had a layover in Denver. I was okay with that, BUT there were storms in Denver so the plane kept getting delayed. I was supposed to get into Louisville at 10:55. I got in at 2:30ish (A.M.) Yeah. But I walked around the airport and learned that McDonalds doesn't have ice cream or snack wraps in the Denver airport... I found an outlet and just camped out. I had a lot of fun in Kentucky with my dad's side of the family. I got ten hours of sleep in two days cuz I was helping MadZach move (My aunt and uncle's awesome ship name I made up). I stayed at four different houses in five nights and I don't think I lost anything except for ponytails. I walked around downtown Bardstown and met this awesomely hilarious man who runs a shop . I also watched The Magnificent Seven cuz my grandma had it! Yesterday, I drove (well, my grandmothers team drove) to Tennessee to see my mom's family! On Friday, I go back to Phoenix and the heat! Let's just say I'm not handling the "cold" very well. (Like 70 degrees cold)

Anywho, I've had a great June and watched great movies and read great books! It's amazing how many good books I've read this month!

Looking forward to:
Writing movie reviews
Going to Dollywood tomorrow!!!
Watching USA win the World Cup (Hopefully!)
Going home!
Practicing piano for music camp
Possibly attending Coding Camp at the library!
Doing more volunteer shifts at the library! (I basically just hand out stickers to little kids!)
Visiting my cousins on their vacation in California
Going on a family vacation

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Classics Club/Readalong: Little Women

Well, I've finally read it! What! You thought everybody had read this! Well, not me! You see, I started it numerous times, but always got bogged down in the love story and the phrase about being tied to apron strings. (I seriously remember that phrase striking me as sort of cool and that's when the story got boring...)I knew the story, but I had never read about Laurie's rejected proposal and his and Amy's love story. It was beautiful!

Anywho, now on to the real review! I started this book right after finishing Little Dorrit. Let me tell you, going from Dickens' verbosity to Alcott's straight-forward no-nonsensity was a shock! (Yes, I made up a word) I eventually got over that shock and enjoyed the rest of the book. It wasn't as preachy as I remember, although some of the ending chapters had sermons on stuff I don't even remember now. It definitely wasn't as preachy as Jo's Boys and How They Turned Out! Man alive! That's my least favorite book of the trilogy.

Also, was the end of Little Women the same ending as Little Men. I know it wasn't written the same, but was it the same occasion?

I sort of sympathize with Meg. After all, we're both the oldest sister, but I've never wanted to have the nicest clothes or anything like that, plus her childrearing methods.... Guys, I can't stand consistently misbehaved children.... I just came off a week of Vacation Bible School and yeah....

Oh Jo! You remind me of myself, especially of my bad traits. My impulsiveness at times, my annoyingness (which apparently isn't a word), and my tendency to push younger siblings out of important stuff. But I still like you because you grew out of those traits! There is hope!

I've never really liked Beth (And the whole blogsosphere collectively gasps, glowers, and glares) I never really liked her perfectness. And her shyness gets on my nerves. But this time around though, I appreciated her attitude about death. She knows it's inevitable so she focuses on Heaven and how great it's gonna be there! That attitude is how I want to approach my life!

I never really liked Amy either, but I love the woman she grows into! Yet, I can't really get over Amy's decision to give up her art because she would never be the best. Can't you just enjoy art for art's sake. I'm never going to be the best piano player or writer, but should that stop me from trying? For Pete's sake, you can always find someone better than you or different from you at some aspect of your art/work! Anyway, rant over. I think she took it back up, so all's well that ends well!

A word on Laurie: He's awesome! I probably would never be romantically interested in a guy like him, but he would be a great friend! Actually, he reminds me of a guy who used to go to my school! Except that guy wasn't moody and didn't consider running away and stuff. He was a great friend and basically the only reason I made it through my eighth grade year! Let's just say the other guy was a little bit annoying at that time. (Seventh grade boys. UGH)

I've never heard the word Marmee EVER used anywhere except in Alcott's writings. Did she make it up, or was it a legit (LAWFUL) thing?

Finally, the theme that just stuck out to me about this book is growing up. Meg is practically grown up, Jo doesn't want to grow up, Beth never grows up, and Amy longs to grow up. The girls grow out of most of their flaws and become better people! I liked that theme because it seems to be true. If we have Christ and let Him make little adjustments in our growing-up years, we will turn out awesome!

Speaking of Jesus, I got a pretty big whiff of salvation by works from this book. Everybody tries hard, but nobody asks God for help. (Except for Jo's prayer which was actually pretty cool and genuine) It's like Alcott was saying you can get through life and to Heaven by yourself if you just try. But the only way to get to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. Once you have Him, you don't have to try hard because He is in you living the Christian life for you! As the song I'm listening to right now says, "Greater is the one living inside of you than he who is living in the world.

All in all, I enjoyed Litlle Women! It really whet my appetite for Little Men though! Thanks Hamlette for hosting an awesome readalong! And for the cool gifts I won :D I especially loved the different covers you featured! Also, this is the reading for an essay contest I plan to enter! Yay for killing lots of birds with one stone! And thanks Hamlette for introducing me to the '78 miniseries! I haven't watched all of it, but it seems awesome so far!

On a different note, I'm flying out tomorrow to go to Kentucky and Tennessee for about ten days! Yay for two hour layovers when you're flying by yourself.... Anyway, so if my blogging presence isn't that strong, (not that it's strong now) that's why.

Who is your favorite March sister? Least favorite? Favorite movie adaptation?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Is it Carolyn or Caroline?

This post is gonna be a leetle long cuz there's seven books just FYI

Sweet Caroline! BOMP BOMP BOMP! #SorryNotSorry, just had to get that out of the way! I loved this series!!!! It was amazing!!! The stand alone books were pretty good, but the whole story was awesome!! Mostly I loved it because I am basically Caroline Quiner. Guys, we are so alike it's creepy. (Come to think of it, I actually used to pretend I was her when I was like six. (Yes I said "like." I wasn't exactly six: maybe I was seven?)) Let's just list these similarities:

We're both good at spelling and can be beaten by one particular boy. 
We both love writing. We both love books. We both love kids. We both like to do something for someone else rather than accept an unrequited favor. We both are practical (sort of). We both are the person who's always worried about doing the right thing. We both want to be teachers (When I was little, that was my dream). We both don't want to go into marriage if it will stop us from doing what we love. We both like to stay put. We're both sort of naive. Ummm yeah, it's awesomely weird isn't it!

Anyway, onward to the books, and there's a lot! Except, one more thing, is it pronounced Carolyn or Caroline? I mostly go with Caroline, but sometimes it's a mix between the two. Anywho, I'd like to hear your opinions on the subject!

And, let's just discuss the overriding issues/positives right now: 

Firstly, what happened to Charlotte! She seemed a lot different than her girlish self! Also, she was always quoting Bible verses! Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that Martha didn't seem like the one who was always teaching that to her children. (Not that Martha didn't teach her children the Bible, but it wasn't mentioned as much in the Charlotte books as in the Caroline books)

Also, there wasn't much of a difference between Charlotte and Caroline as little girls? As Caroline grew up, she developed her own personality, though.

Also, I loved the covers on these, and all of the Little House books!

Finally, the Laura Little House Books mention that Caroline came from back East and had her clothes made by a fashionable dressmaker. (Because I'm from the West, I always say back East.) Which story is right?

Now, onto the books! I'm gonna go fast because there's 7! (Perfect number, an odd number, the number of completion, one of my lucky numbers (the other one's 3)).

Little House in BrookfieldApparently this was one of my favorite books ten years ago. I seem to have started it so much that the first two chapters are falling out of the book!  This book does have great historical detail, and the characterization is great! I used to "put myself in this book" all the time when I was little.

Little Town at the CrossroadsI actually liked this book a lot better than the first one. Charlotte seemed to lighten up some and have fun. There's not really an overall story arc, just little episodes. I'm fine with that style though. Sometimes you need to read a little fun book that doesn't require too much brain power. Basically the one word that would describe this book is sweet. Caroline is sweet, her friend Anna is sweet, the spelling bee is sweet, the cover is sweet, pretty much everything about this book is sweet. Except for Martha. For a nine-year-old, she's sorta a jerk. She leads Caroline into doing wrong stuff (although that's also Caroline's fault), she's boy-crazy, and she's disobedient. Really?! Also, I liked a boy when I was nine, but I don't remember constantly asking to be around him.... Also, the maturity of these kids is amazing! Joseph is only 12 years old, but he could practically be the man of the house!

Little Clearing in the WoodsI think I liked this book about the same as the last one. It does seem like we've taken a step back in time, instead of ahead though. I enjoyed getting to see the Quiner family in action. I also enjoyed the times Charlotte loosened up a bit. Also, was it just me, or did going up to people and asking to do odd jobs seem a little, shall we say, presumptuous? I don't know. I'm glad they got the jobs though!

On Top of Concord HillSo Charlotte gets married in this book, which I'm pretty sure is not a spoiler at all! (I hope) The whole thing is a leeetle awkies, but it's like a natural awkies. (If that makes sense) Mr. Holbrook is a lot different from the whole family, actually, but in the following book he finally seems to fit in. Also, Henry gets obsessed with the gold rush and basically becomes a jerk! Which is sad because I like Henry :( Henry and Mr. Holbrook start on rocky ground, but several incidents help to repair their relationship. Joseph is awesome!! He's so strong and mature, and basically one of the most underrated characters of the series! This book was pretty much the same (rating wise) as the others. Sweet reads to take your mind off your own troubles!

Across the Rolling RiverOkay, for several reasons, I only planned to give this book four stars, but certain lines won me over! I don't remember specifics, but most of them were Charlie's classic one-liners to Charlotte! Also, the fact that Caroline's spelling is highlighted in this book is awesome because that is so me! (I've won my state's Christian school spelling bee a lot...) The new author was noticeable, but I actually think she may have been the better one, once I got used to her! Why do they skip so many years between books? I guess it was to help the new author change to not be so noticeable, but still! Charlie completely won my heart! And he's actually not in the book a lot! Just little things he said and did and how he made Caroline giggle! I ship them soooo hard, not as hard as Martha and Lew, but hard! I also recognized a few Ingalls' names from Little House in the Big Woods too! This was a sweet book, like the others in this series, and I can't wait to see Laura and Charlie's relationship develop more!

Little City by the Lake: So I wasn't going to be able to read this book, but a sweet lady in my church bought it for me!! Thanks!!! I loved the descriptions of the dresses! And I loved the newspaper business (because I want to be a journalist)! Like Caroline, I wasn't sure what I would think of Uncle Elisha, but he was nice and charming! The cousins were nice too! The college sounded like a fun, educational experience, but the calisthenics class was a leeetle bit weird. Well, we do calisthenics in PE but as warmups and not the same clothing.. Thanks again Miss Jo for letting me read this great book!

A Little House of Their Own: Why, oh why couldn't they just finish and write the marriage and everything!! Anyway, Yay! Caroline's the same age as me now! (I have a weird thing about that. And guys, do you know how weird it is to be older than all my favorite characters!!!! I can't pick a Sound of Music alternate identity now!!!! I could be Maria, I guess! But I think I'm older than Susan Pevensie, Jo at the beginning of Little Women, and so many others! It's distressing!!) Anywho, I enjoyed the interesting look at schooling in this time period. I especially admired how Caroline taught her school and kept order in the classroom. The story of Friday (I don't remember his first name) was especially sweet! And then the main focus of the book was sweet :D I loved how Charlotte's advice to Caroline, and I loved Charles. (He looks reallly nice on the cover :D) I sorta wished the book would have gone into more detail with the wedding and stuff, but the epilogue sufficed. I can't wait to start the Laura books!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Great Book Giveaway Bonanza That Will Last for Like 3 Weeks Cuz I'm Going on Vacation.

Hamlette's book giveaway bonanza is starting today! Yay! Anyway, the giveaway starts today and ends July 4th because I get home July 3rd ;) So here it is! I hope I made some fun entries for y'all! (Yes, I said y'all. No I'm not southern.) I'll be giving away four books: The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Sugar Camp Quilt, and Twice Told Tales. The mandatory entry is to comment which would be your first and second choice books! The giveaway is open too all countries. (If you guys have any tips on the best way to ship, please shoot me a comment or an email :D) Now, on to the books!

I'm linking to the Goodreads page for them all so you can read the "official" synopsis. And none of these are my pictures.

First the Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein! (Yes, I have another copy :D) It's relatively new and in great condition! It's about Biblo Baggins's journey with Gandalf to confront Benedict Cumberbatch Smaug. It's a pretty good read, and the only one of these I've read.

Secondly The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkein! (I also have another copy) It's sorta old I guess, but in pretty good condition: the cover is ripping a little bit. It's the first third of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Sugar Camp Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini. This is a Christian fiction about a quilt that can lead slaves down the Underground Railroad. It's the seventh in a series.

The Penny Whistle by BJ Hoff. This is a little book (153 pages) that apparently is about a schoolteacher and an irish girl and a flute? I haven't read it as it never really captured my imagination, but it looks good. Like new.

Finally, Twice Told Tales. This is a collection of Short Stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne that I thought I would like better than I did. Some pages are torn and it's kinda old, but still in pretty good condition!

Now with further adieu, the giveaway! I hope you have fun with the entries! Thanks for participating! HERE's the link to all the other participants! Thanks Hamlette!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Happy Internet Best Friends Day!!!

Today is Internet Best Friends Day! And what a coincidence, a sisterhood of the world tag! Yay! Thanks Bethany and Becca for this awesome tag! It's gonna be fun! BTW, you guys should check out their blog! It talks about of a lot of cool stuff like repurposing furniture and their experiences at college!

1.  If you were stranded on an island with a box, what would you want to be in that box?
Oh boy, this might be long. 
1) a satellite phone (one that doesn't need service)
2). a gun
3). a solar-paneled wifi hookup
4). a laptop
5.) solar paneled electricity hookup
6). some food to keep me fed until I can shoot and cook
7). a book on how to shoot and cook
8). matches
9). some cooking stuff
10). a knife and machete
11). some water to keep me hydrated until I find water
12). my Bible
13). some books (long ones)
14). a hammock tent
15). clothes
Yup, it would be a big box :D

2. Do you like to go camping, and if so, where do you prefer to sleep? (ie. tent, camper, cabin, under the stars.)
Not really. You see, my childhood camping memories consist of going camping too early in the year and freezing and therefore going home at 4 A.M. to watch Cyberchase. Or the ground is ridiculously hard and as a side sleeper I can't sleep. And there was that one time that we learned just before going to bed that the sprinklers would be going off in a few minutes so we had to move the tent... I'd rather sleep in a cabin.

3. What's the craziest thing you've ever cooked/baked?
I don't usually cook, but if I do it's pizza, ramen, waffles, burritos, or corn dogs. I just "cooked" play dough? But that was just mixing and kneading...

4. What's the last movie you saw in theaters?

How to Train Your Dragon 2 as an end-of-summer treat last summer. Before that, I saw Rio 2 with my cousins. Before that I saw Frozen as a Christmas present. Before that I saw the Kit American Girl movie.

5. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you chose?

It used to be mice or a hedgehog, but my siblings have rodents and they stink a lot. Probably a frog or a dog.

6. Favorite flavor to combine with chocolate? (ie. coffee, rspberry, coconut, carmel...)

Peanut butter!!!

7.  If you were zapped back in time, where would you hope to end up and what one thing would you want with you? 

I would hope to end up in the 1940s and I would want a history book with me!

8. Do you sing along to the radio? 

Sometimes? We listen to the music on our phones more than the radio. 

9. Do you have any nicknames? If so, what are they? 

Oh boy. So a few people call me Ash (actually my old youth pastor and my current youth pastor...). But when I was in grade school, some boys called me, get ready, "Ashley Smashley Potato Chips Baked In An Oven Put In a Pringle Can And Sold For Twenty Five Cents". I'm not lying! One time a little boy called me that but messed it up and said "sold for one dollar" and all the older boys said that he had raised my value...

10. You are all alone in your house and you hear a strange noise, what do you do next? 

Grab my phone and open the phone app. Assume and pray it's my dog/the refrigerator. Get ready to call 911. Thankfully that hasn't happened! However, my sibling used to be really paranoid when we were at home alone and he would get me paranoid and yeah, it wasn't good!

You get a tag, and you get a tag, and you...
Thanks again for the tag Bethany and Becca! And I tag all of my blog followers: Lydia, Hamlette, Evie, Hannah, Natalie, Elizabeth, Danielle, J, and Kelsey, Ruth, and Lois! (Yeah, I know that's kind of lazy, but it's Internet Best Friends Day so I want to show my appreciation to all of my blog followers! And if I missed anybody, I'm so so sorry! Just let me know in the comments, and I'll edit it! I didn't tag Naomi because she was already tagged ;) Feel free to answer in the comments!

Here are my 10 questions:
1. Do you have any nicknames? What are they?
2. What is your current favorite song?
3. Have you ever travelled out of your country?
4. What is your dream job?
5. Pen or pencil?
6. What is your dream college?
7. Do you like burritos?
8. What is your opinion of Taco Bell?
9. Do you have a swimming pool?
10. What is your favorite Little House book (Laura)?

This week, I'm going to camp and won't have access to any of you until Saturday, just so you know. So if you don't get a reply to an email/a comment published, that's why! I'll see you all on Monday June 15 for the Great Big Book Giveaway Bonanza!