Mommy Mondays: Teacher Christmas Gifts

Mommy Mondays WM

Check these Christmas Ornaments out.  I bought them at Pier 1 Imports.  I thought they were beautiful. Each comes in a lovely box (no gift wrapping!) with a little description inside of the hand painting and creative process in designing each treasure.  And, the year appears on the ornament too.  A great gift for a teacher don’t you think?

Each teacher will be receiving one from my son this year in addition to a few other important people at his school who have helped to make my life easier.  Yes, I am Christmas shopping early and with as little travel as possible. Actually, it’s my first time venturing out to Christmas shop – most of it has been accomplished from my laptop in my living room!

I thought I’d share these as sometimes we can get pretty stumped about what to buy the teacher!

Happy Shopping 🙂

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Review: The Lightbearers by Nora M. Garcia

Bookish Thursdays WM                    Bookish Thursdays WM                      Bookish Thursdays WM

I was asked by the author to read and review The Lightbearers for this blog.  It was my second time reading a self-published work  – and, I truly wish to support every author who decides to self-publish because the traditional route is wrought with difficulty and let’s face it…it is so difficult to break in.

Nonetheless, I think any author who is going to publish a work must do so without hurry; they should fine tune their craft and find a great editor who will help them to seamlessly bring together a believable story.

Now, onto my thoughts on the novel in question.

Will be interviewing author for this one!

At its core, The Lightbearers has a great concept.  It is highly creative and weaves interesting aspects of ancient Egypt and its people into the modern era.  Garcia creates distinct characters who clearly want different things.

I really wanted to like this book.  But, I had so much trouble with it.  The exposition felt confusing and disorganized – I feel that Garcia was going for intrigue and perhaps trying to hook her readers – but I felt annoyed that the motivation of the characters presented was not made clear.  The character descriptions felt more like character sketches – seems that Garcia fell into the trap of telling her readers about her characters instead of showing her characters.  There were too many interruptions in the plot to describe a character or to provide back story to the present events.  It almost seemed as if the novel should have started at a different point in time.

The mission of the lightbearers, their purpose and goals wasn’t made clear early enough in the novel – and even when made clear, I found the description of humanity pretty condescending.  What is it that the lightbearers are saving humanity from?  Government? Capitalism? Materialism? Religion? Their own selfishness and greed?  We never truly know!  Nor are we convinced that humanity needs saving. There’s just one really despicable man who conveniently gets away with everything because he’s wealthy enough to pretty much buy everyone…because every police officer, educational leader, social/cultural leader and politician is for sale.

I liked the isolated stories of how the lightbearers started (ancient Egypt), of when they reincarnated in France and even Jerusalem (Jesus’ story)…but these stories were superfluous – the plot was not affected in any way whatsoever by these stories.  There was no thematic link to the main plot either except to show that the lightbearers have done this before.  They decide when/where to incarnate, live out their life, try to change (bring light to) humanity and die trying without changing all that much.

I really disliked the sharp turns the book takes.  They are unnecessary…the protagonists die, then the characters that become protagonists die, then the antagonist becomes the protagonist and ruins people’s lives, then the lightbearers return as different people (more character descriptions!) and then they die…the plot twists didn’t feel fluid or logical.

I read every page waiting for the wow moment.  Waiting for the moment that it would all just work and I wouldn’t feel so guilty about my opinion of it.  It never happened.

The plot is poorly developed, it makes jumps that are unrealistic and messy situations are too neatly/easily wrapped up.  The entire things reads like a draft – not a final, polished, finely edited and written version.

I feel I need to remind my readers that I am a fan of fantasy and historical fiction.  I read YA dystopian novels and some pretty far-reaching romance novels.  I am very good at suspending reality and buying into the world an author creates for me – but in The Lightbearers there are too many holes in that world where I fell through and couldn’t climb back in.  

My issues with the novel remained the same – beginning to end.  Unfortunately, due to my opinion of the book, Garcia chose not to conduct the author interview on Book Marks – which I understand.  I gave her the option and told her my opinion beforehand.

The Lightbearers is a good attempt, but it didn’t quite do it for me.  I can’t say I would recommend this book to anyone.  Bummer start to my Bookish Thursdays, but there it is.

Have you read any books that tried really hard to like and just couldn’t?

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Wednesday Quotables: Expecting

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35 weeks.  5 weeks left…though if she’s anything like her brother, she’ll be here in 2.5 weeks.  

Oh shit.  

I’m ready! I swear I am…but I feel more comfort from 5 weeks than 2.5!!!  I had an ultra sound today to make sure all was good – and it seemed like it was (full results at next week’s appointment).  She’s in position and her face was all smooshed so on the monitor she didn’t exactly look human…anyway, I’m sure she’s human.

On the drive home I thought today’s post would be about expecting and expectations in general. Here are some quotes that I found and loved.  Hope one (or all) resonate with you somehow!

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This has been my experience from the moment I find out I am pregnant.  Which is why losing a pregnancy – regardless of stage – is so devastating.  Knowing that a growing life is inside you is marvellous.

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Then I read this quote and it applies to expecting a baby or expecting any other event in your life.  If you’re always living for tomorrow…then what happens to all the great stuff you’re living through today?  And, even if it’s not so great…there’s a purpose for it.  I can’t wait for this baby to be born and be rid of varicose veins in places varicose veins should never be found, be rid of high glucose and get my body back.  I will miss the feeling of always having her with me, of feeling her move, kick and be supremely happy (because that’s what she’s feeling of course) inside mommy!

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This quote reminded me of teaching.  Adults who do not work with teens always are in awe that I spend my days with them.  Teens are awesome.  Even the not so awesome ones have some redeeming quality.  Same goes for adults – except I find I am more forgiving of teens because they’re supposed to mess up.

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I can understand completely how this applies to motherhood.  It is, however, a tough one in relationships – many of us seem to always be looking at what our partner has given (or not given) us…perhaps it is a matter of what we’ve given (or not given) them.  Turn the tables and see how well we fare.

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(from –  Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)

I’ve never read nor come across this book; maybe one day.  I loved the quote.  So many of us walk around without loving ourselves fully – for different reasons…we feel it’s selfish, we were never taught to, it was not modelled for us etc. At some point we need to take charge for who we are and how we want to experience life.  If we want a life of love then we have to start with ourselves first…the rest will just fall into place.  It will.  (Not to be confused with arrogance)

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Look around.  Be grateful – you have everything you need and then some.

So what did you think of today’s quotes?  Any ring true, hit home, make your blood boil?  Share your thoughts!

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What NaBloPoMo Has Sparked

Blogging every day for a month.  It’s been challenging – but not daunting.  It has inspired me to move forward with a few ideas for my blog.

I don’t know how soon I’ll put these into place -especially since they’ll fall apart in a month with a new baby…BUT they may help me get back on blogging track once I’m out of the new baby stupor and desirous to get back to writing.

Mondays I think I’ll dedicate to all things parenting – whether anecdotes, interesting tweets or posts from parenting cites I follow or something I’ve learned and can pass along.

Mommy Mondays WM

On Wednesdays I’ll probably need inspiration to get through the rest of the week.  I hope to inspire my readers too with interesting quotes and images that just might do the trick.  These may be quotes from books, their authors or other people we can all learn from.

Quotable Wednesdays WM

Thursdays will be dedicated to all things bookish.  In honour of why I started this blog in the first place.

Bookish Thursdays WM

On Fridays I hope to post about things that I love.  My lists can include classic books, modern books, vacation spots, parenting advice, beauty products…anything that catches my whimsy that week.

My Friday Five Favourite Things WM

That leaves Tuesdays.  I might participate in a meme or I might consider adding “Teachable Tuesdays” to the list.  I could provide teaching ideas for things that have worked in the classroom, or discuss teachable moments – personally and professionally.  I’m not sure yet.

What do you think? Has NaBloPoMo caused you to think differently about your blog?

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A Review of Coccoon Apothecary’s Skin Care Products

(I’m fighting the guilt of missing yesterday’s NaBloPoMo post…four year old with a fever, home renos, 7.5 months pregnant, nuff said)

Love discovering natural skin care products?  Love knowing that what you’re putting on your skin is not full of chemicals you can’t pronounce or that are linked to some really bad health issues?  Love, love, love all things girly and trying new products all the time?

I found a pretty neat line for you.  Coccoon Apothecary.

I realize that I probably came to this party late, and many have already discovered Coccoon Apothecary.  But, here are my thoughts on the products I’ve been using since midsummer.

I’ve been using Magic Bean Lotion on my tummy and other areas that stretch during pregnancy to avoid stretch marks.  And, not even one!  I can’t fully attribute this to the lotion.  My genetics are pretty good here – my mom doesn’t have stretch marks, and I didn’t get any with my first child when I didn’t use Magic Bean Lotion.  However, it smells yummy (chocolate), moisturizes very well and keeps my skin supple. Touchy Feely Lotion is just as effective and I love the subtle smell of lavender.  My only complaint: didn’t last long at all for full body use.  At that price point ($21 CAD) I expected it to last longer.

As for their line of facial skin care products, I used the Rose Petal line because it concentrates more on anti-aging properties.

Petal Purity Facial Cleanser feels a little too creamy for my taste and I don’t think it’s meant for make-up removal.

I love the Petal Purity Exfoliator because I don’t feel like I’m scrubbing my skin with sandpaper and it leaves my face smooth, clean and refreshed.

Rose Dew toner is nice and my skin does feel, well toned, but again – I don’t feel like it completely removes make up residue.

Rosehip Oil Serum is simply lovely.  It took me some time to get accustomed to the strong smell of rose, but the effects of a tiny drop of oil gently massaged into my face had me convinced.  At first I was afraid it would make my normal skin oily (especially along the t-zone).  I quickly learned that the oil absorbed well.  My skin was left soft and the next morning it didn’t feel like it was washing off when I cleansed.  A great product.

Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream is gentle and creamy – again you don’t need a lot.  It settles nicely into the skin without feeling oily and leaves skin supple.  It’s a great facial cream.

Eyewaken eye cream goes a long way – just a tiny bit covers the entire eye area.  It moisturizes nicely and my eyes look good…I haven’t notice dramatically new “lines”.

I just tried the Ancient Mud Mask and I loved the results, but I found the mask too much like sandpaper.  It felt rough on my skin when I was applying it.  My face looked great once I rinsed it off, but I had a few red patches.  I don’t have sensitive skin – I can confidently use any product without a test patch and this product left it a bit too patchy for my liking.  Having said that, my face was super soft!

I think I should highlight that I’m pregnant – and pregnancy hormones tend to do all sorts of things to your skin.  With my first pregnancy I broke out all the time.  With this pregnancy, my skin has never felt better.  I may review these products again once baby is over 3 months old, I’m sleep deprived and therefore my skin will be different.  If they make my skin look great then, then these are truly great products!

What I like most about these products is that I use them with complete confidence that nothing yucky is getting through my skin to my cells or baby’s.  Do you have a natural skin care product that you love and would recommend trying?

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