School back in Session!

Back2School

I can hardly believe many of the surrounding schools started back on Thursday. Where has the summer gone? Only a week before I officially start student teaching. I am quite excited to be in the classroom again. Wish me luck! I apologize in advance if my posts are more infrequent, I anticipate being very busy the next 4 months!

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-poster-21The fate of the galaxy rests upon this motley crew of heroes! This is the main plot sequence of Guardians of the Galaxy a newly released box office, sci-fiction film. Last week my husband and I decided to see this end-of-summer, Marvel flick at our local theater. Unlike many Marvel films this one does not take itself too seriously. When the going gets rough,  the tension is often alleviated with some sort of joke or situational humor.

The infusion of 1970s music, and well-crafted CG adds a unique element to this galactic tale. Characters such as Rocket and Groot exhibit life-like qualities and likable dispositions that make them easily the most beloved characters on screen.

I would highly recommend seeing this one in theaters. The larger-than-life battle, planetary and nebulae elements are quite spectacular. However, a caution in bringing the youngsters the language and sexual references are really not appropriate for young audience members.

See the Guardians of the Galaxy Full movie trailer here !

Exploring St. Louis

lizard

housestcharles

You should visit St. Louis! On our recent trip to this riverside city we stayed in the historic St. Charles area, only a block away from main street. The brick houses and roads made this town a picturesque, quiet, retreat to stay and explore when we weren’t downtown.  The Missouri River also nearby, provided another area of interest. Katy & Frontier parks bordered this area each with paved walking trails and great views of the river. One evening I found 10 different species of song birds, and shorebirds along the riverfront.

As far as our ventures into the city, our first stop was to visit Grant’s Farm. This is home to the famous Budweiser Clydesdales. Standing 6′ at the shoulder these beautiful beasts were a site to see. Beyond seeing the horses we went to an animal show, bottle fed very hungry goats (which nibbled on more than the bottle), saw elephants, and zebras . I even had the opportunity to ride a camel, instead I opted for the carousel horse. Despite the hot, 90 degree day snow cones and mist fans helped to keep us cool in the sun.

horse

The following day we visited the Missouri Botanic gardens. The grounds were gorgeous! If you are a landscaper or gardener this is a place for you! Within the gardens and pools of water lilies was work by the famous sculpture Chihuly. These organic, glass forms enhanced and reflected the beauty of the gardens. The highlight of the visit however was the Climatron. Inside this large glass dome  were hundreds of species of tropical plants and a new LEGO exhibition. Hiding among the orchids, palm trees and ferns were large LEGO butterflies, insects and other animals.  My favorite was the butterfly!

butterflylego

We also had the opportunity to try the delicious cuisine of the city. One of our favorite places to eat was the SugarFire barbecue restaurant. The brisket, bone in ribs and hand-cut fries were delectable! They had several sauces to dip in or smother your chosen meat. It was also reasonably priced.

Every place we visited was visitor friendly ages 3 – 60. I really think I would enjoy seeing more of the sites and sounds of this Midwestern city. I hope to go back again soon!

Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks

saving-mr-banks-featuredThe  meaning behind an artist’s work is most often interpreted differently by its audience. This is what writer P.L. Travers  grapples with when giving the rights of her book, Mary Poppins, to the famous Walt Disney.

In this award-winning movie Travers, played by Emma Thompson, struggles to let go; unwilling to depart from her ideas of how the story should be imagined. She relentlessly puts down one  idea after another that the production team proposes. This includes her demands to get rid of Mr. Banks mustache (which Mr. Disney specifically requested).

This well-cast feature Saving Mr. Banks explores the steps of turning a story into a film. Along with this portrayal of the film-making process is a glimmer of what inspired the original story. Together these plot lines weave together an entertaining tale. However, don’t forget your Kleenex  this one will likely have you weeping! Despite several tear-enticing moments there are plenty of humorous situations that keep this movie light-hearted. I would highly recommend this one for a Friday night flick!

Scholastic Book Fair

Do you remember those thin, newspaper-like sheets you would receive from your elementary school teacher? They were used to order new books from Scholastic… Then every once and a while you would have those suitcase-like metal shelves of books that would visit your  school? Well, the metal shelves still exist! Last week I actually helped out with a book fair at a neighboring library and I was introduced to many of the newer children’s books and young adult fiction. The excitement on many of the visiting kids faces were price-less, it really took me back to my younger years.

I thought I would share a few of the children’s books that I found to be quite delightful. Enjoy these  book picks!

A foldout book about various animal nests.

A foldout book about various animal nests.

 

A  tale of one tiger that can no longer handle ordinary.

A tale of one tiger that can no longer handle ordinary.

 

Book Review: The Book Thief

the-book-thiefAmong the many novels set in Germany during the Second World War, the Book Thief has a fresh perspective, and a rather unconventional narrator. Among the various plot lines the main character, nine-year-old, Liesel finds her solace in learning to read, and thieving books. The book thief herself soon learns the power, the beauty and the weight of words.

Amongst the bombings, demonstrations and public humiliations many characters such as Rudy, the lemon-haired boy (and best friend to Liesel) and Hans Huberman, Liesel’s foster father, serve as comic relief in spite of great loss and sacrifice. The characters are frequently tested; often choosing between what is right and what is easy.

This novel contains a little bit of everything,  adventure/survival, suspense and history. I would highly-recommend putting this one on your summer reading list!