Read All About it: July Book Picks

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We are little late with this month’s book picks. But, as I say better late than never.

For us, we really look forward to the summer reading program at our local library. We have been attending special shows featuring magicians, acting troupes and much more.

We also still visit the library every other Friday to pick out new books to enjoy during story time.

Here are some of our favorite library book picks for this month.

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“Vanishing Valentines: Scooby-Doo Picture Clue Book”

We love getting these Scooby-Doo Picture Clue Books from our library. They have the regular story but instead of some of the words they have a picture. For example, instead of the word “Scooby-Doo” they just have his picture. We love this because the parents can read the words and our little one can say what the picture is.

If you own the book, there are flashcards of the picture words that are used in the back of the book that you can cut out.

The story is pretty short and cute and it is perfect for any Scooby fans out there.

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“A Day at the Fire Station” by Richard Scarry

I think it is important to introduce your kids to the classics. In my opinion Richard Scarry and his busy world is a classic.

The illustrations are great and it gives an in-depth look at a fire station, which is something that kids around preschool age are pretty interested in to begin with.

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“The Noisy Paint Box” by Barbara Rosenstock and Mary GrandPre

This was my favorite book of the bunch. Not only was it colorful with beautiful illustrations but it told the story of the abstract artist Vasya Kadinsky.

The story was really easy to identify with about a young boy who could see color when he heard different sounds like instruments at an opera. While he was forced into painting more realistic art he fought against it and painted what he wanted to paint and what made him happy.

I love that they made a book about an artist that was easy accessible to children.

In the back there are some examples of his work and it was fun to have Lily pick out her favorite painting, which was “Two Ovals.”

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“How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth” by Michelle Robison and Illustrated by Kate Hindley

This was a really sweet story about a little girl who wanted to wash her woolly mammoth. (Surprising I know!)

It is really great for little ones because it helps teach them sequencing and even cause and effect on a certain level.

A fun accompanying activity might be to ask your little one to talk about the steps they would take to wash their imaginary pet and then to draw a picture of the process or one of the steps of the process.

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“Pipsqueaks!: Maze Day A Book of Beginning Mazes”

Ever since Lily was a little baby she would watch “Baby Maze” on Baby First TV and she loved it.

This book features a bunch of different types of mazes that are not just your typical “labyrinthine maze.”

The illustrations are so cute and it is fun to try and see what all the mice are up to in the illustrations.

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“Players in Pigtales” by Shana Corey and Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon

Any fans of the 1990s film “A League of Their Own” would love this book that follows the character of Katie Casey who wants to grow up and play baseball. She is told over and over that girls can’t do that until they start the women’s professional baseball leagues during World War II.

It is a wonderful story, not just for girls, but for everyone that loves baseball and is interested in learning more about this unique section of women’s sports history.

Tara’s Books of the Month

I don’t have any photos that I took of my book picks because most of them were read through my Kindle.

Catching Big Fish

“Catching the Big Fish” by David Lynch

I love David Lynch. “Twin Peaks” is my favorite series of all time and “Mullholand Drive” is one of my favorite movies.

This book talks a lot about Lynch’s beliefs in transcendental mediation and how it affects his every day life, how it drives his creativity and also stories about the various films and “Twin Peaks.”

I can’t recommend this book enough. There are a lot of chapters but they are all super short.

You don’t need to necessarily be a fan of Lynch. You can really get a lot from it if you want to develop your creativity.

Milk and Honey

“Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur

It has been a long time since I read a book of poetry. After seeing it on the top 10 bestsellers I had to check it out.

The poems are very personal and share a lot about the author’s personal life including childhood abuse, her current relationships and finding herself.

Some of the poems at the beginning were uncomfortable to read, but later the poems were beautiful and really touching.

 

“The Lumberjanes”

I have never read a graphic novel before. But, since our library card includes membership to the ebook, television, movie, music and graphic novel renting site Hoopla, I thought I would give one a shot.

After a lot of research, I found the “Lumberjanes” series.

It is about a group of girls who are at summer camp when all these strange things start to happen. It reminds me of the Disney series “Gravity Falls” which I also love.

I read the first two volumes as ebooks and I had to request the third volume from the library in physical form because they didn’t have an electronic version.

 

That wraps up our books picks for this month (better late then never). Have you and your Mousekatots read any good books lately?

Also, here is a video showcasing Lily’s favorite book from this month:

 

 


The Gift that Keeps on Giving

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We are so lucky to live close to Pittsburgh that has a bunch of different activities and places for families to visit on the weekend.

The city hosts wonderful history, art, science and children’s museums, which provide families the opportunity to have places to explore over the weekend.

Since we try to go out and do something every Saturday as our “Adventure Saturday” the cost can really add up if you try to pay out of pocket each time you go.

Luckily, many of these places offer the opportunity to purchase memberships.

For example, the Carnegie Museum system (which encompasses the Natural History Museum, Art Museum, Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Science Center) if our family of two adults and one child wanted to visit the Natural History and Art museums it is $19.95 per adult and $11.95 for our daughter. That would be a total (without tax) $51.85. This can really add up if you like to go frequently.

However, if you go with a family membership, which is two adults, four children and a caregiver it is $150 for unlimited visits for the entire year. This membership also covers the Andy Warhol and Carnegie Science Center.

The same is for the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. One visit for the three of us is $46, but a year long membership is $135 for the same family.

As an added bonus, this membership (and the one at the Carnegie Museum system) can also be used at other participating ASTC centers across the country.

One of the best things is these memberships can be given as gifts.

When Christmas time rolls around, we like to ask for these memberships as family gifts. This way we have a whole year of experiences to look forward to.

It is great because if we just want to stop by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaurs, we can just pop in, say hi to T-Rex and then leave. We don’t have to worry about cramming in so much stuff so that we get the most bang for our buck.

This past weekend, we went to the Carnegie Science Center and just visited the Exploration Station Jr., an area that is geared toward Preschoolers with a water table, playground area, ball factory, big blue building blocks and more.

We just popped in and played there for about two hours and left. We didn’t feel the need to try and do too much, which is great with a preschooler who can become overwhelmed if you try to do too much in one day.

Here is just a brief video to give you a look of the Exploration Station Jr. area of the Carnegie Science Center.

What do you and your family like to do on the weekends? Leave your comment below.


I’m Still Here

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Photo courtesy of Indian Express

I’m still here and I’m sorry for the radio silence.

Things in the “non-Mousekatots” world have been a little chaotic and things have been pretty stressful.

I have not mentioned that frequently on the blog, but for my day job I was an entertainment reporter for a local newspaper. Awesome, job am I right?

It was a whole lot of fun having the opportunity to write about concerts, plays, art shows and more that were coming to our area.

About four/five weeks ago our local newspaper was sold to another company, Ogden Newspapers, which is owned by Bob Nutting who also owns the Pittsburgh Pirates and a local ski resort in the area.

Long story short, myself and about half of the entire staff of the newspaper were told that our positions were eliminated, our service was no longer needed and to pack up our desk because that was our last day.

I feel they did it in a respectful way and gave us enough time to get everything together and say our goodbyes.

 

But, it was still heartbreaking.

I was so sad I wouldn’t see my friends on an almost daily basis, I was sad I wouldn’t be able to continue doing a job I loved and I was so mad that by the end of the day, the entire staff of the paper, from all departments, was cut in half.

So many talented and hardworking people lost their jobs, without much of an explanation except that our position was terminated and thank you for our service.

When I hoisted my cardboard box into the trunk of the car, I just felt numb and lost.

I am a writer, what do I do now that I don’t have a place to write anymore?

A few days isolated from the “incident” I have made peace with it. It was the only way I would have left my comfort zone and explored other options in life.

I had one job interview this past week and one coming up this next week, so it looks like things are going to work out.

 

So I wanted to share this to let you know that I haven’t left the Mousekatots, I was just under a lot of pressure for about four weeks while I found out my fate and I just wasn’t in the right mindset to blog.

But, now that I am back there are going to be some exciting things happening that you will want to keep an eye out for.

Much love, Mousekatot family,

Tara