Category Archives: Uncategorized

Unmasking the April Book Box

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Amidst the chaos that is school holidays this little box of joy was delivered. It took me a while to get a quiet moment to open it on my own, but I was thrilled when I finally did.

The YA Chronicles book boxes have gotten even better this month. They have transitioned to a new price that also sees an increase in the goodies included in the content.

It was so much fun unpacking this box! The April book is The Secret Science of Magic by Australian author Melissa Keil. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it was already on my TBR list, so I’m pretty excited!

I love the Cinderella silhouette artwork, it is just gorgeous. It came from Lolie Freta on Etsy. There was also a The Secret Science of Magic playing card, and a ticket to the Night Circus from RedGoldSparks Press. Seriously cute magnetic bookmarks by Read and Wonder, a Harry Potter inspired notebook from Literary Emporium, and a niffler keyring complete the package.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And as always, there is The YA Chronicles bookmark (I am always looking for a bookmark, so thanks TYAC!) and the postcard that contains information about the box’s contents. 

May is a big month for The YA Chronicles book boxes, with the special pre-ordered A Court of Wings and Ruin boxes coming out on the 2nd plus the regular monthly box. I can’t wait for both to arrive!

 

Mother’s Day Art

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mums out there!

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These simple art pieces make good cards for Mother’s Day. I think I might laminate the ones my kids made and keep them. They make unique placemats once laminated.

I helped the kids trace around their hands with a pencil. This was easy with the big kids, hard with the little ones. T2 just couldn’t keep his hands still! Eventually we got an outline that resembled his hands, and then we could paint.

Adding coloured dots.

Adding coloured dots.

To make the dots, we used out paint dot markers. You could also make a dot pattern using cotton tips or cotton filters. Fingerprints would look nice too. Or fill in the hand outlines in any way you like!

Add a happy message and give it to Mum! We used paint pens to write our greetings.

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Difficulties of technology….

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Over the past couple of months I have been experiencing some technical issues, first with my laptop, then with my internet connection. This has kept me from posting regularly, replying to emails and downloading files.

I think all of the problems have now been sorted and I am trying to catch up as best I can. If you have emailed me recently and I haven’t replied, I am very sorry. If you don’t hear from me in the next couple of days, please try emailing me again.

If you are waiting for a book review, please understand that I get a lot of requests, and I try to accept as many as possible. I really want to help get the word out about your books! I constantly have a long list of books to review, and I am working through them as quickly as possible. If you need your review done by a particular date, please let me know! Otherwise, I will email you once your review is up.

Thanks for your patience (and your wonderful stories!).

Regards,

Sara

Re-blog from Booktopia: Win a Random House Australia Christmas Prize Pack!

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What an awesome prize! That is going to make one book lover very happy 🙂 The cat is a nice addition too.
Re-blogging at http://www.today-wedid.com

Fingerprint Christmas Cards

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We had so much fun making these cards last year, I think we might have to do some more in the coming weeks.

Today We Did

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There were Christmas craft ideas in some of the email newsletters from Educational Experience in the lead up to Christmas. One of the ideas was to create fingerprint Christmas cards. We tried this out at home, making Christmas trees and candy canes with our fingers.

A liked to smudge her fingerprints together for her trees. A liked to smudge her fingerprints together for her trees.

L carefully creating a tree. L carefully creating a tree.

We started with plain white cards. The kids used green paint to create a triangle for the tree, and then brown paint for the trunk. The candy canes were alternating red and white fingerprints in a cane shape.

A making a candy cane. A making a candy cane.

To finish the cards, we added sparkly star stickers to the top of the trees, and little Christmas stickers in the corners of the candy cane cards.

This was a quick activity with minimal mess. And the end result looked good. We gave these cards to teachers…

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Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett

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IMG_4945 (1)Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett, paperback collection of short stories, 339 pages, published by Corgi in 2015.

This is a delightful collection of short stories written by Terry Pratchett when he was a young man working as a journalist.

I read Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories with my eight year old daughter. She has marveled at my complete collection of Discworld novels, and wondered why I like them so much, so I thought it was time she discovered Pratchett too. This was a good book to get her started, and we enjoyed reading it together.

My favourite story was “Dok the Caveman”. Dok was a caveman inventor, always inventing something new, and often creating havoc with his new invention, but I loved his enthusiasm. It was a very funny story! My daughter liked the tales of the Carpet People, with their adventures among the fibres of the Rug.

Most of the stories were funny, with insights into the kinds of stories that Pratchett would produce later, but these really are his early work, when he was developing his style and perfecting his tale-telling abilities. I far prefer the Discworld novels, but Dragons at Crumbling Castle is a nice, easy to read kids book. My daughter would like to try some other Pratchett now, which makes me very happy!

There are black and white illustrations throughout the book which to me looked like the work of Quentin Blake, who illustrated Roald Dahl’s books. I was mistaken in this belief though, the illustrator is actually Mark Beech, he just has a very similar style, I guess. None the less, I liked the illustrations, and thought that they complemented the stories very well.

Dragons at Crumbling Castle is suitable for primary school children and up. Many adult Pratchett fans will enjoy it too, just try not to compare it to the Discworld novels!

 

 

Letter Writing Organisation

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The kids are getting into writing letters, the old fashioned snail mail way. They love to write letters and draw pictures to send to their friends and family members. A also really likes sticking the stamps onto the envelope. They are always so excited when a letter arrives for them too!

Paperwork trays with matching pen holder.

Paperwork trays with matching pen holder.

I bought each of them some letter writing packs, with envelopes, paper and stickers. Over time though, we have ended up with some odd envelopes and paper, stored in various places about the house. I thought it was time to bring all of our letter writing supplies together and store them in a more organised and neat fashion. I was trying to devise a way that I could make a holder for our stationery, when I came across some paperwork trays at a friend’s garage sale. I knew these would be just perfect for our writing supplies.

With the kids’ help, we located as much of the writing supplies that we could and brought them together on the dining table. I took everything out of its packaging, to reduce the clutter. Some packets had a single envelope in them! We tried out all of the pens that had been stored with the writing paper, and threw out the ones that didn’t work.

Mix and match stationery supplies.

Mix and match stationery supplies.

As we had three trays to work with, we divided the supplies into three piles. We used one tray for envelopes, one for paper, greeting cards and note pads, and in the third we placed sticker sheets, address books and stamps. We stacked them on top of each other, and added the pen holder with some pens and pencils to the top tray. It is a lot neater, and far easier to find what we’re after.

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The trays.

Our new organised letter writing station.

Our new organised letter writing station.

Meeting Jacqueline Harvey

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One evening last week our school held a reading hour for Book Week. All the kids could come along dressed up as their favourite book character or in their pyjamas. A very special guest came along to talk to us.

L, A and I were extremely excited when we found out the special guest would be Jacqueline Harvey, author of the wonderfully entertaining Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose series. Unfortunately A was far to sick to accompany us to the reading hour, so L and I went alone. I was so pleased we were able to attend. Jacqueline introduced our school community to her main characters, focusing her talk on Clementine Rose. It was a most interesting and entertaining talk, which had all the kids (and most of the adults) laughing along at Clemmie’s exploits.

L with Jacqueline Harvey.

L with Jacqueline Harvey.

After the talk we were able to have some of our books signed, which was very exciting. L had her photo taken with Jacqueline, as well as with the giant cardboard cut-outs of Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose. It was so fantastic to meet the author of these excellent books for primary school children. We are now looking forward to the latest installments of Clementine Rose’s and Alice-Miranda’s adventures.

L with the giant Alice-Miranda.

L with the giant Alice-Miranda.

You can find out all about Jacqueline Harvey, Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose, and all the books, on her website.

You can also read my reviews of Clementine Rose and the Surprise Visitor, Clementine Rose and the Pet Day Disaster, and Alice-Miranda at School.

Aside

I have decided to investigate some social media for Today We Did. I’m not very experienced with any particular platform, so I’m trying twitter first. If you’d like to follow along, find me @TodayWeDidBlog.

I’ve also managed to set up a Facebook page, called Today We Did. I thought this might be a good place to chat about our activities, and I would love to see photos of some things you’ve tried at home too!

Please forgive me in advance if I don’t get the hang of social media straight away 🙂

Cheers,

Sara 🙂

 

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