Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday I'm in Love: Charise M. Harper

     She is a children's author/illustrator. Click on the link and on the picture below to know more about her.

     I want to get her new book, Gigi in the Big City for myself.

     And I want to get her Just Grace books for little girls (and for myself).

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—Just Grace starts with a list of missed opportunities and finishes with the rich possibility of a new friend. In between, third-grader Grace Stewart sends postcards to her next-door neighbor (purporting to be from Crinkles, the neighbor's own cat), draws comics of Not-So-Super ("but still good") superheroes, plays detective with her best friend when Crinkles goes missing, tries to avoid the odious Sammy Stringer, and establishes herself as a true original in a class with not one, but four, Graces. The narrative voice is strong throughout and the story reads like one-part diary, one-part testimonial. The text is interspersed with the child's illustrations and postcards, which nicely divide the story into episodes, as opposed to chapters. A strong cast of supporting characters shares her world. Since Grace claims to have a teeny-tiny superpower ("I can always tell when someone is unhappy, even if that person is pretending to be happy and is a really good actor"), her relationships with these people, and her ability to read them correctly, take on greater significance as the story advances. Grace is a funny, mischievous protagonist who should easily find a place in the pantheon of precocious third graders. Fans of Amber Brown, Clementine, and Judy Moody will love her.—Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA *

     I enjoyed checking out her other website, too. The illustrations/videos are funny. Here's one she posted last October 6 (my birthday, and I've been saying "I want to go, too!" to my family. :D)

     And she lives here:

Ruler stair rail! :D

And chalkboard art! :D

More photos of her home are here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Music: Mindy Gledhill's Hourglass


     A lullaby for our little boys who aren't so little anymore. Especially Dean and Joseph. And also Josh, Matthew, Nicholas, Dylan, Karl, Justin, Ian, Ethan, Rex, Renzo, Darric, Cody, Ti, Grey, Lex, Ayrton, Seby & Jared. :-)


Little boy, when you speak
I can’t help but kiss your cheeks
I love the way you grab my hands
And tell me all about your plans

Rocket high, comets fly
You and I could take a ride
And fly away to Neverland
And give our best to Peter Pan

When you reach for the stars
Don’t forget who you are
And please don’t turn around and grow up way too fast
See the sand in my grasp
From the first to the last
Every grain becomes a memory of the past
Oh, life’s an hourglass
Life’s an hourglass

Story’s read, prayer is said
Close your eyes sleepyhead
While angels linger in your dreams
And hold you in their feathered wings
Just like you, I was small
Not that long ago at all
I wish you all the happiness
That God gives freely if you ask 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A is for... (and other "exotic" animals)

One side of Marion's Activity Cube is for animal alphabets.

When I first saw letter "A", my first reaction was A for... Sigbin!?!

The first time I heard of the  sigbin was years ago when my grand-aunt told me she saw one. She said she saw it pass by their house while she was caring for her dying mother. And she went on to describe the creature. When I got older and saw a picture of a kangaroo, I thought it looked a lot like the sigbin my grand-aunt saw. Of course, she couldn't have mistaken a real kangaroo for the sigbin because she was in the Visayas when she claimed she saw one. (And even in Australia, would you really see kangaroos walking outside your house?)

Sigbin: "The Sigbin or Sigben is a creature in Philippine mythology said to come out at night to suck the blood of victims from their shadows. It is said to walk backwards with its head lowered between its hind legs, and to have the ability to become invisible to other creatures, especially humans. It resembles a hornless goat, but has very large ears which it can clap like a pair of hands and a long, flexible tail that can be used as a whip.[1] The Sigbin is said to emit a nauseating odor."

Well, anyway, A is not for sigbin.  A is for Aardvark. :-)

If you're not sure what an aardvark is (like I was), an aardvark is "a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal  native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata". Although it is sometimes called an anteater, it is not related at all to the South American anteater.

Here's an aardvark.

There are a bunch of other animals starting with the letter "a". Like ant, ape, antelope, asp, alligator. But, they chose the not too common aardvark. Well, the toy makers also chose this (instead of newt... nelephant, nobster and neopard ;p):

You might ask, what's that? Well, of course, it's a...

And, if you must ask again (like I did), what's that? 

Narwhal:  The unicorns of the sea. They live in the Arctic and are related to porpoises & beluga whales. The males have a spiral tusk.

And for the letter U, the toy makers chose this:

I know it's becoming obvious that I don't know my animals, too well but I always thought unicorns are mythical creatures? Shouldn't they have picked... (thinking of an animal that starts with the letter "u")... urchin?

***** ***** *****

We don't just love Sandra Boynton's books. We love her music also. Listen to a clip of The Intermission Song sung by the Aarvarks from the Philadelphia Chickens Album-- here. (It's really cute!)

If you want to hear a song on sigbin, here's Original Sigbin by Junior Kilat*.

* Before Junior Kilat was Budoy of local Cebu tv and Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition fame, he was Sir Errol. My mom hired him to give me and my siblings art lessons. I remember him hopelessly teaching me about "negative space" and that beside the "darkest part is the brightest part" (or something like that). I knew I wasn't an artist when he tried to get me to look at things the way he did, but I couldn't. ;p On our last day of art class (he must have been so relieved that he didn't need to teach us drawing anymore), he taught us how to tie-dye our old t-shirts. Hahaha.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mondays for Marion: Balloons

Last month, I saw this guy outside church selling balloons.

I bought Marion an elephant balloon (Php65).

It made her feel uneasy. She kept an eye on it. When it got too close, she'd whimper, try to push it away and cling to me.

Just when she was getting comfortable with the balloon, it started to deflate. And Marion managed to bite a hole into it so that was that.

The other day, I saw another balloon guy. And yaya picked out Mickey (Php50) for Marion.

Rocky, not knowing I'd already gotten Marion a balloon, also bought for her a fish and a puppy (Php40@).

These balloons don't scare her anymore. I think maybe the elephant balloon was the first floating helium-filled balloon she saw and she couldn't figure out why it was up in the ceiling.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday I'm in Love: Japanese Cartoons

     There's this entire realm of pop culture which I often hear of but don't really know much about. Japanese pop culture: Anime (animation), Manga (comics), Cosplay (costume play).

     During a trip to Japan, I saw they had comics everywhere. And these weren't necessarily comics for kids. There were a lot with adult content (or maybe I just happened to browse unknowingly the "adult porn" section ;p). If manga is anything like Pugad Baboy and full of humor and wit, I might enjoy it. If it's like the comics and graphic novels Rocky reads ("more of DC than Marvel", he says.), I doubt I'll get into it. I'm not very visual. I like how efficient and fast it is to get information (recreation ;p) from text. And I find it tedious to have to scan a page to look at the drawings to figure out what's going on. 

     Anyway, back to Japanese pop culture. During that same trip to Japan, one of the things I wanted to do was "have a picture with Japanese kids who are all dressed up." I didn't know then that the term for it was cosplay. (Oh!) My mission was a fail. (Oh well! Hopefully there'll be another trip to Japan for that.)

     Now, anime. I've heard of Dragon Ball and Astro Boy and Sailor Moon and Naruto. But I have no idea what these shows are about. I was pretty certain I wasn't into anime until my older sister brought these to Cebu last month:

A VHS of Swan Lake!

We used to watch both when we were kids. And it just dawned on me that most of the cartoons I watched were Japanese. I watched more Japanese cartoons than Disney! 

Here's a clip from Swan Lake.

And here's a clip from Panda and the Magic Serpent. (I don't remember the story but the music is very familiar. "Popopompoing!")

I also remember Choppy and the Princess:

And before the Little Mermaid was Ariel, she was Marina.
     When I first saw Disney's version of the Little Mermaid, I remember thinking that I didn't like it as much as I liked this version. This version has a tragic ending though. :-( And I remember asking what "sea foam" was. :-(

And also,

Flying House (stories from the New Testament)

And Super Book

Have you seen these cartoons? :-)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

In the Kitchen

Last May, I gave myself a deadline to learn how to debone a chicken. I asked help from family friends who arranged a demo for me at The Maya Kitchen. (Thanks, Tita Nining & Eric!)

When I spoke to Ms. Rory, she was a little bit in disbelief as to my interest in learning how to bone a chicken for "no reason". She suggested I bring along my cook. I didn't want to, but later changed my mind. I thought it would be a treat for my cook also to learn a new skill. I'd mentioned to her before that I might send her to some cooking classes and she was very excited about it.

So Flor and I went to Maya Kitchen where (oh no! I forgot her name) Evie (?) did a demo.

Start by letting the chicken "sit" and start working from the neck.

And this is how the stuffed chicken looks like right before it's cooked.

Oh boy. It's too much for me. I watched her do it and it was crazy and amazing. 

Okay. I concede. Here in the Philippines, someone else could do almost anything for you and it won't cost you too much. ;p (Evie was offering her services. :p)

It wasn't a complete fail. Check out the drumstick I was able to debone (with much difficulty. ;p).

Monday, October 04, 2010

Video Games

Every once in a while I get addicted to a video game. I discovered I had such propensity ;-p after being hooked on these games:


     Bejeweled Twist

On Rocky's Xbox 360:


     Guitar Hero
(But I could only play up to Medium Level.)

     Brain Challenge

     Lode Runner

And I spent so much time on my fluff friend on Facebook.

I finally tried out Plants vs. Zombies pretty "late". And although it kept me up late a couple of nights, I don't think I got really hooked to it. :-) [I still haven't finished all the mini games.]

Now I like playing these games on the iPad. (I haven't reached "Addicted" status. :D)

     Fruit Ninja

     Angry Birds

I just saw the Amazing Race episode where the had to used a giant slingshot and watermelons for a challenge. Watch this video-- ouch!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Friday I'm in Love: Cheetos Cheddar Jalapeno

I love it!

Last night, my nose started to get stuffy. (I think because the aircon was on.)

I ate Cheetos and my nose cleared. ;-p

(I had some tea also.)

(What is wrong with Blogger? It rotates my photo! And I don't know how to fix it.)