Percy Jackson and the Olympians

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Ignore the Shadowhunters Codex in the bottom right, but here you have a wonderful series for young adults and kids. I read them, mainly because I wanted to see the movies. I will warn you in advance, the movies only loosely, very loosely, follow the books. By loosely follow, I mean the characters are the same and, in the case of the first movie, the story line is the same. The second movie just spins itself out of orbit!
Back to the books! It’s where I’m most comfortable anyway!! Right away, you are introduced to Percy (Perseus) Jackson, the half human, or demigod son of Poseidon. Demigods are born when Greek gods ‘get busy’ with humans. Percy’s life is tough. He suffers from ADD and dyslexia, which I believe would make him very relatable to kids today.
The story moves along quickly, good for keeping young minds interested, so we are soon at Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods. There he becomes friends with Annabeth, daughter of Athena, and Grover, a satyr. At camp, Percy quickly realizes why he was never in sync with the real world. His ADD helps him in combat training, giving him quick reflexes. His dyslexia is just his brain’s propensity for reading ancient Greek.
Too soon though, he’s off on a quest to save his mother and prevent war on Olympus. He faces Medusa, Hydra and even Hades himself in the underworld.
As the series goes on, the ultimate evil, Kronos, father of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, rises in power and attempts to overthrow Olympus itself.
Percy and his ever growing circle of friends must trust each other as they deal with their own fatal flaws and interference from the gods.
In The Lightning Thief, Percy’s mission is set forth by the Oracle of Delphi to retrieve Zeus’ lightning bolt and return it to Olympus before it’s disappearance leads to war. As I said before, his mission takes him across the country and into the underworld itself.
Sea of Monsters introduces us to Percy’s half-brother, Tyson, who is a Cyclops. The camp is suddenly in danger because the protective barrier has been weakend by poison. Now they must go on anotger adventure. Instead of saving his mother, this time he has to save the whole camp and his friend Grover from the Sea of Monsters, or as us humans call it, the Bermuda Triangle. This adventure reveals some fears and flaws in our young demigods and teaches them how to grow as both people and heroes. Once the day has been saved another powerful hero is introduced, giving new light to an old prophecy.
The Titan’s Curse introduces another powerful hero, once again skewing the prophecy, one that runs throughout the series, one that everyone thought they understood.
In The Battle of the Labyrinth, we are sent on yet another adventure with Percy, this time to the famous labyrinth. One that grows in size and complexity with each passing year.
The Last Olympian, my personal favorite, is about the final battle between the gods of Olympus and Kronos’ army. Percy and Annabeth, along with many other demigods, must stand and fight on Olympus while the gods have been drawn away in battle. The Last Olympian, the one the title is actually referring to, is completely unexpected, but I love the message it sends.
This is an amazing series! If your an adult looking for something simple and quick, this is a great series. It’s not mind numbing and it doesn’t require a lot of deep thought to understand. I will be starting to read this series to my kids once they go back to school in the fall. It’s great for all ages.
I will tell you now: if you read the books before seeing the movie, don’t set your expectations to high. Try and watch it as if it’s not based on anything, then it’s a pretty good set of movies!
Happy reading!!

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The Fault in our Stars

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This book destroyed me! It made me laugh and cry at the same time. How is this possible you ask? Let me tell you…..
This is a story about cancer. It sounds outright depressing, especially considering in the first few pages you learn that Hazel Grace, our female lead (not really a heroine), has terminal cancer. Terminal as in you don’t talk about IF you’ll die, it’s WHEN.
She comes across as adjusted. Having never had cancer, I can only speculate that that would be a good thing. Able to joke about your impending death, while still living your life. Getting her GED and even taking college classes. Only downside to the cancer, aside from dying of course, is cancer group.
According to some of the extras I’ve read and seen, cancer support group is actually a good thing, this fictional one was awful! Except for Gus that is.
Gus, Augustus Waters, develops an instant attraction to Hazel Grace. Having gotten in the habit of defining herself by her cancer, Hazel enjoys this, before deciding she wants to limit the damage she causes. She knows her parents will be devastated, but there is no reason to spread the damage beyond that.
Gus refuses to accept that. Being cancer free for 14 months, losing only a leg in the battle, he remains upbeat.

I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up

The budding romance is beautiful and tragic, even more so than Romeo and Juliet because you see it coming.
When it does hit though, it is from an unexpected direction. As soon as I realized what was going to happen, I cried almost the rest of the book.
Tony and I saw the movie tonight and they did a phenomenal job taking this to the big screen. Did they leave out characters? Yes. Was it anybody that really affected the story? In my opinion, no! If you read the book, then see the movie, just appreciate that the story is faithful to the book version and the best quotes from the book were repeated verbatim in the movie. The lovely image featured above came from this blog. I loved it as soon as I saw it.
I was prepared for Tony to make jokes during the movie. He made them during sad scenes before. Scenario: me bawling, he cracks a joke and looks over, awkward silence follows. Tonight: I’m trying so hard to cry quietly and not sniffle too loud, he puts his arm around me and pulls me close. He later admitted that he choked up a few times.
Read the book, see the movie, appreciate the story that John Green wrote for us. Embrace the sadness and understand that some infinities are bigger than others. Be grateful for yours!

Lip Sugar Scrub

Once upon a time, I had this fantastic lip scrub that got rid of all of the flaky skin that grows on your lips when you don’t use chapstick enough. It was amazing! Rub some on and rinse away the dead skin! Simple, quick and effective. Well its been years, the scrub is long gone and I’m sad. Then I stumbled cross this pin that showed me how to make my own. Tony was at a party when I got home, the kids are with my parents, so it seemed like a perfect time to make some.
You’re three ingredients, that’s right, three, are sugar, olive oil and vanilla extract. You may want some food coloring for effect, but it’s not necessary. I used it because I had it.
•3 heaping tsp of sugar
•1 1/2 tsp olive oil
•a few drops of vanilla extract
I used some of the vanilla extract we made for the holidays so I had a feel good from that one!
Mix it all together. You may have to add a little sugar for a good consistency. I added a few pinches. I also added a few drops of red food coloring for fun. This is what it looked like

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It does need need to go in an airtight container for storage. I used the jars I had left over from Chiara’s birthday favors and last year’s teacher’s gifts. I could’ve done a double batch in it, but it worked for now.

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See, cute! It also works great. My lips felt so smooth afterward! I may look for smaller jars and use these as a small Christmas gift…….

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

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I first found this place on TripAdvisor and after browsing the site decided this was a great ‘thing to do’ while on the Eastern Shore for a wedding. I didn’t look too closely because I was a little shocked at the prices. It’s $15 for adults, $6 for kids and 5 and under is free. Once you realize it’s good for two days and you see how much they are preserving, it seems completely reasonable.

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There are several buildings, that you can wander through on your own, including an active boat repair shop, learning or just taking in the history of the area. Arthur was especially fascinated by the model ships they have, representing the different styles that have sailed in the area.

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There are also several different styles of boats that are set up for you to climb on and explore. It was a lot of fun for the kids and Tony, who loves boats!

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As the area used to be a big oyster harvesting area, there are oyster shells all over the place, in places you or I would normally put mulch! It was especially beautiful when the sun hit the inside of the shells and shown with different colors.

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What I think was the best part of the museum was the openness of it all. You were able to go almost anywhere inside the museum, including all the way to the top. It was amazing to have a panorama view of the bay.
If you have children, especially 4 to 10, this is a great place to visit. The fresh bay air, the open space to run around, and all the exhibits that you can climb on equals kids that are ready for bed at the end of the day.
Experience a piece of history and visit The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

The Mortal Instruments

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As previously stated in Fandom – itus, I’ve finally finished reading The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. I’ve read some nerve racking books and series over the years, but these books brought me to higher highs and lower lows than ever previously experienced! Over the six books, there were moments when I told myself to put down the book, it’s not worth it, but once you start it, you have to see it through to the end!
The series begins with Clary (Clarissa) Fray. She’s just an ordinary human, or Mundane, going through life with her mom, no dad in the picture, but a wonderful father figure who’s been in her life since childhood. She has the prerequisite best friend who secretly loves her and she is just a little oblivious.
Things suddenly go haywire in her life when she sees these strange teens kill what later turns out to be a demon. After witnessing this, nothing will ever be the same for her. She learns that she is not a Mundane, she is actually a Shadowhunter, or Nephilim. Now what are Nephilim you might ask? They are a angelic race of humans that were charged with defending Mundanes, us, from demons.
The story of the Nephilim is amazing, and it doesn’t ruin the surprise of the book. Jonathan Shadowhunter, the first Nephilim, encountered the angel Raziel. Raziel put some of his angelic blood into what became the Mortal Cup and when Jonathan drank from it, he became Nephilim. Faster and stronger than a normal human and able to take runes upon his skin. The runes are angelic symbols that grant the Nephilim extra powers or gifts, temporarily or permanently, to aid in their demonic battle.

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I do have to say that the runes are beautiful and it’s fascinating as you read the series to see how they use the runes in their battles!
I’m trying to work out in my head how much to share and how much is too much….. I do have to tell you that only 2 books have endings that won’t leave you nail biting until the next.
Back to the series!
Jace, one of the strange teens Clary saw in the club, turns out to be a intrinsic part of Clary’s life, teaching her about being Nephilim, while learning more about his own complicated past.

**********SPOILER ALERT**********
The first book leads you to believe this will be a beautiful love story, with the addition of demons trying to ruin the romance. Then oh wait, you can’t love each other, you’re brother and sister!
Never in my life did I feel that I would ship for incest! It sounds gross, but if you read these books you will ship incest too, I guarantee it.
Second book follows with heartache because they still love each other, but keep hurting each other trying to prove they don’t. Remember the love sick human friend I mentioned earlier? His humanity becomes a thing of the past, bringing him even more into the world of shadows.
Third book is where you feel things might be ok again. Love becomes acceptable again, even though we suffer loss. Everyone can be with who they love and nothing hurts. City of Glass is a very good book!
**********SPOILER END**********

Book four and five take all the good feels from book three and twist them all up. I didn’t know what to expect from City of Heavenly Fire. While reading the book, I was torn between wanting to devour it and know how it ends and wanting to put it off as long as possible.
With the book twisting and turning at the turn of a page, it will possibly hurt you to continue reading. However, have faith, you will be rewarded!
The Mortal Instruments
City of Bones
City of Ashes
City of Glass
City of Fallen Angels
City of Lost Souls
City of Heavenly Fire
Also of interest when reading these books, as there is some character overlap, may be
The Infernal Devices.
Clockwork Angel
Clockwork Prince
Clockwork Princess
I do apologize for this blog if it seems a little disjointed, but I don’t want to ruin the series by giving too much away. It will be an amazing read, just trust me!

Fandom – itus

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So my world has fallen back into a semblance of normalcy. The final chapter of the phenomenal Mortal Instruments series was released. I have had sufficient time to read, re – read my favorite bits and skim back through the previous books and be happy again.
I’m trying to decide if I’ve become a whore of a fangirl. It’s sounds like a joke, but seriously! Harry Potter kicked it all off, making me crazy for the books, until all of them were out, then I had to wait for the movies, but that was ok because I knew how they ended! Twilight came along and sucked me in, those books were all out already, so it was just the wait on the movies. Onto the Hunger Games, the trilogy that took me less than ten days to read, but those movies are still coming, so I still take side trips to Panem. Divergent consumed me, that trilogy taking only 5 days to read, now it’s the wait on the movies there as well! Mortal Instruments I thought would be a diversion while waiting for my other books to release, but the vortex got me again! Soon followed The Infernal Devices. Percy Jackson was a quick read while waiting for the final Mortal Instruments, but still good.
Now I’m questioning my fandom loyalties. My tattoos show some of my loyalties, oddly the only one of the above mentioned series represented is Twilight (it’s a vague reference so don’t judge!). The above image is one I’m considering, but then I think of all the amazing images associated with the previously mentioned series! A trident or pine tree for Percy Jackson. Any one of the runes from The Mortal Instruments. Divergent had some amazing symbols for the factions. Hunger Games Mockingjay, need I say more?!
Does anyone else have these issues? I’ve only run into in the last year for the most part. Is it just a rash of good books coming out? Am I more susceptible to the imagery the authors are weaving in my mind? Truthfully I don’t care that I love so many series, because hello, books are good!

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Books themselves are never a problem. I mean, check the Kindle screen! My problem is seriously the tattoo thing. I will soon be the ultimate nerd, but non fans will see the tats and be afraid. Who else thinks this will be funny.
I don’t go off on tangents very often in my blog, this actually was meant to be a review, but I distracted myself. Maybe next time…..

Longaberger Pottery

So, I’ve talked about Longaberger Flameware before and how much I love it. Now it’s time to talk about their pottery. The Flameware is a relatively new product for Longaberger, but their pottery is a longterm product for them. My mom has owned them for years and I’m here to tell you that they are sturdy! I have distinctive memories of my dog, Canada, picking the bowls off the counter and finishing the leftovers. She never broke one.
The patterns of pottery have evolved over the years, to settle onto solid colors.

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Some of the colors are cornflower (blue), paprika (red), sage (green) and several others. They occasionally bring back special or retired colors too. The variety of colors means that they can fit into every kitchen theme or decor. I personally have no specific color theme in my kitchen, so I own a variety of pottery colors!
An awesome feature about the pottery is the versatility. It’s dishwasher, freezer and oven safe. Dishwasher safe is a necessity for me! I can barely stand having to hand wash wine glasses! Freezer safe is always good for the pottery casserole dishes because you can prep and freeze enchiladas or lasagna and when your ready to eat them, pop them straight into the oven!

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Another fun perk of the oven safe feature, more recently discovered, is that the personal size pizzas fit perfectly on the luncheon plates! This is also one of the colors they bring back occasionally, eggplant.
There is a wide variety of pottery products available through Longaberger. Everything from salt & pepper shakers, butter dishes, all the way to casserole dishes. If you want to see the full line and all options, you can check them out here.
We’ll call this another product plug, but I have been using my pottery quite a bit over the last few weeks, so it’s on my mind. Why wouldn’t I share this with you??