Throne of Glass series

Aren’t they beautiful?

Sara J Maas. Have you heard the name yet? If not, you need to know that shes a brilliant author! She’s written the Court of Thorn of Roses trilogy and the Throne of Glass series. It’s the latter that I want to talk about today, since the last book of the series comes out in October! Kingdom of Ash has so many storylines to wrap up and it will have to be the most epic thing she’s written!

Throne of Glass, technically, starts with the book Assassin’s Blade. It is not one long story, but rather five short novellas that are a kind of prequel. You are introduced to characters who become important later on. I really recommend this as your starting point!

The first real book is Throne of Glass. It stars Celaena Sardothian, an amazingly efficient and smart alec assassin, the very best of Adarlan, who is released from the salt mines, where she was a slave. Her freedom comes at a price though, she must enter a competition to become the king’s champion (assassin). Prince Dorian and his friend Chaol, the captain of the guard, bring her back to the kingdom. The competition reveals many of the kingdom’s secrets, which sets up the rest of the series.

Crown of Midnight, book two, still follows Celaena through new adventures and devastating heartbreak. Characters we love leave us, causing Celaena to start down a new path, or a very old one, depending on how you look at it.

Heir of Fire brings Celaena to a new kingdom, new characters, and secrets revealed. Rowan, a fae warrior, comes on to the scene and he is a very harsh male. I will ask you to be gentle with him, he has reasons to be the way he is.

Queen of Shadows brings even more new characters, new problems to be solved. Celaena, or Aelin, is trying to do the right thing, for both her friends, and the kingdom, but her means are unbelievably crazy. The plans work out though, so stay with her to the end!

Empire of Storms will break your heart. It is amazing, and we get to know some older characters much better. Elide and Lorcan are my personal favorite as far as unlikely allies. There are many of them in this book. Enemies work together to try and stop a greater evil and ot makes for a great deal of reader entertainment! Remember, heart break, but worth it!

Tower of Dawn made a lot of readers angry. It’s just as brilliantly written as everything else, but at the end of Empire of Storms you have beloved characters in dire straights, only to skip back in time. We join Chaol on the southern continent and meet a whole new cast of characters. Chaol and Nesryn, another character from Adarlan, are in Antica to heal Chaol’s injury, and to hopefully raise an army to fight the evil trying to take over. Give this book a chance and, if nothing else, tell yourself that you need to know these characters before Kingdom of Ash!

Enjoy the books! They are beautiful and the although the stories can pull at your heart, they will also lift you up. My two favorite quotes from this entire series are

“The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.”

and

“You could rattle the stars. You could do anything, if only you dared.”

Those two quotes can see you through almost anything, and there are many more inspiring quotes to be had. Along with funny and quippy ones. Have you read these books? What did you think?

Pagan Pride Festival

Today the family, friend, and I hit the 9th annual Pagan Pride Festival and we had a blast. I am a Christian, born and raised, and I still hold those beliefs. I will say that we had a ton of fun though and plan to go back next year.

Goodies from the Festival

My son collects rocks, and they had a large selection of stones, rocks, and crystals for him to choose from. My husband, brother, and son like sharp things, so they purchased assorted knives. My daughter is a fairy freak, so she got a tiny pewter fairy statue and a star shaped jar of pixie dust. I got myself a Pagan Pride tank top and have a beautiful new paper towel holder made by a local blacksmith.

Needless to say the artisans, vendors, and local shops represented were amazing!

They had food trucks there that had an amazing selection and I had myself an early dinner.

We waited till Sunday to go because I wanted to see Tuatha Dea perform and was not disappointed. They had a wide selection of songs, from Irish choices to Rhiannon, a personal favorite.

We’re definitely planning to go back next year! I do want to add that these are happy people. No one was rude, or snide. There was no judgement for anyone, no matter who they were there with, what they were wearing, or how they looked in general. Don’t be quick to judge someone based on their beliefs. Not every pagan is a satanist, not every Christian is judgmental, and everyone deserves to be weighed (not judged) by their own merits.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite Disney movie growing up. As soon as I found out they were making a live action version, I was over the moon about it! Then March 17 finally came, and now it’s time!

Emma Watson as Belle is fabulous! Little Hermione has grown up and is perfect for the role. The music is perfect, as I remember from childhood, with just enough of a change to make it new. There were parts, when Belle was singing about wanting more on the hillside, where the animation/graphics is a little questionable, but as the rest of the movie has fabulous animation, I let it go.

More was added to the storyline to explain the curse, the town’s lack of knowledge, and to make the timing a little more believable. The enchantress was a little more vicious than she came across in the cartoon!

Most powerful scene for me was the ballroom scene. I was smiling like a lunatic through the whole scene. Don’t judge me, but happy tears for the sheer beauty of it may have happened….

I know there was a lot of anger/confusion/weirdness over Lefou being the first “openly” gay character. It’s not a spoiler, but other than one scene at the end where Lefou dances with another guy, he’s no more “openly” gay than he was in the cartoon. We watched the cartoon the following day to verify.

There were several songs I wasn’t familiar with, but I was informed that the musical had several songs that weren’t in the cartoon. The actors and actresses they had for this film did great with the songs. Emma Watson of course was great. Dan Stevens as Beast was also great. The biggest surprise for me was how amazing Luke Evans was as Gaston! His singing in the tavern was spot on. His character was a little more evil than cartoon Gaston was, but most live action Disney movies add a little more violence.

Disney magic continues, I can’t wait for this to be released to own and watch again. The theaters were crowded, I know many were sold out, but when you get the chance, be sure to see it. Whether you loved or liked the original, even if you never saw it, you’re sure to love it.

Challenge Geocaches

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about geocaching, but I’ve got something exciting to report on! My first hand experience anyway.

This post is about challenge caches. A challenge cache does have an actual location, as well as a physical log to sign, but there is an added challenge! These caches require an additional task before they can be considered complete.

My example today is going to be about state county challenges. I was so excited to complete my first county challenge while in Rhode Island this month. For this particular style cache, you have to find a cache in each county of the state.

This was an easy challenge, as Rhode Island only has five counties, but it still takes more effort than your traditional cache. It is usually wise to plan ahead, this way you can be sure that each county is accounted for. It can be simple if you want, grabbing park and grab caches, or difficult, going after the interesting ones.

Luckily for me, Jenna was up for my caching challenge! This allowed us to see the many beautiful sides of the smallest state in our two day trip. We visited Fort Wetherill, home of an amazing quartz filled cliff in Newport County.


We saw the state capital of Providence, in the county with the same name. We visited a beautiful and peaceful cemetary with stones dating back to the revolutionary war in Bristol county.

The actual location of the challenge cache log was even in a tiny cemetary, tucked into the woods. You would think it could be forgotten, hidden as it is, but the flags on the graves show us that it is not.

Challenge caches can be anything from the county kind to requiring you to log a certain number or type of cache prior to logging it. They are a nice change from the traditional cache and worth trying out!

For more information on geocaching, check out:

Types of caching
Geocaching souvenirs

Geocaching lingo

Geocaching

Three Cheers For Animals

Does anyone know what a Daisy Journey is? I had no idea until last year when they were mentioned, and this year we just completed our first one: Three Cheers For Animals. The point of the journey is to teach girls how to take care of themselves by learning how to care for animals.

This journey takes place over several events and meetings. Our first outing as a troop on this journey was a trip to Giant Eagle, a grocery store, for a tour. This was where our troop was led through the different areas of the store, such as produce, meats, bakery, and shown how they relate to the “healthy plate”. The girls were able to sample pieces of watermelon, a delicious pizza and we finished off with a dessert, reminding the girls that it needs to be in moderation. A very informative and very fun outing!


Our next event was girl scout day at the Cleveland Zoo. Aside from crafts that were set up for us, there were many “meet the keeper” opportunities. This gave the girls the opportunity to talk to zoo workers about what goes in to caring for an animal. Things like habitat care, proper diet and exercise. All things that we as people need. A trip to the zoo is always fun for first graders!

Our first meeting focused on healthy eating. This involved making “snack bugs”. Yes, we encouraged the girls to play with their food. The girls had a lot of fun!

Our last outing, and the “service” portion of this journey was an outing to Kitten Krazy, a local shelter for cats. The girls were told about how the cats require food, cleaning up after, and of course play time. This was the best part for the kids, getting to play with kittens!

The girls also got to drop off the cat toys we had made in one of our meetings.

Another meeting involved yoga and some simple exercises. This was a lot of fun because it was a lot of moving around!

The journey had a lot of fun opportunities for the girls, and the leaders. This journey has been a blast and has made me look forward to the next one!

This is the patch that the girls earned by completing their journey.

Drinking Around the World at Epcot

As stated in my last blog, we spent the last full week in Orlando. We had our first day at Epcot, which I enjoyed much more than the first year we went. I planned out this trip out to make the most of it. 

Tony, my brother Josh, my cousin Ben and I were going to drink our way around the world at Epcot. I had read about this on Pinterest and it sounded like a lot of fun. 

We started in Mexico, where Tony and I shared a Mango Margarita. It wasn’t very good, but it got us started. The churros we got to go with it were very good. I had never had them before, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Next stop was Norway, where we had Einstöck White Ale. I’m not a big beer/ale/lager drinker, so I had a few hits out of this souvenir glass. It wasn’t bad, even for a non-ale drinker.

On to China! This drink is called Tipsy Ducks in Love. It is a coffee flavored delight! Tony and I both enjoyed this one immensely. We had to stop for lunch in China because my brother, unbeknownst to me, had drank a shot and a full drink in Norway and China and was a little wobbly. No breakfast and the heat, combined with the alcohol, left him reeling.

Africa isn’t really a country at Epcot, more of a “trading post”, but we still got a drink. This is a Frozen Elephant, which is their fancy name for a Coke slushy. It was really yummy either way.

This delightful shot is called a Bärenjäger Honey & Bourbon. You find them in Germany and they are delicious and smooth. I actually stole this from my brother. Didn’t want my baby brother to drink himself sick after all….

Nothing says Italy like a Bellini! Peach was my choice today. There can never be anything wrong with Bellinis around!

Boulder Beer was our choice in America. The boys enjoyed them, with me taking sips to say I did. Just can’t develop the taste buds to enjoy beer, sorry.

Cold Sake in Japan? Yes, I think I will. My brother enjoyed his, but he also spent two years in the real Japan, drinking this all the time. It hits hard, so if this is your choice, available hot or cold, sip cautiously, you’re a little over halfway done.

This is a Sultan’s Colada, found in Morocco. It’s a Pina Colada, but I like those, so it was all good. They had a variety of slushy drinks, alcoholic and non, so we enjoyed a variety at this particular stand.

We backtracked to Norway for our dinner reservations, then made our way back to France to enjoy some wine. Vouvray Sauvignon was my choice, as it was one of the French vintages available. I love whites, so it was a winner. A little drier than I normally like, but I’m far from a wine buff.

This is an English Rose, obviously from the United Kingdom. The boys got their beers and ales, but I went a little fruity. Delightful! The pub where we got our drinks is exactly how I pictured an English pub, so be sure to stop into the Rose & Crown.

Last step was Canada. We barely made it before the light show started, but we managed to get a Labatt’s Blue. Great Canadian Beer, and I have fond memories of it before I was legal, so I managed slightly more than a few sips.

In Canada, we ran into these delightful French guys, who actually work at Epcot, in France as I’m sure you’d guess. They were hammered, had amazing accents, and hit it off with my cousin. Their immediate friendship led to them buying shots for Ben, who had done beautifully until then. The rest of the night was spent trying to keep him out of trouble. All that aside, French guys are fun!

Our trip around Epcot was pricey, but Tony and I offset the cost by sharing drinks. These drinks were mostly purchased at stands you’ll see just walking through. It was a lot of fun and we’re all looking forward to another drinking game on our next trip. Suggestions?

Pass the Lego

image

This was a super easy game to do. I bought 3 boxes of the $.98 candy at Walmart. I wrapped them up in construction paper and made eight little circles of the same color. I wrote the word Lego on each circle and attached them with a dab of glue. The glue gave them a little pop.
After I had my Lego prizes put together, it was time to play! I chose the song “Everything is Awesome” because nothing says Lego fun better than that song.
The rules are classic hot potato. Start the song and pass the brick from kid to kid. Whoever is holding the potato when the song stops is out. Start the song again, when it stops, whoever is holding it is out. When the last kid is out, the remaining kid wins the candy.
This can be a tough game on little kids. Delicate feelings and all that. I made sure to have small candy bags for the ones who didn’t win.

Happy gaming all!