Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

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I have mentioned in the beginning of the year that my main reading goal this year is to be able to read. Here I am telling you I will be extending that to listening to audiobooks as well. I am aware of the debate of whether or not listening to audiobooks counts as reading a book but in my opinion, it does. We’re consuming the same text. It’s the medium of consumption that’s different.

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams is my first audiobook of 2018. I chose a short children’s book because I found out it’s the easiest way to ease myself in to listening to audiobooks.

Gangsta Granny is about Ben who finds spending time with his grandmother boring. They do the same thing every week, and he gets served mostly the same food every week he visits. However, what he doesn’t know is his grandmother has a secret: she’s was once an international jewel thief.

I mostly listened to this while I was doing laundry. I do about 2-3 loads, so I figured a children’s audiobook roughly 3 hours long would be easy for a 30-year-old to follow while doing chores. I am so glad I found this while I was browsing our library’s audiobook catalogue. It was witty, funny, and entertaining. Also, listening to David Walliams narrate was a nice touch.

I cannot recommend this enough. If you’re looking for an audiobook to start your audiobook endeavours, I don’t think you can ever go wrong starting with children’s books.

 

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How We Incorporate Reading To Our Everyday Routine

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I love to read. Finding time to read is something else entirely, but it all comes down to I simply love to read. This love for reading is something I would love to be able to pass on to my children.

At the moment, I feel I’m doing a decent job because my daughter would always want “one more story” right after I’ve read her our allotted number of books before bed time. She would also ask for a story every night before bed. Sometimes it’s a bit of work especially when I’m exhausted but I make sure she gets her stories in 99% of the time.

Now that she’s in pre-school and I’m working 5 days a week, I try to make sure to find time for the two of us to sit down and read. Here are a few ways of how we incorporate reading in to our everyday routine:

  • A book basket. I bought my eldest a book basket a few months ago to make it easier for her to get to her books. Mind you not all of her books fit in to that basket. I bought it so we can rotate her books a few times a month. It’s not a crazy rotation number because we only read a certain number of books per night, but this allows her to get to her books anytime she wants without having to ask for someone’s help.
  • Scheduling reading time before bed. We’ve included reading as part of her bedtime routine. So she knows that after she finishes in the bathroom and gets her pyjamas changed, it’s story time.
  • Reading during quiet time. Sometimes in the afternoon, I turn the tv off when I feel like my daughter has had enough of Treehouse. It’s more of when I’ve had enough of Treehouse, haha! This is when I let her do what she like. She can play with her toys, she can play with her Play-Doh, she can paint, or she can read her books. I don’t force her to read her books during this time if she doesn’t want to because I know by the end of the day we’ll have some reading done.
  • Audiobooks. Audiobooks have been a lifesaver on nights when I’m too exhausted to read aloud. It has also helped me on nights when my daughter wants one more story after reading 5 books.
  • Using screen time to read books. My daughter has an iPad which we got when we opened a bank account for her a few years ago. Most of the apps in that iPad are geared to learning the alphabets, words, numbers, colours and shapes. I have also installed Overdrive and Epic! so we can use her iPad to check out books and read those we have borrowed from the library.
  • Letting her peruse books after bath time. We always have this time after bath time where all we do is sit there and brush the tangles out of her hair. To maximize our reading time, we either listen to audiobooks or have her flip through her books while I brush out her hair.

Those are what we do everyday to incorporate reading in our lives. It is a bit of work especially since she wants to do a lot of other things. I’m hoping what we do now will help nurture her love of reading.

Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to reading with your kids? Please do tell me in the comments. I am always open to recommendations and/or suggestions.

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Getting Reacquainted With Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis

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The whole adventure begins when Digory and Polly find themselves in eccentric Uncle Andrew’s secret study. But when Uncle Andrew tricks Polly into touching the magic ring, she vanishes into the Other World. Digory is aghast, and determines immediately to go in search of her, Not only does he find Polly but together they listened to Aslan’s song as he creates the enchanted world of Narnia, full of sun, trees, flowers, grass and animals.

My first finished book for 2018.

I’m not new to the land of Narnia but all I know of it was from watching The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. It was quite interesting learning about how Narnia came to be, and the origin of the wardrobe itself.

My husband bought me the entire series for Christmas so I have a lot of C. S. Lewis ahead of me.

The Magician’s Nephew pretty much revolved around Digory who, in this story, is the magician’s nephew. This is also the first time we ever see of the evil witch, and Aslan.

It was through Digory’s uncle (and his persistence) that he and his friend Polly was able to witness, albeit accidentally, the birth of Narnia. This is one of my favorite parts of the book because of how Lewis illustrated Narnia’s beginning through words. Something came from nothing and that is mesmerizing to me.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book is the test of character Digory had to go through. Given a task and knowing certain aspects of it could help his mother get better, he went ahead and only did what he was supposed to do. He almost deviated and I was rooting for him to stay focused.

It was a great way to get reacquainted again with Narnia after a few years. A few adaptations have been released from this series and I’m looking forward to watching those again after reading the series to see the differences between them.

 

*This post contains affiliate links.

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3 Budget Friendly Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

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Since Valentine’s Day is a few weeks away, I figured I would write about celebrating Valentine’s Day on a budget. I am aware some of us would want to elaborately go on dates but the truth is sometimes we simply can’t afford it. However, there are things we can do to celebrate without breaking the bank.

  • Netflix and chill. Literally Netflix and chill. Netflix offers a variety of films to choose from when you want to watch a movie but don’t feel like going out and spending the extra money. This is one of the best time to catch up on your favorite TV shows, watch (somewhat) new films / documentaries, or to simply cuddle up with your significant other while you have a Nicholas Sparks movie on. If anything, you might need to spend money on snacks but there is a big chance those would be readily available at home. It doesn’t even have to be Netflix. It can be Youtube, the sports channel, or your PVR and chill.
  • Celebrate on a different day. I find celebrating on Valentine’s Day itself a bit overwhelming. There’s this pressure of making sure the day / evening / date goes perfect. But see, you don’t need to celebrate on the 14th and here’s why:
    • It takes the pressure off. It allows you to just enjoy the time spent with your partner focusing more on each other.
    • Something is always happening on a different day. Take Tuesdays for example. Take advantage of Toonie Tuesday events. Some cinemas offers either $2.00 or half price on movies on Tuesdays. You still get to go and watch a movie without it costing too much.
  • Stay at home. Bake a cake or cupcakes. Have some wine. Sit on the porch and catch up with each other. Raid your DVD / Blu-Ray collection for old favourites. Cuddle. Have a bath together. Play a board game. Go for a walk even if it’s only around the block. Make supper together. There are a lot of things you can do at home to make the day special.

So there you have it. A few ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank. Remember though, Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the only time we make our partners feel special. Also, what’s more important on this day is how we are able to set aside the time to simply enjoy each other’s company.

What about  you? What are your ideas for budget friendly Valentine’s Day activities?

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5 Years

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Photo by photo-nic.co.uk nic on Unsplash

 

 

I can’t do it.

I wasn’t running anymore albeit still catching my breath.

I… I just can’t do it.

I don’t know how far away I was from the ceremony but I do know our venue is big enough that no one would be able to find me for quite some time.

“What are you doing L?” I turned around in confusion. I didn’t expect to be followed. Let alone be followed by Aspen.

“How did you find me?”

Aspen. My Aspen. Well, not anymore. Not since I made the decision to leave for a job opportunity in Florida. We were young, and starting our lives together after college was something we have prepared for. We have a place to stay, we both have steady jobs to support ourselves. We were happy. What we weren’t prepared for though is when the universe decided to pull us both in the opposite direction of each other. No one made anyone choose but we both know when one of us leaves, it would mean the end of everything.

He’s standing a good few feet away from me. Careful. Every movement calculated. He doesn’t take his hands out of his pockets but I can see the yearning to take my hand. To lead me out of this hole I inadvertently dug myself.

“Why are you here?”

“You invited me.” He holds up an invitation as a reminder.

“I meant right here…”

“Everyone is wondering where you are. Maxwell almost phoned the police.”

Maxwell. The man who I spent the past five years of my life with. The man who would sit and watch chick flicks with me for hours. The man I jumped on a plane for because his beloved dog passed away. The man who went and saw almost all of my niece’s school recitals. The man who crumbled in front of me because his football team lost.

The man I can’t get myself to marry.

Aspen looks at me waiting. I don’t know what he wants me to say. I know why I can’t marry Maxwell. Scratch that, I know why I don’t want to marry Maxwell, but Aspen doesn’t need to know that.

Five years. Five years is a long time to wonder isn’t it?

“Look, you’re a grown woman. I’m not going to tell you how to live your life, or who to marry. But at least go back there and let them know you’re ok.”

His phone started ringing and he doesn’t even bother to check his phone.

“Answer it, please.”

He took it out of his pocket, eyeing the caller. “Hello?”

If he was already serious when he started talking to me, he’s more serious now. His jaw tightens as he listens to what was on the other side of the line. “Alright, I’ll be home as soon as I can.”

“I have to go.” He tells me as he hangs up. An apology written all over his face.

“Is everything ok?” I asked, worried. He hesitated for a bit. “Gretchen’s pregnant.”

“Gretchen?”

“My girlfriend.”

 

 

Thumbnail photo (featured image): Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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