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Vacation Reading

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 in Books, Lists | 4 comments

For months now I’ve been hoarding loading up on ebooks for my vacation. Every time I spotted a good deal on Amazon I snatched it up in excited anticipation for my trip. I’ve also gotten a bunch of books from netgalley.com and destroyed my percentage, so there’ll be a lot of reviews in the future. But let’s take a look at all the pretties…

Pathfinder100 Fangirl100 MaraDyer100 Untraceable100 Attachments100 EighthGuardian100 Quiet100 Awaken100 EyeofMinds100 SorahsQuest Skylark100 JaneAustenHandbook BurningSky100 TheLine100 JustOneDay100 Anna100 PaperMagician100 Ettiquette100 Curtsies100 GraveMercy100 Flawed100 Perfection100 TabulaRasa100 KnifesEdge100 GalaxyGame100 StormSiren100 MyOwnDarcy100

“Pathfinder” Orson Scott Card
“Fangirl” Rainbow Rowell
“The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” Michelle Hodkin
“Untraceable” S.R. Johannes
“Attachments” Rainbow Rowell
“The Eight Guardian” Meredith McCardle
“Quiet” Susan Cain
“Awaken” Katie Kacvinsky
“The Eye of Minds” James Dashner
“Sorah’s Quest” TL Shreffler
“Skylark” Megan Spooner
“The Jane Austen Handbook” Margaret Sullivan
“Burning Sky” Sherry Thomas
“The Line” JD Horn
“Just One Day” Gayle Forman
“Anna and the French Kiss” Stephanie Perkins
“The Paper Magician” Charlie N. Homberg
“Etiquette & Espionage” Gail Carriger
“Curtsies & Conspiracies” Gail Carriger
“Grave Mercy” Robin LaFevers
“flawed” and “perfection” J.L. Spelbring
“Tabula Rasa” Kristen Lippert-Martin
“The Knife’s Edge” Matthew Wolf
“The Galaxy Game” Karen Lord
“Storm Siren” Mary Weber
“My Own Mr. Darcy” Karen White

I think I have enough to keep me occupied for a while, don’t you think?

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Halloween Photo Booth

Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in Holidays | 3 comments

Yesterday I shared some details from my Halloween party, today I’m going to share some photos from the photo booth.

Zack and I as Mal and Jayne from Firefly
Stephanie and JT won best costume for their Ash and Pickachu
With Mary as a grown up Northwest
Katherine and Loren totally would have won the costume contest if they were there when we voted
Suzanne the cat

These are the only people I managed to snag on my camera

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How to Throw an Awesome Halloween Party

Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 in DIY & Crafts, Holidays | 3 comments

Our party this weekend was a huge success! I had many people complementing me on my decorations and all the work I put into everything. So here some fun tips and tricks for an awesome Halloween party.


Of course pinterest is your best friend. One of my favourite things that I found on there and was a big hit was the Jello “Shots”. The cheapest I could find the syringes was on Amazon. They were a bit pricey so I only got one pack and then some regular little plastic cups. I didn’t follow a specific recipe, just the recipe on the Jello box and replaced the cold water with Vodka.


They were awesome and worked perfectly. I put some ice in a bowl and sat them inside and refilled as the night went on. I put an empty bowl next to them for the discarded syringes so no one would throw them away.

The other pin I absolutely loved was the Mummy Jars. I already had the mason jars, and I found the guaze at the dollar store and a pack of googly eyes at Michaels for a few dollars. I just used tape to stick the guaze down, wrapped it and used tape to stick the eyes on. It would be really cute to put little LED votives in them for decoration, but I used mine to hold the cute Halloween straws I found at the dollar Store.


Side note: The dollar store was my best friend. I couldn’t believe how much fun little things they had, and how quickly it all sold out. I got most stuff a month before the party, and it was almost all gone the day of the party, a whole week before Halloween.

I’ve wanted to do a photo booth forever! I found the Halloween pendant paper at Michaels and spent a few dollars on the pack with a 40% off coupon. Then I bought the twine and strung it up. The stand and backdrop I already owned.


For the props I just googled around and found various sites with free printables (here, here & here). One suggested putting them on foam core board, but it was hard to cut and not have jagged edges. So I ended up just using spray adhesive and some black card stock. Then it was easy to cut it out with regular scissors. I bought some dowels at Michaels and glued and taped them to the props. I made another little mummy jar to hold the props in.


For some decorations I found a simple bat template online and used that on the card stock paper and cut out a bunch! I think they turned out great!


I also strung up a bunch of black and orange streamers and we did a big web on the stairs to the basement… kinda forgot to take pics of those.

For food/snacks I baked some cupcakes and used some graphic liners and little plastic ghost & bat things that I got from the dollar store. I found a cardboard cupcake stand at Michaels to display them.


Most of the serving bowls/plates I actually found at the dollar store.


Throw in some music, ping pong, darts and some Cards Against Humanity and it was a fun night!

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Australian: Born & Raised – Part 2

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in My Life | 3 comments

10 days until we leave for Australia!!!!

kermit flail

View Part 1 here which is all about yummy Australian food (my Mum told me I missed Fish & Chips BTW!)

Today I’m going to talk about school in Australia. I was 13 when I moved here, so I experienced both primary and high school (barely) in Australia.

My year 2 & 3 class

Where I went to school, primary school was year 1-7 (we say year instead of grade) and high school 8-12. No middle school. Although after I left they have changed the name and I think merged the schools (they were next door to each other).

Also, Kindergarten and pre-school are swithed in Australia. So we had a pre-school in our primary school.

Our school year starts in January and goes through December (remember, reverse seasons). We don’t have a giant summer vacation like you do in the US, we basically have two weeks off between each term (4 of them).

BUT our school days are shorter, and we have two breaks: Morning Tea and Lunch. The first was basically a snack, and lunch was about 45 minutes where we ate lunch and had plenty of time to play. Both breaks were always outside, even in winter (which isn’t very cold). In primary school we had designated eating areas depending on your grade, in high school you ate wherever you wanted. There was the rare rainy day where our teacher would let us eat inside and we would find games to play in the class room.

The school itself isn’t one giant building like they are here, but made up of multiple buildings. My Primary school basically had one building per grade. It would have two giant rooms which would have two classes in each room with a space in the middle. The teachers with joint rooms would usually calloborate by switching classes for different studies and sharing “floor time” where we met in the middle on the floor for stories or what not.

There were other buildings for the library, music room, office, etc. All the buildings were connected via covered walkways.

My Brother Nathan’s first day of school
Nathan Grdde 1 & Samantha Grade 3 J 1997


Yep, we had to wear uniforms in public schools. Back then “free dress” days were the best where we could wear anything. Having now gone to school in the US? I choose uniforms. No hesitation. It sucks picking out clothes everyday, and of course there’s the social/fashion aspect of it that’s just a nightmare. I liked the days where my decision was shorts, skirt or dress.

No Hat No Play

One of the biggest rules we had was if you have no hat, you couldn’t go out and play. Cause sun cancer sucks! If you didn’t have your hat you had to sit on the yellow bench which also where kids in trouble had to sit, so I feared not having my hat.


One thing that really surpsised me about the US is how many people don’t know how to swim. At my school in Australia, we had several weeks every year where the whole class goes to the pool a couple of times a week for swimming lessons. There was a public pool complex on the other side of the highschool, so we would walk down there.

The older classes, around year 6 & 7 also got to do beach trips where we did some basic lifegaurd training. In year 7 we even got to do some surfing lessons.

Jealous yet?


After school sports didn’t exist. Well, not school sponsored ones. I played netball (basically basketball, but with no backboard and when you held the ball you weren’t allowed to movie your feet… and way cooler) on weekends.

Here’s some netball:

Our school sports were done during school. Each term we’d have a list of different sports to choose from and once a week we traveled to a different school to compete. Of course for the most part the teams were horrible because we didn’t really practice. But we got to play different many different sports, I did Netball whenever it was offered of course, but I also did cricket and softball.

We also had PE once a week… and music and library. I promise we still had time to learn things.

Graduating Primary School

Being “Tardy”

I giggled at the term “tardy” when I first heard it my first day of school in the US where I received a syllabus for every class, outlining exactly how I would be graded and all the rules.

There are rules in the US about being “tardy” to class. Can’t we just call it being late? In Australia, the bell rang and you went to wherever you were supposed to be. There weren’t any rules in place about being late, because everyone just did what they’re supposed to. There was no sense of urgency/fear of getting to your next class, you just went there.

You don’t need a “hall pass” signed by your teacher to go to the bathroom, you just raised your hand, asked to go to the toilet, and you went and came back like you’re supposed to. Nobody outside would stop you and demand what you’re doing, everyone was trusted.

Sure, kids still got in trouble and got time out (detention) during lunch, but we weren’t treated like prison inmates.


School buses don’t exist. Your parents dropped you off, you walked, or rode your bike. Some kids took the public bus.


In high school we had block scheduling which was one of the greatest things ever… until you had double maths.

And that’s all I can remember…

Stay tuned for part 3 where we get into some fun Australian TV shows & Music

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Top 10 Book Series I Want to Read

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Books, Lists | 6 comments


It’s Top 10 Tuesday hosted by brokeandbookish.com and this week’s topic is “Top New Series I Want To Start (New..let’s say within the last year or two)”. I decided to just go with 10 book series that I want to start no matter how old they are. Some of these are books sitting on my bookshelf already just waiting for me to get to them.

AcrosstheUniverse100 Enclave100 FortunesPawn100 KnifeofNeverLettingGo100 Partials100
Uglies100 ShadowandBone100 Taken100 TheseBrokenStars TheMagicians100

• Across the Universe series by Beth Revis
• Razorland trilogy by Ann Agguire
• Paradox trilogy by Rachel Bach
• Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
• The Partials Sequence series by Dan Wells
• Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
• Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
• Taken series by Erin Bowman
• Starbound series by Amie Kaufman
• Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman

What book series are on your to read pile?

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