Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sunday Expressions: Kip

Well I have noticed that my last two Sunday Expressions have been slight downers.  Nobody wants to focus on the collywobbles or be a damp squib.

So this week's expression is "kip".

As I was in bed for two days this week, I had plenty of time to catch up on Season 3 of Call the Midwife.  And by catch up I mean I viewed almost the entire season from start to finish.  Chummy, for reasons I won't reveal, is feeling quite low and so her husband fixes her tea, a hot water bottle and orders her on a kip routine.

A kip can mean some sleep, a lie down, or a place to take a lie down.  I had two day's worth of kip routine and was back to work by Friday.

What's your kip routine?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

What Am I Reading Monday - Brit Lit Edition 1.12.15

This year I've decided to participant in my good friend Jen's meme over at Teacher Mentor Texts. But I've added my own Brit Kid Lit twist.

I've also decided to join the British Books Challenge over at Fluttering Butterflies.  I can already tell that I will have a very large book order on my hands each month.  I'll be sure to share with you any great books I learn about from the BBC.

This Week's Book Perambulations

This week I read a book by one of my favorite authors, Annabel Pitcher.  Two years ago I read My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, which I loved and which made me cry big globbing tears.  I think I read it soon after reading A Monster Calls, so by then I pretty much owned stock in a tissue company.  I was a little hesitant to pick up Ketchup Clouds, mainly because I was worried I wouldn't like it as much as the first book - but Ketchup Clouds sucked me right in.  I was on pins and needles throughout most of the book wondering how this was all going to end and if there was some big unexpected twist - I hadn't felt such a sense of foreboding since reading A.S. King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz.  Zoe Collins {not her real name} has a pen pal, but instead of a peer from another country, it's a Texas inmate on death row.  Ketchup Clouds is perfect YA - one girl, two boys, rowing parents, SOME sort of event,  a secret and all sorts of small, realistic details that make it very easy to identify with Zoe. I highly recommend this book for middle school or high school students (and beyond!).  I cannot wait for Annabel Pitcher's next book called Silence is Goldfish!!

{P.S.  This book is readily available in the U.S. albeit with a different cover.}

Last Week's Book Perambulations

Last week's read was one of those "perfect timing" books.  I purchased it on bookdepository and my 4th grader and I sat down to have a look.   Ready?  It's...

Yes!  An Usborne book:  Lift-the-Flap Times Tables.  This book is super fun and I highly recommend it for parents and kids who are have a bit of trouble with those nasty multiplication tables.  I also recommend it for classrooms.  The layout is beautiful, with a particular times table written out in full on each page and then clever activities that depend on lifting the correct tabs, plus tips and hints.  There was only one British term that we couldn't figure out:  splurge, as in fuel tanks holding splurges.

Does your fuel tank hold a splurge?

Sunday Expressions: Damp Squib

This week's Sunday expression is one I first noticed while browsing through an online dictionary of British slang.

I wasn't sure I was going to go with it, but then there it appeared in the book I'm reading by Annabel Pitcher, Ketchup Clouds!  I decided it was a sign, so here we go.

This week's expression is damp squib.  Literally, this is a firework that does not go off because it has gotten wet.

Or...  My trip to NYC was a bit of a damp squib due to the fact that I lost my wallet.

Have you ever had a damp squib moment?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wednesday's Arts and Leisure

Today's Arts and Leisure: Crochet

Over the past few years I've become more and more proficient at crochet.  And when I say over the past few years I mean eleven!  I first picked up a crochet needle when I was on five weeks of bedrest waiting for my son to arrive.  I was terrible at bedrest and worse at crochet.

Since then I have become better but it has been a slow process.  I have gobs of yarn from all my attempts over the years so I decided a good use for it was to learn how to make a decent granny square. Of course this took me to ye olde YouTube which is so incredibly handy when you're learning a new skill.  I happened to find one of my now favorite UK YouTubers and bloggers, Sarah-Jayne at Bella Coco.  With her directions and her patient replies via Twitter, I was able to figure out how to granny square and connect them!

Last spring I became a huge fan of the series Call the Midwife based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth {a topic deserving at post of its own}.  When I saw this pattern by Amy's Gurumis I knew that I just had to try it!  Not long afterwards, I had my own version of Chummy!  Amy was even nice enough to feature a picture of my Chummy on her blog {last photo - felt jacket}.

Tickety-boo!  I crocheted Chummy!
Thank you, Amy for the great pattern!

Do you like to crochet or are you a knitter?  Anything particularly British that inspires you?

Monday, January 5, 2015

What Am I Reading Monday - Brit Lit Edition

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?  Brit Lit Edition

This year I've decided to join my good friend Jen {I think I can say that now that we've finally met IRL!} over at Teacher Mentor Texts in her It's Monday!  What Are You Reading Meme!  But because I have a hard time focusing :: wait...what did you just say? ::  I'm going to focus on British KidLit because, well,...I lervs it.  

Some of the Brit Lit Kidlit I read is ordered from Britain. I use  It is an easy way for me to get British releases that have not yet arrived Stateside or that I have a hard time finding over here.  It also helps that shipping is free with no minimum order!  {I have not been compensated for this shout-out, btw!} goes it...

Last Week's Book Perambulations

Do you like this cover...

...or this cover best?

The signs were there.  I purchased Jonathan Stroud's The Screaming Staircase at my school's bookfair.  Then a fifth grader where I teach asked me if I had read it yet.  Then Ms. O at went gaga over I retrieved it from my TBR (To Be Read) pile.  LOVE THIS BOOK.  If you love Flavia de Luce, Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes, I feel like this is all that rolled into one and sprinkled with even more delicious details.

The Upcoming Week's Perambulations

This next book is kind of a cheat.  It is a book I read this week and one I'll read next week.  In fact, I consult it every time I read some Brit Kid Lit!  Did you guess it...?

I love to use London A to Z to look up real places featured in the books I read!

What have been your Brit Lit Perambulations this week, kidlit or otherwise?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday Expressions: Collywobbles

This week's Sunday expression is one I found by browsing through an online dictionary of British slang.

The collywobbles basically means an upset stomach brought on by anxiety, which I am definitely prone towards having.

As I head back to work tomorrow - even though it's mid-year of my seventh year - I can't help but have a slight case of the collywobbles.

Do you ever have the collywobbles?  Anything you're nervous about this week?

P.S.  Don't forget to check your local public television listings (1/4/15) to see when Downton Abbey and The Great British Baking Show are on the air!