Curtsies & Conspiracies… A Book Review

I am not sure what it is with grabbing the second book in a series but I seem to have turned it into somewhat of a talent! I have delved into this world before with the Parasol Protectorate series. Gail Carriger has a real talent to create an enthralling steampunk world full of vampires, werewolves and spys.  Curtsies & Conspiracies does not disappoint in any way. From the Finishing School series this is “Book the Second”, I actually came across this book from a rather entertaining website: Finishing School (HERE) where you learn “The Fine Art of Finishing Others”. Which of course means I completely did not make the connection between the adult series and this young adult one until the book came in from the library.

We follow Sophronia as she goes about her first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies where all things ladylike including spying and seat planning are taught from a dirigible! A school trip is more than simply visiting London… after all the entire school is afloat! There is conspiracy and intrigue, petticoats and suspiciously mechanical purses topped with fine lace.

What I love about the characters is that all the tiers of society are represented… the gentile ladies, the sooties in the boiler room (Soap), even those connected to the suspicious and unknown Picklemen. There are classes and clandestine meetings, adventure and balls and tea, flirtation with death as well as noble boys. There are characters connected to the adult series and the same basic conflicts of the main group. I love that I did not feel like I was reading a story that was really only for young adults. It was easy to lose yourself in the plot and enjoy the adventure.

So follow Sophronia as she uses her training to navigate London, relations with vampires and werewolves and the beginnings of young love!curtsies & conspiracies

VBS on a Larger Scale

June 21-26

What to do on a sunny Saturday, the first one of SUMMER? Operation Geocache in a new location was less than successful, though we did find a bird’s nest…101_7999

A rather anxious turtle they corralled back to the safety of the marshy bits…101_8001

And a glider being flown from the parking lot.

You can just see it off in the distance. The guy had two and did some rather impressive maneuvers

You can just see it off in the distance. The guy had two and did some rather impressive maneuvers

101_7997101_7996After that nature filled adventure it was time to hop into our bathing suits and back into the pool in the front yard.101_8006

101_8008On Sunday we buzzed the twins’ hair nice and short.101_8012

Even with rain the kids got some time in the yard on the scooters.101_8014

Monday was a bit of a wash what with Nana and Baba getting home from Mexico and all. But Echo is one determined student and got in her workpage fun.101_8016

Additionally we have signed up 4 of the 5 kids (Echo is not fully potty trained so can’t) in the same VBS as Renee and Chris’ kids are in. They go to a daycare that is in a church and that church has a massive 4 day FREE daycare! Quite the amazing church – Living Faith Church HERE. They are there from 9 am to noon with us just dropping them off. It has made for quiet mornings and afternoons of light schooling.20140623_085641

Trinity is working on completing one of her review workbooks. We have given ourselves the summer to get these books done.101_8020

Back into the pool…101_8018

With a butterfly for company.101_8019

I swear the twins can play AND understand Agricola way better than I ever will! Somehow… not that upsetting! But it is neat to see them stretch their reasoning, problem solving and reading skills. In fact, one of the boys’ 10 top Summer To Do items is a boardgame day (probably on one of the extremely common rainy days!).101_8021

Miss Echo caught up on her well tanned Baba snuggles. Apparently Mexico was a very relaxing vacation for everyone!101_8022

Tuesday once again began just me and my baby… with ICE CREAM on the way home from VBS in celebration of Mommy’s 35th birthday.101_8025

And then a continuation of the pattern… into the pool. Splish Splash, this thing has paid for itself in entertainment value already!101_8026

Ken took me out for my birthday just us two to a wonderful Japanese place that cooks your food (private chef!) right in front of you! We tried chicken liver and green tea sherbet! the liver was… odd… the sherbet good! The chef was amazing as well, so personable. (Thanks to Shandai for the recommendation) 

Yup I took a pic in the car

Yup I took a pic in the car

Main  course of dinner with other bits and bobs

Main course of dinner with other bits and bobs

The green tea with green tea sherbet

The green tea with green tea sherbet

lovely ambiance

lovely ambiance

By Wednesday Echo was REALLY missing her siblings… lay around and watch tv sort of missing.101_8028

I am so proud of the kids for agreeing to continue with light schooling even after a busy VBS filled morning. Gammie’s mailed worksheets are a HUGE help.101_8029

101_8030This time I had two more garage sale finds! Gotta stop when you are driving home from wherever and see a sign… right?101_8031

Thursday was the final day of VBS and a busy morning. Not only did Ken have to drop the kids but then he had an appointment for Echo. So it was Baba that drove me to pick the kids up in the pandemonium that is a large VBS. We did enjoy watching the neighbourhood bunny in the front yard. Before they left for Echo’s hearing exam. Turns out she is just fine with wax buildup. So baby girl is a bit of a lazy talker with dirty ears that SHOULD have decreased her hearing abilities!101_8033

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Packed with a snack on the way to her hearing test

Packed with a snack on the way to her hearing test

It's always an adventure with these two... there was some sort of a fire somewhere in the hospital so their entire wing got evacuated!! Everything was fine in the end though.

It’s always an adventure with these two… there was some sort of a fire somewhere in the hospital so their entire wing got evacuated!! Everything was fine in the end though.

Gavin actually made his first Pokemon trade with a kid from there (name unknown).101_8038

And the final craft was rather cool! We gave our information to one of the boys the twins met. His mom had asked if we could do so on Wednesday. Sadly the rush to leave and Ken waiting when he dropped off as long as he could meant we had to give one of our little half business cards we gave as Christmas cards post move for address change had to be handed to the boy himself. So it is a bit of a crap shoot as to whether or not we will ever hear from them. We could not go to the evening program as we had other commitments.101_8039

4 days of 9 until noon and I can honestly say… our family is not hard wired for that sort of life. I think we really do enjoy and maybe now appreciate a little more, the flexibility that is homeschooling. BUT the experience of a large VBS has been great and really got us excited about our own church’s much smaller version. That one Echo is enrolled in too as I am helping her age group.

She really was a card this week :)

She really was a card this week :)

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A Week of Sunshine and Joy

June 15-20

Sunday was Father’s Day and a down day for the family… the 16th/Monday our Anniversary. You can see the pictures from the dinner out HERE at the end of the rather extensive Wedding etc blog post!

We did put the kids to work on Monday the 16th cleaning their room and the bathroom.101_7935

Which was topped by mail from Gammie… more Legos from the Mixels series she is collecting for them! Thank you Gammie! I got them out of the package and I swear you blinked and they were built!101_7937

101_7938On Tuesday we were home all alone with Daddy gone to gaming and Nana and Baba in Mexico so we had a junk food dinner with movies and snuggle time.101_7941

Don’t forget mid afternoon end of movie dance time!!101_7939

On Wednesday we took advantage of the many updates of the Art for Kids site (link on right).101_7943

And Gavin finished the first of his 5 projected chapter books for the summer Pizza Hut reading program. Not bad!!! For this book he did a chapter by chapter summary. On the next book he is reading the whole thing and then telling the story to us all in brief101_7944

We managed a lovely park visit/Geocache. While our speed at hunting has lessened every time we DO go has been full of excitement and avid hunters.101_7954

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We left the travel bug and took the handmade dolly

We left the travel bug and took the handmade dolly

On Thursday Miss Echo revisited her mail with vigor. She is also well into making special pictures she then has me write down what is what and send off.101_7961

101_7963We printed off some maple leaves from Activity Village (link on right look up Canada) and cut them out. Then each of the kids recorded something they like or remembered about Canada to put on our paper for our Canada Day learning. It is fun to remind ourselves of some of our past enjoyments that are so thoroughly tied to location.101_7962

Miss Echo got her chance with the PS3… she is starting to line up the buttons with actions a little more now but there is always some sort of boogie across the floor that goes with her playing. Interpretive dance gaming I think!101_7964

She is such a little card.101_7966

Of course a local series of garage sales had us out hunting bargains. That is our usual summer plan… hunt for helpful bargains!101_7980

101_7979By Friday it was back to school.101_7967

We are doing a special science report on a Canadian animal. One of the twins did the Moose and the other the Canadian Goose. I am working on them using resources independently to answer their questions with me going over them after to check them for spelling and actually answering the question.101_7968

Since we ended up misplacing the plug for last year’s pool and we had yet to make it to Sam’s Club to replace it a sunny afternoon with a good solid morning of classes earned us time with the sprinkler. It took a bit of trial and error to figure out the correct setting on the one usually used for watering the garden but we managed and out came the swimsuits, smiles and giggles. Winter is certainly becoming a cold memory for everyone.101_7970

101_7972101_7974101_7975After fun in the sun the girls pulled out the newest garage sale find and played Strawberry Shortcake. Some pieces are missing but 3 of the 4 girls are complete and they made do anyway. For 50 cents it they are pleased as punch.101_7976

We had a butterfly to examine…101_7981

And visitors to play with – Renee, Chris, Nathan, Jeffrey and Evan all came by to say hello, have dinner put up a light. The one over the sink had been down to one bulb for ages and with it burning out so quickly with each replacement Nana and Baba had bought a new one that needed installing. Ken even had time to make fresh chocolate chip cookies.101_7984

Jeffrey

Jeffrey

Checking out the onions that grew themselves from last year

Checking out the onions that grew themselves from last year

Bubbles!

Bubbles!

Men at work

Men at work

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Evan and Echo

Evan and Echo

The best way to end the week, company for dinner and playmates for the kids. So many happy memories.101_7951

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