Friday, April 17, 2015

Giveaway Alert: Fun with AG Fan

Summer Blast Giveaway

Fun with AG Fan has teamed up with My Doll's Life for a great giveaway.
Spring is here and you and your family are probably planning you summer trips...will you be headed to the beach, lake, or even poolside? Then you'll love this set! Head over to both sites before April 23 to check out the details and enter.

Photo by Fun with AG Fan

Best wishes to all who enter!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: Septimus Heap #1


By Angie Sage

Just jumping right into this one. :) Yes, we read eBooks on a Nook as well as regular books. We tend to prefer turning pages to tapping the screen, but love reading either way.


There is a very interesting twist to this book. Nasty people should not be in charge and I hope the evil wizard gets overthrown. Right now, I'm not so sure. We will have to continue reading this series to see what happens.


I love how the quest theme is used in this opening book. It goes through the story line of several characters; lots of quests to follow.


A dragon! I love dragons. So very powerful. The friendly and unfriendly are very interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing how Septimus uses his new found power.


Aunt Zelda is awesome! The best characters are often under appreciated by the characters they are helping. Zelda is one of those.


A great read! But this is no romp in the park. Dark things happen in this book - death, destruction, etc. It is the first in a long series and I am hoping good or light wins over dark in the end. I'll have to keep reading to find out, but I think the ride will be bumpy.

Xyra's Review

Magyk (Septimus Heap, #1)Magyk by Angie Sage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was very interesting. Intrigue, identity switches, castles, wizards, evil wizards, henchmen, unusual creatures, and a dragon! If you know anything at all about the books I like (and the fandoms to which I claim) then you know I would almost have to like this book. However, those things alone could not keep me if the story and writing were not captivating.

As the first book in a series it does it's job well...setting the stage for what is to come. We meet the Heaps and ordinary wizard family, but not really that ordinary. Silas is himself the seventh son of a seventh son as his Septimus is. They are special, but Silas's priorities are slightly different from those who seek power.

We are introduced to a new type of society with an interesting hierarchy and living quarters. The ramblings is the first apartment style domicile I have encountered in a castle setting.

There is light and darke; and darke threatens light. Not really a surprise there - the good vs. evil plot line is practically standard in adventure and fantasy novels.

Aunt Zelda is a hoot! Loyal to her position. Not a disciple of Julia Child or even Rachel Ray for that matter. LOL But she's caring and quite talented.

Marcia...the Extraordinary Wizard...she has a very unique personality. She likes having power and control as well as dressing to show off her part. i am very interested to see what her tutlage does for Septimus.

I also really want to see what happens with Jenna, Nicko, Simon and the rest! Looking forward to book 2. :)

Kid Lit Blog Hop

Don't forget to check out the Kid Lit Blog Hop
We found a couple of books to add to our to read list (Rasmus and the Vagabond by Astrid Lingren & New Shoes by Susan Lynn Meyer) and a post on making a bee watering hole (Jump Into a Book: Secret Garden Wednesday).

Best wishes,

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Meatloaf's Rail Adventures #1 Part 2

Port Clinton to Jim Thorpe (or Mauch Chunk)

[That's pronounced maw-chunk or ma-chunk - the town was renamed to honor a successful Olympic athlete. Depending on who you talk to it's okay or not.]

Cold Morning in Port Clinton

How cold was it?

That white stuff by Meatloaf isn't snow, it's frost that Xyra scraped off the motorcar windows.

Not all the cars had a chance to turn around the night before, so they turned in the morning. While waiting Meatloaf got to scout around. He found a pile of coal.
An old motorcar frame or trailer frame.
Then it was time to head out for Jim Thorpe.

The first stop was Tamaqua station. Meatloaf found a great little dinky engine.
And some models in the station gift shop area. He thinks the minis would like this, but Xyra thought it was too small for them.
This scale is definitely broken.
The green engine is probably a switcher.

Between Tamaqua and Jim Thorpe is the Hometown High Bridge. This photo is a bit blurry, but everyone is waiting their turn to cross. The bridge is over 160 feet high and 1,000 feet long (it's higher than the Brooklyn Bridge).
The crossing was slow so that each car could be photographed singly as it crossed. It took over a minute to cross. Meatloaf stretched his legs while waiting. 

Then it was off to Jim Thorpe. After lunch Meatloaf took a nap, so these pictures are just of the town. 

In fact these last couple he is not posing, but I just had to share. [Xyra note: By this time of the day it was warm enough to ride with the doors open. I put my jacket back on, but the breeze was welcome.] Heading back over Hometown High Bridge.
Yes, that is ice.
One of several neat curves.
Back in Port Clinton they loaded up an headed home.

Meatloaf is happy to be home, but looking forward to his next adventure.

Best wishes,


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Meatloaf's Rail Adventures #1 Part 1

Meatloaf Gets a Series

Meatloaf's first rail trip was part of our World Animal Day post, but since he loves these trips so much it made sense to branch out. This will be the first official Meatloaf's Rail Adventures post and it has two parts because he posed so well.

Reading and Northern Railroad

The full name of this railroad is the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad. It is a functioning freight railroad. They also have a passenger, scenic railroad division called the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.

On his first adventure, Meatloaf could be found in a New York Central motorcar. It was an open car with a cab. This time he got to ride in a SOO Line motorcar...completely enclosed. The trip started out in Port Clinton and it was chilly. He tried to drink some of Xyra's tea. 

He got to stretch his legs when they stopped. The scenery was beautiful.

Sometimes he checks out the motorcar controls.

They stopped for lunch in Pottsville. It was so windy he wanted to get back in the motorcar.

Then they headed off to Minersville. 

Then it was time to head back to Port Clinton and home.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the adventure. 

Best wishes,