Knitting · Sewing · With My Reading Buddy

Remember me?

Why, hello there! Remember me?

So much for wanting to post more regularly! The beginning of this year has been pretty busy. Here are brief outlines of what’s been going on. (and as much as I want to say I’ll be better about posting, I don’t want to make any promises since we all know how well that’s been working!)

Of course I’m still reading! I’ve read 23 books so far since January 1. Most were really good (I think only one 5-star Goodreads rating so far, but quite a few 4 stars). Check out my 2014 page to see the list.

Finally got settled with My Reading Buddy! This is his last year in the program, so it’s a little bittersweet. I can’t remember if I mentioned anything about it in earlier posts (and frankly, I’m too lazy to go back and look) but there is a new program coordinator this year and it just doesn’t seem as organized as before. Anyway, we’ve only met a bit more than a handful of times based on weather, holidays, vacations, etc. In all that time we’ve only read one book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Man that main character is a terrible role model! Anyway, we finally finished that book and then A. wanted to read another one, so we started the Wimpy Kid book that came before Dog Days (yeah A. doesn’t care about reading things in order..ahhh!) Anyway, it’s been good to meet with him, but I think we won’t meet for the next couple of weeks due to school vacation and some testing they have going on. Before we know it, it will be the end of the program & he’ll be “graduating”!

I actually wasn’t as productive with crafty things, either. After making the Kimono dress I didn’t make anything else until very recently. I’ve knitted a couple of blanket squares for baby blankets at work, but only took a picture of one (I forgot to take a picture of the other one before turning it in).

footprints square
Ophelia Baby Footprint Pattern by Bridget McKenzie (found on Ravelry)

I finally finished the apron for my sister — her Christmas gift! (I finished it on Easter) I needed more of the bias tape for the edging and took a while to get it, and then got lazy. But I finally sat down to the sewing machine for the first time since January 2 and really got into it and finished the apron. I’m really pleased with it, and my sister loves it!


Sonny wanted to make sure the neck strap was comfy enough

Then while taking a quick (yes, actually quick!) trip to JoAnn Fabrics (to get a cushion) we saw — Bruins fabric!!! They finally released the licensing rights, so without any idea of what to make, I grabbed a couple yards of each print available. When we got home, M. asked¬†for a zippered bag for his golf tees. To make it interesting, I used both fabrics. Voila:
(UPDATE – I actually made 2 of these, the same way with the 2 different fabrics)

golf tee bag Collage

Now I’m back in a sewing mood and want to make more things! While at JoAnn’s I found a really cute fabric pattern in the remnants bin and had to grab it. I think I might make a small springy/summery clutch with it.

Well, we’ve been busy with wedding plans and have done a lot! We’ve sent out our save the dates, we’re finalizing our invitations to order them, we started our wedding registry, we have an appointment in a couple of weeks to have a menu tasting for the dinner, and I got my dress!! (alterations to follow a bit later in the summer)

A lot of people said “oh you’ll just cry when you find the ONE”, and being an emotional person, I was expecting it to happen. But I didn’t cry, I was just happy with my decision ūüôā I tried on maybe 8-10 different dresses (something like that). The one I ended up with was actually the 4th or 5th one I tried, and it was at the top of my mental list and even though I tried on a few more after that, it just solidified my choice. The funny thing is, going in, I had an idea of what I wanted: a strapless dress and loved the idea of the tea-length, shorter dresses. I didn’t want a train. Well, I ended up with a long, strapless dress with a train! It’s a simple dress, flowy, and most importantly: comfortable! (many people did tell me that I would probably walk out with something different than I had pictured; they were right!)

I began training for the Calle’s Miracle Run¬†5k in January and while the beginning training went really well, I got sick (you know, winter time and all), had to stop and then never really got back into it the way I wanted to. However, I still beat my 5k time from last year by almost 9 minutes! I did run more than last year but still had to walk for some of it. So my goal for next year is to cut my time down by 5 minutes and run even more of it!

After some encouragement from my friend Darcel (check out her fitness blog here), I started a 21 Day Fix plan that has daily 30 minute high energy exercise routines as well as an eating plan with special containers to categorize and portion meals. (that was a really high-level overview of the plan). I love the idea of it and started off really well, then I started slacking. I stuck with the exercising longer than the food plan. I really need to get better self-discipline going here! I’ve decided to re-start the plan this upcoming weekend. The daily exercises are great. As soon as I start feeling like I can’t do much more, they’re over! Definitely work up a sweat and have that great sore muscle feeling that lets you know you got a good workout. I just need to get over this mental bump to really push myself to do this consistently and well.

In conclusion…
Just kidding. But really, that’s what’s been going on with me. How are you?


With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy – May 2013


My second year as a Power Lunch mentor came to a close last week. The program has a new name “Read to a Child” (instead of Everybody WINS!)

Anyway, my buddy and I were able to finish all 4 Zac Power books before the year ended, so that was good!

Last week there was a year-end celebration at the school where all the students who participated got a certificate of completion (and the 4th graders got a “graduation” certificate, since that’s the highest grade that participates).

My buddy and I will have one more year left together before he “graduates”. He gave me a card that says “Thanks for reading me the Zac Power books.” ¬†He’s too cute.

I ended up getting him the first 2 Goosebumps books. Not the read-your-own-adventure ones like I got him last year, but the regular books. I remembered I had a bag of books from when I was younger still at my parents house so one weekend I went over there and went through it and found a few books my buddy might like. They were all in good condition, so I thought it would be a great idea to pass them on – why should they sit in a bag where no one reads them, you know? He was happy to get the 2 books and I think he’ll actually read them over the summer!

So, school’s out! (for me at least) ūüôā

With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy – April 2013



This month was better for meeting with my reading buddy Рwe only had one week off: his school vacation week.  Which happened to be the same week of the bombings at the Boston Marathon.  Thankfully, all of our schools were on vacation that week, so that was one less worry for people (think about it: schools would have had to go into lock-down Рscaring both the children and their parents Рor they would have had to evacuate which could have caused more panic, too).

Anyway, we’re almost done with Zac Power #3, probably have about 10 or so pages left to read. ¬†A. seems to really enjoy the books, which is good, since I think these are much more appropriate than the scary books (I think you all know how I feel about those by now, yes?). ¬†The program coordinator found book #4, so I think we’ll have enough time to finish that to wrap up the year together.

We only have 3 weeks left and then an end-of-year celebration, so I’ll only see him 4 more times until next fall when the program starts again. ¬†I need to figure out what book to get him as the end-of-year gift… any suggestions?

With My Reading Buddy

With my Reading Buddy – March 2013


You may have noticed that this post was missing in February. ¬†That’s because we barely met at all that month. ¬†We met once, then he was out sick, then he was out for school vacation, then I had to cancel the following week. ¬†Since I really didn’t have anything to talk about, I skipped the post.

Anywho, we really finally did finish that scary story book (now I can say Huzzah!).

We decided to read the first book in the Zac¬†Power series: a 12-year-old spy (and his family are all spies too). ¬†They’re cute books and A seemed to like them so we talked with the program director who was able to locate¬†books 2 & 3 in the series so we started book 2 last week. ¬†We only have about 7 or 8 sessions left in the school year so I’m thinking we could probably stretch these two books out for the rest of our time together. ¬†I’m glad he was interested¬†in something other than scary stories. ¬†I just felt like the scary stories books ¬†weren’t really age appropriate.

With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy #9


So today did not pan out for reading.¬† I alerted the program coordinator¬†that I might be a few minutes late due to a meeting set up.¬† (As an admin, I sometimes have to help set up a meeting, making sure all the technology is good to go).¬† So we go to the room and there’s no projector. Oh, by the way, the meeting was in a different building from where I sit.¬† So I had to go back to my building to grab a projector, then go back to the meeting room and set up the projector, which had a minor difficulty but was sorted¬†out.¬† Then I trucked on over to the school (a little more than a 10 minute walk).¬† As I walked in the door the program coordinator¬†approached me and told me he wasn’t in school today.¬† She didn’t find out until the last minute because the teacher hadn’t turned in the attendance sheet.¬† So I walked on back to work.

I was so looking forward to saying that we finally finished the scary stories book. (I even had a draft of this post that opened up with: We FINALLY finished that scary stories book! Huzzah! РImagine my disappointment when I had to delete it!)

A¬†few weeks ago I went through the book bin¬†at the school and picked out about a half dozen other books that we could read, and we talked about them last week and¬†decided to keep them all in our folder.¬† So, now I’ll look forward to finishing the scary book next week and start something more entertaining.

Earlier in the month we had a session to meet with the teachers to learn a bit more about our student and if there were any specific we should focus on during our sessions.¬† Unfortunately, my student’s teacher was out that day, so I got to sit in with a different teacher.¬† I learned that they’re studying medieval history (You’re probably thinking What? In 3rd grade? I was thinking the same thing).¬† And I also learned that the 3rd and 4th graders have reading buddies in the kindergarten class…how cute is that?¬† I never knew that, so I talked to A about it the next time I saw him and he didn’t seem to be too excited about it, but I’m not sure why.

Also, January was reading mentor appreciation month.

Onward to February! —>

With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy #8


Normally I post this on the last day of the month, but since the last day of this month is also the last day of the year and I have a few other posts in the works, I figured I’d post this now, so I won’t have numerous posts on the same day.

Anyway, I’ve only met with A. twice in the month of December.¬† I was on vacation the first week and then last week was Christmas and the school is on vacation.

Still More Scary Stories for Stormy Nights
We’re still reading the collection of short horror stories that he brought in.¬† Some of them are strange.¬† Hopefully we’ll finish it soon and we can move onto something new!

I’m pretty sure this is the book we’re reading.¬†¬† Apparently, there are a lot of these scary stories books out there, and there is no description of the individual stories within the book, so without having the book in front of me, I’m guessing this is the cover we have (plus, I remembered the name Charbonneau and the other installments of these books had different authors….)

Do you have any suggestions for books I can introduce to A. in the new year?  Whether scary/horror or otherwise? He ended up really enjoying Jumanji, even though it was a short book (and honestly, I thought the movie was more exciting); so maybe some type of adventure stories?

With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy #7

withmyreadingbuddyI’m posting my end-of-month stuff a day late, but hey, I’m posting it!

So I’ve met with A. a couple more times this year.¬† We’re reading a collection of, you guessed it, scary stories!¬† This is a book he had at home.¬† So at least he’s interested in reading his own books, right?¬† Sometimes, I wonder if it’s really appropriate¬†to be¬†reading, but then I remember we read a similar book that was part of the program’s book collection, so if they’re offering them, they must be approved!

The first book we started to read was a book about the “real life¬†Jaws”.¬† Honestly, I did not think it was well written for a child (a lot of sailing speak: nautical miles, latitude, longitude, etc.) and it was barely holding my interest, nevermind A’s.¬† It was also told from the Shark’s point of view, which I thought was strange considering it was supposed¬†to be a true story… So we decided to call it quits.¬† I found Jumanji¬†in the book bin, so we read that first instead.¬† Now, I’ll admit, I had¬†never read the book before then, but do enjoy the movie!¬† So, the book was decent, if short and not very detailed (I think they did a great job of expanding the story for the movie).¬† I told A. it was a movie and he asked if it was “On Demand”.¬† I told him sometimes it is and sometimes it’s on¬† a regular TV channel.¬† After we read the book, he asked me to write the name of the movie down so he could ask his mom to look for it.¬† The following week he said it turns out his family had the movie and he’d watched it a couple of times.¬† I’m so glad he was interested in the book enough to see out the movie!

Anyway, I think A. enjoys talking with someone and having someone listen to him (even if we chat about half of the time we should be reading!¬† He likes to interrupt with questions/comments/stories, that have a fairly tenuous connection to any part of the story we’re currently reading…)

With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy #6

The volunteer reading program started last week.  I should have two weeks under my belt, but A. was not in school yesterday.   I hope everything was OK!

Anyway, he’s in 3rd grade now, and even though we read together last year, we still did the “get to know you” questionnaire.¬† One of the questions was “who is your hero?” and he said his friend M.¬†is his hero¬†because when¬†he gets picked on¬†M. tells the other kids¬†to stop (and beats them up, according to A.)¬†¬† I thought that was really cute that he would say choose a friend; not a parent, sibling or superhero but an another kid at his school.

He also said he really enjoyed the Goosebumps book I got him at the end of last year.¬† Maybe he did really do some reading over the summer!¬† He asked if he could bring in a scary book that he has at home so we could read it together. (He loves those scary stories!).¬† In the meantime, we picked out a book about the real-life¬†Jaws (named Michale), but didn’t get to start it, so hopefully we will next week.

I’m really looking forward to the school year and hope to tell you guys some fun stories about reading with a 3rd grader!

With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy Returns in October!

Hi Everybody!¬† Long time no see.¬† I hope you’re all doing well.¬† This¬†time around, not only have I been craptastic¬†at posting, I’ve been pretty stinky at¬†reading blogs too, so I hope to catch up on some things soon, but I certainly won’t be able to go back to the last posts I read…it’s been too long.

Anyway, I wanted to post today because I have some exciting news: I’ll be starting the reading program up at the end of next month!¬† I re-applied earlier this month and got confirmation that my reading buddy, A., also signed up again.¬† And the cutest part is that he asked if I would be doing it again too.¬† (Collective “awww”).¬† Anyway, he’ll be in 3rd grade this year.¬† And we will be paired up again, if that wasn’t clear. (They say they always try to pair returning mentors and reading buddies as long as schedules allow, etc.)

His birthday is in October and will occur before we meet again, so I plan to bring him a birthday card, too.¬†¬† I’m really looking forward to starting the program and hope that my very busy schedule will allow it to continue…nevermind, I’ll MAKE time.

Okay, that’s it for now.¬† I’m hoping to get at least one more post up here before my monthly wrap-up,¬†and I’m hoping that¬†will actually be on the last day unlike the past couple of entries…maybe I should set an alarm?

I’ll be stopping by your posts again soon! ūüôā

With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy #5

So this is my last post for the Power Lunch year. ūüė¶

We had our last reading session last Tuesday, during which we completed our last (and twelfth) book of the Power Lunch program. Which was, surprisingly, NOT a scary story but (and I’m sure you may have had an idea) a Magic Tree House book! ¬†(they are actually pretty cute). ¬†Anyway it was #17,¬†Tonight on the Titanic. ¬†It was the beginning of another adventure. I guess four books are grouped for each adventure, where Jack and Annie need to find/collect/receive certain objects to help break a particular spell or curse. ¬†Each book they get something new so that by the fourth book in the mini group, the spell can be broken.

So in Tonight on the Titanic they needed to receive the first gift to help save a dog.

During the sessions it took us to read the book, we talked a lot about the Titanic. ¬†(My dad is obsessed and as Daddy’s Little Girl, I too was very into it when I was little). ¬†A. really liked talking about it. ¬†(And I think it may have been the one book where we didn’t somehow get sidetracked into talking about Call of Duty: Black Ops or other violent video games!) Anyway, I tried explaining to A. that just because they called her “unsinkable” it didn’t really mean she was. ¬†I even used the book as an iceberg, a napkin for water (to show that a lot of the iceberg was hidden under the water) and my hand as the Titanic to show him how she hit the iceberg. He didn’t understand why they didn’t just turn her away from the ‘berg. ¬†So I tried to explain that she was moving too fast, etc. ¬†and he said “oooh okay……I still don’t think I get it” ¬†HA!

Anyway, last week when I said “so our last reading for the year” he said “no! there are a thousand days left of school” ¬† That made me feel good that he enjoys the reading. ¬†I will definitely sign up in the fall again and I hope he does too; we’ll be paired up again.

This Tuesday (the 29th) we had the End of Year Celebration Breakfast during which we got to give our buddies books. ¬†I did choose the Goosebumps (Give Yourself Goosebumps) books. ¬†I found books 1 and 2 of the “series” on Amazon for about $3 each. ¬†The first one ¬†was delivered within just a couple of days but the second one still hasn’t arrived! (But they were purchased from the same seller and shipped the same day…go figure). ¬†So I felt bad that I was only able to give him one. ¬†I think he really liked it and I explained that he could follow different story lines to get different endings. ¬†He tried to start reading it to himself right then!

I felt really bad for one of the other students who was talking with A. ¬†He told A. his reading mentor’s name and kept looking at the door for him; I don’t think the mentor ever showed up. ūüė¶

I’m glad I was able to to go to the Celebration. ¬†Since A. is the youngest of 5, I think he may not get that much attention. ¬†He said he already told his mom that he wants to do Power Lunch again, and I told the program coordinator I would be signing up again, too.

I’m really glad I participated in the program, it makes me feel good to know that I’m making a positive difference in someone’s life, especially someone young who has some much to learn and has so many opportunities ahead!

With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy #4

A. and I completed another book and started another scary stories book… I just can’t get away from them!

The Franny K. Stein book was another book added to our folder by the program director. The Scary Stories book was, of course, found in the book bin by A. himself.


He enjoyed both of them, but of course, really like the Scary Stories one. ¬†Actually, we’re still in the middle of reading it. ¬†When he first picked it up, I thought it was the first one we had read, but he made very sure it was not. ¬†He sometimes comments about similarities between the scary stories and the video games he plays (like¬†Call of Duty). ¬†I know, 8 years old and playing¬†Call of Duty?

There are only 4 weeks left in the program and I can’t believe how quickly it went by. ¬†I will definitely sign up to participate again next year and I hope A. does, too. ¬†If he does, we will be partnered again because they like to keep the pairs together if both continue to participate until the student finishes the 4th grade. (the program runs ¬†for 1st through 4th graders).

At the end of May there is going to be a Power Lunch End of Year Celebration. ¬†It is a breakfast where the parents/guardians, teachers, students and mentors can celebrate the program. ¬†There is also a breakfast, I think ¬†(it is only an hour though). ¬†Mentors are also asked to bring a book as a gift to their students. ¬†I’m not sure what to get A. yet. ¬†But I’m thinking a scary stories book, probably. ¬†Maybe start with an R.L. Stein¬† Goosebumps or something. ¬†Remember those? ¬†I remember having a “create your own story” kind of book, where at the end of certain sections you can choose where to go next (“If you want to open the door, go to page 50. If you want to go in the basement, turn to page 52” type thing). ¬†I kind of like the idea of the choose-where-to-go only because you can re-read and choose different “paths” each time…

What do you think? Any suggestions on what I should get him?

With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy #3

I know my last two posts about this fell on the last day of the month, but I was pretty busy this weekend and unable to do it ’til today (which, as you know if you read one of my posts from earlier today, I now have the time!)

Anywho, here’s the March re-cap of the reading program.

A. and I got through 2 more books during the month of March.


He really enjoyed the Scary Stories book which was a collection of different scary stories.   The Batman book had been put in our folder by the program coordinator.  I think it was a little too young for A. since we have been reading chapter books (we read it in only a few minutes).

Good news: since I got a new (permanent) job at the same company, I will be able to finish the program. ¬†I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to continue if I didn’t get a job with the company, but now I don’t even have to worry about it. ¬†(Whew!)

The first and second grade students were learning about ancestry and they invited family and the volunteers to attend a presentation they put together last week. ¬†So I went with another fellow volunteer. ¬†It was cute. ¬†They sang a few songs and each student got up and talked about a place in the world important to their family and why it was important. ¬†I didn’t tell A. I was going (mainly because I had forgotten about it until the day before) so it was a surprise for him to see me. ¬†I think he was happy I was there. ¬†He introduced me to his mom.

If we both participate in the program next year, we will probably be paired up again.

With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy #2

I just realized as I set up the draft for this post that it is the last day of the month and I did the same for my first reading buddy post…completely unintentional. ¬†But now that it has happened twice, well I guess I’ll have to keep doing it that way. ūüôā

Since January 31, A and I have only read one book.  It took a few sessions, plus we did not meet last week due to school vacation.  We finished this book within the first few minutes of the reading session this week.

Magic Tree House #8: Midnight on the Moon, Mary Pope Osborne

As you can see, A wanted to stick with the Magic Tree House series.

I mentioned before that I’m on contract at my current job. ¬†The contract ends¬†at the end of March. ¬†Is it wrong that I am sometimes more concerned about whether I’d be able to finish the reading program than the fact that I may not have a job? ¬†But, some good news: I spoke with the program coordinator and she said that it would be great if I could continue with the program even after my contract is over. ¬†I wasn’t sure if it was something that would be allowed since I would no longer be a part of the company, but she said it wouldn’t be a problem.

And other potential good news: I did find a job at the company (a full-time permanent employee position) and applied for it. ¬†I have had a few interviews and I’m waiting for a response. ¬†So fingers crossed for that!

That’s pretty much it as far as my reading buddy goes this month. ¬†We don’t have a session next week because it is Super Tuesday (March 6) and the school is used as a voting station for the city.

With My Reading Buddy

With My Reading Buddy #1

I mentioned in my very¬†first post¬†that I participate in a volunteer program through my work. ¬†Once a week, we visit a local elementary school and meet with a reading buddy. ¬†It’s a one-on-one meeting where they get to eat their lunch and we read to them.

I wanted to talk about the books I’ve read with my buddy, whom I’ll call A. ¬†He is in second grade and a real cute kid. ¬†He likes to talk about video games and his siblings, but I think he enjoys the one-on-one time we have. ¬†He has a few older siblings and I get the feeling that he probably doesn’t read too much at home. ¬†January is/was National Mentor Month (or something like that) and the program coordinator had the students color thank you cards for us and write a little message inside. ¬†A wrote “Thank you for letting me choose my own books.” ¬†At least, that’s what I think he wrote, it was a little hard to read his writing.

I let A pick a book to read and then we go to our assigned room to sit down so I can read and he can eat.  Because we only have a half hour to read, the books we read usually carry over at least into the next week, though we have had a few last 3 weeks (and some are read in one meeting or less).

Since the beginning of the year, which, if I recall correctly was sometime in October, we have read about a half-dozen books together. ¬†He seems to really enjoy the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. ¬†Here are the books we’ve read (in the order we’ve read them).




I’m a stickler for order and whatnot, but A doesn’t seem to mind reading the Magic Tree House books out-of-order. ¬†It bugged me slightly in the beginning, and I asked if he wanted to start with the first one, but he said no. ¬†I think he said he had read it before. ¬†(I hadn’t though ! hehe… and there is a theme that runs through them, they’re all connected, but oh well…it’s what A wants to do!)

This is the first year I’m participating in this program (because I wasn’t working at the company at the start of the previous school year). ¬†This is also A’s first year in the program. ¬†A few weeks ago he told me that he wanted to tell his mom he wanted to sign up for it again next year. ¬†He also said “Wouldn’t it be funny if it was the next school year – like, the summer went by and it’s September again – and we got paired up with the same reading buddies?…They probably don’t do that.” ¬†(in fact, they DO try to keep pairs together if both are participating the following year…however, I am a contractor at the company and my contract ends soon, ¬†so unless my contract is extended or I get hired, I won’t be doing the program again.)

What are some books you liked as a child or read to your children?

Do you have any suggestions for books I can read with an 8-year-old boy?