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Posts from — May 2013

KIWI CRATE

Kiwi4

As many of you know, I am often sent stuff to review on my site. As many of you may not know, I only review the stuff I actually like. Yes, I’ll diss something lame, but not if it’s sent over gratis. That’s just rude.

Last week a box arrived from Kiwi Crate.. Y’know when you’re done? You don’t want to play, you don’t want to fight over not-playing, and you don’t really want to reach for the remote (even though you know you will)? This is for those times. Kiwi Crate sends your 3-7 year old a monthly activity box filled with environmentally-friendly, crafty projects your child can do – with or without you.

Ours came addressed to my almost-5 year old and he was immediately intrigued. As well he should be! When we opened this little shoebox a world of wonder – no joke – lay inside. And by “wonder” I mean a serious time killer, in the best possible way.

My guy immediately got to work on decorating a reusable bag. Everything he/we needed was the box: flower/leaves for printmaking, washable ink, the reinforced paper bag, putty to make his own stamper. He wouldn’t let me help even if I wanted to.

Box o fun!

Box o fun!

This wasn’t your ordinary do-it-yourself stamp pad. With this he actually fashioned the stamper and – get this – when he was done he peeled off the tiny wildflower, poked a hole in the top of the “stamp” and let it dry. Voila: a necklace!

But the fun didn’t stop there. He was obsessed. And this is a boy who doesn’t sit still. Ever. Unless there are animated characters on a screen in front of him. The next morning he was up early, making his own paper.

Kiwi 2

Kiwi 1

While the greeting cards didn’t quite work out – because he refused to let me help him – making a mess of coloured stuff that looked and felt like paper was equally exciting. There’s a handy help-o-meter attached to each project, just so you know what you’re getting into. In our case, there was minimal adult involvement required (and none available) and it still worked out. And just when you think you/your child is done, they even throw in some extra low-maintenance ideas if you’re ever looking to get crafty.

Kiwi3

They do single crates, party favor crates, even a “no-fight” sibling add-on option. And, until May 12th, they do discounts! Take advantage of our very own special MOAM reader offer: 25% off the first month of a new subscription (not valid on sibling add-ons) by entering Promo Code “maven25” at www.kiwicrate.com

At $220 for an annual subscription, or $19.95/month, it ain’t cheap. But having your child amuse him/herself in a creative way for a solid couple of hours? That’s priceless.

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May 8, 2013   No Comments

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MOAM BOOK CLUB

Readers, I apologize. It’s been many months since my last Book Club. But don’t fret. We’ve had a long Canadian winter, and I’ve read a shitload of books. Herewith, quite a few of the faves.

(and yes, Virginia, you can buy them directly from this site, right here, right now. Simply click on the image of book!)

BRING UP THE BODIES
WOLF HALL
by Hilary Mantel
These are two massive historical novels. These are two Booker winners. These are two beyond brilliant stories about Thomas Cromwell before and during the reign of King Henry VII – and Anne Boleyn. They’ll have you puzzled: everyone’s named Thomas. They’ll have you intimidated – page count is way past what’s comfortable. They’ll have you googling up a storm – unless you know your Tudors from your Stuarts. They’ll leave you breathless.

CANADA by Richard Ford
The year is 1960. When his parents are arrested after a bank robbery gone wrong, a 15-year old boy goes on the lam…to Canada. Fans of Richard Ford will love this epic sweeper of a story. And those who aren’t fans yet, will be when they finish this lyrical novel about a family falling apart.

THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach
A baseball novel about a surprising college star. Twists, turns, and so much more than bats, balls and gloves.And boys. It was a riveting read and I couldn’t put it down. (And yes, I’m surprised I loved it too!)

THE SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller
Who doesn’t love a good Greek Myth? To know and love the Greek Gods is to know and love all their infighting and sexual escapades. This is a new twist on the story of Achilles and the Trojan War. Modern tone, classic tale. Fabulous.

WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? by Maria Semple
15-year-old Bee’s mom is a freak: an artist, a genius, a Seattle-loather. When she disappears on the eve of a trip to Antarctica to celebrate Bee’s straight-A average, Bee is determined to track her down. Hilarious. Original. Quirky. Unconventional. Don’t wait for the film (yes, it’s being adapted).

SWEET TOOTH by Ian McEwan
It’s the ’70’s. A love-torn Cambridge student drops out to join British Intelligence. Espionage. Cold War. Romance. Seduction. Cultural warfare?? It’s a page-turner. And it’s Ian McEwan. It can’t get much better than this.

ONE LAST THING BEFORE I GO -Jonathan Tropper
Jonathan Tropper kills me. And while this isn’t his best, he has such a way with words. And his characters? Too much. This time it’s a rock star. Or, rather, a has-been drummer, who is now broke, down on his luck and require life-saving surgery. The man who can save his life is his ex-wife’s fiancee and his somewhat estranged Princeton-bound daughter is pregnant. He’s got a lot to deal with. If he makes it.

THE SUBMISSION by Amy Waldman
An anonymous submission process for a memorial to victims of a terrorist attack results in the selection of a mysterious Muslim-American architect. A timely post-9/11 novel for a divided country. It divided readers too, though I thought it was fantastic, moving and super sharp.

THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB by Will Schwalbe
When journalist Will Schwalbe’s extraordinary and dynamic mother is diagnosed with cancer, they bond over books during during her chemo treatments. Sounds hokey, but this is a truly inspiring and lovely memoir about a mother, her son, and the power of reading.

THE TWELVE TRIBES OF HATTIE by Ayana Mathis
Hattie escapes Georgia for a better life up north. This book starts in the 1920’s with the birth of her first children. It’s a devastating start to a devastating life. Each chapter is told from the point of view of subsequent children. Bleak, dark, and beautifully written, Oprah claimed it for her book club, and I’m claiming it for mine.

TIGERS IN RED WEATHER by Liza Klaussmann
Two cousins, so close they’re like sisters. Or are they? One follows her WW2 vet husband to steamy Florida. The other heads off to Hollywood. Over the course of 12 years we follow them as their dreams unfold and disappear, until they eventually reunite, children in tow, at the family beach house where there’s been a murder. Melodrama at its finest.

THE WORLD WITHOUT YOU by Joshua Henkin
A clan gathers to remember a fallen son, a journalist killed in action in Iraq. Identity crises abound and secrets spill as the parents try to deal with the future of their marriage, the sisters try to understand who they’ve become and the widow tries to contemplate her future. Classic American family drama…at the cottage.

And, for those looking for some simple beach reads, these are a sliver above the usual cheese. Fluffy, yes, but a little over-identification goes a long way when it comes to quick ‘n easy reads!

BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter
Starts in Italy in the ’60’s, where a young Italian fisherman meets falls a glamorous American actress. Meanwhile, 50 years later, the story, and several others, continue in Hollywood…

PROSPECT PARK WEST by Amy Sohn
Cheating parents. Klepto Oscar winners. Sexually confused mothers. Real estate obsessives. Just another day in the life in Prospect Park. White people’s problems? You betcha. And if you’re really into it, there’s even a sequel: Motherland….

Meanwhile, over in Tribeca….

TRIBURBIA by Karl Greenfield.
Mommy fiction. For dads. These are hipster Daddies, sorting out their shit. Rich people’s problems? Absolutely. So?

May 1, 2013   No Comments

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