Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor

Sunny, a 12-year-old Nigerian girl, is an outcast. As an albino, she doesn’t fit in with her schoolmates or family. When she learns he is a leopard person, she starts studying juju (magic) with a few other students who are outcasts like her.

This book was excellently written, with round characters and well thought-out magic. I would have liked more action, but it was otherwise a fantastic story. I already own the second book in the series. 😊

Inspector Flytrap series, by Tom Angleberger & Cece Bell

Inspector Flytrap investigates BIG DEAL mysteries while being pushed around on his skateboard by his goat friend Nina. This case takes place in a museum filled with BIG DEAL art.

In this book, the president erects a giant statue of himself, which leads to disaster.

In this book, Inspector Flytrap and Nina investigate a missing valuable pickle paperweight.

My 4yo loved this series and was so sad to return it to the library. He laughed at the pictures, and wanted me to read each book in one sitting. I also enjoyed them. They were cute and funny.

Escape the Underdark Episodes 2 – 3

©️ Allygator Art

Ode to Bouncy Inferno

Bouncy Inferno … with each bounce you burn through my soul

You are a lover and fighter of fire

Your coals burn softly when content

Your coals burn bright and red when passionate

I look forward to our friendship

After exploring the entryway to the cavern with glowing crystals, our group followed a path, eventually discovering two figures sitting comfortably by a fire. After some verbal sparring and a thrown axe, we decide they’re a good bunch, and join with them in their travels to the Drow city of Vlyn’darastyl. The names of our new friends are Bonkers, the mountain dwarf, and Haga, the human sorcerer. Neither seemed to be my soulmate.

In our path to the city, we fought quite a few thorny, four-legged creatures that I heard later were thorny vegepygmies. After they were vanquished, we discovered one had a vampire rose tucked in its neck.

At this point, we reached a series of broken bridges and rotten ropes which crossed over a deep chasm. We used these and our own ropes to cross the treacherous abyss. Haga almost floated off in a river on her surfboard of ice, but we used my quasit familiar Kopqix to give her Spider Climb. She leapt to a wall and climbed to safety. Then, we almost lost Haga and Zepher to the chasm, but were able to pull them from their perch on the rock-cliff.

We met a sneaky, but charming half-orc named Geovanni. He carried us across one chasm with what appeared to be Spider Climb. But he wanted 40% of our profit in order to guide us the rest of the way to the city! I had really loved him at first – I thought that surely this was a soul-mate. But he was so stubborn and unyielding! So we basically told him to go away.

Finally, we reached the door to the city – the dragon statue guarding the door asked each of us if we intended the city any harm. None of us intended harm, and the doors opened wide. But as we entered, Giovani snuck past us on the ceiling, mocking us as he entered. Clearly, he meant the city harm.

Giovanni – you lying snake of a charmer

How dare you act so dashing?

Liar! Thief of my heart.


Update January 28, 2023



Saturday was a good day. Aaron and M10 were gone at camp, and after D&D, D13, IL4, dad and I went out to eat. Then D13, IL4, and I went to the Minnesota Ice Maze. Most people take an hour (partly because they want to find all the statues, but we just followed IL4 and let him choose our direction. He got us out in 15 minutes. We should have gone back in, but IL4 was on a mission to exit, and got to the parking lot before he decided he wanted to go back in.


Sunday was a lot of fun. I went to the Snow Sculpture World Championship with D13 and IL4. I didn’t agree with the winners – all of whom were from the US. First place really was quite good, but second and third place were, by far, not the best and were probably chosen by small-town American judges based solely upon the primary language of the sculptors. M10 and Aaron returned from Cub Scout camp. They’d had a great time. They then went to baseball.


Monday was fun. I took M10 to a couple of appointments and went to lunch with Aaron and dad. Then, I went to pack food at Feed My Starving Children in Eagan with D13. Afterwards, we had dinner.


Tuesday I was super tired, and I’m not sure why. I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. I cancelled a few things, but took D13 to her appointment. I also managed to stay awake for M10’s band concert. He was so excited because he had a speaking part. They actually played a lot better than I expected for a bunch of kids who just started learning in September. (We actually have the biggest, and most well known, high school marching band in Minnesota in my town…for what that’s worth. They marched in the Rose Parade in Pasadena this year.)

M10 loves playing his trombone. He’d wanted the trumpet – but so many people wanted the trumpet that they put a call out to ask if anyone was willing to change. He begrudgingly changed to the trombone, thinking I was making him do so (I didn’t realize he thought that). But now he’s quite pleased with it. It’s totally cooler than a boring old trumpet.


Wednesday was a good day. IL4 loved his Inspector Flytrap book so much, I took him to the library to get the next 2. When we returned the first one, he was so sad to watch it slide away on the conveyor belt. I felt bad about returning it. When we got home, he immediately wanted me to read the second, and then part of the third one. At that time, he wanted to switch to one of the books he had picked out himself with his brand new yellow library card.


Thursday was a bit of a pain. I’d found out the night before that my friend was intubated in the ICU. So I went there to visit him and glean the reason why he was in the ICU. They wouldn’t tell me much. Then, I took D13 to a doctor appointment. Afterwards, I met my friend’s mom at the ICU, as I had been the one to inform her that he was there, and she was worried she wouldn’t ask the right questions. It turns out it was really his fault he was in the ICU. 🤦‍♀️

On top of that stressful day, M10 has been not handing in assignments regularly for months now. I finally told him Thursday that he’ll lose 2 hours of his 14-hour weekly allotment of tablet time for every missed assignment from now on, and that he needed to work on his overdue project that night. I did ask him if he needed help, and what exactly was the issue keeping him from handing the work in. Maybe it’s his ADHD? I will ask his teacher at conferences.

He spent an hour crying. Then I told him D&D was starting in an hour, and if he didn’t start his late project, he couldn’t play. I honestly thought that would influence him to start, or at least tell me what he needed help with. But, alas, he just wailed for the next half hour. I told him he should start in 5 minutes when there was a half hour left before D&D. He continued wailing. 5 minutes before D&D started, he asked me for help. I told him I would later, but D&D was about to start.

D&D was cancelled anyway because D13’s and M10’s biomom forgot it was D&D night. But not before M10 kicked IL4 in his frustration. I lost my temper at that point – I had actually been quite calm before that. Anyway, M10 asked for help after we’d abandoned D&D, and he actually finished everything he could finish. I didn’t even provide that much help. I just helped him get through the brick wall he’d built, and he was perfectly fine after that.


Friday was a relaxing day. I took IL4 and dad to an indoor park, and then to Perkins for lunch with Aaron. I spent the rest of the day checking things off my to-do list.

Reading to IL4

  • Sassy’s Vacation, by Sue Leant Kies & Ric Genthe
  • A Poor Excuse For a Dragon, by Geoffrey Hayes
  • Inspector Flytrap, by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell <- IL4’s first-ever chapter book.
  • Inspector Flytrap in The Presidents Mane is Missing and other Thrilling Adventures co-starring Nina the Goat, by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell
  • Baby Shark, Goodnight Baby Shark

M10 reading

  • The coming of Hoole, by Kathryn Lasky

D13 reading

  • A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, by T Kingfisher
  • Best Babysitters Ever, by Caroline Cala


  • 1 letter Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
  • 1 letter Virginia Department of Corrections
  • 1 letter Michigan Department of Corrections
  • 1 letter Massachusetts

Week’s Photos

Media Partaken In

Pg 87 – 97
Pg 135 – 176
0.75 hours left to complete
Episode 4 – 13
Lecture 20 – 21
12.75 – 12 hours left
Lecture 22 – 23
35.5 – 35.25 hours left
Season 3, episode 1 – 2
0 – 1 hour in
28.75 – 28.25


Keepers of the Lost City, by Shannon Messenger

In the first book of the Keepers of the Lost Cities series, Sophie is a brilliant 12 year old with the ability to read people’s minds. She doesn’t understand why she feels so different and alienated from other people, even her family, until she discovers she is an elf. She spends the whole book learning to be an elf.

I read this book because I needed to help my stepdaughter (who adores this series) to write a book report. I promised her I would read the rest, or I would have abandoned the book and read a synopsis for her report. It has a watery plot that ebbs and flows over the setting’s beach. It was all scene setting for future books, and didn’t get exciting till the last couple chapters.

And what’s with the huge holes of unreality in the plot? Really? There has to be a tribunal for her breaking a law that literally no one but the high council knows exists? That’s ridiculous.

A Poor Excuse For a Dragon, by Geoffrey Hayes

When Fred the dragon leaves mom and pop dragon to venture out and make something of himself, his parents give him a simple list of success strategies. But they all go awry.

With cute plot and pictures, this is a wonderful little book. It is intended as a “step 4: reading paragraphs” book, for which purpose I think it is well suited. I used it to introduce my 4yo to having paragraphs read to him, and it worked swimmingly for that, too. He loved looking at the pictures and was attentive to the story.

Simon and Chester Super Sleepover, by Cale Atkinson

In this graphic novel, Chester is invited to a slumber party. Being a shy introvert, he doesn’t know what to do at the party, but feels he has to go. Meanwhile, his ghost friend Simon has to pass an inspection which grades his ability to haunt. They decide to help each other out by giving rather silly advice.

This was a cute and funny book, appropriate for younger readers. I’d say a 7 or 8 year old could read it, and my 4 year old enjoyed listening to it and seeing the pictures.

Puss in Boots

In the first Puss in Boots movie, Puss forms a team with a friend from childhood and the thief Kitty Softpaws to steal some magic beans.

This movie is cute and hilarious. Even my attention-deficit 4 year old enjoyed it. It really stood the test of time, too.

In this follow-up movie released 11 years later, Puss is on his 9th life. He decides to retire, but can’t resist one last adventure. He joins a nameless, friendless Chihuahua and his bygone friend Kitty Softpaws to get the wish of a lifetime.

Fantastic follow-up! Sequels are rarely as good as the original movie, but I think this one did a good job! I loved what they did with Puss, and this was my 4 year old’s first theater movie – he mostly sat through it!