We love the Cannonball Holiday Swap!

The kids made us all wait until Christmas Eve to open our Cannonball goodies under the tree. What a treat!

Thanks Malin and The Mama. What a wonderful way to start off the holiday!

Again, our thanks to Jen K for organizing. Hope this becomes an annual tradition!!












Look What We Got!

When Malin sent a package to Joemyjoe and Bunnybean right at the start of the wonderful Cannonball Holiday Swap, they decided to leave the presents under the tree and open them on Christmas Eve.

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And today, when I opened up a delightful package from The Mama, I was told I MUST DO THE SAME.

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We will report in after opening, but they look wonderful and we are all happy as can be. Thanks!!


Joemyjoe’s #CBR5 Review 4: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

imagesMy dad just read The Hobbit to us, and I really liked it.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who lives in The Shire, a nice green part of Middle Earth. He likes to eat,  smoke his pipe, read his books, and relax. And then one day, a wizard named Gandalf comes to his house and invites him to go on an adventure. Bilbo says NO, because he likes his life and isn’t interested in changing it. Later, 13 dwarves come to his house, thinking Bilbo is going on this adventure with them. They eat a LOT. Bilbo tells them NO, but the next morning changes his mind and runs after them.

The adventure is that the dwarves are trying to find their old home, the city under the mountains (Dale), and the treasure that is there. The city was destroyed 60 years ago by Smaug, the ferocious dragon.

The hobbit, wizard, and dwarves set out and meet good people (Elrond and his elves, and shapeshifters) and bad (goblins, orcs, and wargs). They get attacked by goblins and giant spiders. Bilbo finds a magical ring (and a weird creature named Gollum) that makes him invisible when he wears it.

They are a brave bunch with a lot of courage. When Smaug is finally dead, they find their way into the mountain to get the gold and treasure.

My favorite part was the scenes with Bilbo and Gollum talking in riddles about his “precious” ring.

Bilbo, who started out as a quiet little hobbit, became a brave hero. He brought some of the treasure back home to the Shire (only about 2 small chests of treasure, not 1/14th of the gold as he originally said he would take)! He lived a long and happy life, and eventually told his nephew Frodo all about his adventures.

We watched the first movie this weekend, but I liked the book better.

You can read more of Joemyjoe’s reviews on his mom’s blog.

Joemyjoe’s #CBR5 Review 3: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

imagesThis is a book about a boy named Billy who really wanted some hunting dogs (red bone coon hounds, to be specific). Billy lives in Oklahoma, in the Ozarks, about 100 years ago. He saved up all of his money for two whole years to get the $50 he needed to send away to Kentucky for two puppies. He asks his Grandpa to help order the puppies, and when they arrive in the nearest city, Billy walks by himself to get his dogs (its over 20 miles each way!).

Billy loves his dogs. He names them Old Dan and Little Ann, after a carving he sees in a tree (Dan + Ann). And he teaches them how to hunt raccoons.

They catch a lot of coons and give all the hides to his grandpa. His grandpa signs Billy’s dogs up for a hunting contest. Little Ann wins first prize (a silver cup) for best in show. And Billy’s dogs catch the most raccoons all week — they win $300 and a gold cup. Billy is so proud of them.

But the ending is really sad. I don’t really want to say too much about it, but my mom was crying.

The story is told by Billy as an old man, when he comes across a red bone coon hound being attacked by other dogs. He takes the dog home to feed it and take care of it for a few days, and he starts to remember his own dogs that he loved more than anything.

I really liked it. I’d give it 5 stars, but it was really sad.

You can read more of Joemyjoe’s reviews on his mom’s blog.

Joemyjoe’s #CBR5 Review 2: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Unknown-1In this book, there is a boy named Greg Heffley, and he goes to middle school. He does not like it. He has a best friend named Rowley Jefferson. He has two brothers that he doesn’t get along with, named Manny and Rodrick.

There’s a kid in down the street named Fregley, and Greg is really creeped out by him.

The book tells all about Greg’s life at home and at school. At home he likes to play video games. At school, he has to be a tree in the class play of The Wizard of Oz. He ends up throwing apples at the girl who was Dorothy, and he gets grounded for two weeks.

At the school basketball court there is a  really moldy piece of cheese and if you touch it, the other kids say you get the cheese touch (kind of like cooties — you have to pass it along to someone else).  And Greg is afraid of getting it.

At the end, some teenagers come and make Rowley eat the cheese. Greg lied to them that he was allergic to dairy, and so they didn’t make him eat it, too. Greg ended up picking up the cheese and putting it in the garbage.

I really liked how this book was written — it told a story like a cross between a regular book and a comic book. There were lots of illustrations that helped to  move the story along.

There are lots of these books, and I’m trying to read them all this summer.

You can read more of Joemyjoe’s reviews (and his sister’s) on his mom’s blog.

Bunnybean (Review 6) and Joemyjoe (Review 1) #CBR5: Deadweather and Sunrise — The Chronicles of Egg by Geoff Rodkey

Unknown-2A conversation between Bunnybean and Joemyjoe upon finishing Deadweather and Sunrise, the first book in the Chronicles of Egg series.

B: I liked Egg (the main character), Millicent (the girl Egg loves), and Burn Healy (a notorious pirate who helps them on their adventures).

J: I liked Guts. He was a pirate who helped Egg on his journey. I liked Egg, too. Egg was smart because he liked to read.

B: Egg’s family lived on an island called Deadweather. His dad sailed them over to another island called Sunrise one day, where they met a rich family, the Pembrokes.

J: The dad, Roger Pembroke, was a greedy businessman. He found out that Egg’s dad had a treasure map. Then he killed Egg’s family (but not Egg) to try and get the treasure.

B: Egg immediately fell in love with Millicent Pembroke, Roger’s daughter. They were very much alike and the both loved reading books. Plus, she was really pretty, but not too girly.

J: The Pembrokes were really rich and ate jelly bread all the time. Egg loved it.

B: The Pembrokes celebrated Egg’s birthday — the only time he had ever celebrated his own birthday. Mr. Pembroke was trying to be really nice to Egg, to try and adopt him. But all he really wanted was the treasure. He was going to adopt him and then kill him and inherit Egg’s treasure.

J: I felt really bad for Egg that his family died and he had to fight against the Pembrokes without them.

B: Egg and Guts stand up to Roger Pembroke in the end, and go off on a ship to try and find his family’s treasure. It made me want to read the second book. There were a few unsolved mysteries at the end that I want to know more about.

J: Burn Healy was supposed to be notorious, but he was actually nice. He saved Millicent from some other pirates because he didn’t think anyone should hurt children.

B: Roger Pembroke wanted Burn Healy to kill Egg, but Burn wouldn’t do it. Ripper Jones was a much worse pirate.

J: I think there will be more about Ripper Jones in the next book. And I think Roger Pembroke will keep trying to steal the treasure.

B: I bet their next adventure to the new lands will be dangerous. I hope they find the treasure. I hope Egg and Millicent get to see each other again.

J: I hope Roger Pembroke doesn’t get their treasure. I hope Egg and Guts are safe.

Four stars from Bunnybean. Five stars from Joemyjoe.

 You can read more from Bunnybean (and hopefully more from Joemyjoe) on their mom’s blog.