Week 31 – Boxtrolls

Stop-motion is such a great form of animation, and totally feasible for kids to complete.

Here is the link for the downloadable materials. (I hope this works…please let me know if you have any problems so I can fix it!)

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
draw a boxWatch movietake pictures for movieFlexput movie together

Summary of the week

Daily details:

Dance

Ballet and martial arts on alternate days

Music

Singing, listening to different pieces, learning piano, learning guitar

Crochet

On break

Basic Information

We talk about the days of the week and play games with the cutouts of the names. We do the same thing with the names of the months of the year. You can find the print-outs here.

Printing words

Download material

Counting objects/math-type activities

Practice counting objects and writing how many of each type – (in download material)

Addition and pattern – worksheet

Storytime

Activity

Make a movie – take stop-motion pictures, stitch pictures together, make music
Learn how to draw a 3-D box – link to video

Next week: The Secret World of Arrietty

Week 29 – Mulan Results

Pegasus was glued to the screen yet again, and nearly squeezed my arm off a few times when it got scary. (Specifically the point when they had only one cannon left, and then the massive hun army showed up.)

Dance

As per usual, I didn’t do anything specific for this.

Music

His scales are coming along nicely and he willingly practises both his scales and the pieces in the book. He’s only 4 ish pages away from finishing the first book.

Crochet

We haven’t started this yet.

Basic Information

We are working on the day before and the day after any given day. The months of the year is going well. All months have proper pronounciation now, and we’re working on the month before and after any given month. That’s coming slowly.

We practised the seasons, but he still needs help remembering them in French.

Printing words

We’re working on spacing and keeping the words on the bottom line. He really doesn’t care about spacing lol

Counting objects/math-type activities

He did very well with his numbers this week.

Math worksheets. He REALLY likes these. He did them both on Tuesday morning because he was so excited to do them once again. He didn’t need my help, and only made one mistake, which he corrected when I pointed it out (on page two, he subtracted instead of added 9+4). He doesn’t care very much about drawing the shapes, which is fine.

Storytime

We read 2 of the French library books this week.

Activity

Learn about makeup – Pegasus decided he didn’t want to wear it (totally fine, obviously!) but since we had special guest Aunt Lindsay over, she put it on herself and talked about what she was doing and the two main rules of makeup: 1. Makeup is for fun and for yourself, and 2. Never share makeup brushes!

Fireworks with paint – I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. Dragon had a major meltdown over it. But Pegasus had a lot of fun, I think partly because I used regular forks instead of plastic ones, so they worked really well. He insisted that I make fireworks with him, and I had fun with it as well. He chose both of our colours and I think it turned out very well.

Make a puzzle – Instead of gluing the paper to foam, which didn’t really work last time and we didn’t have any foam this time, I just let Pegasus have fun cutting shapes into the paper. Wait, let me begin at the beginning. He had fun choosing pictures to put on the background he had chosen, and then when I explained that he was going to cut it up, he decided that he didn’t want pictures, he just wanted the background. Okay, now we’re caught up. He proceeded to cut literal shapes into the paper, which I found hilarious. And for the leftover paper, he cut it into tiny pieces because, and I quote, “I want it to be harder than Dragon’s.” Then he put it “together”. He said it was too hard and that he probably should have made the pieces bigger (no kidding, buddy). But he was very happy with the resulting “image”, which was not the original shape of the paper, I might add. He cleaned it up before I had the chance to take a picture of his creation.

Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises – Characters

The text, "Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises: A Sun Speaker Story" over a red sun.

Characters | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


I was told the sheer quantity of characters was a little intimidating. I started to understand as I made this list. Hopefully this will help keep the characters straight.

Hal the Sun Speaker

Hal

Born 825 Post First Earthen Emigration. A prophet called the Sun-Speaker, he gets visions from the god Sol that lives in the sun. He was raised on Venus from the age of ten.

Rose

A doctor who was part of Hal’s crew. She is currently in hiding, raising the future King of Mars with her wife Sofia.

Sofia

Former special forces in the Mars militia, she was dishonorably discharged for saving Hal’s life against orders. The first time she met him, she also beat the crap out of him. She is his former bodyguard.

Gwinevere the Second, High Queen of Venus

As a child, found Hal hiding in the luggage of the royal ship. They dated as teenagers. When he was ex-communicated from the church, she broke all ties.

Princess Lenay

Princess of Venus. She was born with an immune disorder like her mother but both were healed by Hal.

Thomas the sixth, Ruler of Mars

King of Mars being raised in exile on Earth. He was kidnapped as a child by the Venetians.

The Assassin

Suzie (AKA Helena)

Former assassin with the Maidens of Antichthon. Hal helped her uncover the corruption in the organzation and she joined his crew as his new bodyguard. They eventually developed feelings for each other and are now dating.

Samantha

The assassin trainer from the Maidens of the Antichthon. Disgraced, she was tortured and implanted with cybernetics and sent to fight in the arena. Hal healed her and the expelled cybernetics became their own person. Currently both are in charge of the The Mederei Alpha, a former gladiator ship which is now a home for refugees.

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station

Seren Plentyn

An adventurous twenty-something archeologist and linguist. Member of the Children of the Stars.

Captain Jan Ng

A stern but fair life-long miliary soldier. They are the captain of the MOAS (Mother of all Suns) Warship Ennill.

Annie Musa

Wife of Seren and ace fighter pilot. Annie is sarcastic and loyal. Member of the Children of the Stars.

Mother of All Suns

The last remnants of an ancient civilization downloaded their minds into a great machine. Its power source was a sun and that sun’s consciousness merged with the people.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Janet

Plutonian who discovered the secret to eternal youth. Despite looking 18, she is a brilliant doctor and scientist.

Adric

Computer and engineering genius. Helped free Callisto from mob rule with his hacking skills. Currently the engineer on Hal’s ship, the Hey Sunny.

Travis

A Mercurian pilot. Hal served as a medic on his ship. To save his life, Hal had to leave him on a pirate ship to be tortured.

Caro

The system’s strongest telepath and precog. Former member of Hal’s crew currently living on Xanthus.

Gladiators in SPACE!

Henrick Al-Mer of the house of Mers

Royal instructor to the kings and queens of Mars.

Aly

Martian-Barsoonian adviser to the King and former leader of his people.

Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist

Diamond Stars (AKA Garnet)

Former Black-Sun operative who went rogue. Current incarnation of the Robin Hood style character Diamond Stars and captain of the Revenge. Also a recent Sun Speaker of Sol.

Onyx

Doctor on the Revenge. Boyfriend of Diamond Stars.

Sphene

Younger sister of Onyx. Weapons expert and gunner on the Revenge.

Ghost Ship Robinson

Fry

Ex-soldier and mercenary. Died on the Robinson

Hoff

Ex-soldier and mercenary. Bioscience expert on the Hey Sunny.

Teddy

Former engineer on the Hey Sunny. Died on the Robinson.

The Suns of War

Nessa Muldune

Captain of the ISS Galahad. She’s a Feline Martian who has a strong love for her crew, knowledge, and justice.

Alexandre Crowley

Senior science officer of the ISS Galahad. He’s a Serpant Tyrite who values logic over emotion.

Tanya Brook

Lieutenant weapons officer of the ISS Galahad. She’s a Sapian Martian. She’s tall, muscled, and looks like she’s been in plenty of fights.

Em Frechette

Master Sargent and communications officer of the ISS Galahad. They’re a Sapian Tyrite. 

Peri Anson

Doctor of the ISS Galahad. He’s an older Sapian Martian. His interest lies in his crew and their health above all else.

Bart Shelby

Lieutenant and pilot of the ISS Galahad. He’s Canine Arisian with plenty of years as a fighter pilot.

Arzure Pendreicht (Zuri)

Head Engineer of the ISS Galahad. She’s a young Sapian Martian, the reincarnation of King Arthur, and a Sun Speaker for Sol.

The Princess – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film The Princess.

Story

A standard action movie with fantasy elements. It’s not complicated, but the story is mostly shown in quick flashbacks that gives the watcher a break from the action without getting bored.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Trope-ridden with an awkward hint of orientalism. These are the characters you’d find if this movie was made in the 80’s.

That being said, it’s fairly well acted and the fights are believable. I was impressed with the main character’s physical presence and believability considering she’s 5 foot 4. I do wish someone would have taught the main character to hold her breath underwater so that we didn’t get so much gasping and heavy breathing.

The villain was deliciously evil in a very unambiguous way and it worked.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is all sorts of action movie cheese. There’s a lot of repetition about fighting from the heart and other Mr. Miyagi-style lines.

The actors deliver the lines with charisma and really commit, which makes the lines less cringy.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The choreography, special effects, and cinematography are all excellent. With this much action, it’s sometimes hard to make it distinct and not get boring.

The music is modern and very rock. It fits really well with the tone. The score is also perfect.

Score: 1

Fun

This was a cheesy action movie with all the right moves. I was concerned about the main actress since she’s mostly done rom-coms, but she was convincing and kickass.

It’s a little bloody and way too violent for the kids though.

Score: 1

Overall

This is an action movie which doesn’t just embrace fantasy tropes, it revels in them. It’s not a thinking movie but it also doesn’t spoon-feed you the plot. If you like action fantasy movies and don’t mind some gore, this is a great choice.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Aurora Awards Nominations End Tomorrow!

Hello once again!!

The Aurora Awards, which are for Canadian science fiction and fantasy writers and artists, are open for nominations for the 2023 works! (Nominations are open March 2 – April 6) This means the LONG lists of eligible works are being narrowed down to 5-6 per category.

Once they have a list of nominated works, every single person who signed up and paid the $10 membership fee gets ALL the nominated works as downloads. That’s all the adult novels, YA novels, novellas, short stories, graphic novels, and related works (usually anthologies), so about 36 works, for just $10 CAD, which is a great deal.

Getting nominated for an Aurora Award is a BIG DEAL in the speculative fiction writing community. You get a nomination pin (only once, so I’m terrified I’ll lose mine!), and you’re part of an elite group of people. This would be Pegasus’s first nomination, so my fingers are crossed! Our category is stacked with popular works.

Not only do Éric and I have quite the list of eligible works, but Pegasus (for his work this year in his kindergarten homeschooling) are eligible as well! By the way, nomination forms are not ranked.

How do you nominate?

  1. Go to this website: https://www.csffa.ca/members-home/
  2. Join, pay membership fee
  3. Nominate up to 5 works per category https://www.csffa.ca/members-home/nomination/

It would mean a lot to all of us if you’re willing to nominate us! (Categories are in alphabetical order by work)

In case you’re wondering why Crushing It is not included in the best cover art category, it’s because our cover artist is Vietnamese! Only Canadian creators are eligible, unfortunately. It is also not included in the YA Novel category because, although it takes place in a world of magic, the main POV character for 90% of the book has no idea it exists. Fortunately, the POV character for the novelette at the end is aware of the hidden magical world, so that is eligible in category 3.
Thank you so much for your time, attention, and support. If any of the above does make it through the nomination round, I’ll be making another post for the voting round, which will take place June 8 – July 13, 2023.

Week 30 – My Neighbour Totoro

I love the storytelling in Miyazaki movies. This one is my favourite.

Here is the link for the downloadable materials. (I hope this works…please let me know if you have any problems so I can fix it!)

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
make soot spriteWatch moviewrite scriptFlexmake props

Summary of the week

Daily details:

Dance

Ballet and martial arts on alternate days

Music

Singing, listening to different pieces, learning piano, learning guitar

Crochet

On break

Basic Information

We talk about the days of the week and play games with the cutouts of the names. We do the same thing with the names of the months of the year. You can find the print-outs here.

Printing words

Download material

Counting objects/math-type activities

Practice counting objects and writing how many of each type – (in download material)

Addition and pattern – worksheet

Storytime

Activity

Make a movie – write script, storyboard script, write out text (if any)
Make a soot sprite – link to activity

Next week: Boxtrolls

Week 28 – Rise of the Guardians Results

Pegasus was glued to the screen. He whimpered in fear a couple times, and curled into me when I offered each time. He also laughed multiple times when funny things happened.

Dance

As per usual, I didn’t do anything specific for this.

Music

His scales are coming along nicely and he willingly practises both his scales and the pieces in the book.

Crochet

We haven’t started this yet.

Basic Information

We are working on the day before and the day after any given day. The months of the year is going well. All months have proper pronounciation now, and we’re working on the month before and after any given month. That’s coming slowly.

We practised the seasons, but he still needs help remembering them in French.

Printing words

We’re working on spacing and keeping the words on the bottom line. He really doesn’t care about spacing lol

Counting objects/math-type activities

He wrote some numbers backward, but changed them when I pointed that out to him.

Math worksheets. He REALLY likes these. He did them both on Monday because he was so excited to do them once again.

Storytime

We read 2 of the French library books this week.

Activity

Draw Dreamland – we did this the same way as drawing an island a few weeks ago, because he really loved doing it that way. The Nightmares have their own island off to the southwest (see sad face). He has a lot of hills and lakes, and a lot of houses because he likes drawing them.

Make ice cream – This went really well! As a warning, I suggest that you have mitts handy, because the bags got really cold REALLY fast! We followed this recipe and it worked super well. I’d maybe shake it for a little longer than 7 minutes, or store it in the freezer for a little while after making it, just so that it solidifies a bit more. I’m actually kinda disappointed that this wasn’t something we discovered during the lockdown, because this was so fun to do with the kids and would have been perfect to brag about on social media! Pegasus gave his ice cream 4 thumbs up, but he said he could only show me 2. Maybe add in his toes, he says!

Learn about the moon – we watched some videos and talked about tides (specifically the Bay of Fundy) and why there are phases of the moon. No pictures.

Introducing Secondary Characters – Family

In case you weren’t aware, Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests is a wedding book, which means lots of family. This book has a humungous cast of characters, and we actually included a list at the back of the book because there are just so many people.

Zoe Johnson

Appearance inspired by Nhumi Threadgill

Age: 24

Date of Birth: Sep 19, 1978

Appearance: dark brown hair, hazel eyes, tall, golden brown skin

Job: city planner consultant for urban infrastructure planning, co-head of the Oldtown Council, and part-time teacher for the kid’s classes at Judy’s dojo

Parents: Hammond and Monique Johnson, both deceased.

Sibling: Older brother Jason

Family: married to Gabrielle, one daughter Brooke (just shy of 2 years old); grandmother Kathryn Johnson

Lilah Fairfield

Appearance inspired by Robin Wright

Age: 57

Date of Birth: March 6, 1946

Appearance: Blonde hair that is whitening, blue eyes, medium height, white

Job: Farmer (the business side) in Parry Sound, Ontario (crops)

Family: married to Gerard, daughter of Denise Lake, mother to Phillip, who is married and has one son (just shy of 2 years old); twins Eliza and MacKenzie; Kennedy, who is marrying Jason; and Tommy

Gerard Fairfield

Appearance inspired by Cary Elwes

Age: 57

Date of Birth: March 1, 1946

Appearance: short grey hair, green eyes, tall and wirey, white

Job: Farmer in Parry Sound, Ontario (crops)

Family: married to Lilah, father to Phillip, who is married and has one son (just shy of 2 years old); twins Eliza and MacKenzie; Kennedy, who is marrying Jason; and Tommy

Denise Lake

Appearance inspired by Julie Andrews

Age: 79

Date of Birth: May 23, 1924

Appearance: Long white-blonde hair, blue eyes, statuesque, white

Job: retired; volunteers at the Baker Public Library

Family: daughter Lilah, son Arthur (the adult, not the toddler, who is named for his uncle)

Kathryn Johnson

Appearance inspired by Danai Gurira

Age: unknown (older than 80)

Date of Birth: Feb 12, 1923

Appearance: Long black hair, Black, brown eyes, strong family resemblance to her granddaughter Zoe

Job: traveller of the realms

Family: son, Hammond, dead in 2000; grandchildren: Jason and Zoe; great-grandchild Brooke


Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order now!

49th Shelf Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Indigo Books Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Archambault Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Amazon Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Rakuten Kobo Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Apple Books Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests

Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!