28 October 2010

Adventure Challenge

Inspired by our interviews with Marika and because of our most recent adventure* we decided to boot our planned challenge and instead talk ADVENTURES!

Tell us all about your favorite adventure books or The Sisters would love to hear stories of your adventures... what kind of adventures? Look at that picture... ever walked a rope bridge, climbed a mountain, tell us the (short version) story!

*Check out the comments for the Sisters latest adventure!

27 October 2010

Power Outage...

Sorry today's challenge is going to be delayed --we have no power!

And we aren't too sure how/if this will post... more tomorrow (Thursday!)

25 October 2010

Girlfriend's Guide to Antarctica: Interviews with Marika Mashburn

We'll began as our Antarctica experience began, 
with an email:

May 2, 2010

Hello, BFWP folks!  My friend Lael asked me to have a look at your website, and you now have an Antarctic reader and follower.  Best of luck with everything!


Marika Mashburn
FEMC Admin
McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Yes, it's pretty cool getting email from Antarctica. Little did we know that it was going to get much cooler, that we were about to embark on what The Sisters explain as a 'girl-friendship' with a fellow citizen of the world. Thus met our first goal and began a vicarious journey to the furthest place on earth we can imagine. Over the past several months Marika has answered dozens of our questions, shared photos and stories of life on the "Ice Rock." Without further ado please meet Marika Mashburn and enjoy the first installment of "Girlfriend's Guide to Antarctica*":

Marika Mashburn,
Antarctica 2010
Earlier this month Marika said goodbye to McMurdo Station, leaving behind a year's worth of adventures on Antarctica, and leaving us with plenty of food for thought --which we are happy to share with you, Dear Readers:

Question #1 (from The Big Sister): Why are you in Antarctica?  Are you on vacation or working?    "I came (to Antarctica) for many reasons.  I needed a bit of a break from the acting world as I hadn't had one in quite awhile, and I wanted to travel.  However, I am also trying to save up money to buy a place in Chicago, and I couldn't spend it all traveling.  So, I found the perfect solution when I found a way to work and see new things all at the same time.  I'm saving money, since I was able to sublet my apartment and food and lodging is taken care of here.  So the answer is:  I'm vacationing AND working."

McMurdo from above, click image to
check out McMurdo's webcam.
Question #2 (from The Dad): Who all is there at McMurdo Station?  "During the Summer season (mid-October thru mid-February), there are about 1200 people here at McMurdo Station, and many of them are scientists and researchers who are primarily studying this place and how to preserve it.  They come in and out, usually for short lengths of time.  The rest of us are here to support them and the work they are doing, and that means everything from IT guys to make their computers run well, to the janitors and cooks to clean and cook for them.  We have plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc, all so that this place (and the field camps) can run as smoothly as possible.  During the winter (the rest of the year), there are less than 200 of us.  Then there is only one scientist here, and his job is to make sure all the research still going on here is working right (i.e., making sure computers are running and data doesn't look skewed).  The rest of us (plumbers, IT, admin, etc) continue our summer jobs and continue building and rebuilding this place so that when the scientists and the masses come back, it's all ready for them.  My job during the summer was a Shuttle Driver.  I drove the largest vehicles on the continent, back and forth to the airfield, bringing people to and from, and it was awesome!  Since the airfield shuts down at Winter (no people or fresh food or mail coming in), there are no driver positions, so I got an administrative job supporting FEMC (Facilities, Electricians, Maintenance, and Carpentry) crew, the largest of the Winter divisions with 70+."

A "Delta" the vehicle 
Marika drove! click for more 
Question #3: Did you like the job you did on McMurdo? Could you do that same job back home?  "I loved driving the big vehicles and carting people back and forth between town and the airfield.  It was just fun meeting new people and getting to see the mountains and the beautiful sky every day.  I also really enjoyed my winter job of doing administrative work, and I wouldn't have wanted one of the outside jobs over winter.  I suppose I could do similar jobs back home -- I've done admininstrative work in Chicago, and I've also driven trolleys, but it's different driving on snow and ice." Watch a video, made by Marika of a ride into McMurdo in a Delta. Want a job on Antarctica? Click here for more.

More Girlfriends Guide to Antarctica Next Week: Just how close did Marika get to a penguin? And what is the secret to living in all the darkness and all the light? (Don't miss out sign up for Email SubscriptionFollow us on TwitterFind us on Facebook or RSS Feed.)

*Please note: we came up with the title and giggled a bit about it (you may recall we really have fun coming up with titles!) To us a girlfriend is a woman who is there for you, who listens and answers questions -no matter how silly- and most importantly is inspiring. Marika certainly meets the 'girlfriend' criteria!

21 October 2010

Lesson #100: Facebook

Happy Friday Dear Readers!

Many of you that have been with us for a while know that part of the BFWP (Books for Walls Project) is to learn about the Internet and how if effects our lives. The Four of Us had a family meeting just over two months ago and discussed Facebook. After much research and even more advice gathering we decided to start a page for BFWP. So far so good, but it has barely been a week!

If you have any tips about internet safety for kids or insights, please let us know what you have learned! Via comments or send us an email. For now, if you are on Facebook, stop by and say hi!

20 October 2010

The Reading Group/Book Club Challenge

October is National Reading Group Month.

We challenge you to 
join, or 
a reading group or book club.

Do you know tips on how to find a book club? Have you successfully started a reading group? Do you know of a book/website that explains book club/reading group 101? Do you have a favorite reading group? How are books for reading groups selected? What is the right age to start a kids reading group? Do you have a favorite reading group or book club?

Tell The Books for Walls Project readers what you know about Book Clubs and Reading Groups in the comments below:

19 October 2010

Book of the Week: Dreamers of the Day

"I suppose I should warn you at the outset. This is not a sweeping, epic tale. Even so, if you want to understand your own times, you must understand mine." (To continue reading this excerpt from Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell, click here.)

There are books that speak to us plainly, telling their story simply. And then there are books that speak to us in layers of dialog, history, and imagery --Dreamers of the Day is a layer cake. While working my way through Agnes Shanklin's narration I found myself looking up historical facts, for more. And was often moved to share passages aloud with The Sisters, who were equally entertained by this scene where Agnes' former life is left behind in a department store and she emerges a new woman: "Piece by piece over the next two hours, a wardrobe was assembled. Like a butterfly in reverse, I drew on one cocoon after another." 

Mary Doria Russell is a gifted writer, capable of entertaining and all the while educating on difficult topics from a very important time in our world's history.

When I return my copy of Dreamers of the Day to the library, I will immediately stop by my favorite bookstore and pick up a copy for our shelf, for me, to read again and for The Sisters when they are ready to learn more about their times.

For more on Dreamers of the Day:

17 October 2010

BFWP Outreach: A Question Leads to a Story.

Yesterday afternoon The Sisters facilitated their very first workshop. The title of the workshop: "A Question Leads to a Story"the conference: Bioneers, the venue: Northern Michigan College.  

It all began with The Mom and The Dad asking our own question: how do we help our daughters lead a workshop?  The Big Sister loves to talk in front of groups and The Little Sister prefers a silent presence, broken only by an inspired thought to share, here and there. 

With research and many talks around our dining room table we came up with an outline and had many different ideas depending on our audience --we felt ready, sort of.

Yesterday morning we gathered around Nana and Bapa's* dining room table to do a final run through. Nana is wonderfully affirming and Bapa is a seasoned public speaker and with their guidance we edited and crafted our ideas into a workshop

With this we were ready, this time completely. We prepared a statement, to focus The Big Sister and to simply explain why story is a part of The Books for Walls Project and the main goal of our workshop: "In a fast paced world we need to slow down and return to story and which requires someone to tell a story and someone to listen." 

And then, gathered in a circle of family, friends and conference participants, The Sisters facilitated their first workshop!

Today we are happy to announce that our workshop was a great success! The Big Sister even lost a tooth in the middle of the session and handled it like a pro! 

In fact it went so well that we are going to develop some exercises to encourage everyone to begin telling and collecting stories and to share everything we learned at The Sister's first experience facilitating a workshop!

*The Sisters's maternal grandparents.

13 October 2010

The Book Book Challenge

One of The Mom's Book Books
This one has so many potential
ways to go, 
so get

Pick a book that in some way is a "Book Book" and share, share, share. (We thought about giving some examples but we want you readers to go wild and think of ways to take The Book Book Challenge anywhere you want to take it.) This Challenge is brought to you by The Mom, The Big and The Little Sisters!

And if you have pictures of the "Book Book", send to us info@booksforwallsproject.org and we'll post them. Join in the conversation: click on comments, scroll down, --even if you don't comment--"subscribe by email" and you will receive an email whenever a reader posts!

Please use the following format for your comment:
Title of Book, Author, and your thoughts on why it is a Book Book.

06 October 2010

What Are You Reading RIGHT NOW! Challenge: October 2010

How can it already be the first week of October? Around here the leaves are changing, there are mushrooms popping up everywhere and we have never seen so many acorns, ever!

The first Challenge of every month is simple: tell The Books for Walls Project what you are reading --whether a newspaper, a magazine, a book-on-tape. 

So, What are you Reading Right Now?

01 October 2010

Movie Friday: Movies Based on Banned Books.

The Sisters and The Dad just arrived home from Interlochen Public Library --bags full and arms loaded with books, books-on-tape and movies. The Dad grabbed Golden Compass as a possible "Movie Night" selection. He recalled the book, read the movie cover, and since The Sisters (6 and 10) are into this type of book/movie thought it would be a great choice.

The Mom did a little research and it struck out.

Strike One: PG-13
Strike Two: Violence
Strike Three: "children in constant peril"

Given those descriptors the The Sisters vetoed it, but we have a feeling they will enjoy the book when they are older and then they can watch the movie. Fro now, maybe we'll read it aloud so that we can cross each bridge as we come to them, together.

For a little Banned Books Week fun we decided to look up Golden Compass and sure enough, it's been challenged... and, yes, banned. 

Check out more banned books made into movies  We realized there sure have been some great movies based on banned books. Do you have any favorites?

Thankfully we have "Movie Night" back up perhaps Cold Comfort Farm, Bee Movie or what both The Sisters are voting for... more Lois and Clark Reruns. Usually The Sisters win. Hey that makes us wonder... has Superman ever been banned?

Happy Weekend!