Soft Shields

This post is part of the Families Create: Make and Play Challenge, cohosted by Code Name: Mama and Living Peacefully with Children. December’s topic is favorite books.

As fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians
and Heroes of Olympus series, my children love Greek mythology. Outside they have an entire set up sticks from which they have made swords and even some corrugated plastic shields they made at a co-op class a few years ago. However, those items stay outside or in the garage.

We needed something for inside, especially with winter on its way. Foam shields seemed perfect. Made from one inch foam and sturdy corduroy, they have two loops on the back to slide your arm through. My husband has been eyeing these and can’t wait until I give them to the kids for Yule. Apparently foam shields are great for roughhousing.

The Goddess Test

The Goddess Test (Harlequin Teen)

Debut author Aimee Carter’s new book and beginning of a new series, The Goddess Test (Harlequin Teen), goes on sale next week. The book pulled me in at the beginning, having been the teenage girl taking care of a mother dying of cancer. The concept of Greek mythology in modern day life is appealing and one that I enjoy.

However, the book left a lot wanting. The focus on Kate’s self-sacrifice over-shadowed any further character development, for either her or the rest of the cast of characters. Multiple twists in the storyline are abrupt without any foreshadowing too look back on, leaving the reader feeling that the author changed her story mid-book. The chosen tests are not connected to the subject matter and left me shaking my head at their inclusion.

I can only hope the author does some further development before the release of the next book in the series.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by HarlequinTEEN.

I Spy Items – The Last Olympians and The Lost Heros

I have wanted to make some I Spy bags for my children for quite a while. However, I don’t have enough little things around my house already, discounting LEGOs, which we have in plentiful amounts, and purchasing single items is cost-prohibitive. After a failed attempt to get a swap going with others in order to take advantage of bulk buying, I decided to make my items for our I Spy bags.

I purchased a set of clay from JoAnn’s. The set contained 8 different colors and cost around $16-17. I used a 40% coupon, bringing the price down around $10. As of this date, I’ve already made items for 5 seperate I Spy bags around various themes and have a bit more clay left.

This first set is based off of Rick Riordan’s young adult/children’s series loosely based on Greek Mythology. I thought my bibliophillic children would love book-themed I Spy bags. The bags aren’t made yet (I’ll be posting a tutorial later this Spring on a new way to make I Spy bags), but if enthusiasm for the items that will go in them are any gauge, the I Spy bags will be loved. Greek heroes and heroines, children of the gods known as demi-gods in the books,  fit in well with this month’s theme for the Families Create Challenge.

Here are the the items for our Last Olympians/Lost Heroes bags:

  1. a crown – all gods and goddesses love to be acknowledged, prayed to, and crowned. Zeus, the king of the gods and father to Thalia and Jason, is no exception.
  2. a wave – Poseidon, one of the big three, is a favorite for my kids. Percy Jackson is the son of Poseidon. The ocean holds so many mysteries, most of which we have yet to uncover.
  3. a snake – Medeusa anyone? She’s a formidable enemy and not one to be triffled with, or looked at.
  4. an eye – representing cyclopes, both the friendly and unfriendly kinds. A little insight gives range to different perspectives.
  5. an orange T-shirt – sure, it doesn’t have the Camp Half-Blood emblem on it, but these are minature pieces of clay.
  6. a winged shoe – stolen from Hermes, messenger of the gods.
  7. a lightning bolt – a symbol of Zeus’s anger, pride, and any other emotion. Gods are flightly and temperamental at the best of times.
  8. a skull – a little cryptic, but what better way to present Hades, god of the dead?
  9. a lotus flower – mentioned in the first book and symbolizing knowledge.
  10. a sun – important if you happen to be Apollo.
  11. grapes – what camp or story would be complete without a crotchety old person with a chip on his shoulder? Cheers to you, Dionysis!
  12. the yellow sheep – it’s a golden fleece. Read the books. You’ll enjoy them, and learn or remember a little mythology while you are at it.
  13. golden drachma – flip one of these babies into a fountain and send an Iris message to one you love.
  14. a shield – it pays to have a little protection.
  15. horseshoe – symbolizing all of the wonderful hooved friends in the series – the pegasi (I admit BlackJack reminds me of Joey from Friends, and I tend to read him that way.), the satyrs (Grover and Coach Hedge, we love you guys and life wouldn’t be the same without you), and to the wonderful Party Ponies (sage centaurs making the most out of life).
  16. a bow and arrow – for Artemis. She’s a wonderfully strong role model with her tribe of immortal girls, racing across thy sky and battling monsters to save mankind. Sure, some of her companions have taken the male disgust a bit far, but she’s pretty grounded in who she is and doesn’t seem to feel quite the same distain.
  17. trident – Poseidon was my son’s first favorite god and the first series (ah, yes, the fun continues in the second series) revolved a great deal around Poseidon’s son, Percy.
  18. a hammer – a tribute to Leo and Haphaestus. Leo, you’ll never be a third wheel to us.
  19. a sword – what monster fighting hero or heroine would be without his or her sword?
  20. an owl – for those Athena fans. Don’t tell her, but she just couldn’t compete with Artemis for my daughter.

February brought many heroic crafts to Our Family Creates! Check out some of the wonderful posts from last month’s participants:

Visit Code Name: Mama and Living Peacefully with Children to find out how you can participate in the next Families, Create! Carnival. Our March theme is “Animals” – what animals are your favorites and why? Get creative and share with us how animals are a part of your and your children’s lives.

The Lost Hero

Percy Jackson fans will not be disappointed with Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero. The first series creatively wove a modern young adult fiction tale with Greek mythology. My children waited with excitement for each book to be released.

Riordan topped himself with this first book of the second series. Rather than merely continuing with the Greek mythology theme, he has found a way to successfully introduce the Roman aspects into the story with more humor than ever before. I don’t think my eight year old has laughed quite so much at a book we have read together. One liners have popped up everywhere in our lives, creating literary jokes which our family adores. I’m excited to see where this second series goes, and my children can hardly wait for the next book.

percy jackson and the olympians…

My children were thrilled when we discovered Rick Riordan’s series about Percy Jackson, in which he successfully blends modern day life with Greek mythology.. They waited impatiently for each new book to come out.  I had fun reading the series with my children and brushing up on my Greek mythology at the same time. There are five books in the first series: 

  1. The Lightning Thief
  2. The Sea of Monsters
  3. The Titan’s Curse
  4. The Battle of the Labyrinth
  5. The Last Olympian

After completeing the series, my children began asking when the second set of the series would be released. I think they have just about given up, but I am excited to be able to tell them that the first book of the Camp Half-Blood series should be available in October.

For those of you who are a bit rusty on your Greek mythology (although Riordan has done a wonderful job of incorporating the myths into his books), I highly recommend D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. We had this book checked out from the library for a long time until we finally ordered our very own copy.