The End of the Year

Hello! This is my last blog this year, and will be a kind of overview of what I’ve experienced.

My name is Susan, AKA Bookworm, and I am finishing grade 8 this year. As you probably know, I am a bookworm, with a goal of over 100 pages read a day, and no book should take longer than a week to finish. The only book to exceed this limit is The Swiss Family Robinson, which I read last summer, and is INCREDIBLY slow, and really weird sometimes (what are the odds you find a crystal cave on a deserted island? Also, how can flamingos and penguins live in the same place?). I focus on my academics and have ambitious goals for my grades, and this blog is one of my prides.

Some challenges I have faced this year are the general COVID struggles, including moving to a separate classroom and having to learn online for the most time. It was pretty much remote learning at school. I think the privilege of always having a laptop on hand was a temptation for me and caused me to be restless. It’s also kind of sad to listen to certain conversations in the school community filled with swears, rumours, and judgmental opinions. But I’m back in the original classroom now, which is a nice change, and some other students are getting the experience of the additional classroom for the last month.

Next year will be my first in high school. It’s something that occupies a lot of my thoughts, and I can’t believe I will be going. I’ve been in this school from K-8, which is nine years, and I’ll be gone. High school will be an adventure, and I’m excited for the academic challenges. I’ve heard some rumours that make high school seem scary, and made up a few frightening things myself, but it’ll be okay. I will be continuing French at high school, and hopefully doing drama and digital photography, as well. I wonder if my grades will change with the adjustment, but I hope not. Honour roll is something I don’t want to lose.

This year, I have learned to be quiet, and that by listening and observing you can learn a lot. I’ve picked up a lot of things by keeping my ears open. I’ve also learned that while  it’s good to have high marks, to not take it too seriously, and not make them my only goal, pushing everything else aside.

This have been a very interesting year overall, but I’ve not been thinking so much about that as next year. I’ve read many great books (Story Thieves, The Trials of Apollo, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Jane Eyre), and learned a lot of fascinating things in Social Studies and Science. My friend Gayoung has stuck with me and always supported me. Next year, I am looking forward to diving into the high school library and reading a whole new trove of books, like Divergent, The Hunger Games, and The Lord of the Rings. I’m a bit worried about starting in a new school, since the last time I did that was in kindergarten, but I’ll make it through!

If you would like a link to my best friend’s blog, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Have a great summer, Susan

Catnip Mice

Hello! Today I am going to teach you how to make a catnip mouse toy for your cat. These mice are very easy to make and very entertaining for your cat! Here is what you will need:

  • Fleece
  • Strong thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Skewers
  • Embroidery thread

Step 1: Cut out two mouse shapes using the pattern accessed at the end of this post. Pin them right sides together, and sew around the edge, leaving a space of around 1″ for turning.

 

Step 2: Using a funnel, put about 1 tablespoon of catnip into the mouse. You might want to use a skewer (the blunt end) to help the catnip along if it gets clogged. After the catnip, fill the rest of the interior with polyester fill. The skewer will be useful here, too, to push the fluff inside. You want the mouse to be quite full.

Step 4: Cut three lengths of embroidery thread about 20 cm long. Tying a knot at the top, braid them and knot the end. Insert one end of the braid into the mouse’s opening. Using a whip stitch, sew the opening shut.

Step 5: Cut a length of extra-strong thread about 1 meter long. Sew one end to the top of the mouse using a whip stitch, making sure it is sturdy.

Step 6: Taking 3 skewers, line them up in a triangle and wrap duct tape around back to secure them. Tie the loose end of the string to the front, and wrap the duct tape around the front, as well.

Congratulations! You are now finished your catnip mouse, and are nearly guaranteed many enjoyable playtimes with your cat!

 

If you would like the mouse pattern, CLICK HERE. If you would like to watch a video of my cat obsessing over his mouse, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to comment!

 

The Most Thrilling Moment of My Life

The most thrilling moment of my life was last summer, when I went cliff jumping at Highwind Lake Camp, Ontario.

We had already spent much time tubing on the lake, and were heading to the cliffs. My cousin was driving the boat, while my parents, my sister, my other two cousins, Hannah and Ben, and I rode along. As the boat skimmed the water, I contemplated the coming event. I had wanted to go cliff jumping for years, and now I was.

I studied the silver hull of the boat reflecting the sunlight, and the water frothing white behind the craft. The scratchy blue upholstery of the seat itched my legs. The wind blew in my face, and if anyone wanted to talk, they had to yell.

But I stayed silent. I felt anticipation: finally I would launch myself into the air, twenty feet above the water! Worry: would I forget which way was up once I sank into the water? Would I sink too long to make it back to the surface? Would I hit craggy rocks and break my bones? Hesitation: should I even be doing this? Was it safe? Maybe I should just stay in the boat, and watch my cousins…. And excitement: imagine what it would feel like to jump from such a height! The stories I could tell afterwards…

All too soon, yet too late, we pulled up beside the cliffs. I watched my cousins climb out of the boat and use a rope tied to a bush to hoist themselves on to a ledge.

“Once you’re up there, the only way down is to jump,” the cousin driving the boat said. “The rope is a one-way trip.”

I hesitated. What would I do if I climbed up, but didn’t have the bravery to jump? I forced down my fears, and clambered out of the boat.

I grabbed the rope, worn by wind and many hands. My feet gripped the rough rock surface, and I pulled myself up. I continued the climb, over rock and dry moss, between bushes. The wind increased its power as I ascended.

Then I reached the top, and the wind reached its full, blowing hard and making me shiver as I hugged my gooseflesh-covered arms. I looked down and saw the lake’s waves crashing gently against the cliff, and fancied I could see rocks below the surface. I worried: what would happen if I fell? I could hear distant voices from the boat, yelling encouragements and advice as my cousins prepared to jump. I kept gazing down, worrying….

Then Ben jumped, and I watched in awe as he plummeted, hitting the water and coming up, treading water as he waited for us. Then Hannah went, and it was my turn.

I ran through everyone’s advice in my head: keep my body vertical, and as soon as I hit the water, spread my limbs and break the surface…. I braced myself, feeling fear, hesitation, and determination all at once. I considered not jumping … but then how would I get down?

“Three … two … one!” someone called from the boat, and I gathered my courage and jumped out as far as I could, fervently hoping I wouldn’t hit the rocks. For the second I fell through the air, I felt adrenaline, joy, and exhilaration as the air flew by and the water rushed up at me….

And then I was in the water, and felt a wave of panic as I wondered which way was up. Then I broke the surface, treading water, the sting of the lake in my nose, and I knew I had done it: I had jumped!

If you are interested in cliff jumping yourself, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to comment!

Susan

Santa Claus is a Wizard!

Hello! Today I will be blogging about a conspiracy theory that just struck me randomly one night: Santa Claus is a wizard!

According to J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World books, including Harry PotterFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and assorted companions, Santa Claus possesses magic! It doesn’t say this outright anywhere in her books, but I have figured it out. I am such a nerd I have a notebook full of nearly every charm, hex, jinx, and curse used in the Wizarding World, every potion and its ingredients, magical plants, wizarding pets, Death Eaters, and even every name that ends in -us (there are quite a few of those). Therefore, I know a lot of magic theory.

You don’t have to believe in Santa Claus for this to make sense in a fictional kind of way. Think about it: how does Santa travel the entire world in 24 hours? A few spins of a Time Turner would solve that problem! How could he carry the world’s population of children’s gifts in a single sack? An Undetectable Extension Charm! His sleigh could fly by a hovering charm (that also lessens its weight), and his reindeer, unless being magical creatures, could be affected by “Mobilicorpus!” and they’re floating.

It just goes to show that J. K. Rowling created such an elaborate world that anything is possible! That is something I continually marvel at whenever I read her books.

If you would like more fun Wizarding World stuff, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Interviews

Hello! Today I will be blogging about interviews. There are different kinds, and some of them can define your life.

I would also like to mention that this blog in inspired by my classmate Ava’s blog post on May 14. Her interview of her friend made me laugh!

Some interviews are really funny. For example, if you interview someone with Dictate on on Word, you might come up with some funny stuff. There are also interviews of celebrities online, and some of them can show quirky sides of people, such as WIRED’s interview of Daniel Radcliffe.

Others are kind of fascinating. Interviews can be very informational, especially if the interview is starring a scientist or doctor.

And, of course, there are job interviews. These can be the things that define the course of your life. Depending on one small word, you might be careening onto a whole new path.

I know this wasn’t an extraordinary blog, but it’s something, and hopefully it will make you think a bit.

If you would like to read the post that inspired this blog, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Artemis Fowl

If I win, I’m a prodigy. If I lose, then I’m crazy. That’s the way history is written.

Hello! Today I will be blogging about the Artemis Fowl series, by Eoin Colfer. First, I will give you some general information:

  • Author: Eoin Colfer
  • Genre: fantasy fiction
  • Age: 11+
  • Please note: Some somewhat violent fighting scenes, complex plots that require strong understanding.

The Artemis Fowl series is a fantasy series consisting of 8 books. (Please note that at the time the above picture was taken, my mum was reading the seventh book, so the series is not complete.) The first was published in 2001. Since I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, I cannot summarize the whole series, but I think I can get you hooked:

Artemis Fowl is a twelve-year-old prodigy. A genius. He’s won the international (adult) chess champion in a matter of a few moves. He’s also a criminal mastermind, and wants to purge the world into a cross-species war. A war between fairies and humans. Why? For their gold.

Artemis Fowl is a fascinating series full of witty humour and incredible futuristic technology that actually makes sense. The fairies are much more technologically advanced than humans. Colfer’s ideas are very creative, and he makes incredible plots.

The point of each book is that Artemis Fowl has a plan. And to see that plan carried out is delightful. While the series revolves around that general idea, each one is completely unique and enjoyable. Personally, my favourite is the third, The Eternity Code.

The Artemis Fowl books have a lot of character development and is fascinating to see how each the characters grow and develop throughout the books. Each of the characters are very complete, and seem like they (not physically; hi, Butler) could be real people. Eoin Colfer is also very witty and his books have very entertaining and original humour. Oh, and the ending … throughout the books there are connections and things that bring the series full circle.

These are the titles of the books, in order, for that is how you should read them:

  1. Artemis Fowl
  2. Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident
  3. Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code
  4. Artemis Fowl: Opal’s Revenge
  5. Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony
  6. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox
  7. Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex
  8. Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian

If you would like more information on Artemis Fowl, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Word Searches

Hello! Today I will be blogging about word searches. I find word searches very fun and a great pastime. Not only are they entertaining, but they boost your brain, too!

Word searches are a good idea for something to do during a long drive. A single puzzle can take a while, and it demands your focus. You may be concentrating on the puzzle so much, you won’t know an hour has passed! They also can come in small books that are easy to store in a bag. Books of word searches also last a long time.

It can be very satisfying to work on a word search. One of the most delightful things is when you find a word in a matter of seconds. It’s a great feeling to cross off a word you’ve been searching for forever, as well. And when the puzzle is finally finished, to look at that mess of lines on the puzzle is a satisfactory thing. Mission accomplished!

Another reason I enjoy word searches is how they boost your brain. Some of the best games are ones that are not only fun, but educational, too; word searches fall into that category! Finding words, learning their spelling, and using what you see to solve problems are all components of word searches.

Word search books can be found at almost all convenience stores. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive to be fun!

If you would like to download a word puzzle app, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for listening!

Susan

 

Joy

Hello! Today I will be blogging about joy. I think it is one of the best feelings in the world, and should be celebrated and encouraged.

I would also like to mention that this blog is inspired by my classmate Madison’s blog post on May 7. Her talking about things that make her happy made me think about the emotion of joy itself.

First, I would like to note that there is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness comes from things on this earth that are temporary. However, joy sprouts from spiritual things, that last forever. You don’t have to be religious to see this: happiness comes from parties, playing a game, or a good grade on a test. But joy can come from the excitement of celebration, the bond of coordination between you and your friends, the sense of accomplishment. In other words, joy stems from emotions, while happiness comes from events.

Also, did you notice that in the things that make you happy, if you look further, you can find joy? Joy is in everything!

Joy is related to everything, if we look for it. Even things that seem negative can have some form of joy in them. For example, take COVID. We can’t visit, we can’t hug, sometimes we can’t even go to the mall. No more parties, dining out, or fun things like escape rooms and carnivals. But look at the other side of it: now that you’re spending more time at home, perhaps you get to be with your sibling more, and connect in new ways. Maybe you’ve discovered a new hobby that keeps you obsessed. Try to find joy in the sense of discovering a new part of yourself.

If we can have joy more often, I think our world would be in a better place. Along with joy comes positivity, courage, and strength. We could use joy to feed starving communities, heal our carbon-clogged atmosphere, and come to peaceful terms instead of blowing each other up. Joy is essential, and a lot of people don’t know how to find it.

We are all trying to make the best of our time on this planet, so have joy! You will appreciate your life more.

I hope you enjoyed this blog. To read the post that inspired this one, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Folding an Origami Box

Hello! Today I will be blogging about how to fold an origami box. Origami is a fascinating Japanese art of paper folding, and you can create many things, but this box is my favourite. It is relatively easy, as well, and great for use as small gift boxes!

Step 1: Lay the paper pattern-side up and fold it in half horizontally, creasing the edges, and unfold. Then fold in half vertically, creasing the edges once again. Flip your paper so that the pattern is face-down. Your paper should have a cross that divides it into two squares.

Step 2: Fold each corner of the paper into the center and crease.

Step 3: Fold one side of the paper into the middle, like a cupboard door. Crease sharply and unfold. Repeat with each side.

Step 4: Keep two of the cupboard folds upright, opposite each other. These are the first two sides of the box. Pull out the other two sides so they stick out like triangles.

Step 5: This is the tricky part. Fold the little triangles on either side of the triangles and pull up at the same time, then push down so the triangle point is in the center of the box. You may want to watch the video for this part, as it is hard to explain.

Step 6: Repeat this step for the other side, and you are finished! For the lid, you do the same thing; however, in step 3, do not cupboard fold to the center of the paper, but slightly under, so the lid is bigger and can fit over the box.

Ta-da! You are finished! Enjoy your box!

If you would like a video tutorial, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Tuna Salad Sandwiches

Hello! Today I will be blogging about making tuna salad sandwiches. These are really easy and tasty sandwiches, and are great for a quick lunch.

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Total time: 10 minutes
  • Yields: 3-4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 170 g can of tuna
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp. mustard
  • 1 stalk celery
  • A few drops hot sauce (to taste)

Step 1: Drain the tuna and place in a medium glass bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, and hot sauce.

Step 2: Chop the celery and add it to the bowl. Stir with a fork until well mixed.

Step 3: On slices of bread, divide the tuna salad equally between sandwiches. Spread and press with a fork, and add the top slice of bread. And that’s it! Enjoy your lunch!

If you want a downloadable copy of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan