Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Realms Thereunder

The-Realms-Thereunder“Ancient legend tells of an army of knights that will remain sleeping until the last days. The knights are waking up.”

Daniel and Freya, two pre-teens who share the same birthday, find themselves stumbling into the realm of legends when they discover an enchanted doorway in an old church. Years later, though they’ve since gone separate ways, they are thrown together again as strange events prove that the adventure they shared years before isn’t yet over.

The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead is a story told in two different timelines, one following Daniel and Freya on their underground adventure as pre-teens, the other describing events from their present as young adults. I really enjoyed this mechanic, which allowed me as the reader to discover the past at the same time that the present was unfolding. It adds to the sense of mystery surrounding the strange happenings in Oxford and elsewhere, because while it’s obvious that the previous journey to the underground realm of Nidergeard shared by the two friends is somehow related to what is going on in their current lives, it isn’t clear how or why until you know how that adventure ends.

In the same vein, it’s interesting to see how the characters of Daniel and Freya develop throughout the story. In their past, Daniel had embraced the adventure not only as a way to escape from a world where he was unhappy, but because he felt it was his destiny. He is more than willing to take on the mission given by the inhabitants of Nidergeard. Freya, on the other hand, wanted only to return home to the comfort of the familiar, hesitation dogging her every move. Their different attitudes directly affect the outcome of their journey, and also how they look back on it as adults. So when strange things begin happening in Oxford, where both Daniel and Freya find themselves, Daniel is once again ready to embrace his destiny while Freya would rather flee.

The Realm of Nidergeard itself, hidden in great caverns and tunnels under England, has had a hand in much of the history of that great country. Lawhead uses what seems to be a comprehensive knowledge of Great Britain to spin a convincing tale in which the modern world meets the stuff of legends, all somehow connected to this ancient realm under the feet of the unsuspecting English. Having once lived briefly in Oxford, I can certainly appreciate it as one of the settings for the meeting of worlds.

Knights, wizards, dragons, elves, trolls, changelings and even a spiritual “Black Ops” officer – all have their place in the The Realms Thereunder. A fun fantasy adventure with a rich history, I would highly recommend this first installment of The Ancient Earth Trilogy, and I’ll be looking forward to the next installment later this year.

Gillian Adams - Red Bissell - Keanan Brand - Beckie Burnham - Melissa Carswell - Jeff Chapman - CSFF Blog Tour - Theresa Dunlap - Emmalyn Edwards - April Erwin - Victor Gentile - Tori Greene - Nikole Hahn - Ryan Heart - Bruce Hennigan - Timothy Hicks - Christopher Hopper - Jason Joyner - Carol Keen - Krystine Kercher - Rebekah Loper - Marzabeth - Shannon McDermott - Rebecca LuElla Miller - Mirriam Neal - Eve Nielsen - Nissa - John W. Otte - Donita K. Paul - Joan Nienhuis - Crista Richey - Sarah Sawyer - Chawna Schroeder - Kathleen Smith - Donna Swanson - Rachel Starr Thomson - Steve Trower - Fred Warren - Dona Watson - Shane Werlinger - Nicole White - Rachel Wyant

Disclaimer: In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, February 17, 2012


7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

The most disjointed Quick Takes ever.



Feb 17 2012 039

Have you always wanted lips like the girls on the magazine covers at the grocery store check-out counter? Well, have I got the solution for you. FATLIP by Jacinta™. Just one application of FATLIP by Jacinta™ will have your kisser more pouty than all the duck face pictures your cousin has spammed on her Facebook page. And no collagen needed! Ask me more about FATLIP by Jacinta™ today! (*Disclaimer: will wear off within 24 hours…we hope).



I started a home workout routine a few weeks ago. I decided it was time to help speed along the postpartum weight loss, since Ariadne is now over two months old and I am still a little ways from fitting into my favorite jeans. Calling it a workout routine is probably a little overblown though, as it pretty much amounts to me trying not to step on, smack or otherwise maim my underfoot children. I think I’ve hit Jacinta in the head with a can at least three times (but that is not how she got the fat lip).



I have cleaned up after more pee accidents this week than I care to think about. So many loads of pee-soaked laundry! I know it is my own fault, because I don’t always remember to make Veronica stop what she is doing and use the bathroom. But please tell me this won’t last forever, and that someday she will of her own volition seek out the facilities when she feels the call. Please?



Please pray for a friend of mine whose father is in the midst of his last battle against cancer. It looks like he won’t be here much longer, and any prayers you can offer to help him in his last hours and also to bless his family would be appreciated.



On a happier note, some other friends have started the journey to adopt a beautiful little boy from Hong Kong. Mike is one of my OBs, and was such a blessing during Ariadne’s delivery, so the least I can do is share an opportunity with you all to help him and his family bring their newest member home. If you feel called, check out Heidi’s blog for ways to help – there’s even a giveaway for an iPad, so hurry over!



Feb 17 2012 023

When these two get together there can be much screaming, but there can also be much love.



I promised Veronica I would help her make an invisible map, so I’ll just have to leave you with this. Happy Friday!

This zebra is dope!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Homemade Valentine’s Day

While we don’t have anything against Valentine’s Day here in the Greene household, we do try to steer away from the commercialism that demands spending lots of money so your significant other knows you love him or her. Instead, we traditionally do a little fancier dinner at home and let the kids participate, too.


Feb 15 2012 001

This year, that meant serving dinner on our seldom-used china.


Feb 15 2012 007

Though not everyone got to use the fancy dishes.


Feb 15 2012 012

It meant a fun, pink Valentine’s drink.


Feb 15 2012 014

And Valentine’s clothes, too. No matter if they are decorated with aforementioned pink Valentine’s drink.


Feb 15 2012 010

It meant a do-it-yourself floral arrangement from Paul, since Trader Joe’s ran out of the potted orchids he usually likes to give me (and I like to receive).


Feb 15 2012 005

Not bad for a guy who is partially colorblind. Ariadne approves.


Feb 15 2012 015

It meant a husband who was willing to hold a fussy baby so I could finish my dinner, since Ariadne has a knack for knowing exactly when we are ready to sit down and eat. Actually, he does this pretty much any time she’s fussy during dinner. That is love.


Feb 15 2012 017

It meant heart-shaped cake pops that weren’t perfect but still tasty.


Feb 15 2012 024

And, of course, it meant messy hands.


Feb 15 2012 033

It meant homemade Valentines to Daddy from three little girls.


Feb 15 2012 038

And a little bit of LOTRO geekery from this wife to her husband and best playmate.


Feb 15 2012 030

A fun and tasty Valentine’s Day! Hope yours was just as nice.

Friday, February 10, 2012

How to Destroy the One Ring

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!




Pork Chops with Garlic and Wine by Ree Drummond

I made this earlier in the week. It was very easy and very tasty. You should try it.



I also made a first attempt at homemade flour tortillas recently. They weren’t perfect, but I didn’t expect them to be the first time around. It will take some practice to get them right, but I think this is the start of a wonderful new relationship between me and Mexican food.



Feb 10 2012 015

I hadn’t been able to get a picture of Ariadne in the bath because she usually cries the moment her “delicate” skin touches the water. But the other night she was pretty chill so I even got to style her hair before snapping a few pictures.

“Love the hair, Mom.”  *fistbump*



Feb 10 2012 016

Jacinta was “helping” me bathe Ariadne. She can’t resist the camera.



A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I was methodically cleaning and organizing our house. I did the master bedroom first, then moved onto the laundry room. This is week two in the laundry room because we’ve had some other things going on that have made it a little difficult to do much in there daily. But it is easier to move around now and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m torn about whether to keep working in there until it’s “done”, or move to another area next week.



The Renaissance Festival starts tomorrow! We are very excited to be going again this year. It’s really become a fun family tradition. I won’t be able to wear my garb this year but Paul and the older girls each have something. Ariadne and I will be stuck in the 21st century I guess.



The casting of The One Ring into Mount Doom, as told by Veronica.

Happy Friday everyone!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Art is Hard

We were overdue for a picture of Veronica falling asleep somewhere strange.


Feb 3 2012 001

I guess coloring just got the best of her.