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October 2014

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20 Super Spooky Suspenseful Reads

20 Super Spooky Suspenseful Reads • Little Gold Pixel

Recently Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy asked a question on Facebook that’s been on my mind:

What are your favorite spooky books? Not out-and-out horror, but the ones that are just plain creepy.

Aside from a brief period in my teens in which I mainlined Stephen King, Robin Cook and Fear Street-era R.L. Stine, I enjoy suspense and thriller more than flat-out horror.

Reading “It” was an experience I’ll never forget, partially because it was so freaking long, partially because it was terrifying.

Stephen King is best in small doses. I happen to think his best work was The Long Walk, a dystopian thriller that kept me turning pages well after midnight when I was 14.

No scary clowns, just creepy people, which I might argue is even more frightening in some ways.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]I don’t know about you, but I intend to curl up with one of these suspenseful books later.[/inlinetweet] Two days to Halloween. The timing couldn’t be more perfect.

20 Super Spooky Suspenseful Reads

Spooky Books on My To-read List:

  1. The Good Girl / Mary Kubica
  2. Station Eleven / Emily St. John Mandel
  3. Reconstructing Amelia / Kimberly McCreight
  4. Mrs. Poe / Lynn Cullen
  5. A Monster Calls / Patrick Ness
  6. Joyland / Stephen King
  7. In the Woods / Tana French
  8. Her Fearful Symmetry / Audrey Niffenegger
  9. Dear Daughter / Elizabeth Little
  10. Cartwheel / Jennifer duBois

Suspenseful Books I’ve Read and Loved

  1. The Winter People / Jennifer McMahon
  2. Sharp Objects / Gillian Flynn
  3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane / Neil Gaiman
  4. Night Film / Marisha Pessl
  5. Murder on the Orient Express / Agatha Christie (honestly, anything Agatha Christie)
  6. Flowertown / S.G. Redling
  7. The Execution of Noa P. Singleton / Elizabeth L. Silver
  8. Don’t Breathe a Word / Jennifer McMahon
  9. Black Moon / Kenneth Calhoun
  10. American Psycho / Bret Easton Ellis
What are your favorite suspense/horror/spooky books? Share in the comments so I can add to my reading list!

P.S. For even more spooky options, check out the compilation Anne came up (45!).


THE FINE PRINT: This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Little Gold Pixel! Your clicks/purchases make this blog possible.

Free Geometric Halloween Printables

Free Geometric Halloween Printables • Little Gold Pixel

It was the sight of her Daddy wearing a ninja costume that set her over the edge.

“No, Daddy, no!”

Alexa ran over to me, sobbing, burying her face in the crook of my neck. She was shaking.

She didn’t much care for my witch masquerade mask, either, shrieking and saying in a shrill voice, “Take it off, Mama! No!”

We were just trying on our Halloween costumes, and we were not expecting to actually scare our child. She was, after all, WITH us the entire time, from going to the store and picking out accessories to watching us put each piece on.

It’s not as though we were sneaking around dark corners, popping out and saying BOO!

Kids, man.

After H took off his costume, Alexa started warming up again, processing it all.

“Daddy, you don’t want to scare me anymore?” she asked coyly.

What? Maybe she likes to be frightened?

For the past few days, she has been repeating this mantra of sorts, perhaps readying herself for another fright when we don our costumes for real:

“Daddy’s going to be a ninja. Mama’s going to be a witch. I’m going to be Elsa of Arendelle. We’re going to wear costumes for Halloween.”

I relayed this story to a friend, who said that her husband once spooked one of their children with a realistic costume, and the child never quite got over it.

Somewhere in my giant stack of memorabilia there exists a Halloween photo of me and my dad. It was the year I was wearing a plastic Smurfs costume (ugh, the plastic masks, remember those?).

My dad was decked out in the most disturbing clown costume. I mean, the stuff nightmares are made of. Curly rainbow wig, giant red nose, white pancake makeup, basically the clown from It.

I had forgotten about the entire scenario until H brought it up recently.

“How did that not scar you?” he asked, laughing.

I don’t know. I managed to get away unscathed. Hopefully Alexa will, too. We’ve talked her through the initial fear, and now she’s enjoying playing with various pieces of our costumes.

Do your kids spook easily? Did a costume ever give you the creeps when you were a kid?

Free Geometric Halloween Printables

Thinking about our Halloween costumes, I started messing around with basic shapes, and I ended up creating a few minimalistic printables for your Halloween decor. It’s not too late to print one out (or bookmark it for next year).

These printables are high-res JPGs in 8×10 format.

Free Geometric Halloween Printables • Little Gold Pixel

Download

Free Geometric Halloween Printables • Little Gold Pixel

Download

Free Geometric Halloween Printables • Little Gold Pixel

Download

P.S. More freebies!


 

THE FINE PRINT: Remember to play nice. For personal use only. Not for use in commercial projects. Feel free to share, making sure to credit/link back to this post. If you hang one of these on your wall, tag @littlegoldpixel on Instagram so I can see it!

Scary Stories that Creep You Out

We were talking tonight about scary stories, and things that happened to us when we were kids. My husband shared a story about how one of his friends kicked a soccer ball into a drain, and a shady man appeared out of nowhere and stole it. The man had horns.

Do you have remember any creepy stories from your youth? Either ones that were told to you or that you experienced?

I’ve always loved to be scared.

Is that strange?

I always liked the thrill of a scary story or movie, but they would disturb me. Often I would run into my bedroom, jumping into bed, cautious of letting my ankles get within arm’s reach of the bed out of fear the boogeyman would grab them.

I would never act scared, though. I would be stoic even though I was trembling inside. I was under the impression that monsters should never sense your fear because they might be attracted to it.

My friend Tobie was the best at telling what she said were true ghost stories. She has since proven to be an amazing actress and is now a drama teacher, so it was difficult to determine where reality ended and fantasy began with her. All I can say is that these stories were incredibly detailed.

I wish I could remember one now to share with you. Slumber parties at her house were always chilling. We would all be in bed, complete darkness, when she would set in on a tale.

There were always sound effects and unexplained noises that accompanied her stories, which added to the authenticity. Generally we would scream at the end and giggle like, well, little girls, acting like we would shake off the fright with laughter.

Then I’d be in for a pretty spooky night of staring into the darkness and hoping I wouldn’t get pulled into oblivion by some malevolent force.

Scary Stories that Creep You Out • Little Gold Pixel

It’s pretty easy to spook me.

For a period of time in the 1980s the theme song to “The Hitchhiker” sent chills down my spine.

Don’t even get me started on the sleepless night I had after watching Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

Halloween presented a whole other can of spooky worms for our neighborhood. There was always that one house we weren’t supposed to approach. Rumors abounded.

At one point we were under the impression that a disfigured person (a la Chunk from The Goonies) lived there. Another time the entire family was rumored to be child killers.

I’m sure they were lovely people, but they kept eerily quiet on Halloween, and we were kids. So we scared ourselves silly with idiotic “dares” to go ring the doorbell or sneak a peek into a window.

No one ever made it up to the door. We were all a fright away from wetting ourselves.

I just spent the better part of an hour reading creepy short stories online. I’m OK for the time being, but after I watch The Walking Dead it’ll probably be a jump-into-bed kind of night.

Scary Stories Resources

What about you? Do you like to be scared and tell/listen to scary stories? Let’s talk in the comments below.

P.S. These movies are always good for a scare.

Voila! Easy Halloween No-Carve Pumpkins

Easy Halloween No-Carve Pumpkins • Little Gold Pixel

Several years ago (before we had a child, so it might as well have been another lifetime ago), we used to have pumpkin-carving parties with our friends. We would drink seasonal beer and wield large knives, and ultimately butcher a few pumpkins beyond recognition.

Halloween with a kid is much tamer. But also fun.

For instance, last night I arrived home wearing a witch hat, and I’ve never seen such excitement. Alexa jumped up and down, saying, “Mama, you’re wearing a spooky hat!”

Adults don’t go crazy over a pointy hat. They just say, “Oh. You’re doing the easy costume again this year, I see.” I’m nothing if not predictable when it comes to choosing my own costume, despite the fact that I pick out the cutest stuff for boys, girls and even adults.

Now that Alexa’s interested in all things Halloween, I plan to gather a bunch of pumpkins, some craft supplies, and let her go to town on them.

While I sit back and drink a beer. Just kidding. I’ll help make the pumpkins, too.

While I drink a beer.

Hey, you have to hold onto some of those Halloween traditions!

I’ve been searching for some good no-carve ideas, and I’ve finally figured out that there are 14 good ideas for getting the job done. As always, follow the links to get full instructions from the source.

14 Easy Halloween No-Carve Pumpkins

There’s something really exciting about letting loose with a Sharpie, don’t you think? Word to the wise: Trace with a pencil first.

Easy Halloween No-Carve Pumpkins • Little Gold Pixel

(1) Lauren Conrad • (2) Instructables • (3) Curbly

I was surprised to find that there are a few different ways to do this. Spraypaint over a stencil … or create lettering via washi tape, paint over and peel off.

Easy Halloween No-Carve Pumpkins • Little Gold Pixel

(1) Minted • (2) Real Simple • (3) Instructables • (4,5) A Beautiful Mess • (6) Lauren Conrad

Not gonna lie. I love gold most of all. There are few different methods to achieve this look, too. Spraypaint, art paint, gold leaf.

Easy Halloween No-Carve Pumpkins • Little Gold Pixel

(1) All You • (2) Real Simple • (3) Real Simple • (4) Lauren Conrad

This is so fun. You can grab anything, some glue, and see whether it sticks. I know for a fact my preschooler does this in class with almost every art project. “Put a button on it!”

Anything can be a chalkboard! The best part is … if you are using a fake pumpkin, it could be recycled into a Thanksgiving chalkboard menu.

I normally do not go for the shabby chic or distressed look, but for some reason I’m drawn to these slightly damaged-looking pumpkins. They can be a really elegant touch, if you don’t care for cheesy or over-the-top Halloween decor.

Easy Halloween No-Carve Pumpkins • Little Gold Pixel

(1) All You • (2) Simply Grove • (3) Fun.kyti.me • (4) Merrick’s Art • (5) Bubby and Bean • (6) Happy Mundane

Graphic elements make me happy, and they look very modern with minimal effort.

I could see myself getting very meticulous about making perfect little dots and patterns.

I’m especially impressed by the “web.” Such an easy-peasy idea.

Easy Halloween No-Carve Pumpkins • Little Gold Pixel

(1) Lauren Conrad • (2) Nest of Posies • (3) Poppy Talk

One loud, proud color per pumpkin.

You literally can’t mess this up, especially if you use washi tape.

Easy Halloween No-Carve Pumpkins • Little Gold Pixel

(1, 2) Brit + Co  • (3) Young House Love • (4) Lauren Conrad • (5) Homey Oh My • (6) Poppytalk

Before I knew about Modpodge, I would have been reluctant to decoupage. But now I know how easy it is, so let there be decoupage! Seriously considering buying some fake leaves for this project. There are no leaves on the ground here in SoCal. Boo!

I speak from experience when I say that you will be pleased with the end result if you make a glitter pumpkin.

These could be as easy as sticking tacks in your pumpkin, or as hard as glueing on studs. Either way, super easy.

What about you? How are you decorating your pumpkins this year? I’m curious — do you have any traditions? Did your Halloween rituals change after having kids (if you have kids)? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Free Art Printable: Look/See, an Homage to Mom

Free Art Printable Look/See  • Little Gold Pixel

Back when I was a kid, my mom and I shared an inside joke that endured for years to come. We would touch palms, stretching our fingers wide, each claiming to have the biggest hand.

“Look, see!?” we would say, collapsing in giggles.

Today would have been Mom’s 57th birthday.

It was a normal day on most accounts, yet there was a mild melancholia that followed me throughout, tugging at my heart and tripping memories, especially of the last birthday Mom was alive, when we were all together for my brother’s wedding, all the family in one spot for a short amount of time.

At the time I remember feeling displeased with the gift I gave her for her 50th birthday, feeling like it should’ve had more oomph or pizazz.

In hindsight, I can see that the biggest present was our presence. Of course she always said that, I’m just now believing it. Sometimes you have to stop looking and start seeing.

I created a printable in Mom’s memory, a quick nod to our inside joke. But I hope you can find the truth inside it, too — to look beyond what is obvious and see a deeper meaning in your experiences.

(For the record, as an adult, my hands were definitely larger than Mom’s.)

Happy birthday, Mom! I love you.

Free Art Printable: Look/See

This printable is a high-res JPG in 8×10 format. Click the download button below for the full size.

Free Art Printable Look/See • Little Gold Pixel

Download

P.S. More freebies!

The Fine Print

Remember to play nice. For personal use only. Not for use in commercial projects. Feel free to share, making sure to credit/link back to this post. If you hang one of these on your wall, tag @littlegoldpixel on Instagram so I can see it!

Cool Kid’s Guide to Leggings

Alexa has a lot of unworn jeans. Given the choice between leggings and jeans, the girl will pick leggings without hesitation. The times she has been subjected to jeans (that weren’t jeggings) she fidgeted and fussed with them, tugging and flailing with the bulky waistbands, growing frustrated with the lack of stretch in the knee.

Honestly, she has me thinking. Why do any of us wear jeans at all? Leggings are far more comfortable.

Hence my lightbulb moment a few weeks ago when I realized that Alexa only has one pair of leggings left that fit her. Wh-what?!

Well, I do sort-of remember tossing several into the donate pile over the summer, after the epic Growth Spurt of 2014. I even kinda remember telling myself, “Self, remember to buy Alexa some more pants.”

Cool Kid's Guide to Leggings • Little Gold Pixel

Exhibit A: Last leggings standing.

And yet, here we are. Down to one. Pants Solo. The Last Stretch. The Lonely Legging.

So I’ve been shopping. There are a lot of cute leggings out there. Ideally I’m looking for an inexpensive yet durable legging. Inexpensive because she outgrows things fast. Durable because she destroys things even faster.

Usually I’m not too keen on spending more than $30 for a pair of children’s leggings. Hell, I’m not too keen to spend that much on a pair of leggings for myself. Still, there are some very adorable, costly leggings that shouldn’t be overlooked because they are pretty much works of art and mayyybe would be a good investment for family pictures or holidays.

Here’s a quick roundup of leggings I’m considering buying this season, at a range of price points.

Cool Kid’s Guide to Leggings

Hover over this image to add to Pinterest for a bookmark/reference later:

Cool Kid's Guide to Leggings • Little Gold Pixel

Let’s break it down, now, shall we?

Geometric prints are my jam, if you didn’t notice. I find that they pair well with neutral shirts. Kids love the graphicness of them. Alexa always oohs and awws over the loud prints she has worn.

I also like leggings with patterns that serve as neutrals themselves:

Quick note: No. 12 is on sale right now for $17.95, which is a great deal for Tea Collection quality. 

Which leggings are your favorite? Would you buy any for your kid? What’s your price limit on leggings? Is $40 too much, or am I just a cheapskate?

 

THE SMALL PRINT
This post contains a few affiliate links. I only ever link to things I like or want to buy myself. Thanks for supporting Little Gold Pixel.

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel

There’s a scene in the still-hilarious film “My Blue Heaven” in which the main characters are lamenting their marital situation, stating that their wives both left them in October. “What is it about the month of October?” one asks. “I dunno. The pressure of Halloween? You never know what to go as!”

I can totally relate to this right now, smack dab in the middle of October, closing in on Halloween, and still no costume prospects for myself. This despite the fact that I started looking in September, when I wrote about awesome costumes from movies.

As predicted in that post, my excitement level is ebbing somewhat. Remember my highly scientific chart?

halloweenchart

It could be because I am great at procrastination. And … I keep finding costumes that would work great for other people. Last week I found 11 stylish costumes for little girls. This weekend, I found some excellent choices for my husband, including but not limited to being a bottle of mustard. I even found a costume that would be perfect for my dad.

So on that same note, here are some costumes for little boys. Because I couldn’t help myself! They are so cute! And little! And cute!

Maybe I can help you decide for your child? You’ll definitely want to use at least one of these ideas, if not all.

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel

Atreyu

If I had a boy who dressed up as Atreyu from Never Ending Story, I would be so happy. It would be one of those moments of my childhood colliding with his childhood. Magical. (The same would hold true if Alexa were to dress up as the Childlike Empress, by the way.) This costume is pretty simple. All you’d need is an old martial arts uniform and some dye. Oh, and don’t forget an amulet. (Falcor is optional, and frankly he’s creepy anyhow.)

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel

Olaf

Yes, there will be a lot of Olafs this year. This handmade version is adorable and easy, though, and I love that you could take it all apart later and still have a fully functional hoodie.

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel

Andy Warhol

I really do love the idea of kids dressing up as adults, especially when said costume is as simple as a black turtleneck, a white wig and a couple of soup cans. Win!

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel

Bert (Mary Poppins)

Now this freaking adorable costume requires some sewing skill. I think in a pinch it could be MacGyver’ed with ribbons, a glue gun and a white suit (a quick Google search led me to this deal for $19.99).

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel

Jake (Jake and the Neverland Pirates)

For non-crafty mamas this costume exists out there, in stores and on the Internet. But I happen to think this tutorial could be easy to follow, and it turned out super fun. Bonus: A Mr. Smee costume? I love Smee and his silly voice.

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel

Salty Sailor

Whenever I hear the word sailor, I say “heyyyy.” Because of this Detroit Cobras song. But c’mon now with the awesomeness of this sailor costume. First of all, it’s easy. It’s a neck-face-head costume. Meaning the rest of the clothes can likely be shopped from your closet. And there’s a beard involved, which is always fun.

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel

Simon & Garfunkel

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend. I am imagining twins dressing up like this duo, and it’s making me so happy inside. Another shop-your-closet costume, with wigs and props. Speaking of which …

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel
Paul McCartney

Why not go for Macca while you’re at it? Any kid who dresses up as a Beatle (or a Beatles fan) is cool by me.

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel
Airplane/Aviator

I could see this being a really fun parent-son project, getting the glue and paint and cardboard out and making a sculpture out of it. Then shop your closet and buy a pair of costume goggles, and you’re set.

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel
Jareth the Goblin King (Labyrinth)

A wig, tights and a puffy shirt — and voila, your kid is Bowie in Labyrinth, aka my favorite movie from childhood. Also would be cool as an adult costume, if you can talk your husband into it. (Or your whole family could dress in Labyrinth gear.)

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel

Peter Pan / Captain Hook

Brothers costumes! Or Brother/Sister costumes — cross-dressing is totally allowed! Did I tell you that last year kids were oohing and awwwing over my costume, saying I looked like Captain Hook, even though I wasn’t wearing a hat, a hook or even pants for that matter? Bottom line: Imaginations are awesome, and so is Captain Hook.

14 Super Fun Halloween Costumes for Little Boys • Little Gold Pixel

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

This one is for my brother, who was a huge fan of the pizza-eating, nunchuck-wielding turtles when he was a boy. In a few years his son will be old enough to join the fun. The best part? This turtle costume is easy to make and it’s no-sew.

What will your child wear for Halloween? What will you wear (or do you even dress up at all)? Have you decided on costumes yet, or are your procrastinating like I am? Let’s chat in the comments!

 

THE SMALL PRINT
There are a few affiliate links sprinkled in this post. Thanks for supporting Little Gold Pixel.

30 Free Printables to Spruce Up Your Kid’s Room

Psst — hi there! Did you find this post via Pinterest? If so, nice to meet you, and thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a few minutes to click around so we can get to know each other better. A few good places to start: There is a freebies page I think you’d like, as well as my About page and a roundup of my Favorite Posts


 

I’ve been looking at our walls lately with a very critical eye. (See my first post and second post about free printables for gallery walls.)

Last weekend as I was picking up the toys in Alexa’s room, I noticed the prints on her walls.

I picked them out when I was pregnant with her. Owls. Owls everywhere. I am crazy about owls because they’re my spirit animal. I’m not sure they are Alexa’s, though. She might pick unicorns or horses or mermaids if given a choice.

It’s time for a room makeover for this little girl who has developed her own distinct set of likes and dislikes and who must sleep with the light on full blast each night, and who has an uncanny sense of when I try to sneak in to turn it off. *Sniffling back a tear.*

Yes, everything has a season. It’s probably time to retire the owls for something the teensiest bit more Alexa.

30 Free Printables to Spruce Up Your Kid’s Room

30 Free Printables for Kids' Rooms • Little Gold Pixel

Whew, that’s a lot to take in at once, isn’t it? Let’s break it down now.

Gallery Wall No. 1: Neutrals

I’m drawn to black&white in a big way right now, and I love that the art would grow with the child and won’t feel too cutesy in a few years. Also, completely gender neutral.

Gallery Wall No. 2: Adventure

You may or may not know that I have a thing for maps. As a little girl I would study the atlas with my dad before heading out on a road trip. I still get a lot of pleasure out of studying maps and figuring out a good route.

This gallery is still gender neutral, but it packs a punch with lots of yellow and blue.

Gallery Wall No. 3: Whimsical

Finally, this roundup is a little more feminine, with a softer color palette. My absolute favorite printable is the customizable initial. I highly recommend playing around on The Little Umbrella and creating the perfect mix/match of colors.

Also love the Never Never Never Give Up sentiment, which reminds me of my Never Grow Up freebie. I didn’t include that printable here, but feel free to download via this link.

Resources

Lastly, do you incorporate your kid’s artwork into their rooms? I ask because I plan to mix a few printables with some of Alexa’s original artwork. There’s nothing more precious than a child’s creativity, and I plan to stoke my daughter’s creative fire as much and as often as possible.

Right now I have random Alexa art all over the house, hung up by washi tape. It’s not the most sophisticated display, so eventually I hope to hang a handful of frames so I can swap out her most recent works of art.

What about you? How do you decorate your child’s room? Is it a collaborative effort between you and the child, or do you retain full art direction, so to speak?

P.S. More freebies!

Get Your Free Design Whiz Kit

My TOP 10 tools to boost your design creativity & confidence!

Kids Remember the Darnedest Things

My kid has the memory of an elephant.

After I returned from the market, she looked at the contents of my bag and said, “Mama, did you forget more juice? Because we’re out of juice.” I had, in fact, forgotten.

Out of nowhere, she started telling me an insanely accurate story about “the first time I rode on an airplane” and how it took her to Hawaii, where she swam in the ocean and floated on a “banana boat.” This happened more than a year ago.

As I was tucking her into bed, she suddenly got serious about the fact that she needed to go to the indoor playground and conquer the play structure to get to the ball pit. We haven’t been to this playground in months.

It’s all very cute and pleasant … until she remembers curse words. It’s bad enough that she has (a) heard them and (b) retained them. But does she have to remember the right context, too?! And where did she pick up the phrase “Who wants a poo-poo diaper?” (Because I’m pretty sure no one ever has said that they wanted one.)

It’s enough to make me rethink my game a little. Because if I promise the park on a Monday, you better believe she’ll remember it on Saturday, looooong after I’ve forgotten.

(Now that I’m typing this, maybe it isn’t that Alexa’s memory is exceptional, maybe it’s that mine is so lousy. Ha. See also: I can’t remember your name.)

Still, I wonder how many of the things we do today will be in Alexa’s memory for the long run. Will she remember spinning around in circles and singing Beatles songs when she’s 35?

I have very few memories of being 3 or younger. The only one I can even conjure up is of waking up, sneaking out of my room and turning on the TV to Sesame Street all by myself.

Apparently forgetting childhood memories is a common thing. A study that looked into this phenomenon confirmed this, but the reason why is still up in the air, although it probably has something to do with evolving brain circuitry, which isn’t fully formed till adulthood.

Kids Remember the Darnedest Things • Little Gold Pixel

From the study:

They found that children as old as 7 could still recall more than 60 percent of those early events, while children who were 8 or 9 recalled less than 40 percent. “What we observed was actually the onset of childhood amnesia,” Bauer says.

There are two sides to this coin, though. H says he remembers plenty of stuff from when he was very young, even back to age 1. Maybe childhood memories are a hereditary thing? If Alexa takes after him, she could very well be talking about the Hawaii trip of 2013 well into her adulthood.

If she takes after me … well, there are always pictures to fill in the blanks.

What about you — have you managed to retain lots of childhood memories? What’s the earliest thing you remember? What about your kids — do they remember every little thing and drive you crazy with minutiae? Let’s discuss in the comments …

P.S. Funny things kids say.

I’ve Been Reading: 50/60 Book Reviews for 2014

Book Reviews 2014 Part 5 • Little Gold Pixel

This is an occasional series that chronicles my quest to read 60 books this year. Book reviews 2014: take five. Let’s see how it went, shall we?

Looking back on this batch of books, I’m astounded by how average most of them are.

It would make sense, though, wouldn’t it, to become more discerning the more frequently you read? Does this ever happen to you? Back when I was averaging 30 books a year I thought every book was pretty good. Reading was such a luxury thing that I rarely thought ill of a story (even if looking back now they were pretty awful). Now that I’ve endeavored to make reading a daily habit, it takes a lot more to impress me.

The good news is that not only am I on pace to finish 60 books this year, I’m four books ahead of pace.

(Do you follow me on Goodreads? You should!)

P.S. Book Reviews 2014: Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4

Book Reviews 2014 Part 5 • Little Gold Pixel

Book Reviews 2014: 50/60

Where We Belong / Emily Giffin
File under: Chick lit, mama drama, depressing
Plot: Woman’s world is torn apart when the daughter she gave up for adoption comes knocking. They set off in search of the father.
Review: An easy enough read, but when you’re done you realize you just binged on something completely unsatisfying.
Amazon Goodreads

The Beginning of Everything / Robyn Schneider
File under: Y.A., romance, John Green
Plot: Jock has accident that makes him not a jock anymore. He falls into a crowd of misfits, falls in love with the quirky girl and learns a lot about life and love and yadda yadda yadda.
Review: Another “smart kid” book in the vein of John Green. You will not be smarter for having read it.
Amazon Goodreads

We Were Liars / E. Lockhart
File under: Y.A., suspense, mystery, mind games
Plot: Girl goes back to her tony family vacation island after a memory-jarring accident and finds that things are not the way they used to be. What happened? Will she be able to sort out all the clues?
Review: If you appreciate authentic teen angst mixed with a Memento-type mystery, this is your book. I loved it.
Amazon Goodreads

The Fever / Megan Abbott
File under: Mystery, suspense, Y.A.
Plot: One by one girls at Deenie’s school are having seizures and ending up in the hospital. Is it the HPV vaccine? Is it the water in the “lake”? Is it witchcraft?
Review: This is like Heathers meets Mean Girls meets American Beauty … but not nearly as good. It’s never a good sign when you’re rewriting the book in your head as you’re reading.
Amazon Goodreads

How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky / Lydia Netzer
File under: Literature, mystery, romance
Plot: The love story of astronomers George and Irene, whose astrologist mothers plotted their births and lives so they would be a perfect match for each other … and they are. Or is it all smoke and mirrors?
Review: I still can’t form a coherent thought around this book except to say it’s a masterpiece. Fans of The Night Circus will like this one.
Amazon Goodreads

The Good Luck of Right Now / Matthew Quick
File under: Quirky, adventure, road trip
Plot: Bartholomew (terrible name) is nearly 40, no life outside of taking care of his now-deceased mom, delusional to the point of writing letters to (and having visions of) Richard Gere. He goes on a pilgrimage to find his father with his newly minted friends and a defrocked priest.
Review: I wonder whether Matthew Quick can write about characters who aren’t severely mentally or emotionally disturbed. Still, I found myself rooting for this quirky dude and his wacky band of misfits. How could you not?
Amazon Goodreads

The Here and Now / Ann Brashares
File under: Time travel, Y.A., chick lit, dystopian
Plot: Teen girl travels back in time to escape a bleak future. Somehow it falls on her and her instaboyfriend to pinpoint the “fork” in how things go wrong and to fix it.
Review: Much like Back to the Future, if you turn a blind eye to all the plot holes, you’re in for a fun ride. Could’ve done without the random breaks for card games. I mean, time is of the essence, and we’re learning to play Hearts?
Amazon Goodreads

Anthropology of an American Girl / Hilary Thayer Hamann
File under: WTF, coming of age, literature, booooooring
Plot: Teen girl grows up in the 1970s.
Review: There is some beautiful prose here. It almost put me to sleep.
Amazon Goodreads

The Painter / Peter Heller
File under: Literary fiction, crime, fly fishing
Plot:  In the wake of tragedy, Jim, a well-known expressionist painter, spends his days painting and fly-fishing, trying to find a way to live with the dark impulses that sometimes overtake him.
Review: The action within the book was interesting (murder! investigations! retaliatory threats!) … if only the writing weren’t in the way. The attempt to write a Hemingway-esque character falls flat, in my opinion. It doesn’t work here like it did in The Dog Stars.
Amazon Goodreads

The Little Friend / Donna Tartt
File under: Literary fiction, crime, mystery, Southern
Plot: Harriet is a precocious 12-year-old who is desperate to solve the murder of her brother Robin (who was killed in front of her when she was just a baby). The book follows Harriet’s summer misadventures.
Review: Donna Tartt paints the perfect picture of this small Mississippi town that hasn’t seen good days since before the Civil War. She includes so many heartbreaking coming-of-age moments and sense-of-time/place lessons and beautiful passages with a frank look at life in a dysfunctional family, forever destroyed after Robin’s death. One caveat: the ending.
Amazon Goodreads

In a Nutshell

Three to read: The Little Friend, How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky, We Were Liars

Three to pass: Anthropology of an American Girl, The Fever, The Beginning of Everything

So there you have it. Fifty down, 10 to go! Wish me luck.

What Have You Been Reading Lately?
I’m always on the lookout for a good book … do share recommendations in the comments. Have you read any of these books? Do you agree/disagree with my assessment? Let’s discuss in the comments below…

P.S. Linking this post with Modern Mrs. Darcy. Check it out for more reading recommendations!

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