Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Don't Think I'll Ever Eat Strawberry Pop-Tarts Again

My mom showed us something that was very interesting on 60 Minutes today. It was all about flavorings in foods. How they make it so people will be addicted to it, how to make the perfect mixture so it will smell and taste good, etc. Anyway, I learned a fact that will either make you say, "Awesome!" (if you happen to like gross things) or vomit (if you have a queasy stomach).
Some strawberry and vanilla flavoring have "all natural flavors". What they don't tell you is what's so natural about them. You see "natural flavors" on a strawberry pop-tart box or vanilla wafers and think "Oh yeah, they actually use strawberries and vanilla". In some cases that's true, in others that's not.
I learned that some "natural" strawberry and vanilla flavors are made from the glands of a beaver's backside. I said it. Feel free to tell all of your friends or vomit. Goodbye! :D

Unjournaling Again

I LOVE THIS BOOK! :D Here are some more exercises.

Write a paragraph that starts with this sentence: Why don't you learn how to talk to a rooster? and ends with this one: She slugged him.

"Why don't you learn how to talk to a rooster?" Sheila's friend Albert asked.
Shelia shrugged.
"What's the point?"
"What's the point? Sheila, the point is so you can figure out what roosters are thinking! Didn't you ever wonder what your rooster thinks about?"
Sheila's rooster, Cluck, never really did anything except go, "Cockadoodledoo!" in the morning.
"Not really," She said. "They don't do much, and it's impossible to talk to one."
"It is not!" Albert protested. "You're just too dumb to figure out how to talk to one!"
She slugged him.

You are a farmer who wants personalized license plates. You aren't allowed to use more than seven letters and one hyphen or space. Come up with at least three ideas for your plates.


Olivia has been criticized by her boyfriend for not expressing her feelings enough. "I never know what you think about anything!" he says. "You never give me any details. You shut me out of your thoughts and your life!"
Olivia decides to teach him a lesson. When he comes to pick her up one night, she shares, completely, every detail and thought in her head from the time the leave the house until they get out of the car and shut the door. What does she say?

"While I was getting out of bed this morning, I wondered, 'What do dogs think about when they see a squirrel? Your watch looks really cheap. Did you get it out of a toy machine? Do you think my hair looks nice? Your car needs a wash. It's really dirty. Boy, Mrs. Henderson needs to lose a little weight. My mother says that I need to take better care of my room if I want my own car. I can't believe your mother let you get a car when your room always looks like a garbage dump! I love your hair today. What did you do to it? I hope the restaurant we're going to isn't like the one we went to last time! I could've sworn the cheese they used was molding!"

Thanks for reading! :D

X Factor: Thanksgiving Dedication Week

Sorry for the delay in the review. :P With NaNoWriMo (Which we all won, by the way!!! :D), the holidays, relatives, etc, we've been pretty busy.

So, I was right about Stacy Francis going. I'm not really upset about it. She had an attitude and she didn't sing very well. And after that nice post about Astro last time, he gives an attitude at the elimination show when he was put in the bottom two! He said that he didn't want to sing to people who didn't want him there. You can look it up; you'll find it. I do feel badly for him a little bit though, since he's only a kid. He also apologized on the news about it.

The theme was Thanksgiving Dedication Week. The contestants could pick any song they wanted and dedicate it to someone. They also announced that it was going to be a double elimination.

Nicole's dress looked like she forgot to put on some pants. It was so short, it could've been a shirt.

Rachel Crow: She gave thanks to her family that adopted her. She got beat up when she was little and her birth mother was addicted to drugs. We also learned that Rachel has a sister named Hannah who was also adopted.

I can't stop saying how cute Rachel is! :DI didn't like the outfit, though. She was wearing some kind of cape that was taller than she was. She didn't move around a whole lot, either. Probably because she would trip and fall over that thing. It wasn't my favorite performance by her. It didn't help that she sang a song I doubt anybody knows. Then they dropped confetti on her. Really? There are still seven people left (after the elimination). Save it for the finale, people!

Oh-my-gosh, this crowd needs to shut up!

Marcus Canty: He gave thanks to his mom. They seem really close. His mom was single. They lived in a tough neighborhood where they could see the police arresting murderers across the street.

He sang an unrecognizable song just like Rachel did. It was slow and forgettable. His mom got emotional though. He cried after he sang and hugged his mom. L.A. said that he was as good as any singer he's worked with. It was just OK for me.

Melanie Amaro: She gave thanks to God for never letting her down. She was AMAZING! :D She was better than the previous two. She looked like she felt awesome and got all fired up afterward and said how happy she was to be there. She looked great and Simon LOVED it. The only thing I didn't like was the twenty backup singers crowding around her while she sang.

Chris Rene: He gave thanks to Tim, his guidance counselor. He helped him get out of drugs and alcohol. Apparently, Chris was in a horrible car crash after being so high on drugs and almost died.

At the beginning of his song, he was slightly off and it was only OK. It was pretty boring until the second half of the song when he put in some of his own lyrics. He's a nice guy. The second part was WAY better than the first.

This crowd is a bunch of LEMMINGS! :O They boo and cheer at EVERYTHING. If one person boos, the rest boo, one person cheers, the rest cheer. (If you haven't heard of lemmings, look them up. They are SO CUTE but they follow whatever the other does. Sometimes, one lemming jumps off of a cliff, and the rest of the pack jumps off too just because one of them did. So whenever someone does something just because someone else does it, I have to yell out, "LEMMINGS!")

Lakoda Rayne: They gave thanks to people who have shaped them into who they are today; dads, boyfriends, grandmas, etc.

They sang a TAYLOR SWIFT SONG!!! :D (Taylor Swift is one of my FAVORITE singers). It was awesome. They have lots of potential. I hope they make it in the music career. They keep getting better and better as they go on. Paula was a wreck. It was their best performance yet.

Leroy Bell: He gave thanks to his mom. She passed away almost two years ago. I LOVE his voice. He managed to keep it together during his performance. He got a Standing O from almost all of the judges. He's awesome. It was probably his best song. L.A. really dumps on him. Simon loved it. He thought it was a, "fantastic tribute to his mum." Both Paula and Nicole were in tears over his song.

Filler, filler, tweets, blah. :P

Astro: He gave thanks to his supporters, otherwise known as his "Astronauts". He apologized. He said he was hurt, but he promises that there will be no more tantrums. He wrote an apology song. He's so talented. He's awesome, but he's not my favorite out of all of the singers. I definitely think he'll make it in the music industry no matter what. His song was sort of repetitive. He's had better songs. He apologizes again after he sings. He accepted that he didn't act well.

Drew: She gave thanks to her best friend Shelby. They seem like SUCH good friends! :D They're so sweet.

Her voice is incredible. She's amazing. Shelby was in the crowd grinning from ear to ear the entire time. She could win the ENTIRE THING. L.A. is a dope. He said she doesn't do age appropriate songs. Whatever. She was so sweet and complimented Shelby the whole time. I love her. Simon really nailed L.A. for his, "stupid , pointless, comments" in his words. Good for him. L.A. really picks on Leroy and Drew and I'm SO TIRED of it.

Josh Krajcik: He gave thanks to his daughter, Rowen. She looks sort of like my best friend's (Kirsten) sister, Samantha at times. Rowen and Josh seem really close. Apparently Josh plays piano! :D He's the first to play an instrument on this show. I LOVE his voice! :D He's awesome. One word: W-O-W. Just him + a piano= incredible. Nicole got emotional afterward.

My Prediction: It was going to be Marcus because he was forgettable and one of the first people to sing and then I didn't know who the other person would be. Sadly, Leroy and Lakoda Rayne went. :P

Comments: I feel bad for Paula. :(

Thursday, November 17, 2011

X Factor Review

So, my mom does American Idol Reviews. Simon Cowell left American Idol to make a new show called X Factor, which I personally like way better than American Idol. (For one thing, they actually have people who can sing, not just impress the judges with their sparkly outfits and distracting hairdos). Since my mom already does American Idol reviews, I'm doing X Factor Reviews.

Rock Week

So like I said in my last post, I really hate the dancers and flashing lights. It's bad enough that they have to have 20 on stage with all of the contestants, but now the host comes out to dancers in ballerina outfits that someone attacked with a chainsaw?!?! They've gone too far.
I feel bad for poor Paula. Two of her groups have gone home in a row now, and both times she had to decide between them. At least now she can focus on her one group and not have a situation like that again. After the host was surrounded by creepy dancers, he got annoyed in a sarcastic way for Nicole taking a while to get to her seat. And then she announced that Leroy Bell would go first.

Leroy Bell:
They do the montage things and show clips of rehearsals, and then, of course, L.A. makes a snotty comment. He said that he thinks Leroy is, "B-O-R-I-N-G," which, he is not. Sure, he does a slow song every time, but he sings well and doesn't need dancers from Mars, strobe lights, or fog machines. On the other hand, all of L.A.'s kind of singers use that stuff all the time. After the video, they announce his name like he's a player on Super Smash Brothers. I feel like yelling out, "Kirby!" every time they do that. I liked that Nicole had a simple stage with hardly anything more than him and a mic stand. He's such a cool dude. I love his hats that he wears, not everyone could pull that off. He has a great voice. I still can't believe he's 60. L.A. can eat his words. He was awesome. L.A. had better watch out because people who like Leroy aren't going to agree with L.A. or vote for him on Twitter. (L.A. was still in second place, though, but I know why. Simon mentioned he got a Twitter account that day. I have no idea if he's allowed to vote for himself though). This audience is so annoying. They boo and cheer at EVERYTHING.
Simon said, "It's rock week. You should have been like a shark, but instead, you were a dolphin." Sorry for that insult, dolphin lovers. (Cough, Kirsten, cough). I'm worried for him. L.A. really hit him hard and he went first which never helps.

Rachel Crow: Apparently, Mead, Colorado is a funny name. Simon could barely contain himself when he announced Rachel's home town. Simon really likes her. I do too. I love her bubbly energy and she's so cute. Nicole keeps on saying that age doesn't matter when it comes to singing. (Duh, she has Leroy to mentor and he's awesome), but she thought that Rachel's young age was going to hold her back. How does that work? If it doesn't matter that Leroy's older, it shouldn't matter that Rachel's young. Really? Dancers with tambourines? Why must they torture us? I guess the judges didn't care though, since she got a Standing O from all of the judges.

Random Comment: Nicole looked like she was about to fall asleep with her black clothing and purple eyeshadow.

Chris Rene: He's not my favorite contestant, but he's fun. He's a cool, rappish, hip-hoppish sort of guy. He did a cool rap twist on a reggae song. Simon had JUST said to Leroy to change up the songs he does, but he didn't like that Chris made it different. L.A.'s argument was that Chris took a reggae song by Bob Marley, who is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and made it his own. In fact, he even said to Simon, "Oh yeah? Let's do a hip-hop week and sees what Drew does." It was a good argument. I just think that Simon was being Simon.

This host is quickly becoming very annoying. He keeps cutting the judges off!

MORE @$!#*& TWEETS!!! x(

Stacy Francis: She was way off key. Nicole said she could soar with this song, or fail. She did neither. Instead, she dropped like a dead bird. This audience needs to be bound and gagged. So does the host, as a matter of fact. He REALLY needs to shut up when the judges are talking.
Stacy looked grumpy the entire time. Simon, L.A., and Nicole gave her criticism that would help her, and she scowled. Nicole gave her a compliment, and she still scowled. She needs to go.
Oh and another thing, she calls her fans the "Franatics." Really?

Melanie Amaro: In the video, L.A. said, "MelODY and edgy? Forget about it. How can you even say Melanie and Edgy in the same sentence?" Apparently HE can't. She has a great voice and seems like a really sweet girl. I like that the stage wasn't on fire and crowded by dancers from the future. I wish she were more unique, though. L.A. was really getting on my nerves. He needs to keep quiet when it's not his turn.

Josh Krajcik: He's a cool, normal guy and I like that. Like I said, rough around the edges, raspy voice, and so unique. He's awesome. I like Nicole. She's so sincere and doesn't hold back. She really gets into it, like Paula does. In fact, they're a lot alike and seem to get along well. She's like a little ball of fire. I like the slower songs on him better than when he's rocking out, but he was still incredible! In the video, Nicole said she'd have a hard time not getting up and head banging when he sang that song. And guess what? She head banged. It was that good. Standing O from all four judges and got a "that was bloody fantastic," from Simon.

Astro: When he talks, it seems like he wears himself out after all of that rapping. It's sweet to see the relationship between him and his mom. He's really nice and polite. The song was sweet and emotional. It was probably my favorite performance by him. He dedicated it to all of the rappers that died from drugs and smoking and other stuff. It was a love song to hip-hop which was so cool. He's the best rapper I've ever seen, and that includes professional rappers that I see on TV and featured rappers in songs by singers like Selena Gomez. He always says, "Thank you, sir," and is very polite. And he says happy birthday to his little sister on live television. He's great.

Lakoda Rayne: One of the singers, Hayley, is home schooled! :D They seem so nice. They're lucky to have Paula as a mentor. This was one of their better nights, but I didn't like the rotating images of lips in the background. It was kind of random (Ok, kind of is an understatement). Overall, though, it was really good and was a fun performance. Simon thought it was a mess. I disagree.

I hate it when the contestants hold up their fingers to show what number they are and try to get you to vote for them. It's so stupid.

Drew: She's cute and has a good attitude. L-O-V-E her voice! :D She's phenomenal. I like that Simon has a personal relationship with the girls. It's nice to see his sentimental side once in a while. It would be nice to see her do something a little different, maybe Taylor Swift or something, but even if she doesn't, she's still great.

Marcus Canty: He's a really nice, conservative, church kid. He didn't want to do anything inappropriate. Of course, after telling L.A. he was uncomfortable, L.A. made him do it anyway (after apologizing and telling him he'd do better next time). The stage dancers were crazy. They had skimpy, inappropriate, dresses on, and Marcus was scooting under their legs. He was good, VERY good, but he seemed uncomfortable. It was gross. He ignored them completely. It wasn't cool. Marcus stood up for himself, and L.A. made him do it anyway. Not cool at all.

Prediction: Stacy is going home. She needs to go. She wasn't good and she has an attitude problem.

Comments: L.A. is my least favorite judge. He' s being really mean and snotty.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

X Factor

I am hooked.
This is way better than American Idol. The singers are awesome, I love the competition between the judges, I like how the singers get mentors, the host is better than Ryan, although he is starting to get annoying. Paula or one of the other judges tries to make a comment and he cuts them off because they are running out of time.

"I just want you to know that I love you both, but I can only pick one, you both are so great and you have definitely grown over time-" (Paula)
"I need a name, Paula." (Host)

Earlier . . .

"And now you can vote on Twitter! You can vote for your favorite contestant and which judge you agree with tonight! Oh and look at that, over 3,000,235 people have tweeted about X Factor! That's 913 tweets a minutes. And it looks like most people disagree with Simon Cowell. Most people agree with L.A. . . ." (Host)

I hate fluff.

Personally, I think Simon has the best group. Three amazingly talented girls. Here's what I think of each contestant:

Rachel Crow: SO SO SO CUTE! :D Thirteen and she can sing like that?!?! She's so serious when she sings and then she's all smiles at the end of the song! :D Bubbly, happy, polite, all the personality traits a singer should have.

Drew: So unique. Again, fourteen but seems way older when she sings. She is also very cute and happy. Simon seems starstruck by her. (She is one of my mom's favorites).

Melanie Amaro: Very very good, but she doesn't sound very different. I am glad that Simon had the sense to bring her back. I'd much rather have her than Thia or Simone. (Simone is pronounced Si-mon-ee to Simon).

Lakoda Rayne: Off key sometimes, but an all girl group that sings country-pop? They could definitely improve and go places.

Stacey Francis: Great voice, stupid song choices. I agree with Simon though, she sounds very good when she's singing more gospel music.

Leroy Bell: He seems like Nicole's favorite. I still can't believe he's 60. He looks and sounds much, much younger. He's awesome.

Josh Krajcik: He's so cool. Normal guy that used to sling burritos. He's rough around the edges and I like that. (So does my mom). He's unique and has a great voice.

Astro: I don't like rap. It's just not my kind of music. But this kid makes me enjoy it when he sings. He writes and memorizes his own music in a week, then he has to perform it. He's so talented for his age. (Did I mention he's 14)?

Chris Rene: I feel like he's up and down. Some weeks he's good, others he's just off. Not my favorite contestant, but he isn't bad.

Marcus: He's awesome! :D He dances and sings and I think it's cool that his mom gave him two years and this was his last chance, and he made it! :D So cool.

I love this show and look forward to it every week! :D

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Randomness . . . AGAIN! :D

-I'm doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the THIRD year in a row! :D My word goal is 35,000 words. Last year was 20,000 (but I wrote a 40,000 word sequel) and the year before that was 10,000. Right now I am at 16,262 words! :D
-My BFF just had a birthday on Friday. She turned twelve. If you want to check out what she did and wish her a happy birthday, go to her blog, Tacos, Dolphins, and Friends.
-My first thought when I woke up a couple days ago: It's 9:00 in the morning and I haven't even gotten up yet. Most kids would be in their first or second class by now in public school. Ah, I love homeschooling! :D
-Speaking of homeschooling, I'm sitting here in my pajamas at 9:50 in the morning. I haven't even had breakfast yet! :D But I have spent the past hour and a half writing my NaNoWriMo novel! :D I'll post an excerpt on here later.
-Ok, I lied. I'll put an excerpt on here now! :D My book is called "A Cherry Pie, an Iguana, a Silver Dollar, and a Spitball Fight". Here's the first chapter.

Who knew that a cherry pie, an iguana, a silver dollar, and a spitball fight could change the fate of the world?
My name is Stephanie Finkle, and yes, I am the reason that the world is now doomed. Well, unless my best friend, Ivy, and I do something about it.
Ivy and I were walking home from school (we’re neighbors and the school is only a couple blocks from home).
“Hey,” Ivy said. “Want to come to my house? My mom just baked a cherry pie. We could each have a slice and watch a movie or something.”
“Didn’t you buy Tangled on DVD?” I asked. Tangled was one of my favorite movies, but my mom said we couldn’t afford ‘extras’ right now.
“Yes!” Ivy said excitedly. She bounced up and down slightly, showing her enthusiasm. “We just got it, like, two days ago. It’s still in the plastic, we’d be the first to watch it!”
“Ok,” I said. “My mom doesn’t get home till nine. But I should get back home around five so I could eat dinner.” My mom works as a real estate agent, and she’s been needing to stay later than usual recently.
“You could stay for dinner,” Ivy said, waving a hand. “My mom always makes more than she needs to whenever she cooks, and she loves you. You’re like a second daughter to her.”
She’s like a second mom to me. I thought. But I didn’t say it out loud. I didn’t want to embarrass Ivy.
“Thanks!” I said. “What are your brothers up to?”
“Max and Charlie? Who knows what they’re up to. Max is probably playing some RPG computer game and Charlie is probably playing with his Star Wars doll collection.”
They were really Star Wars action figures, but Ivy loved to make fun of his collection. She was just jealous because he collected something and she didn’t.
We came to the big farmhouse that Ivy lived in. Ivy turned the doorknob and walked in. The Smith’s always leave their door unlocked. I don’t know why.
“I’m home, Mom!” Ivy called. I followed her into the living room.
“Hi, Sweetie!” I heard Mrs. Smith’s voice coming from the kitchen. “I’m making enchilada soup.”
I did a silent cheer inside my head. Enchilada soup was one of my favorite foods.
We walked into the kitchen.
“Awesome!” Ivy said. “That’s Stephanie’s favorite.”
Mrs. Smith was dumping multiple chicken pieces into a pot of boiling hot water. She turned her head at the mention of my name.
“Oh, Stephanie!” She said excitedly. “How are you?”
She came over and gave me a hug. We were very comfortable with each other. Ivy’s family was practically part of my family.
“Good. Thanks.”
“Did Ivy tell you we just got Tangled on DVD?” She asked.
I smiled.
“Yeah, she did. I can’t wait to see it again.”
“I can’t believe you’re not sick of it yet!” Ivy said. “You’ve been to it in the movies about five times.”
That was partly true. I had seen it three maybe four times. But I did keep spending my allowance to see it over and over.
“I made a cherry pie last night,” She said. “Feel free to have a slice.”
“Thanks,” I said.
Ivy was already getting out two plates and two forks.
“You can go ahead to my room,” Ivy said. “You know it’s down the hall, right?” She joked. I had been going to her house since I was in preschool.
I started down the hall. Each kid had their own room right next to each other. Charlie’s room was across from Max’s room and Ivy’s room was next to Charlie’s.
I couldn’t resist peeking into Max’s room. The door was slightly opened. I peered into the crack.
Max was talking into a walkie-talkie. There was a straw lying next to him on the hardwood flooring.
“So, a spitball fight in an hour?” Max said. Charlie’s voice came out a second later.
“Yeah,” Charlie said. “That’ll give us time to train and find paper to use.”
“Roger that.”
Max stood up and walked towards the door. I walked quickly into Ivy’s room and leaned the door shut.
“Hey, Iggy,” I said in a baby voice. Iggy was Ivy’s pet iguana. He was currently in his tank, but I lifted the lid to pet him. Iggy didn’t do much, but Ivy loved him just the same.
The door banged open. I turned around, thinking it was Max trying to make as much noise as possible, but it was Ivy. She had kicked the door open with her foot since she wasn’t able to, with her hands full.
“Pie’s ready!"
I replaced Iggy’s tank lid and Ivy handed me my slice of warm cherry pie with whipped cream. I took a bit and sighed. Ivy’s mom was such a good cook. I wished my mom had that sort of time. Instead, I was stuck eating TV dinners. That’s why I loved dinner at Ivy’s house so much.
Ivy popped in the disc and the movie started. We watched for about an hour, and then we heard nails scratching on wood flooring and the fork on my plate being moved.
I turned around and gave a squeal.
Iggy was on the ground, eating the remains of my cherry pie. Ivy had noticed too. We were both too stunned to do anything. Iggy had never gotten out of his tank before. He must’ve smelled the pie and wanted to eat it. But how he got out was a mystery.
“How did he get out?” Ivy’s voice was high pitched and nervous. “We need to figure this out. Because if he can get out, that’s not good. He could hurt himself!”
I could imagine someone switching a light bulb on in my brain.
“I was petting Iggy earlier,” I said. “Before you got the pie. Maybe I didn’t put the lid back on right.”
Ivy let out a sigh of relief.
“Thank goodness. That’s probably how he got out.”
“Um, we should probably chase him now,” I suggested as Iggy took off down the hallway.
Ivy jumped up and I followed her. Iggy was already in the kitchen. Man, could that iguana move! Ivy slipped on one of Max’s socks on the kitchen floor (he was such a slob) but got right back up. Iggy was out of sight.
“Iggy,” I called. “Iggy, where are you?”
Max and Charlie ran out of their rooms, each armed with a straw and a handful of small paper balls. They started sucking them and loading them into the straw, shooting them at each other. The spitball fight had begun.
“There’s Iggy!” Ivy said. Iggy had tried to hide under the table in the living room, where Max and Charlie were mercilessly shooting spitballs at each other.
Ivy ran and dived for Iggy, but tripped over a book that Max left out. (Max!) The whole scene slowed down to slow motion right before my very eyes. Ivy fell sideways, toppling into Charlie. Charlie fell backwards into the bookshelf behind him and their mom’s special silver dollar resting on the top shelf rocked back and forth on the edge of the shelf procariously. There was a sharp intake of breath. It stopped rocking and we let out a breath. Then it fell.
The silver dollar fell and hit the ground, at the exact moment Mrs. Smith walked in the room, and broke in two.
Four heads (including mine) swiveled to face Mrs. Smith. Her face was frozen in a look of shock, her mouth hanging open.
“I’m so sorry, Mom!” Ivy said. “It was my fault. I know that silver dollar was special to you.” Ivy’s great-grandmother had given the silver dollar to Mrs. Smith when she was a little girl.
“I’m sure you didn’t do it on purpose, Honey,” Mrs. Smith said. “But it’s not just a special token I got from my grandmother.”
Ivy looked puzzled. I was definitely confused. It was just an ordinary silver dollar.
“What do you mean?” Ivy asked.
Mrs. Smith walked over and sat down on the couch.
“Everyone sit down,” She said. “This is going to take a while.”
I sat down on the chair next to the couch. Ivy sat next to her mom while Charlie and Max sat down on the couch opposite of Mrs. Smith.
“There’s really no other way to explain this,” She said. “So I’ll just come right out with it.” She took a deep breath and said. “I’m a wizard.”
“What?” Ivy, Charlie, Max, and I said at the same time.
“I am a wizard,” She repeated.
“Why didn’t you ever tell us?” Ivy asked.
“Well, kids aren’t normally supposed to know if their parents are wizards, because it’s easier to let the secret slip to someone else when you’re younger. And you can’t let a secret like this slip to anyone outside the family.”
I blushed and shrank back in my seat.
“Oh no!” She said hurriedly. “It’s ok for you to know, I trust you.”
I didn’t say anything but I smiled.
“Anyway,” She said. “That silver dollar was entrusted to me by my grandmother. My grandmother was also a wizard. I got the magic from her. A long time ago, back when my grandmother was a little girl, there was an evil wizard named Wizatar. His plan was to take over the world. But one day, he was defeated by another wizard by the name of Merlin.”
“What?” Charlie exclaimed. “He exists?”
“Existed,” Mrs. Smith corrected him. “He was very old when he defeated Wizatar. 612 to be exact. Wizards can live to be very old since they are magical, but look not a day older than 40. I myself am a 150.”
“No wonder you look so good,” I blurted out. I immediately wished I hadn’t. That was a little embarrassing.
Mrs. Smith smiled.
“You flatter me,” She said honestly. “But we are getting off the subject. Anyway, Merlin defeated Wizatar. Wizatar didn’t die, but his powers were sealed away in this silver dollar. It has been passed down for generations, and I was the most recent one to get it.”
“So, you’re related to Merlin?” Max asked.
“Yes,” She said.
“Sweet!” Charlie pumped his fist in the air. “I’m related to Merlin!”
“Does this mean we’re wizards?” Ivy asked excitedly.
“I don’t know for sure,” Mrs. Smith said. “But it is always possible for the children of a wizard to have magical powers, too.”
“I still don’t understand everything,” I said. “Why is it such a big deal that the silver dollar broke?”
“Well, since Wizatar’s powers were being stored in there, and it broke, the powers have been returned back to him.”
Ivy gasped.
“So that means-?”
Mrs. Smith nodded.
“Wizatar is going to try to take over the world again.”
“Is there any way we can stop it?” I asked hopefully.
“There is one way,” She said. “The only way it can be fixed is to get the magic glue. But that is nearly impossible. Even though Merlin put a spell on it so Wizatar wouldn’t be able to destroy it, it’s going to be very hard for anyone to get it.”
“Where is it?” Max asked.
“On the top of the empire state building.”
“In New York?” Max asked with a strained look on his face as though he was thinking hard.
“No, Max,” Ivy said. “It’s in Minnesota. Of course it’s in New York!”
“Why is it going to be so hard to get?” I wondered.
“Because Wizatar has hundreds of wizard servants working for him. They will know immediately that some wizard is going to try and get it.”
“Couldn’t we get it?” I asked. “Ivy and I could try and get it. If Ivy is possibly a wizard, it would be really easy. She’d have magical powers and everything!”
Mrs. Smith laughed.
“You underestimate our abilities,” She said. “Learning spells and using magic takes years of training and practice. Ivy has had no experience whatsoever in magic. Even if she was a wizard, she wouldn’t know how to cast any spells.”
I hung my head in disappointment.
“But,” Mrs. Smith second-guessed herself. “Wizatar would never guess that two thirteen-year-old girls would go and try to get the magic glue. And I have to alert the wizard world anyway. I could have different wizards meet you along the way.”
She looked back and forth between Ivy and me.
“Ok,” She said. “You two can go and get the glue.”
“Yes!” I cheered.
“What about us?” Charlie demanded, standing up. Max copied him and stood up, his arms crossed.
“Yeah. What about us?”
“You’re too young,” Mrs. Smith said. “Even if you are possibly wizards.”
“How am I going to figure out if I’m a wizard or not?” Ivy asked.
“At some point in your life if you are a wizard, magic will show itself,” Mrs. Smith said.
“You said you would get different wizards to meet us along the way,” I said to Mrs. Smith.
“How are you going to do that, how are the wizards going to know what we look like, and how will we know if different people we see are wizards or not?”
“Very good questions,” She said. “There’s a website online that only wizards can access by typing in a password in on the computer. I’ll put a post there explaining the situation and I’ll put pictures of both of you on there so wizards will know what you look like. Then, if a wizard sees you, they’ll do the special wizard sign for ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’.”
“What’s the wizard sign?” Ivy asked.
Mrs. Smith held up three fingers.
“That’s it?” Max said. “I was expecting something more exciting.”
“Well if it were very exciting, it would be very obvious, and wizards need to be subtle so the secret doesn’t spread. That could be a disaster. You can’t have too many non-magical folk meddling in magic. Anyway, if a wizard sees you, they’ll do the wizard sign. Then they can give you some advice, or help you along your journey.”
“How are we going to get to New York?” I asked.
“I’ll give you two my credit card. You can use it to get cab rides, hotel rooms, and food. Nothing more,” She said with finality in her voice, eyeing Ivy’s malicious grin.
The microwave timer beeped.
“Oh!” Mrs. Smith jumped up from the couch. “The soup is ready. Ivy, go get your father. He’s taking a nap in our room.”


After eating dinner with the Smith’s, Ivy and I talked in her room and made matching necklaces. We finished our movie, and before we knew it, it was time for me to go home.
“Thanks for dinner, Mrs. Smith,” I said as I walked out the door, lifting my backpack higher.
“My pleasure,” She assured us. “By the way, let your mom know that you’re going to go on vacation with us in New York for about a week.”
She winked at me. I winked back.
“See you tomorrow, Ivy,” I called.
I waved an Ivy waved back. I walked five steps down the sidewalk and up the front walk of my house. My mom wasn’t home yet, so I used my spare key.
Exhausted, I trudged down the hall into my room, flopped down onto my bed fully clothed, and fell asleep.

-I'm taking a six week horse class! :D I know how to ride a horse all by myself. I can steer it, walk it, trot it, stop it, groom it, and tack it! :D Kirsten (my BFF) is my horse partner. We both ride a brown and white horse called Rain. She's a trouble maker, but she's SUPER sweet! :D Next week is the last week. :( But we get to go on a trail ride! :D
-I'm trying to turn my NaNoWriMo book from last year, "Fantasya: A Giant Problem", into a play. SUPER tricky! I'm used to dialogue and detail, not shortening a book. Plus, I have a LOT of characters.
-I dressed up as Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter for Halloween. Hermione's my favorite character, but I already dressed up as her. I had spectra specs, a wig, radish earrings, robes, a wand, a tote bag, a Quibbler magazine (I made it! :D ), a butterbeer cork necklace, and I even had new sneakers that looked sort of like the Converse they wear in the movies! :D
-Our home school group has an art class we take every two weeks. A month ago I painted a scene with trees in it that can go in and out of a plastic mug. Yesterday, I painted a leaf on a coaster to go with it! :D
-I've been working on drawing Anime. None of them have turned out half as well as the ones my friend, Emily, has drawn.
-Oh yeah, my brother Maxim has been trying too. :)
-We have 20 Things Club tonight. It's research club my mom set up for our home school group. We pick a topic (sometimes it's a certain topic, like an animal or an author), then we look up 20 facts about that topic. Sometimes we share five or ten facts with the group, sometimes all of the facts! :D The topic for this month is a place we'd like to visit. (My friend Jake was going to do 20 things about a street we drive on to get to the park, but he's not sure if he'll be able to pull it off). I have to do a report on Italy for a Cultural Studies project I'm doing with my BFF, Kirsten, and her sister, Avery, so I'm doing 20 things on Italy! :D I do want to go there. All that yummy food . . . *drools*. I'm also making Pesto Pasta for the food to share and Kirsten and Avery are making Ziti.