Monthly Archives: January 2014

Kids’ Book Reviews: Star Wars: Jedi Academy

My 11-year-old read Star Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffery Brown. We all LOVED Brown’s first books, Darth Vader & Son and Vader’s Little Princess, which are full of adorable illustrations showing what may have been, had Darth Vader raised Luke & Leia & were very excited to see this new, longer format, book out by Brown.


Here is his review & summary of Star Wars: Jedi Academy.

A very good book that I would recommend to everyone, but mainly middle-schoolers. It has the art style of Vader’s Little Princess and the format style of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

**spoiler alert**

Roan is a farm boy on Tatooine, who gets rejected from pilot school. So the Jedi academy notes this and sends him a letter and paperwork to fill to be enrolled.

He reluctantly goes and meets his teachers, including a wookie for P.E and Yoda for Using the Force class and Light Saber class. He joins the light saber dueling club and learns to use a light saber and competes in the annual light saber dueling competition.

There are three rounds in the light saber dueling competition. Roan fights round one and loses. In the third round when the school bully (a Zabrak) fights against one of Roan’s friends, Roan accidentally turns off the bully’s light saber using the force. The teachers are then forced to give the match to the bully.

For end of year exams, they have to lift a boulder with the force. Roan succeeds and passes.

The links in the post are Amazon Associate links & I receive a percentage of sales made after clicking those links. My opinions aren’t biased by this. All proceeds received from my Amazon Associate account go towards the kids’ homeschooling materials & supplies.

Great Shakes, Palm Springs

While in Palm Springs recently, my best friend took her sisters & me to Great Shakes, the most amazing shake shop on Earth.

Great Shakes Menu

Great Shakes Palm Springs

That’s a caramel milkshake. Great Shakes makes their own caramel sauce and whipped cream, both of which they’re generous with. If that’s not decadent enough for you, that’s a MINI DOUGHNUT on the straw, fresh baked. You can’t make this stuff up!

My best friend got a pine nut milk shake. This is where the shop really shone. My BFF & I have both fallen victims to “Pine mouth” or “Pine nut syndrome” & will not suffer cheap Chinese pine nuts, so my friend asked where they sourced their pine nuts from. Quick as a bunny, the girl went to find out! THEN the owner came out, chatted with us, while fresh roasting the pine nuts for her shake.

This shop is doing things right!

Great shakes also has a very endearing supply of old-timey candies & sells gift baskets of retro candy themed by decade.

Definitely check out Great Shakes next time you’re in Palm Springs, CA, but take my word for it, you can get by with the smaller-sized shake. I was challenged into getting a large by a 17-year-old girl (remember being able to eat anything you wanted all day long?) & I have forever sworn a vendetta on her, it was that over-whelming. If someone says “YOLO!” when you’re decided between sizes, they mean it as a threat. đŸ˜‰ Get the small.

Make Gnome Mistake…

This is the AMAZING garden gnome I found while out shopping with my husband! He was not spotted at Gnome Depot, despite your best guess.


I nearly cried when I had to leave the store without him & his giant gnome twin. But alas, giant gnomes aren’t cheap ($130!) & my husband was with me. Frickin’ husbands, haters of joy & whimsy. He obviously has not heard the popular saying “to gnome me, is to love me”.

From this gnoment on, I will mourn the loss of my soul-mate & the joy he would bring to my garden.

(If gnome puns were dollars, I’d be well on my way to purchasing said gnome.)