Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Book Review: The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller


When I came across the The Book Whisperer:Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller I just knew I had to read this. I was not disappointed. This was such an inspiring book.

Donnalyn Miller tells her story about how she learned she pass along a love of learning to her students. As a new teacher, she diligently prepared a unit for one of her favorite books only to find out her students did not respond. After a couple of years of trial and error she found how to present books to her students and how to encourage them to read.

This book is a education book for classroom style teachers. However, the presentation makes it an enjoyable read. Not only does the author share her experiences, but covers educational topics such as type of readers, conditions for learning, assessment tests and traditional methods of presenting reading. Through out these topics she shares ideas that has worked in her classroom and how she has implemented them.

My only fault with this book is that it is written to teachers. As a home school mom, I would love to see a book written to parents and how to implement this in your home with different aged kids. I found The Book Whisperer a great book and has provoked a lot of thought for reading in our home.



Delani is totally fascinated with Destini's American Girl Doll, Felicity. If Destini is playing with it she thinks she need to. I caught a picture of Destini sharing with Delani.

Book Review: Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan

I read this book back in March and had wanted to do a review, but I had accidentally returned it to the library. I listed it in my reading post for March and was pleasantly surprised when the author, Carolyn Jourdan, had left me a comment. Since I had really enjoyed the book I reordered it from the library, reread it (told you I enjoyed it) and here, finally is my review.


Heart in the Right Place is a memoir by Carolyn Jourdan. I find memoirs fall into two catagories: either a great read or a horrible one. I happened to be reading another memoir that fell into the latter catagory, finally in disgust I threw the it down and reached beside my bed and brought up Heart in the Right Place. I was pleasantly surprised and excited to find that it fell into the first catagory. In fact, that night I read half the book. Here is Amazon's product description:

Carolyn Jourdan had it all: the Mercedes Benz, the fancy soirees, the best clothes. She moved in the most exclusive circles in Washington, D.C., rubbed elbows with big politicians, and worked on Capitol Hill. As far as she was concerned, she was changing the world.

And then her mother had a heart attack. Carolyn came home to help her father with his rural medical practice in the Tennessee mountains. She'd fill in for a few days as the receptionist until her mother could return to work. Or so she thought. But days turned into weeks.

Her job now included following hazmat regulations for cleaning up bodily fluids; maintaining composure when confronted with a splinter the size of a steak knife; distinguishing between a "pain," a "strain," and a "sprain" on indecipherable Medicare forms; and tending to the loquacious Miss Hiawatha, whose daily doctor visits were never billed.

Eventually, Jourdan gave up her Mercedes and made do with a twenty-year-old postal jeep. She shed her suits for scrubs. And the funny thing was, she liked her new life. As she watched her father work tirelessly and uncomplainingly, she saw what making a difference really meant: being on call all hours of the day and night, tolerating the local drug addict's frequent phone calls, truly listening to Miss Hiawatha. It meant just showing up, every day, and taking care of every person in Strawberry Plains and beyond, whether he got paid to do it or not. And for his daughter, it meant learning that her real place to change the world was right here—in her hometown—by her father's side.

This was a laugh out loud read, but also it shows the realness of life. I was drawn into her world and into her struggle between helping her parents and people of her community and her desire to be back in Washington D.C. This was a very heartwarming read and I thoroughly enjoed it. Highly recommended!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Book Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley


While browsing books at Costco, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley caught my eye. I have to admit there was just something about this cover that I couldn't resist. I picked it up and read the description and came home and ordered it from the library. Here is the book description from Amazon:

It's the beginning of a lazy summer in 1950 at the sleepy English village of Bishop's Lacey. Up at the great house of Buckshaw, aspiring chemist Flavia de Luce passes the time tinkering in the laboratory she's inherited from her deceased mother and an eccentric great uncle. When Flavia discovers a murdered stranger in the cucumber patch outside her bedroom window early one morning, she decides to leave aside her flasks and Bunsen burners to solve the crime herself, much to the chagrin of the local authorities. But who can blame her? What else does an eleven-year-old science prodigy have to do when left to her own devices? With her widowed father and two older sisters far too preoccupied with their own pursuits and passions—stamp collecting, adventure novels, and boys respectively—Flavia takes off on her trusty bicycle Gladys to catch a murderer. In Alan Bradley's critically acclaimed debut mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, adult readers will be totally charmed by this fearless, funny, and unflappable kid sleuth. But don't be fooled: this carefully plotted detective novel (the first in a new series) features plenty of unexpected twists and turns and loads of tasty period detail. As the pages fly by, you'll be rooting for this curious combination of Harriet the Spy and Sherlock Holmes. Go ahead, take a bite. --Lauren Nemroff

Now I have to admit that I don't read a lot of mystery, but I do enjoy a good mystery every now and then. Alan Bradley's book definitely was a great pick. I was totally caught up with Flavia de Luce and her detective work. I hit the climax of the book about 2:00 a.m and then I couldn't put it down until I had completed it. So much for sleep!

In Rememberance

Friday, May 22, 2009

Altered clipboard


In need of a gift, I sat down and put this together. It was a quick project and made the recipient's day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garden Markers

We are attempting to do a small garden this year. I saw this these Crafty Garden Markers over at the Make and Takes blog.

This required picking up a small package of craft foam at the Dollar Tree. Also, I needed some colored permanent markers. This wasn't a problem since I have been needing a reason to get the BIC Mark-It 24 pack of markers ($10) at Wal-mart. (These have been calling my name since I saw them a few weeks ago. Funny, these caught Caleb's eye the minute I brought them home. He has taken claim of them, giving us instructions on how and in what order to put them away.)

I sat down and hand drew the vegetables we needed and Destini and Chantry outlined them with the markers. Here is sampling of our handiwork:
Destini and Chantry showing their work.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Book Review:The Mysterious Benedict Society (Revisited)

I have posted once about this book. I was able to get this book on audio cd for the kids to listen to. They loved it. Destini declared, "This is my second favorite book!" (The Bible being her first.)

I think listening to it with the kids and seeing their enjoyement made me like it a little more. Now I have the The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey in my reading pile and the audio cd on hold at the library for the kids.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Book Review: Lumby's Bounty

Lumby's Bounty is the third book in the Lumby Series. Here is a book description from

When a silly scheme commits Lumby to building a balloon for the regional festival it must host in twelve short weeks, the town's worthies take up the challenge, wreaking havoc along the way as test balloons suffer hilarious fates. But two foreigners who are visiting Saint Cross come to their rescue; Kai, a sincere young man who discovers his destiny is not in the priesthood, and his brother, Jamar, who brings his own brand of charismatic mischief to the scene and involves several locals in a wildly romantic real estate venture. As the festival approaches, the monks of Saint Cross Abbey, now nationally known for their good works, struggle to deal with the masses of devotees-and more than a few nutcases-flocking to take up residence on the monastery grounds. But in the end, the skies clear and The Bounty of Lumby, breathtaking in color and size, lifts off the ground and floats gently over Montis Inn.

I enjoyed going back to the little town of Lumby. It is fun to go back and revisit characters you have met from the previous books: Mark and Caroline, who are running the Montis Inn, the monks from Saint Cross Abbey, the incorrigible Brian Beezer, interesting news from The Lumby Lines, and of course, Hank, the plastic pink flamingo with an attitude. I do suggest to start at the beginning of the series with The Lumby Lines and follow with Stealing Lumby. Highly recommended!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And we're back...

Wow, life has been busy. Shade is the coordinator for West Coast ACTS Student Convention and we have been very busy getting everything ready, running it, and then trying to catch up on our sleep.

Here's a glimpse of what we have been up to:


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