Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Picture Story

Long ago on this day in a land flowing with
was born to a young couple who became wonderful parents.
Four years later she was joined by
Time passed and she grew into a young lady and one day met
After living a few years in the land flowing with
and the big bad land of
they headed over plains and mountians to live in the beautiful land of
where she is happily raising her
(with her awesome husband, of course!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book Review: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly


The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly is another book which the cover caught my eye. This looked like a book I would really enjoy after reading the book description:

Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.

Debut author Jacqueline Kelly deftly brings Callie and her family to life, capturing a year of growing up with unique sensitivity and a wry wit.

I really wanted to like this book, but in the end I felt let down. (Just lets you know to never judge a book by its cover!) There were many aspects of the story that I enjoyed. Calpurnia was a fun character. I couldn't help but enjoy her relationships with her brothers and especially with her grandfather. I think the heart of the story is in the relationship with her grandfather and how he encourages her to learn about nature. I also sympathized with her struggle to learn to knit, sew and cook.

One reason I was disappointed with the story is that it is interwoven with references to Charles Darwin and his book "On the Origin of Species". Since I believe God is our Creator, I personally was put off by this aspect of the story and I will not recommend this book to my children. Secondly, I felt like there were "holes" in the story. There were quite a few places that I felt I was missing a piece of the story I should have known. I went back and reread the places, but couldn't figure it out and felt like I should know what she is talking about. It was very frustrating.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Our Jonah Week

What a week! If you have ever read "Anne of Avonlea" by L.M. Montgomery you have probably read about Anne's "Jonah Day". Well, I just experienced a "Jonah Week". Last week we headed to the Oregon District Youth Camp where Shade was the day speaker.
Needless to say we had quite the experience. Unbenownst to us a 24 hour stomach bug came with us and starting with Delani and then seeking out Chantry and Delani it made its round. It made for an eventful week. Caleb was a camper so he was spared--until he got home! We headed home on Friday and then celebrated Chantry's 7th birthday.
I know it is not the typical birthday cake, but Chantry enjoyed it. We are all worn out and the kids are all sniffing, but being at home makes it bearable.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A new outfit

Last winter I found some t-shirts for Destini at Walmart on clearance for $1 a piece. A couple weeks ago I started looking for fabric to make skirts for summer. Of course that requires digging out the sewing machine and serger which is not an easy task. After making the skirt I decided to decorate the shirt
using this idea (mine aren't quite right) and making a fabric flower for her hair
from this idea. Both fabric flowers came from Tip Junkie's blog post on Fabric Flower Tutorials.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

While browsing the book tables at Costco I happened across The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. A book with a title like that is bound to catch my eye and draw my interest! After ordering it from the library I had read a couple of reviews and was a little hesitant to read it. When it arrived the book sat on my stairs until I finally ran out of fiction reading material and The Book Thief was all that was left to read. So I hesitantly picked it up and started reading. It didn't take long before I was engrossed and fascinated.

Book Description from Random House:
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

One of the reasons that this book caught my eye is that it is set during World War II. I felt The Book Thief gave a different side of the was since it set in Germany. It is interesting to see how Liesel doesn't really realize that there is anything "wrong" in Germany, but as the story progresses she slowly realizes the evil that surrounds her. Liesel learns from her books all about the power of words never dreaming that they would save her life. I was saddened when the end came (I even needed a Kleenex), but the story is one that just stays with you and gives you food for thought.

I did have a couple problems with The Book Thief. First off, the book has a narrator and I found the narrator really irritating to me. The narrator seemed to break up the story too much, plus he kept giving away information I would have preferred to know about when it happened. The other thing really has nothing to do with the book, but who it was marketed to. I was floored this was marketed as a young adult book, though when first published in Australia it was marketed as an adult book. The language alone would be one reason to NOT market it to young people, but who am I? It is unfortunate that immature American young people are exposed to ideas that they probably aren't ready for or are too young to understand.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Monday afternoon we took a small trip up the road to Schreiner's Iris Gardens. I had been told about the beautiful gardens there and since it was free and just up the road we went and checked it out. I never knew there was such a variety in irises. The colors were amazing. They also had many other beautiful flowers interspersed throughout the gardens. Here is a slideshow of what we saw.


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