Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Glasses!

I took Caleb and Chantry to the eye doctor on Monday and we found out the Chantry needed glasses. He has had his ups and downs since finding out. We received the call yesterday that they had arrived so we went and picked them up. I personally think he looks pretty handsome!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Book Review (Audio): The Tale of Hill Top Farm:The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert (read by Virginia Leishman)

Product Description:
The author of Peter Rabbit and other creature tales, Beatrix Potter is still, after a century, beloved by children and adults the world over. In this first Cottage Tale, Albert introduces Beatrix, an animal lover who has just bought a farm in England's beautiful Lake District. As Beatrix tries to win over the hearts of her fellow villagers, her animal friends set out to solve a mystery all their own.

I first became aware of The Tale of Hilltop Farm by Susan Wittig Albert while I was reading Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear back in 2007. Of course, I forgot about it until I recently came across a review. I promptly put it on hold and decided to go for the audio book.

The story is full of fun characters--people and animals, the quirkiness of a small village, and lots of information about Beatrix Potter. I really enjoyed the story and look forward to the next book in the series, The Tale of Holly How. Even though I enjoyed the reading by Virginia Leishman, I am choosing to read the story rather than listen. If you want to know about all the books in the series, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, click here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A-Z Wednesday

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicky of Reading at the Beach. To join, look here.

This weeks letter is C:
My C book is:
A Country Affair by Rebecca Shaw

Welcome to Barleybridge, a small village nestled in the Dorset hills of England, where sheep graze on the nearby slopes and everybody knows their neighbors. Young, inexperienced, and somewhat shy, Kate Howard arrives in this idyllic setting to embark on a new adventure and begin a job as a receptionist at the Barleybridge Veterinary Hospital. The busy practice sees creatures large and small, from pets to farm animals, and the staff she meets there is friendly and welcoming. As Kate learns the ins and outs of her job (from who to never let through on the phone to which dogs—and owners—need to be kept away from each other), handsome Australian vet Scott Spencer takes an interest in her and encourages Kate to pursue her dreams to become a vet herself. His advice is solid, and his charm is intoxicating, but Kate is well aware that she is hardly the only woman to fall under the dashing doctor’s spell. Add to this the pressure of her longtime but rather dull boyfriend, Adam, who is not at all happy about her newfound aspirations to return to school, and Kate has some decisions to make, decisions that are growing more complex at every turn.

Tender, funny, and full of warmth and simple joys, A Country Affair is the perfect introduction to a delightful place and its witty and lovable inhabitants. Watch for the next two novels in Rebecca Shaw’s Barleybridge series coming soon. You will want to return to Barleybridge again and again.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading.

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Daniel could have stared at the woman sprawled before him until forced to stop, but propriety required he help her to her feet. How best to accomplish the trick eluded him, however, as the woman seemed incapable of helping in the process.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Book Review (Audio): Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (read by Kirsten Potter)

Product Description:

Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle's homesteading claim. For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie's been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim near Vida, Montana. With a stubborn stick-to-itiveness, Hattie faces frost, drought and blizzards. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends--especially Charlie, fighting in France--through letters and articles for her hometown paper. Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers. But she feels threatened by pressure to be a "Loyal" American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent. Despite everything, Hattie's determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home.

I remember the first time I saw Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson and told myself I wanted to read it. After coming across the book several more times I finally checked it out at the audio version at the library.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I found myself wrapped up in Hattie's struggles and successes in homesteading, her colorful neighbors and her writing. Also, I found I learned a lot about the World War I home front. The conclusion of the book was bittersweet and I was sorry to see the story end. Kirsten Potter does a great job reading this story. I wasn't sure at first, but as the story unfolded and more characters were introduced I began to enjoy her reading.

A-Z Wednesday Book Meme

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicky of Reading at the Beach. To join, look here.

This Weeks Letter is: B

My "B" book is:
Book Crush by Nancy Pearl

Parents, teachers, and librarians are often puzzled by the seemingly endless choices for reading material for young people. What’s good, what’s trash, what’s going to hold their interest? Nancy Pearl, America’s favorite librarian, has read widely in all the genres and happily points the way in Book Crush. Divided into three sections — Easy Books, Middle-Grade Readers, and Young Adult — Book Crush makes wonderful reading connections by theme, setting, voice, and ideas. For horse lovers, Pearl recalls the classics (Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague), but in a creative twist connects Mr. Revere and I to the list. For middle-grade readers, she explores updated retellings of Greek myths and the best coming-of-age stories. Young adult readers get to know chick lit and much more. For those adults who feel stuck in a rut with Caldecott and Newberry winners and the ubiquitous Harry Potters, this fun, informed book offers new ways to stimulate young readers.

Book Review: Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo


Book Description:
English professor Emma Grant has always done everything just the way her minister father told her she should -- a respectable marriage, a teaching job at a good college, and plans for the requisite two children. Life was prodigiously good, as her favorite author Jane Austen might say, until the day Emma finds her husband in bed with another woman. Suddenly, all her romantic notions a la Austen are exposed for the foolish dreams they are.
Denied tenure in the wake of the scandal and left penniless by the ensuing divorce, Emma packs up what few worldly possessions she has left and heads to England on a quest to find the missing letters of Jane Austen. Locating the elusive letters, however, isn't as straightforward as Emma hoped. The owner of the letters proves coy about her prize possessions, sending Emma on a series of Austen-related tasks that bring her closer and closer to the truth, but the sudden reappearance of Emma's first love makes everything more complicated.

In the end, Emma learns that doing the right thing has very little to do with other people's expectations and everything to do with her own beliefs. Laced with fictional excerpts from the missing letters, Jane Austen Ruined My Life is the story of a woman betrayed who uncovers the deeper meaning of loyalty.

I have had Jane Austen Ruined my Life by Beth Pattillo on hold for awhile at the library. Finally it arrived and I started reading right away. I was immediately caught up in the story of Emma and her conflict within herself to do the right thing. I was holding my breath to see what would happen and how it ended. The author does a great job of making the Jane Austen "letters" and the "Formidables" (you have to read the story to find out) believable. A great read!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading.

Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer

'I shant't!' promptly replied Hero, losing her temper. 'I shall make a friend of anyone I choose, and I shall go where I choose, and I shall do what I choose, and I shall--' p.140

Monday, August 17, 2009

Book Review: Good Day!:The Paul Harvey Story by Paul Batura


I first heard about the Good Day!:The Paul Harvey Story from an interview with the author, Paul Batura on Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast. I really liked what I heard so I ordered the book from the library.

Book Description:
"Hello Americans, I'm Paul Harvey."
He was the voice of an era. Millions grew up listening to Paul Harvey News and Comment and The Rest of the Story, and trusted the great man who spoke for the little guy.

Good Day! by Paul J. Batura follows the remarkable life of one of the founding fathers of the news media. Paul Harvey started his career during the Great Depression and narrated America's story day by day, through wars and peace, the threat of communism and the crumbling of old colonial powers, consumer booms and eventual busts. In Good Day!, you'll follow,
* How he became "Paul Harvey"
* The remarkable adversity he confronted in his early years
* How he revolutionized the radio industry with his wife, Evelyn
* How a president wanted to "roast" him "good"
* How he was nearly jailed for pursuing a scoop

Paul J. Batura's Good Day! is a colorful biography of the radio pioneer-turned-legend whose guiding light saw the country through dark times. Whether he was covering racial tensions, terrorist attacks, or which vitamins to take, Paul Harvey articulated the American experience for average people making their way in a world too large for quick comprehension. Harvey brought them that world "in dime store words," with a sense of optimism and faith, and with a deep love for America. Here is Harvey's story, the rest of the story, as he would tell it himself.

I remember Paul Harvey the most from when I was a teenager. I loved listening to "The Rest of the Story". I don't think I paid too much attention to his news reports. I found that I really enjoyed his story. How he started in radio and worked his way up to his own program and style made for an interesting read. The end did end abruptly which I think had to do with his Mr. Harvey's death. It kind of left me feeling let down. Overall, if you like biographies and stories about people who have risen to the top then this would be a great book to pick.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book Review: The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love by Beth Pattillo


The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love by Beth Pattillo is a sequel to The Sweetgum Ladies Knit Lit Society which I recently reviewed.

Product Description:
Once a month, the six women of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society gather to discuss books and share their knitting projects. Inspired by her recently-wedded bliss, group leader Eugenie chooses “Great Love Stories in Literature” as the theme for the year’s reading list–a risky selection for a group whose members span the spectrum of age and relationship status.
As the Knit Lit ladies read and discus classic romances like Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice, each member is confronted with her own perception about love. Camille’s unexpected reunion with an old crush forces her to confront conflicting desires. Newly widowed Esther finds her role in Sweetgum changing and is surprised by two unlikely friends. Hannah isn’t sure she’s ready for the trials of first love. Newcomer Maria finds her life turned upside-down by increasing family obligations and a handsome, arrogant lawyer, and Eugenie and Merry are both asked to make sacrifices for their husbands that challenge their principles.
Even in a sleepy, southern town like Sweetgum, Tennesee, love isn’t easy. The Knit Lit ladies learn they can find strength and guidance in the novels they read, the love of their family, their community–and especially in each other.

I really looked forward to reading the next book in this series. Alas, The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love wasn't as enjoyable as the first. I didn't think the human interest stories were as interesting. I did find that one of the characters, Esther, finally showed a human side and then of course the book ended! The ending does leave you hanging a bit, and pretty much begs for another book in the series. Overall, it was an easy read and readable.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Where did the sun go?

After our record breaking heat wave we have cloud and cool weather. Too cool!! All I want is a little sun and warmth, and to think last week we had to go cool off.

Book Review: How Lincoln Learned to Read: Twelve Great Americans and the Educations that Made Them by Daniel Wolff


Product Description:
An engaging, provocative history of American ideas, told through the educations (both in and out of school) of twelve great figures, from Benjamin Franklin to Elvis Presley.

How Lincoln Learned to Read tells the American story from a fresh and unique perspective: how do we learn what we need to know? Beginning with Benjamin Franklin and ending with Elvis Presley, author Daniel Wolff creates a series of intimate, interlocking profiles of notable Americans that track the nation’s developing notion of what it means to get a “good education.” From the stubborn early feminism of Abigail Adams to the miracle of Helen Keller, from the savage childhood of Andrew Jackson to the academic ambitions of W.E.B. Du Bois, a single, fascinating narrative emerges. It connects the illiterate Sojourner Truth to the privileged Jack Kennedy, takes us from Paiute Indians scavenging on western deserts to the birth of Henry Ford’s assembly line. And as the book traces the education we value – both in and outside the classroom – it becomes a history of key American ideas.

In the end, How Lincoln Learned to Read delivers us to today’s headlines. Standardized testing, achievement gaps, the very purpose of public education – all have their roots in this narrative. Whether you’re a parent trying to make sure your child is prepared, a teacher trying to do the best possible job, or a student navigating the educational system, How Lincoln Learned to Read offers a challenge to consider what we need to know and how we learn it. Wide-ranging and meticulously researched, built mostly on primary sources, this is an American story that begins and ends with hope.

After finally finishing this book I have to admit it doesn't rank up with my favorites. I found this title while browsing Border's bookshelves and of course what home school mom doesn't want to know "How Lincoln Learned To Read"! I found the first couple of Americans that the author covered very interesting. In the end, I have to say it was a very thought provoking book. I have had many discussions with my husband on things covered in this book. When I had finished I had a dislike for today's modern educational system and how it has slowly formed to be what it is. I don't believe that was the author's intent, but that is how I felt.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vacation Flashback #2

We also visited the National Museum of the United States Airforce in Dayton, Ohio. Destini and Delani didn't appreciate this stop, but the rest of us did. There was so much here to see and read about. I didn't even read 1/4 of all the information that was posted everywhere. This is one place I would like to go back and visit. By the way, did I mention that admission was FREE?!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dip It, Baby!

Delani has discovered dipping sauces. It is for all food--including corn on the cob! Check out her excitement.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vacation Flashback #1

We have been home for a week now, but it has been very busy. I thought I would post some slideshows of our time spent with my Mom and Dad. The first slideshow is from our visit to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

I didn't get a picture of the bookstore, but I really enjoyed that part!


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