Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Heard lately around the house...

"Delani, put mommy's phone back in her purse!"

"Delani, don't hit the phone buttons!"

"Mom, I think Delani called someone!"

"Delani, who are you talking to! Hello? Hello?"

"Delani, get off the chair!"

"Delani, don't turn on the computer!"

"Delani, don't send any emails!"


A-Z Wednesday

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

This weeks letter is: H

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Book Description:
Orphaned at an early age and taken in by her young aunt Dete, Heidi--short for Adelheid--is soon in the way. Dete has a new and better job where Heidi is not welcome, so the child must live with her curmudgeon of a grandfather high on the Alm Mountain in the Swiss Alps.

Everyone calls him the Alm-Uncle because he never comes down to the village, even in the coldest winter, and he's developed a reputation as an evil, godless old hermit. But Heidi soon finds that things are not always what others say they are, makes friends with the Alm-Uncle, and happily runs wild in the glorious mountains with the goat boy, Peter, and his goats.

Suddenly Dete appears again, and Heidi finds herself confined in a stone house in a stone city where she is expected to be companion to the invalid Klara. Dete sees this as a great opportunity for Heidi, one that will provide her with an education and polish. But, bitterly unhappy away from her grandfather and the outdoor life she has grown to love, Heidi at last makes her way back to the Alm. How Klara finally comes to the mountains as well, and the surprising events that follow, form the heartwarming ending to a story that has been loved for generations by children all over the world.

My thoughts:
I remember reading this when I was a young girl and I really enjoyed it. It held a fond place in my memory. I listened to it a couple years ago and there were parts that I didn't remember! I'm not sure if it was due to how long ago I had read the book or if I had an abridged copy. I did enjoy the story just as much as I had when I was younger, and I enjoyed sharing it with my children. We listened to it from and the reader did an excellent job.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading.

The Tale of Briar Bank by Susan Wittig Albert

"Warily, Thorvald hovered amongst the trees as Yllva folded her wings and crept into the opening that led to the Briar Bank dragon's lair. He was a safe distance away, but he still heard her angry shriek when she discovered that both he and the treasure were missing, and saw the smoke and lava-like fire that snaked out of the entrance." p. 274

Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge

Sarah at A Library is a hospital of the mind... is hosting the Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge. Maud Hart Lovelace is the author of The Betsy-Tacy series which have been a favorite of mine since I came across Heaven to Betsy when I was a teenager. I started with Heaven to Betsy and read through the rest of her high school years, her going out into the great world and finally to the end, her wedding. I was totally enthralled with her family life, her friends and all the experiences she had.

I think what I found so fascinating about the Betsy-Tacy series is they showed me what the world was like when my Grandmas were born. Secondly, they were set in Minnesota. Even though I was from Wisconsin, my Grandma K. lived along the Mississippi River (WI side) and we were always going across to Minnesota to shop and visit my uncle's family. I was familiar with a lot of the names of the cities, even if I didn't know exactly where they were at. Also, Tib (Betsy's friend) was from Milwaukee, WI and knew where that was.

That being said, I have to admit that I didn't know there had been Betsy-Tacy books for kids until I was a little older and came across them in the children's section of the library. By that time I had read all the others and never bothered reading them. A couple of years ago I decided to read them outloud to my daughter. We have read through Betsy-Tacy and Betsy-Tacy and Tib. We haven't made it through Betsy and Tacy go over the Big Hill or Betsy and Tacy go Downtown. I am planning on reading Betsy and the Great World and Betsy's Wedding and am hopeful to find some time to start reading aloud with my daughter where we left off.

If you have never read Betsy-Tacy Series I highly recommend them. To learn more about the series head over here. Also, sign up at A Library is a hospital of the mind... for the challenge.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Book Review:The Tale of Hawthorn House by Susan Wittig Albert

Book Description:
Miss Beatrix Potter finds the abandoned Baby Flora—and a scarab ring—on her doorstep. An investigation reveals that the ring was pawned and reclaimed by a resident of the vacant and supposedly haunted Hawthorn House. Now Beatrix and her animal friends are left pondering these utterly puzzling happenings.

My thoughts:
The Tale of Hawthorn House by Susan Wittig Albert is the fourth book in The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Again Beatrix Potter finds herself solving yet another mystery, Jemima Puddle-duck is determined to hatch some eggs and the whole village is busying settling every one's business (without their knowledge or consent). Filled with delightful dialogue between the animals, villagers and the "Folk" people The Tale of Hawthorn House is a delightful read.

A Visit with Granny & Papa Starr

(No, I do not have a new son, that is my nephew, Austin.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Working Man

We caught up with Shade yesterday on his lunch break. I took this picture for my Project 365 (taking a picture every day of the year). Besides getting pictures taken, I am woefully behind getting it into my album and documenting the details. I honestly need a Project 52 or a Project 12 would be better! Anyway, that is beside the point, here is another shot of the "Working Man".

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A-Z Wednesday

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

This weeks letter is: G

The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald

Book Description:
The best con man in the Midwest is only ten years old. Tom, a.k.a., the Great Brain, is a silver-tongued genius with a knack for turning a profit. When the Jenkins boys get lost in Skeleton Cave, the Great Brain saves the day. Whether it’s saving the kids at school, or helping out Peg-leg Andy, or Basil, the new kid at school, the Great Brain always manages to come out on top—and line his pockets in the process.

My thoughts:
Funny! Funny! Funny!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading.

The Tale of Hawthorn House:The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert

"But Beatrix was by nature curious, and she truly wanted to know why Emily Shaw had come to London. Almost before she realized what she was doing, she had crossed Gilston Road, dodging a horse-drawn lorry and a motor car with an annoying horn, and was walking only a few paces behind the girl." pp. 209-210

Friday, September 18, 2009

Book Review:First Things First: The Rules of Being a Warner by Kurt & Brenda Warner, Jennifer Schuchmann

Book Description:
In First Things First, Arizona Cardinals quarterback, Kurt Warner and his wife, Brenda, talk candidly about their marriage, the values they are working to instill in their seven kids, things they've done right, mistakes they've made along the way, the importance of giving back, and the lasting legacy they hope to leave behind. The Warners also discuss how they focus on doing good rather than just looking good, both in their family and in their public roles. See how Kurt and Brenda co-parent their large family of seven, including one child with special needs.

My thoughts:
I kept seeing First Things First by Kurt & Brenda Warner in book catalogs and online book newsletters and it piqued my interest. Then I found it sitting on the shelf at the library. What is funny I didn't realize it was written by a football player. (Boy, that let's you know I thoroughly read the description--you would think the football on the front cover would give it away!). The first thing that Shade and Caleb said was "Kurt Warner!".

Prompted from responses from a newspaper articles about their "Rules of Being a Warner", Kurt & Brenda Warner talk about what makes their family work. Honestly, I can't say there was anything profound in it that I didn't know, BUT I really liked the openness that was shared about their home and family life and marriage. The Warners were honest, up front and very down to earth about their marriage and how they raise their kids, what they want to instill in their kids and portray as a family. A very uplifting read for all of us that are working hard in these areas for our family.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

2009-2010 School Year - Chantry


Chantry's First Term:
Math-U-See Alpha
Math-U-See Drills
Language Arts
Phonics Pathways by Delores Hiskes
All About Spelling Level 1
Mead lowercase Letter Stories
American History:D'Aulaire American Biographies (narration)
World History:Viking Tales by Jennie Hall (narration)
Sticker Atlas of the World
Library books about different countries and stories from different countries
Exploring Creation with Botany (listening)
Natural History:
James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot (narration)
Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling (narration)
The Aesop for Children by Milo Winter (narration)
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (narration)
Shakespeare: Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2009-2019 School Year - Destini


Destini's First Term:
Math-U-See Beta
Language Arts:
Easy Grammar Grade 3
All About Spelling Level 1
Phonics Pathways
Classically Cursive Book 1
American History:D'Aulaire American Biographies
World History:Viking Tales by Jennie Hall
Sticker Atlas of the World
Library books about different countries and stories from different countries
Exploring Creation with Botany (narration)
Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling (narration)
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (narration)
The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (online version)
Shakespeare: Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb

A-Z Wednesday

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

This weeks letter is: F
Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer

Book Synopsis:
When the incomparable Miss Milbourne spurns the impetuous Lord Sherington's marriage proposal (she laughs at him-laughs!) he vows to marry the next female he encounters, who happens to be the young, penniless Miss Hero Wantage, who has adored him all her life. Whisking her off to London, Sherry discovers there is no end to the scrapes his young, green bride can get into, and she discovers the excitement and glamorous social scene of the ton. Not until a deep misunderstanding erupts and Sherry almost loses his bride, does he plumb the depths of his own heart, and surprises himself with the love he finds there.

My thoughts:
I started this book a couple of weeks ago, but have found it to be very slow going.I am enjoying it, but I keep finishing my other books faster. Hopefully, I will get this finished off by next week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday Teaser


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading.

The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood-The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert

"Now this little book was a fine book for a rat to read (at least as far as the dumpling scene, which was as far as Miss Potter had got in writing it). But it proved an even finer book for a rat in Ridley's position to dream about, for his dream took one odd turn and then another and yet another, and when Ridley woke up a little while later, his dreaming brain had solved the problem that had baffled his waking mind." p. 227

Book Review:The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Book Description:
"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers."

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of Guernsey, the British island once occupied by the Nazis. he'd come across her name on the flyleaf of a secondhand volume by Charles Lamb. Perhaps she could tell him where he might find more books by this author.

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, a unique book club formed in a unique, spur-of-the-moment way: as an alibi to protect its members from arrest by the Germans.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the Society's charming, deeply human members, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Through their letters she learns about their island, their taste in books, and the powerful, transformative impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds there will change her forever. (from book jacket)

My thoughts:
This has been a highly reviewed book so I will not put in my two cents, except to say that it has been one of my favorite books for the year. I did want to share some of my favorite lines from the book about books.

From Juliet to Dawsey

"That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive--all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment."

From Juliet to Sidney

"It was amazing to me then, and still is, that so many people who wander into bookshops don't really know what they're after--they only want to look around and hope to see a book that will strike their fancy. And then, being bright enough not to trust the publisher's blurb, they will ask the book clerk the three questions: (1)What is it about? (2)have you read it? (3)Was it any good?

Real dyed-in-the-wool booksellers--like Sophie and me--can't lie. Our faces are always a dead giveaway. A lifted brow or curled lip reveals that it's a poor excuse for a book, and the clever customers ask for a recommendation instead, whereupon we frog-march them over to a particular volume and command them to read it. If they read it and despise it, they'll never come back. But if they like it, they're customers for life."

From Isola Pribby to Juliet
"I didn't like Wuthering Heights at first, but the minute the specter, Cathy, scrabbled her bony fingers on the window glass--I was grasped by the throat and not let go. With that Emily I could hear Heathcliff's pitiful cries upon the moors. I don't believe that after reading such a fine writer as Emily Bronte, I will be happy to read again Miss Amanda Gillyflower's Ill-Used by Candlelight. Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Book Review:The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick

Book Description:
The book club

is about to get

a makeover....

Even if Megan would rather be at the mall, Cassidy is late for hockey practice, Emma's already read every book in existence, and Jess is missing her mother too much to care, the new book club is scheduled to meet every month.

But what begins as a mom-imposed ritual of reading Little Women soon helps four unlikely friends navigate the drama of middle school. From stolen journals, to secret crushes, to a fashion-fiasco first dance, the girls are up to their Wellie boots in drama. They can't help but wonder: What would Jo March do?

My thoughts:
I kept coming across The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick when I was at the library, at the bookstore and when browsing blogs. It caught my interest so I ordered it from the library. This was like reading Chick-Lit for kids. It was fun to see a group of girls and their moms get caught up into Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The resolution of the story was a little unrealistic, but hey, it fiction and it is for young girls! My only dislike was the bullying that went on in the story. It seems to be a hot topic for everyone to write about or portray in films lately.

Ohh, too cute!

While browsing CD-ROM's for a picture I came across one of my favorite pictures of Destini. This was taken in November 2000 for her 1 year old pictures.

2009-2010 School Year - Caleb


Caleb's First Term:
Math-U-See Zeta and Life of Fred:Decimals and Percents by Stanley Schmidt
Language Arts:
Easy Grammar Plus
All About Spelling Level 2
Excellence in Writing-Student Writing Intensive A
Copy work:
Science Vocabulary
A Child's History of the World by Virgil M. Hillyer (oral narrations)
The Story of the World Volume 4 by Susan Wise Bauer along with the audio.
The Complete Book of Marvels by Richard Halliburton (written narration)
Main Text:
God's Design for Heaven and Earth:Our Planet Earth
Science Biography;
Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity by Robert Cwiklik (oral narration)
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Taming of the Shrew
Plus addition reading taken from this list (scroll to bottom of page).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2009-2010 School Year - Part 1

Well, it is hard to believe it is time to start school up again. We started last week and it has been exciting. We are still trying to figure how to entertain Delani. The first week she placed herself in the middle of the table!
This week she has picked a different sibling to bug the whole time they are trying to do their work. We are all thrilled when nap time comes!

Here is what Caleb, Destini & Chantry will be doing together.

The Two-Year Daily Reading & Prayer Bible
The Answers Book for Kids by Ken Ham
Favorite Poems Old and New selected by Helen Farris
Near the Cross(Sept)
Onward Christian Soldiers (Oct)
Have Thine Own Way (Nov)
Art Appreciation/Picture Study:
Claude Monet
Music Appreciation/Composer Study:
20th Century British-Ralph Vaughan Williams & Edward Elger

I will post more breaking down what each child is doing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A-Z Wednesday

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

This weeks letter is: E

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

Book Synopsis:
Thirteen-year-old Rose Campbell, a delicate, sensitive orphan, has been cared for by her well-meaning but rather fussy aunts during the year since her father's death. When her lively, forward-thinking Uncle Alex (who is her legal guardian), returns from his world travels, Rose's pallor and listless, "ladylike" ways shock him. He proposes that he take charge of her education, health and life style for a year to try and make her life more wholesome and happy. The novel shows us the adventures, mishaps, and fun that result from Rose and her aunts' adjustments to Uncle Alex's newfangled ideas about how to raise a girl. Many amusing and touching incidents revolving around Rose's relationships with her seven boisterous but affectionate male cousins, also give the author a chance to express what were then radical beliefs about the roles and rights of women.

My comments:
This was a book my Grandma K. insisted I read since I was the only girl and only had my brother and four boy cousins. I really enjoyed it, and this book holds a special place in my heart since my Grandma had suggested it. But the story doesn't end there. Years later I came across Rose in Bloom, the sequel to Eight Cousins. Rose in Bloom ended up being one of my all time favorite books. If you haven't read these I highly recommend them!

Book Review: The Tale of Holly How by Susan Wittig Albert

Book Description:
Miss Potter has returned to Hill Top Farm to oversee the renovation of the old farmhouse and buy some sheep from Ben Hornby, whose Herdwicks are known as the best in the county. But when Old Ben dies in a fall from a clifftop, Miss Potter (and her animal friends: Tabitha Twitchet, Crumpet, and Rascal) need to know what happened to Ben, and to his missing Herdwicks and their lambs.

And if that's not enough to keep Miss Potter busy, there's the sad plight of a young girl who has come to live with her grandmother at Tidmarsh Manor. And at the top of Holly How, there is Bosworth Badger, who is worried about the disappearance of a badger mother and her two cubs, kidnapped by a ruthless badger-hunter and destined to be the victims of the vicious sport of badger-baiting. Who could guess that all of these mysteries might be related? Why, Miss Potter, of course!

The Tale of Holly How by Susan Wittig Albert is the second book in the The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. I recently finished the first book, The Tale of Hill Top Farm* in audio format. The Tale of Holly How has the same charming set of characters with a few new ones included, quite a bit of mystery and suspense and wonderful tidbits centered around Beatrix Potter. I am enjoying this series and am heading off to the library to pick up the next book, The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood.

*The Tale of Hill Top Farm review.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading.

Betsy and the Great World by Maud Hart Lovelace

"Men!" she thought.

The first lesson she had learned on her travels had left her feeling cynical.

p. 110

Monday, September 7, 2009

The State Fair

We went to our State Fair Friday evening. Shade and the kids went to the rodeo while Delani and I wandered around. My allergies decided to go nuts, so I was pretty miserable when we left. We did take the time though to get some curly fried (our favorite) and something sweet to eat.
A Brick of Fries
Digging In!
Deep Fried Twinkie
Ice Cream Cones
Delani enjoying Dad's ice cream.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Book Review:In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Book Description:
They number in the millions and they are incredibly important to families and to our society, yet they are underappreciated, little respected, and even controversial.

Who are they?

They are the stay-at-home moms.

These are women who know in their hearts that staying home to raise their children is the right choice for the whole family. Some do it from the outset of their marriages, while others make the difficult transition from career-driven women to homemakers. Either way, it is a choice that is incredibly rich and rewarding, not to mention challenging.

Now Dr. Laura, building on principles developed during her long career as a licensed marriage and family therapist, provides a wealth of advice and support, as well as compassion and inspiration, to women as they navigate the wonders and struggles of being stay-at-home moms.

Learn how:
•to hold your head high and deal with naysayers;
•to see the benefits of being home not only for your children but also for your marriage;
•to understand the changes you see in yourself;
•to realize that the sacrifices you endure now will make for lasting bonds and a stronger family, in addition to a more cohesive community.
In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms is a special book, a profound and unique understanding of how important it is for mothers to raise their own children.

I was excited to find In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger on my library bookshelf. I really enjoyed her books, The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands and The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage. I was not disappointed.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, or wanting to be, or undecided, I highly recommend reading this book. She is honest, shares the highs and lows a mom will face, and ultimately she gives the reader a lot of encouragement. I appreciate Dr. Laura standing against society's "norm" and encouraging women to be a woman, love their husbands and be their kid's mom! I will definitely be adding this book to my bookshelves.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Book Review:Miss Julia Delivers Delivers the Goods by Ann B. Ross

Books Covers

Book Description:
If there’s no rest for the weary, Miss Julia must be absolutely exhausted. She’s just learned a secret—Hazel Marie is pregnant with twins and the prospective father has cleared out of town. But good things come in unexpected packages. Abbotsville finds itself the scene of a heist; and Miss Julia knows there’s only one man who can solve the crime. It’s J. D. Pickens, P.I., renowned investigator and Hazel Marie’s wayward love. When he’s summoned, one thing becomes clear: Miss Julia must help set things right between them or find herself the only one who can, quite literally, deliver the goods.

I can truly say that Miss Julia Delivers the Goods by Ann B. Ross truly delivers! Miss Julia is at her finest and is as funny as ever. I always have laugh out loud moments when reading a Miss Julia book. If you haven't read one I suggest starting at the beginning with Miss Julia Speaks Here Mind. Learn more about the Miss Julia books here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


McDonalds has been offering American Girl paperdoll books for their Happy Meal prizes. I surprised her with one and from there on out she was determined to collect them all. Last weekend we finally had all but one, which we couldn't find. Tuesday night I stopped at yet another McDonalds in Salem (yes, I have feel like I've seen them all!) and the guy at the counter was so sweet to actually go look in the back where he found the one Destini needed. Needless to say I had a very excited girl when I arrived home!

While browsing the internet...

I came across this blog. What fun! I love a great blog!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A-Z Wednesday

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

This weeks letter is: D

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

Book Synopsis:
The oldest orphan at a dreary home for foundlings, Judy Abbott is about to go off to college--a dream she's been able to realize with the help of a benefactor who insists on remaining anonymous. There's a catch, though: Judy has to write her unknown patron regularly about school activities, and it's to be a one-sided correspondence because she is to expect no reply.

Judy faithfully addresses her letters to "Daddy-Long-Legs," a name she decides to use after having glimpsed the back of her tall, mysterious friend. At school, she hides her impoverished past from her arrogant classmate Julia, whose young, handsome, and rich uncle becomes a figure who sets Judy and readers alike wondering about the identity of her secret and immensely generous sponsor.

Presented in letter format, with dozens of messages to "Daddy," this charming romantic novel of the early twentieth century--written and delightfully illustrated by the author, who had an interest int the problems of the unfortunate--inspired four popular motion pictures, the last starring Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron (1955).

My comments:
I listened to this a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I remembered afterwards that my Grandma had recommended it to me when I was a teenager, but for some reason I never got around to it. I picked up a copy for myself to eventually re-read or have on hand when my daughter gets older.


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