Monday, April 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page

•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey
Well, this, in the elegant phrase, was where he got off.

He put everything neatly back as he had found it; took another look at the Rushmere valley, and decided that he had had enough of it; and closed the door on the room where Leslie Searle had left everything but his personality.  p.186

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - Baseball Starts!

Chantry enjoying our beautiful weather on Monday while doing spelling.

In my life this week…
This week started off with absolutely beautiful weather--80 degrees on Monday. The kids spent a lot of time outside playing and even doing school work outside.

Tuesday the weather went back to typical Oregon weather--overcast, cold, and rainy. I headed to work at the library and took the girls with me, since they love scouring the library for books and DVDs.

I thought I would have the evening off on Wednesday, but we have an opportunity to rent our own church building (we are currently sharing with another church) so we spend the evening looking at the building. Poor Chantry was so disappointed since I had told him we would go get his baseball gear.

Thursday after the kids had most of the school work done, I took them to McDonalds and got them a drink. Caleb watched Destini and Chantry in the Playland, while Destini and I did her Beautiful Girlhood books. We then headed to Big 5 and Chantry finally got his baseball pants and a belt. Caleb came out with new batting gloves. They were both very happy. Then I went to Ross' which is a dangerous place to shop in at times.

Friday was the first game for baseball, and I had some pretty anxious boys since it kept raining. It did clear up a little bit and they got to play their games and I only got drizzled on a little bit. Chantry is playing with the 9-12 year olds now which is a new experience. I thought last year was stressful to watch, but this was a whole new ball game! Chantry also got to pitch for the first time. He did a really good job.

As much as I love my boys playing baseball I find it such a struggle to be inspired over dinner and have it on the table, eaten, and cleaned before 4:30 pm. I am doing it, though my brain is worn out.

In our homeschool this week…
We are getting ready for the kids to attend ACTS Student Convention, so we spent some time working ahead. I would really like to stay on schedule as much as possible so we aren't working too late in the summer.

Caleb finished William Bradford: Plymouth's Faithful Pilgrim by Gary D. Schmidt and A Taste of Chaucer by Anne Malcolmson. I had him focus on these books instead of working on science. I think this will free up some of his day and give him a little bit more time.

With Destini and Chantry we did a lot of reading in The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling and The Jungle Books by James Daugherty, which is Chantry's favorite book this term.

Destini finshed her Language Lessons for the Elementary Child 2. She is very happy.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
I really enjoyed this post "Owning an Authentic Homeschool Life You Love" by Barb at Harmony Art Mom.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Baseball & more baseball!

My favorite thing this week was…
Watching Chantry pitch at his very first game and doing a great job!

What’s working/not working for us…
I picked George Washington and the Founding of a Nation (PB) for a biography for Caleb to read, but he is not enjoying it. I am going to have him finish it, but I feel bad it wasn't more interesting for him.

Questions/thoughts I have…
Language Arts for Chantry--we are finishing up First Language Lesson (the old edition), but he don't seem to be retaining it. So do I continue with First Language Lessons 3 or look for something else.

Things I’m working on…
I've been overseeing Destini while she is working on her quilt/baby blanket. Today we went to a friend's house and she showed us how to make a binding. Destini is now working on hand stitching it. We will spend the next couple of days working on a scrapbook page for her to submit.

I’m reading…

I’m cooking…
Food that doesn't take a lot of time to prepare!

I’m grateful for…
For life! I was reminded today to focus on the big things and not to let myself be so controlled by the little things that cause stress.

I’m praying for…
Next week when we attend the convention. Destini is extremely nervous about doing her puppet show. She hates getting up in front of people. Mostly I am praying that my kids learn about the importance of ministry, even if it is doing a puppet show.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Both boys pitched during their first baseball game.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal 

Reading Journal #12: The Wodehouse Edition

Reading to Know - Book Club

I was excited to see P.G. Wodehouse being featured at Reading to Know's Bookclub selection for April. I have been a big fan of Wodehouse's writing since I first discovered him about five years ago. I find his books very delightful and he has a wonderful way with words. I have found that when I become bored with reading, especially modern fiction, I can pick up a book by Wodehouse and in a couple of weeks the world seems right and I'm off a new reading adventure. Jeeves and Bertie are my favorite books and I have also enjoyed his PSmith and Blandings series. I decided this month to focus on some of his stand alone stories.

Book Description:
Sent to England by his rich American uncle to work for the Mammoth Publishing Corporation, Sam Shotter takes up residence in peaceful Valley Fields so that he can live next door to the girl of his dreams. But life in the suburbs soon hots up when it turns out that Sam's new home is the supposed resting place of stolen millions, now of interest to gangsters Dolly and Soapy Malloy.
This classic early Wodehouse story is enlivened by a cast of familiar characters, including monstrous press magnate, Lord Tilbury, and blithering crook, Chimp Twist.
My thoughts:
My curiosity was definitely piqued when I read the book description. With names like Dolly and Soapy Malloy and Chimp Twist the book is just asking to be read! Sam the Sudden isn't Jeeves and Bertie, but the story is still full of Wodehouse's zany antics and his wonderful humor.

Sam has a lot on his plate. He is trying to woo Kay, who has no time of day for him, while trying to straighten out the love life of his cook and the servant next door. He is working for the cantankerous Lord Tilbury while having to deal with people creeping around his house. Life gets pretty crazy for a while, but as Shakespeare says, "All's well that ends well." and Sam's life ends up pretty good.
Here is some passages I enjoyed:
'Steady with the howitzer!' he urged.
'What say?' said Claire coldly.
'The lethal weapon--be careful with it. It's pointing at me.'
'I know it's pointing at you.'
'Oh, well, so long as it only points,' said Sam.
'Shave it?' quavered Chimp, fondling the growth tenderly. 'Shave my moustache?'
'Shave it,' said Sam firmly. 'Hew it down. Raze it to the soil and sow salt upon the foundations.'
'Anything wrong?'
'It depends on what you call wrong.' Mr Braddock closed the drawing-room door carefully. 'You know Lord Tilbury?'
'Of course I know Lord Tilbury.'
'Well, he's in there,' said Willoughby Braddock, jerking an awed thumb toward the drawing-room, 'and he hasn't got any trousers on.'
SCROLL Pictures, Images and Photos

Book Description:
Piccadilly Jim was a gossip columnist's dream. His life was one breach of promise after another drunken brawl. His rather Victorian aunt was not amused. So she decides to reform him. Unfortunately, she happens to choose a time when Jim has fallen in love and has decided he will reform himself. Life becomes complicated. With a beautiful piece of Wodehouse twisted logic, Jim ends up having to pretend he's himself. Whether this is the apex of honesty or the most base example of dishonesty only you can decide. Whatever it is, it's hilarious.

My thoughts:
Piccadilly Jim was a story I really enjoyed. This ended up being a re-read for me, and I enjoyed it more this time than the first time.Picadilly Jim has some very typical Wodehouse characters in it. First there is the strong, domineering women and hen-pecked husband:
The little photograph had not done Mrs. Pett justice. Seen life-size, she was both handsomer and more formidable than she appeared in reproduction. She was a large woman, with a fine figure and bold and compelling eyes, and her personality crashed disturbingly into the quiet atmosphere of the room. She was the type of woman whom small, diffident men seem to marry instinctively, as unable to help themselves as cockleshell boats sucked into a maelstrom.
There is also the young boy who is extremely rude and horribly spoiled.
Ogden Ford was round and blobby and looked overfed. He had the plethoric habit of one who whom wholesome exercise is a stranger and the sallow complexion of the confirmed candy-fiend.
I think funniest part was when Picadilly Jim's father, who has been stuck in England for years and is suffering from baseball fever, ends up sailing over to New York and becoming the butler for his sister-in-law, Mrs. Pett. Of course, the excitement and suspense build up as Picadilly Jim, who is also trying to hide his identity, becomes involved in kidnapping his Victorian aunt's son, Ogden, and win the love of Ann Chester. Crazy, quirky, and totally Wodehouse!

SCROLL Pictures, Images and Photos
The Girl on the Boat | [P. G. Wodehouse]

Book Description:
Wilhemina 'Billie' Bennett, red-haired daughter of an American millionaire, loves golf, dogs, and Tennyson and is to marry Eustace Hignett, the weak, poetry-writing son of a famous English writer on theosophy. Enter San Marlowe, Eustace's tournament golfing cousin, and Jane Hubbard, Billie's big-game-hunting friend, and another romp in the inimitable Wodehouse style unfolds.
My thoughts:
I actually listened to The Girl on the Boat
Some passages I enjoyed:
'I suppose old Eustace will be getting hitched up one of these days?' said Sam.
Mrs. Hignett started violently.
'Why do you say that?'
'What makes you say that?'
'Oh, well, he's a romantic sort of fellow. Write poetry, and all that.'
'There is no likelihood at all of Eustace marrying. He is a shy and retiring temperament, and sees few women. He's almost a recluse.'
I have tried to draw Samuel Marlowe so that he will live on the printed page. I have endeavored to delineate his character so that it will be as an open book. And, if I have succeeded in my task, the reader will by now have become aware that he was young man with the gall of an Army mule.   
She had only been out of the room minutes, and in that brief period a middle-aged lady of commanding aspect had apparently come up through a trap. It would have been enough to upset most girls, but Jane Hubbard bore it calmly. All through her vivid life her bedroom had been a sort of cosy corner for murderers, alligators, tarantulas, scorpions, and every variety of snake, so she accepted the middle-aged lady without comment.

I am linking up over at:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Girl: Strawberry Fields by Lois Lenski

Book Description:
The land was theirs, but so were its hardships
Strawberries -- big, ripe, and juicy. Ten-year-old Birdie Boyer can hardly wait to start picking them. But her family has just moved to the Florida backwoods, and they haven′t even begun their planting. ";Don′t count your biddies ′fore they′re hatched, gal young un!"; her father tells her.
Making the new farm prosper is not easy. There is heat to suffer through, and droughts, and cold snaps. And, perhaps most worrisome of all for the Boyers, there are rowdy neighbors, just itching to start a feud.
My thoughts:
Strawberry Girl  is one of Lois Lenski's "regional series" books which won the 1946 Newbery Medal.
In the foreword, the author describes the "Crackers" descendants from Carolina, Georgia and West Florida who settled in the lake region of Florida. They lived a primitive life and had to fight with nature, wildlife, and their neighbors.

Birdie and her family move into the "ole" Roddenberry house and soon meet their neighbors, the Slaters. She also meets their son, Shoestring. The Boyer family begin to work on planting their strawberry plants and other things that they were going to raise and sell. Soon trouble starts when the Slater cattle trample over their plants. Birdie's father puts up a fence and the troubles begin. Not only do they have to deal with the Slater's shenanigan, but they also have to deal with insects, birds, and the weather. Even in the midst of trouble, Birdie and her family show that "loving your neighbor" can be done.

I think what draws me most to this story is Birdie and Shoestring. It isn't possible that they can't be friends due to their families feuding. Birdie struggles with hatred toward Shoestring, and he enjoys taunting and teasing her. Even though Shoestring joins in the trouble, he also warns her when something bad is going to happen. Throughout the story I could feel their struggle to be friends, which adds some suspense to the story.

I remember reading this book back in high school and it left an impression on me. During this re-read I was amazed to realize that these struggles happened in the early 1900's. This book is also filled with Lois Lenski's delightful illustrations which add to the charm of the story. Also, you can't help but enjoy their vernacular:

"You purely can't!" said the boy. "Can't raise nothin' on this sorry 'ole piece of land but a fuss! He spat and frowned. "Sorriest you can find--either too wet or too dry. Not fittin for nothin' but palmetto roots. Your strawberries won't never make."
 Overall, I enjoyed re-reading this story and that it was just as delightful and impressionable as when I first read it years ago. This is my first book that I have read from my "The Classics Club" project.

I am linking up over at:

Book Review: Scout - Secret of the Swamp by Piet Prins

Secret of the Swamp - 9780921100508

My thoughts:
I had brought home Secret of the Swamp by Piet Prins a couple of years ago for my oldest son to read which didn't happen . After reading this post over at the CIRCE Institute blog, I decided to read it aloud to my everyone.

In Secret of the Swamp we are introduced to Tom, his two friends, Bert and Carl and his German Shepherd, Scout. They live in Holland during the German occupation of World War II. The boys experience many adventures in the swamp around where they live. Scout has been an invaluable companion to Tom and on several occasions saved his life.  As the Allies draw closer the Nazis become more cruel and sinister. When Tom overhears a plot to ambush the Allies, he and Carl, along with Scout, set out on a dangerous journey through the swamp to warn the Allies.

This story was a very exciting and suspenseful story and who what child can't resist a great story about a dog.  It also gives a great picture of war times and shows that in times of distress how important it is to trust in the Lord.

Secret of the Swamp was fun to read aloud to my kids. It had my boys (16 & 9) begging for more. In fact, after the second day my oldest son took the book in his room and completed it in two days. It took my daughter (12) longer to get into the story, but by the end she was begging for more.  Scout seems to be a new favorite and I highly recommend it as a family read aloud.

I am linking up over at:
SatReviewbuttonRead-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's On Your Nightstand - April

What's On Your Nightstand

My reading for May:

From my March post I read:
Piccadilly Jim by P.G. Wodehouse
Sam the Sudden - P.G. Wodehouse
Scout: Secret of the Swamp by Pier Prins
Playful Learning: Develop Your Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder by Mariah Bruehl (review)
Your Child's Growing Mind: A Guide to Learning and Brain Development from Birth to Adolescence by Jane Healy (review)

I also read:
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen (review)
Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey (review)
A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey
Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth (A Pennsylvania-Dutch Mystery with Recipes) by Tamar Myers (review)
Simply Homeschool: Having Less Clutter and More Joy in Your Homeschool by Karen DeBeus (Kindle booklet)
Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free by Amy Lynn Andrews (Kindle booklet)

I listened to:
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (review)
Mrs. Pollifax Pursued by Dorothy Gilman (review)
The Girl on the Boat by P.G. Wodehouse

I gave up reading:
Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick (I know this book has rave reviews, but I found the woman's style of "giving grace" extremely annoying. I was almost half-way through the book and after discussing some of her thoughts with my husband, I decided to just forgo the book.)
The Power of a Positive Mom by Karol Ladd (I found that this book was just ho-hum and I was kind of bored with it. I decided to quit reading it since other books are calling my name.)

See what others are reading over at 5 Minutes for Books.


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