Thursday, January 30, 2014

Read-Aloud Thursday: Secret Water by Arthur Ransome

{Affliate links enclosed.}
Secret Water - Exodus Books

Book Description:
In the eighth book in Arthur Ransome's beloved Swallows and Amazons series, the five Walker children are left on a "desert island" by their parents with provisions for a long stay and a blank map to fill in. Like all of Ransome's books, this is at once a real adventure and a lesson in the practicalities of exploring - in this case, of surveying the inlets, coves, mudflats, and estuaries of "Walker Island." Naturally, there are enemies to overcome (another clan named "The Eels") and friends to meet (who else but the intrepid "Amazons?"). And, as always, the children do it all solo.
My thoughts:
Well, it is hard to believe we have now read eight books in the Swallows and Amazons Series by Arthur Ransome. We are slowly making our way through the series and a few week ago we wrapped up Secret Water.

In Secret Water the four Walker children, John, Susan, Titty, and Roger, along with their youngest sister, Bridget, are marooned on a desert island. They are surprised to meet up with the Amazons, plus make new friends. Their main goal is to explore the island and draw a map of it. Nancy, along with "the Eels" have other plans, including a human sacrifice (no worries, this is all done in fun!). One day after the tide had gone out the children "crossed the Red Sea on dry land", but on the way back, Titty, Roger, and Bridget, who spent too much time exploring,  almost experienced "the Egyptians" fate which caused quite a bit of suspense to see how it would all play out in the end!

Secret Water was a fun read, I don't think it shines as brightly as the previous books that include the Walker children. The story is slow going for awhile and I just had to commit to reading it vs. being begged to read. Thankfully, it did get more exciting near the end, which helped redeem the story in my children's eyes.

As usual, Ransome shows the children very self-sufficient. It is quite mind boggling to think of dropping your children off on an island for a week by themselves. Of course, this aspect of his stories is what makes these books a lot of fun!

Read my other reviews from the Swallows and Amazons series:
  • Swallows and Amazons
  • Swallowdale
  • Peter Duck
  • Winter Holiday
  • Coot Club
  • Pigeon Post
  • We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea

  • See what others are reading aloud over at Hope is the Word.

    Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

    Time for Sewing - January

    Time for Sewing

    One of my goals this year is to give more time to my sewing. I have been able to find a little time this month and was able to two skirts for Delani and also an apron as a belated Christmas present for my SIL. Here are my final products:

    Sewing January
    1. Apron - I used See & Sew B5125 to make this. This is not a pattern I will probably make any time soon, though now that I've made it I have a much better idea of what not to do! The utensil fabric is I bought purposely for my SIL, but it has sat in my drawer for over a year. The polka dot is a piece I bought just because you can always use polka dots and it ended up matching really well.
    2. Skirt 1 - This is made with my go-to skirt pattern for my girls, Butterfly Kisses Olivia Skirt Pattern. The fabric is Heidi Grace from Joann's. I am not a big fan of JoAnn's cotton fabrics, but I really like these prints. I wish on this skirt I had made the middle section from the blue floral and put the pink band on the bottom, but I had already bought the fabric to make the skirt the way it is made and so it had to remain that way.
    3. Skirt 2 - This is a corduroy skirt. Again the fabric is from JoAnn's. I found the top piece on clearance a few months ago and could not pass it up. (I have a closet full of fabric, but you don't pass up corduroy at $3 a yard!) My main thought was that I was going to just keep the fabric until I decided exactly what I wanted to make from it. After Christmas I went in and found the bottom piece of the skirt on the clearance rack. It was from the same line as the top piece so that clinched the deal for making this skirt. I still have more of the top piece that I may make something for Destini, but that is yet to be determined.
    I am linking up:

    Monday, January 27, 2014

    What's On Your Nightstand - January

    {Affiliate links enclosed}
    What's On Your Nightstand
    January has been a productive month. I didn't do so well with my actual Nightstand list for January, but I made up for it with other books. 

    For February:

    From December's Nightstand:
    I am currently reading:
    I also read:
    I listened to:
    • Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns - A great southern fiction story. Tom Parker has the perfect voice for narrating this story. (Excerpt)

    See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.

    Reading Journal: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery


    Book Description:
    At twenty-nine Valancy had never been in love, and it seemed romance had passed her by. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she found her only consolations in the "forbidden" books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle. Then a letter arrived from Dr. Trent -- and Valancy decided to throw caution to the winds. For the first time in her life Valancy did and said exactly what she wanted. Soon she discovered a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams.
    My thoughts: Looking through my blog posts I noticed I read and reviewed The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery for Carrie's L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge back in 2009 (where has time gone!?). Even though I have read and re-read The Blue Castle many times it remains my favorite non-Anne Montgomery book. Montgomery does a find job of crafting a story that does not disappoint. Give me this wonderfully "romantic-suspense" story over anything being published today!

    Special note:  For those that personally know me I do want to give a heads up. Montgomery's view of God can be very distorted at times in this book, more so than in her "Anne" books. Also, there are references to curse words (not written out) and some adult themes, though they are tastefully written about. If this book looks like a book your daughter may like please pre-read it before handing it over to her.

    L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge Reading to Know - Book Club

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

    The Homeschool Mother's Journal: Random 5 on Friday (January 24)

    The Pebble Pond
    January 24 Collage
    1. The girls' new bed and bulletin board. 2. Styling girl!
    3. Tense moment during last Sunday's game between the 
    Seahawks and 49's.4. I bought this cart for myself, but my daughter 
    has hi-jacked it! 5. Decisions about Destini's quilt. 6. We started 
    reviewing Kinderbach. 7. Chantry did a presentation at co-op on 
    "How to Pitch a Baseball." 8. Spelling test. 
    9. Destini working on cross-stitch.
    1. The Seattle Seahawks are going to the Superbowl!! Football is always an intense season in our house, but this just threw it into overdrive. In fact, it has ME listening to sports talk radio to see what is being said. That's bad!!

    2. I have discovered why moms cannot lose weight. I am a lifetime Weight Watcher's member and over the holiday my weight has gotten a little close for comfort. I was making dinner the other evening and realized I could make some extra brown rice and green peas and then save the rest for a couple of lunches. It would have been a great thought if everyone wouldn't have eaten all the green peas for dinner and my five year old would quit eating my brown rice!

    3. My girls have had their new bed and I think we are making progress. Delani slept in it 4 out of 7 nights. That beats 7 out of 7 nights in my bed!

    4. Destini started her sewing projects for ACTS Student Convention. She will be doing a cross-stitch picture and a quilt again.

    5 Speaking of the Superbowl--I found this tonight on Facebook and just had to share:

    Homegrown Learners
    So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

    Friday, January 24, 2014

    5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials - Day 5: Support

    Essentials Day 5
    I think every homeschool mom needs to have support for the homeschooling journey. Here are my top recommendations to find support.

    1. Support Groups - For first five years of homeschooling I was a "lone-ranger" homeschool mom. This was not by choice, but that was the way it was. Thankfully, there was a lady who worked at the library who homeschooled her children and she kind of took me under her wing and was a great source of encouragement (and still is).

    Eventually, we moved to another city and my library friend was able to hook me up with a homeschool mom's group in our new city. I can't even begin to say what a great blessing this group has been to me and please notice, I said "me." I realize that I wasn't the only homeschool mom out there that was struggling to get her kids to learn, etc. Here was a group of women who were sharing ups and downs in their homeschool day that I was experiencing also. I wasn't alone with my feelings of frustration. It was like a heavy load had been lifted off of my back (or more realistically, my mind!)

    Overall, going to my homeschool mom's group makes me a happier and more relaxed mom AND wife. No longer am I unburdening every.little.single. problem to my husband (okay, I may slip on this a little), but now I have an arsenal of ideas to implement when struggles come and can leave bigger  problems are for him to deal with.

    2. An Experienced Homeschool Mom(s) - I am now in my 11th year of homeschooling and I still experience moments of being unsure of myself. There is nothing like a mom who has double, if not triple the years of homeschooling, to come along aside of me, listen to me, share what they struggled with and tell me, "It will be okay." To every woman who has done this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope I can be a blessing to younger mom one day.

    Homeschool Convention

    3. Homeschool Conventions - If you were a teacher in a private or public school you would be required to attend educational conferences or continuing education classes. Well, I consider attending my local homeschool convention to be my educational conference. Maybe every year isn't feasible, but make a goal to go every couple of years and follow through. You won't regret it. Oh, and make sure you attend the teaching sessions and not spend every minute in the exhibit hall.


    4. Online Groups and Blogs - This was my support back in the days when I was the "lone-ranger" homeschool mom. If it hadn't been for online groups I would have used boxed curriculum and been extremely frustrated.

    Since I am drawn to the Charlotte Mason method my biggest online support was the Ambleside Online Yahoo Group which now has it's own forum. I also heavily browsed The Well-Trained Mind Forums in my early years of homeschooling.

    Blogs are another great means of support and encouragement, though the nitty-gritty of homeschooling isn't shown as much as it should be (and for a good reason.)

    My favorites forums and blogs:

    You can see all the blogs I follow here. To be honest I add and subtract blogs pretty regularly so it is never the same.

    5. Books, Magazines, & More - I love to read, and my if I want to learn about something I read about it! I also find homeschool magazines to be a great resource, though I will usually pick up a book first. Homeschool audio resources are also another great way to get support.


    The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (free digitally)

    Audio resources:
    I always try to save a little money and buy some of the sessions that I couldn't attend from my local homeschool convention to listen to for later.
    Keep your eyes open. Many times homeschool talks will be available for a free download. I have accumulated many this way. There are also many programs you can listen to for free, but you have to listen to them at a certain time and a download isn't available unless you purchase it.

      5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials
    Please stop by the following blogs for more Homeschooling Essentials. Also, head on over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew for even more!!
    Mary @ Winecup Christian Homeschool
    Jenni @ Conversaving
    Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos
    Karen @ Tots and Me
    Beth @ Weavings
    Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling
    Karen @ My Harbor Lights
    Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings
    Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy
    Tara @ This Sweet Life


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