Thursday, February 27, 2014

Read-Aloud Thursday: Missee Lee by Arthur Ransome

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Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos

Missee Lee - Exodus Books  

Book Description:
The original cast of the famed Swallows and Amazons series is sailing under the stars and the command of Captain Flint in the South China Sea when Gibbet, their pet monkey, grabs the captain's cigar and drops it in the fuel tank. In minutes, the ship is ablaze (and doomed), and our seven luckless protagonists are adrift in two small boats. They make their way to land, only to find themselves the captives of one of the last remaining pirates operating off the China Coast. But Missee Lee, as it turns out, is no ordinary pirate; her father had sent her off to Cambridge University to prepare her for a life as a teacher. But when her father takes ill and dies, she finds herself struggling to hold together the Three Island Confederation (Tiger, Turtle, and Dragon) he had created, and to be recognized as his legitimate heir and ruler of the Island Kingdom.

My thoughts:
Missee Lee by Arthur Ransome is the 10th book in the Swallows & Amazons Series and boy, it didn't disappoint. It started right off with their ship, Wild Cat, going down and eventually being captured by Chinese pirates.

Chopping off heads was the usual treatment of the Three Island Confederation, but their lives are saved when Roger finds her Latin Dictionary and writes a translation in it. Missee Lee steps in and claims them for herself to be her students. Thus begins an adventure as they all including Captain Flint have to become model students and learn Latin, with Roger as the model student much to the chagrin of everyone else.

Unrest pervades between the other Confederation leaders against Missee Lee until she must decide what to do. Between much suspense and a few surprises they finally make their escape.

My kids absolutely loved this story. It started off with a bang and just kept on going until we were all hanging on to the edge of our seat. Ransome again displays his excellent story telling abilities. Highly recommended!!

Oh-no! I just realized after writing this review we skipped a book. Well, actually I think my kid's plotted against me and jumped ahead since they have been dying to read this story. Thankfully, most of these stories don't have to be read in order. Coming up next will be Book 9 - Big Six

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
  • Secret Water 

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

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    KinderBach:Piano for Young Children (TOS Review)

    Kinderbach Review
    During the he last few weeks Delani and I have been having fun discovering  music with the piano from KinderBach which I received for review .

    Kinderbach Review
    I received The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner. The KinderBach Online Piano Lessons are the children ages 3-7. A year membership that includes access to six levels of music education that includes videos and downloadable coloring pages.
    Kinderbach Review
    These lessons focus on six areas of music development:
    • Listening skills (ear)
    • Note Reading (sight)
    • Rhythm
    • Hand Position or Technique (playing the piano)
    • Singing
    • Composition
    Kinderbach Review

    Teacher's Corner includes:
    Lesson plan book, Teacher Aid book
    Teacher's Guide
    Audio MP3s
    Student Book
    Goal Book and Level Certificate (Level 1 only right now).

    Delani is 5 and she was very excited to have her own piano lessons since her big sister takes them. We mainly used the browser on the iPad to watch the videos. This was nice since we could sit at the table and watch or if she was going to play the piano she could take it over to the piano and do her lesson. She liked having control of this and many days she would watch more than one lesson.

    KB Review
    I printed off the worksheets for her, but many times she wasn't interested in them. She figured out that the video worked through them and so she would answer the questions while watching the video. She enjoyed the projects more than just the color worksheets.

    For her rhythm instrument she used an empty juice bottle. She would use a pen or marker to hit the side while tapping out a song or note rhythms. Keeping rhythm was challenging to her.

    KinderBach does approach learning music very differently than traditional piano lessons and I think this is where I had a hard time wrapping my mind around it. Though musical term are taught with the correct names they are also associated with a special character. I think this could hinder a child if they switched from KinderBach to a more traditional piano lessons unless the teacher knew KinderBach's terminology.

    Throughout the different videos the same screen shot is used for different concepts taught. While I understand the reasoning behind this for some reason it really annoyed Delani. I heard her repeat more than once, "I've already done this!" She also struggled with playing the piano since she had a hard time pushing down on the piano keys. A keyboard would have been better option for her for the beginning part.

    These were small frustrations for Delani and I noticed she would avoid wanting to watch the lessons. Many times I sat down at the piano and play the lesson with her to help her over these frustrations. That helped and pretty soon she would want to continue with the lessons.

    While not like traditional piano lessons, KinderBach does provide a good introduction to music education for young children. If you are wanting to start piano lessons or to just introduce your child to music KinderBach  provides a lot of learning and fun for the price.

    For a limited time they are offering a year membership to The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner for $95.88. That comes to just $7.99 a month.

    Facebook for Teachers:
    Twitter: @KinderBach
    YouTube: KinderBach Preschool Piano

    Click to read Crew Reviews
    Crew Disclaimer

    Wednesdays with Words (Miss Buncle's Book)


    What fools the public were! They were exactly like sheep...thought Mr Abbott sleepily...following each other's lead, neglecting one book and buying another just because other people were buying it, although, for the life of you, you couldn't see what the one lacked and the other possessed.
    This statement is so true. As the manager of a local Friends of the Library bookstore, my main job is to go through the donated books, price and shelf in the store. I can't begin to tell you how many fiction books that at one time were "Best Sellers" have the dust jacket tucked in the first few chapters and then never read beyond that point--way too many!

    Monday, February 24, 2014

    What's On Your Nightstand - February

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    What's On Your Nightstand

    For March:

    Read from January's Nightstand:

    I am currently reading:
    • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - Yes, I am making headway on this, but goodness, Hugo can ramble for pages and pages about a town, the French Revolution, a convent, or whatever tickles his fancy. Please, just give me the story!!
    • The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential by John Maxwell - Umm, yes, this is still on my list. I had to send the book back to the library. I have been finishing it up with an audio CD and only have half a disc left, but haven't much time in the car (the only vehicle with a CD player).

     I also read:

    I listened to:
    • April Lady by Georgette Heyer - Probably not her finest work, but still a fun story. Heyer goes into a lot of detail in this book talking about different aspects of life in the Regency Period. 
    • Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer - Another fun read. I have decided that Heyer's writing really shines when she includes children or young people in her stories.
    • The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy - Book 3 in The Scarlet Pimpernel Series. I have to admit Baroness Orczy does a good job of showing the horrors of the French Revolution.

    I quit reading:
    • 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker - I thought I wasn't going to like this book and I was right. First off, a memoir that focuses on a author's "me, me," and "I, I," descriptions really annoy me. I did read 100 pages into the book and to be honest, I couldn't relate or sympathize with her in the least. Secondly, this book addresses what I refer to as "Christian hot topics"--helping the poor and materialism--in the Christian world right now. I want to go on record stating that Christians are to be reaching out the poor and homeless and yes, we can be very materialistic, but social justice is not the answer. Disguising the message of "social justice" in the Gospel of Jesus is not Biblical AT ALL!

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

    The Homeschool Mother's Journal (February 22)

    February 22 Collage
    1. Destini finished Math-U-See Zeta and is now in Pre-Algebra! Besides all the moaning and groaning she had a very successful first week with it.

    2. Chantry finished his cursive book. He though he was finished until I informed him he was just beginning. Now we will work on perfecting it through copywork.

    3. Delani wanted her hair  Mickey Mouse pony-tails, so she got them. They look very cute on her.

    4. Chantry expanded his horizons by learning to cut sausage with a sharp knife.

    5. Missie Lee by Arthur Ransome is our current read-aloud and boy, is it ever exciting.

    6. Game night. A little Bunco and a new game, Chronology .
    Homegrown Learners
    So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    Time for Sewing - February

    Time for Sewing

    I have trying to be intentional in making time to sew. I was successful in January and February also turned out to be a great month for sewing. Thanks to our snowstorm we experienced two weeks ago I ended up having quite a bit of time to sew. This month I not only sewed up fabric from my stash, but I re-made and fixed a few things that have been sitting by my sewing machine for far too long! In this very lengthy post I am sharing the results.

    Delani's "Valentine's" Skirt:
    Sewing Time skirt 1 

     I made this skirt for Delani and actually used fabric from my stash that I had originally bought years ago to make a skirt for Destini. Yeah, I've had it that long!! The Tween & Teen Flared Skirt PDF pattern is from I love the look of this skirt, but the fit is a little off. I got to thinking that maybe I'm not printing the pattern off correctly so next time I am going to be paying attention to that.

    Summer skirt for Delani:
    Sewing Time skirt 2 
    I started this skirt last summer and had got to gathering the skirt and attaching it to the top of the skirt when I bought a new sewing machine. Needless to say it sat on my sewing table gathering dust until this month. It is very springy so Delani will have to wait a month or two to add to her wardrobe. This skirt is the Bridget Skirt Sewing Card from Valori Wells Designs

    bridget skirt pattern by valori wells

    The Mary Engelbreit Skirts:
    Sewing Time skirts 4
    Destini (left) & Delani (right)

    In 2011 my mom gave me the black and pink pieces of Mary Engelbreit fabric to make one of my girls, who were 11 & 3, a skirt. Later I found another black piece on clearance and made both girls a skirt. This skirt turned out to be Destini's favorite skirt. She has worn it so much now it is very soft and doesn't need ironing anymore. When we look at pictures taken over the last few years more than half  of them have her wearing this skirt. It is our big joke that it is the only skirt she owns. 

     Last year my mom found more of the black fabric in her stash and sent it out. I still had the pink fabric and the cherry fabric was still available at JoAnn's. My intention was to make the skirts last summer, but that didn't happen. This month I sat down and made both skirts for the girls who are now 14 & 5. I used my favorite pattern, Butterfly Kisses Olivia Skirt Pattern.

    I did make adjustments to add the pink strip above the bottom band. Destini is too big for the pattern so I just added to the measurements in 1/4" increments. When I finished it the first time it was a tad long, so I took off the bottom band, cut off some of the pink fabric, and sewed the bottom band back on. Now it only needs washed 100 more times to get to the softness of her first skirt and we have another bunch of years of looking at her in the same skirt!

    Sewing Time skirt 3

    I bought these jumpers (plus a pile more) last year for a great clearance price last year. Last March I turned two into skirts, but never got around to the other two I had. During the storm I sat down and cut of the tops of the jumper, sewed the elastic around the top, tacked it down, and viola--new skirts!

    Sewing Time Skirt 5 
    I found this skirt at Goodwill for Destini, but it was too big in the waist. The ruffles made it impossible to take it in along the side seam, so I just settled on sewing a piece of elastic from one side of the zipper to the other. From the front it doesn't look the nicest, but her shirt covers it and it does hand nicely on her. She loves it. I consider this month a great month in the sewing department.

    I'm not sure what next month will bring. Destini will be making a quilt for student convention and it will probably be the main focus. Here is a glimpse of what is to come:

    I am linking up:


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