Thursday, March 26, 2015

Read-Aloud Thursday (The Picts & Martyrs)

Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos

Picts & the Martyrs - Exodus Books 
Jibbooms and bobstays! Those two Blackett sisters are back at it again, and Nancy is right there in the thick of it. Their mother (doubtless suffering from exhaustion) has gone off sailing in the North Sea with Captain Flint on a rest cure, but she has allowed her two daughters to stay a fortnight at Beckfoot on the lakeshore with their trusty cook. She's also permitted their two old friends, Dick and Dorothea Callum, to come up for a visit. But when their redoubtable Great Aunt (aka G. A.) hears of their abandonment, she's horrified and off on the next train. The Amazons are dismayed; not only will their solo holiday be ruined but now they'll have to hide their two guests in the woods in an abandoned shepherd's cottage (where they'll be forced to live off the land like savages, ergo "The Picts") while they'll be required to dress up in white pinafores, practice the pianoforte, and recite reams of parlor poetry aloud (ergo "The Martyrs"). Not much stretch here; no one dares trifle with the G.A.
As usual with Ransome, the fun is gentle, the action nonstop, and the instructions on everything from tickling trout to setting anchors are precise and informed. Even the formidable maiden aunt proves to have virtues, not the least of which is her ability to say she's sorry.
 The Picts & the Martyrs is the eleventh book in the Swallows & Amazons Series. This story took us awhile to get into. This is one of Ransome's slower moving books where most of the action happens at the end of the story. What makes the story bearable is the great lengths that Nancy and Peggy go to to hid Dick and Dorothea from the Great-Aunt. They do it so well that in the end the Great-Aunt goes away impressed with their behavior!

This probably wasn't our favorite book of the series, but nonetheless it still was a very enjoyable read. If you children love adventure stories I highly recommend this series.

Other's we have read: 

  • Swallows and Amazons
  • Swallowdale
  • Peter Duck
  • Winter Holiday
  • Coot Club 
  • Pigeon Post  
  • We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea 
  • Secret Water
  • The Big Six
  • Missee Lee

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

    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    Wednesdays with Words (Penrod & Sam)


    After finishing up Penrod by Booth Tarkington. I quickly ordered the next book in the series, Penrod and Sam which we have thoroughly enjoyed. In this scene Penrod has just been give $2 and he sets off to buy a horn, which had recently become his greatest desire to have.

    After thirty-five minutes after two, Wednesday afternoon, Uncle Joe's train came into the station, and Uncle Joe got out and shouted among his relatives. At eighteen minutes before three he was waving to them from the platform of the last car, having just slipped a two-dollar bill into Penrod's breast-pocket. And, at seven minutes after three, Penrod opened the door of the largest "music store" in town. 

    A tall, exquisite, fair man, evidently a musical earl, stood before him, leaning whimsically upon a piano of the highest polish. The sight abashed Penrod not a bit--his remarkable financial condition even made him rather peremptory. 

    "See here," he said brusquely: "I want to look at that big horn in the window."

    "Very well, said the earl; "look at it." And he leaned more luxuriously upon the polished piano. 

    "I meant--" Penrod began, but paused, something daunted, while an unnamed fear brought greater mildness into his voice, as he continued. "I meant--I----- How much is that big horn?" 

     "How much?" the earl repeated. 

     "I mean," said Penrod, "how much is it worth?" 

     "I don't know," the earl returned. "Its price is eighty-five dollars." 

     "Eighty-five----" Penrod began mechanically, but was forced to pause and swallow a little air the obstructed his throat, as the difference between eighty-five and two became more and more startling. He has entered the store, rich; in the last ten seconds he had become poverty-stricken. Eighty-five dollars was the same as eighty-five millions. (pp. 295-296)

    This description made us all laugh, but I think it truly does describe how a kids (and adults) feel when their heart's desire is so far removed from reality.

    Tuesday, March 24, 2015

    What's On Your Nightstand - March

    What's On Your Nightstand

    I thought at first this month was going to be kind of dismal in the reading department, but after compiling my list it doesn't look so bad. My April list may be a little robust since we are going to be very busy the next few weeks as my kids get ready to compete in the NW ACTS Student Convention that we have participated in the last few years. Once that is finished then it is time for baseball to start! I wish I could say that I get a lot of reading in at baseball practice, but I tend to talk more than read. So here goes:

    For April's Nightstand:

    From February's Nightstand I read:
    • The Making of a Marchioness by Francis Hodgson Burnett - This is a little bit like a Cinderella story with quite a big dose of reality and suspense spread throughout.
    • Penrod by Booth Tarkington - I read this aloud to my kids and laughed through the whole thing! Penrod is the twentieth century version of Huckleberry Finn, except that he may be even more naughty is that is possible to imagine. It does include some stereotyping that was typical of that time, but still very much worth the read. I will be posting a review soon.
    • Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread (Jane Austen Takes the South) by Mary Jane Hathaway - I enjoyed the first two books in the series, but this one fell flat. I just couldn't connect with the characters. Oh well, I think next time I'll just settle for the original. I know I like that!
    • The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight by Heidi St. John - I have heard Heidi St. John speak many times and have found her very down to earth. I also found this book like a breath of fresh air to come floating through my school year. This book isn't deep, but it was an uplifting read.
    • Rite of Passage: A Father's Blessing by Jim McBride - This is a book from my 2015 Reads list. I love the idea of giving kids a rite of passage into adulthood. Jim McBride shares what he did with his sons and also his daughters. If this idea appeals to you this is a book worth reading.
    I also read:
    • The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank - I am going to just state up front that I really, really disliked this book. Like I have said before I either hate or love memoirs and this one fell in the hate category, even though I love to read books set during World War II.
    • Penrod and Sam by Booth Tarkington - After finished Penrod, I quickly ordered the next book. It didn't take us long to make it through this book and we are now patiently waiting for Penrod Jashber from the library. One think I have learned is that it isn't easy to read aloud when you are laughing so hard that you can't read.
    I listened to:
    • Common Sense by Thomas Paine - I listened to this in a matter of a couple of hours. Parts of it I "got" and parts went over my head. I would benefit from actually reading it, so one day I must come back around to it.
    • Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley - Sharon, from Life With the Tribe shared about this book. This was such a fun and very cute little story. If you love books, Parnassus on Wheels fits the bill.
    See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2015

    Wednesdays with Words (Being Flexible)


    Every year I make a schedule out, and every year even when I leave a little room in the schedule something always seems to come up and mess it up. For the last four years my kids have attended an convention where Christian school and homeschool kids come from around the Northwest and compete in academic events, speaking events, music, art, sports, and photography.

    That time is soon approaching (a whole month earlier than last year) and we are now in a mad race to get finished. Chantry is working on polishing up his poem and he will also be preaching along with photography and a science project. Destini is working hard to complete a cross-stitch project and still wants to sew a quilt and a few other things that have been put on hold. Cross-stitch is the big focus right now.

    Needless to say I had to decide to set aside academics for now while we focus on these projects, because in the long run I know these are important skills for them to know and have. I randomly picked a book on my Kindle, The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight by Heidi St. John for one of my Nightstand picks for March and I must say it has been a refreshing read--not deep, but it like a breath of fresh air.

    Here are a few things that I found encouraging for this season that I'm in right now.

    The key to successful planning is understanding that even the best plans need to be flexible. Successful homeschoolers plan for the seasons of life. 

    The ability to flex with life is what most successful homeschool moms have in common. 

    Right now I am attempting to be flexible as we have set academics aside (but not read-alouds!)and when the competition is over we will pick up where we left off. I admit I'm a little nervous about getting everything done before June (my brain stops working in June), but this is where I am going to rely on God to help me to focus on what is important and let the little things go as we complete our school year.

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015

    Wednesdays with Words (Penrod - Part 3) 


    We just finished our current read-aloud, Penrod by Booth Tarkington, tonight. Have your kids ever watched a film that made them run from the room because they can't bear to watch what is about to happen? Well, Penrod has my kids doing the same thing. If they are not running from the room they are hollering or plugging their ears! And yes, they are 12 and 15 years old. I consider this a good sign since I have felt the need to do the same a time or two! Needless to say, Penrod is quite the character. Here is one more of his escapades.
    He sighed, and took from the inside pocket of his new jacket the "sling-shot" aunt Sarah Crim had given him that morning. 

    He snapped the rubbers absently. They held fast; and his next impulse was entirely irresistible. He found a shapely stone, fitted it to the leather, and drew back the ancient catapult for a shot. A sparrow hopped upon a branch between him and the house, and he aimed at the sparrow, but the reflection from the dazzling window struck in his eyes as he loosed the leather. 

    He missed the sparrow, but not the window. There was a loud crash, and to his horror he caught a glimpse of his father, stricken in mid-shaving, ducking a shower of broken glass, glittering razor flourishing wildly. Words crashed with the glass, stentorian words, fragmentary but collossal.
    Now I'm off to order the next book, Penrod and Sam .

    Check out my other Wednesdays with Words posts from Penrod:
    Penrod - Part 1
    Penrod - Part 2

    Wednesday, March 4, 2015

    Wednesdays with Word (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life)

    I don't know if I should admit this, but I read in the bathroom. Hey, there is peace and quiet and what more can a mom crave? So my new bathroom read, if I would call it that, is Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney. 

    I was a little leery to read this since I thought it was going to be a heavy read. Years ago I attempted to read Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline and didn't meet with much success--not that it wasn't good just deep. Anyway, that has not been the case so far with Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. So far it is very readable and practical.


    My quote comes from Chapter 2 which talks about the importance of reading your Bible every day which takes discipline and motivation. 
    Discipline yourself to find the time. Try to make it the same time every day. Try to make it a time other than just before you go to sleep. There's value in reading the Bible just before you drop off, but if this is the only time you read Scripture then you should try to find another time. There are at least two reasons for this. First, you will retain very little of what you read when you're so tired and sleepy. And second, if you're like me, you probably do very little evil in your sleep. You need to encounter Christ in the Scriptures when it will still have an impact on your day.


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