Friday, June 24, 2016

Sparky! (A Book about a Sloth)

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A certain boy has developed a small obsession with sloths. It started with a harmless documentary we watched one day when I needed a break as part of our science curriculum. Then we watched the recent release of Zootopia and there is a sloth scene in the movie that had us all rolling in our chair. (We also loved the rest of the movie, but the sloths were our favorite part). It just so happened that I had grabbed this new release at the library and it was about ... sloths!

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The story is about a young girl that wants a pet. Her mother's conditions are that she could have any pet she wanted "as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed." After some research help from the school librarian, she discovers the sloth, a special animal "known to sleep more than sixteen hours a day ... hang upside down in trees, barely moving, for long periods of time." Perfect!

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Without giving too much away, it's a sweet story of a girl loving her little pet with the qualities he comes with, even if he's not as exciting as her friend Mary Potts' pets - "her cat can dance on her hind legs and her parrot knows twenty words, including God and ice cream."

A high flying adventure story? No. But one that was a little wistful and smacks of childhood sweetness.

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Two thumbs up from our sloth loving fans in this house. : )

Monday, June 13, 2016

Of Tales and Adventures

First pool read of the summer. (And yes, I'm in clothes. The temp just hit 80* and I don't get it for another 5-6 degrees, minimum. 😉)First jump of the summer.Officially a graduate! Proud of you @thejayweezy!!!!! 🎉🎓🎉Back at the pool after about a week off with #classicalconversations Practicum and other busy-ness.Untitled

Thinking of how our days and weeks and months move along. While I think they are slipping by, mostly meaningless, I remember that that is not truth. Even the most mundane of days, where the most exciting thing that happens is a new scent of laundry detergent, add up into a great story that we are part of as we live life one with another. A reminder to me to slow down this summer and live the adventure that I'm in right now instead of always wondering what I'm missing out on.

'The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to that they were things the wonderful folks of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually - their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on - and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same - like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren't always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of tale we've fallen into?'

'I wonder,' said Frodo. 'But I don't know. And that's the way of a real tale. Take any one that you're fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don't know. And you don't want them to.'


-- The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien


The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;you hold my lot.The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

-- Psalm 16:5-6

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Reading Report

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Last day of May. Sneaking in with a reading report in the last hour here before the month gets away from me. May was a good reading month - I'm predicting that a couple of the books I got to this month will make my best of 2016 reading list by the end of the year ... and that's with six months of the year left to go!

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This month I finished:
  • Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper. The story of a small black community in North Carolina during the depression and how they band together when the KKK starts to make its presence known. Stella is the unlikely heroine in this story and she is a small voice that helps her community fight back. This is one that I checked out from the library and immediately turned around and ordered a copy for our personal library. So good. 
  • The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit. A magical story about four children who discover a magic ring and what happens when the wearer makes a wish while wearing it. It was not our favorite Nesbit story (try The 5 Children and It or The Railway Children for one of our favorites), but we still enjoyed it. I think we just had a rough start to this book with a very poorly formatted Kindle book that made it quite difficult to read, as well as very long chapter. I think it would have been more enjoyable if we hadn't read it aloud, and I don't say that about many books.
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien. The first time reading this classic. I found parts of the book a little dry to read through, probably because I've seen the movies so much, and felt like I was slogging through parts of it. I did like it enough to move on to The Two Towers, which I must say is progressing much quicker!
  • Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson. Another N.D. Wilson book that we had on our shelf that I hadn't read yet. This is a modern story (unlike all his fantasy which I have read lately) and it was full of mystery, murder and escape from great peril. I loved it, and if you have a young reader (I'd say ten and up) that likes adventure and thrilling danger, this is a great pick.
  • Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. I have stopped and started this book a half dozen times. I was a little worried it was going to be a "name it and claim it" type of book, but having read as much Sally Clarkson as I have, I shouldn't have been worried. A wonderful (WONDERFUL) book about applying Scripture to your life and redeeming areas where you to see the Lord grow you and where you want to move out and serve him with confidence. I can't wait to read it again.
  • Taran Wanderer, book 4, Chronicles of Prydian by Lloyd Alexander. We are determined to finish this series this summer! Book 4 of the series finds our hero, Taran, on a quest to figure out his parentage. This one doesn't have as many colorful characters as the first three books, and it misses the character of the spirited Princess Eilonwey and the noble Sir Gwydion, but none-the-less, we wrapped this one up just today and are headed into book 5 to find out if our assistant pig keeper does get the girl in the end.
Short and sweet this month. I posted at the end of last week my optimistic list for the summer so we'll see where I end up on those books by the end of June! Book lists and goals are one of my favorite things ... almost as much fun as actually reading the books. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Big Summer Plans of the Bookish Sort

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School's out!

We finished our year as of last week (though one girl still has a little math to do, but we won't mention any names). We are assembling summer bucket lists, seeing how many days in a row we can get to the pool, and young people are enjoying staying up past a sensible person's bedtime. Not me. I'm enjoying going to bed at the same time, and everyone else sleeping in a little longer in the morning. : )

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One of my resolutions this year was to read more of the stuff sitting around on my shelf. With that in mind, I've put together a summer reading list of several that I've been wanting to read for just forever, several that I've been wanting to re-read, and ... let's be honest ... there are a few new goodies in there as well.

Re-reads include:

From the shelves that I've put off for way to long include:
  • The Question by Leigh A. Bortins. N1 starts Challenge A this fall and I should have probably read this last summer!
  • For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaffer Macaulay. 
  • Prayer by Richard Foster.
  • Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Because this is a classic and because I have a Betsy.
  • C.S. Lewis' Miracles. Because I keep saying that I want to read more C.S.L. and this is what my husband said I should read next. So far, I've only read Screwtape Letters, twice, and Mere Christianity, once. I should probably reread that one as well.
  • The Two Towers (which I'm about half-way through) and The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien. I read The Fellowship of the Ring in May as part of a Facebook book club I am in and I'm continuing the series. The Fellowship dragged quite a bit for me, but thankfully The Two Towers has picked up the pace a bit!
From the shiny, bright, and new pile:
  • The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. I admit, I checked this out from the library based on a description on Amazon and because I liked the cover. : )
  • None Like Him by Jen Wilkin. Her Women of the Word is excellent, and I'm working my way through her 1st Peter study right now, so buying her new book was a no-brainer.
  • Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman. Everything I've read by Gloria I've also enjoyed, but strangely enough, I've never actually finished one of her books. Hoping to rectify that this summer.
  • Sophie Hudson's newest which comes out next week - Giddy Up, Eunice. I have read Boomama's first two books multiple times and laugh out loud and am moved with every reading and so I have great hopes for this one as well. She gets me.

First pool read of the summer. (And yes, I'm in clothes. The temp just hit 80* and I don't get it for another 5-6 degrees, minimum. 😉)

If you are reading anything fun in your neck of the woods, I'm all ears! Happy summer!

Friday, April 29, 2016

April Reading Report

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We are so close to the end of the school year - you can definitely tell in my reading choices! Lots of our read alouds are winding up (and we are starting a couple new ones) and lots of kidlit in my stack.

  • Dandelion Fire (100 Cupboards, Book 2) by N.D. Wilson. I've been on an N.D. Wilson kick this month, with my goal of finally finishing his 100 Cupboards series. The 2nd book was the hardest for me to get through, and I definitely slowed down. 
  • Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. You really can't go wrong with reading Roald Dahl and this was one that none of us had read before. I had picked this one for reading aloud after it was gushed about during a Read Aloud Revival podcast with Greta Eskridge. We enjoyed it, but it wasn't my favorite Dahl by far. (Give me Charlie and all the chocolate, please).
  • The Chestnut King (100 Cupboards, Book 3) by N.D. Wilson. Book 3 definitely picked up for me! A satisfactory conclusion to this series. N2 (age 10) has jumped into book 1 of this series after we listened to the Read Aloud Revival podcast episode with N.D. Wilson - an excellent listen.
  • Book Scavengers by Jennifer Chambliss Bertram. If you liked Mr. Lemoncello's Library, you will probably enjoy this one as well. A bookish mystery with lots of literary references. N1 (12) finished it and we have already noted when it's sequel comes out in January.
  • Story of the World, Volume 1 by Susan Wise Bauer. Our history spine for the year. 
  • Outlaws of Time: the Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson. Wilson's newest book (which came out last Tuesday) and features heavily in the podcast linked above. I haven't decided if I loved it or not. Definitely creative - a science fiction western - but I had a hard time keeping up with the time travel elements and what was going on. I may be to old to appreciate this one. : )
  • The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. This was a very well-written story. Ada is trapped at home by a physical disability. Abused physically and verbally by her mother, she and her brother escape London during the air bombings on WW2. They are placed the home of a single women who is grieving the loss of her dear friend and companion and their time together is healing for all three of them. 
  • Pages of History by Veritas Press. Another of our history read-aloud that we wrapped up this month. This was an excellent fiction walk through much of ancient history, but man, those chapters were long. There is a sequel (renaissance through modern ages) and I'm eyeing it for our read aloud basket next fall.

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Currently in my queue or am reading:

  • Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper. This one keeps popping up as a recommended title on Amazon based on what I look at so I snatched it up at the library. 
  • I'm looking at the Lord of the Rings trilogy for next month. I'm reading through the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge with some folks via Facebook and next month I'm to tackle a banned book. While perusing lists online, I found out the LoTR books were banned and am totally using that as an excuse to dive into them. I'm fairly ashamed that I haven't read them yet because I love the movies so much.
  • I've also got Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry laying around her if I need another banned book option. Amy gave a great review of it recently and piqued my interest.
  • To much non-fiction that I'm meandering through to mention. I need to finish something!
And with that, it's May in two days! We have about two more weeks of school, I'm about 6 days away from B turning 9, and our summer break is just around the corner. Which just means more time for reading, right?