Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Reading Report :: June 2015

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June is here! We finally wrapped up our school year, VBS is behind us (it was wonderful, but it's a crazy full week where not much else happens), and we are into our true summer break. Finally. There has been much swimming, many late nights, and more time for reading!

In June, I read:
  • The Little Prince by Antione de Saint-ExupĂ©ry
    • This was for the Reading to Know bookclub for June and since it was a short classic I had never read, I managed to fit it in this month. Honestly, it was just okay for me. I haven't done a lot of reading about this book so I'm guessing there are deep hidden meanings that I have missed.
  • A Girl's Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls by Dannah Gresh and Suzy Weibel
    • I pre-read this one with the thought of handing this off to my older two girls and/or using it as a Bible study / mama dates with them this summer. Dannah Gresh is a solid author when it comes to raising girls and issues of purity and relationships and this one was short, simple, and well done.
  • Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper, the Dark is Rising Sequence book 1
  • The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, the Dark is Ring Sequence book 2
  • Greenwitch by Susan Cooper, the Dark is Rising Sequence book 3
  • The Grey King by Susan Cooper, the Dark is Rising Sequence book 4
    • I'm lumping these four books together because I was absolutely sucked into this series the last two weeks! I had never heard of this fantasy series before, but my friend and fellow book enabler Amy pointed out that books two and four would qualify for her Newbery challenge. (The Dark is Rising was an honor book in 1974 and The Grey King was the Newbery winner in 1976). The battle between Light and Dark and the search for five objects that will help defeat the darkness are the backbone of these stories, complete with a little Arthurian legend thrown into the mix. I would say that these are a shade darker in the writing than a fantasy series like The Prydian Chronicles, but I would have no problem handing these off to N1 to read if she were interested! As I read them, Susan Cooper's writing style consistently reminded me of Madeline L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time series - not A Wrinkle in Time as much as the other books in the series, as well as some of the books in her Austin family series. I don't know if that's because of the time that they were written or just her writing style, but the tone and feel of the story were similar though the actually story was completely different. (If that makes sense?) Anyway, loved these and glad for the Newberry challenge's prompt that made me aware of them!
Vacation reading has arrived. Now to actually wait to start it on vacation. Last year's big read was Unbroken ... this has mighty big steps to follow. #shepherdsupersummer2015 #itssimplytuesday

For July, I'm hoping to tackle:
  • book 5 in the Dark is Rising Sequence, Silver on the Tree ... it's waiting at the library for me and I'm guessing I'll have that read in enough time it could probably make the June list once I pick it up. : )
  • Same with The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. This was another in my stack for the Newbery challenge and when I didn't have book 5 in the Dark is Rising Sequence, I picked it up. I'm about 1/3 of the way through this and so far so good.
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is my summer road trip book of choice. Last summer I read Unbroken so this book has big steps to follow.
  • Also, for the first time in a LONG time, I signed up to be on a book launch team. Simply Tuesday arrived in the mail yesterday and I'm eager to dive in. I've thoroughly enjoyed Emily Freeman's other books and I'm hoping this one follows suit.
It's been a while since I've signed up to do a book review but I am seriously excited to be on this one. #SimplyTuesday

After those three I'm just going to let July take me where it will! I'd love to reread The Core by Leigh Bortins as we prepare for jumping back into school next month as well as her second book, The Question. Really, there is no shortage of things to read around here, so I guess I'll just see what I gravitate towards this time next month!

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Our first few slow days I did some major cleaning and purging and these were some of the to-be-read books that I gathered and stacked in my bedroom. There is not shortage of things to read around here!

Monday, June 01, 2015

What We're Reading // Family Edition, (late) May 2015


One of my favorite bloggers, Elise Joy, has a monthly series where she highlights what she and her almost 2-year old are currently reading. eating, etc. It wouldn't be quite as cute for me to post the shoes that my 8 year old are wearing (that girl is hard on shoes) but what books we are currently engrossed in ... that I can get behind.

As we end May...

Mama // The Beekeeper's Apprentice: On the Segregation of the Queen by Laurie R. King. I said I was going to finally finish this and I did (and before May was over!) A very detailed and engrossing mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed though I don't recommend taking as long to get through it as I did.

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N1, age 11 // she has been binge reading the Warrior cat series this spring and is nearing the end of the series finally.

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N2, age 9 // Yes, we let our 9 year old read Harry Potter. She has LOVED the series and done fine with it (I think largely in part to the huge amounts of reading aloud that we've done and discussion through the series when needed). In our house, when you finish 3rd grade, you are allowed to read the HP series if you are ready for it and she most definitely was.

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B, age 8 // She just got this series for her birthday at beginning of month and has pronounced it to be her first book that she's tackling as part of our summer reading "project."

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The boy, age 4 // He loves himself a funny picture book and this story, from the author of his beloved Dragons Love Tacos, tickles him to no end.

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Current read aloud // All of a Kind Family Downtown. We're hoping to read several more books in this series this summer!

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Happy June and happy reading! : )

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Reading Report :: May 2015

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As I was prepared to tally my reading report for May, I had thought it would be a slow month to report. As it turns out, I kinda still think that, but I also did read more that I thought I did. May is always a busy month. Soccer, end of activities, wrapping up school ... but still I did find time to read a few pages.

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I managed to finish:

  • All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. We FLEW through this read-aloud (blogged here) and are looking forward to tackling the sequels in this series this summer.
  • Christy by Catherine Marshall for the Reading to Know bookclub. I so loved revisiting this old friend and I owe Carrie my wrap up post on this book ASAP. 
  • Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs was my mindless fiction for the month. An easy breezy mystery that I read over this holiday weekend when we had a little extra downtime. It's not a deep series by any stretch of the imagination, but I can pick it up and remember the characters and enjoy the story, scenery and food descriptions without any problem. A great light read for those reasons.
  • Onion John by Joseph Krumgold for Amy's Newbery challenge. I really do want to write more on this one so hopefully I will make the time to come back and share a few quotes. I'm not sure why I picked this one for my challenge selection other that the title sounded unique. And to be honest, the first half of the book was a chore to get through, but I was glad to see the end of it. Will I rave about this being the best book I discovered in the Newbery challenge? Probably not, but it did have a super sweet lesson at the end of it that I loved. More soon, I hope. : )

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For June, I have a small stack here that I'm going to start with. We have our Classical Conversations practicum this month as well as VBS (which I'm helping with) so we'll see what kind of reading time I end up with in my fringe hours. I'm envisioning many days of reading at the pool while my kids swim, but that may just be dreaming. : ) On the list:

  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King. A Sherlock Holmes mystery (of sorts) that I am thoroughly enjoying, but its about the opposite of Laura Childs' light mysteries in every respect. Meaty and detailed, and I am really enjoying it, but it's been slow going. I'm on my last renewal of it before I have to return it to the library so I plan to finish it soon. Really.
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is our current read-aloud and I'm actually guessing that we will finish it today or tomorrow. I remember trying to read this to my crew when N1 was five or six and we bailed on it. It's a different experience this time around and we are LOVING IT. 
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Another classic I've never read and it's Amy's choice for the Reading to Know bookclub in June. 
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I've recently seen this title mentioned by my friend as one of her favorites and since I've never read it AND it fits for Amy's Newbery challenge for the 1970s, it is in the stack. I know absolutely nothing about the book so we'll see what I learn.
Summer's a'coming and hopefully more time for reading! Anything you are dying to get to this summer?

We went back for more. #shepherdsupersummer2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Project Life :: May Update

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I managed to get a couple more weeks in my 2015 Project Life album - yay! This weekend was delightfully low key with soccer done for the year which meant I managed to squeeze in a few scrapbooking minutes. These are the last two weeks - May 11-17 and May 18-24. I utilized the Project Life app quite a bit on these layouts making collages to fit in a couple of busy days. I haven't yet printed through the app yet; I just save them to my phone and print them with the rest of my regular photos.

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This week was full with field trips, the end of Awana, standardized testing for one, and soccer for a boy. I had a Hobby Lobby coupon and bought the first new core kit that I've added in a while - the Fine and Dandy kit. I love the colors in the kit - so summery that it was perfect for layouts for both of these two weeks. My one thought on my first run through the kit was that it sure seemed to have a LOT of vertical cards which I rarely, if ever use.

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Up close of the collages I made in the PL app. I played along with Ali's Day in the Life (blogged here) and didn't want to include an insert in my album. Two collages and it was included right along with the rest of the week.

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Rain showers and bikes, a little jazz guitar, the last soccer game of the season, another field trip to a local nature sanctuary, and finally! The pool opens!

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I found a couple of these 4x6 sleeves that adhere in your album and used one to add a couple collages from last Friday's field trip. I don't love the little sleeves, but I didn't want an whole insert either. It works. : )

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I have a handful of weeks I need to catch up journaling in from the spring so that is my June project. I also pulled my 2014 album (July-Dec) off the shelf and was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't as behind as I thought in there. If I could stay current, plus do a week or two of catch up a week, I'd be a happy camper this summer. : )

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Quoted :: Christy by Catherine Marshall

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She was teaching me about true friendship too. Through Fairlight's eyes I came to know a quality of friendship which bore little resemblance to the casualness of our relationships back home. The mountain type of friendship was a tie of substance between people with a sort of gallant fealty about it. It had to do with a time in the past when there was no more final bond than a man's pledged word; when every connection of blood and family was firm and strong, forged in the past, stretching into the future.
And so this kind of friendship was for life - yes, and for eternity too. One would never deceive or defraud a friend, nor allow him to be in need so long as you had one coin, one garment, or one meal to share with him. His sorrow was your sorrow; his joy, your cause for rejoicing too.
Christy by Catherine Marshall

Hustling to get this done this week because I have a wrap-up post to write for Carrie over at Reading to Know. I have so enjoyed reading this book again after such a long time and there were some gems of quotes to be found in it. I have loved every minute of revisiting this old friend.