Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Octonauts & the Frown Fish

Immedium Publishing recently send me The Octonauts & the Frown Fish to peruse and review with my girls. If you are a fan of Hello Kitty/Sanrio type art and cute little Japanese-style animated characters, this book should be right up your alley.

The Octonauts are eight little quirky characters that work together in the Octopod - their underwater vessel. For example, there is Sauci Dog, Nurse Peso Penguin, and Tweak Bunny just to name a few. Each character is cute and cuddly and looks like there should be a line of stuffed animals with their names on them. :) In this story, The Octonauts & the Frown Fish, these undersea travellers come across a new-to-them fish that is frowning. In their quest to help this fish, and wipe that frown off his face, they try all sorts of activities and work as a team to try and cheer him up!

My girls enjoyed this book and wanted more of these cute animal adventurers. There are three books in the series - this is the third - so I'll be on the lookout for them. If you have a little one that likes to color, I also recommend heading over to their website where you can print off color pages of different scenes from the book.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's on My Nightstand :: July

Way too many books. That's the short answer of what's on the nightstand this month. I mentioned yesterday that I have been thoroughly enjoying the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Child, but as a consequence, everything else is stacking up. I'm itching to get into some of those non-fiction books there soon, so I think several of them will be on tap for August starting with the one on the top : Elizabeth George's A Woman's Call to Prayer. (I've read this before, several years ago, but felt the tug to pull it off the shelf as we begin our first year of homeschooling next week.)

For more nightstand posts, and suggestions of what to read if you are at a loss, head over to 5 Minutes for Books.

(For those that can't tell the titles in the above stack they are, from top to bottom: A Woman's Call to Prayer, Not So Fast by Ann Kroeker, A Mother's Heart by Jean Fleming, The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson, For the Family's Sake by Susan Schaeffer McCaulley, Thrush Green by Miss Read, Chamomile Mourning by Laura Childs, The Duggars: 20 and Counting by The Duggars, and The Frontierman's Daughter by Laura Frantz.)

Previous Nightstands posts, if you still need more ideas of what to read:
November 08

Monday, July 27, 2009

Current: July 2009

Current Books: the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Child. Thoroughly enjoying them. Can't say the same for her scrapbooking mystery series ... much edgier (set in New Orleans) and more profanity. Rats!

Current Playlist: Aaron Copland ... when I'm not listening to kid-tunes.

Current Shame: Great Value Trail Mix. Yummmmmm.

Current Color: Dark Orange. A color I can't wear at all, but I am wanting it everywhere else.

Current Fetish: Dreaming of things I want to do with the girls as they get a bit older ... road trips to take, places to see, activities, books to read, etc. Not that I am saying we are done with babies, but I've dreaming of things yet to come. :)

Current Drink: Diet Dr. Thunder from Walmart. My Diet Coke has been ridiculously expensive lately.

Current Food: Tomatoes and more tomatoes. The garden is flourishing in that department!

Current Favorite Favorite: This picture of my crew. Taken right after picking Daddy up at the airport from a long trip for work.

My Crew

Current Wishlist: The return of my old routine of getting up before the girls. I've had a few weeks off but wishing won't make me get up in the morning. Only setting the alarm will do that!

Current Needs: Thanking God that there is nothing that we are without that we desperately need. I would like to order N1's science books this week, but I can be patient if necessary. :)

Current Triumph: Planning 6 weeks of fun social studies reading and such for the kindergartener. We. are. so. excited!!!!

Current Bane of my Existence: Procrastination. (Myself ... not others).

Current Indulgence: My husband. He's pretty darn fabulous. And the fun stuff we are working on for our anniversary this weekend. The big SEVEN. :)

Current Mood: Sleeeeeeepy.

Current #1 Blessing: My family.

Current Slang or Saying: ShoMama! (Something my husband says that now my girls say all. the. time.)

Current Outfit: capri jeans and a white t-shirt.

Current Excitement: Celebrating the anniversary this weekend. Plans are in the works...

Current Link: I think I posted all my good links on Saturday, so if you missed them, go here. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weekend Links

~ I love these downloadable coloring books from Flipflops and Applesauce. They are perfect for the three year old that wants to do school with the big sister ... and she learns a letter or two along the way. :)

~ If you like having handwriting fonts on your computer go here ... and they are free. :)

~ a nifty tutorial on making small blank books. These would be perfect to make for party favors or small blank books for my girls to tote around with them!

~ homemade crackerjack ... what a super cool summer time snack or party snack for a child's birthday!

~ N1 and I have thoroughly enjoyed making lapbooks over the last year or so. Homeschool Share has a TON of new lapbooks, chapter book studies and little workbox projects for preschoolers on their site. I've spend a good bit of a rainy morning this week browsing and printing for the girls. :)

~ is it ever to early to think about Christmas? Links to a neat Daily December project/album both here and here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Felicities


Things that are making me happy this week:
  • sleeping in a wee bit ... not my norm at all (and I'll be back to my early wake up time when school starts next week), but BBoo has figured out how to sleep until 7 a.m. and I've enjoyed that the last two mornings. :) (Note that I am not mentioning that my children have not figured out how to sleep through the night completely ... I'll take what I can get!)
  • this unseasonably cool July weather.
  • a husband that provides for our family so diligently and without complaint.
  • these Tea Shop Mysteries! Besides being super fun mysteries they have RECIPES in the back! I'm dreaming of hosting a mother/daughter tea this fall around a certain soon-to-be-6-year-olds birthday. (Currently reading this one.) :)
  • coffee and mini bagels.

Happy Friday! (Friday Felicities is hosted by Becky!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The School Room

Laura left me a comment a few days ago about the maps that we put up in our school room ... I purchased our maps at Office Depot: Rand McNally's Laminated World Map and United States map. I wanted the laminted so we can write on them with transparency markers and stick them too them ... and hopefully get them off a little easier. :)

Maybe next week I can take pictures of our school room such as it is and post those ... this week we have been enjoying a few playdates with cousins and in my spare time I've been prepping school stuff. We start in a week and a half! :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Things Left Unspoken by Eva Marie Everson

A simple mystery set in the south ... a family and a small town with a history that goes way back ... and an old house that sheds some light on the story while being restored. This was an enjoyable book that I would recommend if you are looking for something to finish up your summer with!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Things Left Unspoken

Revell (June 1, 2009)


Eva Marie Everson


Every family--and every house--has its secrets. Jo-Lynn Hunter is at a crossroads in life when her great-aunt Stella insists that she return home to restore the old family manse in sleepy Cottonwood, Georgia. Jo-Lynn longs to get her teeth into a noteworthy and satisfying project. And it's the perfect excuse for some therapeutic time away from her self-absorbed husband and his snobby Atlanta friends.

Beneath the dust and the peeling wallpaper, things are not what they seem, and what Jo-Lynn doesn't know about her family holds just as many surprises. Was her great-grandfather the pillar of the community she thought he was? What is Aunt Stella hiding? And will her own marriage survive the renovation? Jo-Lynn isn't sure she wants to know the truth--but sometimes the truth has a way of making itself known.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Things Left Unspoken, go HERE

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend Links

~ An easy way for me to lend a hand to my friends (while still caring for my family ) is to make meals to take to others. I'm not a cooking pro at all, so any tips that I find are ones that I store away for later, like these from 4 Reluctant Entertainers.

~ Speaking of meals, I can't decide about this Sausage & Gravy Breakfast Pizza. I'm tempted to try it! :)

~ I've read several posts this week about travel - from scrapbooking products inspired by travel to trips you can take through children's literature. I'm itching for a road trip. :)

Happy Weekend. :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Through the Fire by Shawn Grady

Again, I haven't read this book yet ... I haven't received a copy yet! However, per my agreement with CFBA, here's is their summary and links for the book if you want to check it out. :)

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Through The Fire

Bethany House (July 1, 2009)


Shawn Grady

Shawn Grady signed with Bethany House Publishers in 2008. He was named “Most Promising New Writer” at the 39th Annual Mount Hermon Writers Conference. Through the Fire is his debut novel.

Shawn has served for over a decade as a firefighter and paramedic in northern Nevada. From fire engines and ambulances to tillered ladder trucks and helicopters, Shawn’s work environment has always been dynamic. The line of duty has carried him to a variety of locale, from high-rise fires in the city to the burning heavy timber of the eastern Sierras.

Shawn attended Point Loma Nazarene University as a Theology undergrad before shifting direction to acquire an Associate of Science degree in Fire Science Technology as well as Paramedic licensure through Truckee Meadows Community College.

Shawn currently lives in Reno, Nevada, just outside of Lake Tahoe. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife, three children and yellow Labrador.


Firefighting burns in Aidan O'Neill's blood. The son of a fireman, O'Neill has a sixth sense about fire and often takes dangerous risks. When one act of disobedience nearly gets a rookie killed, O'Neill is suspended. His weeks off are supposed to be a time to reflect but instead he escapes to Mexico, where another rash act of bravery actually kills him. But only for a few minutes.

Called back to Reno, he's now haunted by visions of hell and paralyzed in the face of fire. And at the worst time, because an arsonist is targeting Reno. With a growing love interest with one of the investigators complicating everything, Aidan must discover where his trust rests as the fires creep ever closer.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Through The Fire, go HERE

Friday Felicities :: July 17


~ T is coming home today!!!!
~ a good week with the girls!
~ coffee & diet coke ... what has kept me awake this week with a few late nights
~ new maps for our schoolroom
~ school starts in 2 weeks!

Link up at Becky's!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pirate Hunter by Tom Morrisey

I just received this book in the mail and have not had time to read it ... I leave CFBA's review here for your perusal. This looks like Indiana Jones meets the high seas in a modern adverture novel to me. :)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pirate Hunter
Bethany House (July 1, 2009)
Tom Morrisey


High Seas Adventure Meets a High-Tech Quest for Pirate Gold West Indies, 18th century Young Ted Bascombe is rescued by notorious pirate Captain Henry Thatch, finding himself caught up in a world of crime, adventure, and a daily fight for freedom.... Key West, 21st century Marine archaeologist Greg Rhode embarks on a treasure-hunting expedition in the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys, but he's as beguiled by a beautiful diver with different-colored eyes as by the lure of pirate gold...The Hunt Is On! Interweaving these two stories, pro deep-sea diver Tom Morrisey spins a multilayered tale of two young men's quests to escape their past by losing themselves to adventure on the high seas. Romantic and thrilling, this unique novel explores the timeless truth that "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pirate Hunter, go HERE

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Children's Classics ::: Henry Reed's Journey

My name is Henry Harris Reed and this is my journal.


Thus starts Henry Reed's Journey ... one of my favorite books from my childhood. Henry Reed is a boy of 13. His parents are in the diplomatic service overseas and as a teen, Henry comes to the United States to spend the summers with his Uncle Al and Aunt Mable in a sleepy little subdivision in New Jersey. Well, it is sleepy until Henry gets there. Henry and his friend Midge Glass manage to keep themselves busy with all sorts of ideas and somehow manage to find themselves in one adventure (or predicament) after another.

How does this fit with the Children's Classic theme of book trips? Henry Reed's Journey is the 2nd book in the Henry series. In this book, Henry flies into San Francisco and travels across the US - from California to New Jersey - with his friend Midge and her parents in a station wagon. They see some of the sights of the country and, as per usual, manage to get into a scrape or two along the way.

This story reminds me of the road trips that I took as a child with my family ... and I probably read this book on one of them! This book was written in 1963 so you will find the book and some of the story dated. For me, that makes it charming! They visit the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, drive through Kansas and hit several more states before making it home to New Jersey. You will see Henry and Midge given more freedom in the book than kids today would be allowed. For example, at the beginning of the book, Henry (age 14 now) and Midge (age 13) are allowed to take a cablecar in San Francisco down to Fisherman's Wharf and look around. Of course, they stumble into an adventure involving a fall from the cable car, a parrot and a packet of hot pepper seeds. :)

Crypic? I hope so. :) I want you to check out this book for yourself! This is one of those series that I think is easily overlooked by today's kids because of the dated look to it ... the illustrations in the book are done by none other than Robert McCloskley (of Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal fame!) This book is a little hard to find (some of the books in the series are still in print) but if you manage to find a copy, it is definitely worth picking up!

For more travel stories and Children's Classics head over to Five Minutes for Books.

Past Children's Classics posts:
A.A. Milne
Beatrix Potter (specifically, the Tale of Jemima Puddleduck)
Make Way for Ducklings
The Little House
Ella the Elephant & The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians (Future Children's Classics)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Simple Goals


For this week ...

~ walk every day

~ sunshine (outside) everyday, even if it's just the backyard

~ eat lots of tomatoes from the garden

~ journal (paper)

Keeping it simple this week. :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Weekend Links

~ super cool idea on making tea in a jar to save space in your fridge - I'm trying it out today with some pomegranite tea bags! :)

~ more on spiritual journal from A Holy Experience.

~ lazy summer lunches. I need all the help I can get. :)

Just a few for the weekend. Have a great one.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Felicites with 10 on the 10th!


Combining today to list ten of my favorite movies that make me happy. Some of these I've been itching to watch for a while now and since my husband has some work travel coming up, I'm going to make an extra effort to get these to the top of my Netflix queue while he'll be gone. :)

Yes. This is my all-time favorite movie. I can't help it. I love Star Wars and the story behind it.

I had a good friend in college that introduced me to the music from this movie before I ever saw the movie itself ... "Good mornin', good mornin'! It's great to stay up late! Good mornin', good morning', to you! (and you and you and you)..."

Daisies ARE the friendliest flowers. :)

This movie just makes me smile. :) Funny, quirky, family movie.

I watched this movie over and over after I had N1 while I would nurse her. Such happy memories of that fall and winter. (It was easier to just leave the same movie in the DVD player and this movie is so beautiful ... and there are so many nuances to pick up on). This movie makes me want to make tea, write letters, journal, and fill my home with fresh flowers. Happy, happy movie. :)

Another musical/movie that brings back memories when N1 was a baby ... and from family movie nights when it was on TV only one time a year. :)

I will admit freely that I am *not* a fan of the movie Pretty Woman. However, this movie is so fun. One, because I have always wanted to move to the Northeastern US and live, even for a season ... Maine, Maryland. The season are beautiful there and I love the glimpse of them in this movie. Two, because it is set in a small town. Small towns are so neat for their local quirks and character.

This is a Christmas tradition for me and my husband ... we watch this every year together. My favorite of the three is the The Two Towers. :)

What little girl didn't grow up loving (the original) The Parent Trap? I know mine will be taught early about this classic. :)

Yes, I loved this movie. Something about the creativity and imagination behind the story. And, I do love me some good special effects.

Yes, I would have a dozen children if God and my husband would let me. Seriously. This movie is like living that vicariously for me. :)

And, a bonus ... if you have not seen this quirky movie that Tom Hanks wrote and directed, it is wonderful and the soundtrack just rocks. I have such good memories of this movie and the music associated with this. It makes me happy.

So, now you see my taste in movies. :) Silly, special effects, music, and families seem to be the themes here. Do you have any favorites that fall in these categories? And, if you want to post a list of what is making you happy this week, head over to Becky's for Friday Felicities; if you want to list 10 of whatever you want(!) head over to Meredith's at Lifeat7000feet!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Read Aloud Thursday ::: Tomie dePaola edition


We have been making lots of library trips this summer thus far and enjoying lots of new-to-us books. The two books I'm going to mention today are actually ones that we have checked out before. They are much loved by my girls and definitely worth a mention.

Tomie dePaola is a prolific children's author and illustrator. I've mentioned him before as part of a post on St. Patrick's Day and Christmas books. One of our favorite books by him is Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs. This story tells of the special relationship little Tomie has with his two Nanas - especially Nana Upstairs, who is really great-grandma. He spends his Sunday afternoons with Nana Upstairs because she is too old to come downstairs and they visit and eat snacks and take a nap together. As somewhat of a spoiler (but one of the reasons that I like the book), the book talks about how Nana Upstairs dies. This would be a wonderful book to introduce a child to the reality that our older family members will pass away at some point.

Another favorite dePaolo book for us (and one with a lighter subject matter!) is The Art Lesson. This is the story of young Tomie's dreams to become an artist when he grows up and how excited he is to start school and learn art lessons! There are a few bumps along the way - he is asked not to bring his box of 64 Crayola crayons to school and he only gets ONE piece of paper for his project. However, Tomie perserves and stays committed to his goal of becoming an artist.

I love how both of these books are based on Tomie dePaola's life and tell of his strong, close-knit family, and his dreams even as a little boy. Worth taking a look at, in my opinion. :)

For more Read-Aloud Thursday, head over to Hope is the Word!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A New Favorite Thing

I spotted these the other day in Joann's and they have quickly become my new favorite thing for the girls. These silicone cupcake liners are perfect and just the right size for little hands - they hold snacks, condiments for dipping (no more ketchup smearing all over everything on their plate), dip for veggies, and just the right amount of applesauce or yogurt for them.

I only wish I had bought a set of red and blue ones to use for this past 4th of July holiday weekend! :) They also have these teddy bear ones ... how cute!

Monday, July 06, 2009

July 6 Daybook

Outside my Window ... cloudy and grey. Google weather says that should clear off, but I'm kinda liking the break from the heat.

I am thinking
... of the incredibly relaxing weekend that we had as a family. Oh my. It was just what I needed. Very little running around. Lots of home time with just us.

I am thankful for ... a husband that is willing to sleep outside in the tent with the girls last night. They were so excited about sleeping in the backyard and he and the N's camped out last night. They had so much fun - the girls sent me text messages from the backyard via Daddy's phone and I received them in the comfort of the air-conditioned family room. :)

In the learning room ... less than a month until we start kindergarten! :) We're getting excited over here. We still have a few things up in the air with N1's plans for this fall regarding her participation in a tutorial (2-day/week) program. I'm still leaning towards doing all of her K here at home, but we felt like we needed to at least check out this new program (for several reasons).

From the kitchen ... something like this:

Monday (7/6): southwest taco salad, corn chips
Tuesday (7/7): fried chicken, salad, peas, roasted veggies
Wednesday (7/8): ceasar chicken pasta salad (using leftover chicken from Tuesday)
Thursday (7/9): breakfast dinner - eggs, hashbrown casserole, fruit
Friday (7/10): pizza

I am creating ... not a whole lot right now. I am working towards getting some scrapbooking back into my days. I'm hopeful that I will be creating something out of blueberries this week - I think the girls and I are going to go pick them this week. A blueberry pie sounds really good. :)

I am going ... to try and get out for a bit today ... by my ownself. :) I need to run an errand or two, and may try and take advantage of yet another day that we have T home with us. (Have I mentioned how wonderful and relaxing this LONG weekend has been ... and we still have one more day of it?) :)

I am wearing
... jammie pants and a t-shirt.

I am reading
... the first book in Laura Childs' tea shop mysteries: Death by Darjeeling. Thoroughly enjoying it and planning to search for more of her books at the library today and reserve them! I also have Jean Fleming's A Mother's Heart: A Look at Values, Vision, and Character in the Christian Mother in my tote back and have intentions of starting that soon.

I am hoping ... to finalize N1's school plans this week.

I am hearing
... Super Why (PBS) in the background. Girls playing. Happy house sounds. :)

Around the house ... need to do some straightening today. A fun, lazy, family weekend it has been and the house shows it. I also want to do a little re-arranging (of course) to make a spot to display seasonal and specific subject matter books that we are studying.

One of my favorite things
... lists and plans and dreams.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ...
as mentioned, I'm looking forward to taking the girls blueberry picking. A friend from church has blackberries on his land, and depending on how well the girls do with the blueberries, we may try blackberries next week. (The blackberries are quite a drive from us, but the blueberries are closer for a test-run). :) We have a 4-wk summer study at church for the women on Wednesday night and I'm hoping to go this week ... other thant that, business as usual around the house. Oh, except that T is traveling next week for work to fun and exotic places, so I'll be getting his things ready and making a game plan for me and the girls to get us by while I'm flying solo.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you ...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Weekend Reading

A few posts that I have been enjoying that I leave for your weekend reading if you have some time to relax. :)

~ GirlTalk's current series about A Homemaker's Dilemna.

~ The Clutter You Can't See from Simple Mom

~ The current spiritual discipline series as Holy Experience on journaling. This series has been wonderful.

~ Sally Clarkson speaks on godly friendships and why they are so vital.

~ And lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't point you toward my Dad's blog. A teacher of the Word for about 30 years now, he is posting a series on Proverbs that is worth a read. (I'll also brag that he is a great photographer and the pics that are on the blog are his own.) :)

Happy reading. :)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Friday Felicities ~ July 3

Look at this snazzy new graphic! :) I missed doing my Friday Felicities this last month ... I did it in my journal because this is such a good reminder for me of those little blessings in my life. No matter how trifling. :) A few things on this Independence Day weekend...
  • ~ a 4 1/2 day weekend with T (his company let them off Thursday afternoon and he doesn't go back until Tuesday!)

~ trail mix

~ my quiet time in the morning before the girls are up. Truthfully, of late it has been VERY short because a certain two-year old likes to get up at 6 a.m. But even a little is better than nothing. God is faithful to show me things even as I am reading this morning while BBoo watches a short video. So thankful for my morning time, such as it is. :)

~ friends that love my girls

~ how N1 has her very own nickname for BBoo. So sweet to hear her call her by her own term of endearment.

~ hotdogs, hamburgers & fireworks tonight with my sister & her family!

~ this wonderful country that I am blessed to be a citizen of ... "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." May it once again be a nation under God in the days to come.

Link up your Friday Felicities at Becky's!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Garden Days

I have to brag on my husband a bit. He wrote a song for our munchkins and made a music video of them playing in the backyard and walking in our garden. This is such a great snapshot of our summer and life right now ... thanks T for capturing the girls like this for me. I love you. :)

Garden Days - Day 59 (Special Edition) from Travis Shepherd on Vimeo.