Thursday, October 29, 2015

October Reading Report

A very rainy Tuesday called for popcorn, Sherlock Homes, and the first game of the World Series. #itssimplytuesdayMy Monday night date with Chick Fil A while one girl is at orchestra. Reading this new book from the author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, one of my favorites.Our newest read aloud we started today.

Oh, October. You were here, and then you sped by like wildfire!

In October I / we managed to finish:
  • Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. This was our (primary) September read-aloud and it was definitely enjoyed by all. We followed it up with the Disney movie, also fun though a little bit different from the book. Naturally.
  • The Black Star of Kingston by S.D. Smith. At the beginning of the month, and over our fall break from our homeschool co-op (we were still doing school at home, but it was a blissful week where we didn't go ANYWHERE!), we whipped through S.D. Smith's prequel of The Green Ember. We missed our characters from his first book, but the prequel did not disappoint.
  • The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows. This is one that I picked up on a whim after I saw that I could check it out on my Kindle. (I love doing that - one less book I have to remember to return to the library. It just disappears when my time is up). Written by the author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this book had intense characters and I was drawn into their story, however, it had a darker feel to it. One of the main and most loved characters was extremely flawed and I had a hard time relating or enjoying him throughout the book. Well written, but no Guernsey which is what I wanted.
  • Home is Where My People Are by Sophie Hudson. After reading the previous book, I wanted something a lot lighter! I toyed with the idea of picking up Mitford, but since I can't ever read just one, I went with another book on my Kindle that I laugh outloud through every time I pick it up. Sophie (Boomama) has a way with words and that fact that she and I are roughly the same age, I can totally relate to her stories as she is reminiscing and I love when I read an author that I think I could be friends with in real life. Cannot wait until her third book is coming out sometime next year.
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This was the October Reading to Know bookclub pick and I devoured this mystery. I'm pretty sure this is the first Sherlock Holmes I have ever read and it will not be the last. The story kept me guessing as the mystery unraveled - very important to someone who has cut her teeth on Nancy Drew in elementary school and Agatha Christie in high school. I'll be coming back to him very soon.
Up next:
  • The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw is our current read aloud and I am hoping we can finish it up in the next couple of days. We are to the "just one more chapter mom!" part of the book where I've got them hooked. Again, this is another great story, but definitely geared more to an older student. My 8 year old is probably on the young end to read this, but she is hanging in there with us because it is such a compelling story and we are rooting for the main character. Probably not a book you would pick up with kids that are sensitive without prereading.
  • I'm not sure what we will tackle after TGG. I'm leaning towards a mystery - I don't think we have every done one as a read aloud and we may do something fun and light like a Nancy Drew book. I have the whole ND series in hardback and not one of my girls has picked that series up and given it a shot. I feel like I have failed somewhere as a mother! Whatever we pick, it will probably be something lighter and shorter than our current read. 
  • Another one I would like to read soon is The First Four Years. (Qualifies as a shorter read, but not as a lighter one!) I have put off reading the last book in the Little House series for far too long - one, because it will be the end of our time reading through the books, and two, because it is going to be a hard one to get through.
  • I have no idea what I'll pick up personally. Maybe more Sherlock. : )
Any good books I need to know about? Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Project Life // The Birthday Boy Week


There were a lot of photos for this week's spread. Enough that I used an additional Design A page protector to fit them all in. I did quite a bit of journaling (more than normal for me) on the photos directly to fit in a few more stories for the week - lots to tell as we celebrated the boy turning five along with a few other happenings. : )

Monday, October 12, 2015

Earl the Squirrel by Don Freeman


The boy has been a big fan of Courduroy by Don Freeman for the past several months and it was rare that a week went by where we didn't read it a couple times a week at bedtime. We were recently at the library and spotted this title on the seasonal display table in the children's department. I don't know why I had never thought to look for more of Mr. Freeman's works ... actually, it's probably because of a few too many reads of Courduroy Gets His Shots or something like that. (I can't find it on Amazon or I'd link it).


Earl the Squirrel tells the story of a young squirrel who has made a friend of the little girl in the house next to his tree. His mother continually cautions Earl against associating with the little girl, as well as accepting the gifts that she gives him. One day the little girl gives Earl a beautiful red scarf. The mother is not impressed with the scarf, however, it comes in handy when Earl finds a spectacular acorn tree in a field with a huge bull. (We can all get an idea of where the story is going with a bull and a squirrel with a red scarf.). The story ends happily with the squirrel safe, the attack of the bull foiled, and the mother squirrel changing her mind.


It's a fun fall story in and of itself, but I do love Don Freeman's artwork. His detailed black and white drawings with the only color being the fire-engine red of Earl's scarf just make the story pop. It was a treat to the eyes and a fun find to add to our autumn reading basket.

And, thanks to Earl, I now have a half-dozen other Don Freeman books on hold at the library for the boy and I to work our way through in the coming days. I'll be sure and report back if and when I find any more winners!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Birthdays Mean New Books

Someone has turned 5 in the blink of an eye. Happy birthday Ethan! 💙

Someone is FIVE.

Yes, I'm having a hard time with it as well, but there is no denying it. He woke up this morning and sleepily wandered into our schoolroom asking how old he was today. When I replied that he was now five, I also asked if he felt older this morning. He did, because five is kind of a big deal.

Playing like a champ on the eve of his 5th birthday.

Five loves soccer. Five especially loves soccer because his dad coaches his team.


Five asked for pancakes for his birthday breakfast, with syrup. The birthday dinner will be grilled cheese "with that red soup that we dip them in" a.k.a. tomato soup.


Five also loves read aloud time. Our special (guaranteed one-on-one) time is at bedtime, when he and I churn through 2-3 books for as long as (1) he stays awake, (2) I stay awake, or (3) the girls hold off on interrupting us. For his birthday, I spotted these Star Wars Golden Books via someone's instagram feed and knew that these were needed.


High quality Caldecott classics? Probably not. : ) Profitable for passing on a mama's love of Star Wars to her baby 5 year old? Absolutely.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Project Life Reality :: Catching Up


So. I'm pretty behind in my Project Life album. I didn't touch it much this summer and now that the weather is cooling off, I'm definitely feeling the urge to get out my scrapbooks and see where I'm at.


Catching up for me means two things:

1. Make a list. Instead of feeling overwhelmed about what I have and haven't done, get a list actually on paper and see what is missing and needs to be filled in and completed. Then I break it down into somewhat manageable chunks. After looking at my list, I initially noticed that I hadn't printed photos for most the summer. Since I was at least pretty diligent about getting the photos off my camera and phone and into our external hard drives (I'm mildly obsessive about cleaning the photos off my phone so I don't run out of memory) they were at least all in one place. : ) It took a couple of hours on a weekend and I had a huge batch of photos uploaded to Sam's Club and ready to pick up 24 hours later. At least now the photos were in my hand and not on my computer.


2. Start at the present. I flipped to the end of my album and did the most current week - which for me was the first week of September. It's for sure quicker (and more enjoyable) for me to scrap the current batch of photos when my memory is the freshest. I definitely want to get back to the older photos but my enthusiasm is definitely higher at getting the fun pictures from our weekend at a family camp we attended and time a mini-maker science fair (and my new favorite photo of me and B with Chewbacca). : )


I still love Project Life and am so thankful for this way of capturing our family's memories. It has definitely simplified this process for me while still allowing me to be creative and preserve photos and memories for our family.