Five Minute Friday - Pass

So Kate does a Five Minute Friday word prompt, that a few of us like to get together and write on.  It's often fascinating to see how many different ways a group of people can see one word.

The rule is, write for five minutes on the prompt.  So... here I go.

Sometimes it takes me a while to ponder the word prompt of the day.  Today was one of those days. Granted, I am admittedly tired, after being in the hospital most of the day yesterday.     My son had his ear drum repaired, and it was difficult for him post-op.

Today was a quiet day at home helping a lad cope with pain and not feeling quite himself.  I kept reminding him that this too shall pass.

I reminded him of last year, when he had the other year fixed, that he got better from that as well.

This afternoon when I was out in the backyard doing some work I was reflecting on how we'll have to leave this home sometime later this year, all the memories we've built here, it made me feel a touch melancholy.  

As I walked back into the house and shook off that feeling as, I've moved several times in my life, and each time I look at the potentials of where I will be in the future.  Things to see, do and discover and that's a good thing.

For it matters not if you have set down roots, it matters where you have your roots dug into.   Do I dig them into the temporary things of home and garden?  Do I dig them into the one who made my home and garden?

Just as I told my lad...this too will pass.   It will get better.

Join us won't you?   Take five minutes to write on today's word prompt.  Then link up, and join in on the heart of this community and take some time to encourage those that linked up before you.   Is a good thing to do eh?  :)

Review: Class Pet Squad

You know the show Wonder Pets?
If not, check this out:

Classroom pets that prove to useful and have a variety of adventures.

If your children like that show and/or that type of story, let me introduce to you Class Pet Squad: Journey to the Center of Town.   From the moment I started reading this book I thought....ooh.. what's that children's show that my son used to watch.   Hubby supplied the name after thinking it through for a while.  :)   For this review I received a soft cover readers' edition book, courtesy of Raincoast Books.    This book was written by Dan Yaccarino.

My son, age 10, is beyond the level but oh.. it's a nice little easy chapter book for children and their parents to enjoy.

There are several things that I like about this 134 page easy chapter book.

It's loaded with pictures.   In my copy all the pictures were in grey-scale. I am told "final interior will print in two-colour".  But for your young readers, the pictures nicely help to tell the story.

Not only are there tons of images throughout the book, it is also printed in a larger font, making it easier for the reader to follow the story well.

Isn't that a great font size for younger readers?   Makes it so much easier to read.  My 10 year can read smaller print, but I find when he's reading a book with unfamiliar words he likes to use a magnifying glass to increase the font size. So having a larger print size for early reader books make SO much sense to me.  :)

Other than the "nice to have stuff" what did I like about the book itself?

First off the characters grew and changed, it wasn't just an adventure story, but a story of listening to others and choosing to make better decisions.  Learning to see the needs of others and not just the larger picture.

Secondly I liked the determination, to despite the odds against them, to finish the task set before them.

At the end of the book a new friend was made who helped them out of an unexpected conflict.

It was a good little book, animals on a mission to help someone they feel responsible for.  Simple fair for your early chapter book readers.

Review: Raising Uncommon Kids

Sami Cone has written a book to help parents raise selfless children. Raising uncommon kids - 12 Biblical Traits you need to raise selfless kids.

Book Synopsis:
Many parents are surprised to discover just how little we’re actually modeling the behaviors we hope to pass on–qualities such as unconditional love, gentleness, forgiveness, patience, gratitude, humility, and more. This unique book offers a fresh way to look at molding your children: by focusing more on adding good behaviors than on eliminating bad ones.
Grounding her advice in Scripture, Sami Cone shares stories from her own life to show these principles in action. And she outlines practical things you can do right now to create a home and family that exhibits love, harmony, and generosity of spirit in a self-centered world.

What you get:
 A book with three sections, each section broken down in character traits
One: Your heart at Home
  • Love
  • Harmony
  • Gentleness
  • Bearing with
Two: Your Attitude Toward Others
  •  Forgiveness
  • Wisdom
  • Patience
  • Kindness
Three: Your Influence in the World
  • Gratitude
  • Peace
  • Humility
  • Compassion
My Thoughts:
 I have to admit that the author lost me in chapter one when she started talking about how she organizes her day.   It felt unrealistic to me, and created a feeling of disconnect that was hard to fight past.   I stuck it through though and found things that I liked.

1. She talks from her heart and her devotion to God.
2. Mentor Moments - advice from other people who can speak into a situation
3. Make it practical - when she gives examples of how to make a particular character trait real.
4. Each chapter follows a similar format, makes it easy to follow.

If you would like additional support as you go through the book you can find it here.

Final thoughts: Not a sit down and read book.  It would be a good book to use for a class, to spark conversation and thought among parents as they examine their ideas about parenting children with each other.  

About the Author:
Sami Cone is a blogger, radio host, and TV correspondent. Known as the Frugal Mom on Nashville's top-rated talk show Talk of the Town, Sami hosts the nationally syndicated Family Money Minute and educates more than one million listeners every morning on the Family Friendly Morning Show. She and her husband, Rick, have two children and live in Nashville, Tennessee.

Product Details: 
Received: Softcover Book
Title: Raising Uncommon kids: 12 biblical traits to raise selfless kids
Author: Sami Cone
Pages: 204
Publisher: Baker Books
 Reviewed for: Nuts about Books.


Spring has Come!

I have to admit.. I LOVE spring flowers.. Don't you? I think my favourite are what I call my grass peepers. :) Small tiny flowers the peep up through the growing grass. Every year they cause my son to ask "Mom, why didn't you put them in a proper garden?" And every year I answer... "because when they peep out of the grass they make me smile lad". Then my lad just shakes his head at me. He is SO like his father. His father shook his head at me when I planted them in the lawn. Ah my fellows... they just don't understand my pleasure at my little grass peepers... and that's okay. :)
Last fall I moved dirt and some plants around and somehow (I know not how) one of my grass peepers ended up in one of my raised beds. I discovered that it brings me almost as much pleasure to see them come up in my gardens as well. :)
Another one of my joys in my daffodil/tulip garden.    When my mom moved off the family farm she dug up all her bulbs and moved them with her into town, and when my father moved into a nursing home, mom went to visit him so often that he gave up her big flower bed, leaving her with lots of daffodil bulbs to rehome.   I got a bunch of them.   So seeing them come up has that added bonus of a smile of history remembered.  :)    Some of these bulbs I purchased myself, but a good 2/3's are history bulbs.
Should we ever move from this place it'll be a job and a half.. but I'll be digging up all my bulbs.. except for my spring peepers... those I'll leave to hopefully bring a smile to the next people to live here (hopefully, unless they be head shakers like my boys). 

First Full Length eBook - Learn to care for your Pet Rabbit

To get this free ebook Click HERE

I'm very thrilled to have produced my first full length ebook.
Wanted to share it with you all.  :)

Recapping this week

So our week,

Started a new schedule with my lad,  making every day as much the same as I could to forestall those endless questions of "what do I have to do today mom?"

If I make our days the same, it has a calming affect on my lad... AS MUCH AS I HATE IT.   I like having things different, but I need to do what's better for my lad right?

Highlights of my week.

WhiskerSong had five babies born. 

I did a co-op class this week on Earthquakes
Earthquakes are rather cool, and I never knew before this class that they were at different levels, or that they could measure S and N waves.

Canadian Homeschoolers is doing a link up this month on doing Conference Chats.   I did a post on Animals Help Us Learn.

Homeschool Copywork has been a success in our household.    I wrote up my review of it.

 It's been a surprise to me how much my lad is enjoying this copywork program. 

He gets to write on a topic he's interested in and colour pictures that intrigue him.

Come to the Saviour Now was my hymn of the week.    Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads my posts and then I get delighted when someone tells me how they add to their week.  :)  

Let's think, oh.. I wrote a blog post for Karen (it will be out sometime this month).  I also got some seeds planted outside, we're going to have a few days of quite warm weather so figured getting them gets them a good start.  I'll need to put up frost protection cloth for them though.

I continue to make head way with my rat problem (which personally I am delighted by).   I've only seen one little one yet that needs to leave the backyard....I really don't need a wild rat sleeping with my guinea pigs.

OH!!!   I went biking today.   You have NO IDEA... I was able to get in some exercise and MY FEET DIDN'T HURT.   I was so happy about this, able to get out, enjoy the weather without thinking man, I just want to go home because my feet hurt.  I just wanted to keep going.  :)   I'm going to go biking again!!!!!   :)

Review: Mercy, The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh

I have to admit that I am not a fan of the animal rights movement. BUT this story of Henry Bergh was quite interesting and eye-opening.   Horses, pigeons, cows, dogs, bears and more.   Henry Bergh took abuse upon abuse in order to work for the lives of those ill-treated.   Mercy, the incredible story of Henry Bergh is aptly named... one who shows mercy to animals.

Anyone who has read Black Beauty is aware of the plight of carriage and work easy it was to abuse these horses, and then to replace them.    Dead horses hauled out of the city daily.   Horses beaten and forced to pull loads too heavy for them to bear.

I wasn't aware of stray dogs being captured for a days work.
I wasn't aware of how folks thought they went made in the summer, so hundreds upon hundreds of dogs were destroyed over people's lack of knowledge.
The information about the dairy industry horrified.

I grew up on a farm.
Raised in a God-fearing household where one learned that God gave us dominion over the earth, which comes with a great deal responsibility to care well for the world we live in.. including caring for the animals that surround our lives.

Henry Bergh stood for showing kindness of animals.   That was it.  That's ALL it was.  BE KIND to animals.He didn't turn the ASPCA into the PETA driven movement it is today.   He wanted the animals that are part of our society cared for and railed against unwarranted abuses.

He understood the practicality of working animals, but he didn't want them to suffer unkindness when they were working for us.

He was eventually convinced to turn this helping animals into also helping the children.   He considered them to be little animals.

This book is filled with colour plates.    And I have to admit, it was rather neat seeing some of these old cartoons.  He really was vilified throughout his life.    But interestingly enough, when he died he was revered for his concern for the animals.

It also does cut outs to information mentioned in the book.   Like Louisa May Alcott.

It was a decent read.   Not sure that I would have children read it (as sensitive readers may be horrified by some of the scenes), but if you were wanting to do a unit of study on the ASPCA, it would be a good book to read to help prepare you.

Product Details
 Received: Advance reviewers copy
Title: Mercy, The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh, Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals.
Author: Nancy Furstinger
Pages: 175
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Reviewed for: Raincoast Books

The Land Of Story-books

Today my son and I enjoyed this poem. After I finished reading it I said to my lad "boy this poem makes me think of you."
He laughed and said "I know mom.   And it makes me think of you too!".

I laughed too.

It's good to laugh with a boy over good poetry isn't it?

I could have gone into the form and structure of the poem, but for today.. it was just good to laugh with a boy child.  :)

The Land of Story-books
by Robert Louis Stevenson
 At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.

There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter's camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.

So when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.

Recent Posts March 28-April 3, 2016

Since I'm moving from one blog to the other and trying make the transition smooth.. I thought I'd start a weekly feature where I list the posts that I've written over here.  :)

I reviewed a book that my son totally loved.  SuperHeroes don't eat Veggie Burgers.

Figured out my curriculum for Grade six, and learned today I should have his writing program covered for next year as well (if it all works out as it should).

Reviewed an animal bok called Bridge to the Wild.  This was an interesting read I am glad I persisted in reading.

I participated in a five day blog hop on Tips for homeschooling parents.

day one:The Importance of family.
day two: Working and the Homeschool Life.
day three: Tips: Knowing when to take a break.
day four: Tips: Handling Curve Balls
day five: Knowing you have to decide.

Two reviews for early readers.  Paul Meets Jesus and Elijah, God's Mighty Prophet.

Hymn Study on Low, in the Grave he lay.   This hymn is also called "Christ Arose" and was written by Rev. Lowry from the USA.

The Language Arts program I'll be using next year called Logic of English.   This I will use for grammar, spelling etc.   While I will hopefully be using Virtual Education Systems for a writing program.

I did a first last week.. made my first printable!   Marsupial Gliders

It was a rather busy week.  :)   It was fun though and gave me something to do while recovering from this frustrating cold I am enduring.

Review:Ghost in the Key of A

I rarely review books for Ascot Media... the titles rarely resonate with me, but  Ghost in the Key of A intrigued me.    AND I was right to be intrigued, T. Katz wrote a book that immediately grabbed my interest and had me saying "I want to read this book with my boy!"

Book Synopsis:
Ghost in the Key of A: Pythagoras follows Pricilla, a budding young pianist whose piano is plagued by a quirky ghost after she discovers a sticky "A” key. The ghost teaches her some of the most fascinating things about music history.  She soon finds synergies in these lessons and her own life.  Readers will find Ghost in the Key of A: Pythagoras engaging and inspirational.    

My Thoughts: 
What a neat book.  I loved it.   Priscilla, living in a family where a mom encourages artistic expression and a father who well.... just doesn't get it.   Priscilla is floundering, not knowing how to fit in with her father, how to do her music when she wants to play with friends, and how to show her dad she can study the subjects important to him as well.

It's just so hard for her to focus on her music at times, it all seems like such a drudgery. Enter Pythagoras.  He's the ghost who lives in the Key of A. Pythagoras brings a new air of interest to Priscilla as she practices her music. He teaches her various aspects of music and musical terms, and her confidence increases.    

This book could easily be used for a beginning music theory class.  :)

It's an interesting book with small illustrations scattered throughout that expand the knowledge base of the reader.     Good book.  

Product Details:
Received: Softcover Book
Title: Ghost in the Key of A
Author: T. Katz
Pages: 79
Price: $3.98 (ebook), $9.25 (book)
Reviewed for: Ascot Media 

One Dress, One Year, a Review

 One Dress, One Year is a book written by Susanna Foth Aughtmon about a 16 year old girl with a desire to make a difference.   Her heart lies with those caught up in human trafficking.  Her goal: wear the same dress for one year to raise money to fight human trafficking.   This is her story.

Book Synopsis:
When sixteen-year-old Bethany Winz learned about the millions of men, women, and children around the world trapped in slavery, her stomach churned. How can anyone do that to another human being? she wondered. And why aren't we doing something?

This is the story of Bethany's "something."

Journey with her as she wears the same black dress every day for a year to focus attention on the lack of choices people in modern-day slavery face and raise money to help end human trafficking. As Bethany works to bring freedom to people worldwide, she'll discover how much she too needs freedom. You'll be inspired not only to change the world in your own way but also to experience the life-changing freedom of God's irrepressible love.

My Thoughts: 
I find this a challenging book to review.   

I felt this girls heart.  Her strong desire to be of use by the Lord for something bigger than herself.   I so felt her heart.    It brings me back to when I was 16 and went on a mission trip because I wanted to make a difference, to be used of the Lord for something beyond myself.

At the same time I found myself skipping sections, looking for something to draw me into the world of those who struggled with human trafficking.  To see the people involved.    I kept running into "this is what I was going through, and this is what I struggled with".

I saw the statistics that she posted, the money raised, the struggles she went through, but I didn't see the stories.  I didn't see websites to help me learn more about human trafficking.

So I left this book thinking well.. she learned a lot.   She influenced some people.   She did what God called her to.   BUT... "I" don't feel called to it.  I sit here thinking.. Good for her but that's as far as it goes and I want a book like this to draw me into her focus, into her dream and life and desires for change and feel none of that.

In essence, I'm wanting more than her story, I am wanting the stories of those she is fighting for.

Is it worth reading?  Yes.
Is it worth putting into a church library?   Yes.
Is it a great book that I'll be recommending others read?   That I am not so sure of.   Just left me wanting more.. depth, stories, call to action, more something.

Product Details: 
Received: Softcover Book
Title: One Dress, One Year
Author: Bethany Winz with Susanna Foth Aughtmon
Publisher: BakerBooks 
Pages: 149
Reviewed for: Nuts About Books