Review: Shark Week

I have to tell you about this wonderful resource I was sent by Raincoast Books.  It's called Shark Week by Martha Brockenbrough.   This book is named after the Discovery Channels very popular Shark Week.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, it is so full of interesting facts.
Did you know that there is a shark almost as long as a school bus?
Or conversely a shark only about 10 inches long?   I know amazing isn't it, the differences?!?!
How about this fact... not all sharks breathe the same way and some can switch how they breathe?
Or another that lives in volcanoes?
And this interesting fact... some sharks can have babies WITHOUT mating!!!

I know.. it's fascinating isn't it!?!?!!   :)

Full colour images.
 Sufficient text to give good information without being too succinct. In-depth information without information overload...just enough to make a person want to look deeper.   Learning about sharks that live in a volcano led me to look for more information.

 Interesting facts, with a good break in the text, pictures fitting with what the text is talking about.
 Facts to amaze and astound, like comparing the great white to the kodiak bear.
Shark Week runs around 150 pages, teaches more about sharks than you might believe possible, I was SO fascinated, and I think you will be too.  Imagine..shark week.. in your own hands to enjoy for much longer than a week.

From learning about the prehistoic Whorl Shark, to how sharks hunt, breathe, reproduce and where they live.   Learning how much they are the same to each other, and yet how different they are as well.

This book is for every shark fanatic who wants to get even more up close and personal.   Now you really can live every week like it's shark week.

 Feiwel ; Friends
Author: Martha Brockenbrough
8.99 x 10.92 · 160 pages
Ages 9-12 years
Shark Week: Everything You Need to Know

Five Minute Friday: Rest

Hmm... rest.

We all need rest don't we?

 Even if we aren't busy we need rest... have you ever noticed that?   Sometimes we need rest from our "not busyness"... like when I'm on vacation and I realize I want to get home and get back into routine and back into being into this that and the other thing.  :)

BUT when we are busy with all kinds of things... that is when rest more often feels craved right?

Or when we are busy fighting a battle with our minds or our souls or feel like there is just too much going on around us.. we just need to stop, and consider and change and refocus...

We NEED to rest.

We need to remember what's important in the long run.

This morning my lad and I were working on a new art project, it called for some fine detail and we'll be using new techniques and materials.... My lad was stressing out...and I sent him to walk up and down the stairs... to get rid of those stress endorphins and to just grab a moment to regroup.  He needed to rest his mind from the stress of trying to do perfectly something he was learning for the first time.   It's hard for a perfectionist to do something right the first time giving it a try.   And one of the things I'm trying to teach him is... be a perfectionist...but give yourself the needed time to do it properly.   Don't rush it... rushing it never  helps.  :)   Take the time to rest and relax into the moment of trying something new.   Rest instead of stress.

Mind.. some people work best under pressure they really do...but not in our household.  Stress just makes us crazy in our heads and we forget about what's most important.

Recognizing the giftings God has given to each of us.
Remembering the importance of family and relationships.
Remembering that just as God "always has our back" we do the same thing,  we help each other through times of stress.

Resting gets us away from the craziness and back to what's most important.

What does resting do for you?

FMF is a community of writers.  Writing for five minutes on Fridays (sometimes a wee bit later) gathering a word prompt Hosted over at Kate's.   This week the word was REST.    Come along, join us won't you?

Review: Adventure Bible "I Can Read" books

Today I have two lovely "I can read" books up for review.   They are Adventure Bible books, one named "Great stories of the Bible" and the other "Heroes of the Bible Treasury"
 These are lovely books for children that are filled with full-colour illustrations.   Each book contains six books in the one.  They have a solid hard-cover that feels good in the hand.  They open nicely to that children can see the whole picture easily, without any part being cut off.

 Heroes of the Bible Treasure presents us with stories about
  • Paul Meets Jesus
  • Brave Queen Esther
  • Joseph the Dreamer
  • Noah's Voyage
  • Elijah, God's Mighty Prophet
  • Moses, Meets the People
 Simple children's stories, that don't tell the whole story, but do give children a glimpse into the lives of these Bible heroes.  Good stuff.

 As you can see, the full colour illustrations continue from one page to the next which is just a lovely feature. 
Contained within the pages of Great Stories of the Bible are the following stories:

  • God's Great Creations
  • Facing the Blazing Furnace
  • Ruth and Naomi
  • Miracles of Jesus
  • A Father's Love
  • The Good Samaritan

These books are level two readers, great for children who are learning to read on their own but might need some help reading larger words.

The illustrations help to tell the story, which is also of good benefit to early readers.

One needs to be aware with these books that the stories are greatly simplified and the whole story is not told, and sometimes it is simplified to the point of not being accurate.   This is where one can start teaching children discernment in what they read.  Just because a book says (bible-based or not) doesn't mean it is telling the truth (or the whole story).  That is why God gave us his word so that we can know the truth.

BUT books can be helpful in introducing us to some of the stories of the bible, and THAT is what these books do.  They begin to teach children about God's action in the lives of his people.   Just teach them there is more to it eh?  :)

Review: Let's Explore Series

You know how sometimes you get a book to review and you think to, I wish I had these when my (insert child's name) was into these types of books?

Well that was my response when I received the Let's Explore books from Lonely Planet Kids.   The books are Let's Explore Safari, Let's Explore Ocean and Let's Explore Jungle.

I love these books.
I wish I could do them but.. I'm too old AND I'd rather save them for younger hands than mine to work through.

They are NOT cookie cutter books.  You know, when you get a series and you can pretty much say what's going to happen from page to page?   Not so with this series... different puzzles, different facts, different ways of presenting the information, it makes them interesting.

Each book open with Marco and Amelia about to head out on a new adventure.

Then through a series of sticker pages, puzzles and activities the reader is led to learn a variety of information about the safari, jungle or ocean.
The pages are bright and colourful, drawing the eye in.

There are over 250 stickers in each book with plenty of pages to put them.   Where the stickers are put is not dictated, leaving the user free to place them wherever desired.  In the back of the book there is an answer sheet which is great if one gets stuck on one of the puzzles or activities.

The stickers are, for the most part, great for smaller hands, but also interesting enough for older hands.

Let's Explore... Jungle (Lonely Planet Kids) by Lonely Planet Kids (2016-02-16) takes us into the jungles of South America learning about the flora and fauna.

 Let's Explore... Ocean (Lonely Planet Kids) by Lonely Planet Kids (2016-02-16) learning about sharks and other oceanic life, drawing a seahorse and more.

 Let's Explore... Safari (Lonely Planet Kids) by Lonely Planet Kids (2016-02-16)  takes us to the plains of Africa where we can explore the big five, visit Victoria Falls and more.
 Geared for ages 5-8, Lonely Planet Kids has done a lovely job of helping children learn more about the ocean, jungle and safari.  They have done up a number of other books as well, be sure to check them out.   Rainforest Books graciously sent me these three books so that I could give you my honest review.

Just in case you missed it, I think these books would be a lovely addition to any house with younger children.. sticker, puzzle, learn as you work the activities.   So much colour and fun to be had.

Four Top Minecraft Channels For Children

My son, probably like any number of your children, LOVES minecraft.   But not only does he love playing minecraft, he also likes learning from other people how to do things on minecraft.

Therein enters the wonderful world of youtube.

I have to admit, I trust my son with youtube.  He's a responsible boy who takes life seriously, has little to no tolerance for bad language or inappropriate conversation, or people who put down faith in God.   So when I asked my lad what shows I could recommend for other children he quickly gave me a list of what's good to watch.

First off Stampy.
My son says that at the very beginning Stampy didn't always talk nice, but now he talks nice.   This is the fellow that my son admittedly watches the most and gets a lot of good ideas from.

Second: Squid also known as BallisticSquid

I know from listening to the odd Stampy video that if you know Stampy,  you'll meet Squid.   One leads to another, they play games together and have fun making minecraft videos.

Recently my son has added Ibxtoycat.

I want to call this fellow a boxy cat and that makes my boy giggle at me... and correct me each and every time.. I still get it wrong.   BUT I'm getting used to conversations that start with "guess what I learned from Ibxtoycat today mom?   Did you know that if you do mumble mumble and then can get mumble mumble.  I tell him show me.. and it's neat the things that he can make.  Just fascinating.

Number four is the newest addition.. probably watching Mumbo Jumbo for a couple-three weeks. 

I haven't heard a lot from my boy about mumbo jumbo but the videos keep popping up in my feed and then I'll hear the lad chortling from his room, or from the sofa or.... wherever.  So I'm guessing he's funny and his videos are good.  :)

Every once in a while my lad will try a new minecraft specialist but "Mom, he's not good for children" or "mom, he doesn't talk nice" or "mom, he's boring...why are some people boring with videos??"   So these four have made the top list for minecraft videos.

Perhaps your children will enjoy them as well.  :)   May you listen to hours of giggling and have many conversations over minecraft as well... or better yet.... see the fantastic creations your children come up with given the correct inspiration.. like blowing off the top of a mountain with a TNT cannon!  Pretty cool eh?   :)

If your children have favourite youtube channels...share, share away please in the comments below?   I want to know, perhaps my lad will like them too. 

Picture Books to Introduce Artists

My son and I are currently reviewing a program called ArtAchieve.   We are enjoying the program since it comes in different formats, a slide show or a video.  We are finding both formats quite useful.   If you want to give the program a look over they have sample lessons that you can try out.

Anyways, I had mentioned to my contact at Raincoast Books some of the things we were going to be doing, and she graciously sent me some art books to review.  (How cool is that eh!)

First up we looked at a book called "Mary Cassatt - extraordinary impressionist painter" by Barbara Herkert.   This book is around 30 pages long, filled with full colour illustrations throughout.

Lovely book.   We learned about her early life, her determination, her friendships, her stepping outside of what was conventional for ladies in her day.  She was an opinionated and stubborn lady who was determined to be artist, and she did what she wanted to do, no two ways about it.

BUT WOW.... have you ever looked at some of the work she did?    I found a website dedicated to the work of Mary Cassatt and all I can say is WOW.. she did excellent work.    I cannot say I love EVERYTHING that she did, but I like a lot of it.    For instance, check out this child in a straw hat.
She drew a lot of people pictures, friends, family, people she saw at theatre and so forth.   Just an interesting lady and this book gives us a good glimpse into her early life.   The illustrator does a great job at bringing the story to life with his full colour art work.

Our next book was one on Beatrix Potter and Her Paint box, written by David McPhail. It's a short small book, running around 40 pages.  
What a nice little book.  Seriously.  My lad enjoyed this book with me.   We even learned why the Peter Rabbit books were small "little books for little hands" was something that Beatrix insisted upon.   When we learned about the snake getting away from she could paint a picture of it, my lad was quite concerned that the snake got away to a safe place to live.

Like Mary Cassatt, Beatrix Potter did best painting things her own way.

Did you know that the Peter Rabbit books became a story because of a sick boy?   It was a "let me cheer you up when you are sick book" and at the urging of the boy's mom, it was turned into a book which morphed into a whole series about the friends of Peter Rabbit.

I liked the images in the book as well, well crafted and made me think of Peter Rabbit and his friends.
Oh.. I have to tell you this part.   When we read about Beatrix's pet mouse running through the paint my lad tried to get one of his house mice to run through some dye and leave mouse footy-prints on paper.  He had so much fun trying to convince the mouse to do so.. but MilkyWay would have NOTHING to do with it.    It was fun watching him try though.  :)

 Raincoast books was the provider of these books for me.  Wanting only my honest review of them.  They were a delightful addition to our week.

You can find Raincoast at the following social media sites: 

Haven, a Five Minute Friday inspired Post

Kate over at Heading Home hosts Five Minute Friday, a weekly word prompt.   A group of folks gather once a week to give their thoughts, in about five minutes, on a given word prompt that changes weekly.   Everyone comes up with something different it seems.

I have to admit, I've been pondering this word prompt for a couple of days now...Trying to think what the word haven means to me.   It's not an easy word.

And then...I thought of my front garden.
How it's an overgrown mess....but of how a wee child stopped and saw my cat hiding in the tulips.
And then she saw my chicken, and my bunny and....

She talked and pointed it out to her mama, and her mama pointed out the flowers, and bugs that I have hidden there as well.

My heart smiled.

I got to thinking about how my front garden is a haven for young mom's.  I put tons of things in there to make children look and see, I give mom's permission to come and close and take a moment or three with their littles and just see and smile and look, and if needed, pick a flower or two.   It's all good, and it brings a smile to many a face.  :)

It may not be a haven of rest, but I do hope it a haven of connectivity.   We need to connect with each other, to bring a smile or two to the face and hearts of others, don't you think?

So, the linky closes up in another couple of days.  What'y'say... want to join in the party and write on the word haven yourself?   If you, let me know, and in the spirit of the party, I'll come over and visit you too!  :)


Fanfare, Royalty, Combat... A King's Delight

Recently my family was treated to the King's package at Medieval Times.   My son brought along a friend as we took the time for the royal fanfare courtesy of Medieval Times.  This is our review.  :)

 Medieval Times graciously offered us the King's Package.   This comes with: 

 Gramma, son, friend of son, myself and my husband attended.   We made sure we got there in plenty of time so that we could see and hear all they had to offer in the preshow arena.   When one is in the greeting area, you are surrounded by various shields and crests.

You are handed a card, which will signify your hat colour, and part of the Royal Package you get to have your picture taken with the king.
Your hat colour also signifies your table colour and whereabouts you will be seated.   Being at green table three means we were sitting ring side, closest to the action, with the knight who.. as it turned out.. was the King's Champion of the day.

Before we actually got into the show though, they have an area set up with shops and people wandering around dressed in period clothing.   The boys were able to meet the King's Falconer where they learned she was hooded, not because she wouldn't stay with him, but because there were a couple of service dogs roaming around and she was not fond of dogs at all.
And there were shops.  All manned by people dressed in period clothing.  There was a bar set up in the middle of the floor and town crier who called out birthday greetings, and announced which tables would get to go in next. 

 The lad was mightily tempted to by a sword for himself and his friend but found them simply out of his price range.   Eventually the temptation subsided as we found ourselves going into our sitting area.  And here we all are.  :)   Ready for an evening of food and fun.

 And it was GOOD food.  Soup, bread, chicken, corn, potato, limitless drinks (pop etc).   The only thing I didn't like was the tea post meal which was MUCH too strong for my taste.

Before the main show there were smaller shows, the falcon flew and caught her lure, the horses strutted their stuff.. Gramma just LOVED this part.

Then the main show began with the knights performing their skills.   I have to tell you this.. there were a group of eight year old boys celebrating a birthday.. and my.. they hooted and hollered and had SO MUCH fun.   YEAH!!!!   Green Knight YOU ROCK!     And booing and hissing when the bad guy appeared.   "YOU SUCK!!!   YOU ARE THE BAD MAN!!!!"    They were so totally into the show it added that extra bit of enjoyment to the show.   Though I have to admit, the mom with them looked a bit shell shocked!  :)

The show was a lot of fun, even though we had seen it last year, the joy and the wonder and the fun were still there for my lad with plans for next year!   MOM!!!   Do you think next year I should wear my knights costume?    Wouldn't that be fun?

I said "Sure Lad, but let's see if they invite us back next year too!"

Here are some pics of the fun we had.

And action.   Men were called upon.  Will you defend the honour of the realm?   Fight to protect the throne and the Princess?   Jousting, combat, sparks flew as weapons hit.

Currently we are listening to a series of books called "The Ranger's Apprentice". (Excellent series by the by.. get your boys to listen to it.. your girls too!)  :)   It is set during this time period, when we saw the flail at work against the sword, it brought to life the danger one of the characters was in when he was faced up against the flail.  The reach it gives to the person bearing it and the thud it made against a shield.   Made it all more real you know?   Even though we know the show is carefully choreographed so no one gets hurt, it still brings the thrill and the danger immediately to bear.
And so, the kingdom was protected.
And all was good in the land.

By the end of the show my son's friend said "I am so tired, but I am so glad that I came."

Did you know that you too can go to see Medieval Times?
You can.  
The prices in Canada are as follows:
You can pick up these additional packages: 
Did you know that Medieval Times, Toronto received an award last year?
If you want to have a great meal (using your fingers), great service and excellent entertainment, do check Medieval Times.   It is well worth your time to attend.     HAVE FUN!