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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Movie Delivery! Library Finds!

I have long been a fan of the Horatio Hornblower series and it arrived, brand new, still in the shrink-wrap, today! We are very excited and cannot wait to watch them all. We have seen only a few, but they are of excellent quality. I will give you a full review when we are done. This set has six films and some DVD extras too!

Today was a library day and that meant sorting through the many interesting books, movies, DVDs, and book tapes that my children present me with for check-out. Many times I say yes, as they are worth our time. Other times I have to say no. I have been more careful in our selection because, frankly, there is just a lot of junk-lit out there. It cannot even be granted the title of "literature" if I am honest! (Which I always try to be, you know.) :+)

I have been reseaching some very good fairy tales and some I have discovered come with some quality lessons. I have found some really neat books! Here are some of them:

The Lady and the Lion, by Laurel Long and Jacqueline Ogburn, is one of the most beautifully illustrated books I have seen in a long long time. I mean
just the cover is worth looking at! The whole book is full-color and gorgeous.

The Selfish Giant, by Oscar Wilde, has been illustrated by many artists. I found the entire book, sans pictures,
online to read. I really enjoyed this illustrated version and found my son reading it for pleasure. I am sure your library will have one of the versions--and there are many since this story has been in print since 1888! As you will see if you click to read the story, it is a really wonderful one!

This next one is a great one for teaching that words can have more than one meaning! It is a clever book that we have enjoyed a lot. The Riddle, as retold by Adele Vernon. It looks like it is no longer available direct from Amazon, but there are some great prices in the new and used section if you find it at your library and want to own it!

And that, folks, is my small library wrap-up. :+)

Monday, January 29, 2007

For Sandi

Since Sandi tagged me with a homeschool resource tag I am happy to oblige with answers. :+)


1) ONE HOMESCHOOLING BOOK YOU HAVE ENJOYED
The Well Trained Mind


2) ONE RESOURCE YOU WOULDN’T BE WITHOUT
The Bible :+) But if you are specifically talking about curriculum it would be Math U See.


 


3) ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH YOU HAD NEVER BOUGHT
Saxon Math


5) ONE RESOURCE YOU WILL BE USING NEXT YEAR
The Story of the Ancient World, Nothing New Press


4) ONE RESOURCE YOU ENJOYED LAST YEAR
The Story of the Great Republic, Nothing New Press


To Sandi, I wish I could have a cleaning lady!! :+)


 


7) ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH EXISTED
An Omnibus with books that were not so intense for our younger children. Omnibus starts in the 7th grade and some of their books choices are books that most adults have not read yet. That does not mean we should not study them. I just wonder how much they are actually taking in when with a little more life experience they would be much more rich and worthwhile. At 36 I am only just now reading Plato and finally finding it valuable. Should we read books just to have read them or do we want our children to glean from them? I also feel that some of the choices have subjects that I don’t really feel my 7th grader needs to know about yet. It would be nice to have more age-appropriate literature but with the Omnibus guide to help teach/use them. With all that said, we will use Omnibus, but on a later schedule.


 


You wrote: “A Story of the World-type history curriculum from a Reformed point of view.”


I would say there is. Nothing New Press offers many wonderful titles that are from a more reformed perspective. These are Christine Miller’s books and I have used many of them. They are gems!




8) ONE HOMESCHOOLING CATALOGUE YOU ENJOY READING
Veritas Press Catalog - How can one not? :+)

9) ONE HOMESCHOOLING WEBSITE YOU USE REGULARLY


Since I am going on a Well Trained Mind Message Board sabbatical, I will have to say the homeschool blogs out there. (Many of which are in my sidebar!)

So, fellow blog readers, what would your answers be to these questions? It is funny that the question regarding the one resource you wish was available, I really really had to think about it. Doing what I do, I see a LOT of curriculum and resources. I was thinking, is there *anything* that has not yet been done? But that was my cynical side coming out--there are some very lovely newer resources coming out and it is a real blessing to see them cross my path. :+)


Friday, January 26, 2007

Yep, another entry on books!

I finished reading Cranford, the Christmas gift from my eldest. It was a very enjoyable book and completely unlike Elizabeth Gaskell's other works. It was highly enjoyable and I found myself reading with a smile on my face. The write-up at Amazon is accurate:

"A gently comic picture of life in an English country town in the mid-nineteenth century, Cranford describes the small adventures of Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two middle- aged spinster sisters striving to live with dignity in reduced circumstances. Rich with humor and filled with vividly memorable characters—including the dignified Lady Glenmire and the duplicitous showman Signor Brunoni—Cranford is a portrait of kindness, compassion, and hope."

In the back and front are other essays on English country life and Elizabeth Gaskell herself. After reading these I am now even more interested in reading her,
Life of Charlotte Bronte. After all, she did know her and they lived such interesting, if not exceedingly different lives than we ourselves live today. I look forward to it!

My daughter recently asked me who I would prefer meeting in person if I was able to, Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell. I was hard pressed to answer her.

I have yet to finish
Republic, but I will. It is a little dry and I have yet to figure out what makes it quite so "Great." I am determinded to read the "Great Books" that I will be hoisting on my own children later in their schooling career. :+) I will be sure to fill you in should I discover the golden gem at the end of the Plato Rainbow. In my own reading queue are two of the most famous "must-reads", Iliad and The Odyssey. I figure if I can watch the poorly acted Troy, I had better find out the real story since we all know what Hollywood can do to one.

So what is in your reading pile? At least good old Plato knows how to help a girl get to sleep...


 

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

To Eyre is human...

As those of you who have read my blog for longer than a month, you will know how very much I enjoy almost any literature from the Victorian era. So what to my wondering eyes would appear last week, but the news that Masterpiece Theater has reproduced their own version of Jane Eyre! Now I cannot give you a review yet, as it is not even finished airing, but when I do see it, if it stays even remotely close to the book I am bound to like it.

There are very few actors in it that I have seen before and the woman who plays the lead is a brand new face. The girl who plays the young Jane is none other than little Lucy Pevense (Georgie Henley) from The Chronicles of Narnia. I cannot imagine her having to endure what young Jane does in the book so I look forward to seeing her ability as an actress in this area. The other person I do recognize is the melodramatic mother (Francesca Annis) from Wives and Daughters. She looks really very different though in this film!

It is wonderful that there is so much interest in this type of literature-to-film. There are so few truly worthwhile movies to watch these days that I welcome something that is. I am very curious how they handle Jane's choices and faith. The book was very powerful and I hope they fairly represent it.

PBS has a very interesting section on the role of governesses in Victorian England. I found the reading to be fascinating. There was a dearth of available positions for females without family to care for them. Jane found herself in this very position. Victorian health care was not what it is today and many people died leaving family bereft of any support at all. Whole estates could be entailed away from the daughters of the family leaving them completely on their own. In that society they had almost no where to turn except to the thin availability of "acceptable" jobs. Governesses were one avenue--but it was very difficult and many times seriously unhappy and unappreciated work.

For all my desire to prepare my daughters to be productive in the home, I *am* grateful that in our society a woman could provide for herself if she has a need. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to be completely alone in an unfeeling world. Jane knew that feeling very well. Perhaps that is one of the reasons Charlotte Bronte's book is so powerful. It is incredibly moving and some of it is based upon her own life. Tragedy produces great works of art they say--I think that happened in her novel, Jane Eyre.


 

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Stacks ~ School ~ Mercy (Again and Again!)

Part of my job with TOS involves contests. That means that I am the one who draws the names out of our proverbial hat (really a box) and I get to notify the winners. It is a nice thing to be the bearer of good news. I then get to do the shipping of said prizes to the waiting winners. I shipped 20 packages today and will have more to go next week. I hope they bless the recipients! It is a relatively easy part of my job, but a nice part. Who doesn't like to be a winner of a contest? :+) If you get the magazine and you don't review for us, do enter! You never know, it could be me on the other end of the phone line congratulating you! :+)

This week has been a busy and somewhat difficult one. My son said to me this afternoon, "I don't want to do school today." He shared that since he did not desire to play a computer game he really didn't much feel like doing school. Good to know, son, good to know. I kept thinking, does he really think that all life revolves around whether you a) feel like doing something and b) a computer game as a reward?! We don't even offer that all that often. It made me laugh inside because he was just so matter-of-fact. I said that if he was not going to do school that he would not grow up to be smart enough to get a good job or to start his own business, or to become a pastor and raise a family. I asked him, "Don't you want to grow up and be like Daddy?" "Yes." he said, with a sweet smile. So he went back to his work. May God give him that desire every day.

Mercy has played a big role here this week. There have been conflicting wills and desires all around. It is no easy job homeschooling five children, training hearts, bending wills, making meals and doing the laundry! Who wants to do school, to really learn when there are so many other things to occupy one's mind? You know, I really do understand that. I do! I was not *so* motivated as a child that I jumped up every morning with a zeal to get to my math. Thankfully we are *still* learning--regardless of our struggles. We are learning so much!

Today we read in John, chapter 6, about Jesus being the bread of life. You know after he said that he lost many of his followers? It was too hard for them to understand. Jesus fills that empty void--that endless search for forgiveness that we seek every day of our lives until we find Him. It is He and He alone who can remove our burden--could have removed their burden too--yet they rejected him! After many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him Jesus asked the twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

"Lord, to whom shall we go?" To the only One who can give complete and total forgiveness, rest for the weary, and hope to the hopeless. We can know Him now and always--and so can you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Writing ~ Park Day ~ Mercy!

I am constantly thinking of things I could blog about and never getting here to do it. Do you have this experience? I wonder if other moms are as full of ideas and interests to blog about but never do because their lives are so full. Lest you think I am complaining, I am not. I am just so busy and full of responsibilities that the not-so-important gets set aside. (One of the many reasons I don't blog so often!)



We went to a "Park Day" today and had a very enjoyable time. We came home to a bit of chaos. I think that is why we don't do park days very often. I cannot seem to make it all happen. I am a very limited being and am finding my limitations, well, limiting. I suppose that means I must limit myself, but that is difficult to do sometimes. I don't really want to be limited--I want to be able to do all I want to do, but that is not the reality of living my life. It is not reality for my children either. They would much rather play, watch movies, play computer or board games, outside, really almost anything *other* than school.



Does this happen on your homesteads too? I really don't much like being the one always cracking the whip (so to speak) and I don't much like having to be the police all the time. I suppose this all comes from the fact that all of us--including my precious children--are sinners with very wayward hearts and minds. Don't we all fight it? I sure do. Don't we all have a bit (or more) of the Me! Me! Me! attitude about us? May God give me truly, and I mean truly, the patience to be the best mother I can be, the best homeschooling mama, the best wife, and the best woman of God for Him that I can be. I need His help to make it all happen--in His time, in His way, in His grace. Aren't you glad we have His mercy?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Grateful today...

For feeling healthy today. For a husband who provides for all our needs and many wants and who understands what it means to love his wife. I am so blessed by him! For five beautiful gifts from God that continually challenge and enrich my life. For my Savior. He continually reveals His love and incredible sacrifice towards me in so many ways. Thank you, Lord, for this full rich life.



This does not surprise me at all.

Population Controls, Including Abortion, Spark Gender Imbalance in China; 30 Million More Men Expected in 15 Years


Friday , January 12, 2007
 
BEIJING — China will have 30 million more men of marriageable age than women in less than 15 years as a gender imbalance resulting from the country's tough one-child policy becomes more pronounced, state media reported Friday.


The tens of millions of men who will not be able to find a wife could also lead to social instability problems, the China Daily said in a front-page report.


China imposed strict population controls in the 1970s to limit growth of its huge population, but one side effect has been a jump in gender selection of babies. Traditional preferences for a son mean some women abort their baby if an early term sonogram shows it is a girl.


"Discrimination against the female sex remains the primary cause of China's growing gender imbalance," Liu Bohong, vice director of the women studies institute under the All-China Women's Federation, was quoted as saying in a report from the State Population and Family Planning Commission.


Sex selective abortion is prohibited but the government says the practice remains widespread, especially in rural areas.


(The rest of the story.)



Why does this surprise anyone? I have long found China's policies to be absolutely sickening and immoral to the highest degree. May God open their minds, not only to what they are doing to their own babies, but to their greater danger of not knowing God at all.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Little Persons

I have five little persons and some are not so little anymore. I was blessed this morning by my second daughter's cooking. She made Afternoon Tea Scones for us from her new Redwall Cookbook. This has been a long-desired-to-own book and we gave it to her for Christmas. When she and her older sister were small, I could not see the time ahead of me when they would not be so needy let alone a time when they would cook for me. The time is here and has arrived all too quickly.

I am so very blessed by my oldest daughters! It is time that has passed all too quickly for me yet I wanted it to pass in some ways when they were younger. I was tired and overwhelmed and could not see what my friends with older children could see - that time marches on and nothing stays the same. I go back to this theme somewhat frequently here because I think we as homeschool moms (with the various many hats we wear and tasks we undertake to do) lose sight of it all too easily. I know I do.

My youngest daughter, painted me recently with liquid paper:





She still asks to sleep with us though she has long been in her own bed. She climbs in to bed in the morning and snuggles up close to me. She helped me crack eggs for this morning's breakfast and was absolutely glowing with pride that she helped in the kitchen. My heart aches with all of this because she will not be little for long. She is a precious gift of a smallish person who will grow to a young lady in no time at all.

For those of you in the tired moments, who feel as though you will never get a decent night's rest ever again, who feel as though you cannot see the end of the endless work of diapers, and who wonder just how your children will get educated with a tired mom--remember this. They grow up. They learn to read; they conquor math facts; it all happens! Your precious tiny babies and your toddlers with their funny words--they grow up to become beautiful productive, happy and creative people. It is an awesome thing to behold and a miracle that God lets us take part in His work of life. May they grow to the glory of God!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Please pray for James

This is clipped from Jen's blog. Please pray for her little three year-old son, James.

"The IV that they gave him yesterday seemed to help a lot immediately. He was back up and alert right away. For the first time in two days he wanted to eat. He had a bite of bread, some rice and a couple spoonfuls of apple sauce. That lasted about 30 minutes and he became very tired again. They also gave him steroids to open his lungs, antibiotics to fight infection (pneumonia), Tylenol, and breathing treatments."

"James had a hard night. The nurses did a lot to keep his temperature down and his oxygen levels up. They gave him constant breathing treatments and oxygen. By this morning his temperature was down, his oxygen levels are good and he seems to be breathing pretty good (deep breaths, not quick shallow short breaths) though he has a very wet cough. The doctor stopped by early and said that James had a bit of cracking in his breathing which could be the beginning of pneumonia."

I know that Jen and Geoff would really appreciate your prayers. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Do you have any good ones?

I was asked to participate in a recipe exchange via email, but that is just too much for me. :+) One has to have limits, right? So, I figured I would share two of my favorites here and then, if you *wanted* to, you could either post a recipe in my comments, or post one on your blog and let me know! That way, I can participate, but not really. :+)



Here is one of our family favorites (and I may have blogged this long ago, but who cares, right?)



Crock Pot Chalupa


3# pork roast
3 C soaked-overnight pinto beans
7 C water
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T salt
2 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 t oregano
1 4oz can chopped mild green chilies


Place soaked-overnight beans in bottom of crockpot, pour water on top and add all other ingredients on top of that. Crock all day on low or for 5+ hours on high. Shred the pork and skim the fat off the cooked meat (if your roast is a fatty one), and then mix it all together. Serve as a taco filling or in bowls with corn chips. We eat this with sliced raw onions, cheese, and salsa in soft-sautéed corn tortillas. You can add anything to the tacos you want. It is heavenly.



The next one is something I just discoverd and it is quite possibly one of the best green bean recipes I have ever had. My mother made this for part of our Christmas dinner, and I made it on New Years Eve for some friends. It is also a Weight Watchers recipe, but I cannot tell you how many points because I don't have the recipe card.



Oriental Green Beans


11/2# fresh green beans, ends clipped and beans blanched (or lightly boiled--do NOT overcook)
3 T soy sauce
1 T sesame oil (this is the key ingredient and worth the price)
1 t sugar
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 t canola or olive oil



Sauté garlic in the canola or olive oil until just brown. Combine soy, sesame oil, and sugar while cooking garlic. Once garlic is done, mix in soy combination and add beans. Lightly cook until all beans are coated and hot. Do not overcook the beans - you want them to be al dente. Serve with anything or eat just for so! They are SO good. I am going to use this same sauce to do stir fry dishes this year. I cannot wait!



Now, what is on your menu you want to share? :+)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I've said it before

And I will say it again and again--Pat Robertson does NOT represent me. This is an appalling story of sensationalism that makes me sick. He represents the whole Christian church when he speaks as a "Christian leader" whether we want him to or not and he makes a mockery of God and His people in my opinion. He has no right to say what he says as he is no prophet of God. May he be humbled as others have been for speaking out in such an imprudent manner.

 



Jeremiah 14:14
Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds."