Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Cry From Egypt: A review, Paperboy shares his opinion

Today's review is from a company that I can totally relate to. In fact, I may adopt their sogo as my own family logo.

As a reviewer for the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I have had many opportunities to read fantastic books. I have to admit, this has been one of my favorites.  I've always enjoyed historical fiction, but this story really has found a place in my heart. My initial plans was for Paperboy to write the review, but after beginning the book myself, I have to add my two cents in.

Paperboy first had the pleasure of reading "A Cry From Egypt". This is the first in a series from Great Waters Press. What fascinated me about this book is the author, Hope Auer, a homeschooled student began writing this book when she was 14 years old.

I interviewed Paperboy for this review.

Were the characters believable?
Yes the characters were very realistic and their responses to the events was accurate.

Did it hold your interest? After chapter two, it had me gripped. It was an interesting read that I wanted to finish.

What age group would enjoy this book?
11 to 15 year olds would be my target audience for this book.

Who was your favorite character? Even though Pharoah was not the main character, his stubborness was realistic and consistent, she did a great job on his personality.

What was the theme? It was a battle between the beliefs of two groups. Each one was portrayed vastly different.

Do you think it could it have a sequel? It may be difficult to top this story line. Mom's note, it is the first of a series.

Was the story predictable?
If a reader has knowledge of the Bible, obviously, they will know the ending. What makes this story unique, is the main characters and their interactions, growth and credibility. For example, even in the times of ancient Egypt, young people has similar struggles, whether slave or free.

My thoughts:
I loved this story! I was in awe as I thought about how well written this story is. Hope Auer has an incredible way creating believable characters and weaving multiple story lines together. This book is a must for anyone who is studying Ancient history with their family.

Don't take Paperboy's and my word for it. See what other reviewers thought about this fantastic book here.

This book is published by Great Waters Press, a new publishing company that offers Christian books, I'm looking forward to their future books.

As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I am given the opportunity to review many home school products. I am not paid or compensated for my reviews, I did receive this product for free in exchange for this honest review. 


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Friday, April 6, 2012

Amazing Animals by Design: A review

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the products with my boys and share my honest opinions with you. Little Guy was the fortunate participant this time.

Amazing Animals by Design by Debra Haagen

Debra Haagen is a fellow homeschool blogger on the TOS review crew. I received a download version of this book to review that sells for $7.95. On April 1st it became available in hard copy for $8.95 from Tate Publishing.

I read Amazing Animals by Design to Little Guy as a bed time story. Because it was a downloadable book, I loaded onto my iPad. It had the special honor of being my first book read on my iPad. The only downfall on the iPad is I could only show one page at a time. On my laptop, I could share the pictures, while reading the words. 

This book explains the concept of intelligent design to young children in a story format. I really wish I had this book when Random and Paperboy was younger. They were forever encountering early reader books that stressed evolution in the first few pages of their books. It distracted them from the content and credibility of the book.

Animals by design shares amazing facts about animals while telling the story of two friends visiting the zoo. With it's simple illustrations, this book is meant for pre-school through third grade. Little Guy was captivated by it. He enjoyed every little detail that proved the custom making of each animal it featured. We laughed at the tricky ostrich. I felt it was perfect for his age group. It would make a great birthday gift.

Debra Haagen has stepped into the area where there have been gaps in this genre of children's books. She can be followed on facebook, or her blog. As a Christian book hoarder, I'm looking forward to her next book.

See what other crew members had to say about Amazing Animals by Design here.
Thanks for stopping by,


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. The opinions in this post are my own.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Leary Tales: An Inspiration for Families

When my friend Jan, one of my most faithful blog readers, asked me to review her book on my blog, I was a little shocked. Not that she asked me, but because I had no idea that her family worked together creating this wonderful book. You see my friend Jan is already one of those over-achievers. You know those friends we love but that keep raising the bar. She does everything with excellence. She sews, acts, she's incredibly funny, her house is beautiful, she grows things that don't die, she's a prayer warrior, and she has an amazing faith. I forgot to tell you that she eats as much chocolate as she pleases and is still skinny. And now she is an author who was featured in our local newspaper!

Leary Tales is a compilation of poems written by Jan, her husband, Bob and illustrated by two of her very talented sons, Jon and Ben. They spent their Sunday afternoons together creating these funny poems and drawings. I was amazed at the variety of subjects they wrote about. Knowing this family and reading their book was a treat.

One of my favorite poem and illustration in the book is My Calico Cat. First of all, the painting is beautiful and it reminds me of Sabie's lovable Miss Kitty. The poem fits Miss Kitty perfectly. Jan intricately describes the prey she hunts for. I can't tell you what it is, but it is disgusting! It really invoked giggles for me and Little Guy.

The pictures are a combination of paintings and drawings done while their boys were younger. Seeing the change in their styles was fascinating. There are watercolors, textured drawings and cartoons. These boys have been gifted, it will be interesting to see what direction they go in after college.

This book has poems for all personalities. Baseballs, penguins, birds butterflies, golf and a day in court are visited in such unique ways. "Spenderella" about a wife who loves to shop is one I can't relate to, but it leaves me wondering who can he be talking about? Their rendition of "Now I lay me down to sleep" has a delightful, humorous ending.

If you are interested in owning your own copy of Leary Tales, you can purchase this 97 page softcover book at Author house for $20.00. Hurry up before Spenderella buys them!

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Free Homeschool Magazine

It's no secret how much I love the Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I hoard my old issues and I'm not ashamed of it. If the thought of reading an old dusty magazine makes you sneeze, I have the remedy. The Old Schoolhouse digital issue is now available for free. Just click on the image below and start reading my favorite magazine.  Because it includes hyperlinks to all of the advertiser's web sites, you don't even have to type in the web addresses. This is a lazy online shopper's dream.

Read It Online Today!

Some things about the digital edition that I appreciate:
    1. I can make the print larger.
    2. I can share it with all of my friends.
    3. I can click through to the web sites, not just to shop, but to access many excellent resources.
    4. It doesn't clutter my already busy coffee table.
    5. It includes Brain Ray's research and statistics about homeschoolers. My geekiness is is satiated.
    6. The price is right, FREE!
Let me know if you get a chance to read it and what you like best about it.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Read For The Heart: A Review

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the product and share my honest opinions with you. In today's review, I was the product tester...

Read For the Heart: Whole Books for Wholehearted Families 
By Sarah Clarkson
Paperback 384 Pages
Published by Apologia for $17.00

Before I even discuss Read for the Heart, I have to make a confession. I am addicted to  children's books. I read them to my children, but I do so, because I enjoy them just as much as they do. I am usually the one who gets excited about starting a new book. My kids humor me and eventually they are drawn into the story.

Because of this obsession, I currently own several books about choosing children's books. I have some that describe books that relate to boys, historical time periods, and illustrators. I enjoy reading, talking about and discovering new children's stories. This book obsession started when I was in college. I had taken a course in children's literature, which turned out to be one of my all time favorite classes. From that moment on, I have always been drawn to children's books.

This is one of the only crew reviews of a product just for mommy! I was thrilled to review it and even more excited as I read it. I discovered the author is the daughter of one of my favorite home school authors, Sally Clarkson. 

What is it?

Read For The Heart is book that answers the question of why, how, and what books will nourish your child's heart. 

With summer reading programs beginning for my kids, this book will be an invaluable tool for choosing excellent books. Little Guy has just begun easy chapter books, so I have started the adventure in fiction for the third time with my kids. I am now armed with an excellent resource that covers over 1000 books.

Sarah Clarkson begins with the chapter: Reading to Live, the testimonial of how she was captivated by books by her family's dedication to great literature. She was homeschooled by godly parents whose priority of wholehearted training is apparent. Her zeal for books, makes Terri G. seem like a dabbler in reading. Read For The Heart's 12 chapters include:
  • Reading Lost
  • How to begin
  • A Roadmap for using this book
  • Picture Books
  • The Golden Age Classics
  • Children's Fiction
  • Fairy Tales and Fantasy
  • History and Biography
  • Spiritual Reading for Children
  • Poetry
  • Music, Art, and Nature
Each chapter begins with her thoughts on selecting books. They include a synopsis, recommendations, short author biographies, and additional books. She also includes numerous lists in the appendix. I appreciate how she added an index, so I can easily search for by book, author or genre. The organization of this book, makes it easy to use. This valuable resource will help me this summer with one of my finicky children

A few things I discovered in this book.

  • Christina Rosetti, a Christian poet, was the brother to artist Dante Gabriel Rosetti.
  • The Wonderful Adventure of Nils is a book I want my sons to read this summer, to become familiar with the geography of Sweden.
  • Walt Morey wrote more than Gentle Ben. I am hoping my boys enjoy his other works.
  • Since we have friends from Bulgaria, I am looking forward to reading Dobry by Monica Shannon.
  • Jane Porter wrote The Scottish Chiefs in 1810. My boys can never have enough of William Wallace. Although it's a famous book, it's news to me.

This book is a thorough reference that has found a new home in my library bag. I was pleased to see that my children have read many of the recommended titles, yet there are still so many treasures to be discovered in Read For The Heart. I highly recommend this book for all families. You don't have to be a homeschooling parent, just someone who desires great books for your children. Don't take just my word for it. See what other crew members thought of Read For The Heart here.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Andi's Fair Surprise, A Review

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the product and share my honest opinions with you. In today's review, Little Guy was our product tester...

Because I am the mother to only boys, when I received this book with a little girl and a lamb on the cover, I wasn't sure what I would encounter. Andi's Fair Surprise by Susan K. Marlow reminded me of my past experience with Laura Ingalls Wilder books. This gave me hope that Little Guy would enjoy this 'girl' book. 

What is it?

Andi's Fair Surprise is a short chapter book about a little girl who lives on a cattle farm with her family in 1874. She has an adventure traveling on a train with her family to the California State Fair. This Christian fiction story is told from a six-year old's point of view. It is a 74 page paperback that is part of the Circle C Series. I recommend it for new readers between 6 and 8.  

How did we use it?

We chose to enjoy it as a read aloud and discuss it each night before bed.  When Little Guy wanted a second chapter, we took turns reading each page. I felt the author had great insights into the behavior and feelings of a six year old. Little Guy and I enjoyed some giggles as we shared the book. There was even foreshadowing, I took the opportunity to ask Little Guy to predict the next chapters. This book was similar in setting to The Little House Series, but intended for younger readers. Online, there are great activity pages to complement it, the math problems were our favorites. They even have Lapbook resources available for the first 4 books. A unit study mom could really fly with these books.

The things I loved about this book:

The beautiful black and white illustrations, this was Little Guy's favorite:

You can download the challenging activity pages for free. 
These were not busy work, but quality lessons. 
These books and pages could be easily used in a unit study.

There are 8 coloring pages for each title in the Circle C series. 
These beautiful pages can be downloaded here.

There are 4 books in the series with 2 more coming in August 2011.

There's a sweet deal going on now.

These adorable books usually retail for $4.99 each, but can be purchased for $3.49 each through August 31, 2011 with the coupon code HOME11 at the Kregel Publishing web site.. There are book excerpts and supplemental materials available on the site as well.

Things I didn't like about this book.

We only had a chance to review one!

Don't take my word for it, see what other crew members thought of Circle C books here.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Homeschool Conference Take Aways, Random Plans

Thankfully, I don't let my emotions run the show. Because there were many swirling around on the day I left. My thoughts were filled with homefront details, stress and dreams of military boarding school. My arrival was marked by peace and gratitude. I felt grateful for my dear friends who dropped me off at the hotel. My quiet enjoyment was temporally rocked, but all was settled.

I was ready to formulate my plan for next year.  I needed this time so I could touch, hold, read, analyze and sniff some books. I was in the right location to do it.

I first must make a public apology to the vendors. I know I have disappointed you. Normally, I drop hundreds of dollars and need a rolling cart or a strong husband each day to carry my purchases. This time I needed neither. My trusty orange backpack remained half empty. Forgive me?

This was a year of changes. I finally have figured out my strategy for Random. He loves learning on the computer and using online programs. He just had said to me "I regret not doing more online classes earlier."

Well, my teaching style cringes at the thought of a child hunched over a computer all day. My perfect homeschool family fantasy involves all of us sitting in my sun room discussing the Animal Farm and politics.  He, to put it bluntly, likes me to be his mother, not his 24 hour teacher. We are ready for the transition. I'm checking out online and computer options. We haven't made a firm decision yet, but we know it's the right direction.

He also is trying his hand at computer programming with a free program called Alice. I was introduced to this at a lunchtime seminar and knew Random had to do this. He has already commented that it is a challenge. Yeah! Alice is described as:
Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching tool for introductory computing. It uses 3D graphics and a drag-and-drop interface to facilitate a more engaging, less frustrating first programming experience. 
Back to the convention...I thought I'd share some of the goodies I did pick up:

Because Little Guy's new hobby is all about rocks, I hand picked each treasure and added a detailed Dover coloring to call it curriculum. Total for the thrifty minded: $2.50 rocks, $2.50 for the clearance book.

Paperboy will remain in Math-U-See, he gets the weird shaped book. How's that for a geometric optical illusion?

We all fell in love with these movie guides last month. The boys and I each picked a title, thanks to my cell phone. The convention special was buy two, get one free at $12.99 each.

The Gman and I have a new $5.00 stapler for the office that won't be easily stolen. 
This was purchased at the hospital gift shop where I met Marge, Heidi, and Katie for lunch one day.

I was blessed to meet Carrie from Keyboard Classroom. Paperboy will be her next guinea pig product tester to improve his typing skills. Look forward to an upcoming review of Keyboard Classroom.  I'm excited about this opportunity, and it may be in the interest of marital harmony that the Gman will be my next student.

I have so much more to share about MassHope, look more conference fun next week.
Thanks for stopping by,
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Growing Healthy Homes, makes sense to me

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the product and share my honest opinions with you. In today's review, our whole family had no choice but the opportunity to try this program.

I knew I was going to learn something when I looked at the cover to and couldn't identify a piece of produce on there. See that white thing to the far right? It looks like a garlic, supermodel style. If you know what that is, can you leave me a comment below? Terri G. needs help in this area.

We interrupt this review for a short love story:

I haven't discussed this much here, but my love story could be called "The Wendy's drive through gal is star struck for the wanna be earthy crunchy man, who eats for nutrition, not taste". But since I do all of the cooking, he has remained a wanna-be for years. He has lovingly tried to invite me over to his way of eating, but I resisted. I also found created fellow compatriots. One of Paperboy's first temper tantrums occurred driving around the rotary passing a Wendy's crying for "gicken". The Gman was horrified, not about the temper tantrum, but about the processed chicken that I fed the boys while he was at work. I slowly started changing, but it's taken almost 20 years.

This curriculum is the answer to the Gman's prayers. He has always been interested in eating for nutrition. This book has done what I as a mother could not. It's given me knowledge, I knew my kids should eat their greens and fruits, but not all of the why's behind it. We knew the omega oils were a must for brain function, but now we can say we are eating cantaloupe to improve our immune system.

Nutrition 101 contains basic information and fascinating details about the needs of our bodies. The authors did a wonderful job of making learning fun. I felt it lends itself well to be used as a middle school biology unit. I love the way they break down the 12 body systems units into 6 units. Each chapter highlights a system of the body and the nutrition that it needs.
This curriculum includes:
  • food charts
  • hands on activities
  • scientific information with detailed illustrations
  • biblical references
  • recipes
  • review questions
  • fun facts
  • helpful charts
The four authors come from different backgrounds and I appreciate that they all were not healthy eaters their entire lives. They give hope to the nutritionally hopeless. They also equip the ignorant(me) with so many charts, lists, and explanations. I can no longer pretend I don't know.  My favorite and much needed resource is the how to select fresh fruit.

The only two things I didn't like was that it is an eBook. I would definitely recommend getting the hardcover. The price is a little steep, but the value of all of this information in one book that can be used for years, makes it less painful in the wallet.

How can you buy Nutrition 101: Choose Life!?
This comprehensive curriculum is available at Growing Healthy Homes. It is available as a CD-ROM ($79.95), a hardbound book ($99.95), or a combination of both ($129.95).  For an even sweeter deal, there is a 15% discount coupon from Growing Healthy Homes using the code TOScrew11.
Additional products from Growing Healthy Homes include Gentle Babies: Essential Oils and  Natural Remedies ($12.95) and The Raw Food Feast: 7 Days Through the Rainbow ($17.95).
Two FREE downloads are available:  Is There a Dr. Mom in Your House? and Gentle Babies (the download version).

You also can also read other crew members reviews hereIf my glowing review has not convinced you to purchase this, you may want to hear more about this directly from one of the authors, Sera Johnson.  

 FREE TOS webinar scheduled for:
Thursday, April 21, (TOMORROW)
from 4:00pm - 5:30 pm EST 
(1:00 pm to 2:30 pm PST)

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: Homeschool Conventions for Less

Attending a homeschool convention can be a burden to many families that are already feeling the squeeze. When Momma is teaching her little ones, chances are, she may not be earning any money. How can you attend a conference, pay for a hotel and purchase curriculum while stretching your homeschool budget? I'd like to share with you some of the ways I have enjoyed the homeschool conferences when things were a little tight.

  • When reserving a room, the earlier the better. Last year, when we were attending as a family, we opted for the hotel without the pool. The offered free breakfast for me and the guys. Based one the amount of food my teens eat, I am not sure if they made any money off our room.
  • Some years, I share a hotel room with other ladies. Not only is this a great time, my hotel ends up costing about $25.00. This is always a time of fun and great conversation. 
  • This year, my friend Shirley has offered to drive us there. We will all share the gas expenses and I know the ride will go quickly with all of the chatterboxes going.
  • The first day, I bring a sandwich and snacks from home. I have to eat them outside, but so far, the weather has been agreeable.
  • Take advantage of restaurant deals. Our hotel is located near the Ninety-Nine restaurant. Last year we ate there with coupons. On top of that, the Red Sox won the night before, so our kids ate for free. I'm not looking for fine dining, just a good meal that someone else has cooked is sufficient.
  • Eat creatively. There is a hospital cafeteria nearby. They have a large variety of foods and a terrific salad bar. Hint, time your visit, the lines can be crazy. Cafeteria food = Cheap. 
  • Fasting and praying can save you a few bucks. Actually, I'm kidding. You need to eat well and be alert. You will want to absorb all of the great information, without dreaming of a cheeseburger.
  • Research now the curriculum you are considering. Have your list ready to visit the vendor booths. Do this early on so you will have time to do more research/shopping in case you change your direction in teaching.
  • I do buy some things and pay full price at the conference. Gasp. Some of the vendors are homeschooling families that have continued to offer excellent products at reasonable prices. Two vendors that I look forward to shopping at are The Book Peddler and Schoolhouse Publishing. The Book Peddler has a great bargain bin, offers their own books and I love their booth. Susan Kemmerer of Schoolhouse Publishing is a real homeschooling mom, a serious 'boy mom. She graciously shares work samples from her children using the products. If you are not going to the convention, you have to request her free magalog. Their store offer discounts for new customers here. She freely shares her magalog at the convention and will spend time with you as you shop her booth. (Disclaimer, I am sharing my personal experience, I do not receive any compensation for sharing my love for either of these companies.)
  • If you are unsure, wait. Maybe you can find what you are looking for at your local homeschool used book sale, check Ebay, or sites that sell second hand curriculum. 
  • Purge out the old books. Just this weekend, I sold a math program on Ebay for $120. Perhaps you have curriculum you can sell now, to pay for next year's books.
  • Friends don't let friends overbuy curriculum. Shirley and I shop together. Sometimes when I am going to buy something, she stops me and let's me know, she will lend it to me. Or vice versa. I'm looking forward to borrowing her Biology 101 movies next year. Thanks, Shirl.
  • Many of the vendor booths offer scratch and dent products. You may have to search through boxes, but you will be in good company. I am sure that my kids won't care that someone dropped their grammar book. In fact, I'm sure they purposely do this. 
  • Don't be wowed by new and shiny. At our homeschool used curriculum sale each year, I notice some things. There are expensive boxed curriculum selling for deep discounts. Many times they were abandoned after only a few weeks of use. Really consider or sleep on the decision. I have bought things and second guessed it the next day.
Can you tell I am getting excited about the convention? I have been talking about what to wear and why to go. Is there anything I have missed? If you are going to MassHope, let me know. I'd love to meet you and talk homeschooling. If you have any other thrifty convention tips, please share.

Don't forget to enter my give away for The Crossmaker. Winning homeschool products is very thrifty.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Did you want to be like Terri G?

I know that sounds a little weird. Sometimes we look at someone or what we think they are like and wish we could be like them. I'll admit when it comes to blogging, I've thought about the Pioneer Woman and her yummy food section. I wished I could be like her. Cook like her. Live like her. Blog design like her. Travel like her. Photo like her. You get my drift.

I don't wish for her red hair. I tried it once. It showed every blemish that didn't really exist. Yuck.

But perhaps in the deep recesses of your over-tired, over-worked mom mind, you had a passing thought. Or a bizarre fantasy.

Your thought went like this: "I wish I could try home school products with my little subjects, I call my children. I wish I could try things for free like Terri G. does. I wish I could find a creative outlet to let my unsaid words out."

Did you feel your skin prickle as you read these words? Nope, me neither.

You never wished you had 4 kids spaced out in 20 years, that you had her homemaking skills, or that you took pictures just like Terri G. You only coveted the free math programs she used.

Well you can stop wishing and start acting.

Do you have a blog or the desire to start a blog? Do you homeschool your kids? Do you have opinions? Have you always dreamed of having this blog button on the sidebar of your blog?

You may be just the right person the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew is looking for.

Click here for more details.

Pray about it.

Talk to your husband because you do want to be like Terri G., who submits to her husband almost all of the time.

If you are not familiar with my blogging story grab a cup of coffee and check it out. It may offer you hope. If you do apply for the crew, let me know by email. I'd love to help you start this fun adventure.

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I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Boxcar Children may mend my broken heart

On Friday, 50% of our tribe hit the slopes. Little Guy is still getting the hang of it and Mom is recovering with sore calves. On Saturday, Little Guy started going down hill, not skiing, but health wise. His symptoms are: slight fever, sore throat and total compliance. That's when I knew he is really not feeling well. He has such a sweet calm disposition. I took advantage of this and cuddled with him as much as possible.

This was a great time to introduce him to The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. He was so captivated, he offered to read chapter three when my throat needed a break. I love listening to him read. This is my third time reading this book to my kids. I forget how much I love the qualities of the four children in the book. They are loving, diligent, cheerful, mischievous, and hard working. I know some people feel they are too good to be true, but Little Guy hasn't noticed. I hope he aspires to be like them, wink, wink.

The version I am reading is an old library hardcover that was withdrawn. I just noticed the back of the book, which was printed in 1952, a little blurb: 'About this book.'
"The Boxcar Children provides a type of reading material which is urgently needed-that is, easy reading material of intermediate-grade interest. 
The best means of arousing a desire for reading is an interesting book that can be read easily, because rapid progress, real enjoyment, and the consciousness of success are distinctly motivating and inspiring."
I agree with this. It was exactly what I've been looking for, to share with my six-year old. I am pleased with his reading progress, yet disappointed at his lack of desire to read. The language in these books was simple enough to keep his interest and read out loud to me.

The first 19 books in The Boxcar Children series were actually written by Gertrude Chandler Warner. The next ones are different authors. That means I have 19 opportunities to get him addicted to reading, with her sweet style of writing. With three more chapters left, I am sure we will be moving on to the next book in the morning. I am fortunate enough to own numerous books in the series. Statueman was a collector of Boxcar children since the 80's.

A few months ago, I started worrying about Little Guy. I was concerned that he didn't use his new found reading skills enough. He read things, but it didn't seem like he was drawn into it. A couple of weeks ago, he broke my heart a few times by saying these sad words:
"I hate to read."
I have been a mom on a mission now. Hating reading is not allowed in our home. I can't force him to love anything, but I can keep enticing him with great books. I had found a few easy chapter books that he liked, but he lost interest quickly. The Fat Cat series lasted for whole two days.

I was not discouraged, I have constanly been on the look out for things to catch his interest. His latest book he has been reading on his own is The Comic Book Bible by Robb Suggs. Each morning he can be found in the sun room reading his Bible. Now that really does my heart good. He even took his Bible skiing. He has taken to quizzing me on his newfound Bible knowledge, how fun is that?

But I believe, it's not enough. I will keep pressing on, gently of course. I will be reading to him and with him as I cultivate his desire for great books.

I hope that Little Guy and I will experience more adventures with Henry, Jessie, Violet, Benny and their dog Watch this week.

How about you, what books have hooked your early readers? I remember Paperboy really took off with the Great Brain books by John Fitzgerald. I'd love to hear what books your little ones fell in love with.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winner Announced: "The Brotherhood"

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway
for the Jerry B. Jenkins' novel, The Brotherhood.
And the winner is...
Congratulations to Becky from Our Peaceful Home
She will be bringing even more peace to her home with a thoughtful gift for her hubby. 
Now I feel so very Valentine-ish. How lovely of Becky to think of him.
You can look forward to more give aways soon 
and tomorrow's Valentine's Day post about
 "The Birds and the Bees, homeschool style."

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Blog Tour: The Brotherhood. A review and a give away!

The Brotherhood, A Precinct 11 Novel is a new book in a series by the popular author Jerry B. Jenkins of Left Behind fame. Jenkins has authored 175 books and of those, 20 have made it to the New York Times best sellers list. 

The Story

Boone Drake appears to be "all set". Perfect life, pretty wife, son and the beginnings of a promising career define him. That is until he has a Book of Job day. When the dust settles, the remains are sparse. Guilt, bitterness and unbelief rule his thoughts. He does have a few advantages; a persistent pastor and at least the job he loves, for now. When that is put on the line, he realizes what little he really has. After some plot twists and text messages from his faithful pastor, his life begins to change. His trust in God and God's ability to change people is literally put to the test as meets a viscous gang leader whose fame is in his many brutal kills.

My Opinion

I have always been a Jenkins fan and a lover of old police shows. I welcomed this novel, it grabbed me right away with the action and kept me on the edge. The details of the police 'brotherhood' and the streets of Chicago were fascinating to me. This is quick read with strong modern Christian characters and realistic action. My son, who also loved the Left Behind series is anxious to start reading this one. I have to warn you, Jenkins does leave you hanging at the end. No spoilers here, but I am looking forward to Jenkins' next in the precinct 11 series The Betrayal.

 I came away with this

I enjoy fiction, especially Christian fiction with characters that have qualities in their lives that I lack. In the Brotherhood, Pastor Sosa, was inspiring. He didn't claim to have all of the answers, he didn't try to fix everything, yet he had a passion for sharing the word of God, faithfully.  His text messaging of Bible verses was a little outside of the box for me, but brilliant. When I am trying to encourage someone, I often use my own words to help. This is nice, but it is not the same as the Word of God. For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. ~Hebrews 4:12. After reading The Brotherhood, I was challenged to share more of God's word and less of me.

Are you interested?

Are you a fan of clean police dramas? Would you like to win a copy of this book? Tyndale has given me a certificate for a free copy of this book to give to one of my readers. I am sorry that it is for U.S. readers only  and sorry Dad, you cannot enter. I'm just following the rules.

Here's the unavoidable rules and since it's for a book about a police officer, I will be enforcing them.

The required one: Leave a comment on my blog, letting me know that you would like to win.

The extra entries: Share, tweet or email this review to your friends and let me know how you did it in the comments section for each entry. Make sure you leave a way for me to find you. Subscribing to my blog by feedburner below will get you another entry. It's also a great way never to miss this blog. Just let me know you did in an additional comment.

I will be picking a winner on February 13th.

More rules, I have to follow:
I participated and received this copy of the Brotherhood from Tyndale press for free in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not paid for this review.
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Read Alouds for Boys...Our Top Ten

The first year we began homeschooling, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to an incredible curriculum. The only other homeschool mother that I knew, generously lent me a crate of books. These were the books included in the Sonlight K program. This crate of treasures began our adventures of reading aloud. My boys and I savored the times of cuddling in the living room and plowing through endless books. 

Each morning after Bible time, our little routine was to pick out a hand toy. I learned quickly that sitting for more than ten minutes without something keeping their hands busy could be dangerous. They would find something the fiddle with or break; a loose string on a shirt, their brother, their nose, or some other distraction. Most mornings Random would find a superhero to perform flips during the current story. I drew the line at sound effects. Paperboy would tweak his mini Lego creations. I would read as long as my voice held up, since most days they begged for more. 

Those times were my personal favorite days of our homeschooling lives. Now these boys are in 8th and 9th grade, read alouds are rarer. I regret to say, they are approached with less zeal. One child considers them a chore. He can read the book faster in his head, why do we just sit and listen? I experienced my last read aloud to Paperboy and Daddy at the table the other night. It was a funny short book by Jon AcuffGazelles, Baby Steps And 37 Other Things Dave Ramsey Taught Me About Debt. They didn't want me to stop and we were laughing together, but it wasn't the same as "Little Britches, Father and I were Ranchers".

Here are some of my favorites. I call it: My do not miss these books with your boys list. If you have girls, I am sorry, I don't have a list. I still don't understand them. I was a girl once, but I have never mothered one or had to choose books for one.

  1. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This is the first one Statueman and I shared when he was 4. He was riveted by Pa cleaning his gun, the bear and the intricate details of daily life in a log cabin. With my middle two, we read through the entire series using the Prairie Primer Curriculum one school year. I cannot say enough about that without sounding like a sales rep. So I won't. In fact, I'll stop commenting on each book so I can finish this post this year.
  2. Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld
  3. Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
  4. The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabet George Speare
  5. Little Britches Series by Ralph Moody
  6. By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman
  7. Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil
  8. Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes
  9. Biography of a Grizzly by Earnest Thomson Seton or any of his books.
  10. The Story of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting and the others in this series. 

Do you have any you must read this book to your children selections to share? I'd love to hear about your favorites. I'd love to share something new with Little Guy, since he leans toward non-fiction.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Ten books that have helped my marriage

The Gman and I are coming up on our 19th anniversary next week. We have no plans yet, since it falls on an evening of church, play practice and many appointments surrounding them. I'm not a sentimental legalist. We will celebrate sometime a few days later. I wanted to share one thing that has helped our marriage.

I studied marriage. No, I didn't go to college as a marriage major, it may not be a bad idea for some. Before we tied the knot, our pastor had given us a list of recommended books to read. And do you know what we did? We read them. I am not going to give you that list, because I lost it. But some of the books were so helpful, I still have them. Some of these books are from my own list.

  1. The Bible 
  2. The First Years of Forever by Ed Wheat
  3. Love for a Lifetime by James Dobson
  4. The Act of Marriage by Tim LaHaye
  5. The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
  6. Created to be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl
  7. Love Life for Every Married Couple by Ed Wheat
  8. Creative Counterpart By Linda Dillow
  9. Letters to Karen by Charlie W. Shedd
  10. Strike the Original Match by Charles Swindoll
Just the very act of owning these books does not make a great marriage. They must be read, studied, reread, prayed about and most importantly, acted upon. Some of these books I have reread many times, some I have loaned out in the hopes to never see them again. Some have challenged me more than I can handle. Nevertheless, this is my crash course in marriage. 

In case you were wondering after 19 years, how I am doing in the class.  Understanding that a great marriage is no accident, I'm constantly striving for an A+. Once in while, on my self-inflicted report cards, I give myself "a needs improvement in behavior and attitude", but for the most part: I am still an enthusiastic student.

Do you have any books that have blessed your marriage?

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