Tag Archives: books

Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader ~ Book Club

 

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happensYears ago, I read the Mitford book series and really enjoyed getting to know the down-home characters who lived a small-town life full of the small-town joys often found in books. In fact, so much of the appeal was that it portrayed life so accurately – the joy, the hope. the hardship, the friendship, the neighbors, the help. the disagreements, the holding onto hurt and the innate ability to forgive. Neighbors become friends, and so do those who you just aren’t sure about. Yes, it is somewhat idyllic – what with the gorgeous setting and all – but it was such a joy to read those books.

July Book Club

I found the same enjoyment reading through Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader. If you have read much of the series at all, you know food plays a large role in the interactions of the people in the books. So Jan Karon took those interactions and placed them in this Kitchen Reader alongside the recipes for the foods that are part of the story.

You will read an excerpt from one of the books in the series and then it is followed by the recipes for the food that was mentioned. It might be one recipe and it might be four. There are lots of yummy looking recipes (such as Esther Bolick’s Orange Marmalade Cake) and some that I can dream about but would never dream of making (Cynthis’a Leg of Lamb).

There are plenty that I am going to try including Cynthia’s Toasted Pecans, anything that features new potatoes (there are tons of these and they all look good), Cynthia’s Glazed Rosemary Onion, and Father Tim’s Christmas Morning Casserole.

Throughout there are sprinkled little statements that Jan Karon writes about things that she wants to share thought on: aprons, dishwashing, her spice cabinet, kitchens, the last meals of different people, and more. Everything is interesting and well-written. This was a cookbook that I enjoyed reading.

Blessings,
At Home.

My co-host, Wendy from Ladybug Daydreams, is hoping to post about an interesting she has read this month. For the next couple of months, we are going to each share about what we read. So head over to Wendy’s blog to see what she read this month.

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Gusty Girl ~ Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

The Book Club posts have really fallen off in recent months. Part of that is just me failing to continue a schedule I had set and part is that Wendy has been incredibly busy with life and its curve balls. I thought I would try to get back in the groove this month. I hope Wendy can join in again sometime after life settles back down for her family.

For this month’s pick I have to ask –

Is there a hidden adventurer in you? Do you have these dreams of doing strange or crazy things but really, you know better and you don’t do them? Well, this is the book for you.

Gutsy Girl

Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure by Caroline Paul

You know it is a book of great adventure when there is more than one place where there is a disclosure statement about the lawyers saying you should not do these things and the author/publisher/fill-in-the-blank are not responsible for any injuries or death you may suffer if you dare to attempt some of the stunts from this book. 🙂

Caroline Paul recounts her adventures in this book – some of which are planned and crazy, some of which are just crazy, and some of which are just crazy but have something go wrong making them utterly terrifying. But she has lived to tell the tale. And the life lessons she has learned from it.

The stories shared within the covers of this book are fascinating and interesting. To the point that I read the book in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Each of her stories comes with a lesson learned, though. And these lessons are really where the value of this book is. Lessons like “just put one foot in front of the other” or “plan well, then expect the unexpected.” Interestingly enough, these lessons tend to be the chapter titles, too.

Interspersed in the stories you will also find quotes, mini biographies of other daring girls, and plenty of charts, graphs, and illustrations to bring it all to life. There are also some places following each chapter for you to journal about how you are going to brave life based on what is shared.

All in all, this was a fun book to read. And I am sharing it with you because I really, really enjoyed it. I am not reviewing it for a company or for any other reason. I think my girls will enjoy reading it and I think it will challenge them to think about stepping out of their comfort zone. I know it did me.

Blessings,
At Home.

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Weigl Publishers – interactive electronic books ~ a Crew review

Weigl Publishing books review

Sometimes, we look for electronic resources and books that provide a way for the girls to learn to navigate the electronic world. Weigl Publishers  is a company that publishes innovative, high-quality electronic books and other resources. These are available in the US and around the world. Their media enhanced materials are fairly unique.

Our review for Weigl Publishers  included three interactive, electronic books.

  • There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant,
  • A Lion’s World, and
  • Glaciers.

Each book must be purchased and contains a unique code to input on the website that will unlock the interactive features. There is no subscription or site fees.

Cowpoke Who Swallowed An AntThere Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by Will Terry. This is published under their AV2 imprint (subgroup). The AV2 imprint has both fiction and non-fiction, as well as Spanish language titles. They began releasing titles under this imprint in 2010.

This is an interactive book read by professional voice actors with additional sound effects and fun audio additions. The digital version of the book can be read to the student or the student can read by himself. Each sentence is brought to life. If the student is being read to, the text sentences are highlighted as they are read and the pages turn at the appropriate time. If the student is read by himself, then the student will have to click next to turn the page. If the student gets stuck on a sentence, or just wants to hear it read, then placing the pointer over the sentence will cause it to be read out loud.

The story line is what you probably imagine – A cowpoke eats an ant. It stings his stomach so he has to each a spider to get the ant. The spider causes problems so he has to eat a roadrunner to get the spider. And so on. Each is more ridiculous and funny than the last. Just wait until you get to the end to see what he eats last and how it turns out in the end.

This book is best suited for K-2nd but I can definitely see pre-schoolers enjoying the antics of the cowpoke.

A Lion's World bookA Lion’s World is a non-fiction title from the EyeDiscover imprint. Weigl launched EyeDiscover in 2016. The titles in this imprint have interactive online content directed at 4-7 year olds, or K-2nd grades. When you access the digital version of the books the student sees full-screen videos and the text is read aloud.

This non-fiction titles is about a lion and the world he lives in. It includes such things as the word for the family unit, the loudness of the roar, and what actions you might find a lion doing. Each page has a short video that is looped to repeat and a short text. The text is read aloud but it is also printed on a banner at the bottom of the page. You can turn the text reading on or off, according to the desire of the student. The back of the book includes two pages of very visual facts (infographic) and a page of key words and their location within the book.

While this book is listed as a K-2 level, it would also be interesting for younger children due to the videos and the text being read. As a single viewing, it might also be interesting for a slightly older student, though I would not expect them to learn anything new from it.

watching video from glaciers bookGlaciers is a book from the Lightbox imprint by Weigl. This type of book combines the digital book with online content, interactive pages, and printable resources. It is extremely interactive and takes a multimedia approach to content. Combining the multimedia approach with audio, video, and text, students are more actively engaged in the content. Using interactive content such as layered charts and graphs, embedded web-links, and pop-up vocabulary definitions, students are engaged in learning with this full digital product. There are titles for both elementary and secondary levels.

Glaciers by Christine Webster is a non-fiction title and explores the science of glaciers. The digital book is easy to navigate even though there are quite a few buttons to click on each of the pages. The right and left arrow keys move the reader forward and backward in the book. If there is a bolded word, click it and the definition pops up. Videos are embedded and play right in the window being used. The controls for all of this are on the sides of the book. If there is a printable, it does pop up in another window as a PDF. This all makes it so easy. There is a play button to have the text read.

printable from the glacier book

The science of the glaciers covers definitions and how they study glaciers. It lists the parts of the glacier body and includes a transparency interaction where clicking the different parts of the glacier brings in its label and description. Glaciers sizes, definitions, and locations are all covered and includes an interactive Google Earth section where you can view the images of the glaciers and paths to them. (This was probably Miss J’s favorite part!) The embedded videos, such as the one of the polar bear or the one of the crevasse and cave in the glacier, are fascinating and really help build understanding of the glacier.

Glaciers is intended for students ages 8-12 or grades 3-6. I found this to be a pretty accurate range, though I think it is so rich that students up through 8th grade could easily find much to learn from this book.

The interactive ability of the Glaciers book created a desire to keep learning more. This subject would not have been interesting to Miss J but with all of the interactivity it was fascinating for her. This book took quite a while for us to work through because there were so many activities and printables and videos. It was basically a full unit study, all on its own. We probably took a week during our science time to work through this book.

Weigl Publishers  has a lot of wonderful resources to offer and we were pleased to be introduced to them. I am particularly interested in learning more about the middle school and high school books available through the Lightbox imprint. There is so much there!

Blessings,
At Home.

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YWAM – Amy Carmichael ~ a Crew review

YWAM Amy Carmichael review

We are thrilled each time we are selected to review any of the YWAM Publishing  titles, whether Christian Heroes: Then & Now  or Heroes of History . This time around we were given the title Christian Heroes- Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems and its corresponding study guide.

These titles are loved. When a new titles comes into our home, or appears on the shelf at the library, it immediately ends up in a bedroom being read. I don’t even see the book until the oldest giggly girls has finished it. This book on Amy Carmichael was no different.

YWAM Publishing is a company that is committed to publishing materials that encourage Christians to make a difference in this world. The focus of their materials is prayer, mercy ministry, homeschooling, evangelism, and discipleship. When you purchase from YWAM, you are also sending money to help the needy around the world as a portion of every dollar spent is directed towards YWAM’s ministries.

Amy Carmichael book from YWAM

Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems

This is the story of Amy’s life. From a young age, Amy knew God was calling her to a life of serving him. She began serving him simply, by helping others carry hard loads and listening to his word. She then began serving the shawlies, those who worked harder than most to provide for their families and we looked down upon by many Christians at the time. In helping the shawlies, Amy began to face some of the backlash that she would face all of her life – the Christians who were supposed to love everyone and help them cause problems for Amy because they did not want those “dirty” people in their buildings for worship.

Amy trusted God and he got her through a lot – buildings that needed built, ill health, and many, many other things. Amy knew that God was calling her to go to a foreign mission field and she just knew that it was in Asia. Even after being turned down by mission groups situated there, Amy decided to just get there and leave it to God to figure out where she would be and who she would work with. God did. And Amy spent time serving others in Japan, until she got ill. Again. She returned to the UK to recover.

After a time, Amy ended up in India. It turned out to be the place God had been preparing her for. Amy saw the great need in India and began her work there with diligence. She took in those whose family abandoned or disowned them, which was not unusual for Indians who chose to become Christians, if they were not killed by their families. Amy continued to teach and trust. Through her trust in God, many came to her to be loved and to learn of God.

After going to India, Amy never left. She served those in India until she died. Amy became Amma (mother) to hundreds in India, rescuing temple children from a life of horror or loving those who were unloved by their families.

Tamil language sign

Downloadable Unit Studies/Curriculum Guides

The YWAM biographies make fantastic unit studies. The curriculum guide that you can purchase for download to go along with book features a format that gives plenty of suggestion for you to pick and choose those parts and activities that benefit your students. I did not print the entire guide; rather, I printed those pages that we were going to use for our study.

We chose to use Key Bible Verses, Chapter Questions, Student Explorations, and Social Studies. There are also sections on Display Corner, Community Links, Related Themes to Explore, and Culminating Event.  There are appendixes for books and resources and answers to chapter questions.

For Key Bible Verses, the girls each chose at least one verse from those that were important to Amy Carmichael and illustrated it. I also asked them to memorize it. Chapter Questions was a section we actually did out loud. We had a book conversation one day and used these questions to guide the discussion. These can be used a variety of ways and the answers are in one of the appendices.

India Fact Sheet

For Student Explorations, there are a large number of possible activities for the student to choose from. There is no way a student could tackle all of these hands-on projects. The options include essays, creative writing, charts, graphs, audio or visual projects, arts and crafts projects, or language examples. Miss E chose to illustrate a couple of the language examples and also chose to work on some needle work. Miss L chose to make a birdbath out of materials we had in the yard. Miss J looked up information on some of the jewels and precious gems that Amy named her children after. We also visited a gem show and looked at some of the gems from the book.

In tackling the social studies section, we used the printouts that came with the study guide, printing out a sheet to fill out on India and three maps. The girls each researched information on India and completed that sheet. They also used an atlas and online searches, plus a map in the book, to mark the maps with places that were important in the story of Amy Carmichael. It is good to know where places are in the world and, since we had studied India last November, it was a good way for us to relate the story to places we had talked about during that study.

We chose not to do a Display Corner and the Community Links since we had done that last November with our India study. The Display Corner is just that – a place to put a variety of items that relate to India and the story. Community Links is a section that encourages you to find places and people within your community that might have something to do with your study, in this case it might be an Indian restaurant or a religious group to visit. Related Themes to explore touches on other ideas and topics related to the story and gives a few resources for that. The final section we did not use, again because we had done something like this back in November, is to create a big final event celebrating all that was learned.

The curriculum guides to go along with these books do a great job of broadening the horizons of the students, pulling in ideas to help the reader better relate to all that is happening in the story. These unit study/study guides can be as in depth as you desire for them to be but I would definitely suggestion using them, as they open up the discussion and ideas.

reading Amy Carmichael

Our Thoughts:

Miss J (age 9) – It was really fun and it kind of hung me when we couldn’t read another chapter. I learned a lot about Amy Carmichael. She was a very nice woman and she took care of many children, about 500. I think kids ages 5 and up would like this book.

Miss L (age 11) – I think that one of the reasons I enjoyed reading about Amy Carmichael’s life is because she trusted God so much in everything she did. That is a really admirable quality. It also lead to many unique situations in her life that don’t happen to other missionaries or in other Christian’s lives. Most of the time it is easy to forget how it would be if we did everything for the faith and how different that lifestyle would than what most of use are actually living. I liked reading about her because she always did her best no matter what the situation was and recognized that she needed to be doing all she could all the time. I think this make her really interesting to read about and it put her in a lot of situations that other people would not be willing to enter. You see multiple examples of Amy’s willingness to do whatever it takes, even if it makes her different than everyone else. I like how the book covered a lot of things in her life that might seem insignificant or just straight out different from everyone else but she didn’t care how small it was. One thing I like about these books is that they tell the story to inspire you and I think Amy was a really good role model. Once you read the book about here, you can’t really imagine what the series would have been like without her.

Miss E (age 14) – I really liked how Amy did not give up. I really like reading and learning about other cultures and Japan and India are some of my favorites. I like that the biography is written more from Amy’s point of view. It is more like a story so it is easier for me to read and understand. I like all biographies but it is easier to read when it is written like a story.

My own – I really enjoy reading the YWAM biographies on Christian Heroes. They put before the girls quality role models and people who trusted God to direct their lives and their paths. They are interesting and exciting, keeping the girls’ interest and spurring them on to read and understand more about the world that is much bigger than what we know.

YWAM is coming out with two new biographies shortly: Benjamin Rush (Heroes of History) and John Newton (Christian Heroes). We have reviewed YWAM titles in the past, including Gladys Aylward, Clara Barton, and C.S. Lewis. We also have a large number of these biographies on our shelf. We definitely recommend them!

Blessings,
At Home.

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Z – Middle School Book ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Z

We are at the last letter for this round of ABC Blogging or Blogging Through the Alphabet (whichever you prefer to think of it as).

Z

Oh, this one was actually kind of easy to find a book for.

Zlatas diary

Zlata’s Diary: a child’s life in Sarajevo by Zlata Filipovic
introduction by Janine Di Giovanni
translated  with notes by Christina Pribichevich-Zoric

I have tried to persuade my girls to read this one and have not yet succeeded. I may end up assigning it just to get them to take a chance on it.

This is a true diary, along the lines of Anne Frank. Zlata is 13 at the start of the diary, right before Sarajevo was blockaded and war broke out in 1991. Zlata’s family were not poor but money did nothing for them when there was nothing to be had. These are the thoughts that fill the head of a young girl who should be running around, visiting friends, and having fun, yet cannot leave the “safe room” in the building for fear of the shelling and shooting. As the war continues, thing deteriorate further and Mimmy (the name of the diary) is a friend when no others are there. Zlata is able to be evacuated safely a couple years into the war and so her story – and the story of so many other children trapped in war zones – is able to be heard. It is a tremendous read, full of life and emotion.

I will take a couple weeks break from the ABC series but will be back when the new round starts.

Blessings,
At Home.

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The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs
V – Valkyrie & Voyage on the Titanic
W – War That Saved My Life & Wonderful Wizard of Oz
X – Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters & Betty Before X
Y – A Year Down Yonder
Z – Zlata’s Diary

Y – Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Y

Y-titled books are not easy either. This is a book that I just adored from an author that is just tons of fun to read.

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

This story takes place at Grandma Dowdel’s once again. Due to the hardships of the Great Depression, Mary Alice goes to live with Grandma. The year provides a tons of activity and laughter. From turning the tables on the local bullies to doing good while no one is looking to making every season one to find hilarity in, Grandma gives Mary Alice an education she’d never get in Chicago. It turns out to be a wonderful year full of the kinds of memories we all wish our children would be blessed with.

As always, I definitely recommend Richard Peck as an author. I have yet to read anything that I wouldn’t share with my girls, though I keep finding new ones, so I obviously have not read all that he has written.

Got any Y-titled books that you adore? Please share their titles with me in the comments.

Blessings,
At Home.

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The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs
V – Valkyrie & Voyage on the Titanic
W – War That Saved My Life & Wonderful Wizard of Oz
X – Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters & Betty Before X

X – Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

X

What to do? What to do? I just can’t come up with anything. Goodness! Harder and harder!

There were several suggestions for books that had an X “in” the title but only one that started with X.

So, for the pleasure of sharing something, here are some titles with X that look pretty interesting.

This book looks interesting to me –

Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz

It is about a young black girl in the 1940s in Detroit. It shows the difficulty, the challenge, and the heartbreak. Betty grows up and becomes the wife of Malcom X, which influenced the title.

Read a full review of this book by A Net In Time.

Soldier X by Don L. Wulffson

This book is a look behind enemy lines during WWII. As a teenager, Erik goes as a soldier for Germany, experiencing the horrors of war and the Third Reich. The story looks interesting and difficult at the same time.

This book was suggested by Hopkins Homeschool.

Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters by Margaret Dilloway

6th grader Xander is looking forward to a break and spending the time with his friend and his comics. He will be thrust, instead, into a dramatic and challenging adventure.

This book was suggested by Walking Fruitfully.

Hopefully you saw one that looked interesting and will explore it. If you have other suggestions for the letter X, I would love to hear them.

Blessings,
At Home.

 

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The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs
V – Valkyrie & Voyage on the Titanic
W – War That Saved My Life & Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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