Thursday, July 31, 2014

July to the Max: Fireworks, Baseball, and Church Camp

July passed in a hurry, didn't it? Just like that, summer break is almost over and we're starting school on Monday. I'm excited about that, but also sorry to see our relaxing (and not so relaxing - church camp anyone?) days go.

Pinning Right Now:
I'm all about the planning these days.

We use The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child as our History spine so I love these printable planners from Barefoot Ragamuffin. Great way to keep track of all those extra reading books.

These weekly planners from The Flanders Family look like they'll be helpful for keeping my older students on track. I like to give them assignment sheets on Monday morning so they can be responsible for much of their own work.

Learning Tangent offers some simple homeschool planner pages.

If you're looking for more homeschool planner pages, I have a Pinterest Board just for you! (I also have a board for organizing which has other printable planners, not just for homeschooling)

Reading:
I've finished 11 books in July. (Come back tomorrow to see the full list).
I read one book for review in July: The Good News About Marriage.
My reading stack right now looks like this:
It was double this size, but I cleaned out the books that I just didn't have time to read. This stack is heavy on the non-fiction though, so I know some fiction will be sneaking in there. Several books are for a post I'm working on for next week: Reading Through World War 1. And let me just say: I'll be glad for a break from war reading once that's done.

Watching:
Guilty pleasure admission time: I've been watching old episodes of Magnum P.I. It's perfect escape watching after a long summer day. (Philip's even watching them with me despite his original hesitation. Next up: Matlock, which my husband somehow missed as a kid. I asked him what he watched at his grandma's house if they didn't watch Matlock, but his grandmas must not have been fans.) We're up to season 3 now. (Another admission: we skipped the first season.)

We watched the new Robocop. No, it's not the best movie ever. But it has Gary Oldman and Jennifer Ehle in it, two actors I always admire. And it raises some interesting questions about what exactly it is to be human and why can't science explain or duplicate that? (Yes, I can find an interesting philosophical discussion anywhere.)

We've started watching the Sharpe series because my husband is reading through the books. My impression is that it's Horatio Hornblower on land, but since we like HH, that's not a problem.

We finished watching the second series of Endeavor. This is good stuff. We've seen nearly all the episodes of Morse and all the episodes of Lewis and this is a great addition. (So fun to see John Thaw's daughter in this new series.)

And last but not least (and actually, this probably should have been first on this list since we watched this early in July), we finally watched The Lego Movie. Fun. (And "Everything is Awesome" has replaced "Let it Go" as my children's song of choice, which really is awesome because if I had to hear a Frozen song one. more. time...)

Going:
  • We watched a great fireworks show with my sister's family.
  • We celebrated the 4th with my grandparents
  • My mom and I saw the Mary Poppins musical at a dinner theater place with a lovely group of friends.
  • We finally made it out to some yard sales. I found some great education stuff (puzzles, magnets, games, etc.) but not much else.
  • We spent a week at church camp. (Always a highlight of our summer!)
  • We went to a Reds game with friends. (And the Reds actually won, which is a rarity these days. Sigh.)
(Not the greatest picture, but our photographer was a little unsteady on her feet. Anyway, it's proof that you can squeeze an almost 15 mo. baby into a moby wrap.)

Blogging:
I made a list of my favorite Books to Inspire a Love of America.

I talked about Summer Jobs, Theirs and Mine (a mom's manifesto).

I wrote a love letter to my ink pens (Sort of.): Cheap Notebooks and Nice Pens.
I shared 11 Tips for Homeschooling Without Breaking the Budget. One I didn't include: shop around for a co-op that doesn't break the bank. We found one near us that is much less than the others I researched. So we're giving it a try this year. It's still more than we're used to spending, so we're hoping to pick up some extra work to give the budget a bit of relief. We'll see how that goes.

So, what did you get up to in July? Are you ready for a new school year?
Linking up with:

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review: The Good News About Marriage


We've all seen the statistics: marriages just don't last. 50% end in divorce. Christians divorce at the same rate as the rest of culture. Second (or third) marriages are doomed from the start.

But what if those things just aren't true? Would it change how we talk about marriage? How we think about marriage?

It should.

Shaunti Feldhahn doesn't write about what she wishes were true: she does the research (and examines research done by others). She crunches numbers (and I'm thankful that there's someone out there willing to do that. All the numbers tend to make my eyes glaze over). She analyzes the evidence and reports what she's found.

You can probably tell from the title, the evidence simply does not support the awful headlines. Here's what Feldhahn discovered (spoiler alert!):
  • The actual divorce rate has never gotten close to 50 percent.
  • Those who attend church regularly have a significantly lower divorce rate than those who don't.
  • Most marriages are happy.
  • Simple changes make a big difference in most marriage problems.
  • Most remarriages succeed.
You'll need to read the book to see her evidence and whether you find her arguments persuasive. 

I did. Marriage is definitely a challenge in today's world. But let's not make it harder than it has to be. Let's find out how to encourage each other in our marriages and how to speak hope instead of negative inevitability. 

This book can help with that.

I do recommend reading this one in context with her previous book,The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things That Make a Big Differencesince they are related and it will help you make sense of this second book.

Neither book takes long to read and my husband and I have enjoyed discussing them. (Yes, these are books about marriage that a husband can enjoy too.)

Want to know more?
You can find Shaunti Feldhahn at her website: Shaunti.
On Facebook: Shaunti Feldhahn.
Or on Twitter: Shaunti Feldhahn.
To find out more about this book, or to order a copy: The Good News About Marriage.
I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.