Friday, August 31, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What do you enjoy doing the most with your spouse?
Oh, my. This is is supposed to be a family friendly blog. To answer this one honestly, I might have to get out my smelling salts for some of my Maiden Aunt Readers. I'm not sure I have any Maiden Aunt Readers, but I guess I'll play this one safe anyway.  {fans self}

So I'm going to go with talking. We stay up way too late talking. I don't think we've ever run out of things to say. Which is amazing when you consider we've known each other since I was four. Yes, four, as in, younger than our Sweet Pea. {mind blown}

The real answer: everything. He's my best friend. Everything, every activity, every experience, is better with him. (Except maybe grocery shopping. For grocery shopping I go it alone.)

2. How do you eat your taco? From the top or from the side?
Gracious - I had no idea there was more than one way to eat a taco. Trying to remember back to the last time I had a taco...side to side. Not sure how you'd eat a Taco from the top. Care to enlighten me?

Anyway, I'd rather make a Taco Salad. I eat that with a fork, just in case you were wondering.

3. Have you ever shut off the basement light and ran like a fool because you knew someone was down there and would get you?
Not in my own basement, but in my grandparents': you better believe it. Basements with scary, strange sounding furnaces were features in both of my grandparents' houses when I was a kid.  I did not want to be down there when the lights were out.

4. If you could change one thing about you what would it be and why?
Superficially: I'd be taller. Life is not designed for short people. This is not, alas, going to change.

Spiritually: I'd like to grow and grow and grow. This, with God's help, can happen.

5. What age do you think is appropriate to have the "bird and the bees" talk with your children?
Boy, combine this with the Question #1 and we are way over into awkward territory, aren't we?

I don't believe in one "big talk". I think you should answer any questions they have as honestly as you can as soon as they're old enough to ask questions. (And here it's good to remember: you only need to answer the question they're asking. A four year old who asks where she came from may only be asking the name of the hospital where she was born. True story.)

As a child grows older the questions change. Add a new baby to the family (or a new cousin) and the questions change. A child ends up watching the evening news or hearing something on the radio and the questions change.

We did have Polly and Tigger read some books about some of these things about a year ago. These sparked a lot of discussion. (Here's a hint: if you have a child who is less likely to ask questions include her in the discussion with a sibling who is. Or read a book or article together and then ask her questions.)

I don't want to be tiresome about this but I think parents dread this too much. Be honest, try to keep your own discomfort in check, explain that these are personal things but not bad things. Talk about God's plan for the family and better yet: live it.

And if I may share a personal pet peeve: when raising daughters do not talk about that "time of the month" as a curse or the worst thing ever. Do not use PMS as a personal "Get out of Jail Free Card" in how you treat others.

Reign in your inner drama queen (harder for some, I know) and treat "that time of the month" as normally as possible. Because, let's face it, from some time in your teens until some time in your forties or fifties (or later!), it will be a normal part of life.

Sorry for the mini-book there. Guess I had more to say than I thought!

How 'bout you? Got any advice on how you shared "the Birds and the Bees" with your kiddos? Want to explain how, exactly, to eat a taco from the top? Fire away in the comments.

This post is linked to Five Question Friday at My Little Life.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

2012-13 Homeschool Year: Math

Math, how ambivalent I am toward thee. (Or used to be.)

You know that words and grammar and reading (and run-on sentences...) are my first love.

Want to know a secret? Math is more fun the second, third and fourth time around.

It's true. Helping my kiddos make connections, finally understanding just how much some Math matters to every day life, knowing more than they do (for at least a little while) - all help make Math time not quite the drudgery I remember.

Required by the state? Definitely.
Curriculum used: Saxon primarily and then a lot of other stuff.

Read on if you'd like me to be more specific.

Booking Through Thursday - Conversions

Question of the day:
Do you find yourself thinking that the books you read would be good on film? Do you wish the things you watched on TV or in the movies were available as book?

Some really can’t be converted, of course, but some definitely can (and it’s not always the ones you think will work). There’s something to be said for different forms of media, but a good story is universal … or is it??
My answer: I often read a good book and wish I could see an adaptation of it (movie or TV series).

I do not ever remember watching a TV show or movie and wishing it were a book.

Something about that just doesn't work. We've had a few "adapted from the movie" novels around here (usually based on the script or screenplay) and, well, they're just not that good.

See, a rich source material (well written novel), can inspire great film-making. Sure, they don't always get it right. Something beloved always ends up on the cutting room floor, but adaptations that are faithful to the spirit of the source material are possible. (See: Thompson, Emma and Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility).

Movies are visual (I know, duh). A book adaptation of a movie doesn't have the richness of a well written novel. It could be a fun book, but it won't capture the magic.

And, before you ask, no, I do not encourage my children to own a lot of Disney type story books. They enjoy the movies and I'll admit they have a few Disney books, but it's not our favorite thing around here. They can tell the difference between a beautifully illustrated version of Twelve Dancing Princesses and yet another Disney's Cinderella storybook.

Look at this cover, doesn't it look amazing? (P.S. The story is good, too.)

I recently wrote a list of 10 Books (or series) I'd like to see adapted into films, if you'd like to see a list of books that I think would translate into good movies (or mini-series).

What about you? Do you have a favorite book that you'd like to see as a movie? Or a favorite movie that would make a good book?
This post is linked to Booking Through Thursday.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Words for Wednesday - On Time

When did we become so desperate to reclaim time 
that we need patronizing advice on writing, talking, eating, 
and dressing ourselves? Please. 
You don't need time-management advice. 
You need to rethink your relationship with time. 
You need to fall in love with the 24 hours you have each day. 
- Paula Caligiuri

Pinnable quote:

WWW Wednesday

What are you currently reading?

Not an exciting choice, I know. I like to mix things up. And I also like to brush up on my Math skills every once in awhile. Just to be sure I'm calculating those percents off correctly, don't you know. Saving money = good math.

What did you recently finish reading?

I stayed up too late last night finishing this one. I'm pretty sure I've read all the Faith Fairchild mysteries. It's kind of strange: I don't really like Faith as a character but I love her creator, Katherine Hall Page. The author's notes by Page are always great. Can't say I've tried any of the recipes but I plan to. One day.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Two books in my stack I am anxious to read:

WW2, Ian Kershaw = genius. Definitely not light reading, though. Don't look for this in my August review. It'll be September at the earliest.

The cover looks good and the description sounds right up my alley. (As it's most likely better than the soap opera that is Downton. Yes, I do watch Downton Abbey. That doesn't mean I'm always happy with it.)

What about you? What are you reading this week?

This post is linked to WWW Wednesday at Should Be Reading.
The book images in this post are Amazon Affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. And then I'd buy more books.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday - Bookish Confessions

Deep secrets (or maybe not) about my favorite pastime:

1. If a book or a series of books is a huge phenomenon (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, etc.), I am predisposed not to like it. I'm contrary like that. (So, in the above two cases here's the result: Didn't think it was that great and would sell ours if Philip would give them up - HP. Couldn't put it down and stayed up way too late reading all the books and told everyone I know to read them - HG)

2. I do not snoop around when I visit other people's houses, but I do try to look at any books on their shelves.

3. I will make judgments based on what books you have on your shelf. Not necessarily in a "Oh, she's a horrible person" sort of way but more in a "Oh, she takes off all dust jackets? Interesting," way.

4. I dream about how all our books would fit in a new house. Yes, really. Dreams about bookshelves. On a scale of 1 to Miss Havisham, how crazy is that? Don't tell me.

5. I'll skim if I want to know how a book ends but I don't particularly like the writing or the style.

6. I prefer to look at Amazon UK because I like the UK book covers better.

7. I don't own a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or anything like that. I don't particularly want one either, although I suppose they are handy for traveling.

8. I judge people who only read on their Kindles. Yeah, that's not a book. A book has a cover, paper pages, and a smell all its own. Reading shouldn't be a sterile experience. [/rant]

9. I am not a book club person. I do not want anyone to tell me what book to read. I do not want to be forced to talk about a book I did not like. I do not want to describe how a book made me feel. This is also why I dislike Literature classes at the High School or College level.

10. I've been known to let my kids watch a DVD or play longer than usual on the computer because I'm trying to finish a book. (And here the Julian Smith comedy video "Reading a Book" comes to mind.)

How about you? Got any bookish confessions to share?
This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, August 27, 2012

2012-2013 Homeschool Year: Logic

A method of Logic study is described by Susan Wise Bauer in The Well-Trained Mind. This method requires buying a series of workbooks.

I, alas, do not have the cash to buy all of these books. I have requested a few on Paperback Swap. (Still waiting...)

Required by the state? No. (I'd go on a rant here but...)
Curriculum used: These are the books we have and what we do.

Polly, having finished the two Mind Benders books we own, does problems from this book:

We've also been known to print off logic puzzles for her, since she enjoys them. Books like the Encyclopedia Brown series or the One-Minute Mysteries and Brain Teasers: Good Clean Puzzles for Kids of All Ages series help present logical thinking in a fun way as well. Polly loves mysteries almost as much as I do and she's thoroughly enjoyed books from each of those series.

When my Paperback Swap ship comes in I'm going to have her read these:

And probably a few more books by Critical Thinking Press. Next year (7th grade work) we'll probably spring for a formal currciulum, probably from Memoria Press or Critical Thinking Press. Stay tuned.

Tigger is working through this book:

And will move on to:

Sweet Pea does not study Logic as a formal subject yet. She does, however, enjoy some games that build thinking skills. See my post on Logic from last year if you'd like a review of those games. Just as a reminder, here's our favorite:

Highly recommended by our entire family with the exception of Miss Lili who would rather hide the pieces than solve the puzzle. Which is its own sort of logic puzzle, I guess, for the family member assigned to finding the pieces.

Do you study Logic in your homeschool? What are your favorite resources?
P.S: Want to help me get Paperback Swap credits? Sign up using the link below:
Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me (and would most likely be spent on more books for our school). Opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Thoughts - To Know Him

The grand point is not to wear the garb, nor use the brogue of religion,
but to possess the life of God within, and feel and think as Jesus would have done
because of that inner life. - Charles Spurgeon
Philippians 3: 7-21
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

A young lady at our church sings an amazing song based on the verse I highlighted. I'd love to share it with you but I'm not sure how her parents would feel about that. I may share that song on the Candid Diversion Facebook page since her grandma has already shared it with her FB friends.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weekend Links - August 25, 2012

For Thinking:
  • The Courage to Put Away our Cameras by Russ Ramsey. We do not have pictures of many of my favorite memories. I didn't take a picture when Polly & I were singing the same cheerful song as we skipped to our car from the library. But I thoroughly enjoyed the moment. This is life. You get one earthly life: be here.
  • i write: Distracted by Amanda. How I identified with this one! I love the idea of writing. The actual process? Much harder.
  • Wanted: Groom for April 7, 2013 Wedding by Ruth Rutherford. I don't think it's wrong to dream about a future wedding day or even to have some preferences about how it might look. But how it looks or where it's held is not the most important thing about your future wedding.
  • Are We All Braggarts Now? I think about this sometimes. I want this blog and my Facebook and my Twitter to be a reflection of my life and my relationship with God: whether good, bad or indifferent. People who seem to be bragging about how awesome they are and people who are constantly complaining about how bad their lives are, are equally bad problems to my point of view. But you can be bragging whether you're talking about good stuff or bad stuff. Tricky, isn't it?!
  • Letting Go of Guilty Clutter by Organizing Junkie. Guilty clutter is the worst: so many emotions tied up in things that are, after all, just things.
  • The Hard Blessing by Monica at The Homespun Heart. Setting boundaries for our families is difficult, but necessary. (P.S. I love all of Monica's thoughtful and beautiful posts and pictures - you should definitely visit her blog on a regular basis.)
  • You Can Do It Too - an e-book giveaway by Heidi at Mt. Hope Chronicles. Yes, you. You can homeschool. If you want to: you can.
Just for Fun:
Pins of the Week:
This space is just lovely:

Anyone who has visited my house knows that Red & White is one of my favorite schemes for decorating.

I love the idea of printing out some favorite Pinterest Pins in order to shop or scrapbook. I do not love the idea of using a lot of ink. We'll see which impulse wins.

This sculptured book art is amazing:

This Chex Mix is on my "must try" list:

Are you following Candid Diversions on Facebook? Here are a few things I've linked to on that page this week that I haven't shared on the blog: Parenting Lessons Learned from the Anne Books, "Are you as busy as you think?", Chore Charts, Confusing Words, Kindle deals,  and the History of the Plastic Pink Flamingo. Something for everyone, in other words.

What did you stumble on this week? Got a favorite pin? Share in the comments.
This post will be linked to Saturday Linky Love at Vanderbilt Wife.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: Playgrounds, Volcanos, & Books

Another week already?! I didn't share our week last Friday because of two things:
  1.  thinking about our baby who had been due on that day 
  2. spending the day with family over at my grandparents' house - one of my most favorite places in the world and ate dinner at Carrabas, one of my favorite "don't get to eat there often" restaurants
So, I don't regret how I spent last Friday but I do regret not having the record of what we actually did in school.

Oh, well. On to this week!

Five Question Friday - 8/24/12

1. If you could have been (could be) any profession you wanted (brains and $$$ no problem) what would it be?
I suppose if money & brains were no object (which, let's face it, they are), I'd be a doctor of some sort. Oh, and it would have to be some branch of medicine where I didn't have to deal with blood or other bodily fluids. Yuck. Maybe I'm more suited to lab work?

Other careers I actually considered and may someday (after children) consider again: Editing, Speech Therapist, Sign Language Interpreting. I'd have to go back to school, obviously.

More likely scenario: I raise my kids and then I finally finish those books I want to write.

2. How often do you clean out your car?
We try to get the girls to carry in their stuff after each outing. Notice I said, "try," because it doesn't always happen.

As to actually going through a car wash or cleaning the inside: almost never. If you think that's crazy, take it up with my husband. I leave all the car related issues to him.

If I lived somewhere with decent public transit I wouldn't even own a car. I am ambivalent about driving and I do not care about cars. (If you ask me "what kind of car was that?" I will not know. I might have noticed the color or if a bumper was falling off or something but, generally speaking, I will not know what kind of car it was.)

3. Do you wish there was such a thing as fashion police or are you deeply relieved?
Both. I wish people dressed up more. I wish people wouldn't wear their pajamas to the grocery store. I wish boys' pants would cover their unders and girls' clothes would cover, well, everything from shoulders to thighs with a little fabric left over.

But fashion is personal. And we live in a free country (for now, at least). I think businesses should be allowed to insist that people be dressed in a certain way ("No shirt, no shoes, no service" or "Male patrons must wear ties") but we don't need a bunch of Barney Fife type fashion cops handing out tickets for mixing your stripes and your plaids.

4. What's your go to food/drink/activity when stressed?
Chocolate. In drink (hot or cold), candy, or frozen form. And then a nap. Chocolate and a nap sound like a good idea even when I'm not super stressed.

5. If you had twins, what would you name them?
Oh, dear. Here's where I have to admit that all our children have names beginning with the same letter. So, if we had twins, they'd most likely have names beginning with that same letter, a practice that many experts preach against. I think I used to be against it myself, until we had children. This is what happened:

Our favorite girl name and our favorite boy name happened to start with the same letter. So far, no big deal. But then we had Baby #2 and we agreed on our 2nd favorite girl name. Which, wouldn't you know it, also started with that letter.

Then it was time for Baby #3. We still wanted to use our favorite boy name some day, even though we suspected she would be Baby Girl #3. So, yes, she got a name that I loved that started with that letter. Baby Girl #4: name picked out by her daddy. That started with the same letter.

And not only did they start with the same letter, they had the same number of letters in their names. You begin to see what a tiny corner into which we painted ourselves?

But back to twins, I think the "rhyming scheme" for twins went out about fifty years ago. "Mary and Carrie" - just don't. My brother and I (not twins - 14 years between us) have names that rhyme. And that can be highly annoying, even though I love his name. (I'm actually less sold on mine)

This post is linked to Five Question Friday at My Little Life. If you'd like to play along, come link up! Or you can share some of your answers here - I'd love to know your answers to these questions!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012-2013 Homeschool Year: Bible

Yes, the notification is in, the "excuse" letter is in hand.

My kids are excused from public school, that is.

They are most certainly not excused from education.

I have, by my procrastination, missed most of the back-to-homeschool link-ups that abound for homeschool bloggers.

That is not going to stop me from writing a series of posts about what "school" looks like for us this year, which textbooks we're using, and so on.

This year we have:
  • Polly (10, turning 11; 6th grade work)
  • Tigger (7 turning 8; 3rd grade work)
  • Sweet Pea (5 turning 6; K-1 work)
(I'm giving you those grades just as a guideline. Our state does not require children work at particular grade level. If age is just a number then grade level is just a...less important number.)

Three children in school is a challenge, no doubt about it. Throw in a rascally almost 2 year old (and trust me, "throw in" is a good way to describe this child. She throws things. Sometimes I want to to "throw in the towel.") and yes, I don't need random strangers to point this out: I have my hands full.

That's OK by me. When have "empty hands" ever been considered a positive thing? [/soapbox]

On to our first subject: Bible

Booking Through Thursday - Discuss

Question of the day:
Do you like to talk about what you read? Do you have somebody to talk WITH?
Answer: Yes. And, yes.

One of the things I love about this blog is that I can discuss the books I've read. It's a great record of my reading life. (Although it doesn't cover all the books I start and decide not to finish for whatever reason.)

Here's how I keep track:
  • I keep a Commonplace Book - I've seen these called Chapbooks elsewhere around the 'webs.
  • I write down each book as I finish, the author, whether fiction or non- and the date I finished
  • At the beginning of a new month I write up a review post of the previous month
  • At the beginning of a new year I do a "Reading Year in Review" for the previous year
Beyond this blog, I also love discussing books. Sometimes it's hard to get me to talk about anything else. My husband and I talk about books all the time. My dad discusses the books he's reading. My mom talks about the books she's reading. My mother-in-law sends me reading suggestions and we talk about books.

It's starting to sound like the harder thing would be to get me to stop talking about books.

How 'bout you? Do you have someone to talk with?
This post is linked to Booking Through Thursday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Words for Wednesday - On Today and Tomorrow

Finish every day and be done with it. 
You have done what you could. 
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; 
forget them as soon as you can. 
Tomorrow is a new day. 
Begin it well. 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Pinnable quote:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday - Favorite Books of the Past 5 Years

Because, yes, I have been blogging lo these many years since 2007. Hard to believe.

1. Favorite book from 2007: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I had never read this before and I absolutely fell head over heels in love with it. (P.S. The movieis excellent as well. P.P.S. This is not about the American Civil War. It's set in England. Gaskell was a contemporary of Charles Dickens.)

2. Favorite book from 2008: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. I know. I can't believe I waited so long to read it, either.

3. Favorite book from 2009: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.Sure, there was a plot twist or two I could have done without. And I think you can tell the difference in the authors' styles. But overall, this is an excellent work of fiction. I own two copies. You never know when you'll need an extra, right? (The only other books I own multiple copies of: all the Jane Austen novels. Because, again, you can never have too many copies of those. What if someone borrows it and didn't give it back?!)

4. Favorite book from 2010: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. One of the best biographies ever written, if not the best. Truly amazing and inspiring.

5. Favorite book from 2011: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers.I thoroughly enjoyed all the Peter Wimsey books written by Sayers but this might have been my favorite. But then there's Murder Must Advertise and that might be my favorite too...

6. Favorite book from January 2012: Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London's Jazz Age by D. J. Taylor. This was a hard choice because I finished a lot of great books in January. I'm choosing this one because it inspired a lot more reading, which I think is the mark of a great book.

7. Favorite book from February 2012: The Storm of War by Andrew Roberts. The best book on WW2 that I've read this year.

8. Favorite book from March 2012: The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Highly informative and thought-provoking.

9. Favorite book from May 2012: Witch Wood by John Buchan. Rather a tough slog at the beginning but well worth the effort. Completely engrossing. (And no, this is not about witches, as such. This is an excellent example of what Christian Fiction ought to be: compelling fiction written by a Christian.)

And, because I sometimes say that "my favorite book is the one I'm reading right now," this is the book I've been working on lately:
10. The Complete Father Brown Mysteries by G. K. Chesterton.The version I'm reading is from our library and is a hefty 993 pages. I have no idea if the one I linked to from Amazon contains all the same things but it ought to be close. Some of the stories are better than others and I don't think Father Brown is my favorite amateur sleuth ever, but Chesterton's skill and wit are undeniable.

Can you remember your favorite book from 2007? Want to share what you're reading right now? Do tell in the comments.

This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish.
The images in this post are Amazon affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own.