Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weekend Links - July 27, 2013

Not a lot of links this week since I only had access to the internet one day while I was at camp. Once we got home yesterday I did a bit of web surfing (do we still call it that?) but most of that was Royal Baby related. So I'm sharing some of my favorite Royal Baby stories, just in case you were also out of the loop this week and missed the news.

Non-Royal Baby Links:
  • How to Find Your Strengths from Dave Ramsey. Love the clarification that just because you're good at something doesn't necessarily make it one of your strengths.
  • When A Loved One Slanders You to Your Child by Joanne Kraft.
  • 53 Things Only '80's Girls Can Understand from Buzzfeed. (Language warning and also a warning that Buzzfeed's sidebars may contain offensive things, they are constantly changing and I have no way to be sure.) Popples! Plastic Charms! Rainbow Brite! Scrunchies, Caboodles and Pound Puppies! I had the exact same Glo Worm. I don't care about any of the boy / girl stuff in the post but all the toys had me exclaiming, "I remember that!"
  • Rocking the Tiara. Bring back tiaras! And hats, while we're at it.
Royal Baby Links:
OK. I told you the links list was short this week. I pinned basically nothing. But I did stumble across this singing group (homeschooled family) last week and wanted to be sure and share them:
The Hunts. Website here. YouTube videos here. Make This Leap (single).

If you like The Lumineers I think you'll like this very much.

Enjoy your Saturday, folks! We're off to get our family completely re-united. (That is: we're picking up the little girls from their week with the grandparents.)
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Weekend Links - July 20, 2013

There is plenty to do today (Best thing: get my hands on my new nephew for the first time since his birth in - sob - January) so let's get on to the links!

Spiritual / Inner Life
Marriage / Parenting
Education / Homeschooling
Pins of the Week:
Getting used to the New Pinterest look yet? Me neither.
So cute:

Love this colorful room:

What caught your eye this week?
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Homeschool Mom

Summer Homeschool Mom attends conventions and pores over the Rainbow Resource Catalog. She compares prices at eBay, Amazon, CBD, and whatever other online classified sites she knows.

Summer Homeschool Mom cracks open The Well Trained Mind again. She reads blogs and pins ideas and downloads free unit studies and coloring sheets and planner pages.

Summer Homeschool Mom loves planners. She has at least three or four types printed and neatly plotted.

Summer Homeschool Mom thinks getting an early start sounds like a good idea. She imagines days where she wakes, showers, prays, eats, reads, and prepares for the day long before her children are up.

Summer Homeschool Mom organizes. She arranges and re-arranges the books, textbooks, folders, workbooks, guides, spines, and supplements.

Summer Homeschool Mom loves school supplies. She begins to hoard notebooks and index cards and graph paper and glue sticks and pencil boxes as if they were priceless treasures.

Summer Homeschool Mom will drive to three different stores because notebooks are cheapest at one but pens and colored paper are cheapest somewhere else. She will buy extra lead for two different types of mechanical pencils.

Summer Homeschool Mom thinks there must be a way to have a tastefully decorated house with no primary colored plastic. She imagines hanging vintage looking - but perfectly up to date - maps and artistic charts and timelines on the wall. (Academic Chic, being her preferred decorating style)

Summer Homeschool Mom thinks she can make her own manipulatives. She contemplates throwing out all the plastic things and saving or buying only the wooden blocks and manipulatives.

Summer Homeschool Mom tries to design a workspace for each child. She dreams of using the dining room table to actually dine instead of as a place to work or store papers, molecule models, shoes and Chuck E. Cheese tokens.

Summer Homeschool Mom's children would graduate with double majors at 16 years old. Her children would be fluent in Latin, French, Greek and American Sign Language. Her children would use flawless English and write breathtaking poems.

Summer Homeschool Mom's children would have instant recall of all the multiplication facts up to the 15's. They would create secret codes using Fibonacci numbers.

Summer Homeschool Mom's children would read Homer in the original Greek. They would know the causes and implications of the Peloponnesian War.

Summer Homeschool Mom's children would type at blazingly fast speeds. They would use such exquisite penmanship other folks would pay them to fill out certificates or address invitation envelopes.

Summer Homeschool Mom's children would appreciate and identify artists as disparate as Rembrandt and Rockwell. They would voluntarily hang art prints instead of posters.

Summer Homeschool Mom's children would play both piano and violin. They would discuss the finer points of Beethoven and Schubert.

Summer Homeschool Mom's children would keep pristine nature journals with fine pencil sketches and an occasional delicate watercolor. Her children's specimens would be neatly labeled with only Latin, scientific names.

Summer Homeschool Mom thinks her children could make their beds and dress in clean, matching outfits before lunch. Her children would build elaborate Lego or Playmobil worlds but then they would carefully put each piece away where it belongs.

Yes, Summer Homeschool Mom's children are a dream. Each Summer the plans are made, the books are purchased, and the planners are filled in.

And then Real Life happens.

The baby needs nursed while the Toddler throws a tantrum, the First Grader spills the plastic pattern blocks, the Fourth Grader wanders off without finishing her Math drill and the Seventh Grader bursts into tears because she missed four Pre-algebra problems and what's the use?

Then there's the laundry, the meal planning, the diaper changing (and potty training), the cleaning, the Lego picking up, the shoe finding, the "everybody needs a nap now", the "let's go to the park just because", the late summer last minute swims, the reading aloud, the movie watching and the laughing.

This is Real Homeschool Mom's life.

And somehow, despite her elaborate plans and dreams, she wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review - Clear Winter Nights

I was pleased to have the opportunity to read an advance copy of this little novel. The author and I both grew up in the same small town in TN. Our families were acquainted. I've watched his career (and specifically his writing career) with interest. I've read his non-fiction book Counterfeit Gospels and highly recommend it.

So, what about this first fiction effort?

Well, fiction is obviously a completely different ballgame from non-fiction. I have no proof of this, but I suspect that writing fiction is more personal. After all, you're not just reporting facts. These characters are made up from the author's mind. If the reader doesn't find them compelling or interesting, it's all on the author because he can't exactly blame anyone else for how they acted or what they said.

To be honest, I found these characters problematic at first. I wasn't convinced they were living, breathing people.

As I read along, though, I became more interested in some of the characters. I enjoyed the questions they were asking and the conversations they participated in. I particularly enjoyed the preacher grandpa (I suppose I can just say that he, in some ways, reminded me of my own grandfathers and my preacher dad), although the main character never really grew on me.

Is this great literature? Honestly: no. The prose doesn't sparkle and the characters don't live on after you close the page.

But I don't think the book had to be great literature to be effective. Because the questions the characters ask, and the answers they reach, those live on. These are the Big Questions. Why are we here and what does it matter and how does this all work anyway? The author didn't shy away from the big issues of our day either: what about human sexuality? What about all these hypocritical Christians?

The book declares on the cover: "Theology in Story". Well, the story part is a bit slim but the theology is all here. As such, this book would be excellent for a young Christian who didn't have the benefit of an older, wiser, Christian grandparent or mentor. There is no substitute for a loving, mature Christian who is willing to talk about the big issues, but this book could help fill such a void.

This is a quick, short read (my advanced reader copy was a slim 147 pages of text, not counting end notes or discussion questions). I think I would recommend it especially for young Christians teens or college students who are living similar experiences. The discussion questions for each chapter are one of the most helpful things about this book and could spark some true deep conversations. Those wouldn't have to be held on a clear winter night, a hazy summer night could work just as well, but the conversations would be well worth it.

This book will be available on September 17 of this year.

I highly recommend Trevin Wax's excellent blog: Kingdom People.
If you'd like to know more about this book or pre-order it: Clear Winter Nights by Trevin Wax.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Weekend Links - July 13, 2013

I've got so many great links this week, we'd better just get right at 'em.

Spiritual / Inner Life
Marriage / Parenting
Education / Homeschooling
News / Objects of Interest
Pins of the Week:
Anyone else having trouble getting used to the "new" Pinterest? (OK, I'll admit what you already know: I have issues with change.)


So, what caught your eye this week?
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Come and join us with your links posts or just see what other folks have found this week.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Random Monday

July around here means: camp. Which means Philip is working on the plans for our church camp for juniors (ages 7-12).

It means talking about saying things like, "Well, how many bandannas would we need exactly?" And, "Do I really have to come with a craft again?" And, "Did you like the game with soap or with ice better?"

It also involves a complicated metric of what children need to be where and when and there are birthdays and family reunions and multiple trips out of state and we ran out of milk and when exactly can we buy more and just how much should we get without it going bad?

I am tired just thinking about it. I need a nap. Or Baby Boy needs to sleep longer at night. He must be going through a growth spurt because he eats all. the. time. (Please, none of you older mom smartypants types tell me anything about how that never ends or only gets worse as they get older.)
We are also in the middle of one of my least favorite aspects of parenting: training the toddler to no longer require diapers. I very much dislike this process. However, I also very much dislike changing toddler diapers (little baby diapers are not a big deal to me), so here we are once again. So far she's not doing very well. The bribe that has worked best so far: I paint her toenails while we wait for something to happen. I, however, cannot always wait with her that long and I get tired of the polish fumes so it's not a long term solution.

In happier parenting news: we've started introducing our girls to The Andy Griffith Show because we realized that they had no idea who Andy, Opie, Barney, & Aunt Bea actually were.

That's just un-American, right?

Now we're thinking up other shows they need to watch. Here's my list so far: Star Trek, Green Acres, I Love Lucy, Get Smart, Ducktales, Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, and The Muppet Show.

Here's Philip's list so far: Star Trek (we agreed on this one) and GI Joe.

Perfectly reasonable. 

House news as of now: we put an offer, it was countered. We counter-countered, it was rejected. Now we're waiting and if they don't have any other offers, we may give them a new offer. It's a five bedroom, two full bath house so if you feel inclined to pray that this guy's business partner will have a change of heart and accept our offer, please do.

We were supposed to look at two more houses today but one was removed from the market due to a death which sent the house into probate and the one we actually looked at was a nice size in a great neighborhood but it has significant foundation and structural problems and we wouldn't be able to get a mortgage on it in its current condition.

Selling a house and buying a house is definitely not for the faint of heart.

So as not to end on a negative note, here's a blog post about the outdoors that made me laugh. (And wish I would have written it, because my feelings about the outdoors are perfectly aligned with that post.)

So, what's up on your Monday this week?
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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Weekend Links - July 6, 2013

Hope everyone had a fantastic 4th! And without further ado, here are the links for this week:

Spiritual / Inner Life
Marriage / Parenting
  • Dodging Porn With Good Old Fashioned Dodgeball by Dannah Gresh.
  • The Benefit of a Large Family: Pack Life by Erik Raymond. (Note: My one point of disagreement with this post is his point about sharing. My husband and I have allowed our children to have some things that are just theirs and do not have to be shared and some things that are for everyone to play with. Otherwise it's not really sharing. Sharing implies making a choice. "Forced sharing" is communism.)
Education / Homeschooling
Pins of the Week:
How cool is this wallpaper?! (Just wish it was London instead of Paris...)

OK, here's another one. I would LOVE to use this in our new home, even if it was just a wall. (And I'm guessing that would be a stretch, considering what it probably costs. But a girl can dream!)

So, what caught your eye this week?
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

WWW Wednesday & Books of 2013 - June

• What are you currently reading?

London War Notes, 1939-1945 by Mollie Panter-Downes

What Darkness Brings: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteryby C.S. Harris

• What did you recently finish reading?
See list below of all the books I finished in June

• What do you think you’ll read next?
I have twelve books in my "To-Be Read" stack(s) right now. I think this one might win the "read me next" contest:
Escape from North Korea by Melanie Kirkpatrick.

These are the books I finished in June:
1.Family Driven Faith. Non-fiction by Voddie Baucham. Philip and I both read this one. Very convicting book. Highly recommended to any Christian parents. {Goodreads}

2. Where Serpents Sleep. Fiction by C. S. Harris. Series mystery. The Sebastian St. Cyr series draws the reader in, even though there are elements to the stories that I do not care for. {Goodreads}

3. Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. Non-fiction by Stephen James and David Thomas. I'm reading pretty much anything I can get my hands on concerning raising boys. After four daughters, this is a whole new world of parenting for us. {Goodreads}

4. Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. Non-fiction by Mary Kassian. Highly recommended! At first I thought I was reading this because of my daughters and the girls I'm in contact with at our church. It didn't take long to figure out that I needed this book too. You can also check out her blog: Girls Gone Wise. {Goodreads}

5. Coolidge. Non-fiction by Amity Shlaes. Fascinating biography of a neglected 20th century president. {Goodreads}
6. What Remains of Heaven. Fiction by C.S. Harris. Series mystery. {Goodreads}
7. Crockett Johnson & Ruth Krauss. Non-fiction by Philip Nel. Should have been fascinating, but was instead disjointed and poorly edited. It was also sad to realize that two much beloved children's authors had so little faith in anything larger than themselves, especially anything of a religious nature. {Goodreads}

8. Hiss and Hers. Fiction by M.C. Beaton. Series mystery, this time the Agatha Raisin series which is still going strong at 20+. {Goodreads}

9. Trivium Mastery. Non-fiction by Diane Lockman. Some helpful suggestions but came off as more of a negative reaction to The Well Trained Mind than anything else. {Goodreads}

10. Where Shadows Dance. Fiction by C.S. Harris. Sebastian St. Cyr again. But more importantly, Hero Jarvis, who is by far the most fascinating character in the series. {Goodreads}

11. Daughters of Britannia. Non-fiction by Katie Hickman. Fascinating look at inside life as a British diplomat's wife (or child, as the author has personal experience in this life). {Goodreads}

12. When Maidens Mourn. Fiction by C.S. Harris. Sebastian St. Cyr yet again. I've almost finished the series, at least as far as it goes for now. She's working on the next books and I'll most likely be reading those too. {Goodreads}

Totals for June:
Fiction: 5 (all series mysteries)
Non-fiction: 7

What did you finish in June?
This post is linked to WWW Wednesday at Should Be Reading.
This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Two Months (And Happy Birthday!)

Hard to believe, but Baby Boy is two months old today. I've said it often and I'll say it again: the time, it flies.
He's a mellow little dude. Which is good because we like to dress him up:
And air various sentiments via his onesies:

He also went to his first Reds game this month
Which he slept almost all the way through because he was cozy in the moby wrap.

Except for the part that he needed to eat. So I made my way to the First Aid station because I had heard they'd let you nurse there. (I'm all for breastfeeding but I didn't feel like doing so in the stands. Didn't need any camera's focusing in on us at that point, know what I mean?) So, anyway, First Aid Station #1 was occupied. A very nice Reds employee accompanied me to the station one level down. Also occupied. So this nice employee accompanied me to the Press Room (past, I might add, a disturbed ball fan who was going on and on about alien abduction. Fun times.)

So, yes, Baby Boy has been fed in the plush and exclusive room where Dusty Baker gives press conferences. Good times.

Baby Boy still loves:
  • the moby wrap
  • bathtime & getting his head washed (I'd say hair but he doesn't have much)
  • eating
  • music
  • co-sleeping
  • "talking". He makes a lot more sounds and he loves it when we answer him in kind.
He's less fond of:
  • sleeping in his bed
  • being changed
  • needing a change (these preferences have not changed since last month)
  • smiling. He can smile. He just prefers not to. He's a rather serious little man.
  • swimming. We took him for his first swim last Thursday. While he didn't completely freak out about it, neither was he impressed by the experience.
Things we occasionally call him:
Baby Boy. (Yes, even in real life.)
Buster Brown.
Little Guy.
Little Man.
Gus-Gus. (No, I'm not entirely sure why. It just is, folks. It just is.)

Also today, I'm sure Baby Boy would like to wish his Granddad A Very Happy Birthday. Or, at least, he would if he knew what birthdays are.