Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Books of 2014 - October

1.Mystery Mile. Fiction by Margery Allingham. Series mystery. (Part of the Albert Campion series.)

2.Bizarre London: Discover the Capital's Secrets & Surprises. Nonfiction by David Long.

3.The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery. Fiction by Sophie Hannah. Sometimes interesting but it's not really the same.

4.Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy Book 3). Fiction by Veronica Roth. HATED THIS.

5.An Expert in Murder. Fiction by Nicola Upson. First in a series. Didn't love it but it showed some skill.

6.The Gyrth Chalice Mystery. Fiction by Margery Allingham. Another one in the Albert Campion series.

7.The Return of Captain John Emmett. Fiction by Elizabeth Speller. Really liked this start. If you like the Ian Rutledge mystery series, you might like this.

8.The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton. Fiction by Elizabeth Speller. Second in the above series. Improves on a few mistakes in the first, but makes some new errors. Still interested to see what else Ms. Speller comes up with.

9.Angel with Two Faces. Fiction by Nicola Upson. Bit of an improvement over the first in the series (#5 above), but still a little too "icky" for my taste.

10.Police at the Funeral.Fiction by MargeryAllingham. Yes, another Albert Campion series mystery. This one may have been my favorite in the series so far (it's the first to not feature some implausibly huge crime syndicate).

What this list tells me, if I didn't already know: I've been feeling stressed, to say the least. This is all easy, comfort, escapist reading. Nothing challenging in the lot.

Totals for October: 10
Fiction: 9 (8 series mysteries and 1 dystopian YA series)
Nonfiction: 1 (and it was a light read)

As always, if you'd like to see my thorough reviews of these (and many other) books, you can find me on Goodreads.

And don't forget: I'm now blogging at Living Unabridged. You can find more book lists, homeschooling advice, and anything else you used to find here at Candid Diversions.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Books of 2014 - September

I'm blogging at Living Unabridged now, but I'm putting this book list here for continuity's sake. (OCD, I know, I know).

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Weekend Links - September 6, 2014

This week felt like it was missing a day. The Labor Day holiday does that to me: Tuesday ends up feeling like Monday. But that's OK. I'm willing to miss a day when it works out for all of my family to be together. Even the Air Force branch of our family made it in.

Now for the links:

Spiritual / Inner Life
Marriage / Parenting
In the News
Just for Fun
So, what caught your eye this week?

Linking up with:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Words on Wednesday - Truth vs. Falsehood

I'm not actually reading Milton right now, but I am reading a book that quoted this. I love this passage. Why are we so afraid of confronting wide and varied ideas? Could it be because we're afraid truth is not actually powerful?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Books of 2014 - August

We lived through a busy month in August, but I managed to finish the following books despite our busy days:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Love and Labor

Know what's fun on Labor Day (or as Polly calls it, "No labor day")? Sharing birth stories.

My two men readers just ran for the hills.

But for those of you left, here are the four birth stories I've shared before:

  • Baby Girl #1: The interventions are like falling dominoes but giving birth is about the result, not the path labor.
  • Baby Girl #2: The "honey it's time" labor.
  • Baby Girl #3: The seriously, get a doctor right this minute labor.
  • Baby Girl #4: The NINE? Seriously?! labor.
I've never shared the iBoy's birth story. It's funny to think about now, because it has some similarities to each of the previous 4. He was our earliest, over a week early. I'm pretty sure that was because of our rushing to get out of our house (that we'd sold but didn't have a contract) and into our rental. We only spent one full night in the rental before he was born the next day.

Once again, labor started with my water breaking. I tried to resist going to the hospital since it was the middle of the night, but the midwife (I saw a nurse midwife for this pregnancy) on call was concerned since this was my sixth pregnancy and fifth labor and she thought things might progress quickly.

They didn't.

But we kept interventions to a minimum, we did a lot of hall walking and hot showers. They pretty much left us alone to do our own thing until the very end. (We watched a constant stream of HGTV in between contractions. Property Brothers still gives me a nostalgic feeling when I happen to catch an episode.)
In the end, we had to consent to a few more interventions than I wanted. But having a midwife who actually listened to me made a lot of difference.

Another difference with his birth was we were accepted into a study (remember: I've delivered all our babies at a teaching hospital) on kangaroo care. So we were skin to skin for the first hours of his life, with just a few minutes separation for weighing and such and a quick chance for his daddy to say hello.

I loved this, but other family members are still a little indignant that I "hogged the baby" all that time.

Hey, if you do the work, you get the reward, right?

Happy Labor Day!
P.S.: Don't forget about the Simplified Organization course. The coupon code backtoschool (good for 30% off) will only be good for one more day - it expires September 2.
Get organized. Stay organized.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekend Links - August 30, 2014

And just like that, August is over. We managed to fill it with new experiences (and some old favorites) and some good memories. Not to mention four full weeks of school already completed.

Today is the first Saturday where I don't remember having an outside obligation. So, what will we get up to? I hear Playmobil City building upstairs, so I think I know what the girls have chosen for their Saturday fun.

To the links:

Spiritual / Inner Life
Marriage / Parenting
Homeschooling / Education
In the News
Made Me Laugh
What caught your eye this week?

Linking up with:

P.S.: Don't forget about the Simplified Organization course. The coupon code backtoschool (good for 30% off) will only be good for a few more days - it expires September 2.
Get organized. Stay organized.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Last Days of Summer, First Days of School: August Review

Oh, August, where did you go? We didn't have one unclaimed weekend in August, and that is crazy for this family of home bodies.

For a peek at what we got up to in August, read on:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Typical Homeschool Day?

We've met the students (5), we've shared our curriculum and general style (relaxed classical), we've shown where we homeschool (all over the house) and now it's time to describe a typical day.

Except, typical isn't real.
Typical is how things would go if every day was the same. "Normal" is an even harder mark to hit. Is there such a thing as a normal day?

Not really, not for us. (I mean, we just might go ride a sphynx for fun. You never know with us.)

But this is a rough sketch of a a how a day might go, if none of us had any other obligations
  • Up between 7 and 8. We're not early risers. Unless Philip is subbing, we usually don't have a reason to be up before 7. This is wonderful thing about our homeschooling flexibility. If he gets up early, I might...or I might not. (See? Nothing typical.)
  • The kids who are up earliest can fix their breakfast, if they're hungry. Or they could put on a DVD. They usually go for the DVD option. I have my quiet time (Bible reading, reading, waking up...) while they are occupied.
  • Some of us eat breakfast together, but not everyone. And hot breakfast? Almost never happens. (Unless you count Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat.) Big breakfasts are served for supper around here, never in the A.M. 
  • I unload the dishwasher & start a load of laundry while we're doing breakfast.
  • "School" starts after breakfast. That could be 8:30. It could be 9:00. It could even be 9:30, depending on what else we're getting into. If it's a co-op day (Mondays), we'll have to be there by 9:15, so we won't do any work at home in the morning. If it's a day my niece is with us (Thursday & Friday), we'll probably start on the earlier side.
  • We do memory work together: Scripture passage, section from Shakespeare, other poems. 
  • Big girls start on independent work while I do things like calendar time, phonics, and math games with the younger two girls. The iBoy usually plays during this, but sometimes he's back in bed for a morning nap.
  • Once things are done with the younger girls, I do Grammar and writing with Tigger. Miss Lili gets to play now, but Tigger & Sweet Pea usually have narration, grammar, or other things of that sort to do with me.
  • History and Science are divided up. Three days are History days and two days are Science days, for Tigger & Sweet Pea (of course reading & special projects could be any day of the week). Polly is working mostly independently and she does Science 5 days a week. Miss Lili tags along on Science when she wants to. (The last two weeks we were studying leaves and she was right there with us.) We might do this right after memory work, or it might get pushed until right before lunch. So far (4 weeks of school almost done), it hasn't ever been skipped. I'm just not uptight about when in the morning it happens.
  • Latin - primarily for the oldest two, but the younger two have been known to hang around, usually happens before lunch. Sometimes we save it until after lunch, when the youngest two will be in bed so we'll have fewer interruptions.
  • Lunch is around noon.
  • We do a quick pick-up of whatever we got out in the morning. (I say this is typical, but it doesn't always happen. Life is better when it does.) Laundry gets switched. We start planning supper, if we didn't already do that.
  • Naptime is around 12:30 or 1:00. This is for everyone: the older kids are allowed to read or work independently on schoolwork, but the younger ones have to be in bed. They can listen to a book on CD, or look at books, but they have to be in bed with no toys. (This is particularly important on the days my niece is with us. And then once a week my nephew is here too, after his morning kindergarten. He doesn't sleep but he does rest quietly and listen to a CD with the girls.)
  • After nap (1 hour, unless someone falls asleep, in which case: DO NOT DISTURB.), there might be more school, but usually it's done and the kids can play. I try to encourage them to go outside at this point, but if it's too hot or raining, or there are too many bugs, or someone has a hangnail or something (seriously. The reasons not to go outside can become rather ridiculous at times), they can play inside. Emphasis on play: no screens. (Although Miss Lili pushes this rule nearly every day. That's typical, too.)
Some days we go to the grandparents. Sometimes there are errands to run. With five children, almost every week someone has a doctor or dentist appointment. (OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but not much. In August alone we had two dental appointments and one check-up.)
My primary goal in our homeschool day is to get as much done as possible before lunch, in the limited time between 9 and 12. Those three hours are golden. As long as we keep moving in those hours, we'll feel accomplished by the end of the day.
Supper is usually around 5:30 or 6:00. It can be later or earlier depending on what Philip's schedule looks like. We do our family devotion (a short reading) and our "Questions" (what my kids call our Baptist catechism) most evenings. Honestly, some days we don't even do those. (Wednesdays are particularly difficult during the school year since we need to leave our house early to get our church's kids program set up.)

After supper is clean up the dining room and then free time, or finish up what ever school work you procrastinated on time, or watch a family movie, or - and this is probably the most typical in our house - game time. Philip almost always has a game to play with the older kids. One of the kids will take a turn playing Minecraft or some other computer game. I might read or work on a project or even play the game with the others (although I'm not sure I'd call that typical).
Bedtime starts around 8 or 8:30. This includes reading aloud. (Usually Philip reads a picture book - or 3 - to the youngest and I read a chapter to the oldest) The older girls are allowed to read for another thirty minutes or an hour.

Philip and I do a coin toss for the computer. (OK, not really. I was just checking to see if you were still reading.) We work on projects (games, blog, other writing) for a bit and then many evenings we'll watch something on DVD or off of the computer before heading upstairs to - you'll never guess - read some more. Many evenings I go up to read while Philip works a little more.

So, typical? Maybe not. But the days do seem to have a rhythm that works for us.

Do you follow a strict schedule or do your days have an informal rhythm? Do you have a typical day?
Linking up with:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Words on Wednesday - Perseverance and Hard Work

Quote taken from:Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
by David Bayles & Ted Orland.

Another favorite quote from this book:
(These quotes were chosen from my commonplace book, not from my current reading.)

What I'm reading now: