Monday, December 22, 2014

Save Me by Kristyn Kusek Lewis

Daphne Mitchell has always believed in cause and effect, right and wrong, good and bad. The good: her dream job as a doctor; Owen, her childhood sweetheart and now husband; the beautiful farmhouse they're restoring together. In fact, most of her life has been good--until the day Owen comes home early from work to tell her he's fallen head over heels for someone else.

Unable to hate him, but also equally incapable of moving forward, Daphne's life hangs in limbo until the day Owen's new girlfriend sustains near-fatal injuries in a car accident. As Daphne becomes a pillar of support for the devastated Owen, and realizes that reconciliation may lie within her grasp, she has to find out whether forgiveness is possible and decide which path is the right one for her.

My thoughts...I loved the authenticity of Daphne. Her husband, whom she loves, is ready to start a family with, her everything suddenly tells her I need a break I'm not sure I'm all in anymore and oh by the way I had an affair (all in the first few pages not a spoiler). What would you do with that! Just as she is beginning to process everything the woman who he had a fling with is in an accident, Owen needs Daphne. Her best friend, Annie KNOWS what is best for her and pushes her to do just that. The problem is Daphne is all over the place.

I understood Daphne. You can't just turn those feelings would want to believe the best even during the worst. I felt so bad for her. It didn't seem like anyone was willing to just listen to her and allow her to process what was going on around her. She knew everything they were telling her, but she needed to decide what she was going to do. In the end, it is her life. (and I'm totally an Annie ;)

I really enjoyed how I wasn't sure how this was going to end. I won't say anymore about the story. This was a really fast read, I just flew through the story. I wanted to know how everything would play out. I could definitely see this as a great book to read with friends and chit chat especially about the end! I'm recommending SAVE ME!

Follow Kristyn Kusek Lewis

Buy a copy of Save Me by Kristyn Kusek Lewis

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Kids Christmas Books

Last week I took the kids over to the library and checked out a number of kids Christmas books. I love how our library marks the binding with a little candy cane making them easy to find. I'm trying to read a few each day, but so far I've read only three...multiple times. My kids like repetition! I hope to pull a few more from our library bin today, but I thought I'd take a few moments and review the three I read so far.

Dora's Christmas Carol 
by Golden Books (Author), Brenda Goddard (Illustrator), Dan Haskett (Illustrator)

Dora the Explorer takes a magical holiday journey back to the past and into the future to teach Swiper about the importance of giving. Based on the DVD Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure, this full-color hardcover storybook is sure to delight girls ages 3-7.

My thoughts: My kids really are not huge Dora fans. They will sit and watch the television show now and again, but won't seek it out. I wasn't really sure how the book would go over. Well they loved it. Swiper has gotten in trouble by Santa for his swiping and now will not receive a gift unless he learns about the true spirit of Christmas. Dora and Swiper take off on an adventure of Christmas' past and future. My kids really enjoyed the book.

The Perfect Christmas Pageant 
by Joyce Meyer  

The popular Everyday Zoo series for young children by beloved and New York Times bestselling author Joyce Meyer continues with The Christmas Pageant, a heartfelt and humorous story about the true meaning of Christmas. When Hayley Hippo is asked to direct the annual Christmas pageant, she decides this will be her Christmas gift to Jesus and she sets out to make everything perfect. However, after a series of disappointing mishaps, Hayley and her friends learn that they don’t need to be perfect. They realize that Christmas is not about the glittering lights, the perfect setting, or an impressive show, but about Christ.

My Thoughts: I have not read any of the Everyday Zoo books before. I was very interested in this book because I knew it would have a religious sentiment. This is very important to me especially at Christmas. The kids and I really enjoyed the story and I'll be honest and admit to my inner Hayley Hippo trying to make everything perfect. It was a sweet story. I am going to be looking at getting more books in the Everyday Zoo series.

The Crippled Lamb
by Max Lucado 

The inspiring story that has encouraged thousands of children who have felt left out or who have special needs.

In this timeless bestseller, readers experience the tender love God has for those who feel alone and different. Joshua was a lamb with a crippled leg who felt left out because he couldn’t run and play like the other lambs. But God had a very special plan for Joshua’s life, as He does for all who feel alone. Readers can expect a gentle tug on their hearts as the little lamb’s prayers are answered in an amazing way. Original oil-painting illustrations by Liz Bonham brilliantly capture the beauty and warmth of this endearing story.

My Thoughts: I have read one of Max Lucado's children's books and really enjoyed it, so I had a high expectation for The Crippled Lamb. I sat down with the kids and began reading. Within the first pages we were all sad. The poor little lamb. I couldn't imagine what God's plan for him would be. Then it is revealed. I sat there trying not to cry while reading. I did end up in tears. I mean this is an absolutely beautiful story. This is a book I want to read to them again and again because it reminds me how He has a plan for us. Absolutely loved this. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Busy, busy, busy

Things have been busy here. Working of finishing up our last few weeks of school before we take off for Christmas break. It is hard to believe we have just about completed 18 weeks of school!  I seriously can't believe it! I would have to say I have loved the experience more than I ever expected. I love having my kids around and knowing exactly what they are learning. I love how when C is struggling with a new concept I stop what I'm doing and we keep working on it until he really gets it. I see his areas of weakness and I have the time to really work on those things with him.

Last week, we had the opportunity Brooks Museum where they had a homeschool day. They have a temporary exhibit called Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. We had a blast! To prepare we went to the library and checked out a number of books about Ancient Egypt and then did a few arts and crafts projects.

We made necklaces and arm bands. They love all the art projects we get to do at home. We also had a chart in one of our books using hieroglyphics. I attempted writing their names on the white board. I thought they may like to add them to their art projects. M used the hieroglyphics and wrote out mom (the orange on the necklace). She also made a symbol to represent me...yes it's a cup of coffee. Coffee sounds like a good idea right now!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Look of Love by Sarah Jio

“Jio has become one of the most-read women in America.” –Woman’s World

Born during a Christmas blizzard, Jane Williams receives a rare gift: the ability to see true love. Jane has emerged from an ailing childhood a lonely, hopeless romantic when, on her twenty-ninth birthday, a mysterious greeting card arrives, specifying that Jane must identify the six types of love before the full moon following her thirtieth birthday, or face grave consequences. When Jane falls for a science writer who doesn’t believe in love, she fears that her fate is sealed. Inspired by the classic song, The Look of Love is utterly enchanting.

My thoughts...The Look of Love is slightly different from Jio's normal dual storyline. This novel follows current day Jane Williams as she is dealing with a new realized gift of seeing love, though she hasn't experienced it in her own life. The novel is magical and sweet having me falling for a great little group of characters. Everyone around her is dealing with a large gambit of love issues and I really was never sure where any of them was going to end up. The most frustrating part of the novel for me was not knowing what the six types of love were. I kept wanting all these perfect happily ever afters. I actually thought about doing an online search for the six types so I could get everything straight in my head. I'm so glad I didn't. I absolutely loved how Jio tied everything so perfectly together at the end. I sat there going from smiling to crying as a few stories flat our surprised me.

If you are looking for just an all around enjoyable read, grab this! Reading The Look of Love will warm you up during this cold season. Also a perfect Christmas gift (but seriously, all Sarah Jio books are amazing and would make fabulous gifts)! I am a HUGE fan of Sarah Jio and I absolutely enjoyed this from first to the last page. Jio proves again why she is my favorite must read author! Highly recommending.

Follow Sarah Jio 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Arm Knitting

I'm wondering how many people have tried Arm Knitting? I met someone yesterday who made a scarf in one evening by doing this technique. I was able to find a great you tube video showing the how to. I'm so going to go buy some chunky yarn and try this! I'll post pictures once I'm done and let you know what I think.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Still at it

M in her Heritage Girl uniform!
We have completed more than fifty days! The kids are very excited about this since we are planning on having a 100 day celebration. Honestly, with only the three of us I'm at a loss as to what to do! I think I will bake a cake and put a 100 candle on it, do a few count 100 items activity...but after that I'm not sure. I suppose I will spend some time on pinterest for ideas.

So far, on average everything has been going relatively well. Don't get me wrong C has had a few major meltdowns when he hasn't wanted to do work. I have had to explain to him it doesn't matter if he doesn't want to do it, he has too. I have found overall my patience with the kids has really grown. I've gotten to the point, "well go throw your fit and when you are done you can join us." Seems to have worked.

One thing I did notice is I'm not allowing for as much fun as I had originally planned too. To some extent it is hard, I mean I still have a house to run and there is still work to be done. Yet at the same time I don't step away from the worksheets and allow them to learn in other ways. This is something I am planning on changing. Don't get me wrong most days will still be worksheets, but I want to pull out some fun activities I've come across.

My husband, who is musical, works with them once a week for a music lesson. He started teaching C the recorder and worked with M on the piano. He has also been playing with them on Djembe drums (using a metronome), campfire songs, and playground clap songs. They really love music time!

We do have lots of time to do artwork (thank-you pinterest!) There are so many fun things to make this time of year! I would love to make everything, but I'll be honest with you...I hate all the added mess. I know that is wrong. I am working on having C and M help more with clean-up, but I still do the bulk of it. I still try to do at least one project a week plus they can pull out stamps or beads anytime they want. I should try to do a little more with them. I will add the links to the great sites I found these projects on if you would like to do them with your kids (all pretty easy).

How to draw a scarecrow
Toilet paper ghost 

The pumpkins were just a combination of ideas. I just used paper plates and let the kids paint them orange. They made faces with black construction paper and cut them out and glued them. We also have a stencil (I've been buying them at Hobby Lobby makes my life easier for art, lol) of leaves, so they picked the leaves, traced on green construction paper and cut. Voila!

The trees were just some printed trees (I can't find the link I used). I then let them pick finger paints for fall leaves and they put finger print leaves on their trees (I have also seen this with q-tips instead of finger prints).


Monday, October 6, 2014

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.

My thoughts...

This is the second book by Diane Chamberlain I've read and I can say her books keep me wanting to read more! The Silent Sister really made me think what would I do in the case of Riley. She is in so many ways left alone to deal with her father's estate. Her brother has metal and emotional issues from his time in service, as well as from his childhood.  She has Jeannie, an old family friend, and her daughter Christine who seem to fly in from out of nowhere and take over the tearing apart of Riley's father's home. I'll be honest when I say I did not trust those two for one minute! Nor did I like them! I mean did they not get she JUST lost her dad! They infuriated me!You'll have to read to see if I was right or not!

Actually, the whole book is filled with people I didn't trust! It was as if everyone was in one this big secret except Riley. It was maddening! I constantly felt like I was waiting for the second shoe to drop in the story. I can't say I was surprised by the overall story that came out...many things I kind of guessed. However, there were a number of things I was surprised about! Things would go in this direction when I wouldn't expect them too. Even though I thought I knew how it may end I could never be sure of anything! I was completely absorbed by the story! Not to be missed--I'm recommending THE SILENT SISTER!

 Follow Diane Chamberlain