Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Books For the Season

Before ending Term 1 I spent the final couple of weeks reading Vinegar Boy to my children. It was a book I've remembered long after having it read to me as a child & I was excited to obtain our own copy to read. I remember the ending being different back when it was read to me, & I noticed the final chapter alone is dedicated to a classroom of children. I have no idea if it's part of the revised edition or if I just remembered it differently.

Vinegar Boy is a young boy, thusly named because he carries drugged wine to the crucifixions. He has no true family being abandoned at birth due to a wine birthmark on his cheek. It is this mar on his cheek that causes him great angst & shame, for people make fun of him & others feel he is marked. Vinegar Boy is loved & cared for by a man who wishes to adopt him, but Vinegar Boy fears it wouldn't be right to allow this to happen until the mar that marks him is removed.

He knows without doubt that the Nazarene can do just that & asks for a day off in which he can seek the Nazarene out to acquire the miracle he needs to clear his cheek. The day Vinegar Boy is to set off he is first required to take vinegar to the crucifixion that is taking place. Only 2 of the unfortunate ones are known, but the third is not, & it isn't until arriving he realises exactly who the third person is.

Through Vinegar Boy's story you'll walk with him through that heart wrenching day. You'll find other familiar faces in the story & hear their heartache. You'll visit with Pilot during his manic episodes for his own role in the story, & even hear Barnabas' side of the story.

The author has stuck to the account of the story written in the New Testament adding a bit here or there to help the story run along. My only warning is that there is some strong descriptions of some of the horrors the crucified are put through & the book may best be saved for older listeners.

When we begin a term break I tend to book binge for a day or two & this was my choice to binge on.

This story focuses more on Lazarus & his emerging faith as he came to know & love Jesus. The story starts out with a very mournful Lazarus who is attempting to move beyond the loss of his wife & child, & weaves it's way through the many familiar parables, stories, & peoples we encounter when reading through the first 4 books of the NT.

The story moves forward as Lazarus meets Jesus while He is being baptised & then follows him through the feeding of the 5,000 & more.

By the time the book ends admittedly I felt the need to compare a variety of the instances in the story with the actual descriptions in the Bible, not because I wished to prove the author's wrong but because I was curious how much they wove together vs how many connections I have missed during the many times I'd previously read those books myself.

My eldest listened in with me a few times, mostly because he flitted in & out of the room I'm in, but what he heard he enjoyed & I have no qualms handing it to him to read on his own. In fact, not only will he love it for the story that it tells, but I think he'll equally appreciate it for the history it holds that he covered last year.

The book does, of course, cover the death of Lazarus & his resurrection to life at the call of his name. This particular chapter may cause some minor contention for people depending on their view of what happens to one after they are no longer breathing on earth. In the book Lazarus sees himself dead on the bed one minute & is welcomed into glory the next. Despite the theological differences I had with that particular scene I still fully enjoyed the book.

The story does not walk through the crucifixion, but rather ends with Jesus's entry into Jerusalem which is where the author has Jesus weep. Interestingly enough it didn't mention his weeping at the death of Lazarus. The author has Jesus weep at this moment when people are honouring his entry without fully understanding who He is & what they will do to Him next.

Again, I'm not picking holes in the story. I actually really appreciated the book as it was written. I think it will be delightful to go back through the Gospel of John & read it perhaps while re-reading When Jesus Wept. The book is available both in audio & book form. I actually listened to it in audio form & enjoyed the narrator & occasional special effect.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Planner Week 11

A quick peep into my little planner for the week. I really love these adorable animals from Lawn Fawn, all though I can't admit to being too great at colouring in the coon's face mask. We have an assorted group of holidays this week thus the many little animals. In Australia Monday was 8-Hour day {comparable to the USA's Labour Day}, it was also Pi-Day. Can you spot the clock & pie? The 17th is St Patrick's day, all though we don't do much then have our traditional Silverside & minty desert. 

Sometimes, when I'm super keen I make rainbow smoothies, but generally only when the day falls on a weekend. One year I had fun hiding a little leprechaun around the house each day for the kids to find, & then on the 16th I trashed the house before going to bed & blamed it on the crazy little Lego Mini-Fig. Let's just say that I was given a right awful tongue lashing by our youngest that year. 

The 16th is my mother's birthday, all though it won't officially be her birthday where she is until the 17th so we snuck a birthday fox on there. He was super fun to colour & much easier then the bear!! We debated doing a Skype Birthday Party for Mom, but I was pretty sure my eldest would take it very seriously & decide we'd need party games. Knowing him he'd come up with something Battleship style to see who pinned the official tale on the donkey or some such craziness. Instead, we have special plans for a special Skype Call. I'd say more, but there's a strong change Mom could be reading this. Ha! 

I decorated our school planner with Planet Stickers, but it's pretty empty on the lesson side as we only have a few things to finish off before we are officially on Term Break. We can't wait & when the kids saw what needed to be accomplished they seriously considered doing 4 days worth of spelling in one go. We have a couple of books to wrap up as well & a possible outing on Friday. We are seriously counting down the days until Term Break at this point!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Daily Devotions

Every New Year's Eve we end up giving the boys new devotionals to encourage them in their faith. This year, we broke that tradition & gave them Adventure In Odyssey cds instead. We were still working through a devotional & had a couple on the shelves we hadn't gotten to so to give us some time to work through those we opted for the cds instead.

The kids have been really smitten with the stories & the faith that each of the main characters in the show portrays. As one of my children put it, "These guys inspire me to want to know more about God & to really understand what He tells us. They aren't just repeating the Bible."

I rarely, however, give Mr S or myself a devotional. It's not that I don't find our own faith equally important, but that I find it far harder to find a devotional that doesn't drive me batty. As for Mr S he's been reading one on his ipad for a year or so now..

This year I ended up purchasing a devotional for Mr S & myself. I'd been reading this particular devotional on my kindle last year & I really wanted to have a proper copy. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I really appreciate having a real & proper book. I know ebooks have their place, but I just really struggle with them at times.

Anyway, Mr S was pretty keen for a Chicken Soup For the Soul type book, & I opted for Lord, I Give You This Day in real book fashion. It's broken down by months & then the numbers of the month, including a day for Leap Year. The devotions are short, but a lovely way to start my day. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Divide & Conquer

A few weeks into our term & I heard a child state, "I'm bored." I wasn't surprised to hear the statement considering he'd fallen asleep through the last week of reading aloud, history, & other such learnings. Truth be told when I mapped out the second half of our World History plans I really only had my eldest in mind. I'd added in a couple of books, here & there, to add a little fun & flavour to it. In fact the extra books I selected for my boy were books scheduled for children in 8th grade or higher.

Books like our European History are much better geared for the older crowd without doubt, & when that book came out every morning the younger one pulled his quilt up a little higher, closed his eyes & settled in for a bit of sleep. "I tried, I really tried to stay awake, but eventually all this stuff just made me sleepy."

Admittedly I wasn't very pleased with him at first, mostly because the desire to stay up late chatting & reading paid off when he knew he could nap on the sofa 30 minutes after getting up.. dozing through history led to dozing through our devotions & things got a little rough around the edges when I saw a bad habit forming out. So I took my boy aside & discussed what he was going on.

"I'm bored. I don't mean to be bored, but I am."
"I all ready know this stuff I guess."
"I don't think that's true. I know we learned things this week that shocked you so I don't think you all ready know this information."
He sighed deeply, "I'm just bored."
"Do you think maybe you're bored because you don't understand the information?"
"Maybe. I understand some of it, but not all of it."
"Do you understand the orange book?"
"No! I don't really like that book at all. It's so boring with people just fighting over who's church is right & I don't know which church is which & I just want to shout at them to stop being so stupid."

And thus we'd found the real problem. This happened last year too where he was okay for a little while, some of the books really grabbed his attention, & others were flying over his head. I've always taken the approach in educating my children where most people tend to label it as, "better late then early." I can handle that label. I'd rather my child understood, fully, what he's studying, then that I rush him through something just so I can say we did it.

Our conversation ended with my reply of, "I think that maybe you should think about something you'd really love to study & then come & tell me. We'll save the other history for Morgan, because it's meant for his age."

My boy was a little taken aback, all though it's not the first, & unlikely to be the last, time he's been asked to make a choice, but it's a big responsibility & despite his crazier side he takes it very seriously. It took him 2 days to decide that what he'd most especially love to learn about would be the Civil war.

His theory, oh I love it when they share their thought pattern, was that he knew about the Civil War, but he didn't know a lot about it like he did about the Revolutionary War. I was reminded that I have the 10-Week Civil War study from Spirited Autumn Hope & I pulled that up to look over one evening. Which reminded me to peep at Winter Promise's All-American 2.

It too starts with a Civil War study, just slightly shorter, & then continues forward with Westward Expansion & continues until modern times. It includes book much more suited to my non-fiction lover on topics he's not familiar with & in bite sized bits to keep him from finding the need to close his eyes & drift off to sleep.

He was excited to look over the book selections & to see he could still start out with a Civil War study first. We had several of the books on our shelves all ready as this was the original plan for him way back when we discussed the plans for the 2016 school year. This allowed him to really get a feel for what he'd be studying despite not having all the books yet.

Come Term 2 he'll start working through AA-2 & he's so excited about his Civil War Study he's rounded up a few books from around the house he thinks might be helpful. Never mind he's all ready read those books & will likely read them again because it's just what he does. This is the kid who is most often curled up with a non-fiction book & then proceeds to tell us all the wonderfully amazing things he's learned.

This takes us back to our original plan which allows the eldest to work independently, something he's very very good at now that he has his lovely tints. He's also an early riser which allows him to dig into his work rather then tapping his toes & impatiently waiting for his brother to rise & shine.

We're calling it our Plan B: Divide & Conquer.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Buckwheat Pizza Crust

We've been working on trying to perfect a gluten free pizza crust that appeals to both gluten-free peoples in our home. This is tricky because one of us has more allergies then the other in the food department, but after landing on the perfect recipe & repeating it over several times We feel we've hit on the perfect combo.

As a warning, our normal gluten eaters don't really care for this pizza crust, but they've been eating their normal gluten laden breads for a long time. Those of us who can't have gluten have gone for a long time, we're talking years, without pizza so our standards may not be as high as someone making a sudden change.

The recipe we've been using is from Book Of Yum & is actually intended for a loaf of French Bread, something I'd love to try but don't have the required pans. The recipe itself is pretty versatile & we've been working on using it as a base for Hot Cross-Buns for the coming holiday.

We've made a few changes & converted the grains to weighed measurements as I find it far easier to cook this way when it comes to gluten free, or making any type of adjustments in recipes.

Buckwheat Pizza Crust

12 oz of Buckwheat Flour**
2 oz millet or Sorghum {we've used both without issue & those with thyroid issue may wish to avoid millet}
3 oz Tapioca Flour {Where I live this is called arrowroot flour}
1 T guar gum {you can use Xanthum without issue, but with corn allergies xanthum gum isn't safe for our home} 
1.5 t of salt
2 t egg replacer {we use Orgran merely because it's corn free & what's available}
2 T Coconut Sugar {I'm sure you could use cane sugar but I never have it on hand}
1.5 c HOT water {I use the hottest I can get out of my tap}
2 T yeast
2 Oil {I generally use grape seed because it's what I have on hand}
3 Egg Replacer Eggs {again I just use the recipe on the back of my Orgran box}
1 t apple cider vinegar

Preheat your oven to 200c.  Mix the hot water, sugar, & yeast in a large mixing bowl. I use my stand mixer without any issue. Mix together the dry ingredients through the 2t of egg replacer, set aside. Mix together the remaining wet ingredients in a seperate bowl. Fit your stand mixer with a dough hook & add the dry ingredients to your proofed yeast, toss in the remaining wet ingredients, & let your dough mix for 3-5 minutes.

While it mixes cover a medium size baking sheet with baking paper. I prefer to cover my baking paper with non-stick spray. Scrape the dough onto your pan & wet your fingers & palms with water to push & spread the dough around. You'll need to wet your hands a few times over as you work the dough out evenly & into all the corners. Don't waste your time using non-stick spray it won't work, you need to simply use water!

From here we top our pizza with sauce, cooked chicken breast, sautéed onions, sautéed green peppers, cooked & diced bacon, & pineapple chunks. From there I top it with cashew cheese using this recipe over here. I generally make a half batch & scrape it into a bag, snip off the corner & drizzle it on. Even a half batch is too much for just the one pizza. I don't add the mustard or the wine & add more water as needed.

If you forget to soak your cashews overnight just soak them with boiling hot water as you begin your pizza making. Between the cooking of the toppings & the mixing of the dough I generally find it's long enough to soften them to make a creamy smooth concoction in my fancy pants blender.

Cook your pizza for 20 minutes, remove from the oven & slide the pizza, with the baking paper, onto a cooling rack. You should be able to pull the baking paper out from under your pizza, sometimes you have to rip the baking paper in half, but generally it comes out cleanly. Slip the pizza, on the cooking rack, back into the oven & bake another 10-14 minutes or until golden. This makes for a crunchier pizza crust. If you're happier with a softer crust you may be content to cook the full time on the baking sheet, we prefer a crunchier crust.

**Buckwheat comes in a variety of forms much like Wholewheat/Wholemeal flour vs White flour. I've found that while I can use the buckwheat flour with the husks ground into it for some items, for other items it doesn't work as well. Thus, I prefer to purchase the husk free style Buckwheat flour knowing that it will work in all my recipes. If you live in Australia, specifically Tasmania, I don't recommend purchasing the Buckwheat Flour from Kindred Organics. Their products are lovely, but their "husky" buckwheat flour has failed me a few times in some recipes, where as the "cleaner finer ground" seems fine.

I tend to buy my buckwheat & sorghum flour in bulk because it's a fantastic gluten free flour that works well in many situations. I have used Bob's Red Mill flours for this recipe & know it works. I don't generally use this brand, however, because it's not cost effective for me to purchase.

The photo above is before I popped our pizza into the oven. The "white" of the cashew cheese will turn into a golden brown as it cooks & make it taste all yummy. One day I've promised my boy that I'll attempt to make the mozzarella version of Cashew Cheese that I've seen recipes for, but for now this is a quick simple & effective way to top our pizza. Enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2016

2016 Week In Review: Weeks 6-9

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth despite my lack of Week In Review posts & other such things. Mr S has been sick & my time has been devoted to picking up all the things he can't do right now amongst a great number of other things like getting him home from work, which often results in a race to the ferry before it closes.

On days we miss it means a longer trip around the bay & into town to collect him. Then a mad dash home to see how the kids are going get the beginning measures of tea running, or on some days when I'm stuck behind insane tourists just checking that the kids haven't burnt the tea.

Mr S is finally feeling considerably better which is a huge help, all though we did scold him for considering attempting to bike to work the other day. We didn't want to see him overdoing it too quickly. He's good, nothing too serious, & thankfully he's recouping well. Prayerfully the end is in sight for him!

Please note, as always, that any book link to Book Depository is an Affiliate link. Other links are not.

We've been slowly making our way through both of these books & are set to finish Do Hard Things in our final week of Term 1 {next week}. We're just under halfway through our devotional, which has us on track for where we hoped to be by the end of the term. We're still reading through the Bible & have made it to Mark. We're not reading every chapter or even every book, more of an abbreviated trip through the Bible this year.

We're still plucking away with Classic Poetry & finally hit a few more interesting poems over the past week or two. I will say that while this book is hard to match up to the poetry book of last year it is nice to have the mini biographies of the poets as we read through some of their poetry selections. I also pulled out our copy of Oxford Illustrated American Poetry to read through on days the other book isn't scheduled as the boys have separated into seperate cores with one doing US History & one in World history. More on that later though..

We are nearly done with Vinegar Boy & will wrap it up just before Good Friday. It's not a book for the faint of heart as it does have some tough stuff in it, but then again the story of grace & mercy is often littered with hate & violence isn't it? I'm grateful to be able to share this book with my own children having had it read to me when I was my eldest's age.

Morgan has been busily working through Bookshark History 7 steadily each day. He's doing the majority of it on his own & then comes to tell me all the amazing & cool things he's learned. We're still reading the European History book together, always an interesting read! He's finished 8 weeks of the curriculum thus far & will finish another half week before we choose to lay it aside for our term break.

The read aloud is suppose to be The Ravenmaster's Secret which is a delightful read tying a lot of last year's history & some of this years together while giving you a glimpse of life in The Tower. It's a pretty quick read for a read aloud & we'll wrap that up next week before embarking on our term break. Ahh, so exciting to only have 1 week left before we're officially on break.

The Scarlet Pimpernel was scheduled as a reader, but it's pretty heavy & thick combined with the constant French phrases & old English made it one we debated swapping out as a read aloud. I can understand why the book is a reader though as it's very very wordy to read aloud. We've split the difference & found an audio copy of it & we listen together so we can address the French Phrases & other unusual bits that come up as we listen. He's really keen to watch the movie when he's done to see if he grasped the majority of the story. He's worked a plan out with this book to wrap this up on Good Friday so that he can lay all his books down entering into Resurrection Weekend, & then Term Break.

Morgan was absolutely delighted with his first assigned book, Flora & Ulysses, of the year & was often found rolling with laughter over it & reading gobs of it at a time. As his work load increased he slowed down his pace, & then realised Monday when he picked it up he only had 2 chapters left. He couldn't believe he hadn't just wrapped it up last week.

He's now reading The Island Of Dr Libris which he's enjoying, but hasn't, yet, grasped him as quickly as Flora's story did. He actually felt a little off kilter when he started it wondering if he'd come into Book 2 of a series & then wondered why so many stories always represent children from broken homes with fighting parents. Thus we entertained ourselves with a conversation on social norms & how writers try to appeal to that.

Jayden wrapped up Darling, Mercy Dog Of WWI a few weeks ago & has really struggled with his newest book. He's a tough cookie when it comes to books & it's a real struggle to break him out of the genre he's thrust himself into. I'd thought he'd really enjoy General Butterfingers, but as it turns out he doesn't. He finds it more of a boring nonsense type story & has met the 3-5 chapter portion with still no love for the book, & lamented on Monday that after reading Darling's story the other book is just not as interesting. I picked him up some of the beloved Michael Morpurgo books from the library which we may use instead. We'll see, but again more on that later..

Morgan wrapped up The Ghost In The Tokaido Inn last week or the week before, I can't remember now! He really loved this book. I felt so-so about it when I pre-read it over the summer, & I'm glad that despite how I felt about the book that I didn't remove it because he has been absolutely smitten by it. He was delighted to learn that it was Book 1 in a series & it's made it a bit of a struggle to seamlessly move into The Scarlet Pimpernel for sure!

Not sure if we journaled about Master Cornhill, but we equally finished this book as well. There was a lot of unanswered questions & hanging side-stories in our opinion all though it was an interesting view of London during the time the story took place. The author took great pains to make sure she mentioned various facts that she learned, but we wonder if some of those facts made for the hanging portions of the story. Or maybe our ideals were just too high? Either way, with the finishing of this book it brought a close to the Middle Ages for us with great certainty.

Morgan finished up his math book on Leap Day & jumped right in with his new book the very next day. He had no issues with the first lesson in the new book, but wanted answers to questions with the second book & discussed it with Mr S over tea one evening this week. Or, as Jayde calls it, "They geeked out over math, revolting."

Jayde was right behind him & wrapped up his former math book on the 1st of March. The first lesson in his new book was also represented in his last book & he had no issues with it there, but he's had some minor struggles with it in the new book so we spread it over 2 weeks. He'll continue working on it next week with some extra pages I'll print out for him & then take the test before heading into our break.

The markable map is crazy full. Since taking the photo the bottom white gap is now filling in with geographical locations that have been marked as well. We have to spend a couple of minutes verifying if something has been marked before anyone adds anything to it these days. Great fun!

We ended up pulling out the next WP LA level we had on hand & dove right into it. Thus far the boys have remembered everything from last year & are breezing through with no issue. We won't hit 9 weeks before term break due to when we started it, but that's okay. I'm impressed to see how much they remembered from last time around & will be curious to see if that remains the same throughout the year.

This book includes cursive writing which they were delighted to see, but it led to many conversations on how each person tends to write differently & ended with me writing our my ABC's in cursive on the white board to show that despite how I learned I came up with a method all my own. Someone was having a perfectionist moment & didn't like the idea of not writing it exactly as the book instructed.

Spelling has also been swimming along & we are right on target with it to finish off our current book next term. Very exciting as we've been a while in it as we repeated the first half of it from a previous year. When children with Irlens get their diagnosis sometimes they need to be retaught certain things so that they can actually see that which they previously heard. Some lessons in our book are very smooth & easy & other times you'll find words scribbled on the dryer, mirrors, or glass surrounds by the tubs in our home with little inspirational messages like, "You've got this stop panicking!"

Last week we pulled up the PBS documentary to watch about The Secrets of The Tower Of London. It wasn't nearly as delightful as the King Henry documentary we watched, but considering the many many miles we are from Europe we were delighted to be able to see the video & get an idea of what it was like. There was a lot of historical facts in the movie, but the tour itself was severely lacking due to the rules against videography & photography after the jewel heist. Yikes! All the same, we did get to see the current {at that time} Ravenmaster which was fun & hear about his current ravens. We were filled with our own questions based on our studies, but I suppose those will have to wait until "someday" when visit Europe. If you're curious we found the video on Netflix.

We've also been meeting up with friends on Friday's for a chat & play which has been such a cherished part of our week. The kids had a blast Last Friday hosting friends & doing a great variety of things while I fully enjoyed catching up with friends & sharing in God's blessings on our lives. Such a beautiful way to end our week. This Friday we entertained Mr S who had an extra day off work, an equally wonderful blessing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The French Revolution

In our Bookshark 7 travels they've assigned The Scarlet Pimpernel as a reader for the student. The book is reasonably simplistic, but it's schedule about 3-4 weeks prior to the student actually learning about the French Revolution which has caused a few cries of, "I feel like I'm missing something really important!"

After 5 chapters the cry came for a Documentary to help understand the angst & political pulls within the book. Happy to oblige I went on a hunt for a few things that might fit the bill. Keep in mind we will reach The French Revolution & The Reign of Terror in the new term next month, in the mean time I rounded up  a few resources to suffice the request & wanted to post them here for easy access.

Crash Course Video #29:

First off we have a typical Crash Course video by the infamous John Green. Admittedly I'm not a huge Green fan, but many of the Crash course videos are informative enough that they fit the bill for a quick launch into whatever we're studying. They are typically fast paced & often full of a few jokes & the occasional opinion of the narrator, but they can get the job done.

BBC Documentary:

He really really wanted a lovely PBS Documentary like the past few we've watched, but if they have one for this time period we don't have access to it where we live. I did however find a BBC Documentary about the French Revolution which I pinned to watch with him later this week. As a warning I haven't pre-watched this one beyond the first few minutes, & in those first few minutes there was a bit of gore. Considering the time frame it's not surprising, so you may want to prewatch for your own family.

A Tale Of Two Cities Pt 1:

A little less serious, an old copy of A Tale Of Two Cities by Dickens. I spotted it on YouTube & have linked up Part 1. You may prefer to watch it over on QuietTube. I haven't prewatched this in full so I can't advise to anything ill or not in the moive.

Animated A Tale Of Two Cities:

In my hunting I spotted an animated version of a Tale Of Two Cities as well. I haven't pre-watched this in full so I can't give any heads up or warnings. If you prefer you can catch it on QuietTube over here.

The Scarlet Pimpernel:

Finally, how could we not watch a version of The Scarlet Pimpernel after finishing the book? We may even watch it prior to finishing the book to help him along with some of the angst & political pulls in the book. Either way there are a variety of versions one can watch, so if you may want to seek out a different version for yourself. The links version above is the one that came highly recommended by friends. Again here's a QuietTube link, this movie is also available for rent or purchase via iTunes and/or Apple Tv.

More French Revolution Resources:

We'll be reading about this topic in SOTW as well as in our European History book so we'll save the other resources for when we hit that point, but I figured I'd share them all in one post. Tina has made a fantastic, as always, lapbook to go along with this time period. We'll use bits & pieces of it to add to our big Timeline notebooks.  She's also made a lovely game to go along with it which will deeply excite my game lover.

You can pick up Task Cards {think trivia} from Teachers Pay Teachers. Our house may be a bit weird, but my kids think there's nothing cooler then answering trivia questions. They can often be found, in the winter especially, curled up on the sofa by the fireplace with a box of trivia cards each volleying questions back & forth. Maybe this will give them some ideas for making their own trivia game based on current studies.

Finally you can pick up the Hands Of A Child French Revolution lapbook on their website or over Currclick {affiliate link}. Again, this is something I've flagged should we need/want more then the freebies form Tina's website so I can't speak to specifics about it.

French Revolution Books:

We're currently reading The Scarlet Pimpernel  {affiliate link} which is also available as an audio over at Audible. My boy picked that particular version after listening to all the samples because he found it the most appealing to his ears. There are several different versions over there so you might want to listen to samples to decide which best suits.

I've flagged A Tale Of Two Cities which we might listen to later for the fun of it. He's itching to listen to some Charles Dickens after our romp with Shakespeare last year so this is a fitting listen, all be it rather lengthy. Again, many choices to choose from so you might want to listen to the samples & pick one that suits.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

J. Fred Muggs

J Fred Muggs was like the coveted book for a while in our home when I was growing up. We read it all the time, & then we'd act it out making up our own stories. Often we made our little brother be Muggs because he was the smallest & easiest to carry around, but when he tired of being the chimpanzee a stuffed animal or two would step in.

So when we had a spelling word come up this week that reminded me of this funny little picture book I went off on a long tangent sentence a little like this:

"J. Fred Muggs was a chimpanzee who was the most coveted of all books ever! He drank orange juice from a bottle & inspired the desire for a pet chip in our home for years. Mugs."

To which my children sat spellbound staring at me. For a moment I thought it was because of the ease of the word they were being asked to spell, but that's not entirely different with our spelling curriculum which always offers the most basic words before building & building upon them to come up with more complex words that are simply derived the smaller shorter syllable words. As I'm debating this my youngest bursts into a fit of laughter & says, "That's the more ridiculous thing I've ever heard!"

Coming from the child who once convinced his American grandparents that he had trained a wild dingo to befriend him by luring it in with dill pickles, & that one day while we were out the silly dingo had snuck in & eaten all our pickles.. I found his comment rather funny myself.

I jumped up & ran across the room before plucking the beloved book off the book shelf. Opening straight up to the beloved picture of J Fred Muggs drinking from his glass baby bottle full of orange juice. Rather then making my children understand just how important the picture was they just sat there staring at me for a long time before.

I mean, they've never honestly asked for a chimp as a pet. No, they've asked for lions & zebras & once got into a knock down drag out over the whole thing because the eldest cried that the lion would eat his zebra & the youngest said it didn't matter because no one needed a stupid smelly zebra anyway. To which I broke the whole thing up by stating that I wasn't buying a zebra or a lion.

As I sat there insisting how important the picture was to the whole story, all though I'm really not sure it was, & how I could drone on & on about this crazy chimp for ages my eldest simply sighed & said, "What's the next word please?"

"Seriously Mom, I do have things that need to get done."