Library Time Week 2

Here’s what we’ve been reading this week. I hope you can find something that would interest you. Any books marked with a * can be found for free on Kindle. Happy Reading.

Me – Anna the Adventuress* by E. Philipps Openheim and Backpacked – A Reluctant Trip Across Central America by Catherine Ryan Howard

14-year-old daughter – Your Novel Day by Day – Her goal is to be a published author by the fall of 2014. She is currently at 12,000 words.

13-year-old son – Titanic Voyage – The name says it all. I can’t bring myself to read books about the “Titanic” because it’s just so sad.

11-year-old son – Fire Hunter by Jim Kjelgaard

9-year-old-daughter – Hidden Rainbow by Christmas Carol Kaufmann. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is about a Ukranian couple in the early 20th century shackled by their Catholicism and the despair it led them too and their eventual freedom in Christ. She also read “These Happy Golden Years” by Laura Ingalls Wilder (her favourite in the series).

7-year-old-daughter – She’s still in “Family Circus” mode, but she also read “Again” by John Prater.

5-year-old-son – Again he’s not a reader but does enjoy being read to. We read “Madeline and the Cats of Rome” by John Bemelmans Marciano (grandson of Ludwig Bemelmans the author of “Madeline”)

2-year-old-son – The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

I hope there has been something here that interested you. What did you read this week?

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E. Phillips Oppenheim

Okay, so I know this is not really a homemaking topic or something about health, but it is something I want to share.

Long, long ago and in a place far away I was a teenager reading a book called “The Great Impersonation” by E. Phillips Oppenheim. It was great. Suspense, mystery and gentle romance all wrapped up in one book. I read and re-read the story several times over the next few years finally losing track of it.

When I got my Kindle I decided to look it up and see if I could get a free copy of it. Not only did I find “The Great Impersonation” I also found 53 other books by the same author. I started downloading books as fast as I could click. Since then I’ve read an average of one book a week. I have not been disappointed with Oppenheim’s books. They are all similar in that they are mystery AND romance and they all seem to take an unexpected turn somewhere.

I looked Oppenheim up on wikipedia.org. Not surprisingly he is British – so far all of the books I’ve read either start in England or end up there – born in 1866. He wrote over 100 novels and short story books. His writing enabled him to buy a yacht and a villa in France and later a house on Guersney which he lost during World Ward II due to German occupation. He was given the house back after the war and died there in 1946.

The Great Impersonation

If you have a Kindle check this author out or see if your library has any of his books. I have heard that you can get a Kindle app for your computer but have never looked into it. It might be worth checking into although a computer is not as easy to hold as a Kindle. 🙂

Do you have a favourite author or book?

Library Time Week 1

I thought I would start a new series and share weekly (hopefully) what we’ve been reading in our family. It may give you some ideas for reading in your family. Any books marked with a * can be found for free on Kindle. Happy Reading.

Me – The Lost Wagon* – Jim Kjelgaard

14-year-old daughter – A Little Princess* – Frances Hodgson Burnett – a re-read which shows it’s a good one

13-year-old son – The Basil of Baker Street Series – Eve Titus – a bit below his level but a fun read

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11-year-old son – Canadian Attack and Support Planes and the Big Book of Riddles

9-year-old daughter – 5 Nancy Drews

7-year-old daughter – She’s been reading a lot of Peanuts and Family Circus books. It’s so fun when they can read what the picture is about and “get” the joke. She’s also been reading “The Boxcar Children” for school so I’ve been hearing it repeated to me almost verbatim. 🙂 Sound familiar, Mom?

5-year-old son – He cannot read for himself yet but still loves books. Here are a couple that were read to him this week…

          Mop Top by Don Freeman (author of “Corduroy”) and Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle

2-year-old son – Teddy Bear’s Fun to Learn. We discovered this book with our oldest daughter. We have worn out three copies and really need to order another one. This is Ethan’s all-time favourite which is saying a lot because he LOVES books. My husband has never read these books word-for-word to our children. Instead, he has made up his own story for each page and it becomes more detailed with every child. They all love to hear how Daddy is embellishing the book for the newest toddler, and we’ve had a lot of laughs at what he comes up with.

 So there you have a small sampling of what we’ve been enjoying reading this week. Have we interested you at all? What have you been reading?

What To Do?

So we’re pretty much finished all of our school work for the year. Just a few more assignments and we’re done. The downside is that I am already hearing rumors of boredom. Why is it that they work so hard all year to get done and then complain three days into their vacation that there is nothing to do? And you know, complaining to your mom about nothing to do is never a good idea because she can always come up with some chores. 🙂

I need to keep my children busy but I want it to be fun too. After all, this is supposed to be their summer vacation, and they did work very hard all year on their school work. They deserve/need some downtime. So what are our plans?

First of all, there is our garden, of course. They’ve been having fun putting scraps in the compost and digging for worms to add to the compost bin. Soon there will be plants to water and weed – although with square foot gardening there aren’t a lot of weeds. The boys also have our lawn to mow and a neighbour’s lawn. They’d like to get more.

I found a programme online called “Around the World in 60 Days” . This is put out by www.thrivingfamily.ca. This takes you to 27 different countries over the summer with simple activities. It is a way to help my children learn their geography in a fun way and also to remind us to pray for others as we “visit” these countries. We will start in New Zealand and end in Canada. I’m looking forward to this. I like geography.

We are also going to do a photo scavenger hunt. Here is June’s list. I’m going to make individual folders on my computer for each child who wants to participate to store their pictures in. I’ve done something a little similiar to this before and enjoyed it. All my children like to take pictures so I think they will like this activity. The beauty of digital cameras – no film to worry about wasting.

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We will also participate in our library’s summer reading club. Our children certainly don’t need to be encouraged to read, but they still enjoy joining in with the library’s programme.

Finally, I encourage my children to set 1-3 goals of what they hope to accomplish over the summer. Every day when we gather after breakfast to pray and read a chapter in Proverbs we discuss what their goal(s) for that day is. I want to encourage my children to start making a habit of purposefully striving towards a goal. In the past, we have “scheduled” our goals to help them get used to this. For instance, one day would be a spiritual goal (pray for someone, memorize a verse, etc), another day a physical goal (a certain number of repeats of an exercise or learning something new like jump roping), a mental goal (learn a new skill, write a story, etc), a social goal (write a letter, call a friend or relative, make a gift for someone). It’s always fun to hear what they hope to do. I make sure to include myself so they see me setting an example. Last summer several of them challenged themselves to see how long they could stay outside one day before retreating to the coolness of the house. Most of them made it to mid-afternoon. That was fun to watch.

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So yes, I will try to keep them busy and away from boredom, but I will also make sure that they have downtime to unwind from school. When we start up again I want them to be excited about the new school year.

What will your children be doing this summer?

Reading Again

We love reading in our family.

We love reading in our family.

So, I told you I was addicted to reading. Being a busy mom (what mom isn’t busy?), I look for ways to work reading into my day. My oldest daughter introduced me to a way I have used off and on over the last few months.

There is a website called DailyLit. They have taken thousands of books of every genre and broken them down into bite-size pieces. You set up an account and pick a book(s). They then email you a segment every day. You can have a short, medium or long selection.

So far I have read two books this way. Well, truthfully, I started Bleak House, but when I reached about the 80% mark I kept pushing the button to get the next segment right away. Then I started “North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell. I only made it about 20% before I gave up and borrowed the book from the library. As an aside, Elizabeth Gaskell is becoming one of my favourite authors. I have quite a few of her books on my Kindle (that I got for free). She writes about all different social stratas in the Victorian era.

Anyway, I have enjoyed using this system. It helped me take a book – “Bleak House” – which seemed daunting and make it readable. I’m thinking about going for “War and Peace” next. I could never read this in time borrowing it from the library, but a portion a day even if it takes more than a year is doable. I just signed up. It will take me almost two years. The good news is is that if I want to read it faster I can ask for longer segments or keep clicking the “send next segment” button. I know that process well.

The shortest segment they send only takes about five minutes to read. Anyone can spare five minutes – even a busy mom. Check it out. I’m sure they will have something that would interest you.

Why I enjoy my Kindle…

So I’ve tried and tried to figure out how to talk about my Kindle in a healthy, frugal way. Not sure if I’ve nailed it, but here goes.
A couple of months ago I casually mentioned to my husband that I thought a Kindle might be nice to own. I wasn’t even sure how much I would like to read from one, but I had been watching my daughter using hers and thought there might be some benefits. A couple of weeks later as I was getting into our van there was a package on my seat. It turns out that my oh-so-sweet husband who loves to surprise me had bought me a Kindle! It is a new model called a Kindle Paperwhite. Wow! Let me just say I. love. my. Kindle! I cannot believe how much I use this little device. You see I have a confession – I am addicted to reading. I have been ever since I learned many years ago. Not only that I have to have muliple books on the go at once to match whatever mood I’m in at the moment. The beauty of the Kindle is that I can have these books all in one place, and even better Kindle remembers exactly where I stopped so I don’t have to try to remember various page numbers anymore.

I’ve been able to download most of my books for free thanks to this web site. I’ve downloaded quite a few children’s books which have already proved useful to keep a restless toddler happy or give a tween something to read on a long car ride when I wasn’t using my Kindle.

Another thing I love about my Kindle is that due to its light I can read in the dark. My husband like to go to sleep listening to the radio. I prefer to read myself to sleep, but haven’t been able to for a long time (read “since I married”). Now I can! Although I have to admit that I’ve only done this two or three times so far since the honest truth is is that most nights I fall into bed and fall asleep almost instantly. Eight children have a way of helping you go to bed tired. 🙂 But I can use it in the car at night.

I like being able to slip one small device into my diaper bag and know that I have a book for almost any mood that might strike me while I’m out if I find myself with a few minutes to read. A lot of my reading these days (read “since I’ve had children”) is done on the run. I rarely have time to sit for an hour and read like I did before I had children. In spite of that I read dozens of books a year by reading in five to ten minute segments here and there. Kindle has just made that easier.

I’ve also been able to exercise my sewing skills by making a cover for the Kindle. It works pretty well, but the wheels are already turning in my head for how I can make another one that would be better AND have a spot to keep the charging cord.

So thank you, Hugo, for making my life easier and more pleasant. And if any of you are thinking about getting a Kindle I would say go for it. I still enjoy reading “real” books, but I’m also using my Kindle every day. So I would say that Kindle has been a healthy choice because it saves my brain space for remembering other, more important things. It saves me time by always being readily available. It has saved me money – I’ve read lots of books for free. It has given me a fun thing to do with my toddler when he’s restless, and I have to keep him quiet.