'Muff'in Dome

Category Archives: Education

Our Advent / Christmas Reads

I’ve had a few ask for a list of our Advent and Christmas reads so I thought I would share them here today. These are all ones that we own, but, be assured, we check out a good pile from the library every year that is just as large! Each year, we like to add a couple new ones to our collection. It didn’t start out big, but with every passing year {and a few good library sales!}, we are able to grow it.

These are some of our most treasured books. They get brought out at the beginning of the Advent season and stored away at the end of the Christmas season to be discovered anew the following year. Sometimes we like to wrap them like presents to use as an Advent calendar of sorts, but this year we will simply be pulling them from their basket on the hearth during reading times.

Please share some of your favorite Christmas reads in the comments so we will have new ones to discover too!

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

Especially for Advent and Other Feast Days

 Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp — Short, lovely reflections written to share alongside your children as you follow from Adam the lineage of Jesus’ family tree.

Waiting for Noel by Ann Dixon — A perfect story to begin the Advent season. Baby Noel is due at Christmas and her family anticipates her birth, just as we anticipate the arrival of the Christ Child at Christmas. It is easy to identify with the joyful anticipation of waiting for the birth of a child!

Lucia: Saint of Light by Katherine Bolger Hyde — To celebrate the feast of St. Lucy, we read this book that shares the story of her life as well as some traditions to celebrate her feast.

 

Quiet Time Together

A Christmas Garland compiled by Grace Hudson — A lovely collection of Christmas poems, perfect for Christmas afternoon tea times or anytime, really.

All for the Newborn Baby by Phyllis Root — A song by Mary for her new little one.

Prayers Around the Crib by Juliette Levivier — Perfect Christmas prayers for your little ones.

 

Especially Sweet for Toddlers

Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate — I promise this lyrical poem told from the perspective of the manger animals will get stuck in your head. A big hit with toddlers.

One Night in Bethlehem by Jill Roman Lord — A touch-and-feel that allows children to imagine what it would be like if they had been there the night Jesus was born.

B is for Bethlehem by Isabel Wilner — Beautifully illustrated, each letter of the alphabet gives us a glimpse of the Christmas story.

Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown — A toddler favorite told in lyrical form of all the important elements of the Christmas story.

Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell — No matter what, there is always room for one more in the stable.

Dream Snow by Eric Carle — As a blanket of snow quietly covers the entire farm, a surprise awaits at the end as the farmer completes one, last task.

 

Nativity Stories

This is the Star by Joyce Dunbar — Told through lyrical repetition, the story of that Christmas night.

Father and Son: A Nativity Story by Geraldine McCaughrean — Joseph’s heart is revealed in this sweet story reflection on his role in the nativity.

Saint Francis and the Nativity by Myrna A. Strasser — This story reveals the origins of keeping a Nativity scene.

 

Just For Fun

The Littlest Christmas Elf by Nancy Buss — There’s a special place for all of us, even the littlest of elves.

I Spy: A Candy Cane by Jean Marzollo — The classic I Spy book is given a Christmas twist in this addition.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson — Bear is usually asleep during Christmas, but he friends won’t let him snooze this year. Or will they?

Olaf’s Night Before Christmas by Jessica Julius — A Frozen obsession drew us to this fun book. The Night Before Christmas, Olaf-style. Includes a CD read by the snowman himself.

Paddington Bear and the Christmas Surprise by Michael Bond — Per usual, something’s bound to happen when Paddington goes to visit Santa Claus!

A Gingerbread Christmas by Jan Brett — A jolly chase to find the perfect Christmas perfect tree! Gingerbread baby is always a delight. {We also love Gingerbread Friends!}

Guess Who’s Coming to Santa’s for Dinner? by Tomie dePaola — The chaos of the family Christmas gathering. Apparently, even Santa experiences it too.

Madeline’s Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans — A sweet tale in the classic Madeline tradition.

The Mitten by Jan Brett — Will all the animals fit into the discovered mitten? And what will it look like when it returns to the boy? {In the same vein is her book The Hat.}

The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert — A Nordic tale of a little girl’s wish to become one of Santa’s elves.

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner — A rolicking tale of what those seemingly innocent and quiet snowmen actually do at night when we’re all sleeping.

 

Christmas Traditions

A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas  — A story of Christmas memories beautifully told through the eyes of a child. We picked up our copy at Shakespeare and Co. when we were in Paris in October, so it’s especially meaningful to us.

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg — You will never see a candy cane the same way again. A wonderful telling of the meaning behind the candy cane.

Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal — Adjectives to describe our feelings during the Christmas season, perfect for little ones to understand {and a recipe for cookies at the end!}.

An Early American Christmas by Tomie dePaola — Early American Christmas traditions are shared in this book by the famous author Tomie dePaola

Ella Bella Ballerina and the Nutcracker by — If you have a daughter who loves the ballet, this and the author’s others are perfect for her. Told through the eyes of a tiny ballerina, it gives the story of the ballet in a wonderful format.

 

Classics

 Comment le Grinch a volé Noël {How the Grinch Stole Christmas} by Dr. Seuss — We read {with translation} the French version of this famous story of the Grinch who wanted to make everyone’s life miserable on Christmas, until he found out the true meaning of Christmas.

The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers — Our favorite telling and illustration of the delightful Nutcracker story.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg — The classic tale, with beautiful illustrations, that belongs on every child’s shelf.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham — With wonderful, large illustrations and big print, it is the perfect book to cuddle up with a telling of the famous Christmas story.

 

Books Sharing a Song

The Huron Carol illustrated by Fr. Jean de Brebeauf — A lovely Christmas carol by a Jesuit missionary to Canada, this is an illustrated version that shows how the Hurons took the story of Christmas as their own.

The Friendly Beasts: An Old Christmas Carol illustrations by Tomie dePaola — The song of the animals contribution on that Christmas night, wonderfully illustrated by Tomie dePaola

Good King Wenceslas read by Jane Seymour and illustrated by Omar Rayyan — The story of the benevolent king who went out on a cold Christmas night to bring Christmas joy to the people of his kingdom.

 

A Lesson Revealed

The Small One by Alex Walsh — Forced to sell his tiny, old donkey, a young boy won’t sell him to just anyone….

The Nutcracker Doll by Mary Newell DePalma — Big dreams start small as Kepley finds out in her first (yet tiny) role in the Nutcracker performance.

Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect by Richard H. Schneider — A beautiful lesson revealed that it is more important to sacrifice yourself for others than to maintain perfection.

The Miraculous Child by Alvin Alexsi Currier — A Russian tale on the importance of hospitality

Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson — Mortimer the mouse doesn’t want to share his newfound house with stiff strangers…until he hears the story of the first Christmas.

Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo — The impact the smallest act of kindness can have on a person who is lonely.

 

August 2017 Reads

Hey! Look at that. I’m getting my book post up before the end of the first week of the month. We started school this week, so I’m beginning with some good juggling. We’ll see how it all pans out by the end of the month, though…. 😉

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

 

School Education by Charlotte Mason — The third of the six part series by Charlotte Mason, I’ve become increasingly inspired by her educational method as I read through each one. She goes into depth in this book regarding her motto: “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” I really love her emphasis on instilling curiosity and wonder in your children, rather than aiming to teach to a test. Highly recommend this series. {MMD Reading for GROWTH Challenge, 3rd and final of “Three books by the same author”}

The Fringe Hours: Making More Time for You by Jessica Turner — While the message of this book was worthwhile and important {i.e. finding time within the fringes of your day to do the things you enjoy}, it left me more stressed out than inspired. I suppose it could be because I already utilize the “fringe hours” pretty well for accomplishing little tasks here and there, so I finished feeling like I wasn’t accomplishing enough within them {not what I needed}. I also think there is too much of a push to fill every compartment of one’s day with activity, instead of maybe spending five, free minutes letting your mind and body relax. That’s what I need more of.

Which leads to my next two books that are more about slowing down…..

In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honore — This was a good read, albeit, some of his points could have been more concise {so many examples}. It takes a thorough look at areas of our lives that could use some slowing down. Ones that in this fast-paced world has many suffering from anxiety due to the intense pace we all keep. One thing that really resonated with me: the life of speed keeps us from really connecting with the persons we encounter, especially those closest to us.

Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner — Similar message to the last book, but told in a memoir style. The author relates tales from her life where busy-ness spiraled right out of control, even in the midst of many good things. The irony of her title is that sometimes slow is something you have to pursue with the same intensity as fast. But! Ultimately, one finds more satisfaction there. {MMD Reading for FUN Challenge, “A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able”}

 

Books I Read to my Children

Mix It Up! by Henri Tullet — My youngest is in love with these books by Henri Tullet. A teacher friend of my mother-in-law introduced her to these recently and she can’t get enough of them. Their interactive nature is right up her alley. If you have a kinesthetic child, these are top-notch for their need to touch.

Chester: the Worldly Pig by Bill Peet — A silly tale of a pig who was too big for his own britches…or is he? This certainly had us laughing at the surprise ending.

John Philip Duck by Patricia Polacco — A duck named after John Philip Sousa? He just might be born for entertaining too! My youngest was in love with this fun story of a young bell boy whose duck made the hotel where he worked world famous. Such great illustrations too.

July 2017 Reads

Still in school prep mode as you will see from my list of reads this month {although I did get to one fun novel!}. Back into reading chapter books with the girls too as that fell off a bit the past few months.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

 

Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie — I’ve had this on my shelf for a while and was thinking to keep it there for when I hit a time of turbulence in our homeschooling journey. But I’m glad I made the decision to give it a read-through BEFORE we begin. {It’s always better to have a few coping skills in your tool box before you get to a emergency situation and, even better, possibly prevent burn-out from happening altogether.} I love the author’s relatable thoughts on how to plan and schedule your days in the way that is best for YOUR family, but also some thoughts on resting in what you’ve accomplished and not fretting about what could not be done. {MMD Reading for FUN Challenge, “A book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet}

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner — This was an excellent modern novel that ties together the story of two women in the most unexpected way — one living in the modern day, the other in early 20th century, New York City. The consideration of one’s reaction to a catastrophic event is examined in both the characters and leads you to do a little soul-searching of your own.

Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel — I read this as part of the launch team for the book which will be released on September 19th. Anne gives a wonderful introduction into many of the personality tests and how they can be useful in your life. I’m a bit of a personality junkie myself, and have read and tested through a lot of different ones, but I found this helpful too in helping pinpoint ones I was on the fence about and how I could use the knowledge of them more in my life. {If you grab the book on pre-order, there are some amazing freebies up for grabs, including an audio recording by Anne of the book!}

Parents and Children by Charlotte Mason — Second in the six-part series, this one focuses on the role of parents in the education of a child. I think it is worthwhile read even if one sends their children to traditional school. I love how Mason encourages awakening wonder in a child to be the basis of their learning instead of just learning for an examination. This will instill in a child the life-long love of learning and exploring that I truly hope to pass onto mine. {MMD Reading for GROWTH Challenge, 2nd of “Three books by the same author”}

 

Books Read to My Children 

A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog by Mercer Mayer — Wordless, yet highly entertaining. I read this over and over with my youngest who would relate in each picture the story as it progressed. It’s an excellent way to encourage narration in a young child.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo — This is a beautiful tale of hope and perseverance told through a juxtaposition of the light and darkness of a castle. It is simple and relatable for young children. It’s a wonderful tale to open up conversation about going through a difficult time but not giving up.

Paddington on Top by Michael Bond — We just can’t get enough of this beloved bear. I think this is about number five or six for us in the series. {We were reading in order but now I just go with what I can get my hands on readily as the stories don’t really have a progression.} This one is a great vacation read as there are some high-flying tales of Paddington on a vacation of his own.

 

{Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit this month!}

June 2017 Reads

I nearly forgot about last month’s reading list until I ran across Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit this morning. These past few months have nearly been a blur with all the happenings at home {and why it is so quiet around here}, I’ve hardly had time to read. But I did steal a few moments when we were vacationing pre-4th of July weekend! I checked off two of my books for my MMD Reading Challenge, so at least I made some progress there. Both of my reads were good…but vastly different books.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

 

Silence by Shusaku Endo — I was hesitant to read this as the subject matter promised to be violent to some degree. But when a few other readers said it was palatable {unlike the film which I don’t think I will be watching}, I decided to give it a try. The story revolves around a missionary priest in Japan who wrestles with another’s apostasy…and the prospect of his own. It is a very good analysis of a crisis of faith in the midst of extraordinary persecution. It certainly makes you think about the strength of your own faith. {MMD Reading for GROWTH Challenge, “A book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending” — I think this book covers both of those!}

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams — This is an excellent “beach read” that sweeps you along, making you want to stay up way past ‘lights out’. With a commingling of two women’s lives in the 1960’s, it revolves around a notorious, old car with quite the history. The story flips the reader back to pre-war Europe as the main protagonist navigates a coming-of-age all too quickly. It is one of several in a loose series of stories surrounding the Schulyer family. I read this over several days, and will certainly be looking for another in the series when I need another “beach read”. {MMD Reading for FUN Challenge, “A book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit” (that would be Antibes — yes, please!)}

 

Books Read with My Children

Turtle Splash!: Countdown at the Pond by Cathryn Falwell — This is a fun, short read that my youngest enjoyed as we learned how to count backwards as the turtles jumped into the pond one-by-one.

Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey — As we began reading this, I thought my girls would lose interest with the heavy text on some pages, but the author magnificently describes the scenes he wants to place his readers in in such a way that they were easily captivated by each page. The illustrations are breathtaking as well.

 Animal Alphabet by Alex A. Lluch — This book is at the girls’ grandparents’ house but is one they pull out every time we are over. Lucie, especially, loves to go through the letters and attempt to name all the animals behind each window before sliding it open. It’s a great way to both learn the alphabet and the names of many animals.

May 2017 Reads

May was a busy month so my reading time was less than I would have liked it to be, but I got plenty of time in with the girls cuddled up with a good book or two…or dozen. They also followed suit.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

 

Home Education by Charlotte Mason — I will be working through the series of Mason’s six books over the next few months. This is the first in the series {which has just been reprinted!}. It was hugely helpful and confirming that our educational philosophy will lean heavily on this over the next few years, at least. I enjoyed her style, but those who haven’t spent much time in philosophical works might find it more tedious to get through. {MMD Reading for GROWTH Challenge, 1st of “Three books by the same author”}

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay — You will notice a common theme here in both {and only} books I read this month: prepping for next year’s schooling. I sat down and read this in a day. Again, looking at the Charlotte Mason manner of teaching. It is highly accessible and much less intellectual, more practical. I will be returning to this often for inspiration and buoyancy when I’m feeling like I’m floundering.

 

Books Read with My Children

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney — This inspiring read has a wonderful moral my eldest has really taken to heart and is trying to implement with her own sowing of flowers throughout our yard.

Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork — This was a favorite of mine growing up. I attribute it to my lifelong long of Impressionism, and especially Monet’s works. It is also leading my girls to the same, I think. 😉 It’s a lovely tale of a little girl who travels to France with her friend to see Monet’s works and the actual garden in Giverny that inspired many of his paintings. {This little film based on the book is great too.}

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey — Kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk! You can’t help but be captivated by little Sal and his hunt for blueberries — and the surprise that he encounters along the way. Warning: it will make you want to go out to a patch and pick a bunch of your own.

Little Bear Collection by Else Minarik — A much-loved story book character already, Little Bear, was a huge hit to listen along to as we did a couple long road trips this month. Highly recommend for other little ones who love this sweet bear.

Monet at the Legion of Honor

A few weeks ago, we headed down to San Francisco for a long weekend to see the special Claude Monet exhibit at the Legion of Honor museum. It was a collection of his early works–many of which I have not seen–so for this Impressionist aficionado, I was over the moon to view them.

The girls enjoyed seeing the collection too, and it was just the right length for shorter attention spans. {Although, Lucie slept through the first half in the Ergo with Steve carrying her. It was a pleasant surprise that she still fit inside!}

We read a bit about Monet together before visiting from one of my favorite childhood books, Linnea in Monet’s Garden. I’m pleased to say that the girls took to Linnea and her adventures in the garden just as I did when I was young.

There was another traveling exhibition that involved random pieces of artwork(?) plopped down in random place inside and outside the museum. That’s Evelyn sitting next to one right out front. She was very entertained by the sculpture pieces, and confused {as we were} about the randomosity of the ones we saw inside. Her questions increased tenfold and my inability to answer did the same.

We ran into our wedding photographer in front of the museum where she was shooting a couples’ engagement photos. We hadn’t seen her since she took our maternity photos when I was pregnant with Evelyn. She does such beautiful work, I wish she lived closer to us so we could have family photos done by her again.

Our trip to SF also included a wonderful picnic on the bleachers that overlook the Bay, and a quick run through Ghirardelli Square with chocolate samples, of course!

One of the little shops on the Square had this tic-tac-toe game created with rocks and washi tape. The girls were in love. We’re searching for suitable flat rocks to make some of our own.

We crossed over the Golden Gate towards the end of the day for more adventures which I’ll share in my next post….

April 2017 Reads

I found myself with my nose stuck in a book more often than not during quiet time in the afternoon this month. {Not so much knitting.} So many good hauls from the library and so many great picks added to our house library {that is going to need a new bookcase soon}.

We inadvertently added in a healthy dose of poetry during this #nationalpoetrymonth. All of us gained a greater appreciation and interest in the flowing verse. We’ll be diving into more this summer.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

 

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines — {MMD Reading for Fun Challenge, “A book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read”} I picked up this delightful book without having seen an episode of Fixer Upper. The faith, determination, grit, etc. of this couple is incredibly inspiring. Their belief in the providence of God, an even sweeter cherry on top. Many friends of mine rave about this star couple and I can definitely see their appeal. {And, yes, I remedied that lack of Fixer Upper — made my husband sit through an episode a few weeks ago, and I’m definitely hankering to go back for more!}

America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray — {MMD Reading for Growth Challenge, “A book that is more than 600 pages”} I am a huge fan of historical fiction. I read a ton of it. But this one maybe my top pick in the genre for the year. It’s certainly in my favorites of the era, maybe second to this one. I never knew much about Patsy Jefferson, but she is one female whose story should be included in school history books. Such a feminist for her time.

The Inspired Room by Melissa Michaels — I’ve been wanting to do some more serious decorating in our home over these past few months so I picked up this book to gain some inspiration. It hasn’t disappointed. Many practical tips for simple fixes that can really liven up a room, as well as balance it.

Upstream by Mary Oliver — After encountering and loving many quotes by this prolific poet in others’ writings, I thought it was high time to pick up one of her own. This book was actually short essays, but made me fall in love with her writing. I will certainly be looking up more of her work in the future. In addition to a few essays on the works of some well-known poets that we quite interesting, what this book mostly contained was thoughts and memories of the author’s forays in nature. It is an excellent pick for reading in a cabin in the woods.

 Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein — I’m diving in deep to begin my first patch of cut flowers this year. This book is an amazing inspiration {even if you just desire it for the eye candy of gorgeous blooms sprinkled throughout}. Behind all the beauty though, the author gets down to the nitty gritty of the details of growing each of the varieties she’s experimented with on her own farm for years. I purchased a handful of seed packets from Erin’s farm in Washington as well, and I’m hoping to share glorious results within the next few months!

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny — Third in the Inspector Gamache series, this one was the most predictable, but that didn’t make it uninteresting. The underlying premise concerning the great inspector that runs through all of the books, came to a deep twist in this episode. {I didn’t purposely time it this way, but it was perfect for the month of April as that is when it takes place, right during Easter.}

 The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd — I’ve been following along with the Coffee + Crumbs blog since its inception, and this lovely collection of essays by the team of main writers was no less touching. I found myself emotionally moved by the feelings shared of mirrored experiences of motherhood. So good.

 

Books Read with My Children

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children by James Herriot — My girls have fallen head over heels for Herriot’s delightful stories of farm animals that he encountered over the years. The personalities of animals can be so funny! I remember reading through many of these as a child myself, and even pulled out an old copy of mine that contains his Cat Stories. Simple and sweet, this is an excellent pick for transitioning into reading chapter books as it is well sprinkled with pictures but longer prose.

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson — We’ve forayed into the land of poetry as my eldest is developing an interest in rhyming words {even making up her own words just so they rhyme with others she’s said!}. This collection has quick ones that capture the attention of children as they speak of imagination, rhythms of the child’s life, and play.

An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Aston — The artistry of this book is reason alone to own it. From the tiniest ladybug egg to a whopping ostrich shell, this book wonderfully illustrates the incredible beauty and amazing functionality of eggs in many colors and sizes. I learned so much myself! {We also love A Butterfly is Patient, A Seed is Sleepy, and A Nest is Noisy.}

 Easter Parade by Irving Berlin — Based on the text of a song by Irving Berlin, this delightful book was a favorite of my eldest due to the fun, elegant hat made by the young bunny for the Easter parade. 🙂 There are few things better at Eastertide than a lovely Easter bonnet!

 

Friday Frivolity {7QT}

So much to share, so little time. Luckily, it’s Friday — time for Seven Quick Takes! Hold onto your seats!

1) Diving into the garden season with a lot of weed pulling and a lot of seed planting. I’m trying my hand at a cut flower plot this year. There will be cosmos, zinnias, celosia, bachelor’s buttons, amaranth, and black-eyed susans {hopefully!}. I’m excited but feel a bit daunted by the task. I haven’t had much luck with growing flowers from seed in the past. I purchased Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden a few months ago, and I’m trying to follow Erin’s advice to a ‘T’ {with a little prayer of hope thrown into the mix!}. We’ll have some veggies and, of course, the strawberry patch too!

2) Last weekend, we attended a local(ish) Scottish Highland Games. The Celtic blood runs deep on both sides of the family, so the girls have taken a natural liking to the heritage both of their parents love. {Evey often asks to learn Irish dancing. One of these days, we’ll find a good group in the area for her take lessons.} We saw a group of harpists that renewed my great desire to own a harp of my own. There was even one for sale! — but, alas, out of our price range currently. We marched in the parade with the Cochrane clan, a surname on Steve’s paternal line.

3) Stephen and I got out for a wonderful date night in March that included a concert and surprise! Eucharistic adoration and Confession. A fellow Christendom alum, Marie Miller, was performing the opening act for Five for Fighting, so we grabbed some of the last seats in the house, up in the nosebleeds, but had the best time anyway. Marie did an amazing job, and we were equally delighted with the the lyrical genius that is Five for Fighting. I don’t own any of his albums, but I certainly want one now.

We also stumbled upon a Lenten night of Eucharistic adoration taking place at the cathedral that was such a blessing for both of us. Not only did we get to spend some quiet moments with the Lord, but we also were able to partake of the sacrament of Confession.

4) After much deliberation, we’ve decided to start Evelyn in some more formal schooling this fall. We worked through the early set of Explode the Code this year. She’s certainly excelled in learning her letters and their sounds, and is SO ready to learn how to read. {We may just dive into this early during the summer months!} The Charlotte Mason method has been a natural fit for our family so we’ll be following along with their curriculum, particularly that of Mater Amabilis with a few additions/revisions from Ambleside. {I may do a more thorough explanation of our preschool curriculum from this year. Would anyone be interested in hearing more about it?}

5) We instituted “popcorn and poetry” afternoons which we’ve enjoyed several of this month. It’s an alternative to an afternoon tea which will be coming back around when we start school in the fall. Not sure who enjoys it more — the adults or children.

6) Steve began a new job at the beginning of April which required a bit of travel at the beginning for training. Some of it allowed for our family to stay at my in-laws’ cabin in the mountains which are still thoroughly covered with snow…and much was still coming down during the month of April! The girls loved the extra snow play and we made it cozy with hot chocolate treats and many snuggly reading times {with a side of knitting for mama}.

7) I purchased for myself today this lovely new tank for the summer that Blessed is She just released. It will be a constant companion during the summer months in the garden, by the pool…whenever the temp reaches the triple digits, to be sure! The one with the Teresas has me all “heart-eyes” too.

I’m also looking forward to my new copy of the academic Blessed is She planner {if you’re awaiting the calendar year version, it releases in October}.

I might also have to pick one of these prayer posters for our large living room wall. A good {and helpful} reminder to say our prayers!

 

{Linking up with the fabulous Kelly on this lovely Friday afternoon for 7QT.}

March 2017 Reads

Reading was a little light this past month as we had much going on. I spent a good deal of my reading time knitting a shawl, which I can’t wait to share about later. But it was all good reads this month, so at least there was that!

What did you enjoy in March?

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

 

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond — This was a fascinating look at the situation regarding housing for those who live below the poverty line in America and what is exacerbating the problem from both sides: tenants and landlords. The author suggests a possible solution in the epilogue: a universal housing voucher system. There is a lot of food for thought here. This would make for an excellent discussion with a book club. {I read this book for the MMD Challenge for Reading for Growth in the category of “A book of any genre that addresses current events”.}

A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Gamache, #2) by Louise Penny — Murder mysteries have never been my cup of tea, but that all changed with this series that I’ve finally had time to dive back into after reading the first several years ago. Besides the excellent twists throughout the main story itself, there is an underlying “search for meaning” happening in the heart of the protagonist that runs through the plot of each book in the series. {I read this book for the MMD Challenge for Reading for Fun in the category of “A book in a genre you usually avoid”.}

At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider — Tsh’s writing has long been an inspiration to me both on her blog and through her published works, so it came as no surprise that this would resonate with my deeply too. After selling their house and paring their belongings down to only the essentials, Tsh, her husband, and their three children embark on a 9-month journey around the world. They choose to do this for enrichment — to experience new cultures, see the wonders of the world with their own eyes, taste the cuisine of exotic foods, all in the hopes of discovering their true place in this world. The answer might surprise you…or you may find a strong sense of connection with her findings. Warning: Reading this book may spark a serious case of wanderlust.
{I read an advanced copy of this as part of the #athomelaunch team. The book will be officially released, Tuesday, April 18th.}

 

Books Read with My Children

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert — An excellent choice as we move into the Spring season. My daughters love identifying the colors and learning the names of many of the flowers that are popping up from the ground these days. We’re even dreaming of planting our own “rainbow”!

What Does Bunny See by Linda Sue Park — Along the same lines as Planting a Rainbow, children are taught colors and flower names, but this time in rhyming verse. We couldn’t wait to flip to the next page to see if our guess was right!

A Small Thing…But Big by Tony Johnston — Discovered this beautiful story on our library’s ‘New Books’ shelf. It tells of a little girl who encounters an old man and his little dog at the park. They are both nervous about the other but learn that even a small leap of faith can bring about a big result.

The Crayons’ Book of Colors by Drew Daywalt — Another great book for color identification. Written by the author of The Day the Crayons Quit, this is more suitable for the 2-5 year old crowd. The author utilizes a touch of humor making the color choices in the drawings unforgettable.

My Garden by Kevin Henkes — A young girl dreams of what she would grow {or not!} if the garden was completely under her control. Yes, just yes, to the jelly bean bush!

Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo — We listened to the six Mercy Watson stories on audiobook during our long car ride back and forth to Southern California a few weeks ago. Even mama, couldn’t help laughing along to the antics of this porcine wonder and her affinity for hot buttered toast.

February 2017 Reads

Can’t believe February has flown by and it’s time for another reading round-up. I had a good stack of reads this month, as did the girls. I even found a book of poetry that I can’t live without!

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

 

  The Lifegiving Home by Sally Clarkson — A wonderfully inspiring read that’s been on my TBR list for over a year now. Broken down by months, it gives theoretical ideas and practical tips for inculcating a home that brings life and love to it’s inhabitants. It’s less about material things, more about culture. I will be returning to it again and, perhaps, make my way through this companion.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson — Another that has been on my shelf for some time. This was a gift from my brother, Ethan, for my birthday last year, but one that had been on my radar before as many friends had recommended it. I knew it dealt with a heavy topic {facing death} so I was waiting for a suitable time to read. It is written in the style of a personal journal. It is a series of letters to the narrator’s son in which he reflects as he lives out his last months on earth. The issue of forgiveness was prominent in the second half of the book. I’m still mulling over the actions of the parties involved and what I would have done in a similar situation. {MMD Challenge book for growth in the category: “A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner”}

News of the World by Paulette Jiles — This reminded me a bit of True Grit by Charles Portis, probably because of the Western setting. But what it is more is a story of relationship between an old man and a young girl, neither of which understand each other {verbally or otherwise} at the end, but grow to be the best of friends by the end. It shows the importance of listening and understanding another without allowing yourself to be clouded by your own ideas first.

Caught Up in a Story by Sarah Clarkson — The author here does an excellent job of explaining the importance of story in the lives of children {and adults, for that matter!}. I notice much of what she points to in my own children at already a young age: liveliness of imagination, expansive vocabulary, a desire for exploration. It was a great encouragement in the direction we are leaning with our home schooling. {MMD Challenge fun book in the category: “A book about books or reading”}

 

Books Read with My Children

Stuart Little by E. B. White — The adventures of Stuart are small, yet big, for such a tiny creature. It’s hard to wrap your mind around a mouse living in a world of persons, but he does it with flair.

The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White — The last of our E. B. White reads. It was hard to get into during the first quarter or so, and I don’t think it held their attention as well as Charlotte’s Web {although, it is hard to surpass that masterpiece}. Ultimately, we did find ourselves enjoying the antics of Louis with his trumpet, his interactions with the boy, Sam Beaver, and laughing at Louis’ father’s monologues.

Queen of Hearts by Mary Engelbreit  — This has been Evelyn’s favorite Valentine’s Day book since she was only a year old. We read it multiple times every year. The young protagonist has such a zealous heart for all things Valentine, but her eagerness to do well in one arena, leads to neglect in another. We love the way she improvises to save the day. {Also, don’t miss Mary Engelbreit’s Mother Goose We are so drawn to Engelbreit’s vivid, bold pictures. This is our favorite of all the collections of the nursery rhymes.}

The Giant Hug by Sandra Horning — This was Lucie’s favorite during the season of love. It tells the story of a young boy who mails his grandmother a giant hug and the route it must take to reach her. For those with affectionate hearts.

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood — This one was pulled out of book storage and memorized in a day by both girls after repeated readings. It was a favorite for both Steve and I growing up, so no surprise that our girls like it too. Perfect as we move into strawberry season soon.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano — I often find poetry hard to appreciate but this little book of seasonal poems, from Spring to Winter, is perfection. It is for children, but I want a book for our shelf to peruse from time to time.

%d bloggers like this: