Our May Reads

Our_May_Reads

It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! May’s list has a ton of incredible finds from our local library. Everything on this month’s list was completely new to us, which is always fun. All of them were used in our learning to some capacity. Most of them are now on a book wish list.

  1. Ordinary People Change the World (Series by Brad Meltzer) – WE CAN ALL BE HEROES. That’s the inspiring message of this lively, collectible picture book biography series from New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer.
    A friend on Instagram shared this incredible series. We immediately pulled every available book in the set. My son is in love. So am I.
  2. Make: Magazine (Maker Media) – As the leading voice of the maker movement, Make: publishes tested projects, skill-building tutorials, in-depth reviews and inspirational stories, accessible by all ages and skill ranges.
    I happened across this publication while perusing for other periodicals. This is an amazing resource for learning! Each issue is filled with tons of incredible projects to make with detailed instructions. Check them out… Make:
  3. The Beauty of the Beast, Poems from the Animal Kingdom (Selected by Jack Prelutsky) – A stunning collection of poems celebrating “the beauty and wonder of the animal kingdom.” Poet and anthologist Jack Prelutsky has chosen 200 works by 123 poets from Carl Sandburg to Seamus Heaney, with a tip of the hat to his own “The Multilingual Mynah Bird.”
    An incredibly fun book to explore with the kids. Many animals were covered, and all of the poems lovely.
  4. The Curious Garden (Peter Brown) – While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world.
    It was the art which drew us in, but the story which kept us coming back for multiple readings. The Curious Garden is a wonderful story and quite inspiring.
  5. Art & Max (David Weisner) – Max and Arthur are friends who share an interest in painting. Arthur is an accomplished painter; Max is a beginner. Max’s first attempt at using a paintbrush sends the two friends on a whirlwind trip through various artistic media, which turn out to have unexpected pitfalls.
    An adorable read, through and through. We loved how this story explored the fun and adventurous aspect of art.
  6. What To Do With a Box (Jane Yolen & Chris Sheban) – If you give a child a box, who can tell what will happen next? It may become a library or a boat. It could set the scene for a fairy tale or a wild expedition. The most wonderful thing is its seemingly endless capacity for magical adventure…
    We’re continually on the lookout for books which encourage children to think creatively. In this case, outside the box. Mission accomplished!
  7. The Little Island (Margaret Wise Brown and Leonard Weisgard) – There is a little island in the ocean—and this book is about how it is on that little island, how the seasons and the storm and the day and night change it, how the lobsters and seals and gulls and everything else live on it, and what the kitten who comes to visit finds out about it.
    Suggested by an online acquaintance, this charming story helped us focus on our nature studies; learning to experience God’s creation through all of our senses. 
  8. A Child of Books (Oliver Jeffers) – A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy. She invites him to go away with her on an adventure into the world of stories… where, with only a little imagination, anything at all can happen.
    I confess, the cover caught my attention. It went in my basket without further thought. Was opened in the quiet of my home. And devoured entirely, from beginning to end. We loved the clever illustrations and thoughtfulness of the story. 
  9. Finding Wild (Megan Wagner Lloyd) – There are so many places that wild can exist, if only you know where to look! Can you find it? Two kids set off on an adventure away from their urban home and discover all the beauty of the natural world. From the bark on the trees to the sudden storm that moves across the sky to fire and flowers, and snowflakes and fresh fruit. As the children make their way through the woods and back to the paved and noisy streets, they discover that wild exists not just off in some distant place, but right in their own backyard.
    Another nature study find by Mom. I appreciated the thoughtfulness of the story without the tendency of some books towards glorifying nature to the point of considering man an evil. 
  10. The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs (Tristan Gooley) – Gooley has compiled more than 850 outdoor tips—many not found in any other book in the world—that will open readers’ eyes to nature’s hidden logic. He shares techniques for forecasting and tracking, and for walking in the country or city, along the coast, and by night. This is the ultimate resource on what the land, sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, and clouds can reveal—if you only know how to look!
    I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. It came highly recommended so we gave it a chance and were pleasantly surprised. We learned so much from just the first chapters, we cannot imagine pushing through this book quickly. Even a single reading will not be enough to fully absorb its material. For nature explorers, this book is a wonderful guide and help!

We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but several of these have been added to our book wish list. Great reads are worth revisiting!  We were so excited to find another incredible selection this month! A few of them were excellent aids in nature study. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading.

Your Turn!: How do you know when a book is so good, you have to buy it?

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Factoring Birthdays Into the Homeschool Routine

Factoring_Birthdays_Into_Homeschool_RoutinesFor whatever reason, when we’re planning out our yearly routine, it never enters my mind to factor in birthdays. With four kids, two parents, and several grandparents it might be time to start factoring in the many celebratory days I seem to overlook when creating our homeschooling routine.

If you’ve been following us on any of our social media sites recently, you’ve noticed the stream of birthday posts coming in during the last few months. My kids have birthdays pretty much one month after the other, and those in-between months contain holidays. The fun never stops! Call us funny, but it just doesn’t seem right to make a kid do “school” on their birthday, so we take the day off and do whatever they like. As the teacher, same goes. Pop’s the principle so you know he’s going to want the day off. As for extended family, we’re helping them celebrate so that deserves a day of rest, too.

This doesn’t seem that big a deal, really. Until I remember her birthday happens to land on a test day. Or his birthday is also our routine science experiment activity. Then, the homeschool scramble begins… Do I switch up that test and make her take it the day before her birthday; the day after; do I skip it all together? Should we do makeup work the following day or double the previous so we finish our materials by the end of the school year? It’s crazy, I know.

After several – several – years of homeschooling, you’d think I’d have this down to a science, but this always slips my mind. Their birthdays are firmly imprinted in my mind. I know we’ll be taking the day off. Yet, every single time, I forget to include this factor on our homeschool calendar. Meaning, I forget to mark down, “No school today. Birthday.” Essentially ignoring all dates what-so-ever, and only focusing on routine. Instead I happily plod along and mark down, “Arithmetic Test Today”. It’s not until the week before the special event I actually look at the dates on my nicely organized homeschool calendar and realize my mistake. Then, I scramble. This is especially true when one honey’s birthday happens to always land during the last week of school. You know, wrap up week? Goodness.

It’s a laughing matter, truly. What’s a few days here or there? The moments spent together far outweigh the issue of missed work or tests not taken. It’s merely the fact I overlook this each and every year which continues to amaze me. Perhaps by the time my youngest graduates high school I’ll finally have it down. Then again, who knows?!

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
~ Psalm 118:24

Your Turn!: Do you pencil birthdays into your homeschool calendar or routine?

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Conquering the Wandering Mind

Conquering_Wandering_MindsI’ve called his name four times now, hands waving before his book work. The boy is smart. He could complete this lesson in two minutes flat – if only I could divert his attention to his work. He comes back to the present only for a moment before returning to his imaginings. With each ticking of the clock, I wonder what I’m doing wrong and how I can help my child conquer this challenge.

Understandably, this situation is just as frustrating for our son as it is for me. Being the last one to finish lessons, and constantly having to hear your name is irritating. We’re doing our best to work through this struggle together and learn keys to succeed in this area. Diet, exercise, routine, and using essential oils is helping. How we homeschool has been reviewed as well. Less independent work is in order; being replaced with one-on-one lessons with a parent sitting close at hand verbally offering encouragement.

Do any of your children battle this on a daily basis? We’d love to hear your thoughts regarding this area of homeschooling!

  • Are there clear symptoms of when your child’s mind has gone wandering?
  • What helps you remain calm and help meet your child’s need when this becomes a daily/hourly concern?
  • Have you identified the cause of their distraction? How have you done this?
  • Do foods affect your child’s focus?
  • Will routine and/or exercise help focus increase?
  • Do you find this more prevalent in your sons than daughters?
  • What helps your child to better focus?
  • Are there essential oils you’re using to help your child focus?

We have by no means conquered this challenge. There are days we cruise through without any difficulty, and days when keeping eyes on the page leads to anger. Through God’s grace we’re moving forward, learning what works for his body and mind. Amidst the frustration, it helps to remember this not personal or purposeful. Our son is not being rebellious, his mind is merely occupied elsewhere. Together we’re discovering fun, meaningful ways to redirect his attention to the present and offering grace when a momentary whim takes his mind on a journey elsewhere.

There is beauty to be found in these moments, even those taken in the imagination. May we have patience to find it, wisdom to see learning opportunity everywhere, and gentleness in leading our children through daily responsibility.

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,…”
~ Ephesians 1:17-18

Your Turn!: That’s quite a list of questions we’ve asked… Don’t feel as if you need to answer every one. Pick one which resonates with you, or one in which you’ve seen growth, and share with us!

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The Priority of Family Connection

The Priority of Family ConnectionToday we’re rushing around doing errands. Tomorrow there is a planned group field trip. Saturday my daughter has a library event. Monday my little lady has a sewing class. Wednesday is… You get the idea. We have so many wonderful opportunities before us. Before we get lost in all the busy-ness, let’s place priority on family time.

Life can certainly be busy. Staying connected as a family can be a challenge. In order to stay on top of it all, we need to have a game plan. Before a plan can come together, we need to first look at our objective. Is our goal uninterrupted home time? Perhaps we simply wish to have meaningful conversations on a more regular basis.

Once we have our overall goal in mind, we start looking at when we can make this happen. Family time doesn’t have to be at the end of each day. It might mean starting the morning off with family breakfast, or enjoying lunch together. If this isn’t an option, let’s look at travel time. While in the car – on the various, multitude of events we attend – could we be turning off radios and devices; using this time to build relationships? There is time available, if we only look for it.

Given that we homeschool, we could assume our learning time is plenty of opportunity for family. We have discovered that while we have enjoyed our adventures, this is not the same as family time. We all need a space of time when I am not giving instruction or introducing new topics, and the kids are not being drilled on arithmetic facts. This is especially true when Pop is not an active part of our learning routine. The goal of connecting is for everyone to be present and participating.

While some might argue against planning dates/family time. (How much fun is something you have to mark down on a calendar?) We would caution against such thinking. After all, planning a day at Disneyland never fails to bring joy and anticipation. Why should this be any different?

As a final thought, instead of taking this upon our own shoulders, we should consider making this a family affair. We might host a family meeting, expressing concern over a lack of quality time. Allow everyone to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas on how to solve the problem. After taking into consideration everyone’s contribution, together come up with a plan. Then, stick with it.

If we’re not careful, we can schedule ourselves into a complete breakdown. While attending events, field trips, and games is of benefit, we also need to teach our children the value of quiet, family time. If we don’t, let us not be surprised when our adult children are too busy to make time for us later in life.

We all have busy days. We might even have crazy weeks. But when days and weeks turn into months, it’s probably time to call a family meeting and reconnect. Let’s start with prayer, and see where the Lord leads! Many blessings on finding time for what’s truly important, family.

“So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
~ Ephesians 5:15-17

Your Turn!: What are your family’s favorite ways to reconnect after a busy stretch in schedule?

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Review: Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family

Review_Captain_AbsolutelyComics are all the rage in our home. From my husband’s work to classic Superman, we enjoy a good graphic novel. So it was with much anticipation we reviewed Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family. Today, we’re excited to share this fun, educational, Biblical resource with you!

Captain Absolutely is a graphic novel which focuses on using a Biblical worldview to battle everyday challenges such as fear and guilt. In Captain Absolutely we meet our hero, Captain Absolutely, and learn how he gained his incredible power. We are taken through a series of subsequent events in which Captain Absolutely meets several villains – Dr. Relative, Cap’n Crastin, Fear Chemist, and more – who wish to ruin the town of Metropolitanville and take over the world. Captain Absolutely uses his knowledge of Scripture to fight each enemy, while kindly showing them the error of their ways.

Captain Absolutely is a full-color paperback graphic novel. The pages within are printed on glossy paper, in tune with traditional modern comics. The illustrations themselves are fun. The story is fast-paced and silly while faithfully teaching Biblical truths, complete with Scripture reference for each argument the Captain uses to defeat his foe.

As Captain Absolutely touches on important Biblical topics and discusses the gravity of truth, we handed our story to an expert both in the field of comics and apologetics… my husband. In addition, both our oldest daughter, our son, and myself read through the story.  This was not a required read for the kids, merely something we strategically placed in anReading_Captain_Absolutely advantageous position of the learning environment to encourage interest. The reading took approximately forty-five minutes for my son and husband to read through together; about twenty for me and my daughter individually.

We found Captain Absolutely functions under the assumption the Bible is true. We are presented with basic worldviews and how a Biblical worldview responds to each argument. This is not a philosophical defense of truth, but a sharing of Biblical wisdom. With that said, all of us enjoyed this graphic novel. My husband found it to be a good foundation for younger children learning Biblical truths. He recommended the story for children aged 8-12, but noted finishing the entire novel in one read might be a bit taxing. To fully absorb the concepts being presented and prevent fatigue, perhaps reading Captain Absolutely over a few days time might be of benefit. My daughter and I thought the stories to be quite silly, with many good points made for the reader to think on. Our son laughed continually through the reading; the storyline made for many good talking points and further truths to be shared. He thought the silliest “villains” were Edward Snooze – who fought Captain Absolutely with pillows – and Cap’n Crastin – who’s heartfelt desire was to be on television.

When passing comics to our children, we parents are continually on the lookout for appropriate content. Captain Absolutely met all of our requirements: It was clean, engaging to the mind, easy to follow, and as an added bonus, pointed our children to Christ. Our son learned a great deal through his reading, and this initial story has laid beautiful groundwork for future discussion of truth and Biblical wisdom.

If you’d like to learn more about Focus On The Family, as well as Captain Absolutely, please visit them at their website. You can also find Focus on The Family on social media sites such as FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into High School Essay Intensive please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: Is there a Christian comic you’d recommend?

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Is Home Schooling the ONLY Answer?

Is Home Schooling the ONLY Answer?Sometimes, well-meaning homeschoolers feel the need to convince other people that keeping their children at home is a must. We feel the need to cajole them into believing homeschooling is the only answer, and if they don’t homeschool something is wrong with them. While, quite obviously, we prefer to homeschool and find it is best for our family, I am very hesitant about what I share and how it is expressed. I would prefer the Lord be the one working on their hearts, not me.

Over the course of several years, there are some key things I have learned about sharing my heart with other people. Things I feel help to develop relationships and open the doors to good communication.

Earn respect. How often have we heard well-meaning advice from a complete stranger? Worse yet, someone whom you don’t respect. Before I open my mouth to speak, I ought to ask myself how well I know this person. Perhaps they are not open to receiving what I might want to communicate. I need to earn the right to be heard, not demand I be listened to.

Learn to listen. How often have we spoken to someone, only to discover we didn’t really hear all they said? Or while they were speaking, we were already trying to form our own arguments and thoughts in response? The first step in a good conversation, is listening! Taking time not to just hear the words they are speaking, but the heart of the person talking. Sometimes it is not just the statement being made, but the emotions behind them which need to be addressed.

Be humble. How much I accomplish and the efficiency in which it is done is not to my own credit. It is the Lord who has given me my gifts and it is He who continues to sustain me. They don’t need to hear about all I have accomplished; they need to see how the Lord has directed our lives and used certain circumstances to bring us to where we are. This takes the glory out of my hands and puts it where it belongs.

Be slow to judge others. Imagine how hard it would be to bare your heart to another, only to have them turn and tear you apart. In the realm of parenting, there are many methods of schooling, training, and building of relationships. I need to understand my way isn’t the only way and all of us are still learning. My responsibility is to edify, encourage, and help; not to bury them under a mound of guilt.

Let the Lord lead. It is not my job to convince someone of my argument or my way of thought. If someone is genuinely interested in what I have to say they will listen and take my thoughts into consideration. If the Lord leads, speak; and let Him do the rest.

Know when to keep quiet. There is a time to speak and there is time to remain silent. It is important to know what the situation calls for. It is okay to offer advice and express my views, but there comes a time when words are of no use. Know how to pick battles and when to walk away.

When I am offering advice or answering questions about homeschooling, I want to make sure I am not overstepping my bounds. If I have earned the right to be heard, I then need to make sure I am listening to their concerns. When I respond, my answers should be given gently and with humility. Once I have said my piece, I need to let the Lord lead them and remain quiet.

We love homeschooling, and enjoy sharing our adventure with others. Heaven forbid our calling become a burden we force upon others, or a prideful arrogance we throw in someone’s face. Instead, may we live in such a way as to bring others into the beauty of God’s presence, blessing everyone we meet.

Your Turn!: What are a few indicators which help you know when sharing about your homeschooling adventure is beneficial?

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Review: High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing

High_School-Essay_IntensiveOur oldest daughter will be a junior this coming month! With scholarships, grants, college SAT’s and ACT’s right around the corner, we can’t think of a better time to review High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing. Read on as we share this new resource to hit A Homeschool Mom’s shelf!

High School Essay Intensive is a writing program, including a case containing five DVD’s which comprise the course and a Portable Walls for the Essayist folder. Printed on the folder are helpful tips for becoming a better writer: Types of Essays, Transitional Words & Phrases, Essay Models, and more. Included in the Portable Walls for the Essayist folder is the High School Essay Intensive course work. This course work is to be completed as the student watches the DVD’s and Mr. Pudewa teaches lessons. Topics covered in High School Essay Intensive are “General Strategies for Essay Writing”, “Understanding and Preparing for the New ACT Essay”, “Understanding and Preparing for the Redesigned SAT Essay”, and “Strategies for the ‘Personal Essay'”. In addition to the DVD’s, we also received a code to video stream these same lessons. This is an especially helpful resource for students using computers which no longer have disc drives or prefer this medium.

While there are many ways in which High School Essay Intensive could be completed, we chose to do a “crash course” and finish the entire set in a two-week period of time. Normally I would not recommend this course of action, but I was a little impatient to finishMr. Pudewa Teaching the material. The main reason for our hurry was an IEW conference being held by our homeschool group. What better way to fully immerse ourselves than to have completed the curriculum and then attend the conference as a review? Our second reason for the rush was a desire to fully train our oldest daughter for the college and scholarship essays she is currently filling out by the stack.

Having no prior experience with IEW, we went into our review with open minds. Our focus during our review was on “General Strategies for Essay Writing” and “Strategies for the ‘Personal Essay'”, as these have the greatest application for our family at this point in time. We found the DVD/Stream lessons to be easy to follow and entertaining. Mr. Pudewa has a comfortable manner in his teaching, addressing his filmed audience by name and offering funny anecdotes to keep the viewer interested. Course work allowed students to take careful notes while following along with lessons, using a fill-in-the-blank method of note taking. While the title of the course, High School Essay Intensive, and the nature of the topic might seem heavy, we were pleased to find the lessons manageable and even fun. There were several new skills we learned; ones we will be implementing from this point forward. We especially appreciated Mr. Pudewa’s explanation of introductory sentences and a TRIAC method of writing paragraphs.

As we have written essays during our lessons for years, and are new to Institute for Excellence in Writing, I was extremely interested in reviewing High School Essay Intensive. I was pleased to find we are on the right track with our writing, yet we’ve learned new skills we can apply to future papers! While we chose to move quickly through the curriculum, we will be re-visiting it at a slower pace at various points to keep the information fresh in our minds.

If you’d like to learn more about Institute for Excellence in Writing, along with High School Essay Intensive, please visit them at their website. You can also find Institute for Excellence in Writing on social media sites such as FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into High School Essay Intensive please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: Do your children stress when an essay is assigned?

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Review: The Secret Bridge by Lamplighter Publishing

The_Secret_BridgeEvery once in a while, we come across a read which sparks the imagination and edifies the soul. This week, we’re happy to share with you a new read we had the pleasure of reviewing. The Secret Bridge by Lamplighter Publishing was a joy from beginning to end, and we know you’ll want to hear all about it!

Lamplighter Publishing’s aim is to develop Christlike character one story at a time, and this book hits the mark! The Secret Bridge tells the story of young Bridget Channing, and her journey toward a meaningful relationship with God. Through trials, tribulations, and a helpful friend, Bridget learns what it means to cast her cares upon the Lord and fall in love with her Creator.

We first meet Bridget on a sea voyage to England, following the death of her father. While aboard, she befriends Godfrey Bullingham, a naval officer who desires to see Bridget settled well. When disappointing circumstances leave Bridget homeless and with little to live on, Godfrey saves the day by proposing marriage. At first hesitant to accept, Bridget quickly realizes marriage might be her only option and accepts the offer. After a hasty ceremony, Bridget is taken to Godfrey’s hometown where she will be staying for the year while he is away at sea. Everything seems to be working in Bridget’s favor until her husband asks her to keep a secret. A big secret. Throughout the remainder of the book, we experience Bridget’s struggle to keep the secret hidden while more and more secrets become known to her. In the midst of her trials, Bridget meets a most unusual gentleman who encourages her to “Acquaint thyself with Him.”Secret_Bridge_TitlePg

The Secret Bridge was cleanly written, which is a requirement when choosing our books. Thus, any of our children could have read the story. However, I had a personal desire to read the book myself and took possession first. I had planned to read the book slowly, perhaps taking a few chapters at a time. I quickly realized this was not possible. The Secret Bridge was too good to put down. I finished the entire book in one night!

I will note, this story might be best suited for young ladies. There is no action in the book and a great deal of conversation whilst drinking tea. We should also point out that while the main purpose of the story is to encourage a closer relationship with Christ, there is a distinct romantic element to the story; particularly at the beginning of the book. I would recommend The Secret Bridge to young ladies in middle school or older, as the topic of marriage and proper courtship would be more appropriate for that age category.

As I devoured the story, there were a few points which caught my attention in particular. Mr. Jocelyn, the gentleman who speaks with Bridget, is a naturalist! While the study of God’s creation plays no significant role in the story, I appreciated reading of his love of nature and his desire to teach children through his hobby. It was also interesting to note the back story of the tale, which centers on a family dispute as far back as the time of Secret_Bridge_IllustrationHenry VIII. As we are currently studying this era in our history lessons, this was a fun circumstance and a God moment. While not important in any way to the story, it would be remiss if we failed to mention the gorgeous cover of this book. Mole skinned, engraved leather, and gold embossed. It’s a beautiful book.

The Secret Bridge was a joy to read! I can’t think of a single thing I disliked about the book. The story itself was lovely to read, well-told, and edifying. The character lessons throughout were encouraging, even for one who has walked with the Lord for years. We look forward to exploring more exciting reads at Lamplighter Publishing!

If you’d like to learn more about Lamplighter Publishing, along with The Secret Bridge, please visit them at their website. You can also find Lamplighter Publishing on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into The Secret Bridge, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: In The Secret Bridge, Bridget has a developed a hobby of wood carving. Which hobby/handy-craft would you most like to acquire?

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Dragons Love Tacos 2!

Oh no, the world has run out of tacos! What should we do?

A. Check emergency taco supplies
B. Eat emergency taco supplies
C. Panic
D. Fire up that time machine in the garage
E. All of the above

We’ve got to save the tacos! The dragons are here to help. Just keep them away from all that spicy salsa. You remember what happened last time.

Dragons Love Tacos_2_TourInspired by the release of Dragons Love Tacos 2, we asked ourselves this important question: Could we help save the tacos by going back in time to the Renaissance? Did they even have tacos during the Renaissance? What better way to discover tacos during but to visit a Renaissance Faire! My dragons and I piled into our time machine, lovingly called a car, and blasted into the past.

The journey was surprisingly shorter than anticipated, and met with much anticipation. We arrived to discover things looked quite different from what we were used to. We felt a little under-dressed as we were presented at court, but the queen kindly disregarded Dragon w/ Fanour attire and graciously allowed us to peruse her kingdom in pursuit of our goal… tacos!

We got excited when we saw this beautiful creation. It was shaped like a taco, but alas, was not. It’s called a Spanish fan; which was quite pretty, but not fit for eating. It seems you can use them for creating a soft breeze to cool your dragon scales.

Dragon TeaWe did find dragon tea, but tea is not tacos! Our new friends allowed us to take in the lovely aroma, but there is no substitution for our favorite crunchy snack.

Everywhere we went, we asked for help. It seemed no one even knew what a taco was! Much to our surprise, even ingredients for tacos were not to be found. Lettuce, it would appear, is hard to Dragon w/Mancome by. And tomatoes… these people from the Renaissance would not sell us a tomato. There seems to be a rumor about them being poisonous? Imagine that.

After a quick return to court, thanking the queen for her kindness and generosity, we were forced to admit defeat. It seems the Renaissance does not have tacos! Wait… what’s that you say? We’re on the wrong continent! Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place?!

A History Lesson: If you and your dragons wish to learn more about tacos and their illustrious history, The Smithsonian has a fantastic article which might come in handy! Who knew this tasty treat has been around since before the 1800’s and was a favored snack amongst minors (the silver kind, not the little ones who mess up our houses).

Don’t Skip the Giveaway!: Enter for a chance to be one (1) grand prize winner and receive a set of Dragons Love Tacos and Dragons Love Tacos 2 (ARV: $17.99 each), or to be one (1) of five (5) second place winners to receive Dragons Love Tacos 2 (ARC: $17.99 each).

Dragons Love Tacos 2

Click the above image to enter our giveaway!

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Tour Schedule: If you and your dragons would like to explore more adventures centered around this fantastic book, check out this incredible list of bloggers showcasing Dragons Love Tacos 2!

Week One:
May 1 – In Wonderland – Jane Austen Taco Hunt
May 2 – The Children’s Book Review – Review
May 3 – A Homeschool Mom – Tacos in the Renaissance
May 4 – Inspiration Laboratories – Tacos in Space
May 5 – Ali’s Book Nook – Dragon Paper Doll Activity
Week Two:
May 8 – The Book Nut – Tacos in Ancient Greece
May 9 – A Story A Day – Tacos During the Civil War
May 10 – Pirates n’ Pixie Dust – Taco Pirates
May 11 – Margie’s Must Reads – Review
May 12 – My Little Poppies
Week Three:
May 16 – As They Grow Up
May 17 – YA Book Nerd
May 18 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Review & Mini Swoon
May 19 – The Plot Bunny – A Dragons Love Tacos Playlist
Week Four:
May 22 – Reading is Better with Cupcakes – How to Properly Eat a Taco
May 23 – No BS Book Reviews
May 24 – Mundie Kids –Time Travelling with a Dragon Checklist
May 25 – The Book Shire
May 26 – Artsy Momma

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Your Turn!: If you could go back in history, which time period would you most like to explore?

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Our April Reads

Our_April_Reads_2017

It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! April’s list has a few incredible finds from our local library. Everything on this month’s list was completely new to us, which is always fun.

  1. Lindbergh: The Tale of the Flying Mouse (Torben Kuhlmann) – A story of toil and triumph—inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight! These are dark times . . . for a small mouse. A new invention—the mechanical mousetrap—has caused all of the mice but one to flee to America, the land of the free. But with cats guarding the steamships, trans-Atlantic crossings are no longer safe. In the bleakest of places . . . the one remaining mouse has a brilliant idea. He must learn to fly!
    The illustrations are what sell us on Torben Kuhlmann’s books. They are simply amazing. But you’ll love this adorable story about a little mouse with big aspirations. The kids thought this was a perfect read. 
  2. Beautiful Birds (Jean Roussen) – In this stunningly illustrated introduction to the world’s most beautiful birds, Jean Roussen and Emmanuelle Walker pay homage to an alphabet of birds in all their feathery fancies.
    A nature study read for the month, the colorful illustrations were wonderful and definitely helped us explore the world of exotic birds. 
  3. Before After (Anne_Margot Ramstein) – Just as day turns into night and back again, a many-tiered cake is both created and eaten down to a single piece. Each spread or sequence of spreads explores a before and after.
    A wordless book I wanted to explore with the kids, this book is perfect for littles or the art of storytelling. 
  4. The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts (Maja Safstrom) – Did you know that an octopus has three hearts? Or that ostriches can’t walk backward? These and many more fascinating and surprising facts about the animal kingdom are illustrated with whimsical detail in this charming collection.
    I’ll be honest, I picked up this book because of the cover itself. It’s adorable! However, I was pleased to find the pages within just as charming. We recently discovered there’s a sequel! This was a great book for nature study. 
  5. Three Swords for Granada (Walter Dean Myers) – In the year 1420, the cats from the kingdom of Spain attacked their foes: dogs led by the cruel Fidorean Guards. Full of bravery and ready to give their lives for their country, the cats begin a swashbuckling journey of swordplay and derring-do.
    As we are studying the Renaissance, this seemed a perfect read for the younger kiddos. Three Swords is a cute book and a fun read. 
  6. None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different from Us (Jen Wilkin) – Jen Wilkin leads us on a journey to discover ten ways God is different from us – and why that’s a good thing. In the process, she highlights the joy of seeing our limited selves in relation to a limitless God, and how such a realization frees us from striving to be more than we were created to be.
    One of my parenting/mommy books of the month, I discovered this read through an Instagram account I follow. Each chapter was a blessing and an encouragement. Grab it, you won’t be sorry.
  7. Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too (Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish) – With humor and understanding, Faber and Mazlish explain how and when to intervene in fights, provide suggestions on how to help children channel their hostility into creative outlets, and demonstrate how to treat children unequally and still be fair.
    Parenting can be tough sometimes, so this book suggestion piqued our interest. While the overall principles were sound, we were saddened to find the concepts within were not grounded on a moral foundation. While this is not mandatory in writing a parenting book – by any means – we, personally, prefer it. Without Christ, we are nothing. 

We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but I know a few of these have been added to our book wish list. Great picture books are worth revisiting!  We were so excited to find an incredible selection this month! A few of them were excellent aids in nature study. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading.

Your Turn!: Do you have a favorite “wordless” picture book?

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