Friday, February 26, 2010

Momma's Books

I looked around my nightstand and surrounding messy floor and thought you might enjoy knowing what books are on my reading list. I neatened them up and snapped a pic to share with you. That pic did not work well, so we went to the bright and sunlit library and staged this picture instead.

Some of these I have just begun, some are old favorites and go-to's and others are yet-to-be-enjoyed.

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I forgot to grab the one I just finished reading. It's Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart. It's an interesting read and has quite a mystery as the real-life backstory.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ms. Ga'g Entertaining Trixie

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I brought out all of our Wanda Ga'g books for the previous post. Trixie has read through the entire stack in just over a week. She's enjoyed every one, but says that "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" has been her favorite.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wanda Ga'g

Today I'd like to introduce you to Wanda Ga'g. She's a lesser known author and illustrator, but I hope you will come to know her!

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My first Wanda Ga'g book was The ABC Bunny. It's a recommendation in the BFIAR curriculum. It's a very sweet little story, very folksy, and a good way to reinforce the alphabet. Wanda wrote the story and her sister set it to a little tune. Her brother did the hand-lettering of the book.

Here's a link to a good biography of Wanda. She had an interesting life, with lots of challenges, and even all-out difficulties.

Here is a list of her books:
We have all but Growing Pains and The Day of Doom. You can also get several of Wanda's Grimm stories illustrated by Margot Tomes.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's That Bug?

My children LOVE bugs. They bring in all sorts of examples of insect life they find outdoors, they hatch and release, and later, capture and raise praying mantids every spring and summer. We have a couple at church that brings in all sorts of creepy-crawlies (including the tiniest scorpions you've ever seen) to gift my children. They seem to have an eye for all tiny, little (and not-so-little) creatures!

A few years ago, we found an interesting creature on the wall at church. No one had any idea what it was! We took it home, put it in a jar (with a stick and a leaf to recreate what it was used to*) and I began to research. I simply could not find out what it was! We kept it overnight. I searched the next day, too. When I found nothing, I told the Lambies to release it. I didn't want it to starve in our care! Just a half hour or so later, I chanced upon a site...no, THE SITE. The very best insect identification site ever.

I quickly found our bug, which happened to be a Solpugid:

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However, he was lost in the jungle that was our yard. We couldn't find him again, as much as we wanted to. I did, though, find a homeschool website that we find invaluable. Make sure to bookmark the homepage and check frquently. They feature the ever-interesting "The Bug of the Month" and an effective search feature. We like to just browse all the beauty and wonder of God's creation!

http://www.whatsthatbug.com

*This is a reference to a comedy bit my husband enjoys.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tasha Tudor

Tasha Tudor is one of my favorite author/illustrators. I love her gentle, warm pictures, the lovely, intricate borders and the homey, simple lifestyles portrayed.

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I love the manner of life she lived, though I wish she had known Jesus Christ.

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I yearn for a simple, beautiful, wholesome life such is portrayed in her lovely books. Make sure not to pass up any chance you have to add her delicately illustrated books to your home library.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

My School Closet Bookrack

My custom made bookrack caught someones eye in a previous post. I was asked to provide details and better pictures. My readers' wish is my command, so, here is my wonderful bookrack.

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My husband used a thin sheet of plywood for the backboard and some thin molding to make the frame. He drilled holes in the frame and glued in thin, flexible dowels. He angled more of the molding for little shelves for the books to sit on. The books slip easily behind the dowels and are held nicely.

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He screwed it to the inside of the school closet door, using mollies to make sure the fit was tight. He made sure the screws would not protrude through the door, but go in enough to hold it firmly. It has held without problem for several years.

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The downsides: Babies must be taught not to pull on the dowels. We lost one low 'shelf' to Toddler Troubles. I need to remember to buy another dowel to replace it! Thick hardcover books do not fit. Those are the only two I can think of!

I love going through my library, choosing out a variety of books for free reading time, and arranging them in the closet. The children wake up to a fresh bunch of books they might not have found otherwise. I also use it for mini-unit studies, especially based around upcoming holidays.

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Can you tell I am excited about spring?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Playing Cards

Playing cards are useful for so many things, We play number games, of course. They can be quite the tool to teach numbers to beginners. My older Lambies like to play poker, blackjack and "Doubt It". We all play "Spike and Mallet". I really enjoyed cribbage as a teen and young adult. I need to brush up on it and teach it to the Lambies. I have one, however, that is much more interested in the building properties of cards. He's trying to learn how to challenge this guy.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jim Arnosky Coloring Pages



Here's a link to the coloring pages at Jim Arnosky's website. Mr. Arnosky has made it to the Crew's list of favorite illustrators. One of the Lambies likes to get his books out and draw the animals from the pages. What good practice!

We have borrowed some of the Crinkleroot books from the library. I'd like to find some used. They were well received.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Rattlebang Picnic

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What a fun adventure this book is! We have many of Steven Kellogg's great books. We appreciate the details in his illustrations and the complexity, as well. This one is written by Margaret Mahy. My favorite line comes just two pages into the book:

"We can afford either a wonderful, speedy car that never breaks down, or we can have lots of children," said Jack McTavish. "What a pity we can't have both." "Perhaps we can have just a few children--just six or seven--if we make do with an old car," suggested the new Mrs. McTavish.
With hilarious references to Grandma McTavish's poor cooking and the bumping, banging and backfiring, this book is a sure family favorite.

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Another well-loved Kellogg-illustrated book is Iva Dunnit and the Big Wind. Written by Carol Purdy, it's the story of Iva and her six children. She taught them to keep their wits, stay put, and they all work together to overcome some really big trouble. Make sure to add this one to your reading list!