Math Refresher for Adults {Review}

When we first started doing algebra a few years ago with Ryan it totally struck me that it had been forever since I had to do anything involving algebra! Thankfully I remembered a few of the basics and was able to go from there. It would have been way easier to have the Math Refresher for Adults book from Math Essentials though!

Math Refresher for Adults

I have used this thing like crazy lately! I flipped through a lot of the beginning stuff because it was problems that we have done over and over, with three kids and all.. But I did stop to review percentages because something always throws me with that!

Earlier this year we started Geometry with Lauren and after quite a few lessons, we realized that she just wasn’t ready for that difficulty yet. It was a hard program! But we both looked at the Geometry section and she totally understands a few things more now, like reading a protractor! No matter how many times I explained that to her she just couldn’t grasp it, but this just made sense to her when we read it together.

What I really wanted to look at started in the pre-algebra and algebra section. When Kyle first started doing algebra, he kept wanting to do things the easy way, in his head. Sure, it just makes sense when you have something like x+2=6, you can just figure it out easily in your head. But just like I said it would, it got harder and harder..

He was stuck for quite a while on a certain section in algebra so I looked over that whole section and I think with using a different phrasing and such, I was able to explain to him why things had to be done a certain way. It just made more sense to him!

Math Refresher for Adults

In thinking ahead, I wanted to check out what they had in the book for probability. I remember in Ryan’s math class that he took in college there was a big section all about probability. It took us a while to try and remember anything about it! So I thought I would refresh myself since Kyle and Lauren will be taking that same math class sooner rather than later!

You can see in the picture how the book works. The probability section starts out with six review exercises. These really make you think! It is helpful because if you miss one of those, you know you should probably go back and learn how to do them again!

There is a little helpful hint section that guides you on how to do it. Now the questions in this section are pretty basic, but are a great stepping stone for the harder stuff! There are then twelve questions on this page all about marble color probability. At the very bottom is a random problem to solve.

As you turn the page, you see the pages that I posted up above. Six more review exercises and then twelve more probability questions. These build from the previous questions, just a little harder, more options, etc. There is another random problem at the bottom of this page as well.

Now, you can write in this book all day long with the answers, that’s totally cool. They suggest actually writing out the problems and answers on a separate piece of paper! So that’s what I did with all of the pages that I have looked at so far. It was also easy to leave the finished problems with either Kyle or Lauren to look over as they are doing their own math program since I was able to explain the problems to them.

Math Refresher for Adults

What is also cool is that they have videos for everything! This was so exciting for me because a lot of the time I am just not all that great at explaining things. Once I started playing the videos I realized that they were the similar to the No-Nonsense Algebra book that Lauren used last year! Very easy to fall back into them!

I love how the videos go step by step in very easy to learn words. It makes things so much easier to refresh your memory! Between the words in the book and the video explaining it another way, it was so easy to get the problems down again!

These books have been lifesavers for us! I would have loved to have this book back when we first started doing some of the trickier things that I totally forgot about!

If you want to read what others thought of this book, feel free to click on the banner below!

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Math Refresher for Adults

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What I read in June

I can’t believe it is already July! The year is half over! How are you doing on your Goodreads challenge? I am 44 books in and I think my goal was…65? I can’t remember exactly what I set it at. I think I am 11 ahead for this point in the year, which is great, because who knows what will happen the rest of the year! So, this is what I read in June, let me know what you have read and loved lately!!

I’m Just Happy to Be Here by Janelle Hanchett – From the creator of the blog “Renegade Mothering,” Janelle Hanchett’s forthright, wickedly funny, and ultimately empowering memoir chronicling her tumultuous journey from young motherhood to abysmal addiction and a recovery she never imagined possible.

At 21, Janelle Hanchett embraced motherhood with the reckless self-confidence of those who have no idea what they’re getting into. Having known her child’s father for only three months, she found herself rather suddenly getting to know a newborn, husband, and wholly transformed identity. She was in love, but she was bored, directionless, and seeking too much relief in too much wine.

Over time, as she searched for home in suburbia and settled life, a precarious drinking habit turned into treacherous dependence, until life became car seats and splitting hangovers, cubicles and multi-day drug binges–and finally, an inconceivable separation from her children. For ten years, Hanchett grappled with the relentless progression of addiction, bouncing from rehabs to therapists to the occasional hippie cleansing ritual on her quest for sobriety, before finding it in a way she never expected.

This is a story we rarely hear–of the addict mother not redeemed by her children; who longs for normalcy but cannot maintain it; and who, having traveled to the bottom of addiction, all the way to “society’s hated mother,” makes it back, only to discover she will always remain an outsider.

Like her irreverent, hilarious, and unflinchingly honest blog, “Renegade Mothering,” Hanchett’s memoir speaks with warmth and wit to those who feel like outsiders in parenthood and life–calling out the rhetoric surrounding “the sanctity of motherhood” as tired and empty, boldly recounting instead how one grows to accept an imperfect self within an imperfect life–thinking, with great and final relief, “Well, I’ll be damned, I’m just happy to be here.”

What I thought: I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. As it went on I think I got more and more frustrated. I don’t know what I was expecting but it just kind of got repetitive. I still enjoyed it, just not as much as I had hoped though.

The Man Without a Country by Edward E. Hale – “The Man without a Country” is a short story by American writer, Edward Everett Hale, first published during the height of the Civil War during 1863 by the leading American literary magazine of the nineteenth century, The Atlantic. It is the story of an American Army Lieutenant Philip Nolan, who gets entangled with Aaron Burr in 1807, and renounces his country during his trial for treason, saying he never wanted to hear about the United States again. The Judge asks him to recant but Nolan doesn’t. So the Judge granted his request and the rest of his life Nolan spent on Navy ships around the world. The officers and crew were not allowed to mention the United States. This story came out during the height of the Civil War and served to help the Union recruit soldiers and people to their cause. It is noteworthy that Edward Everett Hale’s Uncle, Edward Everett, than man he was named after, gave the two hour featured address at Gettysburg just before Lincoln’s speech of 209 words and two minutes, that became the best acknowledged speech in American life. Everett, like Hale, was a total patriot and honest man, and immediately congratulated Lincoln on his fine accomplishment, “You have done far better in your two minutes than I did in my 2 hours.” “The Man without a Country” is still considered a major American work and read widely in American schools.. A quiet calm read letting the story speak for itself.

What I thought: I really enjoyed reading this. I just can’t imagine this actually happening, but it was an interesting read!

Co. Aytch by Sam R. Watkins – A classic Civil War memoir, Co. Aytch is the work of a natural storyteller who balances the horror of war with an irrepressible sense of humor and a sharp eye for the lighter side of battle. It is a testament to one man’s enduring humanity, courage, and wisdom in the midst of death and destruction.

Early in May 1861, twenty-one-year-old Sam R. Watkins of Columbia, Tennessee, joined the First Tennessee Regiment, Company H, to fight for the Confederacy. Of the 120 original recruits in his company, Watkins was one of only seven to survive every one of its battles, from Shiloh to Nashville.

Twenty years later, with a “house full of young ‘rebels’ clustering around my knees and bumping about my elbows,” he wrote this remarkable account—a memoir of a humble soldier fighting in the American Civil War, replete with tales of the common foot soldiers, commanders, Yankee enemies, victories, defeats, and the South’s ultimate surrender on April 26, 1865.

What I thought: This was pretty interesting! Just the fact that he survived everything that he went through. We have been reading a lot of books involving the Civil War and it is just fascinating..

Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare – Set in a courtly world of masked revels and dances, this play turns on the archetypal story if a lady falsely accused of unfaithfulness, spurned by her bridegroom, and finally vindicated and reunited with him. Villainy, schemes, and deceit threatens to darken the brilliant humor and sparkling wordplay—but the hilarious counterplot of a warring couple, Beatrice and Benedick, in Shakespeare’s superb comedy of manners.

What I thought: Well, I think I would much prefer it in an actual play. Reading it lost a lot of the oomph I think, at least for me. It didn’t help that I was reading it out loud to the kids. That was really confusing, lol.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng –

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

What I thought: Wow, I am usually not a fan of so many characters and each of their stories, but this just really worked for me. I was intrigued almost from the beginning and I just wanted to keep on reading. I still want to know what happened in their future…

The Window by Amelia Brunskill – Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside–it’s hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess’s life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn’t add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it’s a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she’s looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn’t the only one with secrets.

What I thought: I thought this was well done. It may have a few cheesy parts, but really, I wanted to keep reading so that is a sign of a good book for me! 🙂

People Like Us by Dana Mele – Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.

What I thought: Well, it was kind of silly, but I was intrigued and wanted to finish the book. Some of the parts were so unbelievable that I was getting frustrated, but I loved it.. So odd, lol.

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman – Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs.

An emotionally cathartic story of losing love, finding love, and discovering the person you are meant to be, I Have Lost My Way is best­selling author Gayle Forman at her finest.

What I thought: This was similar to…oh, that one book with the string design on the front, told in just one day… Gah, I can’t remember.. But yeah. It just has two boys and one girl, but there is still love and drama and…you know the story. But I loved how it was told!

So, that is what I read in June! Let me know if you have any favorite books lately!!

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Half way done with school!

I just realized that we are pretty much almost half way done with school! Well, for our school year.

Don’t you like my pretty much almost in that last sentence?

But we have had so many breaks due to trips, visitors, Princess Buttercup, and just other random things, that it seems like we have hardly done any school this year!

But in doing school I realized that in both our History and Science that we reached the half way point with them! We must be doing something!

We do have at least one quick family trip planned in the fall and Jeffy and I have another couple small trips here and there, so I am hoping that we will at least get December off!

We can always take more of January off if we feel like we need more of a break.

That’s what I love about homeschooling though! When we take little trips it is great when everyone else is in school. It’s harder to work around Ryan’s job, but they seem pretty easy going with giving him time off. Pretty soon we will have to work around the college schedule of the other two! Yikes!

I do enjoy our school schedule, but every now and again I wish that we were on a typical one. It’s hard to tell people what grade they are in and just other things make it more difficult. I still like doing school during the summer though, it’s just too hot to do anything else anyway!

Do you have an odd school schedule?

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The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective {Review}

We have done a lot with art in the years that we have been homeschooling, but we haven’t really gone into too much art history! I was excited to try The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective because it looked like it had everything we would want!

We received the digital version of both the textbook and the teacher guide from The Master and His Apprentices. I am all about books and printed copies of things, so my original intent was to send it off to be printed, but the printing company was running three weeks behind. So, we just used the computer to view the digital version as was.

As I opened up the files, I immediately noticed how very user friendly the files were. There was a short introduction that explained how to use the books, if you are a teacher in a classroom setting or at home…they are pretty similar really.

And then it jumps into the lessons! What I love love love is when any curriculum gives a guide on what to do every day, week, or whatever. It is so much easier for me to know what I am supposed to do on any given day. The Master and His Apprentices  does that for each week, it mentions how much to read and then lists some questions to answer.

Masterandhisapprentices

The amount to read each week varies, but it really isn’t an unreasonable amount. Very doable. I looked at the amount we were to read for the week and then I divided it up by five days. We read aloud in our homeschool, so this was nice that it wasn’t too much to read per day. The amount of questions aren’t bad either. Seems like the average is around 20 questions per week.

Now, there are worksheets that you can print out with the questions and they could easily fill them out. I showed an example up above. If I had a child that was working solo on most of their homeschooling, I would totally want them to do that. They would be reading and doing everything on their own time, so you would of course want them to show the work they have been doing. In a school setting as well, even a co-op.

We have been using the questions as more of a discussion time. It has been great and they have really gotten into answering the questions, even if it is in a round about way. If my kids were going to write down the answers, I don’t think I would get as well rounded answers from them. I do have the answer key and if they start getting off track I can guide them back to answering the question again. They have done great so far though!

After a quick introduction bit, there is a lot on Creation. You don’t typically see anything regarding this time in history books, let alone art history! It was great to see.

The whole curriculum is written from a Christian perspective. There is no nudity or anything else questionable. We all know that there was/is nudity in art, but this way it can be up to the parent when they want to introduce that in their childs’ learning.

As I’m writing this, we have left off on week four. I am amazed at all that I have learned in just this brief period! I didn’t know anything about cylinder seals! The photos that accompany each lesson have been great so far! As I have scanned through future lessons, I have seen some very familiar artwork, and some that I haven’t seen before.

I am excited to work through the rest of this curriculum. I know they will probably do really well in the Greek section as we spent over a year studying everything Greek. It will be interested to see though!

Raleigh has a great art museum that we have frequented a few times, I can see us making another trip or two there during these studies! I will keep an eye out for any special things they do throughout the year as well.

I do think that I will get this printed as soon as the printing company is caught up again, it is just what we are used to and is easier for us. I know plenty of people that prefer using the computer more during their school, and that’s awesome! Whatever is best for you!

If you do everything included in the curriculum, the questions, papers, and exams, it will count as a full year of high school credit. I am appreciative about that as well as the fact that it is also a class that they can take at the community college when they start on their associates degree and it will be a nice way to get ready for that!

We are all very excited about continuing these lessons! If you want to read what others had to say about The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective, feel free to click on the banner below!

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Saturday Snippets

SaturdaySnippets

I haven’t done a Saturday Snippets in a while and I know I have seen a ton of great stuff on the internet lately! Send me some things that you have seen lately! I wake up early to have time for myself which usually involves reading a book with breakfast and then checking emails and such. I always like seeing fun stuff on the internet!

1. I always feel better when I have quiet time.. Granted most of it is usually spent reading a book, but I do like hanging out outside at our house when the weather isn’t ridiculously hot. This article mentions the importance of saving a little bit of quiet time for yourself.

2. This article talks about how it is when your kids are grown up and moved out. Our kids are all getting older and we are recognizing more and more of what this article is saying…

3. I love that Texas is doing this project to help the homeless people in their area. I am glad it is spreading to other cities, and think it should be nationwide!

4. People helping people is just awesome.

5. This is foster care multiplied.. Goodness…

So, I will leave it on that note because it is just so, so good.. Let me know what good things you have seen on the internet lately, I am all about some good stuff!

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Six years ago…

I can’t believe it is time again to write this post..

Six years ago on June 7th we packed up and started our trek to North Carolina.

I don’t know why I started posting the yearly pictures on the 8th, but it started out that way and I just kept going with it.

This year was rough. It was a super hot day and my mom had the vet come and put her cat to sleep and well, nobody was at their best. But the one thing that I say is that everyone just come out as they are and well, here you go.

I do like seeing the changes though. This will be something I treasure for as long as we can keep doing them.

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

I am hoping that by this time next year we will have our remodel and maybe a different house color. We will see though! I do miss our green grass, but ever since we got birds it just hasn’t been the same. Gah, I love looking at these…. 🙂

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The Critical Thinking Co.™ Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha {Review}

Years ago I had ordered some books from The Critical Thinking Co.™. My kids loved the Mind Benders books, I had done those when I was younger and was so glad that they enjoyed them! They have recently come out with a lot of new books and I was excited to check them out! We got Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha.

Lake Iwannafisha

This sounded pretty interesting when I read it on the website, but in looking at it more thoroughly, I am sooo excited about this! Everything is provided for you that you would need to do this!

Basically, the whole book is trying to get you to solve the ‘who dunnit’ mystery. It is done in such a way that it isn’t childish which I appreciate. It is meant for grades 5-12. It revolves around forensic science and everything that goes into solving crimes.

It goes into all the different things that you see on the tv shows.. Fingerprints, ballistics, handwriting analysis, and counterfeit money. It uses all sorts of reports to aid in solving the mystery as well; witness statements, police reports, as well as other reports.

The crimes involve a dead body as well as human bones, counterfeit money, guns and bullets and everything that goes with criminal activity. If you have children that are more sensitive to these sorts of things, I would suggest looking it over first. My kids are in high school and enjoy the whole mystery aspect of things and watching crime shows, so they totally got it.

We got the physical book, which I love, because I can keep it forever and always come back to it. I love me some books! But one thing that I thought was totally cool was that most of the pages are also provided for you on a separate zip file that you can download and print whenever you need! So you don’t need to make copies out of the book! I totally took advantage of that!

Lake Iwannafisha

I printed out some of the things that would be needed at the beginning and put them on a display board. If I did this again I would have printed them out on different colored papers, even though it wouldn’t be a professional look, it would be easier to see.

I figured that they could always add stuff to it as they went along. I put the maps on there as well as the timeline, and on the left was the case file introduction. There is still plenty of room for more items..

Lake Iwannafisha

I went ahead and printed out a lot of the other pages as well. I organized them into their own file folders. I think it would have been a good thing to color code the folders, but that’s just me wanting to be completely organized about it all.

When the kids start out they are pretty much just given the information that I have on the display board above. They kind of know general ideas of what happened but they need to fill in the rest of the answers.

There are quite a few pages that go over the different forensic topics, and you do that first so that they get a general idea about what they are looking for. They can always refer back to them if needed. It is a lot of information!

Then they can just jump right into the case by reading the case file introduction and crime scene report. You are the sergeant and they will be coming you for information. They could choose to interview someone or ask about fingerprints and you can go ahead and give them whatever information they ask for. You may or may not have the information that they want and that adds something else to the clues.

I enjoy the fact that the kids have to come to their own conclusions. We typically do things that have a checklist or itemized thing on what to do next in our homeschool curriculum choices, so this is fun! Kind of like the choose your own adventure books I used to read when I was younger.

We just recently got this and I am so very excited to work on it with the kids. I have read through the book enough to get situated but I didn’t read any answers, I want to make sure that I don’t know ahead of time!

I could easily see doing this in a group setting like co-op or something similar..It really is something that is great for any group size, even by yourself!

If this sounds like something you would enjoy for your family, there is a coupon code for you as well as a free puzzle offer!

Free Critical Thinking Puzzles!
A $75 Value! Delivered weekly to your inbox. Choose PreK – Grade 8. Sign Up Now!
https://www.criticalthinking.com/toscrew

Special Offer from CriticalThinking.com!
Free Shipping + 15% Off Any Size Order! Use Coupon Code: TOSCREW18. Expires 12/31/2018.

If you want to read reviews from others who have used Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha as well as some of their other new products, feel free to click the banner below! They have so many good things and I am happy to see so many things for the teens!The Critical Thinking Co.™ Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha

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What I read in May

I know it has to be more than one person that thinks these months are just going by super quickly.. We have traveled a bit lately, so I think that has a tendency to make things rush by.. It has also affected my reading schedule, I am just not sure how! Ha! Here is what I read in May!

What I read in May 1

Silas Marner by George Eliot – As a young man, Silas Marner shut himself off from the world after being wrongly accused of theft and losing the girl he loved. Much later in life, the lonely, embittered weaver experiences two jolting events: he is robbed of his meager hoard of gold and he becomes the guardian of Eppie, a little orphan girl who makes her way to his cottage one wintry night. Eppie grows into a charming young woman who cares for the alienated Silas, helping him find love and hope in his life.
First published in 1861, this classic English novel by George Eliot (pen name of Mary Anne Evans) is widely admired for its brevity and perfection of form. It has also long delighted students of literature and general readers alike with its masterly portrait of moral and psychological behavior in Victorian England, and with its mystery, intrigue, and heartwarming denouement.

What I thought: I am so enjoying reading these books that others read in school. I have missed out on so much! I enjoyed this story! It wasn’t a favorite, but it was still enjoyable. I truly am thankful for homeschooling, even if it is just for reading these classic books..

What I read in May 2

Heroes of History Billy Graham by Janet & Geoff Benge – The oldest son of dairy farmers from Charlotte, North Carolina, young Billy Graham (1918-) attended evangelical revival meetings that inspired him for the rest of his life. As an ordained minister, he rose to prominence and would subsequently preach the Christian message to over 200 million people in 185 countries. Graham championed civil rights, befriended US politicians and presidents, and traveled the world to places no one else dared to go. His life and ministry have shaped the spiritual life of America and offer hope for the future — inspiring new generations of leaders willing to serve with courage, integrity, and vision.

What I thought:  I was fascinated by this story of Billy Graham! I wrote another blog post about it here, if you haven’t seen it already!

What I read in May 3

My Name is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd – Venus Black is a straitlaced A student fascinated by the study of astronomy—until the night she commits a shocking crime that tears her family apart and ignites a media firestorm. Venus refuses to talk about what happened or why, except to blame her mother. Adding to the mystery, Venus’s developmentally challenged younger brother, Leo, goes missing.

More than five years later, Venus is released from prison with a suitcase of used clothes, a fake identity, and a determination to escape her painful past. Estranged from her mother, and with her beloved brother still missing, she sets out to make a fresh start in Seattle, skittish and alone. But as new people enter her orbit—including a romantic interest and a young girl who seems like a mirror image of her former lost self—old wounds resurface, and Venus realizes that she can’t find a future while she’s running from her past.

What I thought: I loved this book! It was told really well and I enjoyed the main character. The author did a wonderful job!

What I read in May 4

The Great Stone Face by Nathaniel Hawthorne – This is an easy to read story, suitable both for adults and children, about the psychological and mystical workings of the human mind.

The Great Stone Face (The Old Man of the Mountains) juts out from the White Mountains of New Hampshire and looms over a small village. An old prophecy states that “someone will be born hereabouts who will look just like the Great Stone Face, and he will be the noblest person of his time.” Like many others, young Ernest watches the faces of returning famous men for signs of the gentle wisdom seen in the face. The rich merchant, however, is grasping, the soldier only stern, and the politician–well, a politician. Ernest, meanwhile, works hard on his farm and is looked up to by his neighbors for the thoughtful counsel he offers. As he grows old, people remark that they fear they will never see the prophecy fulfilled. At length, however, noticing Ernest’s face, they discover that it was fulfilled long ago. This thoughtful look at what it means to live a good life is as relevant today as when first written.

What I thought: This was such a short book I was hesitant on including it, but people are including all sorts of random things in their challenge, I figured why not.. I really enjoyed it though! It had a great story to tell. More people should be like Ernest. 🙂

What I read in May 5

The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix – Fourteen-year-old Avery Armisted is athletic, rich, and pretty. Sixteen-year-old Kayla Butts is known as “butt-girl” at school. The two girls were friends as little kids, but that’s ancient history now. So it’s a huge surprise when Avery’s father offers to bring Kayla along on a summer trip to Spain. Avery is horrified that her father thinks he can choose her friends—and make her miss soccer camp. Kayla struggles just to imagine leaving the confines of her small town.

But in Spain, the two uncover a secret their families had hidden from both of them their entire lives. Maybe the girls can put aside their differences and work through it together. Or maybe the lies and betrayal will only push them—and their families—farther apart.

What I thought:  At first I thought this book might be on the cheesy side, like the super cheesy side.. But the more I read, the more I started to enjoy it! The characters were well written and I enjoyed the story!

What I read in May 6

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam – Like many first-time mothers, Rebecca Stone finds herself both deeply in love with her newborn son and deeply overwhelmed. Struggling to juggle the demands of motherhood with her own aspirations and feeling utterly alone in the process, she reaches out to the only person at the hospital who offers her any real help—Priscilla Johnson—and begs her to come home with them as her son’s nanny.

Priscilla’s presence quickly does as much to shake up Rebecca’s perception of the world as it does to stabilize her life. Rebecca is white, and Priscilla is black, and through their relationship, Rebecca finds herself confronting, for the first time, the blind spots of her own privilege. She feels profoundly connected to the woman who essentially taught her what it means to be a mother. When Priscilla dies unexpectedly in childbirth, Rebecca steps forward to adopt the baby. But she is unprepared for what it means to be a white mother with a black son. As she soon learns, navigating motherhood for her is a matter of learning how to raise two children whom she loves with equal ferocity, but whom the world is determined to treat differently.

What I thought: I’ve read the two books from this author and I just don’t think I am going to read anymore. I had such high hopes for this book as I enjoyed the clip about it. But it just had some undertones and things that I didn’t enjoy, similar to the first book. I didn’t hate the book, but eh…

What I read in May 7

Staying Stylish by Candace Cameron Bure – Candace Cameron Bure, best known as D.J. Tanner from Full House and Fuller House and a New York Times bestselling author, whose faith and wit have delighted audiences for decades, lets you in on her best-kept secrets for Staying Stylish. This gorgeous manual for beauty, style, health, and spiritual wellness will bring all you need to live your most stylish life.

As an actress, producer, New York Times bestselling author, and inspirational speaker, Candace Cameron Bure has spent her entire life in the spotlight, and she is well aware of the pressures women face. Throughout her career, Candace has balanced her faith, family, and passion for work and found her spot as a role model to women of all ages—and as a style icon.

In her brand-new book Staying Stylish, Candace invites you behind the scenes of her day-to-day life and shares more than 100 tips and tricks for looking and feeling your best—both inside and out. Nurture your body, style, and soul as you read through this beautiful book full of photos, insider secrets, and exciting ideas to revamp your own life into its best possible version. She offers her insight into balance, spiritual growth, and looking great while doing it all.

Staying Stylish topics will include personal style, fresh hair and makeup for any age, a well-balanced diet and fitness regime, and a well-nourished spirit.

What I thought: I love reading about what people wear and what makeup they buy.. I don’t know why, it’s a weird thing. I used to watch YouTube videos about those things all the time. I don’t know why, I am not totally into clothes or makeup, but it’s just fun, lol. So I enjoyed this book! And I like Candace anyway…

What I read in May 8

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe – Selling more than 300,000 copies the first year it was published, Stowe’s powerful abolitionist novel fueled the fire of the human rights debate in 1852. Denouncing the institution of slavery in dramatic terms, the incendiary novel quickly draws the reader into the world of slaves and their masters.
Stowe’s characters are powerfully and humanly realized in Uncle Tom, a majestic and heroic slave whose faith and dignity are never corrupted; Eliza and her husband, George, who elude slave catchers and eventually flee a country that condones slavery; Simon Legree, a brutal plantation owner; Little Eva, who suffers emotionally and physically from the suffering of slaves; and fun-loving Topsy, Eva’s slave playmate.
Critics, scholars, and students are today revisiting this monumental work with a new objectivity, focusing on Stowe’s compelling portrayal of women and the novel’s theological underpinnings.

What I thought: I enjoyed this book! It was of course on the depressing side, but it was so well told.. I enjoyed the story so much!

So that is what I read in May! I am looking forward to some of the books that I have in my to read pile, although one of them now has a hold on it at the library and I haven’t started it yet so I have to return it. Dang! Must be good then! lol. Let me know what you have read lately and enjoyed!

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Home remodel

home remodel

We have been talking about doing a home remodel for years now. We started doing plans a while back and then things happened and they got put on the back burner.

Now we are looking into it again. We contacted our architect friend again and we are hopefully going to come up with something that will work with everything we need. The price has gone up significantly since the last time we looked into it, so that is pretty crummy, but what can you do.

Jeffy is hoping that it is going to be done by next April, but really, I can’t imagine them doing it in winter when everything is icy and/or snowy. I guess it just depends on when we can start on it. We have to take care of a few things first.

It is both frustrating and fun trying to figure out a floor plan though! We are also going to include a spot for my mom to stay, kind of a mother-in-law suite, so we have to figure out how that is going to work too.

Something weird is that we will still have our existing fireplace.. we are looking at options to keep it and show the existing brick upstairs or keeping it blocked off.

Our main goals are to get a bigger kitchen and a big front porch. Right now we basically have a stoop and it is so annoying, especially when it is raining and we have our hands full of groceries waiting for the door to get unlocked. Oh yeah, Jeffy also wants to have a garage, lol.

So, who knows when we will be able to start or if Jeffy will just throw his hands in the air and decide to move to a different house altogether.. But to get what we want, it will definitely be cheaper to remodel..

I will keep you updated about our home remodel!!

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Do you have a favorite dessert?

dessert

Jeffy and I have been traveling a little bit more than normal lately…which we love doing! One of my favorite things to do together is to try new places to eat. I am also on the search for the best eclair, you may remember me writing about that. I love finding new desserts to try also! Do you have a favorite dessert?

We recently went to a restaurant here locally that we’ve been meaning to go to ever since we moved here. It was amazing. They are going to be moving down the street from where they are now in order to have more room, so that will be great. But they had a unique dessert that will have me going back there often! Even moreso than the food!

Jeffy isn’t much about the dessert life. Every now and again he gets on a spurt of wanting some though, and we love to go to new yummy places. Even if the dessert doesn’t end up being what we think it is going to be, just the experience is great.

When he travels by himself, he typically eats fast food or some other chain restaurant. When I go with him I pretty much insist we try local restaurants, even if they are a local chain. I want to eat where the locals eat and try new things! This last trip had us eating Chinese food and pizza and Irish food…it’s pretty crazy!

For me, if someone asks if I have a favorite dessert I will usually say a brownie. Doesn’t matter if it is frosted, has chocolate chips, or whatever…I love brownies. But there really are so many good desserts out there. And if anyone knows where to get the best eclair, please let me know. Right now it is still the place in NYC that we tried that was pretty amazing. And then a place in MA that was dang close.

Do you have a favorite dessert?

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