Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reading Challenge: Shine On Series

Title: Shine On; Rise and Shine; Come Rain or Shine
Author: Allison Jewell
Series: Shine On

I found Shine On as a free eBook and dug in to help finish off one of my reading challenges. Not only did I devour it in one day, the next day I found and bought Rise and Shine, and read it, and the next day I bought Come Rain or Shine, and read it! I LOVED this series so much, I'm rather bummed that it appears to be ending with three books. Maybe we'll get lucky and Jewell will decide to pen another. 
Emmie and Silas McDowell meet in rather unfortunate circumstances and as their friendship grows, Emmie's secret involvement with Ole Maizy, a moonshine still, collides with Silas's family business. Shine On leads it's readers into the midst of a moonshine war in which Silas and Emmie are forced to reevaluate all of the decisions they've made in life. With it's blind pigs, speakeasies, dirty cops, and hidden stills, the small town that Emmie grew up in suddenly becomes so many more things. At the heart of this all to short series, is the love affair that begins between Emmie and Silas. Emmie will have to decide if she can accept a life with this slightly overbearing but loving man, and all of his secrets, and Silas has to face up to the fact that he may have finally met his match in Emmie.

Reading Challenges:
Where Are You Reading
Monthly Key Words
Historical Fiction

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Reading Challenge: The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

Title: The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
Author: Ree Drummond

I first discovered Ree Drummond like most other people, through her blog The Pioneer Woman Cooks, where she mixes tantalizing recipes with a whole lot of eye candy. In her autobiographical book Ree writes about meeting her cowboy during a short pit-stop between lives in LA and Chicago. She dreamed of big cities, culture, and worldly cuisine. What she got was a chance meeting with a handsome cowboy in a small town bar and a world wind courtship that belongs in a romance novel. I won't give away all of her dirty little secrets, but I dare you to read her story and not fall in love with the Oklahoma prairie and the cowboys that come with it. Ree will have all of you searching for your Marlboro Man.

Reading Challenges:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Reading Challenge: Red Hat Society's Acting Their Age

Title: The Red Hat Society's Acting Their Age
Author: Regina Hale Sutherland

 The Red Hat books have been loosely on my want to read list for a long time. They always sounded like fun, and when I needed a "red" book to fit the color-coded challenge, the title popped up again and I jumped at the chance to finally dive in. It's an easy to read, fun story about three women who have shared their lives, from the turbulent teenage years, to Mia's all to recent loss of her husband. When the women discover Rachel, a run-away foster child, holed up in the store room of Mia's coffee shop, their world is turned upside down as they try to keep Rachel's secrets in a one horse town. This spunky, broken, and desperate fourteen year old helps these three beautiful women find their inner youth, and deal with love and loss, as they begin to truly live again. Mia and Cade, the town's sheriff, struggle with a fledgling relationship, and like any good romance, there is a fairytale ending.

Reading Challenges:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reading Challenge: Bella Tuscany

Title: Bella Tuscany
Author: Frances Mayes
Series: Under The Tuscan Sun
Bella Tuscany is as enchanting as Under The Tuscan Sun was when I first perused it's pages four years ago. After the dusty and treacherous work of renovating Bramasole, Frances and her husband return to Cortona, Italy for their ninth summer to rest and relax. Well, as much as you can rest and relax with a revolving door of visitors, acres of garden to cultivate, and two major bathroom remodels. Their adventures with renovation in a small Italian town continue when their precious load of handpicked tile drives off a road and sinks, along with the truck it's in, somewhere along the coast never to be seen again. Frances continues to sneak in exquisite recipes throughout her narrative, and description of their gardens will leave you craving the Cortona hillsides, and tasting the scent of their limoneira.

Reading Challenges:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Reading Challenge: Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

Title: Where Have All the Flowers Gone? the Diary of Molly McKenzie Flaherty
Author: Ellen Emerson White
Series: Dear America

The Dear America series is comprised of easy to read diaries, penned during various points in history.  This particular one follows a year in the life of Molly McKenzie during Vietnam and specifically depicts her confusion over world, and local events. Molly finds solace after her eighteen year old brother, Patrick, joins the Marines by seeking volunteer work in a near-by veterans hospital. You can also read Patrick's story: My Name Is America: The Journal Of Patrick Seamus Flaherty, United States Marine Corps

Reading Challenge:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Reading Challenge: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest

Title: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest
Author: Stieg Larsson

Just like the first two books in this amazing trilogy, I loved the final installment of Lisbeth Salandar and Mikael Blomkvist's saga. The story is a mix of adventure and mystery with a whole lot of government conspiracy and self righteous officials mixed in. After being severely wounded at the end of book two, Salandar clings to life while Blomkvist fights for her freedom. Not only does this story follow Blomkvist through his investigation but we get a deeper look at the rest of the Millennium staff,  and Armansky and his private security crew, among other good guys. Cortez digs up dirt on one of the SMP board members that makes Berger seriously reconsider her recent career move while she is fighting a personal battle with a stalker.
Mount TBR

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up

Whew the last couple of weeks has gone by fast! I'm a bit behind, here's a look at what we did last week.

A created artwork using quartered construction paper and peel and stick foam leaves from his quiet time box.

J finished his Weather Words Lapbook

A colored this color by number "W is for Weather" page from this printable pack

 He also did a cold/hot sort while practicing cutting, and glued the items into the correct column, also from this printable pack

J read a book about thunder and lightening and answered the questions found at the end. Due to the government shut down the website is not available, I will add the link later.

A did letter mazes in a workbook he received as a gift, it came from Costco

J started working on a daily weather journal that I found here

We played Save The Caterpillar several times for addition review

A had a great time playing with the Link N' Learns and creating "snakes" from one end of the house to the other.

He LOVED the puppets from this printable pack at Homeschool Creations. I think it's suggested that you put them on popsicle sticks, but he liked to put the knights "inside" the castle so just leaving them folded worked well for us.

 Also from the Knights printable pack was this easy game for number recognition and one-to-one correspondance. It was a huge hit at our house, as any game usually is.

A put together this number matching book. I did all of the cutting on this one and he matched up the numbers (with help) and glued them into place. This will be added to some other weather activities for his notebook.

 I found these cute and simple fall coloring sheets and printed them for read aloud time. The graphics are really cute and the boys loved coloring them together.

More from the Knights printable pack at Homeschool Creations. A played this How Many Knights? counting game several times. We turned the number cards upside down and he would randomly pick one and identify it, then count out the correct number of knight cards. I put the mat in a page protector and laminated the number cards and knights for durability. 

 We had a great Saturday taking advantage of some free (and cheap!) activities in our area. If you haven't tried Home Depot's Kid's Workshop I highly recommend it. October is fire safety month and the coordinator at our Home Depot goes all out! There is the typical building project, the fire department was there with fire trucks and an ambulance, the boys got to crawl through the smoke house, eat cotton candy and hot dogs, and they gathered several goodie bags.

We also made a trip to Micheal's Crafts for a special pumpkin decorating kids class. It was $5 for each of the boys and I felt it was worth it. They each received a  9" foam pumpkin and there was paint, paper, googly eyes, and a few other things for decoration. I got a few minutes of quiet time to wander around the store!

 I found these cute little crowns to color and make so the boys colored them while I read and then I cut them out. They provided lots of comic relief since they are obviously too small for their heads. It's suggested that you use a copier to enlarge the crowns. They are the perfect size to share with furry friends for pretend play though.

We've continued playing lots of games to strengthen J's math skills with some addition and subtraction worksheets thrown in. He's been having fun with a Disney book that I think came from the dollar store.

 J has been working on pieces from a medieval lapbook from Homeschool Share. They have two levels available so I picked the ones that I liked from both sets and he's been working on an element each day.

My sister showed me this idea pre-Pinterest days so I don't know where it came from, but I drew lines on a piece of foam paper to make six different squares. In the top squares I glued down foam pieces to create a puzzle of sorts, and then A had to replicate the puzzle in the square underneath. You could have them glue the pieces on but we're keeping this as a busy bag so he just set them in place.

 We played a medieval card game from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Education. It's similar to Skip-Bo Jr. and would be appropriate for a wide variety of ages.

 A used these weather counting cards again, this time I gave him paperclips to put around the edges.

J made a notebooking page for words containing the "ea" blend. He added this printable to the top (I printed it as a half sheet) then he built words using wooden letters and recorded them on his sheet.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Reading Challenge: The Boots My Mother Gave Me

Title: The Boots My Mother Gave Me
Author: Brooklyn James
Genre: Adult Fiction

I loved this book from the first word to the last. Harley (love the name!) LeBeau spends her life trying to escape the small town she is raised in, along with the abusive father who inhabits it. With her dreams, Charlene the Chevelle, and a pair of old worn boots her mother gives here, Harley hits the road leaving behind her little sister and Jeremiah Johnson, the only rock in her life, and her soft place to land. Harley finds love in unexpected places, answers one too many midnight phone calls, and proves that despite everything, you can go home again.

Reading Challenges:

Foam Pumpkins in the Tub

I've seen so many fun foamie ideas lately and since we have a ton of foam sheets floating around I whipped up some of these cuties before A took his bath.

With a little encouragement (ie. a fun activity) A will stay in the bathtub for at least an hour. I cut a pumpkin shape from a piece of orange foam, a stem from green, and various facial features out of yellow scraps.
Just dip the foam in water and stick to the bathtub wall.

The boys had a blast creating pumpkin faces.

I also recently saw this in a felt form that would make a great busy bag!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Reading Challenge: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire

Title: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire
Author: Stieg Larsson

Loved, loved, loved these books! I can't wait to get my hands on the third book in this trilogy. I picked them up at a used book sale, recognizing the title, but not really knowing anything about them. I do that. My mom got to them first and told me to put them at the top of my reading list. I read both books in a week because I couldn't put them down. They aren't for the faint at heart so be prepared if you choose to delve into these works. Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist and Lisbeth Salander, social outcast, must face their pasts and their futures in these riveting stories that puts socialites, and the social system on prominent display.

Reading Challenges: