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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back to Homeschool 2016-2017


I am SO glad it is time to go back to school!  This was our first year taking the entire summer off and I tell you what!  I will NEVER do that again!  Or at least not the whole summer...it was crazy and getting back into a routine has been quite a challenge!  I have a lot to share with how we are scheduling our days and what curriculum we are using, but I'll save that for another post.  For now here are the girls first day back to school pictures!  Hard to believe I have a 5th grader this year and that this will be our 6th year homeschooling! 

Maggie, 1st Grade...

Kayley 5th Grade... 


Monday, August 8, 2016

She Stood for Freedom by Loki Mulholland {Book Review}


She Stood for Freedom by Loki Mulholland, tells the untold story of his mother, Civil Rights heroine Joan Trumpauer Mulholland.  As a white teenager growing up in the deep south, Joan was shocked by the injustice and horrible effects of segregation...  Determined to join the Civil Right Movement, Joan wanted to help put an end to these unfair practices.  Joan attended some of the most famous demonstrations from the time period including the Freedom Rides, Woolworth's lunch counter sit ins, and the the March on Washington.  She even met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr!  Joan was even the first white woman to attend an all black college and be invited into an all black sorority!  Even though she faced threats and ended up getting arrested she never gave up the belief that segregation was wrong and that she could "make a difference."  Her courage against injustice is an inspiration for us all.

Joan said, "Anyone can make a difference.  It doesn't matter how old or young you are.  Find a problem, get some friends together, and go fix it.  Remember you don't have to change the world...just change your world."

Recommended for ages 8 and up, She Stood for Freedom is a perfect complement to our studies of the Civil Rights Movement.  It is chock full of original pictures and images of historical documents,  including Joan at the Woolworths counter and with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr!  The back pages include an epilogue and timeline of events in Joan's life.  It is easy to read and understand even for the youngest of readers studying this time period.  Even as an adult my understanding of the time period was deepened by witnessing the effect that Joan had on her world.

She Stood for Freedom is available for purchase now at your favorite book retailer.  Happy Reading!

Thank you so much to Shadow Mountain for giving me an advanced reader copy of She Stood for Freedom.  I was not compensated for my review and all opinions expressed here are my very own.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast {A Steampunk Proper Romance}


When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for.  A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border. 
Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret.  He is brash and inhospitable, and does not take kindly to visitors - even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett.  He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister Marie.  Could Miles himself be to blame for the deaths?   
Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor.  but can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles?  Can she love the man - beast and all?
What an awesome opportunity I was given to review Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen!  I was pleasantly surprised at what a delight this steampunk romance turned out to be!

So, really, this was my very first time reading something that was classified as "Steampunk."  If you are anything like me, you may be wondering...what exactly is steampunk anyway?  I Googled up a definition for you, which really doesn't do the word justice according to the book, but here:

Steampunk 
  1. a genre of science fiction that typically features 
    steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.

And this is true...  there were "automatons" or "'tons" doing the work of servants, airships, horseless carriages driven by 'tons, "Tesla stations" to send messages, etc.  All the while this book held onto the dreamy victorian era that this Proper Romance girl adores!  

So, my opinion and definition of steampunk is really more like this:

Steampunk
Where the Victorian era crashes into the future.

According to the book description it is where 
"Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast"

 Let me tell you more about this book....  

Lucy Pickett is a scientist, biologist, herboligist and an amazingly self-reliant lady when she arrives at Blackwell Manor to care for her cousin, Kate, who is mysteriously ill.  As she tries to get to the bottom of Kate's ailment there are whispers and rumors of a curse that afflicts only Blackwell brides...  Like Lord Blackwell's late wife...she only survived for a month in her marriage before she met a tragic end.  A no-nonsense skeptic, Lucy has no time for that until she is confronted by the ghost of Marie herself, Lord Blackwell's sister who was murdered in the gardens.  What is her unfinished business?  Does she have something to say about the curse?  Was she victim to this curse as well? 

As Lucy gets to know the handsome and brooding Lord Blackwell she realizes that he holds a secret...one that could shed light on the mysteries plaguing the residents of the manor.  
Duhm, duhm, DUHM.... 
Are you intrigued yet?

So, what did I REALLY think of this book?
First of all, this genre was way out of my comfort zone.  I began reading it with trepidation because I was pretty sure that I was not going to like it.  I mean, vampires? werewolves?  really?  But, I gave it a go....and by page 65 the book grabbed ahold of me and refused to let me go.

Trust me when I tell you this book will pull you in just like all the other amazing proper romances!   I really enjoyed it and I think you will too!

You can purchase Beauty and the Clockwork Beast from your favorite retailer!  

Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my very own.  Thank you so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Kayley's 10th Birthday


For Kayley's 10th birthday she decided that she wanted to do another "Choose Your Own Adventure."  Last years adventure was so much fun and we were all excited to see what Kayley would choose this year!  

Before getting started we decided she'd better open her cards...just in case there was money or gift cards inside!   

Then she received her adventure book, written just for her! 



First stop was Chick-fil-A for breakfast where they "heard" there was a birthday girl in the restaurant and rewarded her with a free chocolate chip cookie! 

And a stop at Build-a-Bear of course! 




A birthday can't go by without a stop off at Chuck E. Cheese for games... 



Oh, and of course a stop at Toys R Us is essential.  We learned she wasn't the only birthday girl in the house too!  We met another little girl who shared the same special day! 

Papa and Kayley acting like goof balls. 

Last stop was Fuji for dinner! 

Ending our night at home with cake, ice-cream and presents! 




Happy 10th Kayley! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Summer Nature Study

We've had some really beautiful days here and the girls have had lots of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the critters in our yard.  We haven't been outside early enough to catch turtles as often (they hide when it's hot) but we are seeing other little friends like butterflies, crawdads and LOTS of lightening bugs!



Somebody's been nibbling on this mushroom! 

We went to the park and the girls enjoyed catching and releasing several crawdads! 

  

Kayley found this interesting nest laying on the ground one morning...  We couldn't figure out if it was a bird or squirrel nest...There wasn't anything in it to give us any clues.

Lightening Bugs!


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