Jonathan’s Reading – April 2008

April 30, 2008 Categories: Books , Homeschooling | Comments Off  

The Lost Scrolls: Air (Avatar: the Last Airbender) by Tom Mason and Dan Danko

Several Choose Your Own Adventure books

Read Alouds – April 2008

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The Jesus Bible Storybook: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Fly by Night by Francis Hardinge
Noisy Poems collected by Jill Bennett
Adventures with the Vikings (Good Times Travel Agency) by Linda Bailey
Oh, No! Where Are My Pants? and Other Disasters: Poems compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Science Verse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
Please Bury Me in the Library by J. Patrick Lewis
If Not For the Cat by Jack Prelutsky
Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry compiled by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters
Before Columbus: The Leif Eriksson Expedition: A True Adventure by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms compiled by Paul Janeczko
The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant) by Avi
Math Curse by Jon Scieszka
Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Medieval Castle by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen

Natalie’s Reading – April 2008

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Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
Women in Medieval Times by Fiona Macdonald

Josiah’s Reading – April 2008

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Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel
Mouse Soup by Arnold Lobel
Daniel’s Duck by Clyde Robert Bulla
The Viper by Lisa Thiesing
Little Critter Sleeps Over by Mercer Mayer
The Case of the Two Masked Robbers by Lillian Hoban
Kick, Pass, and Run by Leonard Kessler

Noah’s Reading – April 2008

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A Walk in Wolf Wood by Mary Stewart
The Best Ever Book of Knights by Philip Steele

House, Bones, and books

April 29, 2008 Categories: Books , Poetry , Television | 4 Comments  

Any other House and Bones fans out there? Weren’t last night’s episodes terrific? (Spoiler: If you are watching on DVD, and are a season behind, you’ll want to scroll down past the next two paragraphs.)

I loved how House had them all thinking he had neuro-syph and that the antibiotics were making him “nicer.” Also, I felt for the wife of the patient – the look on her face after he said, “I guess I don’t like catsup. I wonder what else I don’t like.” – that was heartbreaking.

And how precious were Bones and Booth with baby Andy? Bones trying to relate to him like a logical adult: “Elephants are not purple.” And then when she started to warm up: “Phalanges! Dancing phalanges!” Leading to her blowing a raspberry into his neck – after making sure no one was watching, of course. It was a great episode. I can’t believe we only have four more to go until we’re done for the summer. The writer’s strike sure took a bite out of the TV season!

We are not partaking of American Idol this season. I don’t miss it at all – which is strange, since I used to love watching it. I thought that last season’s singers were just “meh,” though. Then last May, the choice came down to the AI finale or the Lost finale. I chose Lost, and decided we were done with AI. Natalie was bummed at first, but she hasn’t said a word about it for months, so I guess she’s over it. She’s in a huge mystery phase, and is re-watching the DVDs of Monk in order. Gotta love Netflix.

Speaking of Netflix, Kevin and I discovered a great show. Anyone out there watch Psych? It’s a USA series; I think it runs right after Monk. It’s very funny – and I have loved Dule Hill ever since he played Charlie on West Wing.

I haven’t just been sitting around watching television, though, I’ve also been sitting around reading. ;) Friday afternoon, after I finished Anna Karenina, I read The Radiation Sonnets: For My Love, in Sickness and in Health, which is a collection of 43 sonnets Jane Yolen wrote while her husband was undergoing radiation for a brain tumor. Every night during treatment, she wrote one sonnet before bed. They are heartbreaking, funny, poignant, and wonderful. When she finished the book, her husband David Stemple was still alive and had a good prognosis. I looked her up on Wikipedia and found that he later died – in 2006, I think. The book of sonnets was published in 2003. Highly recommended.

I also read Debra Ginsberg’s memoir About My Sisters this weekend. I have three sisters, like Ms. Ginsberg, and so much of it rang true, even though their family’s “style” is completely different from ours. Also recommended.

I am currently halfway through Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. You never know what you’re getting with a Gaiman book! The kids and I adored Coraline, even though it was by far the creepiest book we’d ever read aloud. I tried to read American Gods, and couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters – too bizarrely sexual. (Is bizarrely a word?) Michelle read Anansi Boys and said it wasn’t like that at all, which prompted me to listen to his Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders on audiobook. I don’t even know quite how to describe it. Some stories I liked very much, and you should definitely hear him read his poem “The Day the Saucers Came”. (The link is to a video of Neil Gaiman visiting Google to talk about Fragile Things. He reads the poem at the beginning of the video.) Some of the stories in Fragile Things were disturbing, others funny and fascinating, and a couple were downright horrific. He is the only author who should definitely perform the audiobooks of his own work – he is one of the best audiobook readers I’ve listened to, and I’ve listened to a bunch.

Anyway, back to Neverwhere, which I’m about halfway through, and absolutely loving. It’s fantasy, dark fantasy, but not horror. At least, not so far. He is a craftsman when it comes to words, and very funny. An example:

“Richard had noticed that events were cowards: they didn’t occur singly, but they would run in packs and leap out at him all at once.”

That’s how last week felt. Blech.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. Have any of you been watching or reading or listening to anything wonderful? Please share.


Categories: Contests , Movies | 2 Comments  


I usually reserve links for Friday, but this contest is happening now! Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer is giving away a copy of the new A&E Romance Collection DVD Set. This includes Pride and Prejudice and so many more: Emma, Jane Eyre, Lorna Doone, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Victoria & Albert, Tom Jones, and Ivanhoe. The contest ends tomorrow, so don’t wait – click over right now!

Review Tuesday

Categories: Music , Reviews | Comments Off  

(I was allowed to listen to Clay Aiken’s On My Way Here online for the purpose of review. This was arranged by Special Ops Media.)


I didn’t watch American Idol the first season. My first experience with AI was the season that involved Clay Aiken winning second – and I felt like he was robbed. I am so happy for him that he has had so much post-AI success. Yes, I bought his first album, and his Christmas album. They are frequently listened to at our house – and my boys love his music.

Well, Clay finally has an album of all-new material coming out on May 6th:

On My Way Here chronicles Aiken’s experiences over the past five years, ascending from popular contestant on the second season of American Idol to pop superstar. The album’s theme came to Aiken when he and his executive producer Jaymes Foster fell in love with a song co-written by Ryan Tedder called “On My Way Here.” The message of the lyrics – how the lessons we learn while growing up shape us into who we become as adults – struck a very deep chord with the artist. The title track “On My Way Here” is the first radio single from the album and it debuted at Number One on the AOL Top 40 Songs Chart on April 15th.

When I was given a chance to listen to On My Way Here online before the release date, I was ecstatic. I enjoyed his first CD very much, but I loved the music on this CD. Clay has done a lot of growing up since he was almost the American Idol, and it shows in the songs on this CD. His Christian faith comes through in many of the songs, as well as the experience of being single and waiting for “the one.”

Track Listing:

1: On My Way Here
“Faith has conquered fear, on my way here…

2: Ashes

3: Everything I Don’t Need

4: Something About Us
This is a beautiful love song: “The words on every poet’s tongue, every love song ever sung is about us…”

5: Falling

6: Where I Draw the Line

7: The Real Me

8: The Weight of the World

9: As Long As We’re Here
“Some people live their lives holding their fear inside of them, afraid to build windows to let the light of the world in…”

10: Sacrificial Love

11: Grace of God

12: Lover All Alone
“As hard as love can be, it’s harder still it seems, to be a lover all alone without love.”

On My Way Here will be available to purchase on May 6th, but you can pre-order at now.

About My Sisters

April 28, 2008 Categories: Books , Commonplace Book | 4 Comments  


Deja watches and smiles. “Sometimes I just can’t get over it,” she says.

“What’s that, Dej?”

“You’re all just so . . . beautiful,” she says. “I have the most beautiful sisters in the world.”

We all share this feeling, but only Deja could give it voice. In anyone else’s mouth, these words would sound syrupy and insincere. Deja manages to convey their real meaning. My sisters are lovely, but she’s not talking about physical beauty. Together, we illuminate each other. When we reflect off each other, whatever light we possess individually is made that much brighter. It is this brightness that Deja finds beautiful. It is the brilliance and power of sisters.

~ from About My Sisters by Debra Ginsberg

Tired, but happy – oh, and a tag

April 26, 2008 Categories: All About Me , Memes & Quizzes | 3 Comments  

Today was just what I needed. Kevin and I and the boys drove up to Trail, B.C. to swim and play at the Aquatic Center. (Natalie is spending the weekend with Grandmama and Papa.) We stayed for about three hours. I swam for an hour and a half, showered, and then sat and read until Kevin and the boys were worn out and starving. We went out to eat where I had some very yummy stuffed mushrooms (so not on Weight Watchers :( ). A quick stop at Tim Horton’s for coffee and then the ride home, during which I managed to doze off in spite of drinking a large Tim Horton’s with two creams and two sugars.

The kids are now getting some game time in, Kevin is dozing since he had to stay awake to drive us home, and I’m going to watch the second half of Anna Karenina. I bought the version with Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean (!) a while ago, but have been saving it until I had finished the book. I watched the first half last night while Kevin was gaming, and it’s just okay. But it is Sean Bean, so I will force myself to finish it. ;)

Karen tagged me to do the Seven Random Facts Meme, so here goes:

~ I love the beach, but hate the ocean – the underwater part of it, anyway. I hate movies that feature underwater scenes – Finding Nemo is about the only exception. Those underwater aquariums – where the water is all around you and you can see all those fish and sharks swimming around – make me freak out, which Kevin discovered on our honeymoon. Guess I’ll never go snorkeling.

~ I have only lived in one state – Washington. I’ve lived in the northwest corner, southwest corner, and we now reside in the northeast corner.

~ My daughter and I are planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this year.

~ I was a theater major in college and acted and/or sang in several plays, including A Comedy of Errors, Love’s Labours Lost, The Water Engine, Once Upon a Mattress, The Hostage, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Steel Magnolias.

~ I am a very light sleeper, which is why Kevin has spent the last several weeks sleeping on an air mattress in the living room while he gets over a sinus infection that makes him snore louder and more continuously than usual.

~ I can read anywhere, anytime, no matter how noisy or busy things are around me.

~ I have a really bad habit of interrupting people – especially my husband. He hates it.