Natalie’s Reading – January 2009

January 31, 2009 Categories: Books , Homeschooling | Comments Off  

Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
Whispers Down the Lane by Beverly Lewis
Monster Blood by R.L. Stine
The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene
A Night in Terror Tower by R.L. Stine
A Time to Cherish by Robin Jones Gunn
Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning by Danette Haworth
Sweet Dreams by Robin Jones Gunn
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
A Promise is Forever by Robin Jones Gunn

Jonathan’s Reading – January 2009

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Garfield and the Mysterious Mummy by Jim Kraft and Jim Davis
Monday with a Mad Genius by Mary Pope Osborne
Midnight on the Moon by Mary Pope Osborne
Horrible Harry and the Ant Invasion by Suzy Kline

Read Alouds – January 2009

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The Travels of Ferdinand Magellan by Joanne Mattern
The Travels of Hernan Cortes by Debbie Crisfield
The Travels of Henry Hudson by Joanne Mattern
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – 5 stars

Noah’s Reading – January 2009

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The 39 Clues: One False Note by Gordon Korman

Josiah’s Reading – January 2009

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The Littles to the Rescue by John Peterson


January 28, 2009 Categories: Kid Stuff | 2 Comments  

Josiah: You remember when we went to the zoo on our vacation?

Me: Yes.

Josiah: Well, until I actually saw one, I thought rhinos were myths.

Me: Myths? You mean, like unicorns?

Josiah: Yep. And like narwhals.

Me: Narwhals are real, honey.

Josiah: They are?

Me: Yep.

Josiah: Do they have one at the zoo?

What I learned today

Categories: Homeschooling | 8 Comments  

If you do a science experiment involving an empty two-liter pop bottle and a balloon, during which the balloon is inflated and then allowed to deflate, and if the deflated balloon is exactly the shape of a scrotum, and you have three boys and a husband whose sense of humor hasn’t quite grown up yet, there will be jokes. Ahem.

Featured DVD: Mary Poppins: The 45th Anniversary Edition

January 27, 2009 Categories: Movies , Reviews | 4 Comments  

(Mary Poppins: The 45th Anniversary Edition was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review.)


Experience the extraordinary animation, dazzling special effects and award-winning music of Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins in this restored and remastered 2-Disc 45th Anniversary Special Edition!

Join the “practically perfect” Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) for a “Jolly Holiday” as she magically turns every chore into a game and every day into a whimsical adventure. Along the way, you’ll be enchanted by unforgettable characters such as the mutlitalented chimney sweep Bert (Dick Van Dyke).

Unpack Mary’s magical carpetbag full of bonus features, including all-new bonus from the “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” Broadway production of Mary Poppins. You won’t need a “Spoonful of Sugar” to love every moment of this timeless classic!

Do you really need a review of one of Disney’s most wonderful classics? Of course not! I have loved Mary Poppins since I was a child, and watching it now sends me right back to those days. We used to have it on video, but it wore out and I had to toss it, so it’s been a while since I could share this with my kids. It’s exciting to get to experience it with them again.

My favorite part by far? The scene on the ceiling: “I Love to Laugh.”

Mary Poppins: The 45th Anniversary Edition is available on DVD on January 27th. The DVD special features include a featurette on bringing Mary Poppins to the stage, rare behind-the-scenes footage from the film, Poppins pop-up fun facts, a bonus short, a deleted song, and a musical reunion with Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Richard Sherman.

Featured DVD: The Secret of the Magic Gourd

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(The Secret of the Magic Gourd was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review.)


Experience a magical story about the boundless limits of imagination and the strength we each have inside us with Disney’s heartwarming film The Secret of the Magic Gourd. Based on the beloved children’s novel and featuring the voice talent of High School Musical’s Corbin Bleu, this wondrous fantasy is sure to delight the entire family. It’s a “truly inspiring story that captures the wonder and awe of childhood,” raves Carey Bryson of

When an inquisitive 11-year-old discovers a mythical, magical gourd while fishing, he has no idea of the trouble that lies at the end of his hook. With the ability to grant any and every wish, The Magic Gourd attempts to make all of the boy’s dreams come true, but instead succeeds in turning his world upside down.

Enjoy every moment of this enchanting adventure as a curious child discovers that the best things in life are those he earns himself.

When I noticed that this is an Chinese film with dubbed over voices, I thought the boys would think it was cheesy – the whole lips not moving in synch thing is a little distracting. I was wrong – the boys really liked this film, and found much to laugh about while watching it.

Noah’s Review: This a very, very good fantasy movie. Little kids would really like it. 5 stars.

Jonathan’s Review: The Secret of the Magic Gourd is a great movie because it has marching toys. Raymond goes into a movie and it’s called “The Swamp Dinosaur” and he almost gets killed by it, so the Magic Gourd comes into the movie and turns it into bones. 5 stars.

Josiah’s Review: Great movie! 5 stars.

The Secret of the Magic Gourd is available on DVD on January 27th. The DVD special features include a behind-the-scenes featurette, bloopers, games and activities, and a music video.

The Graveyard Book wins the Newbery Medal

January 26, 2009 Categories: Books | Comments Off  


It was announced today that Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book won the Newbury Medal. I just finished reading this aloud to the kids last week, and we absolutely loved it. You can read my review here.