Links for Friday

June 12, 2009 Categories: Books , Homeschooling , Kid Stuff , Movies , Music , News , Politics , This and That , Videos | 3 Comments  

Wow – it’s been a while since I’ve done a links post! We have finished up our school year, but nothing seems to be slowing down. This happens every June – I forget that June includes friends’ birthdays, Noah’s birthday, Father’s Day, and Vacation Bible School! It should slow down in July, right? Except of course, there’s Independence Day, and my sister’s visit from the coast, and Dad’s birthday, and Natalie singing at Rendezvous, and….. Can anyone relate?

Last weekend I headed to Michelle’s Friday night for Mom’s movie night – we watched Last Chance Harvey, which was very good. Saturday I did some chores around the house, and then Sunday Michelle and I visited the local Episocopal church. It was a wonderfully reverent service, but not a church for a family with children. There were only sixteen people in the service – including Michelle and I and the priest and the organist! Not sure if I’ll be able to try a new church this Sunday or not, since Kevin is thinking of taking Noah on an overnight fishing trip Saturday night, and I usually don’t take the kids with me on the first visit to a new church.

We spent this week at the park, mostly. I’ve been working on getting as much lesson-planning done as I possibly can, since I won’t have my curriculum until the beginning of August. I also wrote up the kids’ end-of-year reviews and packed away the years’ work and records and assessment results away into storage, making room on the shelves for the new stuff.

Last night, all four kids were at various sleepovers. It’s amazing how quiet this house is with no kids in it! The two oldest boys came home while I was at Michelle’s picking Josiah up this afternoon, and I come home to two boys completely conked out on the couch. They slept until 6 pm! Turns out they stayed up until 4 am and then woke up at 8. They played on a zipline, jumped on a trampoline, caught snakes and tadpoles in the pond, and played X-Box. A thoroughly boy-style slumber party.

Tomorrow morning, Josiah has a Tae Kwon Do promotion, trying for his yellow belt. My only other plans for the weekend are to get caught up on laundry before we run out of things to wear.

Here’s what’s been going on at Books and Movies lately:

~ My favorite memoirs, part two
~ Book Review: Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center
~ Book Review: The Sense of Paper by Taylor Holden
~ Book Review: Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton
~ Book Review: Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
~ Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman
~ My favorite contemporary fiction, part one
~ My favorite contemporary fiction, part two

Other links:

~ Short film: Validation, starring TJ Thyne from Bones.

~ Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program – if your kids read eight books this summer, they get a coupon for a free paperback.

~ 100 Best Movie Lines in 200 Seconds.

~ My Friend Amy is giving away a copy of Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn.

~ If you ever watched Saved By the Bell, you must watch this. (Go ahead, I won’t tell anyone.)

~ The theater major (read: geek) in me will be watching Chess in Concert on PBS this Wednesday. Starring Josh Groban and Idina Menzel!

~ The theater major in me is very sad to read that WSU is cutting their Department of Theater and Music. (This is where I attended, but didn’t quite graduate.)

~ NY Times: The Case for Working With Your Hands.

~ Is Anyone Minding the Store at the Federal Reserve?

~ Will Higher Education Be the Next Bubble to Burst?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday thoughts – and a little bit of faith and politics

May 7, 2009 Categories: Books , Faith , Homeschooling , Politics , Television | 2 Comments  

I have short-timer’s disease. You see, we only have four weeks in our homeschooling year, and I am really ready for summer break. It is so easy to get lax in the final weeks – I’m a soft touch when I hear, “Can I just do 1 through 10?” or “Can we skip grammar today?”

We’re having a typical Northeastern Washington spring, which means one day it’s 80 degrees, and the next it’s raining and freezing cold. Sometimes it’s beautiful in the morning and then cold and rainy in the afternoon, or vice versa. When the weather allows, we are spending time at the park. With trips to the park and dentist and orthodontist appointments, I’ve had lots of extra reading time, and I finished Specials, the third book in Scott Westerfeld’s series, and also The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which was outstanding.

Natalie and I sang at a Mother’s Day Luncheon on Saturday and Kevin posted a video at our family web site.

Monday, I took Jonathan to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and we both loved it. In fact, as much as I liked the X-Men movies, I liked this one more. Of course, it helped that Hugh Jackman was in it. :)

Kevin and I are watching the HBO mini-series John Adams, and the kids and I are watching the PBS series Liberty’s Kids – can you guess what part of history we are currently studying? :) John Adams is excellent, by the way. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t vouch for how well it follows, but it’s enthralling and extremely well-acted.

We’re also enjoying ABC’s new Monday night show Castle – and keeping fingers crossed that it is renewed for next season. We continue to enjoy some old favorites this season: Bones, House, and NCIS. I’ve been watching Lost and Fringe, which Kevin refuses to watch with me, but I record to enjoy on rare occasions of alone-time.

Okay, on to a complete change of topic.

Today was the National Day of Prayer here in the United States. It saddened me to see a Christian post on Facebook that she is actively praying for the destruction of President Obama. Is this what Paul intended by 1 Timothy 2:1-4? Is it any wonder that the media portrays us as hate-filled? Is this how we walk in the steps of Christ? As I read those comments, the faces of President and Michelle Obama’s two beautiful daughters came to mind. I pray that they are protected from the hate-filled words spoken about their father.

Please don’t construe my comments to mean that we shouldn’t speak our mind when we disagree with the president and with Congress, and their actions. We should make our voices heard. I just happen to believe that when we pray for our president, our time would be better spent praying that God would grant President Obama wisdom and a heart that seeks Him.

Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox now. :)

We will have Mom and Dad over for Mother’s Day on Sunday – Kevin is grilling steak and Dad is bringing a yummy (most likely chocolate) dessert. I hope all of you also have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

Links for Friday – and a bulleted update list

February 13, 2009 Categories: Books , Holidays , Movies , Politics , Television , This and That , Videos | 6 Comments  

Boy, has it been a week. Standardized testing (we homeschool in a state that requires it), orthodontist appointments (for which the reception staff had overbooked and we waited for-ever), driving kids to art class (and photography class, tae kwon do, Awana, the library to pick up books on hold, etc.), and then getting sick. All while trying to re-adjust to normal life after having a completely kid-less weekend last weekend. Re-entry is hard.

It’s been so long since I’ve really written a substantial post – and I don’t have time now, so a bulleted list will have to do:

~ Kevin is still working. He was supposed to be laid off a year ago. Not only is he still working, he works most days from his home office, which saves us oodles on gas. God is good.

~ My freelance writing has slowed way down. Stupid economy.

~ Kids have spring fever. So do I.

~ Someone very close to me is going through a divorce. I’m sad.

~ My mom finally had her surgery, and is recovering, though it’s taking a while – longer than she thinks it should, anyway. I keep telling her that surgery at 60 is very different than surgery at 40 – or even 50.

~ My dad’s thumb is healing well, although he still has no sensation in the tip. He’s heading southwest to Vancouver for my grandmother’s (his mom) 80th birthday this weekend. Happy Birthday, Gramma!

~ Natalie’s voice lessons are going extremely well, and she will be singing at two venues this summer – one is a town festival in the park called Rendezvous, another at the fair.

~ I caught Kevin’s cold and have completely lost my voice. Do you know how hard it is to make kids hear you with no voice? Kevin has encouraged them all to call me “squeaky.” So helpful.

~ We’ve been watching season one of Chuck on DVD – great series. Any other fans out there?

~ I’m hoping to take the kids to see Inkheart Sunday afternoon, if I’m feeling better.

Well, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but that’s all my cold-fogged brain can come up with right now. Here are some links to make up for this post’s lack of substance:

~ For all you Twilight fans out there, check out these Twilight cakes. Hat tip to Andrea, who e-mailed me the link because she knows that Natalie and I are both huge Edward and Bella fangirls.

~ The New Yorker had an interesting article on the challenges facing President Obama’s administration when it comes to over-hauling the health care system – “Getting There From Here”. The quote I found appalling (emphasis mine):

Every industrialized nation in the world except the United States has a national system that guarantees affordable health care for all its citizens.

~ The film version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was in jeopardy when Disney dropped out as development studio, but Fox has stepped in and it will be made after all.

~ Stephen Colbert reacts to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book winning the Newbery Medal. LOL

~ I know this is a little late, since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, but Sheila has a great post on appropriate books and crafts for the day.

~ Jon Stewart has the best idea for a stimulus package I’ve heard yet.

~ One of my random things was chosen as a Best Random Thing.

~ My review of Testimony by Anita Shreve.

~ My personal list of 55 Must-Read Novels.

~ My review of the movie Pride and Glory.
Have a great weekend – and Happy Valentine’s Day!

The election, my birthday, links, and nine winners

November 7, 2008 Categories: All About Me , Books , Contests , Politics | 11 Comments  

I don’t have many links to share this week – I’ve been too busy to do much surfing. I will say that we watched the election returns and speeches on Tuesday night. The kids and I watched Schoolhouse Rock, particularly the song “I’m Going to Send Your Vote to College” and talked about how the electoral college works. We tracked the votes on our map, with red and blue stickers. Since we live on the West, they were able to stay up long enough to see almost all of president-elect Obama’s speech, but Noah was nodding off toward the end.

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Obama and socialism

November 1, 2008 Categories: Politics | 17 Comments  

I know I said I was done posting about politics, but I just read this post at Little Blue School, and I can’t help but quote:

If you enjoy having weekends off, thank a socialist.
If you appreciate the eight-hour work day, thank a socialist.
If you approve of minimum wage, thank a socialist.

If you like living in a country where it’s illegal to sell your child to a sweatshop for a dollar a week, you can be thankful that socialists, yes those are anti-capitalist, anti-free-market socialists, worked hard in the face of big business and government opposition to make that happen.

~snip~

I keep hearing, “I enjoy living in a capitalist country and I want to keep it that way! Don’t you take my capitalism away from me!” Sister, you don’t live in a capitalist country. Sorry. That has already been taken away from you. Along with children working in mines, tenements made out of cardboard, and unregulated air pollution. Do you miss all that? Is it just killing you that the terrible socialists with their wealth redistribution gave Medicaid to babies in poverty? After all, they didn’t earn it. Their mothers couldn’t afford it. In your sparkling, elegant capitalist society, they wouldn’t have it. You want to be in charge of spending your own money, not giving it to the government to redistribute to the poor! Do you wish we could go back to a time when generous churches and noble private citizens were responsible for picking up the tab for those babies? Because you know what? They didn’t. Read about it. It was ugly.

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Did you see House last night?!?!

October 29, 2008 Categories: Politics , Television | 4 Comments  

SPOILER ALERT

Oh my gosh, House and Cuddy totally kissed! Really, really kissed. And then, biggest surprise of all, House did the gentlemanly thing and said, “Goodnight” and left, instead of taking advantage of her depressed state of mind.

I cried when the birth mother changed her mind about letting Cuddy adopt the baby.

On a completely unrelated note, I won’t be posting about politics anymore, nor will I be answering comments on any of my previous political posts. I’m more than ready for the election to be over, and I’m tired of talking about it, reading about it, and hearing about it.

Links for Friday

October 23, 2008 Categories: Contests , Funnies , Homeschooling , Movies , Politics , Videos , Writing | 2 Comments  

I didn’t do a Links for Friday post last week, since we were in Portland for the kids’ Tae Kwon Do tournament. Since we got home around 8:30 pm Sunday evening, I feel like I’ve been going nonstop: homeschooling, laundry, articles due, laundry, Awana, homeschool class, and did I mention laundry?

It’s fall here, and I’m loving the colors. This is, far and above, my very favorite time of year.

~ Don’t forget to enter my 100,000th visitor giveaway – it’s open until the end of the month.

~ Remember The Pirates Who Can’t Do Anything? Meet The Homeschool Moms Who Can’t Do Everything.

~ Here’s the Ultimate Telemarketer Prank. (Warning: language a little spicy.)

~ Colin Farrell and Edward Norton talk about their upcoming cop movie, Pride and Glory.

~ Ever wonder where they get all those teen and tween Disney stars? Here’s the answer. :)

~ Extreme Weather Alert: Meteorologists Predict Intensely Brisk Autumn. I dare you not to laugh. Be sure to read the pop-ups on the bottom of the screen.

~ If you have budding writers who are Harry Potter fans, here’s how to enter an essay contest: The Tales of Beedle the Bard Essay Contest.

~ Rotten Tomatoes counts down the Top 50 Animated Films.

~ Goodbye to Dissonance from Tonia at Study in Brown. Here’s a taste:

is it possible that we as a body of believers could put away the assumptions and insults and accusations and assume the best of each other? could we look at the person on the other side of the voting line and believe that they are caring, loving individuals doing the best they can, just as we are trying to do?

~ Beautiful pictures from World Animal Day. The flamingo is my new desktop background.

~ Daily Writing Tips has a new Vocabulary Test.

~ Anyone else excited about the upcoming season of Lost? The promo for season 5 is up.

~ Booklovers take note: this is so going on my Christmas list.

At Books and Movies:

~ Review of North River by Pete Hamill.

~ Review of The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.

Links for Friday

October 9, 2008 Categories: Books , Contests , Kid Stuff , Music , Politics , Writing | 6 Comments  

Another weekend without a whole lot planned. Which is good, since on Thursday we head to Portland for a long weekend. The kids will take part in a Tae Kwon Do tournament, and we will visit Kevin’s mom and brother and dad and my grandma, who I haven’t seen in person for over 6 years. The last time we were together, Josiah was a baby, and now he’s reading, taking Tae Kwon Do, and missing his top front teeth! I have to get Kevin to take a picture so I can show you, it’s the most adorable thing. It’s funny how much it changes his speech, too. He’s reading independently now, but often stops and says, “Mom, what does this spell?” but I have trouble determining which letters he’s saying.

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Links for Friday

October 3, 2008 Categories: Books , Contests , Homeschooling , Politics , Television , Writing | 2 Comments  

It’s October! It felt like it this morning, which is nice after the beginning of the week, which was hot – in the 80s. I love fall, and I’m ready for some cool, crisp autumn mornings.

I’m looking forward to our weekend because we have absolutely nothing planned. The last two weekends have been busy with a birthday party, an archery tournament, helping friends move, cleaning the basement, etc. I’m ready for a Saturday morning to sleep in and enjoy some long, uninterrupted reading time. I do have a couple articles due next week, so I’ll spend some time working, but I’ll do it in my sweats on the couch. I’ll probably also be a really bad mom and let the kids have lots of game time on the PS2 so that I can have those uninterrupted hours.

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Political blogging

October 1, 2008 Categories: Blogging , Politics | 6 Comments  

mccain_obama_0629.jpg

There’s something I’ve noticed as I’ve been reading blogs lately. And I’m not talking strictly about political blogs, but also about general bloggers who occasionally mention politics. Once a blogger has decided on a candidate – or if they are strictly a party-line voter – their blog posts reflect this in an unswerving way.

Let me explain: if a blogger has decided to vote for McCain, then Obama can’t do anything right and McCain can’t do anything wrong. If a blogger has decided to vote for Obama, then McCain can’t do anything right and Obama can’t do anything wrong.

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