31 August 2011

Time to check in for the Jane Austen Reading Challenge

Are you reading Jane Austen titles this year or reading Jane Austen-related titles?

Have you joined the Jane Austen Reading Challenge?

I read Pride and Prejudice in February of 2010. Living in England convinced me I'd probably love her writing; and I do!

I finished reading Emma in March 2011.

I am reading/listening to Northanger Abbey right now.

I would like to read at least one more Jane Austen title during 2011.

Have you read any of Jane Austen's books? Do you have plans to?

30 August 2011

The film adaptation of The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Saturday I took our 15 year old daughter, Miss M, to see the film finally! 

We needed some girl-time and this was just the film to include in our afternoon/evening of fun!

I read the book in October 2010. I loved the book.

In my opinion, this is a good case of a film adaptation following true to the book and the author's vision. Stockett's descriptions of the settings throughout the book and the adherence to that by the producer and director means that the film adaptation was very similar to my the way I imagined as I read the book. I was quite pleased.

One can't help but love the cast. I was unfamiliar with most of them and that can be a good thing; no preconceived ideas, you know.

Emma Stone as beloved Skeeter.
Viola Davis as Aibileen.
Bryce Dallas Howard as the spiteful Hilly.
Octavia Spencer as the lovable Minny Jackson.
Jessica Chastain as the unaware but lovable Celia Foote.
Ahna O'Reilly as Elizabeth.
Mary Steenburgen was believable as the liberated Elain Stein.
Allison Janney as Skeeter's momma. (I loved her as Peach in Finding Nemo!)
I loved Cicely Tyson as Constantine Jefferson.
Sissy Spacek as Missus Walters had the entire cinema in stitches! (More than once!)

This film was a winner, just as the book was. We loved it. It is one that I will purchase when it hits the stores on blu-ray.
The Help
The only cautions before seeing the film with children are:
The film carries a PG13 rating for thematic material. All of it is real-life stuff; nothing stunning or unimaginable in real life. One such scene is the portrayal of an extreme miscarriage. It's a bloody scene, as one might expect. It might mean some explanations would be necessary depending on the child. There is some language; none that startled me given the subject matter. There is a scene in the book that involves the appearance of a naked man; that is left out of the film since it wasn't an absolutely necessary scene. Good choice I think...although it was a very funny portion of the book!

I can't wait to see this film again soon!

My former review of the book:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett on BoundTogetherForGood.blogspot

29 August 2011

Ereaders for students

If you are considering the purchase of an ereader specifically for a student in your life (or for your own studies) I suggest reading the post on this site:


The site gives reasons behind each of their recommendations.

27 August 2011

Something for the young ones...Complete Farmyard Tales Book & CD (Farmyard Tales)

We came across this Usborne book at the AWBS Christmas Craft and Gift Fayre in 2008. Of course a mom who homeschools and loves to read can't pass up an Usborne book table, or any other book table!

We loved this book of books. It is a compilation of all the titles illustrated by now-deceased illustrator Stephen Cartwright. I read the whole book to our little daughter. We finished reading it in February 2010. Cartwright added a little yellow ducky to every scene he created for his Usborne series. Gigi found every little ducky!

The genius of this book is that it is written in such a way that a beginning reader can read half of the pages and still get the main idea of the stories and then later can learn to read the entire story! I love that! This version also came with an audio CD.

It is truly a treasure of our daughter and will carry happy memories with it through the years.

26 August 2011

More Free classics for NOOK users! Hurry while the offer is available!

A friend pointed me to this today.
Twenty classics with introductions, etc can be downloaded for free during this offer.

EbookReaderBlog~Free B&N Classics

I'm downloading mine now!
One of them is a title I wanted to read along with our daughter who will be reading it in her literature class this year!

25 August 2011

I Am a Pencil : A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories by Sam Swope

I read this in January 2006.

I Am a Pencil: A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories

I LOVED, Love, loved this book!
If you are a home schooler, teacher, writer, lover of books...you should read this book! Inspiring!

Really, that's enough said. If you fit any of the above criteria, just read it!

Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahoney

Feminine Appeal (New Expanded Edition with Questions)
The basis of this book is the Bible; plain and simple.

Carolyn leads readers through chapters based on the following topics:

1 The Delight of Loving my Husband
2 The Blessings of Loving my Children
3 The Safety of Self-Control
4 The Pleasure of Purity
5 The Rewards of Kindness
6 The Beauty of Submission

Such books often seem to be written in a loftier-than-thou format which can be off-putting. Mrs. Mahoney, however, expresses her own disappointment in er own ability to live up to what she feels are worthy goals. Readers will be encouraged rather than discouraged.

In, fact, I should attempt to be as honest as Carolyn, is...
I think this is the book that I shared with some moms in one of our previous homeschool groups. It caused some conflict. The other mom took issue with something in the book. If I am not mistaken about which book it was, Carolyn mentioned something to the affect that sex was created for pleasure. The other mom argued that the express reason behind the creation of sex was procreation, only.

The King James Bible states: 
Genesis 2:18a
"18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet for him."

Webster defines a help meet or helpmate as:
 one who is a companion and helperespecially : wife

Genesis 2:22-25

22And the rib which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman and brought her unto the man.
     23And Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."
     24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.
     25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

I believe that God created woman for man because man was lonely. Adam hadn't even realized that yet. God knew. Adam needed a companion; someone to be a soul-mate. Someone with whom he could share his body, mind, and soul. Intimacy. 

I believe God created woman for man so that they could share sexual intimacy...and procreate. 

Can you even imagine procreation...the creation of lots of offspring...without the anticipated emotional support of a helper? I know, today many people choose to go it alone. Personally, I feel that's a really hard road to choose and it isn't the one I chose.
I can support others who do and I know it isn't easy an easy path. 
Heck, parenting isn't easy even with a devoted spouse!

I am thankful for the man in my life; David. He is a God-given treasure. Our marriage is a blessing to me. We still treasure moments of intimacy and I believe that is just one of the threads that holds us firmly together in God's hands.
This is an expansion on my marriage and intimacy blog series:
My Favorite Books on Marriage and Intimacy Are...

24 August 2011

I saw a new product today ~ to hold your book open for hands-free reading.

I wish I had taken a photo of it. I was at Bed Bath and Beyond. I think the price was only $4.99 and that included both sizes.

I picked it up and looked at it. I almost bought it. I just wasn't sure if it would hold a book at an angle that would make it easy to see and read while using it... I thought I'd come home and Google it for more information

Well, I have and I'm not finding much.

Here are two sites I've found so far:

The Bookworm Confessions Blog


Maybe most Bed Bath and Beyond stores carry it, I don't know. If you want one, I'd look there as a starting place.

22 August 2011

Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

What a powerful, powerful story.  

Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them TogetherI loved reading this book. It made me cry like a baby during the last quarter of the book, and I hate that...but I still love the book. 

Ron and Denver would have never been friends, if not for Debbie, Ron's wife. Debbie was used by God to bring them together and to bring Denver out of homelessness. Denver was used by God to help Ron and to be strong for him.

I wish I were more like Debbie...

Denver's paintings are available through this site:
The Cerulean Gallery
The gallery is outside of Dallas.
Thanks to my reading-friend, Christine, for mailing me her copy of this book to read!

21 August 2011

Airline travel with technology...

Oh for goodness sake.

Really, people?

I know it is important and necessary that passengers' items be scrutinized before flights. I understand that fully. What I don't understand is how people aren't aware enough to realize that an important and costly item has been removed from their carry-on.

We lived in England for over two years. During that time we traveled internationally pretty frequently; often with five kids. Hubs and I are pretty self-aware and have taught our children to be also. I guess this post is to warn travelers to take nothing for granted. Be mindful of your belongings as you go through security check-points. Go through your carry-ons after they are returned to you.

TSA agent caught stealing an iPad

The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt

I once asked my husband who his favorite inventor was. He began telling me some incredible things about Nicola Tesla that I didn't know. I decided to see what I could learn about him on my own.

I began with this juvenile biography selection:

Nikola Tesla And The Taming Of Electricity

It was fascinating! Tesla must have been an incredible person. I came away from this book thinking he was just a scream. What an inventive spirit. He was world's ahead of his time. If he were suddenly brought back to life I can't imagine what he'd come up with, given today's advances in technology.

Later, my brother, Duffy, and I came across this adult selection while I was living in England:

The Invention of Everything Else. Samantha Hunt

This is a fictional story about Nicola Tesla. This book fictionalized a story around him, involving a bit of time-travel even. I really enjoyed the middle of the book...the end was a little disapointing but not enough for me not to rate this book favorably. I felt the author could have developed the climax and ending a bit more but she did a wonderful job of creating a story around this amazing man.

20 August 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

This story is a historically-based fiction about Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, during the second world war. I wish we'd been able to visit there while we lived in England...
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The story relates the creation of (and the events that follow) their literary society.

It was a fun book. The story was told by the means of fictional letters. I like stories told in that format. I have to say that I really expected to rate it higher than a four, but the end seemed very abrupt to me.

All told, if you like historically based fiction or books about WWII, it's worthy of your time.

18 August 2011

The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction by Carol Stock Kranowitz

This book does what it is supposed to. I learned just enough from it to, I think, prevent one of our children from becoming a child with true sensory issues. Since we home schooled I was with our chlidren all the time and able to continually work on and evaluate such things. 

If you are concerned about a child and are wondering if SID might be the problem, reading this book will give you the information you need, now. I am so glad a friend referred me to it and so glad I read it.

The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction

17 August 2011

PCMag.com explains the force behind B&N's updated eInk reader...

I just came across a really good article by PCMag with the dateline of 24 May 2011 that explains the functionality of B&N's updated NOOK original. For anyone who is considering the purchase of an ereader right now, I recommend reading this article.

PCMag.com explains the force behind B&N's updated eInk reader...

If you are just beginning to explore ereaders I also urge you to borrow some or spend some time shopping for them and actually using them in-store. If you have any friends who own ereaders consider spending an hour or two with them and using one in person. Try to give yourself the chance to compare a couple of models by using them for a few minutes. Find out what it takes to perform a download. Find out how to highlight or bookmark or make notes about a passage and how to find those notes again. Ask other users what things they really appreciate about their ereader. Then ask them if there are functions that it doesn't have or doesn't perform well.

Prices continue to come down but with such a purchase you want to try to assure that you'll be as happy as possible.

Note that some libraries now also loan ereaders for up to two weeks so that new users can become accustomed to them and find which model best suits them. Our library offers the original NOK and Kobo ereaders I think.

The Magical Garden of Claude Monet by Laurence Anholt

Our entire family loves Claude Monet's work. We have seen several of his paintings.

At the National Gallery London we have seen these:

Claude Monet's Paintings at London's National Gallery

We also saw his works at the Musee D'Orsay in Paris which focuses on Impressionism.

Claude Monet's Paintings at Musee D'Orsay Paris

This book is a lovely, lovely littlle book. It can be used simply for the enjoyment of art or it can be used to enhance art education for homeschooling. We used it in both capacities. It's a treasure.

The Magical Garden of Claude Monet (Anholt's Artists Books for Children)

16 August 2011

By The Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman

It's 1849 and Gold Rush is in full force.
Master Jack sets out in search of his share of fortune. The family's butler soon follows in search of HIM! Then Jack's sister follows too!

By the Great Horn Spoon!
This book was a delight for our children and me.I wasn't even aware of the book until we reached it in our homeschooling (Sonlight Curriculum)

We already owned the Disney film adaptation and we love it too Good clean family fun. The book is slightly more mature but not overly so. It's one of those films that I enjoy sitting down and watching with the kids every now and then. I am a fan of Roddy McDowall and the lovely Suzanne Pleshette. Karl Malden also makes an appearance. I tend to enjoy well written juvenile fiction. If you are looking for a fun read-aloud, this could be it!

The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin

14 August 2011

One Day by David Nicholls is set to release in cinemas!

If you haven't read the book yet but want to do so before seeing the film, now's the time!

In the US the release date is set as 19th August.
It premiers in the UK on 24 August; in London on 23 August.
Seems sort of unfair that it will be released in the US first. I'm not sure how such things are decided.

My Review of One Day by David Nicholls

One Day (Vintage Contemporaries Original) 1st (first) edition Text Only

I'm thrilled with my prize!

I'm thrilled with my prize! A few days ago I received a call from our local library saying they were reminding me that I won a prize for participating in the summer reading program. That was the first I'd heard I'd won. I had hoped to make it to the library when it opened today.

All of a sudden, at 10:00 I recalled that I'd meant to go to the library! I left the house with two of our five children; #3 and #5. I hoped I was going to arrive early enough to receive a gift certificate I'd be happy with; it was first-come-first-serve.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that more than 50% of the cards remained. As soon as I saw Barnes and Noble listed I stopped paying attention and informed the librarians that one of those would suit me. I came home with a $25 gift card!

I'll hold onto it for awhile. I'm not sure if we'll be buying a NOOK Color for one of the kids for Christmas or if I'll get to use it to buy some new ebooks. Either way, I'm thrilled.

13 August 2011

I won a prize from our library's summer reading program!

This morning I'm heading to our local library. It's first-come-first-served for those who've received prizes. I'll be able to have my pick of gift certificates! I hope the selection is good! I'd love to come home with a Barnes and Noble gift card!

12 August 2011

What did YOU read on your vacation this summer?

1 Did you take a vacation this summer?

2 Did you read while on your vacation?

3 Did you read more or less than you usually do on vacation?

4 What type of vacation did you take?

5 Does the type of vacation you take affect the amount you read?


1 We just finished a family vacation with our five children.

2 We took a family vacation that was focused on relaxing and being with our kids and extended family members. The biggest focus of this trip was to spend time with our kids and also not to feel driven to do anything in particular.

3 I read an average or less than average amount during this vacation since there were a lot of people to interact with and that was a point of the trip.

4 We did several things during this trip.

We toured the campus my husband attended for college; the University of Cincinnati.

We attended a Reds game in 95F heat.

We ate ribs at a popular ribs restaurant on the riverfront in Cinci.

We stayed in a new quaint little cabin in Lake Rudolph Campground in Santa Claus, IN and visited Holiday World and Splashin' Safari four times. (I just couldn't take a book or my NOOK to the parks with us. It wasn't practical.)

We visited with eleven members of my extended family who all live in Indy but came down to join us at the campground for a couple nights. That meant I got to visit with one of my brothers, Duffy, which meant that my love of discussing books, films, and tv shows was nurtured a bit!

Certainly any time we were driving I was likely to be reading as much as I was able. Most nights were finished with me reading at least some. Two glorious nights, maybe three, I was found on the covered deck of our cabin in my comfortable lawn chair/lounge, with a book and my LightWedge reading light.
My Favorite Reading Light

5 The type of vacation I take affects the amount I read. I could have read a lot more if this had been a beach vacation (love those). It was not an extremely active vacation which was nice but the action (them park and waterpark) prevented more reading.

11 August 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett will appear in cinemas beginning tomorrow 12 August 2011.

I loved the book. I hope to love the film. I haven't seen any previews. I have no current plans to see it but will likely watch it on DVD as soon as it is released in that format.
The Help

Read my review of the book here:

10 August 2011

What books did I end up taking with us on vacation this summer?

I posted here
What will I read on our vacation this summer? Want to help me narrow it down or guess what I'll choose?

I was looking for some help in narrowing down my choices for reading during our family vacation.

The good thing was that our vacation was a glorious 12 days in length. That's long. And the main point of the vacation was to relax and have fun with our kids. The downside of that is that I really didn't spend nearly as much time reading as I expected to but I am happy with the way it turned out.

So...what books did I choose to take with me?

Goldie Hawn's A Lotus Grows in the Mud

Dave Gorman vs the Rest of the World

The Unauthorized Guide to Sex and the Church by Carmen Renee Berry

I also finished my second reading of A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz.

I also began reading Malcolm Gladwell's What the Dog Saw because it came available as an ebook through our library and those are time-sensitive when they've been placed on hold and become available.
What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures by…

05 August 2011

My favorite books on marriage and intimacy are...

I want to share some of my favorite selections on marriage and intimacy.

I will review them, individually at a later time.
For now, I just want to make some recommendations. 

Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage             by Dr. Kevin Leman

For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men

For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men 
by Shaunti Feldhahn

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands

The Proper Care And Feeding of Husbands
by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Light His Fire: How to Keep Your Man Passionately and Hopelessly in Love With You

Light His Fire: How to Keep Your Man Passionately and Hopelessly in Love With You 
by Ellen Kreidman

The Gift of Sex: A Guide to Sexual Fulfillment

The Gift of Sex: A Guide to Sexual Fulfillment
by Clifford and Joyce Penner

For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women

For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women
Feminine Appeal (New Expanded Edition with Questions)By Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn

Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother
by Carolyn Mahaney

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