Thursday, February 28, 2013

February's Books

I have been inspired by Charity over at Indietutes to do a blog post listing the books we have read and listening to this past month. I realize I need to read a few more adult books, but why when the kids ones are so much fun!

These are not in order, and as Da would tell you I am HORRIBLE at summarizing a book (there are just so many good parts that you need to know about!) so bare with me here, I'll do my best to keep them short.

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby- About the second daughter of a Viking king and her siblings. They are trapped in a hidden fortress by the frozen sea, hidden away while there father wages war. They are guarded by her fathers best warriors, but there is a traitor among them. The main character is strong, and kind. I loved this book, as did Emma.

The Land of Elyon Series by Patrick Carmen. There are 5 books in this series, though I think the 4th and 5th were after thoughts. It's hard to know what order to read the last two in. Anyway, this series is about a girl named Alexa who is destine to do great things. With talking animals, mystical lands, and giants, the series is fun and fantastical. We are currently enjoying the 4th book.

Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke. We love this author. A year or two ago we listened to the Inkheart Trilogy and LOVED it. More recently we listened, multiple times, to Igraine the Brave, which we also loved. Ghost Knight was another good one by Ms. Funke. The two main characters in this story are on an adventure that involves killer ghosts, a ghost knight, a wrongly buried heart, and loyalty. We really enjoyed this one as well.

The City of Ember by Jeanne Du Prau. This is another series that we discovered. We have only listened to the first one so far and we have enjoyed it. Set in an isolated city where electricity provides the only source of light, time is running out for the citizens of Ember. The electricity keeps flickering. Blackouts are getting longer, light bulbs are scarce, as are other supplies necessary for life. The fate of the city lies in an odd discovery made by two twelve year-old children. This is an interesting story, and I think someday when we are learning about atomic bombs, it will be a good book to reread as I have a feeling this might be where the series is leading us. We'll see!

Coraline by Neil Gaiman. This was a fun and creepy book that we didn't finish. Not because we didn't want to, but because we were listening to it on the computer and we didn't finish it before the book expired. We really enjoyed it and I need to remember to re borrow it so we can finish it.

Matilda by Roald Dahl. Loved this book. SO so much better than the movie (not that Emma has seen it yet). About a little girl raised by neglectful, mean, dishonest parents. She goes to a school run by a horrible woman that hates children and swings little girls by their pigtails. Yet she finds hope through her teacher, Ms. Honey, who sees the awesome potential in Matilda. A wonderful story.

The Witches by Roald Dahl. What can I say, we have fallen in love with his books. I believe he even narrates this story himself. A fun story about a boy who discovers a group of witches while he and his grandmother are on holiday. Unable to escape them, he is turned into a mouse, but that actually helps him out in the end. And he doesn't mind being a mouse, really.

The Borrowers by Mary Norton. We actually read this one as a bedtime story. It may have been last month, I can never keep track. Emma and I really enjoyed this and I hope to find more in the series to read at bedtime.

The White Stallion of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry. I want this book. I would love to add this book to our collection. We inter-library loaned this book and it was so worth it. A great story about determination, passion, and the Lipizzaner horses. We follow the journey of a boy named Hans Hupt who wishes to become a Riding Master at the Spanish Riding School. At the time, only well-to-do boys made it into the school, not a bakers son. Hans did not give up. He spent endless hours researching the breed, how they do their beautiful maneuvers, and managed to teach his old cart horse a few of the moves. Anyway, a great story that I hope we read again soon.

The 39 Clues by various authors. We are currently on book 8. These are books that we only listen to when Da can listen as well, so we are going through them a little more slowly. We love listening to these stories, and it's really interesting how the writing style differs from one author to the next. So far, I think there has only been one where we were not so impressed, but the rest we have really enjoyed. The series is about a sister and brother who are given the choice- Take a million dollars each, or participate in the hunt for the 39 clues which, once collected, will make them the most powerful people on earth. It's a really fun series and I just realized (when looking up the link) that there is an entire world outside of the books dedicated to the series.

The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston. Emma seemed to like this book. It's part of a series and so far we have only listened to the first book. I had a hard time paying attention to this one (I think I was just tired of audiobooks that day), so I didn't follow it as well as she did. You'll need to click on the link to figure out what it's about.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri. This audio was a theatrical thing with different people for different characters and sound effects. Once I got past that, I really enjoyed this classic tale of an orphaned girl sent to live with her grandfather in the mountains of Switzerland. It's a good story. Emma and I really enjoyed it.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. Wow. Having never read the book and only seeing the Disney version (well, and Hook with Robin Williams) this book was a big surprise. And awesome. I love Disney movies, but man did they miss a lot. The book is so much better, with a lot more awesome details and fun. It's also a little darker in spots, but Emma and I both really enjoyed it.

Well, that is a crazy ton of books, but when you listen to 3 or 4 a week, the list gets long. I probably forgot a few, but you get the idea.

What have you read recently?

Hiking in Decorah, Nov 2012 (3)
Hiking in Decorah, November 2012

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life Skills- Hand Sewing

In our abandonment of the structured schooling thing, we've found ourselves happily occupied indeed.

Hand Sewing 1- Tag-Along Doll (13)

At Emma's request, we did some hand sewing.

Hand Sewing 1- Tag-Along Doll (2)
Tag-Along Doll 

Hand Sewing 1- Tag-Along Doll (5)
Emma's Tag-Along dog face

Hand Sewing 1- Tag-Along Doll (9)
Mama's Tag-Along Doll

Hand Sewing 1- Tag-Along Doll (11)
Emma needle felting her doll's hair on

Hand Sewing 1- Tag-Along Doll (13)
Our two new dolls!

Emma worked really hard, and very intensely, and finished her new doll in just a few hours. After lunch, she wanted to work on a new project. She chose Lambkins (free pattern)

Hand Sewing 2- Lambkin (2)

Hand Sewing 2- Lambkin (4)

Hand Sewing 2- Lambkin (6)

Hand Sewing 2- Lambkin (8)

Hand Sewing 2- Lambkin (9)
Stitching on the nose.

Hand Sewing 2- Lambkin
Mama's and Emma's lambs meet.

Hand Sewing 3- Lambkin and Tag-Alongs meet (9)
Lambkins meet Tag-Alongs

Hand Sewing 3- Lambkin and Tag-Alongs meet

And, once the Lambkin was done, Emma wanted another project to work on. I ended up drawing up a pattern for a mini horse. It turned out pretty good, so I am in the process of making a tutorial. 

Hand Sewing 4- Mama's Mini Horse (2)

Hand Sewing 4- Mama's Mini Horse (4)

Once I get the tutorial finished, I will add a link!

For more photos of Emma hand stitching, check them out here

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What We Learned- 4-8 Feb 2013

Valentine Decorations (3)

We learned this week, that I need to cut back on how much I try to cram into the workboxes. We managed to get Monday and most of Tuesday done. We were suppose to do Thursday on Wednesday and Wednesday on Thursday ('cause we were going out to town Wednesday night, getting home Thursday evening), but we sort of hit a crabby wall on Wednesday morning that was 2 people thick so we just said forget it. For the rest of the week.

Oh, I only managed to take one photo. I had Emma playing with volume in the tub, so I took a picture of that. Not gonna put that up here though.

AND, I managed to forget that Friday was Friday until 2:30. That's an hour and 30 minutes after Emma's horse lesson was suppose to start.

I have successfully won the worst mama of the month award.

So, this last week was kinda a bust, but I think it was also a reality check. I need to remember that Emma likes to learn, but on a more relaxed pace. So, over the next week or two we will be reevaluating our approach to learning.

I will let you know what/when we figure out our next plan of attack! If you have suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Monday, February 4, 2013

What We Learned 28 Jan - 4 Feb 2013

This week we learned...

Neighborhood Exploration 28Jan13 (7)
That Mama can walk for 30 minutes when it's really cold outside when she talks to Auntie Amber on the phone (and not rush Emma too much). 

Neighborhood Exploration 28Jan13 (12)
That Emma's view of the world is pretty cool.

Marble Art Valentines
That marble painting is still fun.

Gramma's Worksheet
That Gramma makes some pretty cool worksheets (even when she misses hugs).

Cold Snowy day (2)
That some mornings it's just hard to get moving, and even harder to just go back to bed. 

Borax Hearts  (2)
That making things out of Borax and pipe cleaners is really fun. 

Lego Minotaurus
That Da getting an unexpected 1/2 day off means family game time (Lego Minotaurus). 

Photos by Emma 29Jan (3)
That Emma can get a half-way decent photo of me (and that we really need to hang our Borax creations up somewhere else)

Photos by Emma 29Jan (10)
That a heart riding a bicycle (made out of model magic) makes Da smile.

Workbox 30Jan13 (2)
That Emma draws a pretty great map of Austria

Workbox 30Jan13 (3)
That Gramma is a great inspiration to Emma

Workbox 30Jan13 (5)
That Gramma misses hugs :0)

Workbox 30Jan13
That the Electric Company is AWESOME -wait- we already knew that

More School work 31Jan13 (2)
That writing letters in our giant recliner is a bit cramped, but cozy.

More School work 31Jan13
That Emma is really good at Checkers.

What have you learned recently?

Junk food

Well, at least when I cave and give her junk food, I make it educational.

Measuring Skittles
Half for tonight, half for later