Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WWRW: One for grown-ups, one for teens.

My mother sent me a trilogy for Christmas. A trilogy I had never heard of. The first volume is Seek the Fair Land by Walter Macken.


By page twelve, I was hooked, and horrified.  This book is sad.

Very, very sad.

When I told Patrick that, he responded, "Of course it's sad.  It's IRISH!"

Yes.  One very sad, but somehow uplifting historical novel about 16th century Ireland is what I'm talking about.

Coincidentally, I saw that someone shared this article on Facebook, right when I was in the middle of the book.  The article (from CNN.com) is about the little known Irish slavery that was common in Barbados, Jamaica, and throughout the Caribbean as well as other atrocities inflicted by Cromwell and the British on the Irish.

I googled the name of the tiny town in Seek the Fair Land that gets razed, and ohmygosh, it's a real place!  Over three days in 1642, every.single.person in Drogheda was slaughtered.  History estimates that maybe 30 escaped to be sold into slavery in Barbados.

Every single person, except the four who are the main characters of this book.

Seek the Fair Land is about a young man who escapes the massacre with his two young children and an injured priest.  They spend the next several years avoiding mankind and living in the wild, eventually making their way back into civilization.  That doesn't last too long though and they find themselves on the run again.

SPOILER: This book has a happy(ish) ending.  If I had known that when I began reading it, it wouldn't have been nearly as terrifying.

WARNINGS: This book has rape, infanticide, murder, brutality, nudity, and I'm certain I'm forgetting more. None of these things is described in a glorified or particularly detailed way.

On The Other Hand, this book has great courage, great love in the face of great evil, saintliness, martyrdom, and miracles.

Seek the Fair Land is a great book, for adults, or nearly adults.  Great for Catholics, great for people of Irish descent, great for young men, or anyone who likes well-written historical fiction.

It's very sad though.  So I'm taking a break before I read the next title in the trilogy.



Unfortunately, for my next book I happened to choose a young adult novel about a Jack the Ripper copycat serial killer in London, set in modern times.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson is about Rory, a young native of Louisiana who ends up attending boarding school in London's East End when she is seventeen. The day she arrives is also the first day the "new" Jack strikes.

Killing on the same dates, in the same fashion, and in nearly the same locations, this Jack the Ripper's territory is all around Rory's new school.

The book has loads of fun and fluffy stuff about Rory adjusting to  boarding school, her light romance, snogging, field hockey, classwork etc. About halfway in, we learn something very interesting about Rory.

Due to a near death experience she had on her first day of class, she can see ghosts. And talk to them. And they can see her.

Enter the Ghostbusters, or the Shades of London rather.  The Shades are a division of the police force with the ability to see and if necessary, destroy ghosts.  Their target: New Jack.  New Jack's target: Rory.

For a YA book about a serial killer, it wasn't that bad.  I'll let my high school girls read it.  If they dare...



Don't forget the big What We're Reading Wednesday Come Back Link Up Party Next Wednesday, February 4th!  I cannot wait to read all of the e-book-reports.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

WWRW: Back to Book Reviews


Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill illustrated by the amazingly talented LeUyen Pham is the tale of a young orphan girl raised by two miners in Alaska circa 1920.  Bo is a delightful character. Her guardians and her neighbors in this tight-knit community are by and large good people. However Bo was abandoned by her mother, Mean Millie.  Mean Millie, as well as two other, kinder characters are "good-time girls."  Make of that what you will.  Bo's guardians kept her rather than deposit her at the Catholic orphanage as they were charged to do because the nuns "looked as mean as Mean Millie."

Also, as both School Library Journal and an Amazon reviewer point out, there are some instances of strong language.  The Lord's name is misused a few times.

Despite these details, Bo at Ballard Creek is just as the back cover stated, "Like Little House in the Big Woods...but more rambunctious."

With grizzly bears, eskimos, airplanes, and caterpiller tractors, Bo's world is revealed with excitement and charm.  Much of the charm comes from the pictures.  LeUyen Pham's adorable illustrations are what attracted me to this book. It's the perfect story for winter, for as the book points out "everyone in Alaska likes winter best."


Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody follows in the footsteps of many young-disenfranchised-hero stories that I've loved like The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen and Clyde Robert Bulla's The Sword in the Tree.

Young Will Shackley kills deadly wolves in Chapter One, but his troubles worsen when he finds himself on the run, his guardian murdered, his father kidnapped overseas with King Richard, and traitors taking over his estate.  He flees to Sherwood Forest and is captured by the Merry Men bandits.

Much the Miller's son saves his life. The youngest, smallest, most unlikely bandit has a secret to keep.  Much is a girl in disguise.  With treasure to steal, castles to reclaim, and secret identities to conceal, Will in Scarlet is an adventure story that any boy or girl will enjoy.

Amazon says ages 10 and up for this one, and I find no reason to disagree.


Jinx by Sage Blackwood also an adventure tale about a young boy. However, unlike  Will in Scarlet, Jinx is an poor orphan boy who is rescued from certain death by Simon Magus. Their world is the Urwald, a magical forest filled with dangerous creatures such as trolls, vampires, werebears, and more.  Simon Magus, Jinx's new guardian or employer, is a wizard.  Are wizards good? Or bad? Or both?  Or does it depend on the wizard.

Jinx feels that Simon must be good. After Simon performs a spell on Jinx trapping his life-force and his ability to see people's thoughts in a bottle, Jinx concludes Simon must be evil and sets out to find someone who can reverse the spell.

Jinx learns that not everything is as it seems in the Urwald, as he faces dangers and even death.

Amazon gives this book an 8-12 age range.  Well, I'm in my forties and I enjoyed it and am getting the sequel. Also, 8 may be a little young for Jinx, what with the incredibly evil Bonemaster and his bridge made out of human thigh bones and his cellar full of dead bodies trapped in glass bottles. This scary book is not for the faint of heart. It's definitely darker than Magyk by Angie Sage but not as horror-filled as The Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney. Proceed with caution.


Whelp. There's the first What We're Reading Wednesday post of the year.  Is anyone interested in doing the WWRW link-up?  I'm thinking it could be a first Wednesday of the month kind of thing.  Let me know if your interested.  And thanks for sticking around through the chaos.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12 in 2014 - A Photographic Year in Review

I was going to write about each of these photos but what can I say?  

Just listen for the sound of my heart stretching and breaking with each click of the shutter.

January


February 


March


April


May


June


July


 August


 September


October 


November


 December


Linking up with Dwija's 12 in 2014



Happy New Year!  


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

WWRW: Three for the New Year


Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt

If you liked The Mysterious Benedict Society or Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library or you just like reading about nice boys doing good deeds and solving mysteries, this one's for you.

The sequel, Mister Max: The Book of Secrets is already out so you know I'm headed to the Library Store (as Jill calls it) ASAP.


A Question of Magic by E. D. Baker

Serafina is a happy girl with a good family and a true love etc.  She goes to collect a mysterious inheritance and ends up as the new Baby Yaga.  She receives the power to answer every person's question truthfully, but only the first question.  And there's a catch.  With every answer she gives, she ages.  Can she escape her fate before she dies?  If you enjoy fairy tales, you'll enjoy A Question of Magic.


The Huron Carol by St. Jean de Brebeuf illustrated by Frances Tyrell

While a bringing the Faith to the Huron people, St. Jean de Brebeuf wrote a Christmas carol with beautiful native imagery, "wrapped in a rabbit pelt"  "born in a house of bark"  "three chieftains". (Am I supposed to capitalize Native?) The book is appropriate for all ages.  Frances Tyrrell's illustrations are inspired by various tribes and serve the text well.

You can listen to it here, sung hauntingly in Huron, French, and English.


St. Jean de Brebeuf is one of the North American martyrs and was killed by the Iroquois in the 1600s. You can learn more about him and see where he lived and died in this video.


There are six more days of Christmas so I'm not remiss in wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Here's to more book reviews in 2015!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Making a Book List, Checking It Twice...

Every Christmas in these parts, one can expect to find the trifecta of book, toy, article of clothing under the tree.  Santa tries to bring what I call "the investment book."

These are books so good that we should own them, not just borrow them from the library. Oftentimes, these books happen to be books bout Christmas. Have you ever tried to find your favorite Christmas book at the library in December?  Yeah, me too.

I've come across a some good book lists this month with old favorites and new titles to add to my 2015 reading list.

This list from A Mighty Girl is designed with girl readers in mind, but has loads of crossover appeal. These stories are all about Christmas.


I've had Star Bright: A Christmas Story in my Amazon cart for awhile now after seeing the illustrator's work on Instagram.

I read this list of children's book illustrators to follow on Instagram and now I follow ALL OF THEM!  Their creative and quirky photos fill my feed with joy.


Who wouldn't want to see what Brigitte Barrager, author of Jill's very much loved The Twelve Dancing Princesses is working on now?


Or Jon Klassen, author/illustrator/humorist-genius behind I Want My Hat Back?

Here is a list of 15 Picture Books for Giving. Lots of classics on here.

Here is the New York Times List of Notable Children's Books for 2014. Many of these I have not read, but I'll get on that right away.

Lastly, my mom sent me this list titled Your not-to-be-missed Christmas list of kids' books with both tried-and-true and recently-released reads.  This list is NOT a list of books about Christmas.


I've got Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt in my pile right now.

If you're wondering if I've read a particular book, try googling "housewifespice and {insert title or author here}" or just email me!

If you're looking for a particular age or gender, try clicking on those keywords in my sidebar.  I've tried to be diligent about labeling my posts with keywords for easy searchability.  Or you could email me or use this comment box.

I like to think of myself as the Sommelier of Kiddie Lit. And Candy Corn. And Candy Canes. And Bacon.  And I'll stop now.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas 2014

Someone asked if I had any good Christmas gift ideas.  I don't know why they asked me, but here's what's going down the chimney in these parts.


Books (Plus a Tie-In Item)


I've given this Little Red Riding Hood storybook with an Etsy made red velvet riding hood.  I've been told they make a nice Ranger cloak too.



This ballerina jewelry box goes perfectly with these Ella Bella Ballerina books.



I talked Grandma Santa into an Etsy made replica Little House on the Prairie outfit (made-to-order! custom fit!).  It will look darling on my little Laura while we read Christmas in the Big Woods .

My teens are getting books too.



Peter is getting The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman.


Susan is getting The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by the real Maria von Trapp.


Lucy is getting A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich.


Other Kid Ideas

This is not my photo, it belongs to CupcakeCutieKids.
I love these Personalized Superhero capes from Etsy.

Photo from AlmondRod Toys.

This Nativity Set,
Photo from AlmondRod Toys.
or these Saint blocks.


This Kathe Kruse® 14-Piece Nativity Set is gorgeous, but pricey.

My nearly 12 year old is all about card tricks and magic sets. The Melissa and Doug set is nice but we got Jim Stott's Deluxe Magic Kit for our future Gob.  The reviews are very good and it's a little more ma-tour.

Don't know who Gob is?  Watch this 13 second video.  C'mon.  It's only 13 seconds and no ad time.



Stocking Stuffers

Fun Band-aids and toothbrushes.

Paper Dolls.  Temporary Tattoos.  Dover can meet all of your needs in this area.

Real Metal Cap Guns.

Edmund has several different makes and models of these on his wishlist. He circled them all in the JM Cremp's Boys Adventure catalog. Soon he'll be too grown-up for cap guns, so I'm on a mission to make sure he gets every one now.

Plus, I love the smell of caps.

That is not weird.

This magic wand for the future Gob in your home.


Less Stuff  is More Stuff

Magazine Subscriptions

Namely, Ranger Rick and High Five and Calliope.  Calliope is a world history magazine recommended to me by a librarian friend who reads it herself.  I brought home an issue for Patrick to review for bias and he found none.

Frugal Scrooge I am, I went to the library and took coupons from their magazines to use while ordering some gifts.  It totally saved me money.  That or using Subscription Addiction.  It depends  on the magazine.

iTunes music. Email entire playlists or albums.  No wrapping, no post office. All goodness.

Experiences

Disney on Ice, Medieval Times, Theater or Concert Tickets.  Mani/Pedis. Someone around here is going to the Premium Theater that has reclining seats and serves food on his birthday.

Photo Albums.

Print the pictures.  Or order a book.  I so badly want to do the Order a Book thing, but so many pictures to upload!  How big are these books?  What's the easiest program to use?


Gifts for Grown Ups or  The Nearly Growned Up


These scarves from Accessory Concierge. Plaid is back, baby.



This Horn of Ale that Jen and Hallie linked to.

My college boy is getting a poker set.  This could be a great idea, or a really bad idea.  It's a better idea than the Horn of Ale, of that I am certain.

This year I'm giving lots of this handmade soap from RobinsOwn on Etsy.  Robin is blogger Simcha Fischer's friend and she makes a damn fine soap from goat's milk.  This soap is so good that I want to eat it. Well, I want to eat the Pumpkin Bier kind that I've got going right now.  Smells like cinnamon and love.



Personalized stuff is big again.  I remember my monogrammed crewneck circa 1982. It was probably from Lands' End. Lands' End can monogram just about anything.  These patterned gloves might be coming to some teenage god-daughters near me.

My teen girls and I stumbled upon the newly opened Altar'd State store in a Missouri mall over Thanksgiving.  They adored all the clothing and accessory items.  I was moved by the Christian music, and Bible verse home decor.  I wish they would open one by me, but until then, they have a webstore.

This photo belongs to Victory Day & Co,
As I shared on the Housewifespice Facebook page, I bought this watercolor Bible verse print for myself from an Etsy handmade shop.

It says, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 
2 Corinthians 12:9

Jesus keeps whispering this to me on my longer, harder days.  It's right up there with Phillipians 4:13 for my-top-best-speaks-to-me-Scripture-passages.

Lots of these links are Amazon Affiliate links which pad my purse if you click through, but lots of these links aren't.  I actually try to shop Etsy as often as possible.  I follow lots of Etsy artists on Instagram and you should too.


If I'm not shopping Etsy, I'm shopping through eBates.  I've gotten several checks in the mail from them this year.  Make your 2015 a little greener by using eBates.  Also an affiliate link.

I'm asking for a peace-filled Advent for all of my readers this year.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Catholic, Homeschooling, and Dyslexic: Religion Class

I've googled those three words a lot over the past year, and there's not much out there for this minority.

Many Catholics homeschool and many dyslexics homeschool, but this weird combination of Catholic, homeschooling, and dyslexic seems pretty rare.

I've decided to help fill this gap with a series of posts about what we've found that works for us here at St. Jude's School for Kids Who Want To Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too.


Here's what we have found success with for religion/theology.

Online Catholic Learning or My Catholic Faith Delivered is a great website for religion courses.  For $25 a year, you can enroll in the Ignatius Press Faith and Life course.


This year we are using Following Christ, Book 6 (Faith and Life Series). I buy the Faith and Life texts and workbooks in addition to the online course.

Monday:  I read the chapter of the week aloud to Edmund.  He reads the blue box (questions and answers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church) at the end of each chapter aloud to me and we discuss.  The chapters are short, three to four pages max.  He does the first of the four corresponding workbook pages.  I aid him in highlighting relevant texts.

Tuesday through Thursday:  He does another workbook page each day for a total of four pages.

Friday:  He does the online lesson which includes a pre-test, a review game perhaps, listening to an audio version of the same chapter again, and the chapter test.

Every three or four chapters, there is a Unit Test, so every three or four weeks, he takes that test on a Friday as well.


My involvement in this subject is pretty minimal.  I spend some time reading on Mondays.  Tuesdays through Thursday I review his workbook pages and we discuss additions or corrections.  Once last week, I had to clear up a little heresy.  No big deal.

I've had a few hiccups with the online courses, but the service at Online Catholic Learning is superb. The folks there have been very kind (and patient) and helpful.  We completed the fifth grade course over the summer are off and running with the sixth grade one.

We are also going to supplement these courses from time to time to do some saint studies (We like the audio biographies from Glory Stories.) and lapbooks.  Edmund is getting confirmed next year, so I hope to add some Confirmation studies in the spring.

Following Christ, Book 6 (Faith and Life Series) has a special lesson for Christmas that I've managed to incorporate into our lesson plan.  Go me!  Normally, I would not have discovered it until too late. Holy Spirit for the win!

For another look at How We Homeschool, check out this interview I did with Micaela at California to Korea.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WWRW: One for grown-ups, one for teens.

My mother sent me a trilogy for Christmas. A trilogy I had never heard of. The first volume is Seek the Fair Land by Walter Macken.


By page twelve, I was hooked, and horrified.  This book is sad.

Very, very sad.

When I told Patrick that, he responded, "Of course it's sad.  It's IRISH!"

Yes.  One very sad, but somehow uplifting historical novel about 16th century Ireland is what I'm talking about.

Coincidentally, I saw that someone shared this article on Facebook, right when I was in the middle of the book.  The article (from CNN.com) is about the little known Irish slavery that was common in Barbados, Jamaica, and throughout the Caribbean as well as other atrocities inflicted by Cromwell and the British on the Irish.

I googled the name of the tiny town in Seek the Fair Land that gets razed, and ohmygosh, it's a real place!  Over three days in 1642, every.single.person in Drogheda was slaughtered.  History estimates that maybe 30 escaped to be sold into slavery in Barbados.

Every single person, except the four who are the main characters of this book.

Seek the Fair Land is about a young man who escapes the massacre with his two young children and an injured priest.  They spend the next several years avoiding mankind and living in the wild, eventually making their way back into civilization.  That doesn't last too long though and they find themselves on the run again.

SPOILER: This book has a happy(ish) ending.  If I had known that when I began reading it, it wouldn't have been nearly as terrifying.

WARNINGS: This book has rape, infanticide, murder, brutality, nudity, and I'm certain I'm forgetting more. None of these things is described in a glorified or particularly detailed way.

On The Other Hand, this book has great courage, great love in the face of great evil, saintliness, martyrdom, and miracles.

Seek the Fair Land is a great book, for adults, or nearly adults.  Great for Catholics, great for people of Irish descent, great for young men, or anyone who likes well-written historical fiction.

It's very sad though.  So I'm taking a break before I read the next title in the trilogy.



Unfortunately, for my next book I happened to choose a young adult novel about a Jack the Ripper copycat serial killer in London, set in modern times.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson is about Rory, a young native of Louisiana who ends up attending boarding school in London's East End when she is seventeen. The day she arrives is also the first day the "new" Jack strikes.

Killing on the same dates, in the same fashion, and in nearly the same locations, this Jack the Ripper's territory is all around Rory's new school.

The book has loads of fun and fluffy stuff about Rory adjusting to  boarding school, her light romance, snogging, field hockey, classwork etc. About halfway in, we learn something very interesting about Rory.

Due to a near death experience she had on her first day of class, she can see ghosts. And talk to them. And they can see her.

Enter the Ghostbusters, or the Shades of London rather.  The Shades are a division of the police force with the ability to see and if necessary, destroy ghosts.  Their target: New Jack.  New Jack's target: Rory.

For a YA book about a serial killer, it wasn't that bad.  I'll let my high school girls read it.  If they dare...



Don't forget the big What We're Reading Wednesday Come Back Link Up Party Next Wednesday, February 4th!  I cannot wait to read all of the e-book-reports.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

WWRW: Back to Book Reviews


Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill illustrated by the amazingly talented LeUyen Pham is the tale of a young orphan girl raised by two miners in Alaska circa 1920.  Bo is a delightful character. Her guardians and her neighbors in this tight-knit community are by and large good people. However Bo was abandoned by her mother, Mean Millie.  Mean Millie, as well as two other, kinder characters are "good-time girls."  Make of that what you will.  Bo's guardians kept her rather than deposit her at the Catholic orphanage as they were charged to do because the nuns "looked as mean as Mean Millie."

Also, as both School Library Journal and an Amazon reviewer point out, there are some instances of strong language.  The Lord's name is misused a few times.

Despite these details, Bo at Ballard Creek is just as the back cover stated, "Like Little House in the Big Woods...but more rambunctious."

With grizzly bears, eskimos, airplanes, and caterpiller tractors, Bo's world is revealed with excitement and charm.  Much of the charm comes from the pictures.  LeUyen Pham's adorable illustrations are what attracted me to this book. It's the perfect story for winter, for as the book points out "everyone in Alaska likes winter best."


Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody follows in the footsteps of many young-disenfranchised-hero stories that I've loved like The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen and Clyde Robert Bulla's The Sword in the Tree.

Young Will Shackley kills deadly wolves in Chapter One, but his troubles worsen when he finds himself on the run, his guardian murdered, his father kidnapped overseas with King Richard, and traitors taking over his estate.  He flees to Sherwood Forest and is captured by the Merry Men bandits.

Much the Miller's son saves his life. The youngest, smallest, most unlikely bandit has a secret to keep.  Much is a girl in disguise.  With treasure to steal, castles to reclaim, and secret identities to conceal, Will in Scarlet is an adventure story that any boy or girl will enjoy.

Amazon says ages 10 and up for this one, and I find no reason to disagree.


Jinx by Sage Blackwood also an adventure tale about a young boy. However, unlike  Will in Scarlet, Jinx is an poor orphan boy who is rescued from certain death by Simon Magus. Their world is the Urwald, a magical forest filled with dangerous creatures such as trolls, vampires, werebears, and more.  Simon Magus, Jinx's new guardian or employer, is a wizard.  Are wizards good? Or bad? Or both?  Or does it depend on the wizard.

Jinx feels that Simon must be good. After Simon performs a spell on Jinx trapping his life-force and his ability to see people's thoughts in a bottle, Jinx concludes Simon must be evil and sets out to find someone who can reverse the spell.

Jinx learns that not everything is as it seems in the Urwald, as he faces dangers and even death.

Amazon gives this book an 8-12 age range.  Well, I'm in my forties and I enjoyed it and am getting the sequel. Also, 8 may be a little young for Jinx, what with the incredibly evil Bonemaster and his bridge made out of human thigh bones and his cellar full of dead bodies trapped in glass bottles. This scary book is not for the faint of heart. It's definitely darker than Magyk by Angie Sage but not as horror-filled as The Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney. Proceed with caution.


Whelp. There's the first What We're Reading Wednesday post of the year.  Is anyone interested in doing the WWRW link-up?  I'm thinking it could be a first Wednesday of the month kind of thing.  Let me know if your interested.  And thanks for sticking around through the chaos.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12 in 2014 - A Photographic Year in Review

I was going to write about each of these photos but what can I say?  

Just listen for the sound of my heart stretching and breaking with each click of the shutter.

January


February 


March


April


May


June


July


 August


 September


October 


November


 December


Linking up with Dwija's 12 in 2014



Happy New Year!  


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

WWRW: Three for the New Year


Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt

If you liked The Mysterious Benedict Society or Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library or you just like reading about nice boys doing good deeds and solving mysteries, this one's for you.

The sequel, Mister Max: The Book of Secrets is already out so you know I'm headed to the Library Store (as Jill calls it) ASAP.


A Question of Magic by E. D. Baker

Serafina is a happy girl with a good family and a true love etc.  She goes to collect a mysterious inheritance and ends up as the new Baby Yaga.  She receives the power to answer every person's question truthfully, but only the first question.  And there's a catch.  With every answer she gives, she ages.  Can she escape her fate before she dies?  If you enjoy fairy tales, you'll enjoy A Question of Magic.


The Huron Carol by St. Jean de Brebeuf illustrated by Frances Tyrell

While a bringing the Faith to the Huron people, St. Jean de Brebeuf wrote a Christmas carol with beautiful native imagery, "wrapped in a rabbit pelt"  "born in a house of bark"  "three chieftains". (Am I supposed to capitalize Native?) The book is appropriate for all ages.  Frances Tyrrell's illustrations are inspired by various tribes and serve the text well.

You can listen to it here, sung hauntingly in Huron, French, and English.


St. Jean de Brebeuf is one of the North American martyrs and was killed by the Iroquois in the 1600s. You can learn more about him and see where he lived and died in this video.


There are six more days of Christmas so I'm not remiss in wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Here's to more book reviews in 2015!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Making a Book List, Checking It Twice...

Every Christmas in these parts, one can expect to find the trifecta of book, toy, article of clothing under the tree.  Santa tries to bring what I call "the investment book."

These are books so good that we should own them, not just borrow them from the library. Oftentimes, these books happen to be books bout Christmas. Have you ever tried to find your favorite Christmas book at the library in December?  Yeah, me too.

I've come across a some good book lists this month with old favorites and new titles to add to my 2015 reading list.

This list from A Mighty Girl is designed with girl readers in mind, but has loads of crossover appeal. These stories are all about Christmas.


I've had Star Bright: A Christmas Story in my Amazon cart for awhile now after seeing the illustrator's work on Instagram.

I read this list of children's book illustrators to follow on Instagram and now I follow ALL OF THEM!  Their creative and quirky photos fill my feed with joy.


Who wouldn't want to see what Brigitte Barrager, author of Jill's very much loved The Twelve Dancing Princesses is working on now?


Or Jon Klassen, author/illustrator/humorist-genius behind I Want My Hat Back?

Here is a list of 15 Picture Books for Giving. Lots of classics on here.

Here is the New York Times List of Notable Children's Books for 2014. Many of these I have not read, but I'll get on that right away.

Lastly, my mom sent me this list titled Your not-to-be-missed Christmas list of kids' books with both tried-and-true and recently-released reads.  This list is NOT a list of books about Christmas.


I've got Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt in my pile right now.

If you're wondering if I've read a particular book, try googling "housewifespice and {insert title or author here}" or just email me!

If you're looking for a particular age or gender, try clicking on those keywords in my sidebar.  I've tried to be diligent about labeling my posts with keywords for easy searchability.  Or you could email me or use this comment box.

I like to think of myself as the Sommelier of Kiddie Lit. And Candy Corn. And Candy Canes. And Bacon.  And I'll stop now.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas 2014

Someone asked if I had any good Christmas gift ideas.  I don't know why they asked me, but here's what's going down the chimney in these parts.


Books (Plus a Tie-In Item)


I've given this Little Red Riding Hood storybook with an Etsy made red velvet riding hood.  I've been told they make a nice Ranger cloak too.



This ballerina jewelry box goes perfectly with these Ella Bella Ballerina books.



I talked Grandma Santa into an Etsy made replica Little House on the Prairie outfit (made-to-order! custom fit!).  It will look darling on my little Laura while we read Christmas in the Big Woods .

My teens are getting books too.



Peter is getting The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman.


Susan is getting The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by the real Maria von Trapp.


Lucy is getting A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich.


Other Kid Ideas

This is not my photo, it belongs to CupcakeCutieKids.
I love these Personalized Superhero capes from Etsy.

Photo from AlmondRod Toys.

This Nativity Set,
Photo from AlmondRod Toys.
or these Saint blocks.


This Kathe Kruse® 14-Piece Nativity Set is gorgeous, but pricey.

My nearly 12 year old is all about card tricks and magic sets. The Melissa and Doug set is nice but we got Jim Stott's Deluxe Magic Kit for our future Gob.  The reviews are very good and it's a little more ma-tour.

Don't know who Gob is?  Watch this 13 second video.  C'mon.  It's only 13 seconds and no ad time.



Stocking Stuffers

Fun Band-aids and toothbrushes.

Paper Dolls.  Temporary Tattoos.  Dover can meet all of your needs in this area.

Real Metal Cap Guns.

Edmund has several different makes and models of these on his wishlist. He circled them all in the JM Cremp's Boys Adventure catalog. Soon he'll be too grown-up for cap guns, so I'm on a mission to make sure he gets every one now.

Plus, I love the smell of caps.

That is not weird.

This magic wand for the future Gob in your home.


Less Stuff  is More Stuff

Magazine Subscriptions

Namely, Ranger Rick and High Five and Calliope.  Calliope is a world history magazine recommended to me by a librarian friend who reads it herself.  I brought home an issue for Patrick to review for bias and he found none.

Frugal Scrooge I am, I went to the library and took coupons from their magazines to use while ordering some gifts.  It totally saved me money.  That or using Subscription Addiction.  It depends  on the magazine.

iTunes music. Email entire playlists or albums.  No wrapping, no post office. All goodness.

Experiences

Disney on Ice, Medieval Times, Theater or Concert Tickets.  Mani/Pedis. Someone around here is going to the Premium Theater that has reclining seats and serves food on his birthday.

Photo Albums.

Print the pictures.  Or order a book.  I so badly want to do the Order a Book thing, but so many pictures to upload!  How big are these books?  What's the easiest program to use?


Gifts for Grown Ups or  The Nearly Growned Up


These scarves from Accessory Concierge. Plaid is back, baby.



This Horn of Ale that Jen and Hallie linked to.

My college boy is getting a poker set.  This could be a great idea, or a really bad idea.  It's a better idea than the Horn of Ale, of that I am certain.

This year I'm giving lots of this handmade soap from RobinsOwn on Etsy.  Robin is blogger Simcha Fischer's friend and she makes a damn fine soap from goat's milk.  This soap is so good that I want to eat it. Well, I want to eat the Pumpkin Bier kind that I've got going right now.  Smells like cinnamon and love.



Personalized stuff is big again.  I remember my monogrammed crewneck circa 1982. It was probably from Lands' End. Lands' End can monogram just about anything.  These patterned gloves might be coming to some teenage god-daughters near me.

My teen girls and I stumbled upon the newly opened Altar'd State store in a Missouri mall over Thanksgiving.  They adored all the clothing and accessory items.  I was moved by the Christian music, and Bible verse home decor.  I wish they would open one by me, but until then, they have a webstore.

This photo belongs to Victory Day & Co,
As I shared on the Housewifespice Facebook page, I bought this watercolor Bible verse print for myself from an Etsy handmade shop.

It says, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 
2 Corinthians 12:9

Jesus keeps whispering this to me on my longer, harder days.  It's right up there with Phillipians 4:13 for my-top-best-speaks-to-me-Scripture-passages.

Lots of these links are Amazon Affiliate links which pad my purse if you click through, but lots of these links aren't.  I actually try to shop Etsy as often as possible.  I follow lots of Etsy artists on Instagram and you should too.


If I'm not shopping Etsy, I'm shopping through eBates.  I've gotten several checks in the mail from them this year.  Make your 2015 a little greener by using eBates.  Also an affiliate link.

I'm asking for a peace-filled Advent for all of my readers this year.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Catholic, Homeschooling, and Dyslexic: Religion Class

I've googled those three words a lot over the past year, and there's not much out there for this minority.

Many Catholics homeschool and many dyslexics homeschool, but this weird combination of Catholic, homeschooling, and dyslexic seems pretty rare.

I've decided to help fill this gap with a series of posts about what we've found that works for us here at St. Jude's School for Kids Who Want To Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too.


Here's what we have found success with for religion/theology.

Online Catholic Learning or My Catholic Faith Delivered is a great website for religion courses.  For $25 a year, you can enroll in the Ignatius Press Faith and Life course.


This year we are using Following Christ, Book 6 (Faith and Life Series). I buy the Faith and Life texts and workbooks in addition to the online course.

Monday:  I read the chapter of the week aloud to Edmund.  He reads the blue box (questions and answers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church) at the end of each chapter aloud to me and we discuss.  The chapters are short, three to four pages max.  He does the first of the four corresponding workbook pages.  I aid him in highlighting relevant texts.

Tuesday through Thursday:  He does another workbook page each day for a total of four pages.

Friday:  He does the online lesson which includes a pre-test, a review game perhaps, listening to an audio version of the same chapter again, and the chapter test.

Every three or four chapters, there is a Unit Test, so every three or four weeks, he takes that test on a Friday as well.


My involvement in this subject is pretty minimal.  I spend some time reading on Mondays.  Tuesdays through Thursday I review his workbook pages and we discuss additions or corrections.  Once last week, I had to clear up a little heresy.  No big deal.

I've had a few hiccups with the online courses, but the service at Online Catholic Learning is superb. The folks there have been very kind (and patient) and helpful.  We completed the fifth grade course over the summer are off and running with the sixth grade one.

We are also going to supplement these courses from time to time to do some saint studies (We like the audio biographies from Glory Stories.) and lapbooks.  Edmund is getting confirmed next year, so I hope to add some Confirmation studies in the spring.

Following Christ, Book 6 (Faith and Life Series) has a special lesson for Christmas that I've managed to incorporate into our lesson plan.  Go me!  Normally, I would not have discovered it until too late. Holy Spirit for the win!

For another look at How We Homeschool, check out this interview I did with Micaela at California to Korea.