Friday, November 14, 2008

The Nativity Fast...

Tomorrow begins the feast of the Nativity.

As our family makes this transition to Orthodoxy this will be the first major fast we will go through together, with the children doing what they can.

I am so grateful for the loving guidance we have had, and continue to have, in this process.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things I Love

My family~God~the ocean~the mountains~moss~tall trees~lots of oxygen~rushing streams~clean floors~freshly baked bread~balls of new wool~a new book~an old favourite book~fresh sheets off the line~creativity in it's many forms~family meals~simple foods~comfort foods~dark chocolate~books in bed at night~reading aloud to my children~watercolor painting~folk music~friends~jars of canning~vegetable gardening~a basket of fresh veggies~a newly organized space~going through papers and bringing order~sun shining on wood~children reading~children playing~margin~walks~quiet times~prayer~movies with my husband~knitting~tea~an afghan on a cool winter day~the seasons~eighties music with friends~Ultimate~Art~poetry~Natural History~shovelling~ironing~baking~Indian food

Thanks to Susan for the idea.....(this was my off the top of my head list)

Monday, November 10, 2008

On Develping a Writer...

A Wonderful article, once again, from Bravewriter.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Also Enjoying.....

I, Juan de Pareja

We REALLY enjoyed reading this book- I would put it on our favourites list, right alongside Number the Stars, The Lord of the Rings (well, not quite up that high!), A Single Shard, and Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze.

It was a beautiful story, very vividly descriptive without being wordy. Actually, I think that is what so many of the books I had listed above share: The ability to express simply, but richly, the authors intent; to paint a picture of both setting and the traits of the characters. Now Tolkien is a fabulous crafter of words, and he can pull of using ten words where one might work. However, I find that many authors believe that the more descriptive words you add the better- heap them on. It reminds me of the same themes we find in the homeschool writing world, and I am the first to admit that they both turn me off. But back to the review..

This tale is told from the standpoint of the servant/slave of Velazquez. From the first page this endeared us to the story- how often do we hear history, albeit historical fiction, expressed from the view of it's most trodden upon persons. As the story unfolds we are brought into the world of Michaelangelo, of the Rennaisance, into the courts of Spain, and into the friendship of Velazquez and his servant Juan.

We had read many exciting books leading up to this so at first the pace took some getting used to for the children. Action packed would be a poor description for this book. Thoughtful, descriptive, and at times both emotional and challenging would be better terms to describe it. All four children listened in and were quite still during the reading aloud. This story is one that will definitely stay with all of us.

How many stars then??
Ariel ***** out of 5
Hannah **** out of 5
Mom ****1/2 out of 5

Juan de Pareja, painted by Diego Velazquez

ps sorry for the multiple posts! I was working out the picture sizing.

Presently Enjoying....


The Wheel on the School
East of the Sun and West of the Moon- like reading fairy tales with extra gore
The Return of the King
Winnie the Pooh (myself with the two younger boys)
The Story of the World 2
Lamb's Shakespeare


Bullfinch's Age of Fable
The Story of Art
A Little History of the World
Fabre's Insects (Wasps)
The Wouldbegoods
And many, many, more (oh, to have all those hours for reading!)


Mary- Demi
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban
The Turning- historical fiction dealing with a ballerina in communist Russia


The Hobbit
Summer of the Sea Serpent


The Foot Book
Hop on Pop
I Can Read With My Eyes Shut


Jane Eyre


Father Seraphim Rose- His Life and Works (as well as a gigantic stack too numerous to post!)