Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tide, Feather, Snow Book Review by ChristineMM

Tide, Feather, Snow Book Review by ChristineMM



Title: Tide, Feather, Snow: A Life in Alaska
Author: Miranda Weiss
Genre: memoir/nature
Publication: Collins, 2009
ISBN: 9780061710254
Full Retail Price: $24.99 (hardcover)

My Star Rating: 3 stars out of 5: It’s Okay

Summary Statement: Enjoyed the Nature Writing but Timeline Was Confusing at Times, Felt Detached and Emotionally Flat


I was thrilled at the idea of reading this book when I accepted a review copy from Amazon Vine shortly after its publication. I have read over a half dozen memoirs about people moving to Alaska to live off the land and have always enjoyed reading those stories. This theme described in the marketing materials is one that interests me a great deal. I am one who has romantic notions of this endeavor and my trip to Alaska via cruise ship has only fueled this fire. My grandparents also homesteaded in the woods of Maine near Mt. Kathadin, and the stories of their hard life, building their own two homes (one lost to fire) and living with ‘making do’ with a low income have been heard over and over. Lastly I was interested in the book because I am a nature observer who visits the Atlantic coast regularly and lives near Long Island Sound.

The book did not draw me in at the beginning or later on. I felt it had a flat tone or a kind of distant emotion, like the author was detached or viewing things from a distance. So I picked it up and put it down numerous times for over six months. This month I forced myself to read it from cover to cover in order to give the book a real chance to prove itself. Sadly the book didn’t ‘pick up’. I’m disappointed in the book for multiple reasons besides the ‘flat’ tone which I did feel was present throughout. I felt that the author was keeping some walls up, preventing the reader from knowing some of her emotions or thoughts.

Perhaps what was most problematic for me was the book starts off with her moving to Alaska with her boyfriend, a dream she had long before ever meeting him. However little in the book is about their relationship and her life. She reports on topics as if from a distance almost like a journalist writing a magazine article, rather than connecting them to her own personal opinions as is the usual tone of a memoir book. It felt like some of these chapters in the middle of the book would have been better suited to being published as single magazine articles, especially topics such as describing the Old Order Russian Orthodox residents who lived on a compound. If my point is unclear, let me try to explain it this way: sometimes it is like a memoir telling of her experience moving to Alaska and other times it reads like investigative journalism, long magazine articles, and it goes back and forth. The pacing of the book is off, it felt ‘uncomfortable’, detached or "off" (it's hard to explain).

The timeline felt jumbled in the book and left me feeling confused while reading it. I was confused about when the book was being written. I assumed it was progressing forward from the first months there but the writing often seemed to be a general observation of that seemed to be about multiple seasons’ experiences. For example a person who just moved to Alaska would have certain observations of birds and animals but the writing seemed to be referring to them with a more comfortable ease after having viewed them for multiple years, lacked much emotion or first impressions and included more information about them that must have come from research (rather than just being the author’s personal experience viewing them and her emotion).

The book wrapped up telling of how her romantic relationship with her boyfriend wound up but what was in the middle of the book seemed to be about multiple years’ time having lived in Alaska. The book left me curious to know more about the author so I read her website and saw that she left Alaska to obtain her master’s degree and wrote this book while in New York, and then she moved back to Alaska. I think that explains why the writing is the way it is: it seems not to have been written with fresh memory as the first year or two of Alaska was being experienced, it has a distant feel to it.

By the end I felt that the writer’s strength was describing her observations of nature and telling general stories about life in Alaska. This is good writing taken chapter by chapter or if published as magazine articles or magazine essays, but something felt off about the pacing and timeline of it when presented in a book format and marketed in the genre of memoir/nature that made me think as a BOOK it is mediocre.

The author’s respect and awe for nature was clearly evident as is her worry for what she perceives as negative effect’s of human’s inhabitance of Alaska (even the Native population’s actions that damage the ecosystem and use the natural resources). Her views about the environment are in line with the current concern of global warming and the idea that “people are trashing this Earth and nature is fragile” as well as being in the “anti-oil” camp. I’d thought that the toughness of nature might be clear to her but she kept referring to nature as fragile. So this book is not just happy nature lover’s thoughts, there are worries and concerns expressed as well. This book may be embraced by those new to the green living movement.

I rate this book 3 stars = It’s Okay for my issues with the pacing and writing style which felt detached and unemotional to me. I really wanted to love this book and think this is a fair rating for this book.



Disclosure: I received an uncorrected proof edition of this book with a retail value of $0 from the Amazon Vine program so I could publish a review on Amazon.com’s site. I was not paid to write this review nor did I have an obligation to share it on my blog. For my blog’s full disclosure statement see the link at the top of my blog’s sidebar.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Paricon 625 Baby and Toddler Sled Product Review by ChristineMM

Paricon 625 Baby and Toddler Sled Product Review by ChristineMM



Retail Price:
$12

My Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5 = I Love It

Summary Statement: Glides Easily, Safe, Works, Durable and Practical

Our family received the Paricon 625 Baby and Toddler Plastic Sled as a hand-me-down. I’d given up on using sleds for my babies and toddler’s after our experience with the expensive (but lovely) yet completely useless and dangerous wooden sled by Flexible Flyer (baby sled). So we gave this a try and it works!

The high sides of the sled help support the baby or toddler. It is deep and a cushion or folded blanket can be placed to make the bottom more comfortable. Blankets can be wrapped around the child as well to make the sides more soft and comfortable to lean into.

I’ll be honest the bright plastic one piece construction is not beautiful to me, but it works. It is thick and solid and functional. The sled pulls easily with the attached rope. It glides across the snow with ease.

This sled never tipped over due to the child’s weight being at the back (like the other brand sled we owned).

This sled is so sturdy that when we were finished I passed it down to a third family to use.

This is a practical sled that works that is safe and durable. What more can you ask?

Disclosure: I received this as a hand me down. I was not paid to write this review. For my blog's full disclosure statement see the link near the top of my blog's sidebar.


Flexible Flyer Wooden Baby Sleigh Product Review by ChristineMM

Flexible Flyer Wooden Baby SleighFlexible Flyer Wooden Baby Sleigh Product Review by ChristineMM



ASIN: B000050B0J
Full Retail Price: $75-$100

My Rating: 1 star out of 5 = I Hate It

Summary Statement: USELESS and DANGEROUS

We received this as a splurge gift from the grandparents. It LOOKS lovely and appears to be high quality however it is USELESS.

Neither of my babies (at sitting up independently stage) could not be pulled in the sled as the tugging of the rope caused the sled to tip backwards and dumped the babies out. DANGEROUS! I assumed it was due to their weight being too low.

I tried again in the toddler years when they were heavier and taller, thinking maybe then it would work but it didn’t work. It seemed stuck in the snow and would not pull. Then when we tugged harder or faster, again the sled tipped backward and dumped the child out!

I asked two friends about theirs (when I saw them being stored in their garages!) and was told they didn't work for them either, but they too were keeping them since they were gifts from the grandparents and were nice wooden objects; they felt guilty giving the ‘like new’ items away.

After allowing this lovely piece of woodworking to sit in my garage for twelve years I finally donated it to a thrift shop.

The most disappointing thing was this is not an inexpensive item and it is made by a reputable company FLEXIBLE FLYER yet it is completely USELESS and DANGEROUS!

There is a less beautiful, one piece solid plastic, brightly colored sled on the market for toddlers that actually glides in the snow and does not tip over, the PARICON 625 TODDLER BOGGAN. Consider buying that one, it works and is safe. Someone gave us that as a hand-me-down and we used that with success.














Disclosure: I was not paid to write this review. We received the wooden sled as a gift from a relative. We received the plastic sled as a hand-me-down. For my blog's full disclosure statement see the link near the top of my blog's sidebar.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Carnival of Homeschooling Week 212 Published





The Carnival of Homeschooling week 212 was published today at Corn and Oil.



This Carnival provides a lot of homeschool-related reading. Take a look!



I have an entry in this week’s carnival.



If you have a blog or a website and write about homeschooling I encourage you to consider submitting an entry to this weekly blog Carnival. For information on how to make a submission, see here.



Enjoy!



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The Lean Forward Moment Book Review by ChristineMM

The Lean Forward Moment Book Review by ChristineMM



Title: The Lean Forward Moment: Create Compelling Stories for Film, TV, and the Web
Author: Norman Hollyn
Genre: nonfiction
Publication: New Riders Press; 1 edition (January 2, 2009)
ISBN: 978-0321585455







My Rating: 5 stars out of 5 = I Love It


Summary Statement: Complicated Processes Explained in Easy to Understand Ways; Author's Passion Evident Throughout



I am a homeschooling mother of two boys (aged 12 and 9) who are interested in making decent short films. My sons have been playing around with their digital cameras and are disappointed in their ability to translate a story into something decent enough to post to (the popular free website for viewing videos). In addition for my children taking a film making class at a film center I was hoping this book would help them learn more through home study. I wondered if this book might help me teach my children something about the story creation process as well as shooting and editing tips, so their point of view could be more clearly evident to the viewer (and didn’t know if it was suitable for my children to read to themselves). Also as a writer I was interested in what the author could teach me about “creating compelling stories”, since the basis for a good film is the story itself. I realized the book may be ‘over my head’ or ‘more information than I thought we needed’ but gave it a shot. I love the book.

“Film editing is now something almost everyone can do at a simple level an enjoy it, but to take it to a higher level requires the same dedication and persistence that any art form does.” –Walter Murch quoted on page 218.

I was immediately impressed with this book, it is captivating to read, and I’m not a film buff let alone a filmmaker. It was obvious to me that the author, NORMAN HOLLYN, is a subject matter expert. After suspecting that, I read his bio that explains he is an associate professor at the University of Southern California as well as in charge of the editing track of the Cinematic Arts School at USC in addition to having work experience in the film industry. Hollyn’s passion is clearly evident in this book which makes the book exciting to read. Even though I’m a beginner or something that might even be a pre-cursor to that, I was able to learn and understand what he was teaching about the filmmaking process concepts. This book is all about PROCESS, something very useful to learn but that can be difficult to articulate. Hollyn pulls it off, his communication is crystal clear.

It seems to me that although this has been published as a trade paperback it is intended to be used as part of a study of filmmaking in a college course. Thus this book is also useful to the autodidact who reads the book alone at home. I estimate this is fine for adults and teenagers or deeply curious preteens. Lastly the book might be of interest to film buffs who want to know more about the process of filmmaking, like the ‘armchair gardeners’ who read lots of books about gardening instruction and design but don’t actually tend their own garden!

Certainly all who read this will be enlightened about the storytelling and filmmaking process and will not be able to simple view a film, for we are looking at it with new eyes, noticing angles, lighting, and picking out what Hollyn calls “the lean forward moments”. It is evident all the work that goes into the final product, the film, is a lot more work than some film viewers (like me) realize.

I’d like to note the style of writing in my opinion is geared toward the right-brained learner or “visual spatial learner”. This whole-to-parts writing is not common and is actually quite rare in a book intended to be used as a textbook. However creative and artistic people are often right brain dominant so it doesn’t surprise me that the author would communicate this way; what I’m thrilled about is that the publisher agreed to publish a book in this style and that schools would actually use this book.

To explain, if you are unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, the whole-to-parts method is the author very briefly introduces a topic (so we have a little idea of where we’re going). Then we quickly jump right into a case study about a film with both text descriptions and some visuals. Once we are submerged in it the author goes about picking out different elements to discuss to explain why the filmmakers chose to do that thing (lighting, shot angle, props, costume, actor’s facial expressions, etc.). The discussion of each thing is revealed to the reader, then at the end is nicely summarized and tied together with the object of this lesson, what the learner was to take away from that section of the book.

The challenge though, is the very left-brained reader may hate this style of writing and learning as it may seem confusing to them as they prefer to have small bits of information metered out piece by piece then wrapped up in the end to reveal ‘the big picture’. Those who say this may wish the book was something more like the DUMMIES series, something more watered down. Sadly, those who prefer the left brained style of learning and reading may accuse the author of being ‘confusing’ or the book as being ‘complicated’ (which I don’t agree with at all). The left-brained writing style is what 95% or more of the college textbooks and primary school textbooks use that fail to reach and teach a certain number of the students, and boring some nearly to tears in the process. It only makes sense that schools teaching creative arts topics use books that are written by and for people whose minds think and learn in the visual spatial learning style method.

THE LEAN FORWARD MOMENT is the antithesis of a boring school textbook due to its approach as well as the subject matter expert author’s passion which is evident on every page.

Regarding the book itself, it is paperback with heavy nice paper (that you can’t see through which I especially appreciate). There is a fair amount of white space in the margins which helps the eye not tire out as well as giving space for margin note-making. It is about 350 pages so this is not a skimpy book. The book is illustrated in color with screen shots from films and some other effective visual aids. The illustrations all have a purpose and are not thrown in randomly just to break up the text.

So who should read this book besides students taking a filmmaking course at college? The answer is obvious: anyone interested in doing what the subtitle says, anyone who wants to “create compelling stories for film, TV, and the web”. If you are curious about learning this information then this book is for you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


















Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program to review and publish on the Amazon.com website. I did not receive payment to write this review. I did not agree to publish the review on my blog (although I did that on my own). For my blog's full disclosure statement see the link near the top of my sidebar.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Enthralled by Fractals

While in the public library I was scanning the shelves of new release nonfiction DVDs and came upon a PBS NOVA episode that I'd never heard of called Fractals Hunting The Hidden Dimension. I borrowed it.

My two sons aged twelve and nine watched it with me yesterday. I found the show to be fascinating. As a non-mathematical person I found the show engaging and completely understandable. The show was not that dumbed down as while watching it, it was apparent that some of it was going over the head of my nine year old.

Fractal geometry is a different geometry than classic or plane geometry. Fractal geometry is applied to three dimensional objects.

One thing I loved about the content and production of the show is that at first it seemed very abstract and possibly unimportant to the layperson's life, but the show clearly showed how fractal geometry is relevant to modern living and has applications in the real world. When they explained that fractal geometry principals were used to create a new cell phone antannae that makes them more usable for customers around the world it was very clear that knowledge of fractals is important to daily life. It was said that engineers can use this new information in daily applications.


Another story of interest was that the tallest tree in a rainforest was studied. Measurements were taken of its trunk and branches and the fractal geometry calculations were in alignment. Of further interest was the same mathematical computation matched the design of the whole rainforest, the spread of the other trees, the smaller trees, the width and size of the forest was all in alignment with this. The scientists also gathered samples from the leaves to check CO2 content and the point was to calculate the effect of the rainforest had in relation to global warming.

It was also interesting when it was explained that when Benoit Mendelbrot, the mathematician who created formulas for fractal geometry shared his thoughts there were many people who doubted him and the entire theory.

Another cool thing was it was said that for thousands of years artists and architects have used principals of balance and eye-pleasing proportion inspired by nature, and that nature's designs matched the mathematical computation. Thus some artist's work that looks pleasing to the eye actually is in alignment with that mathematical operation also (without one ever having been done). This was brought full circle by showing a story of a textile design artist who used the fractal geometry formulas to create patterns for fabrics to use to make colorful printed men's shirts (similar to Hawaiian shirts).

My twelve year old son says he can't stop thinking about fractals now. He loves the idea and wants to learn more. He has asked me to get the book by Benoit Mandelbrot for him to read. I fear it will be too far above his head.

I'm looking for books at about a seventh grade (or high school) reading level about fractal geometry. If you know of one that you've used, can you let me know by leaving me a comment on my blog? I thank you in advance.

Meanwhile if you are interested in this show, it has great graphics that looked fantastic on my TV screen. If you can't get your hands on a DVD copy, such as from your public library, you can watch it free over the Internet on this PBS webpage (it's divided into parts).

An unanswered question is if fractal geometry is accepted into the field of mathematics now I wonder if it is being taught in public high school, or if they are 'lagging behind' the latest educational concepts and still only teaching the old plane geometry?

Disclosure: I was not paid to write this blog post or to mention this product. You may read my blog's full disclosure statement in the link at the top of my blog's sidebar.

Almost Gone

With temperatures in the 40s and low 50s for over 24 hours, and over three inches of rain in less than 18 hours, this is what is left of the snow in our yard, just a bit on the northernmost part.




Photo copyright ChristineMM 2010, taken 1/25/10 in Fairfield County, Connecticut USA.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Issue with Christian Homeschool Conferences and Magazines

Today I received an email notice for an upcoming Christian homeschool conference. I'll not be attending that conference, I did once and I was disappointed. I have attended other Christian homeschooling conferences with mixed opinions. I have the same problem with Christian homeschool magazines.



My issue is that the topics are so centered around general Christian living that often has nothing to do with homeschooling. One conference I attended was marketed to homeschooling Christian mothers and was run by a Christian homeschool curriculum company but 100% of the conference was about living the Christian life. Actually if I broke down that part, most of it was about being a Christian in general and some about being a Christian woman but nothing at all was about homeschooling or education or even about the curriculum the company the company sells.



At one conference there was a choice between attending three sessions per time slot. Some were homeschooling but they were not applicable to my family: homeschooling a child with ADHD and homeschooling children of very young ages (but not offering balance about homeschooling an upper elementary grade or older child). Sometimes every lecture in the time slot was about general Christian living such as how to know what God has in store for your future and your own life's path? This centered on a man speaking of his career choices in the employment world. This did not even focus on a woman's path, the woman/wife homeschooling the kids, the woman may have left a career to homeschool her kids or what the woman's life path was when homeschooling the children was finished.



In some sessions at conferences the titles sound great but there is little description. Sometimes when attending the lecture the content is weak or is completely different than the stated title. In a session about how to choose curriculum for your child the advice that was repeated over and over was "just pray on it and God will lead you". I wanted to hear something maybe about learning styles or matching how the child learns best with different specific company's curriculum or some study methods that the mother could teach the child to help them remember what they've learned.



In my experience, the most knowledgeable and helpful speakers at Christian homeschool conferences tend to be the vendors. They speak of their field in detail but of course this is done with a bias toward pushing their product or service. They feel there is one right way to do a thing and sometimes that includes the homeschool family buying their product in order to access the information.



One session I attended advertised to tell about teaching kids literary analysis. The speaker said right in the lecture that he wouldn't tell much or else he'd be giving away the content in his product that he sells for almost $100. I honestly didn't know if his book or method was worthwhile, so I hesitated to pay $100 sight unseen. In any event it focused on high school and I didn't yet need that content. He sells this mostly at Christian homeschool conferences. Later I spoke to a homeschool mom friend who also values teaching literary analysis to her homeschool high schooler about this issue and she said that the same content to teach the homeschool parent how to teach that is available in books sold in trade paperback to the general public for under $25. Now who is helping the homeschool parent and who is preying on the Christian homeschool parent?



While I understand the need to make a profit to support a family I resent being overcharged for a product by a Christian man when I can buy the same thing for a fraction of the price at a regular bookstore. Let's remember that my family is making financial sacrifices in order for me to homeschool my kids. I have to watch the bottom line. I don't mind paying for a unique product but to package up something that already exists elsewhere and charge four times the price and to market it to homeschoolers would be deemed bad if a secular company did this so is it not also a problem when a Christian homeschool father does it?



In New England we do not have gigantic homeschool conventions such as I hear happen in other parts of the country. My best chances for great lectures is at a large Christian homeschool conference. The large venue means that about ten lectures are held at once. Of these offerings some I avoid as they fall into one of the above categories. I want lectures about education, home education, teaching methods, and teaching strategies and materials. I choose my sessions wisely. I tolerate some bias and some product pushing to get to some of the best advice and information.



If I want general information about Christian living I can get that at my local church and within the community at my church. There are many books on the market about general Christian living. Umpteen free articles on the Internet and on blogs are about living the life of a Christ follower. I don't understand why so much content at a Christian homeschool conference is about general Christian living. I just don't get it.





A Christian man who works with computers might attend a computer convention to learn about the latest developments in his field and no one would take issue with that. As a homeschooling mother who is not hold a college degree in education, I need to learn the basics about teaching and education and home education, as well as keep my eye on the latest products and services that are available to me on the market. I use these conferences as a training ground for how to home educate my children. Just like computers, the homeschooling field seems to be widening and each year more and more educational products and services are available to us for purchase. Making the best decisions can be tricky with so many options. Why can’t a Christian homeschooling conference be mainly about homeschooling from a Christian perspective and maybe, if necessary, a small fraction be about Christian living in general?



If someone can explain this to me I’d love to hear it.



Meanwhile this spring I’ll be avoiding one Christian homeschool conference and I’ll be attending one other. I’ll have to drive farther, spend more money and pay for a hotel room to access the better information and access to more vendors, that’s all.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Simple Pleasures and Gratitude



I look for small things to be happy about. I try to feel happy for things that many people take for granted. This is a conscious choice I made as an adult, when I realized that the grand events are few and far between. If I wait for earth-shattering things to make me feel happy or to be thankful (only) for then I would seldom feel joy or gratitude.

At one point when everything in my life was in alignment, when all was going as planned, when I should have felt very happy and content, hardly anything brought me joy. I got to a place where all I could see was the complaints. You can always find something to criticize. Let's say ten or twenty things about a holiday party I'm throwing for family are going perfectly, there will be at least one if not more things that go wrong. Before, I'd focus on that one thing and complain about it.

Another problem was misery loves company and I had plenty of people around me that would join in. They'd listen to me and add in their own negativity. The next thing I knew everything was focused on the negative. This is even more of a downer than my own thoughts were before voicing them. Some of the people who listen to the complaints are just listening but they are part of the problem if they don't try to shut down the negative talk and redirect to something less negative. I do realize that at some times, with some people especially, it can be very hard to shut this down and re-route the discussion. Some people just want to focus on that negativity. Some seem to thrive when living with a lot of drama but other people are really drained by it.

When I was feeling a 'lack of joy' I really had it good (in 20/20 hindsight) and it is a shame that I wasn't letting myself feel it at the time. I say that because then something happened in my life to shake things up and gave me a real excuse to be worried and fearful. The issue was when my husband, the family provider, was out of work. Suddenly a complaint I once had about my husband setting a budget on my monthly spending on our credit card seemed like the most ridiculous thing to ever have gotten upset about now that the income was zero. Complaining that the house cleaner missed a spot dusting seemed stupid now that I was stuck doing all the cleaning myself. Talk about hitting the reset button!




Something that escalated these ideas for me about enjoying simple pleasures was seeing my two grandmother’s age. When you watch a loved one become more and more frail, it becomes clear that what they wish for is the way life used to be for them. Both of my grandmothers would tell me of their suffering from physical pain and wish just to be alive without the pain. Neither feared death, both said they'd welcome it when it came, as it would alleviate them of their daily pain and suffering.

They also mourned the loss of their independence as their bodies didn't allow them to do what they needed to do to take care of themselves, very simple things like walking, dressing themselves, combing their hair, and using the toilet. Be honest: have you ever felt grateful for being able to brush your own hair or happy that you can fasten your bra or pull on your own socks? Can you imagine what they must feel like if being able to use the toilet on their own would bring them happiness? Do you even think about being happy over your ability to use the toilet unaided? I overheard a first year Boy Scout say at summer camp, "I never thought I'd ever feel happy for a real toilet but I can't wait to get home and use mine!"

My grandmothers were unable to shop and prepare meals for themselves and had to instead settle for meals made by others. Sometimes it was unhealthy and low nutrient fast food take out, and other times it was bad cooking or foods that made them feel sick, gave them heartburn or gas or some other future suffering.

They didn't ask for expensive gifts or new collector's items or jewelry. What they wanted was more independence, like they used to have, an able body, and less pain and suffering. Neither wanted more stuff, despite both being packrats previously, near the end of their life, they gave their stuff away or threw away most of it before they passed away. Both said they only wanted to own what they needed for daily living and remarked their surprise that they really didn't need many material things at all.

What they wanted most of all was love from their relatives and friends, compassion, someone to take time to listen to them when they 'needed to hear a voice', as my one grandmother used to say when she'd phone me. The biggest thing that brought them even more joy was when family would visit them in their own home. You see going out to see others had become a hardship and nearly impossible so it meant a lot to them when family could make the time to go visit them.

When you know people who get diagnosed with Cancer, go through treatment and then finally die after much suffering, all those same issues apply but in a more severe way, starting off very unexpectedly. Surprise! You have Cancer! This then begins a fast cycle of treatment, hopes, prayer, and then the suffering, good news and then setbacks. In some cases, the person does die. If you want something to shock you into learning to enjoy the simple things in life you should try sitting vigil and watching and trying to comfort someone in their last hours on Earth. Watching someone take their last breath is hard to describe. It rocks your world, believe me. The world is seen with new eyes after experiencing that.




Being around people who find joy, happiness and contentment with very basic things helped me see that perhaps complaining about not having enough money to go out to eat at the Mexican restaurant as much as I'd have liked is really a stupid thing to get upset about let alone complain to someone else about. Why not instead use my time to seek out inexpensive basic foods, to cook good meals at home with which wind up being more nutritious and flavorful than what I could buy in a local restaurant? Instead of complaining of the high cost of fresh baked bread in the bakery why not bake my own loaf? Instead of using our money on inexpensive crappy processed food desserts to eat once or twice daily why not make desserts from scratch two or three times a month and enjoy them on a more sporadic basis? Dessert is not an entitlement nor is it a necessity you know. Why not focus on the fun of creating good food at home and concentrate on the pleasure of eating a meal with your loved ones? Isn't that a main reason we want dine in a restaurant, to share a meal with someone else, for the company?




When things start to go wrong, the basic things are appreciated. When the heating oil company screws up and doesn't make the automatic delivery on time and we were left with no heat, I suddenly appreciated when the house did have heat. When the boiler broke and we were told it would cost at least $5000 to replace it, I suddenly realized I'd never felt grateful for that ugly noisy old boiler. When the washing machine broke I suddenly realized what a gigantic pain in the butt it presents a family of four that has to do laundry at a Laundromat or at a relative's house. Be honest, have you ever really felt gratitude for your washing machine? Or perhaps did you wish you could upgrade to the latest model when yours was working perfectly fine? Have you ever really felt grateful for heat in your home? Or instead did you take it for granted, or maybe complain that the house was drafty? Drafty is nothing compared to being in a home without heat; the discomfort is not fun to handle but the threat that the pipes may freeze at any moment is something to truly be fearful about.




As I began to shift my perspective and made a conscious effort to notice the small things, appreciate them, and find joy in them, my happiness level increased dramatically. This included in times when I was worried that the relative with Cancer may die soon, or when I was mourning the loss of a friend who left behind two young sons. It is not true that a person cannot find joy or feel joy unless everything in life is in perfect alignment and the conditions are ideal.

I am able to feel these small joyful things in the middle of chaos, in the middle of dealing with a problem, in the midst of stress (and you can too). I savor a gorgeous sunset seen from the driver's seat of the car while sitting in bumper to bumper traffic due to an accident, which has me worried that I'll be late for an appointment. I enjoy the flow of the river water swirling around rocks as sit at my mother-in-law's table sharing a meal, while I worry about her health. I enjoy laughing with a friend over something silly when a moment earlier I was worried about something happening with my son.




Each bit of joy quiets the mind, calms the mind, tones down the negative emotions, fear, worry and stress. Even when I've made a mistake and caused a problem and I feel badly about it, not over-focusing on the negative and instead letting the good things in life help me deal with the problems is my therapy. I don't pop pills to help me find happiness, not even the ones so frequently advertised and prescribed by doctors, I use gratitude. Pills can't change a perspective or help a person feel thankful.

It really helps me to look for things to be grateful for and to savor those things. This is an opposite action from looking for what is wrong and then focusing on the problem. The reason I think this works is if you can narrow it down to feeling grateful for things that most people never think about due to taking them for granted, the amount of good things in a person's life is many times more than the problems. This perspective allows a person to view their life as abundant, full and good, with perhaps one or a few challenges swimming in the midst of all the good. Bolstered up with positive feelings, riding on an always flowing but never fully receding tide of joy enables a person to tackle the issues at hand easily. If you're still having trouble imagining what I'm trying to convey, imagine a war of good vs. evil. If the good guys have 27 in their army and the bad guys have three, who is going to win? With 27 cheerleaders giving positive emotions the three nasty ones cannot bring the person down enough to make a significant impact.




I sometimes blog these simple pleasures that I notice and enjoy. Perhaps I'm not sharing them to show that nature photo so you can enjoy it too. I'm not showing off that I think I did a good job with my photography method or bragging about my camera. What I'm really doing is trying to give you a glimpse inside my heart and mind about what makes me tick. I noticed that small magnolia bud and enjoyed the promise of what it will bring in the springtime, in the midst of this very cold January, it pleased my soul and helped me not resent the cold weather and the more than typical use of (and expense for) home heating oil. What is important is not the bud, not that sunset, not the texture of that tree bark. What matters is that I noticed, and the simple pleasure of it gave me a bit of joy. I think that artists think this way too. They are sharing something they saw. The fun in viewing art such as at a museum or gallery, is to try to figure out what you are looking at to decipher what the artist was thinking or seeing. What did they want to convey to the viewer, if anything? I want you to think about finding happiness from the simple things too, for the good that it can do your soul.


If your life is not full of joy then it truly up to you to figure out what changes you can make to improve it. What problems need solving, what actions you need to take. But even with right actions and good goals your emotional state and your outlook on life is what you make of it. You control your perspective. You can choose to act like a bitch or a bastard; that's what a person does (it is truly a choice). When a person has a good life and they are surrounded by many things to be grateful for, but they fail to notice, and instead choose to focus on only the problems, then infect others around them with their negativity, they have created their own misery. I agree when Dr. Phil says, "How's that working out for you?" If you're not happy with your life, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by shifting your perspective.

Feel the gratitude. Appreciate the ordinary in life. It's good for the soul.






Photos copyright ChristineMM, 2010. All taken in Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Latest Autodidact Project: Artisan Bread




My husband and I are watching all the episodes of Michael Colameco's television Food Show which airs on PBS. We're using our DVR to record all the episodes as we didn't watch them when they were first-run's. On the show Colameco visits New York City restaurants or bakeries and discusses the history of the business. A chef or baker demonstrates making one of their signature food items then the show ends with Michael cooking in his own kitchen, something more basic, easy and fast for the home cook.

One episode in particular blew us away: when Michael visited the Sullivan Street Bakery, located in Hell's Kitchen. Slow rising artisan bread is made there. The loaves were unbelievable! Also shown was their mushroom pizza and an all-white sauce pizza. We were so hungry by the end of the show, which was a problem as we finished watching it at about eleven at night!

My husband sent me to the Internet to see where the bakery was located and he hatched plans to go there some time in the future. Next he asked to look for a free recipe online or if they have published a cookbook. Indeed, they have. Owner Jim Leahy published "My Bread". Of course we had to buy it!

Once we had the book in hand we learned how to adapt to making artisan bread at home in a conventional oven with the aid of a cast iron pot with a lid. Unless you have a pizza oven at home to use, the pot cooking method is the substitute.

The bread has very little yeast (1/4 teaspoon per loaf). The only ingredients are white flour, water, yeast and salt. It is mixed by hand in one pot (easily) and does not require kneading. The rise is slow, 12 hours on a warm day or 18-24 on a winter day or in a cool room. This recipe is free online here. The recipe with more detailed instructions and photographs is in the cookbook.

Yesterday I began making the bread. It is simpler than regular homemade bread but just has a few steps regarding preheating the pot and lid in the oven, then two baking steps and a last torturous step of waiting a full hour before cutting open the loaf! In the last phase as the bread cools more changes are happening and the loaves make snapping and crackling sounds.

The bread has a wonderful aroma and real flavor. The crust is crunchy and has texture. The inside has large air bubbles and is tender.

Here are some photos of the steps of my first attempt, which has been deemed a success by everyone in my family!

simple one bowl mixing by hand at noon, day one:



left to rise in same bowl:



checking in on the rise at about 8pm, day one:



at the 18 hour rise point in time (day two):


long gluten strands can be seen:





dough was turned onto itself, tucking the seam underneat, let rise about 90 more minutes:



raw loaf put into preheated cast iron (enamel coated) pot (lid put on after) before put into oven:



after baking 30 minutes with lid on, removed the lid, sneak preview:




after baking without lid for another 15 minutes, cooling for one hour:



the finished loaf ready to cut open:


You can bet I'll be diving deeper into "My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method" by Jim Leahy to find more recipes to try. My husband wants to try the one that uses fresh seawater the next time we're on the Atlantic coast!























Disclosure: I was not paid to write this blog post. Our book was purchased by us, for our family's use. For my blog's full disclosure statement see the link at the top of my sidebar.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Leah’s Choice Pleasant Valley Book One Book Review by ChristineMM

Leah’s Choice Pleasant Valley Book One Book Review by ChristineMM



Title: Leah’s Choice (Pleasant Valley Book One)
Author: Marta Perry
Genre: Fiction (Amish Christian)
Publication: Berkley Trade (November 3, 2009)
ISBN: 978-0425230503
Full Retail Price: $14.00








My Rating: 4 stars out of 5: I Like It
Summary Statement: Entertaining Light Read about Amish Life from a Woman’s Perspective (Not All Romance)

While in Amish Country three months ago I read an article about the surprise of new fiction books about the Amish lifestyle published for ‘the English’ which were strikingly accurate in their representation. These books were said to be popular and that readers couldn’t get enough of them. I have always been curious about the Amish lifestyle and have read a few nonfiction books on the topic. I also found out recently that my ancestors were Pennsylvania Dutch which has given me more food for thought. When I was offered a review copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program I figured I’d give the book and this new niche genre book a try.

LEAH’S CHOICE is the first book in a series called PLEASANT VALLEY. I found this book a page-turner, a light and easy read. There is a glossary at the back to help with the foreign words, but it’s not really necessary to use. I had hoped there was one, didn’t see it, but discovered it when I finished the book (nestled BEFORE the sneak preview chapter one of the second book in the series).

Before reading this, I saw some other author’s Amish romance books on the market and wondered if this was one. I don’t read romance novels and honestly don’t think this is a romance novel. This book has multiple story threads going through it including the major theme of when young people decide to leave the Amish community to live in mainstream America (with ‘the English’). It’s not a spoiler for me to say that the main character’s fiancĂ©e left her and the community, breaking her heart. For me this question of whether to stay in the Amish community or to seek a career and other opportunities in mainstream, modern America was the major focus rather than the newcomer man to the community who mostly everyone is trying to match-make with the female main character.

I really enjoyed the book. Learning about Amish life throughout the telling of the story kept the story more interesting than the simple language and fast pace of the book. I did not find this boring. I consumed the book in about 24 hours in between living a busy life. I carved out some time to read it, so curious to know what happened. I also liked hearing the reasons why the Amish think a certain way, such as when I was surprised that Leah didn’t react a certain way to something (that is typical for Americans); it explained the reason the Amish choose to act that way and linking it to their interpretation of the Bible scriptures.

I put this on the same par as what readers usually refer to as 'a beach read', but one without the usual smut! This book demonstrates the clean living of the Amish and the references to the application of God's word into their daily life, their hard work ethic and other worldviews was inspirational and refreshing for me to read. I can imagine women of all ages reading this book (so long as they are curious about the Amish lifestyle).


As a mother I will share the opinion that this book would be fine for teenagers and even preteens to read. It might make a girl think about mainstream American culture from a new perspective. Christian parents might find this book more acceptable reading for their teens and preteens than some young adult fiction on the market today (even though it is not the exact type of Christianity their family practices).

I think we can all learn some good things from the Amish by reading this book. It’s an entertaining light read, give it a try if you are at all interested in the Amish lifestyle.





Disclosure:
I received a review copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in order to publish a Vine review on Amazon.com. I did not receive any payment to write this review. For my blog's full disclosure statement see the link at the top of my blog's sidebar.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Narcissism Epidemic Book Review by ChristineMM

The Narcissism Epidemic Book Review by ChristineMM


















Title: The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement
Authors: Jean M. Twenge PhD and W. Keith Campbell PhD
Genre: Nonfiction
Publication: Free Press, Simon and Schuster, 2009
ISBN: 978-1416575986
Full Retail Price: $26.00


My Star Rating: 3 stars out of 5: It’s Okay

Summary Statement: Liked the General Ideas but Some Exaggeration and Over-Simplification Led Me to Not Love It


I was interested in reading this book because I know things have changed about life in America and don’t always like what I see. As a forty-something mother of two, I see changes in both the way today’s children are spending their time and being parented as well as the differences between how adults are living compared to the way things were just twenty years ago. I hoped the authors would identify exactly what is different now, how and if this is tied to narcissism (something I’d never thought about), what can be done to reduce it to bring things back to a more balanced or healthy state.

The flow of the book is as follows: Section 1 explains what narcissism is, that it is on the rise, and why this is not good. It should be made clear the topic of the book is general narcissism not to qualify as a psychiatric diagnosis but a more mild form that is growing in non-mentally ill people. Part 2 Discusses root causes of the epidemic with detailed examples from American culture and a small amount of information on how we can combat it relating to that specific topic. Part 3 discusses symptoms of narcissistic people, how they think and act, and why this is hurtful to individuals they interact with and/or how they negatively affect our society as a whole. The two chapters of part four discuss general ways we should try as a society, to reduce the incidence of narcissism.


The authors were selective in their examples of narcissistic behavior, often citing something and picking only the parts that support it being negative while ignoring parts of that thing that do not indicate narcissism. While they did give numerous detailed examples from real life to indicate narcissistic behavior they seemed to me to sometimes over-exaggerate the reach. Yes, tabloids exist and sell but their existence doesn’t mean that everyone is reading them. To cite the rise in the number of blogs but to infer that blogs are all fluff and nonsense, self-promoting blather; it is just not true. Some older adults and educated people use blogs for deeper, more meaningful purposes. To focus on immature and sometimes damaging use of Facebook and MySpace and quote statistics from the numbers of users to imply that all users do that is misleading. Actually business marketing and promotion on Facebook is on the rise as is inter-generational family communication and photo sharing. Facebook is sometimes the entry for some senior citizen’s use of the Internet. These are just a few examples of how the authors take the worst, most severe examples of a thing and paint the entire thing or all the people who do that thing as ‘all bad’.

The authors have mastered the art of picking and choosing facts to make their point. In some parts ‘the rich’ were accused of using services or doing things that are too extreme when the reality is these same things are done by middle class families. I feel this is a bit dishonest. The margins of my book are filled with retorts and comments on what the authors didn’t share. To keep the word count on this review lower I’ll not list all the examples.

Additionally I resent the fact that the authors have tip-toed around hot button topics. In Part 1 they criticize teachers for their over-use of praise when it is not due, to have raised kids who feel they are superior students academically when they test poorly and produce shoddy school work. I felt in Part 2 there should have been an entire chapter dedicated to teachers and the public school system but there was not. In the last chapter the authors revisited curriculums to help teach empathy and to focus on similarities instead of differences. Worse, in discussing the entitlement mentality as well as over-spending, the authors do not discuss politics and the role model that the U.S. Government is to its citizens. Well, actually, twelve pages from the end they do address that and share that they decided not to discuss politics and government as it might “transform into a typical political debate”.

To sidestep those two big topics is a cop-out. These issues are actually out of an individual’s reach to change or fix (federal government and public schooling). Perhaps the goal was to focus on things that individuals can quickly and more directly control—because really to hold larger systems responsible yet to show we are largely powerless to affect change is quite depressing and dis-empowering, thus making this more a book about complaining about a problem we are unable to fix.

I felt let down by this book is because the authors were too simplistic in their ideas to combat narcissism. According to the authors narcissists are all around us. In my opinion we are nearly powerless to combat them. I don’t think the authors have given us enough tools to put them in their place.

One example of how to save oneself from being the victim of a narcissist, it is common sense to say to avoid getting into a romantic relationship with a narcissist, but their advice for those who have to work alongside a narcissist or whose boss is a narcissist is ridiculous. To say that eventually no one will want to work with the narcissist co-worker is not a true remedy for the narcissist. We are generally stuck with our co-workers unless they are fired or quit. In fact in some corporate team based environment’s managers and even the human resource department employees find fault in the non-narcissist employees, recommending if they were a better team player they’d be able to ‘make the team work’. I feel this is because the narcissist can be very difficult to challenge and no one wants to endure their wrath, or perhaps, they know they may get sued, while the normal-nice employee is easier to manipulate and be told to learn to work well with the narcissist. The authors are researchers and college professors who seem to not understand what it is like to work in the private sector.

The book was easy to read and is intended for laypeople to read (not academics or psychologists). If you are interested in this topic you may find it a fast, easy, interesting read. It is not a dry or boring book.

In a nutshell I felt the examples of narcissism were accurate but the authors were a bit disingenuous by exaggerating the worst parts of something or over-extending the reach of a thing. I feel the solutions to combat narcissism were over-simplified. Life is much more complex, this book tried to simplify things too much. This is why I rate the book 3 stars = It’s Okay rather than “I like it” or “I love it”.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program for the purpose of writing a book review to publish on the Amazon.com site. I did not get paid to write this review. For my blog's full disclosure statement see the link at the top of my blog's sidebar.

Women Writing for (a) Change Book Review by ChristineMM

Women Writing for (a) Change Book Review by ChristineMM



Title: Women Writing for (a) Change: A Guide for Creative Transformation
Author: Mary Pierce Brosmer
Publication: Sorin Books, 2009
ISBN: 978-1933495187
Full Retail Price: $15.95

My Star Rating: 3 stars out of 5 “It’s Okay”


My Summary Statement:
Content Not What I Thought It Would Be Based on the Title


I accepted a pre-publication review copy of this book based on the title and subtitle. I'm a woman, a writer, and I write about my life so this book piqued my interest. I first researched it a bit to see if the book was a good match but at that time the only information available at the time was short marketing blurbs. I assumed based on the title, that the good things taught in the workshops at WWf(a)C would be contained in this book. Somehow I thought that the purpose of the book was for women to write for their own creative transformation using the WWf(a)C material, using the book to use the methods alone at home.

I started and stopped reading this book over a period of about three months. I found the beginning so confusing and wasn’t getting ‘hooked in’, and I began to dread reading it and gave up a few times. I finally decided to force myself through it hoping to find wisdom somewhere.

The first confusing point is I am unclear who the audience for this book is. It is not written only to women seeking to write for their own creative transformation. It discusses in detail how WWf(a)C was founded and operational procedures which is of use only to those seeking to replicate the organization. The book is divided into parts. Part One are personal stories about the author’s life, her education and religious upbringing (Catholic). Part Two is about the writing workshops and organization WWf(a)C. Part Three is about the writing process and some women may find this section most helpful for writing alone at home, without participating in a replica of WWf(a)C. Part Four is about the Feminist Leadership Academy, another one of Brosmer’s projects. As you can see half of the book is geared toward women who will replicate the WWf(a)C model to create women’s writing groups. All of it will help women who desire to do that but only some of the book is useful to women writing on their own.

At the end of every chapter is a list of writing prompts. I’d assumed the book would have more of these. I didn’t use these prompts as they reminded me of class homework assignments. That is to say, it felt like the author was forcing me to write on topics that didn’t move me or interest me. The chapter’s content didn’t lead me to want to write about that topic.

Brosmer’s writing style for this book is anything but direct. It is hard to explain but I felt I was being led around and around the mulberry bush not knowing where the final destination was. Sometimes I wanted to read more on a topic or idea, to dig more deeply into some of the points that spoke to me, but the author was off and running down the path and changing the subject before it seemed to me the topic had been thoroughly explained or delved into.

The infusion of Brosmer’s personal stories and poetry mixed with nonfiction writing about a topic gave the book a sporadic rhythm. The inclusion of emotionally charged poetry and stories mixed in between more dry passages gave the book roller coaster up’s and down emotional feeling. At some points I felt the book was a page-turner and then other times I was slogging through it.

To further confuse things the book is full of feminist language. I often felt as if I was reading a foreign language that I could not decipher. The feminist jargon left me feeling as if I was missing some of Brosmer’s message which is a shame as I do respect her, after learning more about her by reading this book. I know she has wisdom to share but I think I lost some of it due to difficulties in translation.

I read the book cover to cover, taking notes, and now wonder if perhaps I read the book through a second time with a better understanding of some of her language and the feminist terms if I might understand Brosmer’s message more deeply. I’ll not be re-reading it because the book isn’t what I thought it was. I have no plans to start a non-profit organization or lead writing groups so much of the content of this book applies to my life. I am still interested in writing about my life for ‘creative transformation’ so I’ll look elsewhere for inspiration and encouragement.

I also am disappointed that the book is not indexed. I’d like to be able to quickly find certain parts but am not able to. The author’s roundabout way of writing does not make it possible to find certain passages using the book’s part divisions or chapter titles.

I highly recommend that you skim some passages or read a few pages of this book to see if the writer’s style appeals to you and if the content is what you are interested in reading about before purchasing the book.

I rate this book 3 stars = It’s Okay.



Disclosure: I received an uncorrected proof of this book from the Amazon Vine program for the purpose of writing a book review to publish on the Amazon.com site. I was not paid to write this review. For this blog's full disclosure statement see the link at the top of my blog's sidebar.

Holding Their Feet to the Fire

The homeschooling thing on my mind this week is trying to figure out a way to switch from our daily homeschool lesson assignments to a weekly plan and holding my kids feet to the fire to complete their work.

The daily assignment list that I began using in September 2009 is not working out. I made a generic list where each day is the same. A challenge is our appointments for outside paid classes with subject matter expert teachers, Scouts and sports interferes with getting all of this done. At present the list is the same list, not different by day of the week.

It would not work either, to have a list by each day since some things we do are once monthly, twice monthly, or 'one off' things. Then there are enough orthodontist appointments and other random medical or dental appointments (for the kids or me) to mess up that too. Let's not even get into illnesses (the swine flu really knocked one son out last fall, and me too).

I was trying to not do a list every Sunday for the upcoming week in order to reduce my own time spent doing administrative prep time.

My biggest concern is my seventh grader. He likes the lists; there is no problem with that. He likes the freedom to decide what to do and when. The issue is there have not been consistent consequences when the work is not done. My son, at this age, should be able to handle some time management. Honestly school kids have much more time management practice than my two kids do. I see this with my son's friends and the Scouts I know.

Part of this is not over-scheduling outside classes. Since the start of 2010 I have declined some excellent opportunities for my children in order to have more free time in our lives. This means we now have more free time at home to do lessons at home. I am setting priorities and trying not to let the fun extra-curricular stuff take the place of The Three R's. Some is okay but too much of the extra's and not enough math and language arts is not good.

We already limit TV and video game playing, and computer/Internet time. I am curious what other homeschool families do that works.

The people who criticize me for being 'too strict' and having too many limits let their kids do a lot more fun things (video games etc.) but also have lower academic standards (at least for quantity) than I do. The thing is I do limit screen time already but my kids are finding ways to dawdle in between lessons to drag the day out and then by 4pm they claim they are so tired they can't learn anything else. I've given them a pass but lately am thinking, the school kids have to do homework at night, some of their friends decline invitations to do things with us at night due to homework, so why can't my kids do some academics at night if they didn't finish in the daytime?

Another example is sometimes when we're at my mother-in-law's (nearly every week for a meal that my husband prepares) my kids will sit and watch TV but my niece will show up with homework in hand and is made to sit and do homework. Why are my kids not touching any academics on the weekend if their work was not done during the week?

I've put some feelers out to ask for input, detailed information like how many hours of TV is watched Monday-Friday and can they still watch it if the lessons aren't done? Are the work lists weekly or daily? What other privileges must be earned after finishing the work rather than viewing entertainment as an entitlement? I mean, my kids saying, "Today's Saturday so I get to play my video games just because it's Saturday!" (even when only half their home lessons were completed).

I've asked for real feedback from families who have these standards and if they are working. I don't want to hear pie-in-the-sky ideals that the mom is not making work in her home. And of course I'm not hearing from anyone with low expectations or no expectations.

I have about a handful of detailed responses. Most are contacting me privately afraid to post their "strict" guidelines or personal information to an email discussion list I guess. This list has a sad history of some people getting slammed by the ones who don't like what was said, i.e. ask for a math curriculum idea and an unschooler says something about just making recipes using fractions and that's good enough. Or ask for a sample schedule and someone says, "no parent should mandate assignments, let them do what they want and they will naturally learn wonderful things".

Anyway I'm open to hear what you have to say if you are willing to share it via a comment at this blog.

Perhaps what I'm really looking for is permission to not only have a certain standard for home education academics but also to have some kind of parental follow-through to make sure those expectations are fulfilled. I need to take responsibility for the part of this issue that is my fault.

I think part of this issue is with me, that I don't necessarily like feeling like a drill sergeant, taskmaster homeschool mom. Honestly leaving most of the pacing to my kids has not fared as well as I'd have liked. I think my kids need help learning time management skills, and that will be half the battle. I'm trying not to cop out by taking the easy route. I need to do what is best for my kids, that's all, and right now I think it's time to tweak the way we're doing things.

Help.

Carnival of Homeschooling Week 211 Published





The Carnival of Homeschooling week 211 was published today at Home School Dad.



This Carnival provides a lot of homeschool-related reading. Take a look!



I have an entry in this week’s carnival.



If you have a blog or a website and write about homeschooling I encourage you to consider submitting an entry to this weekly blog Carnival. For information on how to make a submission, see here.



Enjoy!



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Monday, January 18, 2010

Carnival of Homeschooling Week 210 Published





The Carnival of Homeschooling week 210 was published today at Why Homeschool.



This Carnival provides a lot of homeschool-related reading. Take a look!



I have an entry in this week’s carnival.



If you have a blog or a website and write about homeschooling I encourage you to consider submitting an entry to this weekly blog Carnival. For information on how to make a submission, see here.



Enjoy!



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