Friday, May 17, 2013
Shannon planned a lovely Mother’s Day garden party for all of us this year. I am abundantly grateful for such a close, wonderful family! And this was particularly enjoyable as Shannon’s first Mother’s Day. Shannon made crepes which we topped with Devonshire cream, lemon curd, sliced strawberries, honey, and/or powdered sugar. Casey and Drake manned the griddle for sausages and bacon. We filled in the gaps with grapes and crackers with Brie and red pepper jelly.
What a way to celebrate our gorgeous spring (that now has turned back into chilly rain…).
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I have a long list of non-fiction easy readers that my boys have enjoyed, but sometimes a boy just needs a book to tickle his funny bone. I’m a little picky when it comes to humor. I want it quirky and intelligent. The Dodsworth series by Tim Egan and the Commander Toad series by Jane Yolen are two of my favorites. We just re-borrowed Dodsworth from the library, and the boys give the books two thumbs up. These are perfect books for a beginning reader (level 3, or so).Check out Dodsworth in New York and Dodsworth in Paris, then move on to London, Tokyo, and Rome. Commander Toad and the Space Pirates is just one of the many books in the Commander Toad series.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Levi’s CC tutor and daughters invited us over to visit their animals. Her oldest daughter gave Levi a riding lesson while the second daughter led the other kids around on another horse. It was such a beautiful day, and we all had a fantastic time.
The kids held chickens, gathered eggs, and played with the (huge!) dog. Lola was fearless.
She knew perfectly well that a saddle is no good if it isn’t on a horse. “Put it on horse,” she demanded.
This would be her smug look. Yes, much better.
Wait. It could get even better, she thinks. “I hold rope.” Yes, that’s my independent child.
And then there was some sliding. And chatting. And lemonade. Just lovely. I’m so thankful for special friends.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Here is Luke reciting The Destruction of Sennacherib by Lord Byron. (Grandma and Grandpa, I thought you would enjoy this one!)
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!
And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
“No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother's love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star.”
~Edwin Hubbell Chapin
Happy Mother’s Day to my friends and my fabulous mother!
(We have had incredible weather the past few weeks. Yesterday we spent time at the home of friends visiting animals and riding horses. Yesterday evening we had a Mother’s Day garden party with my family. Today we spent six hours on the lake/river with more friends. It was spectacular. We live in a wonderland and are blessed indeed!)
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
As a child I loved to pour over detailed illustrations in books for hours. Oh, how I wish I could have had books by Peter Spier or Mitsumasa Anno to pour over!! What worlds I could have lost myself in!
We have a few of Spier’s books: People (every child should own this one—a phenomenal celebration of the fascinating variety of human life), Circus (what is it about the circus that fires up a child’s imagination?), The Star-Spangled Banner (simply the words of the poem with inspiring illustrations), and London Bridge Is Falling Down. They are among my favorites. We also own The Little Riders by Margaretha Shemin and illustrated by Peter Spier. It is a short little chapter book set during the Second World War when the German army occupied Holland.
And then there is Mitsumasa Anno. Have you “read” one of his wordless Journey books? A little traveler makes his way from sea to land (where he buys a horse), from countryside to city, back to countryside and sea in each book. I feel as if I am going on a treasure hunt when I pour over these books—and every detail is a gem. Anno's Journey takes you on a tour of northern Europe. And then you can visit Anno's Spain. From School Library Journal: “Throughout, there are nods to Spain's literary, artistic, and cultural heritage. Close observers will catch glimpses of Don Quixote and his corpulent companion, a melting clock à la Dalí, flamenco dancers, and Barcelona's human pyramid. Tableaus (of Las Meninas, scenes from Carmen) add whimsy, while the inclusion of the Alhambra and a Roman aqueduct pay tribute to the country's history.”
In Anno’s Britain the shrewd viewer may spy scenes from many Shakespeare plays, characters from beloved British books (Doctor Dolittle, Winnie-the-Pooh, Mary Poppins, Alice, Peter Pan, the Happy Prince, Peter Rabbit, children from Kate Greenaway’s illustrations and from Mother Goose rhymes, as well as Dick Turpin, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood and others), activities (such as the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, cricket, bagpipe playing), idyllic pastoral landscapes from paintings by Constable and Gainsborough, landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben, and maybe even meet Sir Francis Drake or Isaac Newton.
I can’t imagine a much more pleasant way to spend an afternoon than romping through Anno’s world.