House of Literature Bookmobile

This is the place I share book (movie) selections and reviews I have found worth mentioning. I'll also share gleanings of family life, faith, home education, and ongoing writing projects. Book selections will include children's books, books on home education, Catholic books, classics, series, raising children, and books that are made for reading under a shady oak tree with lemonade, in a bubble bath with a latte', or next to a snuggly fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. Happy Reading!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Hocus Pocus ~ It's Magic!

One of my sons read and studied Harry Houdini last year.
The History Channel will be playing a biography of him tonight.

I would normally be excited, but I'm not.
We still don't have cable---post-Hurricane Rita---so we won't get to see the show.

Perhaps...ten years from now it'll be available on DVD at our library.

For now, we'll go to:
PBS for the American Experience ~ the Man Behind the Myth
Study Guide (part of it on Houdini)
Houdini died today ~ October 31, 1926

Surprisingly, for all the connections the media has made with Houdini and the afterlife, he was very sceptical of psychics and mediums. He went so far as to disprove them and expose frauds:

"Ironically, Houdini is often called upon in seances by "psychics", and other charlatans he sought to debunk."

Literature Connection

They are saying that a vaccination against malaria might be available by the year 2011.

If you want to connect your kids with literature of yesterday and what's happening in the world today, read Chapter 15 in the children's classic Little House on the Prairie and discuss the above link with your child(ren).

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Long Lost Beauty

For some reason, my husband took this picture the day we evacuated from our home in Louisiana due to Hurricane Rita.

I had high hopes that we'd get a nice watermelon from this lovely plant. But, upon returning home, it was gone.

This is the only trace of what once was.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Image of Hurricane Rita

We had the tree removed that crashed down on our son's apartment. Here is a picture of the backend corner of his bedroom where the closet was...notice the coat-hanger. His great-grandmother use to crochet all day long. She crocheted many, many hanger covers for all the grandchildren.

The hot water heater is fine as is the central air-conditioner that was located on the other wall.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Let her eat cake...

Remember the b-day blog?

Well, I couldn't resist...Here's a picture of Annie-girl (my 3 yr old) eating a piece of cake.

Down Time

I'm desperately trying to finish up plans for my Mosaic/Good Shepherd program tomorrow. Mark called reminding me that there's a soccer game today and, of course, he's having to work over (he's been working over since Hurricane Rita hit).

And the trash trucks still aren't running consistently every week (it's been two weeks since my can got dumped), so I have to drive around town and look for a discrete dumpster to unload my waste into. I never thought I'd degrade myself to such lowly proportions.

Please pray for me. I'm almost finished with getting the materials ready but I have not rehearsed the presentation. Sometimes you just have to do these things on faith and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you.

What I'm doing on the computer...I have no idea.
Cop-out? Maybe.
Procrastination? Definitely.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Classical Dames Test

Which classic dame are you? Which leading lady of the silver screen stands like a guidepost for your life? Are you street-smart, quick witted and possibly a little dangerous? Or are you stylish and arch, always ready with a cutting remark? Maybe you're a little on the nurturing side, standing calmly alongside your man, all the while running his world for him. See which classic lady (or tramp) you really are.

Myrna Loy
You scored 19% grit, 14% wit, 28% flair, and 50% class!
You are class itself, the calm, confident "perfect woman." Men turn and look at you admiringly as you walk down the street, and even your rivals have a grudging respect for you. You always know the right thing to say, do and, of course, wear. You can take charge of a situation when things get out of hand, and you're a great help to your partner even if they don't immediately see or know it. You are one classy dame. Your screen partners include William Powell and Cary Grant, you little simmerpot, you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Anne Rice Again

Autumnish/Spine Tinglers

Some seasonal books we enjoyed today!

The Sun's Asleep Behind the Hill

It's Fall

Beware! Beware!

A Dark Dark Tale

My Monster Mama Loves Me So

Rip Van Winkle

A House is a House for Me (just because we love this book so much we had to reread it---no matter the season)

Hurricane Birthdays

Two of my kiddos celebrated their birthdays in the midst of our evacuation from Hurricane Rita. They turned 18 years and 8 years respectively.

Once my brother got electricity to his house, we celebrated their b-days with cake at Uncle V's. It's good to enjoy the sweetness in life.

Happy birthday to my two "C's".

"She sat down..."

"She sat down, so that others might stand up." (Matt Lauer -Today Show)

History lesson for the day:

Rosa Parks has died at the age of 92 years.
What is she known for?
Why did she sit down?
What famous date in history is she known for?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Where in the World...???

Public schools in our area will be opening this coming Tuesday. As homeschoolers, we never officially paused our education. The history lessons, the math text, and the spelling quizes might have stopped for a couple weeks but the learning continued.
In the aftermath of Rita, we've read many books and followed a very *unschooling lifestyle*. Real learning has happened without pause. But that's a post for another time...

The Today Show is helping set us back on our more formal *schooling* path with their annual "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?"

I love this yearly segment. Talk about learn geography and cultural adventures in a fun, sensational way. Life is happening!

One feels like part of the trip, part of something larger than life, part of something eventful. For one week, we get to leave Louisiana and hurricanes and travel to..."Where in the World ???"

Care to join us? Stay tuned. Each day I'll share we you where in the world we traveled.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Proud to be an American!

We are a sorry bunch of Americans...and I'm speaking for myself here.

After a month of restricted diets and limited menu-fare due to Hurricane Rita---Popeyes, Burger King, and McDonald's are back to serving a full-order menu---meaning that you can order anything your little red-white-blue heart desires. Imagine the excitment, praise, joyful shouts, and happy clapping that issues from the backseat of a vehicle upon hearing this news.

It was a happy, spoiled moment to sit inside McDonald's restaurant (versus sitting in a mile long line of drive-thru cars) and greedily indulge in a hefty American-sized Big Mac (versus limited Quarter Pounders and Chicken Nuggets).

What a proud, spoiled, self-indulgent moment! We're so proud to be hamburger-loving Americans.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Something to Smile About

Due to Hurricane Rita at the end of September, I just got around to changing our calendar pages around the house.

These calendars serve as our family's art study each month. The October calendar in the front bathroom exhibits the famous Mona Lisa.

I showed the children the picture yesterday and we discussed the mysterious smile and the wandering eyes which follow you about the room no matter your direction. Everyone experimented with moving to and fro and seeing that her eyes never left us. All of us!

Tonight I heard a disturbance from the bathroom and went to inspect the distress cry. My 8 yr old was covered in sugary-white foam while sitting in a tub of Avon's new Sugar Cookie Biscuit Bubble Bath. An extremely worried look was upon her face.

When asked what was wrong, she solemnly pointed at the Mona Lisa above the bathroom sink. "She won't stop looking at me, Momma. I don't like it."

Ever the logical parent, I reached up to pull the shower curtain closed. That was the most practical solution. Right?

Wrong! A frightened scream stopped the curtain's path. I drew it aside. The idea of a closed curtain with a textured woman on the opposite side was a nightmare waiting to happen.

Seems that we'll be having to take showers in the back bathroom through the month of October. One thing is for sure. Mona Lisa and her magnetic gaze won't ever be forgotten.

Art lesson...successful.

Assistance for Home-Schooling Hurricane Victims

I've been meaning to post this link for sometime now and am just getting around to it.

If you are a victim of a recent hurricane and are home educating, there is assistance out there.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock." (Rev. 3:20)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Louisiana Book Festival

Call it a writer's sixth sense, I had a sneaky suspicion that this would happen.

2005 Louisiana Book Festival postponed.

October Fiesta Author

Book Fiesta!

Due to Hurricane Rita this author preview is a few weeks late. : )

Schedule a library day before October ends and check out books on Virginia Kahl with your children.

The Duchess Bakes a Cake is her most famous/popular book. FIAR has it "rowed" in Volume 3.

Virginia Kahl never made a secret of her formula for writing children's books, but she did make a success of it.

Virginia Kahl, 1919-

Virginia Kahl was born in Milwaukee. She graduated from Milwaukee Downer College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Library School. She was a librarian at Milwaukee Public Library and Madison Public Schools. She served as Library Director at Maude Shunk Public Library in Menomonee Falls. From 1948-1955 she was a U.S. Army Special Services Librarian stationed in Berlin, Germany and Salzburg, Austria. She recently retired after more than 20 years of service from the Alexandria Public Library in Virginia. She remains active writing, volunteering, and participating in a variety of sports.
Virgnina Kahl has written and illustrated over a dozen picture books for children. She credits her experiences in Europe as influencing her writing and illustrating career. This is apparent in the illustrations depicting European settings and in the names she has chosen for the numerous picture book characters. Her humorous stories are exuberant, hilarious comedy. In her best known book, The Duchess Bakes a Cake, a bored duchess decides to bake a cake although she has limited culinary expertise. The cake rises to unexpected heights and although she "pushed it and pummeled it, punched it and pat on it, she poked it, pinched it -- and finally sat on it" she found herself among the clouds. The story continues as everyone tries to get her down. Finally the youngest of the thirteen daughters gets hungry and thereby discovers the solution. Kahl works successfully with a limited two or three colors; she draws simple illustrations to create a perfect melding of pictures and text. She frequently uses exaggerated rhymed verse which reinforces the comedy. Most of all Virginia Kahl understands what makes children laugh. The continued popularity of her books attests to their quality and readability.
Virginia Kahl has received honors for her works including the New York Herald Tribune's Spring Book Festival Award and the Lewis Carroll Book Shelf Award. The Duchess Bakes a Cake has been reproduced in filmstrip format by Miller-Brody.

Books by Virginia Kahl:
Away Went Wolfgang
The Duchess Bakes a Cake
Giants, Indeed!
Whose Cat is That?
The Habits of Rabbits
How Many Dragons are Behind the Door?
How Do You Hide a Monster?

"Little children should enjoy their books. As long as possible, let them live in a world where characters are basically good, incidents are funny or exciting, and the story ultimately satisfying. I hope that the children who read my books have put them down with sighs of contentment, knowing that their expectations of cheerful uncomplicated tales with happy endings have been vindicated."
--Virginia Kahl, quoted from Contemporary Authors The Gale Literary Databases

To check out other author fiesta, go to Book Fiesta!

To Prom or Not to Prom

Good for Brother Kenneth Hoagland!

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Brother Kenneth M. Hoagland had heard all the stories about prom-night debauchery at his Long Island high school: Students putting down $10,000 to rent a party house in the Hamptons. Pre-prom cocktail parties followed by a trip to the dance in a liquor-loaded limo. Fathers chartering a boat for their children's late-night "booze cruise."
Enough was enough, Hoagland said. So the principal of Kellenberg Memorial High School canceled the spring prom in a 2,000-word letter to parents this fall.

The move brought a mixed, albeit passionate, reaction from students and parents at the Roman Catholic school, which is owned by the Society of Mary (Marianists), a religious order of priests and brothers.

Finish story...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Oh, brother!

Or should I entitle this "Oh, Wilma!"?
Spare us!
Don't hurricanes ever hit Mexico???

Storm Surge

It's eery for me to look at this picture.

It's a photo of a bath-house taken during Hurricane Rita's storm surge.

It's a bath-house at the beach where we often swim during the summer months.

Our Lady of the Sea

Here is the lovely lady who watched over SW Louisiana during Hurricane Rita. No lives were lost. Miraculous indeed!

The church is gone, but the statue remains, looking out over the Gulf of Mexico.

She was erected in front of the Catholic Church in Cameron, Louisiana, shortly after Hurricane Audrey which claimed hundreds of lives. Every year a hurricane prayer has been said at this shrine by the parishioners of Our Lady of the Sea.

Our prayers never go unheard...unheeded...unanswered. is a wonderful article: ( )

Friday, October 14, 2005

Planners for Catholic Women

Michele Quigley of Family-Centered Learning has some beautiful planners. I have ordered the full-size binder and the smaller inserts which fit easily into my Franklin Covey planner case. For 2006, I think I'll try the spiral binding.

Michele is a fellow Catholic hsing mother, and that makes your order all the more beneficial. Her website also offers free online planning help pages.

See her planners here!
Read review here!

How to Hold a Poetry Party

I've heard of families doing this, but my friend MacBeth Derham (who is a genius, btw) has taken the time to get it all on the web.

For your enjoyment and satisfaction, here's the link:
How to Hold a Poetry Party

Thanks, MacBeth!

When I Grow Up...

...I want to be C.S. Lewis!

With the new Narnia movie coming out in December (the 9th, to be exact), there are gops of links for children and their families appearing on the Internet.

Just so you'll have them all encompassed into on little accessable space, here are some of them. I'll add to them as I come across more. Please email (or comment) others that you find helpful.

C.S. Lewis for Children

Printable Narnia Map

Narnia on Tour

Narnia Cookbook

World of Narnia Art Contest

So there ya go! Share with your friends and enjoy. ; )

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Excerpt from Chelsea's Diary

I found this written in Chelsea's diary the day after we got back home.
It was open on her bed and I couldn't resist reading (and sharing).
She is only 8 yr old and, for those who know, her b-day and my oldest son's were celebrated as hurricane evacuees.

"Dear Diary:
I did not know it!
After the Hurrikane Reda (Hurricane Rita), it took a long time to get home. Then we got elktrsate (electricity). It was great!! I get to have two partys!"

"Even the Dead Can't Rest"

"CAMERON, La. — She came to this Gulf Coast community not long after Hurricane Audrey and has watched over it ever since, a comforting presence outside Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church.

Some say the statue of the Blessed Mother was modeled on a woman who died along with her children and hundreds of others in the 1957 storm. Its pedestal bears these words: "Do Not Harm My Children."

Each day of every hurricane season, church parishioners recite a special prayer written for the parish after Audrey, asking God to spare them from another hurricane like that one. And they believe their prayers have been answered.

Until now.

Hurricane Rita ravaged Cameron Parish in a way no storm has since Audrey. Few homes still stand in the towns of Cameron and Creole; most of those that do never will be livable.

Then again, none of Cameron Parish's 10,000 residents was found dead after Hurricane Rita.

So maybe their prayers are being answered still."

( To read full story & prayer ~ )

Prayers for our Friends and Neighbors

We have many friends that live in Cameron Parish (the parish just below us). The area is devastated. In Cameron only the water tower and courthouse are left standing.

One can justify just about anything

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I remember my parents talking around the coffee table with friends about the newly-released book The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. We were not allowed to read the book or listen in on the conversation. We listened anyway.

Now, with the newly-released The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the questions going through the news media today are:
Are exorcisms necessary?
Are demons real?
Or is this a psychotic condition?

Roger Ebert's site offers this:
What is fascinating about "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is that it asks a secular institution, the court, to decide a question that hinges on matters the court cannot have an opinion on. Either Emily was possessed by a demon and Father Moore did his best to save her, or she had a psychotic condition and he unwittingly did his best to kill her. The defense and the prosecution mount strong arguments and call persuasive witnesses, but in the end it all comes down to the personal beliefs of the jury. A juror who does not believe in demons must find the priest guilty, if perhaps sincere. A juror who does believe in demons must decide if Emily Rose was possessed, or misdiagnosed. In a case like this, during the jury selection, are you qualified or disqualified by believing one way or the other?

Here is a Christian review site which includes discussion questions.

Books I have read and can suggest regarding exorcisms are An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories both by Fr. Amorth Gabriele.

I'd love to read your comments on this subject.

A Worthwhile Apostolate

As I was making my personal retreat tonight reading I Believe in Love , I found myself thinking, "Sophia Institute Press really does publish the most beautiful books."

I was sadly overcome to see this link at Amy Welborn's blog and read it to it's conclusion. I offer you to do the same and help Sophia Press to continue publishing beautiful books.

A View from the Roof

This is a picture of trees downed in my brother-in-law's yard next-door to us. (Click on it to enlarge)

Home Sweet Home

We are home! After 3 weeks living as Hurricane Rita-refugees/evacuees, we are safely and thankfully home. Last night was our first night to sleep in our beds within our house. Nice just doesn't say enough.

It has been my wish for the past year to spend one summer vacation traveling to all the beautiful state parks here in Louisiana. Seems we were given a head-start on our plans. After living two weeks at Lake Claiborne State Park, my husband came and moved us and the travel camper to Lake Chicot State Park (pronounced chee-ko) so we would be closer to home. The mosquitoes were terrible!

Once my brother received electricity at his house, my husband came and retrieved us again and moved us there. We had full hook-up, electricity, and laundry. My parents stayed in his house.

Seems everyone learned a valuable lesson with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Our legal system and all officials have been remarkable in their dictation and energy in getting Calcasieu Parish up and running. The wonderful crew of Entergy (nationwide) had our electricity up on Monday night. The children and I spent yesterday cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and painting the laundry room and pantry.

We already hired someone to come in and cut up the trees and move the debris off our property. The kids have raked and hauled branches and limbs into their uncle's side lot in preparation for a huge Halloween bonfire. The property is approximately 85% clean-up.

My carport looks like an army camp. Mark and Corey have basically lived under it the past 3 weeks. Now, with the exception of the carport, my house is spic-n-span. My kitchen is airy and uncluttered. The only thing on my kitchen table are the pumpkins that Corey bought his two little sisters when the first harvest of pumpkins came in after the storm. To get this open effect, we had to place boxes of cased water and MRE's down the hallway. But the homelike effect you get when walking into this spacious kitchen is worth having my hallway cluttered.

There is still lots of work to be done...
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