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!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Spirit of Christmas

~ published in 1917 ~
"Good Will Toward Men"—St. Luke 11- 14

There was a time when the spirit of Christmas was of the present. There is a period when most of it is of the past. There shall come a day perhaps when all of it will be of the future. The child time, the present; the middle years, the past; old age, the future.

Come to my mind Christmas Days of long ago. As a boy again I enter into the spirit of the Christmas stockings hanging before my fire. I know what the children think to-day. I recall what they feel.

Passes childhood, and I look down the nearer years. There rise before me remembrances of Christmas Days on storm-tossed seas, where waves beat upon the ice-bound ship. I recall again the bitter touch of water-warping winter, of drifts of snow, of wind-swept plains. In the gamut of my remembrance I am once more in the poor, mean, lonely little sanctuary out on the prairie, with a handful of Christians, mostly women, gathered together in the freezing, draughty building. In later years I worship in the great cathedral church, ablaze with lights, verdant and fragrant with the evergreen pines, echoing with joyful carols and celestial harmonies. My recollections are of contrasts like those of life—joy and sadness, poverty and ease.

And the pictures are full of faces, many of which may be seen no more by earthly vision. I miss the clasp of vanished hands, I crave the sound of voices stilled. As we old and older grow, there is a note of sadness in our glee. Whether we will or not we must twine the cypress with the holly. The recollection of each passing year brings deeper regret. How many have gone from those circles that we recall when we were children? How many little feet that pattered upon the stair on Christmas morning now tread softer paths and walk in broader ways; sisters and brothers who used to come back from the far countries to the old home—alas, they cannot come from the farther country in which they now are, and perhaps, saddest thought of all, we would not wish them to come again. How many, with whom we joined hands around the Christmas tree, have gone?

Circles are broken, families are separated, loved ones are lost, but the old world sweeps on. Others come to take our places. As we stood at the knee of some unforgotten mother, so other children stand. As we listened to the story of the Christ Child from the lips of some grey old father, so other children listen and we ourselves perchance are fathers or mothers too. Other groups come to us for the deathless story. Little heads which recall vanished halcyon days of youth bend around another younger mother. Smaller hands than ours write letters to Santa Claus and hear the story, the sweetest story ever told, of the Baby who came to Mary and through her to all the daughters and sons of women on that winter night on the Bethlehem hills.

And we thank God for the children who take us out of the past, out of ourselves, away from recollections that weigh us down; the children that weave in the woof and warp of life when our own youth has passed, some of the buoyancy, the joy, the happiness of the present; the children in whose opening lives we turn hopefully to the future. We thank God at this Christmas season that it pleased Him to send His beloved Son to come to us as a little child, like any other child. We thank God that in the lesser sense we may see in every child who comes to-day another incarnation of divinity. We thank God for the portion of His Spirit with which He dowers every child of man, just as we thank Him for pouring it all upon the Infant in the Manger.

There is no age that has not had its prophet. No country, no people, but that has produced its leader. But did any of them ever before come as a little child? Did any of them begin to lead while yet in arms? Lodges there upon any other baby brow "the round and top of sovereignty?" What distinguished Christ and His Christian followers from all the world? Behold! no mighty monarch, but "a little child shall lead them!"

You may see through the glass darkly, you may not know or understand the blessedness of faith in Him as He would have you know it, but there is nothing that can dim the light that radiates from that birth in the rude cave back of the inn. Ah, it pierces through the darkness of that shrouding night. It shines to-day. Still sparkles the Star in the East. He is that Star.

There is nothing that can take from mankind—even doubting mankind—the spirit of Christ and the Christmas season. Our celebrations do not rest upon the conclusions of logic, or the demonstrations of philosophy; I would not even argue that they depend inevitably or absolutely upon the possession of a certain faith in Jesus, but we accept Christmas, nevertheless; we endeavour to apply the Christmas spirit, for just once in the year; it may be because we cannot, try as we may, crush out utterly and entirely the divinity that is in us that makes for God. The stories and tales for Christmas which have for their theme the hard heart softened are not mere fictions of the imagination. They rest upon an instinctive consciousness of a profound philosophic truth.

What is the unpardonable sin, I wonder? Is it to be persistently and forever unkind? Does it mean perhaps the absolute refusal to accept the principle of love which is indeed creation's final law? The lessons of the Christmastide are so many; the appeals that now may be made to humanity crowd to the lips from full minds and fuller hearts. Might we not reduce them all to the explication of the underlying principle of God's purpose to us, as expressed in those themic words of love with which angels and men greeted the advent of the Child on the first Christmas morning, "Good will toward men?"

Let us then show our good will toward men by doing good and bringing happiness to someone—if not to everyone—at this Christmas season. Put aside the memories of disappointments, of sorrows that have not vanished, of cares that still burden, and do good in spite of them because you would not dim the brightness of the present for any human heart with the shadows of old regrets. Do good because of a future which opens possibilities before you, for others, if not for yourselves.

Brethren, friends, all, let us make up our minds that we will be kindly affectioned one to another in our homes and out of them, on this approaching Christmas day. That the old debate, the ancient strife, the rankling recollection, the sharp contention, shall be put aside, that "envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness" shall be done away with. Let us forgive and forget; but if we cannot forget let us at least forgive. And so let there be peace between man and man at Christmas—a truce of God.

Let us pray that Love shall come as a little child to our households. That He shall be in our hearts and shall find His expression in all that we do or say on this birthday of goodness and cheer for the world. Then let us resolve that the spirit of the day shall be carried out through our lives, that as Christ did not come for an hour, but for a lifetime, we would fain become as little children on this day of days that we may begin a new life of good will to men.

Let us make this a new birthday of kindness and love that shall endure. That is a Christmas hope, a Christmas wish. Let us give to it the gracious expression of life among men.

My Life's on the Line

The person who relieves me at Adoration did not show up...again.
This morning I had to call the hourly coordinator to see what's up.

My daughter doesn't want to take her hip-hop dance class any longer.
This morning I had to call the dance studio to see what can be arranged.

Our church parish has gotten in the new 2006 Mass Intention booklet.
This morning I had to call to try scheduling Masses for my mother-in-law.

Our cable is back out...again...and I realized I never called to make sure we got a month's credit since we were without cable twice as long as everyone else who had their cable out after Hurricane Rita.
This morning I had to call and make sure they give us our credit...and fix our cable...again...

No wonder I always feel as though my life is on hold...

A Christmas Carol

We've been having a fun discussion about Charles Dickens and his classic A Christmas Carol at the online library Literature Alive! complete with a poll on which spirit is your favorite.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

The Ghost of Christmas Present

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

This is a nifty site where one can scroll down to see the picture versions of various Christmas Carol movies. Surprisingly, my 8 yr old was leaning over my shoulder to see the pictures and doesn't remember Dicken's famous piece. We'll watch The Muppet's Christmas Carol tonight to refresh her memory. The good readers at House of Literature assure me that it stays true to the original.

I found this Christmas Carol Study Guide by Rebecca Gilleland published by Progeny Press and have it on my wish list.

If anyone knows of a good study guide, please let me know.

St. Andrew's Feast Day

Today is the feast day for one of my son's patron saint.

So much for the chili cookoff planned tonight! Perhaps we should pick up fish burgers at McD's for lunch!!! ; )

And, interestingly enough, if you do a Google search on St. Andrew, you're likely to come across links on golf (such as this one: ) rather than links to the saint.

But, within our household, it's appropriate. This particular son who, bears St. Andrew's name, is an avid golfer. Matter of fact, he asked if he could go play today! Perhaps that's the best way to spend one's feast day.

Love2Learn Christmas Updates

Alicia Van Hecke of has updated her wonderful website just in time for our Christmas planning. Her site is a tremendous source to all Catholics.

Advent Books

Christmas Stories

December Calendar

Soups On

*( This is a picture of a crab stew we did a couple months back.)
There's frost on the pumpkin, as we say in the south.
The roof tops and grass blades are white in the morning and smoke escapes your mouth when you breathe. Winter clothes are officially out of the closet!

Nothing gets you thinking about nice pots of warm food more so than cold weather. Nancy Brown just blogged about this recently.

I'm usually an unplanned cook. I can plan a lovely week-full of menu and not get to any of them because:

1) I forget to take the meat out to thaw
2) I don't have all the ingredients when it comes time to cook
3) Between homeschool, writing, doing laundry, and carpooling I run out of time and it's 5 o'clock with nothing on the stove

That's when we have nights like last night. I quickly boil some chicken breasts and eggs and put together a chef salad.

My dh was starving within an hour. He went to the store and picked up ingredients for chili and said, "I'd like this tomorrow night."

Sure, honey! I smiled.

Those are also the nights of cereal bowls, leftovers, sandwiches, tuna on crackers, tamales out of a can, or beef stew (out of a can) over bread.

So here's my best-laid plans for the rest of the week. I do owe this to my dh. After all, he's the one coming home in the cold night air after a long day's work. And he's a very good provider and husband and daddy! It's the least I'm called to do in this vocation of wifehood.

Wednesday ~ chili
Thursday ~ taco soup
Friday ~ shrimp gumbo
Saturday ~ pancakes, bacon, and eggs
Sunday ~ Tamale CasserOLE' (the recipe is on the back of the Hormel tamale can) This is one deliciosa recipe that makes people think you had cooking lessons in Italy. I promise! ; )

We just had an online gumbo cooking lesson at Nancy Brown's Flying Stars blog. Click here if you want to try it: Chicken/Sausage Gumbo. My dh made that this past Sunday night and we had friends over to share the pot. Yum!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

20th Century Christian Knight

C.S. Lewis, creator of the Narnia Chronicles, was born on November 29, 1898.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Flights of Fancy

Flights of Fancy

Are you trying to avoid the Christmas crowds by shopping online?
Is your school/co-op group planning an Easter pageant or a May Day celebration for spring?
Is your school or co-op group putting on a play? Is your little girl having a dress-up party for her next birthday?
Is your little boy wanting to be a pirate, captain of a ship, or a speed racer in real life?
Perhaps your son has loftier aspirations and would like to be clone of St. Francis of Assisi or a Benedictine monk.
Is your child planning what he wants to be for the next Halloween or All Saint's Party?
Has your child been imagining that she is truly her latest favorite storybook character?

Then I have got a wonderful place to take you. It's a fairyland where little girls can become Dorothy in Oz or Alice in Wonderland, where little boys can become race car drivers and Captain Hook! Catholics will be thrilled to discover saint costumes available, making preparation for the All Saints Party just a little easier. Let me welcome you to the world of Flights of Fancy, where there is a costume for every child's fancy.

Anyone with a little girl who has been in dance recitals or pageants is well aware of the high price of dresses and costumes that are flimsy, imperfect, and onionskin thin. We are all familiar with the dollar costumes bought at our local discount stores that split and rip after a day's wear and tear. Let me guarantee you---from sight-seen and my own kid-tested experiment at home---costumes from Flights of Fancy will not! I fear that my review cannot do justice to the craftsmanship that created the costumes at Flights of Fancy. This clothing business offers the very best quality in children's costume selections. I have been privy to examine and canvass certain costumes designed and handsewn by creator and business owner (and home educating mother) Debra Fuhrman. I can say--- with no bias---that these enchanting creations are the things that fairy tales and storybooks are made of. They are rich in imagination, lovely in design and texture, and a work of art. These costumes are worthy of being shown on a Hollywood stage, but were made with everyone's child in mind! The delightful creations made at Flights of Fancy are extremely well-made with rich looking materials and trimmings. The sewing is secure and superiorly crafted. These are memories made to last.

Here is a wonderful way for your child to enter a storybook and actually become a storybook character! When you realize that the stitches are made of gold taken from Rumpelstiltskin's lair and each seam is trimmed with the imagination of fanciful fairies and each detail is taken from wispy gauze of a butterfly's wing, you will find these costumes to be quite reasonable. You will not be disappointed.

Flights of Fancy bears this within its mission statement: "Our mission is to bring joy to the hearts of children, smiles to the adults who love them..." Here's a chance to delight your child and make his or her dreams come true. Let your child's imagination soar and the smiles begin. Allow your child to preview the website( ) and request an Imagination Wear Catalog. Let the fun begin.

There are also full-time or part-time opportunities available for mothers interested in starting their own home business as a Flight of Fancy Imagination Consultant. Become a fairy godmother and sprinkle magic wherever you go.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Start Your Journey Today!

I enjoyed this Catholic article immensely and plan to share it with my older son and daughter:

Start Your Journey Today!

Have I Said... much I love Gooseberry Patch?

I think I have, but it bears repeating. Dh and I try to eat at Cracker Barrel Restaurant once a week. I love the Christmas old-timey feel of the place, and their country store is a haven of new ideas for Christmas shoppers. Many of the items are from Gooseberry Patch and the prices just can't be beat.

Consider a Trade

This article says what I've been trying to say for all the years my oldest ds has been in school!

Alleluia! The educational system is finally catching on to the fact that people all learn differently and we're all good at what we do best!

Traditional trades short of workers
November 24, 2005

There's no shortage of work for Mike Kirby, a 21-year-old apprentice electrician in Iowa who's been on the job 10 hours a day, seven days a week lately.

He and others in the traditional trades are in great demand throughout the country, with many trade groups and employers hotly recruiting high school students to fill the growing need for everything from plumbers to bricklayers and dry-wallers.

Yet despite the opportunities, the jobs are proving a tough sell -- not only to young people but to their parents and school counselors, who don't always see the trades as a desirable option.

"That's the way it's preached: 'If you don't go to college, you can't do anything.' But obviously that's not true," said Kirby, who'll finish his apprenticeship with Shaw Electric in Davenport, Iowa, next year.
He expects to make $18 an hour once he finishes.

Officials at organizations that represent the construction trades say national age-specific statistics aren't available. But they note the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the industry will need to add 100,000 jobs a year each year through 2012, while also filling an additional 90,000 openings annually for positions vacated by retiring baby boomers and those leaving the industry for other reasons.
Some believe the labor shortage will become more severe as the need for skilled workers increases on the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast and in regions with housing booms.

"Do we have an immediate crisis? Probably not. Will we in five years? Absolutely," said Gary Dowty, executive vice president of the Lake County (Ill.) Contractors Association.

Already, he's seen several baby boomer trades workers take early retirement -- "good retirement and pensions," he noted. "They can afford to retire at 55 or 60 and they're doing it."

Finish reading the article here.

Advent Book Prep

Advent Greetings!

What a beautiful time of year this preparation is!

I have way too many Christmas books to mention. I took them off the top shelf last night and transferred them into the book basket. They will be made available in the living room throughout the month of December.

Here I will share the ones that we plan to focus on throughout the Advent season.

I have my online friend Irene to thank for bringing this book to my attention: The Trees Kneel at Christmas is a Christmas book with a Catholic influence. I love finding out about books where the characters share my Catholic faith! The author, Maud Hart Lovelace, is the creator of the childhood famous Betsy-Tacy books than enriched my childhood.

Review from "Lovelace portrays an extended family that treasures its Lebanese traditions, takes pride in its adaptation to American ways, and celebrates religious faith as its guiding principle. After seven-year-old Afify and her younger brother, Hanna, hear a story about the trees kneeling down to worship on Christmas Eve, Afify decides they will go to their Brooklyn park to see the trees bow down. Praying to be worthy of seeing the miracle, Afify tries to be saintlike all day, though she finds the going rough. Finally, after their relatives have left for midnight mass, Afify takes Hanna to the park, where they find their special trees, heavy with ice, bowing down. Their parents are upset, but when Afify and Hanna tell of the miracle they've seen, the whole family draws together in the grace of that moment. What shines here is the mystery of religious experience and the notion of religion as the central guiding principle of a family's life."

I treated myself to a trip to Books-A-Million the other day. The Christmas display was the first thing I saw upon entering the store. It was as attractive and appetizing as a stuffed goose and plum pudding.
I bought One Candle written by Eve Bunting and beautifully illustrated by K. Wendy Popp. It's about a Jewish family celebrating Hanukkah. Amazon review: "Another finely tuned intimate, first-person narrative from Bunting, who delivers a moving family history framed within the celebration of Hanukkah. Grandma ritualistically makes a candle from a hollowed-out potato in memory of the time she and Great-Aunt Rose spent in Buchenwald (Nazi concentration camp during WWII). The repeated story unites the family as they celebrate the present and remember the past."

It's a heartfelt story and I think we will focus a bit on Hanukkah this year. My calendar says the first day of Hanukkah is the day after Christmas. There are lots of good things to discuss in this book.

We will also
read Madeleine L'Engle's The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas. A couple years ago we did a very extended version of the book. This year we'll just read. review: "To seven-year-old Vicky Austin, the twenty-four days before Christmas are the most wonderful days of the year. She's going to be an angel in the Christmas Pageant. Best of all, Vicky and her brother John and her little sister Suzy do something special every day to celebrate: they hang twinkling lights, make cookies, and wish very hard for snow. But what if the new baby comes during Christmas and Mother has to go to the hospital? How can they have Christmas without Mother?"

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Read the Blackboard

Oh, this is so rich! Read the blackboard.

18 and All Grown Up

Oldest ds's friend showed up at the house the other day to show off the brand-new motorcycle he got from dear ol' mom and dad on his 18th b-day. He also wanted to show off his new camera/cell-phone given to him again by dear ol' mom and dad on the occassion of his 18th b-day.

My oldest ds came in the house after said-friend left on said-brandnew motorcycle with said-brandnew camera/cell phone tucked away in his back pocket, and simply said, "Yep! All I got for my 18th b-day was a hurricane."


Then he smiled at me, and I gave him a big hug! This is one 18-year-old I know who has grown-up fast, even without the motorcycle and camera/cell phone.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Jigsaw Teaching

Jigsaw Teaching?

Ah, a new schooling term and an interesting one at that. I have not fully finished reading this piece by SecretAgentMan's Dossier, but I did read the top and scanned the bottom and I've highlighed a couple of paragraphs below that shouted at me.

Go here to read the whole piece and nothing but the piece.

"One of the things I noticed about Professor Shulman's presentation to EDU 201 the other week was the virtually-complete absence of the learning methods we've been studying in EDU 302 & 404, and which we're experiencing in EDU 201. Aside from a few "microsocratics" and a couple of Q&As there wasn't any vigorous interaction between the students and Professor Shulman. There weren't any small groups, no role-playing exercises, no collaborative or cooperative efforts. Professor Shulman remain seated and motionless for the first 45 minutes of the class, and while I suspect he stood and "painted the room" as a (very) subtle energy shift, the muted technique didn't change the essential format -- the dicactive lecture we're taught to use almost as a last resort.[1] And yet, to use Professor Frederick's phrase, the lecture was very lively, an "interior dialogue" between Professor Shulman and each of us.So why, on this most auspicious day, one eagerly anticipated by all of us Constructivists, did we default to the didactic-lecture format? Shouldn't we have been treated to a brilliant expose of all those exciting strategies we've been studying? Shouldn't we have seen at least one power-point slide? I think the answer is, "No," perhaps even, "Hell no."Like actors, or policemen, or trial lawyers, what we're studying is methods, the techniques of teaching. And like actors, or policemen on a traffic stop, or lawyers before juries, if we do it right people won't notice 90% of what's going on. Few people waiting on the roadside for a traffic ticket notice the cop's surreptitious hand pushing on the trunk to see if it will open because there's contraband or someone hiding inside. Nor will they notice the cautious approach from the driver's or passenger's blind-side, meant to allow the officer time to observe someone reaching for a weapon or hiding something under the seat. When we see George C. Scott deliver his speech before that huge American flag well, by God, we think it's George S. Patton himself growling at us; we don't notice the acting, the acting is invisible. That's true for teaching, too. The method should be invisible, or at least unobtrusive, because it's not the point of what's happening."

"Lawyers, like educators, have immense power. What future can come from legal men trained in the mold of Cromwell rather than Thomas More? "

"Why, if the topics were so important, didn't Professor Shulman dazzle us with constructivism? I venture the opinion that it's because all the tips and tricks, all the glittering methodology of collaborative classrooms, cooperative learning, "jigsawing" and the like exist because they are deliberately-inefficient ways of teaching.

Great Literature Amid Illiteracy

An interesting perspective by the Associated Press

A Dixie Contradiction - Great Literature Amid Illiteracy

OXFORD (AP) - From front-porch rocking chairs to the dog-eared pages of novels, the South boasts a rich legacy of storytelling.

A complex brew of poverty and racial strife has inspired writers as diverse as William Faulkner, Richard Wright, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, Pat Conroy and John Grisham. Those same social pathologies have burdened the South with a stubbornly enduring legacy of illiteracy.

This clash of literature and illiteracy is one of the great contradictions in a region filled with them. It's particularly stark in Mississippi, where studies have found that 30 percent of adults can't read well enough to fill out a job application, the dropout rate is 40 percent and public schools rank near the bottom in nearly every category.

“When I first came here, they told me the state has more writers than it does readers,” said Richard Boyd, who did two stints as state superintendent of education in the 1980s and 1990s.

Indeed, Mississippi was a tortured subject for Faulkner himself, who once wrote of his native state: “You don't love because, you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults.” The problems of black and white, injustice and intolerance were what drove Faulkner and motivate Mississippi writers to this day.

“If you don't have conflict, you don't have fiction,” said author Josephine Haxton, who writes under the pen name Ellen Douglas.

Among the efforts to turn around Mississippi's illiteracy rate is the Oxford-based Barksdale Reading Institute, founded with a $100 million grant by former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale. It seeks to get children reading as early as preschool, and provides books and teacher training for some of the state's poorest and lowest-performing schools.

“Does poverty produce illiteracy or does illiteracy produce poverty? The answer to both is yes,” said attorney Claiborne Barksdale, Jim Barksdale's brother and the institute's executive director.

“If we were a nice, homogenous, upper-middle-class society, we wouldn't have produced the fiction we've produced,” Claiborne Barksdale said. “The question is: Would you trade all the poverty and forgo ‘The Sound and the Fury'?

“Of course you would.”

Writers and historians agree Mississippi was slower than most parts of the United States to develop an energetic, well-funded public school system, and it's been playing catch-up for some time. That's particularly true in rural areas where business owners and plantation managers once saw no need to educate their future laborers.

Richard Ford, a Mississippi native whose novel, “Independence Day,” won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, said Mississippi still suffers from providing “separate and unequal schools” for blacks and whites.

When desegregation finally happened in Mississippi the 1960s, more than a decade after the Supreme Court ordered it, “you had white schools raiding the black schools and taking their books and doing all they could do to suppress black education in Mississippi,” Ford said.

That legacy of poverty and substandard education has been passed down to people such as Annie Quinn, 59-year-old housekeeper at the state Capitol in Jackson who is still struggling to learn how to read and write.

Quinn's mother was illiterate. Quinn's father left when she was in fourth grade, and she had to quit school to help take care of her 10 brothers and sisters.

It wasn't until the late 1980s, when her own 12-year-old daughter saw a TV commercial and sent away for adult literacy materials, that Quinn started learning to read. Today, Quinn still listens to phonics tapes at home and often reads children's Sunday school lessons during her breaks at the Capitol.

“I just pick up books and sound out words,” she said with a smile. “It might take me a day to read a sentence, but I just stick with it.”

Olympia Vernon, a 32-year-old writer whose first novel, “Eden,” was nominated for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize, was born in Louisiana and spent most of her childhood summers visiting her grandmother in rural south Mississippi. When Vernon was 12, she and her mother moved to her grandmother's hometown of Osyka just north of the Louisiana line.

“When I was in Louisiana, reading was stressed a lot,” Vernon said. “But I noticed that as I crossed the state line to Mississippi, I couldn't talk about my intelligence, I couldn't talk about the books I had read.”

For every community where reading is shunned, there are others where it's celebrated: Greenville, for example, boasts of being home to the late Shelby Foote, Walker Percy and William Alexander Percy. In Jackson, tourists drive past the Tudor-style home of the late Welty. In Oxford, pilgrims regularly walk among the cedars at Faulkner's home, Rowan Oak.

Ann Abadie, associate director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, said the isolation of the rural South helped build a strong tradition of storytelling among the educated and uneducated alike. Most small-town and country folk didn't have access to theater or even movie theaters - and before television and radio, the best entertainment was often the exchange of gossip or tall tales on the front porch.

“Without a lot of sophisticated things, you have an opportunity to listen to people,” Abadie said.

Faulkner, for example, grew up hearing tales of aging Confederate veterans, and Welty as a child would settle in among adults and demand that they tell stories.

Vernon, now writer in residence at Southeastern Louisiana University, carries that tradition on to a new generation by telling the kinds of stories that surrounded her when she was growing up. Her next novel is called “A Killing in This Town,” a tale about the Ku Klux Klan in fictional Bullock County, Miss.

This past June, Vernon drove to Philadelphia, Miss., to attend part of the trial of one-time local Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen, charged in the 1964 slayings of civil rights workers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. Killen was convicted of manslaughter 41 years to the day after the three young men were killed and buried in an earthen dam.

“We probably couldn't write the way we did if we did not have Mississippi,” Vernon said. “But at the same time, Mississippi is something we carry.”

I am a...

Romantic Princess!

The Romantic Princess:
You are absolutely in love with love (okay, I'll buy that)! Charming, romantic, and feminine are all words that describe you (They are???). You are a huge flirt and know how to use your feminine wiles to get your way (er, only with my dh). You are always on the lookout for the guy who will sweep you off your feet (I am? I thought I'd found him!!!).

Role Models: Isolde, Juliet

You are most likely to: Free a cursed prince from a terrible spell with a single kiss.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

God is Good! Let us Give Thanks!

God is SO GOOD!

Yesterday I wrote a post about our brief experience with being homeless. I commented at the very end that I had sensed changes in myself from this whole experience and would share them another time.

Little did I know the time would be the next day on a day of Thanks and Gratitude to God above.

Raymond Arroyo of EWTN, himself a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, wrote a beautiful piece which bears no repetition from me.

Read his article here. I am relieved of the duty and can enjoy my family today.

God is Good!
God Bless you all! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Two Months and Yesterday

It has taken me two months to come to terms with this and digest what has happened to us.

To really understand what I'm wanting you to understand, I want you to grab the load of clothes out of your clothes dryer, also three sets of clothes per person in your family (plus some socks and undies), and other tioletries. Grab your pillows. You have three hours to get ready to leave the house.

In three hours, I want you to jump into your car and leave. Go! Go north. If you're already north, I want you to head east. If you can't head east, then go west.

I can't tell you how long you'll be living on the road cause I don't know myself. Little did I know two months ago that I would live on the road for a whole month, my little family and me.

Luckily, my dh had stocked up the camper with food, batteries, etc. the Monday before...just incase. Still, we had no intentions of leaving. We planned to ride it out under a mattress in the hallway if worse came to worse. But little did I know that at 10 AM that Thursday morning (Sept. 22), my oldest son would come racing home to let us know that "Aunt Tesa said Calcasieu is under mandatory evacuation. We have to leave. They're making us get out."

Huh? Leave the place I was born and raised in? Get out and leave just like that? Our parish had never been evacuated before...not even for Hurricane Audrey in 1957. Only the day before we knew that Cameron Parish below us was forced to leave.

Racing into town to find a gas can (no luck) gave me the energy and adrenaline to get the job done. Everyone was scurrying around and charged into high gear. I ended up standing in line with coloring books and play horses to keep the girls entertained wherever we ended up. One couldn't help but react to all the vibes bouncing from person to person right there in the Wal-Mart checkout line. You'd swear all the batteries in Wal-Mart were charging the people.

Today I was walking to the end of the driveway to collect our empty trash can. Suddenly it occured to me that our trash collection had been back on track for the second week in a row. Before September I would not have had appreciated the trash collection and an empty trash can as I do now. I could almost kiss the trash guy every time he drives by. Instead, I settle for a polite wave.

But today it occured to me that if my oldest son came driving home to tell me that we had to leave, that we were under mandatory evacuation orders to get out of Dodge, I don't think I could do it. I just don't think I could muster the energy, the adrenaline, or the will power to do anything, let alone leave my home for another four weeks with only the clothes on my back. It was an experience that some people from the New Orleans area are still experiencing today. They have been away from home and living off the charity of others far longer than we were.

My family was fortunate. We have been very blessed. We are back home. We had a home to come home to.

For the children's sake, I tried to imagine we were on a camping trip. It was vacation time, and wasn't it fun! We learned experiences that we would never have learned any other way. We took walks and stood in FEMA lines. We tracked the storms path in our heads and at each camp ground they gave us an updated sheet so we could check and see if we were right. We lived without television and playstation. We lived on cell phones and realized "Who needs a home phone anymore?!" We listened to songs Oma and Opa liked. We pretended we were Laura Ingalls Wilder pulling the covered wagon behind us. We read lots of books. We made a mission out of finding Catholic churches in north Louisiana and then counting the number of them once we were back in south Louisiana. The kids learned how to grill over an open fire and how to read maps. One became a man a few days after the storm and learned how to be a man while helping his father and uncle clear off the land just like his forefathers had before him.

We learned all about the charity of others and how to stand in Red Cross and Salvation Army lines for rations. We learned how to heat up MRE packs and we ate like soldiers.

And I learned something about myself, but that's for another day...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Life Matters

"One more time, the truth hits you in the face. Not much time, not much time. Yes, eternity awaits, but if the time we have on earth didn't matter- we wouldn't have been given it." ~ quote by Amy Welborn

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Art Through Photography

If you want to expose your
child(ren) to another artistic endeavor for art study, I encourage you to check out Micheal Brown's blog.

The picture to the left ~ Splash Dance ~ is one of his pieces. Click on the link to discover how he captured the photo.

His photography is incredible and we've enjoyed viewing his talent and appreciating his artwork.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Yes, I'm Proud!

What author wrote you?

Mine was none other than
Laura Ingalls Wilder herself. :)

Click here to take the test.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Pie Eating

Just because I'm baking a Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake Pie in the oven (it's the best smelling pie I've ever baked), I thought I'd share this quaint little pie story from 1907.

The Great American Pie Company by Ellis Parker Butler

Story Contest

We have co-op today but I fully intend to have my #3 child and #4 child write a story this week and submit to this story contest at My Friend Magazine.

I think it's important to make writing meaningful and I can't think of a way more so than the prospect of being published.

You might want to have your children try it with us. Good luck!

Climbing, Bumping and Bribing

While climbing onto my lap this morning and bumping my coffee-elbow, Annie (my 3 yr old) demanded that I let her play Neopets.

"But this is my computer," I cooed to her sweetly kissing the top of her blond curls.

"No, it's my computer!"

The younger three children really do believe it's their computer.

"Nope. Mommy paid for this. Do you have any money?"

"Yes, I do! In my piggy bank!" And off she trotts to retrieve the little purple flower-accented pig.

There was one plastic play-coin in it. She promptly began to wail that her sister had taken all her money. Since the stopper is missing from the pig's stomach, I have to wonder.

(Before anybody says anything, I'm fully aware that I should take this child and read her a book instead. But I must get ready for co-op, so she wins...for now.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Teenager Forced to Hold Sign on Corner

I'd like your opinion on this. Do you think the mother was right or wrong in taking this step as a disciplinary measure?
(EDMOND, Okla.) - An Edmond woman who forced her 14-year-old daughter to stand on a street corner last week holding a sign says the public humiliation seems to be working.
The teenager held a sign saying she doesn't do her homework and acts up in school, so her parents are preparing her for her future and that she would work for food.
Tasha Henderson has been praised and criticized for forcing her daughter to do that, but says school officials now tell her that her daughter has been to every class on time.
Henderson has been criticized for mentally and emotionally abusing her daughter. But she says she tried everything she could think of to get her daughter to stop skipping classes and do her schoolwork and didn't know what else to do.

School of Saints

Fr. Todd has a good thing going at his blog: A Son Becomes a Father.

His posting yesterday School of Saints recommitted me to reexamine what kind of entertaining, interaction, and delight is going on without my household.

We should all reexamine our lives and recommit/reconnect to our families.

From Fr. Todd's School of Saints
"I thought it sad that families spent so little time together these days and when they did they rarely had such interaction and delight in each others company. Many go off to entertain themselves... either listening to their music, surfing the net, watching their one televisions etc."

Neat Saintly Fun Facts

What a great free resource for Catholic kids! They come printer-friendly.
Be sure to check them out: Saints Fun Facts

A *Proper* Cup of Tea

Okay, so "A cup uh' teeea" with a very noticable British accent is the first line that pops into my mind when I hear tea-anything. My children are very familiar with this line taken from the movie My Fair Lady.

Speaking of tea, Julie Bogart of Bravewriter offers us all some much-needed "fresh advice" concerning how we handle tea-time in our homes.

Teatime Tips

Thank you, Julie!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sometimes You Have to Close the Book!

Here's my philosophy behind House of Literature's online library.
It was the whole essence and ideal behind the book Literature Alive!

Sometimes You Have to Close the Book! That's what these ideas are for. I hope they inspire you and get your literary life started.

Please comment with your own ideas or email them to me at House of Literature email.

A,B,C's of a Charlotte Mason Education

A,B,C's of a Charlotte Mason Education

If you sign up at the Charlotte Mason Yahoo eloop, you will receive a list of the A, B, C's of a CM education. You can also read the whole list on this webpage.

Here's a cut and condensed version to whit your interest:

The A - B - C's of Charlotte Mason
(The ABC definitions have been written by a number of cmason members, and may change as different ones are offered.)

A. Is for Art and Ambleside, England, where Charlotte Mason lived and operated her teacher's college

B. Books!

C. Charlotte Mason, Copywork, Curriculum, Composition

D. Dictation, Drill, Discipline, Delight Directed Studies

E. English

F. French and For The Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Crossway Books)

G. Geography, Grammar, Goals

H. Habit, History


J. Journal keeping

K. "Inconsistent Kitty" is a famous essay by Charlotte Mason.

L. Languages

M. Masterly Inactivity, Math

N. Narration, Nature and Notebook, as in a Nature Walk or a Nature Notebook

O. The Original Home Schooling Series by Charlotte Mason.

P. The child is a Person, complete, PNEU (Parents' National Educational Union)

Questions are formed in the child's own mind

R. Reading, Religion, Rights of the Child

S. Spelling, Special Needs

T. Twaddle!

U. Unit Studies, Unschooling

V. Vivifies, Vital, and Vibrant!

W. Walk

X. Extracting
information becomes a skill the student learns to do for himself

Y. YES! Say "yes" as often as possible!

Z. Zeal and enthusiasm

Quote: Learn to Live

"The Story of Charlotte Mason" by Essex Cholmondeley. 1960 - Aldine Press - London

A quote: "A student, in answer to CM's question as to why she had come to the school said, "I have come here to learn to teach. CM responded, "My dear, you have come here to learn to live." "

Heart in Hands

Indian girl was born holding her heart in her hands. Doctors are attempting to save the baby girl's life. The family is too poor to afford the surgery.

Click here to read the full story. Let's pray for this baby girl and her family.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Thanksgiving Twaddle

Join the kiddos and I tomorrow.

We're going to focus on doing some thanksgiving piffle at Jan Brett's site and read some Thanksgiving poems.

Of course, Thanksgiving would be nothing without a slide show and information on the American Turkey. And games, oh! the games!

Even the regular schools spend an enormous amount of time twiddling in the thickets of Thanksgiving trivia.

If I can just find a Thanksgiving crossword puzzle, I'll feel that I've covered spelling with the piffle and twaddle.

Interview with God

There is so much awesome stuff on the Internet that I don't often share links. Too many and too little time. But this one is totally awesome. Totally!!!

It is a tad slow but don't get discouraged or bored. Read each line and meditate a moment. Use it for your morning meditation. Use it for your nightly prayer time. Savor the moment with God.

Interview with God

The Media Strikes Again...

More Math FUN

We are waiting on the unavoidable FEMA man to arrive and survey the damage done by Ms. Rita.

I have sent the children into their rooms with strict instructions not to come out. Something about government intervention makes me nervously jumpy. The least questions I have to answer the better.

One child is taking an unescapable English test and the younger two have the M & M Candy Math books supplied with packets of plain M & M's leftover from Halloween. Don't worry. I didn't give them the ones with nuts. Those are for me. ; )

FUN Math

We're begun the Sir Cumference book series for math this week.

Having been a total dud in math studies (still am actually), these series are a treat for me. I actually understand them!!! And I'm learning as much as the kiddos.

I can---for the first time---see that math can be fun if you give it a chance. This is so much better than a math textbook. And, who knows, perhaps it'll help break down those mental barriers that my college professor said I had built up.

One can always hope and pray.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Chesterton & Dickens

My next book project to read is Hard Times by Charles Dickens.

In my search for an online version, I came across a piece written by G.K. Chesterton ~ Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens.

Always interesting to see what one great author thinks of another.

Into the Night

In this pile of rubbish you'll see a bit of what came out of my oldest son's bedroom following Hurricane Rita. It was his own Night experience.

Notice the flattened lamp still harbors an unbroken light bulb.

The book next to the lamp is one of holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel's well-written books.

My son read Night and became so engulfed in Wiesel's work that he asked me for all his books. I bought him The Night Trilogy a couple Christmas ago. I told him not to worry about this copy. I'll buy him another.

Delightful Review

What a delightful review from another blogger.

Needless to say I was pleased as punch by the glowing review. Being such a recent review, it was heartwarming to know that Literature Alive! is still finding an audience.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Painter of Mother & Child?

Does anyone know who painted this picture?
I'd love to know.

I was surfing the web and found it.

There is a trace of N.C. Wyeth's hand in the painting but his pictures never had this much detail.

Bummer! Double Bummer! Triple Bummer!

In an attempt to find a new look for this blog, I failed to realize that when you republish the whole blog it deletes your pre-existing customization.

All gone...

No use crying over spilt milk or lost blog links, but I sure was upset when I couldn't find my mug of coffee.

So the blog may be goofy looking for awhile as I attempt to straighten out the new one to my satisfaction. Please excuse the disorganization. If I had your blog linked before and it is now missing, please email me at House of Literature. I am slowly trying to remember and find the links I lost.

Happy Blogging.

Preschool Harms Children's Development

To read the whole article, click here.

Preschool Harms Children's Development
by Ron Strom
© 2005

A new study on the effects of preschool on children, which finds attendance harms kids' emotional and social development, is being used by a homeschool organization to help encourage parents to educate their children at home.

The study, conducted at UC Berkeley, found that while youngsters gained cognitive abilities via the preschool experience, behavioral problems also increased – especially among kids from wealthy families.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The King and I

Latham walked over to his twin brother Ashby and handed over his crown, returning a solemn gesture from eighteen months earlier when Ashby won homecoming king at his North Carolina high school.

Latham recalls, "Ashby put his crown on my head and said, 'This is for you.' "

Read full story here.

Gulp! Double Gulp!

Yesterday my husband gave me a form that our oldest son must complete and turn in now that he is 18 years of age. Ironically he presented it to me on Veteran's Day.

My Veteran's Day was spent pondering, remembering, and thinking alot, due in large part to the form. It's commonly known as The Draft.

Pray for all our American veterans...and those yet to be.

Inspiring Future Saints

I thought this website Dead Theologians Society made a great observation:

"Through the Saints of Yesterday, the Dead Theologians Society inspires the youth of Today, to become the Saints of Tomorrow."

Narnia Contest Causing a Stir

I find it strange that Harry Potter was allowed in schools. Did the people pro-Narnia made the same stir against the HP books? Just goes to show you can't please everybody, and it makes another excellent case for home education.

State-Sponsored Narnia Contest Causing a Stir in Florida

A religious freedom group is offering pro bono legal representation to any Florida school that is threatened with a lawsuit for taking part in a state reading contest that features a book in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series.

As part of Governor Jeb Bush's Just Read, Florida! program, students are being encouraged to read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe inconjunction with the December release of a Disney movie based on the book.

The director of the program, Mary Laura Openshaw, tells the Palm Beach Post that the goal of the program is "to get kids reading" - and that state officials did not approach the reading program to help Disney or the promoter of the film, Walden Media.

But it is not the commercial aspect of the venture that bothers the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which is arguing that the contest violates the First Amendment because it promotes a"religious story."

Barry Lynn, director of Americans United (AU), tells the Post that the Florida contest is "just totally inappropriate" because of the message of the book. "It is simply a retelling of the story of Christ," says Lynn.

Openshaw responds that the story can be read without references to Christianity, and that children can "read the book and decide for themselves" about any correlation with the story of Jesus Christ.

Regardless, the situation is ripe for possible lawsuits against schools that institute the Narnia contest. That is why the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based religious liberty group, has offered to provide free legal representation to any schools Americans United threatens with legal action.

Gary McCaleb, senior counsel with ADF, calls AU's attempt to censor the book "classic left-wing activism." "When I see the far-left coming out of the bunch of book-banners, as they are in this case, I just shake my head," McCaleb says."The amazing thing to me is they focus on Narnia - and really the only way you can understand Narnia to be a 'Christian book' [series] is to know a lot about Christianity to begin with to see that there are some analogies there."

AU is calling on Governor Bush to replace The Lion, The Witch,and The Wardrobe with what it calls an "alternative non-religious book." McCaleb contends Americans United is clearly exhibiting that it is trying to stifle speech it does not like."All these other non-Christian religious books are being suggested reading for these kids, and yet when [Americans United] comes out,what do they hit? The one book that isn't even expressly religious - it's strictly allegorical. What's up with that?" the attorney asks.

"It's ananti-Christian agenda, and I think AU just really showed what kind of group they really are."Such groups, according to the attorney, often "rail against censorship but seldom miss an opportunity to squelch speech they dislike."

Headds: "In their America, it is always winter and never Christmas. "To enter the reading contest, students in grades 3-5 must submit an essay of up to 1,000 words. Upper grade students must submit anoriginal illustration (grades 6-8) or a short video (grades 9-12). Prizes include a private movie screening in Orlando, a motel stay and dinner at Disney facilities, and gift certificates.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Goosed you...

I love the Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks.

Their products are divinely sweet and gift-worthy.

I like to try something different every Christmas season (it's part of our tradition). We've done the Christmas cookie baking party already, so I'm thinking of hosting a cookie exchange party next month.

From Gooseberry Patch's last newsletter:

Hosting or attending a cookie exchange during the holidays? Make it the event of the season with these must-haves. Christmas Cookies gives you more than 200 scrumptious recipes for cookies of all kinds...there's even a candy chapter! Our Cookie Exchange Kit is a party in a bowl. Open the lid and you'll find sweet invitations, a jolly cookie cutter, a handy how-to booklet and cookie labels to show off all your goodies. What could be more fun?

I Had No Idea...

This map is from HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) website. It shows the various degree of regulations per each state with 4 varing degrees (click here for color-coded legend): no notice, low regulation, moderate regulation, high regulation.

I was surprised that Louisiana is listed as moderate.

What does your state rate? and do you agree with that rating?

Classical Education Prep School

An online friend wrote this and gave me permission to publish it here. I thought it original and delightful. She wrote it in answer to someone's question concerning how we prepared ourselves for teaching our children ala the classical education method; also, what we had read regarding classical education and what knowledge we gained from those works.

Though her name is Mandy, she writes:
"It doesn't belong to me - it belongs to our wonderful Creator who has made this a very memorable day!"

Thank you, Mandy, for sharing your inspiration!

@ @ @ @ @ @

Classical Education Prep School

We are all in the same seminary - God is our divine instructor and we are here to learn from Him.

Try taking all of your prerequisites early on, such as "Life for Christians 101" or "Childbearing V". I'm not sure the instructor passed out the syllabus on the first day so the course title may have changed but it is usually called something similar to that.

We all have some electives to take - there is Parenting 300 (it's a 300 level class because the Father, Son and Holy Spirit teach it) or sometimes they offer a few select students, "Day and the Life in Celibacy" or "Marriage to Christ".

Be thoughtful in which one you sign up for but make sure you take at least one.

This seminary is old-fashioned and does not offer such classes as "Contraception is for Dummies" or "Homosexual for the New Millennium".

Sorry, the Chancellor is very strict. We tend to loose a few students there but "NFP" is offered as an alternative credit hour. Those class times are generally listed in your parish bulletin.

Federal Pell grants, Stafford Loans and scholarships are not available because God freely gives his time to all of those who seek Him.

If you need an extension on your coursework, please report to the Departmental Head at Divine Mercy Chaplet. He is in his office at 3 pm everyday.

Welcome and good luck on your coarse work! We are all enrolled but some of us are part-time students to other extra-curricular activities. That's okay because we are all here for the same reason.

Graduation requirements are simple: You must complete the B.I.B.L.E. Work Competencies (Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth).

@ @ @ @ @ @
Teaching the Trivium by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer / Jessie Wise
The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson
@ @ @ @ @ @
Which books have I forgotten? Please let us know in the comments section so everyone can update their lists.

Matt Lauer is in...


So break out the Sound of Music and relive the majestic beauty, the passionate music, the wonder of Austria!

Note: The 1976 Winter Olympics were moved from Denver, CO to Innsburck, Austria.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Does Your Spouse Know?

Last night, while telling my dear husband where we found Matt Lauer, I asked him if he knew where Easter Island is. Dh is usually pretty good when it comes to geography...much better than I am.

"I use to know," was the answer, neither affirming or denying his intelligence. "Isn't that where they had cannibalism at one time?"

Funny are the informative things our brain files away.

Today Matt Lauer is...

Day One was: Easter Island

In Panama City at the Panama Canal!
What a great place to learn about!

Here are two museum links ~ Canal Museum and Panama Canal Museum.

Here's a quick, simple visual-boat trip for the littles ones: Boat Sketch.
And for older ones: Boat Operation.

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Most Disagreeable Month

"November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year," said Margaret, standing at the window one dull afternoon, looking out at the frost-bitten garden.

"If something very pleasant should happen now, we should think it a delightful month," said Beth, who took a hopeful view of everything, even November.

~ Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Ch. 15) ~

I invite each of you to visit MacBeth Derham's website:
MacBeth's Opinion and find something pleasant to do and read to make November a pleasant autumn month for you and your children.

Writing Tips

Writing Tips of the Month:

1) Always carry a notebook with you – you never know when inspiration will hit.

2) Always type your work. Publishers, theatres, or TV companies will NOT accept handwritten material. Ever.

3) Always have someone read your work before you send it out- but not your mother, best friend, or partner. Try a work colleague or someone who is relatively unbiased about you.

4) Keep a record of where you send your work and what date. This will make it easy to determine when to follow up and resubmit if necessary.

5) Be persistent. Most projects are rejected, often by a number of publishers, before they are accepted.

6) Keep circulating your proposal.

7) Be teachable. Learn all you can to hone your writing skills. Constructive criticism is a great gift that will make your project better and help you grow as a writer.

If you'd like to share a writing tip of your own,please email us

Library Book Search

Forwarding this from Maureen Wittmann's Thifty Homeschooler eloop (link to subscribe is at the bottom):

Time for a Library Book Search?

Dear Thrifty Homeschoolers,
Have your library privileges been suspended due to lost or unreturned books?

Are huge library fines looming over your head?

Get up from your computer right now, gather the kids, and do a library book search.

If your library has a website where you can check your personal account, then go to it and print it out.

1 )Get a box, basket, or bag to hold all of the books that you find. As you find books, cross them off of your printout.

2) Looking at the remaining titles will hopefully spark the memories of your children and they will remember where they last left the lost book. Search the car, under the beds, on the bookshelves.

3) Assign a different room to different children, perhaps having them work in teams. One advantage to a library book search is that the house gets tidy in the process. I always say that if something is missing, all we have to do is tidy up and it's sure to show up.

4) As the kids pull out all the stuff from under the couch in their search for books, have them put that stuff away in their proper places. As they search the car, have them throw out all the trash and bring in all the items that don't belong there. As they look under their beds they can take an extra 60 seconds to feather dust the cobwebs away.

5) If you recall leaving books at someone else's home, give them a call right away and arrange to get the books back to the library.

6) Now, once you've collected all the books, take them right to the car. If you really can't drive to the library at this very second, then leave the books right on the driver's seat so that you don't forget to return them next cartrip. Books left in the car for weeks build up just as many fines as books lost in the house!

The library is an awesome resource for homeschoolers so do your best to keep library books in check and library privileges intact!

Thifty Homeschooler Moderator

Tornado Ravages Kentucky/Indiana

Our heart and prayers go out to those in Kentucky and Indiana:
In the Dead of Night

Mommy Brain

So that's it!
Explains a lot:

Having a baby helps sharpen mother’s mind, researchers say
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Erica Noonan

"It’s not out of the question that women would someday list motherhood on a resume with pride instead of trying to cover up the fact she’s stayed home for a time."

"Comparing the brain of a non-mother to that of a mother is ‘‘like comparing a tree in the winter to one in full bloom in the spring, when it is much fuller and richer," said University of Richmond (Va.) neuroscientist Craig Kinsley, a leading researcher in the field.
The transformation of pregnancy, labor and infant care ‘‘enables the brain to process information much differently than it did before."

The Mommy Brain by Katherine Ellison

Where is He?

Today was Matt Lauer's official day to start his trek. We followed him to:

Easter Island (located in the South Pacific Ocean near Chili)

Today we will probe into these links more. They offer history, virtual tours, and games concerning Easter Island.

Mysterious Places
Nova's Link

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Does This Surprise You?

Britney Spears to write children's book.

She'll join the prestigious ranks of:

Spike Lee
Will Smith
Bill Cosby
LeAnn Rimes (does she even have a kid yet???)
Jay Leno
Sarah Ferguson; otherwise known as Fergie
Julie Andrews
Maria Shriver
Katie Couric
Jamie Lee Curtis (whom I have to defend because the kids and I have read some of her children books and we love Where Do Balloons Go)

So, I guess, in brief it comes down to this:
Get Famous First, Then Write Book

One is left to wonder if there is any hope for the average joe. And that's the part of the love affair people have with Harry Potter creator, J.K. Rowlings. She wasn't famous before, but she still wrote and published a book. It's a rags to riches story...a typical ...they lived happily ever after... story. People love that sort of thing. That's what people like to read. That's what people like to buy.

Of course, one must remember that book publishing is a business. If a book doesn't make money, forget about it. No one buys it equals no one is interested. Get over yourself already.

Publishers know that these famous icons already have leagues of fans and supporters with money in their pocket ready and willing to buy, buy, buy. This equals putting money in the publisher's pockets...and in the pocket of the copywriters, editors, illustrators, marketing personnel, etc. Everybody has to make a living.

If I missed any famous new children authors, please let me know. For that matter, please post them in the comment box so we'll all be aware of their names.

Another Great Literary Find

Yes, I do believe that music is literature.

Two different newspaper articles:
by Joann Loviglio
by Jamie Wilson

A handwritten score of one of Ludwig van Beethoven's most revolutionary works has been discovered by a librarian cleaning out a cabinet in a seminary in Pennsylvania after being missing for more than a century.

The 80-page manuscript for a piano version of Grosse Fuge, thought to have been written by Beethoven himself, dates from the final months of his life when he was completely deaf. The work was described by scholars of the German composer yesterday as an "amazing find" and "extremely important".

The lost work came to light in July when Heather Carbo, a librarian at the Palmer Theological Seminary outside Philadelphia, was cleaning out an archival cabinet. "It was just sitting on the shelf, I was in a state of shock," she told the New York Times. "I'd heard oral history about a Beethoven manuscript, so I recognised what I had found immediately."

Great Literary Find

Latin Poem composed by Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, has been discovered. Students are attempting to decipher the work.

LONDON (CNS) -- A poem written by one of the U.S. Founding Fathers has been discovered in the archives of a Catholic high school in England.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only Catholic and last surviving signer of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, wrote the poem in Latin in 1754 when he was a student in his final year of high school in Saint-Omer, France.

It was found in the archives of Stonyhurst College in Clitheroe, England, by Maurice Whitehead, a professor at the University of Wales, Swansea, who is doing research at the Jesuit-run high school.

"This is a significant discovery," Jan Graffius, curator of the school's collections, announced Oct 28. "This previously unknown composition is bound to be of immense interest to American scholars."

The poem was composed to be read to an unnamed visiting dignitary to the Jesuit high school in Saint-Omer, and it bears Carroll's signature.

It is being translated by a group of seven 17- and 18-year-old Latin students at Stonyhurst and their classics teacher, Judith Parkinson.
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