Thursday, March 29, 2012

My 2012 Reading List

I had a good reading year in 2011.  Though some of you might not think 11 books is very many in one year, for me it is a huge success.  Here are the books I read last year.
  • The Time Machine & The Invisible Man
  • Looking For The King
  • Till We Have Faces
  • The Word Snoop
  • Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship
  • Oliver Twist
  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
  • The Complete Works by George MacDonald
  • The Princess and Curdie
  • The Princess and The Goblin

I enjoyed them all and started looking forward to a new year of new reading.  

Well... 2012 has gotten off to a slow start.  It's almost April and I've only finished 2 books.

The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures was my first book for the year.  I ran across this book while searching the library catalog for math-related school books.  It sounded interesting, so I decided to pick it up.  I wasn't so sure about it at first, but as I went along, I found myself hooked into the story line and wanted to see how it was all going to end.  

If you aren't a lover of the mysteries of numbers and math, then you might not enjoy it so much.

I thought it was very interesting though and enjoyed the way "the man who counted" solved the everyday math dilemmas as he traveled the Middle East.

The second book I read was Signing Their Lives Away:  The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed The Declaration of Independence.   
                                           U.S. history has turned out to be one of my favorite things.  I would have never thought that in high school, because back then I found it all rather boring.  Throughout all our home schooling years though, we've never owned or read a history textbook.  We've read library books instead.  It's amazing how interesting history becomes when you read biographies, historical fiction, and topical history books written by professional writers.  We love to read what's called "living" history books.  

There are lots of books out there about the signers of the Declaration, and this is just one of them.  It was very good and enjoyable to read.  I liked the way the authors told the signer's stories without getting too long-winded, and how they found something interesting to say about each of them.  They aren't just signatures on one of our most important documents, but personalities come to life.  

So, that leads me to the present.  I am currently reading The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.  Why?  Well, I've never read it, and it was one of the earliest books that was circulated in the early colonies.  Originally published in 1719, it was a treasure, and people considered it a privilege to be able to read it, let alone own it.  I am 110 pages in and enjoying it.

So there you have it.  My reading list for 2012... so far.  What will be next?  I haven't a clue.  
Most of the time, one book leads me to the next.  
I'll just have to wait and see.  Happy Reading.   


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What's Been Lurking in our Backyard.

After the Sun and Moon, what are the next two brightest objects in the night sky?
Venus and Jupiter!

Right now, in the western sky, Venus and Jupiter can't be missed.
They are extremely bright and close together, and we have a very clear night to view them as well.
No telescopes needed.
I took this tonight from my back porch looking west.
We have a beautiful view.
Venus is the brightest one on the right, and Jupiter is on the left.  They will not be this close together again until 2036.  So, if you can, go take a look.  The picture doesn't do justice to the amazing brightness of these two planets on a clear night.   Also, after looking at Venus and Jupiter, turn around and look east and you will see an orange-red object.  That will be Mars.  

So what else was in our backyard today?
This lovely little creature.  A common snake in Ohio, the Eastern Gartersnake. 
And how was he discovered?  
BigJ almost stepped on him with his bare feet while playing in the backyard with LittleJ!  
He gave out a pretty big scream too.  BigJ, not the snake. Haha.

We watched him for a while and then saw a second one.  The second one was smaller and scurried along much faster.  As for our first friend, we followed him (or tried to shoo him along really) towards the neighbors yard. 
 Happy trails.... 
And I hope we don't meet again!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Birthday LittleJ !!

This week we celebrated LittleJ's 5th birthday.  
I can't believe he's 5 already. I'm greatly enjoying these days of preschool curiosity.
He's also quickly moving into the Lego phase, even though his Duplos will still get a regular workout, so he was more than delighted to see some Lego boxes appear under the birthday wrappings.

It's so nice that Lego makes some kits now for the younger guys.  This one has lots of large pieces and stays together when played with, so it's perfect for a 5 year old Star Wars lover.

He's also enjoying the new planet sets they have, which are also great for younger hands.  We bought him the Naboo one, but I may go back to the store and buy the other 2 that are out right now and put them away for Easter and Christmas.

He also loves to play games, and can definitely play a mean game of UNO.  So when we saw the Angry Birds game, we thought it would be perfect.  
He loves it!

Now, what about the birthday cake?
Little J chose cupcakes.  Yellow cupcakes with white frosting and blue sprinkles.
They turned out fabulous, even with the M&Ms we sneaked into the batter.

Oh, and things would not have been complete without a little cupcake tower we made as well.  
I had fun putting it together and decorating it up.  Though white paper would have looked better, I simply recycled some packing paper and boxes, and we thought it turned out great.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LittleJ!! ♥ We love you!♥