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Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review: Make Comics Like the Pros {Blogging for Books}



Make Comics Like the Pros by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
ISBN: 978-0-385-34463-0
Paperback, 160 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Retail: $22.99

About the book from the Blogging for Books website:
A step-by-step guide to all aspects of comic book creation--from conceptualization to early drafts to marketing and promotion--written by two of the industry's most seasoned and successful pros. 
Discover the Secrets of Your Favorite Comic Book Creators
Do you want to break into the comics industry? There are many creative roles available—writer, penciller, inker, colorist, letterer, editor, and more. Each creator serves a vital function in the production of sequential art at companies such as DC, Marvel, Image, and Valiant. In Make Comics Like the Pros, veteran comics creators Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente team up with a who’s who of the modern comic book scene to lead you step-by-step through the development of a comic. With these two fan-favorite writers as your guides, you’ll learn everything from script formatting to the importance of artistic collaboration to the best strategies for promoting and selling your own sequential art masterpiece. Pak and Van Lente even put their lessons into practice inside the pages of the book—pairing with Eisner Award–winning cartoonist Colleen Coover (Bandette) to produce the swashbuckling, adventure comic Swordmaids, and giving you front row seats to their creative process. Make Comics Like the Prosprovides all the answers you’ve been seeking to take your comic book–making dreams all the way to professional-level reality.

About the Authors
Greg Pak is an award-winning comic book writer and filmmaker currently writing Batman/Superman and Action Comics for DC Comics, Turk Dinosaur Hunter for Dynamite Entertainment, and Eternal Warrior for Valiant Comics. He directed the award-winning feature film Robot Stories, wrote the epic "Planet Hulk" and "World War Hulk" comic storylines, and co-wrote (with Fred Van Lente) fan-favorite Incredible Hercules for Marvel Comics.
Fred Van Lente is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Marvel Zombies, Incredible Hercules (with Pak), Odd Is on Our Side (with Dean R. Koontz), and the American Library Association award-winning Action Philosophers. His original graphic novel Cowboys & Aliens (co-written with Andrew Foley) was the basis for the major motion picture. Van Lente's other comics include The Comic Book History of Comics, Archer & Armstrong, and  The Amazing Spider-Man.
Pak and Van Lente are both residents of Brooklyn, NY.

Thoughts of Fox {since I'm really not into comics...}:
Want to learn everything on comic-making? Then this book is a great guide for you! This book covers the jobs of everyone who makes the comic: The storywriter, the penciler, the inker, the colorer, and the letterer. It also covers getting your finishes comic out into the world. 
The book is filled with lots of helpful (and some not so helpful) tips and advice. One of the most useful things I found in the book was the script template. It is found in the first chapter, and very helpful! They show how to make it on Microsoft Word. I also use the template with pen and paper. Having a script helped me immensely on making my comics.
One thing I liked about the book was that as they showed you what one person does, they had a comic, one made for the book, being made throughout the book following the explanation. 
The book was well-written, and I enjoyed it. Thankfully there was humour throughout. There were a few things I didn't like, such as including a quote with a curse word. Another thing is that they want the reader to join Twitter to promote your comic. Okay, that is just personal preference there. 
So, what is the final say on the book? 
Great book for information, and to understand how much it takes to make even the simplest comic book. I don't agree with everything they say, but the book has been a great help. Overall I say 4.5/5 stars, and would suggest the book for ages 12 and up.

I received this book free for the purpose this review from Blogging for Books. See Disclosure/Policies.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gluten Free Adventures- A Continuous Post

I'll add to this post occasionally. 

10/16/14: "Oatmeal" cookies
The original recipe is here.

Here is what I did:
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/8 (ish) cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 TBS flax meal (ground whole flax in the coffee grinder) + 6 TBS water
scant 1/2 cup "sweet blend" (erythritol and stevia- a mix of different brands)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 TBS unsweetened applesauce

Directions: Preheat oven to 350*F. Line cookie sheet with non-stick material. Mix flax meal and water; set aside until gelled. In a large bowl combine all other dry ingredients. Combine oil, applesauce, and vanilla to the flax gel. Add to dry ingredients and mix until combine. 

Drop by spoonfuls onto lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or so. {I baked about 20.}

Result: I baked half of the dough to start with because they are small cookies. Due to the coconut flour (I'm sure) they were drier than I think the original recipe. I added about 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk to the remaining batter, and refrigerated it until the first batch were done baking. 
I flattened the cookies because they don't rise or 'melt'. They cook the way they drop on the sheet. I wanted to make oatmeal sandwich cookies. 
Why didn't I just use the recipe I have down the page here? Because I wanted something more 'on-plan' with THM. These cookies here would be an S or perhaps S-helper {bordering on crossover, maybe}. Whereas the others are not on plan because of the flours I used. 
Taste is yummy; texture is not so good. Crumbles way too easily.
Edited: After they'd cooled much, they stay together better.




Cream is just heavy whipping cream with stevia/erythritol blend and vanilla.
Edited: I put these in the freezer and yum. They are like ice cream cookies :)

04/30/14: Gluten free, yeast free, milk free oat bread

Long title for a bread. Easier to call it ...bread... Anyway. Here's the link to the original recipe- which I followed mostly.
Here's my tweaks:

3/4 cup oat flour {this is simply oats ground up in my coffee grinder}
1 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/4 cup sweet white rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 TBS chia seeds
6 egg whites
1 TBS ACV

1 TBS honey

I also put the 1/4 cup oats on top. I couldn't figure out why it took so long to cook compared to the instructions on the original recipe. Silly me; I didn't copy the oat flour amount correctly. I only put in 1/2 what was called for! I used the sweet white rice four and cornstarch because I don't have tapioca starch. And I used egg whites because I have egg white powder and not so many whole eggs. I tend to improvise. A lot.

Result: I love the first loaf of this bread. Really. I made it on Sunday or Monday. Texture is really good and if I'd used what was called for with the oat flour it could have been even better! Taste was good. It went well with butter and made a yummy peanut butter sandwich. I didn't try it any other way but I'd think it would be good for a meat sandwich, too. 


I am making it again today. I tweaked the recipe again. I cut the sweet white rice flour and cornstarch in half and added 1 tsp gluccomannan. I also used only 1 TBS chia seeds and added 1 TBS flax seeds. I used the coffee grinder to make meal out of 1/2 TBS of each, so there would be a little crunch in the loaf. And finally I omitted the honey and subbed erythritol instead. {And for some reason I still forgot to make sure I put the right amount of oat flour.}


********************************

04/11/14: Gluten free pizza using Bob's Red Mill GF Pizza Crust mix

I followed the instructions for the most part but instead of 2-12 inch pizzas I made 4-6 inch pizzas. I cooked them for a total of 20 minutes, with no toppings. I let them cool completely on a rack and then wrapped three for the freezer and one for the fridge for tonight. 

I topped it with homemade pizza sauce, goat cheese {definitely not a favorite but it'll work} and pepperoni. 

Results: The taste is fine; the texture is a bit tougher than regular pizza but okay. The only problem I had is that my heart rate accelerated after eating and I'm waiting for it to go back to normal. That's a biggie for me. Not sure why that happened. I only bought one package so I think I will see how it goes next Friday to see if it repeats. {Edited: I've not had it again yet. 04/30/14}


******************************

03/30/14 (?): Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/4 cup gf flour
1 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
cinnamon, cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TBS molasses
1/2 cup erythritol
1 egg + 1/3 cup egg white 
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup coconut oil



Preheat oven to 375*F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. If you use aluminum foil, grease it first.
Mix coconut oil {I melted mine in the microwave}, erythritol, and molasses well. 
Add egg and egg white. Mix. 
Add 1/4 cup almond milk. Mix. 
Add cinnamon, cloves, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. 
Add in flour gradually, stirring until combined. If it's too dry, add the rest of the almond milk. 
Stir in oats. 
Drop by spoonfuls onto lined cookie sheet. Press into cookie shape as these do not spread as the cook. Makes about 3 dozen.
Cook for 10-12 minutes. Cool for a minute or so on the tray, then transfer to rack to cool completely. 

Result: Super yummy! I ate way too many. I put the leftovers in ziplock baggies in the fridge. After they get cold they are a little crumblier than fresh; still good!


*******************************

3/21/14: Tonight I want to try to make a gf pizza crust and then use cottage cheese for the cheese. I can tolerate cottage cheese but not regular cheese {go figure}. I really want pizza!

I will use the same gf flour I used in the drop biscuits that turned out so yummy. {Really, I am so making those again!} The crust recipe I normally use is as follows:

2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBS oil
1 TBS yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water

Directions: I use hot tap water in my pyrex liquid measuring cup and add the tsp sugar to the water. Next sprinkle the yeast on top. It usually falls into the water and starts to eat the sugar, and within 5 minutes there are bubbles. 

Put all other ingredients in a food processor with the dough blade. When yeast mixture is frothy- it's usually very frothy at just under 10 minutes- add to the flour mix. Pulse processor to get it going, then blend until a ball forms and doesn't stick to the sides. It doesn't take long at all. 

Dump dough unto a lightly floured board. Knead just a few times and then press into a pizza crust shape. Make it the size you want, or split the dough to make individual pizzas. That is usually what I do. 

To make the pizzas, put on a pizza stone or cookie sheet and add toppings. Bake at 450*F for 10-12 minutes. 

For my purpose, I only need 1/2 the recipe. I'll post again later with the result.

Results: Taste was great. The texture was 'wrong'. And I didn't follow the original recipe as written because I've read that it takes more gf flour than regular flour; also, it needed more water. Unfortunately, I added too much water at first. Next time {yep, it was good enough to make again *smile*} I will let the dough attempt to rise before baking; something I don't have to do with regular flour.


*****************************

3/17/14: I posted my 'drop' biscuits using the diy gf flour I made but I really need something that is a little more THM friendly. Next up is an attempt at Gwen's Easy Bread, but gf with what I have. Having made the Easy Bread before, I know it tastes good {at least I like it}. Here's to a yummy gf easy sourdough bread.

And... it isn't as I'd hoped. Here is the recipe I used {but I cut it down to half a batch}:

2 cups buckwheat flour
1 cup Millet flour
1 cup Brown Rice flour
1 cup Garbanzo bean flour
1 TBS + 1 tsp Glucomannan Powder
2 TBS Instant Rise Yeast
1 TBS salt 



Mix it together. Add:



3 cups warm water

2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar

I mixed it and then let it rise. Then put it in the fridge as per Gwen's recipe. I took it out today and let it 'rise' {it did not} for 20 minutes. Preheated the oven and let it 'rise' 20 minutes more {it still did not}. Then baked for the time called for. It 'rose' about a half inch. Maybe. Photo below.



One thing I am sure of when it comes to gf flours: I do not like garbanzo bean flour. Love garbanzo beans themselves, cooked, canned, etc. Not the flour. Blech!

Result: Nasty. In the trash it went. It was a bit like vomit tasting. LOL. Just being honest here.

Y & Z are for Missions...? {Blogging through the Alphabet}

Y and Z are for missions... Think "Yiddish" and "Zimbabwe" {or any other words with those letters that bring to mind stepping out of one's comfort zone to bring the Gospel to others; those are all I could come up with!}

October 9-12, 2014, there was a Missions Conference at our church {Mayfield Village Baptist Church}, when we had two speakers from deaf ministry. Admittedly, they don't speak Yiddish {that I am aware} and are not missionaries to Zimbabwe, but they definitely stepped out to bring the Gospel to all the world. 


It was a great conference. I wish more people had of attended. Can you imagine the first words a deaf person hearing to be "Depart from me, I never knew you..."? How heartbreaking

Jim Bracelin was quite the funny guy- he talked about Jesus providing tuna sandwiches to feed the 5000. And there was something about grilled cheese, too {when directed to give bread and cheese...and it's hot in the Middle East! get it: grilled cheese... Eh, anyway *wink*}. He was made aware of the need for ministry to the deaf back in 1978*, I think, by Mr. Camp {of Silent Word Ministries}. Before that, he hadn't thought about the deaf. The Bracelins have been in this ministry since 1980.  *I might be getting the Schwalbes mixed up here.

Daniel Schwalbe, born and raised in India until he was 12, has a father who became deaf at two years old; and his father didn't even know sign language until he was much older {if I have my facts right}. Daniel didn't learn it that well until he was in his 20s. He met Hannah at Pensacola, and after they were married, they went to India to be missionaries to the deaf. Hannah didn't even know sign language before going!

At the conference were also Mary Amesbury, of Campus Ministry in Cleveland, OH, and Brian and Diana Starre, of HEART Ministry out of Broadview Heights Baptist Church in Ohio. They talked about the praises and prayer requests for their missions. I don't have a link for Mary's ministry but the Starre's can be found at HEART Ministry.

We had something called a Faith Promise challenge- if challenge is the right word- presented during the conference. We were to prayerfully considered what God would have us give to missions, and make a promise to do just that. On a slip of paper those who accepted the 'challenge' wrote down the amount they pledged to give for the year, October 2014- October 2015. No names were put on the papers; just the amount and when it was going to be given. The 'when' was so that the church could make a budget for missions giving based on the promised amounts. Previously our church had a 'budget' of about $9000. After the Faith Promise, that has risen to almost $24,000! 

Brother Bracelin said there are three types of missionaries: Go, Co-, and Oh... The first is obvious: They go and are active in the missionary field. The second may not be in a position to go but they want to be a part of it. They pray, first and foremost. Many also give monetarily or in other ways to help. The third is "Oh, I've given my set amount for the time I feel is good...I don't need to do anything else." And it's out of their minds until the next time to give comes around. 

We can't all go. But we can all pray, and many can give. Too many just are "Oh..." 'missionaries'. 

It was a really good conference that touched many hearts for missions. Perhaps you have considered going into missions? There is never a better time. 

Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. ~Matthew 9:37-38

This is my last entry in the Blogging through the Alphabet. I think it may be a week early but it is what it is. See other 'y' and 'z' entries by searching 'abcblogging'. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

V, W, & X are things in nature {Blogging through the Alphabet}

Venus' Slipper, Wolves, Xenia


Running way behind in the Blogging through the Alphabet. I choose a theme of sorts this times, since I put them all together. The theme is "found in nature."

Venus Slipper (Paphiopedilum appletonianum)
Attribution: www.larsen-twins.dk
The Venus Slipper is an orchid found in Cambodia, China Southeast, Hainan, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam. There are roughly 200 different species of orchids in North America (not the Venus Slipper). 


Wolves (Canus lupus signatus)
By Juan José González Vega (handed over by the author to the Project) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Iberian wolf in Spain. Many taxonomists do not recognize the species. The wolves have a vulnerable rating and are rarely sighted in the wild. 

Xenia coral
"Xenia coral" by Original uploader was Dawson at en.wikipedia - Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Xenia_coral.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Xenia_coral.jpg
The coral pulse their "fingers" to move water. They feed themselves via photosynthesis.  According to a supplier of aquarium fish and such, they have been known to live 5-10 years in the wild.

That is the V, W, & X entry for Blogging through the Alphabet

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book Review: Tables in the Wilderness {BookLook Bloggers}

Tables in the Wilderness by Preston Yancey
ISBN: 9780310338826
Paperback, ARC, 240 pages
Publisher: Zondervan, Inc.
Retail: $19.99

About the book (from the back cover): In Tables in the Wilderness Preston Yancey arrived at Baylor University in the autumn of 2008 with his life figured out: he was Southern Baptist, conservative, had a beautiful girlfriend he would soon propose to, had spent the summer living in Southeast Asia as a missionary, and planned to study political science.
Then God slowly allowed Preston's secure world to fall apart until every piece of what he thought was true was lost: his church, his life of study, his political leanings, his girlfriend, his best friend...and his God.
It was the loss of God in the midst of all the godly things that changed Preston forever. One day he heard [him] say, "It's going to be about trust with you," and then [he] was silent- and he still hasn't spoken. At least, not in the ways Preston used to think were the only ways [he] spoke. No pillars of fire, no clouds, just a bit of whisper in the wind.
Now, Preston is a patchwork of Anglican spirituality and Baptist sensibility, with a mother who has been in chronic neurological pain for thirteen years and father still devoted to Southern Baptist ministry who reads saints' lives on the side. He shares his story of coming to terms with a God who is bigger than the one he thought he was worshipping- the [one] of common faith, the [one] who makes tables in the wilderness, the [one] who is bigger than narrow understandings of his will, his desire, his plan- the [one] who is so big, that everything must be his.

About the author: Preston Yancey is a lifelong Texan-raised Southern Baptist who fell in love with reading the saints, crossing himself, and high church spirituality. He now makes his home within the Angelican tradition. He is a writer, painter, baker, and speaker. An alumnus of Baylor University, Preston completed a masters in theology from St. Andrews University in Scotland before returning to the States. He and his wife, Hilary, currently live in Waco, Texas, where Hilary is a Ph.D candidate in philosophy at Baylor.

My thoughts:
Um. I don't know much about the Anglican tradition but I do know about Baptists. I also know what it feels like when we don't think God is listening. That's why I chose this book to review. I am disappointed.
The subtitle is "A memoir of God found, lost, and found again," but it's not really that at all. It is more along the lines of "What I found to make things acceptable to me along my way- tossing what I didn't like and picking up things I did- oh, and yes, it caused me turmoil in the meantime." There could be a sequel to this book telling how "God" was lost and found again. Because this is my review and not a continuation of the author of the book being reviewed, there will undoubtedly be disagreements on that. Yancey is too caught up on the here-and-now, physical, show-it-to-me. Why else would a Baptist need to cross themselves? Why else would a Baptist lean towards Mary when thinking about praying? Is this part of the Anglican "spirituality"? He recites prayer after prayer from prayer books in the hopes of getting somewhere. What good does reciting vain repetitions do? (Matthew 6:7; 15:9)
My review there reads a little harsh but his book is harsh. He has real emotion poured into it. It is not an empty book. But the focus is wrong. It is not about finding God, it's about Yancey finding himself in a place he can feel comfortable with. He goes through all the things in his life, possibly starting with his mother's chronic illness, that cause him to doubt, to question, to turn this way and that, looking for answers. He looks in the wrong places, as he himself admits often.
When he meets his future wife, Hilary, then things start to get better. Not right away, but slowly. This and other things, he takes as God "speaking" again to him. I see it as his filling the void with the here-and-now, the physical.
This review has been somewhat difficult because this is a person's life that is being put out there to the world. Yancey feels so sure of his steps and his path; so sure that God has set the tables in the wilderness for him. Who am I to disagree? I see many inconsistencies with his theology (but admittedly I am not theological scholar, thankfully). The book was hard to read; choppily written and so centered on self, but I don't know how else he could have written it. And it has so many false doctrines.

I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers program. All opinions are my own and I am not required to write a positive review, only a considerate one. See Disclosure/Policies.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Review: Lost in Translation {Blogging for Books}

This post contains *Amazon affiliate links. See Disclosure/Policies.
Lost in Translation by Ella Frances Sanders*
ISBN: 9781607747109
Hardcover, 112 pages (6.9 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches)
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Retail: $14.99

About the book: Did you know that the Japanese language has a word to express the way sunlight filters through the leaves of trees? Or that there's a Finnish word for the distance a reindeer can travel before needing to rest? 

Lost in Translation brings to life more than fifty words that don't have direct English translations with charming illustrations of their tender, poignant, and humorous definitions. Often these words provide insight into the cultures they come from, such as the Brazilian Portuguese word for running your fingers through a lover's hair, the Italian word for being moved to tears by a story, or the Swedish word for a third cup of coffee.

In this clever and beautifully rendered exploration of the subtleties of communication, you'll find new ways to express yourself while getting lost in the artistry of imperfect translation.

About the author: Ella Frances Sanders is a twenty-something writer and illustrator who intentionally lives all over the place, most recently Morocco, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. She likes to create books with real pages while drawing freelance things for charming people, and she is not afraid of questions or bears. You can find her at ellafrancessanders.com 

My thoughts:
Cute little book! Lately we've been focusing a lot on words of other languages as we attempt to learn a second language (in the mix are German, Spanish, and Japanese). This little book is right up our alley.

Here are a few pages/words that we especially enjoyed. 
"Hiraeth: Welsh, n. a homesickness for somewhere you cannot return to, the nostalgia and the grief for the lost places of your past, places that never were."

"Komorebi: Japanese, n. the sunlight that filters through the leaves of the trees.

"Drachenfutter: German, n. literally, "dragon-fodder." The gift a husband gives his wife when he's trying to make up for bad behavior."

I really liked the different words that were chosen for the book. Some, like the very first word, PALEGG (I had to cap it all so the computer wouldn't change it!), which is Norwegian, deals with food, followed by a word that means to be moved to tears (the Italian word for being moved to tears by a story). The words are wonderful because if we really think about it, our English equivalents are often choppy or just not right. It's hard to find the right word sometimes. This little book is full of ways to say what can't be said with just one word in English. 

In the 'about this book' blurb, it says that we get a glimpse into the cultures of some of the people that speak these languages, and I think this is very true. I think I must be Swedish- as "tretar" makes so much sense for a third cup of coffee, which leads to "fika", drinking coffee and breaking from the daily routine.

Two more words that I really liked were commuovere, which is that Italian word mentioned above, and tsundoku, Japanese for a book that has been purchased but not read and then piled with other books that have the same fate. My daughter went through the book and took some for her commonplace book. 

We all like this book and would recommend it to others who enjoy words and/or original illustrations. It's small and easy to read, again and again. 

***Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher via Blogging for Books for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own or those of my family. No compensation was given. See Disclosure/Policies.***

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

{Wednesday} Weekly Wrap-Up: An Update on School and Life

Where to even start. It seems most posts here lately are the Blogging through the Alphabet or book reviews. Hopefully that isn't a bad thing but it does seem a little less than I'd imagined my blogging year to be. 


Actually, the activity on the blog is fairly indicative of the activity in my life. There's not much going on but for book reviews. Perhaps I took on too much in that aspect. The post of my reading goals, or rather just my pile, shows me that I have too much ambition but not enough motivation. Since then there have been more books added to the pile...


The school year started in July for us but we are just squeaking by, just getting it done. My school is going along fine but I'm beginning to think that I've just been going through the motions- today is the first time I've stopped to really think about it. My last paper received so many mark-ups it was embarrassing.  (I earned 87%.) Perhaps it's burnout? 

As I think on it more, it could be my defeatist behavior: When there is a lot going on, or I anticipate a lot, then I seem to throw everything out the window. Figuratively, of course. I drop a lot when I feel overwhelmed or anticipate being overwhelmed. There. It's been identified, now I can correct the problem. 


September 29-October 3 was supposed to be Exam Week but uh, it can't happen yet. We will technically have been doing school for 12 weeks but we are far behind schedule. We may have a revised exam week anyway because I don't want them to go too long without one. They will forget what they've learned. Recently, I read the book Fluent Forever and got a better understanding of why narration and exams work so well for a Charlotte Mason education. But too much time between reading and recalling can lead to losing the memories.

I wanted the "My kids learn with Ambleside Online..." because it seems "I'm" not doing much 'homeschooling' lately.
Fox is chugging along well-enough in terms of getting the readings done. For the record, here is how he's been doing (and now that it's written out- it's really not too bad!):
Bible reading- Deuteronomy 29; memorizing book of James (he has first few verses down)
The Christian's Secret to a Happy Life- chapter 5
A History of the American People-  to page 108
The Age of Revolution- first half of chapter 5
Historical documents & Essays- Essay of Man, completed today
-Washington's Farewell Address
Folksongs- going well; we are up to Danny Boy; they aren't memorized but they are recognized
Washington, the Indispensable Man- chapter 20
Autobiography of Ben. Franklin- 30%
Royal Road to Romance- finished
Ourselves, Book I- pg 149
Are You Liberal, Conservative, Confused?- finished
Current Events- keeping up well enough, and doing the WB
Weekly writing assignment- needs improvement
The History of English Literature- chapter 63
Isaac Bickerstaff- chapter 24
Coverley- The Chase
Gulliver's Travels- Part III, chapter 11
German- barely getting anywhere (he's started at the very beginning with The Learnables, also still using Duolingo)
Math- Algebra 1, using CK12.org, he's mastered concepts "Real Numbers" and is half way through "Linear Equations")
Free reading: finished The Screwtape Letters, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and is reading A Tale of Two Cities.
And here is where we get a little off course:
Biology- using CK12.org biology- up to chapter 5 but he is getting a little confused; he's up to plate 15 in the Biology Coloring Book. I am so not good at science :(
William Harvey and the Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood- 41%
Narrations (written and oral, but mostly oral), Nature study, map drills, POWA, poetry, handicrafts/life skills, art (picture study and instruction), How to Read A Book- all are neglected (except teatime cooking lol, that goes under life skills)

Do I dare have a look at where Lee is? I must...
Bible reading- (she hasn't written down where she is...)
The Holiness of God- chapter 2
A History of the Twentieth Century- chapter 2
20th Century, Day by Day- an occasional glance through
Historical documents & Essays- Woodrow Wilson's Speech
American Government- chapter 5
Economics in One Lesson- chapter 5
Ourselves, Book II- page 75
A Meaningful World- page 43
The Great Gatsby- first half chapter 7
On Writing Well- chapter 7
Microbe Hunters- chapter 4
How to Read a Book- chapter 13
Anatomy & Physiology- Using Great Courses Introduction to the Human Body, lesson ?; plate 6 in both Anatomy and Physiology coloring books
Latin- finishing lesson 10
Math- using CK12.org Geometry Honors- 15% 
And the same things Fox is behind in, she is also. It's just an excuse but she was working quite at the beginning of the year but she's been down to 3 days a week for at least a month now. Perhaps she just needs to get back into the swing of school again.

And we've not done round table, which I had so enjoyed, in a very long time. It started with we did a very shortened version, then we sometimes got in a prayer, and now we don't do it. Some others things that I'd hoped to include this school year are still somewhere out there but if we can't sufficiently get to what we have scheduled how can I hope to include the others? Piano lessons were to start this week; that's been postponed until October. Handicrafts- we even chose one to focus on, each of us different. Hasn't happened. Plutarch and Shakespeare are also not within reach that I can see. 
I found this somewhere that now I don't recall...it is in a poetry book, I am sure. Either way, I searched Google and found Kenspeckle Letterpress- that's where the original can be found.

So that's the school update. Feeling a little like it's not going well. I know it's me and I need to get my act in gear. Next week is going to be a messed up week for school- Sunday is Lee's 18th birthday (although we are not doing anything outrageous and are staying home), Monday we may go to the zoo with another homeschooling family, Tuesday Lee is going to do her driving test, Wednesday-well! I guess that'll be a low-key day!, Thursday and Friday will be busy because Lee and I are going to Cedarville University for CU Friday. It probably will turn into a 'no school' week. Sigh.

As for rest of life- the greenhouse is still up and still giving some produce at times. Mostly tomatoes and green beans. I replanted tomatoes where I pulled up spaghetti squash and cucumber (the squash never did more than flower; the cucumbers were...weird). Pulled all the carrots as they were not actually growing. Never got bigger than maybe 1/2 inch around and couple inches long. Planted radishes there. Planted more beets in the place of cauliflower (that the bugs kept eating; couldn't kill them off quick enough). I did replant broccoli because I really really wanted some but those bugs...can't keep it from being eaten. Oh, yes and I replanted the pea plant. We got just a couple pods last time; hopefully it'll be better. Last night our dinner had fresh tomatoes and green beans in it from the greenhouse. 

How are we doing health wise? We are back to our 'processed' foods habits- not that we get a lot of boxed foods but we are consuming quite a few white flour items. And sugary foods...way too much! Prices of food continue to rise and it's so much easier to buy white bread that is $.89 a loaf compared to $3.99 a loaf of healthier grains! The changes in the weather, and our eating habits, have some of us are getting colds and general aches and pains. Fox is sick and won't be going to Young Marines tonight. Lee has been having headaches again. It's a joke around here that I never feel good anyway- lately it's feeling true. 

Well, this was much longer than I'd intended but who knows when another post other than Blogging through the Alphabet or a book review will happen. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

U is for Unrealistic {Blogging through the Alphabet}

Unrealistic
~not realistic (*wink*); not sensible or appropriate; not able to see things as they really are

A kindergarten will read War and Peace within the first week of the school year.
One individual, with no weapon, can take down an entire Army squadron.
Standardized tests can definitely determine the educational well-being of the nation's schools. 

Those are ones that came to me when this post was started. I asked on Facebook what others thought of 'unrealistic'. Here are their answers:
  • Physically/technically possible but very unlikely.
  • Not based on facts. Not researched.
  • Not real. Trying to think when I have said it or heard it, it is usually paired to goals. As a caution. Making goals or plans that can be achieved, even far fetched, challenging or on the edge, but not unrealistic. (not sure if that's supposed to say "realistic" on the end there...)
  • The thought I might ever run a marathon.
  • My to-do / responsibilities list.
  • Doing the same thing over and over again the same way and expecting a different result when it didn't work the first time.
  • Cleaning out my office while actually typing on Facebook.
  • Naïve hopes and dreams. Like cleaning and organizing all the nooks and crannies in my house.
  • Closing my eyes and opening them to find my to do list is accomplished?
  • A world where no one makes assumptions.
  • Our expectations of ourselves and others.
  • When you shouldn't keep on hoping for change and yet you still do.
And my two favorite FB replies:
  • A rested mama.
  • Dinosaurs living in the present time.
That's the "U is for..." entry in the Blogging through the Alphabet, curtesy of my Facebook friends :D Check out Ben and Me for more U entries or search abcblogging. 
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