July 25, 2014

Weekend Wind-Down {July 25}

This week has been filled with family.  In the past week, we only had one day where we did not have overnight company coming or leaving.  July tends to be a busy month for us because we go to family camp, but it also seems our long-distance family passes through a bit, too.  (Our visitors all had a different destination in mind but made a side-trip to see us.)

My sister, her son, and our mutual good friend came to visit.  We went on a walk at the local park.  It was nice to venture out to a new trail.  Our friend took this picture of Big Sister.
Swim lessons also began for our oldest two children.  I am grateful to say Brother is out of the beginner's class, finally.  It's his third year!  Big Sister is learning actual strokes and trying not to plug her nose in the water.  Swim lessons exhaust all of us...it's well past 80 when we arrive at the outdoor pool at 9:15 in the morning.

This week on the blog:
Peanut Butter Chewy Granola Bars
Do What You Can, Not What You Dream
Nightstand Reading
A Mouse Called Wolf Reader's Response Journal

Life is a bit crazy, so this will be my final week as host of the Weekend Wind-Down Party.  Please continue to link up with a different host.  I know I will.

July 23, 2014

A Mouse Called Wolf Critical Thinking Questions {Free}

In an effort to provide my daughter a good book with critical thinking questions during the summer at her teacher's request, I created a mini-unit, complete with higher level critical thinking questions, a dictionary of new words, and enrichment activities to go with the delightful book called A Mouse Called Wolf.  (Affiliate links)

To be clear, the teacher did not request that I create a unit, but she did ask that I work with Big Sister during the summer.  Big Sister is an excellent reader, but lacks the critical thinking required in her enrichment class to work without a lot of additional support (which this particular classroom is not designed to provide).

A Mouse Called Wolf

Author Dick King-Smith (who also wrote Babe: The Gallant Pig) pens an entertaining and charming tale, full of musical references from Mozart to The Beatles.  A mouse named Wolf learns he can sing well and enjoys it. Wolf becomes friends with the elderly (and lonely) Mrs. Honeybee who enjoys his musical companionship and friendship.

July 22, 2014

What's on My Nightstand? {July 2014}

Nightstand sneaked up on me.  Again.  Yet I do love to keep track of what I've read.  So for anyone eager to know what I've read and enjoyed this month, here you go.  These are affiliate links.

Saving Amelie, by Cathy Gohlke.  A good writer makes you think and may transport you to another time. Saving Amelie does just that.  I felt this book was an excellent read.  It takes the reader to Germany during WWII.  We learn a bit about eugenics and more about Hitlers' intentions with eugenics and the Aryan race.  More than that, I appreciated how I felt for the "regular" German citizens.  They weren't all on board with Hitler's plan, but the SS made it nearly impossible for anyone to stand up and fight against his ideals.  Saving Amelie delights the reader as we get to know the characters and just how a young, deaf girl's life might be saved.   (During the first couple of chapters I had a hard time keeping track of characters, but be sure to stick with it.  This is a top read of 2014.)
place, and makes you care.  HIGHLY recommend.

July 21, 2014

Do What You Can, Not What You Dream

Sometimes I dream big.  I get distracted by things that may or may not happen in the future and neglect what I should be doing now.

It is good to be prepared, but it is better to be wise.

Goals are beneficial.  Planning is wise.  But we should be careful.  As we prepare, plan, and even dream for the future, we must take care to be responsible for the now.

As a wife and mom, I don't want to neglect my own family and our needs because I'm planning for something that may or may not happen in the future.

July 18, 2014

Weekend Wind-Down: July 18

After a week away, it was good to be home this week.  Thank you for all of the birthday wishes.  Thirty-eight feels about like the previous year.  This is a photo from camp; we were about to go to the adult-only banquet.  It began with just my husband and me in the picture, but the girls joined in after a bit- in a clingy sort of way.  (My hair is short again, but I'm not sure how long it will last.)
Big Sister, age 7, attended a Science in the Summer class at our library this week.  Put on by the Franklin Institute, I knew she'd learn a lot about oceanography, and she did.  We've had a lot of the typical thunderstorms this week. One morning, I was about to fill up the pool (kiddie variety) when I heard  distant thunder.  Instead of skipping the idea all together, I waited and listened.  With no more thunder (for a bit), the children played with balls in the pool.

This week I had four new posts on the blog.
This is a peek into my living room.  I don't decorate much, but I really like this.  I wish it was always tidy like this.

July 17, 2014

Double-Decker Brownies Recipe

My mother-in-law bakes terrific cakes and goodies, including our wedding cake.  She introduced the  frosted, double-decker brownies years ago.  I've been making these for at least ten years, though I usually just enjoy the ones she makes.  Double-decker brownies are a perfect dessert to take along to a potluck picnic or as an everyday dessert.

As my readers likely know, I'm not typically a fan of frosting.  I scrape it off cake (or just make pound cake) before eating and fight with it every time I frost a cake (like here and here.)  This frosting is tasty and easy to smooth on the brownies though.  Just in case you wondered.
Double-Decker Brownies with chocolate frosting.

July 16, 2014

Summer Apothecary Jar: Red, White, & Blue

As a person who decorates minimally, even for holidays, I find my simple apothecary jar to be an effortless way to have seasonal decorations without overwhelming me.  During the first week of July, I finally created my simple patriotic apothecary jar using beans.