Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Month in Review -- July

Oh dear, I am tardy with this post!  Good thing I don't have much to tell you.  It was July.  Hot, above or below 115°F, with average LOW temps at 85°.  We've lived here nearly six years, and it's still weird to me to see the bank thermometer at 103° at 9:00 or 10:00 at night!   We spent a lot of time in the house, and some at the lake or river.  I posted photos of the lake already... And we did art, which I also told you about.... So I will just go look at my trusty camera and see if anything else exciting happened. * * *

While I'm looking, I'll tell you about my reading list.  Lately I have been reading some of the literary classics, to reacquaint myself with them and to see if I would now consider them decent reading for my growing girls.  My criteria for good reading  material changed drastically when the Lord saved me, and as I am responsible for the hearts and minds of a few voracious readers in my house, I am trying to be careful about what we have on our shelves. In the "done" pile are The Old Man and the Sea, Pride and Prejudice, Flowers for Algernon (definitely NOT recommended by me for tweens or teens), and To Kill a Mockingbird.    I can't pre-read everything my kids get a hold of, and I thought that the classics should be relatively safe.  But I had a nagging feeling that they might not be.  I don't know who decides a book is a classic, but we don't have the same standards.  Okay, blanket statement forthcoming. Seems to me a book is called a classic if, in addition to containing great writing, it does one of two things: One, either it challenges cultural mores and norms and ideas about what is right and wrong, or two, it challenges GOD'S authority on the subject of right and wrong.  I don't mind the first at all.  I would put Mockingbird in that category.  It's a great book.  But I don't consider Mockingbird okay for my kids to read, simply because of the mature content.  I know, I read it for the first time in junior high, and I survived. The testimonies about the rape must not have made a big impression on me, because I had forgotten all about them. But do I want to feed that to my kids? And what about the language? Garbage in, garbage out?  **sigh**   Algernon, on the other hand, challenges both societal behavior and God's law.  The story idea is great, but the philosophy is entirely humanistic, and the content is definitely "adult".  Many of the classics have excellent ideas and excellent writing, with all this other stuff thrown in.  Why do they have to do that?  Do I want my kids to learn about humanism or immorality from a book? I haven't figured out if or when it's okay to read something  as  a family that is completely contrary to God's thinking, just so that we can discuss contrasting ideas.  What are your reading recommendations?

* * *

Okay, I found something.  I picked up this great book at the library.   Amy took it over as well as my sewing machine, and she created several bags:


Here's the first one she did.  I had this fabric map of the USA hanging around, which I intended for years to at least hem (even had it on the wall with just its raw edges for a long time), and Amy made much better use of it than what it was doing in my sewing stuff.  Using an old mattress pad for batting, Amy machine-quilted the fabric then constructed a big bag and lined it.

My artist mom went to the Provence region of France with her artsy friends for a couple of weeks (wish I could say it was us -- now THAT would have been something to tell!), and that sort of inspired Amy and me to make her a brush holder from a pattern in that same book. (Excuse the tacky brushes.)  Here's the process:

Next week we'll be starting "school". Yippee!   Actually I am considering unschooling this year.  Or should I say, unschooling again this year? 


  1. I almost feel guilty telling you about how we were not able to swim today because it was in the 70's! Kristy always responds to that with something about winter coming. (Ouch!) It would be hard to imagine those temps. I am glad you can stay inside and be comfortable. Wish I had some good ideas for you about reading. If you find some good books, let us know!


  2. blessingsundreamtofAugust 4, 2009 at 2:08 PM

    Hi Sally,

    I can NOT agree more about "classics". I'm an English major and would NOT let our boys read most of what are considered "classics"... and don't get me started on Shakespeare!!! Thanks for stopping by!!! BTW: what ages are your girls??? My boys are 12, 10, 4, and 1.


  3. blessingsundreamtofAugust 5, 2009 at 3:33 AM

    Yes, Henty and Ballantyne... but also... most anything from Christian Liberty Press... Pathway... Dave & Neta Jackson... Lamplighter books... Keepers of the Faith series... and the best classic--->the BIBLE!!! :) As for your compliment about my being young & energetic... today I feel OLD and LETHARGIC (my 1 year old was up last night cutting molars!). I know, I know... this too shall pass, but WOW I need a nap or an IV caffeine drip!!!


  4. tinderheartedteenAugust 5, 2009 at 9:11 AM

    She is doing good it all went away...

    And as for how to do it haha I think you should ask our parents

  5. I hear ya on the "classics!" Ben, my 14 yo, just read "The Three Musketeers". I figured because it was a classic, it would be okay. Oyve. The main character has a "girlfriend" who is married. :-/

  6. Hi Sally,

    Hope your first day of school went well.

    I like the bag Amy made! What talented girls you have. And I like the paintbrush holder too - I'm sure grandma will love it.

    Choosing good books IS difficult - you know I never have time to pre-read, perhaps because I read so slow. lol Of course, you could just have them read their KJB's all the time - can't go wrong there - everything else is suspect. Yes, classics are according to the world's standard, not mine. And even "Christian" bookstores are no longer to be trusted with such blasphemy as The Shack. I like the old, unknown books for the most part. I really like Keepers of hte Faith's book criteria...http://www.keepersofthefaith.com/Articles/Howdowepick.asp

    and here is what they say about fiction...


    I also like what Rod & Staff have; Christian Light Publications; the ACE book list in their catalog; and BJU Press.

    Unschooling is good - I'd do it too if I could relax that much.

  7. Oh, and to add to the list, don't forget Vision Forum.

  8. Hi, I took a quick moment to log in on a couple of blogs before school starts. I'm glad you stopped by on yesterday. Looks like you've had a busy, and HOT, August--I guess I'll keep quiet about my 101-degree days, huh?

    Interesting thoughts about the classics. I agree with you to an extent, and would love to have more discussion, probably offline, but I've run out of time now.

    Whatever your start was this week with school, I offer you the same advice I'm swallowing for myself--temper it with the fact that we've got a ways to go. For me, we've had stellar days, but unfortunately I know that those, too, are for a season.

    God bless you, Sally.

  9. Hi Sally! I wanted to mention a wonderful novel called The Railway Children. Have you read that? There is also a beautifully made Masterpiece Theatre video of it. It's wonderfully done, very british, and the children's characters are all very likable. I don't remember any disrespectful or crude behavior in it and my kids loved it.

    How are you? I had noticed that you mentioned Emily is reading. Samuel is too but I'm sure he's not at the same reading level Emily is as he's just started. What readers are you using with her and any advice for my little scholar as he is now an official student :-)?

    Hoping you have a wonderfully blessed weekend, Julie

  10. i do love it! but it is much too pretty for paint brushes. i don't want to get it covered with paint stains/blobs. i can see it used for silverware or something valuable and/or precious. now what do i have that's in that category that will fit in those beautifully constructed brush slots...besides silverware. .... still thinking.


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