Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Sanctification in the Commonplace

I wrote the post below three years ago. Later this year my husband and I will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. Sometimes when I think back on our life together, this poem, Uphill, by Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) seems a fitting description of the road we've travelled:

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
   Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
   From morn to night, my friend.

Together we've faced the loss of life - four of our own children at various stages of gestation and the sudden death of my brother, so dear to both of us; one of our parents and our grandparents. We've had our disappointments, our joys and our heartaches. We've seen each other at our best and at our worst.  Life can look unromantic and very ordinary at times but as C.S. Lewis says in The Weight of Glorythere are no ordinary people.

It is a serious thing... to remember that the...person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

Lewis talks about our neighbour's load, or weight, or burden of glory that is laid on our backs and that only humility that can carry it. What a fitting metaphor for marriage:

All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.

I read this excerpt from Ann Voscamp's book, The Broken Way, this morning: The Real Truth about Romance & 'Boring' Men - and the Women who Love Them: Redefining "Boring Romance."          

The real romantics are the boring ones — they let another heart bore a hole deep into theirs.
Real love will always make you suffer. Simply commit: Who am I willing to suffer for? 

Here is my original post:


The act of making holy.

The act of God's grace by which the affections of men are purified or alienated from sin and the world, exalted to a supreme love to God.

Marriage has been called a long path to sanctification.
I used to be concerned about working this sanctification out in front of our children, day in and day out. My husband and I are very different in personality, which makes life interesting; and we come from disparate backgrounds, which has caused us to misunderstand each other at times.

We've been married for nearly 27 years and for 25 years of that time our children have had occasion to witness our long path to sanctification. We've had a few momentous events throughout those years where it was obvious God was doing something significant in our lives and our children benefited from what we were experiencing. However, we were largely unaware of the myriads of times sanctification was going on because it was wrapped up in the very ordinary and commonplace and sometimes didn't look very pretty, and it certainly didn't look holy.

What is hard about marriage is what is hard also about facing the Christian God: it is the strain of living continually in the light of a conscience other than our own, being under the intimate scrutiny of another pair of eyes.

For marriage inevitably becomes the flagship of all other relationships. One's own home is the place where love must first be practiced before it can truly be practiced anywhere else. No one likes to be out of joint with a good friend or with in-laws or with an employer, but such problems at least can be tolerated. Yet any little thing that comes between a man and his wife is capable of wrenching them apart inside, and if that is not the case, then it can only be due to the growth of a callousness in them which cannot help carrying over into all their other relationships.

The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason

Last weekend our eldest son got married and during his wedding speech he shared an incident he'd witnessed on our long path to sanctification. It went something like this:

"When I was about 8 or 9, mum and dad had an argument when we were all having dinner. Dad said something silly and Mum got upset and left the room. Later that evening they were sitting up in their bed and called us all into the room and they both apologized to us kids for not showing love to each other earlier in the evening."

He went on to say that this episode cemented something solid into his life. Mum & Dad were committed to each other, with God as the ultimate authority, and the fact that we were submitted to Him helped embed a deep security into his life. This was a foundation we'd given him that he knew would be a bedrock for his own marriage.

It was very humbling to know that the Lord is so gracious and can use even our stuff-ups, weaknesses and failures  - the ordinary, common things of life - to sanctify us, and our children; to make something beautiful and lasting, an inheritance of grace to be passed on to the next generation.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

History is not what you thought...

A fun little book published in 1930 is 1066 And all That by W.C. Stellar and R.J. Yeatman.

'A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates.'

Histories have previously been written with the object of exalting their authors. The object of this history is to console the reader. No other history does this.
History is not what you thought. It is what you can remember. All other history defeats itself.

If you have a solid foundation in British history, or have indulged in a good amount of accurate historical fiction, or if you have read the English History selections from the first six or seven years of the Ambleside Online Curriculum, you would probably enjoy this satire of school history textbooks. If not, you could be excused for being totally confused after reading it.
The first four years of my schooling was spent in Scotland and I missed out on British history when I came to Australia where the focus was exclusively Australian for the rest of primary school. Not that I remembered much - the Eureka Stockade was about it. Highschool 'history' brought Communism, Bolshevism, Egalitarianism, and all the other 'isms' but no real pageant of past events. Everything I learnt about history began when I finished my school education and it has been consolidated as I've home educated seven children.
I did try reading 1066 And all That when I first picked it up secondhand a long time ago but I didn't have enough of a foundation in English history to make sense of it at the time.

Reading it again recently was a lot more fun. In the book, How The Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Childen's Books by Joan Bodger (scheduled for Geography in AO Year 7) the author mentions this book in her chapter 'Looking at History' and calls it '...a splendid spoof on English history and, I suppose, like a family joke - not much fun unless you know the straight of it.' That's a good way to describe it.

The first date in English History is 55 B.C., in which year Julius Caesar (the memorable Roman Emperor) landed, like all other successful invaders of these islands, at Thanet. This was in the Olden days, when the Romans were top nation on account of their classical education, etc.

There were a great many plots and Parliaments in James 1's reign, and one of the Parliaments was called the Addled Parliament because the plots hatched in it were all such rotten ones.
Did you know that the Rump Paliament was so-called because it had been sitting for a long time or that Robin Hood was a Socialist?

George III was a Bad King. He was, however, to a great extent insane and a Good Man and his ministers were always called Pitt. The Pitts, like Pretenders, generally came in waves of about two, an elder Pitt and a younger Pitt.

The real story behind the Boston Tea Party:

One day when George III was insane he heard that the Americans never had afternoon tea. This made him very obstinate and he invited them all to a compulsory tea-party at Boston; the Americans, however, started pouring the tea into Boston Harbour and went on pouring things into Boston Harbour until they were quite Independent, thus causing the United States.

The last event in Queen Victoria's reign was the Borewar, or, more correctly, Boerwoer (Dutch), which was fought against a very tiresome Dutch tribe called the Bores, because they were left over from all previous wars.

Bonus Test Papers are included:

After the 'Peace to End Peace,' America was clearly the top nation and the authors claimed that History came to an end. Therefore their History, as written in this slim tome, is therefore final.
The book is out of print but readily available secondhand.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Finding the Balance: Nourishing Spirit, Soul & Body

We've recently been looking at the paintings of Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) and this week's picture study has been on this painting below, 'Fortitude.'
When we nourish something, we strengthen or fortify it. Fortitude is the steadiness of mind and soul that helps us to choose the right in the face of danger or opposition. It is the basis or source of genuine courage and enables us to have magnanimity in all conditions of life.

I wasn't convinced that the word 'balance' was the best word to describe this constant juggle of looking after and nourishing these different areas of my life (spirit, soul & body) until I read its proper verb-form definition:

The verb 'balance' means to:

Weigh reasons; to compare by estimating the relative force, importance or value of different things...
To regulate different powers, so as to keep them in a state of just proportion...
To counterpoise...

Weigh, compare, regulate, estimate, keep in proportion.

Balance requires constant adjustment (counterpoise) to keep its equilibrium or poise.

Nourishing my Body

I really like that word, counterpoise, probably because it comes from an Old French word and has a certain ring to it, but also because it reminded me of a book I read when I was on holidays, French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Giuliano. What I really liked about this book was the author's commonsense approach to eating. Nothing radical here. No special foods but practical precepts such as portion size, eating seasonal food, having regular meals, and not multi-tasking while you eat. But what really struck me was her chapter, 'Moving Like a French Woman.'

American women, at one extreme, seem to have two modes: sitting or spinning. French women, at the other, prefer the gentler, more regular varieties of all-day movement - "the slow burn."

We strive to diversify the physical movement in our lives and practise it as second nature.

The act of incorporating physical movement into our everyday lives is an act of counterpoise. We might not get the time to spend an hour at the gym or go out for a vigorous walk or jog, but we can make physical movement second nature. Just recently Dawn Duran addressed the progressively sedentary nature of our modern lives and the need for mothers to address this aspect of physical activity in this post.

Nourishing my Spirit

A very close friend and I were talking about a month ago. We only get to see each other every couple of months and as we had about a four hour talk over coffee, we decided we would focus on praying for some situations in each of our families. We each made a list on our phones and committed to praying for each person/situation every day and keep each other updated.

'Do not be anxious about ANYTHING.'

I know those verses in Philippians back to front but I often find myself mulling over things, getting anxious without even realising that that is what I am actually doing. Knowing my friend has committed to pray for those things that are distractingly buzzing away in the background has brought nourishment to my spirit.

The other thing I've been doing for a couple of months now, is setting the timer for 10 or 15 minutes, shutting myself in our library/music room/lounge room, and spending that time praying. It sounds mechanical, but I get distracted easily and this is a way I've found to keep myself in check. I walk around that room or sit in the rocking chair and keep my mind & heart focussed until the buzzer goes off.

Marriage requires fortitude, as does bringing up children and home educating, because they are spiritual battlegrounds. I've been reading 'The Meaning of Marriage' by Timothy Keller and it's been a refreshing book on the subject for me. I rarely read books on this topic (two exceptions were The Mystery of Marriage and G.K Chesterton) The 'How to Have a Happy Husband' or 'Have a New Husband in Five Days' type of books just make me want to puke but Keller's book is well worth reading.

If our views of marriage are too romantic and idealistic, we underestimate the influence of sin on human life. If they are too pessimistic and cynical, we misunderstand marriage's divine origin. If we somehow manage, as our modern culture has, to do both at once, we are doubly burdened by a distorted vision. Yet the trouble is not within the institution of marriage but within ourselves.

Wedding vows are not a declaration of present love but a mutually binding promise of future love. A wedding should not be primarily a celebration of how loving you feel - that can be safely assumed. Rather, in a wedding you stand up before God, your family, and all the main institutions of society, and you promise to 'be' loving, faithful, and true to the other person in the future, regardless of undulating internal feelings or external circumstances.

I loved what Keller says here about the difference between what he calls 'Consumer' and 'Covenant' relationships:

When Ulysses was traveling to the island of the Sirens, he knew that he would go mad when he heard the voices of the women on the rocks. He also learned that the insanity would be temporary, lasting until he could get out of earshot. He didn't want to do something while temporarily insane that would have permanent bad consequences. So he put wax in the ears of the sailors, tied himself to the mast, and told his men to keep him on course no matter what he yelled...

What can keep marriages together during the rough patches? The vows. A public oath made to the world, keeps you "tied to the mast" until your mind clears and you begin to understand things contrast, consumer relationships cannot possibly endure these inevitable tests of life, because neither party is "tied to the mast."

Nourishing my Soul

Nourishing my soul is probably the easiest thing out of the three for me to do.
Reading, good conversation, working with my hands to make create something lasting, looking at great art, listening to beautiful music and allowing nature give me a disposition of mind that I can get from no other source.

I was reading Genevieve Foster's 'Augustine Caesar's World' to Moozle yesterday and found this observation by the historian Livy when he was a young boy of why we need to study history.

...when Caesar had so boldly crossed the Rubicon River, when he had marched on Rome, and overthrown the government, he seemed no longer a great man, but a traitor to the Republic. Then, for the first time, the boy had realised how good and bad can be blended together in a single man, and in the story of a nation. That thought Livy was to put down in the introduction of his great history of the Roman people, which he was to write in future days.

"That is what makes the study of history so valuable," he was to say - "the fact that you can behold, displayed as on a monument, every kind of conduct; thence you may select for yourself and for your country that which you may imitate; thence note what is shameful in the undertaking and shameful in the result, which you may avoid..."

As a Christian, another aspect to consider is Community. I know there are seasons where this is difficult but going too long without community deprives us of nourishment. You need others and they need you, whether you realise it or not.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17


Updated to add my Commonplace entry:

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Picture Books for Art & Book Lovers

These are some of our favourite picture books because they are either beautiful and/or unique. I only realised as I was putting this post together that three of these books have some connection with France.

Poetry for Kids: Emily Dickinson - Illustrated by Christine Davenier; edited by Susan Snively

Emily Dickinson is a poet my children didn't take to very much. Moozle listened in when I was reading the poet's work aloud a few years ago to her older (less than impressed) brothers and decided she didn't like her either. However, I found this delightful book of Dickinson's poems illustrated by Christine Davenier, who was born in France and lives in Paris. The watercolour illustrations in the book were the drawcard for my artistically minded daughter. So I read a poem, she does some art appreciation, we decide which pictures we each like best and then she does some watercolour of her own using the paintings in the book as a guide. The illustrations have made a difference in her attitude to the poems of Emily Dickinson and helped Moozle to appreciate her work.

Paris, Up, Up and Away by Helene Druvert

This is a beautifully designed, whimsical picture book set in Paris with the Eiffel Tower as the main character. It's marketed as a children's book but the laser paper cuttings it contains are delicate and lace-like and would be appreciated by anyone with an eye for beauty and an interest in art and paper cutting. 'Scherenschnitte' is a term I was familiar with, which is the German form of paper cutting, and apparently Découper is the French form. This book takes the art form to a new level with the precision that the laser cutting manages to perform.

The Eiffel Tower is bored today
Wouldn’t it be nice to fly away?
Paris is full of things to do –
The Tower would like to see them too
The Tower takes off for the day
To watch the city work and play …

I bought this book when it first came out for my daughter who was 22 years old at the time and I don't have it here at present so I'm not able to post any pictures of the contents (but there are some here). It is the perfect gift for art lovers and francophiles. I must buy another copy for my youngest daughter who is using the Classical Academic Press French curriculum. (Free giveaway to enter here if you're interested) 

The author has another similar book: Mary Poppins, Up, Up and Away.


Vendela in Venice by Christina Björk; illustrated by Inga-Karin Eriksson

This is a short chapter, lavishly illustrated book that takes the reader on a journey through Venice. As Vendella's father said, "Every child should go to Venice." If you can't get there just yet, this book will give you a wonderful introduction to the culture and history of this fairy-tale city. For ages from around 8 years and up. The Classical Kids audio, Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery makes an ideal accompaniment to this book. (It's on YouTube)

Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson; illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

Set in Paris, Marguerite's father works at illuminating manuscripts for the nobility of France.
My youngest daughter loves this book and we used it when we did Ambleside Online Year 1. Today she referred to this book when she was looking through 'A Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady' for nature notebooking inspiration. Marguerite Makes a Book is lovely inducement for budding artists.

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden

What is the definition of a picture book? About 32 pages with illustrations directed primarily for children? Did you know that the 2008 Randolph Caldecott Medal, the highest honour an artist can achieve for children's book illustration, was given to the author of a 500 page novel set in Paris? So I'm taking the liberty of putting The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady in a post of picture books. There are about 176 pages (depending on which edition you get) of the most exquisite paintings from the hand of a woman who had a naturalist's eye for detail combined with an artist's sensitivity. Holden made her first entry in her diary in 1906 and continued to record the changing seasons, poetry, nature observations and her own thoughts over the whole year in this lovely book.
In 1976, Holden's great-niece approached a publishing house with the original diary that had been passed down to her and the result was the publication of a 're-originated,' full-colour fascimile edition in 1977. There have been numerous editions of this book and this is the hardback copy I have which was published in 2000.

Edith Holden described her English countryside but the beauty of this book is its inspirational value, and her observations of the natural world, even though half a world away, are relevant for aspiring  naturalists wherever they might be. When I spend some time with this work I can't help but feel motivated to imitate what she has done.

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston

A Child of Books resulted when the children's author and illustrator, Oliver Jeffers, and Sam Winston, a typographical artist, combined their efforts. It's a unique, multi-layered book that uses excerpts from classical children's books such as Little Women and Treasure Island, within the illustrations and is done in such a way that anyone of any age  interested in books would appreciate poring over it. I bought it for my older daughter who collects quality picture books to use in her teaching.
There's an interview with both of the authors here.

Linking up at Top Ten Tuesday, although I only got as far as seven...

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Classical Academic Press - Review & Give Away! French for Children, Primer B

At the beginning of last year my nearly 11 year old daughter started using French for Children, Primer A (FFCA) published by Classical Academic Press after a number of years of informal French study. It proved to be timely for her to commence learning this language using a more formal approach and we were both very happy with the material. I wrote about our experience here.
French for Children Primer B (FFCB) was published late last year and Classical Academic Press kindly sent me a copy for review purposes. I really like this Curriculum and so my review is unabashedly positive, but it is my honest opinion.
My now just turned 12 year old daughter started using FFCB in December last year and it followed on seamlessly from their previous text. It is recommended for Grades 5 to 7 and follows the same style and format as FFCA with a couple of new additions.

Overview of FFCB

17 weekly chapters, including 3 review chapters and an end-of-book review
258 pages
6 DVDs
1 CD - contains chants, vocabulary, grammar, dialogues, Say it Aloud exercises and dictation exercises. (Also available as a downloadable audio file)
There are schedules for covering the curriculum in either half a year or a full academic year of 30 weeks.

New features include:

•    an alphabetical glossary or 'mini dictionary' of all vocabulary words from Primers A & B
•    Vocabulary also listed by chapter from which it first appeared in both Primers (12 pages)
•    Appendices condensed and organised into charts: e.g. prepositions, verbs & verb conjugations, past participles

Previous concepts learned throughout FFCA are referred to briefly before they are gone into more thoroughly e.g. FFCA covers the present tense and FFCB reviews this and then introduces the future tense in Chapter 9 and the past tense in Chapter 11.
FFCA teaches Irregular verbs, Part 1 and FFCB continues with part 2 & 3.

Some thoughts:

If you were coming from a different curriculum and were thinking of starting with FFCB instead of FFCA, your child should be familiar with the following concepts first:

Informal, formal forms
Definite & indefinite articles
Preposition 'de'
verb tenses (present)

Past participle - some knowledge required

The DVD's by Joshua Kraut are excellent and contain some built-in review of the content covered in FFCA but they mostly concentrate on new material.
Speaking of DVD's, some kids (notably mine) are put off by the tone, accent or attitude of some speakers ("Do we have to listen to him?") but Mr Kraut gets the thumbs up from my lot. He is easy to listen to, has a sense of humour without being too obvious about it, and is generally very pleasant.
Below is the complete video for Chapter 1:

As I mentioned in my review of FFCA, the only thing I'd add to this curriculum would be listening to French folksongs. I have a YouTube playlist of a variety of folksongs here that we've used previously and a newer playlist here of the songs we're doing this year.

Classical Academic Press is giving away two French for Children: Primer B bundles for USA residents. Enter via Rafflecopter at Expanding Wisdom and There's No place Like Home!

Giveaways end at midnight on February 14th and February 22nd. Winners will be contacted by email. Winners that do not respond by the deadline given in the winners’ email will be replaced by random drawing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Keys of the Kingdom by A.J. Cronin

Perhaps the greatest strain is thrown upon our moral vision by the spectacle of another's success. 
The dazzle hurts us.

The Keys of the Kingdom is the moving story of the spiritual struggle of a young priest, Father Francis Chisholm. Often at loggerheads with the hierarchy of the church, Francis was unconventional in many ways, although fervent in his faith and its outworking.
Set in both Scotland and a remote region of China between about 1870 and 1938, the story follows his childhood and the events leading to his decision to enter the priesthood. It portrays his hard won successes and his great disappointments; his individualistic tendencies that sometimes won him no friends, and his humility that opened unlikely hearts and doors.
This was a beautiful work of fiction that reached into my heart.
Francis was overlooked and misunderstood throughout his life. Those who had to work closely with him often despised him at the first. One such person was the proud Mother Maria-Veronica who had decided to leave the Chinese mission until Canon Anselm Mealey, a boyhood companion of Francis who 'had made a fine thing of his life,' came to inspect the mission.

After Anselm had left, Father Chisholm was meditating amongst the debris of his church which had been destroyed by flooding just before Anselm's visit.

There was little courage in him now. These last two weeks, the perpetual effort to sustain his visitor's patronizing tone, had left him void. Yet perhaps Anselm was justified. Was he not a failure, in God's sight and in man's? He had done so little. And that little, so laboured and inadequate, was almost undone. How was he to proceed? A weary hopelessness of spirit took hold of him.

As Francis was thinking thus, Mother Mary-Veronica came out to him:

"I have something to say to you...
I am most bitterly and grievously sorry for my conduct towards you. From our first meeting I behaved shamefully, sinfully. The devil of pride was in me...
I have known now for weeks that wanted to come to tell you...but my pride, my stubborn malice restrained me. These last ten days, in my heart, I have wept for you...the slights and humiliations you have endured from that gross and worldly priest, who is unworthy to tie your shoe. Father, I hate myself - forgive me, forgive me..."

"So now you will not leave the mission?"

"No, no..." Her heart was breaking. "If you will let me stay. I have never known anyone whom I wished so much to serve...Yours is the best...the finest spirit I have ever known."

The Keys of the Kingdom shows what really matters in the long run. Francis had asked God to judge him less by his deeds than by his intention and his intentions had always been honourable.
Lovely, lovely book.

The Keys of the Kingdom by A.J. Cronin is my selection for the Back to the Classics 2017 Challenge: 20th Century Classic


Friday, 13 January 2017

A New Year and New Paths

We've been slowly getting back into our normal routine after taking holidays over the Christmas break and early January. Moozle is starting back with Term 2 of Ambleside Online Year 6 and Benj has officially graduated and is beginning on a new path.

Today we did some 'formal' nature study with our nature notebooks after a couple of months of being informal and just mostly observing. We identified a new bird in our backyard, the Brown Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia Phasianell), also know as a pheasant pigeon. I snapped a photo but only managed to get his tail before he flew off into the bush. He sounds almost like an owl, 'whoop, whoop.'

The Handsome St. Andrew's Cross Spider

Moozle's Notebook

My notebook

I'm ridiculously happy about my Lebanese eggplant. It's quite difficult to grow anything edible around here between the wallabies and the possums, so everything is in pots on the verandah.
Moozle is growing two corn plants in pots from seeds her Aunty P gave her and they seem to be doing well. I've never used eggplant as the first time I ate it years ago I was violently sick afterwards!  It's taking me years to be game enough to try it again and when I did I was fine. Now I have to find some good recipes...

After five years of using Singapore Maths, we've made the transition to Saxon 76. (I have the old hardback 3rd edition books). I usually start Saxon with the 54 book but I decided to keep on with Singapore for a while longer. I gave her a placement test about a month ago and I was pleasantly surprised that she managed it well as maths, unlike some of her siblings, hasn't been her favourite subject.


We started Classical Academic Press French for Children Primer B late last year and have been pleased with it. No surprise, as their Primer A was excellent. (I wrote a review here)
Stay tuned towards the end of January for a review of Primer B and a giveaway!

Moozle thinks she might be an architect (which is an improvement on a 'cat lady' i.e. having a house full of felines and occasionally selling one) and loves this series of DVDs which she watches with her Dad. She even drew up some plans for a granny flat to build for us when we get old!

This week we were reading about the element helium for science and this video my Aunty in Scotland posted recently was very timely!

Benj has enrolled at Campion College and will be studying a Bachelor of Liberal Arts Degree beginning in late February. He's only just turned 17 and in the past we've waited until our kids were 18 before starting university but Campion is a different kettle of fish to the large mainstream institutions. It only has about 200 students and receives no government funding. There was an intersting article recently in The Australian newspaper recently:

'...if our civilisation has a future in Australia, it is connected to Campion College. For Campion has done something that no other institution of higher learning has attempted in Australia. It has dedicated itself entirely to teaching undergraduates about the great tradition, based on the great books, of Western civilisation.

In the meantime he is doing a Swim Australia Teaching course, building up his night driving hours so he can get his licence, teaching piano, and heading off to a youth camp next week. Plus he will be using his great organising skills to clean up the pantry and the storage under the stairs for me.

Our Reading


Penrod by Booth Tarkington - this is a free read for Ambleside Online Year 6 which she enjoyed.

Silver Brumby Echoing by Elyne Mitchell - another book in a much loved series.

Tales of a Korean Grandmother by Frances Carpenter - written in 1947, these 32 traditional tales provide a peek into Korean culture.


 Lord of the Rings trilogy - his annual re-reading

The Martian by Andy Weir - just be aware there is some language in places, noteably on the first page. The film was very good and according to my eldest boy, the book is great, so he bought it for his younger brother for Christmas.

Older ones in the family read:

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

The Survivor by Vince Flynn with Kyle Mills - Sadly, Vince Flynn died about three and a half years ago. My husband really enjoyed his novels and as he'd read just about all his others, I bought this one. Sometimes authors who take on another's work do a complete hash but fortunately, this was done in a similar style and my husband enjoyed it.

And finally, for the Aussie mums out there (or any others who may be visiting Australia later in the year) the Mum Heart Conference will be held at Newcastle in June. I was so refreshed when I went along in 2015 so I felt very honoured to be asked to speak at one of the sessions and to run a Charlotte Mason workshop this year. Hope to see some of you there!

Linking up at Weekly Wrap-up
Keeping Company