Monday, October 31, 2011

The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund

Bethany House (September 1, 2011) 378 pages

Source: Bethany House review copy

I was drawn to The Doctor's Lady for the Native American aspect of it. It's based upon the lives of Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding, the first white women to cross the Continental Divide and travel to the far west, and their husbands. In 1836, they traveled to Oregon to start a mission with the Nez Perce natives. The story is a mix between fact and fiction. Some of the plot was taken right from the journals of Narcissa(with a fictional addition, of course). That makes the book even more intriguing to me.

As much as I hate to admit, I was bit disappointed. Not completely, because I was very impressed with Jody's writing, and I will definitely pick up more from her. The Doctor's Lady isn't about the Whitman's mission with the Nez Perce. It's completely about their journey to the Nez Perce. I just adore good Fiction books about Native Americans(I'm NOT talking about "manly" books with scalping and all that.....I'll gladly pass on all those)! I really don't know of a whole lot of them, though, so I jumped at the chance to read The Doctor's Lady. I was just hoping there was more of the plot actually involving Native Americans. Other than that reason, though, there's absolutely no reason to be disappointed with this book. It's a beautiful book! If God ever blesses me to be pregnant again and I feel like I'm having a rough time, I'll have to think about Eliza, who traveled across dangerous terrain her entire pregnancy....sick and exhausted. She makes me look like a spoiled brat! ;) I don't know if that part of the story was fact or fiction, but I can't imagine how hard that must have been.

Most of the story is about Marcus and Narcissa, though. (Eli and Priscilla in the book). The missionary board won't let either of them go on their missions unless they are married. They decide to marry in name only, so they can be the missionaries they want to be. I don't think that you'll be surprised with the outcome of that! :) The Doctor's Lady was a very sweet romance.

*Thanks to Bethany House for my review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Happy Halloween

Have you saw the new White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms? Until I saw THIS post at Angel Foods Kitchen, I hadn't. I don't walk up and down the candy aisle unless I have a specific reason. The last thing I need is even more sugar. But, I did see this post, so I couldn't resist! We just made our regular chocolate chip cookie recipe and added the M&Ms in place of the chocolate chips, like April suggested. Next time I'll use her recipe, though, because I don't love mine!

I would show you a picture of my finished cookies, but, I won't lie, they're not pretty! Not at all. (They were good, though). I still remember volunteering to make cookies at my church's VBS one year. I'm still embarassed about those cookies. I should have just went and bought some pretty ones. I do like baking, but cookies are my hardest project when it comes to baking. Well, and bread! You should see my last attempt at bread. It ended up being a weird cross between a biscuit and bread. It actually tasted decent, though! :)

I won't say that the White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms are my favorite candy ever, but as something new, they were good. And, they're just a fun Fall treat!

I hope everyone is having fun today!! No trick or treating for us. I have two little boys getting over colds. Should I admit that dressing up two children in costumes and driving around for candy in the cold is not my idea of fun in the slightest kind of way? ;)

Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm behind the times........

I finally created a Facebook page. I'd love for you to "like" it. On the Bluerose's Heart Facebook page, I will link-up my posts, favorite posts from others, and quotes I like. There's so many times I want to share things, but just don't go to the trouble of creating a whole post for it. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, but in this case I think it will be good.

On another note, I will no longer post any negative reviews on Bluerose's Heart, unless required. I will, however, post all my reviews(even negative) at Goodreads. I've debated back and forth on how I wanted to handle negatives, but I think this is best. I do want to remember why I disliked or liked a book, so I'll use Goodreads for this purpose and save my blog posts for only books I really love. So, feel free to friend me on Goodreads. My only exception will be if I was part of a blog tour and was removed due to negative thoughts. I will remove those books from my lists as though I never had them.

And on yet another note, I finally signed up with Twitter, too. I'll pretty much use Twitter to post about giveaways. Most giveways have extra entries for Twittering, so that's what it's purpose will be for me. :)

Lastly, I've also added the email subscription option. It's over there in the top right corner.

I think that catches me up just a tiny bit! :)

The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall

WaterBrook Press (October 4, 2011) 208 pages
Source: Blogging for Books

Description from Amazon:

After Gideon coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie’s hopes?

Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve.

Three years later, will learning the truth behind his rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

Spend Christmas with the Amish in this story of love, romance, heartache, and restoration.

My Review:

Christmas books seem to be a huge target for novellas. Maybe because reading time is always so much slower during the holidays? I'm not usually a novella fan. I prefer my book full-length. But, at this point in my life, I do appreciate a good, shorter length book. Sometimes I just can't wait to get to the happily ever after, and I get to read about it a bit sooner with a novella.

The Christmas Singing"was a very sweet romance. I don't think there was any characters that I didn't like. They all won a place in my heart, and I'm hoping maybe a couple of the secondary characters will end up in another book! My momma really enjoys Christmas novellas, and this one will definitely head her way!

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Few Favorites for EARLY Speech Therapy

I'm linking up with Read Aloud Thursdays @ Hope is the Word.

I want to re-emphasize the "early" part! While Grasshopper still likes these books, he has slightly advanced past some of them. These are the books that got the most speech response and participation from him, though.

My Big Word Book by Roger Priddy

This is a big 80 page book FULL of pictures of objects and animals and just tons of everyday items. This is a great way to see what a child already knows. Grasshopper would point out pictures and say what they were. Then we could introduce new pictures along, too. This is just an awesome book for speech therapy!

Animal Sounds illustrated by Aurelius Battaglia

This book is about as simple as you can get! It has pictures of animals and the sound that it makes. Grasshopper loved it, though. We have lots of animal books, but this one got the most response from him.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle

I've already mentioned this one before, but it really is great for early speech! We really like the Eric Carle books. We have several on our home shelves and checked out a couple from the library this week.

Peek-a-Zoo (Little Scholastic)

I definitely wouldn't look at this one and think of speech therapy, but it was one of our top books that gained participation from Grasshopper. I think at the time he was at one of his "low interest" stage in books. This one has textures and all that kept his interest. It also has lots of "general" type animals. (fish, lion, frog, cat, etc.) While he has advanced past this one now, I think Firefly will really enjoy it a couple of months. It is geared more towards really young.

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?

We have quite a few Dr. Suess books on our shelves. I love that there's so many levels. While some are perfect for now, some will have to wait for a little while until Grasshopper advances to them. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? is one that is great for early readers, and a great way to teach sounds.

I'm hoping next week to feature some of the speech type books he's enjoying more these days. I'm so happy he's in a phase where he LOVES books right now! We're reading a great deal more to take advantage of it!! I hate that it does come and go, but we keep trying.

Grasshopper Goes To Preschool....

I figure this is a great time to update on Grasshopper's speech since it's been awhile.

First an update on sizes:

Grasshopper's 3 year check-up:
21 pounds
32 inches tall

Firefly's 6 month check-up:
18 pounds
27 inches tall

As you can see Firefly is rapidly gaining on big brother!! :)

Grasshopper recently saw a specialist for his size. Before putting him through a great deal of testing, they want to make sure his nutrition is on track. He has to have 2 pediasures a day, and 6 meals. We have to add as many extra calories as possible to his food. He's a very picky eater. He does pretty good as long as we constantly change up his food. At 6 meals a day, I have to stay on my toes thinking up new food choices. I do try to keep it simple as much as possible, though! It's unfortunate that with adding so many extra calorie boosters to his food, I've put back on some of the weight that I'd lost. I'm trying to find a good balance for all of us! The pediatrician informed us that she thinks we could feed him a bazillion calories a day and he still wouldn't grow. He will most likely need growth hormones to grow, but I'm putting forth my best effort on the nutrition part!!

Grasshopper is 3 now, so that means he "graduated" out of the Early Intervention program and got turned over to the school system. For a momma who plans on homeschooling, let me tell you how hard this was for me! I had to think of things that would make me be excited for this change. His preschool room is part of the kindergarten building(the one I went to as a little one). It's right beside the elementary school. He's been going for a few weeks now. It's 3 days a week, for 2 1/2 hours a day, so not a huge amount of time. He really needs this therapy. To qualify for this preschool, a child has to qualify in 2 out of 5 categories. Grasshopper qualified in all 5 categories with flying colors. (which isn't a good thing).

He really has came a long way as far as speech. He's still not close to where he should be, though. He only has a few 2-3 words phrases. He's picking up words on a regular basis, though. His comprehension has a long way to go, too!

One of my biggest concerns with preschool was sickness. Grasshopper stays sick throughout the winter without school. Having a tiny baby in the NICU for 3 1/2 months really makes a person more aware of germs. We are extremely careful with germs! He still gets sick, though! So far, it's only been colds. Bless his heart, though, he has a rough time with them and in general, they stick around for a week and a half each time. He's currently on his second cold since starting a few weeks ago. As far as I've seen so far, he's the only child in his class. He goes to plays and activities over at the elementary school, though, and plays with the kindergarteners. So, there's lots of opportunities to get sick. I'm not complaining. He needs to be around other kids, but I'm still concerned with what he COULD bring home.

When he first starting going to class, he would gladly leave me behind and run to his teacher. I was glad, but it almost hurt my feelings a little bit. :) Now he cries when I leave him, and I've learned it's so much better to have him not care when I leave. No matter what, though, he's always welcomed me back with a big smile and outstretched arms, saying "There's momma!"

It funny that I talked myself into being excited about preschool by telling myself I could get in some exercise while Grasshopper was at school. While it's only a 15 minute(with no traffic) drive to the school, I just figured it would be easier if I stayed in town, instead of coming home. Me and Firefly were going to go to the park and walk and read(and nap for Firefly). It worked great for about a week. Firefly hasn't been sleeping well for the past month or so, though, and it's caught up with me. I'm exhausted! There was one morning that I didn't get to crawl into bed until 5 in the morning. (Thankfully, it's not usually that bad). I'm not a big napper. I suffer from nightmares on a regular basis, and when I take naps, they're worse. I also wake up with panic attacks with naps. I find that most the time they're not worth it for me. Lately, though, I HAVE to take a nap to survive. If I get both boys to take a nap at the same time, I take one, too! (Therefore, I just haven't had a whole lot of time for reading). For preschool to be for such a short amount of time, I'm a bit surprised at how badly our little routine has been thrown off. We're working hard to find a balance in it all, and have added new things to our schedule to simplify. I'll write about some of those changes another day. :)

Well, that was mostly just a whole lot of rambling, but for anyone who was curious, that's a bit of what's new in life around my parts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top Ten Books That Caught My Attention in October

I know this is a day late, but time just got away with me!! This month has flown!

The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell

I love birds!! I'm scared of hummingbirds, only because they're so terribly fast and I'm scared they're going to fly right into my eye. Otherwise, I absolutely adore birds! I desperately want to read this book! :)

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

I don't know how much this one has to do with birds(The Aviary, either, for that matter), but there's those birds on the front. It's my second most wanted book this month, right underneath The Aviary.

Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Birds by Jim Arnosky(really, though, any of them!!)

Have you ever seen a book featured at another blog and suddenly decided it HAD to be a part of your book collection? Hopefully, I'm not the only one! Amy @ Hope is the Word featured the Crinkleroot tree book and with the combination of the title, the picture on the front and her high praise, I suddenly decided that I needed all the Crinkleroot books on my shelf!! I checked out the one Jim Arnosky book that my library had(review soon) and I loved it. I really hope to get these books in the next few years for homeschooling aides!

The Secret Lives of Backyard Bugs: Discover Amazing Butterflies, Moths, Spiders, Dragonflies, and Other Insects! by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards

My Grasshopper has developed a huge fascination with bugs, and we're trying to feed that curiosity. I remembered seeing this book featured by Carrie @ Reading to Know awhile back, so I put it on my wishlist. This might end up as a Christmas gift, because that's only 2 short months away. We always shop for sales early to put back for Christmas, but end up giving the boys their stuff early. So as of right now, we don't have any Christmas shopping done. :)

The 13 Clocks by James Thurber

Another book featured by Carrie. She described it as weird. You know I HAVE to read this one!!

Get Wisdom! by Ruth Younts

This one was featured by Annette @ Live, Learn, Love. I think it looks really cute AND beneficial!

Womanly Dominion: More Than A Gentle and Quiet Spirit by Mark Chanski

Has anybody read this one? What did you think? While it caught my attention, I'm not positive I want to give it my reading time. :P

Anything by Elisabeth Elliot

Anybody have a favorite of hers that you would recommend I start with?

The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! by Carleen Madigan

I strongly believe in the power of reading(obviously). I've always been one to cook and eat processed food entirely too much. I was recently reading a book that opened my eyes on just how unhealthy that habit is. Well, I knew, but not to the extent that I do now. I'm trying really hard to cook better and healthier for my family, so this book really appeals to me!
While we have a decent sized yard(not huge! but more than if we lived in the city), it's "hilly", so there's not a huge amount of gardening space. I'd love to make better use of the space we do have, though! This book seems to feature raising and living off animals, too, but we have no plans whatsoever of raising animals other than our dogs and the cat that decided it wanted to live in our woods. :)

Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich

This is another one along the lines of the previous book. I think this one is a memoir. I've said in the past that I didn't like memoirs, but after loving one that I read recently, I realized that if the subject matter is REALLY something I'm interested in, I enjoy memoirs more than I realized. I'm actually reading one at the moment. While I have mixed feelings about it, I have been reading through it quite quickly and enjoying it.

What books caught your attention this month?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Howl's Moving Castle(The Movie)

DVD Release Date: March 7, 2006
Run Time: 119 minutes
Rated PG (There's an extremely brief scene showing a partial shot of Howl's backside. At the time, he's in a weakened state and being carried to a bathtub).

Description from Amazon:

In Hayao Miyazaki's latest animated masterpiece, journey beyond imagination and enter a "breathtaking fantasy world" (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times) filled with adventure, humor and heart. Sophie, a quiet girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste, jealous of their friendship, puts a spell on Sophie. In a life-changing adventure, Sophie climbs aboard Howl's magnificent flying castle and enters a magical world on a quest to break the spell. Featuring the voice talents of Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Blythe Danner, and Billy Crystal, Miyazaki's artistry comes to life on DVD with inventive characters, unique storytelling and richly detailed animation.

My Review:

I'm NOT an anime fan in the slightest way. I've attempted watching several different anime movies and cartoons. I think way back in my teen years, I liked Pokemon, but that's about all I remember liking as far as anime goes.

I'd heard good things about Howl's Moving Castle
, though, so I watched it. I knew it was based off a book by Dianna Wynne Jones, and this was a book that I really wanted to read. I didn't think I would get to read anytime soon, though, so I settled for the movie.

I LOVED it! It has quickly made it onto my favorites list!! When I watch a movie that I really like, in general I won't read the book, because I know it will ruin the movie experience for me. That isn't a rule, because I do have lots of exceptions. Howl's Moving Castle
is one of those exceptions. I'm actually left so confused at the end that I know I have to read the book. There's just so many details that I feel I've missed out on. And the is so incredibly rushed, I'm somewhat mad. So rushed, that it's almost corny! And yet, I still loved it!! I honestly don't know why I liked it so much, but I did.

Because of this movie, though, I'm actually wanting to give anime a better chance with some other movies. I have a few on my "hope to watch soon" list.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Betsy-Tacy and Tib and Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace

1941, 1942
Source: Library

I'm just amazed while reading these books how different the times were! In all of the books so far, the children get to roam around the neighborhood, and somewhat do what they want. And, it was perfectly normal and acceptable. My childhood and my children's childhoods have been so very different than that. Maybe it's different in some parts, but it's just so dangerous out there these days. Not just because of creeps, but because we're all just in such a hurry, so there's roads everywhere, and therefore speeding cars. I'm sure time AND place have a lot to do with it, though. (I'm not talking about general yard type roaming....) ;)***
I do love my modern conveniences, and I'm thankful to God for putting me in the time and place that I am, but reading books like these always make me see some of the things younger generations are losing. Times were so simple in many ways(but harder in others).

Betsy-Tacy and Tib is by far my favorite of the first three books! There were two stories in this book that really made me laugh! They were just so incredibly cute!

One is when the girls decide to cut each others hair. This story really reminded me of one of my childhood adventures. I didn't have any friends persuading me, though. I saw my momma getting a haircut, and naturally I decided I needed a haircut, too! I have very short hair in my kindergarten picture.

"They went to Betsy's house first. And when Betsy's mother saw them she shrieked. Grownups don't often shriek, but that was what Betsy's mother did.

'Betsy!' she cried. 'Tacy! Tib! Whatever have you done to yourselves!'

'We've cut off out hair,' said Betsy.

'But why? What for?' cried Betsy's mother.

'To remember each other by,' said Betsy."

Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill read as one big story as opposed to the first two books, which seemed more like lots of little short stories. It wasn't as cute as the first two, but I guess that's to be expected. The girls are growing up and their stories are growing with them. I still enjoyed it, though, and I'm still looking forward to seeing how the girls grow up. While I still have the most in common with Tacy, I'm starting to relate more and more to Tib. I like how she seems a bit embarassed by some of the things Betsy and Tacy do. That reminds me of myself when I was younger.

I had to send my library books back, so these were the only three I got to read. I do have one more post in the works, but this will be my last review for now. I definitely plan on finishing the series as soon as I can, though. I'm just too curious how the characters grow up to not. I shouldn't have checked them all out at the same time. My plan was to have them for a month(re-checking them out at 2 weeks), which is what I did. I didn't read them those first two weeks, though. :P

If you'd like to participate in this year's challenge, it's not too late! Just go to the Maud Hart Lovelace Challenge Page and link up at the sign-up post. Make sure you say I sent you, because it gives me an extra entry in this week's giveaway, which I REALLY want to win. ;)

***I came back to put this in. I'm guilty of bad wording so much!! When I was talking about yard roaming, I don't want to take away from the importance of simply that. It's more than my kids will get for a long time with where I live! I had edited out a chunk of my post up there, so I realized with what I did post, it looked like I was saying that yard roaming was nothing. Not what I meant! ;)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Armchair Cybils Challenge @ Hope Is The Word

I decided to join in the fun @ Hope is the Word by participating in the Armchair Cybils Challenge.

These are nominated books that I've already read. Sorry. I don't have them divided by category.

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham

The Princess Curse by Merrie Caskell

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Fifo 50 States by Hayley Rose

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater-I read this one, but didn't like it at all, so no review for it!

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Under a Fairy Moon by T.M. Wallace

There were some I liked, some I LOVED, and some I didn't like at all.

These are the nominated books that are already sitting on my shelf or have already been accepted for review, so they are the ones I plan on definitely reading for the challenge. (linked to Amazon)

The False Princess
by Eilis O'Neal

Dancing on the Inside
by Glen Strathy

Kat, Incorrigible
by Stephanie Burgis

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic
by Jennifer Trafton

My Rhinoceros
by Jon Agee

These are just a few of the nominated books that I would love to read by the end of the challenge, but it all depends on which ones I'm able to get my hands on. You'll probably recognize most of these from my "Top 10 Books That Caught My Attention This Month" posts. :) I do NOT plan on reading all of these, though.

I'll Be There
by Holly Goldberg Sloan

The Mockingbirds
by Daisy Whitney

Sass & Serendipity
by Jennifer Ziegler

Small Town Sinners
by Melissa Walker

Inside Out and Back Again
by Thanhha Lai

Too Shy for Show-and-Tell (Little Boost)
by Beth Bracken

13 Curses
by Michelle Harrison

A Tale Dark and Grimm
by Adam Gidwitz

Liesl & Po
by Lauren Oliver

The Apothecary
by Maile Meloy

The Aviary
by Kathleen O'Dell

The Midnight Zoo
by Sonya Hartnett