Book review Wordsmithy

When I was asked by Timberdoodle to do a review for  “ WORDSMITHY” I did not expect the little jewel I would indeed, receive.

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I had no idea what this book would really contain and honestly,  I expected a dry, boring manual on how to write books and was unsure how this would help us in our homeschool journey at all.  Since the author also has a religious background I was also wondering what role it would play in his suggestions.  After reading it, I am happy to share that this book is everything but boring and I recommend it for all parts of life and  for all types of people, young and old, secular or religious. In fact I believe we all can walk away with some great advise from this book.  So yeah, I was quite surprised to find myself reading through all the chapters from front to back in one evening !

The book starts with 7 strong tips on what you can do, how to live your life if you truly aspire to become a real writer. In each chapter afterwards the author Douglas Wilson, goes into details on how to accomplish those ideas. The tips he mentions are however very hands-on and true to life. In fact many of these I did not expect to find in this little book at all. The whole book is written in a beautiful, easy to understand and often even funny way. I could see that even teenagers or even well advanced ” tweens ” could already read this book and take away some wonderful advise… not only about writing but also about life in general…

 

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Suggestions like  ” get to know something about the world “, ” get out there, meet people, view sunsets, smell and see different parts of the world and collect real life experiences “, were in fact big reminders why we even homeschool and I loved finding it in this book.

While this book indeed does mention a lot of hands-on learning it also reminds us on the importance of books. And not only books that we read for pleasure but on occasion also books that inspire us to be better and greater writers. In fact all kinds and sorts of books. From dictionaries to biographies, novels to children and picture books and poems and writers manuals just like this one. Read from A-Z and then start over once more. Read it all !  And then, write things that stick out to you DOWN ! Keep a journal for all kinds of writing prompts and ideas.

Learn to quote people and use their wonderful words in your day-to-day talk and then writings and look up all the great recommendations of other books that Wilson points to at the end of each chapter.

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I loved reading the take-aways at the end of each chapter and my own personally take away from this book is, that this book truly deserves to be in every homeschool household. If you do not think your kids are ready to read it on their own their own quite yet, just start reading it for yourself and be an early facilitator and show your children ways on how they can improve their writing !

Timberdoodle has always surprised me in the last few years of the creative choices and options that they have put into their curriculum boxes. Go check it out !

 

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Mother Tongue Book Review

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Mother Tongue: My Family’s Globe-Trotting Quest to Dream in Mandarin, Laugh in Arabic, and Sing in Spanish

One woman’s quest to learn Mandarin in Beijing, Arabic in Beirut, and Spanish in Mexico, with her young family along for the ride.
 
Imagine negotiating for a replacement carburetor in rural Mexico with words you’re secretly pulling from a pocket dictionary. Imagine your two-year-old asking for more niunai at dinner—a Mandarin word for milk that even you don’t know yet. Imagine finding out that you’re unexpectedly pregnant while living in war-torn Beirut. With vivid and evocative language, Christine Gilbert takes us along with her into foreign lands, showing us what it’s like to make a life in an unfamiliar world—and in an unfamiliar tongue.

Gilbert was a young mother when she boldly uprooted her family to move around the world, studying Mandarin in China, Arabic in Lebanon, and Spanish in Mexico, with her toddler son and all-American husband along for the ride. Their story takes us from Beijing to Beirut, from Cyprus to Chiang Mai—and also explores recent breakthroughs in bilingual brain mapping and the controversial debates happening in linguistics right now.

Gilbert’s adventures abroad prove just how much language influences culture (and vice versa), and lead her to results she never expected. Mother Tongueis a fascinating and uplifting story about taking big risks for bigger rewards and trying to find meaning and happiness through tireless pursuit—no matter what hurdles may arise. It’s a treat for language enthusiasts and armchair travelers alike.

 

Mother Tongue was a wonderful fit for me. As a bilingual parent that tries hard to teach her children (and her husband) a second language, this book was very interesting for me. I always wonder about the possibilities that life can really offer us, especially when we dare to do something a little different. Gilbert did exactly that. She had a crazy idea, a supporting husband and tried something different. She wanted to try to learn 3 major world languages in a a crazy small amount of time, by trying to live in different places of the world. Some of her ideas were really great, others seemed to possibly lack a bit more research and could have been so much easier for her and her family . But she did not go the easy way and I admired that in many parts of her story.

The book is written in a fun and engaging style that toggles between memoirs and a little research here and there. I was  hooked pretty much right from the start. It hit a good subject, and it was hard for me to put the book down. Even though I have read so many books about this subject before it was a pleasure reading about her adventures with her family and her ideas on how you could immerse yourself into new cultures really quick. I thought it was great to see her progress on her journey through countries and also to see the differences in learning different languages, each one has it’s own challenge for sure.

The book was a fun, quick read for me. It left me once again with more desire to travel, with more desire to bring our world and cultures together and especially to teach my kids more about our world we live in. A subject I can not “preach” enough these days.. it seems more important than ever…

 

* I recieved this book through a goodreads giveaway.

Coloring books, forming new habits as a family

colobookhomsdColoring books are the latest trend, and can’t deny that I love them too. They are addicting and just so fun. Finally we adults are allowed to color again,lol. 🙂 I must admit I never cared much about what others think, I always loved coloring and especially loved the early scribbling time with my kids. A time when they were just so amazed at how you colored or drew something and they just scribbled away not caring at all how it came out. It seems the older they get, the harder it gets. But I have always tried to tell them that there is no right or wrong with art especially.  Unfortunately my daughter struggled with this, ever since she visited public school.

What amazed me the most was that my husband even wanted to join us. I would have never thought that he would enjoy it as much. But as soon as I got my first coloring book and he saw it, he wanted his own, he said it would be fun to color together and talk and it would help him to relax. So we ordered more pens and pencils and he picked his own book.

With all our new plans for new habits and better living we agreed to Friday family nights. The kids voted for board games and movie nights with popcorn, but I think we will also switch it up with friday night coloring parties 🙂

This is my favorite coloring book right now. I love the Forest, it is my place to be. Forest animals and everything else that comes along with this subject. So this one is perfect for me.

This is the one my husband picked, pirate ships and treasures.. ahoy.. !

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Our kiddo’s have so many coloring books, that I have had to go through many times to get rid of some. You know the ones from toddler times, Sesame street, Elmo and co. It’s hard to let go but they have clearly moved on. They still enjoy the fashion design books a lot though, those are still high on their list.

My little one is obsessed with Africa, I know she would love this one so much.

This morning I saw that a new Harry Potter one was just released. I was so upset that some of these were not released before Christmas, lol.

There are so many cool ones out there, which makes it incredibly hard to pick. These are definitely on my list. I think no matter what you like you can find a suitable coloring book. If it’s Dr.Who, Harry Potter or Games of thrones…  I know just sitting together, listening to music and coloring away will be a great time to relax and maybe a good time to bring up certain things in conversation.

Yes, I am a fan of her books and have read a few. Coloring these while watching the show or listening to the audio book would be fun 😉

These are just so pretty !

 

Anyways, it is hard forming new habits, for yourself or the whole family. It will take a while to get into new routines, and honestly I am struggling with a lot of it. Every time I feel like I am getting on track something is out to get me and throw me off. A few weeks ago our oven broke and now this week everyone has been sick.  But that is life, I guess. And pretty much the reason why I want to form better habits. Something to fall back to, when life gets crazy 🙂

Working on new habits

Hello February. Once again you have arrived faster than I thought. Your buddy January was a fast moving month for sure. For the new year I did make my personal resolutions this year and I also choose a word.

GROW

It seemed to be a good, fitting word for so many paths in my life right now. So many fields I want myself and us to grow in. Even my husband agreed it would be a good fit for the whole family.

Most of all I want to grow more happiness in our home. I want us to grow more together, working together, living together. I want to connect more.
I want to extend and exceed and grow our horizon while we explore the North West, our new home.
I want to grow this house into our new home.
I want to grow my horizon by reading more, started working on my own reading log  and promised myself to read at least 50 books.
I want to grow friends in our new place, for myself and our family.
I want to grow my cooking skills.
I want to grow my blog.
I want to grow healthier habits in our family life.
And I might just want to grow another baby.
I want to grow into being more me, again.

The list is long, but it seems right. Taking the time and actually thinking of how I could accomplish some of these goals was important. What can I do to make some of these things happen ? Some are of course more obvious than others, like the very last one, lol, but there is a lot of thought behind all of these as well. A lot of thinking processes involved and time to grow into some of these ideas and they are not easily done in a minute. Let’s face it, starting new habits is hard.

Gretchen Rubins latest book Better Than Before has helped a lot to learn about my habits this last month. I am still not done with the book, even though it is a quick read I am still struggling making time for my habit of reading. I want to make time for it so badly and yet it is so hard.
Nevertheless a start is a start. And the first steps are done, and it feels great.

Growing a happier me, is not something done in a day. I guess a lot of us try to work on this subject daily, maybe for years,and  it might never fell “finished”.
Finding out what makes you happy is a good start, though.

I have noticed that scheduling and planning is a key in making my life easier and with that happier. I bought the Planner .

And it turned out to a be great tool to make my resolutions happen.

Every Sunday now I sit down and make my plan for the next week for our homeschool activities, play dates, apointments and so on. I also make our meal plan, grocery list, library list.
The journal has room for daily, weekly and monthly goals. Just writing these down and being reminded daily has helped me work on them.

I also took a few steps in building new friends, which required me to jump out of my bubble more than I really like, but it turns out it makes me incredibly happy when I make these jumps. I opened a new homeschool group in our area, started talking to different organisations in town for meeting places, and committed to our new Lego group by purchasing a HUGE amount of Legos.

I also worked a lot on the blog this month, which was rewarded with great feedback and a lot of new subscribers.

My meal planning also turned out to be a huge help, even though big stones were pushed into my way. First this month our water heater broke and then the day after our oven.
Trust me, you don’t know how much you rely on an oven until you don’t have one.
I had to scrap half of my list. And I instantly felt stressed again, trying to figure out once more, what to cook. It turns out most times, I really enjoy cooking. It makes me happy providing good food for my family and it even is exciting to try out new recipes. It’s just the daily recurring fact on what to cook that drives me crazy.
Our oven repair has turned out to be a huge ordeal, dealing with the insurance company and local electrician. Very frustrating especially when your husband could fix it himself but you rely on their time, money and agenda. But this is a different story and I really just wanted to emphasize on how much this meal planning has really helped.

How have your new years resolutions gone so far ? Are you sticking to any of them  ? Is it hard for you to make the changes  ?

I still find it hard to stick to many of them, but I can see that some of my ideas are working and that all by itself is inspiring to keep going.