Jul 30, 2014


Do you think we saw and drew a Cephalanthus Occidentalis? I think so! This was at our second nature walk.

 After that, we went for new nature journals we tweaked to our taste.

 Three findings:

Of course we did not pay the linked prices, these type of books are very expensive online, but sometimes we are lucky to find them in used book stores or book sales.

The explorers book is great for maps, and short biographies of those explorers we do not study in more detail. A great coffee table book, and eye candy. (Though I have to say the text is well written too).

The Story of the Dress is very interesting, and it helps us see different countries and regions attire through the ages. Another great coffee table reference book.

And the last finding, that encyclopedia of the symbolism of plants and flowers in art, is fascinating. Almost every flower and fruit depicted in classic paintings, means something. Others knew, we, not so much anymore. And, guess what?, I believe this is the same book in English, by the same author.

Jul 28, 2014

Speculation is FREE for 5 days!

The book Speculation that I so much enjoyed this past December, is free for a few days. And its author will release his second book later this summer.

His next book is called, Other Copenhagens (And Other Stories).

Jul 26, 2014

Can This Be It?

I am constantly changing the blog design. I do not seem to find that which I am looking for. I have liked and enjoyed all the different templates that I have tweaked, but lately I wanted simplicity in the layout, easy to read font, not lots of buttons, gadgets or widgets, information on the sides or bottom... I wanted the blog to convey my personality.

I believe this template will stay long. It is versatile enough to allow me to change the banner, but my posts are presented in a full page display, as much as in a book as it is possible in the screen, and I do love the size of the pictures. The bit of gray in the background is enough contrast to highlight my photos.

This one is not mine, my father took it with his cell phone five years ago. It is the castle of Pedraza, in Segovia, Spain, a charming medieval town. This year, Lord willing, we should visit it again.

And that's all for today... not really, there is more, but I don't have time now to share. I will soon, :)

Jul 25, 2014

Goodbye July!

July is almost gone.



"Mouse Potatoes". Delicious. Done by the girlies one of this past week's afternoon from a favorite cook book for children my oldest loves.

Both girls spend these summer days swimming, playing, cooking, and reading. My 7 year old likes Geronimo Stilton. That, in Charlotte Mason's jargon, is called twaddle. I am fine with it, though. Why? Because this is a girl who reads from the Bible and other living books during his lessons and other times of the day.

My 9 year old, is a reader that needs some love and care. She is almost finished reading Matilda, by Dahl, but she decided to check out The Hobbit from the library (our copy has very small print), and she is read 20 pages and stopped there... I have decided she needs some gentle help, and I have always wanted to read this book too, so I have read the first chapter to keep her company and discuss it with her.

I surely would love that they both finish those free reads, but at the same time, part of reading is looking for that good match, exploring some titles, and, eventually, finishing some, true! As a grown up, I open and browse many books, and some I do not finish. There are some books I seem to be always reading... but I read and finish lots of other titles too, so...

In any case, there has been a very fortunate thread to help us all, readers of multiple books, focus a bit on a few titles and finish them. It is good discipline.


One book finished, from those three (ahem, four), I committed to finish at the thread so cleverly started by Mary Frances, entitled, ta dah!, Finishing Books, lol.

My four titles were:

Poet's Choice, edited by Paul Engle
Right Ho, Jeeves, by P.G. Woodhouse
The King's General, by Daphne du Maurier.

and I finished

The Magic Barrel, by Bernard Malamud
I liked most of the stories. My favorite is the last one, that gives title to the book. All of them have sad endings. Its characters are people in New York, or expats in Italy, the tone is surely depressive, but hey, some beautiful literature is like this. His characters are interesting, some despicable, some lovable, some... I am also enriched by reading it. His people and stories are certainly part of America, and not only, part of humanity.

Charlotte Mason in one of her articles on Mother Culture wrote this,

The wisest woman I ever knew--the best wife, the best mother, the best mistress, the best friend--told me once, when I asked her how, with her weak health and many calls upon her time, she managed to read so much, "I always keep three books going--a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel, and I always take up the one I feel fit for!"

I will surely take it into consideration when picking my next titles.

Jul 22, 2014

So Many Blessings

A few families in my area, who follow Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Online, are doing nature study together every Monday. Yesterday it was our first day, and such a great day it was. We are very excited about having regular walks in the same place.

It is truly a blessing to enjoy the company of like-minded friends, and to help each other be accountable. We are also (or at least one mom and I are), reading the weekly few pages of the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. These past two weeks we read about clover.

I also had the visit of lovely Kelly and her oldest daughter, who had just been at the CIRCE conference, held in Houston this year. Time passed very fast. It was such a wonderful visit. Maybe one day we can correspond. We surely will love that. She left, not before I jotted down some titles of interest.

When my list of books I want to read is growing immense and wonderfully insane, Mary Frances so timely started a group to help each other finish our books.

Some months ago we talked about titles and books, many of us picked recommendations from others, etc., and we set off to read on our own. Our book club is on pause until September, so we were reading solo, and when we read books as hefty as some of our titles, a group to keep accountable is invaluable.

This is Hopper, the grasshopper and pet of one of the families.

For the books...

The three I have committed to finish are:

Right Ho, Jeeves, by P.G. Woodhouse

The Magic Barrel, by Bernard Malamud (This is a short stories book)

The King's General, by Daphne du Maurier. I love it, but I keep reading other books in between, and never get inside it.

And what did I read in between?

Kristin Lavransdatter, The Wreath.
I am still deciding what to think about it, and when to read the other two of the trilogy.

What do I think of it? Excellent book. Living science. A book suitable for adults or high school students. This is such an example of a book in which the author, though with opposing views and theories to some of us, readers (he subscribes to evolution), writes with humility and humor, and exposes the difficulty of scientific theories to explain some observations.

The book mentioned Plutarch, Fabre, Linnaeus, Thoreau, The Life of Samuel Johnson, Jules Verne, Longfellow, the Fantastic Voyage film...

As the title indicates, it is the biography of a germ. The germ being Bb, short for Borrelia Burgdorferi, the germ that causes, among other diseases, Lyme disease.

Jul 14, 2014

Mid July

Already mid July!

Monday: Nature Study (or pick something from our patio or surroundings, and draw away!)

This was after our 2 hours of pool time. Before, we managed to read poetry, and Bambi. We are listening to Heidi. We read 3/4ths of the book two years ago, but it could not be finished, so this year, we are enjoying it with Miss. AOy2 girl!

One sample cupcake of the dozen they baked last Saturday.

This is what I drew. I still need to add the names. Apart from the Indian Paintbrushes, do you recognize that purple flower or weed?

Someone had asked me before. I use color pencils, some markers, some watercolors as you see in the first picture.

A second try of this trilogy many of my friends rave about, the Kristin Lavransdatter (Lavran is Kristin's father, and datter means daughter in Norwegian). I am on the sixth chapter... and hooked! So far, it is growing on me. Thanks to my Ambleside Online Forum friends for sharing how much they like it.

Warning. Do not read blurbs, reviews, back covers ... lol. Sometimes they mislead you or put you off.

Australian author, Australian animals and characters, and sheer cuteness, and smartness, and such a well written and top notch illustrated stories. It is Snugglepot and Cuddlepie., my 7yo favorite, recommended by the one and only, Jeanne.

First pages of Bambi, and it has the three of us mesmerized. Not so good... familiarity with the story. They have doubts about it because they know his mom will die. But I told them there are good moments in the book that will make it worth reading. Wanted or not, they want to keep listening.

Thimbleberry Stories was a book we saw at Amy's blog. We had to get it, and I am glad we did.

This is a paper doll house in a manila pocket folder with Ikea catalog paper clippings. They are working on another one, and the dolls which they will place inside.

I am very excited. On Saturday, we are expecting Kelly and her daughter to come over for dinner. They are currently at CIRCE. I have known Kelly for years and never met her. It is going to be wonderful. And I will get to hear something about the conference.