Book Review—The Vintage Wren

thevintagewren

About the Book

Book Title: the Vintage Wren Volume 1
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian / Fiction / General / Romance
Release date: May 25, 2016 (still in progress)

The Vintage Wren is a serial novel released in episodes on Amazon. However, subscribers can get FREE weekly installments (a chapter in length) delivered right to your inbox every Wednesday(ish—life delays it now and then). To sign up for weekly installments, click HERE.  

My Thoughts:

I have been reading The Vintage Wren ever since the first episode was released. At this point, I’m looking forward to each chapter as it lands in my inbox each week, so I can find out what Cassie is up to now. We’ve made it to the beginning of April by this time! The January volume sets the stage for Cassie’s journey, as she begins to discover how much she has considered to be disposable. She also begins a relationship with a new boyfriend, while Joel, who has been her friend for many years already, continues to be a friend while wishing he could be more. And, as in almost all of Chautona’s books, there are gems of truth to make you think about your own life. One of my favorites in this book was, “It wasn’t the first time in recent weeks she’d arranged her decisions to play fast and loose with the truth.” That’s a challenge—to make sure I always live honestly!

I highly recommend this series if you want something different. If you sign up for Chautona’s newsletters using the link above, you’ll get a new chapter from the series every week! And, I believe that the January volume will be free for a few days soon, so click the link to purchase the book at the bottom of this page. If it isn’t free, check again Friday or Saturday, download it to your Kindle and see if you like this kind of story.

The Author’s Synopsis:

The Vintage Wren is a serial novel released in several chapter episodes. Volume One contains the first four and a half episodes in one full-length novel.

Cassie Wren. Legal assistant. Convenience queen. Thrifter extraordinaire. If there was a “green police” she’d be a fugitive from eco-friendly justice.

But when a friend’s teasing feels like a challenge, Cassie accepts it. The result? One year. Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. Three hundred sixty-five days–of green.

It seemed simple enough. Cut back on paper plates, plastic forks, and straws. Easy peasy. But when her competitive side wars against her desire for convenience, Cassie finds it’s not so easy to be “eco-friendly” and “Cassie-friendly.”

January Shopping for Cassie’s annual New Year’s Eve party sparks an innocent comment that Cassie can’t forget. So, during their New Year’s Day goal planning session, Cassie’s friends tease her about her lack of eco-consciousness, and Cassie determines to change one new thing in favor of the planet every week. For a year. Even if it kills her.

She’s confident it will.

Cassie’s first month includes eradicating the extraneous paper, glass, plastic, and metal from her life. However, she finds that it’s not quite as easy as she thought. Paper and plastic cover everything manufactured or packaged–even water, produce, and restaurant food! Glass is great, but you can only have so many “reusable jars,” and metal reduction means her hair may end up a nightmare of uncontrollable frizzies!

She doesn’t even want to talk about her water reduction plans.

But it’s not all been bad. She’s saved a lot of money, has prospects for a new business, her impromptu blog is gaining traffic, and she even has a new boyfriend. Add to that, a few great friends who keep her going when things get rough, and the realization that there are only eleven months to go, and Cassie just might make it.

Now only if her car would cooperate and make it, too!

About the Author:

The author of dozens of books in a variety of genres, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to nudge her readers to the feet of the Master Storyteller.

Guest Post From Chautona Havig:

How Writing about Cassie’s Eco-Challenge Has Changed My Way of Living

I didn’t think it through—not really. I mean, how hard could it be? All I had to do is give Cassie my own reactions to things like giving up straws and having to use tote bags at the grocery store. I just needed 52 simple things she could change in her life—one new one for each episode.

Piece of cake.

I should have known better. I don’t do things halfway when I get into them. Yes, I’ve discovered that Cassie is more like me in some ways than I ever imagined. And as I’ve researched things for her to freak out about, I’ve done a bit of freaking out myself. Certain questions and thoughts won’t go away.

For instance, in 2017 1.26 BILLION dollars were spent on plush toys. Just plush toys. Stuffed animals. And I don’t know how many weren’t purchased. Those are just the ones that were. That’s… a LOT of stuffed toys. If each toy cost 20 dollars (and we all know most are half that or less these days), that’s 63 million of those toys purchased and brought home.

In one year.

Shampoo, conditioner, and laundry soap bottles. Not sure why this one bothers me as much as it does. I think, actually, it’s the huge amount of water as much as it is all the plastic.

Look, we no longer have eight females in our house. But we do still have four there at all times—five on breaks. That’s a lot of shampoo bottles every year. A big portion of both laundry soap, shampoo, and conditioner is… water. We pay for a big bottle (lots of plastic and water) and to ship that to us—either because we had to have it shipped to a store for us to buy it or we had to have it shipped to our house.

I am paying extra for water that I could add myself at a fraction of the cost.

And the things go on and on. The lake that almost disappeared in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan because of how much water it takes to grow and process cotton.

See, the thing is, I’m not a green nut.

I don’t think it’s as easy to “destroy the planet” as we like to say. I do think, much like we do with our bodies and such, that we can reduce the quality of the world around us, however.

And while I’ll never jump on Cassie’s bandwagon—certainly not for life, I have made a few changes in how I do things. And as time goes on, I find myself making even more.

Like what, you ask?

I’ll tell you.

Here are three small ways I’ve changed how we do things in our house.
  1. I started buying Dropps. They’re an automatically-shipped laundry pod. Each one is tiny—just a little smaller than the average “pod” and a whole lot cheaper. Also, there are no extra dyes or other things that are supposed to be bad for you and the planet.

I don’t really care about that. I just care that they work. And they do. And they’re cheaper than my Tide.

  1. I got a shampoo bar for my birthday. I thought it would be like washing with regular soap—especially after I started rinsing my hair! It freaked me out. One idea down the drain… I thought.

But no, after the second or third use, it still felt weird while wet, but it dried beautifully, and I didn’t need to use additional conditioner. It’s in the bar or something. I even tried the old way again to compare after-shower tangles. Identical.

  1. Dryer balls. Those felted wool balls really do work! A wonderful reader of mine sent me some, and it made my day! My youngest daughter and I are now trying to work with felted sweaters to try to turn them into dryer balls—or maybe even into sheets! (although, I think the balls bouncing around also kind of pound the clothes into submission or something. “Sheets” might not work, but I’m tempted to try it!

Look, you’ll never find me standing in front of a case in a mini-mart, freaking out because I want a Coke and can’t justify it. That’s not going to happen. But if I can choose a reasonable alternative to what I already do, well… it’s time to consider that.

There you have it. Three ways my life has changed since writing Cassie’s crazy story.

Click here to purchase your copy.

To visit more of the blog stops on this tour, click here.

To enter a fun giveaway, click here.

Advertisements
Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

Waiuta

Last Sunday, because several people had colds, we didn’t go anywhere for church. Instead, we had a meeting at home (minus Gayle, because he’s in America spending a little time with his mother), and then packed a picnic lunch and headed off on an adventure that turned into a field trip! You know, that’s a disadvantage of being homeschooled. You never get a day off. Or, maybe it’s an advantage—depends on your perspective!

We decided to go explore Waiuta, where there use to be a gold mine. Gold-bearing quartz was discovered on this site in 1905, and at the peak there were 500 people living in the village that grew up around the Blackwater Shaft. In 1951, however, the shaft collapsed, according to a sign at the historical site, and within three months only 20 people were left. A  year later, practically all the houses were gone, dismantled to be rebuilt elsewhere.  We found it quite fascinating to wander around, studying the various posters that have been put up around the area, and the ruins that are left, trying to imagine the place in its heyday.

This is the road that goes out to Waiuta. First, you travel through open farmland in a valley.

09-IMG_4928

You pass the old Blackwater School, in use from 1913 to 1949, according to the sign above the door.

10-IMG_4930

Then,  you drive through thick bush for awhile. A lot of places, it was thicker than this photo shows, with the trees meeting overhead.

11-IMG_4931

We wondered if this trough was for watering horses back in the day?

12-IMG_4934

At last, you come out in the open, and you have reached Waiuta. The building here was the carpenter’s shop for the mine; the smokestack had something to do with running the mine. Possibly steam power for raising and lowering men and rocks from the shaft, which was just to the right of this picture?

13-IMG_4935

There are a lot of non-native plants around, left to go wild from the gardens the miners and their families had. This flowering currant was loaded with blossoms and humming with bees. Simon wants to go back in December and see if there is any fruit on it!

14-IMG_4936

We followed this trail to the old swimming pool.

15-IMG_4937

The swimming pool was about 36 meters long, according to my boys who stepped it off. The other end was quite deep.

16-IMG_4940

Back to the mine site. This machine was used to crush the quartz so the gold could be extracted.

17-IMG_4942

Part of the foundations of the building.

18-IMG_4943

The old mine shaft.

19-IMG_4944

Inside the chimney. Simon noticed that the bricks are stamped Brunner. One of our next field trips will be to the Brunner Mine site, between us and Greymouth. They also had brick kilns there, besides the coal mine.

20-IMG_4945

I think this was the boiler room.

21-IMG_4946

These bushes were in bloom. I don’t know what they were, but the scent was amazing!

22-IMG_4947

Walking back up to the mine from the area where many of the miner’s houses were. The piles of rocks are tailings from the mine. The area on top has been smoothed and planted in grass. We ate lunch at the edge of the bowling green. It is amazingly flat, with very lush grass.

23-IMG_4948

I took this picture to help us find our way around.

24-IMG_4949

After we had explored the main area, we drove up the mountain to the Prohibition Mine. This was connected with the mine in the first area we explored, deep underground. From up here, it was 879.5 meters, or about half a mile, to the lowest level of the mine. The sign said that was below sea level! Men were lowered in a cage, and the quartz was brought back up the same way. It took four minutes to raise or lower the men, but the quartz was moved in half that time.

25-IMG_4950

This was the mine office. Someone has cut a hole in the door of the strong room, and my little ones crawled in.

26-IMG_4951

The view across the Grey Valley from the Prohibition Mine was incredible!

27-IMG_4953

This is what is left of the building in which they extracted the gold. It was built between 1937-39, and I presume it was only in operation until 1951, when the mine closed.

28-IMG_495429-IMG_495530-IMG_495631-IMG_4957

This turned out to be a great way to spend an afternoon when we couldn’t be with other people! It was a beautiful day, and a very interesting site. And, I didn’t know she was doing it, but Esther published a post today about this trip, as well. You can see her pictures here.

And, if you are interested in free Kindle books, check out Everard. It’s free for a few days here.

Posted in Activities at Home | 2 Comments

Product Review—Brinkman Adventures Season 6

We have been listening to the Brinkman Adventures audio dramas ever since the first season was released. We’ve enjoyed some episodes more than others, of course; some have been absolutely great, and others were not quite so interesting but still good. When we saw that Season 6: Underground Rising was available for review, all of us hoped we could get it, and we started listening to it right away. Underground Rising Season 6 Brinkman Adventures

The first two episodes are about the Dutch Underground during World War II. The stories were quite interesting, and the fact that they are true stories from the producer’s grandparents makes them especially interesting. The 3rd episode, Twice Born Fly, was a fun story about when the father of the family found himself in prison in quite bizarre circumstances. I was expecting the punch line that came, but it was still a really fun story, with a great message. The 5th and 6th episodes, about the Free Burma Rangers, were very exciting. We were nearly on the edge of our seats at times during these stories. Probably our favorite episode, however, was the 4th one, I Wonder Why? This tells the story of a family who moved to India to run an orphanage and experienced some amazing miracles—as well as some very difficult times. I think we appreciated it so much because we could relate to some parts of the story. The children of the family went through culture shock, and had many struggles learning to love those around them, as well as learning to adjust to a completely different way of life. The way they changed through the story was really special.

In the episodes about the Dutch Underground, there were stories we quite appreciated, as well as aspects that bothered us somewhat. My favorite part of that story was the scene where the Nazis burst in on a meeting of the Underground. It was New Year’s, so one of the women had made oliebollen, or  oil balls, and those treats saved the day. We have a friend who came from Holland, and she makes oil balls every year; we get treated with them when we join her family on New Year’s Eve. That part of the episode was more meaningful to us because of our friend. We also appreciated the attitude of the Underground workers that they wanted to help deliver those who were being taken to death. It meant putting their own lives in danger, but they were willing to do that for the sake of others.

On the other hand, the attitude expressed by one young man that, “Life on the sidelines is very boring,” rather bothered me. When he left the sidelines and joined in the fight, he started doing things that go against the teachings of Jesus. I know many Christians believe that war is different, but we take the Sermon on the Mount literally, and don’t believe it is right to use violence at any time. There was also the issue of stealing ration cards—is it right to steal, even in wartime? I know this was a very difficult time, and I’m not sure what I would do if I were there—this makes a good topic for discussion! Another problem we had with these episodes was the very thick Dutch accent one of the narrators has. It was authentic, and I enjoy the producer’s quest for authenticity, but we quickly lost the younger half of the family as we listened to this story, and they didn’t want to hear any more episodes, sadly, although I believe everyone ended up listening to Twice Born Fly.

The two episodes about the Free Burma Rangers were fascinating, and very exciting. I didn’t know anything about them before, but what we learned, from the audio drama and from the Real Stories page on the Brinkman Adventures website, is amazing. The dedication these men have to help people who are being attacked is wonderful. On the other hand, as I mentioned above, are Jesus’ commands to not kill suspended in war time? I did appreciate what one person stated in Episode 6, that Jesus said we are to love our enemies.

We really enjoyed the Real Stories page. All the children crowded around to see as I looked at the pictures and read the stories on that page. It really adds to the audio version to have this page available and be able to see photographs of the people and events that are featured. At the end of the section for each episode there are a couple of paragraphs to help apply the lessons to our lives. We ended up skipping through those the evening we looked at the page, because it was bedtime and we just wanted to see the pictures—maybe sometime we’ll go back through and get more out of the stories and discussion suggestions.

IMG_4970

If you are a family, like us, who enjoy listening to stories, check out the Brinkman Adventures. As I said, we have really enjoyed most of their productions. The first season was definitely our favorite, but some of the other seasons have been very good, as well. And, if you are interested in trying them out, they are offering a coupon right now. The code is FALL10 and is good for 10% off all their products. It is live from October 10-31, so go to their website and try out some great audio dramas for your family!

A total of 70 people are reviewing this digital product, so please click on the banner below to read other people’s perspectives!

Brinkman Adventures Season 6 Reviews Crew Disclaimer

Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment

September 2018 Photos

We watched a video one day of a man collecting dead leaves, twigs, flowers, and other things and building insects out of them, so Mr. Imagination decided to try his hand at it. This was his creation. He sure has an artistic bent!

01-IMG_1191

The cats continue to amuse us. This box with old newspapers in it was Princess’s favorite bed for awhile, so her offspring decided it was THE PLACE to be, as well. One day, we found Grizzly and Goofball sleeping in it like this, cuddled together; apparently, Goofball had been asleep there and Grizzly decided she wanted it, too.

02-IMG_1445

A few days later, we found this pose. It must have been too much work to find a way to get her whole body in!

11-IMG_4892

Mr. Imagination, with some help from his brothers (maybe more than “some”!) built this boat. It works well, although Mr. Diligence was able to sink it by putting too much weight in, much to his satisfaction.

03-IMG_4881

A friend sent Little Miss a card, just because. The card had a hole cut out of the front, so Little Miss made Goofball look through it.

04-IMG_4882

The latest design for a boat—cut up barrels and weld them together for a double-hulled canoe. It’s still waiting for more time to finish it, though.

05-IMG_4883

Poppy, a week or so before she calved.

06-IMG_4884

I was walking home from checking on Poppy before she calved, on the road that goes east from our town, looking at the mountains to the west of us. It was so pretty, with range after range going off into the distance. Since I was looking into the sun, the picture turned out dark, but in real life it was quite light.

07-IMG_4885

Little Miss loves books. If you say something to her, though, about reading them, she’s quick to respond that she can’t read.

08-IMG_4886

Our new baby! This is Pansy, a purebred Jersey heifer. She’s full of personality, and very smart. Also, very stubborn. So cute and full of life, though!09-IMG_488710-IMG_4890

We visited some friends in Canterbury last weekend, and the boys set an eel trap. They didn’t catch anything, though.

12-IMG_4907

 

Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment

Skits for Grandma

A year ago, when we were in America, we helped celebrate my mom’s birthday. One of the things our children did was to perform four skits for the family. Their acting was not very polished, and at first they were pretty nervous, but some of the skits turned out fairly well. I had almost forgotten them, and then someone ran across the video we took of them on a memory card. So, I decided to share them here in case anyone is interested.

The first one is based on a story my dad used to tell. I told this story on my blog a few years ago, here.

The second is based on what one of the children thought he heard once, a number of  years ago.

The third happened about a year and a half ago–and I still laugh to the point of tears when I watch this video.

And the last one needs a bit of explanation! My dad had a phobia of dentists, especially of getting a shot. He would say the needle they used was so big it took three nurses to carry it in.

 

Posted in Away From Home | Tagged , | Leave a comment

August 2018 Photos

A friend invited our boys to go fishing with him one Saturday, so Gayle went with all the children to Greymouth. The friend had this kontiki, which takes a longline out a kilometer or two from shore, and has a section with a number of hooks on it. They ended up catching one kowai and a shark that got tangled in the line as they were reeling it in.

06-IMG_2225

When they opened up the shark, they found a number of babies inside! They put the babies in the water, and they swam away.

07-IMG_2229

One evening I noticed the most beautiful sunset over the mountains to the west! The colors were much more vivid than my camera was able to capture.

14-IMG_482815-IMG_482916-IMG_4830

We took another trip to Pancake Rocks with some more friends who came to visit. This time, it was cloudy and misty, but there was a lot of water coming up out of the blowholes!

18-IMG_481419-IMG_481520-IMG_481721-IMG_4821

Simon had a week off work, so he spent some time on his canoe. Here are the first two strips in place!

23-IMG_4825

The boys spent one afternoon digging up weed plants from the paddocks across the road. I was amused to see Mr. Intellectual and Mr. Imagination coming home this way!

24-IMG_4827

Little Miss loves to listen to her grandma read to her. Grandma recorded herself reading a number of picture books, and Little Miss frequently wants to listen to the whole stack of books.36-IMG_4850

Mr. Imagination likes to listen, too! Once the others were finished with school, I let them listen without earphones.

37-IMG_4851

Mr. Imagination found an old pingpong paddle, and made it into a paddle for a canoe! I noticed the blade laying around the other day, though.

38-IMG_4852

I went out to our garden with my camera one evening a few weeks ago, and saw the clouds rolling in over the mountains to the west.

42-IMG_4858

Mr. Imagination and Little Miss dressed their toy monkey up with gloves and shoes, and then wanted a picture. I let Mr. Imagination take the picture—it took about a dozen tries.

43-IMG_486244-IMG_4865

Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment

Caving

One of the things my boys most love to do in this area is exploring caves. Back when there was a lot of gold mining happening, a lot of tunnels were dug through hills. Many of these tunnels were dug for a place to wash away the dirt after it had been sifted through, as the men looked for gold. Exploring these tunnels can be rather dangerous, but that’s probably part of the appeal to the boys. Their daddy does always go with them, and as you’ll see in some of these photos from a recent expedition, they are using ladders and ropes and trying to stay safe.

They started out by driving Simon’s Suzuki as far as they could up a rough track. Once they got to where it would have gotten stuck, they walked the rest of the way to some tunnels they had spotted nearly a year ago and wanted to explore more. (By the way, we ladies stayed at home where it was safe and dry!)

08-IMG_223909-IMG_2251

They got a lot of practice with rock-climbing—something my fellows love to do!

10-IMG_2264

Here, Simon is going from one cave to another, over a deep ravine. There was an old, squared-off log for a bridge; as you can see, he had a rope tied around himself and secured to a tree.

11-IMG_2275

Here is Mr. Intellectual doing the same thing.

12-IMG_2283

And here is Mr. Sweetie, rappelling down a cliff into a trench that the government financed in the early 1900s to bring water from a lake to wash gold out of the soil (that scheme didn’t work).

13-IMG_2332

Here is the account Mr. Diligence wrote of this adventure in a letter to a relative: Yesterday we went cave exploring up in the hills. [A friend] took us up there the second time we came to visit them. We took the Suzuki because it was a 4-wheel drive and you need a 4-wheel drive to get up there. The first time, we had found a cave and had gone through it. At the other end of the cave was a deep ravine with a river flowing through it. It was about 50 meters deep. There was a square log laid across the ravine to act as a bridge and on the other side was another cave with a bunch of wood inside it. The bridge was covered in moss. Ever since then, we have been talking about getting back in there and how we would get across the ravine. Yesterday afternoon was a beautiful sunny day and we  had time. We went back in there and got there by 3:30. Then we climbed a 4-meter high cliff, using the ladder to help. We pulled up the ladder and walked through the cave to one end of the bridge. Simon lowered the ladder down onto one end of the bridge. The bridge shook a little but didn’t give way. Then we tied a rope to the ladder so that if the bridge gave way it wouldn’t fall down. Then we tied the rope to a tree and back to Simon. Simon carefully climbed down the ladder and onto the bridge. It held so he took another step. A few more steps and he was in the mouth of the cave. Since the cave was covered with bushes over the front, he used his machete to chop them away. Within half an hour, we had got all of us across safely and we were exploring. [Mr. Sweetie] found an old pair of shoes with metal soles that looked like they used to have spikes coming out of them. The leather was rotten. We found another cave crossing that one and followed it. It just went out to the ravine again. There was a small shelf that looked like it might have been a walkway going along the ravine. It was two feet wide. I started walking on it and after 10 yards it narrowed down to 1 foot and then it was too narrow to walk on. I looked down across the ravine and saw a square post about 2 inches by 6 inches leaning against the other wall of the ravine. It appeared to have ropes and cables hanging off of it and maybe a tow rope as well. We wanted to go check it out so we went back across the ravine and we got back to the Suzuki. We left the ladder at the car and went down to the river. We waded upstream until we found the climbing apparatus or whatever it was. We climbed up and looked at it and we don’t know what it was. Then we climbed back down and headed home. Thankfully, none of us got hurt and we didn’t get stuck going out again.

Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment

Product Review—Picta Dicta Natural World from Roman Roads Media

Have you ever thought it would be interesting to learn some Latin? We really haven’t done much of anything towards learning a second language; we dabbled a bit in Spanish and German, but with two boys who struggled majorly with just English, other languages haven’t been a priority. However, when Roman Roads Media asked for reviewers for their Picta Dicta online courses, Mr. Intellectual expressed interest in it. We were given a subscription to Picta Dicta Natural World, and I have been using it a little myself, too. PictaDicta Natural World

When I set up an account, when we were first given access to Picta Dicta, I added myself as a student as well as being the administrator, and then signed up Mr. Intellectual with our other license. As part of creating the accounts, we had to choose which level to use. There are six levels to choose from: Basic, English, Reader I, Reader II, Express, and Teacher. Basic and English both focus on English words, and everything is read to the child. Reader I and Reader II introduce the Latin words for the same words that are introduced in the first two; I’m not sure what the difference is between them. Teacher appears to only have the introductory pictures for each word, without any activities. It is very easy to switch from one level to another by simply logging in to the administrator account and editing the student’s settings.

Both Mr. Intellectual and I chose to use the Express level. It teaches everything that is in the other levels, but faster. Words are introduced, with a story about each word to help you remember it.

Picta Dicta 5

After you have been introduced to about six words, Picta Dicta 6you are given one of the words.

On the next screen there are pictures and a phrase about six words, some that you have learned and a few others that you will learn soon, and you have to choose the correct one. picta dicta 7

After going through all of them, you are introduced to a few more words, until you have learned all the words for that topic. For example, in the first topic, Basic Animals, you learn the Latin words for cow, horse, donkey, goat, sheep, cat, dog, lamb, kid, boar, stag, bull, bear, and wolf. You get to match the spoken/written word to the picture, then the picture to the written word, and finally, learn to spell the words. If you make a mistake, you are given more chances with the same word until you get it right. The program is totally self-paced.

So what do we think about this program? I find it fun! Quite often, when I’m working on it, one or another of the littler ones (ages 8, 6, and 3) come along and help me out. They occasionally get something right that I was going to get wrong! It’s a game, where you try to match the right words and pictures. The spelling parts are more difficult, but otherwise it’s pretty easy. There is a small incentive built in, as you can see from my account, here. You get stars for completed lessons, based on how many questions you answered correctly. A perfect score earns you five stars—looks like I should redo a few!

Picta Dicta 8

It’s good to have at least a little grasp of Latin, as so many English words come from languages that came from Latin. Mr. Intellectual mentioned the other day after he worked on Picta Dicta that he had learned the Latin word for head, which was caput. He figured out that must be where capital comes from, as in the head city of a region. He was pretty excited about that. So, if you are needing to know Latin, or have someone who enjoys words, this program would be a great introduction. By going through it, you will not only learn many words having to do with animals, but also fruits and vegetables, anatomy, land forms and terrain, parts of trees and plants, water…and that’s just the first few topics! Over 400 nouns are taught in this program. I appreciate learning how to properly pronounce these words; when you read a lot but don’t hear words, it’s hard to know how to say them. Oh, one more thing I noticed: A number of words were very similar to the Spanish words for the same animal. Learning Latin might be a good base for going on with another of the Romance languages, such as French, Spanish or Italian.

Please click on the image below if you want to learn more about this course; some of the other reviewers have given a lot more detail!

Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews} Crew Disclaimer

Posted in Activities at Home | 1 Comment

Truman Track

When some friends came for a weekend in July, we took them to Pancake Rocks. After enjoying the beautiful sunny day there, we went up the coast a few minute’s drive and walked the Truman Track down to the sea. This is a short track that winds through a lush rainforest with palms and tree ferns everywhere before it opens out onto the shore. The boys enjoyed climbing rocks and poking into caves, and the little ones played in the water.

32-IMG_471233-IMG_471534-IMG_471635-IMG_471736-IMG_471837-IMG_471938-IMG_472039-IMG_472140-IMG_472341-IMG_4724

The wet rocks were very slick!

42-IMG_472545-IMG_473046-IMG_473652-IMG_474656-IMG_4752

We had a little bonus when we noticed spray coming up from invisible holes near the edge of these rocks as the waves came in!

57-IMG_475660-IMG_215261-IMG_216162-IMG_216463-IMG_216965-IMG_217666-IMG_2177

There were fossils everywhere we looked in the rocks! It was quite interesting to see how many different kinds we could find.

19-IMG_207647-IMG_473748-IMG_473849-IMG_473967-IMG_218468-IMG_2185

We also found a lot of living shellfish.

50-IMG_4740

Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment

July 2018 Photos

One evening the boys were trying to stand on their heads. Mr. Diligence did the best.

1-IMG_47752-IMG_47783-IMG_4779

Esther crocheted this bear for Little Miss. She named it Strawberry. Strawberry often sleeps with her.

4-IMG_4780

We took some visitors to see the old gold dredge down near the river.

70-IMG_218671-IMG_218906-IMG_1135

We also walked on the floodwall along the Grey River in Greymouth.

12-IMG_1147

72-IMG_219369-IMG_4758

Simon had to prove that he can still get Mr. Diligence down!

15-IMG_1055

Little Miss loves to draw people. I don’t think I’ve ever had a 3-year-old who drew and colored as much as this one does.

76-IMG_477277-IMG_4774

Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment