The Blue Bay Mystery… Book Review

After a bit of a website issue which has now been resolved (fingers crossed) here we are with a long awaited book review from our mini book club of two… Gavin and I have finished the 6th book in Gertrude Chandler Warner’s Boxcar Children….. Blue Bay Mystery.

The Blue Bay Mystery has uprooted the children once again for an exotic location, this time with Grandpa in tow! I have to say… the man is creative at keeping his kids busy. There was a wonderful section on a large ship where the kids school as they travel. (I may be a bit biased on that one).

I found this to be a super quick read for myself, not so for Gavin. But I enjoyed my few hours of escape into the world of the Boxcar Children. An unusual adventure with a bit of a mystery, be prepared to suspend adult disbelief and enjoy the coincidences and favourable circumstances. I think we are on total agreement, Gavin and I, read these in order or risk spoiling characters and events!

And now for Gavin! Beware! He can spoil!

This book had some new friends and an old friend. I like that there was a jungle but I wish there had been monkeys. I wish they had not ended the book so quickly, I wanted to know more of what happened when they got back. I missed the dog because he wasn’t there. I still want to read every book!

So there you have it! A ringing endorsement from a boy who believes that everyone should read this series (or be read to)!519wA2foJmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Chinese New Year, Year of the Goat/Sheep

 We really do enjoy celebrating Chinese New Year and this year was no exception. This is our first big unit in months as our work on Thanksgiving and Christmas was much more worksheets and stories than actual research. This is also our first unit trying a more Notebooking sort of theme. Though after working with the twins I definitely want to try and put more lapbook aspects into our notebooks – the folded little booklets and the like – to add to the look and the ease of use.

So in 2015 I am trying to over view a month which was working with the blog when I got behind instead of daily reflection. But with big units I still want to make these individual blog entries to share our resources and the like. Bear with me we LOVE covering China and Chinese New Year so there is a lot to share!!!IMAG1500

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IMAG1508Links of Specific Interest:

  • We had Zander choose two famous Chinese people and write a few sentences… he used a general list HERE thanks to Buzzle, and then to further our knowledge about the more contemporary individual used Wiki to learn more about basketball player Yao Ming HERE.
  • 10 Good Luck Foods thanks to Chow HERE. I admit it, we did do some Wiki peeking when we found things we were not totally familiar with but I am sure you can figure that out!IMAG1510
  • Something on the more traditional side I was assured by my experts… The Kitchen God HERE thanks to about.com. For a picture to include in our notebook we used Activity Village’s picture HERE.
  • Learn more about the Lion Dance (sometimes mistakenly… ok OFTEN… called the dragon dance) with HelloKids.com HERE, and on Wiki HERE.
  • We learned all about the meaning and history of the Chinese flag on the site A China Family Adventure HERE. With a little additional information HERE thanks to Facts.co.
  • We get TONS of information from Activity Village. Their printables are amazing… HERE.
  • For interesting landmarks we used the top 10 attractions listed on ChinaHighlights.com HERE.
  • China’s phyisical geography thanks to About.com HERE.
  • General country facts on Science Kids HERE.
  • An excellent map on iLibrarion HERE.
  • When you think of animals you inevitably come to the Giant Panda. Science Kids has a fact page HERE.
  • We discussed tea and China… totally Gavin’s idea on that one! You can find 10 interesting facts about tea at the Food Network HERE. For its history and cultural connotations in regards to China you can read China Highlights HERE.
  • Zander researched the couplets you put around doors during Chinese New Year. There is a great example (that we copied into our notebook) HERE thanks to China Page. And a bit more of a description and a way to purchase some for yourself HERE thanks to China Sprout.
  • Of course we did a page on goats… I basically looked up goat facts and let the twins at it. You can read up on what we found HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE. Thanks to Lively Run Goat Dairy, Edelweiss Acres, One Kind and Animals by Pawnation.
  • Of course we had to cover some animals found in China. Each child chose an animal and wrote a few facts for us to include along with an illustration. Trinity chose the Chinese Pink Dolphin. We used the WWF page HERE for hers. Gavin chose the Golden Monkey (Golden Snub-Nosed  Monkey) and while he just sort of wandered the zoo and such sites this is the one I found that I liked thanks to Konica Minolta HERE.
  • While watching Wild China I heard mention of an amazing bridge… so of course I had to find the way to spell it and look up some OTHER bridges. Check out 4 HERE on Vision Times.
  • Introduction to Buddhism for kids thanks to World Religions HERE.
  • A good topography map thanks to Ilibrarian.net HERE.

Craft Ideas:

  • Dragon Parade Puppet thanks to Crayola HERE.
  • New Year’s Dragon paperbag puppet thanks to TeacherVision HERE.

Resources to Purchase:

  • Teachers Pay Teachers has a great mini unit for K-3 gr. You can find that HERE. Super thanks to creator Emily Nutt Bynum for an amazing file that both Trinity and Emanuel enjoyed and learned from.

Books:

Animal Books (We did not use many and was mostly online with our looking but here are the ones we used):

We covered Origami this year. While commonly known as a Japanese art, it originated in China! You can check out our informational links HERE and HERE thanks to Origami with Rachel Katz and About.com and also check out the books we got to play around with:

Movies and TV Shows:

  • Celebrate with Kai-Lan! a Nickelodeon Show
  • Wild China Mini Series. We watched this series on Netflix. There are listings where you can purchase it. Though not new it is AMAZING in images and cultural history. A must watch if not for anything but the imagery.

Not so much because the kids needed it, but I decided to make dividers for each of the sections of sheets we had to go with our notebook project. I have confirmed these are the correct words… enjoy

  • China HERE thanks to NamesOnline.org
  • Book HERE thanks to a dictionary site
  • Schoolwork HERE thanks to the same dictionary site
  • Drawing or picture HERE thanks to above dictionary site

IMAG1512IMAG1514Hopefully I have included most of the resources we used. It was a lot of fun to take our usual China and Chinese New Year study a little further than we have in the past! Here are some pictures of our Notebook! Enjoy!

 

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Up to Date… A Short Romance

Sometimes you just want a quick and fun read. Up to Date by Susan Halter fits the bill perfectly. The 9th book in her Better Date Than Never series it is a fast paced contemporary romance novella about a girl with a dream she has never truly followed and a man that is in the same occupation as her somewhat ruined and disappointing father.

Included is the flighty younger sister, a mother who simply cannot see the reasoning behind taking a leap of blind faith in to a new career and a group of supportive friends. Really a story about letting go and following your dreams and having faith in someone else as well as yourself. I won’t spill anymore since with a novella there is always the worry you will give away the good stuff.

I have, over time, read multiple stories by Susan Hatler from this series HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE (no particular order). Each has been an enjoyable read with light hearted characters and interesting plotlines. This book, specifically, has some limited character growth… and an adorable kitten. If you are looking for a quick read without any sort of blatant sexual content or really profanity this is a good choice for you.51+cwNvx93L._UY250_ (2)