Friday, December 15, 2017

What I've Been Reading: December 2017

Joining Modern Mrs. Darcy to share what I've been reading lately.

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

This book was absolutely fascinating.  It's written by a 13 year old Japanese boy who has severe Autism and is nonverbal.  He wrote it through the use of a letter grid. It completely changed my understanding of Autism. Not only that, but it helped me to understand my son better.  Our 4 year old, Elijah is not Autistic, but he does have Sensory Processing Disorder which a lot of kids with Autism have  (he is a sensory seeker rather than an avoider). A lot of his behaviors are a more mild version of things Naoki described in The Reason I Jump, but his explanations about why he does those things has helped me to have a little more patience with Elijah.  The book reminded me of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly a little bit, it's surprisingly well-written considering the author was only 13.


Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty

This book has been on my to-read list for a long time. I'm so glad I finally read it. Since then I've been talking about it a lot. This is a sweeping novel set in the last days of the Wild West. It covers several different groups of people and how their lives intertwine. I loved how real the characters were; I identified with each one on some level. Because it is really rough around the edges (as you might imagine a Wild West novel being), I feel like I need to include a warning about language, sex and violence. I felt for the most part like it was handled well, but there is a lot of all of those things throughout the book.

Hidden Figures by Margot Shetterly

My question all throughout this book was, "WHY do we not know about these brilliant women already?  Why was none of this included in my history classes?" It's staggering to think of the amount of discrimination they faced; these Hidden Figures with brilliant minds wanted only to be treated as they deserved and allowed to do their jobs.  I must admit, I was so disappointed by this book.  I have a hard and fast rule that I must read the book before we see the movie, because the book is (almost) always better, right?  In this case, the opposite is true.  The book is crammed with fascinating information, but it's told in such a dry, disconnected way that I couldn't keep any of the women or their stories straight.  This was not a work of beautifully written narrative non-fiction. I loved learning about the women hidden from the world and the important role they played in NACA/NASA's history, but I would have loved to connect more with them. There are some interesting facts in the book, but I feel like it missed the mark by not focusing more on the lives and stories of the women.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This story took a little while to get going for me.  But about 1/3 of the way in I couldn't put it down.  The characters are so endearing and the adventure so engaging that I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. Magic+ defeating the Bad Guy + family love and relationships + courageous female characters. It would make a great read aloud for older kids, too.

All the Gallant Men by Donald Stratton

I come from a family of bookish people and we've been passing this book around.  I learned so much about Pearl Harbor and WWII from this book.  I've read many, many books set during this time period, but this explained the war from a completely different perspective. Donald Stratton was on the USS Arizona when it was attacked in Pearl Harbor.  He narrowly escaped death, spent months recovering from horrific burns to the majority of his body and then re-enlisted and continued to fight for our freedom.  He has the distinction of fighting in the opening WWII battle for America (Pearl Harbor) as well as the final battle before Japan surrendered. His story of valor is simply incredible.  He is honest about his internal struggle to uphold his Christian beliefs and to forgive the horrors he endured. As I read I was constantly leaning over to share interesting facts and statistics with my husband. While the book was filled with facts and statistics it was told in such an engaging way that it was not dry at all.

What have you been reading lately?
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2018 LDS Youth and Primary Theme Coloring Pages

The themes for the LDS Youth and Primary are beautiful.  I love that each year the lessons our children hear at church are focused on one central theme.  No matter where you live, the same principles are being taught. For 2018, the themes are:
Youth Theme: Learn of me and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my spirit and you shall have peace in me. (Doctrine and Covenants 19:23)
Primary Theme: I am a Child of God. 
I created a coloring page to go with each theme. In the download you'll find a full page version and a quarter page version for both. 

While these pages are certainly geared toward the themes the younger folks will be studying in 2018, they are by no means meant only for them.  I love adding inserts (or tip-ins) to my scriptures and my scripture journal.  I added both of the quarter page printables into my scriptures using this method:

I printed it on cardstock, cut it out and then used washi tape to attach just one side to my scripture page (I also used another strip of washi tape on the inside--directly over the first piece of washi, sticky sides together, to add extra security and to keep the tape from sticking where it shouldn't).  Now I can lift up the insert to read the verses underneath as well as journal on the back of the insert.

I'll probably go back and color these someday, maybe while I'm listening to something else. But you could also leave them black and white and they'd still be a beautiful addition. Click the link at the bottom of the page to grab your free download.

Download HERE
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Friday, December 8, 2017

Boys Bedroom Update


We've been shuffling bedrooms around the past few weeks. It's been a little tricky to find an arrangement that would make everyone happy and allow us to have the space we need.

Edith's bedroom for the past year was actually our living room. Which was a little awkward when folks dropped by for a quick visit.  We either had to stand around in the entry or invite them to sit on the loveseat placed in the corner of our kitchen/dining room. It was far from ideal, but we didn't have any other options in this somewhat weirdly designed house. (more on our Fixer Upper here)

We settled on having the boys share a room upstairs and moving Edith to her own space (which used to be Ethan's room) downstairs.  In order to help everyone feel okay about that, we needed to spend some time fixing up the boys' room. You can see how this room used to look (and here).

Jason designed and built some really amazing bunk beds. We stained them Classic Gray and I love the simple look he came up with.  They each have a shelf for books or treasures and room for a reading light that will come in the future.

Jason also hung a rope ladder  as the way to climb up to the top bunk.  It doubles as a fun swinging/climbing/hanging feature for our boys to play on. Which is especially awesome for our little one with Sensory Processing Disorder.

When Photowall contacted me about trying out one of their wall murals, I was so excited to find something that would work for this room.  I fell in love with this tree print and ordered it right away.  Jason and I hung the mural together one Saturday afternoon.  Neither of us have ever hung wallpaper before, but it was really pretty easy.  The instructions are clear, the kit came with everything we needed and I am over the moon happy with the result.  It makes me happy every time I walk by this room.

If you look closely, you'll see that we still have a little paint touch-up to do, but other than that this project is complete.  And I think it makes a pretty awesome space for our boys.

ps-- We will be adding one more really neat feature to the room after Christmas.  A certain someone is going to get this sensory swing as a gift.  (Shhhh...don't tell) So my super-hero of a husband will have to go up into the attic one more time to anchor it, but I think it will be worth it.  Says the girl who's never had to go up into the attic for any reason.  (He hates it up there.)

This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, I receive a small amount when you purchase something through those links.  Thanks for supporting A Lively Hope!

 I received the mural for free to include in this post, but the opinions shared are my own.
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