Monday, March 27, 2017

Connect with Nature ~ Book Review

Connect with Nature Review @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

:: Connect with Nature by Anna Carlile

[ETA: I shared this post with friends who took advantage of the low price, and it jumped up quickly. I was hoping it would stay low much longer! It’s still a lovely book, but not quite a steal.]

Friends, this book is gorgeous. And at this moment it is only $3.45 on Amazon. Hardback cover, 240 pages, exquisite photography and dreamy nature-inspired ideas.

Nature Book @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The book is divided by season, with activities for all four seasons. The two-page photography spreads throughout the book are graced with lovely quotes.

Terrarium @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Connect with Nature is full of instructions for nature projects such as creating a terrarium, starting a veggie patch, making a swing, attracting birds, and making dyes from plants.

Nature Book Review @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Recipes include herbal teas, heirloom tomato and peach salad, blueberry galette, buckwheat crepes with pears and figs, and poppyseed campfire bread with rhubarb compote.

Rock Stack @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Climb a tree, stack rocks, walk barefoot, go on a picnic, smell the rain.

Learn about moon phases and read the clouds (the pages on various cloud formations are fantastic).

Moon @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Learn how to bloom branches indoors during the winter and tie knots.

Nature Collection @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Forage for edible weeds. Dig for clay and make pinch pots.

Nature Craft Ideas @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I wanted to purchase a stack of these books to have handy for gifts, but unfortunately the seller has a limit of 1 book per customer. So I am selfishly keeping this one for my own enjoyment.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Levi’s High School Course Descriptions ~ 9th Grade [and a complete high school plan]

High School Plans @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I’ve been working on mapping out Levi’s high school courses and schedule. (Though we are not bound by credit requirements for our homeschool transcripts, I’ve used these Oregon requirements as well as the requirements from our local public high school as general guides.) Levi has no specific post high school plans at this time. We will consider a gap year before any college plans.

[You’ll notice that his courses are reading-heavy. Levi is a strong reader and enjoys discussion and content-based learning, but his struggles in other areas balance out his hefty reading list. I promise.]

Levi is participating in the Classical Conversations Challenge program, in addition to a few other courses. I’ve tried to indicate what courses are CC specific, and I’ve put any additions I’ve made to the CC course specifics in parentheses.

Shakespeare/Drama [CC]
1/2 credit (Language Arts - Elective)
Dramatic radio reading and discussion of play; Oral presentation on topic relating to Shakespeare
Shakespeare presentation (memorization of three monologues--comedy, tragedy, history)
(Attend plays [The Comedy of Errors, Hamlet])

Music Theory [CC]
1/2 credit (Fine Arts - Elective)
Introduction to music theory, including reading and analyzing a musical score
Math in Motion
Score Analysis Project

Latin [CC]
1 credit (Language – Required)
Includes basic parts of speech, verb tenses, translations, and Roman history
Henle I
National Latin Exam (Intro)

American Literature and Composition [CC]
1 credit (Honors Language Arts – Required)
Read texts, discuss and analyze literature, writing assignments (persuasive and comparison essays)
The Lost Tools of Writing [persuasive essays]
CC Literature, Poetry, Speeches, Essays, Autobiographies, and Sermons [unabridged texts]:

  • The Sign of the Beaver (Elizabeth Speare)
  • The Call of the Wild (Jack London)
  • Johnny Tremain (Esther Forbes)
  • The Red Badge of Courage (Stephen Crane)
  • The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
  • Gold-Bug and Other Tales (Edgar Allan Poe)
  • Billy Budd, Sailor (Herman Melville)
  • Through Gates of Splendor (Elisabeth Elliot)
  • Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain)
  • Harvey (Mary Chase)
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
  • Born Again (Charles Colson)
  • Up From Slavery (Booker T. Washington)
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Douglass)
  • The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
  • Self-Reliance (Ralph W. Emerson)
  • Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Henry David Thoreau)
  • Starship Troopers (Robert Heinlein)
  • An Old-Fashioned Girl (Louisa May Alcott)
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Elizabeth Speare)
  • Short Stories, Poetry, Sermons, Documents, and Speeches

Additional Novels:

  • Pudd’nhead Wilson (Mark Twain)
  • Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Twain)
  • The Prince and the Pauper (Twain)
  • The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
  • Peace Like a River (Leif Enger)
  • The Lonesome Gods (Louis L’Amour)
  • Little Britches (series, Ralph Moody)
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Ender’s Game
  • The Giver Quartet
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • Cheaper by the Dozen
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Moby Dick (retelling or abridged)
  • Education of a Wandering Man (Louis L’Amour)
  • The Wild Muir
  • Various American drama selections

[The above is an abreviated list. See this link for the full list in chronological order with brief descriptions and links.]

Good Books II: Tolkien [Roman Roads]
1/2 credit (Language Arts – Elective)
Weekly online live class discussion
Weekly online written discussion

Algebra I [CC]
1 credit (Math – Required)
[He participates in math discussions and presentations in his CC class but uses Khan Academy at home rather than the CC recommended Saxon.]
Khan Academy Algebra I
(Life of Fred)

American Government [CC]
1/2 credit (Social Studies – Required)
Read, annotate, and summarize original government documents, essays, and speeches; discuss historical significance; oral presentations
American Documents
Memorization [U.S. Presidents, Preamble to the Constitution, Outline of Bill of Rights]
Speech memorization/recitation [Individual Event] (“Spirit of Liberty” by Judge Learned Hand)
Timeline notebook
(Crash Course U.S. Government and Politics video series)
(U.S. Citizenship Civics Exam)

Economics [CC]
1/2 credit (Social Studies – Required)
Read texts, discuss current economic policy, oral presentations
Cost of Living Project
Stock Market Project

(Life of Fred: Financial Choices)
(Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra with Economics)
(Crash Course Economics Videos)

Policy Debate [CC]
1/2 credit (Language Arts – Elective)
Study basic elements of policy debate; Conduct research for resolutions and participate in live debates
An Introduction to Policy Debate by Christy L. Shipe
Two formal debates [Death Penalty—affirmative team, Immigration Policy—negative team]

Physical Science [CC]
1 credit (Lab Science – Required)
Read text, discussion, demonstration/experimentation labs, text assignments, unit tests, lab journal, formal lab reports
Exploring Creation with Physical Science by Apologia
(Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra with Physics)
[research paper for health credit]
Additional reading (not scheduled through CC)

Teen Pact Leadership [TeenPact]
1/2 credit (Leadership - Elective)

4-day leadership camp at state capitol
Homework: send letters to state senator and representative, memorize bible verses, vocabulary, write a one-page bill, state political fact sheet, read or listen to governor’s most recent State of the State Address and take notes, complete a bill analysis worksheet, constitutional analysis
(Leadership TED Talks)

Swim Team [High School Team/YMCA]
1 credit (Physical Education – Required)

Health [Various]
1/2 credit (Health – Required)
Lifeguarding Certification Class (CPR, First Aid)
Khan Academy videos: Drugs, Infectious Diseases 
Crash Course Anatomy and Physiology videos
Research Paper (Exercise and the Brain):

Food and Nutrition:

Total: 9 Credits


Formal Protocol Event (with the local Classical Conversations Challenge students)

Driver’s Education

Additional Reading List:

Lifeguarding (summer job)

Volunteering at student camp(s) during CC Parent Practicum(s) and vacation bible school


Tentative Plan for the Remainder of High School:

10th Grade [CC Challenge II]

Henle Latin 2 [CC]
1 credit (Language – Required)

British Literature and Composition [CC]
1 credit (Honors Language Arts – Required)
Socratic dialogue, persuasive essay writing
CC Novels:

  • Beowulf
  • Selected Canterbury Tales (Chaucer)
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Retold by J.L. Weston)
  • Paradise Lost (Milton)
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress (Bunyan)
  • Gulliver’s Travels (Swift)
  • Pride and Prejudice (Austen)
  • A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
  • Jane Eyre (Bronte)
  • Animal Farm (Orwell)
  • A Passage to India (Forster)
  • Something Beautiful for God (Muggeridge)
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Carroll)
  • Robinson Crusoe (DeFoe)
  • Favorite Father Brown Stories (Chesterton)
  • Out of the Silent Planet (C.S. Lewis)
  • The Hobbit (Tolkien)
  • The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis)
  • Short Stories

Additional British Literature:

  • Far From the Madding Crowd (Thomas Hardy)
  • Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
  • Lorna Doone (Blackmore)
  • Ivanhoe (Sir Walter Scott)
  • North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell)
  • The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins)
  • Lord of the Flies (Golding)
  • Three Men in a Boat (Jerome)
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Lewis Stevenson)
  • And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere’s Fan, An Ideal Husband (Oscar Wilde)
  • As You Like It, Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear (Shakespeare)
  • All Creatures Great and Small (James Herriot)
  • The Time Machine (H.G. Wells)
  • The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells)
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Adams)
  • Watership Down (Richard Adams)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (Arthur Clarke)
  • Kim and others (Rudyard Kipling)
  • The Once and Future King (T.H. White)
  • Pygmalion (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Jeeves (Wodehouse)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (Arthur Conan Doyle)
  • Short Stories and Poetry

European Literature:

  • Don Quixote (abridged) (Cervantes)
  • The Count of Monte Cristo (Hugo)
  • Les Miserables (Dumas)
  • The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Jules Verne)
  • Pinoccio (Collodi)
  • Swiss Family Robinson (Johann Wyss)
  • Russian novel selection

[I will be posting a final master list in chronological order with links at the beginning of the school year.]

Western Cultural History [CC]
1 credit (Social Studies - Required)
Artists and Composers
Historical Timeline
Research, exposition, and logic

Biology [CC]
1 credit (Lab Science – Required)
Exploring Creation with Biology by Apologia
[I’ll be adding to his reading list and possibly adjusting his work load with the text book.]

1 credit (Math – Required)
Khan Academy Geometry

Logic I [CC]
1/2 credit (Elective)
Traditional Logic I by Memoria Press

Socratic Dialogue [CC]
1/2 credit (Elective)

1/2 credit (Required)
(Social and mental Health)

  • Please Understand Me;
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People;
  • Peacemaker;
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Swim Team/YMCA
1 credit (Physical Education – Required)

Total: 7 1/2 Credits


11th Grade [CC Challenge III – tentatively]

Latin 3 (Caesar and Cicero) [CC] and/or Spanish
1 credit (Language)

  • Henle 3

Poetry and Shakespeare and Composition [CC]
1 credit (Language Arts – Required)

American History [CC]
1 credit (Social Studies – Required)

Chemistry [CC]
1 credit (Lab Science – Required)
Exploring Creation with Chemistry by Apologia
[We may cut way back on what is required with Apologia Chemistry through CC and supplement with the following living books and additional documentaries.]
Reading List:

Algebra II
1 credit (Math – Required)
Khan Academy Algebra II

Advanced Philosophy [CC]
1/2 credit (Elective)

Traditional Logic II and Socratic Dialogue [CC]
1/2 credit (Elective)

Swim Team/YMCA
1 credit (Physical Education/Elective)

Total: 7 Credits


12th Grade [CC Challenge IV – doubtfully]

He will have all his required credits so this will be a flexible year depending on his needs and desires. I’d love to have him go through Challenge 4, but he will likely choose something else. He may need to complete or retake a math or science class scheduled in previous years.

Latin Literature [CC] and/or Spanish
1 credit (Language)

  • The Aeneid by Virgil
  • Henle 4

Ancient Literature and Composition) [CC]
1 credit (Language Arts)

World History [CC]
1 credit (Social Studies)

Theology [CC]
1 credit (Elective)

Swim Team

[Physics and Pre-Calculus are on the CC schedule, but he would likely opt out or complete/re-take a math or science course schedule in previous years.]

Additional Reading List:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

American History and Literature Selections [Levi ~ 9th Grade]

High School American History & Literature Reading List @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Levi is reading American literature for his 9th grade year through Classical Conversations. The CC Challenge 1 Am. Lit. book list is hefty (full texts, not excerpts), but Levi is a strong and willing reader. Because his CC year ends in April, I decided to round out his book list with additional American literature selections to read May through July before he begins British literature in August for Challenge 2. It is my desire to present him with a robust variety of genres, complexity, and topics, even though I can’t fit everything on the list (obviously I tried, but so many books didn’t make the cut!). When compiling the master list, I chose to include a few relevant books he has read in the past couple years (particularly including CC Challenge A and B literature selections).

Levi has discussed the CC Challenge literature in class and has written essays on many of the novels.

[I have a post coming up with Levi’s full course descriptions for 9th grade and the upcoming high school plan.]

I’ve noted Challenge literature selections with asterisks.

*Challenge A (roughly 7th grade)
**Challenge B (roughly 8th grade)
***Challenge 1 (roughly 9th grade)

Children’s Historical Fiction

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Set in Colonial Connecticut in 1687) ***

Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates (Biographical story; c. 1710-1801) *

Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison by Lois Lenski (Biographical story set in 1755)

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (Set in Boston before and during the American Revolution, 1776)  ***

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (Biographical story of Nat Bowditch; 1773-1838) *

A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32 by Joan W. Blos (not a favorite of mine, but I’m including it here because it is a CC Challenge A novel) *

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare (Set in the Maine wilderness) ***

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (Set in the hills of the Ozarks) **

Little Britches (and series) by Ralph Moody (also listed under memoirs, but a must read for every human—perfect for a family read-aloud) **

[I’ll list many more children’s American historical fiction selections this coming year as Leif studies American history in 6th grade.]


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Tales by Washington Irving (published in 1820)

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper (published in 1826; set in 1757 during the French and Indian War)

Gold-Bug and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe (published in 1843) ***

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn (1850) ***

Moby Dick by Herman Melville [*graphic novel* not unabridged novel] (1851)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852)

Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville (published posthumously in 1924, but he began writing it in 1888; Levi did not care for this one, but I’m including it here since it is a CC Challenge 2 literature selection) ***

Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Prince and the Pauper, and Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (published in the late 1800s; Pudd’nhead Wilson is my personal favorite, especially for late middle school or high school students; only Tom Sawyer on CC Ch 1 list) ***

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (published in 1895; a war novel taking place during the American Civil War) ***

The Call of the Wild by Jack London (published in 1903; set in Yukon, Canada, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush) ***

Freckles (and others) by Gene Stratton-Porter (published in 1904)

The Short Novels of John Steinbeck (1902-1968) (The Pearl, for sure; not certain about the others)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943; set in early 1900s in Brooklyn, NY; coming of age story of a young Irish-American girl)

The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway (published 1952) ***

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (published in 1960; a masterful novel and absolutely essential for cultural literacy) ***

The Chosen by Chaim Potok (published in1967; set in 1940s Brooklyn, NY; a coming of age story about a Jewish boy—excellent)

The Lonesome Gods (and others) by Louis L’Amour (published in 1983; set on the California frontier (Mojave and Colorado Deserts) 1800s?)

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (published in 2001; set in small-town Minnesota in the early 1960s with an endearing child narrator with a precocious sister and wise father reminiscent of Scout and Atticus Finch—one of my favorite novels of all time)

Short Stories

The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry ***

[Many other classic short stories were read last year in Challenge B] **

That Distant Land: The Collected Stories (Port William) by Wendell Berry


The Song of Hiawatha” by H.W. Longfellow (1807-1882) ***
Paul Revere’s Ride” by H.W. Longfellow ***
The Courtship of Miles Standish” (one of my favorites from high school) by H.W. Longfellow

Selections from American Poets:


[We’ll also be watching film versions where available.]

Harvey by Mary Chase ***

Our Town by Thornton Wilder

Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

The Glass Menagerie by Tennesse Williams


The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1771-1790)

Self-Reliance and Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1840s) ***

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) ***

Walden and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau (1854) ***

The Wild Muir (John Muir 1838 – 1914; Scottish-American naturalist)

Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington (1901) ***

Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes by Gilbreth (1948)

Little Britches by Ralph Moody (series published in 1950-1968; the first book begins when his family moves to Colorado in 1906—excellent) **

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson (Des Moines, Iowa; 1950s. I am NOT recommending this book to other students without serious parental guidance, but it is the funniest book I have ever read in my life and it contains so much fascinating information about life in mid-century America.)

Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot (1957; Elisabeth’s husband was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the Auca of eastern Ecuador. She later returned as a missionary to the tribe members who killed her husband.) ***

Born Again by Charles Colson (1976) (Chuck Colson served as Special Counsel to Richard Nixon in 1969-1973; he became a Christian in 1973, just before his prison sentence, and later founded Prison Fellowship.) ***

Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour (1990)


April 1865 (Civil War) by Jay Winik

Mornings on Horseback (Teddy Roosevelt; 1858-1919) by McCullough

The Man Who Talks with the Flowers-The Intimate Life Story of Dr. George Washington Carver (1864-1943) by Glenn Clark

The Orphan: A Story of the Life of Austin Monroe Shaffer (1884-1961) by Helen Shaffer Dunbar (A biography of Levi’s great-great-grandfather (whose father was named Levi), written by Levi’s great-grandmother)

The Boys in the Boat (1936 Olympics) by Daniel James Brown

I'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers (1928-2003) by Tim Madigan

Elon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Young Readers' Edition (1971- ) by Ashlee Vance


The Spirit of Liberty” by Judge Learned Hand (1944) [Levi memorized and presented this speech in his Challenge class.]

I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963) ***

[Many More American Documents, Essays, and Speeches for American Government] ***


A Model of Christian Charity” by Winthrop (1630) ***

Essays to Do Good” by Mather (1710) ***

The Method of Grace” by Whitefield (1700s) ***


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (published in 1953; a relevant dystopian novel that everyone should read for cultural literacy)

The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov (published in 1953; a futuristic science-fiction detective novel, recommended by a friend)

Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein (published in 1959; a military science fiction novel exploring military and societal ethics) ***

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (another novel published in 1959; a realistic apocalyptic novel from the nuclear age, set in the U.S.)

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (published in 1985; another futuristic military science fiction novel—one of my favorite explorations of the nature of leadership)

The Giver by Lois Lowry (published in 1993; a YA utopian/dystopian novel followed by 3 more books in the series)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (the trilogy published 2008-10; YA futuristic dystopian/apocalyptic novels set in the U.S.—excellent for discussing government and qualities of leadership)


[I’m choosing to wait on The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, The Jungle by Sinclair, and The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger.]


Did I miss any of your favorite selections for American literature (appropriate for a 9th grade student)?

Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sole Hope

Sole Hope @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I recently joined a large group of women who met to fellowship and cut shoe patterns from discarded pairs of jeans.

Sole Hope offers us a wonderful opportunity to help improve the health and lives of impoverished children in Uganda as well as provide women in Uganda with meaningful work for a decent wage. Learn more at the link or watch the (difficult and somewhat graphic) video below.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The End of Winter

The End of Winter @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Is it summer yet?


I’d love a perpetual July. [Clearly I’m an Oregonian.]

Maybe you’ve noticed that the blog has been silent for the longest break ever, almost two months. I completely skipped over my ten-year blogiversary.


That’s something to celebrate, but I’ve been bogged down by the decade-ness of this season. I feel like I’ve said everything that can be said, twice or thrice or ten times too many. My boys aren’t as adorable as they used to be in the early years. My house is showing serious wear and tear and the accumulation of junk. My body is showing the accumulation of years and pounds. Homeschooling is hard. Parenting is hard. Parenting teens is really hard. Instead of getting wiser, I am simply more aware of what I don’t know (which is pretty much everything).

I thought I’d have everything under control by now. I thought I would have accomplished all the things.



So here we are, imperfect and very human.

Are you still there?

I’ll be back tomorrow, in a more cheerful mood, to talk about boys and books.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Food for Thought ~ The Thoughts We Think

The Thoughts We Think @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

:: How Complaining Rewires Your Brain For Negativity by Dr. Travis Bradberry @ The Huffington Post [There is important information in this post for all of us. After a hilarious conversation on Facebook (and on a less serious note), I’ve started having my kids sing their complaints and arguments to me with jazz hands.]

Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely. Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Complaining becomes your default behavior, which changes how people perceive you.

And here’s the kicker: complaining damages other areas of your brain as well. Research from Stanford University has shown that complaining shrinks the hippocampus—an area of the brain that’s critical to problem solving and intelligent thought.


When you complain, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol.

:: Here's How Marcus Aurelius Got Himself Out Of Bed Every Morning @ Business Insider [This absolutely tickled my funny bone, but it is so profound. Getting myself out of bed in the morning is a struggle, and I think I need to try some his self-talk. Go read the whole thing.]

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: 'I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I'm going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?'

— But it's nicer in here ...

So you were born to feel 'nice'? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don't you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you're not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren't you running to do what your nature demands?

:: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett [Luke and I are working on his persuasive essay for this book, two years after Levi and I discussed it. Chapter 27, In the Garden, is my favorite, and the first few pages concern the power of negative and positive thoughts, for Mary, Colin, and Archibald Craven.]

"In each century since the beginning of the world wonderful things have been discovered. In the last century more amazing things were found out than in any century before. In this new century hundreds of things still more astounding will be brought to light. At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done--then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago. One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts--just mere thoughts--are as powerful as electric batteries--as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live."

“…While the secret garden was coming alive and two children were coming alive with it, there was a man wandering about certain far-away beautiful places in the Norwegian fiords and the valleys and mountains of Switzerland and he was a man who for ten years had kept his mind filled with dark and heart-broken thinking. He had not been courageous; he had never tried to put any other thoughts in the place of the dark ones. He had wandered by blue lakes and thought them; he had lain on maintain-sides with sheets of deep blue gentians blooming all about him and flower breaths filling all the air and he had thought them. A terrible sorrow had fallen upon him when he had been happy and he had let his soul fill itself with blackness and had refused obstinately to allow any rifht of light to pierce through. He had forgotten and deserted his home and his duties.”

The Secret Garden

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Lindsay’s Literary Baby Shower

Lindsay's Literary Baby Shower @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Do you remember this exquisite wedding (and more wedding pictures and this fun bridal shower)?

Well, my “little sister” Lindsay and her husband, Bob, are expecting a baby in just a few short weeks!

[I took Lindsay’s family pictures back in November, and I’ll post them as soon as my hard drive is recovered!]

My sister Shannon (with friends Jessye, Tinsa, and Domini) knocked it out of the park again with the baby shower decor. It helped to have such a fabulous location.

Lindsay and Friends @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The literary theme was carried throughout the room. Each guest table was topped with a stack of gorgeous old books.

Book Love @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Lindsay with her daughter, sister-in-law Domini, and mom:

Lindsay's Baby Shower @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Chalkboards with literary quotes were sprinkled throughout the room. This was my favorite:

Chapter 1 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Lovely brunch food:

Brunch @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesBaby Shower Brunch @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The guest book was a darling picture book version of Anne of Green Gables. Guests signed the inside cover.

Guest Table @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

This adorable illustration of Anne of Green Gables was custom created by a friend. Lindsay received the original piece of art, and the image was the cover of the invitations.

Anne of Green Gables @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOld Books @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesChildren's Book Banner @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesBeautiful Books @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesLiterary Baby Shower @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOpening Gifts @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesLiterary Love @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesAll Things Little @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

What happens when Heidi is given the task of planning the baby shower game? The guests are given a literature quiz!

I gave them each a paper with 20 children’s book quotes and 20 children’s book titles, and they had to match them.

Want to give it a try?


1. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver…”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”__________

2. Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk.________

3. In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines… ________

4. Better drowned than duffers if not duffers won’t drown. ________

5. “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” _________

6. Second star to the right, and straight on till morning. _________

7. “When I say ‘salutations,’ it’s just my fancy way of saying hello or good morning.” __________

8. We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!  _________

9. It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?” ________

10. The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.  _________

11. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. _________

12. For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.  __________

13. So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books.  ___________

14. “You were Real to the Boy,” the Fairy said, “because he loved you. Now you shall be Real to everyone.” __________

15. “Please, sir. I want some more.” _________

16. “No, Miss Minchin, you are not kind. And this is not a home.” _________

17. “I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”  ___________

18. And for all I know he is sitting there still, under his favorite cork tree, smelling the flowers just quietly.  ___________

19. A person’s a person, no matter how small. ___________

20. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be. _________



A. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

B. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

C. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

D. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

E. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

F. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

G. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

H. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

I. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

J. Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss

K. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

L. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

M. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury

N. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

O. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

P. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Q. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

R. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

S. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

T. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry