Monthly Archives: September 2010

Jackson Jones:The Tale of a boy, an elf, and a very stinky fish

My Review:
Okay, honestly, I tried really hard to read this. This story was not geared towards my age level though, so I tried hard to keep that in mind. As I read, it seemed like a story that would generally appeal to 8-12 year old boys nationwide. The writing was hard for me as an adult to follow, so I was not able to finish the book. It was a general silly type story with fantasy of a young boy who gets stuck in another world of his aunt’s nest of hair. So, read the first chapter and see if it is something your boys might like. i think H. might like it, if I could get him to read it. -Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Jackson Jones: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish

Zonderkidz (August 6, 2010)

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of Zonderkidz for sending me a review copy.***


Jenn Kelly lives in Ottawa, Canada, but her heart lives in Paris. Or Hawaii. She hasn’t decided yet. She is an undercover garden guru, painter, and chef, which has absolute nothing to do with this book. She won a writing award in grade 4, failed English Lit in university, spent many years writing bad poetry, and then decided to write a book. This is it. She is married to her best friend, Danny, and is mom to a five-year-old boy and a dog who worries too much. She embraces the ridiculousness and disorganization of life.

Visit the author’s website.

Ari has worked as a freelance illustrator for a variety of projects, mostly in children’s media. Her specialty is character design and she most enjoys illustrating humorous and wacky predicaments.

She studied editorial and children’s book illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and the DuCret School of Art in New Jersey. She uses a variety of media to create my images both traditional and digital.

Visit the illustrator’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (August 6, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310720796
ISBN-13: 978-0310720799


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Fun with school

School looks a little different here than a classroom….

Here is a lively game of Math War for math drill time:
It is a great way to practice multiplication tables.

We have been going through MFW- Exploring Countries and cultures.
Right now we are studying Mexico…..

Our dinner…..

Learning about the mysterious wonders of instant pudding that someone gave us.

Come, on, you can smile!!!

That is better!

Fresh corn on the cob


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Menu for the week

We are traveling through Mexico this week, so tonight we had tostadas. i am not sure the mexican’s would have recognized them, but they were good. I think i will be sick of eating it all week, but we will see!

Wednesday: Enchiladas, rice…tomato salad
Thursday: Beans, rice, homemade tortillas
Friday: Shredded meat, tortilla….i had some once with a spicy sauce that a fellow ESL student made at a get together with cactus in it and homemade corn tortillas. I wonder if I can recreate it.
Saturday: Gone for my brother’s birthday

Sunday: Church for dinner

Monday: We are studying Canada next….not sure what special food they eat. I will have to study up on that.  Breakfast for dinner….

French Toast, sausage, eggs and fruit

Tuesday: Pasta with parsley pesto, chicken legs

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A Memory Between us by Sarah Sundin

A Memory Between Us

By Sarah Sundin

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


Can they overcome the past to find a brighter future together?

Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge–until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth’s heart a top-priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she also is determined not to give her heart to any man.

As the danger and tension of World War II rise to a fever pitch, Jack and Ruth will need each other more than ever. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.

A Memory Between Us is the second book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.


Sarah Sundin is an on-call hospital pharmacist and holds a BS in chemistry from UCLA and a doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII. Sarah lives in Californiawith her husband and three children. This is her second novel.  For more info please visit her website at!

My Review:

I am trying to remember since I have been as excited to review a book as this one. Well, Tricia Goyer’s last book was really amazing too. I was so excited last year to read the first book in this series. A Memory between us by Sarah Sundin is the second book in this World War 2 series. I was so impressed by her first book how you felt like you knew the danger, the pain and it was not all excitement and the thrill of bombing pilots. This one is no different.

Ruth is a WW2 nurse, working overseas to support her siblings who have been orphaned  and are all in the care of family members. The work is hard, there is conflict between nurses and Ruth is a kind nurse, but distant in her personal lives.

When Jack Novak tries to break through her hard as metal exterior while injured and under her care, he has no idea the task he has before him. Cocky, proud and sure of himself, she is a challenge for him that he loves. But will he be able to see how his pride is hurting others or even endangering them? Will the same pride keep him from a relationship with Ruth?

How can Ruth deal with the demands for money from home? Should she take a more dangerous job, just because of the money?

This book is a sweet romance, but also very realistic, I felt like. It deals with the true life faults that would come into play when you have any two relationships between people.  Both Ruth and Jack have sin issues they needed to deal with and I loved seeing how the author  had God work in both of their lives.  When I read a historical fiction, I love it to feel authentic. I want to hear the historical facts interwoven in the story, I want to feel the characters humanness. This book has it all! For one thing….you know the term “Giving you flak”…I did not know that came from a term from bombs and airplanes.  The only complaint I would have about this book, is it really was not long enough!!  I wished a couple other loose ends got tied up with her aunt and her siblings, but I just wanted the story to go on and on!!! Excellent writing and story telling!


About The Memories and Movies Giveaway:

Sarah Sundin presents The Movies and Memories Giveaway in honor of book 2 in the Wings of Glory series. A Memory Between Us is available for purchase wherever fine books are sold. From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.
To celebrate Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Movie and Memory Prize Package! One grand prize winner will receive:

* Make-your-own-photo book from (Capture your own Memories)

* Netflix Subscription (New or Nostalgic Movies delivered right to your house)

* Starbucks gift card (To keep your engine revvin’)

*Gourmet chocolate (A favorite in the 1940’s and now)

* British specialty teas in carved wooden box (Timeless tradition)

* Miniature model of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber & C-47 cargo plane (Everyone needs a few toy planes)

*Big Band music CD (Break out your dancing shoes)

* WWII authentic poster playing cards (Cards – a perfect game for two)

* Keep Calm and Carry On (Uplifting sayings WWII, a boost for troubled times)


Sarah Sundin presents The Movies and Memories Giveaway in honor of book 2 in the Wings of Glory series. A Memory Between Us is available for purchase wherever fine books are sold. From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.


To celebrate Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Movie and Memory Prize Package! One grand prize winner will receive:

* Make-your-own-photo book from (Capture your own Memories)

* Netflix Subscription (New or Nostalgic Movies delivered right to your house)

* Starbucks gift card (To keep your engine revvin’)

*Gourmet chocolate (A favorite in the 1940’s and now)

* British specialty teas in carved wooden box (Timeless tradition)

* Miniature model of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber & C-47 cargo plane (Everyone needs a few toy planes)

*Big Band music CD (Break out your dancing shoes)

* WWII authentic poster playing cards (Cards – a perfect game for two)

* Keep Calm and Carry On (Uplifting sayings WWII, a boost for troubled times)

To enter simple click on the icons below (contest runs 9/27 – 10/17!)

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Whirlwind evening

The day went fairly smoothly and we were on our way home from the library, with an hour to make dinner, when suddenly I remembered not only had i forgotten to mail off the house payment, I forgot to make the deposit  which to make the house payment. So, while frantically starting  my chili, which needed to simmer, collecting checks, signing them, getting them ready to be depositing, writing the house payment check and getting it ready to mail plus I had to get the paystub from this month ready to send to social security. I also had a stack of postcards for MOMYS postcard swap that were ready to go…so as soon as my husband came in the door, I ran out to get it done. It is amazing how fast you can do things without kids. Before I left, I realized I forgot to check if there were any canned beans and I forgot to cook dry ones, so had to run in and grab a can of pinto beans to throw in the Chili. I got home, threw  a pan of corn bread in the oven, (baked in cast iron, I love it!!!) and let the beans simmer for 20 minutes in the chili and we had a lovely dinner! Now, I am finally finishing school with my 6 year old, and am trying to work on teaching the other boys how to clean the kitchen.

Just the life of a mom!

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Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller

Somewhere to Belong

By Judith Miller

Reviewed by: Martha Artyomenko

The Amana Colonies…..a religious group that little is published about until recently. This group that came from Lutheran background rather than Catholic like the Anabaptists (Mennonites, Amish, Hutterites and others), but in some ways seem similar to the Hutterites. Their communal lifestyle, and good marketing with inventing things and being responsible for Amana Appliances which is what Whirlpool came from, and were known for their woolen goods as well.

So, that little history lesson takes us to the Amana colonies in 1877.

Johanna is given charge to help a newcomer to the society, Berta. Berta does not wish to be here, from wearing a pink skirt under her plain dress, Johanna is frustrated and blamed for her improper behavior.

Johanna has her own secret though, she has discovered something that may change her life forever. What should she do about it? Should she look outside of Amana for a life?

Both Berta and Johanna face many changes, restrictions in either world and wonder where they belong? Can they find “Somewhere to belong”?

My Review:

I found the history behind the Amana’s interesting. In 1930, they ceased from communal living, but I guess there are still operational churches of this sect that continues to this day. Both Johanna and Berta had to face questions that plague many of us even this day. We don;t have to face judgement for wearing a pink skirt, but I wonder if we thought it would save our family, would we do drastic things to bring a family closer together like the Schumacher family tried to do?

Can we be content with what we have always known, or is the grass always greener on the other side?

These are just a few of the questions that were brought up for me while reading this historical fiction novel. -Martha

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing this book for review.

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Heart’s Awakening by Delia Parr

Heart’s Awakening

By Delia Parr

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Elvira Kilmer has little choices in her life. Marriage does not seem to be in her future. She is plain, without money, and her relations only put up with her because it is duty, or else they want something from her.

Jackson Smith needs a housekeeper and a nanny for his young boys. Ellie is so plain, he soon realizes that no one will ever think that he has any romantic connection to her and that will work in his favor, in helping people forget the scandal in his first marriage.

But when he offers Ellie something out of the ordinary, will she be able to look beyond necessity and open her heart to help each other out?

My Review:

Ellie is plain, Jackson is a widower with a scandal surrounding his past marriage. He mistrusts women, she is not used to his stove, life in an apple orchard on an island is a little different than she expected. Taking care of two boys, who really do not want her there, is just one of the difficulties she faces.

This book is a bit different than the normal  as it hits on things that a marriage would face in a marriage of convenience, with difficult pasts on both sides. Ellie is afraid of storms. Jackson is afraid of being cheated by a woman. His children do not know what really happened to their mother, and so resent the women who come to take care of them. I read this book in a hard time in our life and could relate to some of it. I found it was an easy way to think about some difficult situations. -Martha

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing this book for review.

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She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

She Walks in Beauty

By Siri Mitchell

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

The Gilded age of New York City. A game is played among the top young women of the city, to see who can catch the most eligible men to set them up for the rest of their life. It is the game of life. The prize is a lifetime of wealth and privilege . You mess up or lose, you are ignored  for the rest of your life. You will not get invited to the tea’s, soiree’s, ball’s  or banquet’s… beware of everything. The fact that your waist is not as small as your neighbor’s,  your parents were not what you thought or other things this small, can  effect the rules of the game.

Clara Carter is this season’s social star. She has played by the rules and aimed for the highest. But what if  the highest is not  the person she wants to spend her life with? What if she does not want to risk her health for beauty? Mysteries fill her life, as she discovers how her mother died, a friendship is threatened in the name of achieving  good society. What will be the most important to Clara in the end?

My review:

Oh, how I was shocked at the lengths women would go to for perceived beauty…Siri Mitchell goes into great detail to show you the history of corsets, and the mutilation of the female body for beauty as well as the consequences there of. Ms. Mitchell does not disappoint us as this book is filled with historical facts and info, and for me was the best book I have ever read by her. It made me think how all through history women have mutilated themselves in the name of beauty and what we think is beautiful. I look around even now, in this age of “freedom”  and still see the excessive dying of hair, tattoos, piercings, exposure of skin, and see we have not not come very far in all of history. Throughout history, everyone is the same, trying to live a certain way to achieve a certain place in society and at what cost? -Martha

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing this book for review.

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Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon

Touching the Clouds

By Bonnie Leon

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Kate Evans is adventurous and loves to fly!  This is a very different combination for a woman in the time period of which she lives. Kate is dealing with guilt  from surviving a plane accident which effected her life. Leaving everything, her parents, her fiance, she heads out to be a Alaskan Bush pilot, which no one believe she will actually get to do. It is a man’s world and dealing with fighting the norms of society is as hard as the actual work.

Can Kate deal with her past or will it always effect her? Can she make new relationships in this wilderness or will she always  be surrounded by walls of fear?

My Review:

I have always enjoyed Bonnie Leon’s books. I was a teenager when I first read her Northern Light’s series and it is still a fond memory. We were so thrilled as we worked hard to get the library to buy them!

Touching the clouds is a excellent piece of writing fiction. You will learn much of Alaskan history,  and especially how planes figured in the early history of it. You  also realize little has changed in some areas of Alaska, other than prices. I could have thought this a contemporary work of fiction, other than the prices were very low and I realized it was quite long ago. You will read the emotion of the characters in this book, and it will make you look forward to more of this series. -Martha

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Our Schoolroom and other misc. facts

The lighting is very bad in here….so the pictures do not come out terribly well….plus, there is alot of wires…, not terribly pretty.
Then here is the reading couch and also, a guest bed for company.

I also use the back of the door for organizing all the little things.
Here are some of my bookshelves….you can see in the top picture, they continue for the whole wall on the one side pretty much and then a small one on the other side. In some places the books are double shelved…I have alot of books. There are more than 5 bookshelves upstairs too and another in the family room.
So, there is always more work and organizing, my fabric is really bad, just piled in crates or boxes and I am not allowing myself to buy anymore, until I either use some of it or get rid of some of it. I did organize the closet so it is a more useful place now. It feels much better!

I forgot to write out the menu for this week, but we got a good deal on ground beef, and I had chicken to use up. I did can 6 quarts of chicken broth with bits of chicken in it for soup, gravy etc. It is very condensed, but came from some chickens my husband butchered this summer, so it is free range chicken broth…..= )
Tonight a friend called and said they overbought some milk and wondered if I could use some, so I gratefully accepted and was very blessed by it! Milk adds up so fast! We are waiting for the potato harvest to come in and then we will get potatoes stored away in our cellar part of the basement, what used to be an old elevator, but stores potatoes nicely…as well as spiders, so F. just gets things for me in there. As long as they stay in there, and not elsewhere, I am happy!

We had Shepherd’s pie for dinner tonight with corn and broccoli as i had no green beans. The boys enjoyed it, except for L. who only wanted mashed potatoes with no meat, vegetables or gravy. That he did enjoy though. It is true comfort food though! There is just something about it that sort of warms the cockles of your heart.

My niece who has been in the hospital now for almost a week, is facing some uncertainties. So, I have been in prayer for that.
Also, L. started special tutoring classes today, two hours a day, although everything was not quite as it will be, hopefully tomorrow, but hopefully we will get him reading and up to the level where he should be. He is so bright! I was impressed when they tested him and they showed me how well he did on his I.Q. tests, and they could tell he had been taught. He has a little Ukrainian boy in his reading group too, about the same age and same reading level, so that is nice. I am praying that everything goes smoothly and L. adjusts to this change well.

Monday’s are always a little rough, and today was no exception, but i will persevere and know the rest of the week will get better. So, goodnight all…I am hoping that the pounding in my head will go away, tomorrow, I will have more patience, more time than I know what to do with and overflowing love for all faults of my children….okay…I will settle for just patience…but that is plenty to ask for!

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