Archive for Books

Pirates for Girls & Babies {Poppins Book Nook}

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks for your support!


Pirates for Girls & Babies

I was so excited for the Pirate theme this month because we TOTALLY do pirates. I bought the only two Pirate books from Usborne that we didn’t have and even planned a Pirate(-Ninja) Party. Unfortunately, July was not a good month for pirate play. It’s been a crazy busy month. No one was able to come to the Pirate-Ninja Party so we went sailing instead.

Usborne Pirate Books

I bought two pirate board books from UsborneMy First Pirate Book and Noisy Pirates. My First Pirate Book was a my first seek-and-find kind of book. It was a little young for my almost 4 year old and a little old for my one year old. Maybe it will be good for that 2-3 year group.

The Little Man adored Noisy Pirates almost as much as Itty Bitty dislikes it. She doesn’t think things with no off switch or loud noises. Noisy Pirates is a tabbed board book with buttons. The pictures on the buttons correspond to the tabs and play sound effects appropriate to the page. Or you can just play the pirate song ad nauseum, like the Little Man does. The sounds are a little long for the small size of the pages; he gets a little impatient when you try to make them correspond and the girls aren’t much better. I’m still glad to have added it to our collection.

Pirates for Girls

Like I said earlier, the party was a bust, but we did buy the newest Tinkerbell Fairies movie — The Pirate Fairy. In it, a fairy figured out how to make different kinds of pixie dust and even switched all their powers around. It was a super cute movie and even told about the beginnings of Hook & the croc.

We didn’t get to this, but while looking for another craft project this past weekend, I found these Disney Fairy peg dolls that include Zarina, the Pirate Fairy. If I had time (and more pegs) I would make them for Pirate Week. Maybe next year.

Because we do Pirate Week every year, they have pirate dresses and daggers. They also have several Jake & the Neverland Pirates play sets. But I got sick of them never picking up their toys and took it all away. So I forgot to get them out :). Oops.

Pirates for Babies

When I found the Disney Fairy peg dolls for the girls, I found this super easy set of pirate peg dolls to make for boys. These I WILL be making. They are super easy and I have lots of boy shaped pegs. They are perfect for babies! Preferably ones who aren’t still eating everything though. I think most sealers are probably not very good for eating.

I had also intended to take the kids to one of the pirate themed playgrounds in town, but we never made it.

Pirate Fun Round Up

If you missed my teaser post, here is a list of all the fun ideas we have collected in honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. We’ve turned it into Pirate Week :).

You can find some of our favorite Pirate books in these posts:

And our favorite pirate activities here:

Poppins Book Nook

Have you blogged about any pirate fun this month? Need some more ideas?

Check out posts from all Poppins Book Nook co-hosts and add your post to the linky below.

Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015  Clip Art by Melon Headz

Check out more Poppins Book Nook posts from around the world by these lovely bloggers:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual MayhemPreschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama

Follow more Poppins Book Nook fun on Pinterest!

An InLinkz Link-up

Jen S.

Print Friendly

The Butterfly & The Violin {Book Review}

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


I haven’t been reviewing much fiction on here lately for a few reasons, but recently I received a copy of The Butterfly & the Violin. This novel by Kristy Cambron weaves together a contemporary romance & historical fiction in her story of Sera, an art gallery owner on the search for a painting she saw as a child. William is also looking for the painting for completely different reasons and when their paths cross, Sera isn’t sure if her broken heart will be able to try again. Together, Sera & William begin to unravel the story of the woman in the painting, Adele Von Bron. Adele was a talented violin player from Vienna during WWII. Living a life of wealth & opulence, Adele risks everything to help the poor and hurting victims of war. The Butterfly & the Violin is their story.

The story of The Butterfly & the Violin was a very good read. The story changes between Sera & Adele as you read the book. The transitions work well and make sense. You are never left wondering what time period you are in or why you are flitting back & forth. I liked the characters of Sera & her assistant and William & his family. I loved the story of Adele, too. Her strength & struggle were amazing!

Of the two stories, Adele’s was much more interesting. She painted a fascinating picture of life during WWII and the concentration camps, as well as the stark contrast between the haves and the have nots. She started out strong with Sera and William, but seemed as if the more conflict and tension Adele had, the less interesting Sera’s story became. It was almost as if it was an after thought, like she forgot she had loose ends to tie up there. It was still good, but it started out super interesting & kind of petered out, in my opinion.

Like all fiction I read & review these days, it is Christian fiction. The Christian aspects of The Butterfly & the Violin are naturally woven into the story. In addition, the author paints a picture of the atrocities of war without breaking my heart or causing nightmares…a fine line to walk without being boring. She also covered an aspect of the war that I had never heard of or considered–that of the artists–painters, musicians and the like. It was fascinating!

Overall, The Butterfly & the Violin was a good read. If you are an art lover or are interested in historical fiction about WWII, you will really enjoy this book.

*   *   *

Welcome to the launch campaign for debut novelist Kristy Cambron‘s The Butterfly and the Violin. Romantic Times had this to say: “Alternating points of view skillfully blend contemporary and historical fiction in this debut novel that is almost impossible to put down. Well-researched yet heartbreaking. . . .”

Kristy is celebrating the release of the first book in her series, A Hidden Masterpiece, with a fun Kindle Fire giveaway and meeting her readers during an August 7th Facebook author chat party.


One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 7th. Winner will be announced at The Butterfly and the Violin Author Chat Party. Kristy will be connecting with readers and answering questions, sharing some of the fascinating research behind the book, hosting a fun book chat, and giving away some GREAT prizes. She will also be giving an exclusive look at the next book in the series, A Sparrow in Terezin!

So grab your copy of The Butterfly and the Violin and join Kristy on the evening of August 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!


Good Luck!!

Jen S.


Print Friendly

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms {Schoolhouse Review Crew}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Like many women, especially homeschooling moms, I have a TON on my plate.  This season of littles & technological escapism, short temper, lack of discipline & general overwhelm had me (and my poor family) in a state of survival.  Better than before, but still spilling into survival mode.  The opportunity to review Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms (published by homeschool curriculum provider Apologia Educational Ministries) could not have come at a better time.




Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms was written by Mary Jo Tate, a SINGLE mother who both homeschooled AND supported her family with an at home business.  My goodness!!  In Flourish, Ms. Tate covers every area of life that a mom could encounter, including not having a spouse, running a business and homeschooling.  There are 16 chapters covering areas like attitude, the FREEDOM toolbox, time management, goals, planning, interruptions, child training, making memories, home management, learning, and more.  Flourish retails for $15.00.

The First Pass

I graduated with a business degree.  We own a business.  I am a productivity junkie (oh the irony!).  Love GTD, 7 Habits and all those type of books.  I have read mom productivity books, homeschool productivity books and business productivity books.  A lot of times the book covers 1 or 2 of the big pieces of my life, but never all 3.  Flourish is unique because it covers ALL THREE areas.  That is fabulous!   Even more fabulous is the fact that she covers being a single mom, doing all these things.

I am not a single mom.  But!  We own our own business.  And we’ve been in a growth spurt for about 4 months and we thought we finally hired someone, but it didn’t work out.  During growth spurts, I am practically single.  He works 10-14 hour days.  We have no family that is willing to help us out.  I finally found a regular sitter a few years ago but she is leaving for college at the end of the year.

Plus, I’m a loner.  Seriously, I’d rather be alone with a book than out for a girl’s night, which pretty effectively limits getting a good support network :).  Plus, I’m not a “kid-person” and feel like I can barely relate to mine and I’m with them all day.  Reciprocating in kind would be a special kind of purgatory for me.  All that to say that I can relate to aspects of single motherhood.   It’s also a great resource for how to help people who are single.  Or like single; I have a few friends in that boat.  One friend calls herself a golf-widow in the summers because her hubs manages a golf course :).

Anyway, the first thing I did was read the first chapter & take the “pre-test” to get a baseline for where I was starting.  Then I read the whole book.  Overall, I was inspired by stories of how she managed homeschool and work.  My kids are too little to do it like her since the youngest is one and the oldest is only 6, but I’m on track to get them there some day.  I was also convicted to be better disciplined. Discipline is not my strong suit. But you cannot make progress when you sit around wasting time or avoiding things.  So I need to get better at that.

The toolbox was a new idea to me and the strategies for singles spoke to me, too.  Go figure ;).  And my last set of goals were 2 years old, repeats of previous years and obviously not good ones or I would have done them at least a few times in those 3 years.  They need to be revisited.  So how to proceed?  In order or by need?

The Action Pass

The second time around, I’ve been slowly digesting the material. While I hadn’t heard of the toolbox as it was presented, I must have heard the bits and pieces from other places because I was pretty good at many of them.  I’m always trying to improve and tend to read many books on the same topics.  I’m also a master of elimination — especially of crappy & time consuming jobs :).  Discipline is my big one to work on.

I decided to pass on the full time log for two reasons.  First, I analyzed how much time essentials REALLY take in the winter.  Second, I do too much in 30 minutes to write stuff down.  Unless, I only write down “deal with kid needs” and “laundry” or “feed children” and “second breakfast,” etc.  What I DID do was work on my time wasters, because really that was one of the points of the exercise–to see what you spend your time on and then analyze it for good, bad and just plain reality.  I know that I spend a lot of time on my phone and computer; I think most of my readers know that, too :).  I got diligent, again, about limiting them.  I also decided that I needed to make time to really connect with my kids and be available to them and so I’ve been making a lot of effort to replace tech time with kid time (and not more chore time).

I’m also percolating goals.  I know what *I* want, but it’s silly to make goals that may conflict with hubby’s goals and he has been working 16 hour days.  I’m hoping to come home refreshed & inspired and ready to dream big after a badly needed family vacation this fall.  Right now he is busy moving to a new office and trying to hire & train a new tech before we leave.  Lots of stress going on the business front :).

I’ve gotten stuck in the planning tools.  Sort of.   Big dreams & annual goals are still percolating, but I know that one is to travel more.  While I haven’t set a goal yet, I do have time scheduled for travel in September & October right now.  My monthly calendars are pretty good, but my weekly plan & daily tasks will need tweaking when the new school year starts soon.  I’m looking forward to finishing this section & revisiting the interruption and attitude chapters.  I’m sure I’ll need it when the school year starts!


Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms is a fabulous book for homeschool moms, especially those who work for pay (in or outside the home).  Mary Jo Tate lays out all the best pieces of productivity and quality living and shares how they can make a difference in your life.  As a mom, with children of all ages, homeschooling, running businesses, and in your messy, unpredictable life.  Mary Jo doesn’t preach and doesn’t give orders but shares tips and how they have worked for her or others.  She encourages you that more & better is possible and inspires you to get off your duff & do it.  I’m so excited to be in a place of dreaming about — and taking action toward — the life I want to live.  And live NOW not when the kids are older, or we have more money, or we live somewhere else, or or or.  I’m so glad to have been able to review this inspiring read; it replaces nearly every other productivity book on my shelf because its tailored to my busy mom life.

Click here to read all reviews of the book Flourish by the other ladies in the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Jen S.


Print Friendly

Ye Olde Pirates Teaser – Resources & Fun

Usually I don’t bother to post a teaser of the upcoming Poppins Book Nook theme but its one of my absolute favorites and I think everyone should join in!

Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015

The July 2014 Theme is Ye Old Pirates! We love pirates!!

You can find some of our favorite Pirate books in these posts:

And our favorite pirate activities here:

As usual, Enchanted Homeschool Mom, the lovely host of the Poppins Book Nook has some fun lap book resources to use this month for pirates.



Go to Enchanted Homeschooling Mom to download the July Notebooking pack for Pirates!

The linky and the other hosts posts will be going up on 7/28.  Please join us this month and share your ideas!  I need more fun ideas for Talk Like A Pirate Day (Week) for this year.

Jen S.

Print Friendly

St. Peter’s Bones {Book Review}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


I originally had this review scheduled for a week or two out, but then I realized that today is the feast day of Saints Peter & Paul. What better day to share about St. Peter’s Bones: How the Relics of the First Pope Were Lost and Found . . . and Then Lost and Found Again?

Written by Thomas J Craughwell (who also wrote Saints Preserved), St. Peter’s Bones is the fascinating story of the bones of St. Peter, the first Catholic Pope & friend of Jesus. This book is part history, part story and part bible study. And interesting in its entirety.

For those unfamiliar with the story, oral tradition has told us that the body of Saint Peter is under the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Funny thing, though — no one had checked for over 1000 years. Early on, they had built a church over Saint Peter. Constantine built a better one over the old one in 360, and the building there now was completed in 1626. The old one was completely dismantled.

In the course of some other repairs during WWII, workmen were given permission to investigate an area under the Basilica. They found an underground burial city of sorts and clues that led them to believe that St. Peter may be nearby. The Pope authorized work on the conditions that it not disturb the use of the church, nor would the public be told.

St. Peter’s Bones is an interesting story to read. He alternates between church history, world history, and the archeological expedition. Craughwell does a skillful job of transitioning from one to another and presenting them in a logical, yet still interesting way. It’s my favorite way to learn, honestly.

If you like archeology, legends, church history, or ancient history, this book will have something to interest you. If you are a Protestant, it may not be so interesting. But if you are interested in the early church, he does a great job painting the life and history. I recommend St. Peter’s Bones: How the Relics of the First Pope Were Lost and Found . . . and Then Lost and Found Again to anyone who likes to learn about the Church’s history & ancient history but doesn’t have a lot of time.

Sound interesting?  You can read the first chapter here.


Jen S.


Print Friendly

Switch to our mobile site