Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Two Things I'm Loving

Anne Pellowski's book series - I came across this series in the 4th grade recommended reading list at Real Learning. What a treat! Originally I checked out the four book series from the library for Grace to read, but after perusing the first book I knew I had to read this one aloud for me as well as the other kids. For starters the first book takes place around 1876. I absolutely love pioneer stories; if it weren't for the lack of proper medical care I would be content to live that life. Then it takes place in Wisconsin and is based on a real Polish family; growing up in a Polish town in Wisconsin I can relate to the Oszewski's and Jazgewski's and Pellowski's, well in name anyway. I actually have Peplinski and Kurszewski cousins. Large families are near and dear to my heart and after a brief read through of a couple chapters I note the family is Catholic. What a treasure of a book. Just half way through the first of four books I dare say I like this series better than the Little House series. Here's why - I can relate to the Pellowski family. Ma Ingalls in gentle, soft spoken, kind hearted; I am not. Ma Ingalls has all girls; I have two boys and two girls. The Pellowski family is full of boys and girls, 5 boys and 3 girls to be exact and according to the family tree it appears Mother will be having two more boys. The mix makes for great stories my kids can relate to. The teasing by the boys of the girls is just one of them. Mother Pellowski is stern yet loving. She is not afraid to reprimand the children when the work is not getting done; that's me, rules, work before play, serious, blunt. I love this first book. See the sidebar under Morning Read Aloud for a link to the first in the series.

Jack Johnson - Have you heard of this music artist? I received this CD for my birthday back in June and was told you'll feel like you're on vacation while listening. I turned it on as background music, but didn't pay much attention. With four kids the music has to be pretty loud to hear it over all their chatter. Now months later, I pulled it out again to listen while walking around the marsh. I try to fit in a walk a few days a week in the afternoon and use Grace's portable CD player to listen to music up close. This guy is awesome. The lyrics are fun, inspirational, thought provoking. The guitar playing is better than anything I've heard in a long time. I set the CD in the van for DH to listen to the other day. I figured he'd listen to a couple songs and swap it out for Nickelback or something along those lines. He came home and said the CD was so good he forgot where he was going and what he was doing. Truly, he went to Fleet Farm with the kids so I could have an evening to sew and came home with nothing on the list. No canning jar lids, no burlap bags, no 60 watt lightbulbs. Just licorice and furnace filters. We've often talked about how angry I feel after listening to some of his music and I can't believe he can listen to that and still want to be alive. With this CD we both agree that you can have nothing but good feelings while listening. Topping it all off, the kids love the CD as well. It's not often that 6 people can agree on what CD to play in the van. And did you see Curious George? Did you like the music? Every song is a Jack Johnson original.