Book Review: Learning All the Time by John Holt


Amazon | Goodreads

What is it about?

John Holt made a career out of studying how children learn and wrote ten books about his findings. This book, Learning All the Time was assembled posthumously based on outlines and articles he had written. It illustrates how children WANT to, and WILL learn how to read, write, and count without being taught.

Is it good?

Despited being absolutely riddled with typos to a point where I sometimes struggled to figure out what was being talked about, this book was great. It really brought insight into how small children explore the world. I look from the book to my children (1 and 3) and I see that it is happening. I found so many thoughts in this book worth discussing that I will probably write a few posts about it on my parenting blog, Homeschooled by Kids.


Book Review: Long Dark Dusk by J.P. Smythe

LongDarkDuskAmazon | Goodreads

What is it about?

This is book two in the Australia Trilogy. If you haven’t read the first book, then you should go read Way Down Dark now.

This book takes off a short while after the other ended. Chan is looking for a little girl named Mae, whom she promised she would protect. In her effort to do so, she seeks help from a shady person and ends up in over her head. Some characters from the first book reappear and help keep the story interesting.

Is it good?

It was excellent! It is packed with action and has lots of twists that keep you interested all throughout the book. I think that Chan tries to learn from her mistakes and I really want to find out what she will do next.

Happy Reading!


Book Review: A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi


Amazon | Goodreads

What is it about?

This is a story about an Afghan woman who is arrested for allegedly murdering her husband, and her American trained lawyer. It analyzes the Afghan justice system (or lack thereof) and a woman’s role in Afghan society.

Is it good?

It is pretty good. The story is told well and the drama and actual truth behind the murder is pieced out incrementally, which causes the holder to maintain interest in the story throughout most of book. However I was surprised at the end by the judge’s ruling and reasoning which seemed inconsistent with his character. Despite that I think the book was very enjoyable over all, except that it mostly made me feel sad. This is because I really felt sympathetic toward Zeba, the main character, and she understandably goes through a rough patch after being accused of murder.

Up next: Long Dark Dusk by J.P. Smythe – Part II of the Australia Trilogy. I’ve been waiting for this book for over a year and am glad it is finally available from the library! (Amazon | Goodreads)

Happy Reading!!


Recipe: Baked Quesadilla

For the last few weeks I have been feeling very cold and tired. And rather than going to the doctor or going on WebMD like a normal person, I am self diagnosing my mildly hypochondriac self with mild Anemia. I had this when I was pregnant and all I know is that it means I am low on iron and I feel cold easier. My answer is to increase my iron intake which (again, without research) I believe is in steak and spinach.

Steak is expensive, so I’m trying to eat more spinach.

Here is a simple and easy recipe using spinach. Normally I cook quesadillas (plain cheese, or with a sprinkle of sandwich meat) in a skillet. I do this frequently because my kids love them. The skillet method is much quicker than baking, but the benefit of baking is that it is hands off and leaves you free to deal with your screaming children/dogs/cats/hamsters.



Grated Cheese – Mexican Style, Mozzarella, or both.


(The second quesadilla I made for my kids had Salami – that was also tasty)

2017-05-16_15-06-03_762The Process

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 2017-05-16_15-21-51_839
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Sprinkle cheese on tortillas
  4. Tear up clean spinach leaves and cover the whole tortilla
  5. Add more cheese
  6. Close the Quesadilla by placing another tortilla on top
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tortillas start getting nice and crispy and everything smells delicious.

Happy Eating! 



Book Review: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce


Amazon | Goodreads

What is it about?

“That’s it, then,” said Finty. “It’s a unanermous yes vote. From now on, no one dies. We’re all waiting for Harold Fry.”

Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and writes a letter to an old friend to notify him that she is dying from cancer. She hasn’t seen or heard from him in 20 years. She received a postcard from him telling her to wait for him. While she waits, she begins writing him the letter that will explain the truth of why she left.

Is it good?

Yes! Queenie’s letter is sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes funny and happy. The patients at the hospice are a wonderful cast of characters, and the memories from Queenie ‘s past are so engaging. I found myself on the brink of tears at least twice.

You do not have to have read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, but that is also a wonderful book. They are set on the same time line and involve some of the same characters, but you can read each book individually.

Some memorable quotes:

Perhaps I took my mother more literally than she intended, but I applied her rule to my life; after all, we are all searching for them, the rules. We pick them up from the strangest places, and if they appear to work once we can live a whole lifetime by them, regardless of the unhappiness and difficulty they may later bring.

This can happen unintentionally, at first you might think ‘If it isn’t broken, why fix it?’ And then it’s, ‘it worked before, it should work again.’ Or maybe it’s only a simple superstition, but you get trapped doing the same thing over and over.

If only memory were a library with everything stored where it should be. If only you could walk to the desk and say to the assistant, I’d like to return the painful memories about David Fry or indeed his mother and take out some happier ones, please.

Yes, please! That would be so wonderful!

It did not change for my landlady or your neighbors or people I passed in the street. If it altered for them, the shift was brief, it was a hiccup, it was a missing of a step, the way the sudden removal of a person is a reminder of one’s own fragility before we resume the familiar, ordinary things that make us feel untouchable again. But from where I was looking, a seismic shift occurred. And like most seismic shifts, it cut everything open and pulled it apart.

I have felt both sides of this on separate occasions, and this is such an accurate description of how tragedy affects us.

Next up: A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi

Happy Reading!

Happy Limerick Day

May 12th is the birthday of english artist and author Edward Lear, who is known mostly for his nonsense poetry. It is also used to celebrate the Limerick.

I’m not nearly so talented as Mr. Lear but I attempted to write my own:


There once was a mom who liked reading,

but her boys she was busy feeding.

Finally they went to bed,

to rest their sleepy head,

and soon, the books call she was heeding.


Why don’t you try to write one, too?

Happy Reading (and writing)!


Book Review – The Watsons by Jane Austen


Amazon | Goodreads

What is it about?

Emma Watson is a young lady who is returned to her poor family after spending the last 14 years living luxuriously with her Aunt who remarried and squandered her fortune. She is then introduced to society and draws the eyes of a few gentlemen, but she only has eyes for one.

Is it good?

It was really good… until it ended abruptly. Apparently Jane Austen died before finishing this story. I didn’t realize what I was getting into because I’ve just been working my way through the complete Jane Austen collection.

I really liked Emma Watson and her sister Elizabeth and I really wanted to know what was happening.

I have heard tell of a novel that completes the story on Jane Austen’s behalf, but I feel like that might be cheating on dear Jane.

Jane Austen

Amazon | Goodreads

I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every book from Jane Austen. They always feel like my best friend sharing the juiciest gossip with me, and I always feel very attached to the characters. [The whole collection is only $0.99 for Kindle!)

Jane Austen died 200 years ago this July, but I think she is still as popular as ever. Maybe I’m feeling overly emotional because I’ve been working through the compilation for a whole year, but I love her stories.

Up Next: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachelle Joyce. I am loving this book so far! It is the second book in the Harold Fry story, but it occurs at the same time as Harold Fry and seems like a stand alone book. I don’t often buy books because the library is always free, but this one is only $2.99 on Amazon right now and I couldn’t resist.