Archive for June, 2016

Week In The Life (Not, Taking Its Toll)

June 24, 2016

Ahh….summer.

I did this crazy thing last year while recovering from back surgery, I added boards on Pinterest for every subject Sky will need credits for to graduate. Then, I added tons of resources for each one, more than I will ever be able to use. In other words, I have high school pretty much planned out. So, what am I now to do with all this free time on my hands? Read, of course.

I do want to say something about homeschooling high school, especially to those that might be new to homeschooling. I absolutely love it!

I will not lie though, it scared the crap out of me, still kind off does. It did take me a while to figure it out, but now our days flow really well.

In all honest truth, I think the hardest part about homeschooling, besides finding your groove, is getting younger children to cooperate. I promise you, it does get easier as they get older.

I love having the in-depth conversations that Sky and I have. All those learning trails we followed, and allowing her the space to come to her own conclusions, have really paid off. She is such a deep-thinking young lady.

Reading though, that is what I wanted to write about.

I finished Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. I enjoyed it alright. It is based off the real murder of Jenny Bonnet, a cross dressing woman from San Francisco during the late 1800s. I didn’t care too much for the protagonist, I just couldn’t relate to her at all. I did love the historical setting of the novel though, and think it was worth the read, just for that reason alone.

Then, I read the Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This novel, literally left me speechless. I read it in two days, because I could not put it down. Jackson’s writing is hypnotizing, absolutely beautiful. This novel, now holds second place, under Frankenstein, on my top 5 favorite books list. There are very few books, that I want to read over and over, this is, by far, one of those books.

I loved this story so much, that I had to buy the ’63 movie version. I can’t wait to watch it this weekend with the girls, and I am happy to add it to our Halloween movie collection.

So, this has lead me on a haunted house, reading kick. I am already halfway through The Shining by King. I’m not really sure why I’ve never read this one before, but I am really enjoying it (I have not seen the movie). I’ve already read: The House by Bentley Little, and The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, any other recommendations?

Homeschool

We ditched reading the Gregor series. None of us, was in the mood for another “go on a quest” type of story. I have a problem with adult authors that try to write  “21st century” child characters. I understand exactly how Little Sis feels about books “talking down” to you. It insults our intelligence.

So, we are reading, and enjoying,  The Phantom Tollbooth instead.

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The girls continued working in their english and mathematics workbooks.

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We practiced Yoga, and the girls have made several of the cakes now from the mug cake recipe book. My favorite, so far, is the strawberry shortcake.

For father’s day, the girls surprised Papa with chocolate cupcakes.

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They found the recipe on-line for the cupcakes, the icing, and baked them all by themselves. They were delicious.

We watched: Beauty and the Beast (With Some Jerk with a Camera!) – Brows Held High – YouTube. This was a wonderful critic of the differences between Cocteau’s and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Again, they do use some profanity, so use your own judgement.

The girls have had a friend over for the majority of the week, so not too many individual projects have been started as of yet. Not a bad start though.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“It Was the Worst of Times*)

June 18, 2016

I’m going to be honest, I have no idea how to start this post.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, America has taken another blow straight to the heart this week. As someone that suffers from depression, I don’t want to add to the sadness; yet, I find myself having trouble writing anything positive at the same time. It feels awkward writing about trivial things that happened to our family this week, when so many are mourning.It feels awkward, yet again, to just go on with our lives as if nothing has happened. Is this the new normal? “Someone has senselessly gunned down more innocent victims today, please pass the carrots.”

I don’t want to write about politics, or religion. I don’t want to write about gun rights. I don’t want to write about homosexuality, or transgenders. I don’t want to write about gorillas, or alligators, or perfect parenting. There is already enough of that noise.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many song lyrics that daily pass through my mind. The one song that has constantly been stuck in my head these last few days is: Seasons of Love from the musical Rent. I think that is what my soul, and our country, needs right now, a season of love.

I am not exactly sure how to accomplish this yet, but I am thankful we were able to complete our last week of long lessons, just in time for a much needed break.

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We started Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. Little Sis, has been curious to check out this series, since she loved The Hunger Games. We are on part 2 in the story, and are still not quite sure what to think about it yet.

We watched:The History of Sleeping Beauty | Fairy Tales with Jen – YouTube. One of my favorite BookTubers,

and the TedEd video: The Evolution of the Book-YouTube.

Handwriting:

The girls copied the first paragraph from: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

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(Sky)

I thought I would explain why I, usually, pick poetry to use for handwriting practice.

In the beginning, I would pick fun seasonal poems for the girls to copy just for practice. Now, not only does Sky get to practice her cursive, which she still struggles with, we also analyze what she is copying. This counts toward her literature credits (world, British, and American).

Vocabulary:

epoch, incredulity, superlative

Grammar:

The girls started new workbooks this week. Sky, started Barron’s E-Z English. When she completes this book, she will have completed her language arts credits for English 1 and 2.

Little Sis, started Kumon’s grade 4 writing workbook.

We also watched: English Grammar videos videos 1-6 from Socratica for a review. YouTube

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Heath:

We continued reading chapter 3 of: The Way We Work.

P.E.

We Yoga Walked indoors.

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at XtraMath.org, and worked in their Kumon workbook.

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For our lighter summer schedule, the girls will continue working on math, grammar, reading, and P.E. Everything else, we will pick back up in the fall.

This allows more time for us to spend outdoors, gardening, time to have their friends over for Friday nights pizza, games and movies, and closer friends over even more, swimming, and more time for the girls to work on their own projects.

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(Sky)

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(Little Sis, Dover Seashore Life coloring book)

In my opinion, this is just as important as academics.

Science:

We watched: Scishow Kids What’s the Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables? – YouTube,

The Dirt on Decomposers Crash Course Kids-YouTube,

New Ancient Human Fossils from SciShow-YouTube,

and listened to podcast 011: Fossils and Rocks with Duncan Findlay by The Show About Science | Free Listening on SoundCloud.

Garden update: Everything is doing really good so far. We’ve harvested the last of our strawberries, and I made strawberry jam.

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History

World/Geography:

We watched lots of videos this week.

For starters, we watched: Geography More! Austria, Geography Now! Denmark, and latitude and longitude from Dig Into History -YouTube.

We finished the French Revolution series from Tom Richey. YouTube

6. Women and the French Revolution

7. Marie Antoinette

8. Oylmpe de Gouges

9. Mary Wollstonecraft vs. Edmund Burke

10. Charlotte Corday and the Death of Marat

11. Concluding Remarks

This was a very well done series, and I highly recommend it. He also has free curriculum to go along with his videos on his website, that you can find linked on his YouTube page.

We watched: The French Revolution: Crash Course World History #29 – YouTube, and The French Revolution for Dummies: World History Review – YouTube Keith Hughes.

Sky took a quiz, and the girls copied notes in their notebook.

http://www.studenthandouts.com/Games-03/MC-The-French-Revolution-42-Questions.html

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We watched the BBC series: The Rise and Fall of Versailles parts 1-3-YouTube. Being this was made by BBC, there is brief nudity, mostly in episode 2, so use your own judgement. The documentary plays like a movie, and Sky found it very interesting.

We also watched: A Tale of Two Cities (1935).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027075/

Oh my, what a touching story, to add to an already heartbreaking week. I loved that Charles Dickens told the story from both the aristocrat’s and the common people’s point of view. This book has been added to my TBR.

Art:

We learned about Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and watched Pierre-Auguste Renoir Biography – Goodbye-Art Academy – YouTube.

I printed off a By the Seashore coloring page, and the girls copied notes.

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We read about the Impressionist movement from: DK Art That Changed the World, the other book we are using for art history.

 

Well, that is about it. Now that my brain can take a much-needed break from school lessons, I am ready to get out and spend some unplugged time with mother nature and my family this weekend. Wishing all the Papas out there a very happy father’s day.

Peace for the journey.

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Week In the Life (“You Say You Want A Revolution.”*)

June 11, 2016

In the last seven years I have been writing, I don’t think I have ever been nominated for the Liebster Award. Thank you Natural Homeschooling Mom.

Liebster Award Nominees

I really didn’t start writing my blog to gain readers, it is more for me to help sort out my thoughts, help out-of-state family keep up with what the girls are doing, and to document our homeschooling in case I would ever need to prove it. If my jumbled, opinionated thoughts can help anyone else that has chosen to homeschool their children, even better. I won’t lie, it is nice to read comments how a post may have helped someone, and I am incredibly thankful for the shout-out.

I am sorry to say, that since I’ve started homeschooling high school, I don’t read as many blogs as I would like. Sometimes, I’ll leave a comment here or there, if I liked a post. I think it’s nice when homeschoolers help each other out, and give encouragement.

Most of the bloggers that started writing when I did, have since moved on. So, I don’t really have a list of other bloggers to nominate. There are SO many new ones from when I first started mine. Then, I always get this guilty feeling that I might have left someone out, or hurt someone’s feelings if they were not mentioned. I think anyone that takes time out of their day to write, and helps others should be nominated.

I do think that it might be fun to answer a few questions though, since I keep myself so mysterious and all. 🙂

1. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

My family has never been afraid to give  new foods a try. Big sis, is always bringing over weird things for the girls to taste, and thanks to her, last summer we went to an annual bug fest held at our local park. Can you see where this is going? Yes, we indulged in eating crickets. There was bbq covered crickets, all the way to chocolate covered ones. Sky, loves them; I would need to be really hungry to want eat any more, but hey, at least I tried them.

2. If you could read only one book for a year, what would it be?

Wow, this is going to take a lot of thought. Have I mentioned that I love books?

Since it can only be one book, and not a series (because I would want to read the whole series), it would need to be a big one. Since, there are very few books on my read it again list, it would probably need to be one I have not read yet. So, I am thinking either Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, War and Peace, or Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. All three of these are on my TBR (to be read) list. Then, one of my favorite books, that I could read over and over, is The Stand by Stephen King. Oh decisions, decisions.

Well, since it can only be one, I choose Anna Karenina.

3. What is your favorite charity and why?

Wow, another tough one. I am going to keep it local though, and say Riley’s Children Hospital. I believe everyone deserves a chance at life whatever your annual income happens to be, but especially children.

4. What person present day or history would you most like to have a conversation with?

Okay, I think it is safe for me to say that all of these questions are pretty tough.

There are lots of people I would love to have a conversation with. Honestly though, all of their knowledge would be dated, and I have learned what I’ve needed from them already. So, for me it would be my grandfather. I lost him way before I was prepared to. His death, was the first tragic death I was old enough to understand. His death was not a surprise, it was a slow decline from terminal brain cancer. His death, literally changed the way I perceive life, one that I’ve carried with me into adulthood.

I would love to sit and just listen to every story he had to tell; ones about his childhood, World War 2, parenting, gardening, home maintenance, any and everything.

5 .Why did you start blogging?

I kind of already answered this. I will  add, that I view my blog like a journal. Writing, helps to sort my many thoughts. Sometimes, I don’t even know what I’m going to write; before I know it, I’ve filled the page and I am like wow, where did that come from?

I guess you could call my decision to homeschool, my experiment with education and how children learn. This is our learning journey.

6. What would be your dream occupation?

Anything, besides being a teacher (I couldn’t teach the same subjects every year without getting bored),  that has to do with working with children. I use to watch children before I started homeschooling, and I really liked it. There is something about preserving innocence, and allowing every child a safe haven to grow into their true self, that just makes my heart sing.

7. If you could do anything to make this world a better place, what would it be?

This kind of goes with my answer to question 6. I believe, that when you raise happy, confident children, ones that understand their strengths and weaknesses (instead of pride, hatred, and greed), *they* will have the knowledge and power to change the world.

It must start at home, for everyone, not just children. This is why I am completely open and honest with my struggles here. My childhood was far from perfect, and it takes lots of work to jump off the merry-go-round we were brought up on. I suffer from anxiety and depression, but I am also compassionate and empathetic. I embrace my strengths and weaknesses. They make me, me.

8. What is the one thing that will always make you feel better?

Music, music, and more music. I love music! That, and my husband’s shoulder, while listening to music together. 🙂

9.What do you most admire about yourself?

My ability to grow and evolve. I don’t have all the answers, and don’t pretend that I do. I am not scared to admit to being wrong. I have been wrong lots of times, but I’ve learned not to make the same mistake twice.

10.What is your favorite childhood memory?

Anything involving my grandparents. The best thing my parents ever did for me, was allow my paternal grandparents to watch me while they went to work.

11. Do you have a bucket list?

I view them more as goals. Papa and I worked very hard to get out of debt. Our next goal is to have our house paid off in the next 5 years.

We split the money we are saving, from paying off our debt, into savings, and matching our mortgage principal payment with the rest. We are also trying to update our home to be ready for when we are older. That has not been an easy task.

I know this is kind of boring, but we are setting our home up where we would want to vacation at. Indiana has beaches, city, country, hills, hiking, canoeing, skiing, and caves. It has everything we want for a day trip.

Whew, that was a lot of pondering. Thanks again for the nomination.

Instead of asking questions, I would love to hear answers in the comments to some of these great questions. What book would you choose? I could talk books, film, and music all day folks. 🙂

Speaking of: I finished Agnes Grey, and really liked it. It wasn’t the best story ever, but I wanted to continue reading it. I was truly interested in the characters. I still think Anne was the better writer out of her sisters. Even her simplest book held my attention. I even like her poetry the best.

I think this story would make a great read aloud, or a study of governesses and their place in Victorian society.

I have started Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. This is my first story I’ve read by her. It has mixed reviews, I am glad I’m reading it before I read Room. I am enjoying it so far.

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We finished The Ballet Shoes, and dropped Red. All of us agree The Ballet Shoes was boring. I’ve read it being compared with The Little Princess, the girls could not disagree more.

Handwriting:

The girls copied, and we discussed: The Poor Children by Victor Hugo.

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(Little Sis)

Vocabulary:

heed, hath, fleshy, stammer, sinless, minister, ragged

Grammar:

We finished the Basher book on Grammar.

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at XtraMath.org, and they continued working in their Kumon workbooks.

Health:

We continued reading: The Way We Work, and watched, Spit: Everything You Never Wanted To Know – YouTube from It’s Okay To Be Smart.

P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym, we weeded the garden, and walked around the block.

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Science:

We watched: How Recycling Works – YouTube from SciShow, and Recycling, and Composting videos from SciShowKids -YouTube.

We listened to a podcast about recycling from: The Show About Science (on Dreamcloud), and learned how recycled potato chip bags, and Capri Sun containers get reused at Terracycle.

History

World/Geography:

We read both chapters about The French Revolution from French History for English Children.

We watched Tom Richey’s videos 1-5 about the French Revolution-YouTube

  1. The Old Regime
  2. The Estates General of 1789
  3. The National Assembly
  4. Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen
  5. Civil Constitution of the Clergy

Art:

We learned about Monet, and the girls colored La Promenade, and added notes to their notebooks.

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We will be using a couple of books for Art History, one being Art Explained by Robert Cumming, as well as videos, and we watched: Art with Mati and Dada – Edgar Degas, and Claude Monet Biography – Goodbye-Art Academy – YouTube.

We also discussed the painting: Death of Murat by Jacques-Louis David.

The Arts

Culinary:

Little Sis has been reading: The Smart Girl’s Guide To Going Vegetarian, and we’ve tried a few recipes.

For starters, hamburgers have been turned into tuna or salmon burgers around here. I have been using flax egg substitute to replace the eggs, with great results for a healthier burger.

I’ve been adding Chia seeds where ever I can, and made vegan plain pancakes, and sweet potato pancakes for breakfast.

Little Sis and I are the only ones that will eat sweet potatoes; I love them, and can eat them  plain, baked, mashed or as french fries.

So, Little Sis and I loved the pancakes. The plain ones were a huge success by all, and this has become my go to pancake recipe (after my oat flour pancakes). They are super quick, and easy.

Allergy Friendly Friday: Sweet Potato Pancakes

Vegan Fluffy Pancakes

Drawing:

I haven’t updated the girls’ drawings for a while.

Sky, has been working on a story.

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Little Sis has been practicing drawing herself. This is her hand reaching for her door.

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We watched the movie: The Ballet Shoes. I thought, maybe it would be one of those times when the movie is actually better than the book, but no. They were equally bad.

We also watched Ponyo again, which we love!

Well, I see the lightening bugs are out and about; I think summer has hit Indy. We have one more week left until we switch to our summer schedule.

Peace for the journey.

* Revolution by the Beatles

 

Week In The Life (Seeing Red)

June 4, 2016

This week I started a new book after finishing The Knight of Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin. It took me a while to figure out what I was going to read next, since I am waiting to finish The Song of Ice and Fire series, and having finished The Raven Cycle series.

I am the kind of person that needs to change genre after reading from one. So, I can’t read fantasy while I am still reading a fantasy series, and I can’t read YA (though I can’t read much of YA anyway) because of just finishing a YA series. Crazy, right?

Actually it is kind of odd really, physically I am a creature of habit; I hate surprises, and I need to know in advance of any change to my routine. Sky, takes after me in this way. Mentally though, I need constant change. I think this is why I would never be able to plan out our school lessons a year in advance. My mind gets bored very easily. Little Sis, takes after me in this way.

I’ve never been one to read all the work of one writer before moving on to another writer, not that I think their other work wouldn’t be any good, it’s that I need to read from a different voice, and get a new perspective first. I am actually this way with everything, not just books. While I am typing this, I just realized why I need everything physically to be the same, and why I don’t like changes, because my mind is so chaotic . I need balance. Writing things out can be good like that. 🙂

Anyways, so I started thinking about the huge list of classics that I have been wanting to read, and picked out Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. I loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and it has been a while since I’ve read a Bronte, so why not. So far, I am enjoying it (she is still my favorite Bronte writer). It beats some of the YA choices out there anyway.

This got me thinking about the girls’ favorite authors and our reading choices (and my constant struggle to find stories they actually like). Though Little Sis loved the Twilight and Hunger Games series, she also loved Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Little Women. She is a romantic, and I can’t wait to read Jane Austin with her. She can’t stand literature that tries to be “cool”, or that uses slang, or what she calls: ” babyish”.

Sky, likes more of the darker psychological elements in literature, as well as graphic novels. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, and The Little Princess (that both girls enjoyed) has been her favorite books we’ve read so far this year, besides Game of Thrones. She loves Death Note as well. Her favorite authors are Charles Dickens and Neil Gaiman.

Then it hit me, we are literary snobs, and it’s not because I’ve censored their reading choices either. I mean, the girls are free to read whatever they choose, and they naturally choose classics as their favorites. (Sky and I like Junie B. Jones, and we all love the Ramona series. Little Sis, on the other hand says Junie B. is too “babyish”, and she likes Ramona better ,because it doesn’t talk down to you. I am just happy they know what they like, and what they don’t).

So, this got me thinking about how much time I have wasted trying to read different fairy-tale adaptations, just for the sake of reading fairy-tale adaptations, that both girls have been bored with. I think the girls are quite capable of writing their own fairy-tale adaptations without needing to read other writers’ versions. I mean, if something is no longer enjoyable, that’s not mandatory that is, why continue?

So, I think I will just continue with reading the original fairy-tales themselves, that the girls have actually been enjoying, and move on. I know there will be certain books that need to be read, that the girls will eventually find boring. Honestly though, I think it is because they’re not “forced” to read and dissect the novel to death , that they really do enjoy discussing them (A day does not go by where we do not discuss Game of Thrones. In fact, Sky uses Martin’s writing to judge character development in other stories.), and has kept their reading experience enjoyable. Sky still doesn’t understand why people would dislike Shakespeare, and that makes me happy. 🙂

This is why I keep a blog of our progress, instead of just records. Not only does writing things out help to clear my mind, reading back over our progress helps me stay focused, and on track. It helps me see where we might be lacking, and what changes I might need to make. It also holds me accountable.

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We finished reading The Little Prince. This was a fun book to discuss with Sky. She completely understood the point the author was trying to make.

We are continuing with The Ballet Shoes. This is one of those stories I think we would have ditched if we were not so close to being done. All of us are finding it incredibly boring.

We also started Red by Liesl Shurtliff. This will probably be the last set of fairy-tale adaptations we read. So far, the girls are enjoying it, only time will tell though.

We listened to Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood at Storynory.com, and Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl -YouTube.

Grammar:

We read chapter 3 of Basher’s grammar book.

Vocabulary:

conventional, prominence

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Handwriting:

The girls copied a poem about punctuation to add to their English notebook.

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(Sky)

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up first at XtraMath.org, then worked in their Kumon workbooks.

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Science:

This week was all about food science. We watched videos: The Spangler Effect – Sugar Science – YouTube,

8 Cheesy Science Facts  from SciShow- YouTube, and

Top New Species for 2016, and a Perching Robot!  SciShow – YouTube (not about food).

We listened to: The Show About Science podcast, episode 3- Food Science – found at Soundcloud.com.

Health:

Still reading through chapter 4 from The Way We Work. It has been interesting to break digestion down bit by bit to see how everything works together. We’ve had lots of interesting conversations about the way we work.

P.E.

Walks around the block.

History

World/Geography:

We watched a video from The School of Life: What is History for? – YouTube

We learned about Louis the 16th from: French History for English Children, and the girls added notes to their history timeline notebooks.

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I’ve decided that we will start our fall school schedule with The Enlightenment, then move into American History with the American Revolution. It just seems to make more sense than covering the Civil War then backtracking. Besides, this is where we left off with in our American History lessons anyway.

Art:

We learned about the impressionism art period, and watched: Impressionism – Overview – Goodbye-Art Academy – YouTube.

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This triggered lots of conversations about art, and artists. Sky has truly been enjoying learning about the art history movements; she actually knows more than I do.

The Arts

Theater Appreciation: (Small and Big Screen)

We watched Fairy-tale Theater’s version of Little Red Riding Hood. YouTube

We also watched 2012 musical of Les Miserables.

One of my favorite Nostalgia Critic’s reviews is of this movie (Found on YouTube, warning he does use profanity. Plus, it contains my favorite YouTuber, Kyle from Brows Held High). Sky has actually learned how to write a theater analysis just from watching the Nostalgia Critic. Soon, she will be writing her own reviews.

Well, another  week finished.

Peace for the journey.