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The Front Tooth

Joash has lost the first of his front top teeth. And we are all very happy about this. It had been hanging on by a thread for weeks, driving Wilbert and I bananas because Joash would barely brush it and he would stop eating sometimes because it would move and feel weird. Finally, yesterday, Joash bit into a sticky candy and out it came!

November Books

November was another good month of reading.

You really should read:
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The rest were pretty good too. No real duds this month, but my least favorites were Probing, and  Lie to Me. 

Gideon - 19 Months

M(om): Gideon, another month has passed. Can you believe it?

G(ideon): It went pretty quickly, Mom. So fast, I guess, you didn't have time to take pictures of me.

M: I know. I only have pictures of you with your siblings. But, we were all sick for so much of this month and we have been busy with other things. I will try to take more pictures next month.
 G: Okay. But it has been a good month. I have gotten really good at walking and I keep trying to say more words. But, you don't seem understand to many of them yet, so I just nod or shake my head most of the time.

M: We are trying to figure out what you want to say, but it is tricky. I am so glad you know how to nod a yes and shake your head for no. That really helps us out. And you have gotten to be a great walker. What else has been fun lately?
G: I have been having a great time at Kindermusik. I have also been spending a lot of time at Joash's school, too while you are working on library. It fun to see lots of differen…

Probing by Bill Meyers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, Alton Gansky

Cycle Three of the Harbingers series offers more suspense, more chills, and a deeper look into the battle for light in a growing darkness. 

In Myers's "Leviathan," the team heads to Hollywood for a taping of the new TV pilot, Live or Die, the Ultimate Reality. Little do they realize the depths of darkness they are about to enter--a darkness that, unless they stop it, will soon spread across the globe.

Frank Peretti's "The Mind Pirates" offers a rousing story featuring bizarre visions and memories of a murder, a kidnapping by 17th-century pirates, and an earring with mysterious powers. The team must overcome the ruthless scheming of an evil, hidden nemesis. 

In "Hybrids" from Angela Hunt, the sight of two children chills the team to their bones. Seeking rest and relaxation, the four friends must instead find answers to the arrival and mission of two mysterious black-eyed children. 

In "The Village" from Alton Gansky, a visit to a guarded and …

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon

Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death--and puts Trish under police scrutiny--her world is once again thrown into turmoil.
Detective Colin Flynn isn't certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge--and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn't just dangerous . . . it's deadly.
Dangerous Illusions is the first title in Irene Hannon's new Code of Honor Series. And once again, Hannon delivers. The plot twists were certainly things I did not see coming. Her characters are interesting, have depth and leave you wanting to know even more about them. I felt so bad for Trish and all that was happening to her and then got mad once the truth st…

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deerling

Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield, hoping for a relaxing holiday with his wife, Madeline, and friend Nick. But death meets him once again when Lord Rainsby, their host at Thorburn Hall, is killed in a suspicious riding accident--only days after confiding in Drew his fears that his business partner was embezzling funds.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each appears to have dark motives for wanting Rainsby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering is the second book in the Drew Farthingering Mystery series that I have read. And I do enjoy this series. It is such a nice cozy mystery, a lovely change of pace for me as a reader. Yes, there is death under mysterious circumstances and such, but overall …

October Books

So I read a lot of books in October. And also in October I started an Instagram account that is pretty much a Bookstagram account. So, if you really care about the books I have been reading, follow me @deniseoftheisland. (Did you catch that Anne of Green Gables reference?)

Storybook Character Day 2017

It is Storybook Character Day time again. Joash had his last week and Mataya had hers today. 
Joash, since he is really into Egypt really wanted to be a pharaoh. I managed to find a headdress at Value Village. We made the beard and the scepter things they used. Joash is trying to look very serious in this picture.
Mataya wanted to be a bunny, so we found a storybook on our shelf with a bunny in it. I found the ears at Value Village, too and we made the tail that we taped to her shirt. And she found a nice carrot from our garden.

The kids each had a fun day!

Joash's 7th Birthday

We had a great time celebrating Joash's 7th birthday. This year, he requested a cake that had a pyramid that looked like it was made out of Lego. He even made a model for me to use while I decorated the cake. 
Joash and his gifts. Lego is still a favorite thing and he got his first Lego Technic set for this birthday, which was a big hit. He also really wanted a Nerf gun, so that was a gift as well.
He also invited his best friend over during one of the PD days this week, and they had a great time.

Gideon 18 Months

M(om): Gideon! You are 18 month old! That is  1 1/2 years!

G: It is pretty exciting, Mom.

M: What have you been up too?

G:Well, the thing that seems to make you the most excited is I have given walking a chance. And over all it works pretty good, but sometime crawling is still better.
 M: It has been so fun to see to walk and how all the sudden one day you just decided to do it. What do you like to do with your days?

G: I really like to drive anything around. Trucks, tractors, cars...anything with wheels. I also like to look at books and I trying to climb on the table.

M: Yeah, that isn't my favorite activity of yours. Any new words?
G: I am starting to say things a bit more clearly. I can say what's this, light, up and I baa for sheep and moo for a cow.

M: I am looking forward to hearing more and more words from you in the coming months. Your thoughts on food?

G: I love to eat. Last night you gave me carrots and meatballs and it was do yummy to eat. I also really like rice, …

Joash 7 Year Interview

What is your favorite color? Blue and light green What is your favorite toy? lego What is your favorite food? jello What is your favorite tv show? Veggie Tales in the City What is your favorite outfit? ICS t-shirt and black gym pants What is your favorite game? I don't know What is your favorite animal? cat What is your favorite song? I don't know What is your favorite book? Ancient Egypt books and my encyclopedia Who is your best friend? Ben What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play in the sandbox What is your favorite drink?Juice What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Cowie and Hazel What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Grilled Cheese, bacon, jello What do you want to be when you grow up? construction worker with machinery

Treasure Chest

Joash and Wilbert worked very hard a few weeks ago on a little project. For months Joash had been talking about how he wanted a chest with a lock on it to put things in. Wilbert said it would need to wait until after corn silage was done. So, finally they made it. I don't think Wilbert knew at the beginning that Joash wanted a chest that looked like a pirate treasure chest with a curved top and everything. But, it turned out very well, I must say.

The Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker

It was the summer of storms and strays and strangers. The summer that lightning struck the big oak tree in the front yard. The summer his mother died in a tragic accident--and young Samuel Chambers would have done anything to turn back time. Even today, he can hardly believe it all happened . . .

Prompted by three strange carnival fortune-tellers and the surfacing of his mysterious and reclusive neighbor, Sam begins his search for the Tree of Life--the only thing that could possibly bring his mother back. His quest to defeat death will entangle him and his best friend Abra in an ancient conflict, forcing Sam to grapple with an unwelcome question.

Reading The Day the Angles Fell by Shawn Smucker was a really interesting and engaging reading experience.  The magic realism he uses is fantastic. I love that it is set in our world, but that the spiritual world has a visible and  powerful presence in all of it. The writing was engaging and made for a quick read. I am also very intrigued and i…

A Fall Day at Bonshaw Provincial Park

One thing that we never got to this summer was going to Bonshaw Provincial Park.  So, when the weather looked very nice for Saturday, we decided to make that the day to go. 
It was a lovely fall day. Cool, but not too cold. Sunny with clear blue skies and the tree just starting to turn color.
We packed a picnic lunch and headed to the park in the morning. We walked a short trail before lunch. Then then kids played for a bit on the playground and we had lunch in the picnic area. Then we walked some longer trails in the park and went to the foot bridge and saw some fish in the river. 


Overall, the kids did great. They were good hiker, though the did get impatient while we were looking for a geocache. We will have to go back later to find the geocaches in the park. This is a great park with nice trails, a neat playground and picnic area in a lovely part of PEI.

Shine by Allison Allen

Actors aren't the only ones who play characters. Many of us do, much of the time. We walk into a room, figure out who we're supposed to be in this context, slip into character, and say the lines we know we should say. We become someone else. Maybe we tell ourselves it's some version of us, but deep down we know this inauthentic character is not what God wants for our lives--and it's not what we want either.

 Shine is Allison Allen's answer and call for each person to step out into the role God has given us and let our light shine. Allen uses personal stories from her time as a professional actor and draws insightful parallels to the Christian life. 

This was an interesting read. I liked that it was different from other Christian living books for women with the acting bent. It was interesting to read a bit of a behind the scenes look into the acting life and how that parallels our life. Allen does a great job of weaving her stories, biblical teaching and practical cal…

Planning for 2018

So about this time of the year last year, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and finally came to the conclusion that I was not keeping very good track of things and my life. So, I bought and planner and I love it. But, in my search for a planner, I kept thinking there has to be something that can not only help me plan well, but also help and encourage me spiritually. Then, last year Jamie Ivey highlighted Anchored Press in her 2016 Gift Giving Guide. And I knew I was going to be getting a planner from Anchored Press for 2018.
And it has arrived! And I love it!


I am so excited to start using this planner in the new year. I hope that it will help encourage me in all areas of my life.

September Books

September was a fun month for books. It was also the first month for two books clubs that I have joined, Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club and the Diverse Books Club. Here is a glimpse of what I read.

Dead Cold, The Cruelest Month and A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny - the Louise Penny marathon continues. So good! I love reading about this little town and the people that live in it. And the crimes keep the pages turning.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman - I wanted to read this one because I knew it is well loved by people and the movie is on Netflix. It was an interesting, fun and thought provoking read about a disgruntled widower who finds hope and life in people he least expects--his neighbors.

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner - This was the September pick for the MMD Book Club. A classic work and a beautifully written exploration of a life long friendship. The writing was exquisite and the characters were complex and thought provoking.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whiteh…

Joash's Fascination

For some reason over the summer, ancient Egypt grabbed Joash's attention and interest. I am pretty sure he has had every book in the Jr. Non-fiction section out of the library (though he finds photographs of real mummies creepy.)
He was super excited because his class is studying ancient Egypt as well. And he is currently building a coffin with a non-creepy mummy out of lego. It is so fun to see his whole imagination get caught up in something. I am interested to see where it turns to next.

Books for Challenging Issues

Sometimes I get a little worried thinking about some of the "big" issues that we need to teach our kids about. But, I have been encouraged by a lot of people to be proactive about it because you would rather your kids learn about it from you than someone else. So, this summer I decided to become a little bit proactive. We love books and a few books had been recommended  by people I respect about these difficult topics. Here are the ones I got and that we intend to use with our children.

God Made All of Me - by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb
This the only book from these that I have read with my oldest kids so far, and I really liked it. It focuses on the proper names of body parts, why some parts are private and the difference between a surprise and a secret. A great, basic and age appropriate book and a good foundation for the rest.

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures - by Kristen Jenson and Gail Poyner
This is more of a workbook style book that teaches children about what pornography is…

Gideon - 17 Months

M(om): Gideon! What have you been up to this last month?

G(ideon): Lots of first things, Mom. My first time on a plane. My first time out of Canada. My first time in a hotel. My first steps, which happened in that hotel. Lots of firsts.

M: Yes, we know you can walk and you are doing it a little bit more. When do you think you will start walking all of the time?

G: I don't know. Crawling and climbing get me where I want to be so much faster. I don't know if it is worth the effort yet. 
 M: Well, I am pretty sure some day soon you will change your mind. What else is new?

G: Teeth! I have been getting lots of teeth lately.

M: Yes, you have. I will be glad when these come in. You have your top molars now and the bottom ones are starting to come through. And I think there are some more teeth making there way through on the bottom as well.

G: It does make me a bit grumpy sometime, though.


M: Yeah, but hopefully they will be through soon. You got a nice haircut today.

G: You think I…

Loosing Tooth #2

Well, Joash's second tooth finally came out. It had been very loose for a long time, but it hung in there. We were hopeful that since loosing the first tooth was not a very dramatic event, loosing teeth would be  breeze. This was not quite the case.

It was just before supper time and Joash and Mataya were on the trampoline together. Mataya came running to the house to say Joash needed me, so I went to him and he is crying and saying his mouth hurts. I am still not sure what happened exactly, but I eventually figure out that his loose tooth hurt. I had a good look and could tell it had just been pushed out of where it normally sits, causing the pain. I told him it just needed to come out and then his mouth will feel fine. But he would have nothing to do with it. No one, including himself, could touch his tooth. He could not push it with this tongue and also he refused to close his mouth. This meant droll was pouring out of his mouth.

Then it was time to eat supper. This, of course…

The Delusion by Laura Gallier

By March of Owen Edmonds’s senior year, eleven students at Masonville High School have committed suicide. Amid the media frenzy and chaos, Owen tries to remain levelheaded—until he endures his own near-death experience and wakes to a distressing new reality.

The people around him suddenly appear to be shackled and enslaved.



Owen’s heart-pounding journey through truth and delusion will force him to reconsider everything he believes. He both longs for and fears the answers to questions that are quickly becoming too dangerous to ignore.
When I began this book, I wasn't looking for much beyond a good story. I also didn't realize this was a book intended for the YA audience. So, while it may not have been exactly the kind of book I was looking for, as a former high school English teacher, I believe this book has merit, especially for the YA audience. The story is gripping both in the content, but also in how it moves through time. The characters are complex and it isn't until the …

First Days of School

Being stuck in Detroit meant that Joash missed the first two days of school. But last Thursday he finally made it to the first day of grade 2. 
He was not super excited about having his picture taken for the first day of school. "Why do you need to take another picture of me, Mom? You have enough pictures of me already." He had a good first day, but I think it was a bit overwhelming coming in a bit behind everyone. It was nice for him to have two days and then a break. This week has been going much better.

 And Mataya had her first day of preschool on Tuesday. She was super excited and didn't mind having her picture taken at all. She was so excited to go to school.
And she had a great first day. She didn't mind at all when I left and it was so fun to see her playing with her friends from church and having fun.

Coming Home from Michigan

Following the Truck Parade, we spent a bit of time at a park near Nick and Dawn's house. And then off to airport. 
We were nicely on time. Check-in went fine, but a little longer because of Gideon not being connected to our family. Security was a breeze and we were soon on our way and in Detroit. We easily found our gate in Detroit, had a 10 minute delay for boarding, but soon enough we were on the plane.
And that it when the bottom fell out. 
While on the plane, the pilots revived notice that Toronto was shut down due to weather. We waited about 20-30 minutes on the plane. They gave us snacks. Then they had us get off the plane and wait in the terminal. Every 30 minutes or so we would be updated that we were still delayed. And we were watching dark clouds and lightening roll into the area surround Detroit, too. Soon, the Detroit airport was shut down too. They brought out snacks and drinks a few different times, but finally around 10 pm (so over 5 hours of being delayed in the a…

August Books

Lots of reading happening in August. Several of these books were ones I just could not put down. Which probably explains how I got through so many. It was a good reading month!
The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy - An interwoven story of a modern day journalist doing a feature on a local German Bakery and the daughter of a town baker in Germany during World War II who finds herself in a position that ruin her and her family. Not a bad read, but rather predictable.

The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle - A series of essays that focus on marriage. Both funny and thought-provoking.

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Steadman - A lighthouse keeper and his wife living on a remote outpost in Australia who find a life boat with a baby in it on the shore of the island they live on. I devoured this book in 3 days and I am happy to report the movie is really good too.

Still Life by Louise Penny - I feel like I am bit late to the Louis Penny train, but I plan to rectify that this ye…

The Week in Michigan

Once we got to Michigan, we had a GREAT time in Michigan. The weather was fantastic and we tried to do one thing every day. Here are some of the things we did:

 We spent the morning at Dutch Village in Holland, Michigan. I hadn't been here since elementary school, so it was fun to see it again and share some of the things I grew up with. We learned to Dutch Dance and saw the large street organ. Joash did a few rides on the Ferris Wheel.
 The kids also got to make a stropewaffle. It was a great snack!

 We also stopped into visit Grandma VerBeek. It was so nice to see her again and for the kids to put a name with a face.

Another day we went to the Boulder Ridge Wildlife Park. This was a fantastic park! There is a safari ride you take to see many of the larger animals. The rest of the animals are in a very nice area that is easy to walk around. This park was originally started as a business that bred animals for zoos. Because of this, you are able to get quite close to many of the a…