Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Giants in the Land: The Way of Things

Did you have giants in your life who trained you, encouraged you?  As you matured and gained skills in various area, did you notice those giants retreated as you stepped forward in your life?  That is the way of things.


Author Clark Burbidge weaves a tale of long ago in which an unlikely hero learns much about himself as he struggles to overcome his fears and doubts to accomplish a task much bigger than himself.  Thomas is the only volunteer for a dangerous quest to save his village and bring back the giants who had always helped them.  Unsure of whether he will even survive the arduous journey, Thomas comes to learn much about himself and life in general.


If you're looking for that special birthday or Christmas gift that will engage and inspire, this is it.  This is a good, clean (rated G) read with plenty of adventure.  Young people, especially boys from 5th grade on, can relate to the life lessons Thomas learns.  You'll enjoy reading it yourself before you give it away! 

Giants in the Land is a two-book series.  I've tempted you a bit with the review above of the first book, The Way of Things.  As soon as I read the second volume, The Prodigals, I'll tell you about it as well. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Dark and Stormy Night

This is the earliest known manuscripts of Key's song.

       A storm raged over Baltimore Harbor in Chesapeake Bay 200 years ago this weekend.  It was a rain-wrapped bombardment of Fort McHenry by British naval forces.  

     On board the British ship, HMS Tonnant, a lawyer called Frank by his friends and the British Prisoner Exchange Agent, Colonel Skinner were trying to arrange the release of some American prisoners.  However, the British refused to allow them to return to their own ship as they had overheard some of the strategies being discussed and know the positions of the enemy.

     Frances Scott Key didn't believe in the war his fledgling nation had declared on Britain.  It was looking very bleak for America as the British had already burned most of the federal buildings in Washington, including the White House, and now were attacking Baltimore.  He was trapped aboard an enemy ship, watching what he assumed to be the demise of his country and hearing bombs exploding all through the night.

     As the skies barely began to lighten on the morning of September 14, 1812, he could just make out a flag flying over the fort--an American flag.  The American victory saved Baltimore from a British takeover and spelling the beginning of the end for them as well.

     Not long after his harrowing experience, Key was inspired to write about it set to the tune of a popular song of the day and entitled, "Defense of Fort McHenry."  It was quickly published in the local newspaper.  

     However, it was not until 1931 that Herbert Hoover signed legislation to make "The Star-Spangled Banner," as it came to be called, our national anthem.  Generally, only the first verse is sung, but Key wrote four verses, each ending with the words
"O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Fort McHenry's flag is on display at the National Museum of American History.  Read more about it here.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Did you know water is an important tool in your kit of excellent teaching ideas?  If you hadn't thought about it before, consider the following facts.

Water is a vital source of energy in the body.

Dehydration causes the enzyme activity in the body to slow down, causing fatigue.

When dehydrated, the blood thickens, the blood flow slows, and blood pressure increases.

Dehydration causes the body to produce more cholesterol as the body tries to prevent water loss from its cells.

  Toxins and acid waste in urine intensifies due to dehydration, thus creating the perfect environment in the bladder and kidneys for inflammation, infection, and pain.

  Lack of proper hydration impairs focus, as well as long- and short-term memory functions.

  Dehydration can exacerbate allergies and asthma.

  The normal bodily function of excreting toxins through the skin is impaired by dehydration, and makes the skin more susceptible to all types of skin disorders, including premature wrinkling and discoloration.

Encourage your students to drink water as well.

New guidelines tell us women should drink 91 ounces per day, and men should ingest 125 ounces per day.

About 80% of liquid intake should be water and other beverages, while 20% of our liquids should come from foods.

Drink a glass of water upon rising and before retiring each day.

Avoid drinking 30 minutes before until 30 minutes after each meal to avoid washing away enzymes in your mouth and digestive acids in your stomach.

Switching out just one can of regular soda with an 8 oz. glass of water daily saves you 35 grams of sugar and 140 calories.  

Adding 1-2 drops of Young Living Lemon essential oil to your water gives it a refreshing taste and serves to support your immune system.  However, be sure to use a glass or stainless steel container.  The oil draws petrochemicals out of plastic or styrofoam containers, and you don't want to drink this.  I only recommend Young Living essential oils for ingesting because of their purity levels.

Add 4-5 drops or more to taste of your favorite Young Living citrus oil and some stevia to your water for a delicious "ade."