Fog Magic

Greta is a young girl who has always been enchanted with the heavy fog that shrouds the Nova Scotian fishing community where she lives. Even as a baby, Greta delighted in the fog that would fall around the house. To the worry of her mother, Greta seemed to even then yearn to be in the midst of the fog.

“From the time she was a baby in her cradle, Greta had love the fog.”

As time passes, Greta’s dad seems to understand the draw the fog has upon her. Permission is granted, that once her work is done, Greta may spend time out in the fog. What seems a simple, but perhaps odd, pleasure becomes the means of her stepping back in time.

Blue Cove is a former fishing village near Greta’s. Where homes once stood, there are now only cellar holes. But in the fog, Greta sees the outline of a house. One day while walking in the fog, Greta meets a lady in a wagon who offers her a ride to Blue Cove. As Greta walked through the fog she had stepped into a time gone by.

“Most of us live in two worlds – our real world and the one we build or spin for ourselves out of the books we read, the heroes we admire, the things we hope to do. Greta’s other world was Blue Cove.”

In Blue Cove, Greta becomes friends with Retha, a young girl like Greta. On foggy days when Greta can travel back to Blue Cove she spends time with Retha’s family and learns of the community and the people. She, in a way, becomes a part of them.

There are concerns or cautions for Greta. She must not get hurt in Blue Cove because there is no way to get her family to her. And Greta must return home each time she visits before the fog lifts. The timeslip only works in the midst of the heavy fog.

“Don’t you want to be twelve?” she asked.

“I don’t know, ” Greta said honestly. “I always think of my birthdays as a flight of stairs, ” she went on a little shyly. “Up to twelve it’s been fun to look up. But after twelve – the stairs turn. I can’t see around the bend.”

“I know, ” Mrs. Morrill said. “Not now, you can’t. But when you get to that twelfth step you will be able to see ‘around the bend’ as you put it. Seeing ahead, or looking ahead – is something we do with our hearts – it takes nothing but time and courage. The one is given to us; the other we must provide.”

Fog Magic is not a story of danger or adventure. There is no cliffhanger or heart-stopping climax. The beauty of this story is in its simplicity. This is a story of family and community. A story that shows us how life goes on even with the passing of time. There is delight and happiness found in the common and everyday. It is those common and everyday things that bring us together.

And, as Greta learns, there is a time to let go of those things we hold dear in childhood. In order to grow up, we sometimes must let go. Once Greta turns twelve she can no longer return to Blue Cove; she can no longer travel back . She must grow up and move ahead.

“On your twelfth birthday, Greta, you grow up, and you put away childish things. Sometimes you’ll wish you hadn’t because you put behind you so many things – happy and unhappy. But the next twelve years can be happier still, my girl, and the twelve after that. And try to remember this – none of the things you think you’ve lost on the way are really lost. Every one of them is folded around you – close.”

As I was selecting my reads for the  Newbery Through the Decades: 1940s challenge, I found that many of the winners were books familiar to me. So many had been read alouds over the years. Once again, I chose an Honor Book: Fog Magic. It is a lovely story and I enjoyed it very much. Life isn’t always action and adventure and drama. I think it is a good thing for our children to see the beauty in the every day. To understand that as time passes, so many things about life are constant. Fog Magic did a wonderful job at presenting this.

Fog Magic would also work well as an introduction into fantasy literature or used as a historical fiction read. For those overwhelmed by large books, with only 107 pages this book would work well.

I will be passing this along to a couple of my girls. My nine year old and eleven year old girls will most likely enjoy this read. Now on to my next read…



Koru Naturals – Review

Using natural products is a choice we make whenever possible. With a bit of research, we can usually find a natural alternative for various issues. Our home has its share of skin and hair issues and we are always looking for ways to improve healthy skin and hair. Koru Naturals has two products that we have been using for the past several weeks: Emu Oil and Koolpurrie Restoring Balm. I’d love to share a bit of our experience with you.

Koru Naturals is a company that brings many natural products and resources of New Zealand to be available for those of us in the United States, Canada, and even some European countries. The products they offer include teas, soaps, and more. You can very easily locate items via a simple online catalog or a handy search option.

Emu Oil

I must confess that before these products were brought to my attention, I had no idea of emu oil or the benefits of it. It has turned out to be a surprisingly beneficial oil. Emu Oil is derived from the fat of the emu and is a thick, almost creamy oil that serves well as a moisturizer. It can be used on skin and hair in a variety of ways.

We used the Pure Emu Oil directly on our skin. Due to the thickness and creaminess of the oil, I had to use very little to be effective. My daughter used emu oil when she had a slight acne breakout and dry skin on her face. She found that it moisturized those dry patches quickly and brought relief. It appeared that the emu oil also reduced the redness of the acne breakout. We were out of our normal acne treatment so this was a lovely discovery!

The Emu Oil was also used on the hair of my daughter who has really thick and coarse curly hair. We are always working to keep her hair moisturized and healthy. While Koru Naturals gives directions for washing the emu oil out of the hair, I actually applied it to my daughters wet hair and left the oil it. Due to the thickness of the hair, we had no issue with oily residue or anything. I think we actually need to use a bit more; it is long and thick! She had no issue with skin irritation which is a huge plus.

Koolpurrie Restoring Balm

Koolpurrie Restoring Balm is a balm created from emu oil and lanolin. This balm is designed to be used on dry, damaged, and cracked skin. The combination of the emu oil with lanolin creates a thick, soothing balm that has no odor.

I used the Koolpurrie Restoring Balm mainly on my hands. I am constantly washing my hands and using hot water. It doesn’t take long, especially in the winter, for my skin to become severely dry to the point of being painful. I found that the restoring balm worked great to soothe the damaged skin and helped to heal it as well. I loved that I could use it as often as needed with no worries. Emu oil and lanolin – nothing that was going to create a secondary issue with my dry skin! I have used lanolin over the years for various issues and find that the emu oil added in really helped in the ease of use and distribution over the skin.

My little ones also benefited from the Koolpurrie Restoring Balm. My fair skinned children often get “hot spots” on the backside of knees and the fold of the elbow. When it flared up and became red and irritated, I just took a bit of the balm and applied. My son (5) commented on how quickly it made his skin feel better. I debated on using the pure emu oil or the balm and decided that the “coating” the balm would provide would be better since these areas would rub against clothing.

Overall, we enjoyed using the Emu Oil and Koolpurrie Restoring Balm. I really love the balm and look forward to continuing to use it on my hands and feet. Since it takes so little at each use, we can all use it for various “hot spots” and skin irritations. The emu oil will probably stay with the girls’ hair and skin care products since they used it more than I did. We are going to continue to play with application amounts for my daughter with the dry, curly hair.

Other products from Koru Natural were reviewed by other Crew Members. Need a good lip balm or natural shampoo and condition? Check out what others thought about Koru Natural products. Have you ever used Emu Oil? I’d love to hear how!

Koru Naturals Review
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IndoctriNation – A Review

Before we ever had any children, we made the decision to homeschool. Several reasons lead us to this choice and we have never looked back. Even though we are firm in our decision to homeschool, I still enjoy researching, learning, and staying informed about what is happening with other methods of education. When the opportunity to watch and review IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America from Great Commission Films became available, I  was happy to do so.

IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America

This documentary follows Colin Gunn, homeschool father of seven, and his family as they travel across America to learn about the beginnings of American public education, the influence it has on families, and what role should Christian families play in the American public education system.

Throughout his travels, Mr. Gunn interviews and talks with a wide variety of people who are directly related to the public education system. From former teachers to those well known in the educational field such as John Taylor Gatto and Samuel Blumenfeld, we begin to see the steady decline in the educational system as stories and experiences are shared.

You can see the participants in interviews at the IndoctriNation website.

Some of the questions looked at are: What is the agenda of the public school system? Is it a neutral ground for learning? How does this affect our children? What type of education are our children receiving? Do we, parents, know what is happening inside the classroom? Should my child be in the public school system?

My Thoughts on IndoctriNation

When I received IndoctriNation, my original plan was to watch with my older children (ages twelve and up). Due to discussion of mature content or sensitive topics, I didn’t feel it was appropriate for my younger children. At this time, I have viewed it alone and will have my older children watch it later. Having previously viewed it, I look forward to excellent discussion with my children.

As I began watching the documentary, I was at a bit of an advantage. There are some people that worked on this project that I know personally so I knew the direction it would go. As you watch IndoctriNation, there is clearly a stance taken that the American public school education system is not the place for our children to be educated. Government run/controlled educational systems are going to teach (indoctrinate) our children with their agenda. This thought just makes sense. Why would a system teach anything other than what it believes or supports? If the school is run by the government, then the government is naturally going to put forth what it wants taught. Neutral learning ground? How could it be?

The documentary presents a broad look at public education. It covers the history of public education, experiences of retired teachers, and what is being taught in schools today. I enjoyed the conversations with Samuel Blumenfeld and John Taylor Gatto. Mr. Gatto, former Teacher of the Year, has much experience inside the classroom and seeing firsthand how this method of education is not effective. Samuel Blumenfeld has spent years looking at how education is failing our children in terms of literacy and learning. I would have loved for more interview time with these two gentlemen.

Overall, I enjoyed IndoctriNation. Was it helpful to me? As a family who made the decision to homeschool, this was not an aid in making a decision regarding the education of our children. However, I found it interesting and engaging and thought provoking.  The American public education system is the educational home to a future generation. That will have impact on my family in many ways. I think it would be a mistake for the homeschool population to ignore what is going on behind the walls of public education. Public education is also funded with our tax dollars so we should be responsible adults and stay informed. Watching documentaries such as Indoctrination also helps me as a Christian to pray for those who work in public education and for the students.

Should You Watch IndoctriNation

Clearly, IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America is not a pro-public education documentary.  This might cause some to not be interested in viewing it. However, I think it is beneficial to watch no matter how your children are educated. If your child is in public school, do you really know what is happening each day? What your child is being taught? Who is deciding what your child is learning? Do you want your child under someone else’s authority every day, all day?

If you have made the choice to homeschool, this is valuable to watch so that you are made aware of what is happening in public schools. Perhaps you are deciding on how to handle high school? Or you think your child would do better academically in a classroom setting? Do you feel, as a Christian, that your child should be a missionary to her class? Watching IndoctriNation may not give you the answer but will hopefully help you ask questions to be better informed when making a decision.

Final Thoughts

I do enjoy a good documentary. IndoctriNation presented a look into the public educational system that I found thought provoking. I had planned to watch it in segments but once I began watching it, I could not find a good stopping point. I had to watch it to the end. I think it is wise for all parents to look at how their child is being educated and be truly informed. IndoctriNation could aid in that process.

IndoctriNation DVD Review
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