Monday with Mo and Dale

A month or so ago, I grabbed a book that looked like a read that my twelve year old daughter would enjoy. Little did I know that we would be making new literary friends. I decided to read Three Times Lucky before I passed it along. And I so enjoyed those late night readings. The author, Sheila Turnage, is a native of eastern North Carolina and so am I.  That makes almost kindred spirits, right?

And that is where we meet Mo and Dale; in the small town, Tupelo Landing, in eastern North Carolina. Moses LeBeau, better known as Mo (and she’s a girl), was found as a baby floating down a river after a hurricane by the Colonel. The Colonel, who suffers from amnesia, and Miss Lana have raised Mo together and also run the local small town cafe. Dale Earnhardt Johnson III is Mo’s best friend and they are quite the duo. When a murder occurs in Tupelo Landing, Mo and Dale decide to solve this mysterious event. And this give us the Deperado Detective Agency.

“We got peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and raisins, and a delicate peanut butter/peanut butter combination. These come crunchy or smooth, on Wonder Bread, hand-squished flat on the plate or not, as you prefer. The special today is our famous peanut butter and banana sandwich. It comes on Wonder Bread, cut diagonal on the plate, with crust or without. What can I start you with?”

Three Times Lucky is just the first offering of Mo and Dale we have from Mrs. Turnage. She has given us two more books: The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing and The Odds of Getting Even. All three are charming, witty, hilarious, and delightful. Not only do these books offer up mysteries and humor, but also meaningful relationships with family and friends. It shows that family and home goes beyond bloodlines but is truly found in the heart. You see a community of people that have their quirks and issues but they love and care for one another.

“The truth is like Spandex…It may not look like a good fit at first, but if you ease into it and wiggle around, it winds up fitting your skin.”

My four oldest children (12-16) and I thoroughly enjoyed these stories. As one book was finished we passed it to the next in line. There may  have been a few threats if someone gave away parts of the story. Quite literally one day my daughter finished The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing as I finished The Odds of Getting Even. As I closed the book, she grabbed it from my hand and jumped right back into reading.

“That’s how we lose people…detail by detail, day by day, until they’re pale, pale memories.”

My children are well read enjoying the likes of Dickens, Austin, Christie, Wodehouse. They can be a bit critical of literature and have no qualms about sharing those thoughts. A good story is one that can be enjoyed across the ages. Mo and Dale certainly offer up a good story. My only regret is that I did not read this aloud.

If you haven’t enjoyed Three Times Lucky and the other Mo and Dale books from Sheila Turnage, what are you waiting for? These are great for readers ages 10 and up.  I’d love to hear your thoughts when you give Mo and Dale a  try!

In the words of my daughter: I need some comic relief in my life. When will there be another Mo and Dale book?

Please tell me there is another Mo and Dale on the way, Sheila Turnage.

The Brinkman Adventures Season 3 – A Review

Last year our family was introduced to The Brinkman Adventures and thoroughly enjoyed Season 2. When I learned that The Brinkman Adventures Season 3 was available for review, I knew that my children would be thrilled. Who doesn’t love a good audio drama?

The Brinkman Adventures is a radio drama that shares stories about the Brinkmans, a large fun-loving family. Along with the adventures of the family, true stories of modern day missionaries and Christian heroes are shared as well. The dramatization of these stories is very well done. You will find yourself laughing at the antics of the Brinkman children and then on the edge of your seat as ordinary people are being used in extraordinary ways by the Lord.

There are twelve episodes (Episodes 25 – 36) included in The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3.  Season 3 takes us on exciting new adventures: Bible smuggling, “killer” bees, Taliban jail, and more.

When Brinkman Adventures: Season Three arrived, I do not believe I even held it in my hands for more than a minute. My children were eager to pop the CD in and begin listening. Within the first few days, my oldest daughter had listened to the complete season. It appears that the Brinkman Adventures is perfect for when you have a few knitting projects to wrap up.

“It’s nice. I really like when they go into different places, different countries. I like hearing the different languages. The way people sound different.” Sarah – 7

In the afternoons or evenings, my children all grabbed activities, found comfy spots in the living room, and listened to Season 3 for an hour or two. It is a beautiful sight for this mom! Drawing, knitting, clay work, and Legos are all in action while my children are learning amazing stories about people serving the Lord faithfully.

“It’s fun to listen to. I liked Season 2 better but this one was good. My favorite was the story about the pocket monkey that gets out on the plane. It was funny. “ Hannah – 9

Sharing the love of Christ and God’s word is so important. Helping our children to see how anyone can serve faithfully no matter the circumstances, seeing how God provides in amazing ways, and how needed the Gospel is around the world is foundational to the future. The Brinkman Adventures is a great tool for this purpose. After listening to the episodes, you can visit Real Stories at The Brinkman Adventures website to learn more about the inspiration for the stories shared.

“I really like it. It is a normal family that has every day problems. The missionary stories are really interesting. Steve Saint played himself and I think that is neat to get real people to tell their story.” Lydia – 12

The Brinkman Adventures is perfect entertainment for the whole family. Road trip coming up? Grab a season or two for the road! These radio dramas would also be great for a family gift this holiday season. You could easily incorporate these into your “morning/circle time” or Bible study. The episodes are about 30 minutes so easy to listen to an episode and have some discussion. If your church has a missions program for children, the Brinkman Adventures could be another valuable resource to have on hand.

“I enjoyed Brinkman Adventures because I love hearing missionary stories. Their faith is encouraging and thought provoking. I like listening to the Brinkman’s because they are a lot like us; nine kids and happily chaotic. My favorite this season was a Saint’s Story.” Rebekah – 16

You can also listen to an episode of The Brinkman Adventures online. Currently,  Episode 9: The Provider is available. The three season are available in CD and MP3 format.

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

Crew Disclaimer

Random Thoughts of a Mom of Nine

Hours ago the plan was for this blog post to be a book review. If nothing else, we read a few books in this house. I have several that I want to share with you. But, well, guess what? It didn’t happen. Because I’m a mom. And I’m forgetful.

Today, Mary and I restarted our running. Hopefully we will get back in the groove quickly and be able to run another 5K in December. After a few months off I was prepared for intense pain and a near death experience. It went much better than expected. We only ran a mile today but, hey, it was raining!

I love to encourage my children’s creativity. Some may need a little less encouragement. While I was deep in the trenches of grammar and mathematics, Ezra was developing his love of Sharpies. On a door. In my house. Quiet toddler = Trouble. Rookie mistake, mom. Rookie mistake.

No need for fancy candles or warmers in our home. We have mastered the Burn Smell. Mastered it so well that we no longer notice when something is truly burning. You know, like the plastic mixing spoon sitting in the empty pan on top of the very hot burner? Yes. The browning meat that mom forgot about while rocking a toddler back to sleep? Yes. I am sure that Burn Smell will be the next big wave in candles. Trend setters we are.

It all works out in the end. The Sharpie masterpiece met its match in the Magic Eraser. I scrubbed the burnt pan within an inch of its life and it will live to cook another day. Even better? In an effort to mask the charred ground beef, Mary volunteered to make homemade hamburger helper. I love getting bumped off kitchen duty. Go, mom!

Just a normal rainy Tuesday. Bring it on, Wednesday. Bring it.

Any aspiring artist in your home? What medium do they like to work with? Sharpie has always been a favorite here.