Midweek Mix-Up #14: Indians, Spotify, and Goal Setting

Welcome to this week’s version of midweek mix-up! Since I missed Tuesday’s post, I thought I’d share an extra-wonderful resource that I personally love with you today.

Reading this week:

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
Progress: Finished.

This book turned out to be a fascinating read! I loved how Elizabeth Speare showed Matt interacting with the Indians, learning their ways, and how she worked the ending—that was quite sweet. Overall, this is a well-written story about pioneers and the life they led in the mid 1700s.

All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Progress: Page 63 of 189 (34%)

This book was part of my school work when I was eight or nine. I loved it then—it’s a clean, fun story—and recently realized it should have a place on the website as well! So, time to re-read it! Since this book is for younger children, I’m not finding it quite as enthralling as I did a few years ago, but even so it’s still very enjoyable.

Elsie’s Womanhood by Martha Finley

Elsie’s Womanhood by Martha Finley
Progress: Finished!

As with the other books in this series, Elsie’s Womanhood picks up where Elsie’s Girlhood left off—at the scene where Elsie is finally engaged. This story continues the tale, and while it’s fairly slow at times, there are several interesting diversions with Tom Jackson trying to kill Mr. Travilla—or Elsie, if he can—in order to get revenge for not being able to marry Elsie himself. Then Elsie’s family starts to grow, and the Civil War begins, with friends fighting on both sides. After five long years, the war is over—with many family members dead or permanently changed. This was another great book in the series—I’m looking forward to reading Elsie’s Motherhood!

New book reviews this week:

The Adventures of Unc Billy Possum by Thornton W. BurgessFun family read-aloud!
Unc Billy Possum’s greed for fresh eggs gets him into big trouble.

Farewell for a While by Sharon A. Lavy
Dustin and Rebekah, just a few weeks before their wedding date, discover that they have some issues they must work through before they are married.

Moses the Kitten by James HerriotOne of our family’s favorite picture books!
As the vet arrives at Mr Butler’s farm, he finds a kitten huddled in a freezing marsh and takes it to the house for the farmer’s wife to care for.

The Adventures of Mr. Mocker by Thornton W. BurgessAnother fun family read-aloud!
When Mr. Mocker moves to the Green Forest from Ol’ Virginny, he uses his talent of imitating other people’s voices to bring chaos to the animals and birds in his new home.

My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
When day-dreaming Ken is given a colt of his own, his life begins to transform.

This week’s blog post roundup:

Ask Annie: 5 Twitter Mistakes Writers Make and How to Avoid Them (Writer Unboxed) — Super helpful advice. I’ve recently started exploring Twitter (not much, I don’t really “get” how it works, but I can see the potential in it), and this is really helpful. I need to work on no. 2—that’s basically all my Twitter has been used for so far. Woops.

Slip Away and Be With God (Youtube) — This is an excerpt from one of Paul Washer’s sermons. Challenging, to say the least!

The Absolutely Enormous List of Christian History Books {By Grade and Time Period} (Thinking Kids Blog) — This is an absolutely enormous list! So many great-looking books on here, and a wonderful resource for homeschoolers!

Setting Achievable Goals (Heritage Literature) — Great post on goal setting. Reminds me that I ought to add some deadlines to a few projects I’ve got going right now….

The Ultimate Book List For Boys! (The Modest Mom Blog) — Lots of familiar titles here! Great books—and this isn’t only for boys, of course. Many are wonderful for girls as well.

Scene Creation P. 2: 5 Essentials for the Framework of a Scene (Christ is Write) — Good tips here. For non-outliners, some of these things might be difficult, but there are some really helpful ideas here, regardless.

Resource of the week:

EZBlocker (Spotify Ad Blocker)

EZBlocker Screenshot

Truth be told, I love music. Probably a little bit more than I ought. When Grooveshark shut down a few months ago, I wanted to find another customizable music source—Pandora is fine for a while, but being able to control what you listen to is also nice at times.

Enter Spotify. I’d used Spotify—briefly—before, but when I already had music I liked sorted out in Grooveshark, I really didn’t have any reason to add another website to the mix. When Grooveshark was no more, I decided to try Spotify again. And I immediately encountered commercials…lots of commercials. Like, a full minute of them every quarter or half an hour. I got to the place where I could recognize a commercial within the first two seconds or so, and turn the volume off so I wouldn’t have to listen to it. But then, of course, you have to remember to turn it back on as well, and that didn’t always happen right away.

After a while, I was fed up, trying to find something commercial-free. Then I began to wonder if others were annoyed with the problem, and figured that someone probably was, so thus initiated a Google search—which ended in finding EZBlocker. As soon as I installed it, I noticed a difference. Ah, bliss. No more commercials and (incredibly!) with the “Block Banner Ads” setting on, I didn’t even have to see any flashing ads! Wonderful!

Oh, and a couple tips:

  • Apparently, EZBlocker works best with Windows 7 or 8 (I’ve got 8), and there’s been some success with 10 as well. There is an Android version, but no current plans for an iOS version.
  • You only have to open EZBlocker whenever you want to start up Spotify—it will automatically open Spotify for you.
  • To block the banner ads (besides the vocal commercials), open EZBlocker for the first time as an Administrator. You should be able to do that by right-clicking the icon and selecting “Run as Administrator”. Then, check the “Block Banner Ads” box and close and reopen the application.

Question: What is your favorite source for music?