Saturday, August 31, 2013


The Knight family now has its first politician: Lexi was elected to student council for her 4th grade class.  She had to give a speech in front of her class, and nailed it (I assume, since she was elected).  She is very excited and told me she has lots of "ideas".  Ready to change the world in the 4th grade.  Go Lexi!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quick football update

Griffin has had two games since the last update.  He pulled one flag in each one (actually, he got both flags from a kid one of the times; I'm still not sure how).  After the first game, in which the team did not play well, Griffin complained of not feeling well and the next day we discovered he had a fever.  He and the team did much better in the next game, nearly winning.  We have a long break before the next game due to Labor Day weekend.

Check out Griffin #3 (in white) in action in the video below.  I've tried to keep him centered in the video.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The One Year My Princess Devotions (Preschool Edition) by Karen Whiting - Book Review

From the publisher: Little girls love to pretend they are princesses. Now they don’t have to pretend any longer.
The One Year My Princess Devotions: Preschool Edition will teach girls that they are truly daughters of the almighty King. They will also learn how much God loves them and what God expects from his children.

Each devotion includes a short scripture (Royal Words), a special message (Royal Thoughts), a prayer for the King, and an activity related to the devotion’s theme (Princess in Action).

Your little princess will want to read about her King each day and learn how to live like royalty throughout her life. 

The One Year My Princess Devotions is great for preschoolers to around 4th grade girls.  Its a nice little book, with a separate devotion for each day of the year.  Each devotion contains a verse (Royal Words), a summary of the verse (Princess Thoughts), a prayer (A Prayer for the King), and an action to take (Princess in Action).  They messages are short and simple, perfect for little girls.  They also provide a nice starting point to deepen discussion about Biblical issues. Some of the topics include: God Made Me Special, Growing in Grace, Dinner with Jesus, and Answered Prayers.

I also enlisted my daughters to help me with the review. Cami (6) likes that there are verses that she knows.  She also really likes that there was an entry for her birthday.  Lexi (9) likes that it has good girly devotions.

I'd recommend this as a great devotional book for young girls. It's never to early to encourage the habit of a daily time with God.

I received a review copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Star Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown - Book Review

From the publisher: New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Jeffrey Brown takes readers to a middle school in a galaxy far, far away...

This incredible, original story captures all of the humor, awkwardness, fun, and frustrations of middle school--all told through one boy's comics, journal entries, letters, doodles, and newspaper clippings. The setting? A galaxy far, far away...

Roan's one dream is to leave home and attend Pilot Academy like his older brother, father, and grandfather. But just as Roan is mysteriously denied entrance to Pilot School, he is invited to attend Jedi Academy--a school that he didn't apply to and only recruits children when they are just a few years old. That is, until now...

This inventive novel follows Roan's first year at Jedi Academy where, under the tutelage of Master Yoda, he learns that he possesses more strength and potential than he could have ever dreamed. Oh, and he learns other important things too--like how to make a baking soda volcano, fence with a lightsaber, slow dance with a girl, and lift boulders with the Force. 

Brown's first two Star Wars books, Darth Vader and Son and Vader's Little Princess, were charming what-if cartoons with Darth Vader in the role of raising his children, Luke and Leia.  Jedi Academy, on the other hand, is a much more involved story with an entirely new protagonist, Roan Novachez.

Roan has just finished elementary school on Tatooine and wants nothing more than to move on to Pilot Academy Middle School and become a star fighter pilot like his dad and older brother.  Unfortunately he gets denied admittance, crushing his dreams.  In a surprise, though, Roan gets accepted to the Jedi Academy, where he will be instructed by Master Yoda, among others.  What follows is a fun look at Roan's first year at the academy, where he experiences many of the same things that typical middle school students do.  He struggles with being the new kid, has some tough classes, excels at drawing, nearly alienates his friends, and develops his first crush.  Along the way, Roan learns that not getting your first dream may lead you to bigger and better dreams, and you may discover your place in the galaxy as well.

Part of the allure of Jedi Academy is Brown's use of varied text techniques.  The book is a combination of cartoons of Roan's experiences, Roan's hand-written journal entries, letters from home, and other pictures and assorted papers.  The collection feels almost like a scrapbook (maybe yearbook) of Roan's first year rather than a novel or traditional book.

The target audience for this book is 8+ and I would agree.  This would be a great book for reluctant readers as well.  Finally, I'd recommend it to any Star Wars fan, particularly those who enjoy Jeffrey Brown's humorous and sweet look at Star Wars family life.

I received a preview copy of this book from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Game 2 of the Football Season

Game #2 of the football season came after a very busy week.  Lexi had Spell Bowl practice, there were two football practices, a cheer practice, and Lexi's first piano lesson.  The Saturday games topped off the week.
Lexi's team won again, and she cheered well.  She is clearly the loudest on the team, and is a good leader for the rest of the girls.

Griffin's team lost again, but there was improvement.  They scored two touchdowns and forced the other team to turn the ball over on downs a couple of times.  Griffin had 1 1/2 flags pulled (he thinks it was 3) and ran once for negative yards.  To be fair, its hard to gain any yards when the most of the linemen aren't very good blockers yet.  He also played OL for a couple of series and blocked well.  Cami cheered hard, and then changed out of her uniform as fast as possible because "it's itchy!"

Griffin and Cami have their next game on Monday, followed by all the kids having a Saturday game.

All business

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Robert Griffin III: Athlete, Leader, Believer By Ted Kluck - Book Review

From the publisher: RG3 explores the athletic prowess, faith, and leadership of the NFL’s hottest star.

Robert Griffin III is a world-class athlete, a Heisman Trophy winner, team captain of the Washington Redskins, and NFL Rookie of the Year. Just twenty-two years old, he has begun his ascent as a game-changing NFL quarterback and living testimony of Christian faith. RG3 goes deep into the pressures of the NFL to showcase this young superstar’s abilities, faith, and leadership.

How does RG3 maintain his competitive edge? How does he deal with the pressure of carrying a historic franchise on his shoulders? Can he take the NFL pounding, week in and week out? What is the likely outcome of his career if he remains a “running quarterback”? How does he balance on- and off-field commitments? What’s his character like? What role does his faith play in all this?

RG3 is a great football book that offers an in-depth look at practices, media appearances, off-field commitments, on-field exploits, and quiet moments of leadership over the course of a season. Peek behind the curtain of an athlete in progress as he seeks to make a world-class impact with his talent and his faith at the same time.

RG3 is ostensibly a biography of Robert Griffin III, the young, exciting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.  As much as any rookie needs a book about him, Ted Kluck does a nice job recapping his college career and examining, in depth, the great majority of his rookie season.  Kluck breaks down some of the signature plays that Griffin and the Redskins ran so successfully, and gives glimpses into what made Griffin into the man and player that he is (although he is still so young).

However, the book didn't really seem to be that, exactly.  It is a look at athletic celebrity, especially early in a career.  It's a look at the NFL quarterback position, particularly as it is now as the game is continuing to evolve. It also looks at what defines success for a pro quarterback now and in the past.  There is a particular focus on the "running" quarterback and also a look at leadership. Finally, Kluck discusses the importance of "branding" for an athlete, and how public displays or proclamations of faith might play into that.

As a book about RG3, RG3 does a passable job.  Most of his rookie season is still fresh enough in my mind that I don't feel it really needed to be written about yet.  However, as a book taking on the changing roles of young stars and the position of quarterback in our society of immediacy, RG3 succeeds at a high level.  My favorite parts were the examinations of how quarterbacking is changing, and how different quarterbacks compare.

I wouldn't really recommend this to the casual fan, but readers looking for something a little different in the way of looking at the NFL would enjoy this book.

I received a review copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Start of the Youth Football Season

Yesterday we spent about 3 hours at Eastern Hancock celebrating the start of the football season with our kids.  Each of the EH teams scrimmaged each other, leading up to the varsity scrimmage.  Trisha, with help from Dianna, is coaching Lexi and Cami's cheer squads.  The girls did a great job showing spirit in spite of the heat.

Griffin is enjoying being one of the "big" kids on his team this year.  He is playing wing back on offense and outside linebacker on defense.  He is much improved over last year, showing wonderful aggressiveness on D, and blocking and carrying the ball from time to time.  His confidence is off-the-charts, which is fun to see.  During yesterday's game, he grabbed 3 flags (his first ever) and carried the ball once for about  5 yards.  Unfortunately, his team lost, but they played hard.  I'm having fun being an assistant coach on the team, as well.

Griffin on the far left in white, #3, lining up on defense