Book Explores Laura Landscape, MORE


I haven’t been writing on this blog the last few years. I miss it! It is because I started another blog working on book and product reviews. I have many books and products provided to me for review I have been trying to catch up. I kept thinking I would be able to catch up enough to add this blog back into my rotation. I still hope to do that soon.  Anyway the review list continues to grow — which isn’t a bad thing. Here is the link to my review blog Chit Chat with Charity. Please sign up to keep-up-to date on posts. I try to post there weekly to keep up with items on my review list.

Last year I reviewed a Laura Ingalls Wilder related book and I wanted to share it here. I started writing a brief blog about it to post here. I thought I published it. I guess I didn’t as I have a few more books about her I just reviewed and published to the other blog. I wanted to share it here too. I noticed this blog was not shared. So I am updating it and sharing it now — finally. I have put a little of the reviews here with links to the complete reviews included.

If you spent any time reading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder or found pioneer times interesting then the book I’m reviewing for today’s blog is a must for you. Perhaps you have an interest in history and learning more about early history then this book is a great option for you too. 


As a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan I am always looking for more about her and related to her life. So when I saw on my list of books provided to me to review The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired The Little House Books by Marta McDowell saying I was thrilled is an understatement. It does make me long for the days companies let us have more copies in hand to keep instead of e-copies, but then again I didn’t get as many books to read that way so — pros and cons.

It brings us back to the frontier through beautiful photos and illustrations. The author takes us on a journey along the trail of Laura’s books giving details of homestead claims through maps and even mentioning plants along the way. She also incorporates elements of the series as well as other writing from Wilder such as diary entries and letters. This approach allows us to feel we are being taken on a tour by the famous writer herself after all of these years since she first shared her stories. 

Enter Laura Ingalls Wilder’s world with book found in stores and online at currently for $19.

 Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser, a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award winner. This is considered the “first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House of the Prairie books.”  The mother-daughter relationship is also discussed as well as discussion of how popular over the decades the book series as been including how important it has been to readers. While this book includes tons of details and takes time to get through with 640 pages as a fan of the Wilders and history it was worth it to me. If you are interested in either, or both, it is a fantastic option, but if you aren’t into such information you might find it overwhelming.

 A Prairie Girl’s Faith: The Spiritual Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Stephen W. Hines discusses the spiritual life in Wilder’s life and her Little House series. Throughout the many stories of historic fiction based on Wilder’s frontier life God was there. This new book does an interesting job of bringing out points of these faithful times. Various other things included are photos and recipes from the time as well. Readers also get a look at pioneer life including beliefs and culture. Learning about how church and religion was then compared a bit to today was a wonderful thing to consider while reading this book. The idea was fascinating and fitting to the Little House books. It was nice to have the ideas of the Wilder’s and pioneer faith in one book. We learn how her family interacted within their life and religion throughout their everyday lives. Even the music enjoyed in her time is discussed, which I liked very much. Readers are introduced to some pastors of the past too. While it was researched and that was noticed it was disorganized overall. This disorganization took away from the book for me. I did enjoy it, but it was sometimes unclear of the point in places. Still I recommend it to fans and it is interesting. You’ll find some wonderful and perhaps unknown information as well as details in this book too. Some information about Laura’s daughter, Rose, is also included, which was a nice thing to read as well.



Tests Today, Test Yesterday



Contemplating what to write about this week I looked around at what was happening. Snow and cold weather continue, but there must be something else. Then I thought about school and standardize testing. Schools are administering standardize testing this week. This lead me to thinking about all the changes school has undergone since Laura was a school little girl.

Controversies of all types surround standardize testing … I’m not interested in mentioning those elements. I’m only interested in this format to learn about Laura’s day and school testing then.

Testing then was actually really more about a student’s progress. It seemed to be more personalized. Of course it was. Schools were smaller. It was often one room or served as a church and town meeting area too when school was not in session. Schedules were more flexible too with some students, especially older children, not being in school when needed on the farm.

There could be a wide variety of age groups and teaching was often done more one-on-one. Small towns typically had teachers that were mothers too, but no formal teaching education themself and some schools had more than one teacher. The teacher would go to each student and work with them giving them their own assignment according to what they needed to learn. Testing was done to learn what the student knew and what they were ready to learn next.

According to The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development a standardize test today is, “given in a consistent or ‘standard’ manner. Standardized tests are designed to have consistent questions, administration procedures, and scoring procedures. When a standardized test is administrated, is it done so according to certain rules and specifications so that testing conditions are the same for all test takers. … The main benefit of standardized tests is they are typically more reliable and valid than non-standardized measures. They often provide some type of ‘standard score; which can help interpret how far a child’s score ranges from the average.” It is practice today that poor results today mean Summer school, remedial work or repeating a grade. It is also my understanding that such tests determine funding to school corporations.

Everyone learns differently. Some of us benefit from personalized lessons and others are fine on their own. I think I’d enjoy being in a pioneer classroom – but there are pros and cons to everything that will never change.

Winter Cometh – At Least We Have a Warning!


old farmers almanac

Last winter was full of snow, snow, snow. Inches of it fell leading to schools, and even towns, shutting down. It was extremely cold too.

Well, this winter wasn’t so bad leading some to say “where’s the snow, where’s the winter???” Forecasts throughout the 2014-15 winter called for inches and inches of snow, ice and all the joys of winter. Nevertheless, in our part of the world it was forecasted, but passed us by either going too far north or too far south – basically the rough stuff missed us.

Yet, it has arrived in the last few weeks. Snow and extreme record-breaking temperatures are here!

It made me think of Laura and her family as well as all the others in history that didn’t have weather warnings or the luxury of weather forecasting. They didn’t have the science indicating when bad weather in any season was coming – at least not pinpointing to a certain area what would happen and when.

An example is the major blizzard in the Dakota Territory she wrote about. Newspapers indicate that snow storm was a surprise with rain changing to ice then ice becoming snow.

Schools were not cancelled, flights or trains not delayed — basically it was just important to survive the conditions. Stores didn’t have people flocking the same way we do to purchase TP, bread, milk — the survival essentials. Surviving is important now too, but often if a person is blessed to have a home and heating it is better than it was in pioneer times. Keeping the electricity on is vital for us though to keep the living space warm in cold weather.

Today we watch the news, check the weather channel, get on the internet or listen to the radio to learn of pending weather. We plan our day, our week and decide our wardrobe on this information. Sometimes the forecasts are exactly right and sometimes they are so very wrong. Yet, we at least have a better idea of what to expect than in the distant past.

Throughout history being able to forecast the weather has been important and to do so in a timely manner desired. Did you know the weather vane was created in 1716 by Colonial coppersmith Shem Drowne? You can actually see it at Faneuil Hall in Boston. Anyway, the Farmer’s Almanac has been popular throughout history, which has been published on a constant basis since 1818 with copies being published in the late 1790s too. It has been sought for knowledge. Nevertheles, as within the past and today some people are interested in the information while others just don’t believe in it.

It comes down to it that even though weather forecasts are not always accurate at least we have some warning of storms that are useful.

Anyone wondering about winter — well it is here and it is cold. That’s your answer — Winter cometh.

Am I Laura?



Well, I took some of those quizzes recently. You now the ones you see on Facebook – “What Type of Parent are You?”, “Where Should you Live?” or “What Book Character are you Most Like?” – are just a few examples. I don’t take these seriously and take them just for fun.

The quiz, “What Little House Character are You?” – or something like that, indicated what character my answers showed the I am.

Actually, I took a few of these tests set up to determine what Little House character I best resemble. Since they ask different questions and sometimes within these tests I could pick more than one, which could change the answer  — I thought it would be interesting to take a variety of quizzes.

The first quiz announced I am most like Adam Kendall. This choice is described by this quiz as “You are a truly admirable, courageous person who always helps and inspires others. Although you can be a hard task-master, it always pays off and you bring out the best in everyone!” Seems pretty accurate as a person, but as a character – well, Mr. Kendall was a character made up for the “Little House” TV show and was not actually in Laura’s life or a character in her books.

Two of the quizzes list me as being Laura. That’s great, but I know pretty much anyone taking the test actually would love to be described as Laura so I’m not sure how accurate it is as the quiz designer is helping the quiz taker get their wish. But one explained the quiz showed me Laura because “You’re a loving family member, and a good student, but you can be a little naughty at times.” Yes, family is everything to me and while I know I am not a genius (especially in Math), I do consider myself a dedicated student – I love to learn. As for being a bit mischievous, like Laura, I don’t think so.

The other quiz that described me as Laura found me to be, “quite the rebel, aren’t you? Sweet, charming, wholesome and nurturing, but with a spunky streak that makes you bold enough to buck the tide. You jump at the chance for adventure and are not afraid to stay true to the person you are, not necessarily how others think you should be. If a friend or family member is looking for an honest opinion, they know to ask you.” This one is a little more accurate and I kinda like it. I wouldn’t say I am a rebel, but I guess I sorta am since I take the road less traveled. I strive to live my life not by what others do or what is popular, but what I believe the proper direction is for my life. I do love adventure and exploring the world while staying true to me.

Now, for the last quiz – I was given Charles Ingalls, Laura’s pa! I am given this person as I am considered, “a strong and important person  … kind and loving with an answer for everything, but also firm and stubborn. You help anyone you can and bring home the bacon.” I was given him at 87%. The quiz continued to list my percentages of other characters. Here are my results: Almanzo Wilder (Laura’s husband) 62%; Mr. Edwards (family friend) 56%; Carrie Ingalls (Laura’s little sister) 55%; Laura 52%; Caroline Ingalls (Laura’s ma) 31% and Mary Ingalls (Laura’s big sister) 25%.

It was fun and interesting to take the quizzes while thinking about how similar I am to them. These people, these characters brought to life in the “Little House” books actually lived in pioneer times. When it comes down to it I’m good with being me and proud of who I am. Is it neat to be like Laura in some ways – sure. It is also great to be like special people that have been in my life, such as my grandparents and I know I have elements of all four of them! That’s very special to me.

So, what Little House character do you think you are most like? Are you Laura or maybe Ma—perhaps someone else in the Little House world?

Google Laura


148 google celebrates Laura 2015

It is a big week in the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Therefore, it is a good time to get back to the blog.

Let’s see what’s been on her calendar recently? Well, her 148th birthday was observed on Feb. 7 and GOOGLE, the search engine, played tribute to her. When going to GOOGLE on Feb. 7 I saw the above graphic displayed. It is of a couple wool dolls made to look like Laura and her older sister, Mary.

I think it is a nice way to honor Laura, her books and her family. Just imagine living in Pioneer times and now we use computers to write. There she is on the computer. By the way, these elements on GOOGLE are considered GOOGLE DOODLES.

Anyway, here is the article about the dolls. It is interesting so I thought I’d share. The artists even show how they created the dolls. An added bonus is they have a book to be released in March featuring this type of artwork. It will be all about Star Wars – another interest of mine. Perhaps this is a book to consider putting on my wish list. Matthew and Jackson would like it too, I believe.

Then it was 58 years ago that Laura’s pen was silenced on Feb. 10, 1957. She was 90 – having just celebrated her birthday a few days before.

Many elements continue to happen in the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder. There was a class recently studying her and her work. Now there is another coming up soon. I took the first class, but was too busy to really enjoy it as much as I wanted. I look forward to the new elements in the next class and I hope to have the time to really work on this class.

Her new book has been in the news too!

It is amazing that she has been gone for nearly 60 years and she is still alive through her words.

Charles and Caroline Anniversary!


charles and caroline ingalls 2.1.1860

Today is Feb. 1. Laura’s parents, Charles and Caroline (Quiner), were married on this day in 1860. Happy Anniversary, Ma and Pa Ingalls!!!

It has almost been a year since I started this blog. It has been a busy year, which didn’t give me the time I wanted to actually do this blog the way I planned. My goal is to find the time this year and do better! Sometimes something has got to give and unfortunately this was what I had to give up.

‘Mrs. Olsen’ Birthdays!


Today is the actress that played Mrs. Olsen celebrates her 90th birthday. Katherine MacGregor took on the role of mean ‘ol Mrs. Olsen, but fellow actors have said Mrs. MacGregor is a very nice person.

It is also the date that Margaret Gibson Owens was born. She was born on Jan. 12, 1836 in Quebec, Canada. She would be 179 today. This is the woman Mrs. Wilder based her Mrs. Olsen character on within her “Little House” series.

How amazing that these ladies related to such a beloved book series were born on the same date.

Happy Birthday, Ladies!

katherine macgregor mrs. owens jan 12

LHOTP TV Series Premieres today in 1974 — Happy 40th Anniversary!



I don’t remember the first airing of “Little House on the Prairie”, of course. Nevertheless, this day 40 years ago was a path beginning for me — starting my career and desire to be a writer and teacher.

When I started noticing “Little House” it was one of the first shows I remember — that and “Dukes of Hazard” — which is another story of my life entirely. Anyway, I enjoyed the show and continue watching. I found it interesting to find out this little girl was real and she really lived years ago. I also have always been told I’m old-fashioned so being drawn to pioneer times is not that out of the question. This all fueled my love of the show.

When the time came I read her books — most of them I have read much more than once. I began to write and write when I was old enough. I enjoyed teaching too — as an older sister this love was something I did everyday.

So thanks to Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family for inspiring me to be a writer and encourage my joy of teaching. Thanks NBC and the cast of LHOTP for introducing me to Laura Ingalls Wilder.

‘Little House On the Prairie’ Cast Attends Reunion in Walnut Grove




Still very busy here  — the summer has been full of things to do. Nevertheless, I wanted to post what’s happening this weekend related to “Little House”. There are various cast members, including Dean Butler — Almanzo Wilder, attending a reunion in Walnut Grove — they have even visited Plum Creek.

I really wish I could be there — maybe someday!








‘Little House’ Cast Observes 40 Years!


I had several posts I planned for April, but it has been such a busy time. Maybe this Summer I’ll be able to get a better blogging schedule. I’ll try to get them finished very soon!!

Nevertheless, “Little House on The Prairie” is the TV show based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books. It is celebrating 40 years. I am sharing a link to a recent TV reunion with some of the cast discussing the show.