Author Archives: Tracey

The Romanovs

I have just finished reading two fantastic books

and both were related to the Romanov family.

The one I’ve very recently finished was called, “Romanov”

and was written by Nadine Brandes.

(I have loved all of Nadine’s books).

“Romanov” is a mix between fiction, fact and fantasy.

The story starts with the Romanovs imprisoned in Tobolsk

and progresses very quickly to Ekaterinburg.

Within the story, there are mystical magical elements

that relate quite nicely to the cultural background.

As things are ‘wrapping up’ in Ekaterinbrug,

(I won’t spoil the ending for you, if you don’t know the Romanov story),

the author has you part ways with the factual account

and what you are expecting,

and takes you deeper into the mystical with a truly fictionalised ending.

At first I was confused when this happened,

but, I assure you, it was worth continuing.

I really liked the ending.

And, as with all of Nadine’s books,

there’s a very strong Christian theme running throughout.

This book focuses on loving your enemy

and I would say forgiveness as well.

I really enjoyed this book.


However, I think I particularly enjoyed the book

because I was familiar with the history of the Romanov family.

I’m not sure I would have appreciated it quite so much without knowing a little of the history beforehand.

I actually think Nadine gave a rather glossy impression of the family

but perhaps that’s part of Nadine’s lesson for us – giving them grace and forgiveness.

For a really good book about the history of the Romanovs,

you can’t go past Candace Fleming’s book, “The Family Romanov”.

I read this aloud with my boys and it’s edge-of-the-seat reading.

Candace paints a more sombre, perhaps closer to the truth view of the family and events surrounding them.

The book starts at the beginning of Nicholas Romanov’s story,

before Nicholas was the Tsar and before he was married.

Candace also describes how the Tsars and nobility lived,

and contrasts it with stories of how the peasants lived.

Of coures, these two groups eventually clash and Candace relates how the country unraveled into revolution.

The infamous Rasputin and his interactions with the Romanov family is also included.

You can’t have the Romanov story without this man.

The last section of the book tells of Nicholas’ abdication

and the family’s imprisonment in Siberia.

And of course I can’t tell you the ending,

but my boys were shocked and not expecting it.

This story, and the book that tells it, is fascinating.

Well written history is always a delight.


So, if you are interested in the Romanov story,

read Candace Fleming’s book, “The Family Romanov”,

and if you need a happier ending

follow it up with Nadine’s book, “Romanov”.

Both were wonderful books to read.

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Posted by on August 1, 2019 in History, My Library


Chernobyl Book

We have just finished reading a really interesting book.

It was called ‘Radiant Girl’ and the story revolved around the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.


The story starts out just before the accident and continues through to the relocation of the citizens and their adjustment afterwards.

Yes, the book is fictional but it’s liberally dosed with factual content; the content is even footnoted.

Books like these are a great jumping off point into a new topic.

Since starting this book, we’ve watched a number of documentaries about the disaster

and have also started reading the book, “Chernobyl Prayers”, which is full of eyewitness accounts and experiences.


If you have problems with magical content, then ‘Radiant Girl’ might not be for you.

It features, at times, a house elf who is kind of key to the story.

However, we quite liked hearing about the mythology of that part of the world.

The book also includes scenes and discussions about boyfriends, but it’s fairly innocuous stuff.

If you can peel back the bits and bobs you may dislike,

underneath is a fascinating story.

For us, the story has opened up a whole new rabbit trail to follow.

I love when that happens.



Posted by on July 31, 2019 in History, My Library


My Baby Turns 16!

Brayden turns 16 in a few days

so we invited his favourite girls around to celebrate with him.

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‘His girls’ were an adoring fan club for him as he opened his gifts.

Plus there were no worries about sweet 16 kisses with these sweeties around.

However, their kisses did come with dribble and drool.

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Lego gifts abounded of course

as Brayden is an avid Lego fan.

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His girls enjoyed building with him too

but they used the boxes to build cubby houses,

and Brayden graciously allowed them.

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Happy Birthday Brayden.


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Posted by on July 7, 2019 in Family Events



Identification documents are something that homeschoolers probably haven’t thought too much about

…but they should, particularly if they have teenagers.

Recently, Ethan needed a number of different IDs to apply for several things.

But he hasn’t had the right identification and it’s created no end of hassles,

particularly for those things that were time sensitive.

So, here’s a list of things I’ve recently learned about identification (for Australians),

from our own situation and those around us.

* A lot of ID applications can take anywhere from two weeks to one month to process so allow plenty of time.

* Make sure that everyone in the family has a FULL birth certifcate.  Extracts are rarely accepted.

* Passports, while expensive, are great identification and you can get them for your children without the child needing a bunch of ID, other than their birth certificate.

* Even if your child isn’t interested in learning to drive at 16, urge them to get their learner’s license anyway.  It’s really good ID.

* If your teen doesn’t have the right ID (especially something with a signature and address) when applying for a Learner’s license, they’ll have to fill in a form and get someone like your family doctor to state that they are who they say they are.  This takes time.

* Bank cards and statements are also good ID so get your teens to open accounts once they can do it in their own name.  Accounts opened when they were babies and small children generally won’t work as ID.  They need to have a bank card with a signature.

* Apply for a Tax File Number WELL before your teens might need it.  They’ll need it when applying for jobs and also when they are applying for government loans for TAFE and Uni study.  It takes a whole month to get one so plan ahead.

* Oh and get your teens to practise the signature they are going to use on their ID.  Don’t spring it on them at the counter of a government department.

The best advice I can give is to plan ahead.  Look at what might be coming up and see if your teens have the ID that they might need.  If they don’t, start making appointments and applying now.  It’ll save you a lot of hassle in the long run.


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Posted by on July 7, 2019 in Family Life