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Great Book Lists for Children!

I’m thoroughly enjoying guest hosting the Literacy Musing Mondays linkup this week. If you want some great ideas about books, head on over to check out the posted reviews and other cool links. If you’re a blogger, please join the linkup fun!

In the spirit of sharing great books, I’m sharing links to a few helpful children’s book lists!

  1. Are you ready for fall? Get in the mood with 25 Kids’ Books About Leaves at Crystal and Co.
  2. Do your kids love listening to audio books? While the public library has always been my go-to place for free kids’ audio books, I’m excited to learn about another source. House Full of Bookworms has a great post about the best books on Librivox for younger kids.
  3. Having trouble finding boy’s books? Lisa Appelo has 100 wonderful boy book suggestions for you!
  4. The post on My Mommy Style about the 50 Best Read-Aloud Chapter Books for Young Kids was so popular, the bloggers offered a second edition with 50 MORE suggestions.
  5. I have a passion for Christian children’s books so I was especially excited to find this wonderful book guide at Aslan’s Library.

What about you? Do you know of a great book list?

Posted in Lists, Literature | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ten Tips for Enjoying the Library with Your Children + Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup

I am thrilled to be guest hosting the Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup with Mary, Tami, and Ashley. Literacy Musing Mondays gives bloggers a chance to link up family-friendly, book- or literacy-related posts. Please join the fun!
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ten Tips for Enjoying the Library with Your Children

10 Tips

I love books. I really love free books. I love my kids. I want my kids to love books.

With all this book-loving, you’d probably think I love the library. You’re correct about that, but I haven’t always loved dragging my exuberant kids along with me. Gasp! Any upstanding mother should love taking her kids to the library. You may be wondering if you read correctly. Alas, yes. I didn’t always enjoy toting my kids to the library.

My aversion to the family library trip probably began when my oldest son was four and my then-youngest was a toddler. I’d pack my kiddos into the car while droning on about story hour and book checkout time. With not a moment to spare, I’d herd them quickly into room jammed full of other wonderful munchkins and overwhelmed mothers. Signs posted everywhere instructed parents to actively participate, which usually meant joining the librarian in an enthusiastic round of the Funky Chicken dance. Unfortunately, we had to simultaneously thwart our crawling babies’ escape from the racket music by offering contraband Cheerio bribes.

At the conclusion of the chaotic music- and story-extravaganza, I’d drag guide my darling children to the Easy Reader section for my early-reader son to make his selections. The problem was he had tunnel vision for DC Comic-based Easy Readers. If they were checked out, as they usually were, wailing ensued. Since my toddler had most likely been screaming on and off since stanza two of the Funky Chicken, at this point the din was loud enough to ruffle the feathers of all the childless adults calmly pursuing the bestsellers shelved nearby.

All hope would be lost as I’d scoop up my devastated, bookless four-year-old with one arm, attempting to one-handedly navigate my toddler’s stroller through the front door with the other. By the time my children were buckled securely into their cars eats, my resolve would be firm. I would NEVER EVER under any circumstance visit the library again. My resolve would last about a week until my love for free books once again kicked in and we were off on another library excursion.

You may be wondering by now if all hope for enjoying the library with young children really is lost. The answer, I now know, is a resounding NO. With a little foresight and planning, the library can in fact be a world of wonder for you and your children to enjoy together. Here are the top ten tips I’ve learned along the way.

  1. Put books on reserve in advance. This will eliminate children’s frustration about not being able to find what they want.
  2. Prepare your children before leaving the house. Get drinks of water and go to the bathroom. Make sure children are not hungry, tired, or otherwise cranky. If that really cool Funky Chicken story hour is happening during naptime, skip it and find another one when they’ll be in better moods. If you have your heart set on a particular class, leave early so you won’t be stressed about getting there.
  3. Go with the flow in classes. Most children’s librarians are wonderful people who have a pretty accurate idea about a toddler’s attention span. They won’t be upset if you have to stop dancing the Funky Chicken long enough to corral your escaping baby. (However, everyone will appreciate it if you remove a truly out-of-control child from the room.)
  4. Have an action plan for finding books. Talk to your child on the way about what types of books he or she would like to find. Discuss favorite authors that you can search for together. I have established a no-reading-until-you’ve-finished-making-selections rule with one book-devouring child.
  5. Know your child’s reading level. The grading of easy reading levels can vary drastically between publishers. Be familiar with the different series so you can steer your child to the appropriate levels. Young readers need lots of help on this one.
  6. Have realistic expectations about what you will accomplish. Don’t plan on endlessly perusing the stacks in search of your own favorite books. With proper training, children can learn to respectfully follow you long enough to make a selection or two, but keep your book shopping short. You can put selections for yourself on reserve, too!
  7. Try to visit libraries with play areas if you have younger children. A toy break in the children’s play area can let the baby crawl off a little steam and give your older children a chance to search nearby shelves. Allowing young children to play as a reward for good library behavior can also be a win.
  8. Keep library books organized at home so rounding up materials before the trip doesn’t become stressful. Our family keeps unread library books on one special shelf. When we finish them, we place them in our return library bag. With this system, we seldom have trouble locating our library materials.
  9. Teach respect for others. Talk about the needs of others in the library. Explain how we can respect others with proper library behavior.
  10. Share happy moments reading your library books together. Let children associate happiness with their library trips.

What about you? How do you enjoy the library with your children?
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now back to the linkup. What have you read this week? What literacy activities have you participated in with your family and loved ones? Please share. All family-friendly posts are welcome.😉

Literacy Musing Mondays

Ashley from www.circlingthestory.com

Ashley @Circling the Story

Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram

Mary @Maryandering Creatively

Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/ Instagram

Tami @ThisMomsDelight

Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus


Last Week’s Top Clicked Post!

You could be next to be featured! Remember, we try to make it worth your while to linkup with us by promoting your posts across our social media networks. We also pin your posts to our Pinterest Board!

Carolyn’s House Full of Bookworms post:

Best Librivox Books for Younger Kids

You could be next to be featured! Remember, we try to make it worth your while to linkup with us by promoting your posts across our social media networks. We also pin your posts to our Pinterest Board!

Follow Mary Hill’s board Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup on Pinterest.


Now it is time to link up to the Literacy Musing Mondays hop!

Link up HERE!

You will have until Saturdays at 12 p.m. now to link up! So come back often. :)

Literacy Musing Mondays

Linkup Rules:

  1. Include a link back or the blog hop button linked to this hop on your posts.
  2. Link up the urls to your posts not to your blog.
  3. Please remember this is a family-friendly linkup. We reserve the right to delete any posts that are not family friendly. We love all kinds of literature and genres including family-friendly inspirational romances, fantasy, or scifi. We do not welcome anything with excessive sexual content or cursing.
  4. Be sure to visit at least two other bloggers’ posts and share comment love! Remember it is also nice to follow them on their social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook
  5. Follow your hosts and co-hosts on their social media.
  6. Tweet about the link up too.

****************

Forever Joyful’s favorite linkup parties!

Literacy Musing Monday, Inspire Me MondayMom 2 Mom, Mama  MomentsManic Mondays,Life of FaithTitus 2sdays, Hip Homeschool MomsMissional Women,  Wise Woman, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Raising HomemakersWorks for me Wednesdays,  Coffee and Conversation,Hearts for HomeMom’s Library, The Mommy Club, Cozy Reading Spot, and Grace and Truth

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Ten Tips for Enjoying the Library with Your Children + Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup

I am thrilled to be guest hosting the Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup with Mary, Tami, and Ashley. Literacy Musing Mondays gives bloggers a chance to link up family-friendly, book- or literacy-related posts. Please join the fun!
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ten Tips for Enjoying the Library with Your Children

10 Tips

I love books. I really love free books. I love my kids. I want my kids to love books.

With all this book-loving, you’d probably think I love the library. You’re correct about that, but I haven’t always loved dragging my exuberant kids along with me. Gasp! Any upstanding mother should love taking her kids to the library. You may be wondering if you read correctly. Alas, yes. I didn’t always enjoy toting my kids to the library.

My aversion to the family library trip probably began when my oldest son was four and my then-youngest was a toddler. I’d pack my kiddos into the car while droning on about story hour and book checkout time. With not a moment to spare, I’d herd them quickly into room jammed full of other wonderful munchkins and overwhelmed mothers. Signs posted everywhere instructed parents to actively participate, which usually meant joining the librarian in an enthusiastic round of the Funky Chicken dance. Unfortunately, we had to simultaneously thwart our crawling babies’ escape from the racket music by offering contraband Cheerio bribes.

At the conclusion of the chaotic music- and story-extravaganza, I’d drag guide my darling children to the Easy Reader section for my early-reader son to make his selections. The problem was he had tunnel vision for DC Comic-based Easy Readers. If they were checked out, as they usually were, wailing ensued. Since my toddler had most likely been screaming on and off since stanza two of the Funky Chicken, at this point the din was loud enough to ruffle the feathers of all the childless adults calmly pursuing the bestsellers shelved nearby.

All hope would be lost as I’d scoop up my devastated, bookless four-year-old with one arm, attempting to one-handedly navigate my toddler’s stroller through the front door with the other. By the time my children were buckled securely into their cars eats, my resolve would be firm. I would NEVER EVER under any circumstance visit the library again. My resolve would last about a week until my love for free books once again kicked in and we were off on another library excursion.

You may be wondering by now if all hope for enjoying the library with young children really is lost. The answer, I now know, is a resounding NO. With a little foresight and planning, the library can in fact be a world of wonder for you and your children to enjoy together. Here are the top ten tips I’ve learned along the way.

  1. Put books on reserve in advance. This will eliminate children’s frustration about not being able to find what they want.
  2. Prepare your children before leaving the house. Get drinks of water and go to the bathroom. Make sure children are not hungry, tired, or otherwise cranky. If that really cool Funky Chicken story hour is happening during naptime, skip it and find another one when they’ll be in better moods. If you have your heart set on a particular class, leave early so you won’t be stressed about getting there.
  3. Go with the flow in classes. Most children’s librarians are wonderful people who have a pretty accurate idea about a toddler’s attention span. They won’t be upset if you have to stop dancing the Funky Chicken long enough to corral your escaping baby. (However, everyone will appreciate it if you remove a truly out-of-control child from the room.)
  4. Have an action plan for finding books. Talk to your child on the way about what types of books he or she would like to find. Discuss favorite authors that you can search for together. I have established a no-reading-until-you’ve-finished-making-selections rule with one book-devouring child.
  5. Know your child’s reading level. The grading of easy reading levels can vary drastically between publishers. Be familiar with the different series so you can steer your child to the appropriate levels. Young readers need lots of help on this one.
  6. Have realistic expectations about what you will accomplish. Don’t plan on endlessly perusing the stacks in search of your own favorite books. With proper training, children can learn to respectfully follow you long enough to make a selection or two, but keep your book shopping short. You can put selections for yourself on reserve, too!
  7. Try to visit libraries with play areas if you have younger children. A toy break in the children’s play area can let the baby crawl off a little steam and give your older children a chance to search nearby shelves. Allowing young children to play as a reward for good library behavior can also be a win.
  8. Keep library books organized at home so rounding up materials before the trip doesn’t become stressful. Our family keeps unread library books on one special shelf. When we finish them, we place them in our return library bag. With this system, we seldom have trouble locating our library materials.
  9. Teach respect for others. Talk about the needs of others in the library. Explain how we can respect others with proper library behavior.
  10. Share happy moments reading your library books together. Let children associate happiness with their library trips.

What about you? How do you enjoy the library with your children?
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now back to the linkup. What have you read this week? What literacy activities have you participated in with your family and loved ones? Please share. All family-friendly posts are welcome.😉

Literacy Musing Mondays

Ashley from www.circlingthestory.com

Ashley @Circling the Story

Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram

Mary @Maryandering Creatively

Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/ Instagram

Tami @ThisMomsDelight

Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus


Last Week’s Top Clicked Post!

You could be next to be featured! Remember, we try to make it worth your while to linkup with us by promoting your posts across our social media networks. We also pin your posts to our Pinterest Board!

Carolyn’s House Full of Bookworms post:

Best Librivox Books for Younger Kids

You could be next to be featured! Remember, we try to make it worth your while to linkup with us by promoting your posts across our social media networks. We also pin your posts to our Pinterest Board!

Follow Mary Hill’s board Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup on Pinterest.


Now it is time to link up to the Literacy Musing Mondays hop!

Link up HERE!

You will have until Saturdays at 12 p.m. now to link up! So come back often. :)

Literacy Musing Mondays

Linkup Rules:

  1. Include a link back or the blog hop button linked to this hop on your posts.
  2. Link up the urls to your posts not to your blog.
  3. Please remember this is a family-friendly linkup. We reserve the right to delete any posts that are not family friendly. We love all kinds of literature and genres including family-friendly inspirational romances, fantasy, or scifi. We do not welcome anything with excessive sexual content or cursing.
  4. Be sure to visit at least two other bloggers’ posts and share comment love! Remember it is also nice to follow them on their social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook
  5. Follow your hosts and co-hosts on their social media.
  6. Tweet about the link up too.

****************

Forever Joyful’s favorite linkup parties!

Literacy Musing Monday, Inspire Me MondayMom 2 Mom, Mama  MomentsManic Mondays,Life of FaithTitus 2sdays, Hip Homeschool MomsMissional Women,  Wise Woman, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Raising HomemakersWorks for me Wednesdays,  Coffee and Conversation,Hearts for HomeMom’s Library, The Mommy Club, Cozy Reading Spot, and Grace and Truth

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Final Friday Family Faves: August 2015 Edition

We’ve had a whirlwind week with starting homeschooling, attending our first field trip to the Patuxent Research Refuge, and getting ready for our homeschool co-op’s annual Welcome Back Picnic. But we’re never too busy to reflect on our favorite reads of the month,

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Hunter’s daily drive to the office is more enjoyable because of the The Modern Scholar: History of Ancient Greece. It’s technically a lecture series and not a book. However, the educational nature makes it book-like, and the hubby loves it so I’m including it! He’s listened to several other lectures on ancient history recently as well as some ancient classics. (This audio was available for free from Amazon with an Audible trial at the time I wrote this post. Check as prices change frequently.)

Leslie’s choice is The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected by Nik Ripkin. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in a church book club where discussion about this title was rich. Nik Ripkin is a leading expert on the persecuted church. His stories have inspired Christians in some of the world’s most oppressive places, and they certainly inspired me. Read it and start your own book club. You’ll be inspired, too!

Archie (7.5) and Grace (6) both loved the same book, The 13-Story Treehouse
by Andy Griffiths. Archie earned himself a copy earlier this summer through the Barnes and Nobel summer reading program. (It’s not too late to earn your own free book by downloading their reading journal participation forms, but you do have to hurry!)

Archie has already read Griffiths masterpiece at least four times! Grace and I enjoyed the book together as an alternating-style read aloud. ZANY is the single word to best describe this hilarious read that follows two boys on their wacky adventure to write, illustrate and publish a book from their magical 13-story tree house. If only those pesky underwater monkeys and a flying cat – or is that catenary? – didn’t keep distracting them! The book is jam-packed with clean humor and only a few body noise (burping) jokes. I was concerned at the beginning about a little white lie the boys told, but it found them out in the end. Best of all, they restored their friendship with the girl they’d lied to. Lesson learned. Generally speaking, expect fun and not learning in this great read!

Grant (16 months) loves The Story of Jesus (Little Bible Books) by Patricia Pingry (Candycane Press). All three of my kids have loved this book. Maybe they’ve all loved it because I’ve made such a big deal about it. The words are committed to memory. I even translated it to Chinese as a personal language exercise while studying Mandarin because I wanted to share it with some of my college friends. In a few simple sentences, the book captures the essence of who Jesus is. I can’t wait until Grant’s little heart grasps the meaning.

Be sure to check out our other Final Friday Family Faves from this summer. Here are the links for our June and July picks.

What about you? What were your favorite books this month? Leave a comment or the link to a review you’ve written.

**This post contains affiliate links to books we love!

Linking up at: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers AND Literacy Musing Monday, Inspire Me MondayMom 2 Mom, Mama  MomentsManic Mondays,Life of FaithTitus 2sdaysMissional Women,  Wise Woman, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Raising HomemakersWorks for me Wednesdays,  Coffee and Conversation,Hearts for HomeMom’s Library, The Mommy Club, Cozy Reading Spot, and Grace and Tr

Posted in Literature | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Guest Post: Our Favourite Books from Joyful Mud Puddles

I am excited to have Meaghan Jackson from Joyful Mud Puddles posting for us today about her family’s favorite books from around the world. Check out her piece. Maybe you will find some new favorites!

Untitled

My boys love listening to stories. Whether I’m telling them a story, acting one out with toys, listening to podcasts and audio books, or curling up with a good book, my boys are captivated! I am always happy to nourish their love of literature. So today I thought I’d share a few of our favourite books with you.

My boys are currently ages five and seven. The following books I’d say are great for approximately ages four to eight as read alouds or for slightly older children if they are reading independently. Some you may have already heard of, and the last few may be newer to most readers.

I’d say most families have heard of Curious George by H.A. and Margaret Rey.  We have three books with several stories in them each.  George’s antics often remind us of our own children.  He learns valuable lessons and is always getting into some silly mischief.  These books have been made into a television series and movies.  My boys think it’s kind of exciting to read a story that goes along with what they’ve seen on TV.  When TJ, my oldest, was six years old he chose the original Curious George story to create a lapbook for a local homeschool literature fair.  We were able to pull so many different topics to learn from.

The Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Williams are simple enough for my emerging reader and engaging enough to keep us coming back for more.  They are silly and fun, perfect for my two older boys! The writing in these books is all in speech bubbles similar to a comic book.  Each character has his or her own words written in a speech bubble with a corresponding color so it is easy to see who is speaking.  From reading these stories my boys have learned a lot about dialogue and expression.  The simple pictures are so well drawn that my boys will break into giggles just looking at them.  There are over 20 Elephant and Piggie books in the series, even more if you are interested in William’s Pigeon books too.

Fact and fiction come together with the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne.  With 28 titles in the original series and even more with the Merlin missions, these books will take you around the world throughout history.  My boys love hearing about Jack and Annie’s adventures, often wanting to complete a whole book in one sitting! The topics of these adventures spark their interest which has led us to the library to further explore volcanoes, dinosaurs and more.  TJ has already started to try and read a few words on the pages, while my middle son loves falling asleep at night to the audio CD’s.

Growing up in England, my mom often read stories of  Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem.  The exquisite pictures with amazing detail are the first thing you’ll notice when you open a book.  These stories tell of the adventures of the mice that live in Brambly Hedge.  There are seasonal stories and a few more exciting adventures.  They are gentle timeless tales, showing how a community of little mice all work together.

Anything by Elsa Beskow would be a wonderful addition to any family library.  My boys loved it when I made little pipecleaner dolls and acted out the book called Woody, Hazel and Little Pip.  The illustrations for these books are beautiful.  Elsa Beskow’s stories are gentle gnome and animal tales that cover a variety of seasons and topics.  She has written more than 25 children’s books.

My boys regularly request Donsey of Gnomes by Sieglinde De Francesca for bed time.  TJ chose this book to present for the literature fair this year.  He drew a picture of each gnome featured in the book and shared a little about his adventures.  There are seven wonderful stories about different gnomes with various jobs who live in Limindoor woods.  One gnome plants acorns. Another grows crystals. There are twin brothers who spin yarn and more. At the back of the book are suggested crafts and activities to accompany each of the stories.  The last story in the book ties all of the adventures together.
The final books I’d like to share with you come from Japan.  I lived there for a year after high school.  We were able to find the English version of these books and I have kept them ever since.  My boys adore hearing about the adventures of a little girl called Momo-chan, her cat Poo and family.  I have three of these books, which follow Momo-chan’s life from a baby to school age.  They are fictional stories, and although some things may get lost in translation for my young children, they are charming to read. Little Momo-chan by Miyoko Matsutani.

We have plenty more fiction and non-fiction favorites at home.  Hopefully I’ve inspired you to check out something new.

What are your favorite books for children? Please share in the comments.

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Meaghan Jackson lives in Ontario, Canada with her three young boys and husband.  She spends her days at home living life, learning, exploring, playing and creating with her children.  She also works closely with her husband to operate a fire alarm and electrical company.  In her free time Meaghan usually has a crafty project on the go and blogs over at Joyful Mud Puddles. You can also connect with Meaghan on her new Facebook page.

Posted in Literature | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Take Me to the County Fair: Favorite Books and Memories

County fairs are steeped in tradition, talent and can-do spirit. The experience is well worth sharing with our children. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around the local fair. Some of my favorite children’s books do, too.

ferris wheel

I grew up in rural Tennessee. My county had a longstanding tradition of closing school on Fair Day.  The fun for me didn’t start on Fair Day, though. It started much earlier as I planned my arts and crafts exhibits. My mother faithfully took me to the frame shop to pick out frames and mats for my best pieces. Then, she or my dad would brave the long lines to help me enter each piece. (My dad jokes to this day about having to wait hours behind every farmer in town who would enter a tomato in his name, his wife’s name and his third-cousin-once-removed’s name. Ditto for cucumbers, green beans and other veggies.)

As soon as the judging was complete, we’d rush in to check for ribbons. At the time, the going premium was $3.00 for a blue ribbon. What wealth! (My parents probably just saw deficits from art lessons, frames and mats.) The true value of the competition had nothing to do with money, though. The true value of the competition came from how it inspired me to do my best throughout the year!

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My son showing off his third-place ribbon

In addition to competitions I participated in, I also gained a deep appreciation for the agricultural industry that our town was built on. I enjoyed roaming through the animal barns and checking to see who grew the biggest pumpkins. (I secretly – or maybe not so secretly – wished we lived on one of the farms so I, too, could enter my own rabbits and cows.) Each of those tomatoes, cucumbers and beans that had created such long entry lines was valuable as were the farmers who grew them.

Because of my wonderful memories, I’ve been inspired to get my children involved in our County Fair as well. This was their first year entering contests. On entry Saturday, they rose early to bake their hearts out. What exuberance when they were rewarded for their efforts with ribbons! (I’m sure my daughter is thankful for how inflation has raised the blue ribbon premium to a whopping $4.00!) They’re already planning next year’s entries in the baking, photography, fine arts, and needle craft divisions.

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My daughter’s prize winning chocolate cake

In addition to going to our local fair, we also enjoy reading about them. Here are a few of my favorite fair books:

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – From cover to cover, this book is a heartwarming celebration of friendship and agriculture. The central plot question Will Charlotte spider be able to save Wilbur pig from the butcher block? unfolds at the county fair. Wilbur proves he is more than Some Pig. He is, in fact, Radiant.

Farmer Boy (Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder – The fair makes up only a small part of this book, but what an exciting part it is! Readers sit on pins and needles as they wait to find out if Almanzo’s milk-fed pumpkin can bring home the blue ribbon. The rest of the book is a treat, too!

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County Fair (My First Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder – This delightful picture book makes the story of Almanzo and his pumpkin more accessible to young readers although reader’s of any age will delight in this fun tale with its whimsical illustrations.

How has your family enjoyed the fair? What are your favorite fair books? Please share in the comments.

 **This post contains affiliate links to some of my favorite books!

Linking up at: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers AND Literacy Musing Monday, Inspire Me MondayMom 2 Mom, Mama  MomentsManic Mondays,Life of FaithTitus 2sdaysMissional Women,  Wise Woman, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Raising HomemakersWorks for me Wednesdays,  Coffee and Conversation,Hearts for HomeMom’s Library, The Mommy Club, Cozy Reading Spot, and Grace and Truth.

Posted in Activities, Literature | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

On Boys: Thoughts of a Preschooler

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—  rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. – 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NKJV)

“Mom, I want to look pretty for B-.”

“If I wear this, maybe the boys will think I’m too pretty.”

IMG_3180 copy

I was completely shocked when these phrases came tumbling out of my sweet, innocent little three-year-old’s mouth while getting ready for church a few years ago.

Where did they come from? My husband and I try hard to guard our children’s hearts and minds and certainly don’t promote our young kids having boyfriends and girlfriends. We’re careful about the media they watch and the books they read. What’s happening?

Later at church, I told Mr. B’s Mama what my daughter had said, and we shared a nice laugh. A few days later, it finally sank in. My daughter is already hardwired with femininity. She wants to look beautiful. She wants to be noticed.

It’s our job as parents to make sure she grows up in a wholesome environment that teaches her to be beautiful from the inside out. And, of course, to wait on a boyfriend until she’s about 60 old enough to seek out a godly young man who will lead her and their future children in a life of godliness.

Thankfully, my daughter’s interest in impressing Mr. B- passed and nothing of the kind has resurfaced since, but the incident served to keep me on my toes. Our world is not wholesome. I’m humbled daily by the task of raising children who will have wholesome values despite their environment. I would love to hear about wholesome ways you’re raising your children in an unwholesome world.

Link parties I love: Literacy Musing Monday, Inspire Me MondayMom 2 Mom, Mama  MomentsManic Mondays,Life of FaithTitus 2sdaysMissional Women,  Wise Woman, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Raising HomemakersWorks for me Wednesdays,  Coffee and Conversation,Hearts for HomeMom’s Library, The Mommy Club, and Grace and Truth.

Posted in Holiness | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

20 Simple Snack Ideas for Hosting a Children’s Party

Just call me a party animal. One of my favorite ways to love on my kids is hosting parties for them. We have parties all the time. From holidays to birthdays to the completely mundane, my children’s friends are always crowding in my house for a good time.

simple snacks

I’ll go fancy and pull out all the stops for the truly special occasions in life. For everything else, I go low stress. Kids are one of the easiest audiences to please, and I take advantage of that. Low-stress doesn’t equal boring. I have a few tricks that make the simple special.

Dollar Tree is my one-stop shop for tableware. A table set with a coordinated plastic tablecloth, plates, napkins and forks only costs a few dollars and takes a few minutes yet makes a great impression. (If you want to go really high-tech, grab a few of their helium balloons, too.)

Many of my snacks are store-bought, but I like to transfer them into nicer looking serving containers. I keep a stash of plastic and faux metal party wear in my basement at the ready for any occasion. I mix and match with serving pieces from my every day or holiday dishes as appropriate.

Here’s a list of my 20 favorite children’s party menu items. I’ve kept the list on the inexpensive side. You can lower the cost still further by making everything homemade, but that’s not low-stress for me. If you need even quicker-to-prepare items and are willing to shell out a bit more, check out the freezer section of your grocery or Costco for some great higher-priced options.

Main Things

  1. Hot dogs or frozen pigs in a blanket. You can cut them in half as younger kids don’t always eat a whole one.
  2. Crustless ham or turkey sandwich triangles (white or wheat bread with mayo)
  3. Mini meatballs in crockpot with barbecue sauce

Fruit

  1. Grapes
  2. Banana halves
  3. Watermelon or cantaloupe cubes (in season – summer)
  4. Mandarin oranges (in season – winter)

IMG_5174 copy

Munchies

  1. Pretzels
  2. Packaged fruit snacks or Fruit by the Foot
  3. String Cheese
  4. Chips (either served with tongs from a large bowl or in individual packets)
  5. Animal crackers
  6. Popcorn (I usually buy the bagged kind and pour into serving bowl.)

pretzels

The truly healthy (Sometimes I just skip it because the kids don’t care, and it’s a party!)

  1. Carrots with Ranch dip or hummus (This makes other moms happy, and you can make it fun by putting the dip into a serving pitcher)

Desserts

  1. Mini cupcakes (Make from a box or buy for cheap from Walmart.)
  2. Brownies (From a box – super easy – or go easier and purchase ready made.)
  3. Cookies (From dough you make ahead and freeze, slice and bake, or purchase). Kids are not picky about cookies!
  4. Sheet cake or cookie cake (From a box or bakery. Great for special events!)

    IMG_5313

    Let the kids decorate their own cake. Their friends will love it, and it’s one less task for Mom!

Drinks

  1. Juice packs (Capri Sun 100% juice from Costco is my go-to staple – no cups required.)
  2. Sherbet punch (Mix together any flavor sherbet, Sprite, and Hawaiian punch, serve in large bowl with dipper – easy and always a hit!)

Linky parties I love: Literacy Musing Monday, Inspire Me MondayMom 2 Mom, Mama  MomentsManic Mondays,Life of FaithTitus 2sdaysMissional Women,  Wise Woman, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Raising HomemakersWorks for me Wednesdays,  Coffee and Conversation,Hearts for HomeMom’s Library, The Mommy Club, and Grace and Truth.

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Women on Mission: Baby Byrd Doula Crafts to End Fistula

Doula Annie Byrd is passionate about missions. She also loves crafting. A mother of two young children, she donates her precious free time to sew treasures for Mama and Baby that she sells to raise money for the Fistula Foundation.

Photo Courtesy of Baby Byrd Doula

Photo Courtesy of Baby Byrd Doula

Fistula is a life-altering injury caused by childbirth. Women in third-world countries who lack proper obstetrical care can be particularly vulnerable. Maybe fistula awareness is a cause near-and-dear to your own heart. Or maybe, like me, you’re just learning about it. Annie suggests checking out the Fistula Foundation website for more information. You can also check out posts on her own blog, Baby Byrd Doula.

Annie first became aware of the fistula problem when she read a book called Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. She says, “Fistulas particularly impacted me because of how life-devastating this is for women, especially in third-world countries.” Annie works as a doula to support women through birth, and she relishes the opportunity to support and empower women with birthing injuries across the world.

Annie’s online store  features items such as baby wraps, diaper wet bags, nursing pads, and reusable snack baggies in three sizes.  Be sure to check it out and do some shopping. Her items make great baby shower gifts!

Diaper Wet Bags

Diaper Wet Bags

Nursing Pads

Nursing Pads

When I interviewed Annie, she offered some great advice for anyone wanting to get involved in turning crafting into a ministry opportunity as well as some helpful information about her products.

Q: How would you encourage someone trying to fundraise through crafting?
A: Just start. You never know how your efforts can be multiplied in the kingdom.

Matthew 13:31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

 Q: If you could teach your children one thing through this ministry, what would it be?
A: That you can do things that you love to help others.

Q: What is special about your lunch bags?
A: The lunch bags are great because they are washable, the interior is waterproof, and they are reusable, so you can use less plastic baggies. Oh, yeah, and they come in super cute patterns.

**This post contains book affiliate links to a book. I receive no compensation whatsoever for promoting Baby Byrd Doula crafts.

Do you craft to support missions? If so, I’d love to hear from you and possibly feature you on my blog. Please contact me at theforeverjoyfulhomeschool{at}gmail{dot}com..

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