Monday, November 30, 2015

Grandparents are Grand

I just want to give a shout out to grandparents. There's a reason "grand" is at the front of their title. They truly are grand to have around. I just wish we lived closer. Whenever we leave grandparents' home T sheds great tears. There's something uplifting and inspiring being around grandparents. They're encouraging to the parents as well.

Thanks to S's parents for letting us have a lunch date. Thanks for indulging my idea of going to the park with the kids on Thanksgiving. Thanks for just being there and loving our family. Thanks for being family, and involved.

Grandparents are grand.

Water and Worms

A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.
~Emily Dickenson
It's been quite rainy the last several days. Thanksgiving, it seems, was our last sunny day 
between Thursday and Monday. Little F was not going to let that stop her from going outside.
 I made sure she had a coat on (it was after all a cold rain), put rainboots on her feet, and let 
her explore the wonderful outdoors. I thought for sure she'd make mud puddles and was 
finding myself wishing I'd brought a more play friendly jacket with us to her nana's home. 
Thankfully little F is far more fascinated by grass and puddles than by mud. She spent 
most of the morning picking grass and wild onions, "planting" them in Nana's empty 
flower pots, and chasing worms in puddles. 
There were plenty of worms. She started out by squatting so that she could get a better 
view. Then, tentatively, her hand reached out toward the worm. Quickly she retracted  it, 
then tried again. This time she reached through the low puddle and actually touched
 its back! She startled as the worm recoiled from her tough, curling its front and rear ends, 
wriggling into a tight coil. She again retracted her hand, and again reached out. This 
continued for several minutes. Changing her methods F then cupped her hands to 
block and change the worm's path. I think she was rather disappointed it didn't 
climb up 
             into her 
But she kept exploring and observing the worm for quite a long time. 

When she came inside she said "I did saw a worm outside. 
It was big and taller and taller. It touch me."


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Little Cook

Over the summer T watched a TV show in which kids-some as young as 8- competed in a cooking competition. Since then 6-year-old T's been increasingly interested in cooking.

First he made smoothies. Then sweets. Now he's starting to work on main dishes.

When our church's annual chili cook off was announced T determined to try his hand at chili. I mentioned my two favorite recipes to him. He wanted to search for his own. A web search soon turned one up, and soon we headed off to get supplies for "crazy pork and pineapple chili".

As I baked cookies T sauteed ground pork with onions. He found the length of time it took a little too long. " Won't you take a turn?" He asked. I encouraged him, and he succeeded. As soon as it was browned I carried the hot pan over next to the crock pot.
T spooned it from the pan to the pot. He opened cans of beans, tomatoes, and pineapple. He measured seasonings ("Is this a tablespoon or this one?"). He mixed it all together. His dad plugged in the cord and T turned the knob to low. He'd done it!

"I'm going to win," T declared. I assured him it was admirable to cook, and he was right to be satisfied with his work, but not to be surprised if he didn't win his first try.

In the morning we loaded it into the car. T was so excited. As soon as the service ended T hurried with his dad so he could add the pineapple (he'd used the juice  the night before).  "No!" He said. "They tasted it before I'm finished" As someone took pictures T added the pineapple and stirred. Splat! The juices of the sauce splashed his yellow shirt. One of the judges saw what he was doing.
"But we already tasted it!" She said. "Do we need to again?" "No," replied another, "We'd already decided."

Of course T didn't win, but he wasn't really all that disappointed for long. There was too much fun to be had and anyway, he was pleased with his work.

As he finished eating a woman approached.
"I heard you made the pineapple chili," she said to him. "Did you do it by yourself?" She then said "I'm a chef. I cook for a living. You know, I started at your age. You did well." Then she gave him advice. She told him to keep practicing and taste, taste, taste as you go.

Now T can't wait to cook again!

Monday, October 5, 2015


A few years ago my son built with one thought in mind: demolition. He loved knocking down things, especially towers of blocks. Now things are different. Things are built with a purpose in mind. The purpose tends to evolve, and tends to involve a story.
What story did he and his friends create today? That I cannot say. All I know is it involved a pink monkey with freaky large eyes and a headless Lego minifig.

I'll leave the rest up to your imagination.

Come on. If a six year old can imagine a story out of these...

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Let sleeping toddlers lie

Did the last two nights my toddler girl has been staying up late. Now she's in my bed asleep despite it being closer to eight than seven. Sleeping to this late hour is, for her quite unusual. I'm glad she's sleeping. Of course it does mean I can spend more quality time with my elementary aged first born, but I'm just glad she's sleeping. There's something extremely beautiful about a small sleeping child. Everything about the face says peace. Perfect peace. Every little movement her body makes, every wiggle in response to a sound, I hold my breath.
Truly, let sleeping toddlers lie.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Dream Children's Church Library

What would be in my dream church library? Not simple moral-ism, and not cartoonish oversimplifications like Veggie Tales & Odyssey. Inspiring thoughts for young souls.

A Bible Alphabet- by Allison Brown (Banner of Truth publishers), a Bible story book with coloring pages.
A Good Start- by Charles Spurgen (Soli Deo Gloria publishers), a collection of children's devotions by the "prince of preachers" on spiritual growth.
A Token for Children- by Cotton Mather (Soli Deo Gloria) godly advice for children
Action Bible-
Against the Tide-by Hope Marston (P&R publishers) a biography of Margaret Wilson, a Covenanter of Scotland (early Presbyterians) written for teens and late elementary.
Against the World- by Henry Coray (Inheritance) a biography of Athanasius for late elementary and teens.
All About God's Animals Colors- by Janray Tromp (Kregel Publishers) for babies and preschoolers
All About God's Animals Water
All Things Bright and Beautiful- by Cecil Alexander (Harper Collins) the poem with gorgeous paintings to enjoy
Amazing Stories from the Past- by Christine Farenhorst (P&R) devotions and biographies to inspire teens and late elementary
Anselm of Canterbury- by Simonetta Carr (Reformation Heritage) a biography, with lovely illustrations, for older elementary children
Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions by Elyse Fitzpatrick (Baker)
Arise! Shine! (CD)
Ask Me Whoo (GCP)- questions kids ask about the Bible, answers, and Bible verses, in 3 musical CDs.
At the Mercy of Kings- Linda Finlayson (Focus) a biography for teens to enjoy
At Your Baptism- by Carrie Steenwyck (Eerdmans)- explaining baptism to children
Athanasius - by Simonetta Carr (Reformation Heritage) a biography for older elementary children
Augustine of Hippo- by Simonetta Carr (Reformation Heritage)
Awesome Words- by Edyth Draper (Crossway) a 365 day devotional for teens and preteens
Barber Who Wanted to Pray- by RC Sproul (Crossway) guiding children using the Lord's Prayer, a simple way to pray is simplified for children
Beggar's Bible- by Louise Vernon (Herald) the story of Bible translation of John Wycliff
Beginning With God- by Nancy Gorrell (Focus) truths about the trinity for early elementary
Behind a Frowning Providence
Betrayal - by Douglas Bond (P&R) a gripping biography of John Calvin for teens
Bibletime Series- by Carine Mackenzie
Bible Animals- by Alison Brown (banner of Truth)
Bible Doctrine series by James Beeke (Reformation Heritage)
Bible Doctrine for Teens series by James Beeke (Reformation Heritage)
Bible Explorer- Carine Mackenzie
Bible Lessons for Juniors series
Bible Lesson Handbook
Bible's Big Story
Bible Study A Student's Guide
Big Book of Bible Truths 1 and 2
Big Book of Questions and Answers
Big Book of Questions and Answers About Jesus
Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers series
Big Truths for Little Kids
Big Picture Bible
Biggest Story
Bless the Lord
Blessed (CD)
Boys and Girls Playing
Bringing the Gospel to Covenant Children
Catechism for Young Children (should actually be given to each family)
Child at Home
Child's Book on the Sabbath
Child's Story Bible 
Church History ABCs
Comforting Hearts Teaching Minds
Countering Culture
Courage And Conviction Series
Come Ye Children
Crazy Love
Creation Series
C.S. Lewis The Story Teller
Dangerous Journey
Dating by the Book
David Livingstone Who Is The Bravest
David The King True Repentance
David the Fugitive
David the Shepherd
David the Soldier
Deep Down Faith
Doctrines of Grace Student Edition
Dr Oma
Elements of Faith
Emily Series
Eric Liddel
Everything a Child Should Know About God
Faerie Gold
Faith Worth Teaching
Faithfulness Under Fire
Family Devotions Guide series
Following God
Following Jesus Bible
For the Children's Sake
Fossils that Speak Out
From the Lips of Little Ones
Full Moon Rising
Get Wisdom
Go To the Ant (CD)
God is Everywhere
God is Faithful
God is Kind
God Has Power
God Knows Everything
God Made Animals
God Made Colors
God Made Food
God Made the World
God Made Time
God Made Them Great
God Made Water
God Made Weather
God Never Changes
God's Alphabet for Life
God's Great Plan
God's Mighty Acts in Creation
God's Mighty Acts in Salvation
God's Promises
God's Battle
God's Providence
God's Wisdom
God's Word
Gospel Powered Parenting
Grace Works
Grandpa's Box
Great Escape
Growing Up Christian
Guarding the Treasure
Guard Your Heart (CD)
Hall of Fame
Hearts and Hands Series
Heaven for Kids
Heidelberg Study Guide
Heirs of the Covenant
Herein is Love series
Heroes of the Reformation
Holding Hands Holding Hearts
Honey for a Child's Heart
How Our Children Come to Faith
How to Teach the Catechism to Children
I Believe
I Can Say to God series
If You Love Me (CD)
Ignatius of Antioch
I'll Be With You Always
Including Children in Worship
In Remembrance of Me
Instructing a Child's Heart
Irenaeus of Lyons
It is Finished
Jesus Storybook Bible
Jesus Teaches Us series
Jesus the Savior
Jesus the Teacher
Jesus is Coming Back
Jesus Is the Most Special
Jim Elliot
John Calvin
John Knox
John Owen
Junior Inquirer's Manual
Keeping Your Cool
Kids Sign Psalms (DVD)
King Without a Shadow
Lady Jane Grey
Leading Little Ones to God
Let's Grow series
Letters to Young Men
Life of Jesus
Lightkeeper Girls
Little Hands Learning to Pray
Little Preacher
Living in Control in an Out of Control World
Long Story Short
Lord Builds the House
Mighty Acts of God
Mommy Please Don't Cry
Moses the Child
Most of All Jesus Loves You
My Heart Christ's Home
My ABC Bible Verses from the Psalms
My ABC Bible Verses
My 1st Book About the Bible
My 1st Book About the Gospel
My 1st Book About Jesus
My 1st Book of Bible Prayers
My 1st Book of Bible Promises
My 1st Book of Christian Values
Never Be Shaken (CD)
New Children's Bible
Our Covenant With Kids
Our Home is Like a Little Church
Parenting in the Pew
Pastor's Daughter
Pastor's Kid
Paul's Travels
Pilgrim's Praise (CD)
Pilgrim's Progress
Polycarp of Smyrna
Priest with Dirty Clothes
Prince's Poison Cup
Raising a Christian Daughter
Read-Aloud Bible Stories (5 Volumes)
Reformation Heroes
Relationships a Mess Worth Making
Resources for Changing Lives ADD
Risktakers Series
Sammy and his Shepherd
Scent of Water CD
Shhh...Don't Wake the Baby
Shorter Catechism Study series
Show Them Jesus
Silent Night
Sing the Bible (CD)
Sing the Westminster Shorter Catechism (CD)
Someone I Loved Died
Song of the Stars
Stand Fast in the Way of Truth
Stand Up (CD)
Stories Jesus Told series
Stories of the Huguenots
Tales of Persia
Teach Me While My Heart Is Tender (CD)
Teach Them The Faith CD
Teach Your Family the Truth
Teens Talk About Fear
Tell Me About God
Tell Me About Heaven
That's When I Talk To God
Toddler' Songbook
To The Rising Generation
They Shall Be Mine
Time Travel to the Old Testament
Tinker's Daughter
Training Hearts Teaching Minds
True: Becoming a True Woman
True Story of Noah's Ark
Two Fat Camels
Under Calvin's Spell
Uniting Church and Home
Wait Till You See the Butterfly
Walkin' Wise (CD)
We Became Men
What Is the Church
What is the Gospel
What Is the Truth
What Really Happened to Dinosaurs
What Should I Do
When Good Kids Make Bad Choices
When We Worship God
Who Will Be King
Why Can't I See God (CD)
Why Christmas
Why Easter
Wise Words
Wings Like a Dove
Weight of a Flame
Wonderous Works of God
Word Wise series
Work of His Fingers
You Are My God (CD)
66 Books One Story

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Little Bookstore- A Parody by T

T has created a parody of the My Little Pony theme song.

"My little bookstore, my little bookstore. Ah-ah-ah-ah
My Little bookstore, I used to wonder what books could be
My little bookstore, Until you shared books with me,
My little bookstore...friends."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's those few moments

There's something special about grabbing a few minutes one on one with your younger child. T had four years before he had to share me but F had to share me from the time I brought her home. Yesterday I dropped T off at a yoga class for kids. The day was pretty nice. Blue skies, warm temperatures. I held F's one hand while she held her Minnie Mouse in the other. We stood at the curb, waiting for traffic to relent in its endless stream so we could cross. We turned and wandered down the jogging trail by the creek. We chased each other across a log fallen in the path. Several times we had to stop to pick up Minnie. Then, hand in hand, we headed to a small coffee shop together. She munched a cake pop while I sipped my coffee. Minnie Mouse sat by F's side as she chatted, munched, and watched the traffic streaming down the small town road that divided her from Bubba in yoga. At last we tidied up. She stuck her cake pop back in its sack and scooped up Minnie. I picked her up and prepared to cross the road.
"Tumin' Bubba!"
It was good to spend time together, but how she couldn't wait to see her brother again!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

"No Snow? Make It Yourself" Declares 2 Year Old

This exclusive story is brought to you by the BFNews.

- Winter and summer both offer a lot of fun. Everyone knows this. In the summer you can cool off in the pool or by splashing water around the water table. In winter you can stomp in snow, throw snow, and build with snow. Children of all ages agree summer and winter offer a ton of fun.

When it's not summer and you feel the need to splash there are many easy alternatives. The tub, obviously, or your sink. Oh, and there's always your glass of water. The snow on the other hand is a bit bigger of a problem. 2 year old F found herself facing that very problem when the snow in her neighborhood melted. Instead of melting into tears though F came up with her own solution.

"No snow? No make it yourself!" She laughed.

That's exactly what she did as her mom bent over big brother's arithmetic. She pulled on her snow boots and ran around. No issue, her mom thought, as long as she's stomping in circles around us she'll leave brother's book alone.

 Then the stomping ceased. Her mom galnced up. Silence is, as you know, ominous.

 Pantry door was adjar. Flour started flying through the air in enormous clouds, coating the floor thickly. Little F, snowboots on, hands full of flour cried gleefully "Snow!" as she began stomping all over the kitchen floor.

No snow? No problem. Just make it yourself.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How To Make Bamboo Glue (Instructions by a 6 Year Old)

You know the simple delight when children play with natural materials? It was plastered all over my children's faces yesterday as they explored a booth at a convention. This particular booth had color mixing stations, water beads, and herbal play dough. In tin pails by the play dough were rose petals, rose stems, bamboo, leaves, rocks, and other bits and pieces of nature. My children were completely absorbed in their work. Suddenly T picked up a thin stick. It was dangling halfway.

"This needs bamboo glue," he told the booth owner.

"Where do we get that?" She replied seriously.

"We make it!" Was his confident answer.


"First you go to Australia, then you get some bamboo, cut it down, mash it into pulp, come home, mix it with American glue and you have bamboo glue!"

Of course!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Church is for the sick but--

Church is for the sick, but not those with colds! We're home today as the kids are contagious. Husband went to church. What have we done at home? YouTube!

The kids: We started with them watching a kids' film called The Lightlings, a cartoon on the effects of the fall and the light of the world. You can see it herehere

We sang several songs, and worked on the Sunday school memory work of Psalm 24

The Love of Christ

O the Deep Deep Love

We Adore Thee

The dog decided to bark along. I found an awesome clip with the words to the apostle's creed
We sang Psalm 24. Sons of Korah on YouTube!
For the Reading of the law we listened to a chapter of Proverbs, then I found a clip with a confession of sin and assurance of pardon on YouTube again. Then came a song on God's goodness.
For a sermon? What better than RC Sproul on the gospel? I'll tell you. Being able to listen to more than half between a fussy toddler, fighting kids,and barking dog. I did find it interesting to be reminded how we focus the gospel on ourselves and our work, as opposed to realizing it's all the work of the holy spirit, and forgetting the essence of the gospel is the incarnation and substitutiary atonement.
To get the kids back in we finished by watching The Prince's Poison Cup before singing O Sacred Head Now Wounded and In Christ Alone.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

So excited!

What a different child little F is than her brother T. He had no issues with me calling him my baby at two. She on the other hand insists she isn't. "No baby!"

Speaking of baby, I'm so excited. I've completed my Flowering Baby collection. Hurrah! Now I have all five volumes. I've used volumes 4&5 with T. So far I've drawn from 1&2 with F. Now I'm about to start volume 3 for ages 2-3. What is it? Inspired by mostly Charlotte Mason and with a goal of preparing her child for classical education a mom & grandma in Kentucky created a daily five year developmental activity guide. There are living books, classical music, nature exploration, game ideas, ideas for natural learning in the home, gross & fine motor development ideas all laid out in easy to implement daily doses. I have such fond memories of the activities T & I did in his preschool years. Now it's little F's turn.

How different will this be with such a different child?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Do Not Worry (Matthew 6 retold and screaming at my heart)

This is the famous passage about worry. I re-told it for T when he was F's age. Now that I'm pulling it out for F it's just screaming at my own heart.

                Jesus was a man who was also God. 
Jesus taught people about God.
Mommies listened to Him. Daddies listened.
The boys and girls and babies listened.

"Don't be upset. 
Don't be scared. 
God takes care of you," Jesus said.

"Look! See the birds?
They eat worms.
They eat seeds.
They don't have to farm.
God cares for the birds.
Look! See the flowers? 
The rain falls.
The sun shines.
Flowers grow.
God cares for the flowers.

God loves you more than birds.
God loves you more than flowers.
God will take care of you. 
                Trust Him. Trust Me." Jesus said.

We trust you, Jesus.
We trust you, God.
Thank you, Jesus!
Thank you, God!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Toddler Beginning to Realize

Aren't early friendships wonderful? I know some of my earliest playmates were a couple of cousins, the daughter of one of my mom's closest friends, and the neighbor girl across the street. Now it seems little F is starting to realize the fun of playing alongside familiar faces. All this week I've been hearing "Yay J---", " See J---", and just the other toddler's name over and over again.

It's fun to see interest in people emerging.

Monday, January 19, 2015

My 2 year old's favorite books

In a couple weeks little F will be turning 2. Amazing to realize how old she's getting. She's a delight. Why, just yesterday we were at an open house to a 3 day hybrid school sitting waiting for thr presentation to begin.
F turned around in her seat to smile at the woman behind us.
"Hi!" She said. Then turning slightly she gestured toward me, "Mama," and turning to her other side she pointed "my dad". It made my day. Introduced by my two year old.

Besides seeing people F loves to listen while we read to her. Like many little ones she definitely has favorites. These in particular she has us read over and over.

More More More Said The Baby
by Vera B Williams

What a charming story. Or I ought to say three stories. Each follows the same pattern as a parent holds his or her child and interacts in ways the listener relates. The short story ends with the toddlers asking for more.

By Jez Approach

I originally bought it as an early reader for T but it was F who became attached.  It's the story of a little chimp who sees various animals hugging their parents and goes looking for its own mom. I'm sure you can imagine the end.

Most Of All Jesus Loves You
By Noel Piper

It's bedtime and mom is tucking her children in bed. Mom reminds the child of how everyone loves them. It ends with the title phrase.

Kitten's First Full Moon
Kitten's adventures as she attempts to get a bowl of milk she sees in the sky and a pond.