One Thousand Gifts

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp was an excellent book.  I really enjoyed it.  This is my third post on this book (read the first ones here, and here), mostly because half way through I had so much swirling around in my head I had to write it all down!  It was that good!

It was thought-provoking, challenging, encouraging, mind-stretching, and practical.  I loved that.  Ann Voskamp has a very different style of writing than what I am used to.  She is eloquent.  And verbose.  It took me a little to get used to it, but once I did, I decided I liked it.  She can paint a picture with words.

I have started my own list of gifts, although I am very bad at adding them to my list, I have started to see them as gifts and I am trying to be more mindful of not just seeing the gift as a gift, but of thanking the Giver of the gifts.   Which is the point.  I had WAY more to say before so you should definitely check that one out!

What gifts have you recognized and thanked God for lately?


Mr Popper's Penguins

Mr. Popper's Penguins was such a cute book.  It was a full fledged chapter book that we read 1 or 2 chapters at a time.  We mostly read it at bedtime and it was such a fun thing to do with the kids.  It had less than 1 picture per chapter which was a bit of a stretch for the little ones.  Bruce, age 2, couldn't sit still, but he did insist on being in the room with us, so he heard it all.  Stella, age 4.5, took about 3 chapters maybe 4, to really become interested.

This was a really nice early chapter book.  It was not a library book, but a hand-me-down.   I love hand-me-downs.  I'm not sure anymore where it came from.  But in any case cute story, silly people, sillier animals, and a bit of education.  The language is a bit old-fashioned.  Not difficult to read, but some of the words are not in common use any longer.  I love when I get to teach because of a story!

Both kids enjoyed the book.  I enjoyed the book.  There was not a single questionable scene or word in the whole 20 chapters.  I'm a fan.  I would recommend this book for a read aloud with the 4-5 age group or up.  It would also be good for a young reader!

I hope you enjoy it!

What chapter books do you read your little ones? Or do you remember from your own childhood?


Two Benefits in Raising a Reader

I've been thinking lately and noticing that there are some fringe benefits to raising a reader.  These are little things.  I'm not going to talk about how reading to your kids makes them smarter, or helps them excel in school, or get a more complete education, although I do believe those things are true.  No I'm thinking along a much more selfish line of thought.  The 2 benefits I want to talk about are these, cuddle time and vocabulary expansion.

Cuddle time is pretty rare around our house.  We all like it, but we're all movers too.  The kids are busy playing, I'm busy doing... whatever it is that moms do. and so we are rarely sitting down together to just be with each other.  So a benefit of reading to the kids frequently is getting to sit down with the cutest, most wonderful kids on the planet on my lap or curled up under my arm to read a book.  Sometimes one will even stay once the story is done to chat about it, or just cuddle, since we're already there.

And, well, vocabulary is pretty self explanatory too, isn't it.  But oh my goodness. The things that my 4 year old says astound me sometimes!  I mean really how many four-year-olds are out there yelling "Bye, Mom, I'm off to the race and I'll certainly win."  Or "The man of strength."  How about "And then I gasped..." and then there is my favorite of "... And I careened into the car" Certainly?! Gasped?! Man of Strength?! Careened?! The only reason that I can come up with to explain this vocab is reading.  That's all we do.  I'm not sitting down doing formal vocabulary.  No flash cards, no workbooks, just reading.  Often.  And good books and bad books and cheap books and quality books.

Totally worth every interruption of "my" day.  Dinner can wait.  She's only going to want to read with me for so long.  I don't want to miss any of it!


The Biblical Trustee Family

Today I read a book.  For me.  I know, shocking, isn't it!  Haha ok, not really.  Except the one day thing because I have kids.  And It's summer.  But in any case, I did read a whole book today.  There are two reasons for this.  1. It was a short-ish book, and 2. It was really good, and I didn't want to stop reading it.  

As you have probably inferred from my supremely creative post title the name of the book is indeed The Biblical Trustee Family . It was written by Andrea Schwartz, and published by Chalcedon.  Which means it is very Christian, and very radical.

We do radical at our house.  I get it.  I don't have a problem with it.  But it is nice to know going into a book.  I hate being blind-sided by radical.  Anyway...  Radical does not necessarily equal bad.  It just is.  So with that little disclaimer out of the way, I really enjoyed this book.

As I read the first chapter the author describes 3 types of families, and obviously is in favor of the Biblical trustee type.  She described it as being about passing on faith and a name and living in light of not being the end of your family but passing down a legacy.  She quotes R.J. Rushdoony as saying "living members see themselves as trustees of the family blood, rights, property, name and position for their lifetime."  Perhaps it is because I just finished watching Downton Abbey, but I thought of this as very similar to the old nobility in Europe.  They inherited a title, land, wealth, and just preserved it in order to pass it down in tact and in good repute, while staying within the family.

She goes on to talk about the wife's role in the family.  She points out the lies that a feminist culture spews out at us, and counters them with Biblical truth.  Some of this is hard stuff, but I do think she is right.  She points out that Biblically the woman was created to be a helpmeet for her husband and that Supporting him in his calling, managing the home, and training their children well is a high calling for her, and frees her husband to pursue his calling more fully.   We need to view God's law as a blessing and not a burdensome list of do's and don'ts.  She does talk about submission, and she makes some very good points.  My favorite of which is that a wife's role is to be "submissive, not necessarily silent."  We have a voice and an opinon and can and should enter into conversations with our husbands on all matters, including theology.

She is VERY pro-home schooling.   In her eyes it is a way to advance the Kingdom of God, and she raises the very good question of Why would we, as Christians, willing and knowingly send our children to be taught by a system that hates God and His law?  Our children have been given to us and we are responsible for their education and for their upbringing.  She looks at Daniel, and points out that his trip to the lion's den was a result of his choosing to trust God and of not being afraid of the consequences of faithfulness.  We cannot be afraid of the consequences of choosing not to let our children be taught by a godless government program.

The last theme in the book that I want to hit is that of victory.  She focuses on the victory that Christ has ALREADY WON.  We serve a victorious God.  But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be fighting the battles in front of us.  When we were called to salvation we entered into 2 battles, cultural and spiritual.  We cannot sit on the sidelines of either.  "We have no business proceeding in the Lord's service with a defeatist attitude."  Great quote.  We haven't been defeated, don't act like it.  And finally, salvation is not escape.  It is victory!

 So there you have my 2 cents.  I really did enjoy this book.  The Author relied heavily on the work of R.J. Rushdoony, and it made me want to read his work for myself.

Can you recommend any books that cover a Biblical calling for families?

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7-11 books

Last week we had good books, and not so good books.  Surprise!

We read I'm Taking a Trip on My Train by Shirley Neitzel and Nancy Winslow Parker which was a rather cute building up book.  Do you remember those games you would play at scouts where the first person would say something, the next person would say their thing and the first persons and you'd go all around the circle like that.  That's what this book was like.  It was a decent book for the 2 year old and Stella liked it because it had a train.

Then there is The Forest by Claire A. Nivola.  We only read it once or twice.  It was about a little mouse who was afraid of the forest and it was taking over his life, so he wet and spent a day, alone, in the forest and learned that it wasn't that scary after all.  Stella has no fears like that, so I think it was a little lost on her.

Just Plain Fancy by Patricia Polacco is up next.  It was cute.  Great pictures.  About two little amish girls raising chickens.  I don't want to give away the story, so all I'll add is that it was an interesting look into Amish culture and as an adult, I noticed there were acceptable sins.  Every culture has them!  Hmmmm.

The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit by none other than Beatrix Potter.  This was a fun little collection of the 4 stories she wrote about or containing Peter Rabbit.  I love Beatrix Potter and I love reading her stries to my kids.  They are from a time completely different from our own, and as such there are things that I'm not sure that my suburban, 21st century kids would otherwise be exposed to.  These are fun and clever stories, but they are not for the faint of heart!

And finally, this weeks favorite book, The Great Show-and-Tell Disaster .  I loved this it was so clever.  The little inventor makes a mixed-up ray and when she shots things with it it turns them into something with them same letters, but a totally new word.  His Aunt became Tuna, Art became tar and rat, the bus became a sub.  It was very much fun for the adults, and a silly story for the kids.  The spelling and mixing of the letters was lost on my pre-readers, but they enjoyed it anyway!

What have you been reading your kids?

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July 4th and Books

Wednesday is our typical library day.  Since last week Wednesday was a holiday... we went to the parade and the pool.  Not the library.  So we had 2 weeks with our books!  I've already written a post on how much we enjoyed Miss Bindergarten, so the rest of our books from least favorite to most favorite are:

How to Choose Your Dragon  by Val and Ron Lindahn.  I was disappointed by this one.  It was not quite what I was expecting.  It was a bit beyond my kids, I thought it would be a little more fun than it was.  It wasn't bad.  Just a little more... academic.  Which doesn't seem to make sense when talking about a children's book about mythical creatures.  Take it for it's worth.  I think maybe if we had a 3rd or 4th grader in love with all things dragon, this would move up the list.

Angus and the Ducks by Marjorie Flack.  Actually I liked this one, and Bruce seemed to, but Bruce likes most books.  Stella, however had very little interest in it.  It was a cute story, with cute pictures.  I really wish I could have moved this one down farther on the list, but it was our least read book.

Sophie's Window by Holly Keller.  I picked this one out based on the cover.  Yeah, yeah, Never judge a book by it's cover.  I know, but it was such a cute dog, and my kids both love dogs... I knew it would be a super easy read, but this book wasn't about a dog at all.  I mean, there is a dog and her name is Sophie.  But I was expecting a story about the things Sophie saw out her window, not a story about a bird learning to fly.  It's not a bad story, just a slightly misleading title and cover.  You've been warned.

And Finally, the very- most- favorite-est book of the last two weeks, true for both Stella and myself is Tricking the Tallyman by Jacqueline Davies and illustrated by S.D. Schindler.  This is subtitled The Great Census Shenanigans of 1790.  A cute story about a family and town who decide they don't want to be counted, well maybe they do.  This book spurred some conversations.   It was a great way to teach Stella a little bit about the way the country was founded.  And a little bit about vocabulary.  It was very entertaining.  And maybe the best part about it was how we could show how in the story God was able to provide for the Tallyman's needs despite  because of the poor behavior of the citizens of the town.  And the moral in the end is that it was best to be "true and honest, entirely."  What a fun book!

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