Seven is magic

February 28, 2014


The problem with being a book-hoarder is that you never quite know exactly what you have on your shelves.

I have no idea when I picked up this elementary reader Seven Is Magic, but I've been waiting to use it for school for Juliet. She's seven now, so what better time than this year? :)

It's actually probably a little bit below her reading level, but I think she'll still have fun with it.
I picked it up for the illustrations. Hopefully, the stories and poems are as good as the pictures. 

Every so often, I run across these at goodwill. I used to love reading ahead in my reading/literature book at school whenever I was done with my work early. Just flip through to the back (to the part that we would never get to in class!) and just read away. 

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We choose virtues review

February 10, 2014


Back in November, I received a set of the We Choose Virtues parenting cards for review. At the time, we were living in a friend's basement (eek!) and unsure as to when we would be in a home of our own.

It was a stressful few months, followed by moving into a different house, unpacking, hosting my entire family for Christmas, and then planning a Colonial birthday party for Juliet.

School has resume now, and we are back to "normal" life--whatever that means.

This normalcy has allowed me to have the space and time to use the parenting cards, and we are now on fourth week and I am loving it.

The thing that is so great about them is that they give me something tangible to focus on (the card) and a way to present the information visually to  my kids. Yes, I have tried to teach them to be gentle, but now that they have a reminder hanging on the door, they are more cognizant of it.

They read it aloud from time to time (without me prompting them) and they bring it up from time to time. It also has come in handy as a gentle reminder--as in, "Are you being gentle now?" when they are  engaged in a tug-of-war/screaming match over a rapunzel wedding dress/ elsa dress/purple lego car, etc.

It also, reminds ME to be gentle (or kind, or attentive, or whatever) because even though these lessons are for kids, they are definitely ones that I need reminding of for myself as well.


Each card also has a little story about the character represented on the card. The kids love hearing the story about the kid on the card and how they learn to exhibit the featured trait. Kettle Gretel was a big hit over here as my two girly girls really liked the tea kettle reference. Did someone say tea party?

I suppose there are a million different ways to use these cards whether you homeschool or not and whether you are religious or not--there are two different sets available: one with corresponding bible verses and one without. So really, these work for anyone looking to teach their kids to be kind, honest, gentle, attentive, self-controlled, obedient, etc. 

The way we have been using them is to choose one per week and focus on that trait for the week. We talk about it, read the card, and try to remind ourselves throughout the day to be gentle or kind or whatever the trait of the week is.

It requires no preparation on my part--the best part--and is very engaging for young children. I like that it gets us to try to do these things instead of waiting until the kids are NOT being kind or honest and getting in trouble for it. It's a more pro-active approach, I think. 

There are so many resources on the We Choose Virtues site and Heather also has some great pinterest boards to follow. 

***links in this post are NOT affiliate links! thanks for reading! ***


Book scanner app

February 5, 2014



This past year, Juliet has taken off reading on her own. I'm not too concerned about grade level right now--as she just seeks out and finds library books that she finds interesting and reads them. I trust her to pick out ones that are not to easy--not too hard--the old "goldilock" books, if you will. 

However, last year, and in the beginning of this one, I was befuddled as to how to determine grade level. I just couldn't figure out if they were too hard or too easy. She wasn't as confident in picking out books, yet, so we were always somewhat stumped at the library. (for her "read-on-her-own" books)

Just recently, I stumbled upon a great app to help me called "bookscanner". It's for the iPhone, but there is something similar for android as well. 

Basically, you just scan the barcode on the book and a screen like this will pop up with all the information you need. 

I think this one cost  99 cents, but it was worth it to me. 

You've probably already heard of this, but it was new to me, so I thought I'd share!

By the way, 12 Kinds of Ice, (the book pictured above) is absolutely fantastic. We read it together twice before giving it back to the library. It's the perfect snowy, winter read. 

Charlie Harper jackpot

January 23, 2014




Found this gem at the goodwill recently. We have quite  a few animal books already, but I bought this for the illustrations. 

It's simply fantastic. 


Now that I've found this one, I'm on the hunt for this: The Giant Golden Book of Biology:  An Introduction to the Science of Life

Who knows? maybe I'll get lucky! :) 

Nonfiction

January 20, 2014



Want to see our non fiction bookshelf? 

Things are getting pretty organized on the book front here.  I'm also realizing that we have a lot of books and am slowing down on book buying. I feel like I can be a little more focused when perusing shelves at goodwill now. 

So, that's a good thing, I guess. 

Read anything good lately? I'd love to hear about it!

a formerly sponsored child's story: compassion

January 16, 2014


If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I've been a sponsor with Compassion for many years. My husband, Ben, works for Compassion now, but I started sponsoring before he and I even met. 

I love the work they do and every time I meet a formerly sponsored child, I am further convinced of the great work they are doing with children living in poverty. 

Compassion's blog team contacted me and asked if I would be willing to share a formerly sponsored child's story here on my blog. 

This is not someone I have met, but the story is very similar to my friends' stories from Kenya and Uganda who have had relationships with sponsors through the Compassion program. 

Compassion is not paying me to share this. I'm just sharing because I believe in the work that they do and in the hopes that more children can be sponsored. 

Thanks for taking the time to read. 



16 year long plan God had for me
My Story and My life

My name is Vicky Roy and I am from Kolkata, India. I had a difficult childhood. My father used to live in a state where there was prostitution, child labour, drug addiction, disease like AIDS, malaria, dengue etc. and colleges, schools and hospitals were very far away. After I was born he decided to move because the area where he grew up was not safe, He migrated to West Bengal, a state where nobody knew him. It was a totally different culture, different people, we had no place to live, no house, no food to eat and he did not have a job to feed us. 

Survival was very difficult for us and my health was deteriorating day by day because of improper nutrition. The only food I used to get is my mother’s milk that’s all. 

When I was growing up I would go near by the schools and hide myself and see children of my same age playing with many toys and wearing proper school uniforms. They looked so beautiful and  at night I would put myself in their place and I would laugh in my sleep just thinking about playing with those toys, going to school, having many friends. Those were dreams that really made me happy. I was afraid to face the morning because my dreams would end and bring me into reality. 

My father use to travel 3 hours just to earn Rs 80 a day which is not even $2 in the USA. So when sometimes he would fall sick we did not have Rs 80 that day. 

I helped my mother in the household work because she had health issues. We got rejected by our people, relatives and communities. We were helpless as well as hopeless and the only option left was to commit suicide but my father could not do that because by that time he already had my 3-year-old sister and 6-month-old brother and I was five. 

This was my life in poverty.

When I was five I got a chance to go to Calcutta Emmanuel School, where I would get breakfast and lunch completely free. Calcutta Emmanuel School is a project of Compassion East India. My father was really happy for me because it was an English school and I would get food there that was distributed in the family. 

In the project our parents use to go and learn how to raise a child and all the teachings were through the Bible. This impacted my father’s life drastically – he started changing and he would share it with my mother as well and all of a sudden he found hope in Christ and a reason to live and he became a believer with my mother. 

We had regular scripture classes and but that did not change me because believing in God was next to impossible for me. I have seen death very close. I have seen my father crying. I remember my mother’s face when she used to distribute very little food among five of us. I have seen my brother and sister suffering from improper nutrition and this made my heart like rock, there were no emotions left, there was no place for anyone and I hated people. I was against my father’s decision to believe in Christ and I would question him about the existence of Christ. 

I got my first sponsor letter when I was 6 years old and I learned that there is someone who supports me, who pays for education, food, medicine, hygiene etc. The letter was very precious to me because it made me wonder why this lady is helping me without knowing me. It was really surprising for me because our own did not support me. She told me in that letter that she loves me and Jesus loves me unconditionally and it is Jesus who told her to help me. From that point on I started responding to her letters and every time she would write I would get excited. I used to wait for her letters. 

One day she shared the verse Mark 10:14 which says, “When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the children come do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’” and this helped me understand how much God loves me and how much she loves me. I can proudly say that if she were not there for me I could have ended up as a criminal or an alcoholic. She changed my life, she saved me and helped me to know Christ and it is because of her that I accepted Jesus as my personal saviour when I was 15 years old. When she first started sponsoring me I did not know the reason she supported me but today I understand that it was God’s plan. He had a plan for me even before I was born and today this gives me courage to go and share my story with the world.  I tell them that I am proud that I suffered from poverty because God wanted  to  release me from it by using one of His own people and use me as His disciple to help  kids  who are suffering just like me. It is because of my sponsor that I graduated with a Bachelor in Business Administration majoring in finance and marketing. It is because of her I can be called a man of God, a disciple, a Christ follower. She sponsored me when there was no one to listen to my voice and helped me to bring myself to the kingdom of God. 

I know that God has something for me because He was faithful, He is faithful and He will be faithful.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Vicky’s sponsor didn’t just change his life … he changed the lives of Vicky’s entire family. Sponsor a child like Vicky and see what God might do through you!



Children's bookshelves organized

December 9, 2013

Well, I'm ready to admit I have a bit of a book problem...

I did arrange the kids books by color and am waiting to see how that plays out in real life. 

I got rid of two boxes worth of books (mostly baby books--*sniff *) but it was a  necessary step on order to move forward, right? :)

You should know that this is just our fiction collection.... Will attack the nonfiction another day. I'll not be color blocking those-- I arrange them by topic! 
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