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Posts tagged ‘book’

Last December, right before Christmas, my husband and I discovered the curriculum My Father’s World, and within a couple of days decided that not only would we use that curriculum over the hundreds thousands of curricula out there. I used mostly A Beka when I was growing up, but I decided I didn’t really want to do that, especially when I saw how much cheaper MFW was. Add to that the fact that everything was on an end-of-the-year sale with free shipping, and we decided to give it a try. We bought the Kindergarten Deluxe pack and the 3-5 year Preschool pack.

This isn’t a review of MFW, but I will say we are really enjoying it, and I plan on using it for as long as I can.

What I really wanted to do, though, was show some pictures of some of the projects we’ve been doing. This is only a handful, really. There have been tons more.

First, during the first 7 days of school, she made this mural, colored it and everything. If you look closely, the 7th one (which was blank) has a church that Gislaine designed herself.

At the same time, she made a Creation book. She did all the artwork herself:

Recently, Gislaine was supposed to finger paint with pudding, but I don’t buy pudding. So I looked in the fridge to see what I had, and came up with some almost-too-old-to-eat-but-not-yet-smelly gravy. Divide into cups, add food coloring, and voila! Finger paint! I know the first picture has a bad backdrop, but she is just too precious!

And the completed artwork:

A couple of weeks ago, we studied D for Dinosaur, and Gislaine and I made models of clay dinosaurs. The one in the middle was her first one. The two on the left are mine, and the two on the right are her attempts to copy mine. I think she did a really good job!

And then this week we were studying O for Octopus (no, we are not studying the alphabet in order). The instructions were to cut a hot dog into an Octopus by cutting down about half of it into 8 legs, leaving the top “head” uncut, and then boil it to make the legs curl up. Ours didn’t curl (Tofu Pups–they don’t have gluten in them, and are non-GMO, which is why I buy them), but they did get soft. We had them in sandwiches later. Yummy!

Now I’m just curious, but can anyone tell me why so many children’s books spell the plural of “octopus” as “octopuses”? I mean, it is octopi, right? That’s almost as bad as “sheeps” and “mooses”…

So that’s some of what we’ve been doing in the past two months.

What have your kids been doing?


This post is linked with the Modest Monday and Works for Me Wednesday blog carnivals.

This guest post has some really neat ideas for inexpensive crafts for kids. I look forward to trying some of them with my kids once we get moved and settled!

Crafting with kids isn’t always easy or cheap, but you can make some things without a lot of hassle. Here are five fun ideas that the whole family can do, no matter what age the kids are. From tots to preteens, kids can make fun crafts without breaking your budget.

  1. Story Time – Making a story book is as easy as one, two, three. First, get together some sturdy paper. Construction paper or thick computer paper works best. Second, punch holes in one side and thread yarn through to bind the pages into a book. Third, let the kids write and illiterate their own stories. Anything from true life events to twisted fairy tales to simple picture books will all give children the opportunity to be creative, be artistic, and practice their writing skills.
  2. Wind Music – Wind chimes are a fun and easy craft that kids can do with things they find around the house. If your children are collectors, they will have a blast turning their collection into a work of art. All you need is some string, thread, or fishing line, some things that jangle, and a central bar.
  3. Box of Treasures– Another great craft for kid collectors is the treasure box. All you need is a box with a lid. Let the kids go crazy decorating it, including glitter, fake jewels and maybe some macaroni, and they will have a box fit for a king or queen. (Photo courtesy of MorgueFile)

    Photo courtesy of MorgueFile

  4. Imagination Box – Speaking of boxes, any large cardboard box can be turned into a playhouse. Simply cut in doors and windows and have the kids paint or color on shutters, handles, even kitchen appliances. Best of all, when it falls apart there is no replacement cost. Just a blank slate to start afresh.
  5. Musical Instruments–Kids love to make noise, but no one said it had to be proper instruments they played on. Beyond banging on your pots and pans, have kids create tambourines out of paper plates glued together with beans inside, or maracas with sealed toilet paper rolls and rice. Even ‘rain sticks’ can be made from paper towel rolls and beans or rice.

Kids’ crafts don’t have to be hard, expensive, or messy. Remember to keep it simple and fun and kids will be sure to love it. There are many more ideas for kids’ crafts out there. Take a minute to see what ideas you can uncover that your kids will enjoy for years to come.


Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to become a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at]

Today Gislaine officially started “preschool.” Okay, so it’s not traditional preshool, but since her friends across the cul-de-sac are both going to school, I wanted to do something.

So every day we work on a memory verse. This week it’s John 10:27. We also focus on a character trait–this week is Attentiveness. We also have a letter and number of the week–that would be A and zero. She traces a few letters or numbers, or does some other simple preschool activity in a preschool book (most of those I bought at the dollar store). Then we have a story or a craft that goes along with either the character trait or the letter or number.

It took us less than half an hour to get today’s work done, and she enjoyed herself thoroughly. I made her erase some of her tracing for being rather sloppy and redo it, and that helped her to learn to do better. I also plan on having her learn to color realistically and to stay in the lines better (though she does tolerably well already).

So I suppose we can consider the first day of school a success. Now she’s over at the neighbor’s house, playing with her friends. That’s where I think 4-year-olds should spend most of their time–a few chores, a little school, and a lot of play.

If you were raised as a Christian, like I was, you may have never really seen God. Oh, you knew He existed, and knew a lot about Him, but you may have not really known Him–never really looked deep into His heart.

It is also easy to get so used to the picture of Jesus as our Saviour that we fail to realize the deep significance of His death. Jesus suffered and died. So have many martyrs. What makes His death better or more efficacious than theirs? What is God really like? Is He really that different from us?

These are some of the questions that Ty Gibson tackles in what may be his most powerful book, Seeing With New Eyes. This book has had a powerful impact on my life, especially in the way I see God. It has given me a new perspective of God and His character. Let me quote one of my favorite passages:

We have tended to make God so distant, so nearly sterile that we have forgotten that He is a person. A person who made us in His image. A person, therefore, who has a heart that feels joy and pain like ours. All the passion of the universe has its origin in Him; and therefore all passion, both the pleasurable and painful, finds resonance in Him as well. Every pain that is felt, every sigh that is breathed, every sorrow that pierces the soul, like a rushing current of sympathetic vibrations, throbs in the Father’s heart.

This book is easy to read in the sense that it is not written in high, theological terms. It is written creatively, descriptively, colorfully. Yet the words have a way of awakening your deepest emotions, while at the same time imparting knowledge. Each thought is grounded in Scripture, expanded and simplified so that even a child could understand much of it.

Growing up as a Christian, I learned many facts about God. So I can’t say that there was anything exactly new for me in this book. However, the way it was put together was fresh, and it forced me to step back and apply the knowledge I already had. It opened my heart when I had been hiding from God–trying to live without Him, because I was afraid of the pain of letting go of my sin–and helped me to see Him not as a stern judge condemning me, but rather as a loving Father with aching heart, waiting to welcome me back. This view of God was not new, but by taking time to actually look, my heart was softened, and I was led to repentance.

And for someone who is struggling with understanding the character of God, this book could be a powerful tool to help them to really know who He is–instead of seeing him through the lens of how their father was, or the way they may have been taught He is. Jesus, in His prayer in John 17, said that knowing God is the same as having eternal life. Listen to how Ty Gibson explores this thought:

Understanding who God really is, seeing His true character distinct from all false pictures, is the psychological and emotional substance of which eternal life is composed. Knowing God heals the soul of all internal maladies and imparts a quality of life that is eternal. There is earth-transcending peace to be derived from knowing that the One who made us, and to whom we are ultimately accountable, is infinitely and intrinsically good. On the other hand, all false pictures of God are destructive to the soul, eating away the beauty and meaning of life.

So next time you want to take a fresh look at God, consider picking up a copy of Seeing With New Eyes, and look again for the first time.

One if the books that has made a big impact on me lately is The Gift, subtitled “God gave you more than you’ll ever know” by Kim Allan Johnson. I don’t think I can come up with a better way of summarizing the content of the book than to quote the back cover:

When was the last time you lay awake at night, too captivated by Christ’s love to sleep? When was the last time you wrestled with the astonishing risks involved in Jesus sacrifice? When was the last time your mind stretched to grasp the many layers of suffering He endured?

This book does just that. It starts with painting a picture of Jesus before His incarnation, then delves into the different aspects of His life that show what becoming a human actually cost Him. The author highlights key events in Christ’s life that trace the evidence of the gathering storm that broke with unbridled fury on the evening of His arrest in Gethsemane. Then instead of diving directly into a discussion of Christ’s physical sufferings, as so many writers and speakers do, he starts out with amplifying the internal pain that Jesus would have experienced every day: the pain of being misunderstood. He spends one chapter looking at The physical torture He endured, then in the next he tries to imagine what it must have been like for those that witnessed His sufferings and death. He spends a whole a whole chapter trying to grasp what kind of pain Jesus must have endured from the verbal abuse He suffered.

Up to this point, he has looked at the very human side of Jesus; He endured pain and misunderstanding much like any human would. But this book goes deeper, exploring what the depths of Christ’s internal sufferings.

If you are familiar with Ellen White, then you are probably familiar with statements like this one:

How few have any conception of the anguish that rent the heart of the Son of God during His thirty years of life upon the earth. The path from the manger to Calvary was shadowed by sorrow and grief. He was the man of sorrows, and endured such heartache as no human language can portray.

Human language may not be able to portray it, but Johnson comes pretty close as he looks at the various aspects if this world that caused Jesus pain–things like brutality in nature, human disease, the evils in human nature, and especially His pain over the lost of the world. Then he goes deeper into the sufferings that nearly crushed out His life in Gethsemane and broke His heart on the cross–being forsaken by God and feeling so helpless and alone, crushed by the weight of our sins. Finally, he sums up some of the lessons that Christ’s sufferings have to teach us.

This book is like none I have ever read on this topic. Some books use a narrative style that just talks about the subject, leaving the reader with the responsibility of trying to imagine everything. Other books use stories and word pictures the help the reader visualize the scene, kind of like watching a movie. This book has a good balance of both. Let me give you an example of each style. First, the narrative:

It was only because of His connection with God that Christ survived the relentless torrent of hate, criticism, and abuse that beat against Him from His earliest days. Intimate communion with God was as natural and necessary to Him as breathing. Ellen White reveals, “Jesus sought earnestly for strength from His Father. He regarded communication with God aside essential than His daily food.”

Here is a portion of one of the scenes he paints in graphic detail:

As Jesus hung on the cross, bleeding and gasping for air, the mob and the Jewish leaders had a field day mocking and ridiculing Him.

One of the many onlookers pointed at Christ and yelled, “What happened to all Your boasting, Mr. Carpenter? How can you destroy our great temple and build it again from up there? Can I get you a hammer so you can take out those nasty nails?” Hearty laughter ripples through the crowd.

Someone else cupped their hands over their mouth and shouted, “For a wretch like you to claim to be Israel’s holy Messiah makes me sick. Son of God? You’re the son of passion, the son of Mary’s lust!”

This mixture of narrative and story appeals to both the intellectual and emotional levels of our being. That mixture makes it a very powerful book. More powerful than any movie, because you can get a peek behind the scenes, as it were, to catch a glimpse of Jesus heart. But then it allows you to feel with your heart as well.

I haven’t even finished it yet, but I must say I highly recommend this book. It has given me a deeper appreciation for of Jesus love for me, and awakened in my heart a deeper love for Him. And that, I think, is the purpose of the book.

You can buy the book here:

I picked up this really great book at the Goodwill the other day for $5, and I’ve got to tell you about it. I think it may be the secret behind why I’ve struggled to lose weight in the past, in spite of a fairly good diet.

Eat More, Weigh Less by Dr. Dean Ornish is a simple diet plan that anyone could do. It’s more a change of lifestyle than your typical diet, though. His basic idea is that you cut your dietary fat down from 40% of calories from fat (the typical American diet) to 10% (much lower than the recommended 30%), and increasing your carbohydrates. He does this by cutting out meat (which is pretty much always more than 10%), nuts, and other fatty foods. The idea is that you can eat until you are satisfied (not stuffed), and will actually get fewer calories and thereby lose weight.

Dr. Ornish believes that this radical change in diet (removing meat and cooking without oil) is easier to make than simply cutting down on the amount of fat, as the FDA recommends, because the results are almost instantaneous. For instance, on a typical diet that provides 30% of the recommended calories from fat, you have to eat small portions and often feel hungry when the food is all gone. On his diet (which he calls the Life Choice diet), you are able to until you are satisfied, so you are less likely to reach for some not-so-healthy snack later. In fact, in a study done on some women, some of whom ate his diet and some of whom ate the typical 30%-from-fat, small-portions diet, they found that those who ate the low-fat diet ate about 15% fewer calories and lost twice as much as the other group.

This makes a lot of sense to me. I have heard the typical “calories in must be less than calories spent to lose weight,” but I could not imagine trying to count calories. I remember reading sample diet plans and thinking, “How could I survive on that little food?” Then there was my husband, who could eat as much as he wanted and still not gain—who exercises to gain weight! I realized that the missing ingredient in the whole counting-calorie thing was the metabolism. If you have a fast metabolism, you can (and should) eat more. If it’s slow, you can eat almost nothing and you might even gain weight.

Most diet books don’t address this issue. They just focus on calories in, calories out. But Eat More, weigh Less spends a great deal of time on this issue. In fact, in that same study I just mentioned, “the principle investigator, Dr. David Levitsky, [stated that] your metabolic rate is related to the amount of carbohydrates you consume. . . . When you increase consumption of carbohydrates, your metabolic rate may increase.” That makes a lot of sense.

Plus there’s always the issue of gaining weight back once the “diet” is over. That’s why this book is not a diet that you go on to lose weight, then go off of when you’ve achieved your goal. It’s a comprehensive lifestyle change that you will continue for the rest of your life.

Dr. Ornish suggests that it is easier to make such a drastic change in diet than to make a small change, because the results are so instantaneous. He actually developed this diet not as a weight-loss program but as a heart-disease reversal program. There are many benefits to this kind of a diet, and many of them can be felt within days or weeks. This “quick fix” kind of reaction, Dr. Ornish argues, is just the motivator people need to stick with the diet and make it part of their lifestyle.

Now, maybe you’re thinking, “I couldn’t eat a diet that low in fat. It couldn’t possibly taste good.” Well, I haven’t mentioned the best part of the book: it has over 250 recipes, all low in fat or even fat free, made by gourmet chefs. I tried a couple of them last week, and was very pleased. Even my husband liked them! They come up with creative ways to cut the fat without sacrificing flavor. For instance, instead of sautéing onions in oil (which helps seal in the flavor), they use a little vegetable stock. This gives more flavor without the fat. It’s likely on one would even realize that the dishes are fat free “diet food” unless someone mentioned it. They are colorful and delicious. I am looking forward to trying a number of them.

I will say there are things in the book I do not agree with. Things like grazing (eating a little all day long) and meditating (eastern style). But those things don’t detract from the overall message of the book.

There is a lot more in the book, but I’m not going to rewrite the it! You should go and find yourself a copy—even if you just borrow it from the library to read it. But let me tell you, those 250 recipes it contains are worth much more than whatever the price tag might be, so I highly recommend you buy it for yourself!

You can get a copy of the book here: