Christmas Gift Ideas

On Friday, Mary and I were having our weekly chat and both had the same question…What on earth are you getting your kids for Christmas that doesn’t involve LEGOs or plastic toys made in China?  Now I have to preface this with neither of us have anything against LEGOs or plastic toys, but we are both inundated by them.  Admittedly the Grinch sneaks into my heart this time of year as I threaten to either throw out all the toys or tell everyone I know that there is a toy ban on our household.  Truth be told some of each will end up at both of our houses this Christmas no matter how hard we try to avoid them.  That being said, we are both looking for creative gift ideas.   We spent an hour mulling over this topic (at least that is what we told our kids so we could have some uninterrupted mom chat time) and here is what we came up with.  Continue reading “Christmas Gift Ideas”

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WWII, the Battle of Britain, and Great Summer Reading

Well, she’s done it yet again. My daughter Carolyn (aka Big-Sis) has written another novel. As the oldest of six kids and an avid reader, she knows what makes a book appealing. My boys devoured this one.

The Badge of Kenley’s Legend is a historical fiction that takes place in England during WWII. A plucky orphan boy  overhears a German spy’s ploy to destroy the Royal Air Force Kenley, the base where his beloved brothers are stationed. Stuck in the countryside as an evacuee, he sets out to warn his brothers in order to save them from impending doom.

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Motivating your kids to READ!

There is no question that one of the single most important skills to teach our kids is to read.  I would argue that it is not only our job to teach them HOW to read, but more importantly to LOVE to read. The amount kids read has a direct relationship to better scores on standardized tests and an easier time with grammar, spelling, and writing.  As we approach the summer months, how can we motivate them to spend part of their days reading and not lose all of those skills we have worked so hard on during the school year?

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Free Classic Literature Guides!

When my oldest daughter entered middle school, I wanted to discuss the books she was reading.   When I was a kid, I loved to read and even more, I loved to discuss the books I was reading.  It helped me to discover details that I missed and look at the story from a little different perspective.   So I began a quest to find curriculum that would serve as a basis for these discussions.  Kolbe Academy has an extensive literature program with reading comprehension questions as well as paper ideas.   Rainbow Resource has Christian Novel Studies that include questions, vocabulary, recipes (in some cases), and background information.  I own parts of each of these program, but for sheer money-saving purposes, I felt that I needed to write some of my own.

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Books to Give Your Kids this Christmas

Around this time of year as I think about Christmas shopping, I know I have to tackle the toy closet in order to make room for more stuff. However,  one look at our toy storage, which is a dangerous undertaking, makes me want to revolt against plastic toys, toys that need batteries, toys with a million little pieces, and toys in general. The thought of having to buy even more toys makes me feel like this:

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Girls with Grit: Ten Books About Strong, Courageous Girls

One of the best things about wholesome books is their ability to exemplify and inspire heroic virtue. Here is a list of ten books featuring girls who undergo great difficulties with fortitude and selflessness. All highly recommended by Big Sis!

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Treasure Seeking: How to Find the Best Children’s Literature

I can never seem to find enough good books for my children. My daughter can devour an entire chapter book in a day or two. My  sons can, too, but they tend to be more picky. Or perhaps there just isn’t a whole lot of wholesome quality literature written for boys between the ages of 8 and 12. Unfortunately,  many books written nowadays just don’t make the cut. I want my kids to read books that will inspire and ennoble them, books that show them what it is to be heroic, courageous, and generous, books that help them develop a moral compass while appealing to their imagination. Books that preach without preaching.

So here is where I go when I’m treasure seeking:

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