Thursday, September 30, 2010

Read Aloud Thursday---Days on the Farm With Annette and Samuel

Our read-aloud for the last two weeks has been
Days on the Farm With Annette and Samuel
by Teresa Morgan
 with artist Edith Burkholder
published by Rod and Staff Publishers, Inc.

I really like the books published by Rod and Staff. They are always so sweet, simple (in a good way), and God-honoring. The children are respectful to their parents, and the parents are involved with their children. The families are generally interested in nature and interact with it in some way in most of the stories. I ordered a bunch of these when I was on limited activity with Baby Boo, and we have been reading through them ever since.

This book has forty-one chapters and 196 pages. Each story can easily be read in a young child's sitting (ie. five-ten minutes), and each has at least one charming black and white illustration with it. The stories center around life on a farm for two of the younger children in a Christian family. Annette and Samuel are sweet children who want to do right, but they have the insatiable curiosity of young children and are sometimes tempted to go outside the boundaries of what they think they ought to do. Sometimes they choose to do the right thing, and their choice is rewarded. Sometimes, their choices are not so good, and the consequences and discipline are both fair and swift. The topics of each chapter revolve around family life and simple events within their household.

For example, in the story we read last night, Samuel had been having so much fun building a farm for his play animals before dinner, that when he was finished eating, he forgot to ask to be excused from the table, and rushed off to return to his playing. Father corrected him, and he promised to remember to ask the next time he wanted to get down before everyone was finished. (We deal with this issue at our house from time to time. How about you?) The next night, the same issue popped up again, when he left the table early to return to the zoo he was making out of paper cutouts. (I love that the children are imaginative in their play, and use simple materials, not lots of fancy and expensive toys). This time, instead of calling him back to the table, Father waits until Samuel notices the rest of the family is staying seated and each is receiving a slice of delicious homemade pie. Yum! Samuel jumps up and asks for pie, only to be reprimanded by Father, who tells him he may continue to play, but he has already left the table, so no pie for him. How's that for natural consequences? I'll bet Samuel never forgets to ask to be excused again!!

So, if you are looking for stories that teach a lesson and are understandable and interesting to even the youngest children (my just-turned-three-years-old, Firefly, likes them a lot), then give Days on the Farm With Annette and Samuel a try.



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Walls of Art Wednesday---Your Art is in the Mail!

One thing I love about art is sharing it. Another thing I love is the breadth of interpretation of what art is. Even my littlest ones, when caught doing something a bit "scribbley-scrabbley" (as we put it) are quick to quip, "But it's abstract art, Mommy." lol.

We were going to do a paper mosaic of the rain pounding outside, drenching and flooding all of our pastures, with the heavy clouds overshadowing the sky, making everything look basically gray and blue and black today (we are glad for the rain, since our area sorely needed it, we just miss playing in the sunshine). However, I remembered at the last minutes that Hubby's dad's birthday is soon, so I decided to have the kids make cards instead, when they asked to do a craft.

Stickers and crayons don't make Rembrandts, but I know these expressions of love will be masterpieces to the recipient. God bless the little ones for their loving hearts...and the more stickers, the more the love!!

That's our artistic contribution for the week. We'll work on those paper mosaics for next week, with maybe a more cheery subject than rain, or maybe not, if this storm keeps up through the weekend...we'll see.

And by the way, Happy Birthday, Grandpa G.
Your art is in the mail...;-)

Blessings to you,


Where in the World? Wednesday

Welcome to our new meme! We are participating in several postcard exchanges this year and thought it might be nice to regularly share the cards we receive, as well as to have a place to keep all of the information we discover about each place we "visit."

If you would like to "travel" with us, feel free to check here every Wednesday for our latest virtual field trip. If you would like to link up and share your virtual travels, please be patient as I figure out how to make a button and do a linky so you can join us.

In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment with a link, so we can check out your fun learning adventures, too!!

This week's destination: the lovely state of Delaware

Here is the postcard we received this week:

Tex was a bit thrown off by the Japanese on a card representing Delaware, but I explained that the folks who wrote the card are probably on a mission trip or temporarily stationed there, or perhaps they wanted to participate, even though they aren't in the states and just picked Delaware because it was available...Anyway, if you know the real reason, please leave a comment. He is very curious.


Here's what we found out about Delaware today:

Delaware was the first state in the United States of America. It ratified the Constitution on December 7th, 1787.

Capital: Dover
Abbreviation: DE
Nickname: First State, Diamond State, Small Wonder
Land Area: 1,954 sq. miles

Motto: Liberty and Independence
Song: Our Delaware

Colors: Colonial Blue and Buff
Residents: Delawareans
Discovery: Henry Hudson in 1609

Flower: peach blossom
Herb: sweet golden rod
Bird: blue hen chicken
Tree: american holly
Insect: ladybug

Butterfly: tiger swallowtail
Marine Animal: horseshoe crab
Fish: weakfish
Beverage: milk
Mineral: sillimanite

Famous people from Delaware: George Read (signer of Declaration of Independence) and Howard Pyle (author and illustrator)
Famous facts about Delaware: During the Civil War, although a slave state, Delaware did not secede from the Union
Interesting landmarks in Delaware: Holy Trinity Church, circa 1698 oldest still-in-use Protestant church in the US
Find Fifty Fun Facts about Delaware at
Find Fun Facts and Activities about Delaware at Enchanted Learning

Here's the State Flag of Delaware:  


Here is a map of Delaware:

And here are some maps you can print for a state notebook: a simple outline map from coloring castle, another simple outline map from eduplace, or you can also print a simple outline map here, with adjacent states; also print a map with a quiz from Enchanted Learning, label the major features of Delaware at Enchanted Learning, or Zoom in on Delaware and see the cities close up on this cool map.

Here are a few extra pictures of lovely Delaware:

Legislative Hall, Capitol Building
Dover, Delaware

Do you want to test your knowlege of the United States? You can play a game identifying the states and their capitals here at Owl and Mouse or here at Sheppard Software. If you do it every week, you will have them all down before you know it!


Do you know anything interesting about Delaware that we missed? Please share by leaving a comment! Thanks!!
Please, join us next Wednesday for Where in the World? Wednesday.

We hope to see you then!


Heather and Tex

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nature Study Tuesday---Butterflies, Bees, and Busch Gardens

Apparently, you can find nature almost anywhere!!

Plant: Lantana
Scientific Name: Pterourus glaucus
glauLocation: Busch Gardens, Virginia
Find more info and a coloring page at Enchanted Learning HERE.

Pterourus cuPterourus glaucus


Plant: Lantana (of the family Verbenaceae)
Insect: Bee (not sure if he is a honey bee or a bumble bee)
Location: Busch Gardens, Virginia
Find a bee labeling exercise and coloring page at Enchanted Learning HERE.

I think I will have to plant some lantana in my own garden next year. It was getting a lot of visitors in Busch Gardens...the insects' smorgasbord. We enjoyed watching these guys have a feast while we waited in long ride opportunity wasted, if you are observant.



Endnote: Well, maybe I might not do the Lantana thing after all...I just read it is toxic to animals and the berries are mildly toxic as well. I will have to decide if there is someplace safe I can put it, first.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday---Mommy's Sick, Daddy's Cooking

Mommy, Baby Boo, Ladybug, and Firefly are sick, so the boys are going to have to help with the menu this week. Plus, frozen pickings are slim since I lost more than expected in the refrigerator fiasco.

In the interests of simplicity, we will stick to easy family favorites:

Monday: Change of went to the ER for meds and a shot, so Daddy drove through Wendy's and got dollar chicken sandwiches.

Tuesday: Macaroni and cheese wheelies and fresh fruit salad. Brain Power salad, revisited. Delicious!

Wednesday: Chicken Noodle and/or Tomato soup and Grilled Cheese sandwiches. Yogurt parfaits for a dessert treat.

Thursday: Hot dogs, baked beans, and french fries.

Friday: Pizza and a movie night. We loved The Great Fairy Rescue last week. We are hoping the second Tinkerbell movie will arrive from Netflix in time to watch it. My sister-in-law just informed me we may be experiencing a Tropical Depression then, so it will be a good day to stay in and make homemade pizza and get cozy.

Saturday: I bought London Broil on sale last week (buy one pound, get one free at Food Lion), so I will see if hubby wants to make it for dinner. I have corn on the cob and scalloped potatoes or rice pilaf to go with it. We will see what happens.

Sunday: We are going to eat at Olive Garden for my sister-in-law's birthday after church using a gift card we have been saving. I figure leftovers or sandwiches for dinner after that big meal will be sufficient.

I hope you are well and have a blessed week.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sermon Sunday---Parents, Teens, and Reasonable Expectations

Sermon Sunday will be brief this week. Baby Boo, Ladybug, Firefly, and I are all sick with colds or some such coughing and sneezing thing. I am at home with them listening to an online sermon while they watch the Veggie Tales version of Esther on Netflix (there are quite a few Veggie Tales titles on Netflix Instant Play. It is nice.)

In any case, my mom mentioned hearing Joshua Harris speak when listening to the radio this week, so I googled his name and found a large collection of sermons from Sovereign Grace Ministries, and his church, Covenant Life, available for free. The one on Parents, Teens, and Reasonable Expectations intrigued me, so I will share it with you.

If you go to the first link, you can read a brief overview of the series and access the free downloadable MP3s. If you use the second link, it takes you directly to the download page, which includes downloadable notes for the sermons, also free.

Parents, Teens, and Reasonable Expectations link 1
Parents, Teens, and Reasonable Expectations link 2

Please understand that I have not listened to these sermons yet, but I believe the source is one I can trust to give a good teaching on conservative Christian views in relation to family topics (they are a Reformed church, for those of you who would want to be made aware of that). I will be listening to them myself during this week. Please feel free to leave comments, if you join me in listening to these teachings. Thanks!

I hope you and your family members are well.

Blessings for a healthy and happy Sunday,


Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Princess Firefly!

If Cowboy had a Buggy Birthday, Firefly had a
Fairy Princess Tea Party Birthday.

When she got up in the morning, Daddy was home long enough to give her birthday hugs and kisses. Next, Mommy gave her a pretty princess dress (handmade and bought from the consignment store for only $4.50!) and a pair of golden slippers (consignment store, $3.50, Old Navy). We have discovered that it is more fun for all of us if we "bless" the birthday girl/boy all day with their presents one at a time. We set a budget, and theme, and see how much we can get of quality stuff centered around this theme. By giving the presents bit by bit, it not only stretches the enjoyment out all day, but it gives the children a chance to appreciate each one on its own.

Needless to say, the dress was a big hit. I think it is adorable on her. She donned her crown and twirled until she was dizzy. Then she went off to find Prince Cowboy and Princess Ladybug to play with her. They set up a breakfast "tea party" in the kitchen after each picking a doll to join them. Ladybug brought Rosie, my old dolly, Firefly brought her Susie (a talking Baby Alive doll) from her Poppy, and Cowboy even brought one of the girls' baby dolls (he later insisted it get dressed in blue so it could be a boy, then he named it James.)

After breakfast, the Three Amigos headed off to play in the front room while Tex and I set up a few of Firefly's gifts...a folding Tinkerbell table and chair set, and a Fisher Price musical tea set. We added Nilla wafers and very diluted Earl Grey tea for authenticity, then called them in.
What joy on all their faces!!

I love how the simplest of things make the children so happy. We were very pleased with the table. It is sturdy and easy to set up and take down. We also love the cute tea set. Our only complaint with it is that FP put holes in the side of the teacups, so if you tilt the cups the wrong way when there is real liquid in them, you get dribbled on. I realize they wanted to discourage children from filling up the cups, but isn't that the point of a tea party set? The kids have adapted by holding the cups backwards. I think I will try to fill the holes with clear caulk. Otherwise, it is a really sturdy and sweet toy.

Our next fun surprise was the arrival of Nanny and Poppy with the cupcakes. (My mom just loves that she is retired now and can come over in the middle of the week). She made Firefly some sparkly Tinkerbell chocolate cupcakes. We have discovered that cupcakes work wonderfully well with the age the kids are now. They are simple to make, easy to distribute, and fun to eat!

Once Nanny and Poppy arrived, it was time to open cards and gifts from other family members. Firefly was so sweet during this process. She was absolutely enthusiastic and grateful about every card and gift she recieved. Yes, even the cards that did not have money in them! She'd say, "I love it! It is so cute!" and look at each and every picture on the cards, asking what the words said, and wanting to know if she could color them.

Next, we opened the gifts from Nanny and Poppy. He insisted he was going to buy her another dolly, because that is what she kept asking for (even though thie girls already have several since I never threw any of mine away!). He spent a lot of time choosing the perfect one at Toys r Us. It was very sweet of him and my mom. I guess grandparents get to spoil the grandkids if they want to, huh?

Oh, she loved her new dolly at first sight! It is a sick dolly who needs her mommy to take care of her and make her feel better. My kids love to play doctor and make all the babies and animals well again, so it was a good choice. See how much she loves it? She decided to name it Abigail.

Bubba gave her a doctor kit, to help make the babies all better, and she also
received an outfit and baby bottle for her new baby.

Here's a nice picture of us after unwrapping the presents. My mom took the picture, so she is not in in. :-(


Here are a few random snapshots of the other children.
Cowboy is entertaining us by being silly.

Here is Ladybug showing off her favorite doll, Rosie.

Firefly is getting birthday hugs from big brother, Tex.

Next, they are off to find another surprise from Mommy and Daddy...
the latest Tinkerbell movie, The Great Fairy Rescue.
Butterfly and Ribbon wands from the Dollar Tree
make great party favors;
a bag of popcorn, and cups of juice make for a perfect movie afternoon.

We thought the movie was very well done. The story is well-written, the animation is excellent, and the main human character is sweet and kind, sincere and hard-working. Each of the characters learn valuable lessons about sticking together, always doing your best, confessing your mistakes and fixing them, and using your natural (God-given) gifts creatively. Even the work-absorbed father learns to put his daughter first and to believe in more than just science. There are lovely nature journals throughout the movie (really detailed ones) and tea parties in several parts, so it fit in with our theme perfectly...a Fairy Princess Tea Party...with a little bit of education thrown in as a bonus!

After eating lunch, we sang the birthday song to Firefly and
served up cupcakes with ice cream cones on the side. !

Tex doctored his cone up by rolling it in chopped up dark chocolate Snickers (a treat from his grandparents). We did have the foresight to change out of the princess dress BEFORE serving up the chocolate cupcakes. Thank goodness!

Time to go outside and search for bugs (and fairies!) and
burn off some of that sugar we just ate.
Then back inside for story time.

But wait! There is one more late arriving gift
 from Grandma Pooh in Iowa.
Oh, how special! It is a pink coin purse with Firefly's
very own hankie, golden angel coin, and six dollars in it.
She loves it!

The boys head off to Uncle L. and Auntie K.'s house to deliver a surprise from Nanny and Poppy for their new baby, Little Bear, using mom's Suburban. Nanny stays behind and reads the kids books after they put on their "new" (used) Tinkerbell PJs for the girls ($2 a pair at the consignment shop) and sports ball PJs for Cowboy (free...hand-me-downs, but new to us!).

Our Fairy Princess's last gift for the day is a Tinkerbell book about the movie that includes both the nature journaling and the tea party in it. We love it!! I hope this will inspire them to really get into their nature journaling this year. I can remind them, "Think of Tink..."

Meanwhile, I fix the kids homemade pizza and get Boo ready for bed.
Prayers and tuck ins, then the exhausted ladies
have an hour to visit before the guys get back.
What a perfect day it was!!

Who needs a big, expensive party when you already have
a house full of love?

Happy Birthday, dear, sweet Firefly.
You light up our lives immeasurably and our love for you overflows.
You are precious to us, perfect in our eyes,
and oh, such a pretty little Princess.

Daughter of the King of Kings. We love you.

Blessings to you all,


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