Bringing up Kids Who Love to Read

posted in: Books, Kids r Readers 2 | 8

Kids Can Love to Read

I didn’t always love to read.  I went to a Christian school and read when I had to.  I remember reading Sweet Valley High, John Grisham novels, and The Babysitter’s Club.  Also, started reading the Bible and Max Lucado books when I got to high school.  I didn’t read any of the classics growing up – I waited and have read some as an adult.

Now, I love to read, and I want to make sure my children read well as they grow up.  It is such an important discipline, it can be fun, and will prepare them well for adulthood.  I’ve teamed up with my friend Leah Finn to provide yall with some tips on how to raise kids who love to read.  Most of her children are older than mine and are reading on their own.  Believe me, even if your kids aren’t reading on their own yet, you can still instill in them a love of books and reading.

  1.  Let them pick out books they are interested in.  Even if it is silly/not high literature (as long is it is appropriate).  There is great joy in going to a library and being able to bring home a stack of books that you like.  Kids love it and it helps them be interested in the books. How this is illustrated in our family is that for our older’s 4th birthday, he went on a day-date with Daddy.  This year they went to our local library and picked out lots of dinosaur books.  He came home and was all excited about reading and looking at the dinosaur books.  One bit I would add is maybe pick out one or two for them each week in a different genre.  This might broaden their horizons to the classics, biographies, or just a different topic.
  2. Read aloud classics and quality books.  This is where they can get their “good” books in.  Use voices and expressiveness to engage their interest.  Read Aloud Revival is a great resource for finding books to read aloud. Kids are never too old to be read to. I love walking down the stairs most mornings to find my husband reading to our younger son.  This is some great bonding time for them in the early mornings.  And I love the time when I’m putting my older to bed, when I get to read aloud to him.  Right now we are almost finished with Little House in the Big Woods and I’m eager to complete the series with him.  I’ve also read some of the Narnia series with him.
  3.  Use audiobooks to squeeze in extra reading time  This can be in the vehicle while you travel, during rest time, while coloring or playing with legos, etc.  I need to get better at this, and I think it will come as they get older.  But, I do have the Narnia series on audio cd and I adored listening to them as an adult, and then read all the books (which I hadn’t done as a child).

One of the ways I’m always introducing new books to my children, is by being a part of Tommy Nelson Mommies.  This month, we were given One Small Donkey.  This book is great for preschoolers.  It is told through the voice of a small donkey about the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.  It is a fun little story and teaches some truths about Jesus, creation, and worship at the manger.  It takes some liberties, but it really is just a cute story you can read with your children.  You can read it to them, then read the Bible story of the same account, talk about different aspects of truth and Christmas with your children.

If you would like to win this book for your own family library, just leave me a comment about which one of these tips above you incorporate into your parenting – or one you would like to include.  Thanks Leah for helping me with this post, and thanks Tommy Nelson for the book.

Books for Going to Bed (a review)

posted in: Books | 1

Books for going to bed

I love books.  I love print books: old books, new books, cookbooks, coloring books.  I just really love books.  My husband and I are purging our book collection right now as we prepare to move again (and you know, books are heavy). It hurts to purge books.  But, we don’t need to hold on to stuff either.  So, we pick the really good ones.

As our sons get older, I’m hoping they gain a love for books and reading and learning and knowledge.  I’ve just started reading The Lion,the Witch,and the Wardrobe to my older son at night as he is falling asleep.  I love being near him, listening to him breath, see his little smile, read him such a great book, and watch him calmly drift off to dream land.

If you have young ones, especially toddlers, board books are a great way to introduce them to books, and hopefully begin to instill in them a love of books.  NIght Night Farm is a board by by Amy Parker and Tommy Nelson that is all about farm animals.  And, yes, my boys love going to farms, and seeing all the farm animals.  So, this book has definitely been a winner.  Whimsical illustrations and gentle rhymes, your kids will love reading this book as they are being tucked into bed.  The last page, as the story is drawing to a close, you get to remind them of the great farm animals that God has made and that God, the beautiful Creator, also made them too.

You can win this book for yourself and your little one (or to give as a gift).  Just tell me one of your favorite bedtime books – maybe it was one you read growing up, or had read to you, or maybe one you’ve enjoyed reading to your children.  Thank you Tommy Nelson for my copy of the book and the chance to give it away.  All opinions are my own.

Good Good Father (a book review)

posted in: Books, Kids r Readers 2, parenting | 8

Good Good Father

In the back of our car there is a kite.  My mister has had the kite since he went to the OBX in Carolina.  I wonder if he bought that kite thinking he might one day have boys that love to spend time with their daddy and fly kites together.

Chris Tomlin, worship songwriter and dad, has writtten a great book for littles that starts out with a kite.  But, more importantly this story is about many of the ways (God is inexhaustible) that God loves us.  It is beautifully illustrated.  It is so true

One of the best things about my husband is that he is a good Father.  We had such a short courtship before we got married that I rarely got to see him around children.  I knew from his character that he’d be a great Father.  And, now I witness it.  My men love to fly a kite during the week at a local park, always scouting out the new parks to hopefully catch the wind.  He is more patient with those boys than I will ever be – which they desperately need.  He is loving and plays with them on the floor or with toys.  He is so caring toward them.  They resemble him.  He teaches them the truth about Jesus.

These are all good ways in which hopefully the boys will see God the Father in my husband, their earthly dad, so that one day they might come to know God.

This book by Tomlin is available to you.  Tommy Nelson is giving one away to a reader!  Get excited because this will make a great addition to your at-home library, wonderfully teaching your children about God.

One question: what is one activity your children love doing with their dad?

Experiencing God Through His Names (a review)

posted in: Books | 0

Experiencing God Names

I will never know God as fully as I can.

I definitely won’t know him perfectly this side of heaven, because of sin.  Even in Heaven, God is eternal and so big – that every day in heaven (which will never end) will bring me new wonder of God – so I will always be in new wonder of him. I can’t wait.

This year, as I’ve been reading through the Bible (I’m in Joshua), I’m writing down in the margins of my ESV journaling Bible all the ways that I see God as He has revealed Himself to me.  It is beautiful to see and know that God is the same God today as He was in the days of Moses, Joseph, and Job.

Sheryl Giesbrecht has written a really good study on the names of God.  She takes God’s character and let’s us know how we can experience it in our lives.  I found it helpful as I’ve been walking through the Bible to find out what the meaning of some of these names are.  And they are short – so you could do a month study on the names of God, and add this to a little journal, a quiet time, and knowing God more in his perfection.

I hope you pick this book up and find out more of God’s beauty.

Thanks Litfuse for this book and all opinions are my own.

Finding Lovely

posted in: Books, food | 0

Finding Lovely

Happy Friday everyone.

I love just giving you a quick glance into our little world – and what things actually make me giddy.  I love holding my littles hands (when I’m doing it for fun, not for discipline because they ran away), I love friends who are great accountability partners and share their lives with me, I love celebrating friends who excel in their hobbies, I love sticking my feet in the sand at a beach.

Here are some lovelies around the internet that might make you Friday just a bit brighter, too.

If you love Alaska, love adventure, love a story of a father and daughter taking risks, learning about each other, and all the emotions that go with it – you will love James Campbell’s new book Braving It.  Parenting isn’t easy.  And the Alaska wilderness with a teenager isn’t easy.  But, this story holds truths about love and the nature of relationships that most will find compelling.

Trying to fit in more salads on our table – so this post was not only pretty but also inspiring.

I love Pinch of Yum food and also this post: about soaking up summer in all of its glory.  Summer looks different than I thought it would with kids and a working husband.  My mister always reminds me to change my expectations.

This has summer written all over it: and I want to eat it right now!  Maybe I’ll make some rosemary olive bread this wknd

Thanks to Blogging for Books for Braving It – all opinions are my own

 

 

 

Choosing Joy

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Choose Joy

In light of all the hate around us, we can choose joy.  Choosing joy is within us, because the Holy Spirit lives within us.

In the hate-filled world we live in, in which we are raising children, in which we encounter all sorts of situations that are just waiting to dump rain on our parade, we can choose joy.

Joy is not the same as happiness.  Happiness is based upon our circumstances.  Joy is based on something deeper, more abiding, and longer lasting – it is based on the character of God and the joy that He gives because we know that He is supremely in charge.

How can we cultivate choosing joy when so much around us is joy-less?:

  1.  Surround ourselves with pretty things.  Yes I know this is superficial, but if I include fresh flowers, yummy treats that are pretty to look at,my happy smiling boys, together time with my mister, sunsets, and good books – if I include them in my day – those things help fuel a joyful attitude.
  2. Memorize Scripture.  There are so many Scriptures that will help us fuel the joy that is within us.  Romans 15:13 and Isaiah 12:6 are great ones and easy to memorize.  Write them down and keep them in visible places.  (If you want a joy verse handlettered, just hit me up for a custom handlettering job).
  3. Be grateful.  Keeping a gratitude journal or reading books on gratitude will help you as well.  I’ve just started 1000 Gifts and I love Choosing Gratitude.  Such a great help in keeping our minds on the little blessings God has given us.  And these would make great activities any time of the year.
  4. Write snail mail.  Sitting down to write mail to others, and even send little gifts, help me remember why I love people.  I love seeing the best in them, encouraging them, and adding some beauty to their days. If you need some new stationery these are perfect for any occasion (or no occasion at all).

What are some ways that you choose joy in your life?  How you do encourage your friends and family to cultivate and choose joy?

Sounds of Motherhood

I Will Follow Jesus Bible

There are many sounds to motherhood.  If you have been a mom for any length of time, you are quite familiar with them, and you know that they quickly change depending on your child’s age. Here are a few of mine:

  1.  Apple chewing.  Yes, I love to hear my two boys ask for a “big apple”, ask for mommy to “tut it”, and then chomp down on it.  That means that are craving healthy foods and I give them enough sweets to balance it out 🙂
  2. Crying.  We just took our younger son to the eye doctor for the first time.  Come to find out he is extremely near sighted and will need glasses (just like his older brother).  He is really clumsy even though he is a daredevil.  (His eyesight probably has something to do with his clumsiness.)  So, I know that when he falls and cries, than he is actually hurt.  He has busted his gums and caused his two front teeth to be completely gray now (because they are dead with damaged nerves), yesterday he was playing instead of napping and tipped over a wooden chair in his room and almost punctured his eye.  Thankful it was just the corner of his eye, and black eyes heal.  He has scraped the top of his head from spinning circles on the back porch, getting dizzy, and falling over.  He just loves to be crazy, but he knows when he cries mommy or daddy will come running – and usually his older brother will show great compassion on him.
  3. Mommy.  Honestly, some times this gets old because they’ve said it 20 times in a row, whining for something they really don’t need.  Any other mom our there know what I’m talking about?  But today, as I was reading to my boys in the car while we ate lunch (waiting for a showing on our house to be finished), my younger said Mommy.  Yes, he has said it plenty of times, but something just caught my attention this time when he said it.  I’m there Mommy.  I’m the one who loves them most in this world (with their daddy), and will be there for them, and play with them, and tuck them into bed at night.  I pray that through my imperfect love they will come to see the perfect love for their Abba.
  4. Singing.  Both of my boys have grown fond of singing.  The two songs we know perfectly are the ABCs (finally, it was delayed in our home), and Jesus Loves Me.  I’m glad the boys are learning that one in their SS class at our church.  We sing it all the time.  As my younger was awake at 6am this morning he was singing this.  As I was getting ready to head out the door, I saw his little fingers sticking out at the bottom of the door, and heard his little voice singing.

My favorite line of Jesus Loves Me is “for the Bible tells me so.”  Especially as I parent, and make mistakes, and don’t know what to do half the time, or how to balance everything that I need to balance, it is good to know that I have the perfect Word of God.

And Judah and Chelsea Smith just put out a great story book Bible for your kids (think grade school).  It is more storybook (like Jesus Story Book Bible), but it tends to be more concrete and practical, making it somewhat easier for younger kids to grasp and know how to implement.  This is an easy to use Bible, especially helpful to parents in leading Family Worship time in their home.  Remember, as a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your kids about God, and the church’s job is to come along side you and partner together.

If you would like to win this Bible (and believe me, you do), just leave me a comment on one of the verses you are teaching to your children or one of the songs that your children are learning right now.  Thanks Tommy Nelson Mommies for the Bible and the opportunity to pass it along to someone else!

Worship and Crayons

posted in: Books, creatives | 0

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This post is not about the early Sunday School years.  This post is about the craze of adult coloring books (really, made for women because I don’t know any males that would sit around and color in a coloring book – though if you are out there and you enjoy it – then by all means, continue).

Something I’ve been thinking about recently is how our minds can be so deceived.  When you are binge watching a show – that may affect your ability to think rationally.  The last month I’ve been watching a show called Chasing Life.  I would not recommend it but that is a post for another day – but what it did to my mind was awful.  The days before I left for a recent trip to visit friends I was so fearful that I was never going to see my husband or children again.  And I had to convince myself that if death for me was going to happen that wknd than that was God’s better plan.  (The show was all about cancer and dying and what life is all about).  My mister was quick to respond to my fears with challenging me to dwell on faith and the Word of God.

So, what are you to do when all you want to do is something that doesn’t require much energy.  Sit and color.  The best part about coloring books is finding one filled with Scripture.  What a better way to fulfill Colossians 3 and Philippians 4 then coloring hope-filled verses from the Word?

Waterbrook Press just published one called Whatever is Lovely.  For me it is not only a chance to be creative but keep the creative juices flowing in my own lettering.  Thanks Blogging for Books for the chance to review this one and all thoughts are my own.

 

Sundays in the South

posted in: Sundays in the South | 0
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Processed with VSCO

Here we are the week before Christmas.  Less than 7 days and I have to admit, as my kids get older, it is more fun – to think of the surprise that will fill their eyes on Christmas morning.

Here are some things that I’m liking this week – and some fun things I’m baking:

Grinch popcorn as I have some little friends over this week.

I know two littles (and their momma) who would enjoy these.  If you need a hostess gift for a family with kids these would be perfect.

Spot On post by Kristin

I will be adding these to our Happy Jesus Day cake this week

I’m dreaming of two days here with my mister over New Years – if no one gets sick.

Can’t wait to read this book to my boys this week.  It is by far my fave Christmas book.

How the Word Breathes Life into My Mothering

God Breathes into our Mothering

Oh, sweet mommas – this post is especially for the mommas out there – and you don’t have to have toddlers to understand this post.  Maybe all of your kids are teenagers, or are married and raising babies of their own – or maybe you have a few younger than mine and are still living in sleepless nights because of newborns or sleep regression.

Just as the very word of God spoke all of creation into being, and the word of God is written down for us so we may be changed into His image, the word of God also breathes life into the every day of my mothering – right now which is a highly emotional 3 year old we are seeking to potty train and a speedy 2 year old who loves to jump off everything he can climb.

Two examples for you from the last 24 hours.  It was a long afternoon as I fought for my 2 year old to take a nap. I knew he was tired and just didn’t want to miss out on anything.  Finally 90 minutes after scheduled nap time, he finally went down for 90 minutes.  Then, by the time my husband walked in the door at 635 from his job, I was so done.  He immediately took over, gave them a bath, put them to bed (which was a 2.5 hour struggle with one of them), and told me to go do something, anything, other than being with the kids.  I went in and took a long hot shower which is one of my favorite things to do in the winter (I know I’m not helping the water conservation society).  As I was standing there praying, confessing my anger and entitlement, I was reminded of a verse in James that my husband spent a whole year on our first year of marriage: James 4:1-4 which basically says the reason you are arguing and upset is because you are fighting to get what you want because you are idolizing something and not keeping God God in your life and heart.  Yup.  I was struggling all day because I didn’t get what I wanted from my sons.  I wanted quiet – I didn’t get much of that all day. I wanted obedience – but my sons are sinners and not prone to obey so I shouldn’t expect them to do it.  I was crying in the shower, even as the hot water ran down my cheeks and increased my need for an aging-skin moisturizer – God was restoring my soul with the work of the Word.

The second example is from this morning: it was a long morning.  I sat in the sanctuary during the sunday school hour, listening to my husband prep for CEve service, scanning through social media, getting encouraged from friends, and the tears were there all morning.  Before the service, my husband sat down beside me, and just whispered in my ear the gospel: the God has a plan, Jesus is enough even when its hard, that His grace is sufficient.  My tears were dripping on his new gray pants.  I didn’t care.  I hope they didn’t stain.  The gospel is found in the Word.  We must know the Word.  We must have the Word spoken to us – to our souls – to our hurt and weary souls.

I got a book set in the mail this week from Tommy Nelson that helps adults and kids know key Scriptures in the Bible.  How to know them, memorize them, live them out – so that the Word may be life-changing in whatever situation we find ourselves in.  The Joshua Code and I Can Learn the Bible would be a great set for you to work through with your children in the new year.  If you would like please just leave a post about anything – anything at all.

Happy Mothering.

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