Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

At This Simple Home

  • Homemade Magic Shell - I remember having Magic Shell once as a child. The chocolate syrup drizzled over my ice cream magically turned crispy hard. Mmm... So I was rather excited t...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Over at This Simple Home

Have you started following my new blog yet, This Simple Home?  I hope you will!

We've been cooking and baking.  Lots of good books have been read.  And we're having fun!  Right now we are planning a Little House on the Prairie birthday party!  Right now we have two nice is for the 9 book Little House set or 2 picture books.  The other is for a great family devotional.

Come on over and join the fun!  You can also check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Some Recent Thoughts

I just thought I'd share a handful of things that we have been doing over at This Simple Home.
This Simple Home

Household Binder Project
Taming My Child Collector (without taming her spirit)
Name Snowman
Blog Button
Clean Bedroom
Book Worm 
Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Grocery Bag Storage
and more...

Hope you'll visit This Simple Home soon!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Woman's Walk in Truth

Vonette Bright is known in many circles because she and her husband were co-founders of Campus Crusade for Christ.  Knowing that I agreed to review A Woman's Walk in Truth: Devotions for Living a Confident Faith.
A Woman's Walk in Truth: Devotions for Living a Confident Faith This is a little book (about 6x4 inches).  The size, along with the padded cover make this seem like a "gift book" though I am sure that many Christian women would enjoy it.

I have not read all of this devotional (nearly 300 pages), but what I have read, I like.  The devotionals are short and thought provoking.  Each day's reading ends with a Bible verse and a "This I Believe" thought.  "This I Believe" thoughts are just a sentence  or two long, but they are nuggets of wisdom for the Christian.  Some are biblical truths while others are more of biblical ideas to combat the world's views

As I stated, the devotionals are short.  They really seem to reinforce God's word.  Many do not want a lengthy devotional if they are going to use it in addition to reading the Bible so this can be beneficial for many.  Please read the next bit knowing that I do not think that I am better than others.  Personally, I thought A Woman's Walk in Truth would be more for a woman who is seeking Jesus or is new to a relationship with Jesus.  Though I really liked what I read, I have decided to pass this book along to someone I know who needs some encouragement right now.

Vonette Bright encourages women to draw closer to God and to choose Him as the foundation for life.  At the end of the this little book the reader finds "Beginning Your Journey of Joy."  In it Vonette Bright describes, in detail, four principals and ideas to help a woman fully understand what it means to trust in Jesus as Savior.  She includes Bible verses and illustrations.

Thank you, Harvest House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son, by Vicki Courtney

It seems that I've been reading a bit on parenting books lately.  I consider this a reflection on what I'm lacking...and seeking.

With this in mind, I can certainly say that some books are more beneficial than others.  5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son has many chapters, but is divided into five sections, or conversations.  You can see how practical this book is from the conversation titles.

  • Don't define manhood by the culture's wimpy standards.  It's OK to be a man!
  • What you don't learn to conquer may become your master.
  • Not everyone's doing it!  (And other naked truths about sex you won't hear in the locker room.)
  • Boyhood is only for a season.  P.S. It's time to grow up!
  • Godly men are in short supply.  Dare to become one!
Throughout the chapters, author and speaker Vicki Courtney elaborates upon each conversation, often taking a look at what a conversation might look like at different ages.  

I appreciate that Courtney seems to keep the readers' mind on the big picture.  It's not necessarily about the behavior, but about the heart of the child and their relationship with God.
"Our priority should not be simply to teach our sons self-control but first and foremost reveal to them the grace of God."
"While I hope my sons' primary motivation for saving sex until marriage is rooted in a desire to please God, should they get off track spiritually, I want to make sure I have given them plenty of other reasons to save sex until they are married." 
"A conversation about saving sex for marriage is not nearly as important as a conversation about Christ's saving man from his sins."  
And on the topic of sex, Courtney also addresses the fact that some sons will already be sexually active, and some unrepentant.  She also discusses the fact that Christian boys have the same hormones within them as their non-Christian friends.

When Vicki Courtney addresses men in their twenties (and older) who still live with mom and dad, she calls them Peter know, the boy who never grows up.  Though I agree with much of what she writes in these chapters, I still felt that she was, at times, a bit harsh.  The goal is to launch our young men from boyhood to manhood before they leave home.  I do like that she considers ages 2-14 a prelaunch phase, where the boys are guided in learning basic life skills.  The test launch is from ages 14-18.  This is the time for painful and real consequences and more independence and not the time for parents rescuing their child for the poor decisions.  The final launch phase is from 18-22.  It's at this time that the man should become fully independent and responsible as a member of society.  As mothers, it does feel good to be needed, but it is important to remember that we are to guide them into adulthood and equip them with tools and knowledge needed to be a man on their own.

Though the summary on the back of the book indicates "...Courtney helps moms and dads pinpoint and prepare the discussions..." it is only moms that are actually addressed in the book except at the end of each chapter where there is a Dad 2 Dad thought.  I do not think it should be isolated to only one parent though she does explain a bit of her reasoning (with moms without a godly husband also in mind) later in the book.

Overall, I thought 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son was a beneficial book to read.  The final chapter was titled Godliness Over Goodness, and I think that idea sums up much of the book's focus.  I appreciated the honesty and grace in which Courtney wrote.  Though she included personal examples, it didn't feel like a memoir, and much does seem applicable to the general parent of sons.

This book was provided for an honest review by PR by the Book.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wise Words for Moms Giveaway

Some parents have the whole "train up a child in the way they should go" down to a tee.  Some of us, despite our desires, feel that we are failing miserably at that.  Though we may feel that we are failing, I think it is important to focus on what we do do, as well as what we are capable of doing...and then do it through the strength of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom found in the Bible.

Wise Words for MomsGod's Word is the authority for guiding and disciplining our children if we seek to honor God.  If you are looking for a quick reference chart of Bible verses, Wise Words for Moms may be exactly what you are looking for.  This is not a book, but a four page chart to assist parents in guiding their children's thoughts and behaviors back to God.  Wise Words for Moms is made of sturdy cardstock in a calendar-style format.

Wise Words for Moms was created by Ginger Plowman.  (She is the author of Don't Make Me Count to Three, one of my all-time favorite parenting books as you can see in the linked review.)  The chart includes topics under Child's Behavior such as bragging, bad friendship, tattling, and revenge along with many others.  Next questions are suggested to get to the root of the problem-found in the heart.  This area is called Heart Probing.  The Reproof area provides Bible verses to help the child to understand what behavior needs to stop or "Put Off."  Of course, when we stop one behavior we need to begin another in its place, so Encouragement ("Put On") verses are provided.  In these two areas, the appropriate verses are written out or summarized.  (I do wish it was consistent with providing the verse.)  The chart also includes additional verse references for the parents.

I like Wise Words for Moms because it is a quick resource for parents.  (I do wish that it was not just for moms in the title...)  I'm sure that many parents have created a similar chart or have even used other resources.  (For Instruction in Righteousness comes to mind, linked to my review.)  Its calendar-like format makes it easy to tuck in a bookshelf or hang on a wall with a quick hole punch.

Shepherd Press wants to give a reader their own copy of Wise Words for Moms!  Not only that, but keep reading, because there will be a second winner at This Simple Home.  So be sure to go over there for another chance to win!
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED and the winner has been contacted.  The winner was Bluerose.  Congratulations!
I have one Wise Words for Moms to give to one reader of Live, Learn, Love.  To enter, just leave a comment below saying why you are interested in it.  Please leave an email address in the comment to be sure that I can contact you if you are the winner.

Extra Entries: Leave a separate comment for each entry.
~ If you are already a follower of Live, Learn, Love.  (1 entry/comment)
And because I am trying to promote the new blog...
~ Go to and follow This Simple Home with Google Friends Connect (found in the sidebar). (1 entry/comment)
~ Go to and subscribe to This Simple Home by email or RSS feed (also found in the sidebar). (1 entry/comment)
~ Like This Simple Home on Facebook(1 entry/comment)
~ Share about the Giveaway Week or this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter with a link back to This Simple Home. (Leave an entry each time you do it...with a maximum of five entries.)

Giveaway will run through Tuesday, February 7th and is limited to US residents. will choose the winner.  The winner will be announced on this post and will be emailed.  The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or I will choose another winner.

Thank you, Shepherd Press  for providing us with the resource of Wise Words.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Ultimate Life Organizer

It's Giveaway Week at This Simple Home!  Return to This Simple Home daily to see what the new giveaway is!
I am trying to gain more control over my home.  Organizing and cleaning do not come naturally to me.  I really appreciate the internet for help, but I am also a book girl.

The Ultimate Life Organizer, by Lisa Montanaro is a book with great ideas AND a workbook to help you implement those great ideas all in one.    Isn't it pretty?  More importantly, the content is helpful for those of us who want to get organized!

With over 150 pages and seven chapters, The Ultimate Life Organizer is a book that you can read straight through, or you can go straight to the chapter that you would like to focus on first such as Chapter 5: Organizing Your Paper, Bills, and Finances--Oh My!

The time management chapter was especially helpful to me.  Here's a snippet.
"Managing time is really about managing yourself and making choices that are in alignment with your goals.  Try to get a glimpse of what it would be like to live your life in a way that is more consistent with your goals, and honors you and the people in your life more fully.  You make powerful choices on a daily basis.  Every choice you make about how to spend your time is a conscious choice not to spend it doing something else."
Personally, I am taking my time working through this book and workbook and really enjoying it.  I have skimmed the chapters that I have not read thoroughly, because I want to really think about my goals and work through each situation.  The covered wire-O binding makes it easy to use as a workbook, too.  I would suggest checking out some of the inside pages here to see if you might benefit from this organizer, too.

I definitely recommend this organizer!  It's the perfect combination of ideas/resources and questions to help someone get organized.  I do not see any ways it can be improved...except maybe to make a Part 2 for people who are ready to take their organizing efforts to the next level.
I have one copy of The Ultimate Life Organizer to give to one reader of This Simple Home.  To enter, go over to This Simple Home to leave a comment.  Extra entries are available!  Comments here are closed so that you will go to This Simple Home.

Thank you Peter Pauper Press for providing the book for me and for the giveaway!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Giveaway Week

As a little kick-off to the new blog and a thank you for reading This Simple Home, I have a few giveaways lined up for you this week at This Simple Home!  Included are a great book to help you get organized, an item of the winner's choice from, a great resource for biblical parenting, and more!  

I will post each giveaway item here, but the actual giveaways are mostly there.  I do have one giveaway here at Live, Learn, Love, too!

If any of the giveaways spark an interest, feel free to spread the word and get an extra entry into all of the giveaways!  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Favorite Five #4

This week I'm thankful for quiet, anticipation, girl time, blogging, and sharing the fun.  You can read what I mean about each one over at This Simple Home!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hand Print Towel

We recently made hand print towels to give as gifts.  You can read more at This Simple Home.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Organized Closet

Here is my completely unorganized closet.

Come see the new and improved organized closet at  This Simple Home!  (You'll see my new header, too!!  Woo-hoo!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Announcement or Two...

Though many of readers like the idea of naming the children after the authors, as do I, but it also sounds like readers like to keep things simple.  I think we'll go with M, age 5, as Big Sis; E, age 3, as Brother, and our 3 month baby will Little Sis.  They will be known by those names here and at a new site...

I am just thrilled to share with you that I have created a new blog...This Simple Home.

Why would I want to write for another blog?  This Simple Home will be more focused than Live, Learn, Love.  Here, I talk about anything and everything, don't you think?  This Simple Home will focus on homemaking, parenting, and other important things in life like...books, food, faith, and children's activities...while keeping life simple.

I love to discuss home and family with my friends, both in person and through the blogging world.  During my teen years I lived with my bachelor dad, so I did not learn to cook, clean, and organize the way that other young women did.  It still shows today.  I have learned a lot over the years, but I am mostly "self-taught."  Because of this, I love to share what I have learned with others and blogging enables me to do this.

Would you come visit This Simple Home and maybe even consider following or subscribing?  

I will still post here at LLL occasionally this winter, but now my focus will be over at This Simple Home.  I hope you'll join me in this journey!

(I was really going to wait until the header was in place before officially launching This Simple Home...but I am too eager with anticipation to just keep it to myself.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fun Favorites

Zany.  Funny.  A little bit naughty.  My kids love it!

Yep, that describes Limelight Larry!  Larry's a peacock...and as peacocks are known to be, he's full of pride!  Larry thinks the book about him will be just amazing, of course, because it is about him.  When his friends step on the pages, Larry is irritated and tries to send them all away.  Eventually he finds himself on a whole page all by himself, but he finds that it's not much fun to show off by himself.  Larry gets over himself and shares the almost-last-page with all of his friends happily.

I have to say that Leigh Hodgkinson's Limelight Larry didn't "wow" me at first, though I certainly liked it.  However, both of my Big Kids LOVE it.  My three year old son will repeatedly request this book throughout the day if he lays eyes upon it.  I have to say, I love the creative fonts throughout the book (in size and style).  Not only that, but the illustrations are a bit different than the typical picture book.  Larry has a permanent place on our shelves!

Don't Worry, Douglas! was a whole family favorite from the first read!  There is so much to love about Douglas and this book.

Douglas is surprised when his father gives him a new woolly hat.  He can't wait to show his friends.  While he is showing off, the unthinkable happens...his new woolly hat has turned into a long string of spaghetti!  His friends try to advise him as to what he should do with his tangled ball of yarn, but no one has a good idea until Rabbit suggests that Douglas just tell his dad what happened.  As it turns out, Dad did know how to help...and gave Douglas his own hat to grow into.  (...Awe...)

So that is the story, but you need to know that David Melling (author/illustrator) made some fantastic pictures in Don't Worry, Douglas!  The animals really seem to have some personality!  As with many Tiger Tales books, this one also has fonts in special styles and sizes to give the book a bit of extra umph.  Instead of lots of "he said/she saids" the animals cried, whooped, gasped, yelped and more.  Just delightful, don't you think?

I definitely think Don't Worry, Douglas! is a book that is worth owning.  It seems special every time we read it...and that says a lot!
I am glad that Tiger Tales added Limelight Larry and Don't Worry, Douglas! to our collection for review purposes!  Thank you!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Did You Know...

Be on the lookout for a great giveaway!  The winner will be able to do a bit of shopping with Wayfair..."a zillion things home."  

They have everything from decorative art to kids duvet covers!  Check out Wayfair for some online shopping!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday's Favorite Five #3

Hmm...I like to take the time to write this post throughout the week; instead I'm just winging it Thursday night after the Big Kids are tucked into bed.
1. Time away.  I had a really refreshing and relaxing time away last weekend with the baby and three friends.  It was really special to not be distracted by other children and really focus on the baby.

2.  Leftovers.  I only make a few meals a week because we eat a lot of leftovers.  I am so thankful that my husband doesn't mind in the least.  Last night and tonight we had chicken pot pie.  I added biscuits tonight to change things up a bit.

3.  Friends' input on choosing blog names for my children.  Below are some options in the order of M, E, and the baby.
~One, Two, and Three (downside...wouldn't they all want to be One?)
~M5, E3, E0 (Initial and age...not creative, but easy for everyone to identify each child.)
~Big Sis, Brother, Little Sis (Simple...)
~Maud, Lewis, and Harper (for some favorite authors...I'm sure you can name them, but Maud Hart ~Lovelace/ L.M. Montgomery, C.S. Lewis, and Harper Lee.  (Louisa May Alcott could be another option.)
~Pippi (Longstocking), Gilbert (from Anne of Green Gables) or Atticus (from To Kill a Mockingbird), and Tacy (from Betsy-Tacy) or Emily (from Emily of Deep Valley)
Please share your opinion as a reader if you have any thoughts!  I am leaning toward two sets especially (Big/Little/Brother and the authors) but you might sway me!

4.  The anticipation of my new blog's debut.  It is waiting on a few things (like personality through a header), but if you want to see it you can.  It's called This Simple Home.  (I will be sharing about my reasons for a new blog sometime in the future; for now, just know that I'm excited.)

5. Enjoying Anne of Green Gables with my Big Kids.  We are only halfway through (it's three hours!), but the children and I are enjoying it!

I'm linking up over at Living to Tell the Story!  Thanks, Susanne for hosting!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Benefits of Preschool

After sharing last week that I think preschool is optional, I realized that some reading may not understand our reasoning for sending our children to preschool...especially since I did not tell you the benefits of preschool.

As a former teacher with the internet available to me with all of you preschool and homeschool blogs out there, I think I could do just fine preparing my children for kindergarten academically.  So can most moms who want to.  Yes, I could keep M at home, but I don't.

Here are a few reasons for a family to choose preschool off the top of my head.

At preschool the child will benefit from being taught by someone other than the parent.  Some children really respond well to other adults for instruction and discipline.

The child will grow socially.  Some children are extremely shy, while others have a need to be around others.  Preschool also addresses social skills such as taking turns and sharing without the sibling rivalry.

The child may have opportunities to learn something new and develop new interests.  Ideally, the children in a preschool will have many opportunities for physical movement, music, and art in addition to regular academics.  Often there are also opportunities for children to perform in a play or to sing songs to an audience.

The teacher is always "on."  The teacher has no other duties (like laundry, dishes, or supper) while they are with your child.  (Like any working parent, it waits until they are home.)  The learning day is quite focused.

Preschool is an introduction, not mastery of academics.  I think it is great for children's first school experience to be FUN.  Academic pressures should not arise in preschool because it is an introduction, though parents and teachers should still encourage a child to do their best.

Now that I have written just a few thoughts, I can easily think of ways to meet each need at home, and you probably can, too, as long as a parent does not work.  I admire my homeschooling friends...and often wonder how in the world they do it.  But, like most things, it is a learning process for all involved.

We've completed lots of preschool activities (linked to posts) at home, despite preschool.  (Here is a list of preschool activities.)

What do you do for school (now or in the future)?  Homeschool, public school, or private school?  
Why do you do what you do? 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday's Favorite Five #2

1. Instant gratification and NCIS.  This past summer we borrowed season 1 of NCIS on DVD from my mother-in-law.  We have plowed through these wonderful shows and have just started season 8.   There is a HUGE benefit coming to a book or television series late- instant gratification!  You don't have to wait for the next show or book to be published or aired to know what happens next!  (What book or TV/movie series do you love??)

2. Candlelights in the windows of our house.  After Christmas my husband granted one of my long time wishes.  We now have candles in each of our windows in the front of the house.  They are battery operated and work on a timer!  On clearance, they cost $4 each at the local hardware store.  For the last twenty years or so I have admired homes with candles in the windows.  They are so inviting!  (And if the Underground Rail Road is near, they will know we are a safe house.  Okay, that is just a bit of humor there...)

3. Friends who are positive.  I would hope that all of my friends have a positive influence on me, but I am especially grateful for one friend who is very purposeful in staying positive.  In a recent email (which was not all good news) she made sure to end on a positive note.  She made me stop and think about how often I just type an email and don't really consider the impact of my rushed tone and words.  Attitude is everything!

4. Anticipation of time with friends.  Today I leave for an overnight girls get-away!  I will be taking my baby with me, but still look forward to the time away in Lancaster, PA.  As much as I would like to be off-duty this weekend, I know that I would not want to be left alone with all three children all weekend, so I can't ask that of my husband, especially since our baby is still rather fussy (though the screaming has stopped).

5. Most of all, my husband.  Tomorrow is he turns 32.
(Um.  That's right.  I'm leaving my husband the weekend of his birthday!  What an awful wife!  I had committed to any weekend in January before I realized his birthday was on a Saturday...and the cabin was already booked.  He is totally okay with it; he may be more okay with it than me...)

Derek is an incredible father and husband.  I do not thank God for him nearly enough.  But truly, I am blessed, even if I always feel "old" compared to him with the four years age difference.

Visit Living to Tell the Story for more Friday's Favorites!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tablecloth Storage

About once a year we have enough family visiting us that we need to bring out the folding tables.  Folding tables require tablecloths.

This year when the family descended upon us for Christmas, I did not have time to iron our tablecloths.  Oops.  (Trust me, with my baby ironing a tablecloth for a casual, family dinner without wrinkles was not a priority.)  However, I remembered a tip that I learned on some morning show years ago about tablecloth storage that I implemented before putting the tablecloths away.

Hang a tablecloth on a pants hanger to keep it wrinkle-free in storage.
Since my tablecloths came out of the dryer wrinkle-free, I did not iron them.  Instead, I just promptly folded them and hung them with the pants hanger.  I made sure to hang them along the hem and not the fold.  Instead of using valuable room in my closet where the tablecloths could be smooshed and wrinkled, I hung them in our laundry closet.  It works for me!  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

God's Message for Children

We seem to go through children's Bibles fairly quickly around here.  By reading a story a day (pretty much) we tend to read two or more children's storybook Bibles each year since they typically don't have too many stories in them.  We recently finished Mighty Acts of God: Family Bible Story Book.  (Linked to our review.)  Some families with five year old children are purposeful in reading from an unabridged (as in adult-style) Bible.  I think that will be our next step, but for now we typically read to our 3 and 5 year old kids at the same time, so we we find that storybook-style Bibles are still appropriate for us.

With the new year I'm excited to read God's Message for Children with our Big Kids.  It has a story for every day of the year.  Each day's reading and illustration fits on a page. I like that each day's story is not only dated, but also tells where the the book of the Bible and chapter(s) where the story is found.  (Actually, I think the Bible reference should be standard in story book Bibles, but it is not.)  An actual focus verse is also included and a summary/application at the end.  Then the story is told in language that is easy to understand, but from what I've read, it does not seem overly "dumbed down".

With a whole year (February 29th included) of Bible reading, many of the stories are told in pretty good detail over several days.  I do find that for a Bible I prefer the realistic illustrations in The Classic Bible Storybook, linked to review.  One of the things I like most is that some stories that are often not well-known to children can be read in this Bible, including several entries for Revelation.  Below are a few titles of some of the readings.  (Only the first word is capitalized in the titles.)

  • Korah's rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16)
  • An ax floats on the water (2 Kings 2 & 6)
  • We shouldn't be afraid of the devil (Matthew 8)
  • Judas dies (Matthew 27)
  • Jesus sends us a special Helper (John 16)
  • Everyone before God (Revelation 20)
Overall, we like God's Message for Children as a Bible for our family.  I think it will introduce new parts of the Bible for our children to learn about and discuss.  It does cost a bit more than the average children's storybook Bible, but it will be used for a full year.  The illustrations are cute, cartoon style.  You can read some selections at Amazon to get a good feel for this Bible to see if it is a good fit for your family.

Thank you, Kregel Publishers for providing this Bible for review purposes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What Should My Preschooler Know?

Do you ever wonder what your child should know at his or her age?  Whether you homeschool or send your child to school, there are certain expectations for children, but you might be surprised at how little a preschooler actually needs to know.

I have always said that preschool is optional.  And that is true-for most* children.  Many children's educational, social, spiritual, and emotional needs are met naturally through family and friend interaction.  (FYI, we do send our oldest child to preschool and her brother will likely go next year.)

My oldest child has always loved to learn.  Because she loved it, I taught her through daily life and purposeful play.  When she was ready and excited, I took it to the next level with crafts and even worksheets.  She ended up being an early reader.  My son does not love crafts (unless dirt or paint is involved).  He does not like me to guide his play in any sort of way.  He certainly won't be ready for worksheets any time soon.  And you know what?  He knows plenty of "academic" type stuff as a three year old!  He has learned much through our daily lives.  It's easy to collect and count rocks and identify letters on a cereal box.  And despite the fact that he does not hold scissors or writing tools is not a concern.

I really enjoyed the Peaceful Parent's perspective....really a four year old child just needs to know they are loved!  Children need their parents more than anything else!

World Book (you remember those encyclopedias that no one uses now thanks to the internet) put together a list of "Typical Course of Study" for preschool through grade 12.  I really enjoyed looking at the preschool course study.  They don't suggest that a four year old know all the letters and the sound correlations.  BUT they do want a child to have his own books and to be read to frequently and to be read to daily.

I really think a list like this is near-perfect for parents.  (Teachers need to meet national and state standards in education, so that is a bit different.  Also keep in mind that speech and motor development are not really addressed here.)  It helps us to know that we're doing the right things at home.  At the same time it can show us areas of weakness.  For example, I want to encourage my daughter a bit more to take the lead when crossing the street when the opportunity arises to see what SHE does even though we talk about it.  By taking a quick look at the list parents can see if there is anything obviously missing in their own children.
Jumping barefoot in the rain puddles is what they'll remember...and so will I.  I think embracing the moment and showing love is exactly what I need to do for my children-in between read alouds!

* In MY opinion, if a parent cares about what their child knows before kindergarten, they are likely doing enough.  After talking to a friend who is a kindergarten teacher, it sounds like ESL children, whose families do not speak English in the home, would benefit from preschool before kindergarten.  There are plenty of other situations when children benefit from preschool for more than the "social" reason.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday's Favorite Five

I'm hoping to add some personal thoughts most weeks by jumping in with Friday's Fave Five hosted by Living to Tell the Story.

Some favorites this week...

1. Our church.  I love all of it, but today will be my first time at Bible study since October (due to baby's arrival).  Despite the distance, I really appreciate our church.  (Someday I do hope that we will have a church  closer to home so we can be more active and develop more relationships.  We didn't always live 35-40 minutes from the church.)

2. Routine.  I miss Derek's long vacation at home and having our five year old at home, too.  But really, it is good to get back into routine even if I am on duty all night with the baby and there is no more sleeping in until 8 o'clock.  But really, routine is good for all of us, right?  It's also great when that baby broke "routine" the other night and slept till 6 AM, a full 1 1/2 hours past her daddy!

3. De-cluttered bedroom.  While my husband was home for eleven days from work, I finally put several piles of clothes in their rightful places, including my maternity clothes in the basement!

4. Sharing from our abundance.  I dropped several bags of adult clothes, toys, and miscellaneous household items to our local thrift store.  A box of toys are waiting for my sister.  It feels good to share from our abundance!

5. Reading the Bible SLOWLY.  After reading through the Bible in one year, I am thankful to be taking it slowly.  I will be reading and thinking on just one chapter a day!  My Bible 360 blog is also helping to make this a bit interactive with some nice discussions.  This is working well for now, but I know if I want to stay in one book or even one chapter or verse for an extended period of study, I will be flexible.  Join us?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What Makes a Good SLP?

I'm not sure how many regular readers actually have speech concerns since I don't post about speech-related items too often now.  However, I still wanted to share this as a reference for myself and others.

We've had three SLP's in our home through Early Intervention programs .  Each experience was unique, and I know I have learned a lot.  (We had two additional therapists after M turned 3, but I am focusing on the therapists I interacted with regularly since the after three experiences were outside of my home.  One of those experiences was especially awful...)

The first speech therapist we had was temporary since we were moving out of state within a couple of months.  I was never impressed with him, but didn't know if my concerns were valid.  In his defense he was working with a young child, about 18 months. M, at the point, had one word MMM for more.  She did not have the diagnosis of apraxia yet.  But he still didn't do much with her.  It seemed his goal was to interact with her by making her laugh and sign "more."  She was already doing these things, and he didn't really encourage much else (by my memory).  I remember asking him how long he had been an SLP, and was surprised that it was close to 20 years, because, really, he just didn't seem to be experienced.

From the very first telephone conversation with M's second therapist (after our move), I was impressed.  She asked a lot of questions and seemed to look forward to meeting my little girl, so that left a positive impression.  From the very first session in our home, she was in control, leading purposeful play while highly sensitive to M's reactions and desires.  She was firm.  Just because M didn't want to do a certain activity, didn't mean M didn't need to do it.  Even a nonverbal child can be expected to make sounds.  This effective therapist motivated M to complete the activity.  She used familiar and new (or not often used) activities during each session.  This helped M be comfortable, yet excited for what was to come.  She asked questions about M's speech even though there was no or minimal progress for months and months.  She remembered what I said and documented it in her daily notes.  Based on the session and M's development, she would assign homework for us to complete with M.  Much of the homework was something we could implement easily into daily routines, too.  Despite the lack of speech for months, she still created purposeful homework for us.  (And when we had a newborn she wasn't phased when we didn't do much!)  When this therapist was stumped over M's lack of progress after months of therapy, she sought out more information.  She didn't wait for the apraxia diagnosis to change how she worked with M.  (Please note: the goals in M's plan did not need to change to reflect the changes in how she implemented therapy because she was still working toward those goals.)
M, age 2, and Ashley, our special SLP
All of the above actions by the speech therapist were important to me and M's success, but to me the way this therapist never stopped talking/singing the entire session was amazing.  Her high energy was important to keep my daughter interested.  (She kept ME interested, too!)  Her energy, interest in M, and the homework she assigned helped me to better understand the speech problems we were dealing with.  This woman was in our home twice a week for over a year.  Her energy probably made the biggest impact on M, as a child, and on me, as the mom who was trying to learn from her.

She became like family-a true friend.  Though I know that parents are really, typically, the only advocate for a child, this woman truly cared for M and her success.  Though at age 3 she stopped working with M (not our choice), professionally, she has not stopped being part of our lives.  This therapist will always get much credit for M's success, though M's speech didn't really blossom until after age 3.  (And yes, I believe she and I both cried when we said good-bye at our last therapy session...but we're still in touch.)

One last thought...don't let experience determine whether or not an SLP will be effective.  This highly effective speech therapist had only been working for a few years.

We had learned much from M's second therapist.  It may have been hard to teach us new and effective ways to help our son's speech, especially since he was only a bit behind.  My son's speech therapist may have been a good therapist, but I didn't feel that the sessions were effective.  He was not engaged much of the time.  She didn't talk or sing as much as I expected, but tried to play with him and tried to incorporate words, phrases, and sentences.  I didn't learn a lot from the sessions (but I had already learned much from M's former therapist).  The homework that was assigned was often things we were already doing to encourage his speech, though she did create some new tasks for us, too.  Despite all of this, I'm still glad we had E in therapy.  She helped us to remember that M's speech problems and E's were very different and needed to be treated differently.

Our days with Early Intervention (the birth to age three program) are over, but I had been thinking about SLPs, and how fortunate we were to have our special SLP.

I've written before about some of the techniques we learned to encourage and increase speech and vocabulary and about M's remarkable speech history.  Feel free to ask questions by leaving a comment or emailing me at derekannette [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Anne of Green Gables 1934 Movie

Quite by accident...well, sort of...we recorded the 1934 movie version of Anne of Green Gables.  (The DVR was set to record all Anne of Green Gables apparently...I am NOT complaining!)  One evening I had control of the remote control and chose it for our viewing pleasure.  What I was not expecting was for my five year old to be interested in the black and white movie.  However, hearing that it was Anne, she was interested with zero prompting from me!  (I made the mistake of recording the animated Anne series, but I do not recommend it.  It does not follow the book.  She was also familiar due to a picture book we have that I will also write about for the LMM challenge.)

 With the 1934 movie only one and a half hours in length, I knew much would be omitted, and it was.  However, it was an enjoyable movie that displays the general essence of the Anne I know and love-for the most part.  I want to say that for the length of the movie, omissions are fully forgiven even if some classic Anne was left out of the movie.

Within a couple minutes of the movie's beginning, my husband (who I thought was too busy in the kitchen to be watching) asked, "Does she ever stop talking?"  You see, Anne and Matthew were on their way home from the train station.  And she did not stop talking!  I appreciated that much of the dialogue throughout the movie was taken directly from the book.

While it was enjoyable, we do have The BOOK and the Megan Follows movie version to compare.  And really, I think Megan Follows is an incredible Anne.  Perfect.  The newer movie follows the book without glaring differences.

In the 1934 movie Anne of Green Gables...

  • Anne didn't mention kindred spirits-that I noticed.  (Granted subtitles were needed for some of it due to The Little Cryer.)  At one point, I think the term "special friend" was used.  Bah!  
  • Anne also named Green Gables upon arrival.  Ick.  Cheesey.
  • Mrs. Barry and Mrs. Lynde were combined into Rachel Barry.  Really, I didn't see the point.
  • Anne doesn't have noticeable freckles.  (But most wouldn't care.)
  • Diana is a cute blonde. Forgivable.
  • Matthew gets very ill, but the movie ends when he is still sick, without us knowing if he would pass or not.  (I even prepared my daughter for his death!)
My biggest beef with the 1934 movie Anne is that Gilbert and Anne dated for three years.  IN SECRET.  I thought this was just awful.  The movie's other big flaw is how time passed.  It was all in a hair change for Anne, from braids to short hair that left this viewer (and her husband) questioning if time had passed of if it was just a haircut.  The producers didn't really do much else to show that time had passed though suddenly we understand that Gilbert called Anne "Carrots" a year before and in one of the next shots, it says they had been together for three years.

The actors of the movie were fine.  I didn't think Dawn O'Day (later changed her name to Anne Shirley) was fabulous, but then again I'm comparing to Megan Follows.  I really enjoyed the 1934 Marilla, played by Helen Westley.  I can't even say why, but this plump, plain woman seemed to be a good fit for Marilla.

Despite my many criticisms, I enjoyed the 1934 movie version of Anne of Green Gables.  I would even recommend it, but only if you can watch the Megan Follows version soon after!  Has anyone watched this??  Any thoughts?  Am I being too harsh or too gentle?
L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge
I watched this as part of the 2012 L.M. Montgomery Reading (ahem) Challenge hosted by Reading to Know.

I need to give this review a bit of a disclaimer.  I watched this movie only one time, and while watching I was occasionally distracted by a baby and my other family members.  When I started it, I thought I would only be watching the first half-hour or so, but I was able to watch it in its entirety.  I hope all of my comments are accurate.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nap Time Play Date

Upon entering this scene, I said, "This doesn't look like nap time."

My five year old responded, "It's a rest time-play date!"

They were loving Little Golden Books that were kept in a lovely, old suitcase at Grandma and Grandpa's.  M was reading to her brother. What's a mom to do?

Can someone please explain to me how it is that my kids get along so perfectly during-but only during-nap times??

Monday, January 2, 2012

Reading in 2012

So if you spend much time at this blog, you know I really enjoy reading.  In 2011 much of my reading was the Bible, and from the birth of my baby on my Bible reading was done during nighttime feedings.  When choosing books for review (provided by a publisher at no cost to me) I chose books I thought I would really enjoy, and for the most part I did.  This year I will likely review for publishers even less as my time is more limited these days with three children.  (But don't hold your breath...)  At the same time I have bunches of books on my shelves (or in a stack) that I would like to read.

Throughout the year, I will be participating in the Reading to Know Book Club.   You can read about the book I picked for November here.  I have already begun the January's good, but not a quick read!
Reading to Know - Book Club

Also in January, I will participate in the Lucy Maud Montgomery reading challenge also hosted by Reading to Know.  I will share this picture book with my daughter.  I was delighted to find it used!  We also recorded a black and white version of Anne that I intend to watch along with the Megan Follows version that I now own on dvd.
L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge
In February I will participate in the Laura Ingalls Wilder reading challenge hosted by Stray Thoughts.  I will read a children's picture-book-style biography with my daughter.  We listened to all of the Little House books, several more than once and my five year old loves them.
It's possible that in July I will read for the Narnia reading challenge, but July tends to be rather intense for me. We'll see.

In October I will thoroughly enjoy the Maud Hart Lovelace reading challenge hosted by A Library is a Hospital for the Mind.  I got the Betsy-Tacy Treasury for Christmas, you know!  (Below I'm showing it to my daughter.)  I'd like to read more of her non-Betsy-Tacy works, too.
You can laugh at the pajamas...but respect the book!
Does anyone know of a Louisa May Alcott reading challenge?  I got her biography for Christmas and want to read more of her works, too.
From the Hardcover editionI will be taking my Bible reading slowly this year and look to learn and grow (unlike last year when I read the whole Bible).  I can't wait to read Unbroken.  It seems to be everyone's favorite book of the year for those who read it last year.  Based on Carrie's review, I also want to read Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books  Another popular book, it seems, was Entwined.  So those books and some from my shelves and just a handful of well-selected reviews.

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