Monday, December 16, 2013

Pray Big for Your Child by Will Davis Jr.

Pray big for your child.  It seems like a natural thing to do doesn't it?  I pray for my children.  Hopefully, you pray for yours, but do we pray big?  Reading Pray Big for Your Child by Will Davis Jr. helped me to realize that the prayers I had become so used to praying are general prayers like "protect my kids," "keep my kids safe," etc.  Pray Big for Your Child helped me learn to pray "big, bold audacious" prayers for my kids and others.  I learned to pray specific prayers.  General prayers aren't bad.  It is perfectly find to pray for God to protect our kids, but this book helped me to remember to pray more specifically like "Protect my kids from (fill in the blank with something specific)."  Help my child to understand (fill in the blank with something specific)."

Pray Big for Your Child by Will Davis Jr.
Pray Big for Your Child by Will Davis, Jr.

Learning to Pray Big for Your Child

My oldest child is 20 years old but I have prayed for him for more than 20 years.  I prayed for my children long before they were born.  In fact, I have prayed for my children since I was practically a child myself.  Even as a child, all I wanted in life was a husband, kids and a little white house with a little white picket fence.  First I prayed that God would gift us with children and then I prayed for them.  I prayed that I would be a good mother and that my children would be obedient.  I prayed that I would know what to do if one of my babies choked on a hot dog or ran out into the street.  I prayed my children would be healthy and that I would have at least one boy and one girl.  After they started to school, I prayed they would be treated well and that they would treat others well.  I prayed that they would receive good grades and that their teachers would like them.  As they grew older, I prayed they would choose good friends, that they would make good decisions, that they would not do drugs . . . the list goes on and on.  I have always spent a lot of time praying for my kids and I always prayed from deep within my heart. One thing I learned while reading Pray Big for Your Child by Will Davis Jr. is that while I have always prayed general prayers - and those are good - I need to learn to pray specific prayers for my children.  I need to pray pin-point prayers.

Praying Pin-Point Prayers

Will Davis encourages us to pray specific pin-point prayers for our children. Davis tells us in Part 1 that
 "Pinpoint prayers, as opposed to no-point prayers, have clear purpose, direction, and focus. They're the kind of prayers that honor God the most, and they're the kind that you and I want to be praying for our children."
Davis outlines the principles of Biblical, specific, and bold prayers for our children.  He compares a parent's pinpoint prayer to a child who is asking for Santa for very specific gifts.  Pray Big for Your Child reminds readers that broad, general prayers aren't wrong, but bold specific prayers are most effective.  Parents are encouraged to pray with the faith of a child and to ask God to show them how to pray for their child.

Big, Hairy, Audacious Prayers

Davis loves it when parents pray BHAP prayers, Big, Hairy, Audacious Prayers for their children. He teaches parents how to do this in chapter 3.  He outlines the principles of BHAP prayers as God-centered, based on a vision, biblical, and non-manipulated.  In chapter 3 of part 1, Will Davis Jr. gives parents a little homework assignment.  He instructs parents to make a list of pinpoint, big, hairy, audacious prayers they wish to pray for their children.  Then, he tells parents to search the Bible for specific scriptures to support each prayer.

Pray Big for Your Child: Part 2  

Will Davis Jr. begins part 2 of his book, Pray Big for Your Child, by laying down a firm foundation of prayer guidelines.  He outlines specific prayer points such as praying that your child will have a healthy reverence for God, that your child will develop Godly character . . . and so forth. He explains how "being a character and having character are not the same thing."  Chapter 4 is packed full of prayer principles and specific prayers you can add to your own list for your child, no matter how young or how old he or she is.  When you read Pray Big for Your Child, you learn to pray big. You will learn to pray specifically about your child's obedience to God, finding favor with God, knowing the Bible and how to pray that your child learns to hear God's voice.

Chapter 4 teaches parents how to pray for their child's future spouse and his or her family.

Chapters 5 - 6

Davis continues to guide parents through the principles of praying through a child's daily life. He teaches parents how to pray for their child's protection, education and relationships.  Davis outlines the importance of praying for your child to develop Godly friends.  Davis says to his readers,
"It's scary to think about, but there will be times when your child's friends will actually have more influence on your child's decisions than you do, and a bad influence can easily lead an otherwise moral kid astray."
Davis teaches parents how to pray for their children's spiritual maturity.  Parents are encouraged to pray that their children will love God, love His Word (the Bible), and love to pray.  Parents should pray that their children will love to worship God and that they will use their God-given gifts to serve God in their place of worship.

Chapter 7

In chapter 7 of Pray Big for Your Child, Davis teaches parents how to pray for the man their sons will become. This chapters stresses the importance of Christian Community. Our kids are tempted in ways we never dreamed of when we were younger. Davis teaches parents to pray that their sons will be surrounded by Godly men and form a community of accountability. Davis reminds parents that they should model Godly relationships. If parents don't think it is important to be part of a community of Godly relationships, chances are their kids won't value those relationships when they reach adulthood. In chapter 7, Davis also emphasizes the importance of modeling and teaching children to be good leaders. 

Chapter 8 

Chapter 8 teaches parents how to pray for the women their daughters will become.  We learn to pray that our daughters will love and respect themselves and that they will place Jesus first in their lives.  Davis teaches parents how to pray that their daughters will know they are holy creations.

Chapter 9

In chapter 9, we learn to pray for our children's mission.  God created each one of our children for a specific purpose.  Parents learn to pray that our children will recognize God's vision for their lives and that they will recognize their roles.  One pin-point prayer, amongst others, is that our children will realize their purpose through serving others.

Part 3 

I'm afraid I might have already given too much information so let me summarize Part 3 by saying that this last section focuses on teaching parents to let go and allow God to complete his purposes through our children.  Parents learn to pray for other people who will impact our children's lives.  We learn to pray pin-point prayers for our kids, those around them and their spiritual inheritance.

At the end of this book, Davis offers parents a 30 Day prayer guide which covers our children's hearts, souls, minds, and their strength.

I found this book helpful and I hope you will as well.  I highlighted specific areas throughout the book and plan to use it as a daily guide which will show me daily how to pray specific, powerful, pin-point prayers for my children and others.

You might also like:
Pray Big for Your Child by Will Davis, Jr.
The Lord's Prayer by Rick Warren

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Two Brothers Movie Review

Two Brothers Movie Review
Image Credit:  HanSolo - CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay

 Two Brothers

The Plot 

Two Brothers takes place in the jungles of Africa and opens with a lurking sense of danger. As the sense of danger fades into peacefulness, viewers are introduced to a tiger family, including two adorable tiger cubs, enjoying their blissful lives amongst the ruins of an ancient temple. After a few moments of watching the happy tiger family, viewers become very aware of the tiger family bond, especially the brother cubs. The cub’s play session develops into a feud with another jungle foe, ending with one brother up a tree and the other on the ground with the enemy.

Finally at peace again, the cubs hear human voices and return to their parents. As the mother attempts to move the first cub to safety, the father tiger is killed.  Before the mother can return for the second cub, he is taken by one of the human intruders. Eventually both cubs find themselves in the hands of human intruders. One cub ends up in the hands of heartless circus trainers where his youthful spirit is crushed. The other becomes a loved pet until the family passes him on to another owner who turns him into a fighter. After viewers are entertained through a series of scenes which surface emotions ranging from sorrow to joy and then back to sorrow again, the cubs are forced to fight one another in a stadium for the purpose of barbaric entertainment. After the fight begins and proceeds for a short time, the tigers begin to recognize one another. Instead of fighting, they end up in a heartwarming reunion and resume the play session that had begun one year earlier before the family was tragically separated.

Although the film does entertain viewers with dialogue between humans, the filmmakers accomplished the difficult task of communicating to viewers the thoughts and expressions of the animals without the use of captions.

The tiger cubs remain the focus of the film while human characters serve in adequate and needed supporting roles.

The film teaches viewers the value of the family bond, the importance of keeping the faith, holding on to hope no matter how hopeless a situation might seem, and leaves the viewer with a sense of respect for animals and their environment.

The movie is directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and stars Guy Pierce and Freddie Highmore.

This movie is highly recommended.

The Director

Frenchman, Jean-Jacques Annaud, was born on October 1, 1943. He studied at the Vaugirard Film Technical School. He made his first educational film for the French Army while serving in Africa. During the 1960s and 1970s, Jean-Jacques Annaud directed over 500 television commercials. His other works include: Black and White in Color, Coupe de Tete/Hot Head, Quest for Fire, The Name of the Rose, The Bear, Wings of Courage, and Seven Years in Tibet.

The Human Actors

At the tender age of eleven, Guy Pierce appeared in theater production of The King and I, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. Later he appeared in Australian films such as Neighbours, Home and Away, and Snowy River, The McGregor Saga.  More of Guy Pierce’s films include: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert, L.A. Confidential, and Hunting.

Child actor, Freddie Highmore, starred with Johnny Depp in the 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  His other films include Jack and the Beanstalk:  The Real Story, and Finding 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall in Washington, DC: Things to do With the Family

Fall in Washington, DC
Image Credit:  12019 - CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Fall in Washington, DC

Fall is a beautiful time to visit the Washington, DC area. Fall foliage is gorgeous and the summer heat concedes to cooler temperatures, making outdoor events more enjoyable. The average temperatures in Washington, DC during the month of October range between 50 and 70 degrees. With school back in session, tourists traffic slows to comfortable levels so traveling around the city is less hectic and monument lines drastically shorten.

Fall foliage in Washington, DC and surrounding areas peak in mid to late October. One place to enjoy October weather and fall foliage near Washington, DC is Rock Creek Park. The park stretches 12 miles from the Potomac River to the Maryland state line. Within the park, visitors can enjoy pic-nics, hike trails, and ride bikes. Visitors will also enjoy tennis, fishing, and horse-back riding. Rock Creek Park hosts music concerts and offers educational programs for children.

Another place to enjoy beautiful Washington, DC in October is the C&O Canal National and Historic Park, otherwise known as the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The canal runs 184 miles beginning in Georgetown and ending in Cumberland, Maryland. Visitors enjoy boat rides, hiking, fishing, biking, and horse-back riding. Swimming is not allowed, but most visitors do not plan to swim in the cool October temperatures.

In addition to visiting parks and enjoying the beautiful fall foliage and weather in Washington, DC, visitors can also enjoy choosing from several community events.



Washington, DC and nearby communities in Virginia and Maryland hosts festivals known as Oktoberfests. At these festive events, visitors enjoy shopping craft booths, eating funnel cakes, playing festival games, going on pony rides, face-painting, and attending concert events of various bands and musically talented artists.

Maryland Renaissance Festival


The Maryland Renaissance Festival attracts visitors interested in food, music, and dancing. The official Renaissance Festival website informs potential visitors of scheduled artists and performances. Those interested in performing at the festival can click on the “Audition” link to begin the process of securing a spot.

A specific story line is chosen for each year as well as themed special events such as a children’s weekend, senior’s day, a pirate weekend, and a Celtic celebration.

Taste of Georgetown


Visitors to the Taste of Georgetown are privileged with the opportunity to sample foods from around 30 of Washington, DC’s best restaurants. In addition to savoring the taste of Georgetown’s finest foods, visitors will enjoy live Jazz music, artists, and children’s activities.

The Taste of Georgetown is sometimes held at other times during the year. Interested guests should check the Taste of Georgetown official website for specific information about tickets, dates, participating restaurants, and entertainment.

Taste of DC


The Taste of DC is much like the taste of Georgetown. The Taste of DC Official Website advertises more than 50 restaurant participants. Visitors enjoy food, music, life performance, a family-friendly activity zone and an Annual World Chili Eating Championship Contest.

The Taste of DC is a “Rain or Shine” event and takes place on Pennsylvania Avenue. Tickets usually run an inexpensive $10.00 per person and admission for children 12 and under is free.

The Washington International Horse Show


The Washington International Horse Show is the leading indoor metropolitan horse show in the United States. Every year, at least 500 of the best national and international riders and horses compete in the event which lasts 6 days. Since the first show in 1958, this event has been graced with the presence of US Presidents, celebrities, and a whole lot of people who love horses.

Washington International Horse Show features include:

The President’s Cup Grand Prix
The Puissance High Jump
The Equitation Finals
Kid’s Day
Barn Night
Last, but not least – Shopping

Those interested in attending the Washington International Horse Show should check the official website for specific information about dates, events and ticketing.

The Wounded Warrior Experience


The Wounded Warrior Experience features veterans of various wars spanning several generations. Visitors learn about the challenges wounded warriors face and resources made available to help them. This event is held at the United States Navy Memorial’s Arleigh Burke Theater in mid to late October.

Space for this event is limited. Make reservations early by sending an email to

The Wounded Warrior Experience is free, but please go with the intention of making a donation. Your donation helps United States wounded veterans get the help they need to live their lives after fighting to protect yours.

As with all Washington DC October events, check The Wounded Warrior Experience website for specific details.

Fall in Washington, D.C:  Things to do with the Family
Family Friendly Things to Do in Atlanta, Georgia

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Treasury Collection of Christmas Pop Up Books

Treasury Collection of Christmas Pop Up Books
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)

The Treasury Collection of Christmas Pop Up Books

The Treasury Collection of Christmas Pop-Up Books includes four stories:

Silent Night by Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber.  Silent Night is illustrated by Peter Church.

Santa’s Toy Shop by Michelle Andrews.  Santa’s Toy Shop is illustrated by Bob Lynch.

The Shepherd’s Christmas by Michelle Andrews.  The Shepherd’s Christmas is illustrated by John Gurney.

The First Christmas Tree by Mary Tchir.  The First Christmas Tree is illustrated by Loretta Lustig.

Silent Night
Treasury Collection of Christmas Pop Up Books
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
Silent Night is simply the song. On each page, the reader reads a verse to the song, Silent Night, while looking at the pop up illustrations.

Santa's Toy Shop
Treasury Collection of Christmas Pop Up Books
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
Santa’s Toy Shop opens with Santa waiting for the last letters from the children. Snow is falling and an elf enters the room with the letters. The next page explains the toys Santa and the elves make for the children. The book ends as Santa and the elves load the sleigh. Santa takes off to deliver the toys.

The Shepherd's Christmas
Treasury Collection of Christmas Pop Up Books
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
The Shepherd’s Christmas opens with a little shepherd boy looking for a lost sheep. As he spots the sheep, an angel appears and informs him of a Savior who has just been born. The angel tells the boy to follow the star to find the baby. The boy tells other shepherds and they all head out to find the baby. The boy, still carrying the sheep, and the other shepherds find the baby and rejoice.

The First Christmas Tree
Treasury Collection of Christmas Pop Up Books
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
The First Christmas Tree opens with chipmunks playing in a forest. They come upon a sad tree. The tree is sad because he has no one to celebrate Christmas with. The chipmunks and other animals gather berries, nuts, pine cones, and other objects from the forest with which to decorate the lonely tree. The animals explain that they have never had a Christmas tree and this tree will be their first one. The tree turns out beautiful. The animals and the tree celebrate Christmas together.

The stories are short and sweet. The authors successfully complete a full story within just a few pages which makes sense to little children. The stories easily fit within the boundaries of little attention spans.

Each book is only six pages long. The pop out illustrations are very good, but the books are poorly constructed. The pages will easily tear. Adults will need to supervise the use of these books if they wish to enjoy them for more than a few days.

Here are several other Christmas books your child will enjoy.

Treasury Collection of Christmas Pop Up Books
The Story of Christmas by Vivian French

Are you looking for a dessert idea for your Christmas table?  How about adding a chocolate cobbler?

Chocolate Cobbler Recipe
Chocolate Cobbler

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Story of Christmas by Vivian French

The Story of Christmas
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)

The Story of Christmas by Vivian French

The Story of Christmas was written by Vivian French and illustrated by Jane Chapman. It is a Scholastic book first published in 1999.

The story opens with an illustration of the angel, Gabriel. God tells Gabriel to go to a place called Nazareth to deliver a special message to a woman named Mary. The angel tells Mary that God has chosen her to be the mother of His baby, Jesus.

Mary is supposed to marry a man named Joseph. Joseph doesn’t know what to do because Mary is already going to have a baby. God tells Joseph not to worry.

When it is almost time for the baby to be born, an emperor tells everyone to go to the place where their families live and pay him money. Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem. When they arrive, Bethlehem is very crowded. Mary and Joseph cannot find a place to stay. Finally, they find a stable. The baby is born that night in the stable.

Shepherds are not far away. An angel tells them about the baby. The shepherds go to see the baby. They find Baby Jesus just like the angel told them.

Wise men follow a star to the stable to see Jesus. They give Jesus gifts fit for a king. Angels in Heaven rejoice.

The Story of Christmas by Vivian French is well written. It closely follows the story found in the Bible. It includes important elements such as:

the angel Gabriel’s message to Mary.

the message that the baby is God’s Son and that God chose His name to be Jesus.

Joseph’s thoughts about Mary's pregnancy but without details that children would not understand.

the angel’s message to Joseph that he should not worry about Mary.

the reason for the trip to Bethlehem and the crowded city.

Jesus’ birth in the stable.

the angel’s message to the shepherds.

the visits from the shepherds and the wise men.

the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus.

the angels in Heaven rejoiced that the Son of God is born.

Even with so many important key elements in this story, Vivian French is able to condense the story to a length suitable for children. She also manages to make the story easy for children to understand.
The illustrations are simple, yet bright and colorful.  This book is highly recommended!

Here are several other Christmas books your child will enjoy.

Creepy Crawlies: Questions and Answers About Bugs

Creepy Crawlies:  Questions and Answers About Bugs
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)

Creepy Crawlies

Little Minds Want to Know

Adults may not be the biggest fans of bugs, but children love them. One of the most popular books in my preschool class is Creepy Crawlies by John Stidworthy. Creepy Crawlies answers many questions kids have about all sorts of . . . well, creepy crawlies. The book holds the interest of very young toddlers who are just learning to love books to school age children. The pages are informative and the illustrations are pretty realistic, almost like looking at photographs. Creepy Crawlies is illustrated by Michael Posen. It is a Dempsey Parr Book first published in 2000.

Creepy Crawlies:  Questions and Answers About Bugs
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
 Children learn the answers to questions such as:

Which spiders make the biggest webs?
How many eyes does a spider have?
Which spiders are human killers?
Can spiders fly?
Where do the biggest scorpions live?
Why do ticks drink blood?
How can you tell a millipede from a centipede?
Why are some termites magnetic?
How do ants know each other?
Why are bees hairy?
How many kinds of wasps are there?
What is the biggest dragonfly?
How do cicadas sing?
Which bugs stink?
Do grasshoppers have ears?
Which flies are helpful to police?
Which beetles shoot their enemies?
How are the colors of butterflies made?
Which worm sucks blood?
How do snails make shells?

Creepy Crawlies chapters include:

Scorpions, Ticks, Mites, and Millipedes
Bees and Wasps
Dragonflies, Mantids, and Stick Insects
Locusts and Grasshoppers
Fleas and Lice
Butterflies and Moths
Slugs and Snails

Creepy Crawlies is also great for young children because you don’t necessarily need to read the book from cover to cover. Many children will want to read it all because it is full of information and colorful pictures, but if time is limited or a child is interested in a particular bug, you can choose to read only certain pages or chapters.

Who knows? You might even develop a surprising interest in a bug or two . . . or maybe not.

Supplemental Activities and Resources

Make a Worm Hotel:   Mix alternating layers of sand and potting soil into a large glass jar, like a Mason canning jar. Put in 3 or 4 healthy earthworms. Add enough water for moisture but don’t flood the contents. Earthworms prefer the dark, so cover the jar with dark construction paper or tightly woven cloth. Secure the paper with a rubber band or yarn, but do not seal the jar with a lid. If you do, the worms will suffocate. After a few days, take a look. If the worms have been busy, as they should be, the layers of sand and soil will be all mixed up.

Plaster of Paris Beetles:  You can purchase Plaster of Paris here and at most craft stores. Mix it up according to the directions and pour the mixture into a plastic spoon. Rub petroleum jelly on the spoon first.  It will make it easier to remove the hardened plaster later.  Allow the mixture to dry for 24 hours. Then, slide the plaster from the spoon. It should resemble a beetle when turned with the rounded side up. Show the children photographs of beetles and supply them with paints and brushes. Instruct the children to paint their own beetle.

Create a Bug:  Supply the children with paper plates, toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes, construction paper, beads, beans, pom-poms, glue, and anything else you want to add. Instruct the children to create their own bug.   Let them create!

Creepy Crawlies:  Questions and Answers About Bugs
Volcanoes by Stephanie Turnbull

Creepy Crawlies: Questions and Answers About Bugs
Creepy Crawlies: Questions and Answers About Bugs

Friday, October 18, 2013

A is for Adam: The Gospel from Genesis by Ken and Mally Ham

A is for Adam: The Gospel from Genesis by Ken and Mally Ham
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)

A is for Adam: The Gospel from Genesis by Ken and Mally Ham 

We have read lots of books that teach letters and phonics.  They teach that A is for apple, B is for bat, C is for cat, and so forth. A is for Adam by Ken and Mally Ham is a great spin off of this old idea.

A is for Adam is illustrated by Dan Lietha.  It was pub;ished in 1995 by Creation-Life Publishers, Inc.

Ken Ham is well known for his teachings on creationism. His book, A is for Adam, is a rhyming book that teaches children letters and rhyming while instilling into them a love for reading. While doing so, it also teaches them about God’s creation and how He created it.

The first page reads:

A is for Adam; God made him from dust. He wasn’t a monkey, he looked just like us. Although some scientists don’t think it was so, it was God who was there, and he ought to know.

The opposite page shows a man talking to a monkey. The man, Adam, says to the monkey, “I can think, compose music, build bridges, fly airplanes, and make computers!!!! What can you do?”
The book continues, B is for Bible, C is for creatures . . . F is for fruit . . . L is for Lord . . . P is for plan . . . and so forth.

A is for Adam: The Gospel from Genesis by Ken and Mally Ham
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
A Genesis Commentary

The next part of the book is a Genesis Commentary for Parents and Children. This section takes each letter section of the rhyming book and adds a commentary with suggestions for student exercises. This section helps parents and children, or in some cases teachers and students, better understand the concepts behind the letter words. The commentary provides supporting scriptures with expert explanations.

A is for Adam: The Gospel from Genesis by Ken and Mally Ham
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
 A Coloring Book

The third and last section of the book is a black and white version of the first rhyming book section. Each page can be reproduced so that children can color the pages. As a parent or teacher reads the rhyming book and provides a lesson with each letter, children can color each page. Then, the parent or teacher can staple the pages together so that each child can have his own copy of the A is for Adam book.

A is for Adam: The Gospel from Genesis by Ken and Mally Ham
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)

A is for Adam
God Made You Nose to Toes by Leslie Parrott

Little Girls Bible Boardbooks from Ottenheimer Publishers (Book Review)

Little Girls Bible Boardbooks
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)

Little Girl's Bible Boardbooks

When my children were little, I loved reading Bible stories to them and they loved listening to the stories. I always reminded them to be careful to not tear the pages when reading by themselves.  Bible story board-books are great for toddlers. Toddlers can enjoy the books without much adult supervision because the books are made for little toddler hands.  Toddlers are just learning to properly handle and care for books.

The Little Girls Bible Board-Books can be wiped clean of drool, peanut butter and jelly, sticky lollipop messes, and any kind of spill; however, they can only withstand a minimal amount of teething. 🤣  

Our particular set of Little Girls Bible Board-Books include the following stories:

The Story of The Garden of Eden
The Story of Moses
The Story of Noah
The Story of Isaac

Some sets of Bible Board-Books may contain different Bible stories, but they will all contain Biblically sound stories from which your children will learn sound Biblical principles. This set of stories (the set we have) was designed so that little girls can read Bible stories from the point of view of the women in the stories. Have a boy in the family? The stories are great for him too! He will enjoy the stories as he reads along with his sister or sisters.

The illustrations are adorable and the language is simple enough for little Bible scholars to understand. The stories are brief, only about ten pages long.

The Little Girls Bible Story Board-Books were first published in 1999 by Ottenheimer Publishers, Inc.

You may also like:

Baby's First Bible
Baby's First Bible

Little Girls Bible Boardbooks from Ottenheimer Publishers (Book Review)
Little Girls Bible Boardbooks

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka by Tomie DePaola

Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka by Tomie DePaola
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)

Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka by Tomie DePaola

Jamie O’Rourke and his wife, Eileen, live in Ireland. Eileen wishes to spend a week visiting with her sister who has a new baby. Eileen leaves their home nice and clean and even pre-cooks and stores her husband’s meals for the week. All she asks him to do is clean up after himself each night and sweep the floor. Eileen leaves to visit her sister while Jamie, lazy as he is, decides to go to bed. He feels that if he stays in bed, he will not be cluttering up the cottage.

Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka by Tomie DePaola
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
Three friends come to visit with Jamie. They bring cider and ask Jamie for dishes and food. They enjoy a nice visit, but Jamie’s friends leave him to clean up the mess all by himself. Jamie leaves the mess and goes to bed. During the night, a donkey-like animal comes into the cottage. It is a Pooka.

The Pooka cleans up the mess and leaves. The next morning, Jamie’s three friends come back with more cider. Jamie tells them that he got up early and cleaned up the mess. Jamie and his friends have more cider and feast again. Once again, the three friends leave the mess for Jamie to clean up all by himself. Instead of cleaning up the mess, Jamie goes back to bed and waits for the Pooka to return.

Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka by Tomie DePaola
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
Once again, the Pooka returns. Jamie has his friends over every night. Every night they make a mess. Every night they leave Jamie to clean up the mess. Every night Jamie goes to bed and waits on the Pooka to return. Every night, the Pooka returns and cleans up the mess.

Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka by Tomie DePaola
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
One night, Jamie decides to ask the Pooka why he continues to return to clean up after him and his three messy friends. The Pooka tells Jamie it is punishment he received because he was once a lazy servant. He tells Jamie he doesn’t mind, but he gets cold after he cleans up and goes outside. He asks Jamie for a warm coat.

The next night, Jamie has a warm coat for the Pooka, but the story might not end like you expect.

After reading the story, discuss the consequences of being lazy with the child. Ask questions such as:

Did Jamie O’Rourke have a good attitude or a bad attitude at the end of the story?

Who was really ungrateful? Jamie or the Pooka?

Are there times when you feel lazy and don’t want to do your chores?

Is it right to let someone else do your work for you?

Should we do our work even when we don’t feel like it? (Take this opportunity to discuss responsibility.)

How can we avoid feeling lazy?

How might eating healthy foods and getting enough exercise help us have more energy and feel less lazy? (Take this opportunity to discuss proper nutrition and exercise with the child.)

A Pooka, in Irish folktales, is an animal spirit. Read other Irish folktales to your child. Learn about and discuss Irish culture with the child.  Discuss the differences between imaginary stories and real life.  Very young children sometimes have difficulty knowing the difference between imaginary stories and reality.

Above all, have fun learning and reading together!

Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka was written and illustrated by Tomie DePaola. The book was published in the year 2000 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.  You can see from the pictures above that the illustrations are bright and fun.

Applications to Education – Just a Few Suggestions

Making Predictions
Before reading the story, ask the children to look at the book cover. Encourage them to imagine what a “Pooka” might be and what it might look like. Ask questions such as:

1. Do you think the Pooka will help Jamie?

2. Do you think the Pooka will be Jamie’s friend or his enemy?

The children will likely come up with all sorts of predictions about what might happen in the book. Write their predictions on a chart. Then, after reading the book, look at the chart and see how many predictions were accurate.


Prepare a series of sequencing cards illustrating key events in the story. You can write a few short sentences about the event or you can draw a simple illustration. After reading the story, ask the children to place the cards in order according to the order they happened in the story. You can make several sets of cards and do this in small groups.


Ask them to retell the story. Not only does this help you evaluate comprehension, but it’s fun.

Encouraging Imagination

Instruct the children to create an alternative ending to the story. Encourage them to share how they could use a Pooka in their own homes. With what chores would he be most helpful? What would their parents think?


Supply the children with craft supplies and instruct them to create their own Pooka

Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka by Tomie DePaola
God Bless My School by Hannah C. Hall

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Puppy Book by Jan Pfloog

The Puppy Book by Jan Pfloog
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)

The Puppy Book by Jan Pfloog

The Puppy Book is a Golden Super Shape Book. The story was written by Jan Pfloog and was first published in 1968.

The pages are colorful and feature all kinds of breeds. Children learn that all puppies are not small. Some puppies are bigger than others. Some of thinner. Some are fatter. Some are shorter. Some are taller. The first page would be a great time to discuss the concepts of big, little, tall, short, large, and small to younger children.

The Puppy Book by Jan Pfloog
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
Children learn that puppies come in different colors. Some are white. Some are black. Some are brown. Some are multi-colored.

Children learn that puppies are messy when they eat and they sometimes chew on things other than foods.

The Puppy Book by Jan Pfloog
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)
 Children learn that puppies like to play. They like to play with other dogs and sometimes even cats. They like to play "tug-of-war" with rags and ropes. They also like to chase balls.

Children learn that puppies like to rest when they get tired.

Activities to Enhance the Reading Experience

After reading the story, enhance the reading experience by encouraging the children to participate in creating a puppy graph. Give the children photographs or cut-outs of various puppy breeds. Tell them to place the tall puppies in the "tall" column and place the short puppies in the "short" column. Children might also enjoy a puppy color graph. Place brown puppies in the "brown" column. Place white puppies in the "white" column and so forth.

Discuss dog foods with children. Educate the children on the proper care and feeding of dogs and other animals.

Address questions such as:

How much food should a puppy have each day?

What kinds of dog and puppy foods are best for certain dogs and puppies?

Is it healthy for a puppy to eat adult dog food?

Is it healthy for puppies to eat human food from the table?

Should dogs drink milk or just water?

Many children have puppies or other animals at home so they have probably experienced having an animal which chewed up mom or dad's favorite pair of slippers or tore the fabric on the living room furniture. Allow them to tell their puppy stories. Then, discuss ways in which pet owners might encourage animals to not chew on things other than food.

Allow the children to discuss all the different ways they play with their pets. Some of their stories might be quiet hilarious.

Make a classroom pet scrapbook. Ask the children to bring in photos of their pets. Place a photo of each child and their pet on a piece of construction paper. Leave enough room at the bottom of the page for the child to write a couple of sentences. Instruct the child to write a sentence or two about their pet. It might be as simple as "My dog's name is Charlie. He likes to run with me. I love my dog."

Allow the children to be creative and write whatever they want about their pet, but help them when needed. Then, laminate the pages and bind them together to create a book. Send the book home with a different student each night to read with their parents. Continue this until each child has had a chance to take the book home. Then, leave it in your reading center for the remainder of the year so that the children may enjoy the book whenever they like.

Puppy and Dog Crafts

Puppy Paper Bag Puppets 

Supply each child with one brown or white lunch sized paper bag. Tell the children to slide their hands into the paper bag so that they will see how the folds in the bottom of the paper bag can become the mouth of a puppet. Then, allow the children to cut out puppy ears, legs, and a tail. Supply them with wiggly eyes, pom-poms, yarn, glue, and anything else you think might make great puppy features. Instruct the children to create a puppy face. The mouth should align with the paper bag folds. Then, attach the ears, legs, and tail. After the glue dries, the children can get into groups and put on puppet shows.

Puppy Paper Plate Craft 

The children will need paper plates, paints (gray, brown, and black), construction paper, and craft supplies to create puppy facial features. Instruct the children to paint their paper plates. They can decide if they want a gray dog, a brown dog, a black dog, or a white dog. If you supplied the children with white paper plates, those who prefer white dogs will not need to paint. Some children might want to add spots or patches to their plates. Tell them to cut puppy ears from construction paper and use the other craft supplies to create facial features.

Shape Dogs 

If you are teaching shapes, create "shape dogs." Supply the children with one large shape for the body of the dog. You might use a large square or triangle for the body. Use another large shape, but a little bit smaller than the body, for the dog's head. Supply them with four rectangles for legs, an oval for a short tail, circles for eyes, a small triangle for the nose and two large ovals for floppy ears. They can use a marker to draw on a mouth and then add a half oval for a tongue.

You might also like:  Coffee Filter Flower Craft

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Follow the Stars Home

In our home, my husband and I were always mindful and very careful about what we allowed into our children's minds.  We were especially careful about what we allowed them to watch on television.  Now that they are all grown up, we are still careful to guard our own hearts and minds regarding entertainment in our home.  There are so many things that influence the hearts and minds of children and adults these days.  We have access to so many devices.  It can become challenging to always know what we will be exposed to, but the one thing we can control is what we choose to watch on television.  One of the shows we enjoyed is Follow the Stars Home starring Kimberly Williams Paisley.  

Follow the Stars Home
Follow the Stars Home Image Credit:

Follow the Stars Home 

Starring Kimberly Williams-Paisley

Follow The Stars Home aired on the Hallmark Channel in 2012. I remember watching it when it aired and it has always been one of my favorite Hallmark movies.  It’s a touching a thought-provoking movie about a young woman, Diane Parker (played by Kimberly Williams-Paisley), who gives birth to a child with a severe birth defect. Diane’s husband, Mark (played by Eric Close), cannot handle the thought or responsibility of raising an imperfect child. When Diane decides to keep the child in spite of the baby’s "imperfections," Mark leaves them. Diane, with the help of her mother (played by Blair Brown) raises and loves her daughter, Julia, unconditionally. Mark’s brother, David (played by Campbell Scott), is a pediatrician who assists Diane with caring for Julia. In the meantime, David falls in love with Diane and he loves Julia as well.  David introduces a young girl from a troubled home (played by Alexa Vega) to Diane and Julia. The girl develops a close relationship with Julia and becomes her only friend, a true, devoted friend.

Does David express his feelings for Diane?

What happens to Julia?

What happens to Mark?

What happens to the young girl?

How does the movie end?

No spoilers here!  I highly recommend this movie. This is a movie worth watching with your entire family. It is a Hallmark Hall of Fame Film.  Use the time after the movie to discuss birth defects with your children and the value of ALL human life, BEFORE and after birth, and the value of life in spite of imperfections. Please support movies such as Follow The Stars Home.  Purchasing good, wholesome films expresses to producers and movie makers that those are the movies worth creating. Please take time to enjoy the movie!

Watch the trailer!

Follow the Stars Home
Follow the Stars Home

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fall Pumpkin Activities

Fall Pumpkin Activities
Image Credit – 127071 – CCO Public Domain Image – via Pixabay

Fall Pumpkin Activities

Children look forward to enjoying many things in the fall. They enjoy fall foliage and jumping into piles of leaves. They like dressing up as their favorite characters for fall festivals. They love county fairs, apple bobbing, hay rides, games, candy, visits to pumpkin farms, and crafts. Teachers and parents can enjoy a huge variety of pumpkin crafts during the fall season. Pumpkin crafts involve pumpkin decorating, pumpkin painting, pumpkin stamping, pumpkin paper crafts, and pumpkin games – just to name a few ideas. Here are a few suggestions to help you spice up your lesson plans or just have a lot of fall fun with your kids.

Pumpkin Roll Paint

Create masterpieces by rolling pumpkins in paint.

Give each child a large sheet of white paper, a small pumpkin, several paper plates and paints. Instruct the children to pour a small amount of paint on each paper plate. Use a different color paint in each paper plate. Tell them to roll their pumpkins into one of the paper plates. Then, roll the pumpkin around on the white paper. The pumpkins will create interesting prints as they roll around. Then, the children can wash off their pumpkins and roll them around in another paint color. Instruct the children to roll their pumpkins around on the same sheet of paper. The pumpkins can roll over the previous prints, creating a random design. You can choose to do this activity with a few colors or many. Remind the children to allow the pumpkins to roll around. They should be careful not to slide the pumpkins or smear the paint, distorting the pumpkin print patterns.

This activity can be completed in small groups or as a joint class project. To complete a joint class project, move all tables and chairs to create open floor space. Spread a large sheet of paper on the class floor. Allow each child to dip his pumpkin into a different paint color, then allow each child to roll his pumpkin on the paper. Allow each student to take a turn, one at a time. After the paint dries, hang the finished project on your classroom wall or in the school hallway.

Tactile Tubs

Use tactile tubs to create an engaging learning environment for tactile learners.

Tactile learners learn best by touching things. Gather a large storage bin and fill it with small pumpkins and other Fall themed paraphernalia. You can go to a scrap-booking store and find fake leaves. You might choose to add both plastic and foam objects to the tub. Throw in a few other items as well such as dried beans, rice, and a few pom-poms. Throw in whatever you like, but don’t forget the small pumpkins. If you don’t want to use real pumpkins, you can use plastic ones. Add pumpkins of various sizes and shapes. Be sure to fill up the tub so that the pumpkins blend in. The children should feel challenged when searching for the pumpkins.

Gather the children around the tub so that they can see it’s contents. Bring up one child at a time and blindfold her. Instruct her to feel around inside the tactile tub and try to find the pumpkins. Allow her to pull out what she thinks is three pumpkins. Before removing the blindfold, ask her to identify which pumpkin is the largest, smallest, roundest, longest, and whatever other features you can think of. Allow each child a chance at this activity.

 Finding the Missing Number

Use small pumpkins for number sequencing.

Collect 9 small pumpkins. Arrange the pumpkins in 3 sets of 3 and write a sequence of three numbers for each set with one number written on each pumpkin. For example, in the first set of three, you might write 10 on the first pumpkin, 11 on the second, and 12 on the third. Do the same thing on the other two sets but using different numbers.

On index cards, write the number sequences. The first card will read: 10, 11, 12.  The next two cards will indicate the correct number sequence of the numbers written on the remaining pumpkins. You might choose 1, 2, 3 or 7, 8, 9.

Lay the cards on the table face down. Place 2 pumpkins on the table with a space in the middle for the missing pumpkin. The two pumpkins on display might read 10 and 12. Arrange the other 7 pumpkins on the table in a group so that the child can see all the numbers. The child will pick the pumpkin that completes the number sequence. In this case, she should pick the pumpkin with the number 11 written on it. She can check her answer by flipping over the index cards to see the correct sequence.

Practice this activity using all three number sequences.

Buttons, Beads, Papers, and More

Create beautiful pumpkins with buttons, beads, papers, and other craft supplies.

Supply each child with a pumpkin, a collection of buttons, beads, construction paper, tissue paper, glue, and other craft supplies. Instructions are simple.  Decorate your pumpkins.

Encourage the children to use their imaginations and be as creative a possible. This is a time to let them exercise their brains and allow them to think for themselves. Some children will create elaborately designed pumpkins while others will randomly tack on items and shapes with no real plan other than to get the job done. No matter how each pumpkin turns out, offer lots of praise and just let the children enjoy the experience.

Pumpkin Hunt

Play a fun game of “Find the Pumpkin.”

Hide several small pumpkins around the room. Divide the kids into groups and send them on a pumpkin hunt. Once they find all the pumpkins, count the pumpkins and determine which group found the most. Repeat the activity several times so that each group gets an opportunity to find the most pumpkins.

You can use plastic pumpkins instead of real pumpkins if you want.

Paper Strip Pumpkins

 Want to make your own pumpkins using paper strips?  This video shows you how. 

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