Children’s Books That Are Good for the Soul

919165_10151735648472869_846494145_o

My two-year-old is at that age where he loves to read the same books over and over again. And I’m happy to oblige. Reading aloud has been one of my favorite activities for many years now. So when Jadon brings me a book, I try to pause what I’m doing if at all possible and read to him. I know I won’t get to feel his little curly head leaned up against my shoulder and see his little upturned face as he turns back to the beginning and waits for me to start over again. As long as you read the right sorts of books (as C. S. Lewis would urge), than re-reading 50 times a day is not only worthwhile, it becomes endearing with repetition. (At least, most of the time.)

I know I’ve recommended a few of these books before, but they are worth mentioning again.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 3.56.45 PM

Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.
So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”
“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.
For you are my little bunny.”

Ah, The Runaway Bunny. Can a parent read that line and fail to be moved? Can a Christian parent read that line and fail to thank God that He is such a Parent? Talk about good for the soul! The whole book follows the story of a bunny who resists and runs, and the patient mother rabbit who follows and finds. Excellent stuff. And Margaret Wise Brown is a favorite of mine.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 3.56.29 PM

“When Jack McTavish married sweet Marion McGillicuddy, they counted their money and talked things over seriously. ‘We can either afford a speedy new car that never breaks down, or we can have lots of children,’ said Jack McTavish. ‘What a pity we can’t have both.’ ‘Perhaps we can have a few children–just six or seven—and get by with an old rattlebang,’ suggested the new Mrs. McTavish.”

The Rattlebang Picnic is a great pick! Coming from a large family, I especially love this book. It details the adventures of a family whose family quirks and creativity ultimately come to their rescue when they must escape from a volcanic eruption. 🙂 Zany family fun at its best. 🙂

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 3.55.47 PM

Despite the creepy cover, Fanny’s Dream is a really great book. I like this review I found online: “Fanny is a hard working farm girl, who dreams of marrying a handsome prince. But when Heber proposes, Fanny decides to give up her dream. She and Heber are happy, raising children and laughing by the firelight. Then one night, Fanny’s fairy godmother shows up. Fanny’s Dream is about shedding girlhood fantasies and working to fill real life with love and laughter.” Amen.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 3.55.05 PM

And this is not a kids’ book, but it’s a nice one to have if you can find it. I found mine at a book recycling program, so it was free to me. But it’s not too expensive on Amazon, etc. It’s a book from 1950 that has some great ideas for how to have family fun. The advice is well-grounded and reading it, you feel like you really CAN do something with your children besides plop them in front on a mobile device to watch netflix! 🙂 Relevant ideas for those who want to live simply. It’s not too expensive, either. Check it out here or here.

That’s all for today! Stay tuned for more book recommendations in the future!

Advertisements

Resource: New City Catechism

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 2.25.11 PM

A website that I’ve found to be a great resource for families who’d like a Bible course for homeschooling or a Bible study resource for the parents is New City Catechism. The website is easy to look at, easy to use, and easily accessible via mobile devices. (Although, I’ve only used it in a browser myself, but it’s worked great for me that way.) Anyway, you’ve got a question, an answer, a commentary selection from a long-dead classic author, a video commentary from a modern teacher, and a prayer. It’s a great resource for deepening your walk with God. I haven’t gone through the whole course myself, but what I have done I’ve really liked. I recommend taking a look and seeing if this site can be a help to you in your spiritual walk.

Easy and Fun Project

I visited a quaint shop in my sister’s Kansas town and picked up a large ball of white wool. I was pleased with the $4 price tag and thought I’d mix it with a few other wool sources to recreate these small pincushions. I followed this tutorial and simply made the balls smaller. The insides of the pincusions were old wool socks from when we lived in the Northwoods of Michigan. The outer layers were a mix of wool roving yarn (on sale at Michaels, wool roving from Amazon, and my nice large wad from The Shivering Sheep). 🙂

I was pleased with how they turned out. Isn’t the texture so cool? I’m hoping these sell at my next craft fair venture, coming up June 28th. 🙂

DSC_3552

DSC_3556

DSC_3554

Blog Series: Favorite Meals From My Favorite Books

The value of the myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity’. The child enjoys his cold meat (otherwise dull to him) by pretending it is buffalo, just killed with his own bow and arrow. And the child is wise. The real meat comes back to him more savoury for having been dipped in a story; you might say that only then is it the real meat. If you are tired of the real landscape, look at it in a mirror. By putting bread, gold, horse, apple, or the very roads into a myth, we do not retreat from reality: we rediscover it. As long as the story lingers in our mind, the real things are more themselves. This applies to the treatment not only of bread or apple, but of good and evil, to our endless perils, our anguish, and our joys. By dipping them in myth, we see them more clearly.

-C.S. Lewis in On Stories

I agree with C.S.L.—Food and stories mix well together. Even food that is otherwise sort of gross (like “cold meat” or Turkish Delight) is cool when you bring your imagination to the table. There is a huge sense of satisfaction when you are eating food that “fits” well with the scene . . . you know, a hot dog at a baseball game, or bread and meat and cheese while on a hike, next to a cool waterfall. And reliving stories by making that special food just adds one more layer of delight to a well-loved book.

I recently saw this book on Amazon, and I absolutely love the idea. I haven’t actually bought it yet . . . I’m too cheap to buy it right off, knowing that the food featured in these pages come mostly from books that I actually haven’t read or wouldn’t care to read. Classic children’s literature already holds the high ground in my heart, and fortunately, those sorts of stories are overflowing with lots of meal scenes . . . and very delicious-sounding choices they are! I have a huge list of themed meals and snacks I’d eventually like to make and photograph, but for now, here is my first offering: Current buns from “A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is one of my all-time favorite stories!

DSC_3500

DSC_3504

DSC_3507

DSC_3508

Jadon loved helping me eat the current buns afterwards. He tried to help me during the photoshoot too, but all that he really accomplished was dumping the sugar bowl out onto the counter. 🙂 I just had to laugh. I love introducing him to great literary meals. Hopefully he’ll be actually, really helping me prepare them one day!

Enjoy! Hopefully I’ll keep up the motivation and have a few more pictures in upcoming series.

A New Find

I found this lovely pottery teapot for $5 at a Goodwill in Colorado. I can’t stop looking at it . . . it is so lovely! Since it’s June, I might have to save using it until the cool weather. Or I could turn the air conditioning down real cold . . . . 🙂 Even though I haven’t actually used it yet, it’s brought a lot of joy to the kitchen!

DSC_3538

Music Review: Rain for Roots—The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like This

a4020952604_10

If God had a child
Who wandered far astray
Who was sad, broken-hearted, whose guilt kept him away
What would He do?
What would He do?
He’d say, go get the lost one
He’s who I came to see.
He thought he was an orphan
But he’s coming home with me.
The angels are rejoicing.
The sinner is my friend.
Rejoice with me, my child is coming home again.

From “Go Get the Lost One,” —Rain for Roots: The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like This

{I’d like to say before I begin this article: this isn’t sponsored in any way. I simply liked this CD and thought others would too, so I’m sharing my thoughts on it here.}

I have a two-year-old who loves music. And David and I love supplying him with music, especially music that proclaims the truth. It brings joy to my heart to hear Jadon listening so closely to the Word of God through song. We went on a long road trip last month, and I wanted a few more CDs to add to the mix. Having listened to the first release done by Rain for Roots on a DAILY basis (I’m serious), I was excited about the next volume. And I was not disappointed.

I think I like the new CD, titled “Rain for Roots: The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like This,”  even better than the old one. The musical style of the songs is varied—some have a vintage feel, some are upbeat, some sound like a gospel spiritual. The theme is Jesus’ parables and the short, catchy tunes have been well-crafted. Parents will easily be able to start singing along to their babies and toddlers.

A few minor downsides (to me): I miss the off-beat little children’s choruses that were prevalent in the first Rain for Roots CD. They are here too, but it is more centered on the adult voices vs. a mix with the children. I also am not a big fan of Elle Holcomb’s style. Now, I know a number of folks who love her, so don’t get me wrong. It’s just a personal preference, but her style makes her voice sort of sound like she is talking babytalk. It’s its own style, I just happen to like the other voices here and a bit of a cleaner style. It’s not a big deal, and don’t let be a dealbreaker for you. Just give it a listen and decide for yourself.

A LOT of major upsides: The truths here are solid, the artists are moms of young kids themselves, the sing- ability is fabulous . . . you might end up, like me, adding this to your daily repertoire.  And although I’ve heard this CD a number of times since I bought it a few weeks ago, I still cry every time time track 9, “Go Get the Lost One,” comes on. And for those who know me, they know I don’t cry at the drop of a hat.

Say you had a hundred sheep
and one little lamb got lost
in the dark, in the cold, far away from the fold
What would you do?

And I think every time, how easily I would stay with the ninety-nine! It just is so logical. But how relieved I am that God didn’t think that way about me. Thank God He went after me, the little lost lamb. The themes of true love and being welcomed home are so strong here, they go straight to my heart and make me cry. every. time.

If you have toddlers you’re eager to teach Scripture to (or eager for them to be entertained so you can get some laundry done), then I’d go out and buy this CD. I got mine from Amazon. Here’s the link to the Rain for Roots site.

Enjoy!