Monday, June 30, 2014

My Teacher- the elephant

 My teacher…the Elephant

The other day when I was reading a book about amazing animals to the girls, the animal of the day was the elephant. My Grandmother was a lover of elephants.  I have no idea why, but I know that she did.  In 1998 I was privileged to take a missions trip to Ivory Coast, West Africa and I brought back  “elephant gifts” for her.  Unfortunately I didn’t realize it was illegal to bring back ivory so I proudly and  unwisely listed my family of ivory elephants on the customs report on the plane. Of course they were confiscated -  but, I had forgotten about an Ivory plaque of elephants that I also bought so I didn’t list them on my custom’s report sheet and they were not confiscated.  My Grandma LOVED her gift. 

Since that time I have learned more about elephants and grown to appreciate them as well.

From our friend the elephant I have learned the following:

1.       It takes a village…not really; (P.S.  I have heard friends recite that quote; but do you know exactly what that refers to.  I will give you a hint- it was made famous by Hillary Clinton) but sometimes we do need a little help.  When in a tribe of elephants two mothers bare calves (baby elephants) around the same time they partner together to raise them.

2.       Our children can help us with their siblings.  When an elephant reaches the age of four or five it begins to help take care of the younger calf while the mother elephant is getting food, etc.  One thing that my girls LOVE to do is to get into the crib with DeSean and play with him while I cook dinner. Also, Aaliyah is responsible for getting diapers for her brother and Cassidy is responsible for throwing them away. When I do either of these things they get upset with me and feel like I cheated them out of their jobs!

3.       Elephant trunks are strong enough to pick up tree trunks and heavy branches; but they are also used to gently rub, and pet their little darlings.  What a beautiful picture of motherhood!  Sometimes we have to be strong and tough, and other times gentle and kind.

4.       Baby elephants get spankings when they step out of line!   Nough said!


Now that I have shared this elephant knowledge with you, you might think of me the next time you see and elephant at the zoo or circus…and that’s ok I guess; but I do hope a prettier and slimmer animal causes my children and grandchildren to remember me! On second thought, maybe the next post will be about a tigeress, or gazelle or something.

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Teaching Stewardship

Teaching Stewardship

I was at a book sale at the library last year and I picked up a little book about teaching children about banking and finances.  I also have and cherish Dave Ramsey’s little book entitled “priceless” which someone gave to me while I was in college.  (I wish I had studied it then!!!) We decided to start giving the children a small amount of money every Saturday.  Aaliyah and Cassidy both have two jars.  They colored pictures to put on the jars and then we taped the picture to the jar.  One has the word “Save” and the other reads, “Give”.  I divide the money up into change if necessary and they put %10 in the special pocket of their purse for church on Sunday as their tithe.  They put another %10 percent in their giving jar, %10 in their saving jar and the rest they can put in their purse to spend.  Cassidy does not yet understand or care anything about this process at present; but Aaliyah is learning well. 

When we leave the house she makes sure she has her purse just in case we go to the store.  (I stopped reminding her after about two weeks. If she forgets her purse she does not get to buy anything).

I remember the first time she had to give her tithe.   We used to give her money to put in the missions jar at church every week.  If for some reason we would forget or be too busy (me at the piano and dad at the pulpit) someone always gave them change to put in the missions jar. 

The first week she had money from her allowance plus Grandma sent her money because she lost two teeth.  Offering time came and she hesitated to go forward and give; then she began to cry.  Not the silent tears; but the big huge crocodile tears.  She said, “Will Jesus give me my money back?”.  We told her that God always gives us back more than we give to Him.  She gave it; but was a little hesitant.  Two days later she went with her dad to invite people to church and a man off the street walked up to her and gave her $10!  Talk about God giving back to you!  She has never had a problem giving to Jesus since. She has since asked me if it was ok if she gave Jesus dollars  instead of just change. Last week she put a couple of dollars in her purse to give to Jesus above her tithe. 

I also remember the first unwise purchase she made.  We were at the store and there was one of those “toy drop” machines outside.  She was determined to play it so that she could win one of the toys.  It looked so easy.  I warned her that playing the game might be a foolish way instead of a wise way to spend her money (I used those words exactly.  I believe it is important to use Bible words with our children).  She just had to play…so I let her.  It took $1, then $2, then $3 – she is her mother’s daughter, therefore she knew she could win if she just kept trying (LOL). By dollar number three she was crying and her father said enough was enough. 

Here we are about two months later.  She has passed many “toy drop machines” and has NEVER asked to play again.  I try to remind her about her experience as we watch other foolish children spend their parent’s money in those machines.  By the way…We have yet to see one win.

I am so proud of the little ones God has given us!

Until next time,

Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Release

Would you like to purchase a wonderful children's book about library etiquette?  My book is available now online!  It's official release date is in August; but you may order now. I am soooo excited!!!!!

Order HERE.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Teaching Reading

My goal for Aaliyah was to teach her the basics of reading before DeSean was born. With a little bit of encouragement (thanks Maria!) we succeeded!  We played matching games and "Go Fish!" with alphabet flashcards to teach letter recognition and phonics. I am currently using Hooked on Phonics -  primarily because I found a set at an unbeatable price (FREE!).  It was missing most of the extras like flashcards, cassette tapes/cd's, and some of the additional readers; but our local library has a set that I borrow when I need them. We are currently going through the second book for the second time. (The second time through we read only the review pages -timed, stories, and play the word games.)

I made my own flashcards; but Aaliyah was still having a little trouble with spelling so I "upgraded" them in color.

I have two sets-   one set of everything in black and one set color coded.  All the vowels are red - every word must have a vowel - so she knows that if there are no red letters in her word then she has misspelled it.
All beginning blends are in blue and ending blends in green.  Some vowel dipthongs (gliding vowels)  are also in red.

Yes, our little man is walking around the house...

and trying to help his sister get it right!

Notice Cassidy in the background listening.  I am always amazed by how much she picks up!
We still sometimes have trouble with distinguishing "d" from "b", but overall...I think she is doing pretty well.
P.S.  Aaliyah will be turning 5 years old this month and Cassidy will be turning 3.  I am excited about their birthdays and I haven't even spilled the beans about their gifts....yet.  (I am horrible at keeping secrets!)

Maybe these ideas will be a blessing to someone.
Until next time,


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