Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Odie the Stray Kitten & Odie's Best Friend

We just got Odie the Stray Kitten and Odie's Best Friend for review.  These books were written by Kristen Mott, and illustrated by Lowell Hildebrandt.

Eli read Odie the Stray Kitten to the girls while I took pictures.

It's a sweet little story, but I want to caution adoptive parents.  There are abandonment themes in both books.

In the first book, Odie loses his mother, brothers, and sisters in the cold, snowy woods.  He eventually finds a farm with a warm barn, and is welcomed by a girl and her cat, Bandit.

The second book, Odie's Best Friend, tells the story of how Bandit came to be at the farm where Odie ended up.

Hannah and I took turns reading this aloud (a page for you, a page for me).  She's a second grader, and the reading level was perfect for her.

Bandit's story is very sad.  He starts as a kitten with an owner that he loves.

Then the girl's family has to move, and cannot take the cat.  Bandit ends up at an animal shelter.

Which had some uncomfortable parallels to an orphanage.  And it gets worse.  The family that adopts Bandit from the shelter takes good care of him, but "doesn't love him," so he runs away.  Not the message I want to be sending my girls.

Eventually, Bandit finds a new home, and learns to trust again, and guess what?  More loss.  The woman moves away and leaves him.  I cannot in good conscience recommend the second book to adoptive families.  Other families might enjoy the whimsical drawings and see the eventual friendship of the two cats as a happily ever after story, but for kids from hard places, I'm afraid the take away is, "Don't get too comfortable, because life has a way of yanking the rug out from under you again and again."  Our kids don't need to be reminded of that.

I wanted to like these books, I really did.  I just don't think they're a good choice for adopted children.

You can connect with author Kristen Mott through her blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - week 13

Has another week flown by already?  I feel like we're careening toward Christmas at breakneck speed.

During our homeschool time, my boys have the freedom to move around while I read aloud, as long as they're not noisy.

Jack got out the light blocks one day, and I'm glad he did, because then Katie remembered them, and has played with them a couple times since then.

During the same time, Eli made a paper car from a book we got last time we were in China.  (Notice Jack is doing some actual schoolwork in the background here.  We do "real" school stuff, I promise.)

Isn't it cute?

Another favorite activity this week was drawing on the windows with our new Liquid Chalkers.  Yes, Eli's drawing a taco.

We listened to Rich Mullins' song, Creed, when we learned about Constantine's Nicene Creed, in 325 AD.  I love our history curriculum!  I'm learning things I never knew about the history of the church.  We've just reached the split between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church in the 400s.  We were all amazed to learn that after this point, the heads of the two churches did not meet again until 1964!

We labelled some parts of the body in Latin this week.

And we studied the Fall of Rome.  Yes, they really are that punny.  Actually Josiah thought this one up.

Oh look, here's those blocks again.  I think I'm going to make the kids a light table for Christmas.  There are so many fun things we could play with on a light surface.

So, I've mentioned that the boys are not enjoying this body book with all the coloring and cutting nonsense.  I decided to have them collaborate on the digestive system.  It actually went okay.  Although I did overhear at one point, "Who taped the liver?" which is not something you hear every day.

They also made a book that shows the different layers of the stomach.

Katie is SUCH a ham!  She climbed up in my lap, and we're having a moment, and then Jack (who thinks all cuddles should involve him) comes along and joins in, and Katie pipes up with, "'Siah, take a picture!"  So he did.  I'm a lucky mama.

We are starting a new art program.  Today was just a dabble.  I introduced the boys to art pencils, and they experimented with the different lead types.  Eli liked the B pencil, and immediately said, "Oh, this is nice!"  I told him that I've always liked the B side pencils more than the H side ones.  Looking forward to learning more from this book.  Watch for an upcoming review.

Hannah and Luke are off from school all next week, for Thanksgiving, and the high school kids have half days Monday and Tuesday only, so we're going to work on review items and extra fun stuff next week, instead of the next week of Rome to the Reformation.  There's an art project I've been meaning to do for weeks, that hopefully we'll get to.

While you're here, please remember to enter the Lauri Pegboard and Peg Stackers giveaway!

Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

Linking up with:
For the Display of His Splendor

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Audra Who Likes Hippos

Audra, you're my winner for the Noah wordless book!  Please contact me by Monday to claim your prize!

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Lauri Pegboard & Peg Stackers #GIVEAWAY

Today we start giveaway #2 of three great giveaways from 4Knowledge-4Fun!  Did you catch our Kimmidolls giveaway last week?

This week's toy is for the preschoolers in your life!  We received the large pegboard and 100 tall stacker pegs for review.  The pegboard also comes in a smaller size for more portable fun, and you can get just 50 pegs to go with that board.

We tried to get Luke, who has special needs, to hold onto a peg, but he was unable to.

So Eli made a light saber and held it in Luke's hand.

Eli then decided these were pretty fun looking, and proceeded to build a tower.

A very tall tower, all the way up to the ceiling!  The age recommendation for these toys is 2 and up, and we got plenty of playtime from the "and up" crowd in our house!

Eli and Jack used the pegs and pegboard to play their own connect four version of tic tac toe.

Eli also said they could be used to play checkers.

Of course, they're great for teaching colors, counting, sorting, and patterns to preschoolers, as well.

Or for creating pixelated images, like Eli's smiley face.

Katie and Brayden helped Eli fill the entire board with all 100 pegs!

Brayden's favorite color is orange, so he's gathering all the orange pegs to put in.

Even after the camera was put away, the pegboard and peg stackers have continued to be a favorite around our house.  The kids like them because they're fun to play with.  I like seeing the Lauri brand name that I've come to appreciate stands for quality in their great puzzles.

Who's ready to win your own pegboard and stacker from 4Knowledge-4Fun??  Remember, these will ship after Christmas.  US only, please.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering!  Let's be sure and show some love by liking the 4Knowledge-4Fun Facebook page, as a way of saying thanks for providing such great prizes!  Be sure to come back next week, as we wrap up these awesome giveaways with something for the boys, Stomp Rockets!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jonah and the Bear

We got to review a sweet little story, Jonah and the Bear, by Frank Fraser.  This is one of two books so far in a series called The Bible Amigos.

If you take the Carpet from Aladdin, turn it into a book, and fly it into a cross between a Dora episode and The Magic Tree House books, you have a pretty good idea of this book.

The illustrations are primitive but amusing in this full color, hardcover book.  The story is about obeying God and sharing.

The book is aimed at children aged 3-7.  My reviewers are 4 and 7, and Hannah laughed at the rhyme, "So you're a bear that won't share, in a boat that won't float?"

Jonah and the Bear is published by Barbour Publishing, who also publish the Diary of a Real Payne books, one of which we reviewed last year.

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