A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Mela and the Elephant - MCBD #readyourworld


Representation matters.  While my girls don't see themselves when they look at me, I can do my best to surround them with others who look like them.  That includes buying Asian dolls and having an abundance of books with Asian characters in them.  Which is why I was eager to participate in Multicultural Children's Book Day again.


We received Mela and the Elephant, by Dow Phumiruk this year.  This hardcover book is beautifully illustrated by Ziyue Chen.  It's 32 pages, and designed for kids 5-8, or K-3rd grades.  Katie is 8, so this was perfect for her.


This book was timely for us, since Annaliese visited Thailand just a few months ago, and she got to get up close and personal with elephants while she was there.


Mela has an adventure in which she learns a couple of lessons.  In the end, she chooses to be kind to her younger brother, who she rebuffed in the beginning of the story.  The girls enjoyed the story, and I like this book, too.

If you'd like to see the books we reviewed as part of MCBD in prior years, click here.






Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

Medallion Level Sponsors Honorary: Children’s Book Council, The Junior Library Guild, TheConsciousKid.org. Super Platinum: Make A Way Media GOLD: Bharat Babies, Candlewick Press, Chickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, KidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing Group, Plum Street Press, SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Carole P. Roman, Author Charlotte Riggle, Huda Essa, The Pack-n-Go Girls, BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini, Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Claudia SchwamLori DeMonia, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE. Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it,  Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media!

MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media!

MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details. FREE RESOURCES From MCBD Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: https://wp.me/P5tVud-1H Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/ Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Visits From the Big Kids


We had some special days around here last month!  Sam came home for the first time in a year. 


It was so good to have my boy at home!


We hung out together, played darts in the back yard,


took a drive to Apple Hill for pies, cider, apples, and more, for our Thanksgiving meal (which happened the week prior to everyone else's Tday because of Sam and Paul's schedule).


Apple Hill was exhausting.


Annaliese came up for 2 days while Sam was here.  Eli talked me into letting him stay home from school one day, and we went bowling.  Sam won, and I came in second!  We went out to lunch afterwards.  I really enjoyed spending time with my adult (and almost adult) children. 


It was so good to have Sam home for a time of rest and re-connection. 


And it was great to have Annaliese here for Thanksgiving this year! 


Long time blog readers may recognize Snake Oil, a game we reviewed 4 years ago, and it's still one of our favorites. 


It was so fun to sit and laugh together and see the younger kids building memories with the older ones. 


It's pretty rare to get 7 of our 9 kids all in the same room, so we did a family picture. 


After Annaliese left, we got to see Zach for the first time in 6 months, as he's freshly home from a deployment to the Middle East. 


So incredibly proud of my boys who've chosen to serve our country.  Even when it means they're gone for months at a time. 

All too soon, it was time to take Sam back to the airport. 


Yes, this mama cried most of the way home. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

So What Happened with the Foster Kittens??


Our whole batch has been adopted!  Even Mama Kitty.  I was trying to take a picture of sweet Pluto napping, but...


Neptune totally photo bombed.  "Pet me instead!" she insisted.  I was only too happy to comply.  She's a great cat. 


Fortunately, there were many, many opportunities to take pictures of sleeping kittens.


And playing kittens, and groggy kittens...


Fostering kittens during the summer was perfect for us, because there was usually someone at home during the day, so they rarely had to be in their crate, except at night.


It was a good experience for the whole family, and I'd be open to fostering another batch next summer.


I did, however, come up with a new definition for the word futile:  winding a ball of yarn in the kitten room.


Sitting in the kitten room, was slightly dangerous.  In this picture, I'm trapped, and I cannot get up.  I might disturb a sleeping floof ball.


Seriously.  Kitten therapy should totally be a thing.


"Cup holder?  I thought you said 'cat holder'!"


All this adorableness was too cute to keep to myself, so I posted pictures online, and one of my friends and one of her friends came over for a kitten meet and greet.


My friend ended up adopting two of the kittens.


Her friend ended up adopting one, too.


When the kittens all weighed 2#, it was time for them all to get spayed, including mama kitty.  Ordinarily, they'd go from Spay & Neuter clinic to the adoption floor, but since 3 of the 5 had homes already, I brought those guys home to recover for a day or two before going off to their new families. 


It was interesting to have dopey cats at home.  I've worked recovery at the feral S&N clinic, so I know cats are silly coming out of anesthesia, but I didn't realize how long it lasted. 


Probably my favorite picture ever of Pluto.  Those pupils! 


Soon, they were back to their playful selves, and then it was time for them to leave.  One kitten got picked up here.  The other two were handed off at SPCA. 


While I was there, I checked in on Neptune and the remaining kitten, who were doing well, and they were both adopted within a week. 

If you've ever thought about fostering kittens or puppies, I'd encourage you to give it a try.  It ended up being a great experience for our family.  And we decided to adopt a kitten, ourselves! 


This is Grumman, Eli's kitten.  We call him Grummy.  You may have noticed him in the background of my recent Art Journals review.  He has added so much to our lives!  I really adore him. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Ellie Claire Art Journals


I received a real treat in the mail recently.  Worthy Publishing sent me 3 lovely art journals to review. 


Two of them, Illuminate Your Story, and Faith & Lettering, have handy dandy pen holder elastics built into the spine!  All 3 have a fabulous "lay flat" design, which means no cracking the spine, and no pages flopping shut when you let go. 


First, let's talk about the Faith & Lettering Journal (affiliate link).  This book contains some really beautiful pages that inspired me, both spiritually and artistically. 


Using the techniques one can learn in the Faith & Lettering Journal, this is the sort of artwork you can create. 


Honestly, I kinda want to frame some of them. 


This journal has a variety of page types.  Above is an example of how you can trace and practice as much as needed.  There are also pages for learning different letter fonts. 


Some pages offer a dot grid, which makes it easier to copy a complex design.  It's also nice to keep your writing from "falling off," or looking like it's sloping down a hillside. 


Some pages offer lines for journaling, and nice, wide, side margins for drawing. 


Next, let's discuss the Illuminate Your Story Journal (affiliate link).  When we were homeschooling, we learned about the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages.  Gold paint was used to decorate images that seemed to glow within the pages of Bibles and other very important texts. 


Elaborate lettering styles are taught in this journal.  There are also step by step instructions for drawing animals, foliage, and other flourishes to accent your lettering. 


There are also pages for simply writing one's thoughts.


Illuminate Your Story comes with an attached ribbon bookmark, an elastic loop to hold the book closed, and a pleated pouch to hold keepsakes. 


Finally, I'd like to share about The Illustrated Word (affiliate link).  If you're familiar with the "adult coloring books" trend (which I prefer to think of as "grown up coloring books"), imagine that, combined with a traditional journal.  Pages for recording your thoughts, feelings, experiences, prayers, hopes, goals, etc. are interspersed with detailed coloring pages. 


I've got my mug of hot cider, and classical music playing in the background, as I sit down with The Illustrated Word and my Tombow brush pens (affiliate link). 


As I colored, I kept thinking, "This is probably bleeding through the page."  I was really surprised that the brush pens didn't bleed through at all! 


I tried using bronze Sharpie to give the flourishes a metallic effect, and the Sharpie did bleed through.  I have a set of metallic brush pens on my Christmas wish list that I'm hoping will be a better option. 

The Ellie Claire art journals can be used with just about any writing implements.  I really like my brush pens, but gel pens are great, too, as are colored pencils. 

As we head into winter doldrums, and the darker days, I look forward to brushing up on a new artistic skill.  Journaling is known to combat depression, and being creative helps me in the struggle against seasonal affective disorder. 

These are high quality books, that are a pleasure to look at, and absolutely invite you to dive in and make your mark.  A journal and a set of pens would make a nice Christmas gift for all the teen and adult ladies in your life.  In addition to the Amazon links above, they are also available at Barnes & Noble:  Faith & Lettering Journal, The Illustrated Word, Illuminate Your Story Journal.  You can connect with Worthy Publishing Group on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter