Poor Zacchaeus

Standard

When I was younger I learned a song about Zaccheaeus.

“Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see. And as the Savior passed him by, He looked up in the tree. And He said, ‘Zacchaeus you come down. For I’m going to your house today. For I am going to your house today.’ ”

So what did I learn about Zacchaeus? He was short. I don’t know about you, but if someone is going to talk about me in 2,000 years, I don’t want the only thing that people remember about me is that I was short.

If you actually read the story in the Bible, there is more to the story than the fact that Zaccheaus was short. Luke 19:1-10:

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of all my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”

So we see a change in Zacchaeus during the course of this story. In the beginning, Zacchaeus was a tax collector who was probably not very honest because the people in this town didn’t like him. But Jesus didn’t care about that. Jesus wanted to go to his home because Jesus knew what Zacchaeus was capable of. And because of this, Zacchaeus changed. He wanted to give to the poor and pay back the people that he had stolen from. So when Jesus remembers Zacchaeus, he remembers his salvation and not all the bad things that he had done.

People may not be talking about my life in 2,000 years. But people will talk about me when I am gone. What will my children and grandchildren remember about me? Will they remember a mom who yelled too much or ate too much candy? Or a woman who loved hard and tried to show grace?

Our favorite books for babies and toddlers

Standard

I have been reading to Clarissa since before she could talk. At first, she chomped on the books as I read them. But eventually she learned to sit and look at the books. We had several favorites when she was really small. These are our favorite books for babies and toddlers.

  • Time for Bed by Mem Fox
    I loved the repetition in this book. “It’s time for bed little sheep, little sheep. The whole wide world is going to sleep…” Clarissa loved the animals in the book. I would say goodnight and call her a different animal every night.
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
    Clarissa really liked this one, I think because of the bunny. It rhymes and has decent pictures. As a bigger kid, she was confused about why they said goodnight to so many objects because “you don’t need to say goodnight to air.” But as a baby, she loved it.
  • God Made Me
    Clarissa loved this one because of all the animals. She liked to tell me the names of the animals in the pictures. I liked that she was learning that God made everything.
  • Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman
    This is another rhyming book with wonderful pictures. I loved that this book taught Clarissa that no matter what, Mommy would always love her. And that even as a grown up she would know that she was loved.
  • On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
    Clarissa preferred this one because of all the adventures the animals had on the “wonderful, marvelous night she was born.”
  • God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren
    This is one in a series of books about Little Cub and her family. This one explains how Mommy and Daddy were excited that God was giving them a baby and some of the anticipation they had for baby’s birth and then what life was like when they brought baby home. She liked the bears.
  • Time for a Hug by Phillis Gershator and Mim Green
    This was Clarissa’s favorite book for about a year. She loved that the bunny and her mom had a hug like every hour of the day. I think she also liked that Daddy would hug her every time it happened in the book. This would also be a great book to teach little kids about a schedule.

ARTistic Pursuits Inc Review

Standard

Clarissa loves art. She is constantly creating art and craft projects. I was so excited when we were given the chance to review ARTistic Pursuits Inc because they have a full art curriculum that will teach Clarissa more than I can with their K-3rd Grade Art Level, Volumes 1-8. With eight volumes, there is something for every family’s needs.

img_20190312_1030253727462982130958292.jpg

For my kindergarten student, we chose Volume 1 Art for Children: Building a Visual Vocabulary. I was really impressed with it. There are 18 lessons included in this art curriculum. Some lessons require a DVD for instruction and others just have lessons in the book. But they are all lessons that I would not be able to teach her with my limited art ability and training.

There is a supply list at the beginning of the book. You can either buy materials at your local craft store, or you can order them directly from ARTistic Pursuits Inc with your art curriculum. If you are buying them on your own, you can choose to buy all of the materials at once or when you need them. For example, the first six lessons have to do with water color crayons so you would only need water color crayons, water color paper, water color brush, pencil, paper towel, and water container for the first six lessons. You can add your other materials later if that is better for your budget.

My daughter and I have really enjoyed working through this art curriculum together. The first lesson was a DVD lesson that taught us how to use the watercolor crayons and then add the water to make it look like a painting. I am not an expert at watercolor painting to begin with. But I never would have thought to use crayons first. The finished product looked so much better than if we had just tried to paint from the beginning.

The next several watercolor lessons are just from the book. There is a famous painting to look at and then a lesson about what artists do like: artists compose, artists imagine,  artists observe, and artists communicate. There was a specific assignment for each one. They each involved Clarissa finding something as a model and then drawing that on her paper and adding the water to make it a painting.

The next video lesson was about mixing colors. It was interesting to put the lighter color first and then add the darker color. It didn’t always look very mixed with the crayons. But once the water was added, you could really see the new color.

We are excited to continue on with this curriculum. We still have other mediums to learn about with construction paper and oil pastels in this volume. I am also looking forward to reading reviews from other families about the other volumes of the curriculum. I know that Clarissa would like to continue her art studies and I really like that this is a quality curriculum that requires very little knowledge or preparation from me. At $39.99 per volume, it is pretty affordable as well.

Kindergarten to Third Grade Art following History in Chronological Order {ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Clarissa’s announcement

Standard

When I was a summer camp counselor, we used to sing this song at mealtime.

“Announcements, announcements, announcements. What a horrible death to die. What a horrible death to die. What a horrible death to be talked to death. What a horrible death to die. Announcements, announcements, (begin obnoxiously long drumroll of kids hitting the table) annnoooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwncements. ”

And then a particular male counselor would always say,” I sold my cow…. ” and the program director would give us whatever announcements we needed to hear.

I was hoping to make a few announcements all at once. But an official offer for Tim is taking forever. And we have pretty much already told everyone our other secret. So we decided to announce them on the blog separately.

Clarissa has been asking for a little sister since she was two years old. For a long time she was adamant that she wanted a little sister, then it was two sisters (the backseat of the car can fit 3 carseats), and if it was a boy we should give him back. Last spring she started saying that she wanted a sister AND a brother. By summer, she was like, “I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl. Just ask God to put a baby in your tummy.”

Clarissa is finally getting her wish. Baby Faust is due September 21, 2019. At first, Clarissa was pretty adamant that she wanted both a brother and a sister- twins! In the beginning, I thought it might be twins because the day that I found out that I was pregnant God told me that “Mercy and grace will follow me all the days of my life.” So I figured we would have two girls with the middle names Mercy and Grace. Interestingly though when I looked up the verse it is actually, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6) But God doesn’t only speak in Bible verses so I am going to go with mercy and grace…

But there is only one baby in there. So now Clarissa has decided that she would prefer a brother. That way, she can be Eva when she plays Wakfu and her brother can be Dally…But if it’s a girl, we are allowed to keep her.

We are all excited about this new addition to the family. Well, I’m not sure about Mittens. Tim and I are happy and Clarissa is thrilled. She kisses my tummy multiple times per day and pretty much tells everyone we see in person, “Mommy has a baby in her tummy!”

We have some idea of where baby Faust will be born, but nothing is official yet. Our DEROS (the end of Tim’s contract) is April 30, so we will likely have ample time to get settled in and have our belongings from Korea arrive before baby comes.

Homeschool Complete Review

Standard

I really like when what Clarissa and I are studying can tie into to multiple subjects so I was really excited that we were given the opportunity to review Unit Studies (K-6) by Homeschool Complete. Specifically, we chose the first grade unit study Seasons.

img_20190222_1351455905526605392894025.jpg

Clarissa is in kindergarten so I knew there would be some things that would be difficult for her to do in a first grade unit study. I do feel like the unit study is labeled correctly. Clarissa could do a lot of the skills needed for the unit, except for the independent reading. It wasn’t a problem though because I just read aloud to her instead.

We really enjoyed this unit study about Seasons. There were four days of lessons. Each day we spent an hour to an hour and a half completing the lesson. This sounds like a long time until you realize that this unit study encompasses all subjects so once you finish your unit study lesson for the day, you are finished with school.

Clarissa’s favorite part of the lesson by far was reading Balto. This chapter book didn’t have a lot of pictures, but the story was engaging so she was excited for me to read it aloud to her each day. This book brought up so many wonderful discussions for us. One of our friends is moving to Alaska soon and so she wanted to learn more about Alaska. She was concerned that her friend would get sick with diphtheria like the children in the book, so we talked about how the vaccinations we receive from the doctor keep us from getting sick. Now she wants to go on a vacation to see all of the statues of Balto that they talk about in the book.

img_20190305_1101203664056067905861694.jpg

In addition to reading Balto each day, there was an additional picture book to read each day, one for each season. Clarissa really enjoyed those as well. Her favorite was probably Hot Dog, which we read for summer.Clarissa was interested to learn the science in why there are seasons; that the Earth’s tilt causes it to be warmer or colder because it is closer or further away from the sun.

We did spend some time learning what the words for each season look like. She really enjoyed a game where you had to choose which season you were trying to land on and throw a puff ball to hit your word. We used tally marks to count hits and misses. She was excited to learn how to mark the tally mark for five to make counting faster. Using the calendar and the hundreds chart provided in the unit also really helped Clarissa to reinforce the days of the week as well as how to count by tens to 100.

img_20190227_152258853217477362672498.jpg

Another math concept that Clarissa really enjoyed in this unit study was comparing numbers to see which one was larger. She liked the idea that the alligator would like to eat the most candy. So every single time she wrote greater than or less than, the alligator needed teeth…

img_20190225_1418276176197545584971306.jpg

I am looking forward to reading some of the reviews about other unit studies. There were so many to choose from and we enjoyed this one so much that I think we will need to try other titles. There is actually an active coupon code available right now. If you order before 3/31/2019 and use the code: CREW2019 you can receive 10% off your order.

Homeschool Complete K - 4th Grade & Unit Studies {Homeschool Complete Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Emptied book review

Standard

Do you have an author that you really connect with? One who you feel like writes “just for you.” Wynter Pitts has been like that for me the past few years. A girl mom who loves Jesus, she has written so many resources for girls and for their moms.

Last summer, she wrote God’s Girl Says Yes to teach tween girls about saying yes to Jesus and growing the Fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Two weeks after the book was released, Wynter went to be with Jesus. What I didn’t know at the time was that earlier that day, Wynter and her husband Jonathan had submitted the final proof of a book on marriage.

I really enjoyed the last book that Jonathan and Wynter wrote together called She is Yours about praying for your daughter. I knew I wanted to read their marriage book. I also thought it was interesting that God chose to take her home the day that this book was finished.

Emptied: Experiencing the Fullness of a Poured Out Marriage did not disappoint. I enjoyed reading Jonathan and Wynter’s story. As usual, they had great thoughts to point us toward Jesus as we seek to glorify Him in our marriage in their usual conversational tone. I appreciate that everything they write feels like a conversation I would have with a close friend.

Some of my favorite thoughts from the book :

  • Be fruitful and multiply isn’t just birthing children. “Ask yourself. Can I reproduce the character, qualities, and gifts God has given me in those He has put in my path, biologically or not?”
  • “If Christ is at the center of our marriages, our job is not to create a confortable life, but to develop a life that is securely grounded, despite uncomfortable circumstances.”
  • They remind us several times that your spouse is never the enemy. The Enemy (Satan) is the enemy.
  • The opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference.
  • The first part of the book talks about things you might want to stop doing because they damage your marriage. The second part of the book talks about how to build the Fruit of the Spirit into your marriage.
  • “Though we have a certain amount of kindness in our lives by nature because we’re made in God’s image, the Bible tells us the only way to be filled with this fruit is through His presence.”

Our favorite books for three year olds

Standard

When Clarissa was three, she started having opinions about which books we picked from the library. Instead of just choosing whichever book she could reach, she usually had something in mind.

She had three favorite series of books that she kept going back to.

Little Critter
I grew up reading the Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer. In fact, my mother kept several of my books for me and so Clarissa has some of my favorite books from when I was a little girl. She enjoyed Little Critter’s adventures and the funny things that he does. He is easy for little kids to relate to. “I made you a sandwich, but I got hungry so I ate it…” His responses remind me of Clarissa, so I enjoy his antics as well.

Gerald and Piggie
I had never heard of Gerald and Piggie before we started attending storytime at the library on post. Gerald is a very cautious elephant and Piggie is his best friend, a very fun pig. They are very different but have many adventures together. I like that each page is dialogue and the stories are funny. They are pretty predictable too and we read them more than once, so I have a few videos of Clarissa “reading” me these books.

God gave us series
Most of these books are about Little Cub and her parents. She has so many questions about things. I like that Mama and Papa explain things in a way that she understands. She learns about how much God loves her, how God made her just for her family, Christmas, Easter, how God made the world. She even learns about things like heaven, angels, and sleep. There is also a wolf pup who learns about being thankful and how God gives us all different families.