Books for teaching kids about their bodies and appropriate touch

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Teaching Clarissa about her body is one of my jobs as a mom. She’s known the correct names for a while and we’ve talked about who is allowed to touch her and where. I have found a few books on the subject of body parts and appropriate touch for young children that I thought I would share.

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Amazing You! by Dr Gail Saltz, geared toward preschoolers, is currently one of Clarissa’s favorite books. She loves learning about the human body so she was very excited to learn about private parts and what their functions are. This picture book is easy to read and has illustrations that are appropriate for little kids. It says, “When a man and woman love each other and decide that they want to have a baby, a man’s sperm joins with a woman’s egg. From the egg and sperm, a baby will grow.” But that’s as detailed as it gets about reproduction in this book.

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The Story of Me and Before I was Born are the first two books in a series called “God’s Design For Sex.”

The Story of Me by Stan and Brenna Jones says that it is geared towards age 3 to 5. I think that is pretty accurate. The book talks about giving babies to married people to raise. It talks about a baby growing inside a mommy. The story introduces terms like womb, uterus, and umbilical cord. It also discusses vaginal birth, c-section, and breastfeeding in a way that little kids understand. They even introduced the idea of good touch and bad touch.

Before I was Born by Carolyn Nystrom is written for children ages 5 to 8. This book focuses on the physical differences between boys and girls. It says that God made them different and He said it was good. The book introduced the idea of sex being a gift for married couples and how a baby is made. It also discusses how a baby develops inside his mother.

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Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr by Kristen Jenson introduces the idea of pornography and talks about what you should do if you see something that you should not see. This one reads a little awkwardly out loud but led to great discussions.

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My least favorite was I Said No! A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private by Zack and Kimberly King. I appreciate what the book was trying to do. It was about a boy who went to a sleepover and his friend wanted to show him his private parts. Reading the words as they were written was very awkward. I found myself paraphrasing to to appease my ears. But it did bring about some great discussions between Clarissa and I.

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines Review

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This month, I worked through the Balancing Diapers and Deadlines course from Lisa Tanner Writing. As you can guess from the title, it is a course about work-life balance, specifically for the work at home mom. But I think it is beneficial for all moms because we have to balance marriage, kids, and a house whether we are working or not.

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines

There are eight units in the course that you can work through at your own pace. Each unit works through a different area of your life; making goals for your business and getting your family on board, laundry, chores, meal planning, growing your business with kids underfoot, and boosting productivity. Each unit is broken into a few lessons and each lesson has an action step. Early in the course, one of the action steps is to do an email check in with Lisa. She actually responded to my email within 24 hours with encouragement and specific, actionable ideas for me.

She has several ideas for both laundry and meal planning. If you don’t struggle with those areas, you can skip those sections of the course. But if you are feeling overwhelmed in those areas, she has some wonderful suggestions. She has 5 years of annual meal plans available in the course. I like her idea of planning lunch. I always think about breakfast and dinner and don’t plan lunch so we end up winging it. This means that our meals in the middle of the day are not as healthy because it’s whatever I find. I also like her idea of a set time for certain chores. Morning chores are done after breakfast. Table chores are done after each meal.

Lisa has a lot of great ideas. She is a mom of 8 so all of the ideas work really well for large families. She gives suggestions for if you have fewer kids, but I really think this course is better for larger families or moms who feel overwhelmed with housework. Since Clarissa is my only child right now, some of it doesn’t really apply for me.

More than half of the course was really about getting your household running well with chores, laundry, and meal plans. The other units were about building your business. She talks about self care. “Learn what relaxes you, and make it a point to do that on a regular basis…even if it’s just five to ten minutes per day.” She has a great list of things you can pay other people to do so that you can focus on your business like grocery pick up, housecleaning, etc.

Lisa did inspire me to write more consistently on my blog. We are getting into a groove where Clarissa will let me write for a small block of time each day. Time blocking a to do list did help me to accomplish more in a day or at least have a more realistic expectation of what could be accomplished on that particular day.

Throughout the course, she has great downloadable lists for things like: chores your kids can do, what your kids can do during quiet time, and what a family writing time can look like. Each list is broken down into specific age groups to make it easy to find something for your specific kids. You can email Lisa again for another check in at the end of the course.

This course really did help me to find a focus for my blog and my writing. It helped me to really sit down and make some goals and plans for 2019. Due to the time constraints of writing this review, I feel like I rushed myself going through this course. I think I will go through it again slowly when Clarissa is a little older or if I do actually do need to earn an income from home. Fifty five women reviewed this course, so if you click on the link below you can read about their experiences as well.

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

A Dad’s Role in Homeschooling

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When I was an elementary school teacher, the school district set the curriculum and pacing guide. As a homeschool mom, the idea of planning my daughter’s curriculum was daunting at first. I thought about what I want Clarissa to learn before she graduates from our household. I asked my husband what he thought that she should learn before graduation and then we talked about what we thought was important for kindergarten. We also asked her what she wanted to learn this year. And then I prayed and made a one page outline of what I thought Clarissa could do each month for kindergarten.

Two months in, my husband thought I was spending way too much time picking out the “right activities” and planning lessons. He assured me that we had room in the budget for me to buy some curriculum to make life easier so I could actually enjoy homeschooling. I am so thankful for his perspective on this. It has really helped me to just relax and do the next thing. There is still time for reading books we are excited about and we can stop when she loses interest without worrying if I’m doing enough.

One of Tim’s biggest roles in our homeschooling has been cheerleader. He doesn’t just finance our adventures and field trips. He values the time that homeschooling gives us as a family. He likes that Clarissa’s biggest influencers are her parents and not someone else.  The three of us are in agreement that we enjoy the homeschooling lifestyle and we don’t want to stop it anytime soon. We have also found that as a homeschooling family, mom isn’t the only one who leads learning. Dad has a role too.

As a kid, Tim really enjoyed geography. He looked at maps and read books about other countries. We live in South Korea so our daughter gets to experience another culture regularly. The last time we went on vacation, we wanted to visit a really big English bookstore in Tokyo. One of our main goals was to find a great atlas. We found a few books that we were excited about with maps and also how kids live around the world. Now that we are home, Tim enjoys looking through these with Clarissa in the evening. Before we go on vacation to a different country, Clarissa learns about the culture and geography of that place. We have a lot of great discussions on vacation as well.

Another thing that Tim and Clarissa enjoy doing together is science experiments. This summer, they grew crystals from a kit, and also tried to grow trips and fairy shrimp. I like that Clarissa is getting some hands on learning and it is something that they enjoy doing together. Then we find books from the library to learn more about these topics.

They also enjoy building things together. We recently bought a stool from IKEA that we had to assemble so they built it together. Legos are a staple at our house. Clarissa also likes to watch Tim build Gundam models.

They recently subscribed to the Steve Spangler Science Club. It will be interesting to see which science experiments they receive in the mail each month. Clarissa enjoys receiving things in the mail and it will give them something to work on together consistently.

Reflections on turning 35

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When I was in middle school, I won an essay contest. The topic was 50 years in the future and looking back at what your life had looked like. I found my essay a year or two ago and showed it to Tim. His was response was, “Pretty sure of yourself huh?” I had definitely named myself the first female President of the United States and had been an Olympic gold medalist in addition to being a mother of six children (some of whom were adopted), an author, a teacher, and a lawyer.

I think that my middle school self would probably have been disappointed to see what my life looks like at 35 years old since I am not on track to doing most of those things. But my 35 year old self is learning to be quite content with exactly how my life is going. I have really reflected a lot about my life this fall.

I always thought that I wanted to be a teacher, from like three years old. But when I think back, I really enjoyed Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, Christy, and Boy Meets World. Even now one of my favorite shows is When Calls the Heart. Most of those shows/books have a teacher in a one room school house. And even Mr. Feeny somehow managed to teach the same group of kids from sixth grade through college.

I really loved my students for most of the four years that I was a classroom teacher. I didn’t care for the politics or the emphasis on standardized testing. But, I enjoyed watching the students grow and change as the year went on and I liked to be able to keep in touch with them when they left my class. I also really liked teaching Sunday school or being a youth leader at church because I could be with the same group of kids for several years and really pour into their lives. So really, what I wanted was to be like the teachers in the one room school houses of long ago.

When school started again on post, I had a very emotional day. I questioned if we were doing the right thing keeping Clarissa home. I grieved that I wasn’t going to have pictures of her first day riding the school bus to kindergarten or meeting her kindergarten teacher. But she and Tim didn’t care about any of those things. Once I processed that, I realized that I love having Clarissa home with me during the day. We have so many fun adventures together, and half of them are on the couch reading books upon books! I appreciate that I am the one who will teach her to read. We get to learn about the Bible, history, science, and math together.

I have also really enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. I remember writing poems as an elementary student for the school newspaper. I won every essay contest I entered in middle school. And I was the editor of my high school newspaper. I also really enjoy research.

So I think that a homeschool blogger mom is probably my sweet spot. If I would just own it and not compare myself to other moms or other bloggers. I watched a movie recently called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Watching the main character, I was like, “Oh. I like to research things because I like to write…” I had so many thoughts and feelings during this movie. Really, I walked away from it more inspired to write. And enjoy MY life instead of worrying about everyone else’s.

I can’t believe that I have been blogging for 4.5 years. Sometimes it seems like forever and sometimes it feels so new. In that time, I have published over 350 posts. Sometimes multiple posts in the same day and other times a month would go by without a single word. This year, writing for the Homeschool Review Crew, I have gotten into a more consistent habit of blogging once per week. I think my goal for this year will be twice per week. I really have so many thoughts swimming around in my head, I think I would enjoy actually organizing and writing them. I have a few book ideas too.

Sometimes I also forget that we have lived in South Korea for over 3.5 years. We have had so many experiences and seen so many places that others will not. I don’t really know what to expect when we leave here. I don’t have a date for our departure other than that our DEROS (Date of Estimated Return from Overseas- the end of Tim’s contract) is in April. But I have no idea where we are headed. And I’m learning (well, I’m trying to anyway) to be okay with that.

God knows exactly when we will leave Korea, where we will go, and how long we will stay there. He also knows what family life will look like when we return to America. I am so blessed that I have been able to stay home with Clarissa the entire time we’ve been in Korea. We would both love to continue that when we return to America. And we’ll see what plans God has for growing our family while we’re there.

 

Sheet Music book review

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One of my dear friends and I had lunch together at our favorite Mexican restaurant the day before I got married. We talked about all things married life and she recommended the book Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage. A few other people recommended it as well so I bought it. It has survived the move to two different cities in Korea and I finally got around to reading it this fall, nine years later…

I’ve heard Dr Kevin Leman speak several times on the Focus on the Family Broadcast so I figured I would enjoy his book. It wasn’t quite a conversational tone. But much like Enjoy! The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women, it was very relatable and sometimes funny. He spent some time talking about the needs and desires of men verses the needs and desires of women in a marriage. I had to laugh so many times, just realizing that Tim and I are completely normal. Dr Leman seems to describe Tim very well when he talks about men and me when he talks about women. So that was a comforting thing and I do feel like our marriage is in a great place right now anyway. He does talk about different positions but most of this book is about the why and not the technical details of sex.

Some of my favorite thoughts and ideas from the book:

  • “Remember, you weren’t put together on overtime at a factory in New Jersey. You were designed, crafted, molded, and sculpted by no less a designer than God himself. And when he birthed you, he sat back, smiled, and said, ‘This is good'” (234).
  • “Try to begin listening to the man who loves you rather than all the men who want to sell you something (talking about the marketing on TV or in magazines)” (233).
  • “Great marital sex is about learning to love someone else the way he or she wants to be loved” (33).
  • “The beauty of married sexuality is that you have your whole lives to grow and explore and enjoy each other” (115).
  • “A sexually fulfilled man will normally be a better father and a better employee. A sexually fulfilled woman will have less stress and more joy in her life. Sex is vitally important to a healthy marriage” (45).

Last beach day of the summer

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We were invited to a beach day with some friends at the end of the summer. Korea’s official beach season is pretty short. It actually starts on Tim’s birthday (July 13) and ends on Clarissa’s birthday (August 20). Some beaches are open a little later, until the end of August, so we decided to go to Eurwangni Beach in Incheon.

Eurwangni Beach is about an hour and a half drive from Camp Humphreys. Tolls cost about 11,000 won each way ($11 USD). The beach itself is pretty small. The waves are very calm and it is shallow for a good part of the beach so it is a great beach to bring small children. The sand area is clean. There is a public bathroom, shower area, and free parking right next to the beach. There is also a small playground and a path to explore the rocks along one side of the beach. There are plenty of convenience stores and restaurants for when you get hungry.

We had a wonderful day playing in the water and exploring. The water was fairly warm. Clarissa started her own shell collection.

After dinner, we looked out to see the sunset over the water and noticed that the tide had gone WAY out. I have never seen the tide go out that dramatically before. It was really cool to be able to see all the little crabs and critters out in the wet sand. The sunset was beautiful to see.

Clarissa and I really enjoyed our day with friends. We both decided that we would like to live near the beach next. This is definitely our favorite beach in Korea!

 

What Clarissa has been teaching me about seeds

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I think it’s easy to get frustrated with the people around me. Especially when I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time pouring myself into something for someone else and I don’t see much progress. Whether it’s helping a friend or trying to convince my five year old to eat an actual fruit or vegetable instead of a fruit squeeze and seaweed.

A few weeks ago, Tim and I were discussing Clarissa’s behavior. I said that I thought she would obey better when she was saved and actively following Jesus. Tim said, “I thought you said she was saved.” “Well, she says she believes in Jesus but I’m not really sure she understands sin and her need for a Savior.” Cue some interesting conversations with Clarissa that included, “So at gymnastics today one of my friends asked me what I was going to be for Halloween and I told her nothing. We love God.” I stand corrected.

Sometimes getting to church is such a battle on a Sunday morning and Clarissa says she doesn’t want to go. So then we finally get there, late as usual, and I get her all set up with her notebook to draw during worship time. Sometimes during the music time, she will tap me so I can look at her drawings. Sometimes they are polar bears hunting in Antarctica. But this week was different.

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The first time she tapped me wanted me to see the Earth with all of the islands and that Jesus was in the clouds. The second time, she had added hearts and said that all of the islands love Jesus. At the end, she said, “This is me. I love Jesus. Can you please write at the top of the page: I am happy that Jesus exists.” What?! Little Miss “I don’t want to go to church” is having a real moment with God.

So I just wanted to encourage my reader. You never know what God is going to do with the seeds that you plant. It’s easy to get frustrated when you feel like what you are saying or doing isn’t going anywhere. But I was reminded this week that it’s not my job to make fruit happen.

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

It’s my job to plant the seeds. It’s just my job to be obedient to do the things He tells me. God is going to do what God is going to do with those seeds. So keep plugging along with your kids, neighbors, and co-workers. We may not see the fruit of what we’re doing now. But God does have a plan for it.