Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Mama's Summer Reading List

This season, I have alot of time on my hands in the evenings, Time when the kinders are in bed, and It's just me... It's been so nice to be able to pick up all the books I have ordered lately, and actually FINISH them this summer.  This season in my life  is also the first time, I can take teh kinders to a park, or sit outside in our own yard, and they don't NEED me to help them climb, or push the swing....I can sit on a bench and read a book at the park! 

 So, I thought I would share some of the books I have been reading to encourage my walk as a Mama, and Teacher. This is a season for rejuvinating, and refreshing as I gear up for this upcoming School Year... There are so MANY wonderful books, articles, conference audios etc... 
If only we could read them all! =) So here are the ones that are encouraging me today....

here is no greater, nobler, or more fulfilling calling than that of motherhood. Every day, as they nurture their children, mothers influence eternal destiny as no one else can. Yet often women are drawn to seek fulfillment outside of God’s design, despite their inherent desire to embrace motherhood with their whole hearts.

Today’s culture minimizes the vital importance of a mother’s role. By catching a vision of God’s original design and allowing it to shape their lives, mothers can rediscover the joy and fulfillment to be found in the strategic role to which God has called them–for a purpose far greater than they can imagine.
In The Mission of Motherhood, author, speaker, and mother Sally Clarkson closely examines this God-ordained plan for mothers, introduced in the book of Genesis and upheld throughout his Word. Using practical examples, her own personal anecdotes, a challenging vision, and sound scriptural support, Clarkson upholds the traditional, biblical view of God’s plan for motherhood–giving mothers exactly the support they need to persevere in cultivating and sharing their hearts for God, for their children, and for their homes.
Read aloud handbook - is AWESOME!! Everyone needs to read this, homeschoolers or not!!!

 discusses everything from the ways reading affects both children’s view of the world and their imagination to how to choose good books. Everything you need from how to choose good books for your children to encouraging them to be avid readers, this fourth edition also includes an indexed and updated list of the best children’s classics ever.

Steady Days You can apply the same techniques of efficiency, intention, and purpose that you've used in other careers to your most important position in life--motherhood. Steady Days takes you through the process of becoming a professional mother: one who is organized and excited to spend time with your young children. If you've ever felt overwhelmed by a lack of direction in your parenting, this book can help.

Seasons of a Mother's Heart Your life as a mom is a whirlwind of changing seasons that can just as easily exhaust as exhilarate you. Sit down, take a few moments, and allow yourself to be refreshed and encouraged by a few stories, insights, and lessons from a friend. Sally Clarkson opens her heart within the pages of this timeless classic, sharing what she has learned as a homeschooling wife and mother -- about herself, her children, and her Lord.

                                                                Teaching them Diligently -

Strong willed child or Dreamer?  I am reading this, and i love it so far. It's helping me with my Daugther.... alot!
 Your child may be a sensitive dreamer if: he forgets to follow instructions, no matter how clear and simple, she craves praise and positive attention, yet refuses to conform to what's expected, he tells more than his share of fibs and tall tales. If you recognize these actions in your child, you know the frustration of turning to parenting experts for advice only to find the systems don't work, the rules don't stick and strong boundary setting makes the situation worse. The creative-sensitive dreamer is not the strong-willed child. Get this book and learn how to parent your special needs child who is principle -oriented rather than rule-oriented, highly creative, overly sensitive and frustrated at a world that fails to live up to the ideal.

What great books are you reading this season?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Fun Trunk Keepers

Since I have added all the fun places to visit, and to do this summer last week, I would like to share some thoughts and more research I have been doing ( yes, I READ alot!) on Summer FUN!!!!!!!! Being prepared can really bless your family, and take some stress off the mamas and daddy's, with just a little bit of planning..  I put together some unique things that really stood out to me from great resources, and have also shared some things that have worked for our family.

Along with the stuff we already know to  keep in the car for summer time;  like beach towels, lawn chairs, ice box, bottles of water, extra changes of clothes per kid, diapers, sun lotion, cash, ( for those spur of the moment ice cream stand stops of course) picnic blanket, ball, frisbee, GPS (great for Geocaching!) etc..... what other things can we bring along?

What else can you bring on these FUN outings????

Trunk Keepers
  • Here is a great idea called Resturant Kits, AND it can be a craft you and the kinders do and put together! double bonus! Just keep in the car, for any situation where boredom can arise!
  • (Extra) Snacks bags! I purchased some adorable fabric snack bags from Etsy several months ago, and we love them! Make your own here or check out these adorable ones!  Great to keep in the car too, in case you need to stop at teh grocery store and divide up snacks on the road!
  • First Aid Kit! I have like 2 in my car now. =) I love the Ouch Pouch idea .  And the words are so much cuter than First aid! =)
  •  And I can't wait to put a few together for my bags ( swim bag, shopping bag, day trip bag..yes, that way i won't have to remember to pull it out each time I change activity bags).

  • Extra basket or bucket for Nature collecting. My children pick up something almost everyday! if I find one more pine cone, rock, or squished dandelion shoved into the cup holders...I will probably cry! so now I am prepared for their lovely findings.

  • Nature Journal and colored pencils encourage them to draw things the find or see on your trip

  • Children's Camera- my kids are always wanting to take pictures, it helps to always keep it in the car, once it's in teh house... we never see it again.

  • Magnifying glass: bring this to musuem visits, encourage the children to get up close and personal! plus they love carrying these around, and it keeps them involved during the not so entertaining parts.
  • Field Guides: Find some for your planned trips, or nature that's right outside your front door!  Playful Learning has a great article on these!  here are a few Golden guides, Audubon pocket guides  and a list of field guides  at amazon
  • Entertainment

  1. Audio Books! We LOVE our stories on the Ipod~ have you visited these amazing places?

                                             Kiddie Records,  Kiddie Records Weekly began in 2005 as a one year project devoted to the golden age of children's records. This period spanned from the mid forties through the early fifties and produced a wealth of all-time classics. Many of these recordings were extravagant Hollywood productions on major record labels and featured big time celebrities and composers.
Books should be free,
this site has an incredible selection of childrens books. Such titles as , Anne of green gables, Heidi, story of the middle ages, the prince and the pauper, grimms fairy tales....etc... check it out!
Some of our Favorite Audio books recently are many of the kiddie Records ( above)  short stories, Henry Higgins, and the Frances audio collection,

Entertainment 2 "Take Along" Fun:

  • Bordom Buster Boxes from Givers Log these are great!! and for the younger ones.....
  • Preschool Activities in a Bag, and Make and Take projects .
    Tiffany over at Rockin C ( I love her!) has been making these great Tot to Go Totes. I can't wait to try to put together some of our own. The possiblities are endless on these....
  • The Surprise! Envelopes idea from Survival Mom (great idea!), I have done something simular to this, by wrapping little gifts for my toddlers and taking them out every few hours on the airplane, or long car rides... it was great excitment.. and kept them going a little longer.
  • BUBBLES! These are great for waiting in lines at teh amusement park. easy to pull out, and  the kids love them while standing around.. it blesses teh other children in line too! My husband does this when we go to Disney. (Great daddy!)
  • BALLOONS! keep a few in your mommy bag.. you never know when a balloon will kill some good time - a great bordom buster.
  • Lollipops: I dont' know why but these have instantly saved us during melt down times ...stash em away in your bag!
  • I Spy: We love I Spy books, and these are great for car rides and Plane rides. For all ages too! check out their collection at Amazon, and also see these super cool I spy games for travel! and the super cute   I SPY BAG  . we always keep this in our car.
  • I spy Cards themed to your next trip, museum, zoo, etc.... I made these for my children from homeschool share, and laminated them for our trip to teh Butterfly habitat. Each time they found  a match on their card, they put a sticker on . When they found all the matches, they won a prize. This was alot of fun, and it helped them learn all the names of the butterflies. Several months later, my 3..wait now 4 year old still sees a "painted lady" butterfly and gets excited! It looked official, which thrilled my son.. and it also kept them interested at times, when they would have wondered off..
  • Book Basket: We keep a book basket in our car between the children. We change it out once a week,  They love this! I let them choose the books most of the time. but sometimes I do throw in books pertaining to our trip we are on... makes a great resource too when questions arise.
I also make and take our lunches whenever possible. I like to decorate their lunch bags, of the theme of the place we are going, and stick a small goodie in there, like stickers, or a little toy. They love this! And always look forward to it.  Speaking of food ,Here is a great article I read at Survival Mom "Eating on the Road, a family Road trip survival plan"

  • $$$$
    Another thing we do is give the children each $1.00 -$3.00 to spend in the gift shop (depending on the type of store it is) . They LOVE gift shops, and these days it seems every musuem or adventure park has one... I stick it in their lunch bag.  This works out great, for not asking for everything in the store for us...
A wonderful friend of mine, had a great idea... her children got to choose ONE thing to collect from all their trips.. Her son chose baseball caps, her daughter chose dolls. This way, they didn't have alot of knick-knacks around the house, and they knew what to look for when they took a trip.  And each child has a wonderful display in their room.
  • $$$$
I try to buy little souviners whenever possible at yard sales, and keep them for future outings. I do this alot with Disney stuff before our yearly trips to Disney. At this age they have no idea if we bought it or not at their stores. This has saved us a TON of money of the last few years, and we are still able to bless them with lots of surprises along the trip.   Other examples : little plastic animals for zoo trips, books about ocean life for sea life center trips, rocks of differant kinds ( these actaully get pricey if you have more than one kid at a rock gift shop, so picking them up for nothing at yard sale is worth it!) etc... I am a giver. It comes naturally to me, and I Always want to Give Give Give to those around me. And it blesses me to see faces light up over little gifts. So to be able to do this frugally, is even better! KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN for great deals!

  • Movies?   And finaly, our family is blessed with a portable dvd player, and we use it!!! =)   here are a few shows the kinders are loving this month! Keep im mind they are 4 and 6 years...  and we are also very careful about what they watch.  We use this verse to help us choose our shows wisely......."Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23.  think about such things. Philipians 4:8. P.s. If you are ever looking for a great resource of Christian Reviews of movies.. we love this site. They have great reviews, and on all current movies too. This is a wonderful site for ALL ages.
And  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--

Also, not for traveling, but another great idea for Summer time FUN at home are  ADVENTURE BOXES . from blog she wrote:
What are adventure boxes? It's an idea where you and your child pick a theme and then the child is provided with materials to explore the adventure for the summer. This is a great way to encourage reading and other activities once school is finished for the year and it's a bunch of fun!
Check out these great Adventure theme boxes from Heather @ Blog she wrote ( one of my favorite five in a row mommy bloggers) here is another more detailed post she wrote over at Heart of the Matter

Adventure Theme Boxes from Homeschool Classroom and these Adventure Theme boxes from Enriched Living.

Some of the Adventures my kinders want to go on this summer are Dinosaurs, Ocean life ,Birds and Egypt.
I will post pics next week of our Adventure Boxes....

What travel tips do you have for children? I would LOVE to hear them!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What are you doing this Summer?

I have put together a list of "local"  field trips I want to take my children on this year, and have researched everything within driving distance, that's both fun and educational!

 Since summer is here, I know lots of families have some free time, and are looking at having some fun (affordable) family days aside from the usual Vacation-ing we all do here in Europe this time of year, So i thought i would pass along my treasured list! If you know of any new families to the area, feel free to send this link on.  ( Sorry my dear state side buddies! this post is just for the local mamas!) =)
Some of these places you Mamas may already know about, and others I hope you will check out and enjoy with your kinders.  Please post a note if you did get to visit any of these places, I would love to hear about it!

Make sure to keep this book-marked!

Dinos, Volcanoes, Nature & More!
  • Senckenberg Nature Museum-  located in Frankfurt -   This has some great Dinoasaur stuff! check out the highlights section. There is to much to share! they also have a Cinema, including a dinosaure in 3-D. They have Temporary Exhibitions, so be sure to check the dates.  Museum also has a resturant and gift shop.
  • Dino Data Base- Europe : This is a complete list of all the Dinosaur/Nature Museums in Europe. There are several here in Germany, the above listing is the closest. 
  • Archaelogie - Speyer Museum
  • Sea life Center - Fancy diving beneath the sea without getting wet? You'll come eyeball to eyeball with everything from shrimps to sharks, and learn tons of great stuff from SEA LIFE experts. So go on, take the plunge and visit your nearest SEA LIFE centre soon! SPEYER is the closest:
  • Volcano Park -Learn about volcanoes in one of our museal facilities. Discover the many natural, cultural or industrial monuments by foot or bike. Learn, how a volcano is born, what a cinder cone is or how the Romans used raw materials of volcanic origin more than 2.000 years ago.
  • Rock Digging& precious stone Mine- Idar oberstein : The precious stone mine „Steinkaulenberg“ is the only mine in Europe open for visitors. ( we loved this visit! tons of fun! )
  • German Gem & Minerals Museum - Idar oberstein
  • Train Museum, Neustadt

  • Bare foot Park
  • Transport Museum- frankfurt Around thirty restored exhibits originating from Frankfurt, including the world's oldest preserved tram (dating back to 1884), an impressive steam engine (1900), a horse-wagon (1872) and additional exhibits from various decades, provide a chronicle of over 125 years of Frankfurt's local transport history. All the vehicles were collected before the Second World War and maintained so well as to reflect their original condition. Brightly polished metal, creaky wood benches and starched uniforms spanning the past 80 years impart an extraordinary ambience.
  • Children's Museum - Frankfurt
  • Keltendorf Steinbach - German village museum

  • Gutenberg- Museum Mainz It is one of the oldest museums of printing in the world and attracts experts and tourists from all corners of the globe. Daily demonstrations of the Gutenberg printing press. All year round there are demonstrations on the hour at 10 and 11 am and at 12, 2, 3 and 4 pm of the Gutenberg printing press in the basement of the museum. MAKE SURE TO VISIT THEIR CALANDER for amazing workshops!!!

  • Dinosaur Park - Kaiserslautern - Tons of fun.. and local!

  • Technik Musuem - Speyer-more than 3,000 exhibits from all areas of technical history on more than 30,000 sqm of indoor space and in our open air ground. The exhibitions include a genuine CONCORDE from Air France and the Russian Tupolev TU-144, more than 300 classic cars, 200 motorcycles, 40 racing cars, the largest permament formula-1 exhibition in Europe, 60 airplanes, 20 locomotives, and much more

  • Dynamikum - Moving Things- Science center Pirmasens. this place was so much fun! A MUST for all ages~!!!


  • Kaiserslautern Zoo - small, but great local outing 

  • Frankfurt zoo - great polar bear exhibit

  • Opel Zoo located near frankfurt, At Opel Zoo, visitors can watch giraffes, hippos, elephants and zebras almost as if they were in the wild. This 27-hectare landscaped zoo in Kronberg near Frankfurt also has circular paths and trails, adventure playgrounds and a petting zoo. And if you've always wanted to ride a camel, this is your chance to try out one of these "ships of the desert". excerpt from

  • Metz Zoo - very nice zoo! one of our favorites. but a bit pricey.

  • Affen and Vogelpark (monkey & bird park)Hagen is the "monkey and bird park, a recreational paradise of 80.000 square meters. You can find over 180 different species, petting zoo, an indoor hall, a garden café, BBQ huts and a lot of games for kids.

  • Amusement Parks
    It seems that almost every amusement park has an animal petting zoo, or wild park attached... so as you check these places out... make sure to visit the furry friends of God's world.
  • Freizeitpark Lochmuhle Since the "Lochmühle" started out as a farm, the relation between men, animals and nature means a lot to us. A lot of native species still live here. THERE IS ALSO AN AMUSEMENT PARK ON PROPERTY
    Learn about life with nature by several means: Our agricultural museum will show you everything about the daily life on a farm. The natural history room has a collection of animals on display. You can watch a running mill wheel at the "Lochmühlenplatz" or take a ride through the planted vegetation of our agricultural learning path with our newly built tractor track railway.ts can choose from about 150 playing and exercising items, romp along a river´s natural course or on meadows, play with indigenous animals in the petting zoo and even watch baby chicks hatch with a bit of luck. Our offer is rounded off by the possibility to picknick and barbecue in groups of all sizes.
  • Kurpfalz-Park Anima wild parkl, rides, pirates, climbing and much more.

Extra Fun Day Trips

  • Wawi Chocolate Factory - Pirmasens
  • Easter Egg Museum -
  • Largest Easter egg market
  • Titanic Exhibit - Till August 2010 - wiesbaden
  • Planetarium- Mannheim
  • Luisen Park- Mannheim.. this is a family favorite. we love this place. click for photos they have a fanstastic butterfly house too! you can read more about this place under my section for field trips.
  • Indoor Sled/Ski Hill Metz France OPEN YEAR ROUND! and located in the same spot as the metz zoo and sledding is the
  • IMAX 3D Theatre Metz-  for show times click here - Currently palying Dinosaurs in 3-D  Lions 3-D Grand Canyon Adventure 3-D
  • Bostal See -  near Baumholder! So close! Best man made lake with a GREAT beach in the area! plan to spend the day. ( resturants, parks, boats, )

I am not even going to get into all the Castles around here. TO many to list! -)

Fun Swimming Pools
  • Calypso - Saarbrucken
  • Monte Mare- Kaiserslautern - wave pool, innertube slides, outdoor childrensplay, and indoor childrens play. resturant.

And that doesn't include the amazing things to do in Holland, and France! Dont' forget Strawberry picking season too! (Rodenbach has a patch )

I will included ONE more thing but it's not in Germany - but drive-able!...  Noah's Ark Replica! It travels Holland, and every year it's way up north.. much to far to drive. BUT I just saw that it is currently only 1 hour and half from the German border!!! We are SO going! For all the information click here

Phew! I know there are more, If you think of anything else I can add to this list.. please leave a comment in the comment box.

Have fun this summer!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer days

We are still working threw our Peter Rabbit study. I hope to finish it this week, and then I am going to take a break from Five in a Row for a few weeks, and focus on Unit Studies.  I am mostly trying to get caught up on the household side of things, and the kids started Swimming lessons, and that's going to keep us in town more often that I personally like, another reason to take a break, we just have several things going on during the week, that makes official school hard... While we are trying to homeschool through the year, it's not going to hurt to take a few weeks off. =) With Daddy coming home in november, and possibly traveling to Korea next year a few times... We think it's best to school year round... to allow for all our breaks. 
I have been working on getting our 2010 -2011 schedule together and everything printed out for our studies etc...
we have been collecting some great school things from yard sales, and lots of new books!
For now here are some pictures of our days..... and what we have been up to the last few weeks!

more letter fun for KT
reading reading reading.

Kt doing her chores and listening to her mp3 player!
i was looking EVERYWHERE for my sunglasses that day
our garden is starting to produce some strawberries!

Jt and Grandma
Jt's First Full moon! He was so excited! He is never up late enough for when it gets dark here, so this was a rare and special treat!

Kt bringing games to the local orphanage. They had a good time.
flower shopping.

Kt got a birthday card from papa T... she was thrilled! here she is in the van opening it.

playing "finding nemo"

we went to a Rock "show" it was great! the kids LOOOOVED it!
we brought home a few rocks for our collection. and saw some really neat things!

JT picked out a Dinosaur tooth for our collection! How cool!  Thanks for visiting our family this week!


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