Thursday, October 17, 2013

Weekly Highlights ~ Sponsored Children Update, Sewing, Read Alouds and Milestones

Updates on two of our sponsored children:

Look who is growing up!! Our World Vision friend who lives in Tanzania, Amina! We received our yearly update along with a new picture of her (on the right). All seems to be good for our sweet friend. We also received two letters from her. Her letters are always written by a neighbor or family member.  In one she says her favorite animals are sheep and cats.

World Vision sends little booklets for us to personalize with a message for Amina a few times a year. On the left is the inside of one of those booklets. (We sent it to her a few months ago.) It begins with a story about wise King Solomon and the last page included a world map, ruler and math facts. I love these are always written in our language and also in Amina's.

We also received our first letter from four year old Naidely, our Compassion International friend that lives in Ecuador. It appears she likes cats, too!
Writing to, praying for and supporting these little ones, and receiving letters from Melany (in Ecuador), Mesfin (in Ethiopia), and Amina and Naidely brings much joy to all of us.

Friends in Europe:

In August, we traveled to Nashville. While there, the kids met two little girls from the UK. The are both ten. Our three little ones and their new friends played so well in our hotel pool (for nearly four hours!) the night they met. The next morning was our last in Nashville, but they exchanged addresses.  A couple of weeks later we mailed letters to the two girls in Gloucestershire, England.  (I was surprised that postage was only $2 for an over-sized envelope to the UK.)

Well, this week we received a lovely package from the girls. It included lots of pictures from the queen's birthday, pictures of things the girls like to do for fun in England, lots of travel brochures for Gloucestershire, hand written letters and postcards, too.
I hadn't thought of it, but The Tailor of Gloucester (one of our favorite Beatrice Potter tales) is from their area! One of the postcards features the cute little mouse and the tailor's store.


Jonathan and Ryan are excelling in handwriting. Jonathan  is doing well learning to write individual lowercase and uppercase letters and writing his name, too! (We are using A Reason for Handwriting - K and a review item, Funanoodle) He colored this elephant (ARFH -K) and wanted to share it with a few people. So, I text messaged it out to those folks. I am not rushing and truly working at a kindergarten pace with my sweet little guy.

Ryan has made huge improvements in his handwriting this year (2nd). He's the kid that I worried over at night - Would he ever learn to write? When he was four years old. Ridiculous, I know.  It's hard when your first child (which happens to be a girl) writes her own stories to pictures she's colored before her fifth birthday; who sounded out her first words independently at 3 1/2. My idea of what  "normal" was, was seriously skewed.  I didn't rush him, never should've worried in the first place, and now look at the beautiful copy work from my sweet big boy. (Writing With Ease) In the past couple of weeks he's even gotten a little fancy with his printing - making curly q's at the end of some of his letters. I hadn't planned on starting cursive this year with him, but our plans may change!

Caraline is learning to sew! She's wanted to learn since she was eight. My grandmother gave Caraline her first lesson a couple of summers ago. Grandma lives four hours away. So now that we have a sewing machine (Thanks Aunt W.!) I am learning to sew (from YouTube and sewing blogs) so that I can teach Caraline. I think we are on the right track. So far she's made a couple of gifts for a baby cousin that is due to arrive in a few weeks - and they've turned out so cute!!
The picture on the left is purely practice. She practiced for two days making straight lines, turning corners and threading the machine.  On the right, she's pinning a sewing project.

(This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. Please read our disclosure policy.)

A Milestone:

Jonathan learned to ride his bicycle without training wheels! It only took three practice pushes and he had it down! That afternoon we took to the golf cart paths for a fun family ride. (Jonathan isn't quite ready for the paths. He's still being pulled by Daddy in the Chariot Cougar . The Chariot has been a wonderful investment. We've had it since Caraline and Ryan were small enough to ride together. And then Ryan and Jonathan we're Chariot buddies for a while. It can turn into a double stroller, too.)

What We Are Reading:

We are getting close to finishing a biography on an early 1900's missionary, Cameron Townsend. It's interesting to learn how he paved the way for tribal translation of the Bible.

We are also reading The Secret Garden (this link is to a free Kindle download). We spent hours last Saturday just reading this sweet story. I didn't know what wutherings meant until reading a chapter all about it in this book. The title Wuthering Heights (also a free Kindle download) actually makes sense to me now! I'm looking forward to reading it aloud in a few years.

I think it's quite fun to have started this story and another set in England a few days before receiving our packing from our English friends!

We are also reading James Herriot's Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and Small. This story also takes place in England. James Herriot is a countryside veterinarian, and his tales are beautifully written with rich vocabulary and the illustrations are simply gorgeous. It's a perfect picture book that even our fourth grader loves - and it's a super fun read for practicing an English accent, too! The kids always want, "Just one more story, PLEASE Mommy!"

Below is a picture of the inside of Warm and Joyful Tales.

FREE 30 day Trial:

If you are interested in  joining Amazon Prime now would be a great time to do so. The link provided will take you to a 30 day free trial through my Amazon Associates account. You'll have instant access to thousands of movies and 2 day free shipping on Prime eligible items (there's no minimum order size), and you can borrow books from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. We've had a Prime account for four years and it's been a wonderful convenience for our family. You will be able to sign up for the 30 day trial until  Oct. 31.

Caraline's piano teacher is letting us borrow their ant habitat - it even lights up! We ordered the food gel refill for $8.50 (had the food ship two days before the ants so that it would have time to cool), 30 harvester ants for $4.95 and voila - we have a cool, hands-on learning experience! These little guys are amazing to watch!
This is with the illumination light off - couldn't get the picture to turn out clearly with the light on.
On the Blog: 

I've reviewed a couple of neat items too: Chess House and God's World News.

Ok, so that's a few of our highlights from the past couple of weeks. I"m going to be off line for a few days spending time with my family. Enjoy your weekend everyone!


We are sharing our Weekly Highlights with our friends at Homegrown Learners for Collage Friday and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschooler's Weekly Wrap-up.


  1. What a full and busy week! Love the pics ; ) and we LOVE B. Potter 'round here, too!

    1. Isn't she great! =) Thanks so much for stopping by.

  2. excellent overview. Good to see what others do. :)

  3. Hope, thanks for the links to the free Kindle books. Sounds like you had a busy, but great week. Have a nice weekend!

    1. Amy,
      You are most welcome. And thanks for stopping by. We traveled to see family, so our weekend was an extra great one.

  4. What a fun week. It sounds like your girls have found some new pen pals. We enjoyed our visit to Hill Top Farm this summer. We were told to look in various places in the house that were used as the illustrations used in the Tailor of Gloucester. I was just thinking that I need to read some James Herriot books to the kids.

    1. Oh, how fun Beth! I would love to visit that side of the world one day, too. I'll have to remember Hill Top Farm. Thanks so much for the stopping by!


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