Wife, Mummy, Nurse

27 July 2016

The Storyteller #Giveaway #BacktoSchool

I LOVE reading to my children. One of my favorite times of day is right before my son goes down for his nap and right before my daughter's bedtime. I try to read aloud to both of them at least 30 minutes each day. This summer, my daughter and I have been passing the time with a very informal "school". We're learning about various countries with the read the world summer book club.

For the continent of Africa, I created lesson plans based on The storyteller.
Long, long ago, like a pearl around a grain of sand, the Kingdom of Morocco formed at the edge of the great, dry Sahara. It had fountains of cool, refreshing water to quench the thirst of the desert, and storytellers to bring the people together.

But as the kingdom grew, the people forgot the dangers of the desert, and they forgot about the storytellers, too. All but one young boy, who came to the Great Square for a drink and found something that quenched his thirst even better: wonderful stories. As he listened to the last storyteller recount the Endless Drought, and the Glorious Blue Water Bird, he discovered the power of a tale well told.
We enjoyed the book so much, that we decided to have a giveaway for it as part of "Oh! The places you'll go! Back to school giveaway hop hosted by The Kids Did It & The Mommy Island. Enter via Rafflecopter, and be sure to check out all the other giveaways in the hop.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

26 July 2016

Spicknall's Farm Market

Growing up, I always thought I would live in the country and have a: garden, chickens, a clothesline, and a dog or cat. But, I married my husband who was in grad school at American University in Washington D.C. So, I moved to the DC metro area less than a week after we were married. Living in the DC metro area has been much better than I imagined it would be. I am able to look outside our balcony window and see fiends. (Thanks to the United States Department of Agriculture; this allows me to sometimes think I'm still in the country.)

About 5-10 times during the summer, I go to Spicknall's farm market and purchase farm homegrown vegetables and fruits.

What I love about Spicknall's:

Location. It's 2 miles from our place. I could almost walk there. (Sadly, there's about 250 yards that do not have a sidewalk and with two children, I'm NOT going to walk there without a sidewalk the whole way.)
Selection. They have a wide selection of fruits and vegetables. Most of their produce is homegrown, but they do bring in local fruits (currently peaches).
Family business. It's a local, family business. I don't purchase all our produce there, because we do have a budget and buying fresh fruit and veggies is cheaper at the grocery store. But I purchase items that are in season, grown at the farm to try to support a local family.
Fresh veggies without having a garden. We just don't have the space to have a garden. In the past, I tried container gardening, but it was so much more hassle that it was worth. Plus, the condo association has a rule against patio and balcony gardens.

Do you shop at a farmer's market? How was your experience?

This post was written as one of the prompts for the summer blogging challenge by Social Insiders. "Be a tourist in your hometown! Go see something new, try a new restaurant, or shop in a new store. What makes your town unique? What do you love about living in your town? Blog about your experience and share it with us."

25 July 2016

The Storyteller Part 1 #GiveYourChildtheWorld

This post contains affiliate links.

For my daughter's kindergarten, we decided to use Five in a Row, and I really enjoyed it. My daughter still learned a lot in kindergarten and still talks about books we rowed in the fall (especially Madeline). Charis is participating in read the world summer book club. Some weeks I plan on going more in depth and "rowing" a book. Other weeks, I am reading books, just for fun, without creating a lesson plan. For Africa week, I decided to row The storyteller by Evan Turk.
Long, long ago, like a pearl around a grain of sand, the fertile Kingdom of Morocco formed near the edge of the great, dry Sahara. It had fountains of cool, delicious water to quench the dangerous thirst of the desert, and the storytellers to bring the people together. 
The storyteller takes place in Morocco. The Kingdom of Morocco once had fountains with cool, delicious water, and storytellers to bring the people together. Slowly people forgot the storyteller and the fountains. The last fountain dried up, and far away a great wind began to stir. A thirsty boy made his way to the Great Square to look for water, but was unable to get any. A water-seller let the boy know that the fountains ran dry and gave him a brass cup to fill with water and share with others. They boy meets and old man and is drawn in to listen to his stories. He keeps coming back to find out what happens to the people. A djinn, disguised as a sandstorm, seeks to destroy the city. The clever boy is able to save the story.


Psalm 107. I have no problem reading books like The storyteller to my children, but when I read a book about a djinn, I want to also teach Charis the truth, so we memorized Psalm 107 E (from the Book of Psalms for singing):
He changes streams to wilderness, and springs to thirsty ground, a fruitful land to salty waste, when peoples' sins abound. He turns the desert to a lake, dry land to water springs, and that they may prepare a home the hungry there he brings.

Social Studies

The first things we did were to find Morocco on a map. Secondly, I asked Charis, "Morocco is located on what continent?" She answered, "Africa." We looked at her continent map and found Africa. Then we looked at our globe and found Morocco on the map. W colored in the Moroccan flag and filled out a map with key Moroccan cities and geographical landmarks. Both the map and the flag can be found here.

We read:

Giraffes can't dance. I read this more for Justin than Charis, since it's a simple, fictional board book. For supper one night, I cooked safari adventure animal shaped chicken nuggets that I bought from Aldi. Yes, I know this is not healthy or Moroccan, but my children liked looking and talking about the different animals they found on their plate.

Morocco (Country explorers). This is an excellent book to help introduce your children to Morocco. Morocco is only 9 miles away from Europe; it is separated by the Strait of Gibraltar. Three facts we learned from this book:

  1. We learned that tangerines are named after the Moroccan city of Tangier. 
  2. Tree goats that climb up argan trees in order to eat the leaves on those trees.
  3. Morocco's official language is Arabic.

We watched:

Morocco, Countries around the world DVD. This is only 13 minutes long, but during that time, we went throughout the city of Marrakesh learning about the traditions of culture of Morocco.


I briefly told Charis what a djinn was; it's a supernatural creature in Middle Eastern mythology. (We have anglicized it as "genie"-i.e. Aladdin.) My daughter did not quite understand. She just knows that "it's not real."

We read My father's shop, another book set in Morocco. Mustafa works in his father's carpet shop. Tourists from all over the world stop in to look at rugs to buy. One day, Mustafa finds a rug with a hole in it; he asks his father if he can keep the rug. His father says yes, with the condition that he learn some foreign languages. Mustafa agrees. When his father starts teaching him some foreign words, Mustafa is bored and runs away. (At this point, Charis said, "Mustafa's VERY naughty. He needs to obey his dad.") While running through the market, he meets a rooster and discovers that roosters crow differently throughout the world:
Morocco "Kho kho hou houuu!"
France "Co-co-ri-co"'
Spain "Qui-qui-ri-qui"
England "Cock-a-doodle-doo"
Japan "Koke-ko-kooo"
When Mustafa returns to his father's shop, he yells, "I can speak rooster in five languages." His father was happy when he saw that all the tourists followed Mustafa to his shop.

Art - Weaving

In The storyteller, the blind woman's "great-great-grandmother's great-great-grandmother was a carpet weaver." Weaving is mentioned at least one other place in the book. In Morocco, weaving can be a person's way to make a living. Woven rugs and carpets are very important, and often beautiful. It would have been fun to try to weave a carpet, we decided to start small and learn how to weave using paper plates. Both of our finished products had a lot to be desired, so I will not post the final picture.

Are your children participating in the read the world summer book club? What children's books do you recommend for Africa? Science, music, and culinary lessons from "The storyteller" to be continued on Thursday.

18 July 2016

Like a River from Its Course #Book #Review

Ever since I was a girl, I have been fascinated with WWII. It all started when I read portions from The Diary of Anne Frank (at 8 years old) and continued when my dad let me watch The Hiding Place (at 9 years old). When I discovered that Like a river from its course, written by Kelli Stuart, was told through the eyes of four people during WWII, I wanted to get my hands on it.
Enter the often-overlooked history of World War II Ukraine as told through the eyes of four unforgettable people caught up in the chaos and heartache of a country torn asunder by Nazi armed forces. 
As the characters confront the pivotal even of Babi Yar, the "killing ditch" where 34,000 men, women, and children were lined up and shot, the horrors of war are laid bare. How can faith withstand such atrocities?

The book is divided up into three different parts:

Part one: The beginning
Part two: The darkness
Part three: Home

(I do not want to give away too much about the book, so I'll be as brief as possible.) The four characters are:

Maria "Masha" Ivanovna. She was 14 years old in 1941. She lived with her parents and had two siblings-Sergei and Anna. She is later separated from her family and goes to Germany to work in a concentration camp.

Ivan Kyrilovich. Masha's father. When the Germans begin occupying Ukraine, he and his family help out their Jewish neighbors. When Ivan follows his Jewish neighbors to Babi Yar, he is mistakenly identified as a Jew and "shot" at Babi Yar. He survives, but not without consequences.

Frederick Herrmann. A German soldier whose mission in life is to make his father proud, to be a part of history. Throughout this book, he tries to earn his father's approval.

Ludmilla "Luda" Michaelevna. Her mother is dead. Her father a drunk. When she is about to be raped by three German soldiers, her father abandons her, allowing it to happen. As a result of the rape, she becomes pregnant.

My thoughts: Like a river from its course is a historical fiction book. It is a well researched book, where key people and events are mentioned and woven through out the book. Throughout the book, Babi Yar is frequently mentioned. Rudolph Diels is mentioned about being the head of the Gestapo, and Joseph Goebbels succeeding Hitler. I read this book from start-to-finish in less than 48 hours.

The end of the book left me with a few questions: What happened to Frederick Hermann? The author just kind of dropped him, after he realized that his father was in fact weak and that he (Frederick) would never be able to please his father; at that point there were about 100 pages left to go. Did he end up dying? In the story line, there was another man named Hans. We at least know he lived through WWII, but are left with questions wondering what happened with him until he was reunited with Luda.

Despite being a hard (emotionally) read, I could not put it down. Reading this book makes me want to go to the library and read more books (non-fictional and fictional) about World War II.

Do you enjoy reading books about WWII? If so, do you have any recommendations?

I received a copy of this book for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated in any way?

13 July 2016

Lil Pumpkin Hat #YarnAlong

This post contains affiliate links. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that my brother and his wife are expecting their first child-a boy. I have been trying to decide what patterns to knit for their baby. The last baby item I knit was the "Lil" pumpkin hat. I used Vanna's choice yarn, terracotta.

To be honest, I only used the pattern as a guide. I knit the K1 P1 ribbed portion with smaller needles and joined in a round. (The pattern called for knitting the hat on straight needles and seaming up the back. Ummm... that's NOT going to happen. Too much work for my taste.) I also decided to throw in cables (because, why not? I like knitting cables.). The pattern called for knitting 5, purling 3. I kept that pattern. When it came time for the cables, I held 3 stitches in front, knit 2, then knit the stitches off the cable needle. (If I were to knit this again, I'd probably make a knit 6, purl 2 pattern.)

When it came time to knitting the leaf at the top, I abandoned the pattern all together and used the just a leaf pattern, but did not follow this one entirely. The pattern tells you to knit every row. Instead, I knit the yarn over and SSK rows and purled the opposite rows. Overall, I am pleased with how this hat turned out and look forward to meeting my nephew this coming fall.

What's on your needles? Join me at Ginny's Yarn Along.

12 July 2016

Chick-fil-A #CowAppreciationDay

Today was one of my favorite days of the year-Chick-fil-A's cow appreciation day. My habit the last 5 years has been to dress myself and my children up in cow costumes and go to Chick-fil-A to get FREE food! On bonus about this year is that Drew was able to go!

We started preparing for it yesterday. During Justin's nap, Charis and I pulled out white clothes, drew cow spots on the clothes, and colored them in. Before leaving for Chick-fil-A this afternoon, Charis drew a picture of a cow and wrote "cows milk" (yes, without the apostrophe). When she showed it to me, she said, "I wrote it because we get milk from cows." (See photo below. I also use the word "cow" loosely to describe her drawing. IMO, it did not look like a cow. In her defense, we do not live near cows, and she did not have a picture of a cow in front of her.)

After arriving at Chick-fil-A, I'm sad to write that my patience was wearing thin. I told Charis that she had to decide what she was getting at home, which she did, but she wanted orange juice, not apple juice or milk. I told her that "The choices are apple juice, milk, or chocolate milk." She realized that she was not getting orange juice and settled on apple juice.

The Chick-fil-A at Tech Road had face painting for children!! Woohoo!!!! Charis picked a design that reminded her of Queen Elsa.

All in all, it was a good time. (And I'm thankful for God's forgiveness for my impatience.)

Did you participate in cow appreciation day?

11 July 2016

Multicultural Week #GiveYourChildtheWorld

I love reading to my children. I try read to them for 20-30 minutes everyday. I also want to instill in them a love for learning about other cultures. Why? Because God has saved people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. My desire is that Charis and Justin will pray for people throughout the world. Charis is participating in the read the world summer book club, using the book Give your child the world by Jamie Martin as a guide to introducing children to: Europe, North America, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Australia/Oceania/Polar regions. For the first week, I read multicultural books to the children.

(I have yet to buy this book, but I'm putting it on my Christmas list. Meanwhile, I will see if my local public library will purchase this book.)

Me on the map by Joan Sweeney. Me on a Map introduces children to maps and geography. Even though I already covered the material in the book with Charis, it was still helpful in reviewing the continents in the world and the states in the United States of America.

How to make an apple pie and see the world by Marjorie Priceman. We read this book back in October for a week for five in a row. A girl wants to make an apple pie, but she finds out her local market is closed. No problem. She'll just go to different countries in the world for the ingredients, eventually making her way back to the USA to make her pie. This is an excellent book for introducing geographical locations (France, Italy, England, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, and Vermont).

Global baby boys and Global baby bedtimes were more for my son, than my daughter. They're board books. On each page, you have a photograph of a baby with the country that the baby is from. In Global baby boys, the babies are all boys. In Global baby bedtimes, the babies are boys or girls, all of which are sleeping. Despite the fact that these books were board books, I was still able to show Charis where the countries were located and color them in on a map.

Cool world cooking by Lisa Wagner. Cool world cooking introduces children to different foods eaten throughout the world-Mexico, France, Italy, Africa, Middle East, and China and Japan. The foods given are relatively easy to make. One frustration I have is that the countries are not listed individually for Africa and the Middle East. I'm reminded of the common (and justifiable) complaint that Africa is NOT a country it's a continent, but those in the West often refer to it as Africa.

What multicultural books do you recommend?
Linking up at Hip Homeschool Moms.