Saturday, February 28, 2009

Winter Nature Study

Charlotte Mason recommended that children study nature in order to understand, appreciate and be good stewards of the world around them. Since I come from a long line of nature lovers this hasn't been too difficult for me, but it can be somewhat of a challenge in winter. I recently discovered a great resource for the Kansas City area in the Walt Bodine Show.
The Walt Bodine Show covers local happenings and produces a quarterly show called Nature in the City. Listening recently I heard information about Snowy Owls which people in our area usually can't see but have a opportunity to see right now due to the owls normal prey being unavailable in their area. There was also information about foxes and other wildlife and flora in the area. If you live in the Kansas City area I suggest you check it out.

To use this program as nature study I download it and then I went to youtube and found video of the animals described in the show. My children can hear local experts discuss nature in our area and see visuals to help them identify those birds and animals when we are out driving or walking. There is also an archive of previous shows and I plan to do the same with other shows in the future. Very praiseworthy indeed!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Free Audio!

Right now there are two really fantastic free audio deals on One for kids and one for adults. But you have to hurry because it's only available through Saturday - TOMORROW! Find the details on these two giveaways here and here. The second link is to the In A Shoe blog and she is also offering a $50 giveaway to Behemoth. But hurry!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More Lenten Activites!

One of my favorite sites, Homeschool Freebie of theDay, is offering this great book of Lenten Activities by Miiko Gibson. But it's only available today!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shrove Tuesday

Simply, Shrove Tuesday is the day before the season of Lent starts. It is also known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or Carnival. A time of feasting before a time of quiet solemnity in the church year.

Lent is typically a time of reflection on Christ's life, death and resurrection. Ancient Christians and today's Catholics and some more liturgical protestants, spend Lent as a fast from certain things. Sort of a way of observing how Christ was sacrificed for our sins. In preparation for giving up they would use up all the flour, sugar and fat in their cupboards so it wouldn't go bad. An easy way to do that was in something like a pancake. So this day is traditionally spent at pancake suppers, eating fried foods like doughnuts, or delicious cakes like the King Cake.

I was raised in the Episcopal church where Lent is observed. The church I attend today does not observe Lent really, but I think the seasons of the Liturgical year are an excellent way to teach your kids about Christ, to teach them as you go along in your life. It provides a reason to talk about Christ and our faith. The bible models this, I believe, in the festivals and special days of remembrance (such as passover).

If you'd like to incorporate these things into your family, here are some ideas.

  • Ann Voskamp's beautiful 17 day devotional "Behold The Lamb," incorporates art and bible verses to help families prepare for the observation of Christ's Resurrection.

  • 2008 Anglican Family Lent on the A TenO'Clock Scholar blog is lots of ideas for experiencing Lent with your children. There are also some interesting books for children on the liturgical year here.

  • You can also see more details about activities I do with my family here.

I hope you will take some time from now until April spending time with your family looking into this person named Jesus who is the Christ. This is a season of remembrance. It is time well spent.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Paperdoll Treasure Trove

If you are familiar with my blog you no doubt know that I love paperdolls. I found a wonderful resource for them today in Teri's Paperdoll Page. There are even scans of Paperdoll greeting cards. Have fun!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati, 1958)

My children and I watched this charming film last night and we highly recommend it. This is no fast paced, overproduced, loud disneyesque film. Consisting mostly of sight gags and only a little dialogue ( in french, we turned on the subtitle feature) we were all captured and couldn't stop watching!

Directed by Jacques Tati who also stars as the main character, the socially inept Monsiuer Hulot. But who would want to be like the stuffy French upper crust as depicted in this story? Certainly not the young nephew of M. Hulot who finds his uncle and his uncle's world in the older, quainter parts of the city completely fascinating.

Not only is there wonderful physical comedy somewhat akin to Jerry Lewis, there is also a beautiful and compelling world. Just like his nephew I'd much rather run in the field behind M. Hulot's apartment building then walk in the stilted formal garden of the moderne technological wonder that is the nephew's home. The whole film is connected by a lyrical, whimsical musical score that leaves you with a warm feeling long after the film has ended.

Full of wonderful character depictions and funny sight gags this film was enjoyed by my children who are 8 and 10. But don't just listen to me...check it out for yourself!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Great Backyard Bird Count

It's time again for the Great Backyard Bird Count. A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audoban, the GBBC is an easy way to get your kids involved in nature study. My children and I have done it the last two years.

To be involved all you have to do is spend 15 minutes counting birds in your area February 13 - 16. Then you go to the GBBC website and log your totals. That's it! The website is full of great information, lesson plans, regional bird lists and this year a special certficate to print out to award to participants. It is a very praiseworthy thing. But do it quick! You only have Sunday and Monday left to count.

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you are a last minute person, as I often am, here are a load of printable Valentine's for you at The Long Thread courtesy of The Motherload.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Praiseworthy Book: Keeping House

I read a lot of books about home keeping and most are very practical books. They either teach you how to keep a home, how to keep it easier, how to have a schedule, how to.... But I picked up a book at my library recently that was very different. The title was Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life.

This book is different in that instead of telling you how to keep house, it tells you why to keep house. Her argument is that keeping house is a way to love your family and to love God. In the process she debunks the currently held notion by many that keeping a house is a "waste of time" or mindless and unrewarding. I found her views to be challenging even to me, someone who already believes in the importance of a mother and homemaker. I found myself convicted and inspired by her thoughts. Check it out for yourself.

Friday, February 06, 2009


With the excitement of December and Christmas over, now is a great time for a study on snow and snowflakes. Here are a number of resources for doing just that!

How to grow a borax snowflake.

Dave's snowflake page

Lots of good snow activities

We love these books:

And this for viewing:

Snain from Jeffrey Butler on Vimeo.

Jeff is a very talented videographer and I urge you to check out some of his other videos. Especially if your studying Viet Nam.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Blessed Aroma 2008

I'm humbled today to have been named one of the 10 "Most Joyful Among Us" blogs in the Top 100 Christian Blogs of 2008 by Internet Cafe Devotions. Thank you to those who nominated me. Please take some time to visit the list as there are some other great blogs mentioned. And we can always use more blogs, right?

Our Daily Bread: Daily Audio Bible

The bible exhorts us to be in God's word daily. But it can be a bit of a struggle to adopt that habit. As the Psalmist says:

You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
keeping to the course you set;
Then I'd never have any regrets
in comparing my life with your counsel.

Psalm 119:4-8

Happily I have found help in my struggle. The Daily Audio Bible.

The Daily Audio Bible provides a daily podcast of readings from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. The goal is to read (or listen) through the Bible in one year.

The voice behind these podcasts is Brian Hardin. Brian's voice is soothing and engaging. His comments before and after the readings let you know that he is just another guy trying to follow God's path. He exhorts and teaches all with a background of soothing music and sounds of nature. It really is an incredible listening experience! After the readings and Brian's comments there is a time of prayer followed by quiet music for personal prayer and meditation.

Since I have begun with DAB a curious thing has happened. I have found that my children love it too! My son often reminds me to "turn on Brian" in the morning. My children will grow quiet in that way that you know they are listening. Not only that but they will often ask me questions or make comments after. My son usually asks to pray with me for the requests. This part was unplanned and unexpected. A little butter with my bread.

A reading is also available specifically geared for children read by Brian's daughter. Versions are also available in Spanish and Hindi. Why not try it out yourself? You'll have no regrets.