Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The preface reads as follows:
Draw close to the fire, all those who believe in the spirit of Christmas, whether you call it Santa Claus, or simply good will to men; and listen to the story of Nicholas the Woodcarver, a lover of little children. Follow him through his first years as a lonely little boy who had the knack of carving playthings for children; then as a young man, busy over the little toys; then a prosperous, fat, rosy old man who overcomes all sorts of difficulties in order to attain his ambition: a toy for every child in the village. Learn how he started to drive a beautiful sleigh drawn by prancing reindeer; why he first came down a chimney; how he filled the first stocking; where the first Christmas tree was decorated; and finally how he came to be known as "Saint Nicolas" and "Santa Claus".
Apparently, you can now buy a paperback version of this classic for just $8.95. I highly recommend that you do :)
I also recommend the following Christmas / Winter titles:
Diane Goode's American Christmas : we especially love this one, as the artwork depicts people of all colors. It contains various Christmas songs, stories, poems, etc.
Prancer : Meaghan loves this story. For years, she had an imaginary pet reindeer named Prancer :)
Uncle Vova's Tree : a book that celebrates the preservation of our Christmas (holiday) traditions. Also deals with death in a positive manner.
Olive the Other Reindeer : a sweet and zany dog who believes that Santa needs her help.
Dream Snow : sweet interactive book that is great for a toddler. Introduces the concept of gift-giving.
A Child is Born : Our favorite! This book could be about the birth of any child - but it certainly assumes to be about the birth of Jesus. And Jesus is black :) Isaac thinks the baby is him... which is probably why it is my favorite! "Mama, look ... it Baby Isaac." .... "It sure is Baby."
Santa's Kwanzaa : given that my son's biological roots are based in Africa, we have decided to incorporate Kwanzaa into our holiday celebrations ... and this book not only gives a very basic introduction to it, but it also includes a black Santa :)
Winter Poems : this is such a refreshing book. Full of beautiful poetry by some of the best. And the illustrations depict children of all colors (see a theme here?). A gentle and wonderful book. Gorgeous illustrations.
Is That You, Winter? : a funny and quirky book that celebrates winter. Has a surprise ending.
Snow : a gentle book that follows a child on a walk through the snow ... discovering all the wonder and beauty that is created and revealed by a snowfall.
I hope you enjoyed this list.
Have you pulled out your holiday / winter books? What are they?
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
We love the storytelling of great movies and programs. We love the education that really great, well-thought and well-intentioned programs can offer : introduction to various cultures, reinforcement of positive values, insights into various human conditions, explorations of the world-at-large, etc...
However, we "hate" those programs and movies that offer our children the following: reinforcement of commercialization, violence, overly sexualized stimuli, negative stereotyping, relentless flashy stimuli (often found in cartoons), etc ...
At first becoming parents, we were going to do away with television altogether - especially considering that even when we appreciate a program that is offered, we have no control over the commercials that are displayed. (Halis would love to have Isaac watch football with him - but the "boob & butt" / "T & A" commercials are ridiculous!) So, we opted for PBS (commercial free & educational) programming and movies that meet our approval. This seems to be working for us. However, it took alot of movie previewing to figure out which ones we would allow into our family! And we had to let go of some of our very favorite movies (i.e. Elf) when they did not meet our basic standards.
My parents and some friends picked on us a bit for being so careful and critical in deciding what our kids watch (we include Meg in this - thus the plural "kids"). But what you allow into your child's brain & consciousness may have a profound effect on who they become, what their values are, and how they view the world. So, this is VERY important to us. Some may argue that we could do away with TV & movies altogether (I have read all those Waldorf articles) but we firmly believe in the benefits of great programming, and plan to use television as a positive tool (how could our son possibly grow up without having Mr. Rogers as his neighbor?).
As a result, we have come up with some very specific opinions on what is worth watching. And now I'd like to share our thoughts with you, with the idea that some of you may be as concerned as we are about what goes into our kids brains :) Certainly, you may disagree with our opinions, as every family is different. I share our thoughts with you merely as a catalyst for discussion and not as a sermon. Your thoughts are most welcome!
Here are our faves:
Babe : our favorite movie of all. Frankly, there are too many reasons why. Just watch it :)
The Little Bear Movie : such a gentle movie. Shows that we can learn much from one another's differences.
Extreme Home Makeover : Thank God we don't need their help. And Thank God they are helping others.
Elf : was a fave of ours until we adopted a child. Terrible depiction of adoption. Makes a total mockery of adoption. Sad.
So, there are the views of our family. We would love to hear about yours! Of course, our opinion is that "It's A Wonderful Life" is the best movie ever made ... and we are getting geared up to watch it several times this holiday season. Thank God for movies like this & for a television to watch them on :)
Monday, November 26, 2007
Enjoy the day.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
And I am most thankful for these two cheeky monkeys ...
I hope you all enjoyed one another as well :)
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
But it was good to do this this weekend. We all needed it. Daddy needed to spend some time alone with Isaac and Meg. Isaac needs Daddy big time right now., as he hasn't seen him much lately. Mommy needs to learn to trust others (especially Daddy) with her baby. And Meg needed some one-on-one time with Halis. And God knows I needed to Sew!!!
So, after eating a handful of chocolate chips, and drinking two cups of potent coffee (the chocolate helped the tears to go away and the caffeine helped my motivation) ... I created the following:
Two pillows for the reading room in my new home ...
A penguin scarf and matching wrist wallet for my niece :
A simple, lined wristlet bag for Isaac to carry his toy cars in:
And believe it or not, I managed to get one quilt near completion, and one other started! Gotta love caffeine :) Oh, and I also managed to package up at least 35 items that I recently sold on Ebay. I am telling you - when the babe's away ... the Mom will play. I am SO going to do this again!
P.S. My absolute favorite completed project is the Mr. Rogers pillow. He is such a hero of mine and I just love the way it turned out. I look forward to using it in my new house.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
For all sorts of ideas for handmade gifts, you must RUN (don't walk) to this website: Sew, Mama, Sew.
You'll thank me for this link :)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
So, my Cousin ... who is always so inventive and motivated ... has come up with a gorgeous, useful and sweet craft product to sell in order to raise some funds for their trip. She has made these wonderful journals from vintage Little Golden Books ...
These sweet journals come both lined and unlined. They come filled with quality recycled paper and all of them include the original story at the back of the book. How sweet is that??? And only $15 each plus shipping!!! These would make wonderful gifts for any holiday. And I am so excited to have placed my order for the Poky Little Puppy shown above :)
If you are interested in her work, please visit her website and click on the FOR SALE link at the top of the page. They are selling fast, but Nicole plans to add more great journals as soon as possible. You can also place orders for certain books or styles. What a treat.
Enjoy her site.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
We had a wonderful time trick-or-treating. And I can't tell you how many people said that Isaac's costume was the best they ever saw. It blew me away. I didn't make it, but a new friend of mine did (Thanks Pam ~ your work is amazing). And I SO wanted to show you all a picture of Isaac in costume ... but am having trouble uploading photos from my camera to my computer. So, I have to drive to Walmart, upload them there, pay for them to be put on disc, and then upload that disc to my computer. Ugh.
So, it may be a couple of days before I can share some photos with you all. Until then, please send me some links to the adorable little trick-or-treaters in your lives :)