Here we are starting our second half of the year. Today Luke and I were talking about how surprised we are that we have kept it up this long. As I mentioned at the beginning, we are pretty good at starting things and not finishing. He says he is motivated the most by the competition. Though we are completing it together, we are still keeping track of who has read the most (currently 30-29 in my favor!) But I think I am more motivated by the monthly updates. They give me small goals to work toward and the feeling of accomplishment of completing another month. Either way, it's working for us. Here's what we read this month...
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (Christian novel) - I am not usually interested in Christian fiction, so I picked this book because it is my sis-in-law's all-time favorite. It is based on the book of Hosea and naturally has some mature themes and scenes that are probably not helpful for a young reader. But I thought she did a great job of bringing out the reality of how shame can embed so deeply in the heart and how beautiful it is when the good news breaks through (and in a pretty non-cheesy way).
Wild by Cheryl Strayed (Book about the Natural World) - This woman made a pretty impressive trek across over 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in California, on very little experience. Its not wildly exciting or climactic, but I did enjoy the read and found myself cheering her on to finish.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid : Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney (Graphic Novel) - It was nice to read a funny book after several non-fiction. It reminded me a lot of middle school drama from when I was a kid, which hopefully will help me relate to my kids a little better, especially as they get older.
How Shall We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer (Book by Frances Schaeffer) - I liked being able to brush up on my history of thought and philosophy. It is so interesting how thoughts from 500-600 years ago affect much of the way we think. Its a good call to revisit our presuppositions and where they have come from.
Future Men by Douglas Wilson (Book about Parenting) - The book helped me think more deeply about shepherding my son into a man, and how in subtle ways I could be discouraging some biblical traits he should have as a man. A good read for any father of boys.
When I plan a birthday party, my first thought is the cake. My second thought is the food. My absolute, very last thought in the planning process is what games are we going to play. My assumption is that the kids will get there, eat some food, and run around in circles having the time of their life, while we adults try to block out the noise and have a semblance of a conversation. However, kids seem to have expectations here. This has resulted in awkward situations of children asking what games we are going to play and Luke and I desperately googling some easy last minute games. And its worked okay. But something that's been a hit as of late at our parties is CRAFTS. This is a double bonus for me because 1) I love kid art and 2) apartments like ours are not always conducive to wild and crazy games involving tons of kids. Other benefits are that kids can do them as they please, so no need to wrangle 20 kids at once AND the crafts can double as party favors. WIN. WIN. WIN! So here it goes.. some of my favorite party crafts from the last few years...
Set up a table of assorted "beads" and let kids turn make their own wearable treat! You can purchase actual candy necklace beads, or go to the candy aisle and pick up whatever has a hole through it. Lifesavers are a bit too sticky, but gummy lifesavers, mints and cut-up Twizzlers are a few great options to get you started.
Most quick print shops like FedEx Office or Staples offer large-format black and white posters for just a few dollars. Find any free coloring sheet online, at a website like ActivityVillage or AZColoring, and get it printed out as large as 36x48 inches. Put this on the wall and kids can color and go as they please. Whats even cooler? Hang it up, post-party, in your kid's bedroom and they can enjoy their friends' work for the whole year!
Again this is a win for you. Not only do the kids have a blast, but you don't have to spend hours intricately decorating cookie by cookie. You may not have a roll of pinterest worthy photos, but you'll definitely have some adorable pictures of your kids making delicious food art.
During one of our many princess parties, I cut up a big sheet of yellow posterboard and set out all of the miscellaneous stickers, paints and glitter I've stored up over the last couple of years. Its a great way to purge your craft closet and entertain a bunch of kids! They had so much fun making their own crowns. For a superhero party, you could make masks. Or for a more generic party, kids can decorate their own party hats.
Overall, the best party crafts are the ones that are simple enough for kids to do on their own, yet also have some room for creativity to keep them occupied. After doing crafts at a couple of parties, I had kids asking "What craft are we doing?" at the next! Its a great alternative to the same old party games. Have you done some great party crafts? Let me know in the comments. I've got approximately 23 more parties to plan until all of my children hit the double-digits, at which point they can plan their own parties!
Once you have reached "D" week, you will have a nice collection of picture flashcards. These are perfect for playing a lot of great phonics games. Have the kids practice sorting them according to their beginning sounds, or matching them to the correct letter. Another fun way to incorporate all of the vocabulary is this picture story I have included with the free downloads. The kids will be so excited that they can help you read the story!
Add new verses to the Wheels on the Bus
-The doors on the bus go open and close
-The driver on the bus says please sit down
Jolly Phonics - D
See me play, on my drum
Playing drums is lots of fun
/d/ /d/ /d/ /d/ /d/ /d/ /d/
/d/ /d/ /d/ /d/ /d/
See me play upon my drum
(To the tune of "This Old Man")
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb is such a good one for D and goes hand in hand with our unit on body parts. Unfortunately I couldn't find a copy where I am, so I've been using this YouTube version. I turn the sound off and read it myself with the kids.
Go, Dog, Go tends to bore my kids by the end of the book, because there is no real story line. But its great for vocabulary words and prepositions, so I use a few pages at a time in my small group teaching times.
The D Coloring page will help reinforce the D vocabulary words. And there is a coloring page to go along with Harry the Dirty Dog from AZcoloring.com.
A fun and cheap activity that you can do with the kids is making their own drums. You can do this with materials as simple as a can and balloons. Check out this great tutorial from KidsActivitiesBlog. Of course, the bottom of a can will work just as well for a drum, if you don't have the supplies or time to make them! Let the kids bang on their homemade drums while you read Hands, Hands, Fingers, Thumb. They will have so much fun!
You are free to download my letter D coloring page and flashcards to use for personal and educational purposes. Please do not sell them or offer them as your own. Do give proper credit.
The flashcards are formatted for A4 and can be printed back to back, cut and laminated. There is a color and a black and white version in case you want to save on printing costs and do the coloring yourself.
Yesterday Luke and I celebrated our first decade of marriage. We booked a room at a super fancy hotel and splurged on good food and spa treatment. But honestly, it felt a bit anti-climactic in light of the last ten years. Last month we passed our record of longest time in a home (currently 2 years 4 months and counting). We've moved 6 times, been 'homeless' for 6 months, had 4 kids, earned 3 degrees, visited 6 countries and immersed ourselves in a completely different culture. Pretty much the only thing that hasn't changed is the fact that we are married! In light of that, I felt compelled to reflect on a few things I have learned about marriage along this crazy journey.
1. It's Universally Different
As I have integrated with other cultures here in Asia, hands down the most frustrating difference is marriage. Some of the ideas about marriage are so different than mine that it is impossible for me to accept them as good and right, even if I understand the reasoning. I have had to break down my thoughts about marriage, picking apart what is truly right and what is shaped by my own time and culture. The things I'm writing here are pretty general and widely applicable across borders, but I have learned that what I value in my marriage may be completely offensive or unpractical in another.
2. It's Possible!
In the last ten years, I have known lots of other married people from a variety of backgrounds. Luke and I have both been blessed to have really amazing and faithful moms and dads who modeled marriage well to us. Not all of my friends have had that. I have learned to be incredibly grateful for the faith my parents passed to me that marriage can work and is good and worth it. What a gift!
3. It's Not a Competition
"The Luke Special" is when Luke goes into the kitchen, does some crazy cleaning magic and leaves it more spotless than I ever could. It's awesome! But sometimes I actually get angry. Why? Because I think he is trying to "one-up" me, to point out that I was being lazy, just sitting on the couch. I am still learning this one, that marriage is not a scoresheet or a competition, and that this attitude will never produce selfless acts of service or love.
4. It's Best in Community
Luke and I have always had great friends. We even lived with our best friends for a whole year! I think having common friends that you can have fun and laugh with is a huge blessing. So many times it has helped eased our tensions with each other and bring us closer together.
5. It's Never Perfect
The advice I find myself giving most to friends that are getting married is this : "When you are struggling with something in marriage, go ahead and assume that everyone else has also struggled with that and talk to someone!" A lot of times we look at other people's marriages and think that they must be perfect and happy all of the time. We think we can never share what it is actually like at our home. Be vulnerable and talk it out with people. You will discover that you are not so weird or terrible after all, and you will probably come away with some great wisdom.
6. It's Not Just about Us
One of my absolute, favorite things to do with Luke is to host dinner together. I prep in the kitchen, he cleans up the house, and we welcome friends and strangers into our home for a fun night of games and laughter, a casual night of chilling in front of our favorite series, or a serious night of talk and reflection over struggles. There are a lot of other ways we serve together, but this is my favorite. Using your marriage to bless others takes the focus off yourself and puts selfishness into perspective. For more about this, check out this great book!
7. It Needs Quality Time, but not too Much
We have had times where we are with each other all day, every day. And we have had times where we saw each other once a week at Chick-fil-A (slight exaggeration, but that's why I thought the cow deserved a spot on our collage!). There is really something nice about missing each other and reuniting at the end of a hard day's work. While finishing school, I hated feeling like we were living two separate lives; but now that we work together, I find myself taking Luke for granted, way too much. So don't got to either extreme. If you find yourselves constantly arguing over petty things, examine where you are on the pendulum.
8. It's a lot of Little Days
Most of our lives and marriages are not shaped by big cataclysmic events, but little tiny moments one after another, after another. One thing that has kept me going in times when I didn't feel like it, is the knowledge that small moments of pride and selfishness over and over reek terrible consequences that are harder to reconcile. I don't want to get to that place. So don't give in to the small temptations and apologize quickly when you do.
9. It Gets Better with Time
Just the other day, I was really missing the first couple years of our marriage when there was less pressure, less responsibility. We worked a normal 40 hour week and could not wait to get home each night. We'd spend a whole Saturday watching Lost. We painted our house crazy colors and tried building flower gardens in our yard. Yeah, those are nice memories, but I know the importance of the hard ones too. They are the ones through which I have really experienced Luke's love for me, and in which I have been challenged toward better love for him. I know that by the grace of God, the difficult times make us better people, and in the end better spouses, resulting in better marriages. I am hopeful and excited for the future us, grown and matured for years and years, knowing and loving each other so much better.
10. It's Just the Beginning
Ten years seems like a long time to me. It's an entire third of my life! But if God gives us a few more decades, I am sure this first little decade will only seem like the beginning. I have learned that I still have a lot to learn, and a long way to go to consistently practice the things that I have learned.
There are some great kid words that start with the letter C. Who doesn't love cake and cars? A universal truth of kids in any country, speaking any language is that they love things that Go! When teaching the letter C, you can use toy cars for a variety of games. "Count the Cars", "Sort the Cars", and plain old "Play with the Cars" are all great filler letter C activities. When I teach the word comb, I also tie in some personal hygiene lessons, since we spend the first quarter of the year learning body parts as well.
Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake, Baker Man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can
Roll it, Pat it, Mark it with a 'C'
Put it in the oven for my friends and me!
(I know, I know, I changed the lyrics a bit, but I want to use C as much as possible. Make sure to use lots of hand motions on this one!)
Jolly Phonics - C
We are clicking castanets
/c/ /c/ /c/
We are clicking castanets
/c/ /c/ /c/
We are clicking castanets, clicking castanets,
We are clicking castanets
/c/ /c/ /c/
(To the tune of "She'll be comin round the mountain." I hesitated to use this one, because I didn't even know what a castanet was! But I ordered one off Amazon and we all learned together. If you don't have access or funds to buy one, you can make your own)
Here is the book list for the letter C. They are some of my favorites from the whole year. We read The Very Hungry Caterpillar all year long, especially as we learn about food groups in the second quarter.
The coloring sheet helps reinforce the vocabulary they learned of words that start with the letter C. The C is for Clouds craft gives good tracing and gluing practice. You can print it on blue paper, like I did, or have them color or paint white paper first. They can trace the dotted lines and then fill in the clouds with cotton balls, tissue paper or torn pieces of white paper. Its such an easy craft idea that can be modified with whatever resources that you have. For older kids, use blank paper and let them make their own fun cloud shape, like in the book "Little Cloud" by Eric Carle.
You are free to download my letter C coloring page and flashcards to use for personal and educational purposes. Please do not sell them or offer them as your own. Proper credit is appreciated.
The flashcards are formatted for A4 and can be printed back to back, cut and laminated. There is a color and a black and white version in case you want to save on printing costs and do the coloring yourself. The cloud craft is available in a full sheet and 2up.
If your students are 4th grade and above, there is a really high chance they have already learned something about color. They probably already know primary and secondary colors, but its okay to start back there if you want. When teaching about color in graphic design, you need to think back about the two parts of graphic design - form and function. I split the lesson into two parts to give adequate time to each. First we will look at the form, or how to pick colors that look good. Next we will explore the function, how to use color to effectively communicate your message.
If you are just joining me, you can start from the beginning here.
Picking the Right Colors!
There are so many colors out there. While a box of crayons can give you hundreds of color choices, the computer can give you thousands! That is a lot of options for our young designers. I have watched them sit at the computer and scroll through nearly all of them. The color wheel teaches us what colors naturally look good together. There is certainly a time to break color theory rules, but we need to learn them first.
To pick a color scheme from the color wheel, you need to look at where the colors are located in relation to one another.
Complimentary - Two colors that are exactly opposite on the color wheel.
Triad - Three colors that are evenly spaced apart on the color wheel.
Analogous - Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.
Split-Complimentary - One color, plus the two colors that borders its complimentary color
Double-Split Complimentary - Take two complimentary colors, and use the four colors that border them.
Monochromatic - One color with tints or shades of the same color.
Tints - A color with varying levels of white added.
Shades - A color with varying levels of black added.
When using one of the color schemes above, you can add in tints and shades as well. This creates endless color possibilities! I showed the kids part of this video to help them see the color schemes in action. A few samples are inappropriate for our young audience, so I made a note of the time and skipped over those parts.
Next, have your student practice with the different color schemes by having them fill in this color theory worksheet. I've provided a pdf which you can print and have them complete by hand. There is also a .svg which they can fill in digitally with either Illustrator or Inkscape. If you do the digital exercise, you may also want to download the CMYK guide for the color wheel. If have the time, you can give a short lesson on CMYK vs. RGB vs. traditional paint. But I haven't gotten into that at this point with my kids.
The last activity, you can do in class or assign as homework/extra credit. Have the kids search through old newspapers, magazines or product packaging and see if they can find some designs using the color schemes that you talked about.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our color theory lesson, where we will teach the students how to communicate their message effectively using color. Subscribe via the box on the right to get it delivered straight to your inbox.
I have a major confession. In the middle of writing this, I am ashamed to say, I just screamed and threw a major tantrum at our library people. We renewed our yearly library service this month. Yes, we have to pay for it! Don't ever think your taxes don't do anything! We get to check out 4 books at a time, and are promised new book deliveries every Tuesday and Friday. Pretty sweet, right? Except it never works like that. The website isn't accurately updated, the books aren't available and the delivery guy won't show up for weeks. But when I am having my finer moments, I really love and appreciate our little library. It has been a big help in some of the more unique categories. The first book on the list this month is compliments of it, as well as quite a few past books. Here we are, halfway through the year, 50 down, 54 to go!
The Walmart Effect by Charles Fishman (Book About a Hobby) - I think this fits into two of my hobby categories - shopping and watching Shark Tank. The book is several years old, so I would have loved to read an updated version. But I found it really fascinating. The author shows just how much power Wal-Mart has in the global economy, and how it has been used for both good and bad. One thing I found interesting was how much Wal-Mart avoids any kind of press, even in cases where it is positive. I don't think we should just point a finger at Wal-Mart. We should really all consider how Wal-Mart has redefined pricing for us, forcing their vendors and competitors to lower cost at any price. We should question ourselves if frugality has become too high of a moral good in our hearts. Perhaps there are a lot greater retail ethics to consider than... dare I say... the bathrooms?
In a Sun-Scorched Land by Jennifer Ebenhack (Memoir) - I always enjoy reading books about other people's cross-cultural experience. It seems that no matter which culture someone submerges in, a lot of the same internal struggles arise. Anyone interested in living cross-culturally would definitely benefit from the realistic portrayal of the numerous challenges they might face. It also recounts a heart-wrenching adoption waiting process and the fundamental struggle for all of us to trust God when we don't understand His plan.
Blame it on the Brain by Edward T Welsh (Book about Psychology) - I was initially interested in this book because I thought it might help me in several different counseling situations. But it was really helpful for me personally. He kept highlighting that most issues do have a spiritual and physical dimension and we must address both. Addressing only the physical, which is common today, may mask spiritual problems or leave us in continual defeat. Also, he kept stressing how important it is to be knowledgable on these topics, so we have greater compassion and greater understanding about the tangible ways we can help.
Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler (Book About Leadership) - The premise of this book was that a leader must possess deep belief and passion in whatever arena he is a leader. Otherwise he is simply unfit for the role. Mohler then outlines 25 core qualities of effective leaders. Twenty-five points is a lot for a book, so it just scratched the surface of each one. It was good and left me wanting further study in each area. I wish he had included some additional recommending reading at the end of each chapter.
Luke and I are married and have four little munchkins that travel the world with us. I blog about living overseas, travel, kids, education and graphic design.
@thetypetree Instagram Feed