Tag Archive: kids

From California to Africa

As the family and I are continuing to learn more about our Compassion child, Sergio, and his family, I have found some great children’s books that give all of us a glimpse into the vast and beautiful continent of Africa. Happy reading!

clip_image003I Lost My Tooth In Africa
by Penda Diakité

This is the true story of Amina, a girl who lives in Portland, Oregon, as told by Amina’s older sister, Penda. It’s the story of Amina traveling to see family in Africa as a small girl and her excitement at discovering she had a loose tooth when she was on the plane to Bamako, Mali.


I Lost my Tooth In Africa is a delightful tale filled with colorful drawings by Amina and Penda’s fa,kkkther, Baba Wagué Diakité. She tells of daily African life, shares a few words in Bambara, the national language, and there’s even a recipe for the African onion sauce talked about in the book. D loved reading this book with me and I loved learning more about African life with him.


clip_image002Chirchir is Singing
by Kelly Cunnane

“High in Africa,
wind like a cat paw
wipes the sky clean.
Chirchir, Born Quickly, is singing.”


And so begins this beautifully lyrical tale of a young girl of the Kalenjin tribe of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. She goes about her day, wanting to be a help in any way she can to the members of her family. Whether it’s Mama gathering water from the well or Big Sister spreading a new floor in the family hut, Chirchir wants to help.

But, Chirchir is small, inexperienced, and her family is like a lot of us – they get exasperated when her “help” turns into more work for them. Along the way to each family member, Chirchir sings her own little tunes of what she sees, hears and smells in her homeland.

The artwork is beautifully done in this book and throughout the story the reader gets to learn a few words and phrases in Chirchir’s mother tongue of Kalenjin and Swahili. One final note: it wasn’t until I had read the book several times with D that I took some time to read the Glossary on the last page. I was pronouncing Chirchir as “CHUR-chur” when it’s really said as “CHEER-cheer”. This discovery made the story even better.


A domestic Thursday

The pastor speaking at church this past Sunday intertwined his skill of baking bread into his sermon. He literally baked a loaf of bread during the service. At first I thought it was all just a set, like the bread and the oven were all props of some kind. But near the end of the sermon this delicious aroma crowded out any hopes of being able to pay attention to what the pastor was actually saying. All I wanted was that bread! Then he pulled it out of the oven and broke the bread (it was communion Sunday, after all) and my mouth was practically watering as I watched the heat rising out of the freshly baked loaf.

I was only slightly upset that the congregation was not given a sample on our way out the door!

And I was inspired. If this guy can make his own bread, then surely the same can be said for me! So to the Interwebs I went!

Needless to say, there are about a gajillion highly informative ways to make bread, with all kinds of tips and tricks, methods and warnings to heed. I decided to go with a recipe from the website Delectable Planet which included a video, being the more visual learner that I am.

Since I had plenty of whole wheat flour on-hand, then whole wheat bread it would be! I already knew it was easier and (probably) cheaper to just go to Costco and pay the $6 for my 2 loaves of Oroweat Whole Wheat Bread. The point for me to make the bread was partly to share in the experience with my youngest – just a “me and him” kind of thing. I also wanted to see if I could actually be successful at it. Last, I wanted to know if the taste would actually be worth the effort and expense of continuing to make it myself. I don’t own a bread machine, so I knew this would be an all-morning adventure and of course, the upside to making your own anything is that you’re well aware of the ingredients. Here’s all I needed for 2 loaves of whole wheat bread:


I thought I would use the King Arthur flour but I ended up having enough of the Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour, so that’s what I’m judging the bread on – not the King Arthur brand.

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Season firsts and hopes for next year

This has been an interesting holiday season for me. For starters, we’ve had several “firsts” in our little family this Christmas.

After 4 years in this house, we finally put up the Christmas lights, thanks to the help of my ever-lovin’ pa!


D has always loved driving around town looking at lights and “blow-ups” that people decorate their front yards with. I was able to score a nativity inflatable for us at one of last year’s Christmas clearance sales and the boys could not wait to see it out front this year.


This was the first year one of our kids had a chance to participate in a Christmas play. D was cute, funny and surprisingly a natural on the stage…especially in front of the microphone!

This was also the first year we enjoyed the annual Christmas parade in town. It’s never been a huge draw for Hubs and I with the boys being so little, but D’s school participated in it this year so I couldn’t really say no to going. I was surprised at how well he handled himself, wearing his cute hat and handing out candy and school brochures to the kids along the way. Apparently the holiday parade is a 2nd Halloween around here…SO.MUCH.CANDY!!

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A thankful moment

As my foot crossed the threshold into my kitchen from the garage this evening, my youngest boy “chose” that moment to vomit (as in, projectile vomit) all over himself, my arm and our kitchen floor.

My mind immediately went to a state of thankfulness. Not because of my views on vomit (see my earlier post here), but because of the timing of this particular incident.

I was so thankful he decided to let loose inside our home, on the linoleum floor, and not on our already spotted and worn carpet.

I was so thankful he had kept his contents inside his stomach on the drive home from the birthday party we had just enjoyed, and that those contents stayed put during the 2 hours spent at the gymnastics center at which the birthday party was being held.

I was so thankful D was still buckled into his car seat and not right in front of L as we came through the door.

I was so thankful it was the end of the weekend rather than the beginning of the weekend as this was undoubtedly the busiest weekend for our family this month.

I was so thankful, once again, that Hubs was home and readily available to come to my aid when he heard my groan of “UGH!” come out of my mouth. I chuckled when he later told me that he thought I had spilled a drink when we came through the door.

I was so thankful I still had 20 minutes before we were expecting the babysitter so I didn’t have to tell her at the door that she wasn’t needed that night after all.

All of that ran through my mind the first 5 seconds after the spew.

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What could a dragon, an old lady & a pig have to do with each other? It’s time for another round of Library Book Reviews, of course!

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Me and My Dragon
by David Biedrzycki

I couldn’t tell what I liked more about this recently published story: the pictures or the story itself. Let’s start with the artwork.

clip_image002Smashingly bold, but not “babyish.” It really speaks to the young male reader with it’s dark use of reds and blues but still allows for that “innocent” connection with the facial expressions of the characters. I love love love the red dragon in every single picture. It makes me want a dragon!

The story is simple but full of imagination. Didn’t you know there were 7 Tips For Raising a Dragon? One obvious tip is to Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy, of course. But how about NEVER, EVER Feed Him Broccoli? Yep, bet you never thought of that one before!

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