Charlie & the Tramp {Review}

When I was a child I just loved Bread and Jam for Frances (all the other tales of Frances too really) and so when I saw there was a new book out by the very same authors, I was SO excited! This is one to that I must have for our library!


Charlie the Tramp

In celebration of their 50th anniversary, Charlie the Tramp is this lovely hardback edition! Originally written in 1966 by Russell Hoban, winner of the Boys Club of America Junior Book Award, 1968, Charlie is the cutest little beaver who aspires to be a “tramp.” Beavers work hard; they always have much to do.  But as a tramp Charlie could be free to explore and just have fun all of his days. But when he is tested, will he choose the work that a beaver must do?

This is such a beautifully written story;  a great lesson on the value of hard work. An example, throughout, of what it means to be family. Strong and supportive in every season showing love to one another. In so many ways this is an inspiration as to how a family ought to be.

About the Author:

Charlie the Tramp

Russell Hoban (1925-2011) first became famous for his children’s picture books about a badger named Frances and other animal characters that have a lot in common with our own children!

About the Illustrator:

Lillian Hoban (1925-1998), one of America’s favorite children’s book illustrators, is best known for a young chimpanzee named Arthur and his little sister, Violet. She also illustrated six of Russell Hoban’s books about Frances the badger, which have taken their place among the great classics of children’s literature. Lillian Hoban was born in Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art. She studied dance for ten years and became a professional dancer. She began to write and illustrate her own stories only after having children, basing her tales on their experiences.

It is classic tales like that which bring families together; books that have characters we can relate to; messages which help us to grow and become stronger in character. And timeless virtues all together with gentle images that make these characters dear friends to our children as they grow.

Let’s Start!

Ever since I blogged a few days ago about the importance and value of me having the course and the wisdom to just Stop It!, I have felt like this is still more I need to do. And then, of course, I realized that when we stop, the next thing we do is to “Go”.


While I have made clear to myself and my kids what it is exactly that needs to stop, perhaps there is great value in letting them know what we need to do. How can we start? So that we can go forward in a way that is good?


So here I am  ready to share what it is that we plan to start!


START spending time in the Word daily, praying in the Spirit – NO Excuses! And in the morning when they wake while I am in the midst of it all, they may join me. Learning alongside me.




START making kids responsible for breakfast and lunch, they can help one another get their cereal or toast; they can learn together instead of expecting me to serve them. And they can help me with planning meals and preparing them (mine love to help chop vegetables, mix dough and make good stuff in the kitchen).




START limiting screen time. Regardless of wthe fight that may ensue.  We will not have good and strong relationships sitting before screens.  When they are grown and gone, this is not the memory I want them to have of their days with mom and dad.




START disciplining when obedience is lacking. Not after 3 or 4 times either. With a right spirit, the value obedience needs to be taught.



START teaching our kids to help; to help mom and dad, brother and sister. With a good spirit!



START planning our meals. And sticking with it. Consistently. And with the kids helping we are sure to have some fun times planning, prepping, and eating too!



START minimizing the stuff. Some things just have to go. Especially if they cannot be cared for properly. Things ought to have a place; if the kids cannot help clean and keep things in their proper place, those things simply have to go.




START treating my children as my neighbors, which they are. Jesus says we are to love our neighbor. I need to speak to them and treat them accordingly. All the time. Showing meekness, gentleness, a quiet (but firm) spirit.



START finding ays for Dad to get more involved, especially with the boys. Activities and projects that encourage them to learn what it means to be men and grow up seeing it for themselves.




START teaching my girls (one is only 18 months so …yeah) what it really means to be a Godly girl. Spending time with them doing those things that encourage a spirit and character that is pleasing to the Lord. Having that tea party; playing dolls, learning to sew and craft together.




START ignoring the whining and the manipulation. No tolerance for these things.



START seeing each day as the blessing it is; rejoice in this day the Lord has made.



START being and sharing the things that we are thankful for!




START praying together. For one another and for ourselves.




START learning together; making our home a place that breathes life into others. That is full of ways to learn and play that are good!



START being a mentor to my children; not a demander of “work to be done” but an encourager and an inspirer of opportunities!


This is my plan. These are the things I will (we will all) start in our home and family.



What about you? Anything you would add?

Blessings in Bible Journaling

I admit I am not a very creative kind of person. Being that I am a bit of a perfectionist and a little OCD too, it’s quite a challenge for me to really create. But I do so desire to be able to enjoy it and eventually truly create my own beautiful things and so I really was quite excited about the opportunity to review a Bible journaling kit.

This little box was full of all kinds of good things for making things lovely as you spend time in your Bible. And I admit I was surprised at how much was in this little box. What a pleasant surprise this was!

This is full of lovely stickers to help personalize your time in the word of God. And it really makes creating so much less stressful too!

This is such a wonderful little set for anyone who has a creative Spirit about them and loves the Word of God.   or even for young lady who needs some encouragement getting into the Bible.

I am excited to say I have one of these to give away on my blog too!   What a wonderful way to encourage and inspire yourself or someone else in need of a bit of peace.

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This is the perfect way to encourage others to cultivate those things that are lovely!

Classical Academic Press’ French for Children {With an Amazing Giveaway!}

My eleven year old son has quite the love for foreign languages. Since we hosted an exchange student from France, he has been studying French informally, using various online videos and podcasts. He even started a notebook of his own with the words he knows but I know from my own experience studying languages, that at some point we need to formalize our learning. There is so much more than just memorizing words and having a proper pronunciation (as important as those things are).




In the last few years we have got through quite a bit of materials because of his interest in languages. We have studied Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese and a bit of Hebrew, some Latin and Greek…I was wary to invest in more materials for him while at the same time eager to encourage this interest of his. So when I happened to see that Classical Academic Press (whose materials I really do love!) had a program,  French for ChildrenI had to learn more.  Perhaps this would be “just right” for him.




Their motto is “Classical Subjects Creatively Taught,” which is something that really strikes me because, that is how I want to see learning happening. There is such power in learning that is engaging, and encourages creativity.  This kind of learning is what inspires and makes kids into lovers of lifelong learning too. And I want to see that as much as possible with my children.




The complete program of French for Children Primer A includes the following:


French for Children Primer AFrench for Children Answer KeyFrench for Children DVD




Classical Academic Press was so very generous in gaving me a copy of this curriculum for review purposes, and so I here I am, sharing our experience with you!  French for Children, Primer A is recommended for grades 4 and up. There are 17 Chapters and they offer a variety of weekly schedules to help you complete this program in half a year or an academic year (thirty weeks).  We appreciated having these to use as guides as we study.  Especially since we tend to be so relaxed in our schooling; without incentive we can sometimes park on a topic for weeks! And while I love to encourage that too, there is great value in learning how to complete things in a timely fashion!




French for Children has a very immersion style feel to the program! They use lots of dialogue, translation, vocabulary, dictation, grammar, and there are quizzes too. We used this quite a bit since my oldest son really needs this kind of thing to reinforce what he is learning. Plus it encouraged him to start his own little “Book of French Vocabulary” to track his learning for himself. He even began to record himself “teaching other kids French” as he learns. Now they may seem impossible, too much – but it really isn’t at all. This is all presented in such a way that it really is quite enjoyable!





French for Children Primer: Chant and Audio Files contains all of the pronunciations as well as dialogues, grammar chart chants, complete vocabulary, conversation journal words and phrases, Say It Aloud exercises, dicteés, and lots more! These files are great to load onto an mp3 for listening to or even as we are in the car, for some of our longer drives. (And right now we do have a few of those!)  This was an especially great resource for my son!


This is a very involved and very thorough course. I admit when I saw everything that this was made up of, I was a bit concerned that my son was going to be in over his head.  I admit, I was not sure this would inspire my son to continue learning. I will say, I was thrilled to find my son eagerly completing lessons and watching the videos each day. Often I would even find him repeating lessons previously completed; again the fact that he chose to complete lessons repeatedly even, its a huge compliment to this program.  In a season in which he has really been struggling with a desire to learn those beautiful and good things, seeing this light a love within him, it warms this momma’s heart.



We jumped right in when this arrived. And we learned after the fact that it really is important to watch the first DVD before beginning. This will give you a better understanding of this course while helping you to understand the structure of the lessons and explaining all of the different aspects that are a part of it this program.




What we have used and enjoyed, I have tried to share a bit more below but there really are so many wonderful things about this program…I could start writing more but not sure how long you want to read. haha

Listen to the Dialogue – There is a story being told; as you listen to the audio follows along while listening to the audio. This is partly in French, partly in English and introduces new vocabulary. She gets an idea of what the new words mean from the context and tells me what she thinks is happening. The dialogue translation is in the back of the Student Text.



Chant – phrases & sets of words to learn proper pronunciation. My son will put on his headphones and listen. I love hearing him speak he has quite good pronunciation if I may say so myself.



Vocabulary – There are about ten new words to each chapter. My son writes these in his notebook of French words he knows and he likes to go over these throughout the week.

Video – The videos are about 45 minutes long; these are full of information. There are times my son will watch one video in one sitting; other times he may watch a little here and there throughout the week. These are very helpful to my son (me too!) and there are times we will watch a video again because there really is so much you can get out of these.


Grammar – There is grammatical instruction involved in this course; this is taught very creatively so its not overwhelming at all.


Worksheets & Quizzes – Within these are exercises in translation, verb forms, grammar exercises, charts to complete.These are all great for reinforcing what is being learned.


La dictée – The dictation exercises are all on the CD. Interestingly, in France dictations are done similar to our version of the spelling bee. Sounds like a really fun thing to me!




Now we really have recently been striving to do more in the style of Charlotte Mason and I have to say this is something that fits quite well with her method. We are actually reading (because it was mentioned in the Introduction, The Fables of Jean de La Fontaine) and seeing more and more how the dialogues within this program weave together with these tales. A wonderful and creative way to help engage our children as they learn!




As you begin your studies in Primer A learning subjects and verbs; infinitives, verb conjugation, tense and noun gender you not only learn these things but you write them and read them and say them. You use them so that they are more than just another lesson to complete but are a cultural immersion experience. As a former exchange student and a host mom to many exchange students along the way, immersion is a wonderful (probably the best) way to learn any language. And as you learn, you create your own conversation journals and fun dialogues to practice conversation, letter writing and so much more! I haven’t fund yet a better and more enjoyable way to learn than this.




Since we have been using this we have also been encouraging regular use of additional songs and stories in French, to listen and read along. We even have a couple primers we are using to read, online, in French, that my son is really enjoying.   remember reading not long ago but if you wanted to really learn a foreign language. Reading and writing it and hearing it again and again. This program is just that.




Classical Academic Press has for your review a 64 page pdf from French for Children: Primer A  the student text you can download and try out if you want to learn more about this program. There is also a free audio MP3 sample and the you can watch the video below, this is the first chapter in the program  (it is about 45 mins long). If you have a student who is interested in learning French, maybe they even learned a bit already, this is a wonderful program to consider.  And there is always for some fun practice!






You have a chance to win!

Classical Academic Press are giving away two French for Children: Primer A bundles for USA residents! Just use the Rafflecopter form below —

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Stop It!

Mommas….. I have been so tired. 

I have been so ready to quit.

Ready to throw my sweet little ones on a school even.

But then I heard those words….


I heard it so clearly. 

Stop doing it all.

Stop not teaching them how.

Stop making excuses for them and for yourself. 

Stop going it alone and do it instead together. 

Stop saying one thing and then doing another. 

Stop promising and threatening what you know you will not carry through. 

Stop entertaining and filling their every moment for them but let them be bored so that they can explore. 

Stop cleaning up their messes.

Stop making each one exactly what they want every day for meals.

Stop needing to fulfill every wish and want.

Stop trying to be superwoman.

Stop being more than you can.  More than you need to be. 

Stop serving and answering every demand.

Stop thinking they need to be happy all the time.

Stop believing the lies. 

Momma I encourage you to simply stop. 

Can’t I Surrender?

I have been reading lately a lot more than usual.


There is some guilt that comes along with this because….I have four children who are all home educated and are always wanting my attention.




Recently  I have felt the need to explore more teaching from rest. It’s something very new to me. Something very needful too.


And the more I read the more sure I am that I need to let go….


I need to surrender ALL to HIm….



When it comes to teaching….and resting….training up these little ones (and no so little ones) it cannot be done without total surrender to His will.


His will for my children. For my home. For my marriage. For our education. For me.


It may or may not look like what I expect it to BUT I know this….


When I just SURRENDER ALL to Jesus, there will be a peace and a power like no other.


It is in this SURRENDER we find freedom and walk in faith.

Faith in what is unseen but known.



Make Me Over

Any of you who have been reading lately you probably have noticed but I have been feeling about stuck as of late… I think of it as my time in the desert I suppose.

Regardless I know that we are not meant to wander in the wilderness forever. And I know but I can spend is meant to be something that helps us to grow. In so many ways this can be a blessing to us if we allow it.  

Then I read something the other day which spoke to being made over spiritually. Having never been one for makeovers I really was unsure of what to expect. With three children who seem to do nothing but bigger all day every day and lots of unexpected stressors for my husband and I…. what could it hurt?

I have to say the introduction alone really grabbed me. The first words that I read reminded me that my kids are not my report card. It also reminded me of the value of practical ideas and activities for modeling good habits and focusing on training up our children spiritual practices. After all isn’t the whole point of this to be making disciples?

I admit to being quite surprised how much power was within just the first words of this book. This was a wonderful reminder of the need to spend time in prayer and in the word of God.  At the same time what a reminder of the value of finding ways to serve others and give.   we cannot encourage our children to do that which we are not doing ourselves.

And because you may be just as tired and worn out each chapter encourages you with a practical approach to the discipline that is being studied. Whether it is finding community in the church or giving back to God there are lots of wonderful recommendations for how to do that.

And there are even discussion points or worksheets to go through. As we near the season which I know can be a strain on so many people giving and reaching out has been at the forefront of my mind. How to encourage my children and get them to spend time giving as well.  

I heard someone say once that we need to move beyond just surviving. We cannot live this life for Christ just making it. And I am reminded of that again and again as I read. How important it is for us to take the time to rest and for us to reach out to others not just sharing our faith but also those blessings which God has given to us.  There is such joy and Power in being one of the chosen of God but we lose that if we aren’t careful.

I noticed is when all it seems we do is break up fight and run from the next thing to the next thing. Or what about those days when we just can’t seem to finish anything. Does anyone else have piles all over their house? Shelves but we haven’t been able to finish organizing or bedrooms that are a disaster because we haven’t been able to finish swapping the seasonal clothes. It happens and when it does it’s so important for us to rest in the Lord.  

I think of how within the Bible it says we are not to be weird. And yet isn’t that so hard sometimes? Yes perhaps that is one we most need a spiritual makeover. Perhaps that is when we need to go back and revisit those things which the Lord has done for us and in us and around us. Perhaps that is why we need to start again. Why not? Why not go back to that time a wide-eyed Delight. That time when whatever the Bible said to do we did with such joy and enthusiasm.   if we faint not…..

Where Jesus Slept

Are you looking for a book that will be fun to read and gently teach the story of Jesus birth?

Reading is such a great way for our kids to learn!  Nothing could be better than curling up together with a good book.

The illustrations are lovely and so warm.  I love how real they seem too!  Every page is a joy to discover with even my littlest one.

You almost sing as you read each page.  It flows so smoothly one page to the next.  This story is one to enjoy again and again.

Written by Norman Lewis and illustrated by Katy Hudson, it’s one sure to be a treat for your whole family.  And what an important lesson for our children to know.

O how Jesus loves us!