Practical solution for a 3-year old's clothes

About a year ago we put Adelia's clothes in these (cheap IKEA) bins as a temporary solution while we figured out where to permanently put them. It only took me a month to decide that this was indeed our permanent solution. I love this storage option, and if we had more room underneath the beds I would do this for Audra's clothes, too. It's so simple.

Two bins.

One for tops, one for bottoms.

Very visible, those clothes, which is great for my little girl who likes to change her outfit every 12 minutes.

Tidiness doesn't matter so much. If the clothes are in the bin, I'm happy.

She can easily put her own laundry away.

The bins have wheels for easy access.

They slide right back under the bed and are out of sight!

It works for us!

View of my bed these days

{as I plan out next year's school schedule}

If you can believe it now that I've shown you the pictures, each year I do get a little more organized. I'm just a visual person and need to have it all laid out in front of me as I go. ;)

"To pack" list for young children

We have a few trips we're taking this summer, and in an effort to be more efficient, I made a "to pack" list for each of the kids, specifically thinking of the non-readers in our home.

Actually, I made a master list. That way, I can keep the master list and just make photocopies for when we need to use this list again! I left a blank line for them to fill in their name and blank lines so that I can fill in the quantity of items they will need to pack.

(I think they'll think this is a fun game when it comes time to pack!)

Africa on my heart

I'm reading a book right now called Passport Through Darkness. It is opening my eyes to the horror of what is going on in Sudan, specifically- but elsewhere, too. Read it and you'll see what I mean. I feel a little undone by it all~ praying so much and asking God what else we can do (we give a little, here and there, and we pray... but- surely there is something else we should be doing.)

Here are a couple of excerpts from the book:

We learned that while sexual slavery is most commonly associated with Southeast Asia, it is actually growing faster in Eastern Europe and Africa than anywhere else in the world. This is mostly because of the swelling population of orphans and street children, the "throwaways".

Most of the churches we visited focused focused on salvation, forgiveness, Bible studies, and doing good works-- almost exclusively programmatic things taking place within their four walls. We could find none that taught about the reality of extreme poverty, how vulnerable those conditions made women and children to trafficking, or about a biblical response required from the church.

In a ten-month period, we lost 278 orphans. The number-one cause of death was not thirst, not malnutrition, not disease. It was animal attacks, mostly by wild dogs or hyenas.

To keep from being eaten in the night, many of our homeless orphans slept in trees. Tragically, some of them fell from their bed branches to their deaths.

That image in my mind juxtaposed against the knowledge that my own children are tucked safely in their beds tonight in our home? It is so unsettling to me.

* * *

Today I clicked on a couple of news videos about the drought going on in East Africa and my heart is heavy for the people there, too-- specifically the women and the children.

Tonight I shared with the kids a little about the book I've been reading; I want them to know because they are faithful little prayer warriors, and their faith is great and they pray big prayers. I showed them one of the videos I saw today, and then we gathered on the couch and prayed together as a family. Each of the kids prayed, and then I closed in prayer. As I finished my prayer, Ella interjected one final prayer:

"And Jesus? When the (malnourished) babies do die, and they get to heaven, I pray that you would just take them onto your lap, into your arms, and tell them how much you love them. Amen."

I loved that, and I wanted to remember it.

Shortly after that the kids decided to start saving money for Africa, so there's a jar sitting on our table that now holds coins emptied from piggy banks and they are full of plans to decorate that jar tomorrow.

Narration ideas

So often when my kids do narrations I forget that it can be so much more than simply a verbal retelling of what we've read.

Yesterday when I was cleaning out some stuff I came across these notes* I once jotted down of narration ideas, so I'm putting them here on the blog in case I need to find them again someday, and in case this list might help some of you!

You can have your child...
...Draw a picture
...Set up a scene with toys, and verbally act it out
...Put on a paper doll production
...Do a skit/play
...Draw/sketch the story on the dry-erase board or chalkboard, explaining what happened
...Create 3-5 questions and then have one of their siblings answer (or you!)

The times where I have varied it up are the most memorable times-- and the ones the kids still talk about. A few things we have done for creative narrations...

-After we've read something from the Bible or our history book, I've said, "Okay. Now act it out!" And off they go... choosing parts, playing it out, asking for their "lines".

-I have had them recreate a scene/story with LEGOS or Playmobiles.

-I've had them draw pictures.

When I found that list again yesterday, I was encouraged to get creative with our narrations for next year. And since I'm madly working on my "Master Schedule" for next year, I may even *schedule* what creative method I'll ask them to do for each narration.

Are there other things you've done in your home for narrations that I can add to my list?

*I can't remember where I read/gleaned these ideas from. I'm not even sure these are all from the same source. But if you have seen this list elsewhere, please do let me know so that I can credit the source!

Book list: Favorite read-alouds and Ella's list


We read a lot of books this year, but here are just a few of our favorites:

Gentle Ben
The Secret Garden
Summer of the Monkeys
Winnie-the-Pooh (this is the second time we've read it, but we all loved it all over again.)
Otto of the Silver Hand

* * *

Ella, at 9, still loves to read. Unfortunately for her, I don't have a lot of time to preview/find new books for her, nor have we been able to spend much time perusing the library selection for books for her, so truthfully, the bulk of what she read this year were re-reads of what she already has on her shelf. (See previous book lists for those titles.) Her go-to repeat books are usually always the Little House books (including The Martha Years, The Caroline Years and The Rose Years books) and the American Girl books she has on her shelf.

I do still try to write down nearly every book she reads. (Heck, I figure I might as well only do this ONCE, right? I have two other little girls growing right up and they will need book suggestions, too.) A smattering of the books from this list I picked up at used bookstores/library sales, some were recommended to us and we checked them out at the library, and some of them we just discovered on the library shelves. Without further ado, here are the books I have listed that Ella read this past year (excepting the re-reads):

{book list for a nine-year old girl}

Socks by Beverly Cleary
Rosa Takes a Chance (Susan Martins Miller, Sisters in Time series)
Cricket in Times Square
The Little House in the Highlands (The Martha Years; Melissa Wiley)
Madeleine Takes Command (Ethel Brill)
The Skippack School
Walking the Road to Freedom (Jeri Ferris)
Lillian Thrasher (YWAM biography; Janet and Geoff Benge)
some Boxcar Children books she hadn't read before (#1, #117...)
Summer Days with the Moodys (#5; Sarah Maxwell)
Viking Adventure (Bulla)
The Blue Hill Meadows (Cynthia Rylant)
The Little Silver House (I discovered this gem at a library book sale. It's a sequel to the book The Golden Name Day. Lindquist; illustrated by Garth Williams!)
The Three Baers, The Triplets Fly High (Bertha Moore)
Stone Fox
The Little Princess (previously a read-aloud; she read it on her own)
Kidnapped by River Rats, The Chimney Sweep's Ransom and Spy for the Night Riders (Trailblazer books; Dave & Neta Jackson)
The Trumpet of the Swan (pretty sure this was actually a repeat, but she loves this book)
The Tanglewoods Secret
Little Visits with God
Trails to Treasure (Ginn basic fifth reader)
Bread and Butter Indian (Colver)
Bread and Butter Journey (Colver)
Indian Captive (Lenski)
Homer Price
Adopted Jane (Daringer)
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Tumtum and Nutmeg books (Emily Bearn)

Happy reading!