FREE online books

This is one of the more exciting things that I’ve come across in quite a while. For individuals who have not downloaded or purchased an e-reader to receive free e-books, this is a great alternative (or addition). I recently stumbled upon TWO sites that have free books online. Truly the internet is a marvelous tool.

  1. Online Storytime at Barnes and Noble: Here you will find a nice selection of books read BY THEIR AUTHOR in a quasi-animated video. (The video pans in and out on the book’s illustrations.) Not only does it include some all-time and seasonal favorites (in December they’re spotlighting The Polar Express, Strega Nona, and Where the Wild Things Are, just to name a few), but I think it is especially neat that the authors are reading the stories. How many times have you read a children’s story and wondered where the emphasis would be placed if the author was reading it? Exactly. Not to mention, it might be a nice alternative to the TV when you need about 10 minutes to get your life in order with small children around.
  2. We Give Books: This site features online books that you actually read. You can click through the pages full-screen and zoom in and out on the pictures. It requires more attention by the adult, but it can be set up nicely with one switch for students with special needs. I think it truly is a great way to allow students to “flip” through a book, who might otherwise be entirely dependent upon others to turn the pages. (Also, it expands your personal library in a matter of seconds.) They have a number of popular titles (The Little Engine That Could, The Tale of Peter Rabbit) as well as some new books, too (Llama, Llama and Goodnight iPad). Added bonus? If you sign-up (it’s free, so why not?), for each book that you read, they donate a book to a literacy charity of your selection – until January 2012. SO. GREAT.

Happy reading!


Children of the Kingdom

“I just don’t like all the shirts and clothes that are out now that say things like ‘princess’ and ‘spoiled’ and stuff.”

I overheard a conversation a while back where one mother was lamenting to another about the graphic apparel that’s out now for babies and children. There are so many things that say “spoiled brat,” “I get what I want,” “little princess,” and the like.

Overhearing this comment got me thinking: what’s my opinion on the matter? (I truly hadn’t given it too much thought up until this point.) But, since I have a several nieces and nephews now (including the blessing of TWO of them being our godchildren) and a ton of friends with small children, I want to make sure that I’m providing the best example of Christian living. (At least, that’s the hope.)

Immediately, I first thought, “I agree – these hardly seems like attributes you want to accredit your child” (especially if they’re wearing “spoiled brat” while having another meltdown in public – not helping the cause, mamí). But, then I started to reevaluate my thoughts. Okay, so ‘spoiled brat’ isn’t exactly promoting the Christian virtue of generosity and humility, but what about calling a little one ‘prince’ or ‘princess’?

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God … and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Romans 8: 14, 17

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:5

St. Paul tells us that we are not only brothers and sisters in Christ but also brothers and sisters OF Christ. And, Isaiah references the coming of the Christ-child as the PRINCE of Peace. So, if we are children of God and joint heirs with Christ (His brothers and sisters) and He is the Prince of Peace, then wouldn’t this make us princes and princesses?

I absolutely love how Sheila Walsh has taken this to heart. She has capitalized on the secular focus of the term and reclaimed it for Christ as she created a whole children’s series based on this same logic. Her books star a fictional little girl, Gigi, God’s Little Princess, who isn’t always perfect, but she is taught by her parents that she is loved as a daughter of God, through it all. And, so as to not leave the boys out, she has a wonderful series for boys, too, called, “Will, God’s Mighty Warrior.” You can bet that these books will be coming around more often in our family soon – the stories are wholesome and the illustrations are superb. (No, I’m not getting paid for this promo – I really am just a fan.)

Anyway, so the next time I’m walking through the baby section in Target (which if you know me at all, you know this will be more than likely sometime within the next 24-48 hours), I might just be picking up a little “princess” sleeper (or two …) for one of the many sweet little girls (and princesses) in my life.

Big thanks to Sheila Walsh for her work. (Also, bonus is that she currently lives in Frisco – who knew?!)

Star Cave

How about pulling out the Christmas decorations a little early this year? (My sister-in-law showed me this idea, and I think it is totally cool.)

What you need:

  • large cardboard box
  • pen
  • strand of Christmas lights

What you do:

  1. Take the pen (or paintbrush or something with a similar tip) and poke holes in the top of the box.
  2. Push the Christmas lights through the holes and tada! You have a star cave.

You can make it darker by covering the opening with a blanket and such. Feel free to get really creative and make actual constellations that you can find outside at night later!

Big thanks to Play at Home Mom for the original idea!

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