Friday, August 23, 2013

Seven Quick Takes (Random Edition)

Seven Quick Takes

(in which I reveal how random and disjointed are my thoughts...
but it IS Friday, so what did you expect?!)


Who came up with the spelling for Worcestershire sauce??? Seriously, WHO?  Was that really necessary??  I think about this every six months when it comes time to put it on my grocery list...  (but it is oh so delicious!)


The fact that I usually have no idea what my children are doing outside for hours at a time is simultaneously a case for pride, guilt, and fear.


I'm thinking of starting a study which will determine if large amounts of peanut butter chocolate pie can have a positive affect on pregnancy headaches.  I will be the test group.  I have not found anyone willing to be the control group...

it's all Mary's fault for pinning this a couple weeks ago!


If peanut butter pie isn't your thing... how about these little Chobani Greek yogurt Bites?  These things have been one of my favorite snacks this summer.  It's like a dessert, but I call it lunch.
They even recently added a mint chocolate flavor, which I was first skeptical about, but now I realize that it is kind of like eating mint chocolate chip ice cream in the middle of day (except it's yogurt.)


I knew when I became a mom I'd have to put up with some rather unpleasant things - obvious stuff like messy diapers and kid vomit (the kind doesn't make it into a toilet or pail) had crossed my mind.  But some stuff is so gross it still takes me by surprise.  Like the diaper of a toddler a few hours after blueberry picking.  No one should ever have to change one of those.  Or how about little bits of gross nature that your kids think are fascinating and really want you to take a picture of, even though there's a very good change you might vomit on the sidewalk with nary a toilet or pail in sight.  Here's an example of what we've been scouring the neighborhood for on morning walks...
WHY is Ruth smiling at this???

Oh. my. gag...  Sorry I even put this on here.  But really, I'm subjected to it... you may not claim an exception ;)


The boys don't play enough games on the iPad to necessitate an entire post on games... but the two they do play I think are worth mentioning.  (aren't Quick Takes convenient?  Jen's a genius.) 

Game boys like #1 - Rush Hour

The player is presented with a board of cars and trucks (apparently in a rush hour traffic jam) which you have to move in as few moves as possible to get your red car out of the vehicular jumble.  We have the actual physical version of this game, which the kids play as well(and I also recommend), but the app comes with tons more puzzle cards per level.  I'm a huge fan of games like this - you know, the kinds that require kids to think, strategize, plot and plan.  AND it can be played independently, so it's perfect for afternoon quiet time.  I'm always interested in expanding our collection of this type of stuff, so I'll take your recommendations of similar items very seriously.  

Game boys like #2 - Trains, Boats, & Cars (kids version)

This is another spacial planning/strategy game in which the player has to lay track, road, or waterways for the various modes of transportation.  They have to intersect at appropriate places so the vehicles don't crash, and you also get to pick up coins along the way to use toward "clues" as the levels get harder.
My only complaint about this game is that both the boys finished every level, so even though the recommended age was 4 - 12, I don't think they boys were challenged too much even as the difficulty supposedly progressed.  I still haven't checked out the version for  older players, but because they enjoyed this one so much, I may consider it for the cold winter months!


I've been reading Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (Anthony Esolen) - along with a great group of ladies, which makes for stimulating adult conversation - oh so highly prized among stay at home moms.  Anyways... I leave you with this thought to ponder:

...boys simply will not develop their characters if everything is always kept perfectly safe for them...

How refreshing, to be assured that allowing for investigation, exploration, initiation, and wacky inventions (usually involving rusty nails, fraying ropes, and an entire roll of scotch tape) despite the hazards that all conscientious moms are keenly aware of, is actually part of character development.  I always thought it was just a convenient way to get some quiet time to myself ;)

* * and there ends the randomness * * 
Until next time, friends.

P.S. Thanks, Genius Jen, for hosting... and in fact for making it super cool to fill an entire blog post with random disjointed thoughts ;)  Click on over to Conversion Diary for a dizzying array of 7 Quick Takes!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Curriculum Plans, 2013-2014

September is nearly here... fresh notebooks, unmarked workbooks, crisp covers, full boxes of crayons, and brand new No. 2 pencils. I'm dizzy with delight!  I love back to school time!  I love new school supplies and books - there's so much promise. And I love school plans - there's so much possibility. 

And that's important to remember.  A plan is what's possible. It's not what will definitely, absolutely, without a hitch transpire.  It's just a plan.  It's not an anvil hanging over my head, waiting to drop at the first sign of not happening.  But for me, having a plan at the beginning is important because it offers direction and an element of certitude that I may need to rely on in the future: "yes, I did actually think this through at one point and believed it was not only possible, but was good." 

I love reading about other home schooler's thoughts, and book recommendations, and plans.  And I'd love to chat about our choices if you want to comment here!  But, I say this to myself as much as to anyone else - feel confident in your decisions; use what works for you; don't keep looking for the next best thing if you've already got something that's working well; you can't use every wonderful program out there; make changes when necessary; don't compare kids and curricula; enjoy your kids' education.

There's a million different ways to homeschool.  Here's what works for us.  Here's how we've enjoyed lessons so far. Here's what we're planning on... 

Aaron, Grade 2


Math U See, Beta Level (This level looks fun!  I can't wait to start it, but we are still finishing up the end of the Alpha Level - you can read about that and our summer school here.)

My Book of Telling Time, Learning About Minutes, from Kumon. 
Telling Time With the Judy Clock, and Geared Student Clock
I bought these things last year, but Russ teased me saying, wasn't I smart enough to teach the kids how to tell time without fancy workbooks and stuff.  So I returned them aaaaannnnnnnnnd... no one learned how to tell time last year.  So we're taking the workbook route this year - and the iPad route - we'll use Freefall Time for extra practice.


Handwriting Without Tears, Printing Power

Copy Work - in the past, this has included portions of books we've read and songs we've learned.  This year, I also purchased Quotable Saints to use for copy work.  

I think I am going to start cursive with Aaron in our second semester.  But I'm not crazy about the HWT cursive program... so I'm going to try it on my own, or use a generic cursive book. I'd appreciate any suggestions or recommendations on this one!  


Still working on proficiency.  We'll continue to work our way through the Books to Remember, Decodable Literature from Flyleaf Publishing.  I've reviewed the series here - I LOVE them, so if you're looking for K - 2 readers, check 'em out!  

We'll probably also do plenty of Frog and Toad, which Aaron really enjoys.  

Language Arts (for extra practice)

Language of God, Level A from Catholic Heritage

Daily Language Review, Grade 2 - despite the title, we probably won't do this daily, because that just sounds maddening - doing one or two questions a day - We'll probably try to finish a lesson in a week's time, even in one sitting if possible.  


Grammar of Spelling, Grade 2 - I'm really looking forward to checking out this series.  I was attracted to the fact that it's no frills and that it's reproducible.  So, if we like it, I'll stick with the program (I think it goes through 6th grade?) and I can use it for the other kiddos.  (psst - I linked to Amazon, but it's cheaper at Rainbow Resource Center.)

Dominic, Grade 1


Math U See, Alpha Level (I have a suspicion that we'll be taking it very slowly, and using the MUS on-line worksheet generator for a lot of extra practice.  And that's ok!  I'm trying to remember not to compare my own kiddos, let alone bringing their friends into the "game.")  

My Book of Easy Telling Time, Learning About Hours and Half Hours, Kumon.
and the Judy Clock stuff... (see above explanation for the necessity of fancy telling-time equipment)


Handwriting Without Tears, My Printing Book 

Copy Work, I'm thinking this year it might be nice to use the poems he memorizes for copy work, but I haven't decided yet. 


Again, we're taking it slow.  We'll keep working through the CHC Little Stories for Little Folks AND....
I'm so excited!  I finally decided to buy the Emergent Reader Series from Flyleaf Publishing!!!!!  If they are as great as the Decodable Reader series, you can bet I'll be writing up some fabulous and gushing and bordering on Flyleaf Publishing Stalker reviews.

Language Arts (for extra practice)

Daily Language Review, Grade 1


Last year with Aaron, I used the first grade spelling lists from  I planned on using the same for Dom, but at the last minute I decided to buy Building Spelling Skills, Grade 1. Knowing Dominic, I think he'll do better with a workbook to use and I think it will be better for him to start off with the shorter lists.  This book starts with lists that are only 5 words and the lists grow as the book progresses.  

Combined Lessons for both boys:
* indicates subjects they will cover at tutoring with review at home

* Grammar

English for the Thoughtful Child, Volume 1

* Latin

Song School Latin, Books 1 and 2 

* History

Story of the World, Volume 4

* Literature

Book list from Tapestry of Grace, Year 4, Lower Grammar Level - typically follows along with, and is related to, the History lesson.  (The Study Center the boys attend follows the Tapestry of Grace classical homeschooling curriculum - so we're along for the ride as far as history and lit are concerned.)


In the Fall the boys will take two classes at our local science museum - I think the topics are sort of physics related - simple machines and how to move stuff by natural and man-made means. Right up their alley! 

In the Spring, we'll very casually read aloud from Exploring Creation With Astronomy, from Apologia, and perhaps do a few experiments here and there.  

Nature Study - we'll keep looking for flora and fauna (and rocks, of course) around the neighborhood, collecting what we can for our nature tray, using our field guides, and adding to our Nature Notebooks.  


Daily Geography Practice, Grade 3  

We've also been working on identifying the continents, oceans, large countries, and other places of interest.  I'm not sure where I'll take this, but I'm hoping to add some map memorization in with our other memory work.  


Jesus Our Life, Faith and Life Series 

Child's Bible History, Rev. F. J. Knecht, D.D.

New Catholic Picture Bible - We read through this last year, about a story a week, and I was just going to do it again this year.  But I obtained a copy of The Children's Bible through a curriculum swap, so we'll probably use parts of it also.

The New St. Joseph First Communion Catechism - Well, actually, we're still waiting to hear if Aaron will be able to make his First Communion this year, but we'll be starting Sacrament prep so that he can receive his First Reconciliation at our parish. 

The Weight of a Mass, a Tale of Faith Josephine Nobisso

The King of the Golden City, Mother Mary Loyola


I typically only ask for narrations after we read Bible stories. This year I may also consider using them as we read some of the other books for religion, and perhaps for the Apologia Astronomy.  

Poetry and Other Memory Work

A year and a half ago I would have scoffed at the idea of memory work but it's actually become a significant part of our school work.  In the future I may consider a program like Classically Catholic Memory.  For this year, we are just going to wing it and use our poetry anthologies and these CD's:

World Geography Songs
States and Capitals Songs
Grammar Songs
Math U See Skip Count CD
First Language Lessons, Level 1 and 2, Companion CD
Audiobook of Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses
Favorite Poems for Children (Classic Literature with Classical Music)


Last year I found that instead of one artist a month, we did better with one a quarter.  This year we will study American artists Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Norman Rockwell.  "Studying" an artist involves library books and picture study using prints from wall calendars. (TIP!  I get current year calendars in the summer discounted at 50% or more from  We also try to do an art project in the style of the artist.

For drawing, we use the Draw Write Now Series.


Like art, we'll study a new composer each quarter.  We're pretty much going in chronological order - last year we covered the Baroque and early Classical period.  I haven't decided for sure yet, but I think this year we'll focus on Beethoven, Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Brahms??  Maybe?  As for resources, I don't have anything finalized yet, but in general, I recommend the Classical Kids series of stories on CD, the Masters of Classical Music series (because it covers all the well-known favorites of each composer), and the Music Masters series which includes music and short biographies.  And library books!

For singing we'll do the same as last year.  We'll learn patriotic songs, folk songs, and hymns.  For patriotic songs I like Wee Sing America (even if you don't go for children's chorus recordings in general, I still recommend this because the words and pronunciations are very clear and they sing several verses of the songs that most people only know the first of), for folk songs we've used the easy piano book Go In and Out the Window, and for hymns I borrowed a hymnal from church and made some photo copies - for personal use.  

The assessment we're using this year is the California Achievement Test.  Hope I don't regret it...  

Ruth, "pre-K" 
Ruth enjoys being part of the school day, so she gets some lessons to work on if she shows interest.  Last year she joined in for music, art, poetry and memory work, religion, and science. I'm assuming it will be the same this year.  She has a handwriting book and a vast array of letters and numbers activities.  Anything else she learns is probably because she overheard it while she was looking for leftover breakfast food under the table ;)  

We'll also continue to use our fancy shmancy iPads!  Here's my post with the apps best suited for our school lessons
Whew.  I think that's it.  We've already started this year (I'm calling summer school "early first quarter") and I'm hoping to finish at the end of May.  Dragging on into June this past year was just too painful for words.  We'll probably take off a good chunk of time at Christmas and Easter.  And we'll see what we can hold together around the time our sweet baby is born in January! 

Questions?  Comments?  I love this stuff!  I could chat books and resources all day, so let's talk! 
And thanks to Micaela at California to Korea for the fun (for us nerds) linkup!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things (My 100th Post!!!!)

Just celebrating my 100th post by sharing a few of my favorite "things"...  

Our 17-week old!! (due in January)

(ps - Russ is really at the top of my "favorites" list, but he was at work and missed the mediocre photo shoot.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Who Wore It Best? (my first linkup!!!)

Even though I'm usually really good about avoiding celebrity gossip and "news" on the internet, once in a while I'll get sucked in by a "Who Wore It Best?" headline.  I know I shouldn't care, and I actually really don't, but... once in a while it seems like an entertaining way to spend 90 seconds.  

A few months ago, Tricia at Making It Feel Like Home, posted a "Who Wore It Best" and I knew that I'd have to follow suit at some point!

No celebrities here. Not even any gossip.  Just one Gymboree shirt from their Spring 2007 collection...

Who Wore It Best....?

Aaron, Spring 2007 
Dominic, Fall 2008
Clare, Yesterday
and I tried like the dickens to find a photo of one-year-old Ruth wearing this thing in the Summer of 2011, to no avail.  But so that she wasn't left out, we put it on her this morning...

Sassy Miss Ruth, today

It's not really a competition.  I mean, really... do you think I'm going to take kindly to someone picking one of my cute children over the others??  It's more of a commentary on the life of a hand-me-down.  

Do you have pics of an item of clothing being sported by two, three, four, or more of your kiddos?  Link em up here and put it to my discriminating readers... Who Wore it Best?  

* * * * * * 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Might be a Literary Hypocrite

Just a quick post on something that's stewing in my brain. What's really supposed to be happening is me cleaning up the house while Russ has the kids at the playground for a run-em-around-to-get-them-super-exhausted-so-they-go-to-bed-without-a-whimper fun time.  But instead I'm wondering if I'm a hypocritical snob when it comes to literature.

We received this (free) book in the mail today:

by Anna Dewdney, of Llama Llama fame

So while the house was quiet, I thought I'd check it out.  Bleh. It starts like so:  Every little bunny's good.  They mostly do the things they should.  But sometimes feeling sad or mad can make a little bunny... BAD!

It then proceeds to list (and illustrate!!) what bad bunnies do - grab toys, hit and kick, scream and shout, burp and spit, bite, and all manner of toddler atrocities.  I almost tossed the book out right there.  I just can't stand books that so explicitly set forth bad behavior, even if it is to be corrected by the end of the story.  And I really don't need a book to illustrate to my children that some (even my own!) toddlers behave this way. They've seen it in real life and they know how Mom addresses it.

But... I read a little further.  Before transitioning into the behaviors that good little bunnies "should" emulate, the book reads, Nobunny's perfect, that is true - but aren't you glad this isn't YOU?

I froze in my tracks.  Well, actually I was sitting down, cozy on the couch, so I was already stationary, but whatever. This simple phrase called to mind one of the poems the kids memorized last year - one that turned out to be a favorite of all.  

The Goops
Gelett Burgess

The Goops they lick their fingers
And the Goops they lick their knives.
They spill their broth on the table cloth--
Oh! They lead disgusting lives.

The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew;
And that is why
I'm glad that I
Am not a Goop.
Are you?

Kind of similar???  And I started to wonder... am I a literary hypocrite.  Am I disgusted by modern literary bad behavior, but think it's charming when I know it to have been written at the turn of the 20th century?  (For a little more info on Gelett Burgess, here's his Wikipedia blurb.  Did you know he invented the word, blurb????  That kind of claim to fame can't go un-admired!)

This is a very curious problem I have here.  A book and poem similar, and yet not equal.  I'm fairly certain I won't be keeping the bunny book.  For to make matters even a little stickier, author Dewdney noted on her dedication page, "and with gratitude to Beatrix Potter, who knew bad bunny behavior when she saw it."  She's got that right... but Potter's naughty bunnies always got their just desserts.  (or Peter actually had to skip his) And it's always after a rollicking good tale in which children instinctively know that Peter, or Benjamin, or whichever little critter, is up to mischief and is headed for trouble... or a punishment!  This book, unfortunately, not so much in the spirit of Beatrix Potter (Note, another turn of the 20th century author), just depicts naughty bunnies without story or life lesson, and just leaves us with a sticky sweet, No bad bunnies... Good for you!  

I guess it may be a double standard, or a preference for old fashioned things, or just plain old hypocrisy, but I'll take Burgess' table manners wit and Potter's bunny "morality" tales (I know they're not really "morality" tales, but you know what I mean) over our newly acquired bunny book any day.  Call me crazy, cooky, or stuck in the past, but I'm passing on Nobunny's Perfect.  Let me know if you want it - you pay shipping ;)  

Shoot - the van just pulled up in the driveway and I haven't cleaned up anything...  Gotta go!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Headline: "Mom Test Runs New Scare Tactics in Home"

I just read this article this morning...

"Cop Cardboard Cutout Used to Cut Crime at Massachusetts Transportation Hub", wherein a strategically placed cutout of an imposing police officer has proved enough to reduce bicycle thefts by as much as 67% at a  Boston area subway station.  

This could be a very effective tool for moms in their own home. I mean, you know stuff happens behind your back.  You didn't witness it, but the aftermath is there: cookie crumbs leading from the pantry to a certain bedroom, a cerulean smear where it's obvious someone tried to clean up a spill of blue paint, or a shirt with a large zigzaggy hole in the back and a mysteriously missing pair of pinking sheers.  ("Mom, I mean it.  Those jagged edges are from shark's teeth.  A shark attacked this shirt, Mom.")

Can you imagine the effect that a cardboard cutout of Mom might have around the house?  A glaring face strategically placed above the cookie jar?  A wagging finger next to the art supplies?  A crossed-arms mom right behind her sewing supplies?  Or the best idea of all - a  mom who folds out of the fridge when the door is opened, sort of like a life-sized pop-up book.  There's a lot of potential here - the power of mom's steely-eyed gaze limited only by the number of old cardboard boxes you have to cut up.   

We don't even  have to form a research committee or launch any field tests to determine if this could work.  The effectiveness has already been proven by a major metropolitan police force.  If it works for them and major metropolitan criminals, surely it can work for me and my petty crimes crew. 

This concept is either sheer genius, or lazy parenting at it's worst - Mom resorts to scare tactics when she realizes her attempts at cultivating well-formed consciences in her children may not be working as well as she thought.  Either way, I had to know if this was a viable option.  

I decided to give it a try...

I have to admit, it had worked better in my imagination.

Perhaps you'll try it and have more luck.  Where would you keep a cardboard cutout mom??

Friday, August 2, 2013

Audio Books and Stories for Kids (a list of what we love)

(My best list for making Quiet Time better)

* * * * * *

I recently promised a friend some ideas of books on CD for kids. I also recall a few friends asking for some similar suggestions about a year ago.  In the world of newbie bloggers, this can be interpreted as "hoards of fans are holding their breath until I post my list of recommendations."  Haha. 

I'm actually doing this for myself.  Because it really will be helpful for me to have a centralized place for keeping track of what we read and listen to.  And as a bonus, it's all in here in black and white for anyone else who's interested.

My youngest two kids still nap in the afternoon.  My oldest two have mandatory quiet time which involves listening to books and stories on cd (and maybe drawing, Legos, or puzzles if I'm feeling generous.)  We also often listen to stories in the car. We've amassed quite a collection of cd's and have a bevy of favorites that we take out of the library on a regular basis.  I have no parameters as to what's appropriate or what I'll allow them to listen to (despite some really obvious objections...)  I decide case by case, and sometimes there's no rhyme or reason - just my gut.  For instance, in general, I'm not in favor of violence, but we listen to the Chronicles of Narnia and Robin Hood.  Or again, some stories have occasional crude words, ("You silly ass" shows up in Peter Pan, I think) but I don't rule it out and instead remind the boys that just because you hear it in a story doesn't mean that it's now an approved part of your vocabulary.  And of course, you have to take content into account - Sarah Plain and Tall is a wonderful book, but it's all based on the fact that the children's mother died, or... it's edifying to listen to the lives of the saints, but are your kids ready to hear about martyrdom?  You get the point.  I've tried to discuss stuff like that with the kids before we launch into a book, but even I've been caught off guard by books that had words or content that took me by surprise.  

Without going on and on as I am prone to do... Here's a list of what we've read/listened to.  Keep in mind that my boys are 5 1/2 and 7.  I'd love to get your suggestions also!  (For those of you who are local, I've starred the items that are available through the local library system.)  

Sorry there aren't more links.  I just wanted to get this done. I may try to add some another time.  

Books on CD (in no particular order, except that maybe our favorite are nearer the top)

* Little House Series, Laura Ingalls Wilder  (they are ALL available through my local library)

* Mr. Popper's Penguins, Florence and Richard Atwater

* Tales of Beatrix Potter, Beatrix Potter

* Charlotte's Web, E. B. White

* Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne

  Treasury for Children, James Herriot

* Three Tales of My Father's Dragon, Ruth Stiles Gannett

* American Tall Tales, Mary Pope Osborne

* Tales from the Odyssey, Mary Pope Osborne

* Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis (we have only allowed these after we have read the books out loud together)

* Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling

The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling (we've read an abridged version, and Aaron had read Riki Tiki Tavi at tutoring)

* Ribsy, Beverly Cleary

* The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum

* Bless This Mouse, Lois Lowry

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

* The Cricket in Times Square, George Seldon

* Black Beauty, Anna Sewell (we read it aloud first)

* Heidi, Johanna Spyri (read an abridged version first)

* Bambi, Felix Salten, adapted by Janet Schulman

* The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett (had read an abridged version first, they listened to an unabridged recording)

* Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie (same note as above)

Robin Hood (a one hour version from DK Classics)

* Truth and Life New Testament (yep!  they have it at the library!)

* Magic Treehouse Collection, Mary Pope Osborne (if you're not familiar with this series, I'd probably recommend checking it out for yourself before letting the kids listen/read.  For the most part I like them, and the boys have learned a lot from the stories, but the later books seem to get into a little about sorcery??  I'm not too sure what it's all about because we've stuck with the earlier volumes.  If you've read the later ones and have a better-informed opinion than mine, please let me know!)

Next, I think, on our list to read and then listen to: The Wind in the Willows and Sarah Plain and Tall & Caleb's Story , and Five Little Peppers and How They Grew

Other Worthwhile Recordings that are not "Books"

* Chronicles of Narnia,
Focus on the Family Radio Theater (our library has at least two or three of these)

* Grimm's and Hans Christen Anderson's Fairy Tales, performed by Danny Kaye

Pecos Bill, performed by Robin Williams

Irish Folk Tales for Children, MORE Irish folk Tales for Children, Sharon Kennedy

ANY of the Glory Stories (stories of the Saints) from Holy Heroes.  We especially like Volume 1 (Blessed Imelda and Juan Diego) and the more recent ones - Blessed John Paul II, Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, and Blessed Miguel Pro.  The boys also really like the Holy Heroes audio version of the Stations of the Cross.

ALL of the Classical Kids CD's - stories of great composers
     Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery
   * Mr. Bach Comes to Call
   * Hallelujah Handel!
   *  Beethoven Lives Upstairs
     Tchaikovsky Visits America
     Mozart's Magic Fantasy
   * Mozart's Magnificent Voyage
   * The Song of the Unicorn (early music)
   * Classical Kids Christmas (a lovely collection of stories and songs, not secular) 

Anything from Jim Weiss at Greathall Productions.  I am saving my nickles and dimes to get a hefty collection of these stories.  But for now, these are the ones you can get at *our* local library...
   * A Christmas Carol and Other Favorites
   * Tales from Cultures Far and Near
   * Best Loved Stories in Song and Dance
   * Fairy Tale Favorites in Song and Dance 
   * Celtic Treasures 
   * Come On Seabiscuit! by Ralph Moody (a full length book)
(note: I'd say the last two on the list are probably best suited for children a little older than mine...)

Lastly, "think outside the box" - to use an already overused phrase.  It doesn't have to be a spoken drama or book to be a good story.  For example, the boys know the story of Joseph from the Old Testament very well so they can understand and appreciate the soundtrack to the show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.   Or, after reading/listening to Peter Pan, they really enjoyed the soundtrack from the Mary Martin Peter Pan.  The love to listen to stuff like that at rest time, too.  It's "story" enough for me!

* * * * * *

I think that's it for now.  But don't forget these VERY important points...

Kids scratch CD's.  Copy them to your computer before you hand them over so that you have a digital backup for when the inevitable happens.

OR - go digital.  Buying the MP3 version of a recording is often cheaper than buying the disc.

OR - do both - Did you know that if you buy an actual physical CD from Amazon, it will automatically go into your Amazon Cloud. You can play it via your tablet or other mini device as long as you have internet access. 

And, lest you think I really know what I'm talking about... I barely do.  We still use old fashioned cd's and occasionally my tech-savvy mom feels sorry for me and helps us get set up with a digital recording here and there.  (Seriously, without my mom, I'd probably still be reading paper copies of everything.  Or typing this post on a typewriter...)

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