Simple Kids Reader Favorites 2009

candlereflection Photo by Serge Melki

Tonight, the sun will set on 2009, and we’ll welcome 2010 with enthusiasm.

I wanted to take a moment to tell you all thank you so much for making this year such an incredible one for Simple Kids.  It’s hard to believe it has been nearly a year since Simple Kids launched in January 2009!  This community has been such a powerful encouragement to me.  Thank you.

Here are some of the most popular discussions from the past year:

The Need for Nature

Let Go and Go with It

Separating Yourself from Your Children’s Stuff

The List: Children’s Literature We Love!

Come On: Get a Little Muddy!

6 Peaceful Solutions for Hitting and Anger

Finger Food: 11 Ideas for Breakfast and Snacks and Finger Foods: More Ideas for Toddler Meals

Celebrating Our Unique Families

Again, thank you so much for reading and participating and building such an amazing community of like-minded parents and care-givers.

Happy New Year and best wishes for you and your family in 2010!

Special Edition Showcase: DIY Robot

Last week, a blizzard and an internet outage and holiday travel combined to prevent me from sharing a weekly Showcase with you.  However, my friend Rachel of Small Notebook emailed me a Showcase idea that I absolutely cannot wait until this Friday to share.

The week between Christmas and New Years often allows for lots of downtime for families – downtime that can be both a blessing and a challenge.  I think the spirit behind this project may inspire some DIY fun in your home:

It started innocently enough. My husband Doug sat down with Lane to practice writing letter L’s, but soon they grew bored with that and drew a robot instead. Doug didn’t realize that at 6:30 the next morning, she would insist on making that robot.

With only a little coffee to help get him started, he looked around to assemble robot parts: pennies for eyes, a rubber band mouth, canning jar rings for feet, and lots and lots of tape. Soon Lane had a new BFF for tea parties, nap time, and even a trip to Home Depot.

“Why do we buy toys?” my husband wondered.

The next day she wanted to paint. Most of the time when she asks to paint, I try to think of any reason not to, so as to avoid the cleaning up. But this time, following my husband’s lead, I said, “of course we can paint!” and she went to town decorating her robot with muddy browns and purples.

20091219 - Lane and Doug drawing

20091220 - Lane and robot

20091220 - Robot

Isn’t that so much fun?

When our older daughter carefully constructed puppets for a puppet show using just brown bags and markers, my husband also wondered why on earth we buy toys for them.

May this week bring much creativity and innovation to your home!

What We’re Reading: Santa’s Prayer and ‘Twas the Night Before Christ

This week, Simple Kids book reviewer Amy (Girlfriends Get Real) shares two Christmas favorites from her family’s collection:

santasprayerEvery year on Christmas Eve, each of our children receives a new pair of pajamas and a Christmas book to add to our library. I am always trying to find new and unique books to give. This year I came across a book by a South Dakota author called Santa’s Prayer. I ordered the book from the site Santa’s Prayer and 100% of the proceeds from the book are donated to the Children’s Home Society of South Dakota.

Santa’s Prayer is a story of a brother and sister that follow Santa on Christmas Eve as he enters a little church. They see Santa knelt down by the manger so they move closer to hear what he has to say. The story captures Santa praying about the children he will visit that night. He is praying that he hopes the children he visits will realize that Christmas is about so much more than the presents under the tree. The true meaning of Christmas is about Jesus Christ.

This delightful story was exactly what I was looking for to add to our Christmas library. Santa does visit our house, but we always try to keep the focus on the real meaning of the season. This is the second children’s book written by Tom Roberts.

nightbeforechristmasThe first is a story titled ‘Twas the Night Before Christ. This book has been one of our favorite books for years. It is a story that follows the famous rhyme by Clement C. Moore. However, it follows Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus.

The illustrations by Steve Hoffman, (also the illustrator of Santa’s Prayer), bring the story to life. One of my favorite pages from the book summarize the book so well. “And there in the hay on that first Christmas morn, a baby boy-child, a Savior, Jesus Christ was born! His eyes how they sparkled, his face all aglow and the goodness of God showed from head to toe.”

Simple As That: Reconnect with Nature

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I never cease to be amazed by the power of community, and I am so thoroughly blessed by the community here at Simple Kids.

Last week when I shared some thoughts on Resisting the Rush, Erin of exhale. return to center shared this thought in the comments:

i had lost track of when christmas is (despite two advent calendars!). i thought there was an extra weekend between now and christmas and earlier this week when i realized there was not, i went into quite a tailspin.

what helped to get me out of it was getting outside. my kids and i spent yesterday afternoon hiking in the woods talking to the gnomes and fairies, photographing moss, listening to birds.

it was just what i needed to refocus on what is important to me during this special season…simple beauty, magical moments, and being fully present with my loved ones.

today we’ll spend some time making ornaments for friends and then getting back outside for another nature walk!

(And Erin shares more thoughts on this in her note to self: go outside post.)

Oh, how badly I needed to hear this encouragement!  I must confess to being cold-weather-resistant.  It has been chilly here since December began, and I’ve chosen huddling inside my warm home over getting outside.  After I read Erin’s thoughts on the power of reconnecting with nature, I realized I was suffering from a lack of outdoor inspiration.

My toddler and I put on coats and hats and went for a brisk nature walk.  We were delighted to find bunches of still-green needles and pinecones right in our backyard.  We gathered them up, and now we have a nature display right inside our front door (pictured above).

For more inspiration from our Simple Kids community, make sure to read through the comments and follow the links in the Spotlight on You! Showcase from last Friday.

Read more on celebrating today’s Winter Solstice here.

What is the weather like where you are? Have you been able to get out and connect with nature at all?

December 18th: Spotlight on YOU!

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We are absolutely up to our eyeballs in glittery sugar and swirly ribbons and holiday cards and all manner of Christmas business in our home this week.  To be very honest, I’ve really not had much time at all for blog reading, so I’m afraid I don’t have any weekend links to share today.

I do, however, want to open up the Showcase to you this week. I know so many of you have shared incredible recipes, posted precious pictures, and published inspiring words this month.

I would be honored if you would take a minute to share your link in the comments!

What would you like to showcase this week?