Archive for October, 2009

Process vs. Product and Your Preschooler

When planning projects and activities for your little preschooler(s) it’s important to understand process over product. Children learn by doing, not by simply producing something that’s of beauty to us as adults. As adults we are focused on the end result, whether it’s writing a provoking story, painting a beautiful picture, or arriving at a destination. Children, unlike adults, take their time and care less about the end result of their work and more about what happens along the way. As children age the end product will look more “correct” to us as adults, but that doesn’t mean the child whose product looks wacky didn’t learn anything through the process. To read more about this concept and get ideas for preschool art projects, check out Preschool Art: It’s the Process, Not the Product by MaryAnn Kohl.

Here’s an example of some work my daughters and I did recently. The first picture is my product. I did the project in front of them, so they got to see how I did it instead of just seeing the end result.

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This next picture is what the girls produced. The craft on the left was done by my nearly 5-year-old Caley. Generally things are in the right place and proportionate to one another. The craft on the right was done by Amelia, who just turned 2. You can tell that hers has all the necessary elements but things aren’t in their “correct” places. Obviously we were going for a Jack-O-Lantern but hers is a bit unconventional.

pumpkin project

Both girls learned similar things during this project but their crafts turned out differently. We cut pipe cleaners and shaped them into eyes, a nose, and a mouth, and this reinforced learning shapes and emotions (happy or sad mouth). We mixed the colors red and yellow to make orange and they painted the paper plate which reinforced the color wheel and fine motor skills of mixing and manipulating a paintbrush. Then we placed the face elements on the plate, which reinforced positioning of body parts.

As Amelia was doing her craft, it was difficult for me not to “correct” her and prompt her to put the eyes, nose and mouth in the “right” place. I had to remind myself that she will eventually produce a craft that is “correct” and it’s not a big deal for now if her products turn out this way. She is still learning and still had fun doing the project, and that’s really the goal.

Check out these links for ideas on preschool art projects, and please share any that you may have!

Art for Young Preschoolers

Preschool Lesson Plans and Activities

Christian Preschool Printables

What are your thoughts about “process vs. product?” Is it ever challenging to not worry about the finished product when doing projects with your kids? What other home pre-school or  home-school topics would be of greatest interest or help to you?

(Post by: Addie)

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Visa Trips- One JOY of Missionary Life

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We’re off to Finland bright and early tomorrow morning. I haven’t been 100% looking forward to this trip simply because we HAVE to go and we are being forced by visa laws to be away from home.  It’s part of the job. Recently though, God showed me what a ridiculous attitude I’ve had! “Oh poor me. I HAVE to go to Finland!” Who in their right mind complains about something like that? Honestly, what a whiny attitude for me to complain about such an amazing blessing.  I am thankful that God has been gracious enough to let me see the folly of my thinking before the trip so I can enjoy a better perspective while there. Thank you God! Now instead of seeing it as an un-pleasantry of missionary life, I am choosing to view this as one of God’s great blessing for many missionaries. It is hard to get past the inconvenience of time away, the hassle of travel, and the financial cost of these trips and to view them as a gift, but the reality is that we have a 100% guilt free opportunity to relish the beauty of another culture and land! We don’t have to spend our vacation fund, we don’t have to feel bad about taking time away from our usual work (though we’ll have other work to do for sure), and we’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some “forced” solitude as we wait. Thank you God for letting us go to Finland!

Are visa trips a regular part of your life now or have you taken such trips in the past? How has God blessed you on these trips?  What places have you had the chance to visit? Do you have any other examples of recent trials that were actually blessings in disguise?

(Post by: Ashley)

Candle In The Corner

candle in the corner

I wanted to remind everyone that the Candle In The Corner event is starting the 27th at Moms, Ministry, and More! I hope you’ll all stop by this event and perhaps take a moment to add the button or post a link to this on your own blog if you’d like.  Several of us here are participating, so I know we are all especially looking forward to this event! You’ll have opportunities to learn about new ministries and countries, to pray for God’s work around the world, and to contribute to this work while at the same time entering to win one of a number of unique raffle items from around the world! Thank you again, Heidi, for your heart to bless others through this event! It’s going to be fun!

Ministry at Home

Mom and babies

I have been reading and thinking through a great article posted on Reviving our Hearts, and it is so good and thought provoking that I wanted to share it with you. The post is titled Ministry at Home.

Like this article discusses, it is so easy to define “ministry” as something that happens outside of the home to people outside of our family and to forget that the most significant ministry that we’ve been entrusted with as mothers is right in front of our eyes… or our knee caps!

Of course it is also 100% true that God has called us and fully enabled us to be salt and light to those outside our family as well. By suggesting this article I am not discouraging anyone from doing the “ministry” that you are called to, BUT I do think it is so very necessary for all of us to examine how we are doing at our primary ministry, that being to our family, before we look elsewhere for ministry opportunities. Motherhood is hard, time consuming work and will by necessity demand the bulk of our attention and heart! We need to evaluate and ask God how much He is actually calling us to beyond this great calling that exists in the daily ministry of motherhood. God gives mothers an abundance of opportunities to be salt and light while never neglecting our primary calling, meaning that our  families should never need to be sacrificed for “ministry.”

Two things are true. We are clearly instructed in the word to value and excel at our work as wives and moms, and we are also very clearly instructed to be faithfully holding out the word of life. I think all of us can tend towards focusing on just one or the other of these callings. It is easy to be focused exclusively on our lives at home and to forget to forget to participate in the ministry of reconciliation that we have been entrusted with, or we can become wrongly convinced that what happens in the home is not as significant as the ministry that happens outside of it, and thus neglect our highest calling.  Since many of your families are in ministry or are strong believers, I am assuming that you might battle the temptation to forget the value of your work as moms as you see all of the other ministry opportunities around you. I know that it is a temptation for me if I don’t consciously combat this lie.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and article! I’ll leave this post up for a few days to give you time to think and respond if you need. Do you ever find yourself believing that “ministry” is something that happens primarily outside of the home? What helps you place a correct value on your role as a wife and mother? Do you wrestle with the opposite challenge of struggling to look outward? Would you like to share your thoughts on finding the right balance?

“…and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure,working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:4-5

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

(If anyone is looking for more great thoughts on this topic of ministry at home, please check out the post Mothering As Ministry from the Stay-at-Home Missionary blog.  Joy’s blog is absolutely one of my favorites. Her blog actually where I first found the link to the article above. She is a wise woman and all of her posts on motherhood are so encouraging and convicting.)

(Post by: Ashley)

Shepherding A Child’s Heart Conference- Free Online

Biblical Parenting

I thought I’d pass along this great resource to you. Many of you have probably read or at least heard of the parenting book called “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp. It is an excellent book that leads parents in how to parent their children beginning at the heart level rather than striving to achieve obedience simply through behavior modification. Tedd Tripp did a conference at Mars Hill Church earlier this year largely based on the principles from that book, and all of the conference sessions are available online in either audio or video formats. I hope some of you might enjoy and be blessed by these resources! (Click the icon for the link.)

Pumpkin Spice Lattes for Missionary Moms

spice latte

This post is devoted to all of those Starbucks holiday drink lovers out there who are sacrificing Pumpkin Spice Lattes for the glory of God. Whether this sacrifice be due to lack of availability in a foreign land, or simply the fact that it costs about as much for one season of lattes as it does to put a kid trough college, God is certainly pleased with your willing sacrifice. But He is also loving and merciful and thanks to the internet and genious people who are willing to share their recipes, He has decided to bless us with the ability to bring this delicious beverage into our very own homes for a fraction of the cost.

I was searching online today to find out a good recipe for vanilla coffee syrup and I found a number of awesome pumpkin spice lattes recipes as well! I am enjoying my first of many such lattes this season as I write this post. It is SO good! Here’s the recipe in my cup:

1 C boiling water

1 C sugar

2 Tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spices (there are easy recipes online that tell the proportions of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves if you don’t have a ready made mix)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

-The above ingredients are for the syrup. Put the spices into a disposable tea filter if you have one, or into a coffee filter and tie it shut at the top. Mix the boiling water and sugar until dissolved and steep spice packet in syrup for about 5 minutes, stirring often to infuse the syrup with the spices.  Lastly, mix in the vanilla. Store the extra syrup in the fridge after you make your latte.

-Next, heat up about 1/2  cup of milk (the creamier the better in my opinion) and mix with about 1/3 cup strong coffee (more or less to taste). Obviously espresso would be ideal, but assuming that most of us don’t likely have an espresso machine, strong coffee will have to do.  Mix in about 2 tablespoons of your syrup and adjust from there if you’d like it sweeter. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg if you really want to go gourmet. Oh, and if you happened to have real pumpkin puree, toss a tablespoon of that it and it would be wonderful!

The above recipe is my own adaptation of the recipe that I found here. I simplified the process slightly and made it a bit more missionary friendly by removing the espresso element, but the ingredients are pretty much the same. Like I said, I tested out my method before posting it, so I promise you that it works!

Do you love holiday beverages too? Which one is your favorite? Have you been longing for a pumpkin spice latte and slice of pumpkin bread as much I have? It is my goal this season to experiment with a number of Starbucks-ish recipes, so I’ll be sure to share the successful ones. My longevity on the field will be sealed forever if I can just perfect the at-home eggnog latte… without the raw eggs…. big hitch, but we’ll see.

The “Good Mother” Criteria

driving

Driving my (environmentally friendly, non-car-owning) son back to city where he lives after a visit home, he suddenly and without preamble said. “I think you were a good mother.”

Oh yeah! The words every mother longs to hear. Tears well up.

“Why do you think I was a good mother?”

“You walked us to school. You fixed our meals. And you read to us.”

Really. Really? If I had only known it was that simple! I could have saved myself a lot of angst.

My children are in the young adult phase, twenty-somethings. (The most challenging phase for parenting so far, to my mind – but nevermind, I don’t want to scare you.)  I have a missionary, a math teacher and a bartender. I like them a lot. And I often agonize over how I did raising them – would that be different if I had done something differently? Does this come from the junior high transition back to the US? Is that a reflection of my worst fault?

But here is what I know. I walked with the Lord through their childhood. I did what I knew to do at the time. I trust in God’s mercy, and in his unfailing love.

And, by the way, I know Peter Rabbit by heart.


What sort of “good mother” criteria have you created for yourself? Have you ever found yourself adding more things to that criteria than perhaps God would? Which of those things do you think matter most?”

(Post by: Carolyn)


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