“What if we took all the money and time we put into tutors and coaches and private lessons, and invested instead in making our children holy? Not well-known and praised and celebrated for what they do, but humble and meek and truly holy in who they are?”
Some great deals on some of our top favorite indoor toys:
Kapla blocks-once these come out, every age participates, even the teenagers. I honestly thought, “What is the big deal with these things? They are small planks of wood!” but apparently they are irresistible. My mom has the huge set of these (being the Montessori teacher she is, she is the one who introduced my kids to them) and at every family get together there is some huge protected creation that we all must walk around and not get near, built by one of mine, or a cousin. They have five full stars on Amazon which is pretty rare, and so it’s not just us weird ones that like them.
This is an indoor toy for us and once again it is has worked it’s way up from the basement again (our ceilings are too low down there for proper bball games) where it will stay all winter long. When my oldest walks in the door during college breaks, this is the first thing the littler boys challenge him on. Every day they play. .
Yes, sometimes it drives me crazy-all furniture pushed to the side, not a pretty look, basketball hoop front and center. Yes, there are heated arguments about rules and who is being too rough, and yes I’ve marched myself in there and said,”Enough!” when I’ve heard the ball hit a lampshade too many times (which is also why I buy discount lamps). But I have four sons, and the winters are long and they love basketball, and I love that they play together and burn off energy.
We’ve tried a few other hoops, this is by far the best one and is the keeper. (The rim doesn’t bend down, the strings stay attached, and it has a lot of leeway in it’s height.) If it can survive years at OUR house it can survive anywhere.
This is the classic set, and one of the best toy purchases ever.
KidKraft Vintage Kitchen – White ($112 which is more than half off)
Janey loves this kitchen and it’s really really on sale right now-for less than Santa might have paid his elves to make it last year during prime-sale-season.
I researched kitchens like crazy when I thought Janey was old enough for one, and this is what we chose after my cousin gave it a glowing review, BUT with this warning. It comes in a lot of pieces. If you wait till Christmas Eve to put it together you will be sobbing at 4 a.m. from exhaustion. This is a job for a grandparent or an uncle or an older sibling you might hire for twenty bucks to lock himself in his room and assemble the thing.
It is sturdy and the knobs turns, the shelves move, the little doors open and close and the little phone is a sweet touch.
I reserved about a dozen Thanksgiving/autumn themed children’s books from the library, and only liked two. I always seem to draw towards the “vintage” ones, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I think it’s because of two reasons:
1. There is an actual story-not just choppy sentences, or something silly, but a simple story-with characters, and a plot and conflict, and resolution.
2. The illustrations are rarely cartoon-ey or slick or ultra contemporary, but are recognizable by a child (like a squirrel looks like a squirrel and are not pieces of paper cut in squares in all different colors, that mildly resemble a squirrel if one squints right.) Sometimes I feel like the picture books today are all trying too hard-to hard to teach a politically correct lesson, be original, have crazy weird artwork or some other concept behind them, or to win some award, rather than to just tell a story to a child.
This is the sweetest story ever, I adored it, (and bought myself my own copy), and so did Patrick and Janey. I love Miss Suzy!
Mean squirrels took her home that she keeps so clean and works so hard at, and she must move to the attic of a house nearby to escape them, where she meets a nice group of toy soldiers that in the end, give her a wonderful gift.
Here’s another about a little boy squirrel who is taken advantage of by a mean old squirrel, and resolves the crime through bravery, and also forgiveness.
The boy’s read-a-loud book we are loving for the month is: