Saturday, September 17, 2016

Learning About China!

I know that typically I focus on Compassion countries, but this year I wanted to include a few other counties that went along with Five in a Row [FIAR] books we are doing with our co-op group. And many of the books we are using were recommended by Give Your Child the World by Jamie C Martin (if you want to learn more about this book, check out Jill's post). My goal in sharing about our activities is to give ideas to other moms of preschoolers who desire to give their kids a global perspective! And I am also wanting to record my ideas to use again when José is ready for preschool. (To view my complete plan for the year, click here.)

Since our first FIAR book was The Story About Ping by Marjorie Wise, we also started learning about China! We also read:
  • Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim
  • Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin
  • Ling and Ting Share a Birthday by Grace Lin
  • Ling and Ting: Together in All Weather by Grace Lin
  • Ling and Ting: Twice As Silly by Grace Lin
  • The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
  • Round is a Mooncake by Roseanne Thong
  • New Year's Reunion by Yu Li-Quiong
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo retold by Arlene Mosel
  • The Empty Pot by Demi

    (You may notice that the list is slightly different than the books on my plan because I wasn't able to find all my intended titles at the local library, so I subbed in some books that our library did have!) If you have time just for one book about China, we absolutely loved The Empty Pot!

    We marked where our stories are taking place, where some Chinese animals live, and found the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers on our map.

    Eric (my husband) had the great idea of showing the kids a little of Wild China and we were able to watch cormorants diving for fish, just like we read about in The Story About Ping! And we found a Chinese houseboat in this DK book:

    In watching Wild China, Juanito noticed that some of the people in the movie were praying to idols. This lead to a great opportunity to pray for the people of China, and especially our missionary friends there and whose photo is on our fridge! We ate some Chinese food--just simple stir-fry, sweet and sour chicken and rice.

    We also took some time to play with ducks in the bath...

    And to build some of what we had seen with Legos! Rosie made a houseboat like we saw in the The Story About Ping. Juanito made a houseboat too (bottom left), and we all pitched in and made rice fields (like we saw in Wild China), and the Great Wall of China. Juanito made sure to put some "bad guys" on the other side of the wall and the "good guys" climbed over to chase them away.

    Then the kids had some ideas! In reading Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! and Ling and Ting Share a Birthday, Rosie noticed the rolling pin and asked to make dumplings with her play-doh! And Juanito decided instead of making dumplings, he'd make a birthday cake like Ling's cake!

    Juanito really wanted to make the turnip cakes from Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas. There is a recipe in the back of the book, but it's a little complicated for my taste when cooking with two enthusiastic preschoolers. So instead we made scallion pancakes...My hope was to use the How to Make Scallion Pancakes recipes, but we were out of flour so instead I used this recipe with bisquick (without the carrots and subbing chives for scallions since we have an abundance of chives in the garden).

    They were good and so easy to make!

    Finally, we did some narrations. I thought Juanito would be able to do this, although I wasn't sure if he would enjoy it. But he had a blast and even asked for instructions for drawing a duck and fish to glue into his picture of the story! Our first narration was The Story About Ping:

    He disobeyed and went to a different one and that means sin. He disobeyed God. He disobeyed his capítan. He saw a boat, he went in the boat. A niño brought him in the boat, he was in the water with a string and got Ping. The niño picked him up without being noisy and put him in the water.

    Rosie also wanted to narrate the story (I think she is calling the niño Capítan):

    He go in the barco and then he fall. Capítan fall in the agua. Ping a duck. Cuac!

    The kids loved narrating so much that we did some more narrations about our books on China! I'm having them write all their narrations in a booklet, so they're each proud that they're "writing" their own books! So we also narrated Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas. Here is Juanito's (complete with a Ninja Pig saving the day in Goldy Luck's bedroom):

    Goldy Luck trae los pasteles de turnip y los caen en el piso. Y los tres osos lloran. Ella cae de la rocking chair and she goes in the bed. Y los tres osos ven aquí a la casa y encuentran Goldy Luck en la cama de las pandas. Ella dashed home. She went to the bears y da la tazón al niño oso. Ellos cocinaron pasteles de turnip.

    Rosie had me draw the three pandas for her to color and she said:

    Goldy Luck y los tres pandas. Goldy Luck fall en piso y los pasteles cayeron en piso. Goldy Luck sleep en su cama. Goldy Luck sienta en silla and Goldy Luck fall.

    And our last narration was The Empty Pot. Juanito's retelling:

    There was an Emperor and all the children put on their best clothes to greet the Emperor. They got special flowers. There was a boy named Ping. He obeyed by telling the truth. He brought an empty lot. It was the best he could do. The pot was empty because he couldn't grow a flower because the seed was cooked. Ping became the Emperor.

    And Rosie said:

    Ping, he's a niño. He takes some flores. Puts semilla en olla. It's azul.

    We've had a great time learning about China! Next up, Spain!

    About Hannah Hinojosa...Hannah is a long time Compassion sponsor and writes about her sponsorship journey at Because of Shamim. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a part-time math professor and loves to read.
  • Tuesday, September 13, 2016

    Mwikali in Kenya

    Mwikali in Kenya
    May 30, 2006

    Mwikali is one of my daughter's correspondent children. She has been writing letters to her since January 2015 and has received 5 letters so far. Sadly, the person who does the physical writing of the letters has handwriting that is very difficult for us to decipher, so we are missing out on much of what is being written.

    She lives with her mom, dad, three siblings and grandparents. She attends KE 722 (Mbangwani AIC Church Child Development Center. At the project she learns how to operate a computer and plays soccer. She hopes to become a doctor someday.

    • color - red
    • food - chicken and chapati
    • story - birth of Jesus
    • verse - Psalm 63:7 and Psalm 73:23-26
    • subject - math
    • fruit - mango

    Tuesday, September 6, 2016

    Joylyne in Kenya

    Joylyne in Kenya
    October 12, 2006

    We began sponsoring Joylyne on October 11, 2012 as a birthday present for our youngest daughter. Joylyne and Kayleigh are birthday buddies and were born on the exact same day! I put the sponsorship under my daughter's name and she is solely responsible for writing letters to Joylyne. So far we have received 19 letters. 

    Joylyne lives with her mom and siblings, Ronny and Mary. Her father passed away in 2015. They live in the western part of Kenya in a rural setting. The common language is Luu and the main religion is Christianity.


    • attends KE 808
    • learned to bathe daily
    • goes on Saturday


    • color - sunny yellow / red
    • subject - Christian Religious Education
    • food - fish
    • sport - soccer
    • activity - singing
    • animal - cow

    Miscellaneous information:
    • likes to wash utensils
    • wants to be a teacher
    • likes to play with friends, read and write
    • likes to play netball
    • gifts: suitcase, Kiswahili books, dress shoes, sheep
    • wants to play piano
    • has a cat named Joy
    • fetches firewood
    • wants to live and work in America

    Almost all of Joylyne's letters to us have been fill in the blank....sometimes the answers are funny (like in this one).

    It appears she likes to draw houses...

    Friday, September 2, 2016

    Five Friday Features (and an update)

    First the blogging presence here has become quite sporadic and there are reasons for that. The first, and most obvious, is that I've been spending my time elsewhere. As my own kids get older, I continue to evaluate how I spend my time, and I don't have as much personal free-time as I used to have. I'm about half-way through "having kids at home" stage of my life and I don't want to spend all that time in front of a computer.

    The second reason is inspiration. I created this blog to chronicle my family's journey of experiencing sponsorship as a family and to encourage others to do the same. It was extremely helpful (at least for me) to do this in the beginning, but I feel like it's become one more thing for me to do.

    I'm not leaving the blog or closing it down...I'm simply explaining where I'm at with it. I homeschool my kids, and we start up in a couple weeks. I have a lot of planning to do, and then once we start I'll be doing only what is essential each day. At the very least I would like to continue with monthly letter writing ideas, the Compassion Joy Dare (I'd really, really, really love to see that link up grow a bit) and Hannah, one of our my regular contributors, is working on a series for you.

    Another thing I'd like to do at least once a month....

    {back to school edition}

    1) Compassion Blog - How to Encourage A+ Excellence in Your Letters

    A fun post with practical advice on how we can encourage our sponsored children in their academic pursuits.

    2) International Literacy Day - September 8

    Literacy really pulls at my heart strings. I cannot imagine life without the ability to read. I am an avid reader and our own educational efforts at home center around reading. Compassion offers help and resources to children and mothers, and you can donate to their efforts.

    3) Step Into My Shoes Curriculum 

    This wonderful curriculum is intended for family use and will work with children of all ages. I went through this program with my own girls a couple years ago and they loved it.

    Visit the website HERE for more information.

    4) True Story Curriculum 

    I have not yet gone through this curriculum, but plan to do this with my own girls this fall. This one is intended for older kids (teens). I am excited to go through this as it features the daughter of my friend, Aimee.

    Visit the website HERE for more information.

    5) Compassion Mobile Experience

    If this is coming anywhere even remotely near you...GO! It's an amazing educational opportunity for all ages. You've already seen it? Go again. We live in cultures that numb us to the realities of life and in less than 20 minutes, you'll be reminded that this work of sponsorship and advocacy is needed.

    Visit the website HERE for more infomration.

    Have a wonderful weekend! 

    Tuesday, August 30, 2016

    August Joy Dare

    We recevied letters from Portia, Antonio, Preeti, Yoselin, Duncan, Mwanzia and Emanuel

    Emanuel said...."Over vacation I played in a soccer championship. I was goalie and we had a penalty round. Every time my dad and crowd would cheer. We won the cup."

     Emanuel was also able to purchase a new pair of pants and a shirt and sent this photo of them.

    Portia told us she is part of a bead making group at her project.

    Antonio told us he likes soccer and asked about our environment - do we have many trees?

    Preeti told us she attends the project daily. She has also attended a health screen program and world water day through the project.


    Bridget (in Uganda) turned 4 on August 15th

    Portia (in Kenya) turned 17 and Rayson (also in Kenya) turned 5 on August 24th

     Nabuduwa Esther (in Uganda) turned 9 on August 30

    photo update
    Mwanzia Stephen in Kenya - age 16

    My daughters and I were able to attend (and volunteer at) the Compassion Mobile Experience which came to our area this past weekend. We loved going through the stories of Olive, Jonathan and Kiwi. We also loved talking to people and answering their questions about Compassion.

    And now it's your turn! Here are some guidelines for you to follow for this link-up:
    1. Link up by entering the URL to your blog post (make sure it's a link to the actual blog post and not just your blog).
    2. Be sure to link back here to Compassion Family and tell others you are doing so. Feel free to grab the button code for your post (it's on the right side of the blog).
    3. Set aside some time to visit the other participants and leave some comment love.
    4. Begin taking notes and making a list for next month.
    I should also mention that I reserve the right to remove anyone's submission if it fails to meet the link-up requirements or is inappropriate. 

    ***If you have trouble linking up, simply leave a comment and I'll be sure to visit your blog.

    ***If you don't have a blog, share your blessings in the comments!

    Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    Rayson in Kenya

    Rayson in Kenya
    August 24, 2011

    Rayson is one of my daughter's correspondent children. She has been writing letters to him since January 2015 and has received 8 letters so far. 

    He lives with his parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt and uncle.

    • KE 563 (Serem Child Development Center)
    • approximately 350 children
    • walks 2 km
    • activities - singing and dancing
    • eats rice with beans

    • color - pink / blue
    • food - rice and beef
    • story - creation
    • subject - religious education
    • sport - soccer
    • animal - cow
    • hero - Jesus

    Miscellaneous info:
    • wants to visit Nairobi
    • wants to meet President Obama / wants to be like him
    • wants to see the airport
    • wants to help family have a decent house
    • wants to be a journalist
    • gifts received: trouser, shirt, jacket, vests, sugar and underwear
    • sleeps on the floor
    • gets water from a well
    • house made of mud walls and iron sheet roof
    • does not have electricity

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016

    Yoselin in Dominican Republic

    Yoselin in Dominican Republic
    January 9, 2005

    We began sponsoring Yoselin in September 2009. I was specifically looking for a child that shared a birthday with my oldest daughter, and found Yoselin was an exact match! Finding birthday buddies for my girls has been such a great way for them to take more ownership of Compassion's ministry and our family's involvement with sponsorship. A couple years ago, I switched this sponsorship over to my daughter and she is now responsible for all the letter writing. So far we have received 29 letters.

    father - Domingo
    mother - Yoselin
    siblings - (oldest to youngest) Caterine, Francis, Blady, Pedro, Luis, Carlos, Manuel and Jazmin

    Caterine, Fancis and Blady are her father's kids / Pedro, Luis, Carlos and Manuel are her mother's kids / Yoselin and Jazmin are full sisters

    (two different letters mentioned the above kids....another letter also mentioned Lisaul, Carola and Wendy)

    • approx 325 children
    • write letters, take Bible classes, play sports, group activities
    • attends Mennonite church

    • food - plantains and salami / sancocho (soup cooked with plantains, manioc and meat)
    • color - yellow / green
    • animal - dog
    • activity - go to beach or river / ride bike
    • game - volleyball / soccer
    • subject - literature
    • hero - God / Jesus

    Miscellaneous info:

    • throws teeth up and says "little mouse, little mouse, I give you this little tooth. Please send me another pretty one." 
    • gifts received: yellow clothes, 2 pair sandals, black sneakers, underwear, shoes, dresser
    • house has water and electricity / made of wood
    • likes to pray
    • hobbies: play, tv, share, read, clean, go out
    • wants to be doctor
    • wants to visit Puerto Rico, New York, Spain and Italy
    • likes to go camping

    "I love you as much as Jesus love me."

    "I go to the center every day and I learn the word of God there. I like music a lot. I love to help other people out. I believe that Jesus died to save us." 

    "Thanks for your letters and gifts. They are of great blessing to me. You talk to me about patience in the letters you send me, and I have had a lot of patience at this moment. My father has a little tumor in his lung. I pray for God to heal him."

    "I will tell you about my feelings. God gave me a heart to feel several emotions, and some of them are: I feel happy when I play with my friend. Sometimes I get sad when my mom goes to work to the capital, and I get angry when they don't let me play with my friends."
    showing us her emotions - happy, sad and angry

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