Friday, December 2, 2016

URGENT: Please Help Advocate for India...

My hope is that you've already seen this and taken action, but if not, please do so now.

Compassion's ministry in India is in jeopardy of continuing. If Compassion is not allowed to continue in India, more than 130,000 children and families will be affected.

Please head HERE to read more about this issue and what you can do about it.

And then pray. And pray. And pray some more.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Ornaments

Just when I think I might be done posting I get inspired! I was sitting here making our annual "ornaments" and thought I should share the idea in case anyone else wants to do it. In fact, I think I adopted this idea from Hannah last year.

We've always tried to include our sponsored kids when it comes to Christmas ornaments, but as our sponsored family has grown, we've had to find new ways to incorporate them into our Christmas decorations.

I used the app piZap to add borders to our kids' photos and then printed them out on cardstock. I cut the photos out and each day we'll add one to our world map and pray specifically for that child. It's a fun way to concentrate on each child and count down to Christmas. You can easily space the children out so that you finish by Christmas. If you have oodles of kids, then you'll do more than one a day. If you have 4 kids, you can do one a week. Ours comes out to just about one a day (with a few extra).

Another fun idea is to create a collage to use as a holiday greeting or on social media. Last year I arranged ours into tree.

This year I made a couple different grids.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November Compassion Joys

I think this is going to be the last Compassion Joy link-up. I'm sure you've noticed that new blog posts here have become few and far between. It's quite possible this is my last post....I just don't know.

Ruth, Alejandrina, Noel, Antoni, Jerry, Emanuel, Winfrey and Marlon

photo of Jazmin (Alejandrina) included in her letter)

photo update

new photo of Lian in Colombia

new photo of Collins in Kenya


Our sponsored child, Jerry in Indonesia, moved and is no longer able to attend the Compassion project. In his place, we welcomed Yulesqui of Nicaragua into our family. She is 10 years old and looks adorable.

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.

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. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving Activities!

I took a break from learning about countries so we could learn a bit about Thanksgiving!

Our FIAR book was Cranberry Thanksgiving. And here are the other books we read:

  • This Is the Feast by Diane Shore
  • Squanto's Journey by Joseph Bruchac
  • Thanksgiving Day by Anne Rockwell
  • The Story of the Pilgrims by Katherine Ross
  • Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by James Dean
  • Bear Gives Thanks by Karma Wilson
  • Mouskin's Thanksgiving by Edna Miller (which is out of print)
  • Cranberry Autumn by Wendy & Harry Devlin

    (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!)

    My personal favorites were This Is the Feast and Squanto's Journey. Juanito was fascinated by Squanto because he has a bow and arrow in many books, so it was fun to explore Squanto's life in more depth. And This Is the Feast has beautiful illustrations that most remind me of Plimouth Plantation from when I visited as a child! I recommend checking out the Plimouth Plantation website for more information on the first Thanksgiving!

    Since our FIAR book was Cranberry Thanksgiving, we made some fun cranberry play-dough! It actually entertained my kids for over thirty minutes! I highly recommend it...the kids enjoyed the play-dough so much that we made it to share with our co-op group!

    And since we were learning about Thanksgiving, we had to make a variety of turkeys! I plan on using them to decorate the table on Thanksgiving. Glueing always seems to be a big hit!

    We also wrote letters to our Mana kids about fall! I like trying to point my kids' attention to other kids and thought that this would be a great time to write fall themed letters. I used two templates and I don't remember where I got them... If you would like copies of the templates, send me an email at berry31(at) It is a great activity for my kids to practice Spanish since their writing buddies are from Honduras! And Juanito even learned how to write Oscar's name for his letter!

    We did narrations for the story of Thanksgiving. It was interesting hearing their thoughts! This is Juanito's:
    They ate lobster and corn. They had a boat and sailed there. They were called Pilgrims. They were celebrating the feast. It was thanksgiving day. The Indians went to the feast too because they're nice. Squanto was an arrow guy, he shoot arrows.

    And Rosie's:
    They ate comida. The baby ate it, her papi hold her. Comen maize. They went to a barco. El barco swimmed. They plant maize.

    Juanito really wanted to be Squanto for Thanksgiving, and so we threw together a quick costume. Rosie wanted to be a Pilgrim mami. Again, the Plimouth Plantation page is a great resource! My brother has some better pictures, while Rosie was still wearing her coif. But the kids had a blast celebrating in costume!

    We also made Plimouth Plantation with Lego...the kids directed the building of the houses (one has a very authentic slide) and in lieu of creating Pilgrims and Wampanoag characters, they thought it would be better to bring their other Lego characters...

    And, of course, we had to make some food! We made the cranberry bread recipe from the back of Cranberry Thanksgiving and we made some cranberry sauce. I used this recipe for the cranberry sauce (but without the zest). It is super easy to make and so delicious!!

    Again, we are taking a break from countries but I hope to include some country studies in our advent plans, which should be forthcoming on this blog.

    To view my complete plan for the year, click here. And here are the previous countries in the series:
  • China
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • France
  • Colombia

    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.
  • Wednesday, November 23, 2016

    Preschool Advent Plans

    Last year I adapted the book Prepare Him Room for by preschoolers. I also read Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift myself, but decided it was too advanced for my kids. (If you have elementary school aged kids, I highly recommend both books!)

    This year I was hoping to find something that I wouldn't have to adapt to my kids' preschool level and I found Truth in the Tinsel! I am so excited because this is an Advent program geared towards preschoolers but with a focus on the Biblical story of Christ's birth as the focus for Advent!

    Truth in the Tinsel costs $8 for the e-book and it covers 25 days. Each day has a theme (e.g. light, Mary, shepherds, star) with a verse or passage from the Bible. Then it has a simple craft with discussion questions to help your toddlers think about what they're making and what was just read.

    There are also a lot of extra free resources to supplement Truth in the Tinsel. I am personally planning on using the free Lego Advent Pieces supplement so we can create what we're learning with Lego! I plan on using our Little People Nativity Advent Calendar each day also.


    And of course we can't celebrate Advent without taking some time to reach out to others. So I got a really neat book to go along with our Advent time: Around the World with Kate & Mack: A Look at Languages from A to Z.

    This book is available in English and Spanish and explores a different language/people group for each letter of the alphabet! So we will be going through this and praying for different people groups throughout Advent!

    And then each week I hope to have a different focus for reaching out:

  • November 27: Bibles Unbound

  • December 4: Make treats and cards for neighbors.

  • December 11: Create ornaments from photos of Mana 4 Lempira kids. Artwork for Compassion kids.

  • December 18: Shopping at Dollar Store and making gifts for siblings.

  • ~~~

    I hope this gives you some ideas if you're trying to help your toddlers and preschoolers prepare for Christmas!

    Saturday, November 12, 2016

    Learning About Colombia!

    We just finished learning a bit about Colombia! As I mentioned before, the main books we are covering are recommended by the Five in a Row [FIAR] curriculum and Give Your Child the World by Jamie C Martin.

    Our next FIAR book is Cranberry Thanksgiving, so I decided to squeeze a week in between France and Thanksgiving to learn a little about Colombia! Here are the books we read:

  • Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter
  • Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown

    (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!)

    We love both of these books so much that we want to buy copies for ourselves. Juanito keeps commenting on how beautiful Colombia is thanks to the great illustrations in the books! Of course we had to locate Colombia on the map...

    Since we have three Compassion children from Colombia, we took some time to pray and make some artwork for them! And each of the kids posed with one of the Compassion kids' photos! I am going to scan the artwork and attach it with the child's photo to an online letter.

    After talking a bit about our Compassion friends, Valeria, Kenedy, and Isabella, we tried playing Yeimy, a Colombian game that Valeria shared about in one of her letters!

    And then we tried some arroz on leche, which the kids love.

    We did narrations for both books. Since they tell the same story from two different perspectives, the stories merged a bit for Juanito (along some creative liberty):
    Ana went to the park and went with her friends to the parque because she loves her friends. And then she sees a burro and Luis and libros. And then she went back home from the park and then ate her food and then went back to bed. The niños said, "Who are they?" They were burros and they had a sign that said Biblioburro. Ana, she had a libro for reading and writing.

    Luis trae libros a los niños. Tuvo dos burros y tragó los libros. Luis dio a los niños, "Tengo una sorpresa de little piggy masks." Luis leer un libro a los niños. Los niños eligen libros. Luis vuelve a casa y da comida a los burros hambrientos. Diana da comida a su esposo Luis.

    And Rosie's merged completely! Rosie really wanted me to draw Alfa and Beto (the two burros) for her to color, so I used this picture.
    She and up. She got stay in her bed. Ana waked up and she go draw. She was waiting for the books. Biblioburro trae libros. Hombre se llama Luis Bodot. Alfa and Beto son Biblioburros. Dicen iii-ah. Ana wakes up. And she flies. Luis da niños sorpresa de libros.

    We've had a great time learning about Colombia! This is our last country focus until the new year, but I hope to include some country studies in our advent plans, which should be forthcoming on this blog.

    To view my complete plan for the year, click here. And here are the previous countries in the series:
  • China
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • France

    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.
  • Thursday, November 10, 2016

    What to Write ~ Commandment 10

    We've made it to the final letter of the 10 Commandment series. I hope you've enjoyed these and have found them useful. If you haven't used them, feel free to come back here anytime and modify these letters for your own sponsored children. You can find my other letters in this series by following the links below.
    1. first letter (introduction)
    2. second letter (first commandment - no other gods)
    3. third letter (second commandment - no idols)
    4. fourth letter (third commandment - don't misuse God's name)
    5. fifth letter (fourth commandment - keep the Sabbath day holy)
    6. sixth letter (fifth commandment - honor your father and mother)
    7. seventh letter (sixth commandment - do not murder)
    8. eighth letter (seventh commandment - do not commit adultery)
    9. ninth letter (eighth commandment - do not steal)
    10. tenth letter (ninth commandment - do not lie)

    And here's the final commandment...


    How are you? I hope this letter finds you well and learning new things every day. I've been writing to you about the 10 Commandments and today I'm finally talking about the final and tenth Commandment.
    "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." - Exodus 20:17
    Let's dig into this and see what this means. First of all, the word covet means to desire or want in an envious way. God is telling us that it is a problem to want what other people have. It's not wrong to admire what other people have, but when we become envious or jealous of them for having something we don't or can't have, then we are sinning. It's wrong to want something so bad that you are no longer satisfied with what you have - when you'll do just about anything to get it or when you resent others for having something you don't have.
    Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5
    God wants us to be content and happy with what we have. He wants us to desire HIM over any other thing.
    Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  - Colossians 3:1-2
    Instead of thinking about material possessions, God wants us to set our minds on things above. If we are to set our minds on things above, then we probably need to figure out what that means. What do you think that means? Some people translate this to be things of heaven. If heaven is God's home, then it's full of his goodness, beauty, grace, love, peace, patience and many other good things. In heaven there will be no sorrow and no needs.

    I think it boils down to this...JESUS is ENOUGH. If we have Jesus, we have everything. Without Jesus, we have nothing. I hope these letters about the 10 Commandments have been helpful to you. I know it was helpful for myself to write them. I enjoy studying God's word and sharing what I've learned with you. I'd love it you shared with me something about God or the Bible that you have learned recently.
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