Why Are Books Effective For Reaching the Heart Of a Child? Book Giveaway!!(yes, free books!)

November 27, 2012
http://www.faithdeployed.com/2012/11/why-are-books-effective-for-reaching-the-heart-of-a-child-plus-give-away/
Join our conversation about books and children with our friends at Faith Deployed (this is a great blog for Military Families). You can enter the giveaway by leaving a comment at the end of the blog on Faith Deployed.
The blog is discussing how a hard back children’s book is a special gift to a child, and why we felt we needed to print our books that way, though it is more expensive and difficult than paperback or e-books.  The contest will award 10 We Serve Too! books and 1 Grand Prize of all our books (all 4 full color hardback books, each with a dogtag, the Military ABC, and our Afghanistan booklet) !!! We can’t wait to read your comments!
A big thank you to Jocelyn Green of Faith Deployed for featuring our books!

Thanksgiving , the table, and the making of a Tradition

November 23, 2012

Hoping that you all had a great Thanksgiving ! It is always too much food and everyone ends up sleepy and content, and only wanting more pie after an hour or so.

I was thinking that we need to be a bit more aware of how spoiled we are. Paula sets two kernels of corn on each plate so they can contemplate the early pilgrims rationing of food, staying alive on that tiny morsel of food.

I started a new tradition last year and we worked on it this year too. I got a pretty cheap white tablecloth at Sams, and some Inktense pencils from Derwent. They are great because they are permanent after you set the design with some heat from a hot iron, and your can keep the masterpieces year to year.

Here is a small sampling of the artwork at our house, , and though a bit messy in places, I love it.  We sign each design and put the year there. I love last years when a little one was thankful for french fries. A design done by my mother, a turkey running for his life, and one thing that we are all thankful for, that a son is now out of Afghanistan and on his way home.

It gives everyone a chance to document and express that gratitude that we really feel! Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Book in the series, We Serve Too!

October 20, 2012

As a Military Family, have you ever had to pack up and move to a new location, that thing that the Military calls PCS (Permanent Change of Station)? Are you a civilian who has ever had to move?

The We Serve Too!™ Kids are moving!  And dear Little Daisy, that sweet Golden Retriever, knows a secret,–a secret that will help ease anxiety and bring comfort to little ones and families anticipating a move.   Little Daisy’s Worst/Best Day, the 4th book in the award-winning We Serve Too!™  series, warmly and tenderly explores the topic of relocation and moving  —an experience common to Military and civilian families alike!

This book is a great addition to our series, rounding out all the major issues that kids face as a proud member of the Military Family. These four books, help parents, teachers, counselors friends and family , discuss openly the fears, the joys and the changes that come with deployment, reunion, waiting for a homecoming and now moving to a new location!

This book features the We Serve Too! kids, navigating the emotions of leaving the known and going positively into the unknown. The focus of the story, is an acknowledgment of the losses, and the forward look to the things that make life an adventure and joys of new experiences. It also focus ‘s on the ways we can stay connected with those we love.

This page takes you to our store page https://www.weservetoo.com/bookstore_.html. If you scroll to the bottom, you can peek inside each of the We Serve Too! books, including Little Daisy!

Paula and I are really excited about this book. It is fun, touching and a great way to prepare kids for your next move. If you get one, please let us know what you think, we would love to hear from you!

 

Fall will bring Soldier Daddy closer every day…

August 14, 2012

 

 

 

The kids have had a wonderful summer that has slipped by awfully fast. We hope that you have tucked away a few sunshiny memories to think on as the fall and winter come. We are looking forward to soldier Daddy coming home, leaving the rugged terrain of Afghanistan and being instead close enough to hug!

 

As a mother, I can hardly stand the end months of this deployment, just waiting and praying that he will be out of there and equally proud of how he serves this country with every fiber of his being. My grandchildren can hardly wait for the Daddy they miss to be here, really here in person.

 

We have worked hard to stay connected and close even with all those miles between us. Calls and notes, packages and facebook messages. Soon all that will be replaced with a PCS to Colorado, and we are thrilled!

Paula and I will be going to a local elementary school to bring the We Serve Too! books to kids and teach them about Veterans Day. This will happen of course in November, but we are planning now, since we will be working with more than 500 children. We were told that they did not understand Veterans Day last year, and so we have vowed to change that!

We will be talking to them about books, illustrating ,and  being an author. We will be letting them illustrate a book of their own, and best, we will be telling them of the sacrifices that are made for them each and every day. These children need to know that other children wait for beloved parents to return. They need to understand that all through our history, men and women have chosen to risk everything to keep this country free and our way of life intact. If they do not understand that, how can they ever understand the gift they have been given, and the weight of that gift? If they don’t know that this country is unique and special, how will they find the passion to defend it?  Paula and I are not really just talking about books at all, but about something infinitely more important. We hope the kids will embrace it.

Here is hoping that your last summer days are blessed and restful, and that the excitement of a new school year will carry the little ones into good learning situations!

July is nearly over…are you having fun?

July 21, 2012

The summer is still sizzling and I have not written a post in over a month! We have been playing in the sprinkler, taking a trip to see family in upstate NY, and generally having fun just being alive!

The last days and weeks have been interesting and so I will post some of the highlights…thing you may want to try with your little ones before the summer slips away.

One of the Mantis’s that we raised decided to pay us a visit, he is huge and I posted a few more photos on our facebooks page! http://www.facebook.com/weservetoo I wrote about this project before…it keeps on giving!

We would love to have you “like” our page while you are there! Thanks!


 

 

 

 

We saw Angelyne a deaf dog who knows some sign language. This was a free show at our local library….check out what your library has for the kids, you may be surprised!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just some old fashioned fun, a chunk of chalk and a few stones and you have hopscotch. It is great for kids to get outside and learn some of the games from your childhood, like hopscotch, red rover, jacks…if you don’t remember how to play, here is a link to explain hopscotch and some other sidewalk chalk games http://www.birthdaypartyideas4kids.com/sidewalk-chalk-games.htm

Here is our pinterest page , we have lots of fun ideas pinned that will be fun and affordable to finish the steamy days of summer.

 

Don’t forget to make the time…before you know it school will be in, and the little ones will be writing that infamous paper “what I did this summer’ , hope they can say that it was a memorable one.

Hope you are having as much fun as the We Serve Too! kids!

 

Summer Fun, tokens for your Homecoming Box, and Pinterest

June 7, 2012

Well, summer has begun and the We Serve Too! kids are off and running. I thought I would share some of the ideas that I have collected that are working to keep the days interesting  for all of us. We have three days a week, when this gramma is blessed with the kids for those days. Monday is make it Monday, Tuesday is take a trip day, Wednesday is “we Wednesday” since we include the kids Gigi (great grandma in the mix).

I have to let you know that I have become a bit of a Pinterest addict. When I used to teach mentoring classes we used to teach that women have a certain way of processing Gathering, Sorting Ordering and Beautifying, now without going into a huge explanation about each of these, suffice to say it  is exactly what Pinterst is all about and thus its incredible success! That aside, it has been fun to pin and then try these great ideas. You can check out my boards here: http://pinterest.com/weservetoo/ I have a board for our books of course , then one for Military Families, one just on Fun Stuff for Kids, Fun foods for kids and then a few personal boards as well.

Let me share a few things that we have been trying out:

This is the beginning of Rock candy

being made, you need a bunch of sugar

for this one, but gives 7 days of  watching

the crystals grow.

 

 

 

 

This is called the “naked egg” you put a regular egg into a glass of vinegar

Just make sure it is deep enough to cover it. The vinegar dissolves the eggshell

overnight, and if you gently brush the powdery shell off you can see the insides. Cool and gross.

(which of course makes if great)

 

 

 

 

Just a trip to some places that you may not think of right off the bat. Here the kids are at a rock shop,

they could pick out a geode, which looks like a common grey rock, they cut it in half and….

 

 

 

 

 

Ta Daaaa!!! Something wonderful to put in your Homecoming Box!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now this one may not be for everyone, but we sure have had fun with raising Praying Mantis’s. The kids Daddy gave them a kit http://www.insectkits.com/contents/en-us/p2_preying_mantis_habitat.html .  With the kit you get the  cage and directions, but no mantis. You have to send away for the egg cases, which I found cheaper (even with the discount paper in the kit) at a plant nursery online (just Google “ praying mantis egg cases”).  these little guys are great for your garden and you can release them there after the kids have had the thrill of seeing them hatch, hunt , grow…and as you can see , gain a personality. The do not bite or pinch and are quite friendly..but delicate, so you have to supervise the little ones so the mantis has half a chance at survival.  We highly recommend this, but we get it, if you are not crazy about bugs (aww, look at that cute face!)

 

 

 

We will add some other photos as the summer moves forward. I hope you will find some of the things I have pinned useful and fun. Have fun!

Memorial Day and a walk that explains a Holiday…

May 25, 2012

 

The solemn nature of this holiday runs head to head with soft early summer sunshine , backyard cook outs and kids running through the sprinkler. Who wants to spend the day to contemplate the loss of young men and women and the struggles of the families left behind? We collectively as Americans need to because they belong to every one of us.

I recently was standing beside a young woman with a baby in a stroller at an event at Ft. Carson. I talked with her and learned that her husband and best friend had died in Iraq ,only days after she had shared with him that they were about to become parents. My heart ached for her and  for the baby that will never know her Daddy personally. The event sponsored by American Military Family that we were attending was  to support parents Michelle and Dan Benevidez, who were preparing to walk from Colorado to Illinois, to the Middle East Conflicts Wall where the name of their fallen soldier is etched. Their son,  Ssgt. Kennith Mayne  died in Iraq in 2008. They want to bring attention to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and to those who serve now.  I want to share a video with you, no words can express what the video will…it is what Memorial Day is all about.

 

American Military Family is there for those who serve and their Families. For more information about this group and about the walk of Michelle and Dan Benevidez,  go to :http://www.americanmilitaryfamily.org/

 

A Salute to our Armed Forces, Armed Forces Day May 19th

May 18, 2012

 

Don’t forget that tomorrow is our chance to thank those who serve in our Armed Forces!

This is a day to thank you, those who defend our nation;

You have a job that is often difficult, times far from family and friends, and one of the most honorable things a person can ever do.

Thank you for the hard work, the overcoming, the times when we are sure that you wonder why you signed up for this. Thank you for the times when you know full well why you did,  some of you would do it  again.

Thank you for defending those of us who live our lives every day without a thought about why we are free, or how we stay that way.

Thank you and a big salute to those who have gone into combat, or supported those there, in all the worlds conflicts over the years. To those who are there now in Afghanistan, we are here praying and your nation is behind you.

http://articles.springsmilitarylife.com/articles/military-176-free-http.html here is a link to tomorrow’s activities around Colorado.

To all our friends in every branch of the Armed Forces, we salute you!

We Serve Too! Wins Mom’s Choice Award!

April 5, 2012

Well, Paula and I are excited and honored that We Serve Too! has won the Mom’s Choice Award in the category of a Children’s Picture Book Series!  The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for children and families. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. Thank you Mom’s Choice Award!

Some of the distinguished panel members who evaluate products  include : Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten time Emmy winner and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow, Julie Aigner-Clark, creator of Baby Einstein and The safe Side Project, Jodee Blanco, New York Times best selling author, Priscilla Dunstan creator of the Dunstan Baby Language, and Patricia Rossi, host of NBC’s Manners Minute, Dr. Letticia Wright D.C. , host of the Wright Place TV Show and Catherine Whitcher M.ED , special needs expert and founder of Precision Education Inc.  You can imagine , we are pleased that We Serve Too! has been found worthy of an award!

Of course, the judges that love our books best are the ones with cookie crumbs around the mouth, camo overalls, and lots of energy! To them we say thank you, and may our books bring honor and courage to each Military Kid!

We have to add a  photo or two here of the actual stickers and award paper that came to us in the mail…of course we know that the best award of all ,is that of a little one saying to a parent “ please read me We Serve Too! again!

The Daddy Book: Proof of Love and Commitment

March 26, 2012

All families who have experienced the long days away of deployment, know that sometimes our perceptions are colored by our feelings of missing the one we love. This can turn to a belief that we NEVER get to be together and the slope of self pity that just sometimes happens for us all. We know that the work being done is important , but the connections are important too. We are in the midst of the deployment cycle as our soldier is in the “stan” and we here at home working to keep the connections fresh and happening!

I want to share with you a project I have been working on lately, one that you might want to take on as well. This can be as indiviual as your family, but I want to state the thinking behind it.  There are many things out there that are suggested for keeping connections between parent and child during long deployments. This one is created to span the length of a Military career, and a number of deployments.

Our family is now on four years and counting of our soldier being away from home. Two years in  Iraq, two in Germany and now in Afghanistan, will bring us eventually to five. I started the Daddy Book, so that my grandchildren could look at it whenever they want. They can see when Daddy was home, when he sent letters and photos while he was away, that e-mails came from him, and that through it all he has loved them, parented them, and been a father even while defending our country. Some of you will have longer or shorter deployments, but what matters is that the perceptions of being left, perhaps of missing out, can be spoken to, with proof of things that could otherwise be forgotten.

The Daddy Book is an ongoing mission. You can set in up in a million different ways; it can be a scrapbook as ours is, or a box you keep things in, or a file folder that is marked for each deployment. Kids can help, or you can make it for them, and just update it as things happen. Encourage the parent who is away to send notes, letters, photos and other things to add. Be sure to take lots of photos of family events and times together when you are finally reunited.  Here are a few photos of the Daddy Book  so far: in it there are the cards, letters and e-mails, photos, a Psalm 91 bandanna that he carried in Iraq, a coin from that same deployment. I have labeled each page with the post they were at, what they were doing and marked the times he came home and took them places they love, like the children’s museum and build a bear workshop. You will have your favorite memories too, and the kids will love to look through them.