Flat Rate Boxes filled with love…some ideas

February 15, 2012

Oldest son is now deployed again. That means we are like many, are getting out the flat rate boxes and filling them to the brim.

This time I have worked on getting the kids involved in a Valentine Box, even though we know that Valentines Day will be awhile behind us by the time it arrives in Afghanistan. These crafts do not have to be necessarily for Valentines Day, since love is what we really want to send every day!

So here are some ideas, if you are also filling boxes:

This is so easy and inexpensive. The plain wooden frames I picked up at Micheal’s http://www.michaels.com/ for 1.00 each. Then we used acrylic and painted those cute fingers and lay down the handprint. I had both kids write their name with sharpie, and covered it with decoupage glue for a shiny finish. You could get fancier if you want to let the kids decorate with glitter, etc… but I liked the plain print which shows how they are growing, and the way they are now writing their names.

 

 

 

 

 

This little bird says “flying my love to you”, and sports some real feathers. Just paper, scissors and glue for this one. Imaginations could come up with many kinds of birds, happy to fly love wherever needed!

 

This one is a little more complicated, but makes a nice handkerchief. What our soldier will do with a silk hanky in Afghanistan is anyone’s guess, but the sentiment is real and sweet, and the kids had fun making them.

You will need some “gutta” which is really a gluey sort of stuff, and silk handkerchief and some silk paint. The best place I have found to get these things is Dharma Trading http://www.dharmatrading.com/

Just look for beginner silk kits and they are worth a try, really fun and kids love the way the silk spreads, hemmed in by the gutta in their design. They then will let it all dry, wash the gutta out .(everything the gutta covered will turn out white) You can achieve a similar effect on paper if you are not into crafts by using white crayon and then washing over it with watercolors. Kids love that too.

Along with these the standard beef jerky, hand warmers, and tootsie roll pops, we also added a recordable book. I am sending this in a pre-paid envelope so all our soldier has to do is read and record and shove it back in the envelope and send it home. We will have him “read ” the bedtime story, his voice there, even while we are wishing he was sitting on the edge of the bed. The book  http://www.hallmark.com/online/in-stores/storybooks/recordable-storybooks/was somewhat pricey at $29.00, but I think well worth it. We got the story “Guess how Much I Love You”, which is a sweet story with cute illustrations.

AHHHH…as I was searching for a link for you, I found much cheaper recordable books here: http://astore.amazon.com/recordable-books-20 …well, that’s good! (for you).

The idea is to give you some simple ideas, that do not require lots of time or money. Just some fun things to get the kids interested in making things that a deployed parent will love as keepsakes and reminders that they are well loved , even though they are far away.

 

Reunions are Joy and Adjustment…our free guide to download

January 23, 2012

Devon Edick's dad salutes the flag

 

After noting that most of our sales lately at We Serve too! are the reunion book, we say Welcome Home to those who have been serving in Iraq and other places in the world!

We are thankful for your safe return and your family has waited patiently and long for this day. We know things that are good do not necessarily mean that they are easy, so we are offering you the link to our reunion book parent guide. Even if you do not purchase the book, the guide is yours to use as you see fit. You can download it and perhaps at the very least know that you are not alone, that the things you are going through are common to many Military Families. Children love our colorful hardback books that come with a dog tag that says” I will be strong and courageous“, a fitting sentiment for those strong Military Kids!

This link http://weservetoo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Reunion-Parent-Guide-letter-size.pdf will take you to the pdf, for coping with reunion. Again, Welcome home, thank you for all you do for our nation; for the protections, sacrifices and hard work.  We pray you will now find joy in your Homecoming!

“Hand” Made Christmas Tree!

December 6, 2011

 

If you have a loved one far away, perhaps you will want to make this handprint Christmas tree! Not only will they love seeing how the kids are growing with those cute fingerprints, they can hang this life size tree, then roll it up for another year!

 

 

Here is how we did it:

First here is what you need:

*a roll of giftwrap

*green paint (we used poster paint)

* a brush

* an assortment of fun stuff: glitter, stars, magazine clippings, markers, crayons, paint, glue, tape, stickers  and anything you think would make good decorations

Then: lay the roll of paper on a table or the floor and tape down. Then the fun begins! Paint those little hands green with the paint brush and have them print the hands in a downward design, so the fingers are the ends of the branches. Start at the bottom and work your way up to the top.

We cut a star out of shiny candy wrapper paper, but you can use anything that inspires your imaginative heart!

When it dries, you can decorate as much as you like!

You can ask the post office for a free mailing tube and then roll up  your tree, and send it on it’s way (ours cost about 5.00 to mail overseas) You have to write out the custom form, and say 1 paper Christmas tree, that should entertain the postal workers from one continent to another.

We hope that your and you kids enjoy this project, we sure did, now we will see what Daddy thinks!

May you have a blessed Christmas.

 

 

 

Preview of the Art for our Relocation Book!

October 22, 2011

Hi!

There has been nothing new on this blog for awhile, I have been at the drawing board, literally! I am going to post the cover and two pages  of our upcoming book on relocation…I think you all have stories about PCS (permanent change of station, for those of you outside the Military)

This is the cover…as you can see, moving can be difficult. The tone of this book is to help kids know they are not alone in not wanting to leave behind what they know, but that good things can come of it. Paula has written this in her famous rhyming style, and it is fabulous!

The story title is Little Daisy’s Worst/Best Day! I don’t want to give it all away, but do want to let you know that is a true story, that the author Paula Johnson experienced, as Daisy had to leave her home full of foster kids (social services said too many dogs,) and Paula and Barry took Daisy to live with them on the farm.

All the feelings of sad , mad, getting used to things, and finally acceptance, good memories and positive outcomes are there for parents and kids to discuss.

 

What kids can resist wriggling, soft, sweet puppies? The story begins with 9 of them!

 

 

 

 

The long scary ride to a new place far away. Not only far, but also different! You can see that Daisy is not too thrilled, but as it does in real life, the new that we resist, can be the best!

Well, that is all I will share right now! I have lots of painting yet to do! We would love to hear your stories of kids and PCS adventures if you want to share!

 

We are hoping to publish by early March! We will keep you posted!

New Look for the We Serve Too! series!!

October 5, 2011

Hello!

We are excited to give you a preview of the new look to our series of books for Military kids! Soon we will have a set of 4

1.We Serve Too! A Child’s Deployment Book

2.We Serve Too! A Child’s Reunion Book

3.We Serve Too! The Homecoming Box (Sustainment)

4.We Serve Too! Little Daisy’s Worst /Best Day (a relocation, or moving book)

We love the bright colors and how they will look on a child’s bookshelf. We would love to hear what you think of the new look!

Here they are :

A New Soldier, and Some Free Books…

September 12, 2011

Well, we have been a Military family for a number of years now, and soon we will have a new soldier in the family. Our youngest is about to graduate from Basic Combat Training at Ft. Sill Oklahoma.  BCT is that process where boys become men and civilians become soldiers. They never come out the way they went in.

Now youngest son is on the path to a new journey in the Army. Life is good, busy and as always- requiring much faith and humor.

Paula and I will be travelling to Ft. Sill for this momentous occasion. We are going to be bringing some books with us, and if you are at Ft.  Sill, please contact us. We would like to give away a few books to the kids there. There will be a limited number of books , so first ones to contact us will get them!

We plan to have 12 books to give away, 4 deployment books, 4 reunion books, 4Homecoming box books. You will not know which title you will get…so surprise!

You can e-mail us at weethepeoplepublishing@gmail.com, that works better than comments here (since this does not go directly to our e-mail for some reason)  Write us your name, number and ages of your children (if you want to send names we can sign books for them.) You will have to pick up the books on post while we are there Sept 29 or 30. We will give you more information when you contact us. We can’t wait to meet you!

 

Does homeschooling and the Military Life work?

August 20, 2011

Dear Families,

Before I start this post, please know that whatever a good parent chooses as education for the child they love is just that, a choice. It is not that one things is better than another, in fact what works for one family may not work for another. This post is just something that I wanted to explore with you, something to think about and consider.

I started to write this post, because I have been thinking through this for quite some time now.

I am the product of those who used to feel that children needed public education. As one with a child development background and an elementary teaching certificate, I now have a better idea of the joys and the wonder of homeschooling children. If I could do it again, I would wade into this adventure wholeheartedly.

One question people like me asked was “How do children socialize with no other children?” I have come to understand, that they don’t, homeschoolers are not isolated in a bubble, there are others doing this too. Childhood is not lost, but instead enriched. Our society is unsure of the parental role in the life of a child, and we have been taught to be suspicious of things that are not organized on the level of public school, but that is something that can be challenged. It does not mean that you will choose it, just that it is a viable choice to make if you want to.

For Military Families, I am wondering if  this may be even better, if you can do it, since you will not have to start at new schools, where children have to repeat things they already have done, or have to rush ahead without the foundations laid by an earlier educational experience. Here is what I now know, in part thanks to my partner Paula, who has walked this adventurous road herself, that children thrive, and parents do too, if they want to teach their children about the world.

I came upon a blog,  written by Ann Voskamp, to which I offer you the link here. The beauty of the things she says, the reality of her children’s freedom and depth of learning, moves me. I could not address this as well as she does. I do not have the experience , but if I could do it over, it would inspire me to set out .

I know that we cannot all do this. That would be unrealistic. If you are sending your child to school ( as I did)  do so happily, and stay in touch with the teacher and encourage what they are learning. If you are on the edge of considering Homeschool, perhaps this will help.

What ever your family chooses, have a beautiful and productive school year!

Homeschool?

Pros and Cons for Christian Parents

from this link you can find other blogs by Ann on Homeschool.

 

 

July 4th, A Simple Celebration

June 30, 2011

 

Here is a link for a simple but meaningful July 4th celebration. It takes very little preparation , and gives kids a base of understanding . Here is the link to the site http://www.prageruniversity.com/4th-of-july-declaration.html

I am going to try this with our little ones, come Monday.

Hoping your celebration is wonderful! Our country is unique and we need to pass along to our children the beauty of what we have here.

Happy Independence Day!!

Free Parent Guides for those with military kids!

June 7, 2011

Hi!

We would like to make you aware of the parents guides available for We Serve Too! A Child’s Deployment Book , and We Serve Too! A Childs’ Reunion Book. Deployment and Reunion bring up many questions for children and concerns for the adults who love them. With our free parents guides, you get the story word for word,page by page. There are suggestions of ways to  respond to questions. I want to give you a peek at what you can expect when you go to the link I will post here and access the guides. One of the first pages of our deployment guide goes like this:


Daddy’s unit was deployed his work is far away, and though we are not overjoyed a soldier must obey. The Army said we couldn’t go and Dad said wait right here and wait for me till I get back in just about a year.~ What does it mean that a soldier must obey? A soldier takes an oath, a special promise that he will go wherever the military sends him to protect our country. This is an important promise that every soldier makes. ~ How long is a year? Use the picture   to explain that a year is the time from one birthday to the next ( a child’s birthday is an important date for them) Use the seasons to go through it, e.g. the birthday is September you could say that is in the fall, ~ What things do you like to do in the fall? Winter? Spring? Summer? ~ What do you think the people in the story are feeling? ~ How did you feel when you were told how long your parent would be gone? ~ What things will the family miss doing together? ~ How can they make it easier to make Dad a part of the things they are doing?

 

A Page in the Parent Guide 2 or the

Reunion Book goes like this:

We all need some time for our family to mend, but I promise you things will get better again. I was not here for Christmas, it broke my heart too. (He picked up Ted Teddy and matched a lone shoe.) But our country called me and it hurt little dear, to know I would be gone when you needed me here. Let children know there is a bigger picture. You are serving your country and though you wanted to be there, your job is important for the Family (it is how they get what they need), for the people of the country where you deployed (you protect and defend people wherever you serve), and for our country (this nation cannot maintain its freedom without you).It is important to let children know you did miss them and the pain of separation is not only theirs, but yours too. This is a sacrifice you all make as a family. You might promise each other you won’t indulge in self pity and resentment. Make a team pact. Use this teachable moment to train them to think outside themselves toward the needs of others too.Discuss mending, what it means- and some ways that your family can mend. Incorporate your ideas naturally into your daily living as much as possible. As you model being OK, they will be OK  too.

This is just a small sample. You may go to our page http://weservetoo.com/parentsleaders/and get the free download.  Click on Book Guide 1(deployment) or Book Guide 2(reunion) . From our home page, click on resources, then parent/leader and you will get to the same page, scroll down to the book downloads. You can use it to talk with kids, open some discussion and help you to think through these things as well. We hope you find them helpful and that you and your little ones will enjoy the resources at We Serve Too!

Honor and Courage for Military Kids

May 15, 2011

 

The other day I was pursuing two  blogs written by Military mothers raising little ones as a spouse is deployed. This is something I do occasionally, to keep in touch with what people are experiencing and especially what the littlest members of the family are going through.

In these two blogs, each family had more than one child. In both families the children were very connected to the father, who was the deployed parent. Both mothers stated that the children had a very hard time with the separation, and the anticiaption of it before it happened. They also shared the children’s behaviors, of crying, searching for daddy, and angry oubursts.

Then came the differences. Parent A,  summarized with saying that her children would be forever wounded by this absence and that she was having a hard time accepting her role as single parent while her husband was away.

Parent B,  looked for creative ways to make the deployment a focused time of keeping the father in the children’s’ lives. She did things like placing pictures at child eye level and making a jar with daddy’s picture on it and giving them  a kiss goodnight from daddy before bed (a sweet Hershey kiss). This family was able to settle in, and though deployment was hard, it became manageable. The children were able to go on and be happy most of the time.

It was not those little things she did that grabbed my attention though. This parent stated something profound …the children in family B were proud that Daddy was a soldier. Mother B was too, and let them know  in no uncertain terms, what an honor it was to be a Military Family. Now I am not saying the parent A was not proud of her husband, just that it was not the focus, as it was in family B.

No one will argue that the military life is ever changing, but we do not believe it is unstable just because there is an absence for a time (sometimes a long time) . The attitude of the parent directly effects the children.

This is the core of the matter. We all need purpose in life. To know our purpose is a gift that allows us to endure sacrifice with honor and courage.  Spouses who are proud of the service thier loved one provides this country, are more likely to stay married and to find the adventure in being a  Military family. Those who are fearful, unsure of  the relationship and unhappy, generally do not survive.

Divorce in the Military has high numbers because we live in a “me first” time ,and are encouraged to find ourselves outside the marriage relationship. Sadly this is transfered to our children who are told they are “being cheated’ while a deployment is under way, rather than honored by a larger purpose outside themselves.

If the family can feel and embrace this larger purpose, they will weather the deployments, the changes, the reunions, and find a stronger and more bonded life within the Miltiary.

Paula and I have a mission statement :We Serve Too ! Honor and Courage for Military Kids! We hope that our resources help children and their parents embrace that badge of courage and honor they most bravely earn.