Favorite Thanksgiving Books for Children

Happy Monday, y’all! Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and Anna Marie is sharing her favorite Thanksgiving books. There’s enough time for you to find a copy (either purchasing or maybe your local library has them!) to read with your kids or grandkids or nieces and nephews.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reflect on God’s blessings and focus on thankfulness. It’s also an incredible opportunity to talk with our children about the founding of our nation by a group of Christians who were determined to follow God as they saw laid out in Scripture. They were unwilling to compromise or subject their children to the influence of an ungodly culture. They were willing to endure hardship for the sake of Christ and sang praises to the Lord in the midst of situations I myself could hardly imagine. There are many examples of God’s hand in bringing them to America and providing Squanto to help them learn survival in the wilderness where they settled. We want to be recounting these stories to our children in the same spirit as Psalm 78:2-4:

“I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.”

I love reading books to the children about Thanksgiving as it approaches but have had a really hard time finding those that give glory to the Lord or talk about the true reason for the Pilgrims coming. So far I’ve come across two that I really like and wanted to share with you.

This is the Feast

This is the Feast (Amazon links in this post are Titus2’s Amazon’s Affiliate link, and Titus2 earns from qualifying purchases, see the Privacy Policy), by Diane Z. Shore, has beautifully crafted, rhythmic flow to the poetic wording that describes the journey and settling of the Pilgrims. I feel like she very tactfully handles the realities of life on the Mayflower and the illnesses that took the lives of many through that first winter in Plymouth, not glossing over them but not being too graphic for young readers. Interspersed through the story are small doxologies of praise to the Lord, such as, “Thanks be to God, our Help and our Guide!” The illustrations are absolutely stunning, with vivid detail and color. I also like how basic identification of some of the trees and plants are woven in. All in all, I would say this is my favorite Thanksgiving book ever.

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving (Titus2’s Amazon’s Affiliate link, see the Privacy Policy), by Eric Metaxas, is an amazing story of how God uses trials for His own purposes and glory! It follows the life of Squanto being kidnapped from his Patuxet village and sold as a slave upon arrival in Spain, purchased by monks who taught him about God, then sent him to England where he learned English before finally returning to his village ten years after his kidnapping—only to find that a plague had taken the lives of every Patuxet. He sorrowfully wondered why God would have allowed this when shortly after, the Pilgrims arrived and settled in Patuxet. Knowing their language and knowing the land, he was able to help them learn the best ways to hunt and cultivate. I don’t know how much of the story has been “enhanced,” but regardless, it is a good reminder that we don’t know what God might use trials in our lives for, and we can trust that He does indeed work all things together for good!

Another thing we learned about the pilgrims is that they loved to sing the Psalms, often versified. I’ve been enjoying singing some with the children such as Psalm 23 (see this Hymnary link) and Psalm 100 (Hymnary link). We also have been singing the verbatim Psalm 119 that we have been learning together. Singing Scripture back to God in worship is powerful!

Over the River and Through the Wood

Since I’m talking about Thanksgiving books, I’m also including Over the River and Through the Wood (Titus2’s Amazon’s Affiliate link, see the Privacy Policy), by Lydia Marie Child and illustrated by Matt Tavares. It has nothing to do with the Pilgrims but is a beautifully illustrated story based on the Thanksgiving-themed poem. Our children love following the family in their horse and sleigh over the frozen river and through snow-drifted woods to their grandparents’ house, and it is a perfect book to cuddle up and read on a cold day!

May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving season.

Because the LORD our God is good,
His mercy is forever sure.
His truth at all times firmly stood
And shall from age to age endure.

Love,
~Anna Marie

Gigi reading to the children

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and
the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 5:20

Operation Christmas Child In Action

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Collection Week is right around the corner: November 18-25. To find a location near you, visit OCC’s site.

Buying gifts for a shoebox and then packing it is a great way to encourage your kids to share with others and truly understand the meaning that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. You can also include a letter and picture in your box. The shoebox will be a gift to treasure for a child who doesn’t have much. When the boxes are handed out, they include a little booklet called The Greatest Gift. The Gospel message is shared, and that’s exciting. Think about it. A Christmas gift with an eternal impact.

OCC box preparation is in gear around here. From rolling washcloths and securing them with hair ties (practical), to putting together the boxes, to starting the assembly line.

I’d love to hear if you’re involved with OCC!

“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion
one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”
1 Peter 3:8

Happy Veteran’s Day!

The older man shot up from his seat, stood at attention, and saluted as the American flag marched on in the parade. After it went by, he sat down. Each flag that approached, he repeated the process. It did not matter if someone was carrying it or if it was on a vehicle. He stood.

Fast forward a few years. The elderly man, now fighting late-stage Parkinson’s and dementia, sat in his lawn chair, ready to watch the parade. As a flag came close, he tried to stand, but his arms and legs wouldn’t cooperate. His wife and daughter softly encouraged him that it was okay not to stand. With reluctance, he sank back into his seat. There are times in battles that soldiers have to retreat, and the time had come for this Vietnam veteran to retreat.

That man was my grandpa. He loved his country, and he almost gave his life for it. During the Tet Offensive, a rocket dropped into the building he was in. The man near Grandad did not make it, and Grandad’s injuries were severe. He found out later that the first helicopter who tried to rescue him was shot down. Everyone on board died. They gave their lives for those they were trying to help.

Shortly before Grandad left for the tour in Vietnam where he was wounded.

Freedom is not free. It costs many their lives. May we not take for granted the freedom we have in this great country of ours. If you see a veteran today, please thank him or her for their service.

Grandad wasn’t a believer when that rocket hit the building in January of 1968. His life was spared, and he surrendered to Jesus on October 27th, 1978. Grandad is now with his Savior.

May we take time this Veteran’s Day to remember those who have served our country, and some gave their all.

Love,
Sarah

Grandad and GiGi right before their 50th anniversary

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another,
as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:12-13

Autumn Leaves For the Kids

It’s become a yearly aunties’ playtime to rake leaves from our big tree out back and let the kids enjoy them.

The backyard rang with lots of happy laughter and blurs of leaf throws. Sometimes the girls would have to call for a pause while the pile got re-raked. At the end, leaves were bagged up.

Love,
Sarah

I guess Lydia and Ruthie are preparing for the leaf shower.
Benji preferred to hang out with Ellie and me for awhile. I loved this capture.
The happy crew

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
and cometh down from the Father of lights, with
whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
James 1:17

Our Experience with Head Lice And How to Get Rid of Them

Today, we’re sharing a post from Anna Marie about their experience dealing with lice. Yes, you read that right. Y’all, this is a very practical post, and watch out, you’ll probably find your head itching a bit.

I was brushing the girls’ hair after bathing them one evening and saw a little bug near Lydia’s bangs. I picked it out and showed Christopher, who was right there brushing the children’s teeth, and commented that it was funny. I had picked one out of one of the girls’ bangs earlier. I thought it was a little fruit fly. As I began to brush Lydia’s hair again, I found another, and two more … then set the brush down and started carefully looking through both her and Ruthanne’s hair, picking out bug after bug and dropping them into a cup of soapy water. I also saw lots of little dark specks, which I later learned were the eggs (nits).

I have no previous experience with head lice, having never had them, but some Google searches turned up lots of information. I wanted to briefly share with you what I wish I would have known that first moment I found them—before we did homeopathic lice spray treatments, washed countless loads of laundry, did a major house cleaning, worried about whether long hair would need to be cut (it doesn’t), etc.

I eventually came across a web site that has been tremendously helpful in this process. It is written by “The Nice Lice Lady,” who was a professional in-home lice consultant for fourteen years. Because her site is set up as a blog, the various tips are somewhat spread throughout the site. While there are some helpful quick links on the right sidebar my first recommendation, if you discover lice in your home, is to read this post.

Here are a few of my key takeaways from her site:

  • Head lice are a nuisance, not a health issue. It also doesn’t mean you’re dirty—some research indicates that lice may even prefer clean scalps.
  • Think of treatment in terms of a marathon, not a sprint. You’re going to be combing heads for a few weeks; pace yourself so you don’t burn out. Which relates to the next point…
  • Focus 99% of your efforts on the scalp and combing. Don’t waste your time on house cleaning and laundry. She hasn’t found that to make much if any, difference; but she’s “relentless” on combing. She also has not found treatments (whether chemical or homeopathic) to be necessary or change the outcome much at all. The treatment that is effective: combing.
  • According to studies: blow drying, on high speed but low temperature can kill up to 98% of nits and 50% of lice. She doesn’t feel it’s necessary if you’re carefully combing as she recommends, but I did it anyway.
  • Do simple routine checks. She does it weekly by combing the children’s hair with a regular fine-tooth comb after they shower and detangle their hair. She checks the comb for any lice after each stroke through the hair. If she finds something, she grabs her lice comb and gets to work. By doing these routine checks, she feels like she is able to beat lice before they really get started.

All that said, here is our plan of action regarding lice. Divided up into two sections: “prior to” lice, and “once discovered.”

Prior to Getting Lice:

  • Have on hand a quality lice comb. The one we bought from Walmart wasn’t any good. Here’s the one we eventually found that is extremely good: the Nit Terminator lice comb (Titus2’s Amazon’s Affiliate link, see the Privacy Policy). It costs about $11. I wish I’d had it on hand the first night. It has sturdy, rigid teeth that are micro-grooved so it really does grab those tiny nits in fine little girl hair. While you wouldn’t have to buy this ahead of time, once you discover lice it’s going to be hard to wait a day or even several days for it to arrive. At the same time, it’s hard to know the quality of the combs that are readily available in local stores.
  • Optional: I found it helpful to use an essential oil blend called “Get ‘Em Gone,” from Plant Therapy. The oil is designed to soothe itchy scalps and help repel lice. I liked having something that could be (diluted and) applied to all heads of hair once lice was discovered. It gave me peace of mind knowing I was helping protect other heads and also helping soothe the scalp of the ones who had lice. I know many people have different views about essential oils, and it’s true that the essential oil isn’t something “required” for treating lice, but it’s something I liked having on hand. I have been happy with any essential oils I have ordered from Plant Therapy over the years (two of our favorites are Defender and Germ Destroyer), and reviews on “Get ‘Em Gone” are very positive. So, if you’re an essential-oil-kind of gal, you might check it out from Plant Therapy. Sarah dropping in here on this part: If you decide to order the essential oil directly from Plant Therapy, y’all can get $10 off a $25 order and Anna Marie will also get $10 in her account. Her referral link is: http://rwrd.io/jowmdjb/ 

Once You Discover Lice, Here are Some Steps You Could Take

  • Stop and take a breath. Spend some time in prayer, giving thanks to God in and for all things and asking for His grace in the days to come (or, should I say, “comb”). Look forward to the special time you’ll have with your children.
  • Re-read this Titus2 blog post and also read through the Nice Lice Lady’s blog post.
  • Get started treating head(s)!
  • Wet the hair by spraying with Get ‘Em Gone essential oil combined with water in a spray bottle (shake bottle frequently while spraying to keep the oil mixed in if not using an emulsifier).
  • Comb: I’ll include a summary of the combing process I used, but see Nice Lady’s post for her step-by-step guide on this.
    • Wet hair and apply a little bit of conditioner—but not too much, I found, or you spend a lot of time first removing excess conditioner so you can see what you’re getting in the comb! I had this kind (Titus2’s Amazon’s Affiliate link, see the Privacy Policy), and it worked great.
    • Start combing with a good lice comb, either sectioned off or just making sure you cover each section well multiple times. Comb all the way from scalp to end of hair, checking the comb each stroke and wiping any findings on toilet paper or paper towel.
      • Note: I was frustrated with how long it took to get the tiny nits out of the comb, but found the Nice Lice Lady addresses this in the comments section on a blog post saying not to worry too much about the nits if they’re not just wiping out of the comb. Even if they do come out of the comb into the hair, they won’t reattach and cannot live away from the scalp. However, be sure to wipe all the lice/nymphs off the comb with each stroke.
    • Continue to comb until you can do 100 strokes with no findings. This is great counting practice for little ones, by the way! 😉 Do this every couple of days until you have no findings for about two weeks. Since this can take a while the first couple of times, it’s a great time for read-aloud or audio books. Joshua read to us for part of the time we combed.
  • Thoroughly blow-dry sections with cool air.
  • Keep combing every day or two until the comb has been clear for two weeks. The Nice Lice Lady said she rarely finds anything after the first two combings, and that was our experience as well.
  • Regularly spray everyone’s hair (even those who haven’t had lice or nit sightings) with Get ‘Em Gone essential oil water for a few weeks.

I hope this helps,
Anna Marie

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God
and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 5:20

The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.