Archive | February, 2014

Olympics, World War II, and Classical Conversations

7 Feb

I just finished watching the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics. For my CC readers, I realized how much I learned our first 16 weeks. As Olympians from countries like Estonia and Latvia entered the arena, I smiled knowing that two months ago I would not have been able to locate these countries on a map. Also, I almost embarrassed myself as I screamed at our television when they showed the map of Greece, which was the first country to enter the Olympic Arena. “It’s the Balkan Peninsula! Look, boys! It’s the Balkan Peninsula. See it?!?!” (Yeah, I kinda love and freak out about maps and all-things-geography.)

As we gear up to look at World War II in Classical Conversations over the next couple of weeks, I wanted to highlight a couple of  Olympic/WWII tie ins since the Winter Games will be running parallel with our WWII studies.

I am a HUGE fan of missionary/Christian hero biographies (particularly this series, Christian Heroes: Then and Now), and I love reading them with my boys. We read about Eric Liddell two  years ago when we were gearing up for the Summer Olympics. Eric Liddell is well-known and remembered for refusing to run on Sunday for the 100m race in the 1924 Olympics. I knew that tidbit of information about him prior to reading the book. However, I learned that he became a missionary to China after his Olympic running shoes were retired. His life was directly impacted by the events of World War II while in China due to Japan’s actions on the Eastern front. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I am going to omit the details. Please, go read it.) 🙂

One of my favorite books in high school was The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. If you don’t know the story, STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW and read this book! It’s a memorable, captivating story of courage and God’s protection. The first time I read it–I literally read it in 3 days; I could not put it down. It’s the story of Corrie’s family who lived in Holland and helped Jewish families escaping from Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  There is a Corrie Ten Boom version in the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series that I mentioned above. Again, I am not going to go into elaborate detail of the events of Corrie Ten Boom’s life because I want you to read it!

Also, if you’ve not heard of the Imagination Station series, which is by the Focus on the Family and similar in concept to the Magic Tree House series, there is a book focused on Corrie Ten Boom, called Escape to the Hiding Place. Can you tell I love the story of Corrie Ten Boom?!?! So many different books that you can read about her! Any of them would be an excellent way to gently introduce World War II and the Holocaust to children.

This movie is another Olympic-themed resource. It has NOTHING to do with World War II but rather the Cold War. (You could tie this in with the respective Timeline Card, CC readers.) I watched this movie several years and did not previously know the story of the 1980 Winter Olympic gold medal hockey game which pitted the USSR against the United States. It gave me insight into the Cold War and the intense animosity between the two countries during that period of history. I’m sure the Hollywood glitz on the film is generous, yet the events actually happened. I was awestruck at how one game–USSR vs. USA–personified the political climate and events simultaneously transpiring between the two countries. A nail bitter this one was!

Do you have any great Olympic-themed and/or World War II reads? If so, please share them with us!

“Love Is…” Mobile & Valentine’s Day Books (FREE PRINTABLE)

6 Feb

I Corintians 13.4 to 7

Here’s my fun Valentine Day-inspired FREE Printable! Download by clicking here: I Corintians 13.4 to 7

We used this in the preschool Sunday School class that I teach when they were memorizing I Corinthians 13:4-7. I printed these off, cut them out, and the children colored them. I then mounted them on foam hearts that I got at Michael’s. We punched holes in the top and bottom of each heart, and they made a mobile with the verses. They were SO CUTE! I encouraged the children to hang then in their rooms, so they could remember (and their parents) all of the truths God taught us about love.

You could do a million things with this printable. You could make a mobile for your child’s room. You could make this and give it to a grandparent or a man or woman in a nursing home. You could use it as garland to decorate your mantle or fireplace. If you don’t have foam hearts, construction paper, scrapbook paper, or card stock would work. You could paint, finger paint, do-a-dot marker, or (dare I say it??) glitter the hearts. Each family member could decorate one heart, and then it becomes a family project. You could even laminate them to use it every year!

Alas, I took a picture of our I Corinthians 13 banner and can’t find it. Since then ours has been destroyed. (Did I mention that I have three boys?!?!?)  Maybe those of you with daughters will have more success with the permanence of this.

St. Valentine (Robert Sabuda) –We read this because I enjoy unearthing the origins of holidays. I have no clue of its historical accuracy, but we enjoyed it.

The Legend of the Valentine: An Inspirational Story of Love and Reconciliation (Katherine Grace Bond) -I love “The Legend of…” series and have enjoyed several of these during Christmas. I was excited to find a Valentine edition. This is the story of a young African American boy named Marcus in Alabama in the 1960s and a decision he faces regarding love or forgiveness. The story time warps back to Ancient Rome and tells the story of St. Valentine and relates it to Marcus’s dilemma. (For my CC readers, this would be a great tie-in to Ancient Rome and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.)

The Story of Valentine’s Day (Nancy J. Skarmeas)-This is on our “to read” list this year for Valentine’s Day. I love Candy Cane Press books, so I was excited to find a Valentine’s Day book by these great folks. Excited to check it out!

What about you guys?!?!? Do you have any fun Valentine Day traditions, activities or books? I would love to hear and share with other Suzanne Shares readers! 🙂

Valentine’s Day tradition: Valentine’s “stockings”

3 Feb


I’m reposting this from last year. We introduced Valentine’s stockings in our home as new tradition. It was a HIT with our boys, and since I LOVE giving gifts, it was a hit for me, too! ha! I know people have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day, but for my husband and I, it has become a fun day to verbalize, yet again, to our sons that we love them and are thankful that God gave them to us! Parents, kids never get tired of hearing that from their parents. (I’m a “grown up” and still find joy, security when hearing that from my own parents!) So, parents, lavish your children with words expressing your love of and for them on Valentine’s Day and every day!


Read the post to learn how to make these, or let them inspire you to make your own “bag” of some sort. Seriously, a decorated brown paper sack would suffice! Just do something FUN together with your family to remind each member that he/she is loved: 1) First and foremost by their Creator, God and 2) by YOU!

“We love because He first loved us.” I John 4:19

Come back tomorrow, and I’ll have a FREE Printable and some Valentine’s Day book suggestions. 🙂