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The Whole Child, Issue #045 - Ho-Ho, Chocolates, Milk and Vinegar?
December 12, 2007


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12 December 2007, Issue #045

1. Hello from Shirley

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how people come into our lives, sometimes just for a moment, like a meeting in a queue or on a flight, some stay for a longer season and then the relationship ends – they move on, grow away from you, break the relationship or even die. They teach you a lesson, show you something from a new perspective or present you with an opportunity to share and then the season is over.

Others may be with you for a lifetime. Lifetime relationships teach us lifetime lessons – lessons that we may need to build upon to ensure a strong emotional foundation. Sometimes it’s painful as the friction of relationships rubs us up, knocking off our rough edges, like sandpaper on wood.

Its not always easy to embrace the person or the lesson, especially when it hurts and especially if it’s a family member causing the friction, but in the end, if we are willing to learn and grow, our characters will become more polished and more beautiful and we’ll be more of a blessing to others around us.

We have to believe that there is a reason for every relationship or we might give up on others who need us or miss opportunities to grow into better people ourselves!

2. What’s New at Shirley’s Preschool Activities?

1. Click here for Christmas Crafts for Kids including easy home-made gifts, gift wrap and more.

2. Since its our summer holiday and we have finished our homeschool curriculum, I have taken some time to do some more structured learning activities with my preschoolers in the form of lapooks, based on stories that we read together.

The first one was one that I bought, and it inspired me to create one of our own for a wonderful African story book that we own.

While we were doing it, the plight of little African girl, with HIV, who is desperately in need of medical care but has never seen a doctor, was brought to my attention by a fellow homeschooling mom, who helps out at an orphanage.

My homeschooling business partner, Wendy, and I decided to offer the Fly, Eagle, Fly! South African Unit Study as a fundraiser for little Nobuhle. In return for a R50 ($7) donation you can download this story-based unit study to use with your children – it is suited for children aged 4-8 and can be used at home or in the classroom.

You can read more about the Fly, Eagle, Fly! South African Unit study on our Footprints On Our Land website.

3. Preschool Activities at Home Egroup

Join our group of moms as well as caregivers of preschoolers as we discuss life with little ones…from discipline issues, to developmental activities, coping with toddlers and babies, TV, delayed milestones and more!

If you haven’t yet joined and would like to, send a blank email to

4. Quote

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

Albert Einstein

5. Tips

The other day, while in the kitchen, I was inspired to share an idea with my children that someone recently shared with me. She said that our hearts are like a mug of liquid: When someone bumps us and the contents pour out, we can see what is really in our hearts.

I took a mug of milk and asked the children what would pour out of it if we bumped it over. “Milk,” they said. Then I took an unknown liquid from a bottle in the cupboard and poured some into another mug. I asked them the same question, but of course they didn’t know the answer. “We’ll have to tip it over and see what comes out,” I said. I did and I let them each dip a finger and taste the sour vinegar.

Then I explained the reason for the lesson – in life, other people will ‘bump’ us – they hurt us, irritate us or provoke us in many ways. How we respond will show us what pours out of us, like the unknown liquid – it could be the milk of loving kindness in our hearts or the vinegar of bitterness, unforgiveness and anger.

6. Christmas – commercial and religious

Knowing that Christmas is not really the time that our Saviour was born but rather is a festival with pagan roots, I have mixed feelings about the festivities at this time of year…but traditions are hard to break.

Some of my readers are religious and some are not so I know that if I say anything, there will definitely be someone who says I am pushing ‘something’ on them that isn’t welcome … so bear with me and just scroll past anything that might offend you.

6.1. Commercial

Firstly, as much as I am not very pro-Santa, I have to tell you that Site-Build It!, the company that has helped me go from a technical dummy to a successful web-entrepreneur with a site ranked in the top 1% in the world, has a Ho-Ho Christmas special: they are offering two websites for the price of one – so you and a partner or friend can buy in together and only pay half, or you could buy two yourself as you get 9 months before you need to build the 2nd site.

Click on the image for more info:

Site Build It!

...or here for PROOF of Site Build It's Success.

2. Religious

For those that are religious, here’s a thing for you and your kids (if you are not, scroll down fast!):


Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.
Santa rides in a sleigh.
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.
Santa comes but once a year.
JESUS is an ever present help.
Santa fills your stockings with goodies.
JESUS supplies all your needs.
Santa comes down your chimney uninvited.
JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.
You have to wait in line to see Santa.
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.
Santa lets you sit on his lap.
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.
Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, what's your name?"
JESUS knew your name before you did.
Not only does He know your name, He knows your address too.
He knows your history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on your head.
Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly.
JESUS has a heart full of love.
All Santa can offer is HO HO HO.
JESUS offers Health, Help and Hope.
Santa says "You better not cry."
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."
Santa's little helpers make toys.
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.
Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.
While Santa puts gifts under your tree.
JESUS became our gift and died on a tree. Yes, from sin He sets us free!

7. Book Reviews

If you haven’t yet, take a look at my Christmas suggestions on the Store page on my site.

There 27 gift suggestions from must-have board books for toddlers, picture books, a few story great compilations, some kids CD’s and DVD’s, and lastly my favourite parenting and homeschooling books, including Fly, Eagle, Fly! (mentioned above).

My top 2 Christmas Stories:

a. An African Christmas Cloth by Reviva Schermbrucker

This is a beautifully illustrated book created with embroidered pictures that were stitched by the author over a period of two years. The textured pages tell the story of Aunty Apples who takes a trip through the South African countryside in December, returning home to her relatives on Christmas Eve, with a beautiful handmade gift...

b. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

This is a story with deep, rich illustrations that we have read more than once at Christmas time. It is quite a moving story of a widow and her son and how they befriend a sad, lonely and rather grumpy woodcarver.

8. Readiness Activities

The following activities are aimed at ages 2-3. For older children, adapt the activity to their ability or alternatively repeat the activities previously suggested for ages 3-5 in the earlier Backissues of The Whole Child publication.

To download the activities in a printable pdf, click here.

You will need to have Adobe Reader installed. Its a free download.

Repeat these activities often - with your own variations too!


1. Gross motor skills

Arrange furniture or even boxes to form an obstacle course. Let your child crawl through the boxes or chairs etc. towards you.

2. Fine motor skills

Tactile perception/stereognosis: Blindfold your child and then hand her a small ball or wooden block. She must feel it and determine its shape by telling you whether it can roll or whether it has corners or straight edges etc. She can use the words "ball" or "block" too of course!

3. Visual skills

Visual discrimination: Place three of the same colour and same shaped blocks, shapes or other small toys in front of your child, plus one that is an odd shape, say a triangle. Ask your child to point out the odd one. Teach him the meaning of the word ‘different’ if he doesn’t already know this word. Repeat with a different set of shapes.

4. Auditory skills

Auditory Conceptualising: Read one or two nursery rhymes to your child, frequently repeating the same ones so that she becomes familiar with them. Read them rhythmically, emphasizing the rhyming words and encourage your child to join in or fill in the ‘missing’ word as you pause for her to complete a line. Read more about the many Benefits of Nursery Rhymes.

5. Mathematical skills

Counting Skills: Place three “sticks” building from construction blocks in front of your child. They should consist of three, two and one block respectively. Ask your child to build the same, copying the ones you built. While he does so, talk about the different sizes, using vocabulary like small, medium and large, shortest, longest etc. Count aloud from one to three too.

6. Language skills

Sequence of Events: Talk to your child about experiences in the past, present and future and ask her questions that will require her to use the past, present and future tenses. For example: What have we just been doing, what are we going to do next? Where did we go or where shall we go now?

7. Faith-building

If you celebrate Christmas, be sure to use this opportunity to explain the real reason for this celebration to your little ones. Although we do give gifts, we choose not to teach our children the myth about Santa, but rather to focus on the nativity story from the Bible. We enjoy listening to CD’s with Christian kids' Christmas songs too.

Wishing you and yours a blessed festive season

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