The Wonder of Imagination

The other day, Micah refused to nap! He just fought it the whole day. He even chanted as he painted his picture, “Mama, no nap, no nap. Micah does not need a nap. No nap, no nap, Micah does not need a nap.” It sounded more annoying (as you can imagine) than funny when it was happening. But at his usual nap time (and my much awaited ME time), I sent him off to bed.

After two hours, he was still awake. I could hear him reciting parts of the books he had memorized, talking to himself and singing his heart out. It was funny listening to him. But I figured, might as well keep him up since this nap thing isn’t working and bedtime will just be moved up an hour early.
I walked into his room and told him he could stay in his room until I was ready for him to come downstairs. He could read or play legos on his mat while he waited. He really wanted to ride his bike and his car downstairs but he since he didn’t nap (thus disobeying) his consequence was he had to entertain himself in his room alone.

Two hours later (YES, two hours…I was shocked, too!) he was still up there. I could hear him talking but it was too muffled for me to understand. I decided to listen through the door. He was talking about a tow truck coming to take the car away because there was construction going on. I was curious to see what he was doing. I wished there was a peep hole so I can look in. I just opened the door quietly to see what was going on. Low and behold, there was powder on his community mat.



I was just about to go, “Micah! What happened?! What did you do?!” But I held my breath and listened to him narrate his story. He looked up with a grin and said, “Mama! Look! There’s snow and construction site and the tow truck take away the car because he was in an accident.” His imagination was running wild and his brain was too fast for his mouth. He was trying really hard to explain what was going on but he was just too excited!


I watched quietly as he shared his heart with me. He told me how the tow truck with a mechanic was helping the car and that the driver did not check the traffic so he got stuck (Trivia: his dad always needs to check the traffic whenever we get into the car. I thought that part was hilarious!). The snow (aka baby powder) covered the road, which caused it to become a construction site. He showed me how the construction worker and driver (he is a multi-tasker apparently) had to put the “snow/dirt” into the dump truck then drive away. He proudly showed me the skyscrapers he had built with lego and how Bob the builder had come to build them. He was throwing all these big words at me and quoting the books we learned them from.



At that moment, my heart was filled to the brim. I was glad I held my breath and let him take charge. At the end of the day, it was my fault for leaving the powder within his reach and for not giving him enough boundaries on what he can and cannot do in his room. I savored the moment as I listened to my 2.5 year old share what was in his mind and in his heart. I listened as he opened his eyes to the raw power of integrating everything we have been learning and experiencing. He allowed me to go back to the days when I would make stuff up and laugh at the simplest things. As I watched him find joy in powder, tow trucks and building legos, I silently thanked the Lord for the little things that make us smile. Who would have thought my mistake of leaving the baby powder within his reach would allow him to picture snow and make it real.


Because of this, we were able to stop and talk about who created this wonderful thing called snow and once again bring it back to our awesome Creator. It is amazing how God uses these moments to make us stop and appreciate His majesty. It reminded me to make a conscious effort to revert everything back to the One who made it all and making each moment a teachable moment that leads back to Christ.
Moments later, we heard the garage door open. I quickly ran downstairs to meet my husband. I knew he would freak out (eyes wide open, mouth drops, and goes WAH!) at the sight of the powder on the floor so I had to warn him. I gave him a hug and a kiss and said, “Babe, hurry. Go upstairs to Micah’s room and listen through the door. Listen to what he is talking about. It’s really funny and quite entertaining. But there’s stuff on the floor you might not like. Don’t react! Control yourself. He is just using his imagination.” Chris was like, “WHAT?! What’s on the floor?!” I said, “Nothing the vacuum can’t take care of and it’s just on his play mat and not on the carpet.”


Thank God I prompted him because his eyes did pop out when he saw the powder. But he did keep his mouth shut and replaced the gasp with a pleasant inquiry of what was going on. Micah enthusiastically shared the happenings in his busy little town while his dad listened attentively to him. My husband looked at me and smiled with saying, “Thanks for the heads up but you gotta clean this up later.”

What a blissful moment.



Truth Be Told: A Toddler’s Confession

Today marked a milestone for me as a mom of a two. I never thought about dealing with honesty this way or this soon.


Micah at 2.5 and Titus at 8 months old

I would often let Micah and Titus play together while I cook, clean or do the laundry. I would be around the area or within a short distance from the two of them just in case some mishaps happen. Titus is a pretty tough baby. He doesn’t get hurt very often and is usually quite tolerant of his brother when he starts playing a little rough. He would laugh when Micah would pretend to play or throw a football or swing his imaginary baseball bat. He loves hanging around his older brother and follow him around (in a much slower pace a.k.a crawling).

It’s fun watching them interact and be buddies. Micah is usually pretty good around Titus and is pretty careful when Titus is close by. There would be days when he would get frustrated with Titus when he chews on his toys or mess up his work during home school time but for the most part, I think he likes having his little brother around. The other night though, we had to remind him to be more gentle when he pretended to tackle and run around Titus. We told him that his baby brother isn’t big enough to play football yet, let alone be his football at the moment. 

This morning, as the boys were playing in the living room, I ran upstairs to grab my phone and my wallet as we prepared to leave for an errand. I told Micah to watch Titus for a second. He was busy playing with his big construction trucks while Titus was crawling around him. There were coos and laughter but as soon as I got my wallet, I heard Titus crying. I ran downstairs to see what had happened.

Micah had stepped a couple of feet away while Titus was on the floor (in a crawling position) with his hand outstretched with fingers apart. My initial thought was probably one of the wheels of the excavator must have ran over his tiny little fingers. Whether it’s on purpose or not, I don’t know and I really can’t tell. I decided to pick up Titus, wipe his tears, and calmly ask Micah what happened. He told me, “Mama, Titus just cry. I don’t know.” I asked him if he had anything to do with it, he said, “no mama” and started rolling his truck the other direction.

Titus was way over it at this point. It literally took him one loud “WAAHH” then some “sniff sniff” and then it was over. I debated whether I should pry some more or not. I was tempted to accuse Micah (gently) or present the “possible” scenario of what just happened. But I restrained myself and thought it was best to just end the situation with a calm reminder to be careful around his little brother and to make sure he paid attention to where he was going. 

We all hopped in the car and I drove away. At one of the stoplights a couple blocks from home, Micah quietly said, “Mama, I gotta tell you something.” I glanced up and said, “Yes Micah?” He continued on with a remorseful and almost teary face and said, “Mama, I sorry. I hurt Titus and he cried. It was accident. I sorry Mama. I hurt Titus. Mama, I forgive you.” (which means “please forgive me,” he still can’t quite figure that one out yet.)

I pulled over after crossing the red light and asked him to look me in the eyes as I smiled and said, “Micah, thank you for telling mama the truth. I’m so glad you were honest. Mama wouldn’t be mad as long as you tell the truth. I’m so proud of you for being brave enough to tell mama what really happened. God is really happy about what you did, too. That was very mature and God-honoring. I forgive you. Please be more careful around Titus next time ok?” He smiled. I continued on, “How do you feel now?” He said, “Mama I say sorry to Titus.” Then he quickly turned towards Titus and said, “Titus, I sorry. I hurt you. I forgive you ok?” (again, it means, “please forgive me”) I chuckled in the front seat as I watched him in the rear view mirror. After his sincere apology, I noticed his whole demeanor changed. He was smiling, talking and bubbly once again. We prayed and I thanked God for giving him an honest heart. He quickly added “I sorry God for hurting Titus.” as we prepared to say Amen.

I praise God for giving me the wisdom to stay calm and restraining myself from accusing Micah of hurting Titus. I praise God for the sensitive heart that He has given him. I pray that he will always choose to obey Christ even when things get difficult.

As I shared this story with my husband, we were reminded of Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” We pray that both our boys will come to know Christ at a young age and have a personal relationship with Him. It is our desire to pass on a godly legacy that will always point them to our Creator. This incident also reminded us that we are accountable to the Lord to teach our children biblical principles and to be the godly example He wants us to be. But apart from Him, we cannot do it. We are blessed to have the Holy Spirit to help us through this journey of parenthood.


DOUGH-ble the Fun!

As you can see, play dough has been a constant component in our home. Today, I would like to share two other simple recipes and activities you can do with your kids.

After learning about the Solar System and memorizing them, I wanted to teach Micah the different things that men use to explore the moon. When I first presented the lesson, I noticed he wanted nothing to do with it. He got bored pretty quickly and wanted to move on. This is very unlikely because he is usually engaged in concepts that are new to him. I thought about how I can make this exciting.

Again, the sensory bin came to life. The next day, I got him involved in making cloud dough for the moon surface. It is really easy and fun to do. As we knead and played with the dough inside the bin, I started introducing the different space objects once again. It sparked his interest and he paid full attention.

IMG_9262As we manipulated these objects around the bin, he quickly learned the names and their functions. This activity kept his attention for over an hour and by the end of the first 15 minutes, he was able to articulate the lesson back to me. I left him alone, busy with his new found interest in space objects for another hour or so while I got things done around the house.


To reinforce the names of the objects, I created picture cards for each one and had him play a matching game with them the next day. I had him bury all the objects in the “moon sand” and placed all the cards face down. He then had to flip a card, name it, find the object that matched it, and place it on top of the card.



Once he got the concept, he started playing the game by himself. I think he got it because he created his own rocket with his magnetiles during his afternoon play time. He excitedly showed me his creation and said, “Mama, this is the Saturn V Rocket!” I realized that going an extra mile to make learning more fun for your child goes a long way.



Creating the dough and making it an exciting concept allowed him to not only enjoy learning but also encouraged him to correlate his knowledge with his imagination.

Cloud Dough Recipe Cloud Dough2 cups of flour

1 1/2 cups of oil

1. Pour the flour in a bowl.

2. Make a hole in the center of the flour.

3. Pour the oil into the hole.


4. Mix the oil and flour together with your hands. The nice and smooth texture makes it fun to knead with your hands.


Another fun activity we did was the volcano eruption and dinosaur sensory bin. We made the volcano with an herbal tea play dough recipe. It was the best smelling volcano I’ve ever seen erupt! As we read and learned about the dinosaurs, I saw a volcano in one of the pages and thought how fun it would be to teach him what a volcano can do.


We quickly got our ingredients together and made ourselves a volcano. I placed some cloud dough in the sensory bin and used it as the land the dinosaurs played on. I added the volcano on the side and created a hole to represent the crater. I placed baking soda inside the hole and sprinkled a few on the outside to extend the “lava” explosion effect. As I taught him about volcanoes, I poured vinegar into the crater and kaboom! It exploded! I think it caught him off guard but his shock was overruled by amazement. The volcano erupted a couple more times after that before it was time for the dinosaurs to evacuate.


The three of us were entertained with this experiment, even though we’ve done it multiple times. Some things just never get old! It was fun to see both of them so engaged and entertained by this simple activity. Of course, I couldn’t reuse the tea dough volcano after the eruption but since it was so easy to make, I think we will be having it around again really soon. Micah already wanted to make a new one right after that! It made our kitchen smell really good too!

IMG_9617 IMG_9626

Don’t forget to clean up once you are all done. 🙂


Tea Dough Recipe


2 tea bags (the more bags you put, the more vibrant the color)
1 1/2-2 cups of water
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of salt
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
1 1/2 tablespoons of oil (you can add more if you want it to be softer)


1. Boil the water and steep the tea bags for about 5-8 minutes.

2. Remove the tea bags.

3. Add the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil into the pot. (Have you child help you pre-measure the ingredients.)


4.Cook and stir over medium heat for a couple of minutes or until it forms into a ball. You can add a little water or oil if you need to.


5. Once your ball is in the center of the pot, take your dough out and place it on a lightly floured surface.
(Warning: It can be hot!)

6. Squeeze out the extra water from the tea bags unto the dough, tear open the bag and knead the tea leaves into the dough to add more texture.

7. Have fun!

I used raspberry tea for my volcano and it smelled really good! I should have added more tea bags but I just used up what I had. I will try with another flavor for our next one and see how that turns out. Don’t forget to share yours with me, too! You can always bust out those cookie cutters and make fun creations! Get your hands kneading and have fun!

Convicted by a Toddler

Today was not a good day. I had a bad attitude and I lost control of myself. I woke up late and rushed to get everyone dressed, fed and raced out the door to their swimming classes. I chose to snooze the alarm, check Facebook (uh-huh) after I finally woke up and dilly-dilly-dallied before I looked at the clock and panicked. I had to pump, get the boys fed, changed, and into the car all in 15 minutes! Uhhh no way that was possible! I quickly got up, pumped Titus’ milk, changed him and went to get Micah in his room. Micah was happy and energetic like he always is in the morning, but mommy’s agitated spirit caused his mood to change. I greeted him with a cheerful good morning but followed it up with a “Get up! Let’s go! We gotta go now! Hurry!” I could sense that he felt stressed because he wanted a morning hug but instead he was greeted with mommy’s bad attitude. I told him to hurry up or else he wouldn’t have any breakfast. I had packed his cereal to eat in the car but my empty threat had given him an anxious heart. I carried Titus and the swimming bag to car and yelled, (yes, yelled.) “Micah, I said let’s go! NOW!” in a mean and rude voice. Micah started crying. He started whining as he made his way down the stairs and out to the garage. His cheerful disposition had disappeared. It was replaced with apprehension and distress. He quickly got into the car with tears rolling down his eyes as he whined about wanting his cereal. In my stern and angry voice I told him to sit down and buckle up. The whole time I knew I was struggling and battling my flesh. I tried hard to control my temper but I lost it.

It was silent for a few minutes as we drove away. After a while, Micah quietly and humbly said, “Mama, I’m sorry for crying and whining. I’m sorry God. I had bad attitude.” I was taken aback and convicted. My heart sank. I realized that it wasn’t his fault at all that we were late. It was mine. I woke up late. I was slow. I chose to check Facebook over getting ready sooner. He was actually up earlier than I was and was just waiting for me to come inside his room. (because that’s the rule.) I pulled over, looked up at the rear-view mirror and in a gentle (much gentler) voice, I responded, “Micah, I am sorry. Mama is so sorry for yelling. I was wrong. I shouldn’t have yelled at you at home. I could have asked you nicely to get ready but I shouted at you instead. That was not kind or pleasing to God at all. Will you please forgive me?” He smiled as he looked back at me and said, “It’s okay Mama. I forgive you. Let’s pray and say sorry God.” We prayed together as I asked the Lord to forgive my rude and harsh behavior. I asked Him to teach me how to speak gently and control my temper. Micah quickly added that he was sorry for crying and whining.

My heart was blessed, convicted and touched by the Holy Spirit. My son not only showed humility, he showed me grace and forgiveness. He showed me how to quickly forgive and with a smile. He showed me how to apologize sincerely and how to receive apology graciously. He taught his mama how to turn to God in prayer after I offended our Heavenly Father. God truly touched my heart in a remarkable way today.

As I shared my guilt and shame with my husband, I realized that I am such a recipient of grace and I too need to extend that to my son and others. I admitted that it was my fault because I was late but instead of owning up to it, I blamed Micah for it and rushed him so we can make up for loss time. My sweet husband encouraged me that this was a great reminder for me but also a great example to our son. He graciously said that I showed a great example by apologizing and acknowledging my mistake. I gotta admit, I’m usually the teacher but today, I learned a lesson or two from my toddler and it was good. He showed me how a  humble heart, a gracious smile and a sincere apology can turn an unpleasant morning upside down.

God allowed me to experience Him through my two and a half year old. In the midst of my chaos, I can have peace. IMG_3651

The Reading Habit

Even while I was pregnant with my firstborn Micah, my husband Chris had always expressed how much he wanted our kids to love reading. Not only that, his next goal was to make them understand and comprehend what they are reading. He would read a bible story to our boys while I was still pregnant. We admit and regret that we read more to Micah than Titus while he was in the womb. We kinda figured, Titus was “read to” a lot because he hears all the books when we read to Micah. Back then, we would either read a chapter a book that we go through as a couple or just a bible story to Micah right before bed. We wanted to get into the habit of reading to him every night even while he was growing in the womb. After he was born, we would continue to read to him every day. We practically memorized some of the board books because we’ve repeated it so many times! It was an investment worth making!


Quiet time (bible reading) can be establish even at his age. 🙂

As Micah grew older, we noticed he was drawn to books more and more. He would choose to have some quiet reading time on his own after naps and before bed. He would look forward to reading time with Daddy after dinner and bible stories were a must before lights out. A few weeks ago, I noticed Micah “reading” to his little brother in the living room while I was making dinner. I heard him repeat the words on the page pretty accurately and I was totally caught off guard! I thought he was reading! But after a few minutes the words would dwindle down to something else. I realized he wasn’t reading the words but due to countless repetition of certain books that he absolutely loves, Micah has now memorized the words on the page. He was reciting the words (in surprisingly the right order) to Titus. As he turned the page, he continued on. He would even recite it with the tone or voice changes his dad would do while reading that certain paragraph. It made me realize how important it was for us to keep this great thing going. I admit, sometimes I am tempted to just say, we can just read tomorrow.

Micah and Titus reading together

Reading the book The Day The Crayons Quit!

I praise God for my husband’s wisdom and persistence in making sure we were intentional in making reading a priority in our home. More importantly we are delighted to see that he is so enthusiastic about reading God’s Word. He would not go to bed without reading a bible story no matter how sleepy or tired he is. Indeed, he is a great reminder of how we need to improve on our bible reading and the enthusiasm we put into it. If we want our boys to love reading God’s Word, we need to do a better job modeling it to them.

Bible reading before bed.

Bible reading before bed…

Here are some ways to help encourage a love of reading in your child.
1. Encourage and expand their oral language.
Depending on his or her age or level, your child can read a story, have a story read to him/her or even take turns reading and listening. As you read, ask your child questions about the details you just read. Keep them engaged by having the little ones point out the characters being discussed on the particular page.  When you are done, invite them to identify their favorite part is.


The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen

2. 1 to 10 and read them again!
The more exposed they are to different kinds of books, the more their love for reading will grow.  We have enjoyed several authors whose writing styles are completely different yet each of them bring something great to share. Don’t underestimate your child’s ability to understand the content. If you think some words are too “big” for him, explain it! Check out our list of favorite authors whose books are quickly filling up our shelves.


3. Sing a song and recite a rhyme.
Name that tune to your favorite nursery rhyme! Rhymes and songs are creative ways to encourage memorization, rhyming, and melody. It’s a great way to introduce poetry and other creative writing styles. Sing together on trips, on walks, and even in the shower! Add hand gestures or dance moves or start a rhyming band to enrich the overall experience. My husband loves to make up words to familiar songs and Micah just bursts out laughing!

Sandra Boynton books are so much fun!

A family favorite!

4. Have a book nook and hang out there!
Micah can hang out here for 30-45 mins after he wakes up and just read all the books on the shelf. He would look at the pictures, make up words or recite the ones he has memorized and time just goes by, while I get my chores done. Make the area inviting and fun for your little reader. A couch or bean bag, a rug and a shelf make a great little space for some quiet reading time. Designating a “quiet reading time” encourages them have a special time with their books. You can do solo silent reading or reading aloud together there, too. Reluctant readers may be encouraged to read more in a fun and unique environment.


The book nook in his room.

5. Be a literacy advocate!
I need to do this more! My dad is an avid reader and so is my brother, but for some reason, I didn’t get that gene. I only read about the things I am interested in. I need to learn to broaden my literacy choices so I can encourage my boys to do the same. If you have an older child, you may want to encourage your child by setting reading goals and when they achieve them, recognize and reward their efforts. Get the other members of your family to read with your kids too!

Auntie Kim reading with Micah

Auntie Kim reading with Micah

6. Add creative intonations!                                                                                                                                                  Intonation refers to the rising, or falling pitch in a person’s voice as one says words or phrases. Stress the different ways you can read the questions, commands or conversations in the book.  Make different sounds or change your voice or accent as you read aloud. We noticed that Micah would copy our intonations when he reads the books to himself or to his brother. Echo reading is a great way to encourage paired reading as well. (Paired reading can mean alternating sentences while you read aloud together.)

7. Make it a habit! 

The reading habit is one of the best things we can pass on to our children. In an age where everything is digital and kids can easily get sensory overload from media, books have a way of opening their eyes, increasing their imagination, and making them appreciate some down time in those magical pages amidst this fast-paced world. Read on! AND don’t forget to teach your child about the author and illustrator of the book he is reading too.

Titus enjoys reading time too!

Make it a part of your routine!

Our Top 13 Authors & Their Books
1. Kevin Lewis & Daniel Kirk: My Truck Is Stuck-This is the first book Micah memorized.

2. June Sobel: The Goodnight Train– love the rhyme and sounds in this one

3. Alice Schertle: The Little Blue Truck; The Little Blue Truck Leads the Way- Who doesn’t love Blue? The sounds the characters make just adds to the fun.

4. Drew Daywalt: The Day the Crayons Quit– Brings back great moments with Crayola box! My husband and I were laughing while he was reading it to Micah.

5. Sherry Dusky RinkerSteam Train, Dream TrainGoodnight Goodnight Construction Site- She does a great job teaching the different kinds of trucks and trains

6. Mo Wilhems: Elephant and Piggie Series: These are just hilarious!!! You will just fall in love with these two!

7. Amy Krouse Rosenthal:Little Pea; Exclamation Mark; Spoon; Chopsticks- Simple concepts, great points, fun & entertaining for the whole family!

8. Chris Van Dusen: Circus Ship; Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit; If I Built a House, If I Built a Car (our first one); Camping Trip with Mr. Magee, Down by the Sea with Mr. Magee, and more- I think we have all his books! We love all of them! Illustrations are great and the rhymes are just incredible! His characters are funny & the conversations are witty.

9. Watty Piper: The Little Engine That Could– A great classic and must have on the shelf!

10. Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are– Micah just loves this! Let your imagination lead you to the wild things.

11. Eric Carle: We read through a lot of his books for different stages in their lives. The shorter ones like Polar Bear Polar Bear, What do you see?, Head to Toe, etc- we read from 0-12 months. The longer ones like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug and The Very Busy Spider are great for 18-24 months and up and perfect for lessons & activities.

12. Sandra Boynton: Dinosaur’s Binket is our favorite. We have a lot of her books too! We read her board books when Micah was 0-12 months. He still enjoys them when we read them to Titus. Who wouldn’t fall in love with her adorable illustrations?

13. . Audrey Wood: Silly Sally: He memorized this book and loves reciting it to his little brother. A fun, silly and entertaining book. I first read this with my 3-6 old students in my classroom and they loved it. I knew it was a must-have for my own kids.

What’s in your shelf?