Recommendations: Child Edition

A Delicious Treat to Bake:

Blueberry Crisp   <links in green

We’ve been so enjoying this recipe that stood out as a potential favorite from the pages of Bread and Wine.  After a fun day picking blueberries with a friend,  we’ve been devouring fresh blueberries.

This is such a great dessert for children because 1) There isn’t much sweetner, 2) It’s easy for them to make 3) They might not like it very much and their mama can have more.

Variations: I used brown sugar instead of maple syrup and replaced the olive oil with butter for myself or grape seed oil for Ian.  The almond flour can be replaced by white or wheat flour. We’re not gluten free, but the almond flour adds extra protein which is always good. Also, I’m out of nuts so I used shredded coconut instead. Tonight I doubled all the crisp ingredients except for the sugar so that I can eat it as a baked oatmeal substitute in the morning.


An Educational Website:

Kids National Geographic

The boys have learned so much information about animals.  They teach me facts!



Really, Really Great Gift Ideas:

Non-toy Gifts

Classes, membership, subscriptions, activities…all such wonderful ideas.  The last two years we were given a membership to zoo Atlanta and I thought it was one of Thee nicest gifts!  We are only ten minutes away, so we could pop by for an hour our two throughout the year. One year Zachary got either Ranger Rick or My Big Backyard for a birthday gift which he loved.  The gift time might not be so much fun at the birthday party, but gifts that keep giving all year long are winners for sure.




A Fun, Simple Craft for Boys:

Paper Rockets

Oh, children in general.  It’s just that our boys have very short attention spans when it comes to crafts (boo-hoo. I love doing crafts with kids), so finding one that everyone loved was a win all around.

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The Book I’ve Been Suggesting Everyone Read:

Wild Things the Art of Nurturing Boys

My friend Hannah recommended this book to me, and I in turn have been recommending it to every mother of boys.  It would be helpful for anyone who teaches boys,ministers to boys, parents boys, or loves boys. In other words, You know a boy? Read Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. (=

The description from Amazon: Playing off the themes in the Caldecott Medal-winning children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, this informative, practical, and encouraging guide will help parents guide boys down the path to healthy and authentic manhood. Wild Things addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of a boy, written by two therapists who are currently engaged in clinical work with boys and their parents and who are also fathers raising five sons. Contains chapters such as “Sit Still! Pay Attention!” “Deficits and Disappointments,” and “Rituals, Ceremonies, and Rites of Passage.”

Here are several excerpts~

The Lover
As with Explorers, redirecting a lover’s energy and intensity toward something useful can be a very helpful technique.  Along with continued redirection, boys in the Lover sate need a great deal of regulation.  Though Lovers need affirmation and attention, they also need to have their unwanted behavior named and reprimanded. “Jimmy, you threw a rock at the car. That is destructive.” Naming unwanted behavior helps a boy learn to control his impulsiveness. “Tanner, you took a cookie when I told you not to. That is deceitful.” Notice how this feedback is straightforward, accurate, and specific. It’s not belittling or personally attacking: “I can’t believe you. You’re so selfish.” It’s not expansive: “How many times do I have to tell you?” “You never listen when I talk to you.” I can’t believe you did that.” It’s not nagging: “Oh, come on. Please…” Instead, effective feedback is short, firm, and measured.

Frequently , after this kind of interaction, a boy will begin to cry or be sad and need a hug or other affection. If there is any sign of authentic remorse, most often no further discipline is needed, and it’s time to immediately redirect his energy to a positive way of doing penance. “Tanner, come into the kitchen with me, and we’ll make some more cookies together and give them to your grandfather. He will like that.” He’s been named, and he’s been redirected. Job done.
If a boy doesn’t show signs of remorse, it is imperative that you follow through with a natural consequence. “Tanner, when we have cookies for desert tonight, you won’t be able to have one.”
You will save yourself many headaches down the road if you master what Micahael Gurian calls the “Two-Times Rule.” By this age, it is appropriate to expect a boy to follow through with an instruction by the second  command.
“Please go upstairs and pick up your toy cars before bed.” A few minutes pass. “I’ve asked you pick up your cars. I will not ask you again.”
If these two times don’t work, the boy’s behavior needs to be regulated through a natural consequence….
The Wandererer
The son knew he had screwed up, and he was swimming in the shame of having botched up twice in succession. The father realized that his son didn’t need to hear a lecture; he needed mercy and understanding.
It can be hard to love someone as “unlovable” as a teenager. We’re not talking about some ooey-gooey feeling. The kind of love a boy at this stage needs is purposeful, willful, and desirous. It’s the kind of love that compels us to pray for our children. It calls us to remember the times when they were enjoyable, and to hold that in our hearts. It calls us to prepare and plan ways to delight in our boys. It moves us toward them in curiosity about what they are like with interest in who they are becoming.
And when those times come when we can’t seem to laugh or love, or we completely blow it in relating to our boys (which will most definitely happen at least two dozen times during their adolescence), they need us to ask for forgiveness. And they need us to go first in asking for forgiveness, even when they should be the ones to go first. The need for us to be the grown-ups. (because we are). 
Different Learning Styles
As boys develop, they learn primarily in three ways: visually, spatially, and experimentally.  Schools, on the other hand, are mostly auditory, sedentary, and intellectual.  This mode of learning is detrimental not only to boys, but to girls as well. A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that “free and unstructured play”  is “healthy and essential” for helping children reach chief “social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones, as well as helping them manage stress and become resilient.” The report cites changes in family structure, and increasingly competitive college admissions process, and federal education policies that have led to reduced recess and physical education in many schools. In settings like these, boys suffer the most. This loss of play and free time “in combination with a hurried lifestyle, can be a source of stress, anxiety, and may even contribute to depression for many children.” Boys who sit all day listening to to lectures are being taught in an environment that is not conducive to their learning. 
What about parenting? Experiential learning can really change the way we parent boys. Instead of trying to tell our boys everything we want them to know, we can invest our parental energy in creating teachable moments that allow life’s circumstances to do the teaching. 
If real-life situations don’t lend themselves to teaching certain concepts (or aren’t appropriate for some reason), you can always role-play. For example, when my (David’s) boys were Explorers, I introduced the concept of appropriate touch through role-playing.  I set up a big play time with my boys, and we acted out different situations with adults who had permission to touch their bodies…and adults who did not. I also used their favorite stuffed animals and our family dog to identify body parts that were private and not to be shown, shared, or touched by others. We used the stuffed animals to play out situation in which a child was touched in appropriately and went to a safe adult to tell what happened. These vignettes ended with the safe adults loving on the boys and praising them for telling the truth.
Deficits and Disappointments
Disappointment is one of the primary struggles that many boys face as they move from childhood to adolescence and into their young adult years.  Around the age of ten and onward, boys have difficulty handling failure–and they are more apt to stuff their disappointments than to name them and work their way through them. Boys talk less about what they are feeling and isolate themselves more than girls do. They go to their rooms and kick, brood, sulk, and hide in whatever emotion they are experiencing.
Unless we intervene with behavioral redirection, emotional coaching, and relational modeling , boy will carry these habits into their adult lives. It’ one reason why boys disproportionately commit violence against society and themselves. and why men in general head the charts in terms of substance abuse, sexual addiction, rage arrogance, adultery, and the use of pornography. Boys who never learn effective ways of dealing with their emotional lives grow into men with great struggles in terms of addiction of all kinds.
Boys who aren’t taught how to deal with their disappointments will buy their heartaches, hide their weaknesses, and compensate for their incompetence. When they grow into men, they will be emotionally defensive, performance driven, or both. Boys who don’t know how to handle disappointment will come to believe that their worth is based on what they achieve or what they have to offer. They’re left to try to manufacture their own self-esteem and base their self-worth on performance or behavior. These are the guys who keep score.
Whether consciously or not, these boys, and the men they become, believe that their value is based on what others think about them, and they wear themselves out trying to seek approval or win affection. Too often this exhausting quest to feel good about themselves creates a need or desire for some external substance or behavior to alleviate the pain of their unmanaged disappointment. Often, it turns to lust. Boys and men who can’t handle these disappointments end up lusting for sex, money, power, fun, drugs, escape, TV, vacations, or whatever else they can find that works. 
Despite our best efforts, however, we can’t get around the fact that disappointment, pain, and struggle are all a part of life. When we don’t allow the boys we love to suffer with the disappointments of life, we undermine their manhood by sending them messages that say, “You’re weak. you can’t handle life.” Intentionally or not, by our words and our actions we communicate to our boys that they’re not capable or responsible.
When we shield boys from life’s natural consequences or demand perfection from them (which of course they can’t achieve), they inevitably fall short of the mark–bringing guilt and shame. Helicopter parents and Drill Sergeant parents often complain about their sons mismanaged responsibilities. These parents are left to whine and nag or demand and threaten


I especially loved the descriptions of developmental stages.  Parts of the book were so enlightening.  Other parts were affirming.  Because the boy world is new to me I really needed to hear some of the ways we are parenting  are really good for boys.  Then there were the parts that made me laugh because they are such  t r u e descriptions of boys.  Reading Wild Things gave me an even greater passion to nurture boys in ways that encourage them to become strong, godly men.




10 thoughts on “Recommendations: Child Edition”

  1. Great post! Thank you for the recommendations. I haven’t read that book about boys but I have Dobson’s book about them…..there is so much to pray over as parents!

    1. You’re welcome. When I find good resources I love sharing them with other people. I haven’t read Bringing Up Boys, but I”ve heard a lot of people talk about it. Yes, there is a Lot to pray about as a parent.

  2. I love posts like this. :) Looking forward to checking out the links, as well as finding that book about boys… I think I remember you talking about it when you were here earlier this summer? So fascinating. It sounds like a must-read for sure.

    Great idea about the blueberry crisp substituting as baked oatmeal. Mmmmm.


    1. I’m glad you enjoy them because there may be more. It’s hard to keep good things to myself. :) Yes, I’m sure it’s the same book. If you’ve talked with me in the last six months it’s very likely you’ve heard me rave about Wild Things. :) :)

  3. I love your suggestions for gift ideas! Also, that book, “Wild Things”, stays right within reaching distance for me! I wish I could give it to every mom I see with boys. :) Loved your post!

    1. Oh, isn’t is sooo great?! I borrowed it from the library, but I want to own it, too. It’s like resource type of book that you’d want to open and re-read often.

  4. Ok, now I totally want to read that book! Also, I’m so curious what Gavin will be like in the next couple of years (thinking in terms of parenting).
    Sometimes those books can be stressful and I feel pressure to remember everything in each moment. But hopefully it’ll be the spirits’ guiding me as I mother along making imperfect progress.
    Also, I’ve been hankering an appetite for Shauna’s blueberry crisp (and several others) recipe! It’s always fun getting new ideas for the kitchen!

    1. I think you and Jason would really enjoy the book! I don’t think this book felt like pressure because it’s not a formula for getting things right. It helps you understand why boys think and act the way they do and gives helpful suggestions for guiding them through life.

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