5 Love Languages – Quality Time

This post by Jean Matthew Hall is part of a ten-part series for parents on the Five Love Languages of Children. It is based primarily on the book The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D. (Northfield Publishing, 1997)

For the Introduction to the series click here. For a brief description of each Language click here. For ways to discover your child’s Love Language click here.

Time == Attention!

Time and attention go hand-in-hand. When your child begs you to do something with them they are asking for more than a few minutes of your time. They are asking for your attention.

Quality time means time that you focus on your child(ren). That doesn’t mean your entire life centers around your children. It means that parents deliberately chisel out some amount of time daily for each child. WOW! If you have several children that’s a big deal, I know. This is where the difference in quality of time and quantity of time is really important.

Reading one picture book with your little one in your lap, or curled up beside them in their bed is far more effective than an hour of the child sitting in the same room with you reading while you do ten other things.

Quality time is a parent’s gift of presence to a child. It shows the child that they are important to you. They matter.

Key Factors in Quality Time:

Image by vilandrra on Pixabay

• Parent and child are doing something TOGETHER!
• Should include pleasant, loving eye contact during the activity.
• Should include some conversation related to each other or to your lives.
• Children NEVER outgrow (even into adulthood) their need for quality time with parents and extended family members.
Key Times for Quality Time:
• Family meals. Many families make a point of sharing one meal each day together.
• Families with teens often establish one meal time each week together.
• Bedtime is a key time with younger children. They tend to resist good-night rituals when they become teens, however. So learn when to back off.
• Car time traveling to appointments or shopping, or on longer trips are natural times for having meaningful conversations.
• Shared hobbies provide great opportunities, too.

As your children grow past their eighth or ninth birthdays it becomes increasingly difficult to find those key times mentioned above. Parents have to take the initiative and plan times spend with their children involving those Key Factors.

For children whose primary Love Language is Quality Time:

• Without sufficient quality time and attention this child will have a gnawing feeling that you don’t really love them. They probably won’t be able to express it clearly, so they may act out this fear and insecurity.
• Spending quality time with this child will build self-confidence, courage and social skills. It will also supply them with a life-time of loving memories of growing up.
• They want to show YOU how much they love you by spending time with you, too.

Picture Book for Women’s History Month-Lizard Lady

A picture book review by Jean Matthew Hall featuring a 2018 picture book about a woman making history! Happy Women’s History Month!

The Lizard Lady is a nonfiction picture book published in 2018 by Abordale. It was written by Jennifer Keats Curtis and Dr. Nicole F. Angeli. It was illustrated by Veronica V. Jones.

Dr. Nicole F. Angeli studies an endangered animal, the St. Croix ground lizard. She is making her mark on history through her passionate studies in the Virgin Islands. The local residents of the islands gave her the nickname Lizard Lady.
This picture book focuses on her activities on the islands as she captures, weighs, measures and inspects St. Croix lizards, then releases the back into the wild. Students in upper elementary grades will find her studies especially interesting, I believe.

The ample back matter of The Lizard Lady is all about the St. Croix lizard, its environment, their adaptations, their translocation to increase their population and information about Dr. Angeli and invasive species that threaten the St. Croix Lizard and other species.

For additional information:

Here is an online article about Dr. Angeli.

Here is a Fact Sheet about the St. Croix ground lizard. St. Croix Lizard ENG fact sheet

Food Allergies

Is your family plagued with food allergies? They often make life inconvenient, and at times, dangerous. I’ve made it my mission to use and develop special recipes that accommodate all or part of our allergies. I love experimenting in the kitchen.

Pinterest is loaded with gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. Please dig in and you’ll find way more recipes than you can ever use. But members of my family have other less common allergies.

Here is a recipe for a special treat we call “Happy Jacks.” These cookies are
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Soy-free
• Egg-free
• Nut-free
• Chocolate-free
• Corn-free
• Coconut-free
• Citrus-free

But, they are delicious! One recipe makes 30 small (2”) cookies. They really aren’t difficult at all, they simply require special ingredients. Here ‘tis.


½ C. Vegan soy-free “Butter” (sticks)20190314_135050.jpg
½ C. sugar
1 T. milled Flax seed
2 T. water
1 ½ t. vanilla extract
1 C. all-purpose gluten-free flour (I use Cup4Cup)
½ C. tapioca flour
½ t. fine salt

½ C. white chocolate candy making wafers (coconut oil-free)
Few drops of canola oil
Few drops of food color


Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.
Mix flax seed and water together. Let sit.
Using a stand or hand mixer cream together Vegan “Butter” and sugar until smooth (1-2 minutes).
Add flax seed mixture and vanilla. Beat at high smooth until light (1-2 minutes).
Add flour and salt. Mix on low speed until all combined. Dough is firm but pliable. You can easily form it into a ball. But it is not sticky.
Turn half the dough out onto a long piece of plastic wrap (about 1/3 way from one end). Fold the wrap in half to cover both sides of the dough.
Gently roll the dough out into a circle until it is ¼” thick.
Cut the cookies out using a small circular cutter.
Place the cookies on the sheet about 2” apart. I fit 15 on a sheet. They will not spread.
Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Bake 8-11 minutes. (Mine took 11) depending on your oven and the thickness of the dough. The tops will NOT brown. But the bottoms should be lightly browned.
Let them cool on racks.

While they cool melt the candy wafers in a glass or metal bowl over a small amount of very hot water (not boiling). Thin with a few drops of canola oil. Add color if desired.
Spread the white chocolate over the tops of the cookies. (Or, use your favorite icing.)

Let the candy topping dry well before you pack them away. They freeze well.

5 Love Languages -Words of Affirmation

This post by Jean Matthew Hall is part of a ten-part series for parents on the Five Love Languages of Children. It is based primarily on the book The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D. (Northfield Publishing, 1997)

For the Introduction to the series click here. For a brief description of each Language click here. For ways to discover your child’s Love Language click here.

Words are powerful!

Words of affirmation, affection, praise, guidance and encouragement tell children that we care about them and that they are important to us. However, cutting words, words of frustration and anger, insults, beratements erode children’s self esteem and confidence. Something many parents forget is that the TONE and VOLUME of words communicate as much as the words themselves.

This recognition begins in infancy. Newborns recognize the voices of those who care for them. Infants soon learn to discern communication by facial expressions. The tone and volume of voices around them get emotional reactions from infants, too.

Positive verbal communication is vital to children of all ages and stages. This doesn’t mean that parents and caregivers should ONLY say positive things. But negative or disciplinary words need to be said in calm tones and volume.


Affirmation, Praise, and Affection:

• Affirmation is another word for encouragement. It can take many forms.
• Praise is an expression for things a child does or says.
• Affection is an expression of love and appreciation for who the child IS—your son or daughter, a gift from God to your family.
Cautions about Praise:
• Praise the character behind the action—not the skill or talent involved in the action. Talent is an unearned gift from God. The hard work and persistence involved in perfecting talent is good character.
• Children know when your praise is phony, or when you give it just to make them feel better.
• Praising too much or too often dilutes the loving power of praise. Children respond either by starting to expect it all the time, or by ignoring it as insincere.

Words of Guidance:

As children grow, they continue to need words of affirmation. This often takes the form of guidance in learning new skills or in correcting bad behavior. It’s vital for parents to mentally separate the bad behavior from the child’s person. Yes, children need discipline and sometimes punishment as part of guidance. But guide with LOVE.

Always think How is what I’m saying and doing going to affect my child as an adult? Is what I’m saying and doing going to build my child up, or tear them down?

For children whose primary Love Language is Words of Affirmation:

• The words “I love you” should always stand alone. Saying “I love you. Will you do ________ for me?” sends the wrong message. Saying “I love you because you are___________ or do ________” is destructive.
• Words of condemnation CRUSH this child
• Words of affirmation give this child a super boost of confidence and courage.
• Tone and volume are as powerful as the words themselves.
• They love to tell YOU how much they love you. They love to write notes and poems, to color pictures (when they are little) to show you the same. Make a big deal of such expressions and cherish them.

Picture Book for Women’s History Month-Jane Austen

A picture book review by Jean Matthew Hall featuring a 2018 picture book about a woman making history! Happy Women’s History Month!

Brave Jane Austen: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel was written by Lisa Pliscou and was illustrated by Jen Corace. Henry Holt and Company published it in in 2018.

This interesting picture book focuses on two things. One, Jane Austen did not fit the stereotypical image of a female—a woman, a lady—in her day during the 18th and 19th Centuries. She lived boldly outside the expectations of her culture as a woman of creativity, imagination and talent. She challenged the publishing world of her time until she achieved publication and fame as an author. Indeed, one of the most famous authors of all time.

Brave Jane Austen: Reader Writer, Author, Rebel also focuses on Jane’s persistence in developing as a writer. She didn’t let obstacles or discouragement stop her. She kept pursuing her passion for writing novels.

Perhaps an elementary-aged child in your life needs a little encouragement to persist, to not give up. Brave Jane Austen may be just the inspiration they need.

5 Love Languages – Touch

This post by Jean Matthew Hall is part of a ten-part series for parents on the Five Love Languages of Children. It is based primarily on the book The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D. (Northfield Publishing, 1997)

For the Introduction to the series click here. For a brief description of each Language click here. For ways to discover your child’s Love Language click here.

Hugs and kisses are the most commonly thought of ways to lovingly touch young children.

But the need for healthy touching starts at birth. Bathing, feeding, diaper changing, burping, putting to sleep, comforting should all involve physical contact between babies and parents AND other significant adults.

But, as children grow the need for touching does not lessen. The more healthy touching children receive the healthier their self-esteem and sexual identity will be.
As they grow the type of touching will change. Little girls hang onto sitting in laps, hugs and kisses longer than boys do generally speaking. But the need for loving touch is still there.


Here are some examples of healthy touching as boys and girls grow:

• Shampooing and brushing hair
• Holding in your lap as you read with them
• Tickling
• Wrestling
• Rough-housing
• Contact sports
• Bear-hugs,
• Give-me-fives and fist-bumps
• Playful hitting
• Mussing their hair
• Touching their shoulder
• Scratching, patting or rubbing their back
• Giving care when they are sick

During preadolescence girls particularly need healthy expressions of love from their dads. This kind of affection makes girls stronger and more confident.

When kids become teens, they still need positive, loving touches at appropriate times and places from both parents. It’s counter productive to embarrass them in front of peers, though. Do not force touches on your teen, however.

For children whose primary Love Language is Touch:

• Your touches SHOUT your love, or lack of it, to these children.
• Using touch to express your anger or hostility will hurt these children deeply.
• They love to touch YOU, too! They hug, brush your hair, climb all over you, hang on your neck, pick at you physically. Enjoy and respond!


Have a regular bedtime for the kids.

Have a bedtime routine for the kids–include prayer.

Plan meals ahead of time—even if 15 minutes before in your head.

Keep breakfast quick and easy. Prepare before the kids are up.

Play with your kids a little bit every day.

Be silly occasionally.

Have five-minutes of quiet time (for prayer is great!) each day.

COMPLETE one load of laundry each day.

Teach kids to clean up what they mess up.

Do it yourself, too. Clean as you go.

Be spontaneous occasionally.

Designate a time and place for homework.

Pack lunches (kids can do this), backpacks, etc. the night before.

Be grateful.

  • Every dirty dish means your family ate that day.
  • Every dirty sock means your kids have clothes to wear.
  • Every mess means your kids are healthy enough to play.

Thank you, God!


Picture Book Review – Hedge Hog!

Another Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall featuring 2018 picture books.

Hedgehogs are so small, so round, so cute! We tend to think they have cute personalities, too. But Ashlyn Anstee’s picture book Hedge Hog! puts a different spin on that image.

Hedge Hog! was published in 2018 by Tundra Books. The ISBN is 978-1-77049-991-1.

It’s fall and all of the animals are hunkering down to prepare for winter. All of the  critters invite other critters to share their homes to keep warm and well-fed during those cold months.

All of the critters, that is, except Hedgehog.

In this sweet tale Hedgehog lives up to his name by hogging a huge, beautiful hedge. He absolutely refuses to share his space until…

You’ll have to read this short and sweet story to find out the details.

Hedge Hog! is a story of community, of sharing, of friendship. Your own little cuddle-bunnies will enjoy it, I believe.

You can learn more about Anstee’s books here.  hedgehog2

Interesting bit of Hedgehog trivia here. YUK!

Ten Things Parent Need to Remember

AKA “Post these on your bathroom mirror.”

family-on-marry-go-round_4460x4460-2• Find fault with what your child DOES, not what he IS.
• Democracy doesn’t always work in a family.
• Always expect the unexpected.
• Kids often get injured when you’re only inches from them.
• When to say nothing and simply hug your child.
• Cool off before you react.
• Kids love it when their parents occasionally break the rules.
• One unpleasant consequence is more effective than ten lectures or 100 threats.
• It takes more love to say “no” than it does to give in.
• Your harsh or rash words cannot be erased from your child’s heart.

Photo by Nicole DeKhors

Featured Photo by Matthew Henry

Picture Book Review-Wordy Birdy

Another Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall featuring 2018 picture books.

59359a_1953b49319f44b048a1b1ad673a0165a~mv2Do you like silly picture books? Those that give children (and us adults) a good giggle. If yes, you’ll love Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer. The illustrations by Dave Mottram are a big part of the funny in this book. But Wordy herself is a humorous character.

BTW-Tammi Sauer is not only talented and dedicated, she’s also one of my most fave picture book authors!

The humor doesn’t start on page 1. Nope. It starts on the jacket fold ins. And Doubleday Books for Young Readers wasted no space on the endpapers, either. Wordy Birdy flies in with the humor as soon as you open the book.

Adorable, expressive forest creatures try to help Wordy Birdy learn some valuable lessons a bout communication and taking turns, but it takes something much bigger than a cute racoon to teach her the value in sometimes being still and quiet.

Kind of a hard lesson for someone whose first name is “Wordy.”

Tammi Sauer
Tammi Sauer

Wordy Birdy’s ISBN is 978-1-5247-1929-6.

I think you’ll LOVEthis book. Here’s a review of another of Tammi’s books.

Because it’s one of my favorites!

‘Cause it’s kind of a hoot!

Or is that ‘whoot?’

It could be either one if you really think about it, which is one of my favorite things to think about.

Speaking of favorites…
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