Archive for October, 2006

Yep, They’re Just Around the Corner!

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Thought y’all might like a sneak peek at the cover our our Holiday Stories collection, which WILL be available next Monday! These programs are such an integral part of OUR Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions, it just wouldn’t feel like the holiday season without them. Anyway, here’s the cover:

And here’s some comments on these programs from some of our long-time “listeners”…

“Our family has listened to “The Cinnamon Bear” every year since we received it….

I just asked my 9 1/2 year old son what he thinks of it  — if he even remembers it? He can’t seem to remember who Thomas Jefferson is from day to day, but he said, “Oh yeah! I remember THAT! I liked it.” That may not sound like a glowing recommendation, but coming from him while he’s engrossed in Lego, it’s huge!!

I enjoy putting the holiday cd’s on while we’re all in one room, yet doing different things. The kids are usually building something, I’m knitting, and hubby is creating something new for his G.I. Joe dioramas. It lends a much more peaceful atmosphere than if we plug in a movie.

I also play them in the car while driving around town, and the ride becomes enjoyable.

The boys seems to “hear” more when they listen to the programs while playing or riding, than if I just have them sit while I read to them.

Thank you Erskines!!” –  Julie in CO


“There were many delights as we listened to your Holiday Stories Collection… We listened starting as soon as it arrived and continued on into January.

One of the greatest treasures we found on the MP3 was a version of  “A Christmas Carol” featuring Lionel Barrymore.  I sat utterly amazed when I first heard his voice.  The first few seconds of the program brought back such a familiarity to me –  I had previously thought I would NEVER hear that version again and have missed it every Christmas since getting married and leaving home.  My parents had an old LP record of the very same show that we would listen to on our family’s old stereo when I was growing up.  We listened to it “to death,” helping bump the needle whenever it got stuck on    scratches.  =^) That old record has long been lost.

How excited I was to tell my two children that this program was the VERY SAME ONE their mommy and her siblings used to LOVE listening to every Christmas when they were young!  I thought there was no way to ever hear that program again, but thanks to you, we are carrying on the tradition of listening that that old favorite, along with many new ones, during the holidays!

(By the way, my daughter was in a thrift store this spring and found a paperback copy of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.”  She insisted she was old enough to read it and bought it with her own money (she was then 6). Your radio shows spur on much love, familarity, and reading of original classics at our house.  Thank you!” — With Thanks, Karla

This week’s Program(s): Rip Van Winkle, The White Cat

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

This week’s “living books for the ears” programs are up! We’ve got…

TWO neat versions of Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle”…

The classic fairy tale “The White Cat”…

… and a cute as a button song called, of all things, “Punky Pumpkin”.

Here’s the link. Enjoy!

Listening to Holiday Stories

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Well, we’re getting close to releasing our new and improved Holiday Stories Collection next week, and thought we’d share some of the comments we’ve received from folks who have been listening to these programs from our earilier collections. Here’s the first…
We have all three of your holiday CD’s, and we love them! In November, we listen to Thanksgiving stories all month. I wish there were more Thanksgiving shows! If you did an entire Thanksgiving CD I’d be the first person to order one! (Note: While we don’t have a complete CD of just Thanksgiving stories, we do have a dozen excellent ones in our collection. — JE)

We listen while we make Thanksgiving crafts, while we do art, while the children are building with blocks, spool knitting or sewing, etc. We listen while we eat lunch too; we don’t want to miss out on hearing a single great Thanksgiving show!

The day after Thanksgiving, we listen to Christmas stories while we put up the Christmas tree and decorate it. And we listen every day in December, just like in November. We have a Playmobile nativity set, and my daughter loves to play with it and act out the story of Jesus’ birth, while listening to the shows about it.

And of course, who can forget The Cinnamon Bear! (A classic series of 26 15-minute children’s programs, meant to be listened to from the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas eve — JE) We listen to an episode each night before bed. We have done this every year since we got the CD. We love it so much we have never ever gotten to Jonathan Thomas and his Christmas on the Moon. Each year, it’s a hard choice, but the children both end up voting for The Cinnamon Bear. This year, we are all determined to listen to both of them! We don’t know if we’re going to hear one episode a night of each, or if we’re going to hear two episodes a night of one, then when it’s finished do the same with the other. Or maybe we’ll listen to one show during the day, and one at night. Whatever we end up doing, we’ve decided that this year we will hear both shows!

My son (9) uses the holiday CD’s all year! He loves Burns and Allen, and when he has some free time, he often gets a holiday CD and listens to all the Burns and Allen shows. I think he may have them all memorized.

I must confess that sometimes I listen without the children. I like to listen while I’m working in the kitchen, wrapping gifts, or just sitting still with a cup of tea. I especially love listening while I am sewing. I usually end up with company before I’m through; once they discover that I am listening it doesn’t take long before they join me.

To tell you the truth, I don’t think that any of us can imagine the holidays without these CD’s. They have become an integral part of our family holiday observances just as surely as turkey and pumpkin pie. The question is, who is going to be the first one to grab a holiday CD on November 1st? And the next question is, can we wait that long? I think these collections are just wonderful. Not only do they help us remember the true spirit of the holidays, then take us back to a time when America was a nation that worshiped God, and when families were the cornerstone of our society. And, I think they inspire us to keep that spirit alive in our own families. Thank you for offering these great holiday collections.

Blessings on you,


Thanks for the peek into your family’s holidays, Kelly! We hope lots more folks start some listening traditions too this year. - JE 

This Week’s Program: The Slate that Didn’t Break

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

This week’s “living book for the ears” program is an excellent story about an almost forgotten pioneer American Inventor, Thomas Blanchard… whose inventions revolutionized modern manufacturing.

Blanchard was a real handfull as a boy. He was thrown out of school for rowdiness, and burned down his family’s kitchen trying to “invent” his own blacksmith’s kiln.

His punishment for these offenses? He was apprenticed to his older brother, hammering out tacks twelve hours a day in his factory. But what Thomas did next changed the course of the industrial revolution forever.

Here’s the link to this week’s story & news…

This Week’s Program: A Tooth For A Tooth

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Want to find out how dentistry was practiced over 400 years ago? The poor soul in the picture above can give you an idea of what it was like….
Check out this week’s great story, “A Tooth For A Tooth”, where you will encounter strange things like travelling dentist-executioners & barbershop tooth extractions. It is a fun - and painful - tale, that will make you glad you have a nice, clean Dentist’s office to go to when needed. Your kids will be amazed.

Click here to go to this week’s newsletter & program! 

Recently Discovered “Treasures”

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Every once in a while, we run across some little known but wonderful homeschool / family resources that we know right away we want to pass along to you. Now, just to make this clear: we’re not selling these ourselves…. we just think you ought to check them out. Here are a couple of our most recent discoveries:

A few questions for those of you with girls age 8-12 or so…

Does your young daughter have some “friendship” issues? Does she realize the importance of chosing godly friends, or is she struggling to get along with a friend or two? Does she insist on her own way when she should be more gracious? Do her friends think she is difficult to get along with? Does she have difficulty accepting some of her friends? Does she have difficulty accepting your choice of friends for her?

These questions and many more are addressed in Miiko Gibson’s “Being a Good Friend”, a gently written book with lovely illustrations that will introduce to your daughter important and godly principles of friendship. Relevant Scripture references are interwoven throughout the book to support these principles. Discussion questions are provided for each chapter at the end of the book.

I asked our daughter Jessica (13) what she thought of this ebook, and here’s her review:

“A good booklet for young girls, It teaches them they need their parents to help decide on their friends and how to keep them. Also teaches not to be jealous of their friends. It has scripture references and discussion questions. Great for mothers and daughters to do together!”

This book is a delight. Miiko’s writing is wonderfully homey and old-fashioned, without being condescending — touching, sweet and just right for the intended audience. You can see some sample pages at her website. At just $5.95, this would make an excellent mother-daughter study that will lay a good foundation for making and keeping friends for life.
Here’s the link.

Another new resource we have discovered is the book “Heart to Heart: Meeting with God in the Lord’s Prayer” by Rachel Starr Thomson, a 22-year-old homeschool graduate with a wonderful gift for writing. I’ve followed Rachel’s blog for some time, and really enjoy her thoughtful, challenging comments and devotionals. This book is a joy to read, and will help you see The Lord’s Prayer — which most of us, I dare say, don’t ponder very deeply — in an entirely new light. I’m going to quote Jean Hall’s review of this new book, as it gives you the flavor of the book better than I can:

“Phrase by phrase, sometimes word by word, the author moves through the Lord’s prayer, meditating on the meanings, the significance, the relationship between God and believer in Christ as revealed in this short but powerful prayer. The book begins in the Garden of Eden, touches on the lives of familiar figures in the Bible, and calls us to make an honest evaluation of our own lives and walk with God.

” I must admit that this is a book I’ve had to read during that quiet early-morning time while the children are asleep. More than once I’ve been moved to tears in the reading. But I’ve also taken away from the reading rich morsels of food for thought to chew on, and these have sparked discussion later in the day. When I finished the book, I put it on our eldest daughter’s reading pile for her devotional time, and I look forward to hearing her insights.

” This is a book I’ll return to, the next time life gets over-busy and my prayers seem dry and profitless. Heart to Heart is something like a drink of cool, refreshing water in a parched and thirsty land.” - Jean Hall, reviewer, Eclectic Homeschool Online (
We highly recommend this book! Sample pages and ordering information can be found at:

This Week’s Program: Columbus x 2

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

“In fourteen-hundred and ninety-two,

Columbus sailed the ocean blue…”

… and next week, in honor of this great explorer, we celebrate Columbus Day here in North America (although it is officially observed on Monday, October 9th to give government workers a three day weekend, it actually falls on Thursday the 12th this year).

So, to take advantage of this “teachable moment” in our calendar, here are TWO great programs about Columbus for you to listen to this week, giving you two unique retellings of this amazing story from two very different vantage points.

Click here to check out this week’s programs!

The Children’s Hour

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

The Children’s Hour
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, o blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!

Always have loved that poem. When I saw it again today, just had to post it.

Read Kim Brenneman’s fine article “The Childrens Hour”, from whence came this poem, here