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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle!

Everything seems to be straightening out around here, despite the broken bones, oral surgery, and microwave fire.   What  a wonderiffic, readalicious, Clark Griswold Christmas.

Little Reader demonstrated what happens when a biscuit is reheated in a microwave for 15 minutes.   Don’t worry One Guys and Dominos survived, but are retaliating by refusing to turn into frogs.  Also to note our countdown activities were a success, except for the leaky snow globes - via now @ Hobby Lobby looking for snow globe kits.
Quick Reflection: You could say, I’m learning to let go of preconceived notions of how I think things should be.  I’m determined to appreciate whatever comes my way and awe at the unexpected, so bring it on. Think I’ll play it safe this New Years by romp reading, de-Christmasing, solving the worlds smallest 1,000 piece puzzle, Scrabble Cooking, and Kindle reading with Little Reader.   

                                                Oh, The Things We Did

Rolled suet into balls, mixed in peanut butter, and rolled in birdseed.

Waiting to feed the birds and “chickmumps” on the tree house.

Blitzen was in an accident during reindeer camp so Little Reader was called to help Santa deliver gifts. Didn’t remember going to China, but did awake with trinkets under a little tree and hay in her bed. Oh the magic of Christmas.
Gingerbread Houses for everyone. 

                                             Oh, The Books We Liked

The Snow Globe Family
By O’Connor, Jane       

Jane O'Connor known for her Fancy Nancy, has created an imaginative winter wonderland story. The snow globe family wishes for their big family to pick it up and shake it for a snow, and the only one that notices this is baby.  Will they get a big snow? 
"If someone shakes us, will it snow here?  Watch me wiggle!"  - Little Reader
After wiggling to her sisters IPOD tunes, there’s still no snow.  But what a great escape to a winter world on the mantel. 

By Rylant, Cynthia

A girl and her grandmother enjoy the magical many types of snow.   This warm fuzzy read will take you back to delightful simpler times.  The illustrations are works of art, and you may find the book is much more than snow.  Moving on to snow flakes and a south Texas snowball fight - wadded up paper. 

Old Bear
By Henkes, Kevin

A hibernating bear vividly dreams about the seasons, including things like a summer daisy sun and blueberry rainfall.  The past and present are cleverly set apart through change in color and layout, it's visually striking, and so I give this five stars.  Little Reader quickly departed to make her own season pictures.
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Two Christmas breaks and Holiday Reads

Holiday hectic is in full swing, and to add chaos my oldest reindeer broke his knee and the middle reindeer broke his arm.  Yes that’s right, HK and C both decided to fracture themselves during a basketball game, but at least they spaced them out a day.  
But amidst all this, we are still enjoying the countdown and settling down each day for our Christmas reads.  And Scrabble has become popular with Gimp One & Gimp Two (HK &C)

‘Tis the reads of the season…..
A Wish to be a Christmas Tree
By Monroe, Colleen

Let me introduce our newest book addition. When one sad fir tree isn’t chosen for a Christmas tree, his woodland friends make him feel important by making him a Christmas tree. Through beautiful images it’s about true meaning of friendship.

Some of our activities

Painting pinecones and sprinkling with glitter.

Reindeer soup
(Hot chocolate, Kisses, sprinkles, marshmallows, stirred with a candy cane)

The Nutcracker
By Davidson, Susanna


The splendid Nutcracker story told on a younger child’s level and filled with vibrant illustrations.  Goes along perfect with Nutcracker activities and the ballet.

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
By Numeroff, Laura

This picture book is very similar to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Pig a Pancake, but with a Christmas theme. A laugh out loud story of events starting with a mouse going the movies, leading to popcorn, decorating Christmas trees, and so forth.  Timing of this read is fitting with how one thing leads to another, and today will end with reading The Giving Tree and stringing popcorn.
King Hugo’s Big Ego
By Van Dusen, Chris

Follow this funny rhyme and see King Hugo’s head swell with each boast.  With bright and attractive pictures your little ones can’t wait to turn each page to see what happens next. A simple lesson of modesty.
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On the 6th day of Christmas… randomness, gingerbread, & candy canes

It’s the sixth day of Christmas countdown.  But first it’s time for a random thought.  I’ve spent the past 16 years home with my children, with the last five in graduate school preparing for when they are out of the house.  The littlest is now in kinder, I finished school, and I'm not taking a liking to a quiet house.  But  something has emerged.  A crafty side, I didn’t even know I had. I spend more time now preparing for when the kidos get home from school.  I’m guilty of putting them first, and maybe this is a way of staying connected.
But that’s enough of that, moving on to our Christmas countdown.

Here’s our Gingerbread Stories

The Gingerbread Cowboy
By Squires, Janet

A western gingerbread story filled with lizards, roadrunners, javelinas, and long horns.  Thought it might be a bit too long, but Little Reader sat intently joining in, "Giddy up, giddy up as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!"

Gingerbread Friends
By Brett, Jan

Another jam-packed Jan Brett book.  Gingerbread is lonely and goes on a search to find new friends.  But when this fails, he returns home where a sweet treat awaits! (A pop out page)

The Gingerbread Pirates
By Kladstrup, Kristin

The Matzo Ball Boy
By Shulman, Lisa

Gingerbread man (Peanut butter & jelly, frosting, & sprinkles)   

Here’s our Candy Cane story

The Legend of the Candy Cane
By Walburg, Lori

A warming tale celebrating the miracle of Christmas.   This beautiful candy cane story has been a part of our Christmas for many years. Lucy, a little girl learns how this tasty treat is a symbol of Jesus Christ's love, and sets out to share this with others.  The teenager read to us while we nibbled on candy canes.   

Candy cane (Red & white tissue paper & contact paper)

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Countdown & 50 States

The countdown for Christmas has begun and its official, I’m going with a red & white color scheme this year. Not the Target look, but something more along the lines of striped candy canes and red barns. 

Today I just finished a most amazing story. No not really, but here’s what I did finish. A candy cane countdown to Christmas chain.  The kids will take a link off each day, and from the Little Reader to the teenager fun will be had by all.  Here’s our list of activities and what we are doing. 

1.    Texas Tech Basketball game. Wear red.
2.    Gingerbread books & make gingerbread sandwiches
3.    Make paper bag gingerbread houses
4.    Read Legend of the Candy Cane & make candy cane sun catchers
5.    Watch a Christmas movie
6.    Christmas tree books
7.    Pinecone Christmas trees
8.    Santa Claus books & letters to Santa
9.    Nutcracker books
10.  Nutcracker stick puppets
11.  Christmas puzzles
12.  Snowman soup & make a gingerbread house
13.  Reindeer books & make ornaments
14.  Reindeer food
15.  Drive around to look at Christmas lights & bundle up for a neighborhood walk.
16.  Read The Giving Tree & surprise someone with an act of kindness
17.  Christmas Story & Nativity craft
18.  Bake cookies
19.  Snow globe books & make snow globes
20.  Christmas popcorn
21.  Animal hibernation books
22.  Make ornaments for the birds and squirrels
23.  Read snow books & have an indoor snowball fight
24.  The Night Before Christmas & reindeer rest
25.  Merry Christmas!

      Cut strips and pasted activity on each.  Bell template from website. http://www.freekidcrafts.com/countdown-christmas-bell.html
Christmas Chain Poem:
From now until Christmas
Is the longest time of the year.
It seems as though old Santa
Never will appear.
How many days ‘til Christmas
Is mighty hard to count.
So this little paper chain
Will show the exact amount.
Take one of the chains off each night.
When Sandman casts his spell.
And Christmas will be here real soon.
By the time you reach the bell!

      Voila!  There you have it, our candycane chain.
      We are so excited for our first activity.

Other Happenings
Look what my Big Reader (C) found on a romp with Mom
(He’s getting ready for a 50 states test)

The United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts From all 50 States
By D’Amico, Joan

Gobble up factual tidbits and tasty bits native to each of the fifty states.  No, we are not going to attempt eating all of America, but will pick out a few that look interesting.  C started with the Wisconsin Cheddar Dill Puffs.  How much food can an eleven year old consume?

The Scrambled States of America
By Keller, Laurie

During a party the states amusingly decide they want to switch locations. But after leaning the grass isn’t greener on the other side, they must find their way home.  A perfect blend of education and entertainment, and to make more enjoyable they have the game as well. 

The Scrambles States of America Talent Show

The states are at it again and now putting on a talent show.  As stage fright sets in, what will it take for the show to  go on?

This Little Texan’s stockpiling books. “GIT-R-READ”

A Few off the Top!

Christmas is Coming
By Bowen, Anne

Night Before Christmas in Texas, That Is
By, Harris, Leon A

Redheaded Robbie’s Christmas Story
By Luttrell, William

A New Improved Santa
By Wolff, Patricia Rae

On the carousel today. Did you know there is candy cane Jell-O and spoons?  I didn't.
This will be a great addition to our candy cane activity.
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Talk

Hope your Thanksgiving was full of wonderful!  We are back from the hills and thought this would be a good time to talk turkey and answer questions. 

#1. Yes, I always parallel books to what is going on in our lives. (Everything becomes a readable moment at our house.) And yes, I'm still sticking to my methodical system as well. We are in the G section and I’m putting holds on relevant reads including gingerbread men, candy canes, red books, and Christmas frogs.

#2.  Apparently librarians also do this. A vacation isn’t a vacation until you’ve paid a visit to the local library.  Before going anywhere, I love to check out the library website and plan an excursion. 
Look what we found romping the Wimberley Library
The Runaway Pumpkin
By Lewis, Kevin

With animated rhyme and super illustrations, a gigantic pumpkin comes to life.  After the children accidently send the pumkin rolling down the hill, how will they stop it and turn it into a meal?   This one’s on its way to being a part of our home library. 
Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins
By Ochiltree, Dianne

Another rhyming runaway pumpkin story, although not as good as the previous one.  When Sam learns that too many pumpkins makes for wagon trouble hill, he has to save them rolling down the hill. 
“Can we read the other pumpkin story now?” - Little Reader   Nuff said!

These reads fit with our “chunkin of the punkins.”  What a better way to end Thanksgiving and dispose gourds by shoot’n and then chunk’n them down the hill. 

Everybody Needs a Rock   
By Baylor, Byrd

I’m so thankful for my hill-country friends.  Rocks are some of my favorite people. Everybody needs to have a rock friend, and who’s a better person to give you the 10 rules for finding your own rock, than a girl living in the desert. It’s about simplicity and taking a look at what brings enjoyment.  Sure your kids have tricycles, dolls, blocks, and those electronic gadgets, but it’s high time they make friends with rocks.  

This read fit with our buildin’ of cairns. What’s that?  Simply a pile of stones built as a monument or landmark." A monument to what and a landmark to where you ask?  The answers to these questions tends to promote only more questions.  So have fun coming to your own conclusions.

#3. After returning home, we were glad to see One Guy & Dominos had not turned into froglets yet.  Little Reader got a book today to read to them.

Froggy’s Best Christmas by Jonathan London

#4.  And last, the library allows me to surround myself with things I love, (books) and the teacher in me is always looking for ways to extend these into hands-on experiences.  From food to crafts, and now becoming an Amazon junkie.  I love adding our favorite library books to the home library and other fun educational things toys. 
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