Wednesday, November 21, 2012

12 Days of Books.....For Christmas

We have TONS of Christmas books! Each year I have a book shelf and basket dedicated to all the holiday books... These are the fun- cute little books like, Clifford, Disney, scholastic books,  jan brett books, all the frilly ones... The kids love it, and it's exciting for them to revisit these stories over and over. 

Last year we started the 12 days of Christmas Count down with books.
Not just ANY Christmas books. These are some of the most precious Christmas stories... And I have slowly been purchasing them the past 2 years... I hope to keep adding a new book or two each year... 

Many of these titles are from the Five in a Row Christmas Reading list
I discovered this list last year. I  totally trust their opinions on books, and so off the Library I went to find as many on the list as I could for last season. 
We were not disappointed. 

Here,we would like to share our family's collection  for this season!  
If you are interested in purchasing any for your family you can click my link here:  12 Days of Christmas with Books.

Updated - More added ( 2015)
The Stowell family is abuzz with holiday excitement, and Frankie, the youngest boy, is the most excited of all. But there's a cloud over the joyous season: Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and Pa hasn't returned yet from his trip to Lansing. He promised to bring back the oranges for the mantelpiece. Every year there are nine of them nestled among the evergreens, one for each of the children. But this year, heavy snows might mean no oranges . . . and, worse, no Pa!
This is a holiday story close to Patricia Polacco's heart. Frankie was her grandmother's youngest brother, and every year she and her family remember this tale of a little boy who learned--and taught--an important lesson about giving, one Christmas long ago
When a leak ruins the sacristy wall in his father’s church, Jonathan Jefferson Weeks thinks Christmas Eve service will be ruined. Luckily he and his father find a beautiful tapestry, perfect for covering the damaged wall and giving the church a festive look! But then, an old Jewish woman recognizes the beautiful cloth. Her discovery leads to a real miracle on Christmas Eve.

 Maria, her mother, and grandmother are busy preparing for Christmas when they discover an old music box with a figurine of a girl on the top. Maria thinks she looks just like an angel (sans wings); Grandma explains that some people believe angels must perform a good deed (or, in the case of a figurine, have someone help them) to earn their wings. On Christmas Eve morning, Maria secretly delivers a bag of cookies to a homeless man she has been concerned about. Later, while she is opening her own presents, she is surprised to find the music box angel--now complete with wings. Vainio's soft, dreamlike watercolors mesh nicely with the gentle story. A great choice for holiday read-alouds or family sharing, this simple tale, with its universal themes, will provide a welcome respite from the hubbub and commercialism of the season.

 Emma and her little dog Shu-Shu were thrilled to be invited to the King’s birthday party. But what do you get a King for his birthday? Emma and Shu-Shu have no gift, but they bring the Christmas cake they made with Mom and put on their Sunday best as they dash to the King’s carriage.  And of course, Emma couldn’t go anywhere without her beloved Cherry-Bear.  On the way, they have encounters that lead them to bestow their cake, winter-cape, and even Cherry-Bear, on others. Now they’re chilly, rumpled, and empty-handed—what will the King think? Emma frets, but when they finally meet the King at his palace, they discover they gave the King exactly what he wanted.
Children and parents will be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, and that the greatest gifts we can offer to the Savior are gifts to the least of his brothers and sisters (based on Matthew 25:40). Families will be able to go online and be directed to notable charities to give their own gift to the King.
Children and parents will be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, and that the greatest gifts we can offer to the Savior are gifts to the least of his brothers and sisters (based on Matthew 25:40). Families will be able to go online and be directed to notable charities to give their own gift to the King.
 A Christmas story from Sweden. 

 Mr. Willowby's Christmas tree 

Came by special delivery. 
Full and fresh and glistening green--
The biggest tree he'd ever seen.

That was the trouble. The tree was so tall, it couldn't stand up straight in his parlor. Mr. Willowby asked his butler to chop off the top of the tree. What happens to the treetop? Where will it be for Christmas? Snuggle up with this story and follow along through a forest full of friendly creatures who get to share in a bit of Christmas joy.

In Appalachia each Christmas, a boy named Frankie waits beside the tracks for the Christmas Train, which will bring presents to the children who live in coal towns and hollows. Year after year, Frankie hopes that one particular gift a very special gift will be tossed to him from that train. It is this enduring hope that will guide him to the true meaning of the season. Full color.

When Father is stationed with the military in Japan, he sends his family an intriguing wooden box at Christmastime.

The Armistice has been declared, but still there is no sign of Ruthie's father in their little Appalachian town. So, in accordance with the traditions of Pine Grove, it falls to Ruthie and her mother to bring home the perfect Christmas tree to donate to the town. Ruthie had accompanied her father to the rocky cliff where he marked a tree in the spring, so she and her mother set out to find it again, and haul it home. Their trip becomes the basis overnight of a new town legend; Ruthie, chosen for the role of the heavenly angel in the the church Christmas play, finds herself outfitted in a made over wedding dress of the finest silk another "miracle" wrought by her hardworking mother. An accomplished, fluid telling garnishes this simple story, as do Cooney's moonlit paintings of wintry evenings and the welcoming glow of fire and lanterns. Ruthie is more or less an observer; her mother is the real heroine. But the way they work together to keep their family's duty is rendered in a harmonious blending of text and pictures.

Three toy friends decide to leave their Christmas tree up for Valentine's Day--and the next holiday, and the next--until suddenly it's Christmas again!

And this one has been in our collection for a few years, always a favorite with my daugther! We love Llam Llama. =)

Llama Llama holidays.
Jingle music. Lights ablaze.
How long till that special date?
Llama Llama has to wait.
If there's one thing Llama Llama doesn't like, it's waiting. He and Mama Llama rush around, shopping for presents, baking cookies, decorating the tree . . . but how long is it until Christmas? Will it ever come? Finally, Llama Llama just can't wait any more! It takes a cuddle from Mama Llama to remind him that "Gifts are nice, but there's another: The true gift is, we have each other."

More Books:

Christmas in the Trenches
Small One
The legend of the Candy Cane
The legend of the Christmas Stocking
Tale of Three Trees
Room for Little One
The Trees kneel at Christmas
Gifts from the heart
The gift of the Magi
One Wintry Night
The Crippled Lamb
The story of snow children
why Christmas trees aren't perfect
A day on Skates ( a dutch story)
The Donkey's Dream

Do you have a Christmas reading tradition?
What favorite books does your family read during Christmas?
If you haven't any reading traditions you have time to start! 

It's never to late! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mushroom Unit Study

Fall is such a beautiful time of year here... as it is in MANY places! It is one of our most treasured times.
Our walks are so much more beautiful with the leaves falling. One thing my kinders look forward to are spotting the mushrooms that grow around here.   Last season, we took pictures of mushrooms every-time we saw them, then we made a little laminated mushroom catalog and took it along with us when we went out. 

This year, we went a little deeper in our Mushroom Study! 

The Kinder's each have their own digital camera (my old ones) and they take pictures now whenever they go on walks. I like this because it helps them become more involved in our study, and it's really neat to see what they choose to photograph. At this point they are still SO excited as they find mushrooms! KT still insists that I come and see each and every one she finds. ..=) 

                                                 Here are a few from our walk last week....

This is a Puff Ball Mushroom. They are edible before they turn this color... The kids do enjoy smashing these... lots of spores fly out!

These are Umbrella Mushrooms- They are very poisonous. 

Last week I hosted an "Introduction to Mushrooms" walk for our local First Class Home school Group.
We had a great turn out in spite of the many rainy days! And The Lord blessed us by holding the rain till the end!

Each child received a Scavenger Hunt card with 10 mushrooms found in the same woods we were headed to. 
Each mushroom had it's name along with the German name for it.
 The kids had a BLAST 

Here are all the mushrooms collected that afternoon! 

When we were done, our friend hosted ALL of us in her home right down the street for some hot cider!

 Here we had a display of Mushroom Fun & Facts! 
  • Mushrooms we CAN eat - a little taste testing (portabello, oyster, and button)
  • Mushroom Diagram- from enchanted learning ( we also handed these out to each student to take home)
  • Mushroom Fact Sheet for each family to take home
  • Spore prints the kinders and I made last week 
  • Mushroom poem which my friend read to everyone

  After telling the kids all afternoon not to eat any we found, some of them DID try these raw ones, and most of them did not care for them. =) Better cooked is what I say!

The Kinders and I made spore prints Before our outing so we could share this experiment with everyone.
It's VERY Easy to do!

I framed it so it wouldn't get ruined in transport. Out of 8 Mushrooms these are the ones that left their print.
The one on the bottom right is white... Use black card stock and white to see the differant colors when you make one!
 All we did was cut off the mushroom caps, lay them face down on paper, and covered each one with a glass jar or bowl overnight. I did this outside in our patio! I wasn't to keen on having poisonous mushrooms in the house. =) I used regular printer paper. I should have used Card Stock. It still worked but the paper did naturally wrinkle a bit from the moisture of the mushroom. Why cover with glass? This keeps the moisture in and the spores from floating around your area...

The tiny ones did not work. =(  The largest ones were great! and one medium lavender one gaves us the pure white spore print. 

Giving them time to search on their own, is wonderful for them. Make sure you allow a good hour for these walks...

                                                    Here is our Mushroom Diagram.
                      I  just cut it out, colored it in, and glued it to card stock for the Kinders to see...

                                 Outside your Window : A First book of Nature by Nicola Davies

This beautiful and LARGE book we borrowed from the library had a wonderful and fitting poem on Fungi.
I highly recommend this book for your Nature shelf! Beautiful artwork...

The Kinders painted little mushrooms onto Rocks as a keepsake for all the kinders that came on the special outing so they could remember their day! 

We used river rocks from the craft store, and sharpie paint markers. (these worked much better th an the Elmer paint markers I started with.  It took some time to dry, and they did it in processes, but it was worth it! 

Some other Fun Mushroom Facts we shared: 

Mycology (German Mykologen) is the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi.
People who study all about Mushrooms are called Mycologists.

·         Germans love their mushrooms, consuming the most mushrooms per capita than any other country in the world .
·         Mushrooms have no chlorophyll (a green pigment in plants), so they don’t need sunshine to grow and thirve
German Mushroom hunting Phrases
·         Kann man das essen? = Can you eat that?
Das ist giftig. = That's poisonous.
Das ist tödlich. = That's deadly.

Common Mushroom Names in German:

List of poisonous mushrooms and photos in Germany
More Mushroom Facts

Thank you visiting! 
I hope you have a chance this fall to get out and learn about God's amazing creation! 

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