Monday, November 23, 2015

5 Best Books About the Magic of Childhood (that you may have forgotten)!

This time I am going to share my short list of five books that all have one thing in common – they tell a story about childhood and how great it is to be a child. You probably read them when you were little, but here's a quick refresher so you can give some of these books to your child as well.

books about the magic of childhood for kids
For more books like this, and for a chance to buy them all cheaper, check these Abebooks deals I recently discovered! These coupons will let you purchase many new and used books at more  affordable prices so you can enjoy re-reading them, or gifting more of them to your child. Take a look at their wide selection!

Charlotte’s Web (E. B. WHITE)
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that I put this book on this list. It's a true classic, about the joys of friendship, being a child and finding new friends. It’s a book that every kid (and adult!) should read since it not only contains a beautiful story but teaches a very sweet lesson. Give it a try and let your child meet Charlotte.

books about the magic of childhood for kids
Harriet the Spy (Louise FITZHUGH)
Another book you should try out with your child is about an 11-year-old named Harriet who is ostracized from her friendswthen they find out that she spied on them and wrote everything in her diary. It is quite unusual, in fact, but contains a great lesson.

The Little Prince (Antoine DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY)
It would be a real shame not to mention this unique and amazing book. This masterpiece is all about what it is like to be a child, and what it's like to forget that we all were little once. It is  beautifully written, teaches without preaching, and contains incredible illustrations that will help your child fall in love with this book as much as you fall for it too. Read it together and meet the real prince by learning about the most important values in our lives.

books about the magic of childhood for kids
Jumanji (Chris VAN ALLSBURG)
 Another book that is extraordinary and very entertaining even inspired a very popular movie in the 90s – Jumanji! And since we probably all know the story behind this name, there's no need to explain too much about why it is so worth reading for your kids. It teaches not only a scary lesson about wild animals and the dangers of messing with DNA but also some great value lessons about working together and just being nice.

Matilda (Roald DAHL)
Finally, a book about a little girl (who has some magic in her) belongs on this list. And although it is a story about a girl who suffers at the hands of her horrible parents and a terrifying principal, it's a great read. First of all, it is very beautifully written; it teaches that everything ends in a good way, and in the end it shows that everything can change if you're true to yourself no matter what. And these are the best lessons that could be!

What books recapture the magic of childhood for you? Share in the comments so we can all add to our kids' book wishlists!

A Lantern Walk for Martinmas

This was our first time celebrating November 11th, Martinmas, with a lantern walk, so we wanted to make it really special.

I read D,8, the story of St. Martin from our Waldorf Essentials curriculum and (as with all the saint stories this year) I explained to him that saints were people who had used their lives to do good for others according to their personal beliefs, and that this was how some types of Christianity honored them.

He loved the imagery of the story, especially the part about St. Martin's red cloak that he shared, since I had sewn D a red velvet cloak as part of his King Arthur costume for Halloween a couple of weeks ago. We spent a happy few days making various lanterns...M, 15, didn't have time to participate but she was interested in taking a lantern walk with us on the day itself.

Once supper was over and all the animals had been milked, fed, and tucked in for the night, my husband went on ahead in the truck, to an open patch of flat rock just around a curve in the woods on our property. He took jars, lanterns and candles as well as a blanket to prepare the space.

K, 23, M, D and I got our lanterns and walked slowly and as silently as a rambunctious 8 year old is capable of (!) down the road and into the dark of the woods, listening to the Great Horned Owl that lives nearby calling, mating coyotes howling and the leaves rustling under our feet. At this point, I was almost wearing a small boy - it really was very dark- except that he had his light in hand and was determined to be brave!

Then we rounded the curve and they saw this:


We walked into the circle and sat on the blanket for a snack of cranberry shortbread and hot tea. We listened to all the night sounds from around us, then we climbed into the truck and drove slowly home.

W are really hoping to make this a tradition! Do you have any thoughts on what we could add or change for next year? Please share!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Edible Igneous Rocks and Other Fun

This week, we started learning about rocks with our November Earthschooling monthly enrichment lessons.

We did a quick overview of the types of rocks and then D,8, chose igneous rocks to focus on first.

We started off with a walk to the cottage to find different types of rocks on the beach. It was rainy and warm and made for a fun time!

When we got home, we washed the sand off and then I challenged D to sort out the rocks into the three types as best he could. The 4th pile is the "not sure yet" pile.

Once he'd found the igneous rocks, I handed him a cloth with olive oil and lemon essential oil on it and he polished them all to a high gloss. It had the side benefit of making the house smell really good!
In case you wondered, he was singing his times tables.
We wrapped up with the thing D had been eagerly anticipating: We made edible igneous rocks! These are delicious, awful looking and not even remotely healthy......but we had so much fun! Here's how, in case you're interested:

Take a can of evaporated milk and 1.5 cups of sugar and bring them to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5-10 mins or until it thickens slightly. Let it cool a bit.

Stir in 1.5 cups mini marshmallows. Try not to drool.

 Now stir in 1.5 cups of chocolate chips, 1 tsp vanilla, and 3/4 cup chopped nuts (we used walnuts). You could easily substitute raisins or cranberries for the nuts if your children have allergies.

Pour into a greased 9" x 9" pan and stick it in the fridge until it's cooled and mostly solidified. Eat with gusto (but start small - it is VERY rich!)

Make sure to check out my co-hosts' posts as well:

A Quick Candy Experiment from Preschool Powol Packets

Friday, November 20, 2015

Weeks of Nov 9-13th and 16-20th, 2015

Two weeks in one this week, since last week I didn't have time!

Around the homestead:

The goat shed is finally complete, with windows and a new hardcloth wall to divide resting and milking areas. The goats have broken several windows this year, so the windows are only in the (supervised) milking section!
new goat shed additions
The windows are a freebie from a friend who was changing hers out. You can't beat free!

new goat shed additions

new goat shed additions

The August-born chicks are now bigger than the Bantams and almost as big as our other hens:
4 month chicks
The front chick is named Terry, as in the chocolate orange. :)

The garden is being put to bed, one tarp at a time after we dig in the compost from our bins.

 It's still really nice and relatively warm here, but we're seeing frost so we know winter isn't far away. I'm loving the changing rhythm of the seasons with this slower and simpler life we've been working on.

On the homeschool front:

M,15, and I baked a ton of stuff for weeks and then volunteered at the Christmas sale last Saturday for the food bank, thrift store and women's shelter where she's been volunteering. It turned out to be a lot of fun and I got some Christmas shopping done too- lots of handmade goodies from local sellers!

When the sale was over, we headed to our friends' house for a girls-only pizza and movie evening in our pyjamas. It was just what we needed, although my friend J and I were almost nodding off by 9:30 so we called the evening over early. She owns a popular local store so her days are packed and crazy busy.

K,23, finished working on the cottage for the season and had another job waiting the very next day. This is for a local jack-of-all-trades and the jobs have varied from chopping wood to digging graves to installing septic systems to repairing cow fences to all sorts of other interesting things. He has had one rainy day off in the last few weeks (during which he and my husband S worked on finishing the goat shed) and he is really enjoying himself.

D,8, is happily working on his Main Lesson Book and his form drawing block. Other than that he has been building massive forts all over the house that require a lot of skill to get around without tripping over couch cushions or dogs.

On the blogging front:  I was absolutely thrilled this past week to discover that I have been chosen as a Brand Ambassador for Gay Lea dairy products for the next year! In practical terms it means that I get to share recipes and other fun stuff with you, and that I get to eat even more of my favorite sour cream! All of their milk is sourced in Ontario, too....I even know some of the farmers. I can't wait to share more with you soon.

All in all, an excellent couple of weeks. What have you been up to?

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