And the Birthday Girls

Once we wrap up Caleb’s and Sam’s birthdays, we have a short break to regroup and then it is time for Hannah and Sarah to party!

We had to do some shifting around since we had quick travel plans that started on Hannah’s birthday. I had a conference with the two girls to work out a plan that would save my sanity.

Hannah’s birthday was Saturday the 22rd and Sarah’s birthday was Thursday the 27th. Yes, Sarah’s birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year. She was not thrilled. Sarah is not a big fan of turkey.

Here was the plan: On Thanksgiving Day we would celebrate both birthdays. At lunch we would have Sarah’s birthday meal of burger and fries. In the afternoon we would have two cakes because they could not agree on that point, lol. Then dinner would be a full Thanksgiving meal because that is what Hannah wanted. No problem. Ahem.

Hey, birthdays (and Thanksgiving) come once a year so why not do it in style? We had lots of leftovers and that is a beautiful thing!

Happy Birthday to my Hannah Joy! She is a bundle of energy and joy. Loves to be outdoors in the woods or riding her bike. Super smart and witty. She brightens up our home so much!

Happy Birthday to my Sarah Bear! She has matured greatly in the last year. She likes to be busy and right in the middle of life. She loves to take care of Ezra and is a great big sister. I love how she if full of questions. She is a hard worker and a delight.

Painting Rocks

I am always happy to encourage activities that involve imagination and creativity; whether at the table with pencil and sketch pad or outdoors with wood and rope. When Lydia and Hannah asked if they could paint their rock collection one hot, summer afternoon, I was happy to oblige their request.

Mermaid and a Frozen inspired scene

For some time, Lydia and Hannah have been collected “smooth” rocks in all shapes and sizes. They used them often when playing with their peg dolls to make gates, tables, and forts. How would they paint them?

Rock People and a Hobbit Hole

I happened to have some paint pens from another project that I gave the girls to use.  They quickly set up a spot to paint and the creativity began. I must say that they did a fabulous job.

Flower and Ring by Bekah, Viking Ship. Sea Shell and Walnut Shell added for fun.

Now that they have painted their rocks, the hunt is on for more smooth rock canvases…

Read Alouds – August 2014

I so love reading aloud to my children. The sharing of stories and adventures is a delight. It is always interesting, and sometimes entertaining, to see the different reactions to stories. Sometimes as we are reading, one person will laugh when no one else does. Tears may slide down cheeks during an intense moment. Discussions around the dinner table over our books builds memories that will last a life time.

As much as I love it, it is so hard to have the time to read aloud like we use to. Life is just crazy at times. So I’m protecting my read aloud time. I’m making it a priority. Slowly and steadily we are getting back to settling in for a good read; together.

For the Littles

Here are  few picture books that we have enjoyed this month. And while I select them with my little ones in mind, we all enjoy a good story!

The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson – A mouse, a walk in a dangerous forest, and an imagination. With rhyming text, Ms. Donaldson tells of a mouse who encounters enemies when walking through the forest. To save himself from being something’s dinner, the mouse invents the Gruffalo to scare his enemies away. But is the Gruffalo just an imaginary beast? Mouse soon finds out that the Gruffalo is real! How will he save himself from the Gruffalo? My little ones enjoyed this book. The turn it took when the Gruffalo arrived on the scene had my older ones chuckling. I’m sure it is one that we will check out again. And again.

The King’s Taster – Kenneth Oppel – Max eats like a king. Max just happens to be the dog belonging to the king’s cook, which means he tastes the food before it is presented to the king. Max’s yummy life is in danger. The king refuses to eat. The king’s cook travels far and wide to present such fare as french fries and pizza. But the king still won’t eat and says “off with his head”. Thankfully Max finds out why the king won’t eat. When you read it, pay close attention to the illustrations for a hint.

Llama, Llama, Red Pajama – Anna Dewdney – Every Sunday when driving to church we pass a llama farm. My little kiddos always yell out “llama mama” or “llama pajama” or something. The phrase may differ but it is always loud. Reading this book was just to enjoy some llama rhyming. When we finished reading about the little llama who needed his mama some of my kiddos said that the llama really needed a bit of discipline.

We also enjoyed Angus Lost by Marjorie Flack. Who doesn’t love Angus? An adorable little terrier that takes an adventure outside of the gate. The Angus Books are ones we just enjoy over and over.

For the Big Kids (and the little ones…and the dad….)

The Penderwicks of Gardam Street – Jeanne Birdsall – When we finished up The Penderwicks my girls already had the second in the series waiting for me to read. Today I showed them mercy and postponed my lunch to finish it up. We have enjoyed our time with the Penderwicks. This family of four girls, a widowed dad, and Hound, the dog, shows life; from messy bedrooms, to homework, and neighborhood friendships. There are times when my children were laughing because they could relate to the story (we have six sisters in this house) and times where, at least I, felt close to tears.

In this book, the Penderwick girls are on a mission and the “Save Daddy Plan” is put into action. Why do they need to save daddy? Aunt Claire is pushing Mr. Penderwick into dating. The last thing the Penderwick girls want is a stepmother taking over. Along the way we have an Aztec Play, a Bug Man lurking in the neighborhood, and Marianne Dashwood. This is a really fun read that the whole family can enjoy. I wonder if the next book is already on its way to the library hold shelf?

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom – Christopher Healy – Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty…I’m sure you have heard their stories right? What about those Princes Charming; all four of them. Hmmm, who were they? I can tell you! Liam, Duncan, Frederic, and Gustav. Four Princes Charming who the bards did not feel worthy of being named. How wrong the bards were! Mr. Healy introduces us to these four princes and you will never read fairy tales the same again.

I grabbed this book to read aloud hoping that it would be enjoyable. It has far exceeded my expectations. This book is hilarious! As I am reading, laughter abounds in the house. I started reading this book one evening before bedtime. My husband issued a decree that we can only read it when he is home. Yes, it is that funny. My four year old, Sam, requests this book every day. Prince Liam is his favorite, by the way. This story with giants, a witch, and a few dwarfs thrown in will keep the attention of all ages. I have no doubt we will be reading the rest in this series. Well done, Mr. Healy, well done.

To be Read:

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane – Suzanne Collins

Summer of the Monkeys – Wilson Rawls


What have you been reading aloud this month?