Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent Reading List

Some photos of the children's Christmas tags attached to bags of cookies they made for their teachers, and, for those who asked a Christmas reading list..

Advent Reading List

Christmas Stories Together by Estelle Bryer and Janni Nicol *I Love This!

The Christmas Story Book Collected by Ineke Verschuren

The Light in the Lantern by Georg Dreibig (can by accompanying Advent Calender)

The Emperor's Vision and other Christ Legends by Selma Lagerlof

Christmas Roses Legends for Advent Collected by Mimmi Zoitterman

Seasonal and Traditional Short Stories for Christmas Family Reading

The Way to the Stable A Christmas Story by Max Bolliger Illustrated by Arcadio Lobato *I Love This!

The Mitten by Jan Brett - A Ukranian Folktale

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore illustrated by Ruth Sanderson - A Classic

Come and See by Monica Mayper Illustrated by Stacey Schuett *I Love This!

Little One, We Knew You'd Come by Sally Lloyd-Jones illustrated by Jackie Morris *I Love This!

The Christmas Rose illustrated by Heather Jarman

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas illustrated by Schart Hyman

The Nutcracker adapted by Daniel Walden from the story by E.T.A. Hoffman illustrated by Don Daily - A Classic

Chapter Books - Read Alouds for Christmas
of course these books can be read silently by children and at any time of year but these are perfect at Christmas and make great family reads!

Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley -*I Love this!

Any of the Narnia series by CS Lewis - particularily The Magician's Nephew and Lion Witch and the Wardrobe

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fall Short Story List

I am always getting requests for reading lists of great stories!

Something I really cherish is reading to my children. Even as they get older we still make time for that. We have two simple story spaces - the fireplace in my bedroom and our cozy living room, both equip with rockers, quilts and pillows. The children's quilts are from when they were just wee so they love that, and we leave them out to use any time the notion takes us, usually evening, but not always. I usually sit in a rocker to read (seasonal stories that have become tradition in our family, or chapter books or tell stories I just make up on the spot) and I usually start with the same words (my personal preamble is about a lady rocking by the sea in the Mediterranean because that has personal meaning for me and feels old and timeless) but you can create your own lines to set the tone, or chime a little bell or sing or speak a one liner. Here's a simple one I like, "Once upon a time, but not so long ago..".

Read Aloud list for Fall - Short Seasonal Stories

Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant Illustrated by Lauren Stringer *Love this!

The Oak Inside the Acorn by Max Lucado Illustrated by George Angelini *Love this !

Pelle's New Suit by Elsa Beskow

Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Tihington

Hegedt Peg by Audrey Wood Illustrated by Don Wood

Mrs. McMurphy's Pumpkin by Rick Walton Illustrated by Delana Bettoli *One of my Childrens' favorites since very young!

Cold Feet by Cynthia DeFelice by Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker ( traditional British ghost story - preview first for developmental appropriateness for your child)

Halloween Circus by Charise Neugebauer Illustrated by Robert Ingpen

A Poppy is to Remember by Heather Patterson and Ron Lightburn

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

Feathers and Fools by Mem Fox Illustrated by Nicholas Wilton *Love this!

Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman

For Story Telling resources I recommend and Story Telling Society or Festival or How Too books by the fabulous Nancy Mellon!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Fundraiser: November Project 2

I am so proud of myself! The kitchen is a mess - it will need to be cleaned before breakfast tomorrow morning - but i have squashed my control freak requirement to clean it NOW and taken the moment to join the children and my husband by the fire reading for half an hour before bed. Sometimes my organizing impulse is so strong - but I am glad I left it - these calm family moments are wonderful. They slow us (me) down, feed our souls. We will all probably live longer for them - if not longer, certainly better! After this quiet family moment I am refreshed and get more done, or I fall could asleep on the couch - which means go to bed - unlikely. didn't I say the kitchen's a disaster!

Our children are getting their Annual Christmas Fund Raiser (November Project 2) together! This year the prizes are the book "Screech",written by my son and published using and a Christmas candle made by my daughter. Prizes in past have been books they have written, and framed water colours they have painted, but prizes can be whatever inspires your children or family. Once you have done the fundraiser the first time, save all the work (we do up an e-mail and tickets on word) and the next year just change the dates, the prizes and the charity and it quickly comes together! My children sell tickets nominally at $1 so their friends can buy them. Advertising is to friends via e-mail with pictures of the prizes and a description of the charity they have chosen (see below). I think they really learn from the process and friends LOVE it! Here's a sample from this year's precious project.

T and C's Annual Christmas Fundraiser 2009
Thank you For Your Generosity - Draw Tickets only $1

"This year we are splitting the money raised between two charity groups. We wanted to raise money for building some children a school. The first charity is called "Imagine One Day" and builds schools in Ethiopia. But then we found out that the churches still have some money to pay for our own elementary school, St. Anthony's. So we are going to give half of the money we raise to Imagine One Day and half to St. Anthony's Parish for their School Building Fund.

Imagine One Day's website states that "education is a basic human right that leads to achieving other human rights and that an educated population forms the backbone of every society". It is a cool website, check it out!

As in past years , tickets are only $1 an there are two great prizes!

Prize: "Screech" Children's Adventure Story by T. Hard cover, autographed copy.
Prize: "Archangel Gabriel Candle and Glass" Original Art Work by C, autographed."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fibre Arts!

Oh my what a great weekend! Our Saturday felting workshop went fabulously well! 8 great women, 8 fabulous projects! We had so much fun kitting and dying wool for the fairies, meeting the talent and then watching their projects evolve! Can you believe we forgot to hand out the beading needles! - what were you guys using to embellish? Anyone out there from the class who needs one, be sure to hit me up! Watch for postings of completed work from "Christmas Fairies / Felted Milagros"!

Friday, November 6, 2009

November Goals and Rhythm

November, the month of reprieve (?) between Halloween and Christmas, though look around you, Christmas is here - too early! I can't bear the malls yet! I try in the first half of the month to stick to fall. Remembrance Day, peace!

If you have not followed this blog before these monthly planning pages lay out a general structure for the month, including a theme and seasonal table, a way to wake, a table candle blessing, a couple of projects and a verse for going to sleep. These are goals the follow up varies from great to imperfect but having the plan helps it to happen and helps bring rhythm to our days!

So here is our November layout

Festival or Theme is Remembrance Day / Peace
A focus on peace, honour, courage, remembering those who have passed on. We are using a red cloth on our theme table, photos of relatives who went to war, a red candle, red or pink roses I usually receive as a birthday gift (being a Remembrance Day baby), lapel poppies collected over the year and Grandad's medal of honour from the war and his pocket watch.

Waking Song (for November)
chosen by my daughter from our collection

"Come little leaves said the wind one day, come over the meadows with me and play
Put on your dresses of red and gold, summer is gone and the days grow cold!"
~by George Cooper~

Breakfast Verse (first half of November)
(sung while lighting a candle at the breakfast table)

"Light a candle for peace, whisper the word,
Please let it come soon, whisper a prayer for the world,
Blessings on our meal today."

Breakfast Verse (second half of November)
chosen by my son from our collection

"Earth we thank you for this food, for rest and home and all things good,
For wind and rain and sun above, but most of all for those we love.
Blessings on our meal today."

Bedtime Song
From camp

"From out of the battered elm tree the owl cries out - I'm here
And from the distant forest the cuckoo answers clear
cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo da roo da roo, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo da roo da roo.
Mr. moon, Mr. moon you're out to soon, the sun is still in the sky
Go back to your bed and cover up your head and wait 'till the day goes by
cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo da roo da roo, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo da roo da roo.

November Project 1 Clay Nativity
We have bought some air dry clay from Staples. Every year we have talked of making a Nativity for Christmas, but we have always left it too late. This year we will each make small figures every few days when we are able or choose to - all through the month of November. We will start with the important ones, Mary, Joseph, the Baby and see how many we end up with by the end of the month. Whatever we have is what we will go with. No pressure, no stress, just a relaxing, ongoing project. This clay air dries and then can be painted.

November Project 2 Children's Charity Raffle
Each year my children make a "prize" for their charity raffle. 2 children, 2 prizes. This years prizes are a book by T and a candle by C (past years have been small paintings or drawings mostly). Tickets are $1 monies go to the charity of their choice.

Autumn Stories
Family tradition. Short stories (fall theme) read occasionally by the fire. One day I will post a list of good seasonal stories - there are many wonderful books - check your library, bookstore!

Bread, Soup and Scones
OK the bread making and soup making fell apart mid October, but today is friday and I baked bread. My son's friend was over and he loved it, he had never had home baked bread. Makes it all worth while! Actually the realistic bread making goal was once a month so I am ahead of target there. At any rate the rhythm falls apart, we just pick it up as we can! Every day is a new day! Monday I make scones or muffins for lunches through the week (or until they run out - which is usually pretty quickly!)

One more week until our Felting Workshop (see previous post Oct 22) - I am excited! If you are interested we have 3 spaces left - for details and registration contact
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