Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Leaf Man

by Lois Ehlert

Leaf Man is a delightful book that tells the story of the Leaf Man as he is taken on an journey by the wind. Where is he going? No one is quite sure, but you'll have to follow along with him to be a part of this adventure.

We love Lois Ehlert's books in our home and this book is no exception. We loved the beautiful array of pictures on each page. It was fun spending time exploring each page and seeing what images we could see using leaves. It was also filled with great ideas of what you can do with leaves and also using your imagination. I will definitely be adding this book to our library collection.

Activity: Leaf Crafts

This activity was one that we spread out over a few different days.

#1 - The first part of this was we went on a little trip up the canyon near us to collect some of the beautiful autumn leaves. It was a fun time and it was nice to be in nature and exploring. We came home with some of the most beautiful colors of leaves that I have ever seen.

#2 - The next part, was to dry our leaves out. We gently rinsed them in just water, patted them dry, then laid them between layers of newspaper in between a few trays. These trays were then placed underneath our tool box and we let it sit for a week to make sure they dried completely. The best resource for this was a great book called
Look What I Did With a Leaf by Morteza E. Sohi. This book was wonderful! It was filled with instructions and ideas of what to do with leaves and taking care of them. I highly recommend this!

Since the ages of my children are very different we did two different things for each of them.

Sonny Boy's Activity:

We went for a walk down our street collecting some freshly fallen leaves. It was lovely to see the range of colors we were able to collect.


Clear Contact Paper
Leaves (we didn't use dried leaves for this but you can if you prefer)

For Sonny Boy we cut out an 8.5x11 (or whichever size you prefer) out and laid that down in front of him with the sticky side up. I would recommend taping the sides with masking tape to hold it in place.

Then let him create his masterpiece! He had fun picking the leaves and then stamping them down onto the sticky paper. Once he was done with this, we covered the side with the leaves with another sheet of contact paper. It is a lovely piece of art!

Sweetie Pie's Activity:

For this activity we used the dried leaves that we had collected. I asked her to decide what picture she wanted to create using the leaves.


Dried Leaves (variety of sizes)
Construction Paper
Any other little 'gifts' of nature that you find. (We didn't end up using the acorns she had collected)

After reading
Leaf Man and also looking through Look What I Did With a Leaf Hannah decided that she wanted to create a Leaf Turtle. She had all the supplies that she needed and she worked away. She was very pleased with the end result.

Working diligently

Making the happy face

Sweetie Pie's Leaf Turtle

My Gems!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Love Chocolate

By Davide Cali

I Love Chocolate is a very cute and simple story. The story is told through the eyes of a child as he tells all the ways he likes to eat chocolate and also how chocolate can make you feel so much better.

I know that most of us can relate to this book (I know I sure can!) It was a fun book that we enjoyed as a family.

Activity: Truffles

When Cool Daddy offered to do Story Time Blast this week I was over the moon! He wanted to make Truffles with them so we got busy finding the perfect book for this activity. He chose I Love Chocolate which I think is totally appropriate because I LOVED the Truffles that they made. Sweetie Pie really enjoyed making these with her Daddy and we all got to enjoy the end result!

I am not going to write the recipe on here but here is the link if you are interested in making these yourself -

A glorious mess!

Rolling the chocolate into balls

The final product

Licking the bowl was irresistible!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Paper Lanterns

By Stefan Czernecki

Paper Lantern is a very poignant and heartwarming story about a friendship between Old Chen and Little Mouse. Old Chen is a master lantern maker and makes the most beautiful lanterns in all of China, but he is getting tired and there is no one to replace him, until Little Mouse comes along. Little Mouse begs Old Chen to let him be his apprentice but instead Old Chen offers him work around the shop. Little Mouse patiently studies and watches Old Chen and his two apprentices and practices diligently at home. One day Old Chen is not well enough to make the Dragon lantern for the lantern festival so Little Mouse steps up to the plate to show that patience and persistence really does pay off.

I loved this book! It teaches of friendship, work and dedication. It shows that through patience and perseverance you can achieve anything you want.

Activity : Paper Lanterns

We decided that today we would work on our own lanterns just like Old Chen and Little Mouse did in the story.


8.5x11 Cardstock
Stapler or Tape
Anything you would like for your child to use to decorate their own lanterns.

Supplies we used:

Fold your 8.5 x 11 cardstock in half lengthwise. Cut horizontal slices every inch starting from the folded edge and stop about 1” from the open end. Cut a 1 x 11 inch strip from another piece of cardstock to use for the handle.



After cutting, open the paper out on the table and have the children decorate however they wish.

Here's what we did:

Sonny Boy figuring out how to apply stickers

Sweetie Pie working away

We're done!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens

had me smiling from beginning to end. It was a delightful story about Big Brown Rooster (who happens to be a descendant of the one and only Little Red Hen) and he is sick of eating chicken feed every single day. He sets out to make a delicious Strawberry Shortcake with the help of some of his friends Turtle, Iguana and Pig.

This was an entertaining story about how each character has a part to play and each has something different to contribute but when you work together you can achieve great things.

I liked how the sidebars of some of the pages contain additional information about baking terms and procedures and the back page of the book contains a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake.

Activity: Strawberry Shortcake

We had to make the recipe for Strawberry Shortcake that was at the back of the book.

I am not going to post the recipe because I want to encourage you to get the book :)

Ingredients needed

A chef in the making

The end result


Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Grouchy Ladybug

by Eric Carle

The Grouchy Ladybug was a fun book to read. It is about a boy ladybug that starts the day off by not being willing to share and wanting to pick a fight with a friend. He then decides that this other ladybug is not big enough to fight and his grumpy mood takes him off in search of bigger competitors until he eventually goes back to his friend who is still willing to share the food with him. At first it might have been over food but eventually his reason for wanting to fight other animals was 'just because'. It is about one of those days where you want to fight the whole world and not necessarily knowing why.

I love Eric Carle books. They are always so visually pleasing to the eye, his books are also entertaining and have a message which can be a great discussion. It teaches a message that children can relate to.

Since Sweetie Pie is currently learning how to tell the time, I felt that this book was completely appropriate. We were able to watch the clock on each page as we followed the events of the Ladybug's day. This book would also a great resource to use along with a unit on feelings.

Activity: Ladybug Cookies

For this activity we decided to make up some "Yummy Ladybugs" instead of "Grouchy Ladybugs".


Sugar cookie dough (divided)
Red food coloring
Baking cocoa powder
Chocolate chips

I made up a batch of sugar cookies from the night before and split it into 2 sections. I mixed in 1/4 of the batch with some baking cocoa power and 3/4 of the mixture with some red food coloring. Sweetie Pie was happy rolling the balls of dough into the sizes that she wanted her ladybugs to be.

Putting on the black spots

Cut into half the ladybug so after it has baked you can see the outline of the wings.

The delicious end result

Sonny Boy's contribution

Thanks for the inspiration - Almost Unschooling

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Apple Pie Tree

By Zoe Hall

The Apple Pie Tree is a cute story about the experience of two little sisters as they watch their apple tree go through it's life cycle starting from the Winter season through to the Fall. It follows not only what happens to their tree during the space of a year but also a family of Robins that are growing along with the tree. The back of this book also contains a recipe for Apple Pie and shows how bees pollinate apple tree blossoms.

I loved how simple this book was and also how clearly it teaches about the life cycle of an Apple Tree. I found the illustrations simply beautiful. This book provided me and Sweetie Pie opportunities to have numerous conversations about the seasons, the life cycle of an apple tree and also the desire to make Apple pie! I promised Sweetie Pie that we had lots more apple books to read and we will be making yummy apple pie soon!

Activity #1: Apple Tree Sun Catcher

While Sonny Boy was down for a nap, Sweetie Pie and I made this beautiful apple tree sun catcher that is hanging so beautifully on our front door. It is so lovely!


Clear contact paper
Brown cardstock or construction paper (for the tree trunk)
Red tissue paper (for the apples)
Green tissue paper (for the leaves)

I cut the tree trunk from the brown cardstock (you can get a pattern from the pictures in the book itself), the leaves from the green tissue paper and red apples from the red tissue paper. I folded the tissue paper many times before making any cuts, and this made the cutting much faster. Cut the contact paper twice the size of your tree because you will be folding this in half.

Lay the sheet of contact paper sticky side up, and attach the tree trunk to one side. It might be helpful to secure the sides of the contact paper with masking tape to avoid it shifting around.

Have your child to arrange the leaves and apples on and around the tree branches. When they are done fold the blank side of the contact paper over to cover their work.

I just love Sweetie Pie's idea of having an apple falling from the tree.

A beautiful sight!

Activity #2: Apple Wrapping Paper


Red Tempera paint
Green Tempera paint
Paper (any size you wish)
Half an Apple
Potato (cut to make a leaf stamp)

Secure your child's paper by taping down the sides with masking tape. Have your child stamp away.

When Sonny Boy was done painting and ready to eat an apple, I let him do that. Sweetie Pie was ready to take over and stamped the leaves on with the potato stamp.

I wish I got a picture of the very end but I didn't. When the paint was dry I went around the edge of each apple print with a black marker. This made a lovely gift wrap for my nieces birthday present.

Thanks for the inspiration Frugal Family Fun Blog

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Paper Bag Princess

by Robert Munsch

The Paper Bag Princess is a fun story about a beautiful Princess named Elizabeth whose castle is burned down by a dragon who carries away her handsome fiance Prince Ronald. Unfortunately, the dragon has also burned all her clothes and the only thing she has to wear is a paper bag. She wears this and decides that she is going to save her Prince. She cleverly outsmarts the dragon and saves the day except for the fact that now Prince Ronald does not want to be with her because she smells like ashes, her hair is all tangled and because she is wearing a dirty old paper bag. He tells her to come back when she is dressed like a real princess. Elizabeth then says "your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum" and they don't get married after all.

This book gave
Sweetie Pie and I the chance to talk about being respectful and caring for people no matter what they look or dress like and also about respecting yourself enough to not worry about what others think of you. I know she would have liked the 'happily ever after' scenario but she also understood that Prince Ronald was rude and ungrateful after all that Princess Elizabeth did for him and that should have been more important to him than what she looked like.

Activity: Paper Bag Outfits

We followed this story up by making our own paper bag outfits.
They both did a great job even though Sonny Boy tried to eat the paint. The end result was darling!

Supplies needed:

Paper bags
(any other materials you want to use to accessorize your outfit)

Cut a circle at the bottom of the bag for the child's head to fit in and sides for the arm holes. Then let them paint and decorate away and then allow for time to dry. This outfit will quickly experience 'wear and tear' but it was fun while it lasted.

Thanks for the inspiration - Almost Unschooling