Friday, September 22, 2017

Our Fall Book Collection


   
  I once thought it frivolous to collect seasonal books. Why spend money and precious storage space within the home for items you can only use once a year? Well, because it's fun. I so thoroughly enjoy celebrating occasions with books. There is just something special and exciting about welcoming the first day of a season with a stack of seasonal books. It is a practice I now highly recommend. 

    Purchasing books for use for such short periods of time could be expensive. However, there are several affordable ways to build a collection. For instance, nearly all of the books in our collection were found at either a consignment sale or for sale on Facebook Marketplace. Finding a set of used books is a fantastic way to build a home library! You can always pass along any books that you may not want. Another fun way to build a seasonal library is to purchase a new (new-to-us, of course) book to be read on the first day of the new season. For instance, this year I purchased the book Apples and Pumpkins for us to read on the First Day of Autumn this year. Of course, there is always the public library! We will certainly be checking out as many books on the season during our weekly library visits.  Even as the children grow older, I hope they'll still want to read the same fall books because of the memory of the tradition that has been established. This is one really simple way to celebrate and be excited about the upcoming season or occasion with the children. 

     When I'm looking for books for our collection, I'm specifically focusing on the fall season and the characteristics of that season such as apples, pumpkins, harvest, leaves, festivals, hayrides, etc. Although often mixed, I try to leave Halloween books separate from Fall books. The lists below include books that are currently in our library, and books that we don't own but might be interested in later. (I will update the second list weekly if we find books from the library that we really enjoyed and would recommend). I've included product links to Amazon* so that it might be easy to find out more on a particular book. 


*Note: I am a personal affiliate to Amazon.com. As such, I receive a compensation for purchases made through the links within this site (thank you!). All opinions are my own. 

 Our Current Fall Bookshelf::
  • Mouse's First Fall by Lauren Thompson
    • This was the first book about the fall season that I purchased when Tennyson was little. It's a very simple book, and perfect for the youngest ones.
  • Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
    • This story is a little longer than the other books we have in our fall collection. As such, it will probably be enjoyed more when the children are a bit older. I read it aloud anyways because it is a rather a delightful story. I really love how the problem become the purpose for a gathering in the end. Such a great lesson!
  • A Pumpkin Prayer by Amy Parker
    • A sweet little rhyme about the many beauties and wonders of fall. This is one of my favorite fall books we have! I wouldn't mind having more books like this one. 
  • From Seed to Pumpkin (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Wendy Pfeffer
    • This science series is fantastic! It provides great detail of the entire process of a seed to a pumpkin, without being too detailed or difficult for a young preschooler to understand. 
  • It's Fall by Linda Glaser
    • This was the second fall book I purchased for the children. It wonderfully takes you through all the changes that occur during the season. The illustrations are stunning. 
  • The Biggest Pumpkin Ever- by Steven Kroll
    • A cute little story about two mice who unknowningly each care for a pumpkin and subsequently produce the biggest pumpkin ever. Once each mouse discovered the other, they worked together to accomplish both goals for the pumpkin. 
  • Leaves Fall Down: Learning About Fall Leaves by Lisa Bullard
    • A great little book about the process of leaves changing colors and falling from the tree. Simple enough for little ones, but yet detailed in some of the terms.
  • How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow by Wendell Minor
    • This book is wonderfully imaginative. It repeatedly asks what you would do with a very large pumpkin, and then answers with solutions that would be fitting according to characteristic of various states. In the back of the book is additional information on the states and their individual characteristic that is highlighted in the text. The illustrations are beautiful (Wendell Minor is one of my favorite illustrators!). There are a few images related to Halloween, but they are more background than foreground in the illustrations.  
  • Chipmunk at Hollow Tree Lane by Victoria Sherrow
    • This is a lovely nature book narrating the activity of a chipmunk in the fall. It's a nice addition to our collection to bring in a topic beyond pumpkins, leaves, and harvests. The illustrations are realistic and simply beautiful. 
  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
    • This book is not necessarily Halloween, but is intended to offer the "spooky" feel. I will soften some of that sentiment as I have at least one child who would be a little nervous about the suspense at such a sweet age. Nonetheless, it does provide a great lesson in being brave and even giving something perceived as scary a positive purpose. It may be a book well enjoyed more in the future when the children are older. 
  • Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell
    • This is our new book for fall this year! I intend to bring it out on the First Day of Autumn (soon!)
  • We All Fall For Apples by Emmi S. Herman
    • This is a simple first reader book all about apples. The characters visit an orchard and then make several foods using the apples. It's a perfect little book to enjoy together with some apple bread or apple cider! 

Books We Don't Own, but Might Be Interested In Later:
What fall books do you enjoy?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Menu Plan: Summer (Sept. 17-23)



 

     Last week we unexpectedly were so busy that we ended up with a "standard American diet." Blah. As a result, we'll be doing two things: 1) gather some freezer/pantry meal ideas to prepare on day so that we have something on hand when time is tight and 2) eat much healthier this week. Our meal plan this week is:


Breakfasts:

- strawberry crepes

- spinach frittata

- blueberry fritters

- banana bread, hardboiled eggs


Lunches:

- leftovers or sandwiches


Snacks:

- graham crackers with peanut butter

- homemade strawberry yogurt popsicles (also part of our "tot school" unit on the color red)

- "triple berry chia pudding"

- "ricotta berry swirl"

- "crunchy almond yogurt"



Dinners:

- (small group) beans n' rice

- bbq chicken quesadillas

- Soup Day * soup (trying out a recipe that was a part of one of the books we checked out from the library)

- lemon-pepper tilapia, asparagus, barley

- southwestern salad (greens, tomato, cheese, raisins, roasted corn, tortilla chip pieces)

- pork chops with apples, broccoli, potatoes or grain?

Dessert:
homemade apple pie



*Note: I personally am an affiliate of Amazon.com. As such, I receive a compensation for purchases made through the included links. All opinions are my own.
 



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

August 2017 In Our Home

Mama enjoys drawing with chalk just as much as the children!
  
     It's difficult to know what to write for this past month. August was just heavy. It seems like we allowed ourselves to give in to stress and exhaustion, and consequently live in "survival mode" during the month. These are the times in which Instagram is actually helpful because I can look back at so many daily posts and am reminded of all the good moments we have together. This is one purpose to maintaining this particular social media account. It's like a photo journal of life. Photos always make my heart happy. I truly love our family and the life we have together, regardless of how "heavy" it may feel at times. 
Making cookies together. At one point,
 Tennyson lifted his spatula
 and said it was his "shovel."
They then proceeded to "shovel"
the cookie dough (pre-eggs) into their mouths! haha

      I feel like we are getting into a better rhythm in our days. It's been very helpful that Tennyson and Annelise will now have "room time" and "play pen time" willingly and contentedly. During these moments I can nurse and lay Huxley down to sleep, or have the opportunity to have some time individually with each of them. Huxley is also doing his part in learning independent playtime. He is quite content to be in the play yard or a bedroom with a few toys. He'll crawl to a desired spot, sit and play with a toy, and then go back to a crawl to find the next exciting spot and toy. He continues to be such a happy little guy. 


Big 6 month boy is crawling!
     I was able to complete a couple new home projects this month. I'm still focusing on decorating our dining room. I have a vision for the space and a list of projects. It just might take a few months to complete the project and room in my spare time (haha)! So far, I've managed to paint the large mirror in the room and a pole that will be part of the curtain rod. (Since we move so much, I prefer to take a DIY approach to curtain rods so that they can easily be adjusted and reused in any home). Up next will be to hang the rod and curtain, cover all our chairs, and find a wreath to hang over the mirror. Simple little touches, but ones that will hopefully make the space look and feel a little more cozy. I've thoroughly enjoyed these little projects and decorating our home. It makes feeds my creativity and makes me happy!

Sweet siblings!
     I typically include a list of new books we've read. However, I'm still working on the same ones I was last month! I haven't prioritized reading as much, and so I'm moving through books at a snails pace. I miss the activity though, and look forward to picking up reading more in the coming month. We read through too many books with the children to list them all here. Instead, I record all our books onto our online bookshelves through Goodreads if you're interested in following along with the books we're reading with the children. 

  







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