Reading List Summary, December 2013

Mom's List
Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls (David Sedaris)

Jack's List
Beyond the Grave (Jude Watson)
Public Enemies (Gordon Korman)
Hunting the Hunter (Gordon Korman)
Hide and Seek (Kate Messner)
The Black Circle (Patrick Carman)
In Too Deep (Jude Watson)
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)
Shoot-Out (Mike Lupica)
David Beckham (J. Chris Roselius)
Mark Zuckerberg: From Facebook to Famous (Z.B. Hill)
Sports Pages (Arnold Adoff)
Prince Caspian (C. S. Lewis)
Lasers (Nina Morgan)

EJ's List
Liz Learns a Lesson (Callie Barkley)
Robots (Chris Oxdale)
Wildlife Rehabilitators to the Rescue (Meish Goldish)
The Deadly Dungeon (Ron Roy)
Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Nelson Mandela)
Mummies in the Morning (Mary Pope Osborne)
Marion Takes a Break (Callie Barkley)
Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitat (Anna Branford)

Olivia's List
Henry and Mudge and the Tall Tree House (Cynthia Rylant)
Dixie Loves School Pet Day (Grace Gilman)
The Autumn Leaf (Carl Emerson)
Dixie and the Good Deeds (Grace Gilman)
When Tiny Was Tiny (Cari Meister)
Surprise! (Charnan Simon)
Dixie and the Big Bully (Grace Gilman)
Space Cat (Doug Cushman)
Cats Are Like That (Martha Weston)
Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble (Cynthia Ryland)

Read-aloud List
Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise (Susan Blackaby)
Llama Llama and the Bully Goat (Anna Dewdney)
Bluebird (Bob Staake)
Hocus Pocus Takes the Train (Sylvie Desrosiers)
Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great (Bob Shea)
The Shape of My Heart (Mark Sperring)
Cookie the Walker (Chris Monroe)
The Amazing Hamweenie (Patty Bowman)
Lola Goes to Work: A Nine-to-Five Therapy Dog (Marcia Goldman)
Thumpy Feet (Betsy Lewin)
Giant Dance Party (Betsy Bird)
Red Cat, Blue Cat (Jenni Desmond)

Many Hats

In addition to the new hats for the kids, I've been making some gift hats as well this past month. I made these Packer hats for our Aunt and Uncle to try to bring the team some luck.  They swore they wore them on Thanksgiving, so it did not work at all!  The girl version is on Olivia (pattern here) and the boy's is on EJ (pattern here).

I also made these tiny hats for St. Nick's for my niece and nephew (this pic is horrible, but hopefully Julie will send me a good one of the kids wearing them...hint, hint).

Elizabeth's is a cupcake, although many people have guessed ice cream sundae due to the cherry on top (pattern here) and Mikey's is a football (pattern here).  Both were adjusted for size, but I hear I'm a little small on Elizabeth's hat...ugh!

And in searching for these hat pics, I bumped into this pic of Olivia wearing our activity tree as a hat.  How did I forget about this photo when I posted earlier this week?

Christmas Activity Tree

We have become a busy family and I worry that with all the scheduled activities we are already committed to, that some of the special things we do in December get lost in the shuffle and forgotten.  In the past we've made a huge list of things we want to do in December, but then when Christmas Day comes and things are left on the list...lots of disappointment follows!

So this year, we are trying a different angle.  I made a small tree out of paper and the kids crafted "ornaments" with fancy edges scissors and printed paper (Livie drew on hers as well).  Each time we do an activity, we write it on an ornament and add it to the tree.  Activities can be fun things or things we do to help others (activities that use our Christmas spirit).  They can be small things, like watching a Christmas movie or building a fire, or bigger things (like cleaning out the entire playroom last weekend and donating lots of toys).

The best part is that we are watching the magic of the season grow as we add activities (this sits right on our dining room table, so it gets talked about every night) and get closer and closer to Christmas!

St. Nick's Day 2013

St. Nick visited our house, I took this photo, and 2 minutes later a stocking crashed to the ground.  Ugh!  We tend to go a little bigger for St. Nick's in this house (although 90% of the gifts are practical...socks, slippers, holiday pjs, chapstick) and smaller at Christmas.  At any rate, everyone was pretty excited by their gifts and Mom & Dad got a little candy.  Yay!

We also put up our tree this past weekend and our elf arrived on December 1st.

Last night was the first of our three holiday concerts...Jack's band and choir concert.

Livie wasn't feeling well, so I gave her a little more freedom than usual...maybe too much.

Hope everyone is staying warm and that St. Nick did not bring you coal!

4 Gifts: Wear & Read

The premise of the 4 Gifts way of giving is to give:
-something they want
-something they need
-something they'll wear
-something they'll read

Last week, I shared some ideas in the want and need category for myself.  This week, I thought I'd switch to the kids.  First up is the wear category and I thought I'd pick one item that each of the kids would choose for themselves.

{dress- Target, hoodie- Children's Place, soccer pants- Adidas}

EJ loves a party dress, especially if it's covered in sequins.  This one is not, but I think it has the appropriate amount of fluff and hot pinkness to keep her spinning and smiling!

Olivia lives for hoods.  She'll choose a windbreaker over a winter coat on a cold day (if we'd let her), just for the hood.  I think she would flip over this fleece hoodie given that it looks warm, it has a pink cheetah print and it has ears...perfect.

Jack would live in athletic pants if we'd let him (he'd actually choose shorts if we'd let him, but it's cold here).  He also is most comfortable in soccer clothes/uniforms, so I'm sure these soccer speed pants would top his "wear" list.  None of these items would be on my list to gift them, but it was fun to think from their perspectives.

The "read" category is much easier to know which books they love and that I love them as well!

{Violet Mackerel series, Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew series, The Critter Club series}

EJ loves to read mysteries (Nate the Great, A to Z Mysteries), animal stories, and non-fiction.  These are EJ's current favorites and all three are from series of books, so they could be gifted in sets.  All are perfect for kids just starting out in bigger chapter books and I love that each series depicts strong girls with a myriad of interests.  Each series is very different, but EJ loves them all very much.

{Swindle, Plunked, The Land of Stories}

Jack's reading interests jump around a bit but he tends to mostly read realistic fiction, suspense/adventure, and sports fiction.

He loved every book in the Swindle series and really loves Gordon Korman's writing in general.  He's currently reading his way through everything Korman has written and hasn't been disappointed yet.

Plunked was a book I found for Jack as a new sports fiction option (they are reading specific genres this year and it's been tough to find new books for some categories) and he really enjoyed it.  As I was putting the pic up, I saw it was recommended by Gordon Korman, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Last on Jack's list is The Land of Stories which is a fairy tale with a twist of adventure and fantasy.  It was written by Chris Colfer (who acts on Glee and is a young man himself) and it's a big book.  I got it from the library for Jack on a whim, he read it and loved it and then read the sequel.  Yay, Mom!

{Henry Huggins series, The Chicken Problem, Henry and Mudge series}

Livie is in that weird time where she is old enough to listen to chapter books, still likes reading picture books with me and is starting to read on her own.  So, I picked one of each for her list.

We recently finished reading all of the Henry Huggins books at bedtime (one chapter a night) and both girls really enjoyed them.  We read the Ramona books first and those were big hits, but the girls laughed out loud at the stories about Henry and his dog, Ribsy.  They've still been asking me to get the next book forgetting that we've already read them all.

The Chicken Problem was a book I found in our library's "new" section and Liv really liked it.  She was super excited when, a couple weeks later, we saw the premiere of a new show on PBS, called Peg + Cat, that is based on this book.  The show is really cute and both incorporate math into silly situations.

Henry and Mudge, as well as Annie and Snowball (Henry's cousin who has her own set of books), have been big hits with all the kids as they learned to read.  The stories are simple, but interesting, and they books are arranged in "chapters" so Livie feels as grown-up as her brother and sister.  I think this series and the Frog and Toad books are out absolute favorites for beginning readers.

So, what are you wishing for this holiday season?  Link up here to share your picks for wear and read!