Congratulations to Andrea F. for winning the ebook of Christmas Crafts for Kids and a belated congratulations to Brenda W. for winning The ABC's of Australian Animals yoga book!

I have never really liked the scary parts of Halloween. I don't like where Halloween has gone and how over the top it is. I do remember loving dressing up and trick-or-treating as a child, so I wanted Hazel to have that experience without all the drama and commercialism. For her first Halloween I was excited to dress her up and take her to some family and friends' houses. Now of course she is excited to dress up and go trick-or-treating. I have made her costumes except for the first year where I found an adorable one at a consignment shop.

I chose the duck and lion costumes. She wanted to be the dish and spoon with me since she use to take my hand and tell me to run so we could be the dish and spoon from Hey Diddle, Diddle. Last year she wanted to be Rapunzel and this year she wants to be Cinderella. I finally finished her dress. I still need to put the elastics in her lower sleeves/gloves, but I need her here to measure her arms to do that. Here is the dress.
I bought her a Cinderella wig to go with the costume. I will add a picture to this post once she is dressed up for trick-or-treating. 

She picked the darker blue for her gown instead of the Disney light blue. I should add she has two light blue dress up dresses to be Cinderella, but will not leave either one for any length of time since the cheap fabrics bother her skin. This is why I make so many of her costumes. 

Now Hazel is easily scared so Halloween is not a time we pull out the scary and gory decorations. We tend to focus on pumpkins, though we do have a large spider and web on our staircase this year and some friendly ghosts in our front entrance. I have struggled with explaining Halloween to Hazel and why so many people like to dress up scary. Last year I used the Mexican Day of the Dead to help explain it. Today I found a wonderful way to do it and to bring the religious meaning back to the holiday. Over at Catholic Icing there is a wonderful post on Explaining Halloween to Catholic Kids. I would say not being Catholic, that it could be used for any Christian children.

Then there is the issue of the candy. We try to limit Hazel's sugar input (and should really limit ours more). We have used the story of the Pumpkin Fairy to help with this. I shared our version of the story here.

This year we spent some time making the egg carton pumpkins that you have seen around on-line including some at Sharing Saturday. We took our candy corn rice krispie treats a step further and made them apple and pumpkin shape (we used cookie cutters). We decorated them this time with M&M's and Steve helped Hazel with the decorating.

The final thing I would like to share with you is a wonderful book. Now the note to parents says it is not a Halloween book, but it is about a jack-o'-lantern. The book is The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs. I bought a copy of this book for my church and then found a used copy at the used book store and picked one up for ourselves. The church used it for Hazel's class earlier this month and one of the crafts they made was a simple one. They took orange jack-o'-lantern goody bags and stuffed them and then added a special leaf on the tie.

The book goes through a farmer planting a pumpkin patch and then when harvest time comes choosing one special large pumpkin to carve a smiling face and leaving it on his porch for all to see. Throughout the book, there are Bible quotes to go with the story. It is really a nice book to take some of the scary away from Halloween and make you like jack-o'-lanterns more.

So that is a bit about our Halloween. How do you celebrate? We are really excited that this year it appears there will not be a Halloween storm so Steve will be home with us!

Book Review: Super-Cute Felt Animals

Today is the last day to enter my current giveaway. Have you entered yet?

Today I get the pleasure of reviewing a wonderful book to make felt animals. I am truly honored to get to review this book. The book, Super-Cute Felt Animals by Laura Howard is her latest book. However I fell in love with her designs from her first book, Super-Cute Felt. I was really excited when I stumbled upon Laura Howard's blog, Bugs and Fishes by Lupin, and it was announcing the newest book. I couldn't wait to see it. Laura has also been posting complementary felt projects to go with her newest book on her blog. 
Super-Cute Felt Animals features 35 projects and are divided into six chapters: In the Woods, On Safari, Under the Sea, On the Farm, In the Garden and At Home. The animals are three-dimensional, but a flat three-dimensional. They are perfect for making into ornaments, jewelry or to add dimension to a felt board. Laura also jazzes up the animals with sequins and beads as well as some stitches. 

I got into making felt things, especially animals, when Hazel was going to the Waldorf School. Now that she is not going there, I confess to switching to the cheaper felt, but I am still enjoying having small hand sewing projects to do. I have completed two of the animals in this book and am working on my third. Here are my projects.

From the In the Woods Chapter, I made this adorable deer. The deer has white seed beads for its spots and black seed beads for its eyes. I think I will sew a ribbon on it so it can be a Christmas ornament. Her book provides full patterns in the back to trace or photocopy (if you are lazy like me) as well as very clear directions on how to make each animal. She also provides help with cutting small pieces of felt and for each type of stitch.

From the Under the Sea Chapter, I made this flashy jellyfish. Hazel could not wait for it to be done. As soon as she saw it, she added it to her felt beach playmat. Again, the pattern and instructions were easy to use and follow. 

From the On the Farm Chapter, I am making this sheep. It is not quite done, but it is coming together very easily. I am making this one in secret since I plan to use it for one of Hazel's Advent calendar gifts. I also plan to make some pigeons, robins and parakeets from the book for her Advent calendar gifts. I'm hoping to make the birds from Tomie dePaola's The Birds of Bethlehem. I bought her a copy of the book as the first gift. Plus I want to make some felt nativity ornaments for our tree or hers and I figured the sheep would be perfect for this. 

So if you are looking for some easy but fun animals to make in felt, check out Laura Howard's Super-Cute Felt Animals. The book is perfect for homemade holiday gifts as well as for the beginning little sewers. The title describes her animals perfectly. You will also find wonderful tutorials at her blog!

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Snow White: An Islamic Tale

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This week I am sharing Snow White: An Islamic Tale by Fawzia Gilani. Similar to her version of Cinderella, this picture book was created to teach children about the Islamic religion. It is an adaptation of the original story. I love how she intertwines the Islamic culture into the story and then offers a glossary at the end. I feel it is so important for all of us to understand one another's beliefs so we can find ways to get along and live in peace and want Hazel to understand others as well.
In this version, the wealthy couple has everything they want, except a child. On snowy day the wife falls asleep and dreams of a little girl and when she awakens she makes a du'a to have such a child with the patience of Job, peace of dawn and heart as pure as snow. Within a year she has a daughter and she remembers her dream and prayer on the snowy day and names her Snow White. The family is very happy and they teach Snow White all about their religion and her mother gives her a copy of the Qur'an. By the time Snow White is ten, her mother falls ill and dies. 

Although they find comfort in the Qur'an, Snow White's father wants her to be happier and hopes having the love of a mother again will do it, so he remarries. His new wife is very beautiful and at first she is kind, but soon she starts to mistreat Snow White. When Snow White's father says something about the mistreatment, he mysteriously becomes ill and dies. After his death, the stepmother no longer shows any kindness. She is very vain and asks her jinn (a being created from smokeless fire living in an alternate dimension on earth) who is the fairest of all. The answer is always her until one day the jinn says her beauty cannot compare to Snow White's. At this the stepmother is jealous and angry and calls for a huntsman to kill Snow White and bring back her heart and liver for the stepmother to eat. 

The huntsman tells Snow White what he must do or the stepmother will kill him. She begs him not to kill her and then a wild boar comes by. He kills the boar instead and brings its heart and liver to the stepmother. Snow White runs into the forest and keeps running until she finds a small cottage. No one answers when she knocks and she collapses on the porch into a deep sleep. 

At sundown the residents of the cottage return home. They are seven dwarf women. They find Snow White sleeping and bring her into their cottage. When she awakens she is frightened, but they are kind and introduce themselves. Each has a special quality to their character: wise, brave, forgiving, just, generous, patient, and kind. Snow White finally opens up and tells them her story. They tell her she shall stay with them and they will protect her. Each dwarf teaches Snow White their special skills that go with their characteristic and through the years she mastered them all. 

One year, the stepmother asked the jinn again about who is the fairest and it answered again Snow White. Again she became jealous and angry. She asked the jinn where Snow White was and found out about the cottage with the dwarfs. It was the month of Ramadan and the stepmother prepared some poisonous dates for Snow White. It is wrong to refuse dates to break your fast during Ramadan, so Snow White took them and of course fell to the ground. At this time the dwarfs were coming home and the brave one ran after the stepmother and caught a glimpse of her. The dwarfs took turns taking care of the sleeping Snow White. 

One day a prince came riding by. He saw one of the dwarfs out with the sleeping Snow White. After hearing about Snow White from all the dwarfs he dropped to his knee and recited the Fatiha (the opening chapter of the Qur'an). He then said he would send his mother, the Queen, to visit Snow White. The Queen came with a doctor. Every day the doctor gave Snow White the cordial and every day Snow White stirred a little more. One day she finally opened her eyes. 

The dwarfs were so happy to have Snow White awake. They sent news to the Queen. She came immediately and asked the dwarfs to permit Snow White to marry her son. They agreed. The King and Queen invited many people to the wedding including the stepmother. The day of the wedding the stepmother happened to ask the jinn again and found out the bride to be was Snow White. She comes up with another plan to kill her once and for all. She makes a poisonous comb. The brave dwarf recognizes her and tries to kick her out of the building, but the stepmother locks her in a room and then goes to find Snow White. She disguised herself as a servant and claimed that the Queen had sent her to help with Snow White's hair. However when the vain stepmother saw one of her own hair's out of place, she put the comb to her own head and she fell to the ground. A doctor was sent for and she was attended to during the wedding. 

A few days later the stepmother woke up and was shocked to see Snow White wearing a crown. Snow White told her she would forgive her and recited a verse from the Qur'an. The stepmother recovered and was said to never look in a mirror again. Snow White, the prince and the dwarfs lived happily ever after.

Baby Moses Books and Craft

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Last week in Sunday School, Hazel learned about Baby Moses. After our fun with Noah's Ark, she asked to hear more about Baby Moses and about Moses. There are not as many picture books on Baby Moses or Moses for that matter as there is for Noah's Ark, but we found some at the library.

We are making our way through the books. We started with the ones that are just about Baby Moses. The Wee Sing book has a Baby Moses song in it. 

Hazel's Baby Moses Craft

They made a Baby Moses paper craft in their Sunday School class, but I wanted to find a fun one for us to do. I consulted my Baby Moses Pinterest Board for ideas. I found this cute one over at The Art of Being Mama: B is for Bears, Blueberries and Baby Moses. I had some walnuts around, so I cracked them for their shells. Then I found the small peg dolls I bought ages ago when I ordered a variety pack from Amazon and we went from there. Here are the supplies you need to make our Baby Moses craft and you need glue. I forgot to put it in the picture. Sorry!

 The first thing we did was to draw a face (I added some hair as well) on the doll and then wrap it with a scrap of fabric. We glued the fabric onto it and glued it into the walnut shell.

 Then I cut a circular shape from blue felt and some reeds from green felt. We glued the walnut shell to the blue felt and the reeds around it.
My Baby Moses Craft
 Here is a view from the side. I am thinking of adding a string or ribbon to put on Hazel's seasonal tree in her room.

I know her Sunday School class is going to continue with the Moses stories, so we will probably be doing some more as well soon! Plus we have more Noah's Ark crafts and books to do.

Sharing Saturday 13-41

Sharing Saturday Button

Thank you to all of you who shared with us last week! I once again am apologizing for not visiting. My life has been a bit crazy lately. But the ones I did visit were amazing, so I hope you take the time to go be inspired!! There are many wonderful Halloween ideas there as well. We had a three-way tie for most clicked, so I'm skipping right to a few favorites of the ones I checked out.

1) From Vintage Celebrations: Witches Broom Lollipops

2) From We Made That: DIY Owl Mask

3) From Ingspirations: DIY Lift-the-Flap Alphabet Book

4) From LalyMom: Fine Motor Activity Dashboard for Kids

5) From Doting on Deidre: Family Time: The Peninsula Fine Arts Center Why Art Matters Especially for Young Boys

Thank you to everyone who shared last week!! I hope you will join us and share again!! If you are featured here, please feel free to grab a featured button to display proudly on your blog. 


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This week we shared a lesson and play on Noah's Ark, another Korean Cinderella, a wonderful Blogger Opportunity through Little Pim, Christmas Crafts for Kids book review and giveaway, some Halloween and autumn decorations and the third book in the Miss Mingo series.

Our current giveaway ends Wednesday!

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Flamingo Friday--Miss Mingo Weathers the Storm

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We missed Flamingo Friday last week, but this week we are sharing the last of the Miss Mingo series book. Today it is Miss Mingo Weathers the Storm by Jamie Harper. We have already shared Miss Mingo and the First Day of School and Miss Mingo and the Fire Drill both also written by Jamie Harper. The best thing about these stories is you learn a little something about each of the animals in them. In the first day of school book we learned that flamingos eat upside down and in the fire drill we learned that flamingos like to be in large groups so the predators stick out.

Miss Mingo Weathers the Storm is about Miss Mingo taking her class on a field trip to climb to an observatory at the top of a mountain. Of course the weather changes drastically during the climb. It goes from heat to rain to snow.  The lesson about flamingos in this book is their ability to stand on one leg to conserve heat and they face the wind or rain. I wanted to learn more about this, so with a little research I found a bit more. When sleeping the flamingos stand on one leg and face wind and this stops the wind and rain from penetrating their feathers. (Source: Sea World)

Another interesting fact is that their mating season is tied the rainy season. The less rain there is the less likely they will mate. In years where there is no rain, the colony will not mate at all. (Source: Flamingos World) A fear of global warming is that it is effecting the amount of rain and this may endanger flamingos. (Source: Flamingos World)

So that is our Flamingo Friday. Hope you will come back and share at Sharing Saturday!

Decorating for Halloween & Fall

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This past weekend we made a very easy Halloween decoration. Our decoration was inspired by the DIY Halloween Tissue Ghosts I saw over at Shindigz back when I was doing a review for them. I happened to find the tissue paper bells on clearance at the Christmas Tree Shop and I think I paid something like a dollar for all four. Then we took a piece of black construction paper and cut out eyes and mouths. I let Hazel cut her own and then we glued them on.

Since the bells had strings and the bottoms had the round ball that would ring the bell, we hung them on our chandelier to greet anyone who comes to our front door. Since we were hanging them, we skipped the tulle as well.
I guess we did a good job since Steve thought I had bought them that way. We also hung the extra spider web we had leftover from our various crafts and added the big spider we used at Hazel's nursery rhyme birthday party for Little Miss Muffet.
We also went on a wonderful nature walk around our neighborhood. We of course took our wagon (to carry everything and in case Hazel got tired) and a bag to collect things. We some saw fun mushrooms. We thought this one might be a fairy bathtub or pool.

And here is a fairy village.
The colors were also beautiful on the walk.
The trees have been so wonderful this fall. The colors are so vibrant.
We were collecting leaves and such and Hazel picked up a stick and started putting leaves on her stick. She decided it was a leaf stick. It came out beautifully and we have it sitting in a glass jar on our table now.
We planned on making more, but haven't made it out there yet.
But in the jar it looks like a flower. We love it! How are you bringing nature in to celebrate the season?

Christmas Crafts for Kids eBook Review & Giveaway

Ok, I know Halloween has not happened yet and I am one of the first to complain about the stores having Christmas things up too early. However, I have the opportunity to review and giveaway a wonderful ebook by Beth Gordon of 123 Homeschool 4 Me called Christmas Crafts for Kids. One of the things I love about this book is it is written to help you keep Christmas and family in Christmas and not get into the commercialism of society. It is wonderful to help children focus on what really matters during the holiday season.
In this amazing book, Beth has a children's book for each day of December before Christmas. She also offers an alternative book in case you do not own or cannot find a copy of  the suggested book at the library. I was able to find one of the suggested books for each day at our local library if I did not already own it. Then she has several crafts and activities to go with each book (or day). These crafts and activities include things you can do as a family or one parent can do with a child or children. There are crafts, snacks, and activities including some charitable activities.

One book she shares is The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia Scarry. This is a scratch 'n sniff book, so I do not recommend getting it from the library. (We did, and all the scratch 'n sniff spots were used up.) One activity Beth suggests with this book is to make a plate of seasonal scents. We used what we had in the house (or outside for the pine needles) and did not stick directly with her suggestions. We also made a gingerbread cake for the scent and to enjoy. On our scent plate is a branch from an evergreen tree, peppermint extract, orange extract, cinnamon on a cotton ball and cloves. Hazel loved smelling this plate and continued to do so for several days (until I got rid of it).

Another story we used was The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg. This was the alternative book and the suggested book was J is for Jesus by Crystal Bowman, but we could not get it from our local library and could get The Legend of the Candy Cane. I am so glad we found this book. I love the message behind the whole story and it gives all the legends of the candy cane I have heard in one story (J-shaped for Jesus, shaped like a shepherd's hook, etc.) and it has the overall message about sharing them with the story of Jesus. It will be added to my must read every Christmas list. Along with many wonderful candy cane crafts, Beth suggested this wonderful snack of apple and banana slicing shaped as a candy cane. Hazel of course loved it since she LOVES fruit.
Another book is Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry. One of the many wonderful suggestions to go  with this book was a straw Christmas tree ornament. Hazel and I had a great time making these. We used the supplies we had already, so we did not have a gold sparkly pom pom for the top and our pom poms were a bit big, but we like it anyway. There were other crafts, snacks and an activity to go with this book.

So that gives you a bit of a sample of what Beth has put together. She offers you 24 days of books and activities as well as one alternative day in case you do not like either choice or cannot find either choice of her suggested books. Some of the books are focused about the religious meaning of Christmas and others are not. I know I plan on doing more with this great book once December comes. I hope you will take the time to check it out and enjoy your holiday season!

Now Beth has offered me a copy of her e-book to giveaway. Since it is e-mailed, it is open worldwide!! So here is your chance to win Christmas Crafts for Kids, just do as the Rafflecopter asks to enter and follow my Giveaway Rules (except it is open worldwide so you do not have to be in the USA). If you do not want to wait for the giveaway to end, you can purchase it for $9.99 here. (You can also buy a print copy there for $24.99.)

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