Sharing Saturday 13-50

Thank you to everyone who shared last week and who visited last week's posts. The party is still open because of the holidays!! So today I am going to feature a few from last week and continue the party!! So plenty of time to go visit all the great posts shared and get inspired this week!! This week's features are in three themes: New Year's, my life (math, birthday, and Jamaican food) and winter. I hope you will stop by and visit them and some of the other blogs who share with us!

Kigs Kigurumis Costume Review

Disclosure: I was sent these items to review free of charge from Kigs. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to each item for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase them.

Today I get to share with you a wonderful product. Rizzi from Kigs asked me if I would be interested in reviewing one of their children's costumes. When I saw how cute they were I knew I had to do it. I showed Hazel the choices of all the kids costumes. I figured for her to get full use, I should let her pick. She decided she liked the kangaroo outfit the best because it comes with the baby kangaroo. I liked the blue owl, but I couldn't persuade her. Her second choice was the pink rabbit--not a big surprise there. 

Hazel could not wait for it to arrive. When it finally came she was so excited to try it on. She put it right on and did not want to take it off. She was excited to realize Ducky could fit in the pouch with the baby kangaroo. I got her to take it off to eat dinner so she would not get it dirty. The next night however she insisted on wearing it to the Chinese restaurant for dinner. I had to wash it after that since there was some fried rice in the pouch. She discovered the next day the button to keep the baby in the pouch. Sorry I did not get any pictures with it buttoned in. The first night we discovered the zippered pockets. Something Hazel loves!! You can see the zipper in the picture below.

She has loved this costume. I think I have convinced her to be a kangaroo for the next Halloween which will mean no sewing for me!! The costume is made of fleece and is nice and comfortable and warm. They come in one size for children and they have an adult size as well. The best part of these for Halloween is clothes can be worn underneath them and Hazel could probably even get a jacket if it is cold and have the costume over it. This has been one of the dress up items she has worn the most and kept on the longest. 

A few days later we went to the zoo to see what they call Zoo Lights, and she wanted to wear her kangaroo costume. I let her, but with the snow and mud (since the snow was melting) she got it all dirty, so I washed it again. The tag says to handwash and not to tumble dry, but since it was fleece, I threw it into the washer (without checking the tag) and the drier on low and had no problems either time. It came out beautifully.

Baby Kangaroo is inside the jacket staying warm!

With the ease of wearing it and the obvious comfort since she keeps it on and puts it on herself, I can highly recommend this product. Hazel absolutely loves hers. So stop by and check out Kigs, and you can purchase the children's costumes for $54.99 with free shipping in the U.S. here

I would love to know which ones you prefer!! Enjoy!!

Merry Christmas with a few Nativity Crafts

Our Family in "Bethlehem"

Merry Christmas to one and all!! I hope you have a joyous holiday remembering the best gift we ever got was Jesus!!

On that note, here are a couple of Jesus crafts.

This is a simple one with half a walnut shell, peg doll and scrap of felt or fabric. Hazel added a face as well. I need to glue a ribbon on to it so we can hang it on the tree.

This one was inspired by the cinnamon stick manger at Childmade. We changed it a bit. We did not use anything on the back and just glued the sticks to each other. Then we added some "hay" instead of the quote. We used flannel instead of muslin because we had it and we made the gold ring out of a pipe cleaner. Hazel loved working with the cinnamon sticks.

For more Christmas crafts, books and ideas check out:

Multicultural Christmas Books

I promised last week to share some of the multicultural Christmas books we have been reading and/or have found. Today is the day to share! Now you may be asking why share books about other cultures. First I know I want my daughter to know about other cultures and show respect for all. Second, I think it is important to see books with people besides our own kind. The world is a diverse place and to be a part of it, we need to understand a bit about each other so we can find a way to be at peace with one another.

The books I am sharing I have divided into a few categories. The first is different culture books--they contain more than one culture in each book.

  • Santa's North Pole Cookbook by Jeff Guinn is a book with recipes from all over the world. I find food a wonderful way to share cultures with Hazel.
  • Three Wise Women by Mary Hoffman is one of my favorite Christmas books. It is about three women who see the star and follow it. They do not know how long they walk, but they know they must follow the star. They meet and walk together and find the stable with Joseph and Mary. Each finds a gift to give the baby. One woman brings bread she was baking, one tells stories and the third has only her young son, but he reaches out to the baby and shows love.
  • Elijah's Angel by Michael J. Rosen is a story told by a young Jewish boy about his neighbor and friend, Elijah. Elijah is an elderly black man and a barber and woodcarver. As their friendship grows from visits after school, Elijah gives his young friend a Christmas angel he has carved. The Jewish boy is afraid to show the angel to his parents, but he loves it and his parents give him a way to accept a Christian gift and still be Jewish.
Now the groups are divided mostly by race. The largest group of books I found include Hispanic people. We have not found time to read all of these thus far, but I wanted to share them for you. I will give brief summaries and/or thoughts on the ones we have read.
  •  A Doll for Navidades by Esmerelda Santiago is a wonderful story about Three Kings' Day and a young girl hoping for a doll. Her younger sister is also hoping for a doll. The younger one gets the doll they both want and the older girl must learn to deal with getting something else. It was a wonderful introduction for us to Three Kings' Day and the three kings instead of Santa Claus.
  • Federico and the Magi's Gift by Beatriz Vidal is another story about Three Kings' Day. A young boy is afraid he will get nothing for Three Kings' Day since he was reprimanded for doing something wrong that day. It is his story about waiting for the Three Wisemen to bring the gifts.
  • Carlos, Light the Farolito by Jean Ciavonne
  • Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida
  • Mimi's Parranda by Lydia M. Gil
  • La Noche Buena: A Christmas Story by Antionio Sacre is told by a young girl who is spending Christmas with her Cuban American father and his family in Miami for the first time. She discovers why her father describes Christmas Eve as the best night of the year.
  • Grandma's Gift by Eric Velasquez is a story about a Puerto Rican boy spending the Christmas vacation with his grandmother. After preparing the Puerto Rican meal, they go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the boy sees for the first time that he wants to become an artist. The grandmother gives him the perfect gift--a set of paints.
  • Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
  • The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaula is a wonderful story with a Christmas miracle/mystery in it. It describes the tradition of the Night of Las Posadas through the story. 
  • Mama Had to Work on Christmas by Carolyn Marsden
  • A Pinata in a Pine Tree by Pat Mora
  • When Christmas Feels Like Home by Gretchen Griffith
  • Three books on the story of the first poinsettia: each tells the tale of a poor child ashamed to go to mass in Mexico without a gift for Jesus and being told by an angel to bring weeds that become beautiful red flowers.
  • Pablo's Christmas by Hugo C. Martin is a story of a young Mexican boy who has to take care of his family when his father leaves to find work in America. Pablo is not sure how he is going to make Christmas happy for his family and especially his young sisters. 

For our Native American Stories, we did not get a chance to read or even find too many at the library. However each of these books share different tribes stories of Christmas. Some are the traditional Christmas story in Native American pictures and others are more modern stories and/or memories of tribe members. Then there are a few that are Christmas songs--two of which are The Huron Carol.  Instead of giving each description I thought I would share this great YouTube video of The Huron Carol.

For our African Descent books, I found nine plus the two from Kenya I shared last year: A Kenyan Christmas by Aunty Kiko and A Kenya Christmas by Tony Johnston. Some of these are about African Americans, some from Africa and one is from Trinidad. One of these books reminded me a of a dear friend with an angel collection. She tended to buy any black angel she found since they were not easy to find here.

For our Asian Christmas books, I found a few picture books and a couple chapter books (the last two). 

  • Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits tells the tale about a young Korean girl who wants to celebrate Christmas now that she lives in America or at least she wants Mr. Santa Claus to come to her house like he will for the other boys and girls at her school. 
  • Tree of Cranes by Allen Say is about a young Japanese boy and his mother preparing for the boy's first Christmas.
  • The Stone by Dianne Hofmeyr is a Persian legend about the magi. This is a story that Hazel and I both really enjoyed. Each magi brings a gift for what he thinks the new king will be and when he accepts each gift and gives them a gift of a stone in return they are puzzled, but realize he is all three things: Healer, Ruler and Holy One.
  • Mama Bear by Chyng Feng Sun is a story about a young Chinese American girl who wants to find away to buy an expensive teddy bear for herself and her mother for Christmas. Her mother needs to fix the heater and cannot afford to buy it for her. The girl discovers some important lessons throughout the story.
Those are the multicultural Christmas books we are checking out this year. Do you have any to add to the list?

If you are looking for some books about the nativity check out here.

Christmas in Jamaica--Christmas in Different Lands

I joined with a group of Multicultural Kid Blogs to present Christmas in Different Lands. I get the pleasure of presenting Christmas in Jamaica. Last week we made a Jamaican Sweet Potato Pone for Around the World in 12 Dishes. Cooking the Caribbean Way by Cheryl Davidson Kaufman said it was a typical dish for Christmas morning. All the references on-line suggested it being a favorite dessert. For the most part Christmas in Jamaica is similar to Christmas in the United States (and much of the world). They have Santa Claus or Father Christmas. They decorate trees and/or hang lights and exchange gifts. Many places describe it as a non-stop party time. I wanted to find things that made the celebration different from other parts of the world.

Advent Week 4: Love

Before I begin this post's content, I want to share that I just updated my Winter Solstice post with the best book to read!! We did not receive it from the library before the original post. The addition is towards the end of the post. Now onto our Advent post.

This is the fourth week of Advent. We light our final purple candle. As you light each candle you remember how Jesus brought us hope, peace, joy and now love. Some Advent wreaths have a white candle in the middle. This candle is for Christ and is lit either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Now love is such an important theme. There are so many Bible scriptures you can think of to go with love..."...The greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13. We included God Gave Us Love by Lisa Tawn Bergren in our books to read today. I feel this is a perfect book to read to explain the theme.

For those that do not know this series of books, Little Cub learns about God from different people in her family. In this one, she is with her grandfather. They talk about how God wants us to love everyone. They also talk about how there are different kinds of love and the greatest love comes from God. And yes, they mention God sending is only Son to us. 

When we did our clay ornaments last week, we also made some love ones.  We used love rubber stamps to get the words on them. 

The other craft is to make heart ornaments from pipe cleaners and tri-beads. They are very easy. Put the beads in whatever pattern (or no pattern) onto the pipe cleaner. Then bend and twist the ends of the pipe cleaner to make a heart. Now you can add a ribbon or just hang it as we did.

Update on our Advent Calendar Crafts:

Donkey Ornament

Hazel was working on the wisemen today. I did the camel with the wisemen while she made the wisemen. I also glued the stable together for her. I like how they are coming out and think she is doing a wonderful job. We added some white wool to the sheep and the shepherds. Hazel decided the wisemen needed gold and silver and used glitter glue. She has been really enjoying this year's Advent calendar. 

How did you celebrate Advent this year?

For more on our Advent:

Sharing Saturday 13-49

Thank you to everyone who shared last week and who visited the amazing ideas shared! If you have not had a chance to check them out yet, you really should. This week's party will last for two weeks. I have heard chatter of many taking a break between Christmas and New Year's Day. I will be doing features both weeks, so keep sharing!! We will not be taking a break, so I hope you will come check out Crafty Moms Share all week for lots of great ideas and a product review.

Fruit Christmas Trees

Need something to bring to a Christmas party, but want to make sure there is something not fattening and nutritious? Check out what I have done the past two nights for Hazel to bring to her school Christmas parties. My inspiration came from Pinterest. The original source of the pin is Ginger & Garlic: Edible Christmas Fruit Tree. These are relatively easy, but a  bit time consuming. They are made with a styrofoam cone and lots of toothpicks. I worked from the bottom up and you want to make sure you have plenty of green fruit to make it look like a Christmas tree. I definitely improved on my second one. 

First One
On the first one I tried to use larger star cookie cutters with the honeydew melons to make it look like a pine tree. It did not work well. I used my miniature cookie cutters to cut different shapes out to decorate the tree. I used my angel, gingerbread boy and girl and star on the first one. The fruit I used is green and red grapes, kiwi, honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries and a star fruit (for the top). I wish I had splurged on the blueberries instead of the on sale raspberries. Oh, well. As I went on, I began to line the cone with the kiwi. On the second one this is the first thing I did.

Second One

On the second one I also added some pineapple. I also tried the Pop Chef that I have seen advertised on television. I thought it might work well for Hazel to make the tree with me. She was too tired after her Christmas Concert to make it with me yesterday afternoon, so I was on my own. I liked my metal cookie cutters better since I had more variety, but did like the little hearts it made. 

Second Tree

Anyway, I think these are the cutest things to bring to a party. They took me under 90 minutes each. I know my mother is thinking of making one to have out on Christmas Day. 

First Tree
Enjoy!! I hope you will stop by for Sharing Saturday later!

Winter Solstice

On Saturday winter begins where we live although with the weather this week, I think winter is already here. We have had two snowstorms since Saturday. Hazel has made her first snowman of the season! However the snow was a bit icy to make snow angels at least in the first storm. The second one she has not gotten to play as much since she got sick (after playing in the first snowstorm). We have been talking about the shorter days. Of course Hazel is trying to figure out what that means--are there less hours in the day?

Picture of Our Back Yard This Afternoon
To get ready for the first official day  of winter, I thought we would read some winter books and try a few crafts. After reading some winter books, Hazel decided we needed to make some paper snowflakes. This is one of her favorite things to do.

Then we read some more books. We went to the library and found a huge selection of winter books and here are some we got as well as some of our favorites from our own collection.

Although I keep explaining about there being less sunlight on the winter solstice, I am not sure Hazel gets the concept yet. I hoped some of these books would help her. The first two books in this collection are about multiple seasons. The third, Winter is the Warmest Season by Lauren Stringer may sound confusing, however the story is told by a boy who explains how his world becomes warm (for example, hot chocolate instead of cold milk, pajamas with feet) because of the cold temperature outside.

We also had to look at some books about snow. After all that is the best and the worst part of winter.  Red Sled by Rita Judge and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats are two of our favorite snowy/winter books.

Three of these books have activities and/or crafts in them. The top two are just about crafts and activities. It's Winter by Linda Glaser has some winter activities and explorations to do at the end of the story. It goes through what the animals are doing while it is cold outside. In the Seasonal Crafts series, Winter by Gillian Chapman has crafts for many holidays and events. The craft we decided to do was make construction paper finger puppets to go with stories that the Inuit women tell on winter nights to pass the time.

Now the Inuit people live in the Arctic. As we can imagine their winter days are long and dark.  To pass time they shared stories. Many were about the animals they lived with and ate: the caribou, the walrus and seals. Then of course there are stories about the sun, moon and the Aurora Borealis. The Inuit traditionally lived in igloos in the winter.

Iglu 1 1999-04-02
Source: By Ansgar Walk (photo taken by Ansgar Walk) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
 How would you like to live in here for the winter?

Addition on the Winter Solstice: We read the best book for the winter solstice tonight. It is The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson. It goes through history on how the winter solstice was celebrated as well as giving an experiment to try to understand the seasons. I highly recommend checking this one out!!


Looking for more winter ideas check out:
Winter Solstice
Let It Snow! Winter Wonderland Tea Party
A Wonderful Winter Book: Red Sled
My Winter Pinterest Board

Glass Ball Christmas Ornaments--Ideas from Pinterest

I had a pack of six clear glass ball ornaments that I bought at some point. Before Hazel, I would make beach ornaments with sand and a few small rocks and shells to remember a trip to the beach, so I am guessing that is what I bought them for. I saw on Pinterest ages ago the melted crayon ornaments. I have no idea where I originally saw it since I can't find the pin, but here is one tutorial on Meet the Dubiens: Melted Crayon Ornaments. (I know this is not the tutorial I first saw since I remember the one I read saying to use low heat.) Now I have been saving some crayons--the ones from restaurants. I always keep a set in my purse just in case, however we go out enough that we have quite the collection of them. I wanted to try this, so I pulled these out the other day while Hazel was home sick. She became interested in it right away (even with the hair dryer that scares her. 

The idea is simple. Put pieces of the crayons in the glass ornament. Use the hair dryer to heat and melt the crayons and swirl them around as they melt. Have some oven mitts or thermal gloves handy, because your hands will get hot as does the ornament. I left the leftover pieces in there, but for the most part they melted completely.

A friend at church recently told me about the second kind of ornaments we made. You use Pledge floor cleaner and glitter. I did not have Pledge floor cleaner, but experimented with the ones I had. The pin my friend has was only a picture tutorial, so I googled it and found this one at The Ornament Girl. I am wishing I had read the tutorial first. I did not dump out the excess cleaner and now a couple of them seem to have a blob of glitter in them, but they still look pretty and Hazel LOVED making them.

We got creative with mixing the colors of glitter. The first one we did was a multicolor glitter, but after that it was Hazel choosing what to mix. She has asked me to buy more glass balls to make more of both types of ornaments. I am thinking maybe Christmas presents for next year. What do you think? Have you made anything that you saw at Pinterest yet? 

For more Christmas ornament ideas check out my Christmas Craft Round-up and my Christmas Pinterest Board.

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Jamaica

Congratulations to Natalie from Afterschool for Smarty Pants on winning my latest giveaway!

Today we are "traveling" to Jamaica with Around the World with 12 Dishes. As usual we have been exploring Jamaica with stories, books, music and food. We will be spending a little extra time in Jamaica since we are joining a wonderful group of Multicultural Kid Blogs to present Christmas in Different Lands and have chosen Christmas in Jamaica which we will post about on December 23rd! I hope you will come back to learn more about Christmas in Jamaica and a huge thank you to Sherika from Saturday Market in Jamaica who is helping me with my research and giving me some recipes to present this to you!!

Jamaica CIA map
Source: By Directorate of Intelligence, CIA [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Jamaica is an island country in the Caribbean Sea. Christopher Columbus claimed it for the Spanish in 1494. When he arrived in Jamaica there was more than 200 villages of indigenous people living there. The indigenous people are the Taino and the Arawak.  The Taino still inhabited the island when the British took command in 1655.When the British took over, the Spanish colonists freed their slaves and left. The slaves joined the Taino in the mountains. The group was called the Maroons and they fought the British throughout the 18th century. Under British rule Jamaica became the world's largest sugar exporter as well as the largest slave-dependent country. After the abolition of slavery, the British brought in Indian and Chinese indentured servants to do the work. Their descendents still live there.
Doll my grandparents brought me from their trip to Jamaica

In the beginning of the 19th century the ratio of black people to white people in Jamaica was 20 to 1. Jamaica gained its independence in 1962. It is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the ruling monarch and head of state. Her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, currently Sir Patrick Allen.

The climate in Jamaica is tropical. The official language is English. However Jamaicans speak an English-African Creole language known as Jamaican Patois. Reggae music originated in Jamaica along with some other types. Reggae music helped spread knowledge of Jamaican Patois.
A bowl of our sweet potato pone

Ok, now onto our recipe. We made Sweet Potato Pone. The book, Cooking the Caribbean Way by Cheryl Davidson Kaufman said it was a popular dish for Christmas morning, but all the references I have seen on-line say it is a favorite dessert. I, of course, returned the book  by mistake before making it, so we used a recipe I found on-line at Real Jamaican Vacations.

Sweet Potato Pone
1 lb sweet potato, grated (this is about one large sweet potato)
1 cup flour (we used gluten-free)
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups coconut milk (we used canned)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup grated coconut
1 cup raisins
2 tbsp margarine

Combine sweet potato with milk, sugar, flour and spices. Mix well. Add raisins, coconut and margarine. Mix thoroughly and taste for sweetness. Add more sugar to taste. Pour into a greased baking pan and bake at 370F for approximately 1 hour, or until center is set.It took 70 minutes for us.

At first we tried shredding our sweet potato. However after we mixed it all together, I realized it need to be finer. At this point Hazel had lost interest (well more like lost energy due to being sick), so I put it back in the food processor all mixed together and got it more grated instead of shredded. This seemed to do the trick. Hazel helped peel the sweet potato and shred it. Then she helped measure (including packing the brown sugar down) and stir it all together. We had to pretend we worked in a restaurant which apparently needs new employees since she kept going off to talk to the ones not doing their jobs. Oh, the imagination of an almost five-year-old. Hazel said she liked the pone, but did not eat much of it. Of course she didn't eat much of anything that day since she was sick. Steve and I both liked it a lot.

Here are the books we used to look at recipes, crafts and more.

Then we enjoyed stories from these books. Hazel especially liked the Anansi stories. It is funny the difference a year makes. She did not like the Annasi stories when we read some of them from Africa.

Finally we found some Jamaican music to enjoy on these CD's. Much of the music is reggae or calypso, but it is fun music!

For some more Jamaican recipes stop by on December 23rd and check out these great posts. If you have a Jamaican recipe to share, please link it up. Also you can get the Jamaican passport pages and placemat. Plus join us next month as we "travel" to Peru!

Make sure you check out: