Showing posts with label spiders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spiders. Show all posts

Jumper - New Picture Book Sharing a Day in the Life of a Backyard Jumping Spider


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Yesterday I shared the first of three spider themed posts. It was a fun facts and craft round-up post. It is meant to go with today's post as well as a future one. I am sharing with you today a new picture book that shares the life of a jumping spider. The book is Jumper by Jessica Lanan. It is recommended for ages 4 to 8.

Fun Facts About Spiders with Craft Round-Up


Last week I shared a fun book for the summer about riding a dragonfly and included fun facts about dragonflies as well as a craft round-up. I have two books to share soon about spiders and thought I would do the fun facts and craft round-up first and then share the books over the next week or so. With one book the dragonfly post got rather long, so I wanted to do this as three posts. The first book is shared!! The second book is shared!

Honey Bees, House Fly and Itzy Spider -- Book Reviews & Crafts

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of these books free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Today we are going to share three fun books about bugs from Candlewick Press. Hazel and I enjoyed all three of these books. Some were educational and others were funny and fun or a combination of them. We also found some fun crafts to go along with each of them! I hope you check them all out. We love all of them!!

The first book is Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber and illustrated by Brian Lovelock. This story is in the written in the same way as many of the Candlewick Press books about animals. There is a story about one honey bee, a scout, and then little pieces of information on the sides. We love these books and have reviewed several (Emus, Hippos, Elephants, Big Red Kangaroo). This book shares the job of a scout bee as well as information about honey bees. It is informative and fun. It also shares the jobs of all the bees in the hive and the order the bees get each job. Then at the end it discusses the threat to honey bees and ways to help. We loved it!!

Sharing Saturday 14-40

Between meetings at church on Thursday nights and having Hazel home on Fridays (which we have now named Mommydays), I do not seem to get my Friday post written. This week at least I put the pictures together of our latest fruit exploration. Now to write the post before Thursday night so it will get up next week. Well at least it is time for Sharing Saturday! Once again I am blown away by the great ideas shared last week. Thank you to everyone who shared and to those who took the time to visit some of the other great ideas shared. We did have a tie for the most clicked--it looks like people are in the mood for fall and Halloween. We had a good number of spider themed posts, so I featured them as well as a couple of the fall ones (besides the most clicked) and of course some of my favorites including some multicultural ones as well as a spring one for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere!

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Exploring Ukraine through Food and Craft

With Ukraine in the news so much, it is a perfect time to explore the country through food, books and crafts. It is also a perfect time for lessons with older children about current events and such. Since we do not let Hazel know about current events or watch the news, we looked at tradition, food and crafts. 

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe and is the largest country that is entirely in Europe. For more information, read the introduction post at Around the World in 12 Dishes. I shared the books we have read and not read about Ukraine. Have you read Jan Brett's The Mitten? I know it is really popular around here and it is the retelling of a Ukrainian folktale.

 We decided to try two different Ukrainian recipes. The first we found in the Ukraine book of the Festivals of the World series.  It is written by Volodymyer Bassis (or Vladimir Bassis--all the sites seem to list both spellings). The recipe is for Strawberry Kysil. Kysil can be made with different berries, but Bassis claims strawberries make the best one.

Strawberry Kysil 
(from Ukraine by Volodymyer Bassis)
2 quarts of fresh strawberries (I am sure you could use frozen)
2 cups cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon potato starch (we used tapioca starch since we could not find potato starch)

1) Wash and hull the strawberries. Put in pan with water and bring water to a boil. Boil on high for a minute then turn down to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. I let Hazel use the potato masher while the strawberries cooked to help get the juice out. This makes the next step a bit easier.

2) Push the strawberries through a fine mesh strainer with a wooden spoon. Put juice back in pan.

3) Stir in sugar and bring back to a boil. Boil over high heat for 2 minutes.

4) Reduce heat to medium and stir in starch and dissolve it (Hazel did not do a good job of dissolving our starch so we have chunks in it). Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes stirring until it thickens. 

5) Cool to lukewarm and then put in refrigerator to get cold for a few hours. Enjoy!

Strawberry Kysil is a bit like strawberry soup or eating a liquid form of strawberry jelly. It is delicious but you will not want to much at one time.

Our second recipe came from Ukrainian Classic Kitchen and International Cuisine and it is Ukrainian Yabluchnyy Korzh. Hazel likes to call it what it tastes like--apple pie. It is a type of cookie crust with apples inside. It is delicious!

Ukrainian Yabluchnyy Korzh
Adapted from Ukrainian Classic Kitchen and International Cuisine
5 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 large egg yolks (if I made again I would use whole eggs)
1 cup sour cream

7-8 large apples (we used Granny Smith)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Start by making the dough:
1) Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. then add the butter and mix with your hands (Hazel loved this part) to make a coarse flaky mixture. 

2) In a small bowl mix egg yolks and sour cream together. Then add it to the dry ingredients. Work it with your hands into a firm, smooth, not sticky dough. (Ours never really formed a good firm smooth dough.)

3) Divide dough into 2 pieces, making one slightly larger than the other. 

4) Turn oven on to 375 and grease with butter (we used the wrappers) a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan. Do not use baking spray to grease.

5) With the larger dough, cover bottom and sides of pan. The instructions say to roll it out, but I found ours was just too crumbly to do this. I pressed it into the pan.

6) Time to start filling. Peel and thinly slice the apples (we used our food processor). Mix with sugar and cinnamon.

7) Add apple mixture to bottom crust.

8) Roll out top crust or pat it on top. Try to seal apples in.

9) Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. It should be brown in color and the apples should be tender to a knife. Set on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.

10) Now you can attempt to remove the pan (I did not attempt due to the crumbly nature). To remove: Run a sharp knife along the sides and then put a wire rack on top and flip it over. Remove pan and put other wire rack on bottom and flip back the correct way.

11) Serve at room temperature. You can dust it with powdered sugar (we didn't bother). Refrigerate leftovers but bring to room temperature before eating.

Since it tastes similar to apple pie (Steve's favorite dessert), we all love it!

We also have been reading Urkainian stories. We found a Cinderella tale, The Golden Slipper, which we shared last week. We also found many versions of a Christmas tale involving spiders. All the crafts I could find had to do with spiders as Christmas ornaments or pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs).
Ukrainskie pisanki
Pysanky Source: By Carl Fleischhauer (Library of Congress employee[1]) 
( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Since we already posted about pysanky, we made a silver spider web and spider Christmas ornament. We found the instructions in Christmas Crafts from Around the World by Judy Ann Sadler. 

In the Christmas legend, the spider on a Christmas tree spins webs of silver for a poor family who has no money for Christmas. Thus why the ornament is done in silver!
Ukraine's Flag
Now it is time for the Around the World in 12 Dishes Blog Hop! Please visit the other posts and feel free to share any Ukrainian crafts, food, etc. posts that you have done.

Halloween is Coming: Wiggly Halloween DVD Review & Giveaway with Halloween Crafts

Today I am going to share with you a few of our Halloween preparations as well as a wonderful DVD from The Wiggles: Wiggly Halloween. I was sent a copy of this DVD to review here (all opinions are my own) and I get to give a copy away to one of you! Thank you NCircle Entertainment for this opportunity!

The new Wiggles entertain in this friendly Halloween DVD. Now if you have been following me for any time, you may know Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays. I think it has gone way overboard and lost the fun and meaning somewhere along the way. I try my best to focus on the non-scary parts for Hazel since she is sensitive and we take her trick-or-treating to family and friends houses (sometimes not on Halloween) and around our neighborhood to a few of the neighbors we are friendly with on the very early side. The past two Halloweens Steve has been working Halloween night due to storms hitting our area, so I have had to deal with the many, many trick-or-treaters we get on my own as well as getting Hazel out trick-or-treating. I do however remember the fun of dressing up and of trick-or-treating, so I really try to get Hazel excited for this.

Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treat
That being said, I found this video a perfect show to express my views. They mentioned scary things like witches, ghosts and zombies but did them in a non-scary way. The songs are fun and entertaining. Hazel favorite part is that there is a female Wiggle now. Every time the scene changed she had to point out who Emma was. It was really cute. The songs had words changed so that they would not scare young children and the whole DVD is full of fun, music and dancing. There is definitely an effort on the part of The Wiggles to get the children watching up and moving around with their dances. I also love how they feature children in so many of their songs. This DVD is a perfect non-scary celebration of Halloween for young and/or sensitive children. I know Hazel is almost too old to be enjoying them, but since she is so sensitive this is one of the few shows that does not scare her.

Above is a picture of the candy corn rice krispie treats we made with Hazel's best friend and his mom. His mother found the recipe in a magazine, but I don't know which one. I found a similar one here. They made the rice krispie treats before we got there with brown rice krispie cereal. They chose not to dye the treats to match the candy corns. They also bought Reese's Pieces instead of M&M's since the colors matched better.

Next we are sharing some of the edible bugs we made to bring over to Hazel's friend. He is always giving her presents so she wanted to give him one. We found the idea in Family Fun Magazine this month. They are made out of things like dates, prunes, raisins and dried cranberries. We also used chow mein noodles, dried bananas, white chips and sunflower seeds. The instructions called for sliced almonds, but Hazel's friend has a severe nut allergy, so we used sunflower seeds instead for the flies.

The last idea we are sharing today is our Spider Web Jar that we saw on ShinDigz DIY section. I received the fake spider web as part of the order I got to review their products. It is really easy. You need a empty and clean jar, fake spider web and spiders (which the web often comes with) and a LED tea light. Follow the instructions on their site.

Now onto our giveaway!! Here is your chance to win your own copy of The Wiggles: Wiggly Halloween DVD from NCircle Entertainment. Please follow my Giveaway Rules and just follow the Rafflecopter for what you need to do. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Making Charlotte's Webs

Last March and April we first read Charlotte's Web by E.B. White so Hazel would know the story before we went to see a live performance of it. She fell in love with the story and could not get enough. It is still one of her favorite live performances she has seen and that is even better than Rapunzel, Snow White and Cinderella's Wedding. I posted about our first reading of it and learning about friendship in April.

We tried a few other chapter books. We tried a Paddington Bear one since I grew up loving the Paddington series. She got bored. We tried The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe because I saw it suggested as a good chapter book for this age. She got scared. We came back to Charlotte's Web and read it again. I had been wanting to do some spider crafts after reading this book since she was finally not being completely scared of spiders. Whenever she claims to be scared of one I remind her it might be Charlotte. She is getting too smart for my tricks though since the last time she reminded me Charlotte is dead.

For those who do not know the story, Charlotte, a spider, fools the people by writing words into her web. The people think the words are a miracle and all the words are about Wilbur, the pig. The first words she writes is "Some pig." After the excitement of the first writing dies down, she writes "Terrific." Then she wrote "Radiant." At this point the farmer decides to take Wilbur to the County Fair. The animals know if Wilbur wins a ribbon there is no way the farmer will kill him to make bacon. Wilbur begs Charlotte to come with him to the fair, but Charlotte is nearing the end of her life and must make her egg sac. She however realizes that Wilbur will need her to be there and to write something in her web there, so she goes and gets the rat to go with her so she will have someone to run errands (like finding words). Her final word in her web is "Humble."  Wilbur does not win the ribbon for best pig, but he wins something better. Charlotte knows her trick has worked and Wilbur will not be killed for food. She created her egg sac at the fair and Wilbur promises to take it with him and to watch over her babies. 

Now our craft was to make Charlotte's webs. Awhile ago I had seen some spider web ideas using the wooden frames of embroidery hoops. (I'm sorry to say I cannot find where I saw it though--if it was on your blog, please let me know so I can add a link.) Anyway, I bought some and used one half of one for another project so we had three. Instead of using yarn, I used some of the fake spider web I got from Shindigz Party Supplies when I did my product review. Hazel and I wrapped the fake spider web spreading it as much as we could without ripping it around the frame. Then I took Hazel's glitter glue and wrote the words and left them to dry for a few days. I also added a few fake spiders on them for some of the pictures. Things I discovered--it is not easy to write with glitter glue. But we like how they came out. I also liked the white glitter glue better than the silver. I was trying the light colors so it would sparkle without standing out as totally different. As you can tell in "Some pig" I was running out of the white so we had to switch to silver for "Humble."

Now we are reading Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Another series I grew up on both in the books and television shows. And of course it was my favorite since the youngest of three girls was named Carrie just like me. Hazel picked up on that right away as well. She has decided she likes this book even more than Charlotte's Web, but that is a different post all together. What chapter books are you enjoying with your child(ren)?

Friendship with Charlotte's Web

Some Pig!This weekend Hazel and I went to the local music theater to see a production of Charlotte's Web. Now I have fond memories of the book and story from growing up, but I haven't read it (or seen the movie) since I was a child. In preparation of the show, I took the book out of the library. I also found the picture book, Some Pig by E.B. White at the library.

We started with the picture book, but I was disappointed that it really only told the story of the first chapter. Charlotte was not introduced in it at all. So then we started reading the original Charlotte's Web. We would read a chapter or two a night. Hazel really enjoyed this. I also wanted to prepare her for the ending with Charlotte dying. I must admit at first Hazel had trouble keeping the characters straight, especially only reading a chapter a night. But at the end she knew who was who by name. We finished reading the book last Monday night. We went to the show on Saturday.
Coloring Page Source
Now we have gone to this theater to see Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs and Rapunzel. (We have tickets to see Cinderella's Wedding, Snow White and Beauty and the Beast this summer there.) At the end of Charlotte's Web, Hazel cried. She cried because it was over and she did not want to leave the theater. She wanted to see the show again. I convinced her to stop crying by telling her we would break our no television rule and let her watch the movie, so we had to make a trip to the library before they closed Saturday to get the movie. She also announced that Charlotte's Web was her favorite show of them all. I was a little surprised since we had already seen Rapunzel, but she liked Charlotte's Web more. 

Now my favorite part of this story is the friendship. There are so many wonderful messages throughout this story. First there is the message when Fern asks her father how it is fair to kill the pig just because it was born small. 
"'But it's unfair,' cried Fern. 'The pig couldn't help being born small, could it? If I had been very small at birth would you have killed me?'"
Such a wonderful message about nature and God's creatures without the religious part even being mentioned. For those that do not know the story, her father let's her keep the runt of the litter and she names him Wilbur. Well, Wilbur grows quickly under Fern's care and eventually her father says it is time to sell him. He decides she can offer him to her uncle who lives down the street for $6 and that way she can visit Wilbur any time she wants. So Wilbur moves to the Zuckerman's farm and lives in the barn cellar. 

Around the barn cellar are the sheep who do not want much to do with a pig, a rat named Templeton and a goose who is sitting on her eggs waiting for them to hatch. Wilbur is looking for someone to play with him like Fern always did. Then he hears a voice saying she will be his friend. Wilbur does not see who is talking since it is night time, but is happy to have a friend. The next morning he discovers his new friend is a spider who eats flies or rather drinks their blood and is named Charlotte. This disgusts him a bit, but a friend is a friend and he was desperate. 

The sheep and rat tell Wilbur that the people are fattening him up so they can kill him for meat. He becomes distressed. Charlotte promises him that she will find a way for him not to be killed. She finally thinks of one and begins writing messages in her web. The messages are "Some Pig", "Terrific", "Radiant" and "Humble." The Zuckermans become famous for having a pig so special that there are words in a spider web. They enter him in the county fair and decide if he wins he will not be killed. At this point Charlotte is becoming very weary and needs to lay her eggs before she dies, but she goes with him to the fair and writes "Humble" in her web there. He does not win the first prize but gets a special ribbon that is even better. Therefore, he is saved. This is when he discovers Charlotte will not be returning to the farm with him since she will die in a matter of days. He takes her egg sac home with him with the help of Templeton. 

Now my favorite quote of the story is Charlotte's response to Wilbur's question of why she wrote the messages in his web. 

"'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you.'"

 With this story being about friendship, it seemed only fitting that we saw Hazel's best friend at the theater after the show. They played for a bit outside on the big rock by the entrance. Hazel posed by the crocuses while he was on the rock (sorry I won't show you his face). I actually got some really cute ones of them both on the rock.
Coloring Page Source

As you can imagine we are thinking a lot about spiders and pigs now. I would expect you may see some crafts along those lines soon. We have already taken some books out on spiders so we can learn more about them and why Charlotte had to die. I also started a Charlotte's Web Pinterest Board if you want to see some ideas. Our favorite character in the show was Charlotte. I may have convinced Hazel to be Charlotte for Halloween. We will see if she wants to closer to the time. 

I also made her a Match Game to go with the book. Here is a copy of it if you want it.