Virtual Book Club for Kids Author and a Easter Craft

This month's author for the Virtual Book Club for Kids is Julia Donaldson. Before she was chosen for the book club, I had never heard of her. However shortly after the list of authors came out I checked each one out with a couple of books. We discovered Room on a Broom by Julia Donaldson. We will definitely be doing something with this book, but we are also loving so many of her books. Her picture books are all written in rhyme and so many of them have sweet messages to go with them. Julia Donaldson is a British author and you can learn more about her at her website. We will begin this month's blog hop on March 18th. I hope you will join us in discovering this wonderful author and find some great activities to go with her books.

Now for a quick craft to share. Last year, Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts shared some Easter candy wrapper art. Now I saved some wrappers from last year, but I don't know that we ever tried making any art. This year when I was pulling out the Easter decorations I found a basket full of wrappers and some plastic eggs. I got to thinking, I could buy a wooden cross for $1 at a craft store and wrap the wrappers (with the help of some glue to make sure they stay on) and make a very colorful and shiny cross decoration.
Hazel also loved making it with me. What a great use for those wrappers! Plus I love the colors. I cannot wait for spring to start!

Strawberry Banana Muffins

The other day Hazel and I made some muffins. We had some ripe bananas and Hazel decided we needed to add strawberries to them. So we came up with strawberry banana muffins, which I must add were delicious. We adapted the basic muffin recipe from our Better Homes and Garden Cook Book.

  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (we used white whole wheat because it is what we had)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 1/3 cup flax seed meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries, thawed a bit and sliced in food processor
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients.
  2. In a medium bowl combine egg, milk and oil. 
  3. Add liquid ingredients and banana to the dry ingredients.
  4. Add strawberries and mix well.
  5. Scoop into prepared muffin pan. (Either lined with cupcake liners or greased.)
  6. Bake for 20 minutes and then turn onto rack to cool.
  7. Enjoy!
Hazel decided it was Ducky's birthday and the muffin could be his birthday cake, so we had to put candles in one. Luckily after that she got side tracked. I think she may have liked these more than our blueberry banana muffins we usually make.

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--The Way Meat Loves Salt

In honor of Purim (a week late, but we were still celebrating Black History Month), we are looking at a Jewish version of Cinderella. This one takes place in Poland.
Map of Poland
A short bit about Poland and then some on the Jewish history in Poland. Poland is in Europe and is officially the Republic of Poland. It is the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. Poland has a population around 38.5 million people making it the 34th most populous country in the world. The establishment of the Polish state is often identified with its ruler Mieszko I adopting Christianity in 966.  The kingdom of Poland was established in 1025. Over six million Polish citizens died in World War II. (Source)
Poland's Flag (Source)

Poland is a democracy with a president as its head of state. The president is elected by popular vote every five years. The government structure is centered on the Council of Ministers which is lead by the Prime Minister. In 2011, Prime Minister Donald Tusk became the first prime minister in Poland to ever be re-elected for a second term. (Source)

The history of Jews in Poland dates back over a millennium. For centuries Poland had the largest and most significant Jewish population in the world. This was due to religious tolerance and social autonomy.  During World War II, Nazi Germany managed to nearly completely destroy the Jewish Community in Poland. During World War II nearly three million Polish Jews died. Although Nazi Germany occupied Poland during the war, there was very little Polish collaboration with the Nazis. So Poland went from being thought of as the most tolerant country and being called "Paradise to Jews" to housing six concentration camps during the Holocaust including Auschwitz. (Source)

Now onto our book.  This week we will be looking at The Way Meat Loves Salt by Nina Jaffe. This is one of two Jewish Cinderella stories I found and will be sharing with you. This story starts with describing a rabbi's family of three daughters. The oldest becomes very good at needlework and enjoys making challah covers. The middle daughter loves to sing and spends the day singing. The youngest daughter, Mireleh, is a dreamy girl and often daydreams looking out the window. When her father comes home she runs out to greet him every night.
Challah Bread (and dough)
One day the rabbi is wondering how much each of his daughters loves him. This thought is troubling him and when he goes home he asks each one. The oldest tells him she loves him like diamonds. The middle daughter says like silver and gold. Mireleh tells him she loves him the way meat loves salt. He is very insulted by this and kicks her out of the house. She wanders off out of their small town and meets a man with a long white beard and two pieces of wood on a road.

This man tells her not to worry and advises her to go to the home of Rabbi Yitskhok ben Levi of Lublin. Before she leaves he gives her the smaller of his sticks and tells her to tap it three times and state what she wishes and it will appear. He gives her his blessings and then disappears. She finds the house of the rabbi. He and his family (wife and son) try to find out what is wrong, but she is too upset to talk and just weeps. They decide to let her stay in the attic since she looks homeless and poor. The next day the family goes to the synagogue. When they return home Mireleh overhears them discussing the wedding they will be attending the next day and that they must leave her home. She watches them leave and then runs to the attic and taps her magic stick asking for a gown and appropriate accessories to attend the wedding and she heads off to it. When she arrives the ceremony is over and the reception is going on. The rabbi's son asks her to dance. She does, but will not talk to him or even tell her his name. They dance all night until the rabbi's son sneaks off to think about how to get her to talk. When she leaves he has left tar and pitch on the step and she loses a slipper. He then takes the slipper through all the villages and towns looking for the girl it fits. Of course he does not find her.

He returns home and tells his parents how he cannot find her, but he wants to marry her. Mireleh asks to try it on and he becomes a bit angry with her, but she grabs it and pulls out the matching slipper. Than she runs upstairs and puts on the gown. Now he is very confused and does not know what to do. That night the prophet, Elijah (the old man that advised Mireleh), visits the rabbi and his wife in their dreams and tells them that their son must keep his word of marriage to Mireleh. 

The next day, Mireleh takes the son to the attic and shows him the stick and its magic explaining that she was blessed when it was given to her. Realizing she has been blessed, he decided to marry her. They plan the wedding and while the cooks are preparing the wedding feast Mireleh goes and tells them not to add any salt to any of the dishes.

The Jewish wedding takes place under the huppah and the groom steps on the glass and the guests all yell Mazel Tov. Then at the reception Mireleh wonders among the guests to make sure they are all happy. She greets one in the darkness who looks unhappy. He is a rabbi from a small town. He mentions that the food does not taste good--it is missing salt. She reminds him how he threw her out of his house when she said she loved him like meat loves salt. At that they embrace and her family joins them. All is forgiven and they are happy they were happy to have the family reunited. Then Elijah makes another appearance blessing the happy couple. He disappears again before Mireleh can thank him.
So our crafts for this book besides our clothespin doll include some coloring pages which we used water color paints on and we decided to do some salt painting. We started by making a design with white glue and then sprinkling salt on it. We basically followed the instructions that were shared at a Sharing Saturday a few weeks ago by Making Boys Men. However, I do not think we let it dry enough because we had trouble painting the salt. Then I remembered someone doing it with food coloring, but wasn't really sure where or if I had really seen it. I pulled out our food coloring and we loved watching the drops spread through the salt.

The top one was mine which was the title of the book and that it was a Jewish Polish Cinderella. The bottom one is Hazel's which is just a design. We really enjoyed making them!

Here are our links to the coloring pages:
I have not been doing my form for the last few Cinderellas. Is anyone missing them? If so, let me know and I'll do them.

Sharing the Easter Story with Little Ones

I have been trying to find some good ways to explain Easter to Hazel. It is such a hard concept to really understand especially for a preschooler who is still trying to grasp death, heaven, etc. We have been reading the Holy Week stories in her Bible story book. We also got some more picture books about Easter. We hit the used book store after Hazel's appointment for allergy testing and bought quite a few new ones. I will admit we have not gotten through all of them yet, but am sharing them here so you can check them out. Please note: Two have the same illustrator and thus the same picture on the covers.
Besides reading these books we have also been using toilet paper roll characters to act out the crucifixion and resurrection. We colored in the characters and scenes that you can get at Catholic Icing (if you subscribe you can get her water color painted ones as a subscriber bonus). Hazel still has many questions like "Why did they kill Jesus? Why did they want him to die? Why was he put between two thieves? Why were they killed?" She is however enjoying acting it out.
You have the crucifixion with the Roman soldiers. The crucified Jesus can come off and be put in the tomb.
I glued the large stone to a piece of a toilet paper roll so it could be moved back and forth. The middle picture is the inside of the tomb. She suggested a small tissue box, but we didn't have one and we used a large one.
The other people you get are two angels, the two Marys, Peter and the Risen Christ.
I noticed after I glued it that the Risen Christ's arms are suppose to be cut so they can be open and they have the nail marks on them.

I truly think giving her these puppets to act out the story is helping her at least understand some of it.

Sharing Saturday 13-9

Thank you to all you shared last week! We had some amazingly creative ideas shared. If you have not had a chance to check out all of the wonderful posts, please do so. Also make sure you check out my co-host, Having Fun at Chelle's House for Michelle's Features. This week she is featuring some of the wonderful Dr. Seuss ideas shared last week since March 2 is Dr. Seuss' birthday! 

This week I get to feature the most clicked! By far the most clicked was from Toddling in the Fast Lane and it was her Say It Two Ways Thursday Link Party and the one she linked up had food as her features. For her most recent and still open link party, go here!

My next feature is a bit of favoritism/self promotion. My dear friend, Kelly, from Happy Whimsical Hearts shared her knitted farm!! If you have been following here for the past year, you may remember I am the one who organized the farm swap last March. Kelly finished hers and gave it to her children for Christmas. (My squares are still sitting in my craft room untouched.) When Hazel looked with me at the pictures she said, "Mommy, I want one of those. Can you put it on my wish list?" (Every time she wants something that I don't want to buy at the time I tell her I'll put it on her wish list. If it is something I want her to have, I do put it on her wish list and if not, I don't. There are so many things on her wish list, she will never get them all, so she won't know.) Seeing Kelly's has motivated me to get knitting again. I couldn't help sharing a few pictures of it. Of course Kelly is also very talented in many ways and has many beautiful animals and other additions to her farm.

Now onto some of my other favorites.
1) From Raise a Boy: Make Your Own Graphic T-Shirt (Now I may have picked this since we are planning Hazel's first visit to Disney, but I loved the personal t-shirt!)

2) From We Made That: Milk & Soap Experiment (This looks like so much fun. I think we may have to give it a try!)

3) From My Nearest and Dearest: Small World Construction Site (Oh, I love the mud play dough and the green paper to fill and play with the trucks. I know a little girl who would LOVE this!!)

4) From Learning and Growing the Piwi Way: Not Your Usual Princess Stories (With a princess loving daughter, I found a few new books to check out and I added some in my comment that we love as well.)

5) From Wesens-Art: Spring Wreath (Ok, what I LOVE about this wreath is that the wreath itself is made of tongue depressors!! And yes, she gives a tutorial on how to do it!)
Thank you to everyone who shared last week!! If you were one of the ones picked as a feature here, please feel free to grab a featured button to display proudly on your blog.

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My Week in Review:
This week I shared Easter decorations including some new printable garlands as well as books, an African American Cinderella type story, Spring flower fairies, cinnamon whoopie pie recipe, and two Dr. Seuss book activities to go with One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish and Green Eggs and Ham.

Now for This Week's Party 
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