Virtual Book Club for Kids-- The Berry Book by Gail Gibbons

With summer just around the corner, this book seemed to be the best for our pick this month. Gail Gibbons has so many amazing books. It was hard to choose one, but between summer coming, berry season starting and the fact that Hazel and I both love most berries, it seemed like a perfect fit!

For those of you who may not know about the Virtual Book Club for Kids, it is hosted by a group of amazing bloggers. Each month an author is chosen and each blogger chooses a book (or books) by that author and do an activity or craft to go with the book. Then we host a blog hop for you to share any crafts or activities to go with any books by this month's author. This month the author is Gail Gibbons.Here are the wonderful bloggers who host this great club!
Toddler Approved - Rainy Day Mum - Adventures in Reading with Kids - 3 Dinosaurs - Royal Baloo - The Educators' Spin On It - Inspiration Laboratories - Pleasantest Thing - Edventures with Kids - Two Big Two Little - Playing With Words 365 - Kitchen Counter Chronicles - Outlaw Mom - Mommy and Me Book Club - Crafty Moms Share - No Twiddle Twaddle - The Good Long Road - Ready. Set. Read 2 Me - Reading Confetti - Mama Smiles - Juggling with Kids- Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas - Creekside Learning - Creative Family Fun - The Usual Mayhem - Teach Preschool - PlayDrMom - CraftoArt - Here Come the Girls - Being a Conscious Parent - Smiling like Sunshine - Crayon Freckles - Train Up a Child - Smile Play Learn - Enchanted Homeschooling Mom - Coffee Cups and Crayons - Having Fun at Chelle's House- Love, Play, Learn - Juggling With Kids - Motherhood on a Dime - Growing Book By Book

  This month we picked The Berry Book. This book goes through various kinds of berries. It also tells us which ones are edible and which ones are not. At the end of the book there are recipes for blueberry pie, strawberry jam, and raspberry ice cream. 

The book also mentions strawberry festivals and the blueberry festival held in Maine. Our town happened to have its Annual Strawberry Festival on Saturday. It is held by the town's historical society. The only strawberry related thing at it is the strawberry shortcake. We however had never gone, so we did. They had a few crafters as well as some yard sale type tables and then the historical society building was open with a 1920 Ford on display as well as a lantern collection. Hazel enjoyed the strawberry shortcake.

We also decided to try the blueberry pie recipe. Since Sunday was Father's Day we thought it would be a nice treat for Daddy and Pop. We used a frozen pie crust and stuck to the recipe. Everyone enjoyed it.
We are planning on making some raspberry jam as well, but did not get to it. I promised Hazel we would make some this year. She really enjoyed making strawberry jam with my mother last year and blueberry jam with me. Since raspberries are so expensive, I decided to try a recipe that uses frozen ones. I'll let you know how it comes out. I am also hoping to make some strawberry soup. When we were in Florida, we had some delicious strawberry soup at the 1900 Park Fare in Disney's Grand Floridian. Hazel and I both loved it!

My parents also brought us a lovely surprise when they came to visit for Father's Day--some of the strawberries from their garden! They are so much better than the store bought ones!!

Now it is your turn. Have you explored any of Gail Gibbons' books? Please join us in this blog hop if you have!!

Sharing Saturday 13-23

Sharing Saturday Button

Yesterday marked the two year blogiversary of Crafty Moms Share! It is hard to believe I've been doing this for two years now. 

After a wonderful week vacation in Florida, I am back. Thank you for your patience. In the last two weeks so many wonderful ideas were shared. It was hard to choose just a few to feature here. However, here we go.

Most Clicked from Learning Montessori Now: June Themed Activities for Kids Sorry for no picture, but I am having trouble getting the only one on her post.

For Those Needing Last Minute Ideas for Homemade Father's Day Gifts

1) From Toddler Activity: Tacky Tie for Father's Day
2) From Reading Confetti: 30 Father's Day Gifts Kids Can Make
3) From We Made That: Father's Day Frame
4) From The Measured Mom: Book about Dad

A Few of My Favorites

1) From The Craft Train: Toy Cookies from Air Dry Clay
2) From Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes: One Sensory Bin Two Looks
3) From Taming the Goblin: Ice Cream Van
4) From Like Mama ~ Like Daughter: Countdown to Beach Vacation and Beach Themed Crafts
5) From JDaniel4's Mom: Fish Flop Painting
6) From Life with Moore Babies: A Warm Gooey Treat in a Shoebox (Making a Solar Oven)

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


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From Your Hostess:
After a wonderful vacation in Florida we shared Disney's Cinderella (and a history of Disney World), Flat Stanley traveled to Quebec, Canada this month, Wild and Free: Song Inspired Sea Life Activities (and vacation photos) and our first exploration of Spain through food, craft and stories.

Now for This Week's Party 
A Few Simple Guidelines:
1)  Please follow Crafty Moms Share via GFC (or one of the other ways that work for you).  

2)  Link any kid-friendly, child-centered post. Please no etsy shops or giveaways, etc.  Remember to link to your actual post. 

3) Post the newly updated button on your sidebar or somewhere on your blog to help spread the word.

4) I would love it if you would follow me on Facebook and Google+
Disclaimer: By sharing here, you are giving Crafty Moms Share permission to use your photos for features and to pin your craft at Pinterest

A Spanish Day--Around the World in 12 Dishes

Today we had our adventure in discovering Spain. We read stories, made a craft and cooked a flan. But first a bit about Spain. Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula. It is the third largest country in Europe and its southern tip is eight miles north of Africa. Spain has a long and varied history. It was under Roman and Moor rules before becoming independent. It is now a democratic government under a constitutional monarchy. The Moors reign ended in 1492, the same year that Christopher Columbus "discovered" America for the Spanish monarchy. Each ruling culture left its mark on Spain. You can still find Roman aquaducts, the Moors Mosques as well as the Gothic Cathedrals built when the Christians took over the country.
File:Flag of Spain.svg
There are many traditions that Spain is well known for. One being bull fighting and the another the siesta. Meals in Spain differ from meals in the United States. Breakfasts are usually small--a roll and a coffee. Lunch is the big meal of the day. Traditionally the stores, factories, schools, and businesses would close for two to three hours for all the people to return home for lunch and a nap known as the siesta. Although this is not as widely practiced now, it is still in some places. Dinner is much later around 10 or 10:30 and is usually very small. A paseo or evening walk is another custom. Many people in Spain will go for a walk after the stores are closed. They walk in their nicest clothes and may stop to chat with friends or perhaps to get a drink at a cafe or bar. Then they may have their late dinner out or at home. Many Spaniards eat out often and there are many choices of good restaurants. 

So for our day in Spain we took four resource books out of the library.
To make our flan we used the recipe in Cooking The Spanish Way by Rebecca Christian. Now the flan I have eaten has been Brazilian and I loved it. However this recipe was not a success for us. None of us enjoyed it. Hazel and I did enjoy making it though. It involved a lot of stirring of which Hazel did most.
Flan just out of oven
Flan with Sauce

Stirring the sauce

While the flan was in the oven, Hazel and I made a black lace fan. We got the instructions from the Fiesta! Series book Spain published by Grolier Educational. Making the fan was a lot of fun and rather simple. We did not make it as fancy as the one in the book since we used supplies on hand. I found some black lace leftover from a Halloween costume. However making the fan also required using a compass. This was Hazel's first time using a compass or even seeing one and there were a lot of math lessons that could be tied into it with older children.
We also skipped the step of painting the cardboard just because we were running short on time. Our plan is to try some of the Spanish dances using the fan (and the one I bought for her in Epcot). We'll see if we find time soon.

We also took time today to read through Food in Spain by Nancy Loewen. Much of the information I wrote about Spain came from this book and the rest came from Wikipedia.

We also have been enjoying some stories from Spain. We took all of these out of the library. I would like to comment on Princess Florecita and the Iron Shoes by John Warren Stewig. This is a wonderful story where the princess hears about a prince in needing saving and she goes through a great deal to find him and save him. It is a nice twist on common tales of the prince saving the maiden. Medio Pollito means half chicken and that is who the main character is. A chicken who was born with only half a body (one leg, one wing, etc.) and it is his adventure traveling and how he helps others and then they repay him when he finds himself in hot water (literally being made into soup). 

So that was our adventure in Spain thus far (we may try another recipe soon). I have to admit I was sad to see that Epcot did not have Spain as one of its countries in its World Showcase. I saw recently that they will be adding it, but unfortunately for us it will be too late to have been included in this month's adventures. We did however enjoy seeing France which was our adventure in April. Unfortunately the only pictures I took in France were of the kids with Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). We also spent some time in the Canada exhibit, but it was mostly a movie so I don't have pictures really from there either. Oh, well. I am sure I will find some good resources when we get there.

Also for your own passport check out this link from Glittering Muffins and for a fun placemat, this link.

Wild and Free: Dolphins, Whales and Manatees

Have you ever just loved a CD and have the music inspire you to be creative? This happens to me and Hazel all the time. The CD is from Daria and it is called I Have a Dream. Daria had been kind enough to send me this wonderful CD last year so I could review it here, and we followed her instructions to make a quilted rainstick. Now this CD lives in my car for the most part, and it is what Hazel and I tend to listen to while driving. Even when Hazel is not in the car I tend to listen to it. We both know the words to almost every song on it. As I have been listening to Hazel sing along I have had all sorts of creative ideas flowing through my head. Today I am going to share one of them with you. I am thinking we will do something with almost every song on the CD, so stay tuned for more music inspired songs.

 The song I am sharing today is Wild and Free. With Daria's permission I am sharing her YouTube video of this song with you.

Now I will admit this song is the first since we just got back from Florida. Every time we heard this song, Hazel would ask me what a manatee is, so we did some research and came home with many library books plus I realized SeaWorld Orlando has manatees (as well as dolphins and whales), so I knew this was the perfect time to talk about this song and the animals in it. Now the manatees are endangered and need the help of humans as we are their only enemy--if you can call us that. They do not have natural predators due to their size. They have been hunted as well as hurt by boats and nets and of course their food supply is dwindling due to development. For more information on how you can help, check out Save The Manatees website.

The dolphins they play in the ocean...
Blue Horizons Show at Sea World Orlando
The whales (beluga and killer/orca), they swim in the ocean...
Beluga Whales on top in Wild Arctic Exhibit and Orca Whales in One Ocean Show
The manatees play by the bayside...

Manatees outside Turtle Trek Exhibit
While at SeaWorld, I bought Hazel small plastic versions of each of the animals. We also bought a Sea World Rescue Barbie that came with dolphins as well. Plus we pulled out the whales I made when we read The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson for the Virtual Book Club for Kids.

Then I set up the entire zoo for Hazel, but more about that later.

We also made an ocean interactive box. We took a shoe box and lined it with sky blue paper and then cut a strip of dark blue paper to be the ocean and glued to the front. We cut a slit on the bottom of the box. Then I printed out pictures I found on line of each animal and we cut them out and glued them to popsicle sticks. 
Then we acted out  the song while we listened to it. (I think we probably should have lined the bottom of the box with the dark blue as well.) I had all sorts of other craft ideas, but they did not happen. I am also working on sewing some felt creatures for her. I have started the manatee. I'll share it when we finish. I have found patterns on line for a dolphin and killer whale as well. I think I may try to make my own beluga pattern. 

Some final pictures to show you. Above is a picture of Hazel at SeaWorld looking for beluga whales. Below is the zoo I set up for her. As she was looking at it, she was mentioning that we had an Australia section with kangaroos and a wombat and an African section with the lions, giraffes, zebras and elephants. I mentioned the panda bear being from China and she started asking where the other animals were from. I guess I'm bringing her up to notice the animals of the world at least.

Finally here is a collage of the books we have collected on manatees, dolphins and whales. We have not read them all and many of the manatee books are more picture story/fiction ones, but I always find those fun to include. Manatee on Location is non-fiction though. Also you can purchase Daria's CD at her store for $10 with free shipping!

Virtual Flat Stanley Travels to...

This month our Virtual Flat Stanley made his way from the Netherlands back over the Atlantic Ocean to Canada--Quebec, Canada to be a bit more specific. Our Flat Stanley this month comes from D in Quebec Canada. D's mom blogs over at The Usual Mayhem. If you have not checked out The Usual Mayhem, you really should. She always is sharing such wonderful ideas. She also co-hosts The Outdoor Play Party. It is always full of great ideas to do with your kids outside!
For those who are unfamiliar with our Virtual Flat Stanley Series, at the end of April, my aunt asked me to help out with her step-granddaughter's school project. The Flat Stanley they sent overseas was never returned, so she needed one to turn in quickly. I had the idea (since one from the same state did not seem all that exciting) to ask some of my fellow bloggers from around the world. Then as I started receiving pictures and short descriptions from various places I thought it would be a neat way to explore other cultures and places and for my readers (even those without a blog) to join in the fun. So if you want to participate (and I hope you do) you can visit this post for all the details and the template. Then you just need a child or children to decorate your Flat Stanley (or Flat Sophia) in a way that someone might dress in your area of the world. Take a picture of your Flat Stanley with your child (if you are willing to have me post a picture of your child on Crafty Moms Share) or just a picture of Flat Stanley. You can also take your Flat Stanley sight seeing and take pictures to make it even more interesting. Email me the pictures and a short description of where you live and I do the rest. We have made three Flat Sophias at my house already. We had to duplicate the first one which I mailed to my aunt and Hazel has enjoyed making them so much she wanted to keep doing it.
Vertical triband (red, white, red) with a red maple leaf in the centre

First a bit about the country of Canada. Canada is in North America and consists of ten provinces and three territories. It is the second largest country by land mass in the world and shares the longest land border shared by two countries with the United States. 
Projection of North America with Canada in green

 Canada is a federal state governed by a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. Since it had both French and English settlers as well as various aboriginals it is diverse and is official a bilingual country as well as a multicultural one. (Source)

A clickable map of Canada exhibiting its ten provinces and three territories, and their capitals.

Now for a bit about Quebec. Quebec is Canada's largest province by area. It is the second most populous province behind Ontario. The majority of the people live between Montreal and Quebec City (the capital).  Quebec is located in the Eastern part of Canada and its land is nearly three times the size of France or Texas. Most of its land is very sparsely populated. Quebec is the only province in Canada that is mainly Francophone. The official language in Quebec is French and according to a 2006 Census 97.4% of the citizens of Quebec are fluent in French.


The name Quebec comes from an aboriginal word which means the river narrows. It refers to the area near Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows. French Explorer Samuel de Champlain named the colonial outpost Quebec in 1608. 

Quebec has one of the world's largest reserves of  fresh water. Quebec has four climate zones. Much of it is subarctic, however there also arctic, humid continental and East maritime. In summer the average temperatures range from 41 °F to 77 °F and in the winter from −13 °F to 14 °F.  
The average amount ofsnow in Quebec City is around three meters. (Source)

In Canada they serve homemade cake with a wrapped coin between the layers
at birthday parties. The cake is decorated with colored sugar sprinkles. The 
child who gets the coin in his or her cake will be the first child playing each 
game. At the parties children receive colorful party favors called crackers. 
These are tubes wrapped in crepe paper. They pop when you pull a paper 
strip. Inside there is a small gift--a fortune or hat. (Source) In Quebec, the 
birthday person receives a punch for each year plus one for good luck.(Source)
In Quebec an alternate text of the song Gens du pays, by Gilles Vigneault is sung at the birthday party. (Source)
Flat Stanley's Travels So Far
 The Different Flat Stanleys/Sophias Thus Far

Hazel's first

Hazel's Second

Hazel's Third

The Netherlands