Get in the Holiday Spirit With Cranberry Christmas (Book Review)

Get in the Holiday Spirit with Cranberry Christmas - A Book Review

Today we have the first flakes of snow falling and our family back together after a long separation this summer. It’s starting to feel a bit like Christmas is almost here! Last week I received a copy of Cranberry Christmas from the Old Schoolhouse Magazine to review. In our house cranberries are normally a part of thanksgiving, so it was a lot of fun for us to learn about other families cranberry traditions at Christmas time.

About the Book

Cranberry Christmas is a multi-author e-book containing poems, recipes, craft ideas, and stories all related to cranberries and holiday traditions.

CranberryChristmasCover

Did you know cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America? Cranberry Christmas contains a wonderful article on the history and uses of cranberries. The pages are beautiful full color, formatted in a PDF for easy reading on our tablet or computer. Each article has at least one photo to help tell the story. We enjoyed seeing the various cranberry products and even a picture of harvesting cranberries in a bog. There is also a crossword and word search with answer keys.

Cranberry Taste Test

As suggested by the poem on the first page, fresh cranberries are very tart and usually not a favorite. I really wanted to do a taste test with fresh (or frozen) unsweetened cranberries to compare to sweetened cranberry sauce. I was not able to find any unsweetened cranberries at the store, so we just tasted the sauce. I expect to see fresh and frozen cranberries all over stores in another week or two when the Thanksgiving food sales start.

Cranberry Christmas - Taste Test

All three boys have had cranberry sauce before, but don’t really remember it. It was fun to see the reactions. Magoo was the funniest, “This is really yummy mommy. Can we make more of it?” I showed the boys the recipes in the book for various cranberry treats and we picked out some to make in a few weeks when we prepare our Thanksgiving dinner.

Decorating for the Holidays

The book has templates for place holders and napkin rings as well as a guide for dying paper with homemade cranberry dye. We talked about why and how to use place holders and napkin rings when setting the table for a formal meal. Bebop really got into the idea and is very excited to have a formal table set up for our holiday meals.

Cranberry Christmas Review - Holiday Decorations

Cranberries are often used in decorations. Fresh cranberries can be strung with popcorn to make garland for the Christmas tree (We are going to try it this year!). I went through our holiday box and I think we have a lot of fake cranberries among the decorations. I’m not totally sure if these are cranberries of another type of holiday berry. What do you think?

My Thoughts on the Book

I normally don’t like ebooks all that much, but this one is a definite exception. The formatting is done very nicely and the full color pages feel almost like reading a real book. I was able to sit down with the boys and read with out them being distracted by the tablet itself. I think the use of so many color pictures helped keep their attention.

We didn’t use the crossword because I didn’t want to use up ink printing a full color (or full black and white) page. I think its a bit advanced for Bebop anyway (he’s in first grade). I didn’t think we would do the crossword either but Bebop loved searching for words on the tablet. It was by far his favorite page of the book!

This book has reminded me of so many holiday traditions that it definitely sparked excitement for the upcoming holiday season. I’m really glad we read it now with time to plan for many of the activities over the next month or two. I’m sure will will pick up this book to read several more times before Christmas!

Cranberry Christmas - Eating the Photo Props

Doodad was so excited to eat the leftovers off the “fancy” plate after I finished taking photos.

Full price the book is $12.45. I would probably not pay full price for this book, as its priced higher than I tend to spend on ebooks. It does contain enough material to easily be a full unit study during the holiday season and is the type of book that can be used for many years. On sale, I would definitely get this book. Right now the book is available for FREE! I’m not sure how long this promotion will last, so go grab your copy now!

This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew post.  Visit their website for more homeschool related reviews from other bloggers.

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Our Reunion – The Start of My Deployment Journal

I feel like I’ve been keeping a big secret from my blog readers because I never talk about being a military family. Some is intentional, as there are parts of our family life I choose to not blog about. For the most part our every day life is just like everyone else, so I had no reason to talk about military issues. That all changed about a year ago when we received notification that Jared would deploy. For most of the last year (204 days to be exact) he was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan.

Deployment Journal - The Reunion, Signs for Dad

From the beginning I have kept a journal, knowing one day I would tell our deployment story. I kept the deployment a secret in all public spaces because I felt very vulnerable being home alone. Close family and friends in the area knew, but otherwise I didn’t really tell anyone. I know not everyone makes this same choice, but it was right for our family.

I have so much I want to share, its almost hard to know where to start. I’m going to jump right into the middle, where we are right now: The Reunion Phase. Jared came home last week and we are still very much on the honeymoon high. It is wonderful to watch the boys bond with their daddy again. Soon we will be headed into the Reintegration Phase, which is very, very different than the reunion. I will explain the difference and the struggles in a few weeks, but today I give you our reunion story:

Alternate Title: The Most Anti-Climatic Reunion Ever

There is a lot of mystery and unknown surrounding reunions because the dates change up until the absolute last minute. I wasn’t even sure what day and time Jared would be returning until 6 hours before his flight landed. I told the boys dad was coming home soon, but didn’t tell them any specifics. Because of this, there wasn’t much time to build up the idea of reunion.

Deployment Journal - The Reunion, Waiting for the Plane

Jared returned on a commercial flight, so we went to meet him at the airport about an hour before his flight was scheduled to land. We were treated very well: a reserved parking space, gate passes, and a personal escort through security. With all the uncertainty of travel, it was so nice to have help getting the boys to the gate.

Once through security, it was very strange. I have not gone to meet a flight at the gate in over a decade. To my knowledge only military families and those picking up unaccompanied minors get to go to the gate. There are not arrival monitors, so I didn’t have any way of checking if the flight was on time or at the gate I had been told.

When it was time we went to the gate and watched the plane pull up. I wasn’t sure if it was the right plane, so I didn’t make a big deal to the boys. They had made posters for Jared and were patiently waiting. We were in a strange place with a lot of strange people, so they were pretty wide-eyed and surprisingly quiet.

Jared was in just about the last seat on the plane, so we waited and waited. As more and more strangers, not Daddy, filed by, the boys got anxious. As soon as I saw Jared, I started crying. It’s what I do. The boys were not really sure how to react. I was holding Doodad with Bebop and Magoo clinging to my legs. When Jared finally stepped through the gate, he was welcomed with very reserved hugs from all. Not really the kind of thing that makes a splash on youtube.

Deployment Journal - The Reunion

We are so thankful Daddy is home.

More of this story to come.

Homemade Constellation Viewers: Exploring the Night Sky

Homemade Constellation Viewers - Our guide to the night sky

Last year in our homeschool co-op we studied astronomy.  All year I though it would be fun to make homemade constellation viewers, but we never got around to it.  When I saw this month’s theme for the Poppins Book Nook is Beyond Our Plant, I knew it was the perfect time to finally make a set of constellation viewers.

Homemade Constellation Viewers - Reading the Book

This summer we were given a huge stack of books including Constellations: A Glow in the Dark Guide to the Night Sky by Chris Sasaki.  Its easy to tell when a book has become a favorite of the boys because it’s the one always laying in the middle of the floor!  Magoo has not put this book down in weeks.  The illustrations are beautiful and incorporate the star patters of the constellations with the stories that give them their names.  I love to listen to Bebop read the stories to his younger brothers is his best dramatic voice.

Homemade Constellation Viewers - Doodad Coloring

I found a constellation template along with several other starry night projects at The Crafty Crow.  The circles printed out much smaller than I expected, but before I could try to adjust the size the boys were already coloring.

Homemade Constellation Viewers - Coloring the templates

We pulled out all the color pencils that reminded us of the night sky.  Bebop though dark purple was the best.

Homemade Constellation Viewers - Reinforcing the template with cardboard

At this point, the project rapidly devolved into a what not to do experience!  I thought using toilet paper rolls would simplify this project, but as you can see above the template is way too small.  I cut out cardboard circles and taped on the template.  We used a push pin to poke holes through the cardboard to make the constellations.  If we repeat this project, I’ll enlarge the template and print on cardstock.

Homemade Constellation Viewers - The Final Product

Despite the engineering issues along the way, our homemade constellation viewers work perfectly!

Homemade Constellation Viewers - Bebop Looking at the Stars

Bebop was the first to test them out!

Homemade Constellation Viewers - Magoo Looking at the Stars

Magoo also enjoyed seeing the constellations.

Homemade Constellation Viewers - Doodad Looking at the Stars

Poor Doodad didn’t understand what we were doing.  Apparently these viewers also make great crowns!

mini rainbow color bar

Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015

For more book based activities, stop by this month’s co-hosts:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool†~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~†Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ Our Simple Kinda Life ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Simplicity Breeds Happiness ~ Raventhreads ~ Water on the Floor ~ Learning Fundamentals ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ Mom’s Heart ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ Suncoast Momma ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids†~ Simple Living Mama

Clip Art by Melon Headz

For more Poppins Book Nook fun join us at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, on Facebook, or on Piterest

Montessori Basics: Recognizing the Sensitive Periods in Your Child

Sensitive periods are a time in a child’s life when their mental abilities and interests allow for developing a particular skill or ability. You are probably more familiar with the terms developmental milestones or windows of opportunity. Dr. Montessori placed an emphasis on recognizing when a child begins a particular phase so you can adapt the environment to support their development.

Montessori Basics - Recognizing Sensitive Periods in Your Children

Sensitive periods are unique to the first plane of development from birth to age six. There are 4 planes of development, each lasting about 6 years. I decided not to write a full post on the planes of development because my experience is only within the first phase.

The OCD Toddler Phase

Sometime between 15 and 18 months children enter the sensitive period of order. I like to call this the OCD toddler phase because children are more interested in putting things in order and putting things away than just playing with toys. At home this is a great opportunity to teach you child to clean up after themselves. The first “chore” I taught the younger two boys was helping sort laundry into the correct piles.

Montessori Basics - Sensitive Period for Order

 Trays are popular in Montessori environments because it allows a child to get materials and return them independently.  

The sensitive period for order is also the time when children seek routine and repetition. With both Bebop and Doodad, my oldest and youngest, this was a fun phase where I saw (and am seeing) their personalities emerge as they settle into the routine of our family life. When Magoo was 18 months old, we moved and lived in temporary housing for 3 months. It was awful! As soon as we settled into our house and everything had a place again, Magoo also settled down. More often than not, a two year old tantrum is due to someone not following the toddler’s expected routine.

Case in Point: As I type this my oldest turned on his light to read, which is NOT the bedtime routine. Now 2 year old Doodad is having an absolute fit and wants to start  our bedtime routine all over again with his special blanket, a sippy cup of ice water, and kisses from everyone in the house.

The ABC’s and 123’s

Sensitivity for language begins at birth, but tends to peak around 4 years old. I noticed with Bebop that his interest in learning to read and write exploded at about 4 and a half years old. Magoo is about to turn 4 and after months of not caring about “school”, he is finally interested in learning letters and numbers.

Montessori Basics - Sensivite Period for Language

Before kids, I thought math was all about numbers. My mom, the elementary school teacher, laughs when I say that! Math involves a great deal of vocabulary and is a language to itself. While math and language are taught separately, the interest in both has emerged in parallel in my boys.

Refinement of the Senses

In the later half of the first phase of development, from 3 to 6 years of age, children begin to refine their senses. As I wrote a few months ago, sensory input is more than just hands on tactile manipulation. It also includes taste, smell, movement and hearing. This is a great period to introduce a variety of sensory play experiences to children.

Montessori Basics - Sensitive Period for Sensory Input

Around 3 years of age is when my two older boys became very interested in music and dancing. Sensory play is the area where I tend to do the least planning. I keep a large stash of crafting supplies in the basement and allow the boys to chose many of our daily activities.

Recognizing the Sensitive Periods in Your Children

I think recognizing the beginning of a sensitive period depends partly on the parent’s (or teacher’s) knowledge of what is typical at particular ages. The other part is simply observing a child. Allow your child to enter a room and start playing without any intervention or direction. I’ve found my boys are attracted to the materials that will help them master the next step in development. Recognizing the sensitive periods in your child is about being a sensitive observer yourself.

The Top 7 Montessori Inspired Blogs That I read Daily

A large part of my understanding of the Montessori method has come from other bloggers who share their ideas and experience.  Today I’m sharing 7 of my favorite blogs.  All of these are blogs I’ve read for years and I consider all the ladies behind these blogs to be mentors and friends.  I hope you enjoy their blogs as much as I do.

The Top Montessori Blogs That I Read Daily

1plus1plus1equals1.net  – This is the first blog I started reading many years ago and is my all time favorite.  Carisa has a background in early childhood education and now is homeschooling her three kids.  Over the years that I’ve been a blog reader, Carisa has written several different curriculums for preschoolers, including the Raising Rockstars Preschool program I am using with Magoo this year.

Counting Coconuts – Mari-Ann is a homeschooling mom to two precious little ones living in Bermuda.  She is currently on a break from blogging, but Couting Coconuts remains up as an archive of amazing Montessori ideas.  Its absolutely worth your time to read some of her old posts.

Golden Reflections Blog – Heather is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant raising her little girl the Montessori Way.  A few months ago I reviewed Heather’s book, Basic Shapes for Beginners.  I use her ideas both from the book and on her blog almost daily.

The Kavanaugh Report - Nicole is a Montessori mom, attorney, and blogger.  We started tot school with our little boys around the same time, and I think we both started blogging around the same time as well.  It has been fun to see Nicole stick very closely to the traditional Montessori scope and sequence and see Henry thrive with all the activities she has prepared.  With the addition of their precious baby girl this summer, Nicole has been implementing the Montessori approach with a newborn.

Little Bins for Little Hands – Sarah is a stay at home mom trying to navigate her son’s unique way of processing sensory input.  Sarah does not write about the Montessori method directly, but through her writing I have gained a deeper understand of the senses and their effect on a child’s ability to learn.

Living Montessori Now – Deb is a former Montessori teacher who homeschooled her kids through high school.  She now writes extensively about Montessori activities and parenting in general.  Her blog is the best place to gather ideas for any theme or holiday.

Stir The Wonder – Samantha is a stay at home mom discovering how the Montessori method fits with her natural parenting instincts.  She views her job as the primary educator to be the one who stirs things up and encourages wonder in children.

Vocabulary and Common Terms in the Montessori Method

The Montessori approach has its own unique vocabulary. When I first started studying this approach and began reading some of Dr. Montessori’s writing, I found myself lost among many terms I didn’t understand. Today’s post is to highlight some of the most common phrases and give a brief explanation. Each of these terms will be getting its own post later in this series.

Common Terms of the Montessori Method

Absorbent Mind – From birth through approximately age 6, children have periods of intense brain activity that allows them to effortlessly absorb knowledge from their environment. It is also the title of one of Dr. Montessori’s books, a compilation of her writing and lectures.

Casa dei Bambini or Children’s House – Casa dei Bambini was the name of Dr Montessori’s first school in Rome. Many modern Montessori schools call the preschool classroom, intended for ages 2 or 3 through 6, the Children’s House.

Control of Error – The idea that a child should receive instant feedback as he or she works, allowing for corrections without interference from an adult. Control of error is built into many Montessori activities in various ways including placing colored dots to indicate correct pairs or using a control set when matching nomenclature cards.

Grace and Courtesy – Social skills and manners are taught in formal ways to children and then put into practice in the Montessori classroom. Children are taught and expected to say “please” and “thank you”, respect each other’s working space, and great each other and guests warmly.

Planes of Development – Four distinct periods of growth exist from birth to age 24. Each phase is 6 years long and has changes to reflect the way a human brain changes throughout a lifetime. Each phase will be discussed individually later in this series.

Practical Life – I like to say practical life skills are also known as chores! Practical life activities are specific lessons and opportunities for children to practice the skills they need to take care of themselves and their environment. Practical life skills are a primary focus for toddlers and preschoolers as they help build independence, concentration, and prepare a child to start learning reading and math.

Prepared Environment – The idea that a child’s environment should be prepared with carefully selected objects and learning materials that will engage a child and encourage learning. A few months ago I posted a tour of our house highlighting areas with a Montessori influence.

Sensitive Period – A specific and critical time in development when a child is ready to acquire a specific skill or ability. Recognizing the beginning of a sensitive period and preparing the environment to help a child learn is one of the main goals of a Montessori teacher.

The 3-Part Lesson – A 3 step technique for presenting formation to a child. First a object or term is introduced or named. Then in the second part, the teacher asks the child to identify what was just introduce. In the third part, the teacher points to an object and asks a child to recall the name.

This is not intended to be an exhausted list of terms. I’m sure as soon as I hit publish I will remember something I should add. If you have questions about any of these or something not on this list, please ask in the comments below. I have no doubt there will be a common terms part 2 in the future!

This is the third post in a series on Montessori at Home.  The rest of the topics are available in the first post, here.

Bringing Montessori Home

Yesterday I wrote a brief introduction to Dr. Montessori and her methods. A large portion of Dr. Montessori’s career was spent in Casa Dei Bambini working with young children in a multiage setting. Through observation and experimentation, Dr. Montessori created her own materials for children to use. The community nature of the school environment is central to many of the modern Montessori activities. Bringing those activities home poses some unique challenges.

Bringing Montessori Home

Before I get any further I want to address Montessori schools specifically. I think they are amazing places for children. If circumstances were different and I didn’t homeschool, Montessori schools would be among my first choices for the boys. A lot of what I have to say over the next few days might sound like I disagree with how Montessori school function. I don’t. The truth is any program developed and intended for use in a large classroom setting will not function the same way in a one-on-one setting at home. Adaptations need to be made when bringing Montessori home.

The first two “subjects” presented in Montessori schools are usually sensorial exploration and practical life skills. Sensorial exploration is based on the idea that a child’s brain grows when exposed to various sensory input. In a Montessori preschool this concept is often put into practice in the way a classroom is set up. There are low shelves with engaging materials that encourage students to explore through touch, sound, and smell.

In a classroom setting, you can create a variety of options and each child will find a few that capture their interest. At home you can pour your creative energy into a fabulous sensory tray and your child many not be interested in it… at all! In our first year of doing preschool at home, I recreated many wonderful ideas shared online by other Montessori moms only to feel discouraged by Bebop’s complete lack of interest. I was following the sequence of activities suggested by Dr. Montessori and it just wasn’t working! It took me a while to understand and appreciate the art of following a child’s lead. I still prepare activities, but they are more tailored to each of the boy’s unique interests and sensitive periods (we’ll talk about that term in a few days).

Practical life skills on the other hand have translated beautifully into our home. Practical life is just another term for chores. Its the practical things everyone does to go about their daily life: sweeping the floor, folding laundry, cleaning bathrooms, etc. With each successive child, I have introduced practical life exercises at a younger and younger age because it has become such a natural part of how we parent our children. I spend a good portion of my day training and practicing these skills with my boys. The desire for independence, both mine for my boys and their internal drive, is my favorite part of the Montessori approach.

To those of you new to using the Montessori method at home, this series is for you. Your home will not look like a Montessori classroom, it will simply look like a home. I believe Dr. Montessori would encourage parents to use whatever everyday objects were around to teach children through discovery-based learning. That’s what Montessori looks like in our home.

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Linking up with Hip Homeschool Moms.

What is Montessori?

For this series on the Montessori Approach I thought it would be best to start at the very beginning. What is Montessori? The Montessori method is an approach to education based on observation and empowering children with independence at an early age. From the beginning children are encouraged to explore their environment and learn through discovery. Through a series of developmentally appropriate changes to the way new information is presented, children develop self discipline and an internal motivation to continue learning at all opportunities.

What is Montessori

Photo of Dr. Montessori in 1933 provided by montessoricentenary.org, used with permission.

Who was Maria Montessori?

Maria Montessori was an italian physician who lived and worked in Rome in the 1900’s. Early in her medical career Dr. Montessori was working with developmentally disabled children in institutionalized setting. Through observations, Dr. Montessori began creating new materials and methods for teaching these children who were assumed by most to be uneducable. At first her goal was to develop independence in every day tasks. As the children progressed, Dr. Montessori also taught them how to read and basic math. Several students even left the institutional setting and attended school alongside their “regular” peers.

In 1907, Dr. Montessori was tasked with opening a child care center for low income families in a poor inner city neighborhood. As with her previous assignment, Dr. Montessori first observed the children and then adapted the environment to help them gain independence. She taught the children to do basic chores like sweeping the floor, setting the table, and preparing food.

Novel for Her Time

Everything about Dr. Montessori’s approach to working with children was novel for her time. Children were though to be “blank slates” that teachers would simply write knowledge onto. Dr. Montessori thought children were each born with an unique potential that was simply waiting to be revealed. Rather than waiting until elementary age to teach facts, Dr. Montessori believed in starting at birth teaching children how to think and how to learn.  The role of the teacher is guide learning rather than interfere with a child’s natural curiosity.

Dr Montessori Quote

The instructions of the teacher consist then merely in a hint, a touch—enough to give a start to the child. The rest develops of itself.
[Maria Montessori, Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook, translator unknown]

The Modern Children’s Houses

The child care center in Rome run by Dr. Montessori was called Casa Dei Bambini, The House of Children. Word of its success quickly spread throughout the world, establishing Dr. Montessori as a leader in education. Throughout her life, Dr. Montessori continued to work with children and lecture on her observations and theories. Her approach lives on past her death in many forms. There are Montessori schools all over the world that follow the model of Casa Dei Bambini. You’ve probably seen these modern children’s houses in your neighborhood, although now the common names are usually Montessori School or Montessori Preschool.

Children working with the moveable alphabet

 Photo of children using the moveable alphabet in Casa Dei Bambini provided by montessoricentenary.org, used with permission.

The bulk of Dr. Montessori’s work and modern resources are build around the model of bringing multiple children together in a specifically created environment. So what does it look like to translate the Montessori methods into our homes? That is exactly the focus of this series. Tomorrow I will talk about the challenges associated with bringing Montessori home.

31 Days of Montessori At Home

We began our Montessori journey unintentionally 5 years ago when Bebop was a toddler.  At the time we lived in an area where the only preschool options were full day programs that doubled as child care.  It was way out of our budget.  A few of our neighbors homeschooled, so I began looking into how to do preschool at home.  Between blogs and books, I settled on the Montessori approach as the best fit for our family.  Over time our short intentional “school” times have expanded to where Montessori is just part of how we parent and how our house runs.

31 Days of Montessor at Home

Every year in October The Nester hosts a 31 day writing challenge.  I have been planning to write about how we Montessori at Home for the better part of the last year.  This summer I took an unplanned blogging break after my old laptop crashed.  I think now is the best time to jump back into this blog writing daily about one of my favorite topics.  Over the next month we’ll be talking about the pros and cons of applying the traditional Montessori method at home, the things that have become second nature and the things that just didn’t work.

I have most of the month planned, but there are still a few gaps in the schedule.  Is there anything about Montessori method or how we implement it that you would like to know?

The Series:

What is Montessori?
Bringing Montessori Home
Vocabulary and Common Terms of the Montessori Method
Top Montessori Inspired Blogs That I read Daily

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Linking up with Hip Homeschool Moms and Montessori Monday.

The Runaway Tortilla – A Poppins Book Nook Adventure

What do you think of when you hear “The Wild West”?  Most people probably think of cowboys, indians, and panning for gold.  For me, the wild west is home.

I grew up in the Mojave desert and despite living on the East Coast for the better part of the past decade, I still consider the desert my home.  All three of the boys have been born in snow country and have no desert memories of their own.  I try my best to teach them about the history of the Wild West and the culture of the Mojave.  My first idea for the Poppins Book Nook this month was to do a taste test of all the wonderful spices used in TexMex cooking.  Bebop and I took a trip to the library to grab a few cookbooks for ideas.  He looked at the title of one and asked me, “Mom, what’s a tortilla?”

My kid doesn’t know what a tortilla is?!?  How did that happen!  I decided the rare spices can wait.  We went straight to the fairy tale section and found the sweet story of The Runaway Tortilla.

The Runaway Tortilla - A Poppins Book Nook Adventure

After the library we stopped at the grocery store to get everything needed for yummy homemade tacos.  A tip from my friend Toni, the Happy Housewife – add a can or two of refried beans to stretch the meat.  Doodad, who normally doesn’t eat meat, happily gobbled down two full tacos with “creamy meat” inside.

The Runaway Tortilla - homemade tacos

We read the story while eating our tacos.  The Runaway Tortilla is a twist on the classic Gingerbread Boy story.  The boys loved following the tortilla as he ran away from Tia Lupe and Tio Jose, past the donkeys, past the jackrabbits, and past the rattlesnakes.  Who finally caught (and ate) the tortilla?

The Runaway Tortilla - Eating tacos

In our house it was Magoo who caught the runaway tortilla!

mini rainbow color bar

Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015

For more book based activities, stop by this month’s co-hosts:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool†~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~†Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ Our Simple Kinda Life ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Simplicity Breeds Happiness ~ Raventhreads ~ Water on the Floor ~ Learning Fundamentals ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ Mom’s Heart ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ Suncoast Momma ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids†~ Simple Living Mama

Clip Art by Melon Headz

For more Poppins Book Nook fun join us at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, on Facebook, or on Pinterest