Jesse Tree

December 7th, 2007

We did I Jesse Tree a long time ago when older children were small.

Shannon, at Rocks in My Dryer, posted all about the Jesse tree, its significance, as well as photos of all her Jesse tree ornaments.

We did it a little bit differently in that we made the ornaments every day, mostly out of self drying clay, shrinky dinks, styrofoam, small coloring pages etc. None of them were elaborate or worth saving from year to year. But I really like Shannon’s idea of having the ornaments and letting the kids take turns hanging them each day.

Advent Count Down

December 4th, 2007

You have to see this. It’s like a paper count down chain, only BETTER!

It has to be just about the cutest Advent countdown I have seen ever. Jessica at Kerflop links to original inspiration here

I have to try and remember this for next year. I especially love how the things inside of the envelopes aren’t “things” at all, but activities to do with your children.

Holiday Gift Guide: Older Kid Book Edition

December 4th, 2007

A Dangerous Boy

The Dangerous Book for Boys.

I wrote a review of this book a while back. It is still just as well loved as ever in my house.

The Daring Book for Girls, by Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz. I haven’t written a full review of this book yet. Probably because my sons took the book and ran off with it. They didn’t seem to care that the title has “girl” in it. They thought it was a cool book regardless.

Most of the sections are pretty gender neutral. I was worried that it was going to be filled with things like “Getting a Perfect Manicure” or “Sewing Your Own Menstrual Pads” or “How to Make the Boy Notice You” But I needn’t have worried. It is the perfect mix of things that might not appeal to boys, like “Putting Your Hair Up With a Pencil,” “Modern Women Leaders” or “Princesses,” but at the same time the book is just chock-full of cool fun things to do and trivia.

I say buy both of these books for the kids in your life, whether they are boys or girls. Kids like to have things at this age that are “special” to their sex. That is why this is the age when kids gravitate toward clubs like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. But they will also love the book for the opposite sex, I mean what boy doesn’t want to know how to build a campfire or make the perfect cootie catcher?

The Inheritance Trilogy by Christopher Paolini

Only the first two books of the series have been published and both have become instant bestsellers. I believe the final book is due out this spring. My oldest two sons have loved these books. Just a few days ago my 13 year old said he can’t wait for the third book. Don’t base your opinion of this book on the movie, the movie was disappointing.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

My 11.5 yr old son just finished reading this book last night and loved it. He already has Book 2 and 3 on his bedside table. The main character is a 21st century kid in NYC with ADHD who is a social outcast and learns that he is really the son of Poseidon and a mortal woman. It is a new modern twist on the adventure quest type of series.

Chew On This: Everything You Don’t Want To Know About Fast Food by Eric Schlosser.

This is the young adult version of the book Fast Food Nation by the same author. After reading this book two of my children have sworn off fast food. They absolutely refuse to eat any and all fast food and have for over a year now. A great informational read.

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke

This was Cornelia Funke’s first novel. It is about two bys who run away from their mean aunt to the city of Venice. My older kids immediately fell in love with the book and went searching for other books by the same author.

Inkheart and Inkspell are two more books by author. Originally Inkheart was supposed to be a stand alone book, but the popularity of it encouraged the author to write a second book in what will now be a trilogy. The main character in these books is a girl, if you have a daughter who would like a girl as a main character.

My children are all voracious readers, so this is really just a small sample of books they remember that they enjoyed. When pressed I got the, “I liked all the books I read, otherwise I would not have read them,” as a response.

Feel free to leave some suggestions in the comments below. We are always on the look out for more books.

Let’s Talk Traditions

December 4th, 2007

Whatever holiday it is that you celebrate.

What sort of traditions do you have in your family?

We have several that the children enjoy. Occasionally we will try something new, add it into the mix and sometimes they stick and sometimes they don’t. The Advent calendar is one of those things. If I buy one the kids like it, but they don’t really miss it if I forget, like I did this year. I am going to spend the next week talking about the various traditions that we have established for our family during the holidays.

We are a family of readers. it only makes sense that the first tradition I write about is about books.

Christmas Books

Basket of Chrismas books

Every year I wrap all of our Christmas story books in wrapping paper and put them in a basket. Each day the younger children take turns picking out and unwrapping a book for us to read. And yes, we have over 25 of them. (Advent varies slightly in length from year to year– this year it began December 2nd, so we will double up on a day when one of the children happens to pick a short book.)

The books vary from the tried and true old classics like, Twas the Night before Christmas

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to the modern classic, Polar Express

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to books like the Berenstain Bears visit Santa Bear, I’m not posting a picture of this one.

Every year I try to buy a few more books to add to the mix to replace some of the lesser loved (usually by me) or too juvenile ones in our collection. I look for rich quality pictures and an engaging storyline that appeals to both grown-ups and children.

Today we read The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey

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This book is a perfect example of the sort I try to find. The story is deep enough that a twelve year old can listen to it and discuss it afterward, but the beautifully detailed illustrations keep the interest of an almost 2yr old while I am reading.

So tell me what are your holiday traditions? Do you do something unique or fun that your family enjoys? Or did you do something as a child that you hope to continue as an adult?

Write about it on your own blog if you like and leave a link to the post in the comments.

(Originally posted Dec. 8, 2006. Reposted by request.)