Strawberry Days

One thing I love about this time of year is the abundance of strawberries!

A few weeks ago we went strawberry picking…

Twenty pounds and twenty dollars later, we did a bit of strawberry prepping!

(I love this picture of Annalee!  It shows her style so perfectly!)

Then we did some strawberry cooking with the rest.  We made strawberry jam, strawberry rhubarb jam, strawberry mix and match bread, strawberry smoothies….

The last of our backyard strawberries were gobbled up last weekend.  We’re on to raspberries for fresh munching now, but luckily we have a freezer full of strawberries to keep us happy for a while too.

In the meantime I found this wonderful strawberry lapbook to to finish out the fun.

Here’s a bunch of strawberry lesson plans, book recommendations, links and art ideas, too.

“Even the coeur flottant merveilleux aux fraises, presented with a great flourish, made little impression, for it was no more than what may happen to the simple, honest dish of strawberries and cream once it falls into the hands of a Frenchman.”

Dr. Watson in ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Hapsburg Tiara’

by Alan Vanneman (2004)

Garden Lapbook Resources

I was perplexed to see that I had nearly 400 hits last week on a day that I didn’t post anything particularly amazing, so I went looking at my site meter to see if I could figure out why.  It turns out someone put up this great little page full of neat stuff to make a garden lapbook, and she listed my post about Victoria’s garden lapbook in her resources.

There’s a ton of neat stuff to use on a garden theme, even if you don’t do lapbooking — flower file folder games, a “how does your garden grow?” graph, a watering can shaped page to write garden poetry and lots more.

This may be just the thing to get us back into lapbooking, and the perfect way to fill a rainy Sunday.  🙂

Our Advent Lapbook


We used to have a tradition of hiding elaborately decorated orphan baby socks every day to count down the days till Christmas.  Every one would have small treats for each child.  The kids loved it, but over the years I lost the socks and never got around to making them all up again.

This year I wanted to give the kids a fun and easy way to count down the days again so I made up an advent activity lapbook.

I used an addition lapbook from as a template and asked Daryl if he could put numbers in instead of the math problems it had.  He’s so handy he did it up for me and then I printed up the pages with activities typed in each square to go behind the doors.

I used packing tape to attach two file folders to each other, leaving the top open so I can change up the activities from year to year.  I glued the number pages to the top and used an exacto knife to cut 3 sides of each box to make the doors.  I slid the activity pages behind the windows and fastened them with a bit of tape inside.  Then I had the kids take turns decorating the whole thing and voila!  All done!

The first day, we made snowflakes for the windows and cupboards.  The second day, we made Christmas playdough (bright red and green with gold glitter mixed in).

Tomorrow it’s ice ornaments for outside (freeze colored water in small containers with string for hanging, add berries or pine boughs or whatever if you like for a pattern, freeze outside, pop out, hang on your bushes and trees).

Here’s some of the activities I put in it:

Make Christmas playdough
Bake cookies
Drink hot buttered rum (or kiddie version)
Cut paper snowflakes to decorate the house
Make ice ornaments for outside
Make chocolate covered pretzels
Get a holiday pedicure/manicure (paint nails with xmas colors, dots, etc.)
Drink cocoa with whipped cream
String popcorn for tree outside
Make salt dough ornaments
Call friends and family and sing carols
Make jingle bell anklets and dance in them
Make a holiday video program
Create a yuletide cocoction to simmer on the stove (choose spices, ingredients to put in water and simmer to smell up the place and humidify)
Have a paper snowball fight inside
Make chocolate pretzel presents
Decorate yourself in ribbons and bows!
Read “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” (our favorite read-aloud of the season)
Make paper garlands
Prepare a feast for the birds and squirrels

Someday we’ll get back to all those lovely little oddball socks.  In the meantime, this works really well!

Checking In & Thanksgiving Links

I’ve been rather lackadaisical in posting lately, huh?  🙂  We’ve been busy with little things– company on Saturday (and the return of the kids’ computer), ice skating and shopping yesterday, library books, Netflix movies, art projects and general life.

I didn’t even post an Unplug Your Kids project this week, even though we did a thankful project (watercolor leaves with thanks on them for hanging).  It seemed rather predictable anyway!  Doesn’t everybody do that project several dozen times over the course of motherhood?  🙂

It has been dreadfully cold but snowless, leaving us in a sort of winter limbo.  It’s too cold to want to go outside but it doesn’t look at all like winter.  I am not a fan of snow, but if it has to be this chilly I wish it would just dump a few feet on us so at least the kids could play and it would look pretty!

(Okay, after Thanksgiving so we can still travel to the in-laws.)

The kids have been tag-teaming us at night, skillfully interfering with any hope of getting nearly enough sleep. My children are perfectly suited for college cramming or medical internships, because of their remarkable abilities to exist on hardly any sleep.  I found myself wishing I could spike the apple cider with Benadryl last night.  😉

I’ll post some pics and fun stuff soon.   In the meantime, here’s an interactive Thanksgiving lesson from the Plimoth people (involving children who are descendents of the Wampanoag and colonists), here’s a great lesson plan for “The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush,” and Susan shared these great pages– a unit study she wrote for “Across the Wide, Wide Sea: The Mayflower Journey,” a page for Mayflower history, a unit study she wrote for “Sarah Morton’s Day:  A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl,” a unit study she helped write for “A Lion to Guard Us” about Jamestown, and this site about Jamestown.

And for another Thanksgiving perspective, here is information about the National Day of Mourning that some native people hold on Thanksgiving.   The page is well written and offers a lot to think about as we’re educating our children about our nation’s history.  Here’s a snippet:

History is not a set of “truths” to be memorized, history is an ongoing process of interpretation and learning. The true richness and depth of history come from multiplicity and complexity, from debate and disagreement and dialogue. There is room for more than one history; there is room for many voices. 

And with that, I’m off to read a pile of library books to some disheveled sweetie pie children.

Jack’s “Letter A” Lapbook

Jack chose the letter A to do a lapbook on this week.  I have to say it was much easier than usual — no web searches for images or handouts, no intricate cutting and arranging.

We made some letter A’s together, found some stickers of things that started with A, found and drew some other images of A items, and called it done!  He also told me to write “A is a Vowel” on it.  He says he learned that from “Letter Factory.”  🙂

Here are some pics.