Three Girl Pile-Up

…adventures of our homeschooling family

Month: January, 2010


Maggie was finally healthy enough that she got to meet our new little friend, Laurel.  She took a break from rock-climbing to do some baby loving:

Oh, I could just eat them both up!



I am lucky to have a very wonderful mother-in-law.  One who appreciates a handmade gift, and is also one of the few people left on the planet who actually writes letters.  So I couldn’t think of a better gift for her than SouleMama’s Gratitude Wrap.

(And, okay, if we’re going to be entirely truthful here, I wanted something I could knock out pretty quickly, so we wouldn’t have a repeat of last year’s Christmas socks–which were delivered in July.  So sewing, rather than knitting, seemed the way to go.)

Best of all, I was able to pull together some wonderful fabrics and notions I already had on hand…a floral print selected by Anna, some green linen left from another project, and some perfectly matching purple bias binding.

The only change I made was the addition of a pen loop.  I also discovered later that apparently the post office has changed the size of books of stamps–they’re tiny now!–so I might make that pocket smaller next time.

This was such quick little sewing project that I want to make more, more, more!  One for each of the girls (we’re working on the thank-you note habit around here), and one for me as well.

The special surprise for Gramma was the cards on the inside.  I scanned in some of my favorite examples of the girls’ artwork of the past year, printed them out, and pasted them onto blank notecards.  So, carefully tucked into the card pocket was a custom set of granddaughter art cards.  Just the kind of thing that this Gramma appreciates.

Makes me a little itchy to write some cards myself….

Favorite Read-Alouds for the 5-9 set

This post started as a thread on Facebook, where I asked for suggestions for read-aloud books for the girls.  There were so many great ideas that I wanted to get them together in one place.

We enjoy picture books and audiobooks and Maggie reads a lot on her own, but I love to have a chapter book that we’re all reading together.  I find that in moments of particular crankiness of unsettledness (is that a word?), crawling under the covers together and reading is often just the thing to set us right.  But lately I’ve been having trouble coming up with good reads to share.  Here is a list of some of our favorite books and series, as well as some great ones suggested by friends.  If you have more ideas, leave them in a comment and I’ll add them to the list.

When I have the chance, I may try to add links, but for now you’re on your own.


(In no particular order)

Magic Treehouse books by Mary Pope Osborne (my kids have loved the audiobooks)

Magic School Bus chapter books (my kids LOVE these, and they have a surprising amount of content imbedded in them.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series (I admit I don’t love these, but my kids do–and they’re also all available on audio.  Thankfully.)

Bunnicula series by James Howe

Catwings series by Ursula K. LeGuin

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

My Father’s Dragon trilogy by Ruth Stiles

The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater

Dream-of-Jade, the Emperor’s Cat by Lloyd Alexander

The Fantastic Journey by Gerald Durrell

Dr. Doolittle books by Hugh lofting

Mysterious Benedict Society books by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Secret Garden and The Little Princess by Frances Hodgsen Burnett

George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Stephen and Lucy Hawking

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Roald Dahl: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach

Kate DiCamillo: Mercy Watson books, The Miraculous Adventure of Edward Tulane, Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux (other than Mercy Watson, be forewarned that these are somewhat emotionally intense, especially Edward Tulane).

Rainbow Magic fairy books by Daisy Meadows

Old school Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene (these have been recently reissued in their original form)

Neil Gaiman books (if your kids don’t spook easily–which mine do!)

Cricket in Times Square and its sequels by George Selden

E.B. White books: Charlotte’s Web, Trumpet of the Swan, Stuart Little (there are GREAT audiobooks of all of these)

Harry Potter books 1 and 2.  (We got these audiobooks, which are masterfully done, for Maggie, but Anna LOVED them, too.  May be too intense for some.)

Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

The Penderwicks books by Jeanne Birdsall

The Blossom Family books by Betsy Byars

The Moomintroll books by Tove Jansson

The Clementine books by Sara Pennypacker

Tumtum and Nutmeg books by Emily Bearn

Ruby Lu books by Leonore Look

Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat by Grace Lin

Holling C. Holling books: Minn of the Mississippi, Paddle-to-the-Sea, Seabird

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong

The Color Fairy Books (Red Fairy book, Green Fairy book, etc) by Andrew Lang and/or Brian Alderson

Paddington books by Michael Bond

Ramona and Henry and Ralph the mouse books by Beverly Cleary

Sideways Stories from Wayside School series by Louis Sachar

Geronimo Stilton series

Barefoot Books story collections (e.g. Grandmother Stories, Princess Stories, Animal Stories)

Fortune’s Magic Farm by Suzanne Selfors (one of our FAVORITES!)

The Seven-Year-Old Wonder Book by Isabel Wyatt

Wow! This is quite a list!  Thanks to all my friends for their contributions and suggestions.  Please, keep ’em coming!

Crafts for the New Year

Okay, I confess–stole this idea from Rockin’ Granola; I just loved her post listing crafts that she didn’t quite get to in 2009, and wants to make in the new year.  It seemed like a great chance to go through and consolidate all the crafty bookmarks I’ve been making.  (And since I’ve only had this laptop since August, hopefully the list won’t be tooooo long.)

Laptop Sleeve from Ars Technica

Woodland Jewelry Box by Melissa Neufeld

Painted Thread’s great tutorial for making felted balls.

Lined Crown Hat from Sewing Projects for Kids.

Reusable Snack Bags!  I have my own ideas about how I want to do this, but I got started on this tare with a tutorial at I Have To Say.

Herbal Scented Ink by Five Orange Potatoes.

There are SO MANY wonderful projects ls at The Magic Onions.  A couple that I really want to try are making our own zen garden and our own fairy garden.

Homemade vanilla! from Chocolate and Zucchini.

And of course there are the mental lists of knitting and sewing projects…socks for me, aprons for all of us, spring nightgowns for the girls…oh, that list could carry me well into the next decade.

Happy New Year!  May yours be filled with many wonderful handcrafts.