Books and a Big Idea: Summer Reads Edition!

Blog, She Wrote: Books & a Big Idea Summer Fun Edition

This post contains an affiliate link to Chalk Pastels ebooks from Hodgepodge. There’s a new release and a special sale. Thanks for your support.

I’m excited about today’s link up post since I’m such a fan of children’s literature and a good unit study! We are sharing lots of books with craft & activity ideas. You don’t want to miss the fun!

I’m sharing ideas for three of our favorite summer time books- I couldn’t pick just one! Below you will find links to some fun activities we have done from the Blog, She Wrote archives along with matching chalk pastel tutorials.

Blog She Wrote: Books & a Big Idea Summer Fun Edition

Blueberry Fun with Blueberries for Sal

Blog She Wrote: Books & a Big Idea Summer Fun Edition

One Morning in Maine

  • Make clam chowder
  • A Path to the Beach- the first chalk pastel tutorial from Hodgepodge Mom!
  • My Blue Boat chalk tutorial- has a great little light house and boat similar to the one in the story
  • Make a tooth keeper for under the pillow- the main character in this book has lost her first tooth

Blog She Wrote: Books & a Big Idea Summer Fun Edition

Night of the Moonjellies

Don’t forget that just reading to your children is always great fun and it is a sure cure for the grumpies at our house- whether they are young or old! So, don’t worry if you don’t have the activity bug. Just read!

Another tip: these activities don’t always have to be totally prescribed. Part of the summer fun is just letting kids choose how to play. Consider letting your children enjoy these activities on their own or choose to let them try a recipe on their own with only the necessary supervision. Make the materials available and see what your kids come up with!

Join other iHomeschool Network bloggers for more Books & a Big Idea. This is great fun with children’s books!

Southern Hodgepodge is holding a flash sale on the new Chalk Pastels through the Seasons for $5.99 (regularly $7.99) and The Chalk Pastel Bundle- both ebooks for $19.99 (regularly $24.99). The sale ends Tuesday, July 9th at midnight EDT.

Blueberry Pie

It’s that time of year in New York State when we pick and process blueberries! We hope to pick when we arrive home again (this post was scheduled for while we are gone), but I did buy a flat of them to freeze and to make a pie.

A very yummy, amazing pie. Polly’s Perfect Blueberry Pie

The crust is as easy as…well…pie! You mix it right in the pie dish.
The blueberries stay whole for this pie.
Ready for the oven…
Perfection!

I hope to make another one or so this season and I seriously wonder how it would freeze. If any one knows, leave a comment!

Blueberry Ornament

About six months late…

We always make a Five in a Row book related Christmas ornament each year and this year they never made it out, but I have redeemed the family name.

Now I can take the FIAR stuff off the dining room pencil tree. I think we’ll replace them with some decorations related to our first unit of the new school year.

Now…I wonder what THAT will be.

Blueberries for Sal

It’s that time of year! July cannot pass without some blueberry fun. I was determined to hit the blueberry fields yesterday and I needed to set the mood. I grabbed Blueberries for Sal out of the Before Five in a Row box and I gathered a few around…of course when this book comes out the kids drop what they are doing and listen. Even E10, who was listening to music, took off his headphones and enjoyed the story. With the mood properly set, we set off to find the blueberries!

I started the morning with a reading of this book- Blueberries for Sal.
Once I finished reading Blueberries for Sal, J4 asked for the “one that goes with it”. Of course he was talking about One Morning in Maine. We love both of these stories dearly and it is joy to read them over and over and over. In fact, there are several more Robert McCloskey books that are FIAR books. He is one of our favorite authors.
The blueberries are amazing this year! Every bush was teaming with them with more to ripen on each one. I am seriously considering some blueberry bushes for our yard. Reportedly, they make a great bush for the yard and you get blueberries as a bonus.

Miles and miles of blueberry bushes…in every direction.

R9 was teamed up with J4 as they scoured the bushes for berries. Turns out that J4 is a serious picker. He really loved using his own tin pail. I had gotten it from the Target dollar aisle earlier this spring when all the gardening stuff was there.

This was J4′s first time really picking. All the kids enjoyed it this year (it helped that the picking was so easy!) and we talked about the book while we picked. They decided we were playing out the story right down to a baby boy walking up and grabbing berries out of J4′s pail!
Kerplink! Kerplank! Kerplunk!

We picked 14 lbs of blueberries and there was not one complaint the whole time!

We ended the day with a blueberry crumble. Traditions are fun. Each July we spend time on Blueberry Hill with little Sal and her mother. We do blueberry and bear crafts, we pick blueberries, freeze them, and make a fresh blueberry treat.
Blueberry Crumble (from Fruit: Fresh, Fun Fabulous a MOPS cookbook compiled by Marybeth Lagerborg):
  • 3 c berries (blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries)
  • 2/3 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 2/3 c quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 c butter or margarine, melted (I used Smart Balance)
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread berries in a lightly greased square 8x8x2 inch baking dish. (I used my square PC stone baker) Mix remaining ingredients and sprinkle over berries. Bake for 20 minutes or until topping is light brown and berries are hot. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream if desired. We surely did have the vanilla ice cream!

For next week I have more ideas for blueberry fun. I will share them in another post.

Blueberries for Sal- 2008

Every year we row Blueberries for Sal when the blueberries are ripe for picking here in NY which is the end of July. J3 simply adores this book (as do I) and we read it nightly. I decided to involve all the kids this year by using the lapbook from Hands of a Child. There’s a lot of content in there on blueberries, fruits, bears, what animals do for the winter, bear hibernation…among other things. All the kids have been putting together a lapbook. We also did a blueberry graph surveying how many people like various blueberry treats. We asked the FIAR moms and they heartily delivered!

R8 did a fantastic job taking two flats of blueberries and putting them into Ziploc storage for the freezer. Nothing like fresh frozen blueberries to make blueberry yummies with all winter long.

The first night home with our blueberries- bought by the flat from the farm not picked this year. The weather in July was super unpredictable and we find blueberries difficult to gather in large numbers. We made a blueberry cobbler.

E9 recorded our data by tally off of the FIAR website. We had a sample size of 104 people. We posted twice because the kids decided that our original sample size was not big enough to yield reliable results. There was no way muffins were going to beat everything out by a long shot. Not on our watch! We had to gather more data to see if this influenced our results.
R8 works diligently on her bar graph. Of course we are working on correct graph construction. Unlike many of the kids I taught back in the day, my kids will go into sixth grade knowing how to make a proper graph- labels, units, and all!!

I-6′s final graph. Note that muffins beat out fresh blueberries by a small margin. Obviously, most participants have not tasted our blueberry pancake recipe!
Through Dawn’s blog, I found this blueberry craft

I think the finished product is very nice. I was thinking of stamping on some small tote bags. So cute!

We learned about where bears live around the world (north of the equator) and what kind of plant blueberries grow on. There’s something for older and younger kids in this project pack. We plan to add one fact about each bear tomorrow.

This cool mini-book shows a bear species and its range around the world. For some reason the polar page is huge.


We will have a few more things to add to our lapbooks tomorrow before calling it another great year with Blueberries for Sal. This was sort of our warm up to the new school year which begins on Monday at our house. I know…it’s only August, but we’ve been off for 11 weeks already! Time flies and all that… Besides, I think the weather may be turning already. I’ll keep you posted.