A week of St. Nicholas Lessons

A recap of our week-long St. Nicholas study. The kids wrote/drew all their work in homemade main lesson books (for us this means 9x12 colored paper for the covers with printer paper sandwiched between then sewn along one short edge). The majority of what we read came from this book.


Read The Legend of the Three Daughters. (The Real St. Nicholas book)
Created a list of characters from the story.
Looked at pictures of St. Nicholas around the world (internet)
Drew a picture of St. Nicholas

This led to talking about the differences/similarities between St. Nicholas and how our culture describes "Santa" and then they drew comparison pictures of the two. 


Wrote out the previous day's story in MLB.
Older kids could do this on their own. Youngest wrote some and dictated some.
Cut out a map of Europe to paste in MLB to track where the stories we read are from. 


Looked back at our character lists from Monday and decided which characters were important enough to be needed for a skit of the story.
Assigned characters and then spent time journaling about the emotions and thoughts that character would have experienced over the course of the story. Then we went around and shared our ideas.
Acted out (and filmed) a skit of the Legend of the Three Daughters. 
Read various short legends from around the world and mapped their location. (The Real St. Nicholas Book)
Made watercolor paintings of one of the legends we read. 


Made stained glass bishop's miters per the tradition in Switzerland. (Exacto knives and hot glue guns were helpful tools, I wouldn't reccommend this activity for really little ones.) 


Read The Icon's Warm Bread and Pfeffernusse (Swiss and German folktales, respectively)
Baked Grittibenz (St. Nicholas bread) 
Drew pictures from the stories and wrote about what occurred in them, trying to capture "the main idea" in just a few short sentences.


Read a Reader's Theater story of a Colonial American legend of St. Nicholas (The Real St. Nicholas Book)
Delivered Grittibenz to our neighbors.
Celebrated St. Nicholas Day!



As I dig up the effort to blog again…..more about that later….. I came across some old posts never posted. This one inspired me as it is birthday party time yet again and a piƱata has been requested for the joint costume party coming up in a week!

Who knew that making your own pinata was so fun and so simple. When the request for a minotaur pinata came in I was a little uncertain of where I was going to find something that satisfied. So I strolled on over to this blog and took some inspiration from pinata archives and set to work.

As you can see in the action shots, the horns were the first things to go. In the process of making it I had thought about filling the horns with small treats and in retrospect I wish I had. But there's always next time!

A few things I learned in my first pinata making attempt.
  • Cereal boxes are really strong. A little preemptive slicing of the sides would have been beneficial.
  • You should feed your kids breakfast before plugging in the glue gun and getting to work on a project like this. It only took about an hour, but an hour is a long time to wait for breakfast when you're 6.
  • I will never buy another pinata again. This was so fun and so easy.


Carrot Cake Cookies

Carrot Cake Cookies
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups finely grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, quick oats, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt for 30 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together 1/2 cup butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Set mixer on low speed and slowly add in flour mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in carrots, then fold in walnuts. Cover bowl and chill dough 1 hr 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 during last 10 minutes of chilling.
  • Bake in preheated oven 12 - 13 minutes until centers no longer look doughy. Allow to cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely then sandwich 2 cookies together with the cream cheese filling. Store in an airtight container in a single layer.
  • For the cream cheese frosting:
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter and salt until smooth and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar and continue to whip until smooth and very fluffy.


Good-Bye Training Wheel Days

It is always the little milestones in parenting that catch me off guard and cause me to feel a little emotional about my kids growing up.


This weekend Alidia learned to ride her bike without training wheels. It was sort of an unexpected event. Jeremy took off the training wheels while fixing her tires and on a whim decided to leave them off.

Alidia practiced riding all weekend and is by far the quickest bike riding learner of all of our children. She and I went for a nice ride down the trail this morning and she seems like an old pro already.

She is so excited and we are all so proud of her. Way to go Alidia! (Or as she prefers to be called lately, Ali!)


Learning about Money

Alidia and I walked with a gaggle of giggly second graders down to the grocery store and the bank today. In math they have been working on their financial skills by counting money and all that second grade business.

The grocery store hooked them up with a snack in every single department! It was a little ridiculous/awesome. 

All the kids were allowed to bring a little bit of money to make a purchase and they pretty much all bought candy. These two included.

Then we went to the bank. One of the ideas of the 2nd grade expedition has been to understand the buying/selling/trading of money or goods across cultures and throughout time. So the idea of banking seemed like a good connection.

The poor guys at the bank seemed a little out of his element in relating to a room full of children who by this point were stinky and sweaty from their walk and totally high on sugar from the grocery store.

And then someone asked a question about bank robbers and it was all downhill from there. :)