Costumes!

We have two sets of costumes this year – first we have the traditional Halloween costumes, which the kids wore to the Halloween Hike  at the Chattahoochee Nature Center last Saturday and which they will be wearing again to go trick-or-treating on Halloween night.  This year, Mr. S is a monkey and little T is a cowgirl:

This was the first year we did saint costumes as well.  We went to the homeschool co-op’s All Saints Day party this morning, and Mr. S dressed up as St. Francis and little T was St. Clare:

They were so cute sitting through mass in their costumes!  Thank goodness it was a short mass today, usually I take candy in my purse to entice them into silence, but I forgot today and had to hope for good behavior.  They held up well for a three and four year old!

The saints costumes will be used again in future years – I bought them both on eBay and they are way too large for the kids, so I pinned the hem and the sleeves up this year.  Next year we can reuse the costume with different saint names 🙂

Happy Halloween weekend, everyone!

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Wordless Wednesday: Halloween Crafts

I remembered!

Every Tuesday, I take Mr. S to a local Catholic homeschool co-op for enrichment classes.  We start the morning by going to Mass at 9am and then meet in a classroom to say the Pledge of Allegiance and some prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, etc.) before the kids divide up into their age groups and start the art/music/drama rotation.  Sometimes, if there is a little extra time after we finish the pledge & prayers, one of the moms will read a story to the kids – and today the book she brought was the one I couldn’t remember yesterday!  It’s called The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd.

It’s actually a very good book – another cumulative story, which kids love.  The reason I couldn’t remember it is that it’s not really a Halloween-ish book – when we read it last week, I remember thinking it was more of a fall tale.  It does feature a pumpkin head, but in the end it’s about a scarecrow rather than anything specific to Halloween.

Nevertheless, I take back my semi-disparaging comments yesterday and heartily recommend this book – just not necessarily for Halloween!

Halloween

Halloween is almost here!  We started reading Halloween books and doing spooky crafts last week – I’ll probably post some pictures of our craft projects on Wednesday.  For today, I’m just going to tell you about the books we’ve been reading.

I selected six Halloween books from the ones I checked out of the library in early October.  We read three last week, one of which wasn’t very memorable (I’ve already forgotten the title and I returned it to the library on Saturday, oh well…).

The first book we read (primarily because it had holds at the library and had to be returned last week) was Boo, Bunny! by Kathryn O. Galbraith and Jeff Mack.

This was a cute story, but really a little too young for Mr. S.  I would recommend it for the two to three year old crowd, as it only has a few words on each page.  However, Mr. S really enjoyed the pictures.

The other book we read last week was By the Light of the Halloween Moon by Caroline Stutson and Kevin Hawkes.

It’s a cumulative story, which is great for preschoolers, and I liked how the girl was brave and firm in handling the creatures at the end.

Today we read a partially bilingual story called Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes and Yuyi Morales.

This book was beautifully illustrated, and I liked how it integrated the Spanish and English words in a poem about Halloween/Dia de los Muertes.  It includes a glossary in the back in case you are not familiar with any of the Spanish words.

We’re also going to be reading Druscilla’s Halloween by Sally M. Walker and Haunted Party by Iza Trapani this week.

I’ll include my review of those later in the week.

I know not everyone celebrates Halloween, but I really don’t see anything wrong with it.  For me, it’s never been about glorifying demonic things – it’s about dressing up and having a good time with friends and neighbors.  We are going to an All Saints’ Day party with the co-op on Friday, and for that the kids will be dressing up as saints (their “regular” Halloween costumes are a monkey and a cowgirl this year), so we’ll be addressing the religious aspects of the season as well.  But I grew up in a very strict environment and it only made me want to try out all the forbidden things (which I did as soon as I left home), and I don’t want my kids to grow up the way I did – so we’ll be reading things like Harry Potter and Twilight when they’re old enough to understand them in the proper context, and I imagine we’ll always celebrate Halloween.

Not Wordless Wednesday

I’ve slacked on blogging, reading and commenting this week.  I have no one but myself to blame – I just haven’t felt inspired.  I’m still stunned by the news that my friend passed away; for the first few days, I kept waiting for her to call me and tell me it was some kind of sick joke, or a strange social experiment.  Alas, that is not the case – she’s truly gone.  Her funeral is this Sunday in Miami, and I’ll be there.  It’s going to be a crazy weekend – on Saturday, we have two birthday parties (for the kids’ friends) and a Halloween event in the evening; then on Sunday I’ll be getting up at 4am and driving to the airport to catch the earliest possible flight to Miami.  I’ll be flying back home that night, arriving about 9pm.  I fully expect it to be a draining day, but I need to be there.

Life goes on, even in the midst of sadness.  We are doing school this week, and we’re going to a local pumpkin patch on Friday with some friends.  I just don’t have the heart to write about normalcy right now.  Next week, I promise, I’ll talk about our Halloween books and crafts and songs, but this week I just need to be alone with my thoughts and embrace the melancholy.

Sadness

I just found out that an old friend passed away today.  We were very close in high school and the years following, though we’d not been as close recently (we developed very divergent political views, and were given to passionate arguments that sometimes were easier to avoid, so we fell out of touch) – but she’s one of those friends I always assumed would be there, and I feel her loss tremendously.  That, and the shock of hearing that someone I was so close to in my youth is gone at the age of 37.  I still don’t know what happened, I don’t want to intrude on her family so I’m waiting for someone to email me with details.

Grant your forgiveness, Lord, to the soul of your servant R. that, being dead to this world, she may live now to you alone, and whatever sins she committed through human frailty, do you, in your mercy, absolve. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Cinderella stories

I needed some filler between Zoo Week and the Halloween stories we’ll be doing the last two weeks of October, so I decided to take this opportunity to read Mr. S some multicultural Cinderella stories.  There are so many versions of the Cinderella story out there, it was hard to decide on just a few!  I got the following from the library:

  • Hilary Knight’s Cinderella
  • Cendrillon: a Caribbean Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci
  • The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo
  • Kongi and Potgi:a Cinderella story from Korea by Oki S. Han
  • Domitila: a Cinderella tale from the Mexican tradition by Jewell Reinhart Coburn
  • Yeh-Shen: a Cinderella story from China by Ai-Ling Louie
  • The Way Meat Loves Salt: a Cinderella tale from the Jewish tradition by Nina Jaffe

I’m going to be reading the first three with Mr. S this week; the others are all beautiful stories, but a bit lengthy for our daily story time.  Yeh-Shen is illustrated by Ed Young, who won a Caldecott for Lon Po Po: a Red Riding-Hood story from China – it’s absolutely gorgeous, but unfortunately some thoughtful soul blacked out several key words throughout the narrative in the copy I got from the library, so I won’t be able to use that one this week.   I’m very excited about Shirley Climo’s Egyptian Cinderella; she’s written many versions of the story, including The Persian Cinderella and The Irish Cinderlad, but the Egyptian tale is the only one I could find at our local library.

Now I’m off to scour the internet for craft ideas!

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