Halloween is over. It’s a little sad, but now we’re on the downhill slide to Thanksgiving, the one day a year I refuse to diet, so it’s all pretty good. This is the time when I start to plan the enormous feast we’ll have. I love to cook; have I ever told you that? It is one of my great joys. Many years ago, when it became obvious that trying to fit in both families by driving to Martin’s family over an hour away and to my family who are very close made for a miserable Thanksgiving for all five of us, we decided to just have Thanksgiving here. Unfortunately, my house is too small to fit either family in let alone both, so that decision meant we have to have Thanksgiving on our own. Sometimes it hurts my heart, but we make a big celebration of it anyway, and we don’t have to spend 2 hours on the road or be unfair to one family or the other, and we get to relax for Thanksgiving. Well, all the boys do. I am busy, busy, busy that day. But I like it that way.
I told you, I love to cook.
It is still autumn, though the days are shorter and it may be getting quite cold where you are. (Unless you’re one of my Australian readers, then you’re enjoying the slide into spring. Lucky.) It hasn’t gotten cold here yet; we’re still hovering between 60 and 70 degrees, which doesn’t bode well for deer season, so if the weather gods could do me a favor and have the temperature go ahead and drop in the next couple weeks? Thanks. With the time change the world is bright again at 7 a.m. instead of dark, but I know that will only last a few weeks. Then winter will set in, and a whole new set of adventures will befall us.
However, since it’s still autumn and Halloween is over but it’s not quite time for Thanksgiving, let’s do a Story Time about another autumn book.
If you love autumn, or the moon, or nature at all, this lyrical book will capture your heart. My favorite line is, “With its silent slippers it climbs the night stairs.” What a magical description of the moon’s ascent. This story almost makes Me sleepy when I read it, just thinking about laying in bed all cuddled up and being woken up by the moon. The best part is drifting back to sleep, right? Yeah yeah. Kate Kiesler’s splendid illustrations wrap you up in nighttime even in the middle of the day. And even though the harvest moon is behind us this year, the book is still a relevant autumn piece that will remind your littles all the ways the moon helps us.
This book is full to the brim with metaphors and similes. I’ve mentioned somewhere around here that metaphors and similes are a great introduction to poetry, and I would link to it if I could remember what post that was. Scatterbrained. I own it. My favorite line about climbing stairs? Personification. The best kind. The moon can’t really wear slippers (not it’s fault; it doesn’t have any feet), but the image it puts in our heads is brilliant. Here’s a metaphor-simile-personification worksheet based on the book for your littles to practice with.
Since these writing techniques lend themselves so well to poetry, why don’t you have your littles try an acrostic poem using the words Harvest Moon?
The Harvest Moon brings to mind all things Moon, so here is an informational download that includes moon facts and a moon phase journal:
The book also talks about farms and harvesting. You can head over to IowaCorn.org to get some great coloring sheets and activities about corn including a cool corn-growing experiment to download for Free!
There is also this cool Hopping Corn experiment from One Time Through.
How cool would a textured moon painting be? And simple, too!
What you need:
- Black paper (construction or card stock)
- White or yellow paint
What you do:
- Mix a little flour into your paint until you have a cottage-cheesy consistency.
- Paint a thick circle on your black paper. (You can make a template for your littles if you think it necessary.)
- For extra fun and texture, press your fingers into the paint to create craters.
- Done! (Of course, you can use colored pencils or glitter to add stars and comets and the like–the sky, as they say, is the limit. For older kids, you might have them add a nightscape under their moon.)
You could also make a smiley crescent moon from a paper plate like this one:
What you need:
- A paper plate
- Yellow crayon
- Googly Eye
- 1-Hole punch
- Yellow craft foam
- The Lit Mama’s Moon and Star Template
What you do:
- Print out template. Cut out moon and star. Place moon atop paper plate, trace face onto plate.
- Outline face side of plate with black marker. Add smile to mouth.
- Color your moon yellow.
- Glue your googly eye into place.
- Place star template atop yellow foam and trace star onto foam. Cut out.
- Hole punch top of moon and one arm of star.
- Run Yarn through each hole. Knot yarn behind moon and star.
Did you expect something else?!
What you need:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup marshmallow creme
What you do:
- Preheat oven to 400 F and lightly grease a cookie sheet
- In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 stick of butter and granulated sugar.
- Add egg, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Mix well.
- In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder.
- Add flour mixture to sugar mixture slowly, stirring all the time until just mixed.
- Drop dough onto the cookie sheet in rounded tablespoons, leaving at least 3 inches between each. (Make sure you leave that room; these spread as they bake)
- Bake 6-8 minutes until firm when touched with a finger.
For marshmallow filling:
- In a medium bowl, blend 1/2 cup of butter, powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and marshmallow creme.
- Mix until smooth.
- Spread 1-2 tablespoons on flat side of one cookie. Press the flat side of another cookie atop it.
- Continue until all cookies are used.
Oh. My. I really want to go bake some of these up right now and eat till I’m sick. But even if I bake some, I won’t eat any. Life is so unfair! Ugh!
But hey, maybe I could have a glass of Tang? Do they still make Tang? I mean it was used by NASA astronauts, right? And some of them went to the moon. So yeah, it’s related.
The best way to enjoy the moon is to spread a blanket on the ground, lay down with your littles, and just stare at it. How many shapes can you make from the ‘face?’ If you’re looking at the crescent moon, can you also see the unlit part? Have fun, enjoy the cooler evenings, and come back inside to a warm glass of cider or chocolate. And read Hello, Harvest Moon again. Because it’s that kind of book.