Last week during What to Read Wednesday, I told you about my favorite apple picture books and even gave you a cute craft to do. But my very favorite apple book, Our Apple Tree by Gorel Kristina Naslund, deserves a full-on Story Time, and I can Never Resist a Story Time, and neither should you.
I mean, Come On.
And I have some super good stuff for you today.
A bushel of apples is always a good thing to have, especially if you can turn it into a paragraph. And we can. Pick up this subscriber freebie and have your littles write a paragraph about apples.
If your littles want to know more about how an apple tree changes through the seasons, here’s a free mini-unit that explains it all with a couple of activities thrown in.
Four Seasons Apple Tree
This one is kind of involved, but it’s fun and so pretty! Plus it’s a lesson about the seasons in a craft, and that is cool.
What you need:
- Lit Mama’s Apple Tree Template
- Glue (I like Aleene’s quick-dry tacky glue for these types of crafts)
- Brown marker
- Green construction paper
- Green tissue paper
- Popped popcorn (make enough so you can eat some. Because popcorn.)
- Red food coloring
- Red poms
- White or snow glitter (if you’re anything like me, you’ve got this stuff hidden all over the craft area. It’s so pretty. And you hardly ever use it. But it’s there, because you never can resist buying more.)
What you do:
You may want to do some of this ahead of time (like popping the popcorn and cutting out the summer leaves), because it will make for a quicker craft for your littles and making the summer leaves is… tedious. Littles should never be bored during craft time is all I’m sayin’.
- Print out the template and cut the trees out around the bold black lines. They should line up so you can glue them back-to-back, but before you glue them, color the trunks with the brown marker. You could use crayon, but I love the effect you get with a marker.
- Okay, now glue them together back-to-back.
- Fold the trees so the outer edges of the root part meets. This is going to form your stand so you want it to have equal lengths.
- You can color popcorn by adding a few drops of food coloroing with the oil or do it the hard way, like I did. I added 3 drops of color to about a half teaspoon of water and poured it over the popcorn. Then I laid it out on wax paper to dry. It would have been waaaay easier to put the food coloring in with the oil. Who knew?
- Cut small leaves from the green construction paper. Don’t feel like this has to be a masterpiece of perfection, just snip some pointed oval shapes with your scissors. I worked with a librarian once who believed every. single. craft had to be of epic proportions. Don’t be that girl. Crafts end up in the garbage can 9 times out of 10. This is a learning experience, not an art show.
- Cut some small squares out of the green tissue paper—the smaller the better, they’re going to be spring leaves.
- Now you’re ready to add the seasons. (Whew.)
- Make sure your seasons go around the tree in order—spring, summer, fall, winter. I started with summer to give my popcorn time to dry.
- Just put a drop of glue at the end of each branch, then fill the tree in by putting random drops along the branches. Place your summer leaves on the glue dots. Use as many as you want—trees have lots of leaves in summer.
- Then I moved to spring (if you follow this order, spring will go to the left of summer. Don’t forget). Dot your branches with glue Wad up the little tissue squares and place a few on your glue dots.
- Now get your colored popcorn. Break off small pieces and place them on the glue dots, too.
- Flip the tree over and put autumn behind summer. After dotting your branches with glue, add a few leaves, then add your red poms for apples. Are you loving this yet?
- Now winter. Do not dot your glue. Rather, make lines of glue along the tops of the branches and in the nooks where branches meet.
- Then drop that beautiful snow glitter all over it! Give it a few moments to dry, then shake off the excess.
I think the winter quarter is my favorite. But isn’t it pretty from all sides?!
What? You never ate popcorn and donuts together? Popcorn is good with Ev.ery.thing. Duh. So eat your leftover popcorn from the craft with these delicious
Apple Cider Donuts
I just made these for my family last week, and they were a huge hit. I promise you will love them. And they’re So autumn-y! Autyummy. Autumnsome.
Yeah, I went there.
What you need:
For the donuts:
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup shortening
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 3 ½ cups flour (your choice)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Oil for deep frying (yeah, you read that right. Deep frying. These are donuts.)
For the glaze:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider
What you do:
- Boil 1 cup cider in a small saucepan over medium heat about 8-10 minutes, until it is reduced to ¼ cup; allow to cool
- Beat sugar and shortening together until smooth
- Add eggs and mix well
- Add buttermilk and reduced cider
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients
- Add to cider mixture, stirring just enough to combine
- Pat out dough roughly ½ inch thick on a lightly floured surface
- Using a donut 2 ¾ inch donut cutter, cut donuts from dough. Or do like I did. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the donuts and a bottle cap to cut out the holes. We can’t every single kitchen tool we want, now can we?
- Fill a large saucepan with 3 inches of oil and heat to 375 degrees (or heat up the deep fryer if you’re still un-health-conscious enough to have one. Yeah, I have one.)
- Fry several donuts at a time for about 4 minutes, turning once or twice if you’re cooking them in a skillet
- Remove from oil with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels
- When you’ve cooked all the donuts, cook the donut holes you were left with for 1-2 minutes
- Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels
- Stir together sugar and cider to a glaze consistency
- Drizzle over warm donuts
I mean, YUM.
If this doesn’t get you and your littles ready for fall, nothing will.