Spiders, Spiders, Spiders!…Reading, Art, Music and More

October is the month for spiders, those often feared but very helpful eight legged arachnids. My daughter and I found ourselves “caught up” in a lot of spidery fun this month!

Spider Mini Book– I created this book when I taught kindergarten and it was a big hit with my mini me. This spider book teaches young children all about spiders. CLICK HERE to download the book.

Spider on the Floor!– I fell in love with the song “Spider on the Floor,” recorded by Raffi in 1976. We used spider rings and acted out the song which is great for identifying body parts, following directions and rhyming.

Spider Web Painting– My daughter and I love to marble paint and this time of year is the perfect time to grab some paint and marbles and make a spooky masterpiece. If you use black paper and white paint your creation looks like a spiderweb. My daughter drew a spider and glued it to her web. She has learned a lot of interesting spider facts and made sure her spider had eight legs!

Spider Snack– Another idea from my book is this easy and nutritious spider snack. Use two crackers as a body and peanut butter, cheese spread or some type of spread to make a cracker sandwich. Stick eight pretzel sticks (four on each side) inside the cracker to create the spider’s eight legs and use raisins as eyes. Although my daughter pointed out that spiders have eight eyes instead of two there wasn’t enough room to add that many raisins! CLICK HERE to download this yummy snack!

Charlotte’s Web– I have begun reading chapter books to my daughter and this was the perfect time to introduce her to the beloved book, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. The book tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a pig named Wilber and a barn spider named Charlotte and my daughter and I enjoyed reading and discussing the book together. Now I want to introduce her to the Charlotte’s Web movies. The 2006 movie is currently on Netflix and the 1973 animated version is on Amazon Prime. I enjoyed watching the animated version when I was a little girl and it will always be my favorite!

I hope you and your family enjoy some of these spooky spider activities. And remember, most spiders are our friends. They eat insects that harm gardens and crops.

Free Fall Activity Downloads… Scavenger Hunt, Pumpkin Coloring Pages and Reformation Paper Dolls!

My daughter and I have been enjoying fall this year. From apples to pumpkins to leaves to spiders, there is so much to do! So I decided to write another fall post with links to more fun fall activities!

Fall Scavenger Hunt– This fall scavenger hunt made our ordinary daily walk exciting! My daughter was motivated to find everything on the list! We were able to observe the fall changes happening in nature while getting some fresh air and exercise. We brought a bag along and my daughter enjoyed collecting her “treasures” and proudly showed them to daddy when he got home from work! I got the fall scavenger hunt from www.printablesfairy.com.

 

Shine With His Light Pumpkin Coloring Pages– I love these these meaningful Christ inspired pumpkin coloring pages created by Oriental Trading. My daughter and I colored some to send to family and friends. It is the perfect way to remember to let the love of Jesus shine through you! CLICK HERE to download the Shine with His Light page and CLICK HERE to download the Jesus Shine in Me page.

 

Reformation Sunday– Celebrated on the last Sunday in October, Reformation Sunday commemorates the Protestant Reformation as well as Martin Luther, who nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517, the eve of All Saints’ Day. Teach your little ones about the Reformation by making these paper dolls. Samantha, from Pleasantly Crafted, created these fun paper dolls and is gifting us with free downloads. Click HERE to download the Reformation paper dolls and go to https://pleasantlycrafted.square.site/s/shop to purchase beautiful Lutheran inspired arts and crafts designed by Samantha.

Pumpkin Spice Makes Everything Nice…Spookley the Pumpkin and Jack-O-Faces

I love fall and I am crazy about everything pumpkin spice! In this post I share some of my favorite pumpkin spice products along with a new pumpkin spice bread recipe. You will learn about two of my little pumpkin’s favorite fall stories…Spookley the Square Pumpkin and Jack-O-Faces!

Pumpkin Spice Everything!- It seems like you can find pumpkin spice everything these days. I love trying new things and I just discovered Pumpkin Spice Whipped Topping at ALDI. It pairs perfectly with Coffee Mate’s Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and Pumpkin Spice Coffee (I told you I loved everything pumpkin spice!) I can’t wait to try some on Thanksgiving with my homemade pumpkin pie. Other ALDI pumpkin favorites are Pumpkin Spice Pancake Mix, Pumpkin Spice Pretzels and Pumpkin Spice Rolls.

Pumpkin Spice Bread– Since I love everything pumpkin spice I am always on the lookout for new pumpkin recipes. I recently discovered this yummy pumpkin spice bread. It has similar ingredients to my favorite pumpkin pie recipe so it tastes just like a piece of pumpkin pie in a slice of bread! My daughter enjoyed helping me mix up the dough and my mini me loves the bread just as much as I do! CLICK HERE to download the recipe.

Pumpkin Beer– It seems that every brewery, big and small, brews a pumpkin beer in the fall. I have enjoyed sampling many of them but my favorite will always be O’Fallon Brewery’s line of pumpkin beers. Every year O’Fallon Brewery comes out with a pumpkin pack that includes some interesting pumpkin flavors. This year they brewed a spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Pumpkin beer. It wasn’t my favorite but I loved their new Pumpkin Whip, a tasty pumpkin cream ale with a hint of whipped cream. My favorite O’Fallon Brewery beer is their Salted Caramel Pumpkin! This caramel ale has the perfect blend of sweet and salty with just a hint of pumpkin, making it the perfect beer to enjoy with your favorite sweet or savory pumpkin treat!

Spookley the Pumpkin– Three generations in our family enjoyed reading the Spookley books by Joe Troiano. Wearing our matching Pumpkin Spice, Living My Best Life t-shirts from the clothing boutique, Foxtail Lilies, we enjoyed reading both of the Spookley books and then watched the Spookley movie on Netflix. The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin is the first of the two Spookley books and it introduces the reader to Spookley the Square Pumpkin. Little ones learn that pumpkins come in all different colors, shapes and sizes and that you can’t judge a pumpkin by its cover! The follow-up book is called Spookley and the Pumpkin Jamboree. Both books are written in rhyme and the Netflix animated movie is based on both books.

Jack-O-Faces– My mom discovered this cute pumpkin rhyme when she was in college and my dad and I turned it into a reproducible book for young children. CLICK HERE to download the mini book. My daughter enjoyed coloring with Nana and reading her book to all of us!

I shared some fun pumpkin activities with my readers last year. CLICK HERE to learn more. In a year filled with change, unrest and uncertainty, I hope you enjoy your best life this fall… whether that includes pumpkin spice treats, a pumpkin beer or creating some special memories with your favorite little pumpkin!

Octoberfest Fun!…a Favorite German Meal Prepared With Love

With COVID-19 cancelling Octoberfest celebrations around the world my parents and I decided to hold our own celebration this year. During the first weekend of Octoberfest my family and I celebrated the occasion with a big German meal. Aldi, a German company, came in handy by providing some yummy shortcuts to our meal.

German Items From Aldi– With Aldi being a German based company the discount food chain offers some limited items during the fall season to make your Octoberfest authentic! I read online that Aldi sells these imported German favorites two times throughout the year, so if you missed buying them this fall you’ll have another opportunity in the spring, usually around Easter.

For our Octoberfest meal I looked to Aldi for their imported dried spaetzle (a small dumpling popular in southern Germany). Another limited favorite is Aldi’s red cabbage with apples, delicious and good for you too. I always get my sauerkraut from Aldi (imported from Germany and found at Aldi year round.) And you can’t have a proper German celebration without a yummy dessert and the caramel apple strudel from Aldi did not disappoint. It was the perfect ending to our meal. The strudel comes frozen and is available in apple, caramel apple and mixed berry.

Schnitzel Prepared Hunter Style– I make pork schnitzel (breaded and fried pork cutlets) throughout the year and usually serve it plain or with a slice of lemon. This time I wanted to make a Hunter Sauce to go with it and my dad and I cooked up the sauce together. Hunter Sauce is a creamy mushroom sauce with onions and it is so good! After pouring the rich sauce over the schnitzel, we garnished the dish with real bacon bits and fried onions. The main dish was delicious and cooking with my dad was fun! CLICK HERE for the recipe.

Big Shark Lemon Radler by Urban Chestnut– I love radlers (beer mixed with lemonade or lemon lime soda) and I found a local radler brewed by a Saint Louis brewery, Urban Chestnut. Urban Chestnut’s radler is hands down the best radler I’ve ever had in the states. During the summer I enjoyed their Big Shark Grapefruit Radler and it was delicious. I wish they brewed them year round! We drank from mugs decorated with my hometown flag, a city founded by German immigrants.

You don’t have to be German or come from a family with German heritage (my maternal great grandmother was a German immigrant) to enjoy Octoberfest! You simply have to love beer, good food and family fun!