{Read the World Summer Book Club- Week 3} Number the Stars: Europe!!

We learned so much through reading books about Europe! We read about some seriously neat things that I never knew about and that were so intriguing! I now find children's books that are based on true stories/people fascinating. I am reading to the kids and learning things too. This summer reading program has been really wonderful for me!

Alivia re-purposed an old painting for her Picasso inspired guitar!

Nolan re-purposed an old painting for his Picasso inspired guitar!

Graysen even got to paint and make a Picasso inspired guitar!

He loves painting!

Alivia's finished painting product!

Alivia helping me trace the guitar to cut out!
The kids putting on the strings for the guitars! 

Graysen's Picasso inspired guitar! 

Nolan's Picasso inspired guitar! 

Alivia's Picasso inspired guitar! 

Making gluten-free vegan crepes!

Making Gluten-free vegan crepes!

Making Gluten-free vegan crepes!

Making Gluten-free vegan crepes!

Making Gluten-free vegan crepes!

Putting the crepe mixture into the pan! 

Putting the crepe mixture into the pan! 

Crepe making! 

Putting all the fun toppings on their crepes! 

Alivia's crepe topped with chocolate chips, bananas, strawberries, chocolate syrup, coconut milk whipped cream. Not our typical breakfast but a fun treat!  

Nolan's crepe topped with chocolate syrup and chocolate chips. He is my chocolate dude and felt like he had dessert for breakfast! 

A few Europe inspired books that we read!

This was a sweet fictional story inspired by real people, a real place, the famous Gobelins Manufactory, a royal tapestry workshop in the seventh century, and a tapestry that was actually made. This story highlights an artistic family who works at the factory making beautiful art for the king. Therese, with her mom, prepared the thread for a tapestry but she wanted to make an tapestry like her older brother. She wished to make a special gift for her father but at the time women didn't hold the job of making a tapestry. She had to make her gift on her own time after she finished her job and all her chores were completed.  By the end of the book, she made a beautiful tapestry for her father, which the king takes notice of and asks her to help make a much larger one for him. This book showed how important art was in France and how intricate the art of tapestry making is. 

This book is based on a true story in Olst, Holland after World War II. Katje's family is struggling, like many in her town and people in the United States take notice. One family in the USA sends a care package with a return address to Katje and she is thrilled to receive some luxuries. She sends a thank you card to Rosie, the American girl, thanking her for the fun surprise. Her thank you letter starts a pen-pal friendship where Rosie and her mom share the news with the people of their local town and they all get involved in sending needed goods to Katje and the townsfolk of Olst. This is an inspiring story that showed my kids that they can help out others in need even if they are young. 

City Cat is about a cat that tags along with a family who is traveling through Europe. Each stop the family makes, the cat explores the famous locations of places in Europe. We liked this book because it showcased a lot of different and fun landmarks and explained them in detail at the end of the story. 

Adele & Simon is similar to City Cat as they make a bunch of stops throughout Paris of real places. Each stop is also explained well at the end of the story so you could go back to the story and see what location Adele & Simon are at. This is a cute story as it is also a seek & find book too. The kids enjoyed looking for the items that Simon lost throughout Paris on their walk home from school. 

A Giraffe Goes to Paris is a true story about a giraffe named Belle that traveled from Egypt to Paris in 1827. The pasha of Egypt wanted to give the king of France the giraffe as a gift, and the author envisioned this tale by writing through the lens of the giraffe's care-taker. It's a really neat story and shows how an animal of that size traveled in the 1800's and how excited the people of France were to meet such an exotic animal. The kids loved this fictional story based on the true event! 

The title pretty much sums up this book. It's adorably illustrated and such a cute story! Clara: The (Mostly) True Story of the Rhinocerous who Dazzled Kings, Inspired Artists, and Won the Hearts of Everyone... While she Ate Her Way Up and Down a Continent tells the story of a hippo who came to Europe from India. Europe had never seen a Rhinoceros before and thought it to be a mythical creature. The captain of a boat was tired of sea-living and when he discovered Clara, he offered to buy her  and start a new life of traveling throughout Europe and showing her off. The kids loved this book and enjoyed finding out that this was based on a true story!

Another true story! This one is about brothers Richard and Cherry Kearton who published the 1st natural history book entirely illustrated with photographs called With Nature and a Camera. In the Belly of an Ox follows their lives from boyhood to adulthood and how they came up with genius ways of snapping shots of birds-- one was in a belly of a hollowed out ox! There was more information about the brothers at the end of the book. The kids enjoyed this book because they thought it was funny where the brothers hid to camouflage themselves from the birds. Here are some true real-life images of the Kearton Brothers

This was such a fascinating book. If you have ever wondered where the names and classifications of the plants and animals come from, you should check this book out. It was a longer book so we broke it up into two reading sessions but the kids enjoyed it. Nolan, in fact, really enjoyed it more than Alivia. Karl, Get out of the Garden!: Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything follow the life of Carolus Linnaeus and how he came up with the idea to simplify the names of plants an animals. Before he named and classified plants and animals, there were numerous names for each plant and animal and most of the time the names were long and hard to pronounce. Carolus became a doctor and got tired of trying to figure out what plant to use for medicine (when another person suggested a plant, they wouldn't know what plant to use because there were multiple names to each plant) so he started his journey of giving plants (and animals) simplified scientific names. His hard work led to the Linnaean system which is the classification system still used today. Super interesting to read about and there was more biographical information at the back of the book about him and his studies. Alivia thought it was so neat that they used plants for medicine, as did I! 

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4th of July!!

4th of July this year was jam packed with swimming, relaxing, and fireworks fun. I ordered matching shirts, even for Eliyanah {before she was born}, from my favorite clothing company Royal & Reese! It was so fun to have them all be matchy-matchy! The kids swam at Grammy's pool and I enjoyed some vitamin D from the pool side with Eliyanah. Thankfully, Grammy doesn't mind taking the 3 older swimming by herself. After a sun-kissed good time at the pool, we came home and relaxed by watching the new Beauty and the Beast movie. The kids enjoyed a special movie time and they needed the down town. We went to Ben's work after the movie and dinner to watch the fireworks. I decided to get there early because Ben said people were showing up at 5pm and I didn't want to fight for a parking spot. We hung out for a few hours before the show since we got there so early at about 6:30pm. The kids played in the greens and got their face painted. Alivia and Nolan kept asking about the firework show and Graysen just loved being outside. At the time of the fireworks show, I ended up bringing Eliyanah in the car and waiting for the rest of the crew because I didn't want it to be too loud for her. She cried almost the whole show from the loud booms and just being plain tired and up past her bedtime. I found out that Graysen was scared and hid behind the blankets. He blamed Ben for being scared. He kept saying "scared, daddy" and pointing towards the sky. It may have been because we were at his work or because he was sitting in his lap; either way, it was pretty cute and funny! All of the kids were exhausted as they were entering the car and fell asleep on the way home. It will make for fun memories but it was a long day, and we will probably wait to watch fireworks again for a few years until the kids are older and can handle late nights better... the next day was rough! I was happy to celebrate our freedom and for the 4th of July celebration with family though. "For you have been called to live in freedom... Use your freedom to serve one another in love." -Galatians 5:13

Swimming at Grammy's pool with Grammy!
Pool side nap! 
Star braid hairdo! 
All the kids in their matching R&R t-shirts! 
Alivia's face paint!
Nolan's face paint (This red paint does not come off well, he has a red hair line and red hair even after a bath) 
The girls!
Cute as can be! 
The older kids sleeping soundly!
The younger kids sleeping soundly! 

June Family Pictures!!

We were blessed to win a mini-photo session before Eliyanah was born through a give-away online. The photographer allowed us to wait until after she was born so that we could have family pictures as a family of 6! We are so thrilled to have professional family pictures and to be able to hang some on wall. It was such a neat property to explore. We really enjoyed being out in nature as a family! The kids were rather silly for most of the session but we did get some awesome family pictures. I included some of the pictures she gave me! Here is her website, if your local to Colorado Springs and looking for a photographer!