Sunday, October 26, 2014

Appalachian Week: When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant

Last year, we studied one of my favorite picture books of all time: When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant. The text of this book is so beautiful and evocative of living in the Appalachian mountains and the gentle, watercolor illustrations are just lovely. 

We put together a special meal for this week. Ella had been learning to make hot cocoa from her Betty Crocker for Boys and Girls cookbook. Everyone agreed that she is now the Number 1 Hot Cocoa Maker in the House, and I was dethroned. I was happy to pass the torch. We also made my uncle's recipe for Prize-Winning Biscuits at the County Fair. We ate homemade apple butter and bread and butter pickles. The girls had canned the pickles with their dad earlier in the summer. While we ate, we read the book Appalachia: The Voice of Sleeping Birds by Cynthia Rylant with illustrations by Barry Moser.

One of our favorite parts of this week was setting up an old-fashioned general store just like in the book. We made a list of everything they sold and tried to collect it to sell in our store. For Christmas the year before, Brent and I had made the kids an old-fashioned general store as a special present. We found a small counter/ cupboard, painted it, and added a half-barrel planter to the front full of special beanbags we had sewn to look like bags of sugar and flour and fruit and candies. The store also included an old-fashioned metal cash register, plastic cast-iron kettles, tin canisters and amber-colored bottles with old-fashioned labels.
The girls dressed up in costume. One girl would come shopping with a basket and some play  money, make her order, and the other girl would weigh the items and ask for the cash. So much math all integrated into play.
The girls borrowed several of our canisters to make it look more realistic. Here Ella trying to calculate the weight of the popcorn.
A week of food and play and lots of learning about West Virginia. Such fun!

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