Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Enjoying Apples + A Little Giveaway


It's that time of year again in New England (and much of the north) -- apple harvest time! As late summer takes on a distinct chill in the evening air, my kids start to think about fall delights. I have to admit that with our short summers, it's a bit disenchanting to start thinking about these things as early as my kids would like to, so I try to put them off until the appropriate time. If some of my kids had their way, we would decorate in autumn glory on September 1, but I stress the importance of waiting.

First, I want them to appreciate the seasons in the moment. Like I said, summer is particularly fleeting in New Hampshire (especially this year) and, though it's tempting to jump ahead to the next thing, we need to really relish and enjoy the gift that God has given us now to its fullest. (I admit, it's a little harder to do when spring is on the horizon after our typical long winters.)

Second, I realize that celebrating too soon sort of kills the event. You know what I mean -- how many of us cringe when we see Christmas decorations at WalMart before Halloween? How does it feel to open your birthday presents early? We don't want to be immune to those very special times . . .

I love what the Bible says, in Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." I always say that half the fun of any event is the anticipation of it, but in a timely manner. Nothing is more depressing than being sick of Christmas music by December 1.

These are some of our typical September rituals . . .

1. Celebrate Labor Day
2. Back to school
3. Celebrate September birthday
4. Do a homeschool study on fall events
5. Go to a County Fair
6. Celebrate first day of fall: decorate and make fall cupcakes. Start lighting candles every evening.
7. Go apple picking and take scenic drive

Though eager to get going on all these events, the kids really do appreciate the schedule and they appreciate the events more for their structure. I have read many times how important tradition is to children and you can bet that my children remember them ALL and will not let one pass by uncelebrated. We do change things up a bit in some years, depending on various factors, but we do not deviate very far from that schedule. I know that the children will continue these rituals with their own families.

So, we are up to step 4! In anticipation of our annual apple-picking excursion, I like to read some fun books about apples and Johnny Appleseed with the younger children. (But don't kid yourself -- my older children like to listen in, too!) I also add a lot of printouts, puzzles, and coloring pages for them to work on while I read out loud. I give them a notebook to keep them in as a neat Unit Study -- it's one of the times during our school day that the kids are eager to begin.

Here are a few examples of the books we read:

I particularly love The Life and Times of the Apple. Charles Micucci does an absolutely beautiful job with the artwork and the book is chocked full of information and history of apples in America (Did you know, for example, that only the crab apple is native to the United States?) He shows you various apple types, how they are grown, and even an "apple timeline." (Besides this wonderful book, he writes on other natural topics in the same delightful manner. Check him out on Amazon!)

We always read about John Chapman, AKA "Johnny Appleseed."

For kids who are a little older and reading independently:

This is also a good opportunity for me to pull out this gem:

Though not really scientific in nature, it is a beautifully explained practical example of the Holy Trinity. For example, the author explains that there are 3 parts to the apple -- the peel, the flesh, and the core. They are all different and unique, but they are still ALL APPLE.
(If you are interested in any of these books, you can find them on our "'Tis the Season" bookstore link on the sidebar.)

Like I said, I love to add activities and printouts to our study. I will post one link to get you started (I hate wading through dozens of links; it's overwhelming!), but if you want more options, do a Google search on "apples"; that will keep you busy for hours! ::grin:::

Now for some fun for YOU! In honor of this harvest season, I thought it would be fun to have a little DRAWING! I found these cute finger towels at Rite Aid. (Who knew?) It is a 2-pack; one towel is brown with a basket of red apples and the words, "Bushel and a Peck" stitched on it and the other is a matching white towel with brown spots. These are fun to put out in the fall, but also for anyone with an apple decor in their kitchen.

To enter, simply leave a comment telling us what your favorite season is and why. Please feel free to elaborate or just a quick sentence. We love to hear your stories and connect as much as possible! I'm sure others enjoy it, too.

On Monday at noon, we will draw a name using, so it will be completely free from human error. If your name is drawn, it will be announced and you can contact us with your mailing information. If we do not get a response within a week, we will re-do the drawing. Thanks and God bless you during this wonderful season!


Kaypt said...

I always have a hard time with choosing one season. I love them all but I chose autumn. I love the cool after the hot summer, the beautiful colors of the trees and Christmas is coming!!!!!

haffnewie said...

I too love all the seasons. I am so ready for the next one just before it comes around! But I think I look forward to fall and spring the most.
Fall brings me a cozy feeling - along with all my favorite smells. And Spring is fresh, breezy and so beautiful. I am so glad that God made more than one season for us to enjoy!!

Gretchen said...

I like Autumn a lot, because of the colors and the coolness after a hot humid summer; but I really like Spring best, the end of it when it gets warm, and the days are lengthening, and most of the flowers are blooming. The promise of Summer always seems better than the actual thing LOL.

Rightthinker-Andrea said...

It's also hard for me to choose. When we are blessed to live in an area that experiences all of them, fully, we get to take a little from each!

I would have to say Autumn, with Winter a close second. I go nuts when it's time to begin hibernating, and baking and the slow cooking soups and stews. Summer has the laid back laziness, and I'm a sucker for using the barbecue most days of the week. Spring is always much anticipated after a long cold winter...but pumpkin or apple is just such a blessing to a home!

I love this blog here! I can't wait for more. :) Have a blessed day ladies!

Andrew said...

Glad to see the group, I love the fall and think this site is great

Dauphyfan said...

I love the leisure of summertime. The sunshine brings a special glow to everyone and everything. It is the time of year that I can just be completely with my kids. I do love all of the seasons for very different reasons though. With the exception of school (which is a necessary evil for us all), I love all the wonder of autumn. The colorful leaves, trips to the pumpkin patch, the earthy tones, and crisp air of harvest time. Okay, I better stop before I start craving caramel apples.

musiclove84 said...

My favorite season is Autumn. I love the color change on the leaves & the first cool breezes after a hot summer. :)

I'm also a fan of Fall decor.

Platte Productions - Publishing said...

Aw man I think I just missed the noon deadline - good luck to the rest!

Kristin said...

Nope -- you just made it. :)