Utah and Nevada books

What do these states have in common?  Well, not much aside from both being lots of dry desert to my mind.  As to the reality of that, who knows.   But that’s how they are in my mind.  I have a lot of theories that don’t have much to do with reality.

The stars (to my mind):
The Wheat Doll– a cute story about loss and getting back.  The girl in this book loves her doll, but is forced to leave it behind when there is a bad storm.  She goes back to find it, but is unable to.  At the end there’s a fun surprise twist that we all enjoyed.

Snowshoe Thompson–  Cute story about a boy who’s father is on the other side of the mountains in Nevada, and how he’s sad because the mail can’t go through.  Snowshoe Thompson offers to cross the mountains and make sure the mail gets through.  I had visions of all sorts of cute activities to do with this, but I could just imagine how it would end, and we don’t need another ER visit, nor do I need to give my kids ideas about playing on the stairs.

Trout, Trout, Trout– cute rhyming book.

Coolies– I wrote about this earlier, but I thought it was a good way to talk about the railroad and the workers.  I will admit the kids weren’t as excited about this as I was, except the part where Iron Man came down and rescued the workers.  Recently in our house Iron Man has been involved in a lot of historical things I never knew he did.

Books we’re indifferent on:
Sierra– It’s a poem.  I’m not a big poem fan to start off, and then it’s rather long.  We didn’t really finish it.  I did figure out that I need to introduce the kids to more poetry, sigh, poor me.  Okay, I do like some poems, but not most.  I’m a horrible example.

stART: something about stars, I can’t remember right now

It’s one of THOSE days.  You know where somebody, and I’m not naming names but they’re about 3 feet high, zapped my brain.

So, we read this awesome book about the Navajo and how the stars were placed in the sky.  Hopefully by the end of this post I’ll remember the name.  Well, it seemed perfect for a craft I’d been thinking about.

Supplies: black or blue construction paper (I cut it into fourths and let them have fun with that much, fits better in the lapbook); those foil stars (you know, the GOLD star for being good)


1.  And only step.  Let your kids have a blast putting on star stickers however they like.


Princess’ summary of story: The coyote threw the stars away, while the woman was trying to put them in the sky.
Finally found the book:

I love this book, it’s probably my favorite of the different ones from this region.

To see more great book activities head on over to
A Mommy’s Adventures.  Sigh, I always have this problem with the button, it keeps making the next few sentences after it a link, I don’t know the details of why, now you know my secret reason for having it at the bottom.

And, I’ve decided to make a category called dinner time crafts.  To my mind these are crafts you can set your kids doing and not have to supervise.

stART: Cactus Hotel

I can’t remember if anyone else has done this, but we read Cactus Hotel last week.  It’s a great nonfiction story of how a cactus is a home to many creatures in the desert.  The kids loved reading it and we talked a lot about the different animals.  I had all sorts of ideas about how I could make this into a complicated project, but then I finally realized go for simple, and you get it done.

Supplies: card stock (just to make sure the paper is sturdy enough, you could use copy paper); sand paper, crayons; glue, scissors, print out (below)
cactus hotel.doc
(anyone know how to do those cool little mini pictures that Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations does?)

0111.  Cut cardstock in half (not necessary, but that’s the size we wanted).
2.  Cut out a cactus shape from the sandpaper.

3.  Color the cactus with crayon (it makes a cool texture).


4.  Start cutting out pictures galore.  Seriously, you haven’t seen the finished product yet.  They went nuts with the pictures.


5.  Glue like it’s about to go out of style.  Have you noticed the 20 cent bottles of glue right now?  Now you know why I buy them like a crazy woman.

023 019 020 021 022
Honest it takes two pages of pictures to cover up half a page of artwork.  Right?

Can you guess which one is mine?

In order: Batman, Princess, mine, Princess (her second), Superman (he drew in a second cactus).

We had a blast doing this, and it’s going in the lapbook for four states (all of them desert states).

Head on over to
A Mommy’s Adventures to see what other story related projects people are doing.