Friday, September 5, 2014

A Pair of Red Clogs

Our first row of second grade was A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno (and illustrated by Kazue Mizumura).  Amazon's synopsis of this book reads, "A child's delight in a new pair of shoes is the same all over the world, whether the shoes are patent-leather sandals, straw alpargatas, deerskin moccasins, or wooden clogs.  For Mako, a little Japanese girl, the new shoes were clogs painted with red lacquer that shone beautifully. This is the story of what happened after she cracked the new clogs playing the weather-telling game and so longed for a bright, shiny new pair to replace them that she almost did a dishonest thing."  Maggie enjoyed this read a lot.
 Once we read the book, it was time to talk about Japan -- its geography and culture.  We located it on the globe ...
... then completed our story disk for this book and placed it on our world map.
Next, we completed the "Where in the World ... Is Japan?" and "Flag of Japan" foldables from   (These will be placed in a lapbook of Japan that we are making throughout the week.)
 We started our study of the culture of Japan with plenty of great reads, including My Japan by Etsuko Watanabe ...
... Japan: The Culture by Bobbie Kalman ...
... Japan: A Question and Answer Book by Michael Burgan ...
 ... Look What Came From Japan by Miles Harvey ...
... Foods of Japan by Barbara Sheen ...
... Food and Recipes of Japan by Theresa M. Beatty ...
... and Country Topics: Japan by Richard and Sheila Tames.
For a little treat after our reading, we tried this Botan Rice Candy, from Japan, that we picked up at World Market.
Ready to try it!
 Yum!  It wasn't bad.  It was a little strange that the inside paper dissolved in your mouth (it was rice paper), but the candy itself was like a fruity gummy and it tasted good.
After our taste testing, we colored the Japan coloring fact sheet out of our Dover Around the World Coloring Book by Winky Adam.  (We will be using this a lot this year.)
Looks great, Mags!  (This will be added to our lapbook, too.)
Next, we put the "Festival Kimono" (with the red clogs!) on this little Japanese girl in our Dover Aiko from Japan: Sticker Paper Doll book.  We learned about the Shichi-go-san Festival, which celebrates children that are three, five, and seven years old.  (Maggie was thrilled to know that because she is seven, she would be honored if she were in Japan!)  We discussed how Aiko is probably dressed for this festival.
We then put the outfits on the Japanese bride and groom in our Usborne Sticker Dolly Dressing: Around the World sticker book.
I had a dear friend who was Japanese, and she brought me back some treasures from one of her trips to Japan.  Here, Maggie is wearing the kimono I received and holding two of my Kokeshi dolls.  (I love these little dolls.)
After that, it was time to try our hand at some origami.  We decided to make a boshi (also "bachi," a helmet that the Samurai warriors would have worn).
Maggie's first origami masterpiece!
Using the "My Origami" pocket from, we were able to put our origami in our Japan lapbook!
Then, we read some stories popular in Japan -- The Story of Cherry the Pig by Utako Yamada ...
... and Singing Shijimi Clams by Naomi Kojima.
After our stories, we put together the Japanese paper lantern we found at
 For dinner after that first night, we made "Ebi to yasai no iritamago" ("scrambled egg with shrimp and vegetables") out of Country Topics: Japan by Richard and Sheila Tames.  (This is a picture of that same recipe.  If you click on the photo, you can see it much larger and will be able to read the directions.)
Looks like ingredients for Japanese food!  :)
Of course, we ate at the coffee table, on cushions, with chopsticks, like every proper Japanese person would!
The food was great!
And we served it with Japanese green tea!
Deciding that two chopsticks were too hard (I wasn't surprised), she decided stabbing with one might work better!
It did!  :)
So good!
On Day 2, we enjoyed some candy sushi for a snack, the idea for which I got at, using Rice Krispies treats, Swedish fish, and Fruit Roll-ups!  I think they turned out great!
 On Day 3 of this row, our homeschooling co-op did a country study on Japan.  (Yes, I planned the reading of this book around this event!)  This was our souvenirs table.
 These are my warrior puppets I brought to share.
We also learned how to count to ten in Japanese!
 And we learned more about Japanese tea!
Every time we have a country study with our group, we have a potluck with food from that country.  We always have quite a spread!
We had sushi rolls ...
... Okonomiyaki ...
... Yakisoba ...
... Yakitori (one of our contributions) ...
 ... Teriyaki Beef  ...
... mini pizzas to look like the Japanese flag ...
... Japanese candies -- Satsumaimo Caramels and Lychee Gummy Candy (another of our contributions) ...
 ... and a cake to look like the Japanese flag!
 It was a feast!
 Ready to eat!
 Once home from our co-op and heavy lunch, we delved into the art of this book.  First, we talked about action and expression in figures.  Using the stick figures template in the Appendix of our FIAR manual, she traced them onto tracing paper ...
 ... then found the figures in the book that matched the stick version.  She loved this activity!
 Next, we did the fan craft we found at  She was very proud of her work!
Our last craft was one we found at, using a large piece of white paper, black paint, water, a paintbrush, glue, a straw, and pink tissue paper.  First, we added water to the paint to make it runny.  Second, we painted a large branch onto our paper.
 Next, using our straw, we blew onto the paint, making our large branch river into smaller branches.
 The effect was cool.
 Once dry, we added bits of tissue paper to our branch with our glue.
 The end result was really great!
 On Day 4 of this read, I attempted to make the cute peanut butter and jelly sushi rolls I had been seeing float around on Pinterest (original source unknown).  Well, I'll just let you scroll to the next picture to see mine ...
Have you seen those Pinterest "Nailed it!" photos?  Haha!  I think this would apply!  They turned out NOTHING like the model.  Oh well. 
 She was still happy!  :)
 Finally for this read, we finished putting together our lapbook for Japan.
 Looks great, Mags!
We loved this read!  Next?  Grandfather's Journey!


  1. Well, I tried to leave a comment and I think I goofed something up, so please pardon me if this comes through as a double post.

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Maggie is a beautiful little girl, and you two clearly have a LOT of fun together! We are using Five In A Row for first grade this year, and your wonderful blog has been a blessing to me in my planning. This is our 15th year to homeschool, but my other three children are much older, so I feel vey privileged to be doing this highly creative and super fun curriculum this year. You and I have very similar tastes and interests, because so many of your projects and ideas are right up my alley!!

    Thanks for taking the time to share your homeschool journey, and to be such an inspiration to others. We have done three books so far...Night of the Moonjellies, Madeline, and The Rag Coat. (My son finally found "fruit by the foot" candies for me last night, so I can make Emma a colorful coat on a piece of toast today.) Have a great time this week with Grandfather's Journey. Up next for us is Papa Piccolo, and I'm off to gather ingredients for our homemade pizza bar tomorrow night.

    On my "to do" list is launching a new blog so that I can keep a separate record of our FIAR journeys. We are having so much fun...I want to remember these sweet and precious days!

    Blessed Week!

    1. Wow, Brooke, thank you for those kind words! I am really glad that you have enjoyed my posts. There are days when I just wonder if I'm wasting time blogging, but it's comments like these that give me speed again. Thank you.

      Yes, we LOVE Five in a Row! This is our second year rowing and we plan to complete all of the books through Volume 3 this year. If you do end up blogging, please send me a link so I can use you for my planning, too! We still have yet to row Madeline or Papa Piccolo, so I'd love to see what you have done! I have no idea whether or not Maggie will grow up to homeschool her own child(ren), but I know this ... I am saving the entire curriculum and all the books for her in the case that she does! It is fantastic!

      Thanks again for checking in with us! I hope to chat with you again soon!

      Rachel :)

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.