Sunday, October 18, 2015

Rump: Discussion Questions & Activity Ideas

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This past summer my daughter and I hosted a book club for a few girls (ages 8 & up) in our homeschool group. We started off with a list of around 50 books from which to choose. With a little help from girls in the group, we finally narrowed down our choices to 4 books: Rump: The True Story of Rumpelsiltskin, All-of-a-Kind Family, The Fairy's Mistake, and Remarkable.

The girls met twice a month during June and July, so they had about 2 weeks to read the assigned books before meeting for discussion and fun. :) (It also gave me time to read the books and make up questions!) We kicked off the book club with Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff.

Rump was by far my favorite book out of the 4 we read. Full of magic and everything fairy tale, it was fun following Rump on his quest to find his true name and his destiny right along with it.

Following are 21 discussion questions (no need to have a book club to answer them), and at the end you can click on a link (google doc) for a free printable version. After the questions, you'll find a link to an activity and some ideas for food fun.

Book Club Questions for
RUMP: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
By Liesl Shurtliff

1.  Rump is set in a magical kingdom where destiny is determined by a person’s name. How do you think names affect people? Do you think your life would be different if you had a different name?

2.  Share what’s special about your name (first and middle) or how your parents came up with it.

3.  Have you ever made fun of someone because of his/her name? Has anyone ever made fun of your name?

4.  Why do you think you should be careful to not to make fun of others?

5.  If you’re familiar with the original story of Rumpelstiltskin, can you think of some events or actions from that tale that are explained in Rump? What are some things Liesl Shurtliff changed in her story?

6.  Who is Red? What do we know about her? What do Rump and Red have in common? How are they different from each other?

7.  Who is your favorite character in the story? Why?

8.  Which character are you most like?

9.  What are pixies in this particular story? Are they helpful or harmful? Why?

10.  Try to name other fairy tales mentioned in the book. I think I counted at least 6.

11.  Rump wanted to see Kessler turn one thing into something else – remember that? (p. 31) If you could turn only one thing into something else, what would it be? Can you think of any instances in the Bible where one thing was turned into something else? (There’s more than one example!)

12.  Do you think Rump was greedy for wanting to spin straw into gold? Why or why not? Before Gran dies, where does she tell Rump to spin gold? (p. 61) What do you think she meant by that?

13.  Greed could be considered one of the themes in Rump – do you ever struggle with being greedy? How so? What does the Bible have to say about greed? (Verses to look up: 1 Timothy 6:6-9; Luke 12:15)

14.  Granny says to Rump, “Every strength can become a weakness.” What do you think she means? (p. 85)

15.  This book is full of magic, and it has serious consequences. What was the main consequence of Rump’s magic? (p.87) (p. 172-173 also explain consequences of magic further.)

16.  Would you be tempted to use magic even if you knew it was evil and could cause bad things to happen?

17.  What does “rumpel” mean? (p. 176)

18.  What does “stiltskin” mean? (p. 88)

19.  Hadel, one of the wool witches, says on p. 195, “When you get your wool tangled in a knot, only the tangler can get it untangled.” What does she mean by that?

 20.  A quote to love: “It’s the people who cause the trouble, Rump. Not the magic itself.” Do you like it? What does it mean to you?

21. Did you like the book? Why or why not?

* Note: depending on which Rump book you use, page numbers referred to in the questions may or may not match.

Rump is available on Amazon:


Activity ideas: 

1. Your Name Is Your Destiny Worksheet

Rumpelstiltskin is a fun, silly name. Not only that, it's also quite a mouthful! I had fun creating a simple name activity that all the girls enjoyed. Basically, you come up with a new name using your own first name spelled backwards and adding on a few things that pertain to you. Look below at the picture of the worksheet that I filled out to get a better understanding of what to do.

* I created this worksheet with girls in mind since it was for an all girls book club. If you want to use the activity for a boy, you will probably want to change the birthstone and tree/flower fill-in-the-blanks to something else. ;)

2. Read Rumpelstiltskin story based on original fairy tale

Online resources:

Grimm Brothers fairytale

Read-aloud story on YouTube

Animated fairytale on YouTube


Food Fun

I wanted to go with a straw-into-gold theme for the book club snack, so I chose veggie sticks (the yellow ones) and a can of shoestring potatoes to represent the straw and yellow cupcakes surrounded by gold coin chocolate candy to represent the gold. 

I wasn't sure which would work better, so I bought both veggie sticks and shoestring potatoes. If I did it again, I'd probably just go with 2-3 cans of shoestring potatoes.

Other ideas to represent gold: gumballs, lemon drops, butterscotch candies, Rolos, and really any type of yellow candy. For a healthy gold option, you could cut up fresh pineapple into bite-size chunks. Even though I think decorating with candy is so pretty, I didn't use it exclusively since it can get a bit pricey!

Gold candy options to check out on Amazon:

Quantity will depend on how high you want to pile your gold. I'm not linking to anything chocolate since it might melt in the mail! Check out party stores if you really want chocolate gold coins. :)

Amazon also has shoestring potatoes if you can't find them at your local store:

Quantity will depend on how high you want to pile your "straw."

The girls had fun discussing Rump questions and decorating folders to store all of their summer book club questions. 

Hope you enjoy Rump as much as we did!! Be sure to check out Liesl Shurtliff's latest book, Jack: The true story of Jack & The Beanstalk. My daughter finished reading it not too long ago. :)

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Friday, October 09, 2015

The Secret Garden: Cookbook & More

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My daughter recently finished reading The Secret Garden for homeschool because it's one of those classics every girl should read, right? I honestly can't remember if I ever read it as a girl, but somehow I am familiar with the story.

The Book

I found an irresistibly beautiful hardcover illustrated by Inga Moore at our local library. It truly made the story come alive. Unfortunately, this particular version is unavailable on Amazon right now. However, there is a different hardcover illustrated by Graham Rust if you want to check it out:


Besides having to write a short summary for each chapter and having to look up unfamiliar words, my daughter also had to answer a set of discussion questions I found online for free. For some reason, my printer only printed off page 10, so I didn't know there were other pages. :( Anyway, we only used the Topics for Discussion part.

One night we watched The Secret Garden movie which was really good. And we both love Professor McGonagall (The actress, Maggie Smith, who plays Mrs. Medlock).

Our favorite assignments by far were the cooking ones! I was so excited when I came across The Secret Garden Cookbook by Amy Cotler.

This cookbook is such a treasure that I am going to share a few more details about it with you. :)

This lovely hardcover contains lots of English recipes inspired by The Secret Garden novel. But, it's so much more than just a cookbook! Recipes are compiled according to 7 different categories:

  1. Yorkshire Breakfasts
  2. A Manor Lunch
  3. An English Tea
  4. The Kitchen Garden
  5. Dickon's Cottage Food
  6. A Taste of India
  7. Garden Picnics

Each category is described in detail before the recipes begin. Quotes from The Secret Garden, English fun facts, food tidbits, and more decorate every single page of this cookbook.

About half way through the book, my daughter chose to make a delicious cottage treat: Dough-Cakes with Brown Sugar. And tea to drink, of course!

Once my daughter finished the book, we decided to recreate a Yorkshire breakfast minus coddled eggs. I don't own custard cups or ramekins, but even if I did, this mama doesn't like runny yolks! We also substituted sausage links (bangers, according to the English) for the sausage cakes.

My daughter made the cheese muffins (biscuits) all by herself.

The hot cocoa was definitely homemade! So yummy that way.

Oh my. The Yorkshire breakfast was so filling. Soon after, my daughter and I headed to the park to walk it off. :)

Hopefully cooking up some English fare together made The Secret Garden unforgettable for my daughter! We still might make some more recipes just for fun.

Linked to Works for Me Wednesday, Hip Homeschool Hop, The Mommy Monday Blog Hop, Literacy Musing Mondays, The Art of Homemaking Mondays

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Monday, October 05, 2015

Muddy Buddies Without Peanut Butter

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These Mudddy Buddies (or Puppy Chow or whatever you may call it) went incredibly fast at my house! Replacing peanut butter with almond butter worked great. I had to use almond butter so one of my kids wouldn't be left out of this bowl full of crunchy, chocolatey yumminess. :)

See below for the super easy recipe and the kind of peanut free & gluten free almond butter I used to make this delicious treat.

Muddy Buddies Without Peanut Butter

You will need:

  • 9 cups rice cereal squares
  • 1/2 cup smooth and creamy almond butter
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
What you'll do:

Pour rice cereal into large bowl. Melt chocolate chips slowly in heavy sauce pan (what I did) or double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly. Add almond butter and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and pour over rice cereal. Stir with spatula until cereal is evenly coated. Put 1/2 of the mixture into a large zip-top plastic bag and add 1/2 of the powdered sugar. Seal bag, then shake it up until completely coated. Transfer Muddy Buddies to a pretty serving bowl. Repeat process with remaining cereal mixture and powdered sugar. 

Here's the almond butter I used to make the Muddy Buddies. It's made with blanched roasted almonds, organic cane sugar (3 grams per 2 Tbsp), palm fruit oil, and sea salt.

Barney Butter Smooth Almond Butter, 16-Ounce Jars (Pack of 3)

Can't find it at your store? You can order from Amazon and choose between a 16 oz or 10 oz 3-pack:

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!

*Affiliate links used in this post.

Linked to Try  A New Recipe Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays


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