Monday, 7 December 2015



The Place Under the Pine was bustling with activity this weekend - Christmas inspired activity.
It was the second biggest (or maybe third biggest, depending on who you ask) event of the Holiday Season - Putting up the Christmas Tree!!!

For many reasons, from cost to bendability, the PUTP uses an artificial tree. The 'construction' of the tree is an activity everyone participates in.
Lifelike branches are sorted.

Once the tree is assembled and strung with lights the glass balls come out. A nice base layer of green, pink, clear...almost every colour...fragile (very fragile) glass balls are placed strategically on the tree.

Lolli is almost as tall as the tree!

Sometimes the inevitable happens...little hands drop balls.

Action shot!


Xmas-tree-decorating-with-three-year-olds-tip#53 : Place something soft under the tree. A cushion made of a thick felt tree skirt will ensure glass balls do not break when they fall from a height of around three feet. Help your child learn that glass balls can be their Christmas tree decorating friend.

Bodies of older siblings will also work.

Me? Again? I did it last year!
 After the appropriate number of balls were put in the tree, a photo op was taken.

Photo contains: Sad puppy, middle child, and ?

 Next, giant plastic bins filled with ornaments were cracked open. With an overabundance of d├ęcor Jen took control and prevented mass chaos. With her in charge, distributing ONE ornament at a time, the decorating process ran smoothly.
With the classic Christmas songs playing in the background, the tree was filled with memories. It seems each ornament has a story - some dating back to Christmas '79. Every bough was weighted down with some trinket. Lolli focused on getting the top branches, Elliott the middle, and Oskie...well, he focused on one branch and one branch only.



With the Christmas tree comes the annual advent calendar. This beauty has 24 little pockets each holding a hand crafted felt ornament to be hung above. Every day brings a surprise (what ornament are we getting today? Is it the pink fish!?) and every decoration brings us one day closer to the big event!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015



Reading is a major pastime for the citizens of the Place Under The Pine. Bookshelves overflowing with books are found in every room of the house - even in the closets of some rooms (see picture below).
One young citizen is caught hiding in the closet reading Sandra Boynton!
It is a common (and heartwarming) sight to find our emerging readers practicing their new found skills by reading to their younger (illiterate) siblings.

Reading has always been a part of the PUTP daily life, but, the weekly page counts vary up and down depending on many factors - time, outside commitments, current book choice, etc.
Recently, reading time has been fairly high, and one reason may be the current book choices - strangely, all dog related books.
Here is run down of the tail waggin' books.
Toddler aged reading - Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey
This book is popular with the 2 to 3 year old crowd right now (even though it is well past Halloween). Possibly because the protagonist is a wiener dog AND his name is Oscar. Also, this book is written by Dav Pilkey, whom you may recall as the author of the extremely popular Captain Underpants series (which is the number 1 requested book series by six year old boys in the PUTP - see review). Pilkey is good at writing for kids, and that's a fact.
Six year old reading - Ribsy - Beverly Cleary
Ribsy is Henry Huggins dog - Henry is part of the Ramona series (which is another extremely popular series in the PUTP). Ribsy is a dog on the loose. He finds himself lost and has many misadventures as he tries to find his way home. There is just enough humour and just enough action to keep the six year old in your house asking for 'just one more chapter, please'.

Another novel full of doggie misadventures. Mowat's writing is full of exaggerated tales that are humorous and heartwarming. This is Farley's account of his childhood dog named Mutt, and as the title suggests he was a dog that did not want to be a dog - it seemed he wanted to be more human than animal. This classic novel, written in the late 50s, is full of old sayings and Canadiana culture of the time - which is a great thing for a young Canadian reader...and even for the older one who is actually reading the story out loud.

All of these canine centred stories have sparked some heavy ready lately, which is saying a lot about these books. The PUTP is not a haven for the dog lover, in fact, some citizens openly admit to despising dogs (or most dogs), books based on dogs have to be very, very, good books to be read in the PUTP.

Happy Reading.