Archives for November 2015

When Jessie Came Across the Sea

Author:  Amy Hest
Illustrator:  P.J. Lynch


Thanksgiving – a holiday with a wealth of tradition.  Perhaps most important is our desire as families to gather together.  Food and frivolity abound.  But for many in the world, these traditions are only a luxury.

In a poor Eastern European village, thirteen-year-old Jessie, a Jewish orphan, is separated from her precious grandmother and sent to America to live with an Aunt. Finding her world completely changed,  she now earns money by sewing lace as her grandmother taught her.  She thinks of her grandmother often and carefully saves her hard-earned coins from sewing lace to  send for her grandmother’s passage to America.


It’s every family’s desire – to gather together.  That is something for which to be truly thankful.

P.J. Lynch’s watercolor paintings are absolutely beautiful and a perfect accompaniment to the story. Each page captures the drama of the immigrant experience as well as the emotions this little girl is feeling.  You will be captivated.

Mary Byrne Kline

Here’s a reading of this book so you can hear the contents before purchasing the book.


Storybox: Being Grateful for a Person, Place, & Thing

LOVE LOVE LOVE how this Fireflies Verbal Comm idea turned out!
This idea began with the purchase of Rory’s Story Cubes which I love with two exceptions: size and images.   Wanting  a larger size for little hands and the ability to control the story prompts (images), I decided to create my own.

While visiting our local Michael’s store (a must when I begin brainstorming), I found a bin of  2 1/2 inch wooden disks for 29 cents.

Next, I picked up some paint and a few other supplies and headed home to begin this project – The Fireflies’ “Tell Me a Story” Box: Person, Place, & Thing.

Keeping in mind that we are creating these verbal comm projects for young children, I decided to use three colors to distinguish between nouns [person, place, & things].   The idea is for children to pick up one of each stack and create a story using all three.   Depending on the age of your child, you might use these as simple image recognition circles, vocabulary identification prompts, and/or story starters.   For older children, add a color and introduce verbs (action words).   Obviously this verbal comm project is flexible and will accommodate all developmental stages and communication skills standards.

The Process

1.  Paint your wooden circles.

2.  Print out 3 inch square images of family members on regular paper or card stock and affix them to one side of the circles using Mod Podge (I seriously love this stuff…)  If you have never used it before, apply some to the back of your image and press it firmly onto your wooden disk, smoothing out any bubbles.  Wait about 20 minutes until basically dry and then apply a top coat to your image.  Mod Podge will dry completely clear.

Crop each image to a 3″ X 3″square and print out.
Cut your images into circles.
With a paint brush apply Mod Podge to back of images
and press firmly onto wooden circles working out any air bubbles.
Brush Mod Podge on top of image after waiting about 20 minutes.

3.  Identify nouns with your child during a conversation about gratitude.  “I am thankful for…(name some people, places, & things).”  I am thankful for my family, for my home, and for books, flowers, etc.    Encourage your child to come up with their own list and take pictures so that their story starters are customized to your family and personal to your child.

4.  Place the finished Person, Place, & Things Circles in your “Tell Me a Story” Box and begin creating family stories.  Turn the disks over and have your child select at least one from each category.  Remember that the stories can make sense or be totally fanciful.  Also, they do not need to end cleanly – just have fun creating a situation, a moment, something that might happen in a complete story.  The creative communication process is what really matters.  Don’t forget to keep a journal nearby and document your original family stories.  (Oh, and Mom and Dad must take a turn creating their own stories too!)

We hope you will enjoy being together as a family “chasing fireflies” while creating memories and stories with your Fireflies’ Person, Place, & Thing Storybox!

Create a Fireflies’ “Tell Me a Story” Box, LINK.

Don’t miss our next “Tell Me a Story” Box Idea

Deni Corbett

T is for Thanksgiving

Welcome to Fireflies Presents…

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It is my hope that the ideas we share will be the spark that motivates you to intentionally celebrate your family; your children.  These memories are designed to be created in your family room, around a puppet theater, with the smell of fresh popcorn wafting from the kitchen.  Mary’s first show was outside in a local park.   She strung the Fireflies’ puppet theatre between two trees and Fireflies Presents became a Kline Thanksgiving tradition.

The Kline Thanksgiving Show

The Kline Family Thanksgiving Show

We have selected the content for Fireflies Presents to work with one or more children between the ages of 3 – 6.   However, you can easily use the script with children of  all ages.  Simply have an older child or an adult, stand beside the puppet theatre and read the script.   There is a lot of parent involvement and very little preparation or practice needed on the part of the child(ren).   We kept it simple…promise!  Our goal is to inspire you to establish a new family tradition – a legacy moment.

What is a Fireflies Presents Family Night?

Fireflies Presents celebrates the imagination and creativity of what it means to be a child and it begins with a theme and a ticket.
This month the theme is thankfulness:  “T is for Thanksgiving”.
1.     Select an evening for family and friends to gather and pass out the provided tickets as a reminder.  Perhaps this is the entertainment before or after your family Thanksgiving dinner.   Create your program (also provided) if you want to pass out a personalized program at the door.  (May I be so bold as to say, you DO want them – they will be a forever reminder of the evening complete with autographs!)   Simply download the template and fill in your actors’ names and the specifics of your Fireflies Presents evening.  Next, make your popcorn cones, practice once or twice and you are ready for your show.
Making our popcorn cones.

Making our popcorn cones.

photo (53) Puppets?  Check!  Let the show begin…

On the evening of Fireflies Presents…

2.     Children collect the tickets at the front door. Watch your child’s face light up as they realize they are a part of something very special; something that requires a real ticket!


3.     Every person attending is then given a program & popcorn cone filled with hot salted popcorn.   You may want to keep a large refill bowl nearby so that guests can refill as needed.

Even the actors get free popcorn BEFORE the show! Is this a great country or what?

Even the actors get free popcorn BEFORE the show! Is this a great country or what?

4.     Guests take their seats in chairs that are lined up in front of a doorway that holds the Fireflies Presents puppet theater.  (or in front of a box with a tablecloth draped over it…)

Some of the guests can barely contain their excitement!

Some of the guests can barely contain their excitement!

5.     SHOWTIME!
Fireflies Presents…  “T is for Thanksgiving” We have created a simple script for you to follow – nothing to memorize unless you have older children who are able and willing.  Mainly an adult or older child reads the script while the child manipulates the puppets.  Or perhaps there are puppets to go along with a family sing-a-long!   Please feel free to pick and choose – make it uniquely yours based on the make-up of your family.

"Welcome to the show. We hope you like it and come back soon."

“Welcome to the show. We hope you like it and come back soon.”

We’ve provided family sing-a-long sheets.  Print out one for each guest and hand them  out (before or after you pass out the popcorn…)   Remember, the popcorn is essential to a successful evening according to my 3 – 9 year old littles.   It doesn’t really matter what else happens, as long as there is popcorn.




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Storytime as part of the show? Why not?  Especially if the storyteller is Daddy!

6.     Applause and Autographs!  Even if your child can only make a mark for their signature, ask for their autograph.  Imagine how special that “mark” will be in 20 years.

Your autograph, please!

Your autograph, please!

7.     Reception
Serve refreshments that correspond with the theme of the evening.  Yep, we’ve even supplied the recipes.  If you are following our posts, you will find them there [Apron Adventures].  Below is a picture of the boys making acorns – Rachel’s clever Thanksgiving treat.


Making our “Apron Adventures” acorns before the show.


Or maybe just the beginning of a tradition of
family Fireflies’ Presents evenings at your home.

We encourage you to create a legacy moments with your children this Thanksgiving!
Here is all you need!

Adorable Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving Puppets

T is for Thanksgiving SCRIPT

Our sincere desire is to create moments where your family connects and creates a moment; a legacy moment – one that you will remember for years to come.   In 20 years(?) when you see your children replicating these experiences with their children, you will realize that you did indeed create significant legacy moments as a family.

Deni Corbett

Check out our TPT store for more scripts & puppets – more opportunities for legacy moments in your home!

Click HERE

Over the River…

Every child should be familiar with this poem/song.   Will your family be enjoying  “white and drifted snow” for Thanksgiving?


“Over The River And Through The Woods” by Joseph Holodook

 Over the River and Through the Wood is a Thanksgiving poem
by Lydia Maria Child originally published in Flowers for Children, Volume 2. 

Over the River and Through the Wood

Over the river and through the wood
To Grandfather’s house we go.
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood —
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground
Like a hunting hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river and through the wood,
And straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go
Extremely slow —
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood —
Now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurray for the pumpkin pie!

Here is my favorite version of Lydia Maria Child’s poem for you to add to your home library collection.   A perfect book to share Thanksgiving Eve.