FIAR: Another Celebrated Dancing Bear

Last week we studied the book Another Celebrated Dancing Bear by Gladys Scheffrin-Falk.  I have said this before, but this was one of my favorites.  Perhaps it was because Lucas really enjoyed this one so much. 
The book is set in Russia about two bears, Max and Boris, who were the best of friends.  Max was a doctor in an animal hospital and Boris was a dancer in a traveling circus.  Max was a little envious of his friend because he got to travel many places and live an exciting life.  So, Boris taught Max how to be a dancer as well. 

We studied about Russia since the book is set there.  We watched several video tours of famous places in the country. 
Lucas called thought St. Basil's Cathedral looked like Candyland.  We tried this really neat paper craft, but it was a flop.  They don't always work out.  ☺

We also learned about animals from Russia and famous musicians.  We read about Tchaikovsky and listened to The Nutcracker.

The two friends in the book, Boris and Max, enjoyed tea and toast with strawberry preserves together.  Max would warm the tea on his samovar.  Unfortunately, I don't have one of those, but we looked them up and saw several photos.  The boys and I had a "tea party."  However, I didn't want it to be too girly for them.  They were excited about getting ready for it and planned helped set everything up.
The boys decided to have our tea party outside on the front porch. They set up the table and moved the chairs outside.  I picked some flowers from the yard and turned on some Tchaikovsky for background music to make it little fancier.
The tea set was borrowed from Mrs. Clarice Stewart, a dear lady in my church.  I don't have my own, even though I am sure I will have to get one because Lucas has requested another tea party.  ha

We had several of Lucas' "brother" join us.  His collection of stuffed animals is never too far away.  He has renamed a few of them Max and Boris like the characters in the book.  I had to fix some tea and toast for them to share.
The tea cups were very small so we had several refills.
When studying a country, I like to try at least one recipe for them to try.  I found a recipe for Beef Stroganoff that sounded like something they would actually eat.  It got approval from the entire family, which is rare.  It will definitely be a repeat recipe.  It was DELISH!

Russian Beef Stroganoff
2 lbs sirloin steak
1 tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning
⅛ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
⅛ tsp paprika
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1½ tbsp Soy Sauce
1½ cups water
1 large garlic clove, finely grated or pressed
1½ cups whipping Cream
2 Tbsp butter
1½ Tbsp all-purpose flour
Preheat the Oven to 350°F.
  1. Trim beef of excess fat and slice it into ½-inch strips.
  2. Fill a medium pot ⅔ with water and bring to a boil.
  3. Add beef and return to a boil. Boil until impurities rise to the top. Skim off impurities with a spoon.
  4. Remove from heat and rinse the beef in a colander.
  5. Place the beef in a dutch oven (for baking) or a regular pot with a tight fitting lid.
  6. Stir in Mrs. Dash, Pepper, Salt, Paprika, Olive Oil and Soy Sauce. Add 1 cup water. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes (at 350°F). Check meat after 1 hour – if the meat has absorbed most of the water, add another ½ cup water. (For stove-top cooking, put on tight fitting lid and cook over medium heat until meat is soft, occasionally stirring and checking the water level). There should be enough water to keep the meat moist – remember it’s not a soup.
  7. After the meat has been baking for 1 and ½ hours, remove from the oven and add the grated/pressed garlic.
  8. Stir in 1½ cups whipping cream.
  9. Melt butter, then blend flour into butter using a fork than add butter mixture to the pot and stir to combine.
  10. Bake an additional 25 minutes. Beef should be very tender and sauce should have a gravy texture. You can add more cream if it gets too thick.
recipe from natashaskitchen.com


We learned about matryoshka nesting dolls and read this book about them.

I ordered some to of our own to paint ourselves.  There were five in our set, one for each member of our family.  Each person painted their own, except Lane of course.
Landon's cracked me up.  He came home at lunch and painted his.  He was lucky though because his was larger.  The smaller ones were difficult to paint.
Lane's was tiny!
Signing his masterpiece.
We all have a new found respect and appreciation for matroyshka doll artists.

In the book, one friend bear teaches the other bear to dance.  I had an idea to do a little ballroom dancing class.  Kathryn Adcock did a marvelous job teaching the children!!  It was a fun afternoon watching them.  They actually did much better than I expected.
She taught the boys and girls separately at first.
Rob looks thrilled.
These two were ready for a dancing show!
After a little while, they added a twirl.

Logan and Ashlynn doing the twirl.
It was a fun afternoon!


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