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The Hundred Dresses dinner menu from ChefSarahElizabeth.com

Our Family Dinner Book Club selection for the month of November is The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. Here you’ll find a menu that can be prepared with the help of your children, and will hopefully be a fun and interactive activity for the whole family, along with some easy crafts. Head over to Growing Book by Book for some talking points to get the conversation started, and an idea for a family service project. We invite you to share a picture from your dinner with us anytime during the month on our Family Dinner Book Club Facebook page.

Wanda Petronski is a little different than the other kids at school. Her name is more difficult to pronounce, she has an accent, she lives in the un-desirable part of town, and she always wears the same blue dress. In an effort to fit in, she tells the other girls at school that she has 100 dresses all lined up in her closet. The other girls begin to “have fun” with her by asking her for more details about her hundred dresses, but they do so in a teasing manner. When Wanda moves away, the other girls begin to realize the way they treated Wanda wasn’t the kindest. They learn a few lessons along the way and end up with a sweet gift from Wanda, who so badly wanted to be friends with them that she tried even after she was gone.

The Hundred Dresses
Family Dinner Book Club
Menu

Potato Pierogis
Wild Mushroom Soup
Kielbasa with Cabbage
Green Beans
Sauerkraut
Cucumber Salad

Kids In The Kitchen!
Kids can help mix together the pierogi filling, fill the pierogi, and fold over the dough to form half moon shapes. Snapping the ends off green beans is a great kitchen activity for kids, too! Have the kids set the table with their homemade crafts and all the dishes.

As soon as I finished reading this book myself, I read it to Abby and Katie. It was the perfect time to introduce this concept of teasing and bullying, as well as sitting by and doing nothing. Just a few weeks ago, Abby, our second grader, was telling us a story about a kid at school who is mean and how people are mean back to him. This led to her also telling us about how one of her friends tries to make her be mean to other kids. We had a long discussion with both girls about bullying and also about how we are all responsible for our own actions. We talked about how it can be easy to go along with our friends even when we don’t think what they’re dong is okay and thought of ideas to help ourselves and others.

Reading this book together was a wonderful follow up to that discussion and got the girls thinking about teasing in a different way. After each chapter we would talk about what just happened and how we would feel if we were the characters in the book.

The Hundred Dresses craft from ChefSarahElizabeth.com

One of our craft ideas was to make anti-bullying bracelets. We each thought of ways that we could prevent bullying, or ways we could become friends with new kids in class, or kids who are different from us. We wrote our ideas on craft paper and wrapped them around our wrists so that the words would be a reminder to us to treat others kindly. As I was writing the words I thought these would also make great napkin rings, and the words we chose would be a great conversation starter at the dinner table.

Here are the ideas we came up with
Say Something: If you see kids being mean to other kids, make sure you say something to the kids that are being mean or to a teacher or parent. You can also say something nice to the kid that is being bullied.
Stand Up: This goes along with the “say something”. Remember to stand up for kids that have a hard time standing up for themselves.
Teach Each Other: When you meet someone who is different from yourself, you can teach each other things. Like a game they play with their family, a word from their language, or a toy that is special to them.
Include, Play Together, Share: These all have similar themes. Include everyone in the games you’re playing, or think of a game everyone can join. Share the ball or jump rope or your time with the other kids on the playground.
Walk Together: If you notice that someone walks to school alone, or walks to the lunch tables alone, join them and walk together.
Talk Nicely: Pay attention to the words and tone you’re using and remember to talk nicely to others.

The Hundred Dresses craft from ChefSarahElizabeth.com

We drew our own dresses and hung them up on our art wall which is in our dining room so we can look at art while we eat meals. Abby included a self portrait, and Katie drew a picture of a building like Wanda did in her letter. Before I hung these on the wall, Katie took the stack of drawings and made up her own story about each picture.

Another craft we used to decorate our table is called Gwiazdy. It is a Polish paper craft similar to the snowflakes we make during winter. I used this tutorial. I took the same folding technique and make a heart wreath, too. Have some fun with these and come up with all sorts of patterns!

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