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Little House on the Prairie Unit Study
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Chapter 4 : Christmas

In the winter the little log house was buried in snow. The snow was piled as high as Laura when Pa opened the door. Pa shoveled a path to the stalls where the horses and cows were kept.
 
Laura and Mary admired the bright clear sunny day from their window. The snow and icicles blanketed the landscape and glittered.
 
Pa's beard and mustache got frosty from the snow. The snow melted all over Laura when he came in from outside to give her a bear hug.
 
Every night Pa worked on his gift to Ma. It was a shelf that he carved many beautiful designs into. He carved holes in the shapes of windows, stars, crescent moons, circles, leaves, flowers, birds  and a flowering vine.  It was hung on the between the windows on the log wall. Ma put the china figurine of a woman she had on the shelf.  The figurine had a bonnet, curls, a fine dress with a pink apron, and gilt shoes.
 
Ma was busy cooking all kinds of things for the upcoming  holiday: salt-rising bread, rye'n'Injun bread, Swedish crackers, baked beans, salt pork, molasses, vinegar pies, dried apple pies, and cookies. The girls licked the cake batter off  the spoon.
 
Ma boiled molasses and sugar together one morning. The girls poured the syrup into a pan of  clean snow.  Then the syrup hardened into candy. They each ate one but had to save the rest  for later.
 
Aunt Eliza, Uncle Peter and cousins Peter, Alice and  Ella were coming to spend the holiday. They came the day before Christmas.  Their arrival was announced by the sound of sleigh bells.  They arrived in their  bobsled warmly covered by buffalo robes, blankets, coats, mufflers, veils and shawls.
 
Jack was excited to have more children to play with.
 
Then all the kids made 'pictures' in the snow by jumping off a tree stump and into the snow. They carefully crawled out to preserve the original marks they made in the snow.
 
That night the kids were so excited they couldn't sleep. They hung stockings, said prayers, and went to lay down for bed.  Peter slept in the trundle bed while all the girls slept on the  floor with all the warm things brought in from the bobsled.
 
While Laura was beginning to fall asleep she heard a story Uncle Peter told her parents about how their dog Prince saved Aunt Eliza from getting killed by a huge panther.  Then everyone  realized the kids weren't getting to sleep yet, so Pa played some songs on the fiddle:  Money Musk, The Red Heiffer, The  Devil's Dream, and Arkansas Traveler. 
 
In the morning the children received gifts of red mittens and  peppermint candy.  Laura also received a doll, which she shared with the other girls, but was glad to have back as soon as possible. Laura named her doll Charlotte.
 
Aunt Eliza gave Ma a red apple stuffed with cloves. Ma gave Anut Eliza a needle-book. Ma made pancake-men for breakfast. The kids sat on the floor looking at pictures in the Bible and in Pa's big green book about nature.
 
Everyone ate their fill at dinner and then it was time for the relatives to go home before it got too dark. They packed up the bobsled and heated up the flatirons, blankets and quilts before getting in the sled.  Then they headed home.  It was a happy holiday.