cool stuff i like


April 17, 2015

Happy Friday! Well, I was a little light on photo inspiration this week for today's post and I thought, you know, I'm just going to take a picture of the sink. And here's my sink. I didn't arrange it or move anything other than to rise off one blob of peanut butter. Our house is kind of a wreck right now, which usually freaks me out bigtime, but I'm strangely at peace about it, which is unusual for me! We just got done watching the series, 'The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt', which was adorable and cute and funny. It took me a few episodes to realize that each episode title had exclamation points, like 'Kimmy Rides a Bike!' or 'Kimmy Has a Birthday Party!'. I was amazed by this, because if I were writing a TV show, that's something I would totally do.

So today's list has exclamation points after everything, so that I can be just like the Kimmy show:

I want a pink bathroom!!

30 Minutes in the Life is a very cool new photography blog!

Donut muffins with cherry jam and scandi sugar!

I want to make these with the kiddo, sounds like an art project I can do!

Read this!


Julia is so excited about this show!

I'm obsessed too!

Remember this post from last year? Kate's work is EVERYWHERE now!!! Strong is the new pretty!

A 3D Suncatcher for kids!! This is so darling!!! And looks easy to do!

CRAZY excited for this movie!

Cool Book of the Week: Now I have to switch gears and get all serious. I've often wondered how I should profile 'Mandy' by Julie Andrews Edwards (yes that one). I'll probably do a standalone post about it as well, but after watching 'The Sound of Music' a few days ago with Julia for the first time, and because I re-read 'Mandy' every few years or so, I thought it was time to mention it on the blog. This sweet sweet sweet story. Easily one of the great favorites of my childhood. So quietly charming. They just don't make books this lovely anymore, I'm convinced. If you haven't read this story about a little orphan girl who discovers a lonely cottage and makes it her very own secret source of refuge and must seek this one out. It's the type of old fashioned book that speaks to your soul. I'm going to get a new copy for Julia soon because my own copy is so trashed! Best for ages 8-12.

Have a lovely weekend! The time has come for us to address the wreck of our neglected backyard but I'm not stressed about it. I'm actually looking forward to pulling weeds and getting things ready to plant. My mom gave me a butterfly garden seed mix for Easter and I'm telling you - the dump and grow lazy method of gardening is so perfect for me.


our yes day


April 16, 2015

Over spring break, we had a Yes Day. Or rather, the kiddo had a yes day. I had a day of saying yes. IT WAS VERY HARD FOR ME. I was always asking and second guessing her by saying, 'Are you sure about that? Is that really what you want to do? Are you sure you don't really want to do this instead?' My kiddo had to tell me to take a chill. That's also VERY HARD FOR ME.

Anyway, our yes day was very nice and I highly recommend them. As long as plane tickets or buying puppies or rodents aren't involved. Basically, as I suspected, what my kiddo really wanted was a day of my focused attention, and the emphasis was on fun activities she wanted to do with me, as opposed to me taking her to Target to Buy Stuff. (we did go to a local toystore to buy Something Very Small - it turned out to be this thinking putty in an extra small size, which apparently is all the rage amongst her 3rd grade class.)

I've successfully and totally brainwashed my child into thinking that there are only two fun places to eat out for lunch - either a tea shop or conveyer belt sushi. She chose sushi. ALWAYS A GOOD CHOICE.

When we came home, she wanted to make a recipe from this 'Ever After High - Royals and Rebels' activity book, I apologize for not showing off the cover.

It's a super fun book that J got for Christmas, full of activities, games, recipes, and there are also places to draw and create.  Makes for a great present; it's going to be my new go-to birthday present for girls in the 7-9 range. I was very impressed by the recipe section - we made apple cupcakes and they were REALLY GOOD -  the only thing I would change is to maybe use a cream cheese frosting instead of the buttercream called for. Or just sprinkle some powdered sugar on top. The apple cake base was so good, it could totally stand alone, I thought the frosting was a bit overkill.

But then again, if we had left out the frosting, we wouldn't have had our fun tint-the-frosting apple red project. Because they were supposed to be 'Ruby Red Apple Cupcakes'. As you can see, we had white, pink and a gross looking red. Hurray! I'm not sure how to make red frosting look attractive.

 A big highlight of Julia's day was pretend playing with stuffies. I won't bore you with the great and enduring love my kid has for her stuffed animals, but I want you to know that it IS GREAT AND ENDURING. I've never seen anyone love stuffed animals like she does. I start hyperventilating when each holiday rolls around, because I know a new stuffy is coming to live in our house and we are maxed out. HELP ME BREAK THE CYCLE. Maybe I should start paying her to donate some of them??

 Then we watched 'The Sound of Music' for the very first time! (for her) She loved it. OF COURSE. Who doesn't? (don't tell me if you don't.) Andrew has never seen it. And he told me he doesn't think Rodgers & Hammerstein is as good as Rodgers & Hart. It's at times like that, I begin looking around for some kind of striking implement.....

Our yes day was very fun and I was super excited when it was over. Because anytime the word "well..." or "what if...." or "i'm not sure..." came out of my mouth, my kiddo would spout "YOU HAVE TO SAY YES!" Oh the zeal and thrill she had about that one. I think she loved that idea more than anything else about yes day!

the story of the butterfly children


April 13, 2015

I've been meaning to write about 'The Story of the Butterfly Children' for ages! Only took me two years to get around to it.

Regular readers of the blog know already that I'm a huge fan of Sibylle von Olfers and also, Elsa Beskow, who had similarly themed and styled books - I just can't get enough of their art and sweetly old fashioned tales of elves, fairies, and other magical creatures hopping about in pastoral landscapes.

 "Every afternoon the chrysalids go to Madam Dragonfly's dancing school."

This sweet picture book is the perfect Springtime story. Tiny butterfly fairies and butterfly maidens fit and fly through spring gardens, tending to the flowers. The butterfly children have even tinier brothers and sisters, who sleep in little gossamer hammocks because they are wee little caterpillars. SO ADORABLE.

 The wee (that's going to be my go-to word for this post) chrysalids are so excited for the day when they finally get their wings, and can fly though the spring air.

At the end of the first day of spring, the new butterflies have an evening torchlight procession, there's a picture of it in the last photo of the post. Magical.

The story ends with the reminder that if you listen closely on the first day of Spring, you too might hear the revels of the butterfly children! I WANT TO HEAR THAT.

We also own 'The Story of the Snow Children', which is AMAZING, and I'd really love to have 'The Story of the Root Children' as well. You can check out more Sibylle goodness right here.

She was so beautiful! See below. Sibylle declined her many offers from admirers, choosing instead to join an order of nuns and teach art to local schools, while creating her children's books. Sadly, she died in her thirties from a lung infection. But she left an amazing legacy behind - Sibylle's books are the type that you keep forever and hand down to your grandchildren!

Sibylle's stories embody everything enchanted about the imagination of childhood. Her books are the reason that we will (should!) always have books - this kind of magic can't be replicated on a Kindle or some such other electronic device. These are books that you just want to pat lovingly, while holding them up to your cheek. THAT'S NOT STRANGE.

Sigh. But seriously. Such beauty! If you're looking for gift worthy books (I always am) for the preschool to kindergarten set, consider some of these old fashioned tales. You won't be sorry! You'll only be sorry to give them away and not keep them for yourself.

cool stuff i like


April 10, 2015

Happy Friday, my springtime fairies! I'm plumb worn out. Midway through the kiddo's spring break, I got a whopping sore throat, complete with some kind of red ickies plastered all over the back of my throat. But this time I wasn't taking it lying down, like I have with my last 4 colds. I took a whopping dose o' echinacea and zinc tablets right away, and I swear things improved within twelve hours. Call it placebo, call it nonsense (like Andrew does!), call it snake oil - all I know is that the last few times I've had colds, they've lasted for weeks on end, whereas when I hit it hard with echinacea early on, the whole affair is greatly diminished. We've had the most Do Nothing of spring breaks. Julia and I sat coloring for an afternoon. We also had a Say Yes day, more on that next week. It was really nice, we haven't one one time like that in ages.

Of course, spring breaks and colds didn't manage to keep me off the internet:

Living rooms for people who really love books.

The perfect spring salad.

7 rainy day games to play with your dog.

Really want to read this book when it comes out. (and you can read more about it here.)

Saw these Craftabelle kits last week and thought they had a very high level of charming!

Another spring cleaning guide. 

Check out this awesome lunch blog.

Wafer cookie fairy houses from Handmade Charlotte.

How to clean stuffed animals.

HA HA HA HA. Fairytale romance novels! I might have to read one of these, if only to horrify my husband with the covers, ha ha ha!

This sounds like it might be the perfect springtime dessert.

Cool Books of the Week: A blog reader just gave me the most amazing suggestion, after I asked in this post about more book ideas for my Egypt mythology loving child. And I'm FLOORED by how cool this series by R.L. LaFevers looks! Thank you Amy!! The books center around Theodosia (Theo) Throckmorton, daughter to an archeologist mother and a curator dad (of a London museum called the Museum of Legends and Antiquities). She's described as 'part Nancy Drew, part Indiana Jones'. AWESOME!!

Theo has the ability to see old curses and black magic that are still enshrouding the ancient artifacts warehoused in the museum, and she resorts to ancient Egyptian magic to remove the dark afflictions and protect the fab does this sound??? Best for ages 9-12.

Have a lovely weekend! I desperately want to spring clean my house. And I can guarantee you that it won't happen. Oh well. It's nice to have lofty goals for oneself.....


temple run


April 8, 2015

So I had this really lovely and lyrical book to show you all, and then my kiddo trotted off to the bookstore with Grandma while we were getting our taxes done. And she came home with 'Temple Run - Pyramid Peril' by Chase Wilder. She was HOPPING with glee.

"Mom look! It's a Temple Run book!" - (there's actually several of them)

For those of you who might be unaware, Temple Run is a video game that basically involves a character running down paths, roads, cliffs, more roads, more paths and whatnot, trying to evade whatever is in pursuit. The original game features a mad gorilla (or something), which chases your character. I really don't know much more about the game, except that my child has been obsessed with it for the past two years and plays it on my phone all the time. I'm a very involved parent. Right now she's way into the Temple Run - Oz version.

*update - my daughter read this post and said "they're not mad gorillas! they're demon monkeys - black bulky monkeys with monkey skulls for a head." OH I SEE.

I asked her what was so great about it and she gave me a very Andrew-esque answer: "I don't know. It's fun."

She was extra super delighted that the Temple Run book is one of those 'choose your own adventure' books, where you can read varying endings to your story if you choose certain twists and turns within the story path. I used to love those kinds of books! (Amazon lists these stories as being best for kids 8-12.)

What really slays me are the character names. The game is not so loosely based on 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' (which Julia is begging to see, and I'm like, um......maybe when you're 10??). There's a character named 'Montana Smith', which I think is hilarious. Get it? Indiana Jones? Montana Smith?? OH YEAH.

But my personal fave is the character named Guy Dangerous. I laugh every time I hear his name. There's also a dude named Zack Wonder, who always wears a football uniform.

So......happy spring?? Julia is way into this whole explorer, ancient Egypt mythology vibe right now. Am I missing a movie or show or book that would fit into this theme, other than 'Raiders'? I know I have a book pinned somewhere about some kids who go back in time to Egyptian days. I'll try and find it and put it on this week's Friday Cool Stuff list.

In the meantime, watch out for GUY DANGEROUS.

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