cool stuff i like


July 29, 2016

Happy Friday! We went blueberry picking with some friends, and picked ourselves about 10 pounds of blueberries. Our friends picked nearly twenty pounds! It was a lovely day and not too insanely hot. I told Julia she couldn't wear a tank top because I didn't want to deal with all that sunscreening, and when her pals showed up in tank tops, guess who was in biiiiiig trouble? (me) Cough. But now we're set with at least two pies worth, a crisp, two batches of muffins at least, blueberry pancake material AND extra for eating plain. We are SET for blueberries.

Julia just told me about jelly flower lipsticks. Also, my kid is now telling me about new cool stuff online. WOW.

10 Wallpapers for Children's Bedrooms.

'Gilmore Girls' has a premiere date!

Korean skincare products for tweens.

Jeska has a ton of garden and floral goodness happening on her blog right now.

These tacos.

A cozy London apartment.

A darling friend says that 'Moon Over Manifest' is an amazing book for tweens, older elementary.

Speaking of cool stuff lists, I love these lists!

Cool Book of the Week: 'Fanny in France' by culinary legend Alice Waters is coming this autumn and I can't wait to see it in person! I'm a huge Alice Waters fan, I own several of her cookbooks and I adored her first storybook/cookbook for children, 'Fanny at Chez Panisse', which was based on her daughter's experiences growing up around Alice's famous Chez Panisse restaurant. In this newest book, Fanny goes to France, and learns about French cuisine, and has adventures in Bordeaux, Provence and the Pyrenees mountains. (Sheep! Making cheese! Feeding nine people with one chicken!) The art is the same charming style and I might be thinking hard about this one as a holiday gift next Christmas for Julia, who is loving all things cooking-related these days.

Have a lovely weekend! I have a photo session with two toddler girls this weekend, wish me luck! And then Julia is going to make a blueberry pie from our aforementioned blueberry haul. Oh guess what - you know how for years I've been harping on cleaning my garage? Maybe you recall. WE CLEANED IT. It's not totally done, but it's 90%. I'm so delighted! It actually finally happened. I'm now waiting to win the lottery because of all the awesome energy clearing and good feng shui vibes that can now flow through my garage. I told Andrew, that after marrying him and having Julia, this cleaning of the garage has made me almost as happy as those things. Yup!


scandinavian christmas


July 25, 2016

Welcome to Christmas in July! 'Scandinavian Christmas' by Trine Hahnemann is just the thing to get your inner Scandi-loving Christmas vibe on - SIX MONTHS EARLY. Are you thinking yet about holiday gifts? It's not too soon! Don't wait until December! Too stressful! I've been giving great thought to what kind of homemade holiday presents Julia and I can come up with this year. (which is funny because of course all of the grandparents will get what they always get - photos. but maybe I can come up with something else to throw in the mix.)

Friends who read this blog regularly know that I'm just a tiny obsessed with all things Scandi. So when I got this book at an after Christmas sale last holiday season, it was a happy day indeed. Let's peek further, shall we?

The book is divided into charming sections - Christmas Baking, Gifts from the Kitchen (hey!), Advent: A Whole Month of Christmas, Christmas Party, The Christmas Feast and Christmas Day Smorgasbord.

I LOVE the baking chapter and all the info about Advent because I love love love Advent - one year we had three or maybe four Advent calendars going at the same time and I realized that I had maybe gone a wee bit TOO FAR with my Advent love.

Look at the picture, do you see the Christmas Porridge? I am SO making that. Do you see the "Nisse" (elf) cake? Do you know the Scandinavian tradition involving house elves who leave gifts and protect the home, if they are properly fed with OATMEAL? Did you know that oatmeal is one of my favorite foods in the whole world? Not sure if you knew that. I love love love oatmeal. I'm constantly trying to feed it to my family, and no one loves it as much as I do. I would even go so far as to say that my husband has a downright disdain for oatmeal.

I love the idea of celebrating Christmas as a month long celebration - all of December filled with the making of treats and decorating and lighting candles and good smells and the notion of doing something 'hygge' ( it basically means COZY!) everyday. I think when I was young, it was just mostly about Christmas day in our house. I like that feeling of excitement to be stretched out all month long, and I think the Scandinavians understand that fully. December 1 and we hit the ground running.

The only thing that keeps this book from being Mary Poppins-practically-perfect-in-every-way is I wish there would have been a craft section (I'm interested to see if my library has this book) - whereas this beauty is all about the food. WHICH IS FINE. I can't wait to make Honey Layer Cake with Orange Mousse and Spiced Christmas Cake and Frosted Almond Heart cookies.

Are you thinking about the holidays yet? Do you leave porridge out for house elves? Is the temperature in the 90's where you live? Even if it is, it's never too early to think about Christmas! Say it loud and proud.

cool stuff i like


July 15, 2016

Happy Friday! A little late. My kiddo just wrapped up a camp and now we have about a month before the next one. I'm sitting here on Friday night, wondering what to write, looking out my window at some pinky purple clouds, as birds fly off to wherever they like to go at night. I'm afraid to go on Facebook or look at the news for what I might see next that's tragic or maddening or anxiety provoking. Instead I'll just look out the window. Reading this blog. Wanting to read this book, which was suggested by a lovely blog reader. About to order a new copy of 'Anne of Green Gables' for Julia, I can't wait until Christmas (I've long since lost my old paperback copy) and I'm so excited I can't handle it. I've been waiting and waiting - you'll be able to feel my tears when I write a blog post about it - what I'm agonizing over is...which edition should I get? This, this, or this? Or this? Or this set? This post has a few more options as well. HELP ME.

Things I found this week that didn't make me sad:

What a cool girl.

This makes me miss Hawaii. Mango Bread.

"The golden rule is that emotions are never the enemy, even when they are exaggerated."

Love this series so much! Fascinating.

11 Summer Berry Desserts.

Would you try this technique? (welcome to my new obsession - Japanese/Korean skincare) 

Hey you astronomy buffs - this is very neato.

So excited for this show. (Winona forever!)

New decorating tricks from IKEA.

Cool Book of the Week: The most darling board book, and it's HUGE! 'Giant Seek and Find' by Benjamin Becue, Didier Balicevic and Annabelle Mege. It just came out this past spring and it's so much fun. I flipped through it in a shop and the only reason I didn't get it for my pre-K aged nephew was because I ended up getting him a little mini robot that moves around with a remote control. I knew he'd love the robot more than a book. BUT! It's HUGE, like the title says, and it's more than gift worthy and would also be intensely fun to throw in the car for summer road trips. I loooooove the art. Julia adored seek and find books when she was younger, actually she still does! If you have a kiddo who loves that sort of thing, this one is a stunner.

Have a lovely weekend! We are cleaning the garage. I've been saying this for SIX YEARS. Actually I've been saying it since we moved into our house. I'm telling you, this will happen my friends. This garage will be clean! Or no one in this house will have any fun ever again, ha ha ha.


cozy mysteries


July 12, 2016

Hellooooooooo my friends! Did you think you'd never hear from me again? I have to tell you, I was kind of afraid I wouldn't be able to blog again. I have several posts in various stages of completion and I was just like....4th of going to you know where in a handbasket.....tired....why do i blog again?? But as always, there's inspiration to be found if you look, and I found it on one of my MOST favorite of blogs, Posie Gets Cozy. In this post, Alicia threw out a request asking for "cozy mysteries" and by gum, her blog readers rose to the occasion. I read every comment and realized that 1) there was much goodness to be had in all of the book suggestions and 2) I now needed to round up a great many of the books and compile them here!

Also - COZY MYSTERIES? Is this really a thing? Howwwww was I unaware that this was a genre??  Let's take a peek at what I've collected. Thank you Posie readers!

 Ok so I'm not historically much of a mystery fan, but there are a few on this list that I've been eyeballing for years and well my lovelies, if you throw the word COZY on pretty much anything, I'm ALL IN.

I've had my eye on Alexander McCall Smith's 'The Sunday Philosophy Club' for awhile, but I kept forgetting about it. Now that I have my list here, I SHAN'T forget. This is the first in the Isobel Dalhousie series, and they are supposed to be awesomely delightful. The titles of the other books are all fabulous-sounding. ('The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds' and 'The Careful Use of Compliments' anyone?) A lady-philosopher-investigator in Edinburgh. Sure why not?

'Aunt Dimity's Death' by Nancy Atherton has a ghost in the story. I don't know what else it's about, but I'm all for ghosts. A fairy tale and a mystery AND a ghost story! I think I need to read this one first. Oh and there's a secret hiding among old letters on an English country estate. yesyesyes.

'The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie' by Alan Bradley is the first of the Flavia de Luce mysteries, that I guess were begun as YA fiction? Flavia is "an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison". THAT SOUNDS AWESOME. The series begins with Flavia as an 11 year old science prodigy - who finds a dead body in the cucumber patch outside of her bedroom window. She has a bicycle named Gladys and two sisters named Ophelia and Daphne. I think Julia might like this soon! This whole series seems darling.

Mannnnnnny of the blog comments on the Posie post mentioned the Agatha Raisin books, and the series begins with 'Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death'. HA HA HA, that's quite the title, yes? Agatha is a sharp tongued middle aged woman living in the Cotswolds, who has a hard time fitting in socially. Apparently these books are considered quintessential "cozy mystery" reading, so I think if we're going to jump into this genre, we need to have these books by M.C. Beaton at the top of the list.

Stephanie Barron's 'Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor: Being the First Jane Austen Mystery' has a mouthful of a title, but I'm a-gonna start with this one because hello, JANE AUSTEN as sleuth? A mystery about some "unpleasantness"? Alrighty. There's a whole slew of these books and they're supposedly a ton of fun.

'A Moment of Silence' by Anna Dean has a lovely cover, WHICH ALWAYS WINS ME OVER, is yet another one set in England (always a bonus for me) and features a Miss Dido Kent attempting to assist her niece, whose fiance has just run off under strange circumstances. (are there any other kind??) There's also a dead woman found in the shrubbery. HOW ANNOYING, dead bodies in the shrubbery! Who in Bellfield Hall is of suspicious character? Apparently everyone.

OH Laura Childs. I've been meaning to read her Tea Shop Mysteries forrrrrrevvvvvverrrrr. I mean seriously - these books were probably written just for me, correct? 'Death by Darjeeling' is the initial offerng in this mega series and my BFF Amazon says this first outing is a "blend of cozy fun and clever plotting". And there are recipes included! In this book, the victim is poisoned by a cup of tea. HOW DASTARDLY. Supposedly the series takes you into the world of tea specialists, (cool!) and into the life of one Theodosia Browning, who owns the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina. She has a little dog named Earl Grey! Ok seriously. How cute does all of this sound? (cuuuuuuuute!)

'Her Royal Spyness' by Rhys Bowen features a heroine who is 34th in line for the throne (we're back in Great Britain), and has the best name: Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie. There's a French rogue, a Scottish castle, a murder, and 1930's England. Oh and an Irish lord. That's enough to get me to read it.

Alright alright alright..... - to quote Matthew McConaughey. Am I the last one to know about this Cozy Mystery biz? If I am the last one to know, I'm totes blaming you guys for not letting me know HA HA HA HA. But seriously. Should I jump into cozy mysteries and toss all my paranormal teen romance YA books (another genre of which I was unaware for years and I was OUTRAGED that this genre didn't exist when I was a teen)??

(this post contains affiliate links. a crazy insane amount of affiliate links. please appreciate the effort here, peeps.)

cool stuff i like


July 1, 2016

Happy Friday! June went by like a supernova on steroids, didn't it? I've already made most of my summer standbys - blackberry cobbler, tomato pie, blueberry muffins with blueberries the size of large marbles. I'm going to have to think of new things to make. Oh I'm going to make this breakfast smoothie, from a very cool new-to-me Instagram account. I haven't made a summer bucket list, but as always, my dream of camping that is actually fun looms large on my wish list. I also want to see STARS. Beautiful star gazing is high on my summer wish list. And I want to find a really stellar new something to read - I'm at a loss. If you have something amazing to let me know about, please share.....

Fun things:

Homemade Pocky. You can bet your bottom dollar this will be a summer activity for us.


Love love love these photos!

How cute is this little 'Totoro' set?

15 cures for summer boredom.

Loved this post. Oh my word, 6 months until Christmas? Julia and I were discussing this - there are things we want to harvest from our yard to utilize in holiday presents...:)

The cycle of life in a garden.

'Game of Thrones' season 7 predictions.

Raspberry Snitter. (coolest name ever!)

Julia is OBSESSED with this show.

Cool Book of the Week'Alistair Grim's Oddaquaticum' by Gregory Funaro. This is actually the second in a series (the first one you can see here) - that combines steampunk Victorian elements with King Arthur and a search for Avalon, along with an orphan boy and his friend Alistair Grim, an amazing inventor. The story throws mystery, Dickens-esque elements, and faerie magic all into the mix. I'm totallllllllly going to find these for Julia. Best for ages 8-12.

Have a lovely weekend and a Happy 4th of July! We'll be at home making sure our house doesn't serve as a landing ground for the Very Enormous fireworks that our neighborhood likes to set off  30 feet away from our residence. Yay?? I'll be back to see you lovelies next week.


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