cool stuff i like


November 23, 2015

Happy......Monday? That felt weird to type!! If you recall, I posted a book last Friday, and today is Cool Stuff day because I won't be here the day after Thanksgiving. Because the second T-day is over, I'll be hauling out my Christmas deco. The kiddo (seen in a blur up above) is beyond excited because there might be a faint dusting of snow tomorrow, and even though the news is saying it's not supposed to be a snow "event" (snow around here is often an "event"), any snow would be exciting, since we didn't get ANY last year!

Fun things to look at online this week - I made it extra long to make up for this being the only post of the week:

I just got officially excited for this movie.

LOVE this faux stained glass ornament kit.

Be thankful, be useful.

I'm like a broken record about this, but Darcy always has the best, and simple to do, activities for her kids.

WHOA. This is a GREAT holiday gift guide!

5 Christmas books for kids.

A simple cold weather dinner recipe.

Super cute stocking stuffer idea.

Pumpkin pudding gingersnap pie.

Snippets of autumn.

Did anyone know that Anthropologie (oh Anthro...) had a blog???

My husband and I just began watching 'The Man in the High Castle' on Amazon, and it's RIVETING - (Andrew also owns the book, but says I can't read it until we've watched the show all the way though, because he knows otherwise I'll just peek at the back page and spoil things for myself).

Cool Book of the Week: Ooooooooh I saw this in a store last week and nearly passed out. Really, books have this effect on me. GORGEOUS. GIFT ALERT. Big and beautiful and stunning and SO cool - 'The Wonder Garden' by Jenny Broom and Kristjana S. Williams is a feast for the eyes that depicts five of Earth's most unique habitats (and the animals who live in them), such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Himalayas, the Black Forest and the Amazon Rainforest, as well as the Chihuahuan Desert. The art, the colors, the way the information is presented....just knocked me flat. If your child or someone else's child that you care about is a nature buff, do not let this one get away, it's just STUNNING. (Image credit below: Amazon)

Have a LOVELY weekend! I wish all the time that Thanksgiving just jumped ahead to the day after - when you can eat pie for breakfast and have turkey sandwiches for lunch and dinner. I wish for all those celebrating, and all those not - to have some time to sniff the pie and roses before holiday mania sets in.


wild child


November 20, 2015

Oooooh this book. 'Wild Child' by Lynn Plourde and Greg Couch is just so flipping beautiful I can't stand it. I don't really buy picture books anymore, since my child is almost ten, but I still buy them when the right one comes along. You know, for my future grandchildren. But it has to be soooooo special and soooooo beautiful for me to bring another picture book into the house. And this one is.

 The aaaaaaaaaarrrrrt. OMG the art. Like incredible paintings. The one below, you can't see the whole thing because I thought taking a picture of a SWEATER was more important than taking a photo of the entire picture apparently (#propstyling), but in the image below, Mother Earth is standing above her wild child, and her body sort of melts down into the hillside, and it's SO fantastic.

I wanted to show this one to you before we dive into the Christmas Craze around here - it's still autumn for another month, after all. And I had to share this beauty. The gist is that Mama Earth is having a hard time convincing her wild child (Autumn) to go to bed and take a nap. Autumn doesn't wanna. The wild child wants to have a snack (pumpkins and chestnuts!), have a song, get into pajamas (beautiful orange and red leaves), and receive a kiss from her mother before she finally settles down under a blanket of snow.

But poor mama......on the last page, another one of her children dances up to her, announcing that there's no sleeping for mama. Guess who it is - Winter! And I would very much love to see that book! I hope you guys know my drill by now - our tastes might diverge on what really stuns us, book-wise, but rest easy in the knowledge that at this point, I'm not going to put anything up here on the blog unless it's ridiculously beautiful, unique, or cool. This one fits all three of those checkpoints. I was so entranced I had to buy it, and I think I need to have the winter one as well.

(oh and for those who didn't see my comment on Facebook - a power outage put me behind on this post, which I really wanted to get up before Thanksgiving week - so my normal Friday Cool Stuff post will be up on Monday and then I'll be hanging out on Instagram for the rest of T-day week, so come visit over there!)

kabocha squash pie


November 16, 2015

I have a special November slash falltime slash Thanksgiving slash cozy weather treat for you today. It's been AGES since I posted a recipe, it seems like. It's been AGES since I've created a real, proper blog post! It's also been.....months since I created a post with photos that came from something besides my cameraphone. So let's all revel and enjoy my industry, because it might be another 6 months before it happens again. Grab some tea and let's talk about PIE.

This pie was a series of firsts for me. My first squash pie. My first time roasting an entire squash. I've never made a pumpkin-pie-from-scratch before in my life. And I'm not sure I've ever eaten more than one bite of a squash pie that was not pumpkin. And up until fairly recently, I'd NEVER heard of kabocha squash. I'm still not sure what it is. But I bought one, and cooked it, and scraped all the squash out and everything and I had a Very Big Proud of myself. I felt so very much like all Laura Ingalls Wilder-y.

(oh and if you're intimidated about roasting an entire squash, don't be. it was easy and fun. i did have help from my husband in the cutting, but really it was simple, and my 3 lb squash did yield nearly exactly the 2 and a half cups called for after it was baked.)

The recipe came from a cookbook I checked out from the library, and I've really been enjoying this one - 'Canal House Cooks Everyday'. This pie was in the November section (the book is organized into recipes by month), and so this is the right time to be making this pie, although you wouldn't be going awry if you made it in September or October or January.

So let's talk about this pie.

It was......MYSTERIOUS. And tricky. Did you know that a pie could be these things? I didn't. It was also surprising. Basically it was a tricky minx of a pie. It was all pretty easy and straightforward to put together and the texture came out great, and la la la, I was so happy I made my first squash pie, and we ate some of it not long after it came out of the oven. And it was......interesting. Me, and Andrew, and Andrew's brother, and Julia, and her friend - we all sat around and tried the pie right out of the oven. The reason for all the.....'interesting', was that the recipe contains a great deal of a spice called mace, which comes from the outer casing of a nutmeg. And um, that mace was pretty powerful right out of the starting gate. It was a lovely pie, with such a nice texture, but wow, that mace.

It kinda reached up and slapped you across the face.

Andrew loved it though, because he said it didn't taste like your average pumpkin pie. And Julia's friend ate two slices in a row. I liked it a lot but I was a little baffled by ALL THAT MACE. I didn't know quite what I thought, but it was just a little too....not what I was used to (Trader Joe's pumpkin pie thanks very much).

So into the refrigerator it went. I was a little bummed that my first squash pie was kinda weird.

And then I pulled it out the next day, after it had sat in the fridge for nearly 24 hours and cut myself a slice. WHAT A REVELATION. It was.....MAGICAL. All that mace.....had MELLOWED into this intriguing, subtle, mysterious and sophisticated flavor. Can a pie be all of those things? YES IT CAN, and this was. The mace had blended in nicely with the ginger and the cinnamon, and I really couldn't stop eating it.

You know how cookbooks are always yammering on about cooking stews and things and letting them sit for the flavors to meld together? This is what needed to happen here. Make this pie, and make it a day before you want it. And make some whipped cream, or coconut whipped cream, because that really puts it over the top. This pie was so cool! If you want something this holiday season that kind of tastes like a dessert from some delightful artisanal bakery, this is what you need to try. And because I have run out of word space and #lazy, I'm going to direct your attention HERE for the recipe, already written out. Try it! And let me know what you think!

cool stuff i like


November 13, 2015

Happy friday, friends! Look at this lovely cake - I was two bites in before I realized I had to be one of 'those people' who need to photograph their food all the time. Got it at lunch with a darling friend who took me to a place that had amazing chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Just incredible. We cut one slice in half, and each ate half of our half, that's how big it was! So that's today's Happy Thing. A less happy thing is that I've been dealing with a really painful bladder condition, (awesome and bizarre thing to read about on a book blog, right?) and the kiddo has developed some kinda big food intolerances of which we were totally unaware, and a beloved extended family member is battling incurable cancer. It's been hard to deal with all of these things as once, which is why my presence here has been so few and far between. Soooooooo......I'm trying to stay as up as I can when I can, and be grateful for things like cake, and watching 'The Muppets' and 'The Voice' with my daughter (our new favorite show), and ordering treats like this for our Christmas tree.

Online goodies this week:

I'm going to make this for holiday presents! (and hopefully leave the staples out. I made granola as a gift for Andrew a couple of yrs ago and he found a staple in his bag of granola and thought maybe I was trying to kill him. I was not.)

I mention them every year, but have you ever seen Mariebelle hot chocolates and teas? Gorgeous, if you're looking for a lovely gift for someone this holiday season.

Check out this VERY COOL Kickstarter Math Kit for kids!

Fabulous home tour, and scroll down to the end - THAT SOFA. I really think I would live on that sofa if it were mine. My sofas are so blah. I'd love to throw all caution to the wind and go wild with a print like this!

A whole lot of Star Wars games and toys from my pal Erica.

Candles, candles, candles for the darker days.

I'd love a copy of this book!

5 food lessons learned from children's literature.

This post was a lovely read, looks like a great recipe, and I loved the photos.

Cool Book of the Week: 'A Tower of Giraffes' by Anna Wright just looks stunning. A gorgeous collection of animal collage art, along with the interesting words by which certain groups of animals are identified, like 'a romp of otters' or 'a drove of pigs'. The animal sketches and the fabrics used to color them are totally unique and so beautiful! One of those 'gift-worthy' books.

Have a lovely weekend! As always, if there's something cool that you're reading, eating or watching, I'd love to know about it!! Julia wants to start decorating for Christmas, but I think we need to at least wait for Thanksgiving weekend. xo


cool stuff i like


November 6, 2015

Happy Friday! Took this in my backyard - the fall color this year has been really pretty grand. How's the time change treating you? I hate it, as per usual, and I haven't been feeling well and not my normal cheerful self - but then I went over to a friend's house and she had a little black pot filled with some water and orange peels and a cinnamon stick and I felt a surge of happy gratitude. I think I'm going to try, this November, to put things on my Instagram for which I'm grateful. It'll be a nice photo project for the month!

Just in case you missed - the NY Times 2015's best illustrated children's books.

You have to see these images! Mid-autumn lantern festival.

And.....the NY Times weighs in on which pie pan to use.

The other letter. Some friends put this on FB and we all had a collective 'wow' moment!

This is my whole life's ambition.


This is on my Pinterest, and I may have posted it before, but this idea is really so cool and clever.

An autumn landscape. 

A granny-chic bohemian Christmas.

My friend Katie has designed some DARLING holiday card templates!

Cool Book of the Week: 'The Whisper' by Pamela Zagarenski just looks GORGEOUS, doesn't it? And the premise is as intriguing as the art - a little girl brings a book home only to discover that most of the words have slipped out, leaving just the pictures - so she has to imagine what the stories might be. And so can the reader!

Have a lovely weekend! Do you have plans? Mine involve putting away the Halloween decorations and trying to decide if I want to decorate with anything else fall-like before December.


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