Cool Stuff I Like


August 5, 2011

Hello friends! I decided to begin a new feature every Friday where I share any cool stuff that has crossed my radar that I think should maybe also cross yours! What do you think, fun? I’ll also list my Cool Book Pick of the week!

- Cool thing #1: Julia’s Bookbag has a brand new Facebook page -- Come see us! (And ‘like’ us!)

- My lovely new friend Michelle from the adorable site If Toys Could Talk told me about the Most Awesome Thing ever – If your kids like audio books, you must check this out. Michelle said:
“There's a great site called Mouse Vinyl ( that boasts a huge catalog of old Disney See-Hear-Read style stories. All you have to do is browse the catalog, click on the link and you can listen to one of the old stories. My kids love listening to them - we don't even bother with the scanned pictures.”
(Michelle also has a second blog called Little Peanut -- She’s a busy lady!)

- Need a basic recipe for playdough because you lost your recipe like I did? Here you go.

- Want to see the cutest craft I’ve seen in awhile?

- My favorite online shop for cool kid stuff is NOT closing!

- These tents just made my week. So awesome.

- Cool Book of the Week: If Rocks Could Sing via Ohdeedoh.

Have a great, great weekend!


Clover Toy Store


August 3, 2011

I recently discovered Clover, a little gem of a toy store in Ballard, which is a picturesque neighborhood within Seattle. If you ever make it to Seattle, I highly encourage you to make a field trip to Ballard – great shops, great BOOKSTORES, an amazing Farmers’ Market that is open year round and considered to be one of the best in the nation.

Now, by now you all know I get pretty hyper about things I’m excited about. There was much jumping up and down, squealing and frenzied chatter emanating forth from me ALL AT THE SAME TIME when this store caught my eye. I pretty much screamed, “Andrew! (That’s my husband.) Watch Julia!” and then dashed inside at the speed of light. Or rather, the speed of Melissa. Which actually can be speedy when I see something extraordinary. Or a yummy treat. You get the gist.

I can’t believe I had never been to this store before. Imagine stumbling into a cute (Not scary.) attic which is somewhat dimly lit. You look around and discover that every nook and cranny is filled with the coolest and most delightful toys, games and books you have EVER SEEN. Yep, that is this store.

It’s the type of place that is so filled to the brim with amazing things that I had to seriously do some thinking as to what I was going to look at first. The picture above is their equivalent to Target’s dollar bin. Except this stuff was $3. And waaaaaaaay cooler. (No offense Target, you are still my favorite store.)

Look! It’s Feed the Kitty! We talked about that game not too long ago, remember? And check out this cookbook below – I almost never see this one actually in a store. Fanny is the real life daughter of food legend Alice Waters. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this cookbook for ages! I was too excited to get it though. I snapped a picture and dashed on.

How cool is that Birds of a Feather notecard set and the Make Your Own Comics to Go book? You can find them here and here.

If you’re local, you have to seek out this store. If you are visiting out of town, you should still seek out this store! I feel like there’s a bit of a theme running through this paragraph. . . .

I leave you today with this shot of Julia, rocking her cool unicorn glitter tattoo. Her spontaneous little groove dance was the icing on the cake of a Very Fun Outing.

(Actually, the start of this outing was to the Ballard Farmers’ Market. Julia complained and moaned the entire time. But after we saw the toy store, got a tattoo and an ice cream cone, much of the moaning/whining/complaining had ceased. Yahoo!)

Tiny Tot Tuesday: Graco Hearts Us!


August 2, 2011

Remember last week when I mentioned that the Land of Nod has a great blog called Honest to Nod? Well, it turns out that the Graco company has a blog as well. (You know Graco. They make baby. . . . everything!)

I have to admit that the way information passes on the internet is largely a huge mystery to me. And I must also admit that I had no idea that the Graco folks had a blog. But somehow they knew about us! You could have knocked me over with a feather when I discovered that Julia’s Bookbag was mentioned on the Graco blog, Heart to Heart, as being a helpful source when looking for great books for babies and toddlers!

You can check out the full article here.

Once I picked my jaw up off from the floor, I was able to respond to the question posed on the post as to which books one would consider a “must have” and “most loved”.

When it comes to toddler books, that one is an easy, no brainer for me. I’ll vote for Margaret Wise Brown’s ‘The Little Fur Family’ every time.

The story details a day in the life of a little Fur Child as he visits his grandpa, observes a fish, plays with a ball, kisses a tiny wee animal creature on its head and watches the sun go down, before running home for his supper and his bath. Simple and sweet, with the most charming illustrations by the legendary Garth Williams (‘Stuart Little’ and ‘Charlotte’s Web’).

I’m just going to put myself out there and say it. This is my favorite Kid Book of All Time. I have a great many favorites, for different age groups and whatnot, but this one, it tops my list. The art, the story, the feel of it – it just paints such a fantastic little world based around these creatures – I think it’s perfect.

Question. As much as I adore this book, I’m not sure what the Fur Child actually is. HE looks like a bear. The Mama kind of resembles a badger. The Daddy looks like a big, black, shaggy dog. So your guess is as good as mine as to what type of animal is at play here! I think we’re not supposed to know, thus the name “Little Fur Family”.

My favorite part is at the end, when the Little Fur Child is going to bed, and his Mama and Daddy sing to him.

“Sleep, sleep, our little fur child,

Out of the windiness,

Out of the wild.

Sleep warm in your fur

All night long,

In your little fur family.

This is a song.”

I’ve been reading this book to Julia since she was one and a half years old. We’re still reading it! Best book EVER.

Thanks again Graco for giving us the shout-out! This is going to teach me that all the bolding, underlining and italicizing I engage in all too often is really a Good Thing, despite my husband’s assertions to the contrary. (He calls it ‘internet shouting’. I call it emphasizing.)

(Image credit: Picture of baby reading a book ~ via

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