Summertime Chickens

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August 31, 2011

I’ll explain that, I promise. But first, more from our attempts to hunt down summer during our trip to the lake, where we tried to swim, splash and sunscreen the water into submission. (Not that it was acting up in the first place, mind you. It’s a nice lake.)




There’s nothing quite like finding your own little log. Can you believe how clear the water is?




More self portraiture. I think we’re getting quite good at it! I managed to get both our heads in the frame. That nugget eluded me for a very long time.

So I found one other book besides ‘Patrick’, that I couldn’t leave behind in the store. It’s about a Very Special Chicken. The bulk of our books come from the library and we have so many in our collection already, so I try to refrain from buying more books to live with us unless they are really unique. This one is.


I just adore the message set out in ‘Henrietta and the Golden Eggs’, which is humorously told without being preachy.

It’s about following your dream. (Even if that dream seems impossible for a chicken, like flying, singing and laying golden eggs.) It’s about ignoring the haters. It’s about refusing to give up, even if life is lived in a crowded chicken farm of “Three thousand three hundred and thirty-three chickens.” And it’s about how one individual can really make a positive difference in the lives of others. Spoiler alert: Hurray for free-range chicken farming!


This book is way cool my friends, both the story and the black and white illustrations. I want to turn my backyard into a free-range chicken run now. I wonder what the Sally Sparkles and Rosebud would think about that?




Patrick, A Teddy Bear's Picnic

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August 30, 2011


A Liberty-print shirt paired with a citrus laden hat? On me that would look crazy, on the kiddo it looks crazy fabulous, don’t you think? Why can’t grown-ups get away with this kind of thing?

I’ve got a few more highlights from our trip to a local lake to share, along with an Incredibly Darling Book. My kiddo has taken to carrying it around with her wherever she goes!

I can’t accept that summer is on its way OUT. I’ve seen a few leaves changing color in my yard. Summer just got here for us! I’ll have to console myself by looking over our vacation pix. . . note that the citrus hat stays firmly on the child's head pretty much the entire time, she loves her hat. I’ve successfully passed on the Wear A Crazy Hat at All Times gene.



Found a great bookstore near the lake area where we were! Whoever stocks it has great book taste, I always find cool and unusual stories when I go. I walked in and saw ‘Patrick in A Teddy Bear's Picnic and Other Stories’, by Geoffrey Hayes. It’s been on my radar for ages and I pounced/snatched/grabbed it the second I saw it.



This is a lilting summer breeze of a book, written in a comic book style. The sweetness of the story and the world depicted reminds me of the vibe in ‘Little Fur Family’. I know I throw around the words “delightful” and “charming” around a lot, but let me tell you – you’ll be hard pressed to find a more delightful and charming book anywhere.

Patrick goes about doing Small But Important Things – planning a picnic with his Mama, buying cookies from the store, squirming his way out of napping, and both avoiding and standing up to the neighborhood mean kid. And he does it all with an exuberant bounce that jumps off the page.


My daughter has rarely taken to a book the way she has with this one. She adores Patrick! And, the vocabulary is just at the right level for her as she is beginning to read.

Do your kids have a Most Favorite Book that they just can’t put down?




Bubble Homes and Fish Farts

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August 29, 2011

Yes, you heard right. We’re exploring fishy flatulence today. And I have to warn you, there are more tooty tales coming later in the week. Could you expect anything less from the chick who put her kiddo’s picture of a bunny sitting on a toilet on the internet? But first, here are some bubblelicious photos from our recent excursion to Lake Chelan, which is about a 3 hour drive to Eastern Washington from where we are.

We had to flee east over the mountains to chase down some sunny summer weather. It seriously only became what I would consider warm in the Seattle area about two weeks or so ago. (Um excuse me, weather? That’s lame FYI.) Everyone is referring to this year’s summer as the Summer that Came at the End of Summer. How ironic. I’m not so fond of irony, I’ve decided.

(Speaking of weather, I hope all you East Coasters are safe and ok. . .)





Lakes in the summertime. The best! The kidlet swims, and swims, and swims some more. “Mama! Watch me! Are you watching me? Everyone! Watch me! Are you ALL watching? Watch this!” Now imagine that with each new trick she performs, that phrase in its entirety is repeated. She likes to do a lot of tricks. So therefore we heard that same phrase about 200 times a day.

(Have I mentioned that I love my daughter with all of my being? But oh how she loves to talk. Every minute of every day while she’s awake. People never believe me, and then they hang with her and are like, Is she always this chatty? Oh yessy yes yes!)

So now, before you get all up in my grill about the flatulence thing, (Oh wait until you see the story that’s coming in a couple days. Giggle.) let me say that this book is educational. And informative!


See? Doesn’t this look like a nice book?

“Bubbles are soft and squishy and full of air. They shimmer. They float. And they are very handy. Animals make bubbles, ride bubbles, breathe bubbles, and even live in bubbles. Animals use bubbles in amazing ways.”


‘Bubble Homes and Fish Farts’ tells ya ALL about the different ways aquatic creatures use bubbles. What’s awesome about this book is that the info is presented in an approachable, easy-to-understand way so that a 5 year old can appreciate it.

It also lays out some really cool and interesting factoids that older kids are going to be very stoked about getting into their fact-gathering brains. Do you know much about Weddell Seals? Snapping Shrimp? Pearl Gourami? Your kids will after this book!

You gotta read it to find out which creatures make fish farts. (Oh ok. Herrings.) And now you know where my humor level arrested.




Cool Stuff I Like

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August 25, 2011




My daughter’s colorful room makes me happy. Seeing the contents of her little girl jewelry box dumped on the floor makes me happy. Her curtains from Ikea make me happy. Her neon pink accessories make me happy as well!

- Speaking of Ikea, this ‘Enchanted Tales’ art is fantastic.

- And speaking of colorful, this puzzle from Anthropologie is lovely and amazing and wouldn’t it be the BEST gift?

- These backpacks are very weird and very cool.

- Cool Book Pick of the Week: ‘Moomin’s Birthday Button’ by Tove Jansson, is so cool that it’s not available yet. December! I’m pre-ordering now! And I am WAY MORE EXCITED than usual about this! I’ve got a Moomin project coming up in the not-too-distant future, stay tuned. I got wind of this newest release of a Moomin book over at the site, Children's Books for Grown-ups.

- This news about Dr. Seuss, via Vintage Kid Books My Kid Loves, blew my mind to pieces.

- Remember the Gruffalo lunchbox from my lunchbox post? Well you might need some Gruffalo band-aids as well. So here you go.

HAVE A GRAND LATE SUMMER WEEKEND!!

~Melissa




Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids

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Lunchcook

I have to say that I’m very atwitter (I do believe that’s a word I have only said out loud and never written down. It looks very strange.) about Julia entering kindergarten – she’s going to need snacks and a lunch sent with her everyday.

So I’ve been trying to up my lunchbox food making aptitude and find some fun, new ideas instead of the standard sandwich-and-an-apple fare. (That’s a good lunch, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like my lunchtime offerings were/are getting a bit tired.)

I was happy-happy when I came across ‘Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids’, by Amanda Grant, awhile back. The book has cool recipes that I haven’t really seen over and over. The offerings include ‘Sandwiches’, ‘One-Pot Salads’, ‘Hot Food’, ‘Savories’, ‘Snacks’, ‘Something Sweet’, as well as tips on packaging and menu planning. And the food styling is great!

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I’m planning on making these treats for Julia’s lunch bag:

Muesli Cookies

Muesli is a good mix of carbohydrates (oats), protein (nuts), and vitamins (dried fruit), and tastes great in these sweet cookies.

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups muesli
  • 1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large cookie sheets, greased

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter and honey in a saucepan, then remove from the heat.
  3. Put the muesli, flour, and sugar into a large bowl and then add the butter mixture. Mix well.
  4. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture, spaced apart, onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Remove from the oven, lift them off the cookie sheets, and let cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 20.

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I don’t have ‘Lunch Boxes and Snacks’, by Annabel Karmel, but I have some of her other food-for-kids cookbooks and I’m a huge fan. I raved about her on last week’s Cool Stuff list. She knows how to make food fun, YUMMY, and appealing to children.

Lunchcook1

I also recently found great lunchbox inspiration over at the site Anotherlunch.com.

Lunchcook2

The creator’s name behind all these bento box style lunches is Melissa, so you just know she’s got loads of cool stuff on her site! AM I RIGHT?? Tee hee.

I'm way into the whole bento concept lately. . . it all looks so darn cute! And compartmentalized! I want to make these lunches for Julia. Note the little bento tiny forks! You can find them here. I also mentioned a great bento cookbook in my Japanese Treats = Awesome post.

Bento

Bento2

Melissa has a recipe for homemade pizza pockets! I really want to try these out.

What do you think? Are you into bento? Do you have any swell lunchbox ideas because I’d REALLY like to know about ‘em!






Pack My Lunch

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August 24, 2011



Did you know that school is right around the corner? Are you freaking out like me? My baby is going to Kindergarten and I am in a general state of freak out. So let’s look at some lunch bags! Sounds epic, no?

I’m VERY obsessed with lunchboxes. When I was a kidlet, getting a new lunchbox was the highlight of my year. Well, that and getting a new pencil case. Tight race between those two items in terms of making my 8 year old self tremble with excitedness!

I was very charmed when I saw this lunch bag above, last year at Julia’s preschool. It’s from a really cute company called Dabba Walla. You can find this ‘Apple of My Eye’ lunch bag here. And I love this cupcake version:



‘Sweetcakes’ Kids Lunch Bag, $30.

You knew this would be here:



Hello Kitty ‘Polka Dots’ Insulated Lunchbox, $13.95.

Any fans of the story ‘The Gruffalo’ ? How cool is this?



Gruffalo Lunchbox, available from Bodie and Fou.

More literary lunchbox cool, this time from Eric CarleThe Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear:



Belle and Boo is the cutest company with the cutest name with the cutest art. CUTEST.



‘Ava’s Tea Party Lunch Box’, via Belle and Boo’s Etsy shop. Do you hear me Belle & Boo? I LOVE YOU. Yes, I am also this weird in person as well.

This lunchbox is less cute. But apparently ‘Star Wars’ is still, like, a thing. So here you go:


Star Wars ‘Darth Vader’ Insulated Lunch Box, $13.95.

Have you noticed that cheetah print stuff is everywhere? Julia has and she loves it. She wants to be a cheetah for Halloween!



Leopard Cub Lunch Bag, $20.

Come visit us tomorrow because we’re going to talk about what to put IN a lunchbox! So, is anyone else out there like me? Totally and irrationally obsessed with lunchboxes? Or with Belle and Boo? CUTEST STUFF EVER.




Cool Coloring Books

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August 23, 2011

No Tiny Tot for the next couple of weeks just because I’ve got too much I’ve got to cram into these last couple of weeks before the big K begins. (Who do you think is going to be doing a lot of crying in the car after drop-off occurs? I think you know.)

I was very inspired by yesterday’s Colorful Birthday Extravaganza, so here’s more enticing color goodness, this time of the DIY variety. . . .



‘Rosie Flo’s Travel Coloring Book’, $8.99.



‘Hello Kitty Friendship Doodles’, $7.95.



‘That’s not my. . . coloring book Animals’, $4.99.



‘Color, Paint and Draw Insects’, $5.95. ‘The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids’, $5.95.





‘Doodles at Dinner’, $9.34.





‘Enviroscapes’, $6.95. ‘Doodle On! Rainy Day Doodles’, $12.47.



‘Putumayo Kids Europe Coloring Book’, $9.95.

I think it’s cool how coloring books these days are not as passive as they used to be – they are far more engaging and interactive – asking children to use their imaginations to create/finish/interpret the scene according to their own unique view.

In my ‘Ode to Anthropologie’ post, I wrote about Herve Tullet, who is a coloring book genius. You should check out his work as well! Which one is your favorite? (THE HELLO KITTY ONE!) Do you have any other creative coloring book loves?




A Colorful Birthday Party

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August 22, 2011



I just saw the most recent issue of Milk, a French magazine about all things wonderful in apparel, design and décor for children. And I came across this spread featuring the wares from My Little Day, a French party supply company. I’m not sure what the theme here is. Pure Color Wonderland? An amazing balloon fete? Party of PURE AWESOME?







I’m totally wild for this head wreath – it looks to me like the flowers are made from paper, with ribbon streamers hanging down the back – lovely.



Over at the My Little Day website, it was a little unclear to me whether or not they ship outside of France. Getting party supplies from another country might not be a most practical or cost effective option! However, their site overflows with inspiration and is well worth perusing just to see all the fun party ideas.



Milk magazine is available online as well as in print. The issue I found was at Barnes & Noble. Have you seen it? Beautiful things. And there are special issues devoted solely to children’s room décor.




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