September 29, 2011

Cool Stuff I Like

Happy Friday! Ok, September just FLEW by at the speed of light. Or faster than the speed of light. I’m seriously in shock that tomorrow is OCTOBER 1. I’m feeling a little panicked, because there are So! Many! Halloween! Books! that I want to discuss, and I worry, not enough time. But I’ll do my best. We might have to discuss Halloween halfway into November. Just kidding, in November I’m going to get to my Fairy Tale Week that I’ve been wanting to do for ages and ages.

So I used to pick the Kawaii Kids Giveaway winner!

It’s ALISON G.!! You = SO LUCKY!! Email me and we’ll get you in touch with Kawaii Kids!!! Thanks so much to all of you who participated, xoxoxo. And xoxoxoxo.

So are you ready to HALLOWEENY with me? (say yes!)

Have you seen this cute Halloween peekaboo house craft? (via Charlotte’s Fancy)

Book cover bunting!!! (via Ohdeedoh)

Applesauce Cake!!!! (via Sweet Paul)

Oh how I want this sweater.

Four Fun Ways to Play with Leaves (via The Mother Huddle)

Lovely leaf puzzle from ROMP

Fall fairies anyone?

Cool Book of the Week: ‘Zero is the Leaves on the Tree’ by Betsy Franco and Shino Arihara. Seasonal way of introducing this most abstract (to me) of math concepts.

Have a GREAT WEEKEND! Come dive into Halloween with us next Monday!


First School Library Trip

Well I done something right my friends. . . my kiddo went to the school library for the first time last week and I swear I was so proud when I saw what she brought home I almost cried, but I didn’t because that would’ve freaked her out and she would have thought why is Mommy crying about my library books, why is Mommy so weird? Wait, she thinks THAT one everyday and asks it to my face.

I love this. I love this thought about libraries. Not sure about the garden part because to me, my garden just represents the weed den that I’ve been ignoring for the past 3 months.

Look what she brought home! Lobel and Hoban! The kid has great book taste. She was very proud of her books.

In ‘Ming Lo Moves The Mountain’, a mountain is bumming out Ming Lo. It makes his house too shady. His veggies won’t grow. So he consults the local wise man, who gives all sorts of Not Very Helpful Advice.

(Like throwing cakes at the mountain.)

Finally, the wise man tells Ming Lo to dismantle his house and do a special mountain dance (walk backwards basically) and this will make the mountain move. Ming Lo winds up far away from the mountain! He puts his house back together! It’s a miracle! And that wise man is very tricky eh?

My daughter loved this heaps and loads. “But the mountain didn’t move!! HA HA HA HA!”

And book #2 was ‘Bedtime for Frances’. Look at this picture down below of Frances’ face. It so perfectly captures how kids feel when Alone in a Dark Room. It doesn’t matter that she’s a badger. In this picture, Frances is Every Kid, and that’s why the Frances books are classics.

The library was my Happy Place when I was young. It thrilled me to the core to see Julia experience it on her own, making her own book decisions and being so happy and proud to show me her finds! What was the first book your kiddo picked out from the school library? I’m dying to know!

(Library poster image credit:

September 28, 2011

Mother Earth and Her Children

The most beautiful Fall book I’ve ever seen actually bills itself as a springtime book, but really this story just screams Autumn glory to me. ‘Mother Earth and Her Children, A Quilted Fairy Tale’ by Sibylle Von Olfers, is the most stunning seasonal book I’ve ever seen, so really, just pick a season and start reading.

I’m so sorry Mr. JACK ZIPES, whose name I cut off in my oh-too-small-scanner. Thank you for translating!

There’s an amazing thing about this book. The illustrations, by Sieglinde Schoen-Smith, are QUILTED. As in sewn. As in someone created this stunning thing with their hands and needles and thread. People are AMAZING, aren’t they? It’s a sad story actually. The illustrator decided to create the quilt based on the original art from the story, as a coping mechanism to help her through the death of her son. You can read about someone who actually met this amazing lady here.

You could look at this book for hours and still not pick up on every little detail. The story itself is very simple in its depiction of the Root Children, as they go about scrubbing bees and picking forget-me-nots and other seasonal little naturey chores.

(My weeds are a naturey chore I’m choosing to ignore. And I made a little rhyme!)

I cannot get enough of this book.

Oh if only summer would not fade away! I’m so with you, Sibylle Van Olfers and Mr. JACK ZIPES. (I feel really badly about my scanner cutting off his name.) But if I had a rad name like that, I think I would spell it in all caps all the time anyway, just to be cool.

Look at this! Someone SEWED all of this! There’s crafty. . .and then there’s art.

Another view of the entire quilt itself:

Amazing, no? Don’t you just adore the Root Children? And don’t you think this TOTALLY looks like a fall-time book?

(Image credit, last photo at the bottom:

September 27, 2011

Hello Kitty Loves Autumn

** Don’t Forget to Enter our Kawaii Kids Giveaway!!! **

Look at what my buddy Gretchen just sent me. (Miss G. is my Hello Kitty enabler. She’s responsible for the Summertime Hello Kitty post.) Costco has apparently fallen under Hello Kitty’s mind control powers and is offering a Hello Kitty refrigerator. You want one! You totally want one! And by you, I mean me.

It gets better.

Sometimes the universe smiles at you, you know? Imagine my joy when I flipped through the latest Chasing Fireflies catalog and saw a full DOUBLE PAGE SPREAD devoted to Hello Kitty Awesome Everything that is Fabulous and Awesome about Hello Kitty.

And did you see what I just did? I managed to write a totally incoherent sentence using the words AWESOME and HELLO KITTY twice.

Here you go peeps. Revel away. I had to put Tiny Tot Tuesday on hiatus today because when Hello Kitty summons, you better hop to.

Look at this stripey Hello Kitty shirt! If it came in a grown up size, I would totally wear this. I loooooove love love it!

Hello Kitty Striped Tee, $38.

Apparently this little girl loves it too, along with her darling overalls.

Hello Kitty Overalls, $78.

Fab Hello Kitty backpack for storing all your fab Hello Kitty belongings.

Hello Kitty Backpack, $40.

Hello Kitty wants to be with you even on rainy days! Hello Kitty will not rest until her face is emblazoned on everything you own.

Hello Kitty Rain Slicker, $44.

See how happy all these kids are? Hello Kitty has that effect on people. Because her powers of mind control are THAT powerful. Hello Kitty wants to go to a fancy party in her velvet jumper. So you darn well better take her to a fancy party.

Hello Kitty Velvet Jumper, $78.

Don’t you love these red leg warmers?

Hello Kitty Leg Warmers (red), $14.

‘No Melissa, I don’t love the red leg warmers. I prefer pink.’ OK don’t fuss, here you go.

Hello Kitty Leg Warmers (pink), $14.

And of course sparkly red shoes are a must to any Hello Kitty ensemble. (They also come in pink!)

Red Glitter Mary Janes, $49.

Hello Kitty wants you to take her home! She will sit here and stare at you until you do.

Hello Kitty Ballerina Beanie Baby, $12.

What goes inside this Hello Kitty mystery box? IT’S A MYSTERY! (I know what’s in there. Hello Kitty’s master-plan blueprints for World Domination.)

Hello Kitty Lunchbox, $14.

Well friends, I don’t know if you enjoyed that romp through Hello Kitty land but I certainly did. I wonder if Hello Kitty loves me as much as I love her? You know what my goal in life is, right? I am imagining that the mother of all Hello Kitty stores exists in Tokyo. (I have no idea if there is such a thing, but I believe it with all my heart.) Someday Julia and I are going to go!

September 26, 2011

Arietty: New Miyazaki Movie!

I am FLIPPING OUT my friends. More so than usual. I discovered last week, via Marvelous Kiddo, that a brand new Miyazaki movie is coming down the pike, slated for U.S. release mid-February 2012!

If you recall from this post, we are huge, huge Miyazaki fans around here. ‘Ponyo’? Love it. ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’? Double love it. ‘My Neighbor Totoro’? Are we still having a conversation about how much love is going on here?

And the film is based on ‘The Borrowers’ by Mary Norton!

Unfamiliar with this classic? Here’s a rundown of the story, moved to a Japanese setting:

You can check out the trailer here (The film was released in the UK this past summer, lucky them!):

Arietty trailer

I am so excited! I hope that it will be okey-dokey for Julia to see! What about you, any big time Miyazaki fans out there? Which one is your favorite? For me, I would say ‘Totoro’; Julia probably loves ‘Kiki’ more.

(Image Credit:

September 23, 2011

Cool Stuff I Like

Goodbye Summer! It’s official. Today’s the day. And I’m still pretty much in denial about it all. I’ll try and take the high road and just wish us all HAPPY AUTUMN but oh summer. How I’ll miss you.

Did you all have a chance to enter our KAWAII KIDS GIVEAWAY? It’s not too late! You do not, do not, do not want to miss this! Why? Because it’s the most adorable stuff ever!

Many, many rad things on the COOL STUFF LIST this week:

Saw this Air Swimmer Shark toy at Ohdeedoh. OMG. You must see the video.

Molly Alone is a fun, new blog I found. And Molly makes art! Her ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ print is DARLING.

And speaking of art, my bloggy friend Jenny at My Favorite and My Best is creating the most amazing abstract art. You can commission a painting!

And speaking of friends, a friend of a friend created Nourish Me, a superfood supplement for kids. Julia and I are both going to try it!

Amazing, fantastical Halloween masks for kids. (via Poppytalk)

This just made me laugh a whole lot.

Grown-up Lucky Charms. Or for anyone really! (via Lobster and Swan)

More fancy crayons, this time French, from ROMP.

Cool Book of the Week: ‘Autumn’, by Gerda Muller. Beautiful. Wordless.

Have a great First Fall Weekend!!! What are you going to do?


September 22, 2011

Family Feature: My Friend Sam

 I thought it would be fun to crash in, I mean, drop in politely, on some of my friends and see what THEY are reading with their kiddos! Because I am NOSY. So every once in awhile, when I can find a victim, I mean, willing participant, I’ll do a family feature and see what other folks are into, book-wise!

My friend Samantha and I are two peas in a pod when it comes to humor, which we both like a bit silly, I mean, sophisticated and droll. We’ve been in each other lives off and on since we were five years old. Some of my earliest childhood memories involve eating tacos at her house, while watching the Muppet Show. We grew up in the same neighborhood in Hawaii, went to kindergarten together, attended most of high school together, and then reconnected via the magical entity called Facebook.

Sam teaches art to elementary school-aged kids and has two of the cutest, funniest and Most Delightful children you will ever meet: Alex (age 7) and Jake (age 5). I keep telling her I want to somehow bottle her son’s personality and sell it to the masses. We’d make a fortune and could maybe call it ‘Jake’s Happy-Sparkle Potion’. Recently I asked her WHAT WERE THEY READING?

Hi Sam! I've know you since I was 5! And now I'm interviewing you for my blog! This is so weird! And AWESOME. Aside from the Extreme Cute and Hilarious factor going on with your kids, what kind of books are they into? Are they into similar stuff at all?

Thanks, Melissa. Yeah, this is TOTALLY weird and RAD and AWESOME. I love your blog, I love kids’ books, I love you, so y’know, I'm like, all in love and stuff. My kids ARE hilarious and I usually end up picking out their books at the library because they get drawn into the coloring, computers, doll house and train tables. Except for Alex who is 7. She's a HUGE reader, which is so great. I love reading almost more than I love my kids so it makes my heart melt to see her reading while she's eating breakfast, while she's filling the bath, while she's supposed to be getting dressed in the morning...oh, wait, actually that's just annoying. But mostly it’s fantastic!!

So, Alex and I have finished the first ‘Harry Potter’ and are 1/2 way through ‘Chamber of Secrets’. It’s so MUCH FUN to read such rich, complex, well written stuff and have her beg for more. Be still my heart! Other than the Harry Potter books, Alex is into the Magic School Bus series, ‘Ivy and Bean’, ‘Junie B. Jones’, and pretty much anything else the girl can get her hands on. Jake, who is 5, still loves picture books. Our current favorites are ‘He Came with The Couch’, The Pigeon Series or really anything by Mo Willems (GENIUS!!!!!!!!), ‘Burger Boy’, and anything with space, weapons, or funniness involved. They do like the same picture books. They are 26 months apart and both of them love to be read to, so they'll pretty much sit and listen to anything.

How do you all handle story time? Do you read with the kids together or do you carve out different reading times with each kiddo?

Usually we do story time after jammies and teeth brush wrangling. We have a system where Rob (the husband) and I trade off kids every other night. That way each kid gets one on one time with a parent. Rob usually doesn't see the kids much during the week except for dinner and bed and I'm usually running around like a chicken with my head cut off getting dinner ready, cleaned up, lunch prepped for the next day, etc. Doing reading is a nice way to have quiet time with just one kid. We've just gotten into Mad Libs, so we do that as a family first sometimes, then split up. #1 word shouted out for our Mad Libs: POOP, POOPY, POOPING. I think you get the idea.

(note: Julia and I love the word POOP as well. We like to sing about it.)

 If one of us is doing both bed times, we typically read to Jake first while Alex reads to herself and then say good night to him and give Al 30 minutes of one on one reading. I have a nasty habit of falling asleep in kids’ beds. It’s one of my favorite things to do!

(Yep. I do this ALL the time too!)

Miss Sam, I have to ask. You mentioned some book to me about CHICKEN PIRATES. I think we need to hear more about these CHICKEN PIRATES please. And please bold those words when you are referring to them because CHICKEN PIRATES need to be bolded. I'm kidding, you don't have to do that.

Ok, CHICKEN PIRATES is actually a sequel. The original book is ‘Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies’, which we read after we found what I have to admit is the greatest title ever: ‘Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates’. C'mon, how can a book EVER live up to THAT title? Guess what...IT DOES!!! Other books I had to get based on hilarious titles which are fantastic are: ‘The Taming of Lucrecia Crum’, ‘Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed’, ‘Who Wants to Be a Poodle? I Don’t!’, ‘Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent’, ‘Leonardo the Terrible Monster’, and so many more.

As an educator, do you have any personal bits of advice you'd like to throw out there about how to grow little readers who love books?

As an educator and a parent and a life-long lover of books, I would say all you have to do is read! Read to kids when they are babies. Read around them. Talk to them about books. Take them to story times and libraries. Oh, and don't force learning to read. It will happen. Some kids learn to read at 3 1/2, some not until 7...but they ALL do.

I just wanted to give a shout out to the most beautiful of all children's books: anything by Robert Sabuda. His ‘Brava Strega Nona’ is amazing. Also, two new finds that I used in my art class this year: ‘Beautiful Oops’ and ‘The Dot’. WONDERFUL books about being free in art.

Thanks so much Sam!!! This was SO MUCH FUN! When I see the new Muppet movie coming soon, I’ll think of you!

 Sidenote: Julia and I checked out ‘Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed’ from the library about a month ago, and it is HILARIOUS.

September 21, 2011

Kawaii Kids Giveaway!

Ok my friends. . . to celebrate the past six months of blogging, it’s officially time for OUR FIRST GIVEAWAY!! It’s our way of thanking you all for coming to visit us by gifting a lucky recipient with some Very Cool and Awesome swag, generously provided by our lovely sponsor, Kawaii Kids/Kawaii Notebook.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Kawaii Kids and Kawaii Notebook, let me see. How do I explain what Kawaii Kids inventory is all about. . . Oh! It’s the cutest stuff for kids you’ve ever seen. Apparel that is unique, gorgeous and fun for your kid to wear. Boutique stationery products, imported from Japan and Korea, that are the stuff of childhood dreams and whimsy.

Enchantment, wrapped in a cloud of imagination, sugar coated with rainbows and sprinkles. If that sounds over the top, well – HAVE YOU SEEN THEIR STUFF?

Someone is going to get $50 worth of stationery products! I am already envious of whoever gets it!

I’m going to make this first one pain-free and easy for you. Here’s what you have to do to enter:

Leave a comment on today’s post. Any sweet, awesome or lovely thought in your head! You can tell me what you had for breakfast. You can tell me my hair is pretty. You can tell me if you are excited for pumpkin doughnuts. You know, whatever floats your boat.


On September 30, a winner will be picked at random and I’ll announce who won the treats. You can then email me your contact info, and we’ll get the prize mailed out to you. So fun!

I mean, really. This notebook is easily one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen in my life. I am just somewhere in the stratosphere in love with it. How about you?

This giveaway is now closed

September 20, 2011

Tiny Tot Tuesday: Halloween Parade

I know we’ve got a bit until Halloween but I had to share this find with you now! I have to say that ANYONE at any age will enjoy these charmingly illustrated ‘Halloween Parade’ stationery products, but they seem especially suited for those living in The Land of the Very Small.

I’ve been following the works of Catherine Young, the creator of Bumpkin Bears, since she was kind enough to come visit my blog in its earliest days and leave a comment. Then I went over to her blog and discovered how terrifically talented an artist she is. She creates the Most Delightful art. She creates heirloom teddy bears. She’s British and lives in Belgium. She loves Beatrix Potter and Winnie the Pooh!

(I think she might be like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.)

You can find these selections, plus more of her inventory, in her Etsy shop. I am so knocked out by her talent -- I think she needs to illustrate a children’s book! What do you think of her work?

September 19, 2011

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

The color palette of the world is changing. . . .

In the leaves. . .

In my kiddo's art. . . I love her wavy-armed tree! We made fall tree pictures together after school last Friday; it had been a loooong time since we’d done an art project together.

Our trees are now hanging in the window where hopefully the sun will shine through them!

In the flowers. . .

And in the little missy's clothing. . . She’s been sporting a cheetah print jacket from Hanna Andersson for her fall jacket and since she received it, she has not taken it off once during the daytime hours. She sleeps with it next to her bed at night.

How was everybody’s weekend? I discovered that I inadvertently missed the season premiere of ‘Vampire Diaries’ last week. An honest to goodness, for real GASP came out of me when I realized I had missed the show. My husband took great delight in watching me run around squawking about missing my show.

Let’s discuss this for a minute shall we? IT’S A GOOD SHOW. That’s all I wanted to discuss actually. What team are you on? Team Damon? Yes? The only answer I will accept from you is yes.

And from vampires on the CW, we logically move to a Very Sweet Fall Time Book.

‘Fletcher and the Falling Leaves’ is my very favorite fall book. I have great fondness for Fletcher, if you recall when I wrote about his springtime adventures.

Oh the sweetness of this story! And the art! Loveliness. It makes my heart happy to read these books. In this one, Fletcher doesn’t understand why his favorite tree is losing its leaves.

Is it sick? What’s wrong with it? Fletcher is not going to let his favorite tree lose its leaves without a fight. He fetches them back. He sticks them onto the tree again. He takes the leaves away from other animals who are trying to line their nests with them. He runs himself ragged trying to hold onto these leaves.

But, he learns that change can lead to something even more beautiful.

I could sit and look at the art in this book ALL DAY LONG. Is it fall-ish where you are yet? Have you begun pumpkin doughnut eating/cider drinking/fuzzy sweater wearing/fall art making yet? And more importantly, ARE YOU WATCHING THE VAMPIRE DIARIES???

(Image credit for middle Fletcher & The Falling Leaves picture: