Cool Stuff I Like


October 5, 2012

Julia and I were just talking about how from this time of year on, there's basically a holiday (if you consider birthdays to be holidays, WHICH I DO) every month until Easter! Halloween, T-Day, Christmas, mah birthday, Valentine's Day, J's birthday, and then Easter because it's in March next year. Exciting no? I tell you what's exciting...the first frost! Happened just this past week and we've had to add an extra blanket to the bed and I'm thinking that it's flannel time soon. I don't want to leap into the flannels too soon though because once I do they'll be on the beds until June, and that thought will depress me, that we live in a climate wherein one needs to have flannels on the bed until June. Andrew, who is Mr. Positive, would say, 'Oh that just means you get to be cozy until June.' I would say (I am not Mr. Positive), 'no that means my fingers will be cold for the next 8 months.' Now I have made myself sad.

Let's be happy! And look at Halloweeny COOL STUFF:

This ghost costume is just too fabulous.

Doesn't this Halloween craft book look super cute?

Kitty Loves Pie.

Welcome to Fall Cake (this is easier than easy. love the sprinkles!)

Just found Lark, an online source of everything fun, especially for kids.

Sleepy Hollow Pumpkin Pie.

Children's books about bullying and empathy.

Orange Ginger Toddy!

You must watch the video in this post. Come back and tell me, did that not change your life, just a bit? It did mine.

Cool Book of the Week'Disney's Scary Storybook Collection'. Man, I love this book and oh! So does my kid! Found this at a used bookstore and had it tucked under my arm in a heartbeat. Really fun, TONS of stories, and not scary, except for the spook factor inherent in 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' and 'The Headless Horseman' tales that are included (use your judgment as to whether your kiddos can handle those stories).

Disney and Pixar Scary Story Collection
All the rest are sweet, fun stories about Donald Duck, Winnie the Pooh, Alladin, Toy Story characters, Mickey, Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan and Monster's Inc. Pictures on every page and I'm so happy I found this! Totally, totally cute. My favorite is the Donald Duck story that involves him annoying Madam Mim. (remember her from 'The Sword in the Stone'?)

Have a lovely weekend ~ There's a small farm in a nearby town that makes the most awesome fresh apple cider, we're going to go get us some!


Spaghetti & Meatballs


October 4, 2012

Actually it's not true. I'm a fibbing Fibbalina. The very best meatballs I ever had were at a wedding, and the groom's family was Italian and the reception was at their home, and his whole family had spent the day making their magical secret recipe meatballs. Omg those flipping meatballs were UNBELIEVABLE.

But these are my #2 favorites! They are so good you guys, Andrew and Julia freak out every time I make these. Except Andrew doesn't understand why I keep inflicting spaghetti upon him, they both would prefer just meatballs in sauce, served with bread. Me, I like mah spaghetti, good grief, who doesn't love spaghetti?? My family! But they love the meatballs. What's particularly nice about them is that they're substantial and tasty, but you won't have that 'Gah ~ I just ate something that feels like a lead brick' feeling afterwards.

This is like a present, my spookies. I've given you the gift of perfect comfort food. You will make it and then write to me and say Oh Melissa, thank you for that lovely present! And I will say please give me a dollar. And then you will say no, that's crazy. And then everyone will go away mad, and we'll have to bury our hurt and pain in gingerbread and English period films (just me?).

Light Turkey Meatballs (via Everyday Food)


3 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
1/4 cup whole milk (sometimes I add maybe a tablespoon more)
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey meat (93 % lean, dark meat)
3 scallions, finely chopped (I don't use this)
2 small garlic cloves, minced (I use the kind that is chopped for me in a bottle)
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped (nope, never used it)
1 large egg
coarse salt and ground pepper


Place bread in a food processor, pulse until fine crumbs form. In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs with milk. Set aside for at least 5 minutes. 

In a large bowl, mix turkey, scallions, garlic, parsley, egg, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and breadcrumb mixture, mix gently with a fork.

With hands, form mixture into balls, each equal to 2 level tablespoons; arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper (the parchment is not necessary).

To freeze, place baking sheet with meatballs into the freezer, and freeze for one hour to set their shape; transfer frozen meatballs to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag; freeze for up to 3 months.

Makes about 35. (not for me, I think I make mine too big)

You can see the original recipe here and when you are ready to cook them, this way is how to do it(I cook mine a little longer then they say, about 7-8 minutes. Don't overdo it though, or the lovely moist quality will be lost!)

Mr. Mistoffelees with Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer


October 3, 2012



I love the musical 'Cats'! LOOOOOOOOVE IT. I've been so incredibly fortunate to have seen it in Chicago (best dancing), Los Angeles (best singing) and London (best overall production, plus it was the first time I saw it.) I could happily go see it every other month or so, if I had the time, money, and opportunity.

I asked Andrew about his thoughts on 'Cats' because I knew it would be entertaining:

"It looks stupid and the music's awful. It's people in crummy cat makeup singing crummy songs. 

Especially that crappy 'Memories' song piece of *bleep*. (that means something naughty.)

I guess it's good that T.S Eliot died before he had to see that thing. 

But I've never seen it (!!!!!!!) so I don't really know, but it looks terrible."

Andrew is a musician, in addition to being a video game developer, therefore that means that he is a MUSICAL SNOB. And also, he doesn't know what he's talking about. You should hear his thoughts on 'Phantom of the Opera'. I guess he and Andrew Lloyd Webber won't be hangin' anytime soon.

Well now, back to 'Mr. Mistoffelees with Mugojerrie and Rumpelteazer', which I scooped up in a used bookstore. First. Amazing art. You see this, yes?? Second, this poem (originally from the poetry collection 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats', by the aforementioned T.S Eliot) is not what you'd first think of as a go-to Halloween book maybe? For small kids? Ok, so I got this last year when Julia was 5 and SHE FLIPPING LOVED IT, even though half of the vocab was too advanced for her and we had to explain every other word. She made us read it to her OVER AND OVER AND OVER. And a few more times after that.

There is something so fun about the rhyme structure and believe me when I say emphatically, she was ALL ABOUT THIS BOOK. When you start saying the words Mr. Mistoffelees and Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer out loud, well, I for one wanted to also start singing the song. Anyone remember the Mr. Mistoffelees song from the show?? IT'S SO AWESOME! The guy in Chicago who was dancing the part of Mr. Mistoffelees, omg he did about 45 pirouettes in a row super fast, it was amazing.

I just know Julia's going to looooooooove 'Cats' someday! Despite what her daddy says.

Let's Skip Ahead to Christmas for a Moment...


October 2, 2012

Ok I know I'm the one who's been singing and dancing about Halloween like a fool. But I hope you'll allow me to be a fool about Christmas for a brief moment.

I just saw this Christmas garland in the latest Land of Nod catalog and I am WILD about the entire room! Fun. Happy! LOVE THE WHITE TREE! (I've been wanting a white tree for ages.) I'm sure someone crafty could make that garland easy peasy ~ I'm not that one, (oh heck, maybe I'll try) but for $13, you know, I'm down with that. Last year I was all about gold and silver let's-be-elegant decor ~ this year I want more of a look like what's going on in this picture.

Now check this out, this blew my mind with its simplicity and total coolness:

LOOK AT THE WALL DECOR BEHIND THE HEADBOARD. Do you see? That shimmer and sparkle loveliness? It doesn't say in the catalog and I tried to see if this project was discussed in the Land of Nod blog but I couldn't find it. (You can see the bedding ensemble and other decor in the room right here.)

I think what they did here was take a bunch of doilies and spray paint them shimmery silver and stick 'em on the wall! Isn't that fabulous??

(Andrew would also like to point out something ~ "It looks like they left some garbage on the floor plugged in. Nice fire hazard." I tried to tell him it was STAGED and anyway, it looks amazing and I totally want a light strand curtain thingy like in this photo.)

You may now go back to carrying on with your Halloween prep, just wanted to share this tiny glimmer of Christmas sparkle!

The Teeny Tiny Witches


October 1, 2012

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Hellooooooooo my Spookies! HAPPY OCTOBER!! Ready for a lot of Halloween fun this month? Yes? We're all ready? WOO-HOO, I'm ready! Let's all be ready together!

Last week I showed you some great Halloween books that I checked out from the library. Now I'm gonna show you the books that I own that are Supremely Awesomely Halloweeny.

'The Teeny Tiny Witches'  is just darling. The art, the story, it's just a scrumptious pumpkin pie of a book. No, you can't eat it. Ha ha, that's some book humor I just threw at ya. I don't think I'll do it again.

A family of VERY SMALL WITCHES (like how I wrote that all big? But the witches are small? Apparently I can't stop with the bad book humor) is having a hard time finding a home to permanently call their own. They get flounced and trounced out of a number of abodes, before winding up in a mousehole in a house. They make good friends with a gentleman mouse, who was quite lonely. EVERYONE IS HAPPY.

I have a thing for really old fashioned sweet stories. I am so in love with this book. Adore, adore, adore!

Also, I'm very excited about Halloween. Just sayin'.

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