Friday, November 30, 2012

Reading Roundup 2012.12.01

A few things I've been reading lately. Not a very interesting week, altogether, except for the fairy cookies:

A musician on his 21-cent royalty check, Marketplace (Nov. 15, 2012)

ConAgra buys into private label success, Marketplace, (Nov. 26, 2012).

North Korea says Unicorns' Existence Proven, Time (Nov. 30, 2012)

Cows fattened with candy when corn feed prices too high, Marketplace (Sept. 25, 2012 or so), via Weed 'Em and Reap

Is Low-Fat Dairy making you gain weight? Weed 'Em and Reep (Nov. 27, 2012)
I don't know about this source, but the information seems similar to what I've read from more reliable sources. via Holistic Squid.

Make your own fairy mail envelopes, A Little Lair (Sept. 28, 2012)
This blog offers elf-y tricks to go with the fairy/elf door they sell with a storybook. Great resource for you Elf-on-the-Shelfers, though I should say that I'm totally against tormenting your kids with that style of threats and bribes. But creating fantasy? Those are stories that can offer positive lessons.

Baking fairy or elf cookies, A Little Lair (Nov. 24, 2012)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Another free Sparkle Story!

I can't stop sharing! Another free Sparkle Story, this one from So Many Fairies series. This is such a treasure. What a gift to all of us!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another free Sparkle Story!

Enjoy this Junkyard Tale, called "Junkyard Feast," free from!

The Junkyard animals cook special dishes in gratitude for all they have given each other throughout the year. When clever cat Ben learns that Sergeant the watchdog will be away for Thanksgiving, he insists they do something special for him, for keeping the Junkyard safe all year long.

This post is a bit late, so I'm not sure if your purchase of a Junkyard Tales sample pack still will benefit Action Against Hunger—but check it out.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday crafting — gift tags

For me, the holiday season starts on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. That's when I like to get my tree up, to really enjoy the full—brief!—season. Though, I admit Thanksgiving is a bit early this year, and we probably won't do our tree for another week.

But let the crafting begin! Last year, when Starboy was 2, we really enjoyed making our own gift tags. This could be a great hostess or teacher gift as well. It kills me to spend money on something so over-priced as gift tags, especially when the ones you can make can be so simple and special, and matched to the gift.

We used a tag-shaped paper punch with a regular hole punch, and watercolor paper. The stamps are from Paper Source and Michael's craft store. Ink was limited to black or red, and silver, though if you have older kids I'm sure it would be easier to manage more colors. You even could color in the stamped images.

A fun, quick project, and an excuse to turn on a great holiday mix and warm some cider!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Reading Roundup 2012.11.23

Here are just a few things I've been reading lately. Hope you had a warm and lovely Thanksgiving yesterday!

Take Back the Holidays, Patagonia catalog (Holiday 2012)
Try a $100 Christmas or a gift exchange, to focus on people rather than commercialized frenzy.

Did California Voters Defeat the Food Movement Along with Prop. 37? Mother Jones (Nov. 7, 2012)
"In short, Prop. 37 got crushed under fat stacks of cash: its supporters raised $8.7 million, vs. $45.6 million for its opponents...What do you get for $45.6 million? You get a slick, relentless, truth-challenged campaign, crafted by veteran GOP political hand and former tobacco flack Thomas Hiltachk."

GoldieBlox, a toy that combines story-reading and construction to build a simple machine.
I love the idea of following steps to make something that does something. I hope this takes off and starts a movement. Even if the movement only is for Lego to make changes to its pink sets.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

the tiny Artful Winter — Free!

The amazing Jean Vant Hul of The Artful Parent is offering a free e-book filled with winter crafts, decorations and recipes. This is just a small taste of her much longer e-book by the same title.

Sign up for Jean's newsletter and get periodic mailings of more great projects. She is big on setting up opportunities for kids to explore and grow on their own in creative ways. A lovely blog to follow.

Artful Winter Free eBooklet

Friday, November 16, 2012

Reading Roundup 2012.11.09

Here are a few things I've been reading lately. Some are from last week; the post didn't go up. Oopsie.

How to avoid GMOs (for real), MamaNatural (31 Oct. 2012)
I've been reading a bunch on GMO lately and it's all so depressing I can barely lift my head up to comment.

What's the difference between these two brains? Telegraph UK (28 Oct. 2012)
A vote for attachment parenting.

Broken Spelling Theory LAObserved (16 Nov 2012)
On the Petraeus affair

Back when a chocolate puck tasted, guiltily, like America, NYT (16 Nov 2012)
I was a Ding Dong or Cupcake girl myself. But in Florida they called them Ring Dings.

Interview with Lisabeth Sewell McCann of Sparkle Stories, (13 Nov 2012)

The Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog, (13 Nov 2012)
Wherein we learn that raising chickens is jumping the shark, right. Now. My favorite comment: "I am admittedly a shameless foodie douche sometimes but screw you, my omlettes are foodgasms."
File under: First World Issues.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Free Sparkle Stories!

Enjoy a delightful Thanksgiving Sparkle Story here and try a Martin and Sylvia sample pack — you'll help out Heifer International! Martin and Sylvia enjoy a local Thanksgiving and Martin helps Mr. Brown with the turkey.

Starboy adores these 20-minute stories, and Martin and Sylvia have become part of our family. We enthusiastically recommend the series and all of the Sparkle Stories!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Comet eggs

Seriously, I do serve Starboy more than just eggs. ... ... There's yogurt, anyway.

Okay, well that's a conversation for another day.

Continuing the "week of eggs" posts...Recently he got a big comet-ball-o-fire toast-n-eggs combo, out of sheer luck! The eggs leaked out of the "nest" of the birds-in-a-nest, and check out the happy accident.

Not that he knows what a comet is. But hey, he ate breakfast without complaining, so I'm counting that as a win and moving on.

He does not like the "yellow" part of the egg, so I generally scramble the eggs with some basil and dill before putting them in the "nest." From an adult perspective it's not as tasty this way, but it's actually fine.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Breakfast sammie


 Cream cheese. Starboy's idea. An upgrade from Mayo.

 Sliced turkey.

 Small bites.

I give you: The Egg McSandwich.

...And he ate the whole thing.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nostalgia generator

A timeless classic. 

You know you've been wanting to make some....

Just shred your crayons and collect some supple leaves...

Find the waxed paper and remember the days when your grandmother actually wrapped sandwiches in this stuff.
Channel your inner Cliff Clavin on the topic here.

Add another layer of waxed paper....
Starboy calls these stained glass creations "sandwiches," because I told him to "make a sandwich" with the paper.

...Put the three-year-old in charge of the hot iron, while he stands on a milk crate on uneven concrete...

Remember that the wax shavings get everywhere, so a layer of newspaper on the bottom and an old towel on top will prevent your day (and your future interview shirt) from being ruined.

 Then admire the beauty of nature's colors.
Um. And Crayola's.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reading Roundup 2012.11.02

Some things I've been reading lately.

Special Delivery (Mail art), Martha Stewart Living (October 2012, pg. 104)

How dopers stole the best years of my cycling career, The Age (Oct. 27, 2012)

Letitia Baldrige, Etiquette Maven, Dies at 86, New York Times, (Oct. 30, 2012)

Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters, New York Times (Nov. 1, 2012)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Treasure ball

My friend Haring* in Seattle is going through a crappy breakup, and I thought he could use some cheering up. I've had some crepe paper lying around, so earlier this week, I thought I'd pull together a treasure ball for him to discover. Who doesn't love treasures in the mail?

First I assembled some treasures: a fall garland made from felt stickers, rubber stamp, autumn gnome, a window crystal, some puzzle erasers, an imprint of a pine cone, a fallen tree, and various gems and table scatter.

Haring has cats, so I purposely left out any felt stuffies or birds. They are going to dig all that crepe paper, though.

I chose the grand prize to wrap first: a rainbow-making window crystal, with other treasures.

 ...and wrapped it up.