Vintage Book, The Cookie Book

Vintage book

Vintage book
Found my very faded, dog-eared copy of one of my all time favorite childhood books, The Cookie Book. I guess you could call it a vintage book now. It contains 12 recipes, a cookie for every month of the year. I ordered it from the Scholastic brochures that come home from school (and I smile at the idea of how little the whole Scholastic thing has changed over ht years). I loved the hand drawn illustrations. And I love that I marked my favorite cookies.
Ian has asked to make Mississippi Mud Pie from this book for Thanksgiving. It made me think of this little one, which is still in with my cookbooks.

Emma's Birthday Cake

(Thanks for all the kind words about Ian’s quilt!)
The birthday cake that was requested for Emma’s party, Angel Food. My first time making it. Whenever I make a classic, something like this, for the very first time, I almost always go to The Best Recipe. That cookbook is one every budding cook should have in my opinion. Its not as sexy as most of the cookbooks coming out these days (although they recently reissued this cookbook with a bit more sex appeal, but mine is the original version, with no photographs, lots of pencil drawings, very much like its magazine origin, Cooks Illustrated). But this book will make a cook out of you. If you have a piece of meat, a squash, want to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie, anything, this cookbook will tell you the basic science behind what the ingredients do (for example, I never really knew why they used ingredients like lard in biscuits when I was growing up, I just figured it was what the cook had around, or maybe just tradition).
Anyway, a dozen egg whites and a lot of whipping later, the cake came out beautifully crusty on the outside (the recipe told me I was going for an almost macaroon-like texture on the surface and I watched it like a hawk during the last bit of baking time), and light as a feather on the inside. Whew! This photo was taken just before the strawberry halves were added.
Which brings me to my next question. Its time for me to take the bazillion hundred photos currently on my computer off before I tempt fate more than I feel I already have. How do you guys catalog your photos when you take them off the computer? In the past, I move them onto disks, and store them in a box, but this feel inefficient to me. I’m hoping there’s a better way to preserve them. And quicker. Last time I did this little exercise it took me the better part of a day. So please, what’s the secret? Is there a secret? Can we create a secret? Help!

Color Your Cloth by Malka Dubrawsky

Color Your Cloth
I have a confession…
I’ve never liked batiks. Of any kind. I couldn’t really explain it except to say I saw no inspiration in them. I knew I gravitated toward clearer colors in general, so maybe that was the reason.
But whatever the reason, I did not like them. Until I saw Malka’s work that is.READ MORE

The Polymer Clay Cookbook

So, Emma, myself, and, pretty much every girl that comes into contact with it is freaking out over The Polymer Clay Cookbook. It is so crazy cute. We’ve had it for a couple of weeks and its been by Emma’s bed for nightly reading ever since (she has a so much homework these days, that’s when she gets her leisure reading in, poor girl). The allure of baking clay here at our house is strong. Emma has been playing with it since she was able to hold it in her hands, and over the years, her creations just get more elaborate and detailed. And now this book is taking it all to a whole new level.
We were looking for an easy craft activity for our Girl Scout meeting this week and I was totally inspired by this book. The girls are coming to us straight from classroom Halloween parties and will probably be pretty sugared up, but I am hoping they will love this. We’ll be setting up three tables (there will be about 10 girls). At each table, there will be supplies, directions, and a parent to guide them in making a piece of jewelry. The projects I chose were the candy corn earrings (or rings), a tiny cinnamon bun (scented with cinnamon and a mixture of school glue and white paint to create the icing), and a pink cupcake, both of which can be hung from a thin cord necklace I’ll have for each girl.
And because it is the responsibility of a good Girl Scout leader to be fully prepared, I felt the need to spend an afternoon testing out each craft and making samples before I let the girls try them.

chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting and a cherry

my cinnamon roll with a head pin that’s ready to be twisted into a loop. And it smells like cinnamon.
I thought about keeping this book locked away until Emma’s birthday, then giving it to her with all new clay and supplies, but I just couldn’t wait. (I decided to give her this book instead, with a stack of felt and notions.)
I thought I would post more this week but it just didn’t happen that way. I will see you here on Monday though. Till then, happy weekend!

Bits of Our Wednesday

Today is first quiet day we’ve had in a while. I took the kids with me for a quick visit to our accountant’s office, which meant a stop on the way home at the really large Goodwill nearby. My kids zero’d in on an electronic Battleship game, then found a treasure trove of 79 cent paperback books. I, myself was browsing through the other shelves and hit the jackpot on a back wall.READ MORE

Bloomed Skirt, Alabama Chanin

Alabama Chanin
Longtime readers might remember when I started this skirt, from the Alabama Stitch Book. I put it away for almost a year during a time when I had no luck making anything I could wear… nothing fit, nothing hung right (lots of disasters I won’t waste time sharing). But it was such an enjoyable project to make, all it took was me cleaning out the studio shelf it was on to remember how much I loved it.READ MORE

Books for Young Girls


Thank you all so much for the suggestions of good books for girls. I knew you guys would be a good resource. For some reason, I was struggling to find books that felt right. But now I have a ton to read through and suggest to our girls. I think I will give a list of these and to the moms and daughters, since we won’t get to all of them. Maybe group them by genre, something like that. That would help me, because I could spend all day in a bookstore, or on amazon, looking at what each book is about. Ten year old girls are still teetering in that little girl stage in my mind, so I don’t want to throw on something too heavy too early. Here’s the list (in no particular order)-
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes (our group will be starting with this one)
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Are You There God, Its Me Margaret by Judy Blume
Esperanza Rising
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
A Year Down Yonder
The Giver
Everything on A Waffle
City of Ember
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Avonlea
The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw
The Lightening Thief series
New Moon Magazine (love this Heather, thanks!)
Where the Red Fern Grows
A Wrinkle in Time
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
The Outsiders
The Sign of the Beaver
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Bridge to Terabithia
An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
Mr. Poppers Penguins
Tale of Desperaux
James and the Giant Peach
The Cricket in Times Square
My Side of the Mountain
Caddie Woodlawn
Harriet the Spy
Wendelin Van Draanen’s Sammy Keyes mysteries
Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes mysteries
Blue Balliet’s Chasing Vermeer/Wright 3/The Calder Game
Tamora Pierce‘s books
Absolutely Normal Chaos
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Women
Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine
books by Deborah Ellis , Carol Matas or Kit Pearson
Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
Homecoming by Cynthia Voight
Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voight
The Goose Girl series by Shannon Hale
Exiles by Hilary McKay
Girls in Love, Girls in Tears, Secrets, and Lola Rose by Jacqueline Wilson books (a British author, could
not see her mentioned on amazon)
Ida B by Katherine Hannigan
The Care and Keeping of You American Girl series (I, personally second this series, Emma has loved all
of these!)
Because of Winn Dixie
The Doll People        
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
Me and the Blondes 
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin 
Loser by Jerry Spinelli 
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimann
Betsy, Tacy and Tib books by Maude Hart Lovelace
The Mother Daughter Book Club
Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of A Tree by Lauren Tarshis
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Framed by Frank Cottrell B

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
Just as Long as We’re Together by Judy Blume
Number The Stars by Lois Lowry
Blubber by Judy Blume
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
Searching for Redbird by Sharon Creech
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
The Daring Book for Girls
The Emily of New Moon trilogy by LM Montgomery
Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner
I received some emails asking for more information about our mother/daughter group, so I thought I’d include it in this post in case others have questions too. I am very fortunate to be very close to the moms whose daughters are in Emma’s 4th grade class. Most of the girls have been in class together since Kindergarten, and, in my opinion, have been exceptional as far as kindness and consideration towards each other. The social problems among them have been few and are usually handled easily, these are very easy-going girls. A few of us invited the moms in our class to create this discussion group with us. It would be a place to begin to talk about some of the many changes that will begin to take place (or has already begun to take place) in their lives…puberty… boys…social conflicts…body image…etc. One of our moms is also a teacher, one who is well respected within our community for her sensitivity and knowledge of social emotional lives of young children, and she graciously agreed to be our group’s facilitator. A group like this needs a facilitator. I cannot stress the importance of her role enough; she prepares what we will discuss and do at the meeting beforehand, keeps the flow of activity going, ever so gently pushes us all to try new things, and helps us establish our group “norms” or rules, which are:
1. Come in with an open mind.

2. What is discussed in the group stays in the group.
3. Challenge yourself (and I’m not wording that one right, but the idea is to try new things.)
We also ask that no siblings attend, that food or snacks happen at the beginning and then is put away (before we made this rule, food was a huge distraction for the girls during the meeting). We give the girls 15 minutes at the beginning and end of each meeting to run around, play, and catch up. The actual meeting itself is 1 hour, so an hour and a half total. That is the limit of the girl’s willingness to focus and keep in the discussion, at times we’ve even ended early for lack of focus. It should be casual and fun, but an active discussion, and we try to be sensitive to what is working.

My role is to simply schedule the meetings, which happen monthly and rotate at each family’s home.

We have been meeting now for a year. Some of the girls simply don’t like it and don’t want to come (a few have dropped out). Some of them love it and wish we had more meetings (that would be Emma’s perspective). We try to be sensitive to what works and doesn’t work, evaluate when we can with a moms-only meeting. We spent the first 6 meetings or so doing a variety of activities that helped us see our likenesses, or to learn new things about each other (“I didn’t know you did bird calls!?”), after that we slowly worked our way into topics such as “What does mean feel like?” and “What does a confident girl look like?”, which is really just touching the surface of what our group will eventually cover. These meetings are not to finger point at anyone (I don’t know why anyone would come if that were the case.) Book discussions work really well for these girls right now. We’ve had a guest author come and talk with the girls about her book, and girls who never spoke up were suddenly full of questions. A few of the girls told us that they feel most comfortable discussing while doing something (suggested maybe an art project, cooking, etc), less eye contact made them feel more at ease, so we’re going to try some new things. That’s why we’ve decided to stick with books for a more casual summer meetings, with a little emotional, social aspect in there for us to discuss.

But, to be clear, this is not a book group, but more of a friendship group. Our hope and our goal is to spend quality time with our girls on a Sunday afternoon, once a month, to gain insight into everyone’s feelings on the topics we discuss. I’m always surprised by Emma’s comments in these meetings, pleasantly so. I was an incredibly shy kid (so was Peter), my hope is for her to find her voice, to believe that she matters, regardless of what icky social things that may come up in the future (which they will, I believe that’s how we learn and grow at that age). I love spending this time with her and the other moms and daughters. I highly recommend it to any group of women and daughters who feel they could gain anything from a group like this. It does not have to be highly structured, or really be anything more than a meeting to be together. I am not an expert, I only speak from my small example. I stumble constantly as a parent, and it makes me feel good to know Emma has this support system of strong, confident moms in her life.

MayaMade Buckets, and Books

MayaMade buckets
I’ve wanted a whole family of MayaMade buckets for the longest time. They are so lovingly designed (repurposing old coffee bags into useful things like this is genious), Maya has a keen attention to detail and a great aesthetic. When she made her bucket pattern available as a pdf pattern, I clicked as fast as I could and tore through the house, looking for that coffee bag I had somewhere, but, alas, it has vanished. I do have home dec weight fabric though, and that works for these buckets too. So, I spent today with kids seemingly happy and content just staying and hanging around the house, and sewed up a few of Maya’s buckets. OK, five. The pattern is flawless, I know its been tested many times and it shows.READ MORE

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