Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in My Rearview Mirror

It's been such an amazing year! My daughter came into the world, my son turned three, my brother graduated from law school, my husband got a new job that he'll be starting before long... and my shop has done me proud.

I don't know about you, but the last few days of the year always make me introspective. What went right this year? What didn't? What do I need to work on in the coming twelve months? What do I want to improve on?

I know my parenting skills need work. I lose my patience too often, even my temper sometimes, and I need to get better at maintaining my cool. I also need to take more time for Dano -- he's had a rough ten months, having to share his world with a noisy little stranger. I try to spend Mercy's morning nap time with him, doing whatever he wants, but lately I've been squeezing laundry or dishes or checking email into that time slot, which is not at all fair to him. Having my Mom here the last week and a half illustrated very clearly to me how much he's missing having lots of attention -- he soaked up her time with him like a happy sponge. Sure, all kids want more attention than they get, but I feel like I've been capitalizing on his ability to amuse himself too much lately. So no more multitasking during Mercy's naps unless it's truly unavoidable.

Creatively, I've had an awesome run. I've nearly completed my fifth novel -- one of my aims for January is to finish the first draft so I can let it sit for a few months, then see if I think a rewrite would make it viable, publishable material. Who knows -- by the end of 2011, I may be on my way to getting a novel published!

As for my more crafty creativity, I've done well there too. I've had satisfying sales with Huggermugger, I've created some new products, and I've got ideas for more. I want to collage more composition-sized notebooks, try out some new hat patterns, maybe even branch out into something altogether different. I'm currently crocheting a cardigan for myself, my first attempt at crocheted clothing if you don't count hats, scarves, and mittens. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yarn, Glorious Yarn!

I took Mom (and my kids) to the local yarn store today, A Stitch in Time. What bliss, what joy! I bought a yarn winder and swift! And also a bunch of yarn, including this really interesting kind made from corn fibers. It's really soft -- I can't wait to use it to make some things for my shop!

I also bought yarn for a custom order for a baby hat, which is what you see on my swift and winder here. It's a lovely super-wash merino, with pretty pinks ranging from dusty rose to delicate pink. I'm going to start that hat as soon as I've posted this and linked to it on my Facebook page.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tolkien Treasury

I created a new treasury last night, and it's quite possibly my favorite treasury I've ever created. It's 100% Lord of the Rings things! I call it "Souvenirs from Middle Earth" because it's the sort of things you might buy while on vacation... if you could vacation in Middle Earth. Here it is:

If you're a Tolkien fan, or generally a fantasy fan, there just might be something there you'd like to spend your Christmas gift money on :-)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Finally -- Facebook!

I have finally made a page for my shop on Facebook. I know, I know, took me long enough, right? But better late than never. My page is here, and I'll be posting all kinds of stuff there. Like what? Like new items when I list them in my shop, a link every time I post here on my blog, news about sales I run, treasuries I create or am in -- all kinds of stuff. You can even request custom items by posting on my wall! And who knows, I might even run a giveaway for my FB fans only. Anyway, it'll be the quick and easy way to stay up to date on everything Huggermugger! And you can "like" me right from here by using the handy-dandy tool in my sidebar.

In other news, I'm all excited because I've sold enough items since Thanksgiving that I will be able to buy my very own yarn ball winder and swift! If you don't know what those are, here are a couple pics. Basically, any time I buy awesome yarn that's sold in hanks instead of a ball or center-pull skein, I have to wind it up into a ball in order to use it. Which takes a looooong time by hand. But with a winder, it takes a matter of minutes. You loop the yarn hank around the swift, then attach one end to the winder and crank the little handle, and before you know it, you have a beautiful, center-pull yarn cake. Wooo! I can't wait.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cyber Monday Sale!

I'm participating in a $5 sale starting on Monday, Nov. 29, along with lots of other members of the Trade-a-holics team. It will run for one full week -- I'll post here again on Monday with links to participating shops. For now, just know that I'm going to have a bunch of my Christmas decorations, journals, and hats on sale. Yes, my new Wooden Word Ornaments like these will be included :-D

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Featured on Evoluchun's Misc Blog.

Danyale of Evoluchun's Misc Blog featured one of my Instant Canteens today! Go here to read her nice review. She does a lot of giveaways on her blog, so definitely check it out if you like getting free handmade stuff.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tallulah's Soaps

I actually won two giveaways from Nutshell Farms -- the other thing I won is a cake of Pumpkin Brulee soap from Talulah's Soaps on Etsy.

This soap is awesome! The cake I got is about twice as big as most of the other cakes of handmade soap I've ever gotten. And it honestly smells good enough to eat -- I get hungry every time I use it. Tallulah's has lots of other scents too, like this French Apple Tarte soap that looks amazing.

Another good spot to pick up a gift for one of those hard-to-buy-for people on your list!

Sea Willow Herbs

Done baking cookies -- on to the blogging!

Thanks to a giveaway that was part of the Autumn Harvest Extravaganza on the Nutshell blog, I won a lip balm from the Etsy shop Sea Willow Herbs. Which lip balm? Kissed by a Vampire, of course.

This is the best handmade lip balm I've tried yet! It's neither too greasy nor too hard, unlike most of the other lip balms I've tried. And it smells sooooo good! Orange and cinnamon :-9 And if you don't particularly want to be kissed by a vampire (really, it depends on the vampire, doesn't it? Angel or Spike, absolutely. One of those nancy-boy vamps that are soooo popular right now? No thanks) -- this is really the same as her Orange Spice lip balm. And she has some Christmasy flavors too, like this Peppermint Stick lip balm.

Sea Willow Herbs also sells aromatherapy body oils, bath salts, healing salves, and more. A great place to pick up some stocking stuffers or treats for yourself!

Not Such a Long Break After All

I'm back. Turns out I still have stuff to say about my crafting, about my fellow Etsy artistes, etc. I think I'm going to shy away from the book reviews for right now, and I may not be posting as often as formerly, but I'm not done with this blog after all.

Now, of course, I need to go make breakfast and don't have time to write the post I've got planned. Maybe later this morning, after I bake a big batch of cookies and package a bunch up to send to a friend's friend who's serving in the military overseas. Okay, so maybe I'll get to that post after lunch...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Into the Sunset.

I've decided to end this blog. At least for now. I feel like my work here is done -- my creativity for this blog has ebbed, and I have other stuff going on that needs my attention instead. Mercy is learning to walk, Dano is learning to read... some days I don't even manage to read all my email, much less think about writing something.

I've had fun writing this blog, and I'm going to leave it up for any stray visitors to find. Who knows, I may resurrect it someday. I've made some friends here, and I plan to continue following them.

I'm not closing my Etsy store, at least not right now. But as far as this blog goes, it's time for me to walk out the door, mount up, and ride off into the sunset. Adios!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Two More Books: Another Comparison

I'm at it again, comparing two very dissimilar books that I read almost right after each other. This time, it's Mansfield Park by Jane Austen and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin. This time, the two books begin with a similar situation: a young girl from a large family being sent to live with her wealthier relations. I know this was a pretty common occurrence once upon a time -- one of Jane Austen's own brothers was adopted by relatives. So it's not as if Wiggin borrowed a literary device from Austen. But I did read these two books nearly back-to-back, and the similarity struck me.

The title character of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is an irrepressible, joy-filled girl. She's basically the prototype for L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and the other spunky heroines who followed. She goes to live with two maiden aunts and grows up under their care into a spirited young woman. She makes friends with almost everyone, softens an aunt's hard heart, and generally brings sunshine into every life she touches. It's a sweet story.

The protagonist of Mansfield Park, Fanny Price, is the opposite. She's shy. Retiring. Passive. She hides her feelings, suppresses her desires, and is so delicate of feeling, she can't even bring herself to explain to her uncle precisely why she has rejected a marriage proposal. I'm afraid that, accustomed as I am to spunky heroines, I wanted more than once to reach through the pages, give Fanny a good shaking, and tell her to be a more active participant in her own life for once! This is also a sweet story, but definitely not my favorite Austen.

The last chapter of Mansfield Park feels rushed, as if Austen either was sick of the characters and wanted to be finished with the book, or else was under a deadline and spent too much time describing dinner parties and evening strolls earlier to wrap things up properly. In writer's parlance, the last chapter is almost entirely 'telling' the story, not 'showing' it to the readers.

So. Two books, published nearly a century apart. Similar, yet different. Would I recommend them both? Yes. Did I like them both? Let's just say I liked Sunnybrook Farm well enough to keep my copy, but I'm donating Mansfield Park to the library.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Easy-Peasey Glue Batik

A month or so ago, I read a post on That Artist Woman's blog about doing batik with kids. I'd actually never heard of batik before, but it looked fun. Instead of using hot wax to create designs like classic batik, That Artist Woman used Elmer's Washable School Glue Gel. I thought maybe I'd try it sometime. Well, Danol spilled orange juice all over a plain white shirt one morning last week, and it didn't all come out in the wash, so I thought, why not try that batik thing with it?

So, armed with blue glue gel, watered-down acrylic paint, Dano's shirt, a body suit for Mercy, and one of my hubby's old undershirts for me, I embarked upon my batik experience. That Artist Woman said it would take 12 hours for the designs I drew with the glue to dry, so I did that Thursday night. I did a train for Dano, autumn leaves for Mercy, and for my shirt I wrote "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD" (Psalm 98:4) and surrounded it with music notes and symbols.

I learned a few things. If you do big, filled-in shapes with the glue, like the smokestack on the train or the bottoms of the music notes, they'll take longer than 12 hours to dry. And if you try to do a lot of little lines together, they'll probably all run together. If you're doing shirts like this, definitely put waxed paper between the front and back of your shirt or your design with go all the way through and your shirt will glue itself to itself. Which didn't happen to me, but with as much as they stuck to the waxed paper, I know it would.

But eventually, the glue was dry, so on Friday afternoon, we took our shirts out to the balcony and painted them. I'd mixed up acrylic paint with water in squeezey bottles, which made painting the shirts really easy, especially for Dano. I learned some things here too. Putting down plastic garbage bags under what you're painting is good (I did, and got very little paint on the balcony). Also, prewashing your garments if they're new is good. I didn't prewash Mercy's body suit, it was brand-new, and the paint did NOT want to soak into it. With Dano's and my shirts, the paint soaked in where we squirted it. But I had to rub and pat it into Mercy's body suit, and it didn't soak in as well or dye it as brightly.

I also learned that little boys who are not yet 3 years old can be awesome at this! Dano's shirt turned out the best of all, I think. He was super-careful and thoughtful about where to put each squirt of color. He would put one color over another, which made his shirt look beautiful and artistic, while my shirt looks blobby and blotchy because I was trying not to let them bleed together very much.

I think this would make a really cool craft project for Vacation Bible School, a summer camp -- anything where you can take multiple days to make it. Because after the paint dries, you have to soak the shirts to get the glue out, then let them dry again. So it's at least a two-day project, maybe three. Read That Artist Woman's post here for all the details on how to do this.

I've washed our shirts in the washer, and they've retained their colors quite nicely, so I'd say this craft project was a rousing success!

Friday, August 13, 2010

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I know I did a book review already this week. I planned to post a recipe for blueberry muffins next, but I can't. Because this book with the absurd -- and absurdly long -- title has captured me and I don't want to ever get free of it. And when I love a book this much, I have to share it with whomever I can.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is written almost entirely as a series of letters and telegrams from and to a woman writer in post-WWII London, Juliet Ashton. She learns about an extraordinary, eclectic group of readers living on the island of Guernsey who turned to books to help them get through the German occupation of their home. Juliet decides to write an article, then a book about these people, goes to Guernsey to meet them, and then... then it gets reeeeeally good.

I read this book in less than three days, and immediately began to re-read it because I love it so much and want to spend more time in the company of these characters. I bought my own copy yesterday. I honestly can't recall the last book I read twice in a row (other than picture books to Daniel, lol) -- maybe Jane Eyre? If so, that was more than a decade ago.

This book is crammed with delightful people (and yes, a few who aren't, since every story needs an antagonist or two), delicious writing, and a palpable love for books. These people are as enthusiastic about books as I am, and I think that is what makes me so very fond of them. Sure, the setting helps, as I love learning about the 1940s, but really it's the characters that I don't want to leave. Plus, this book makes me laugh aloud, even on the second reading, and I love books that delight me so much I can't help laughing aloud.

Here is an excellent site about this book, including an excerpt from the book if you want a taste of it without seeking it out at your library or local bookseller. My dear friend DocB recommended this book to me, and I can never thank her enough.

Monday, August 9, 2010

If Wishes Were Horses is giving away 3 Etsy shopping sprees of $100 each! Go here for details on how to enter yourself.

If I won one of those sprees and could spend $100 on Etsy, here's what I would get:

Why yes, I'm one of those literary types, why do you ask? :-)

Two Books: A Comparison

I recently read Death Qualified by Kate Wilhelm and Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd. They're rather different books, but they both have a mystery at the heart of them, but aren't exactly mysteries. And my expectations of -- and reactions to -- these two books was quite different. So I thought I'd compare them here.

+++WARNING!+++ There's spoilage ahead, so if you've been meaning to read either of these and don't want to be spoiled, don't read this post!

Death Qualified is about Barbara Holloway, a former defense lawyer who gets sucked into defending a woman who's up on charges of murdering her absentee husband. It's got some sci-fi/fantasy elements to it -- no aliens or unicorns, just an alternate way of interacting with the universe that I will not attempt to explain here. But by and large, it works like a mystery/courtroom drama, trying to establish the client's innocence, figure out who did kill the husband, etc.

Ordinary Thunderstorms also involves a murder. Adam Kincaid, an American scientist in London to apply for a job, accidentally walks in on the freshly-committed murder of a stranger he'd bumped into earlier that day. Suddenly he's wanted for murder, on the run, hiding out with London's homeless. Eventually, he rebuilds a life for himself and the real murderer gets brought to justice.

So, two books, both involving a murder. Neither one is a conventional mystery. And neither one ever reveals the whole plot behind the murder, brings the culprits to justice, or clears the wrongly accused. They're very similar in their open-ended endings.

And yet, I did not like Death Qualified when I'd finished it. I felt let down, unfulfilled. I wanted my good guys to triumph and my bad guys to pay, darn it all! And although Ordinary Thunderstorms had a similar lack of resolution of similar issues, I liked it.


I think it's because, somehow, Death sets itself up as a mystery/courtroom drama with a bit of a supernatural twist. And then it fails to fulfill the rules about solutions or crimes that those kinds of books generally adhere to. Thunderstorms, on the other hand, sets itself up as a literary novel with a mystery as a catalyst but not the central theme of the story. And so I didn't mind not getting a tidy wrap-up at the end because I wasn't expecting one.

Silly expectations.

However, both books are quite well-written, so I do recommend them both.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Trifle

I made this for the dinner celebrating our new pastor's installation last Sunday, and I also made it a month or so ago for a shindig at my hubby's office. It's based on this recipe, but I've changed it a bit. Because it uses pre-made cookie dough and instant pudding, it's quick and easy.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Trifle


1 (18 oz) package ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookie dough
2 cups milk
2 (3.4 oz) packages vanilla or chocolate instant pudding mix
1 (12 oz) container whipped topping -- thawed1/2 quart fresh raspberries
1 quart fresh strawberries -- sliced


Preheat oven to 375. Cut cookie dough in half lengthwise and then in half lengthwise again, creating four long wedges. Cut each wedge into 4 logs, 2 1/2 inches long each, to create 16 logs. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for one minute, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Beat milk and pudding mix in large bowl until blended. Fold whipped topping into mixture. Crumble 4 cookies and sprinkle on the bottom of a 2-quart trifle bowl or other deep glass serving dish. Cover with 1/3 of pudding mixture. Add the raspberries over the pudding. Cover with half the remaining pudding mixture. Stand up 10 cookies, face side out, along the inside of the bowl. Add strawberries. Cover with remaining pudding. Crumble last two cookies over the top. garnish with sliced strawberries or raspberries, whatever strikes your fancy.

Makes 12 servings.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A First

If you're wondering what I've been up to for the past couple weeks, wonder no more. A good deal of my time was spent crocheting this dress for Mercy. I bought a couple hundred yards of divine hand-dyed yarn from my friend Julie back in June -- it's the same as this yarn she's selling in her shop, ThisCosyLife. I knew I wanted to use it on something special for my baby girl, but I just couldn't decide on a project. I wanted to try making her a dress or other piece of clothing... but I've never crocheted clothing before. I felt daunted by the idea.

But I started looking at crochet patterns for baby dresses. I couldn't find any I really liked -- they were all too complicated or too frilly or just not what I wanted. I wanted a simple, sweet sundress she could wear to church or the mall or whatever.

Then I said to myself, hey, I know what I want -- why don't I just make up my own pattern? I make up patterns all the time! What's the worst that can happen -- I have to unravel it and start over. Big deal. I knew my 200 yards of yarn from Julie wouldn't be enough for a whole dress, but I had some wool yarn left over from another project that was a lovely peach and just matched one of the colors in Julie's yarn. I figured between the two, I'd have enough.

So, after much trial and error, ripping out stitches and redoing, I have the sundress I wanted. Simple, colorful, and feminine without being fussy and frilly. I even had enough of Julie's yarn left to make a matching diaper cover! I found these perfect buttons at the craft store, and my first attempt at crocheting clothing was complete!

I plan to offer my original pattern for this dress in my shop soon -- I just have to write it up first :-) And now that the dress is done, I can get back to blogging and post about the two books and three recipes I've been meaning to share.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Let Me Espresso My Love

I have acquired a daily vice. I now drink a cup of coffee every morning.

I had noticed that ever since Mercy arrived and I stopped getting as much sleep at night, I had been super crabby most mornings, with poor Dano bearing the brunt of Mommy's crankiness. But the days I had a Coke with lunch, my mood noticeably improved. So since the beginning of July, I've been drinking about 6 oz of coffee every morning. And mornings are going much, much better. Caffeine is my friend.

We have very little counter space in this apartment, and most of it is overhung by cabinets that are so low my coffee maker doesn't fit under them. A couple of years ago, my mom got me a little French press coffee maker like this one, and that's what I use every day now. I only fill it half full, as I never have time to drink a whole mug of coffee, and the half serving seems to do me just fine. It fits nicely in these beautiful coffee cups I inherited from my grandparents. Every morning as I sip my coffee from one of them, I feel so grown-up because when I was a kid visiting them, these cups only came out when their grown-up company came over. Yes, I'm thirty and "feeling grown-up." Guess I've achieved my goal of never actually growing up, at least so far.

Anyway, while I'm singing the praises of coffee, thought I'd share my favorite song about coffee, "Espresso My Love," by The Divers.

This is a performance on the theater stage at my alma mater -- the two guys in the center, Pete (singing) and Andy O. (playing the bongo), are professors at the college (Theatre and Art, respectively). The other two are brothers and also attended my alma mater back when Pete and Andy were students instead of profs. Since they sing fast and the video is a bit hard to hear, here's a link to their delicious lyrics.

Friday, July 16, 2010

An Unpleasant Milestone and The Farmers' Market

What a week! Mercy cut her first tooth on Wednesday, which means we have had a cranky girl for four days. At least now I know why she didn't sleep well on Tuesday... but she hasn't slept well since then either. That first tooth is such a killer :-(

Anyway, I took the kids downtown to the local farmer's market today. It just started up last weekend and is supposed to run through October. When the weather cools down a bit this fall, I'd love to walk there with the stroller, but today we drove. I bought tomatoes, blueberries, and a bulb of garlic. I haven't tried the tomatoes or garlic yet, but the blueberries are excellent! I'm going to have to find some recipes to make with them, as I doubt they'll last long even in the fridge. Hmm, maybe blueberry pancakes for breakfast tomorrow? :-9

Friday, July 9, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Heather! You won my Instant Canteen :-) I'll be contacting you via email to get your mailing address. I hope you get lots of great use and enjoyment out of your new water bottle carrier!

Everyone else, thanks for playing! Your feedback on what things you like in my shop helps me figure out what items I should concentrate on. I'll do another giveaway again one of these days, so check back here for another chance to get something for nothing.

(I chose the winner with the random number generator at

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Like Seven Inches from the Midday Sun

It's disgustingly hot here this week. I just read in the paper that it was 106 yesterday. In Connecticut! In Iowa, North Carolina -- I understand it when I'm in those places. Here? Not so much.

So in honor (?) of the heat wave, here are my fave summer songs. No particular order :-)

+ "Smooth" by Santana featuring Rob Thomas. Probably the first song I really liked by Thomas, though now I'm a fan of him and Matchbox Twenty. It's great for blasting while you drive with the windows down.

+ "Kokomo" by the Beach Boys. I first heard this at a skating rink when I was a little kid, probably right when it came out in 1988. Didn't know until years later who sang it, I just knew whenever I happened to hear it in the grocery store or mall that it made me happy.

+ "Lazy River" by Bobby Darin. Sure, Hoagy Carmichael wrote it, and everyone's recorded it, but for me, this is the best version. Naturally, since I'm a Bobby Darin addict. This song was on the first CD of his stuff I ever bought, and I sang it all summer long that year, especially while I was at Myrtle Beach with my family. I think I was sixteen.

+ "Summer Rain" by Johnny Rivers. I've loved this since I was an oldies-obsessed teen. I dig the imagery of things like dancing in the sand and stepping out of a rainbow. Great for groovin'.

Okay, time to go get a popsicle. Don't forget to enter my giveaway! That water bottle carrier is perfect for a hot one like today.

Monday, July 5, 2010

"The Pawn" by Steven James

I actually read this almost three weeks ago, but haven't managed to blog about it until now. Thank the Lord the rest of my summer looks calm and empty!

Anyway, my mom recommended Steven James' books to me when I was at home in NC last month. We were watching an old ep of Bones together, and I told her she should read Kathy Reichs' books that inspired the series. I said one of the things I liked best about her books is that they take place partly in North Carolina, my adopted home state. Mom said. "Oh, you should read the Patrick Bowers books by Steven James! The first one takes place here too!" So when I got back to CT, I got the first one, The Pawn, out of the library.

Ironically, I had warned her that Reichs' mysteries can get rather gruesome and spooky, and I wasn't sure if they'd bother her because of that. Turns out, I needn't have worried, because The Pawn was more gory and creepy than any of the four books I've read by Reichs. A goodly chunk of it is written from the point of view of a sadistic killer, and it creeped me out so much, I had to read it in just three days because I wanted to get it over and solved and behind me as fast as possible.

The Pawn is about FBI Criminologist Patrick Bowers tracking down a sadistic serial killer in the mountains around Asheville, NC. Bowers is recently widowed and alienated from his teen stepdaughter, and his personal life gets tangled up in his work and vice versa. Overall, the book is taut and suspenseful.

I think this is James' first mystery thriller, and as a debut in the genre, it's pretty good. The only thing I didn't like, besides it being a little creepier than I care for, was that I kept seeing the author in the book. By that I mean there were things that made me go, "Oh, he's setting up the workplace conflict here," or, "Here's the obligatory Special Ability that will come in handy at the book's climax." As the book went along, it had fewer obvious Mystery Components, and there were quite a few twists I didn't expect, so I'm betting the other books in the series (it totals four so far) are smoother and bear fewer authorial fingerprints.

Anyway, I liked James' style, so if I can get more of his books from the library, I probably will read more. So yes, if you like suspenseful mystery thrillers, you'll probably dig this book.

PS. Don't forget to enter my canteen giveaway here! Only four days left!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Popcorn Cookies

Looking for a fun recipe to try with your kids this summer? I found this one on, and it was easy and tasty. Plus, it doesn't make so many cookies you're stuck with them for weeks (okay, never a big problem around here, but I can see how it could be), but you have enough to share if you want. I sent some to a friend who's serving in Afghanistan right now and still had some for us to enjoy here too.

So, here's the recipe. Yum!

Popcorn Cookies


1/2 cup butter -- softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
2 cups popped popcorn -- lightly crushed
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the popcorn, chocolate chips, and pecans.

Drop by tablespoonfuls two inches apart onto greased (or non-stick) baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 13-14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yields 2 1/2 dozen.

++Don't forget to enter my giveaway for your chance to win a free Instant Canteen!++

Friday, July 2, 2010

Giveaway: Instant Canteen!

What could be a more perfect giveaway item for the summer than one of my Instant Canteens?

They're the hands-free way to stay hydrated -- an Instant Canteen ensures you'll never set your water bottle down and forget it ever again! They're great for any outing, whether you're going to the zoo or beach or hiking trail... or just the playground down the block, which is where mine goes the most. And you can enter to win this Peacock Swirl canteen for free right here!

(I sell these for $10 in my shop if you love the idea but don't like this one -- I have oodles of different fabric designs and strap colors.)

So, how can you win the Peacock Swirl canteen? There are two ways:

+ 1. Comment here listing your favorite item from my store -- -- and either your email or blog address so I can contact you if you win.

+ 2. Post about this on your own blog. Leave a comment here with a link to your blog post, plus either your email or blog address so I can contact you if you win.

This means you can be entered twice!

Giveaway ends the morning of Friday, July 10th when I draw the winner, announce who it is here, and contact them to get their mailing address. Good luck!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Adieu, Adieu, We're Going to the Zoo!

I'm finally getting a chance to post about our zoo trip! Things have been crazy here -- we took off for Boston for a couple days to help my brother and his wife pack up their moving van 'cause they're deserting us, sniff sniff sniff. Between packing for the trip and then unpacking and doing laundry, I have had few minutes to call my own. But right now, both my little ones are napping, so maybe I can get this written and posted.

Dano loves the zoo. We took him to this same one three times last year, and he remembered it pretty well. We walked through their rain forest exhibit first, where Dano loved the birds and was leery of the monkeys, but thought their ocelot was awesome. Here's a shot of his favorite way to check out the animals: crouch as close as possible to the glass/fence.
After that, we lunched at one of their many picnic areas, where Dano ate his sandwich as fast as he could "so the ants can't have it," then roamed around, climbing on rocks, while I fed Mercy and myself.

Usually she loves the stroller and conks out in it, but this time she was at The Zoo! She wanted to see the animals! She had to ride in the sling so she could see! In fact, she refused to have her head inside the sling pretty much the whole time -- she had to peek around it to see everything.

Okay, I've got a recipe, a book review, and shop news I've been wanting to post for over a week now. And a giveaway! I plan to get that rolling tomorrow, then do the rest next week. Adieu!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Picnic Time!

Michele of This Decorated Life featured one of my canteens on her blog today! Their post was all about picnic items. Just so happens the kids and I had a picnic at the zoo today. (Pics of that tomorrow, I hope.)

Here's my latest Instant Canteen, just in time for the 4th of July. I love those bright stars!

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Knuffle Bunny Too" by Mo Willems

In case you haven't guessed, I'll tell you: I love children's books. I love re-reading old favorites, I love finding new favorites... and I even love that my kids and I have different favorites.

My hubby picked the books for Dano at the library this week because I was busy feeding Mercy. He found a winner this week: Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems. (It's a sequel to Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, which we haven't read yet, but will definitely seek out on our weekly Saturday pilgrimage to the library.)

This book rocks! Dano says it's "a particular funny book," and he is soooo right. The drawings are awesome -- it looks like Willems takes black-and-white photos and draws cartoon characters on them, and they're sort of story-boarded like a comic strip or cartoon, with multiple pictures on a page.

It tells the tale of a little girl who takes her special stuffed Knuffle Bunny to school, only to discover another girl has the Very Same Bunny. To make a short story shorter, the two bunnies get swapped accidentally, and there's a delightfully noir-ish Knuffle Bunny Exchange in the middle of the night that involves dialog like, "We have your bunny!"

Honestly, this book makes me giggle more than Dano :-)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

This Cosy Life's 7 Days of Giveaways

My friend Julie of This Cosy Life is doing a full week of giveaways, starting today! All you have to do to enter is become a fan of her Facebook page. Visit her blog here to read all about it. Today she's giving away one $10 gift certificate for her Etsy shop. She's been adding a bunch of supercute new items lately, from hand-dyed yarn to little teether dolls like this one, and some of them are sure to be prizes. So what are you waiting for?

Friday, May 21, 2010

"The Cinder-Eyed Cats" by Eric Rohmann

I picked this book off the library shelf because of its intriguing, poetic title. I opened it because of its alluring front cover. I checked it out for Dano because its simple, dreamlike story was so unlike the realistic books about trucks and trains he favors, and I wanted to see if he'd like this too. Stretching his imagination is always a good thing.

Turns out, he does like it! Which means I've gotten to read it over and over this week :-) I love the simple story of a boy sailing off to a dreamy island and cavorting the night away with the five cinder-eyed cats and a host of ocean creatures. The text is as poetic as the title, beginning with free verse, then rhyming later on. My favorite line is: "Cats like velvet shadows move." I love the alliteration and assonance of the Vs and As, and anyone who's ever been friendly with cats knows that's just how they do move.

The Cinder-Eyed Cats combines simple, poetic text with soft paintings and a story that will delight children and parents alike. Or at least, it delights my children and me :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010