Haul from the book sale

32 books for $37. Not bad. I had a good time looking through the great selection of books at the Emmet O'Neal Library annual book sale. I can't wait to see which ones become our favorites.

I don't want to bore you with a big long list but I wanted to highlight a few of the finds ... for Joseph I was happy to pick up "Panda Bear, Panda Bear What do you See?" which completes the series on our bookshelf and "My Very First Book of Motion," both by Eric Carle. And last year I found the board book Richard Scarry's "Colors" ... I hope Richard Scarry's "From 1 to 10" is as big of a hit.

I found it hard to pick out books for Will now that he has outgrown board books. So far he liked "Do You Know Where Your Monster is Tonight?" by Joanne and David Wylie. Trying to teach Will time has been ... trying! And "Moonstruck (The true story of the cow who jumped over the Moon)" by Gennifer Choldenko is cute and teaches perseverance. Last, two children's sign language books should provide lots of entertainment. Will's been showing interest in signing so I figure we better learn how to do it right before we cuss someone out by accident. 

Now for the books I'm excited about. Though the selection of vintage children's books was smaller this year, I still walked away with a few gems ...

"The Giant Nursery Book of Things That Go" by George J. Zaffo (1959) — Pictured at the bottom of the stack, it's huge. And the drawings are wonderful ... very similar style to "Harry the Dirty Dog" series. Online information about Mr. Zaffo is slim. Seems he drew close to 20 books, mostly vehicle driven. 

"The Big Book of Things to Do and Make" by Helen Jill Fletcher. Illustrated by Ingrid Fetz (1961) — Woo-hoo, a treasure trove of vintage craft ideas. And you would not be surprised how some ideas never go out of style. Will has picked out a couple of things to do already. 

"Black Beauty" adapted by Eleanor Graham Vance. Illustrated by Phoebe Erickson. (1949) — From the cover "All the tenderness of Anna Sewell's beloved story of Black Beauty is preserved in this new picture-story adaptation." I look forward to reading this chapter book to Will.

"Feathered Ones and Furry" by Aileen Fisher. Illustrated by Eric Carle! (1971, but this is a book club edition so could not determine actually printing). All the animals illustrations are woodcut in black and so lovely to view. And the poetry is fun and sweet. Will showed an early interest in poetry so I try to buy one or two new books a year. But if he doesn't love this book, I know I will!

Looks like I did give you a big, boring list. As a reward for reading all the way to the end, I have a book to giveaway. "Kitty Princess and the Newspaper Dress" by Emma Carlow and Trevor Dickinson.* Aimed at boys and girls ages 5-8. You can read reviews at Amazon. Just comment by Wednesday 8 p.m. CST and I'll let the random generator gods select the winner. 

*Full disclosure: Let's be clear that I bought this book at a USED book sale. It is a former library book. It has been handled. One page repaired with tape. It still can be enjoyed for many years but I don't want anyone to be disappointed. 
Smiles and good luck.

Update: According to the random generator gods, the winner is Jen. I'll be mailing your book very soon. I wish I had books for everyone!


Fabulous Friday — Books!

Today is my favorite book sale! Meet me at the Emmet O'Neal Library at 11. I'll be there at 10 to beat you to all the great finds. Above is a picture of last year's haul. Quite a few of these became favorites of Will and/or Joseph. As for myself, I loved the board book "All Asleep" by Joanna Walsh (4th one down) but could not, not, not get Joseph interested in it. My favorite line is "Even the babies who wake up all night are sleeping now, are sleeping tight." Every momma's dream!

Found any good books lately at the library, thrift store or yard sale? Got your Amazon cart filled with wishful purchases? (Mine stays full!)


Making us proud

William was interviewed at the library yesterday about his yard sale/lemonade stand last fall. He raised $35 for the library to buy new materials. When he donated the money, they asked him what kind of books he would want — castle books and Army DVD — and that's exactly what they got him. And he got to be the first person to check them out. Yes, they filmed him doing it.

"All About the Military" (includes "All About the Space Shuttle") DVD
"Over at the Castle" by Boni Ashburn/illustrations by Kelly Murphy
"Look Inside a Castle" by Jenny Moss

The footage from the interview is going to be used in a new capital campaign. I can't wait to see it. I warned them — you never know what you are going to get interviewing someone so young. But Will was great and had no trouble answering their questions. We're rather proud of our little guy.

Retail therapy

I don't suggest you go hog wild, but let's admit it — sometimes getting yourself a little happy makes the day a little happier. With that in mind, I got me some happies.

This had been on my wish list for awhile. Delicious Days is the first cookbook from Nicole Stich who writes a food blog by the same name. She had me hooked with her easy gnocchi recipe. I've flipped through and found several recipes I want to try. It's out of print but I found a used English edition on Amazon. There is a second cookbook coming but only in German for now.

I get a kick out of the book's spine not matching its neighbors because it is European. Makes me feel very continental. (I would link to an explanation for this but couldn't find a clear answer.)

I love tiny colanders. They're cute and useful. Just perfect to rinse a few berries or grapes for my boys. And the orange color, well ... I had to have it. 

My excuse to buy these strawberries was I needed something to photograph. Even though it's way early for these berries, they sure were good!

We have new pillows! It was a late Christmas present from my mom (we bought them during her recent visit instead of driving them home in a van already packed full at Christmas). What a treat to toss out the old, nasty stained pillows and sink into new fluffiness. Thanks Mom!


What I see

We've got tons of blankets, but one of Will's favorites is the couch cover. Which, has seen better days as has the couch. (We follow the 5th rule of parenting — Don't buy nice stuff while the kids are little.) If the couch cover is off, you can bet Will's wrapped up in it ...

or hiding under it.

Wait, is brother hiding? Got to grab another blanket ...

and hide too!

Yep, anything Will does, Joseph is right behind him.




Our local children's museum of awesomeness, McWane Science Center, hosted its annual Big Machine Day Saturday. CraneWorks brings in a lot of heavy equipment for the kids to touch and climb in/on. Fire and police departments are represented too. It's heaven for little boys. Sure girls like big machines too, but they were definitely out numbered.


Random Thoughts

I've got some family crap going on right now. I would use stronger language but my mother-in-law sometimes reads this blog. I don't want to talk about it, but I don't not want to talk about it so I've been quiet over here in my neck of the internet woods. I feel I should be honest on my blog about my life but at the same time, my focus has mostly been the kids and crafting and happy rainbow unicorns so I don't want to bring anyone down with long essays about crap however therapeutic it might be for me.

(There are some wonderful folks about there really sharing their lives, the good and bad, including Amalah, Finslippy and Suburban Snapshots. I admire them.)

So let's talk about other things shall we?

Joseph went to the doctor two weeks ago for fever. During the exam the doctor saw that one of his ear tubes looked to be making its way out. Fast forward two weeks, both tubes are out and we've got a double-ear infection on our hands. Fun times. If this infect is not easy to heal, we are very likely looking at a second set of tubes. I'm all for it. I love them. When they are in, neither boy has/had ear infections. We were lucky with William that when his tubes came out, his ears had done what they needed to do (grow/change shape/I don't know I'm not a doctor) so we didn't see repeat infections. But if we do have to get a second set of tubes, I can guarantee more cute pictures like these.

(Break to vacuum house while kids still in school)

(Break to pick up kids)

(Break to rake more leaves, play outside with the neighbors, take video of Will learning how to jump rope, take pictures of Joseph raking like a big boy, dinner, bath, bedtime)

(Break to watch first 10 minutes of Gray's Anatomy)

William got $10 from his MayMay and NanNay for Valentine's Day and boy, he could not spend it fast enough. Unfortunately, the thing he really, really wanted — Power Miners Legos — has been discontinued. What, one of my kids' favorite things and you're not making them any more?! But we were able to find the Fire Blaster (#8188) still in stock on the amazing Amazon and then had to wait an agonizing two days for the UPS truck. So now I'm hitting eBay pretty hard for more Power Miners. I scored the really big set Will "has always wanted forever" at a good price for birthday or Christmas. Go Mom!

Unfortunately, buying stuff is very therapeutic so I also have two cookbooks on their way here. I vow to cook at least one thing from each within one week of receiving them. Chocolate is therapeutic too.

(Okay, I'm going back to Gray's and then going to bed. Hiding under the covers maybe not therapeutic BUT at least I'll be well rested for whatever hits me tomorrow.)


What I see

Joseph at 21 months is showing interest in the potty. He's trying out the idea of sitting on it with clothes on. And pushing it around. We also had a fun game of "chase me because I have the potty." I think it's a little early ... I'm not expecting a lot now ... but I am impressed that he points to his diaper and says potty. 

Like the turquoise color? Me too. This potty actually was Chris' circa 1970s. We also have a toilet seat with a kid-size seat built into the lid for Will to pull down. Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds. It was love at first site at the hardware store.


Valentine's Day 2011

Somewhere in a box long packed away are two manilla envelopes holding valentines from 2nd and 3rd grade ... I loved getting valentines back then. And now, I love helping the boys make and give valentines.

Will's valentine was easy to decide. He spied the "I 'WHEELIE' LIKE YOU" valentine as I was working on my Valentine printables roundup (that you can find here) and immediately picked it. We packed small snack bags with fruit snacks, candy and Hot Wheels (bought during Black Friday sales). It was fun watching Will pick out the cars for his classmates with comments about why that particular car was for that particular friend. A big thank you to Mique of 30 Handmade Days for sharing this!

For Joseph's little classmates, we went with recycled crayon hearts. I already had the heart muffin pan because this idea is also recycled from last year. This craft is so easy and gets lots of oohs and aahs. Will again helped me get the crayons ready to melt. A big thank you to Ellen of The Long Thread for sharing the idea and the valentine. I've used it two years now ... and I'm sure it will not be the last.

What about you? What are you making at your house?


What I see

If only this army could cook and clean ...


Just what I wanted

Do ever wish you could move into the Pottery Barn catalog? Actually I'm not that picky ... I would be fine with Land of Nod or Restoration Hardware. But we all know the real reason those rooms are clean ... they're not real. Real rooms have a trail of crumbs leading to the toddler holding half a cracker. Real rooms have a least four missing toy parts under the sofa. Real rooms can be clean one second and then look like a F4 tornado struck. I like my real rooms ... but a girl can also dream as she thumbs through the pages of a magazine.

I have long wanted the Collector's Shelves in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. I finally got around to asking my uncle to make one for Will's room. My uncle is extremely talented when it comes to wood and can make just about anything. It took longer for the paint to dry than it did for him to build.

Chris installed it yesterday for me. It's a little higher than I would have liked it. Being next to the bed, he was worried that Will would roll in to it and hurt himself in the middle of the night. I wasn't mad when it wasn't hanging where I suggested — that's what dads are suppose be, protective of their little ones. 

Will immediately filled the shelf with his favorite books. I also intend for library books to hang out here so they don't get lost among our books.

I like it. But now I'm thinking we need another one to hang above it ... 

oh Uncle Bill ...


What I see

Looks like we have a rodent problem ...

For more, visit Wordless Wednesday.


Campaign to bring back real mail

There is one reason I don't like Sundays ... there is no mail. Some goes for federal holidays. I love checking the box in the afternoon. I love packages and magazines and books and surprise letters. Christmas is especially fun as colorful envelopes arrive each day. I also love to write letters and hoard stationery like there is a paper shortage coming any day now. My first job was at a Hallmark so I have plenty. 

Unfortunately, I don't get the chance to write as much as I used to. Yes, we could blame the easy and convenience of e-mail. My dad would tell you my hands must be broken. But I want to change that. I hear by announce the Campaign to Bring Back Real Mail. If you read this, I challenge you to write just one "Just Because" letter to anyone you like. Think of a new mom you know that might need a note of encouragement or a relative in a nursing home. Of course our children love getting stuff in the mail. Come back and let me know where your special note was sent.

To make sending letters easier, I put together a stationery kit. I found this bag stashed away (I seriously don't remember what was in it or when it came into the house) and was about to toss it when I realized it was the perfect size for this idea. I put stamps, an assortment of stationery  — birthday cards, thank yous and blanks — and my address stamp (very handy and one of those cheap deals on Vistaprint) all in one place. It has a handle so it is easy to grab to write a quick note between playing Legos and laundry.

Like my personalized stationery? Lelan of Good Gravy! Handcrafted Designs sent a package to me after I sent her some owls. I certainly think I got the better end of the deal. She has all kinds of goodness in her shop ... note cards, custom invitations and more. Check it out. 

Now, I've got some cards to send. Off to the post office.