maggie rudy's new book

And while we are on the topic of mice, I must tell you about Maggie Rudy's new book.

I love this book... There are practical matters of pet care, comical mishaps and a sweet narrative following little mouse-child who herself seeks the perfect pet.

Oh, look... a book trailer!


la petite souris

In my house we have been reading books about Ernest and Celestine by Gabrielle Vincent (over & over & over...)

The books are currently not in print but we were able to borrow a pile of them through our local library. If you cannot find copies at your local library, editions of some the stories are available here at Book Depository.


Hopefully, however, the new movie of Ernest and Celestine will spark a revival of these sweet books, and perhaps more will be reprinted. 


I watched this new movie a few weeks ago with my sons, and was not at all surprised to discover that the movie adhered neither stylistically nor thematically to the original books (except, of course, for the fact that both feature a childlike mouse & fatherly bear as main characters).  Still, the movie had a charm all it's own.

I was especially intrigued by the story element in the movie which involves mice who retrieve children's baby teeth which have fallen out.  I wondered whether this was a French tradition (similar to the tradition in other countries involving the tooth fairy) and so I did some research.

I learned that in many French and Spanish speaking countries it is indeed a mouse who comes to claim baby teeth which have fallen out.  In France the mouse is called La Petite Souris and in Spanish speaking countries he is called Ratoncito Perez.  If you're interested, you can read more about traditions around the world here, and click here to read about a museum in Madrid dedicated to Raton Perez!

And if you are craving yet more bear & mouse stories after reading this post, I recommend getting ahold of some of these books by Bonnie Becker. So funny. Love them.

Happy reading!


summer farmer's market

We went to our local farmer's market today...


To buy some fougasse...


Figs for jam-making...

We also bought a bag of the requisite kettle-corn, but I can't imagine you want to see a photo of my children stuffing their faces!


dill pickles

 Wow -- who knew that pickling cucumbers was so easy?  I followed this recipe here over at Smitten Kitchen and now I'm a convert to homemade pickles.  The recipe was a little on the salty side for my taste, but that can be easily adjusted in my next batch...

FYI, definitely go for the Kirby cucumbers if you can find them.


spool knitting

Every time I pull out knitting my 4-year-old wants to join in, and so I searched my mind for a way he could participate. Then I remembered "spool knitting," and this little mushroom spool knitter from from Bella Luna Toys is perfect in every way. It's pleasing to the eye and to the touch; however, if you are interested in exploring other types you can do an internet search for "Knitting Nancy," "Spool Knitting," "French Knitting Doll," "Strickliesel," or "Knitting Tower."

Of course, I had to buy two of these mushrooms, because I knew that, once I started with my little one, my big boy would want to try.  My younger son is using a light weight sock yarn with his mushroom and this seems a little thin, while my older son is using a worsted from Noro which is a little heavy.  And so I would recommend using a sport or DK weight with these knitters.

My four year old cannot manage this craft on his own, but in tandem we work well together. I hold the mushroom and wrap the yarn over the wire hooks, and then my little one uses the wooden knitting needle to bring the loops of yarn over the hooks. I was surprised at how quickly he mastered the skill of manipulating the yarn with the knitting needle, and we both enjoy seeing the yarn "snake" grow in length. He is using rainbow yarn, so it's fun to see how the the colors of the snake evolve as we work.  And as we work, my 4-year-old often interjects, "I love this mushroom! I love knitting!" I feel the same way.

And here are the beautiful hands of my big boy. At some point soon I'd like to transition him to using two needles; I think this has been a good start and he's ready for the next step.  Meanwhile, we have also been trying out knitting looms...

Otherwise, things have been quiet around here this summer.  No big adventures or plans, and yet our days seem full.  How has your summer been so far?



Happy Birthday to my own little Yankee Doodle Dandy!


You're growing up so big & beautiful... we love you so...


perfect square

Another good book trailer (this book happens to be a current favorite in our house...)


plant a kiss

I always love a good book trailer, don't you?


a dangerous cake

This is a dangerous cake.  I know. It doesn't look dangerous.  It's looks like an innocent bundt cake -- retro, simple, and a little boring, but it was really, really good.

I needed to whip up a quick cake last weekend for a birthday brunch and wasn't up to anything which would require whipping egg whites, frosting or decoration.  I had never made a bundt cake, but as soon as I stumbled across this recipe for Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake on Epicurious, I dashed out to our local kitchen-wares shop and bought one of these cake pans.  I had planned to drizzle the top with melted white chocolate, but didn't even have time to do that. So I dumped some powdered sugar into a sieve, gave the top a dusting and that was good enough.

The only change I made to the recipe was substituting cognac for whiskey.  The aroma while this thing was in the oven drove us all a bit insane.  Buttery, chocolate, caramelized, boozy, oh my.

I love Epicurious.  Apparently 111 people have left reviews for this recipe, and 94% would make it again.  I would make it again, too.


a small parcel

A few weeks ago Castle in the Air celebrated it's 13th anniversary.  In honor of this anniversary some fabulous treasures were given away, and I was lucky enough to receive a small parcel containing one such treasure...


Glowan is an accordion-style book from the hand and imagination of Karima Cammell (owner of Castle in the Air and founder of Dromedary Press).


It's a gorgeous little journey, from dawn to dusk, through fairy land...

The next time you are in the SF Bay Area, I highly recommend a visit to the Castle. They offer an exquisite & expansive selection of books, craft kits, European crepe paper, Dresden trim, paper toys & theaters, etc...  If you are not planning a trip to California any time soon, there is always their online shoppe (and blog).