This Book was a Tree giveaway winner!!!

8 days in, and the cosmos seedlings are taking off. Still no sign of the sweet pea sprouts, but I'll give them a couple more days in their little egg incubators before giving up hope.

Thanks to all who entered the giveaway for Marcie's book - picked Anne as the lucky winner!  

And by the way, I agree with Sarah - Nellie Oleson was my favorite too. She was so evil, but her curls were so perfect! 


Yesterday was spent in the backyard doing another project - this time dyeing eggs, our fingers and the dog. Best tip ever - use a cupcake tin to hold the dye. Definitely easier than using a bunch of little bowls! Thanks to Britta for the idea.


This Book Was a Tree / Cackleberry Sprouts! / Giveaway!!

My good friend Marcie's book came out this month and I'm so proud to write about it and be part of her blog tour!

This Book Was a Tree: Ideas, Adventures and Inspiration for Discovering the Natural World is magical. It's filled with get-out-there-and-experience-the-world-around-you projects of all shapes and sizes. Want to make a magnifying glass out of a water bottle? Create your own sundial? Turn old wool sweaters into felted flowers? Marcie knows how to do that and shares her wisdom and hand drawn art throughout. But most importantly, she encourages her readers to put down the screens, and get outside to explore the world around us.

I love these lines: "I'm not here to convert you into Laura Ingalls Wilder (me: I wish!) nor am I advocating you adopt a Davy Crockett lifestyle. Instead, I simply wish for you to cultivate a healthy relationship with the national world here in the present."

Who doesn't need more of that? I definitely do. My kids definitely do. After being indoors for most of the winter, yesterday was spent in the back yard, planting Cackleberry Sprouts, one of the "try this" projects in her book.

some of Marcie's original art. she's awesome.

What's a Cackleberry? It's a slang word for egg, popular in the 1950s, and no, I didn't just know that, Urban Dictionary told me. And Marcie tells me that the calcium in the egg is important for healthy soil, so why not use egg shells as nurseries for wildflowers? I did the messy stuff - cleaning out the eggs - and let my middle guy do the fun stuff, filling, planting and watering. We got dirty, we got wet, we had fun, and no one said "can we go in and watch tv?" That hasn't happened in very long time!

we planted sweat pea and cosmos

now these guys spend a couple weeks indoors - when they get some hearty leaves, we'll crush the shells a bit and plant somewhere sunny

This boy was so inspired he spent the rest of the afternoon digging up holes and planting old bulbs all over the yard!

And this guy discovered how to spray the squirt bottle directly in his face. And it did it again, and again, and again….

Now go outside and get dirty:) But before you do, buy the book, visit Marcie's site, check out the other fabulous blog tour stops and comment below with your favorite Little House on the Prairie character to win a copy of Marcie's book! Winner will be chosen at random on Thursday, April 17.

Week One:
4/1 House Wren Studio
4/2 Mindful Momma
4/3 The Long Thread
4/4 Maya Made

Week Two:
4/7 Rebecca Sower
4/8 Sara Bakes Cakes
4/9 Donuts Dresses and Dirt
4/10 Tinkerlab
4/11 Resurrection Fern

Week Three:
4/14 Small Measure
4/15 Lil Fish Studios

Happy Spring!


Running - favorite things

I've been challenged by my good friend Britta over at Hudson & Hill to write a blog a week for the month of January. Seems easy, right? I mean - the woman just had twins and now has 4 kids under 5, if she can do it, I can, right? Then again, she's amazing and interesting and enlightening posts seem to just flow out of her, but I'm going to try my damndest to keep up. Here goes!

Running - always said it was something I didn't do. Previously I'd get on a treadmill and jump off around around .45 mile mark, gasping for breath with a major stitch in my side. But I tried the whole running thing again this past September and this time it stuck. I don't run that fast and don't go that far, but now I actually kind of like it, which blows this former non-runner's mind. 

Wanted to share some my favorite things (because, to be honest, researching and buying new things was part of the fun when I first started:)

Shoes: Asics Gel-Kayano 19 in Raspberry Lime (I figured the more garish the better)


I confess - my little sister told me to buy these so I did. I know, that's probably the exact wrong way to buy a pair of running shoes, but it worked for me. These are super comfortable and judging from the reviews, I'm not the only one who thinks so. And DAMN! Just saw they're on sale. Might have to stock up.

Cold-weather running tights: Athleta Polartec Power Stretch 2 Tights

These are fleece lined and really thick - I thought they'd be too thick but are just right in temps below 30 degrees. (disclaimer - not my belly:) 


Cold-weather jacket: Brooks Utopia Thermal Hoodie II

Unlike the tights, this jacket is decievingly thin, but it's super warm. I wear with a long sleeved shirt underneath and it's all I need. 


Running app: Runkeeper 

I forked over 20 bucks a year for the deluxe version, and I've grown slightly obsessed with checking and rechecking all the data it gives me. Don't think I could run without it.


I know this has nothing to do with cakes, baking, food or kids, but I hope you've found this helpful!




Movies? For kids? Have I got a list for you!!!

We've been on a movie kick lately - I'll pretend and say the reason I haven't posted here since mid-flippin-March is because we've been watching so many movies. But that would be lying. Anyway - my boys and I watched a bunch of movies in fall 2011 when I was in the bowels of first-trimesterness with little guy #3, but we kind of stopped movie nights since then. Not sure why, because there's nothing better than curling up together in a dark-ish bedroom and watching a movies with kids. If you happen to nod off in the middle, no worries - make it a movie you've seen before and you'll still have something to discuss with your kids when it's over.

We started off our latest round of movie watching with two 80s favorites, both of which I probably saw in the movie theater - BIG and Karate Kid.  Then I asked my wise Facebook friends for other suggestions along the same lines and I got such a great list! I'm posting them here for me to refer to later and for anyone else who might stumble upon this blog, looking for a movie fix.

Unfortunately, most of these aren't available on Netflix streaming, but can either be rented for 24 hours via iTunes/Apple TV or through Amazon Prime. If all else fails, check out your local library website and rent them the old fashioned way, via DVD (who ever would think DVDs would be considered old fashioned?)

Without futher ado - fantastic movie list for kids ages 6ish - 10ish. Feel free to add other suggestions in the comments.

A League of Their Own

Adventures in Babysitting


Around the World in 80 Days

Back to the Future

Breaking Away

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (the original)

Cheaper by the Dozen

Cool Runnings

ET (my kids already saw and were unimpressed – I think it was too long for them)

Every Muppet Movie ever created

Field of Dreams


Goonies (many votes for this one)


Home Alone

How to Train Your Dragon


Mary Poppins

Mrs. Doubtfire (in contention with Triplets of Belleville for next to be watched)

Parental Guidance

Princess Bride


Short Circuit


Teen Wolf (might wait a couple years for this one – “Give me a keg of beer.”)

The Neverending Story


Triplets of Belleville (this was new to me, looks really good, might be next on our list)


Uncle Buck

We Bought a Zoo

PS - I realized after watching a bunch of these PG rated movies would probably get PG-13 ratings now. So keep headphones for the little ones at the ready and happy viewing!


The BEST buttercream

I love my buttercream recipe. This isn't the "fancy" buttery one (aka Swiss meringue or Italian meringue), but the one that reminds me more like the yummy grocery store-type frosting, but with better ingredients. Fortunately my good friend Sheri happens to agree with me. Check out her recent post for details (ps - go overboard on the vanilla, more vanilla can only make things taste that much better). Thanks for the love, Sheri!

(and while you're at it, spend some time checking out her blog - everything this woman does looks and tastes amazing - I'm perpetually in awe)