Archive for February, 2010

A room for brother and sister.

inspiration board kids The fact that we are moving to a house, a perminent dwelling, a place we won’t move from in less than a year, gives me the design bug. Bad. Like really bad. I lay awake at night designing the house, the studio, the kid’s rooms…I even have the halls figured out.

It’s a curse really….but I love it.

And I don’t even have the keys yet. Tomorrow, folks. Tomorrow I will be a home owner!

The big “decision” we are figuring out in our house right now, is who gets to sleep with whom and where. Addie and Ian have been together since infancy, and surprisingly want their own rooms in this new house. But, that leaves Ella having to sleep with a big kid, and I just don’t know if I am ready to have her disturbed by the nightly ritual of getting out of bed 32 times for urgent demands like “another story”, “bedtime snack” or “I’m scared of the dark” incidences. Truthfully, I don’t think they could sleep apart…they have grown up as twins really, and miss each other after 5 minutes of being separated. So….since we haven’t decided yet, I have been designing up a few alternatives.

This is what I have so far for a possible Boy/Girl or Gender Neutral Room. Addie is for sure a girly girl, and Ian is my 1960’s school boy. The colors match up just right, and I am loving the color going on.

Here’s the round up:

(Left to right)

1. Vintage Map

2. Favorite room from blog land here.

3. Anthropologie quilt I found on Craigslist ($40 thank you very much)

4. Room Seven Inspiration

5. Image here.

6. Le Balloon print available in the shop

7. Via from Bloesom home tours here.

8. Le Petit Prince: a fav. book and design inspiration

9. Designs from Shinzi Katoh

10. Summer Tea Party Print available in the shop

11. Red chair found here.

I’m having a ball scouting out Craigslist, my local classifieds, and second hand stores. I’ll let you know if this is what we go for…or if we end up going with the girls room/boys room idea. Personally, they only have so much longer until they really won’t want to be together…I want to keep them together for as long as I can.

And so far, I’ve convinced them to stay together with this design:) I’m a tricky one, I am.

Off to the paint store….!

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Chapter books for the younger kids


UPDATE 1/29/2014

I’ve compiled the over 110 comments from you and created a PDF with all your suggestions! Download it or print it out, and enjoy this great library resource! Enjoy!

click here to download

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Reading chapter books to your 3-8 year olds is a great way to get them to use their imaginations and to more advanced vocabulary. But with the advanced vocab, can sometimes come advanced content (sorry…I am not interested in emotionally scarring my 4 year olds by reading about vampires) or they simply have plots that can’t capture the attention of preschool age kids. Sometimes it’s a matter of not having enough pictures intertwined in the chapters to keep them turning pages with you.

So, thank you so much for your recommendations! We have read some of these, and can attest to our children being completely interested even though they are considered for Middle Grade Readers.

I have learned to never underestimate the reading comprehension of your children! Just last night, my just turned 4 year old…who has such a hard time sitting down to read…was completely wrapped up in Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder…and even went to dress for the part of the hunter boys to get in the mood. I watched his eyes widen as he listened (there weren’t any pictures to look at) and felt like I was catching a magical moment where he was making the connection between the words and the images in his own mind. Pure Magic!

So….here folks is the list you put together!  Feel free to add to it, and I’ll edit them in.


The mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

Ramona Books by Beverly Cleary

Emily’s Runaway Imagination Beverly Cleary

Ralf S. Mouse books by Beverly Cleary

Mercy Watson series by kate dicamillo

Tale of Despereaux by Kate dicamillo

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate dicamillo

Because of Wynn Dixie byKate Dicamillo

Catwings books by Ursula K. LeGuin

Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black

Just So Storiesby Rudyard Kipling

The Henry books by DB Johnson

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  by C.S. Lewis

The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder


Halibut Jackson by David Lucas.

Paddington Bear by Michael Bond

The Adventures of Olga da Polga By Michael Bond

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Ella Enchanted Gail Carson Levine

Freddy Anniversary Collection by WalterBrooks

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Matilda Ronald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach by Ronald Dahl

The Ordinary Princess By M.M. Kaye

Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum

Junie B Jones Series by Barbara Park

Captain Underpants Series by Dav Pilkey

The Cricket in Times Square George Seldon

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson

The Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren

Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet

No Flying in the House by Betty Brock

The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne

The Littles by John Peterson

Pippi Longstocking Astrid Lindgren

The Boxcar Children Gertrude Chandler Warner

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Swiss Family Robinson Johann D. Wyss

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

Little Women Louisa May Alcott

Winnie the Pooh A.A. Milne

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs

Elves and Fairies Annie R. Rentoul and Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Peter Pan J.M. barry

Alice in wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Enid Blyton Goodnight Stories

The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

Famous Five by Enid Blyton

Secret Seven by Enid Blyton

Anything by Thornton BURGESS

Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker

Far Flung Adventures series

Milly-Molly-Mandy Joyce Lankester Brisley

The Alfie Books by Shirley Hughes

Jip and Janneke by Annie M.G. Schmidt

The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail(and an Even Smaller Ant) by Avi

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweilerby E.L. Konigsburg

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling

Grayson by Lynne Cox

Half Magic by Edward Eager.
Indian in the Cupboard series by Lynn Reid Banks

The Trumpet of the Swanby E.B. White.

A Necklace of Raindropsby Joan Aiken

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong

I don’t know about you…but I’m heading to the Library today! Enjoy!

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Books you’ll love: Lady Lollipop


Bedtime is has always had the same routine:

Bath, pajamas, brush teeth, prayers, dad’s made up story (either a watered down Hercules/Greek Mythology story, or Sherlock Holmes) followed by a book or two, and then “Mommy’s secret thing” (a combination of back scratch, and massage where I go through head to toe saying “Your head is asleep, your back is asleep…”) and then a “made up lullaby”( I have to sing new words to a made up tune every night).

Can you tell our kids keep us on our toes? We’re making up songs, stories and melodies fresh every night!  It’s good practice and we love it.  But every so often, Ken wants a break from his made up stories (he is a history teacher, and so his days are already filled with storytelling) and so we decided about a year ago to introduce more chapter books to the routine. We have gone through most of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Lion Witch and the Wardrobe, Charlotte’s Web, and a few others. But I will be honest, and say that finding books for a newly turned 5 and 4 year old is hard!

We had to skip the end of Lion Witch and the Wardrobe…or at least paraphrase…and Kenneth decided to postpone Harry Potter after the first chapter (He got a bit excited on that one).

So, we have been on a quest to find good chapter books for Preschool age children, and we found this great book at the library this month:

Lady Lollipop by Dick King-Smith, illustrated by Jill  Barton.

It’s about a princess who wants a pet pig more than anything else, and gets to know some really fun characters a long the way.

This was a hit. I think they read it in just a couple nights. The best part, was that it was perfect for my boy and my girl: a dirty pig, a funny pig keeper and a stubborn princess. You can’t go wrong. The illustrations are great too!

Do you have other big kid books for pre-K kids you love to read? It’s a narrow category for sure…and we are always on the quest for more! Please share and I’d love to put together a list to share!

Happy Weekend everyone, and happy reading!

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My kinda irresistable.

ella 7.5 months

Can you get any cuter than this?

Nope. Sorry. She’s the top of my can’t-handle-it-any-more-she’s-so-cute meter. In fact, she broke the meter.

She is my happy baby, and I couldn’t be more lucky to have a baby with such an easy temperment with all that is going on right now…she just kinda rolls with the punches.  Rolls being the key word.  I hear the 3rd baby is like that. She has no choice, I guess. Life is such right now that “crazy” becomes her “normal.”

She’s making it really hard for me to get off the floor/couch/bed and do something productive like….oh….housework or packing.  Smooching her is about all I do around here (Well…besides illustrating the book, mothering 3 kids and trying to move in a couple weeks).  Ella is a pretty good distraction.  And I don’t really mind!

Happy Tuesday!

Oh, and thanks for all your congratulations on the house! This is really such a big deal for us since we have been living out of boxes it seems like for so long. We finally feel like we are “settling” here in Utah, not just temporary residents. It’s a good feeling.

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Our little house.


Oh gee…I’m still here. Yes, I am alive. Feeling like I fell off the internet planet for a bit…and for good reason:

We bought a house.

Ya, only a small purchase with minimal amount of stress. Oh boy…We have been house hunting for wow…over a year now?  I know this is confusing for some who follow this blog closely….we almost bought a house over Christmas, but it fell through when a higher bid came in unexpectedly at literally the very last second. But, we’re relieved now because we have finally found a place to put our family! And we love it! We’ve actually been in total transition for over a year, and trying to move to a more permanent location for 3 years. I will still be pinching myself until it closes in 2 weeks…but it’s basically a done deal.  It’s a fixer-upper with a lot of work to be done, but we are up for the task.  We fell in love with location (up in the mountains) and the charm and potential of the home is so appealing to us.  We are firm believers in the “teach your kids to paint the fence” kind of upbringing, and this is definitely one of those homes! In this case, even the fence needs to be rebuilt…along with many other things….and I have visions of working on the house together as a family over the years. The mild amount of chaos that a fixer-upper brings only compliments the artistic lifestyle we crave, and I am just aching to get in there and paint and make it a magical place.

And no…we will not be keeping the avocado green. I love avocados with a passion…just not in my stairwell.

Who knows…this blog might start turning into a “before and after” blog.  You’ll at least get to see the studio…which won’t be presentable for a while I am sure.

So, is this a good enough excuse for being silent for 10 days? Wow. These are really big decisions, and frankly…it’s been all consuming. In a good way. It’s just a house, but it’s going to be our home, which requires a lot of thought, prayer and patience!

I’ll keep you posted! The idea of finally making a home the way I want it, and not waiting move again (this will be our 6th move in 9 years) is giving me such a sense of artistic freedom to make a real home for ourselves. I can’t wait!

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Print your own Valentine’s cards.

i love you my dear together

Wow. February. When did that happen?

Month of love. For me…it’s a month of lots going on: more house hunting (yep…still in the game) book making (loving every second) and baby loving (she is the most kissable thing!)

So, news:

New Print Your Own Valentine Cards in the shop!

Valentines cards you can print yourself. Yep. DIY with some of my favorite designs in the shop. Do you remember this post from last year? Here is an image I found last year that inspired me.

These are Audrey Hepburn inspired: the deer loving darling via 1958. Audrey as a little girl. I really love that woman.

You can also find these to print yourself. Fun. Fun. Fun.

OK: so, come over to the shop and do some last minute valentines shopping! If you are like me, you don’t have Valentines Cards yet, and PDF downloads are your only hope!

You can print out as many as you want! Perfect for your kid’s classes and neighbors!

I know that’s what I will be using! Well, for the boys we’ll use something more like this. I love having stationery on hand…it’s nice for procrastinators like me:)


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