April 2012

library day: a book about seeds

In honor of both Sprngtime and Passover, My in-laws sent my daughter this beautiful picture book– and she has been eagerly soaking it up ever since. As have her parents, who (though we hate to admit it) know next to nothing about planting anything.

A Seed Is Sleepy, lyrically penned by Dianna Aston and beautifully illustrated by Sylvia Long, introduces children to a vast array of interesting facts about seeds, with exquisite and finely detailed drawings that will have your kid confidently expounding upon the difference between a hamburger bean and a japanese maple seed before you know it.

Each page is more enticing than the next, and elaborates on one particular aspect of the life of a seed… it’s actually inspired us to plant a garden from seeds ourselves!

Published by Chronicle books in 2007, you can pick this up at Amazon, if you’re not feeling like hiking over to your local bookstore to see if they have it…

Oh also, here are some nice ideas for activities to do while experiencing this book.

mr penguin

Once again, Natalie Vichnevsky of Golden Calf in Brooklyn comes through with a brilliant, if somewht random, object that simply must make its way into our house.

In December, it was a glass piggy bank. This time it’s a stuffed penguin, made by hand in Vietnam from a patchwork of colorful fabrics that attracted my daughter to it like a moth to a flame. There was no way we were leaving the store without him. The only problem was whether to go with the penguin, or one of the elephants (also pretty damned cute.)

And for $15, the price was so reasonable that I may actually head back over there to buy a few more of these to keep around as future gifts.

portland is aces

I love Portland, OR.  I really do. I would move there if it didn’t rain so damned much. The people are interesting and engaged and into books and coffee and vintage and local food and making things by hand and music and the outdoors. It’s actually a lot like Brooklyn, which is probably why I fit right in there.

And the campus HQ is the Ace Hotel, where my family and I stayed for a week just recently.

The Ace has everything you need and nothing superfluous. The rooms are simple, but ingeniously designed, very confortable and super affordable. Which makes a big difference when you are staying someplace for 5 or 6 days. Yet nothing about the place says ‘budget’. Even my father, who is the King of airplane upgrades and of booking suites at the fanciest-hotel-in-town, enjoyed his stay here.

The toiletries are from Malin and Goetz, so your hair actually feels good post-shower. There’s a Stumptown coffee joint just to the right of the lobby and Clyde Common, one of Portland’s most delicious eateries is on the left. And they provide room service, which rocks. Please try the fried chick peas if you go there. Please. They are tiny crisp flavorful pieces of heaven.

Oh and there’s also a bonified, old fashioned black and white photo booth in the lobby. That spits out real photos (instead of those digital ones.) And it takes credit cards, so you can painlessly go into debt making all sorts of fun photo projects.

speaking of which, click below for lots more photos…

a few great things:

Room 215 has been transformed into a breakfast room serving up European style breakfast (oatmeal, pasteries, toast, cheese, cured meants, hard boiled eggs, fruit, OJ, coffee, tea,  granola, etc) for $8. Yep, 8 bucks. All you can eat.

The stairs tend to be the way to travel as the raw wood paneled elevator takes it’s time getting to where it’s going.

Our room had a huge b-movie poster up on the wall.

And an ingenious bedside table.

My sister had this very appropriate painting on her wall. She’d probably sleep all day if she had her druthers. Being the mother of a two year old is a cruel joke on her, in this respect.

Evan B. Harris’ intricate and fantastical mural graces the walls between the third and fourth floors.

The hotel business center offers up Mac’s for guest use, a big couch and wingback chair for comfort and a bunch of groovy school supplies (erasers! rubber bands!) perched atop a huge beautiful cabinet.

And for all you typography fans, in each bathroom you will find some verion of the letter A.

Last but not least, a fellow traveller. Just one small detail from the above mentioned stairwell mural. This dude clearly stays at the Ace when he is in Portland.

And so should you.

happy (way belated) easter

So I had some internet problems, and then I had to leave town unexpectedly, and now it’s way past Easter Sunday. But I love this picture I took of the little felt bunny I found on Etsy for my kid’s basket, so I’m posting it anyway.

And hoping that everybody had a happy Easter.

Oh and just for hte hell of it, here’s a picture of one of the rad eggs we made this year for our egg tree. Thank you alphabet noodles and gold spray paint.

And above thanks all to my aunt for giving me the idea in the first place.

bunny days are here again

It seems like only five minutes ago it was 2011, and we were dying eggs to make a last minute easter egg tree. And now it’s coming around again, in all of it’s glory. Spring holiday time. And with it, spring vacation (what?? kids home all day??) and the holiday feasts (and obligations and travel) associated with Passover and Easter.

My particualr little person is, at this moment, completely obsessed with the Easter Bunny, writing him notes, anticipating the contents of the easter basket, tasting the chocolate eggs in her over-active imagination, etc etc.

In the desperate hopes of downplaying the mouth candy in favor of a more wholesome variety, we’ve started a tradition of filling our easter baskets with books appropriate to the season. Here are a few of my favorites, in case any of you are on the lookout.

The Slightly Surreal

Bunny Days, by Tao Nyeu. (see above) A beautifully illustrated and surreal set of three stories about some bunnies who are always getting in trouble and are subsequently saved and repaired by their guardian angel, Bear.

The (sort of) Historical

The Story Of The Easter Bunny, by Katherine Tegen. An endearing invented tale about how a little pet rabbit, in what looks to be the German countryside, became the Easter Bunny.

read on for more…

The Educational

I am a huge sucker for an alphabet book, and The ABC Bunny by Wanda Gag, in which each letter represents something that bunny encounters on his voyage from Bunnyland to Elsewhere, doesn’t dissapoint.

The Classic

Our well worn edition of this beautiful story of a much loved stuffed bunny’s quest to become real always makes me a little misty when I read it. No kids library is complete without a copy of Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit. Especially at this time of year.

I’m constantly searching for new additions to this list… Any of you have favorites we should add?