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Only 4 days till Valentine’s Day!

It’s Wednesday and Valentine’s Day is Sunday. And if you have young kids, the deadline may even be the day after tomorrow, since one tends to have to produce cards, etc, for all the classmates, favorite teachers, etc.

We don’t have much time.

If you are still looking for ideas– here are a few I’ve seen while casting about for inspiration. Best of luck to you all!

shortbread cookies

One surefire way to a person’s heart is via their stomach, so these heart shaped shortbread cookies should be just the thing. I’m thinking these are obligatory if you’re having any kind of Valentine’s Day party…

tissue paper sun catcher hearts

photo from MarinMommies.com

These tissue paper “sun-catchers” are a great way to add a bit of color to the otherwise dreary midwinter days…

string heart cards

photo courtesy hellowonderful.co

These string heart cards are a great way for your kids to practice handling a needle and yarn, plus the clean graphic appeals to kids and adults alike.

heart shaped crayons

photo courtesy momdot.com

I mean, what kid doesn’t want a multi colored heart shaped crayon?

newspaper hearts

photo courtesy of youaremyfave.com

These painted newspaper heart cards were the design that really spoke to us this year. We’ve made a few adjustments and are mid-production now. I promise to let you guys all know how they turn out!

felt tipped arrows

photo courtesy carolynshomework.com

Perhaps a nod to Cupid is the right way to go this year? These twig and felt arrows of course make great little toys, but they would really be amazing as a little extra touch on top of a beautifully wrapped gift that you might be thinking of handing over to that special someone…

wax crayon hearts

photo courtesy marthastewart.com

No list of holiday related crafts is complete without something from the grande dame of the handiwork universe. Martha Stewart’s wax paper and crayon hearts look beautiful hanging in the window but would also make lovely stand alone cards.


What kid (or grown up, for that matter) doesn’t secretly want to spend all day blowing paint through straws? I’m thinking these straw blown heart cards may be the way we go next year…

Monday, Monday– or more links about expanding your mind…

illustration from brainbalancecenters.com

illustration from brainbalancecenters.com

I’m not calling this a new year’s resolution or anything (besides, it’s already February!) but I would like to start stretching my brain in new directions… Here’s what I’m going to try:

Learn about the history of pop music via a beautifully visualized music timeline.

Sharpen my mind by getting the New York Times crossword puzzle directly onto my phone (or iPad, or laptop, or whatever…)

Read more. (Here are some tips I found via A Cup Of Jo on how to read 100 books a year, which is evidently not as hard as it sounds)

I never really learned to touch type, but they say it’s never too late. Here’s a keyboarding app that I’m hoping is going to get me started.

I have been wading in the kiddie pool of herbalism for a few years now, but I think this is going to be the year I dive in a bit deeper. LearningHerbs.com is a comprehensive site full of all sorts of information and online courses geared towards those of us who are looking to deepen our knowledge.

Monday, Monday– or more links about cozy food to make during the aftermath of the recent blizzard

roasted chestnuts from adventuresincooking.com

Here are some delicious looking roast chestnuts from Adventures In Cooking, the blog of Eva Kosmas Flores, an Oregon based photographer whose photographs are at least as delectable as the food she prepares. Her blog (and Instagram) are not to be missed.

Here’s how to make the incredible looking roasted chestnuts pictured above.

Bust out the slow cooker and make this Mississippi roast with the carefully researched help NY Times food guru Sam Sifton.

Now that the travel ban has been lifted, you may want to have some friends over. Get the evening started right with this roasted cauliflower and onion dip I saw on A Cup of Jo.

If you’re really feeling ambitious, maybe try making these apple butter and bacon tartlets from My Name Is Yeh and then pretty please invite me over to share in the bounty.

Whole wheat crusted chicken pot pie with kale, butternut squash and fresh herbs from Food52. Say no more.

A Spanish tortilla that doesn’t disappoint.

And last but not least, nothing says keep-me-warm-on-the-inside better than a bowl of carrot tomato coconut curry soup.

Monday, Monday– or a few ideas for sharing the meaning of MLK day with your kids

MLK and family

Martin Luther King, Jr is greeted by his family after having been released from prison in 1960.

You and your preschoolers can watch this Brain Pop animation which tells a brief history of the life of Dr King.

National Geographic kids tells the story of the great communicator with a series of historical photographs and captions that help to create a picture of what his life was really like. Without going into too much of the potentially upsetting images of dogs and firehoses.

Enchanted learning is full of printouts, short articles and activities for kids. These are great resources that you can draw on any time you want to start going a bit deeper into the struggle against racial injustice in this country.

So there’s this 11 year old boy called Kid President who (along with his family) has created a series of videos on YouTube that have the simple goal of changing the world for the better by spreading the love and being awesome. Here’s what he has to say about Dr King.

And last but not least, lets think of this day for our kids as the beginning of a potential lifetime of working to make the world a more just place for all of us (that Kid President stuff is catching on over here…) Here’s a list of kids books about everyday heroes to get us all inspired.

Monday, Monday– or links to my favorite Best of 2015 lists


So according to #2015bestnine, these are my nine most popular Instagram images for 2015. Might not have been the ones I chose, but it’s always interesting to see what the algorithms have to say…

The top 11 moments for women in pop culture in 2015, according to Time Magazine. Because girl power is all the rage these days. Finally.

This list comes out in the summer, but Saveur’s Best Food Blogs of 2015 is a list well worth pouring over.

No list of lists is complete without something from Flavorwire… Here are the esteemed listmakers’ picks for 2015′s best movie posters.

You can take Longreads.com’s list of the Best Essays and Criticism of 2015, print or download your favorites, and consider your subway reading taken care of for a couple of months at least.

And speaking of articles, here are 2015′s top 100 stories in the New York Times, by time spent.

As for music, here’s the esteemed mixmaster Diplo’s Best of 2015 Year End Mix on Soundcloud.

Last but definitely not least, I give you Brainpickings.org’s list of the Best Kids Books of 2015. To be honest, this might be the best list of children’s books I have ever seen. I want everything on it. (Thanks for the tip, @reclaimthetable!)

Monday, Monday (on Wednesday!)– or a few links to organizations that deserve your last minute donations…


WaterAid is just one of the many organizations worthy of our support during these last days of 2015.

There are 2 days left to get in your tax deductible donations for 2015… If you have even a little bit of extra cash lying around, why pay it in taxes when you can give it directly to people who are working to make the world a better place?

World peace is one of those things people are always wishing for… The International Peace Institute (IPI) is a not-for-profit think tank dedicated to making it a reality.

And while we’re on the topic of Peace on Earth, Peace First is dedicated to creating the next generation of peacemakers by replacing the culture of violence with one of inclusion and support through curriculum as well as youth run advocacy programs. If the kids get into playing peace (as opposed to war) the foundation is set for a brighter future.

The Studio Museum in Harlem has been a focal point for black art both nationally and internationally, both through it’s programs and exhibitions as well as it’s artist-in-residence program. In a world of diminishing emphasis on the arts, it is a beacon in the midst of a vastly under-served community. Plus with donation comes membership, so you can check out all of the shows free of charge!

Forgive me for getting super personal here, but as one of the over 2.3 million people world wide living with Multiple Sclerosis, I am particularly motivated to help find a cure. The National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation is both a resource for people living with MS as well as a leader in providing much needed funds for research.

If there is one thing in desperate need of defending, it is our increasingly fragile environment. The Environmental Defense Fund is dedicated to creating solutions that let nature and people prosper.

And speaking of things in need of defending, our right to vote, once seen as inalienable, is beginning to be eroded in many small ways that are starting to build up to dangerous proportions. The League of Women Voters is dedicated to ensuring that all voters have the opportunity and the information they need to exercise their right to vote.

And last, but definitely not least, the scarcity of drinkable water on our planet is reaching crisis levels, especially in the world’s poorest nations. WaterAid is working in the poorest countries to help communities set up and manage practical and sustainable water.

Monday, Monday– or a few links to some lovely magazine subscriptions you might want to consider giving this seaon…

short stack

Two recent issues of Short Stack on of my new favorite food related magazines.

Gather Journal is technically a food magazine, but each issue is built on a theme (the current one is called “Origin” and explores a few areas of natural history that are particularly relevant to where the food we eat comes from.) There are recipes, of course, and beautiful photography. Plus they have great playlists on their website. Two issues a year, for $35.

While Faerie Magazine is written for adults, it might just be the perfect thing for your pre teenaged daughter who not-so-secretly wants to be reborn as Arwen from Lord of the Rings. There are crafts, “otherworldly beauty tips”, gowns made entirely of roses and basically all things enchanted. Published quarterly, at $28 a year.

Esopus is not just a magazine, it is a foundation dedicated to the unmediated distribution of the art and writing of the people it publishes. Every spring you get the most beautiful, uniquely put together, entirely free of advertising (and advertorial) journal of creative work you have probably ever encountered. And if you give a premium subscription, it includes a limited edition artwork every fall. Published annually, starting at $30.

If you or your loved ones don’t already subscribe to The New Yorker, you need to subscribe THIS MINUTE. Thoughtful, intelligent, beautifully written articles about all of the issues and people of the day. You are automatically smarter after you read this magazine. Published just about every week. Subscriptions start at $12 for 12 weeks.

Short Stack looks like a zine, but it is actually a series of small format cookbooks bound by hand and filled with recipes built around a single ingredient and written by various luminaries in the culinary world. The first time I saw one I snatched it up, and as soon as I read it I knew I had to have them all. Six volumes a year for $75.

And last, but not least, is Apartemento, which is an interiors magazine about real spaces that real (and creative with great taste) people live in. Unmanicured and at times really messy, but always captivating and full of inspiration, it is the perfect antidote to your standard, uber-polished shelter magazine. Published twice a year for only €27.

Monday, Monday… or a Holiday Guide to some of my favorite 2015 Holiday Gift Guides

Rebekah's hands

I’m still in the midst of posting my own holiday shopping guides, but I thought I’d take a break and point you all towards some other compendiums of potential purchases as well. Because when it comes to giving presents, the more the merrier!

The adventures in cooking gift guide is superbly minimal and beautifully shot, just like the blog. To be honest, I want everything on this list.

If you have some time, and want to check out tons and tons (and tons) of great gift ideas for the home, go to Remodelista and search for Gift Guides. Or just click here. You won’t be disappointed.

Joanna Goddard’s gift guides for A Cup OF Jo are, in my humble opinion, the gold standard when it comes to holiday shopping. Hands down. The archive of past years are also well worth checking out…

It is true that at times T Magazine can feel a bit overly aspirational, but every once in a while a person just needs to buy a spectacularly designed, perfectly round, handcrafted in Germany, wooden music box that plays Mozart and costs a bit over $100. And their gift guide will always deliver the goods.

My friend Andrea Linett is a master of finding super chic stuff at shockingly good prices. So needless to say, the I Want To Be Her Fun Chic Gifts Under $100 list is not to be missed!

Who in their right mind doesn’t want to check out a selection called The Cut’s Weirdly Specific Holiday Gift Guide? Especially if you appreciate The Cut’s ability to be 100% on trend and totally subversive at the same time…

Last year, I remember being pleasantly surprised at the caliber of gifts on the Esquire Gift Guide… and it looks like 2015′s selection is even better, especially for the finicky men in your life.

Monday, Monday– or a few links to some helpful post holiday cold & flu remedies

neti pot

Every home should have a neti pot. And this one is handmade out of ceramic (unlike the blue plastic one we have in our medicine cabinet) so it’s easy on both the eyes and the environment…

The day after thanksgiving, my daughter woke up with a sore throat and a barely audible voice. I’ve been in high octane remedy mode ever since… and I figure I’m not alone. So in honor of this particular and pernicious part of parenting, I give you a few links to some information and solutions to help beat that ubiquitous cold.

You probably already have some apple cider vinegar in your cupboard. If so, start sipping. You can also add a bit of cayenne pepper to the mix to help knock out that fever before it has the chance to really take hold.

An herbal face steam with thyme, rosemary and oregano will do wonders for your cough or congestion. Plus it’s kind of like turning your kitchen into a spa!

According to several studies, elderberry, when taken regularly, is as effective against influenza as a flu shot. I keep some homemade elderberry syrup in our fridge all season long.

We all know that Vitamin C is great against a cold. Why not make your own chewable tablets?

Omega 3 fatty acids boost the immune system, increase airflow to your lungs and generally make your brain work better by helping to strengthen the outer layer of your nerves. Clearly we all need to have some of this fat in our lives…

Astragalus is one of those plants that is on every herbalist’s list of things-to-take-all-the-time-during-cold-and-flu-season because, among other things, it boosts the immune system, supports liver function and gives you more energy. But did you know that it also helps to prevent white blood cell loss during chemotherapy?

And then, there is always the dreaded neti pot. No one likes them. But they clear up sinus congestion like nobody’s business.

Oh and ps… here’s a link to a post I wrote this past spring that lists a number of other remedies/supplements/etc you might want to consider as the temperatures fall and the health falters…

Monday, Monday– or a few links to some last minute Thanksgiving help

Photo from kokokokids.ru

Photo from kokokokids.ru

Here are some really beautiful ideas for kids crafts in Italian (but you can pretty much figure it out from the photos) and Russian (this site can be translated via Google Translator)

Evidently, Mark Bittman (of NY Times Cooking fame) has figured out how to roast a turkey in only 45 minutes.

Joanna Goddard (of A Cup of Jo) asked a few of her friends (myself included) for their favorite dinner party tricks. I’m gonna be stealing a couple of them for sure!

Starting from square one? Food52 shows you how to do it all, from drinks to food to table decor.

Perhaps you need some ideas for the vegetarian at the table?

It is never a bad idea to go check out what Martha has to say when it comes to crafty ideas for decorating the table.

Get the kids thinking about the “thanks” in Thanksgiving with this fun DIY cootie catcher game.