Sunday, September 30, 2012

Banned Books Week

It is the 30th anniversary of the annual event held to celebrate the freedom to read. The American Library Association's Banned Books Week starts today and their site provides a history of the celebration, information about banned or challenged books, and a calendar of events throughout the week.

An interesting addition to Banned Book Week is the Virtual Read Out Page. The following comes from the page and explains how you or your local library could participate.

"For the second year in a row, readers from across the country and around the world will be able to participate virtually in the 30th anniversary celebration of Banned Books Week, Sept. 30 – Oct.6. Participants may proclaim the importance of the freedom to read by posting videos that will be featured on a dedicated Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out YouTube channel.
Instructions on how libraries can participate in the event can be found on the How your library can participate in the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-out! page. If your organization will host a Banned Books Virtual Read-Out, consider using this free promotional poster.
Video criteria
  • Videos (no more than two minutes long) can be submitted by anyone as long as it includes a reading of a banned or challenged book. The video must include information on where and why the book was banned or challenged. You may also wish to add your thoughts on the importance of keeping that particular book on library or bookstore shelves.
  • Videos of up to three minutes long can be submitted giving eyewitness accounts of local challenges.
  • For those who are camera shy, you can still participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-out by creating a video montage that centers on banned/challenged books. Thomas University created a video last year that can be used as an example.
Submitting your video
Submit your video by filling out this form. You must have a YouTube/Gmail account in order to upload to YouTube."
So spread the word and happy reading!
 Image: ALA

Thursday, September 27, 2012

popcorn balls

Popcorn balls are part of the Halloween season around here. I usually make them a couple of times - once plain and once with the addition of  kids' choice of treat (usually Halloween m&ms). I noticed there is a variety of ways to make them , but I stick to the old Martha Stewart recipe - sweet and reliable!
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering hands
  • 1 package miniature marshmallows (10 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, or English toffee bits, optional (this is where my kids choose m&ms)


  1. Melt butter in a large heavy pot over low heat. Add marshmallows and brown sugar and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Pour popcorn and cranberries, or English toffee bits if using, into pot; toss well. With buttered hands, shape into 2 1/2-inch balls. Set on parchment lined baking sheet to dry slightly.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ghost pumpkins

White pumpkins are albinos, or ghost pumpkins, and are becoming increasingly popular in decorating and seasonal festivities. I liked many of the photos I came across of monogrammed white pumpkins or the albino varietals as centerpieces and in decorative displays, but I like them best as is.....just being plain, old ghost pumpkins.

Friday, September 21, 2012


For the last 6 years and counting- the only pampering happening around here has to do with diapering babies, but in a few years, for my 40th will mean something else. One of my very best friends suggested a ladies' spa getaway to celebrate turning forty and I think it is an amazing idea. Definitely an indulgence, something special to mark the milestone and, hopefully, in about 30 months-a reality!

Until then- this homemade sugar scrub is as close as I will get to the spa :).

Thursday, September 20, 2012


This time of year you can find kale everywhere from the garden centers to The Home Depot. It is beautiful in landscaping or in an indoor arrangement. The striking blend of purples and greens makes it a standout.
Sidenote: A small kale plant in a terracotta pot is a great little housewarming or token of appreciation gift. Just tie a tag with twine around the pot and the burst of bright purple is guaranteed to brighten someone's day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

To Do: Create To-Do List

When visiting Boston last year, I fell in love with the stationary store Paper Source and bought copious amounts of thank you cards from their discount section. After bridal showers and a wedding, I can attest to the importance of feeling enthusiastic about your writing material. Nice stamps and address labels made me feel like the notes were half written before I even began.

So how nice would it be to feel that way about a to-do list? After browsing through these cute sets of five pads ($35), I think I know what everyone on my shopping list is getting for Christmas. Done! The best part of lists, after all, is crossing things off.


And if Wes Anderson were on my list...

Monday, September 17, 2012

adirondack chairs?

Every year at this time (because they are on sale), I consider buying a pair of Adirondack chairs for our yard and painting them a bright raspberry color. It is a very specific daydream- with even the color of my maybe chairs chosen based on the hue of our house and shutters (sage green family). I think it would look great and I know we would use them -yet, every year I only consider and never buy. Why?
I am thinking if I get them this fall-I will keep them at my parents' place and paint them there. That way, I can surprise my husband for Christmas and do all the messy painting away from curious kids....I would even use the above card with this gift.
Hmmm, my daydreams now have coordinating papergoods even....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

pumpkin spice latte

Once upon a time, I indulged fairly frequently and went to my local Starbucks for the Pumpkin Spice Lattes. No more, my friends- so I am posting the recipe (courtesy of Recipe Girl) I use nowadays.
Just as yummy....


1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unsweetened canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot brewed, strong coffee
2 tablespoons half & half cream
1 teaspoon granulated white sugar, or more to taste
whipped cream, optional
ground nutmeg


1. In a glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, whisk together milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, spice and vanilla. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes- watch closely and remove it from the microwave when the milk is hot and frothy.
2. Pour the pumpkin milk into a tall mug or glass. Add hot coffee. Pour in the cream. Add a teaspoon of sugar. Stir, and taste. Add more sugar, if desired.
3. Optional, but oh so good... add whipped cream on top and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Serve immediately!


*Feel free to lighten up the recipe by using nonfat milk and fat-free half & half. It won't be as rich, but it will still give you that yummy pumpkin latte flavor.
*If you don't have pumpkin pie spice in your collection of spices, make your own! Mix equal parts of cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg- and measure from there.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"The Nutcracker" Ballet 2012


According to this article, there is a new "Nutcracker" in town Boston. The 2012 production of The Boston Ballet's "The Nutcracker" is a newly imagined take on the oft designed/redesigned ballet. 
I had planned on getting tickets anyway, but the release of Robert Perdziola's sketches of the 2012 production sealed the deal. If his watercolor stills could be this amazing....watching them come to life promises to be truly breathtaking.

P.S. Boston-based folks are certainly not the only ones who can enjoy "The Nutcracker"- this site lists various performances from across the country!

Monday, September 10, 2012


Every morning and afternoon when we make our way out to the bus stop, my kids have been gathering the fallen acorns in the driveway. This is leading to a hefty collection of acorns, so I have been looking for ideas of what to do with them.... if the gathering continues at the current rate-we will be buried.
 So far, this idea is the favorite- some teeny jack-o-lanterns.
If they can be convinced to part with some, I like the acorns filling these mason jars with votive candles.
Maybe this year we can contribute the Thanksgiving dinner napkin rings or some glittery decorations.....
And I think some acorn magnets holding this fall's schoolwork would be just right.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


It appears oxblood is one of the colors for Fall. It is a deep red that I think looks good on everyone.  Here is a trendy little wishlist of things out there in autumn's hottest hue.... (my favorite is the purse)

Images: pinterest, 


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