I became inspired this afternoon when I got a package from Kat containing a box of homemade, hand dipped truffle candies. I sank my teeth slowly into a dark chocolate pistachio truffle and moaned to myself, "Ohhhhh....that's the good stuff." So as I sat down tonight to put March's installment of Things I'm Loving together, I decided to change the name. I'd change the name of the whole blog if I could come up with the perfect one. I'm still waiting for that inspiration. In the meantime, enjoy my good stuff:
Grown-up Good Stuff
Heightened Vanity in the Form of My Blog Book - Finally, almost 3 months after thinking about it, I got my rear in gear and made my blog book. It took about a month, formatting and tweaking it here and there, to get it how I wanted it. And the jacket design was the hardest and most fun part of all. When it arrived in all of its published glory a week ago I brimmed and glowed with pride, took it to bed for a good night reading, and have been lovingly showing it off every chance I get ever since, with no sign of stopping. To Ed's shock I even asked to be photographed holding it - 204 pages of my posts and your comments from 2007 in hard copy. I'm hooked. I have already started a book of Hazel's birthday party and am taking on the project of a Younce family cookbook (volume 1, to be sure), hopefully out next Christmas. And of course, OF COURSE, DMTotW will now be an annual publication.
iPod - I know I am painfully and embarrassingly behind the times here, and I expect this trend to only worsen in the future. Neither Ed nor I are computer or electronic fanatics so we rely on friends and family who are to keep us at least within a decade of basic technology. I never really cared or thought about wanting an iPod until my trip to Florida, when I flew by myself for the first time in many years, and felt a little self-conscious sporting my cd player on my lap. Ed picked up on my heavy hints and used some bank reward points to get me one for belated Valentine's Day. I love it sooooo much and the chances it provides for me to rock out to old and new music alike. For Easter Ed got me the FM transmitter adapter that lets it transmit to the car radio so I can use it in the car. There is hope for us yet!
RCA Headset Phone - After Ginger had been with us a few weeks my neck was getting really sore from holding the phone between my ear and shoulder. With a newborn and a million things to do there's not a lot of time to sit around holding the phone to your ear like a woman of leisure, using up one whole hand for minutes at a time when you need 8 hands 36 hours a day. So since our phone was on the fritz and needed replacing anyway I did some research and we got this one last summer. Talk about changing my life! The phone rings, I grab the headset, turn it on, and I am a phone-talking fool with 2 free hands to wash dishes, change diapers, fold laundry, hold children, fix snacks, and other glamorous acts. Highly Recommended!
Shaklee safe & organic cleaning products - In January I posted on living green, and some changes I was going to try. One was natural household cleaning products. So I bought the Basic H2 cleaning concentrate and the set of three spray bottles (I know, I'm a sucker and could just buy spray bottles at the dollar store, I don't want to hear any crap about it.) The three bottles are for creating three strengths of cleaner using the concentrate and water - a glass cleaner, an everyday surface cleaner and a grease cutting cleaner. The concentrate goes a very long way - I will probably have it for a year or more. But the reason it makes the Good Stuff list is because it does a beautiful job doing its job - cleaning. Certainly as good or better than 409 or whatever else I've been using. For example, in one try it dissolved the sticky gummy grease that gathers on the surface of my tea kettle, and it wiped away like magic with a paper towel (I mean earth friendly reusable rag.)
Wrapping Stuff - I've had a couple of good breakthroughs this month with gift wrapping, again bringing myself a little closer to this decade. When I hit Target early December 26 morning for Christmas supplies I grabbed a wrapping paper cutter for $1 to see how it works, and I'm pleased to say it also does its job and cuts a line much straighter than my scissors ever have. Also I finally took Oh Happy Day's wrapping advice and got a couple big rolls of double faced satin ribbon. What a difference it makes, immediately classing up a present over the curly "ribbon" I usually use. Finally, a few months ago I sprung for a clearance mixed bag of gift tags from The Paper Pixie (I love to support Etsy sellers, in the fantasy I might one day be one). Again, it's a long way from the folded piece of wrapping paper I usually tape to a gift, naming giver and recipient.
A couple of goooooood chocolate blogs - Chocolate in Context, Chocolate Obsession, The Chocolate Nerd, The Girl Who Ate Everything (love that name - about all food, not just chocolate)
Kid Good Stuff
A Box of Treats by Kevin Henkes - Ginger got these books from a friend for her birthday and are they ever adorable! My personal favorite is Owen's Marshmallow Chick but Lily's Chocolate Heart is a close second. The size and text are minimal enough for Ginger to enjoy, but the thinking behind the simple stories are interesting enough for Hazel to ponder and discuss. This is an awesome birthday gift for a 1 to 3 year old!
Chalet Dollhouse by PlanToys - I am slightly obsessed with this dollhouse. Things going for it include the open plan, the height so kids don't have to hunch to play, and the rearrangability of the separate pieces (and I'm not talking furniture - the house itself is 2 pieces & staircases that can be put in different configurations.) Not to mention it's clean and modern looking. This was definitely going to be Hazel's birthday present until I found out we are inheriting the enormous dollhouse my grandfather built and I played with as a girl. That's the only dollhouse that could trump the chalet.
Vintage Kids Book Blog - Literally a book a day, one vintage children's book every single day gets posted here, I don't know how she does it. My problem with things like this blog, the unstoppable Lindsay's list, Listmania lists, and the like, is that they cause me to desire my children to know and love every fabulous book out there, which must be impossible. It also causes me to scorn the questionable mix of literature currently stacked on our shelves. And the process usually ends in an Amazon order to be proud of, but that the girls show little interest in 4 times out of 5. I don't know what's wrong here but please don't suggest the library. My current lifestyle only results in late fees higher than book prices. What I need is a circle of other moms with this very specific problem, with whom I can exchange "wonderful" children's books that we buy for our kids but they don't like...maybe the next kid will. I digress.
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback - And, speaking of wonderful children's books, this is one I'm loving this month. Hazel is lukewarm but she doesn't get the visual humor snuck into every clever picture yet. I'm keeping it for sure. Here's a little synopsis:
When Joseph's favorite overcoat gets old and worn, he makes a jacket out of it. When the jacket is more patches than jacket, Joseph turns it into a vest. When the vest's number is up, Joseph makes a scarf. This thrifty industry continues until there's nothing left of the original garment. But clever Joseph manages to make something out of nothing! (And that's the foreshadowed moral of the story.) The story is an adaptation of a Yiddish song from Taback's youth.
Totally funny, stunning, and teaches the moral of frugality, which we could all use a little more of.
So Good Stuff is all good and stuff, but what do the kids really love this month?