Country Bunny – Special 75th Anniversary Edition!


Guess what arrived on our stoop yesterday? A perfect Spring surprise: a special 75th Anniversary edition of our very favorite Easter book: The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes!

I wrote about it two years ago in this post. It is a true classic with a wonderful message. If you don’t have a copy in your library, you should. Click on the book link above to order the special edition through Amazon.

What’s your favorite Easter book, lovelies?

Punzel’s – strange and wonderful.


Punzel’s Scandinavian: Magical, delightful, enchanting, strange. Wren and I had a date on a misty early August afternoon to Punzel’s and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. It’s gotten in my (wannabe Scandinavian) blood… with its nordic elves, trolls and fairies.

It beckons us to come back. To wander the gardens, to do a tour, to eat edible flowers, to buy more lovely nordic fairy tales or maybe just to escape somewhere that’s close, but feels far away. Odd and whimsical = perfect!


This little nordic fairy land is one part overgrown magical forest with trolls and legendary creatures, one part Scandinavian handicraft lover’s dream (I love you IKEA, but Punzel’s is the real deal) and one part THE very best selection of kids books around. The only problem is that some of the kids book prices are actually marked UP from the printed price, which as you know is even higher than the online price… but I digress.

Because, um, the pink, hand-carved and hand-painted horse got our attention! This turned into Wren’s little pocket treasure…


There are a lot of things at Punzel’s I just can’t explain. But through the eyes of an imaginative four year old, it’s just heavenly. Every time you turn around there’s another path to skip down, little carved creatures to see and giant toadstools to sit in. I mean, really, where does someone even find a huge fabricated toadstool like this?


But wait, there’s a bit more. There are heart-shaped ponds, waterfalls and rivers.


Funky sculptures hidden in the grasses.


And mossy swings to enjoy.


We’ll be back for their Fika, an edible flower luncheon in the “cave.” And probably to do some Christmas shopping for some special gifts for some little birdies I know… Thanks again, Punzel’s! Thanks for keeping it strange in the greater Buckley area.



Read Now: Peter in Blueberry Land


This is usually my favorite time of summer: the Big Lake’s warmed up enough for some real swimming, the garden is big and green and the blueberries are ready for picking. For the last few years we’ve picked blueberries, but this year we haven’t picked any yet because it’s been cool and drizzly and the berries have been slow to ripen. Perfect weather for reading a new book instead, right?

Introducing Peter in Blueberry Land, one of our new favorites. Blogger, Writer, Mama, Gardener, Photographer Zane first turned us on to the enchanting books of Elsa Beskow last year with The Sun Egg. Beskow’s illustrations are beautiful and her stories are magical. I might just have to begin a new collection…


The book might have had me at one of the first scenes when Peter gets whisked off to Blueberry Land and the squirrels appear to carry the baskets for the children of Blueberry Land. Now that’s more like the kind of squirrel we need instead of the kind that eat all of our strawberries right when they’re almost ripe enough for human consumption. Or munch on our beautiful eggplant. I digress.

A little while later we’re introduced to Mrs. Cranberry and her little cranberry girls. This is one of Wren’s favorite images in the book. I particularly like their red shoes and rosy cheeks.


I won’t spoil the story for you; you’ll have to order it yourself. I actually picked up a lap-sized copy of it when Wren and I visited Punzel’s Scandinavian a couple weeks ago. I promise to write about it soon, but for now we’re off to read about Peter’s magical trip to Blueberry Land. Again.

indoor fun – Busy!


Let’s begin by sharing that I’m not a fan of mindless activities for children that simply keep them “busy” and out of our hair. Sure, I’m guilty of putting on a show from time to time so I can get something done without Wren needing something from me for twenty minutes (or two hours). But as far as our every day activities, I want them to mostly be meaningful, thoughtful, and creative. I felt I needed to preface this post because of the name of this activity book we are loving with all this indoor time on our hands these (short but LONG) winter days.

Introducing… Richard Scarry’s Big Busy Sticker & Activity Book! We picked it up at our local JoAnn store several months ago as an impulse buy for Wren. It seemed a bit expensive at almost $13, but in the cart it went. Well, I’m here to tell you that it was worth more than $13. Although she can’t do all the activities in it yet on her own, she can do a lot of them and a lot of them we happily do together.


There are a lot of stickers (over 900!) so there are a lot of sticker-based activities, dot-to-dots, mazes, counting and letter work, etc. She loves it.


The book itself is obviously not a Montessori-inspired book. But I have to give credit to Montessori’s focus on allowing the child the time and space to immerse herself in an activity and stay focused. It’s incredible to see this develop. I think Wren spent about three hours of the morning buried in this book today. Three hours!

Anyone else have any fun indoor activities you’ve been enjoying this winter? Taking recommendations on favorite games, books, crafts…

Harold at the North Pole



You know Harold and his amazing purple crayon, but have you read Harold at the North Pole (Harold and the Purple Crayon)? It’s this year’s favorite Christmas book that we checked out at the library. We just love Harold and his imagination, don’t you? I get those oh-my-goodness chills when we turn to the snowstorm pages. Incredible work, Harold.


What Christmas books are holding the attention of the birdies in your nest this year?


Chris called home on his way to work last week and said, “you have to go outside and see the clouds.” So the birdies and I flew right outside and looked up. Dawn revealed some very awe-inspiring clouds, tinged with pink, purple and orange. And just like that (snapping fingers) it was nearly gone as the sun woke up in our neighborhood. Wren had a lot of questions about these beautiful clouds and the “stuff up there” we were beholding. It was so remarkable to her that she asked about clouds several times over the course of the day so I promised her that on our next library visit we would find some books about clouds.

As it turns out this reflection is not only about a love of clouds, but also a love of the library. It’s been rekindled in me in the last couple of years with our almost weekly library visits. Upon explaining to Wren how a library works and how the librarians can help you find books on any subject you want to learn about, she squealed, “that is so cool!” And it really is, isn’t it? She now takes such joy in confidently marching up to the counter in the children’s area and asking one of the librarians to help her find a book on x, y, or z. Last week: “clouds” and “meteorology,” but it’s hard for me to write out exactly how she said “meteorology,” but the librarian understood her anyway.

So we got a few new-to-us kids books on clouds and a book on meteorology experiments for kids.

The first experiment involved making clouds too, perfect. Because really, who doesn’t want to make her own clouds? The experiment is really easy and perfect for little scientists. And Mamas with a babe in arms… All you need is ice, hot water, a glass and a bowl. And five minutes.

So heat a bit of water and pour about 1-2 inches into a glass. Have your kiddo fill a bowl with some ice cubes and then place the bowl on top of the glass. Let it sit for a few minutes and watch the formation of the clouds as the warm meets the cold. After a few minutes, take the bowl off and watch the clouds escape the glass!

Now instead of just calling clouds “cool,” “wacky,” or “beautiful,” we’ve been talking a bit about cumulus, stratus and nimbus. Or a combination like, “look at that wacky, fluffy cumulus! It looks like a mountain. I want to climb it.”

It’s fun having a kid around and having an excuse to spend time watching the clouds roll by… Have you looked at the clouds lately?

Our favorite Easter book: The Country Bunny

My very favorite Easter book–and one of the most meaningful children’s books at any time, really–is The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes. I remember reading it as a child and loving the story and the illustrations. I was lucky enough to find a garage sale copy last year and I snatched it up for probably $.25. Such a great find! For the past week, we’ve read it about twice a day and Wren will often pick it up and “read” it herself. It’s such an inspiring story for children and as a Mom I’m also getting a whole new level of meaning out of it.

It’s quite a timeless feminist story, but it’s still hard to believe it was written in 1939! Have you read it? If you haven’t, you should pick it up. The basic story is of a female bunny who wants to be one of the chosen Easter Bunnies, but is told that she’s just a brown country bunny and could never be chosen; all the chosen ones are white, male and strong. She goes on to brilliantly raise 21 bunnies of her own, teaching them each an important life skill like mending and sewing clothes, painting, singing, sweeping, cooking, washing dishes, and working in the garden. Her hard work, perseverance, diligence, and thoughtful bunny-rearing is rewarded in the end as she IS chosen to be one of the Easter Bunnies. I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you… but man, is that Mother Cottontail an inspiration! I tear up a bit when I read the story with my little bunnies too.

What’s your favorite Easter story that you like to read with your bunnies?

Click to purchase your copy of The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes. Makes a GREAT gift too!

Gingerbread Friends

We’ve had a lot of fun with this book Gingerbread Friends lately. We’ve read it at least once a day for the past week and were inspired to try the gingerbread recipe that’s illustrated throughout the story. It’s a really good one – I was surprised that Wren liked them because they are a bit “spicy,” but she does. Or maybe it’s just the act of biting off their heads and limbs that she likes. Regardless, we’re getting our required holiday share of ginger and cinnamon these days. Oh, and butter. It’s really no wonder why I’m not shedding the baby weight very quickly this time around… sigh.

I love a book that inspires action or creativity, like when we planted our bulbs in conjunction with Planting a Rainbow. What is your favorite book that inspires you to do something? Green Eggs & Ham, anyone?

Planting a Rainbow

Yahoo, we got the last of our bulbs in the ground before our new little birdie arrived! It was one of those post-baby jobs that seemed almost Herculean as I pictured holding an infant while helping Wren dig, place and bury without flailing wet dirt all over her new little birdie friend. Whew. Done.

We were especially inspired this fall by one of our favorite books: Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. We read it every week, at all times of the year. It seemed to really make a lot of sense to Wren this fall, however, since the beginning is about a child planting bulbs with her mother and then waiting all winter long for spring’s warmth and sunshine to sprout the rainbow.

Wren quickly developed some fairly particular “rules” about planting bulbs, which I had a difficult time following. God forbid I kneel on HER knee pad or get any dirt on it, the bulbs cannot stay in their “sleeping bags,” which meant she HAD to remove the papery husks (?) from the orange tulips and azure allium, and the hardy cyclamen bulbs HAD to stay snuggled up together as a family, which meant that ideally there were three or four cyclamen bulbs all piled up together. I had to do some fairly tricky “hey, look at that over there!” maneuvering to separate them before hiding them with a little bit of dirt. I was caught a couple times… it wasn’t pretty.

We said “good night” to the bulbs as we covered them up with some more dirt, put our tools away for a while and went back inside, feeling hopeful and relieved. Whew. OK, baby you can come now!

{this moment} 39 weeks

{this moment} 39 weeks – a brief moment from our week, a Friday ritual inspired by Soule Mama.

It’s been cold and rainy here in northern Michigan this week; we walked outside yesterday morning and Wren said, “it’s a blustery day, Mama!” Indeed. So the little birdie and I have been spending a lot of time cuddling up on the couch together this week, reading lots of books, “one, two, three more, Mama?” OK.

This is one of our favorite lap-sized board books by Lois Ehlert: Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z . Have you read it?

Happy Friday and happy weekend to you, lovelies! Any big plans? I’m hoping to have a baby this weekend. We’ll see how that plan goes…