a squirrely game

Have you seen this squirrely game? Too cute, right?! For ages 3-5 and runs about $20. I know a few wee (and big) ones who just might really like this… do you like to play games in your nest? Does this look like too many small parts to keep track of to you? Feels like we’re just coming out of the game-playing season and into the running through the sprinkler season, but perfect for next Christmas! Bookmarked.

I had to

I didn’t really have a choice, did I? I *had* to get this shirt for the little birdie. An adorable squirrel on an orange shirt for $6. Um, OK. What a fun Etsy squirrel find, no? Thanks, Kitschy Home! There are more cute designs too: hedgehog or owl, anyone?

Don’t you just love Etsy? When’s the last time you got lost in that wonderland, lovelies?

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!

Today is Squirrel Appreciation Day! Just what the world needs: a whole day devoted to the appreciation of the squirrel. Wow! According to the founder, Christy Hargrove, “celebration of the event itself is up to the individual or group — anything from putting out extra food for the squirrels to learning something new about the species.”

Want to broaden your understanding of the squirrel? Here are some fun facts:

  • There are about three-hundred varieties of squirrels
  • A squirrel’s brain is about the size of a walnut.
  • Squirrels chew on tree branches to sharpen and clean their teeth.
  • Gray squirrels are considered to be living fossils because they haven’t changed much in 37 million years.
  • Squirrels can run at speeds up to twenty miles per hour.
  • Baby squirrels do not have teeth or hair. They are blind for the first six to eight weeks of life.
  • Adult squirrels normally live alone but are not unsocial when it comes to sharing their nests with visitors especially in the winter months.
  • The sweat glands of a tree squirrel are located on their feet.
  • A squirrel’s eyes are situated high and on both sides of their head which allows them to have a wide field of vision without having to turn their heads.
  • Squirrels take pride in their grooming ritual. They are considered to be the cleanest animal in the rodent family.

Be squirrely!


squirrely book

We’ve really been enjoying one of Wren’s new books I got her for Christmas, Nuts to You!, by one of my favorite author/illustrators, Lois Ehlert. Of course, it’s about squirrels… but that’s not the ONLY great thing about it, silly. The illustrations are fantastic (Lois, I heart you!) and the story, whimsical AND scientific. I love how Lois (yeah, that’s right, we’re on a first-name basis) adds a bit of science and natural history to a fun page-turner. Makes for a read that will last for years. Heck, I learned something too. Sorry, Madagascar and Australia, NO squirrels for you?! Sigh.

Because Wren is about as obsessed with balls as I am with squirrels, this is one of her favorite scenes in the book as she squeals, “ball!!!” This book, Nuts to You!, gets our squirrely thumb’s up, lovelies. Enjoy!

toad in a hole squirrel-style

I’m on an egg kick. Last week, Grape Nuts. This week, eggs. I was up early this morning so I thought it’d be fun to do a quick version of “toad in a hole” eggs for breakfast rather than just a fried egg and toast. But remember, be squirrely, right?! So here they are, toad in the hole squirrel-style eggs. Can you help me with a better name for these, geesh?

Happy Tuesday to you! What kind of squirrely things will you be up to today, dear readers?

Happy Easter! And a bribe.

Happy Easter to you!

I was inspired by this lovely photo and rushed to dye some eggs in a crunchy way before the Easter bunny arrived. Aren’t these colors divine?

So I followed these directions…

How To Make Vegetable-Dyed Eggs

Keep in mind the effect of the dyes varies depending on how concentrated the dye is, what color egg you use, and how long the eggs are immersed in the dye. I used half a purple cabbage, shredded, to dye four eggs. Err on the side of more rather than less when creating your dye.

Hard boiled eggs at room temperature, or white and brown eggs, preferably not super-fresh
Purple cabbage (makes blue on white eggs, green on brown eggs)
Red onion skins (makes lavender or red)
Yellow onion skins (makes orange on white eggs, rusty red on brown eggs)
Ground turmeric (makes yellow)
Red Zinger tea bags (makes lavender)
Beets (makes pink on white eggs, maroon on brown eggs)
Oil (canola or olive)
White vinegar

Clean the eggs so there are no particles sticking to their shells.

To prepare a colored dye, first chop the cabbage, chip or peel away the dry skins from the onions, or shred the beets. In a stainless steel saucepan, boil enough water to generously cover the number of eggs you’ll be dyeing. Add the dye matter and bring to a boil, turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, for 15-30 minutes. Dye is ready when it reaches a hue a few shades darker than you want for your egg. Examine a sample in a white dish. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (I put the pot on my fire escape and it cooled off in about 20 minutes).

Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into another stainless saucepan, or into a bowl then back into the original pan if that’s all you have. Stir in the vinegar. For the dyeing, it’s best to use a pan with a flat bottom, like a Dutch oven. Arrange the room-temperature eggs in the pan in one layer and carefully pour the cooled dye over them.

Place in refrigerator until desired color is reached. Massage in a little oil to each, then polish with a paper towel. Keep in refrigerator until time to eat (or hide.)

And of course I tweaked these directions and used what natural things I had around – some green tea, some other fruity herbal tea, a bit of raspberry juice and some turmeric. Looks pretty good so far, right?

Well, here they are. I’m a bit disappointed because they don’t quite look like the inspirational photo, but they’re growing on me. It’s just that I’m not really a pastel kind of a girl. Sigh. There’s always Photoshop!

So for a bit of fun after a bit of disappointment, I decided to start a new Easter tradition. I had the ingredients already, but I just hadn’t quite gotten around to making them. But I needed a good chuckle and I guess I needed a few chemicals too after the crunchy egg dyeing experiment sooooo..

Voila! An orange squirrel on a stick! How’s that for a new Easter tradition?

So here’s the bribe you’ve been waiting for, dear readers. Nothing like a bribe on Easter, eh? The first six people to comment on this post AND let me know what topics you’d like me to explore in future blog posts… that’s right, you guessed it! I’ll send you an orange squirrel on a stick. Note: you WILL be chastised if you ask me what the ingredients are. This is an orange squirrel on a stick; this is not a health food.

Have a wonderful Easter or fun pagan ritual, whatever you choose. Enjoy!


As if I really needed a good reason to mix up some butter and sugar…

But a new number-shaped cookie cutter set inspired me! Won’t these make cute cookies for a wee one’s birthday party? So here’s my question for you, dear readers. Should I just make cookies in the shape of the number 1 this year for Wren’s first birthday, or all the numbers? I know, I know, deep thoughts. Sorry, but this Mamma doesn’t get enough sleep for quantum physics. Sooooo I decided to do a test run today using my favorite Orange Cardamom Cookie recipe adapted from Gourmet via Epicurious.

Orange Cardamom Cookies

Yield: Makes 1 1/2 to 2 dozen cookies

Active Time: 1 1/2 hr
Total Time: 3 1/2 hr (includes chilling dough)


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest*
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom*
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
*I’m a bit heavy-handed with these. Be liberal — you won’t regret it!


Make dough:
Whisk together flour, zest, cardamom, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and cream. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Quarter dough and form each piece into a 6-inch disk, then chill, wrapped separately in plastic wrap, until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

Cut and bake cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Roll out 1 piece of dough between sheets of parchment paper into an 11-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Slide dough in parchment onto a tray and chill until firm, about 15 minutes.

Cut out as many cookies as possible with cookie cutter (chill dough again if necessary), reserving and chilling scraps. Transfer cookies to a parchment-lined large baking sheet, arranging them 1 inch apart.

I almost forgot to mention! Remember that woodland creatures cookie cutter set I got at Ikea a while back? I decided to use those too. How cute are these?! Of course the squirrel got me, but I’m surprised by how much I love the snail. A snail cookie? Awwww.

Bake until edges are golden-brown, 9 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then slide cookies, still on parchment, onto a rack to cool completely.

Make more cookies with remaining dough and scraps (reroll only once) on cooled freshly lined baking sheets.

They looked great and tasted delicious, but they needed something…

Chocolate! Could you see that coming? So I threw some good dark chocolate in the microwave and drizzled it on the cookies.

Lovely AND delicious! So I’m still not sure what exactly to make for Wren’s birthday party… Maybe all of the above? Tell me what you think, dear readers. What gets your vote?

Happy Friday to you! It’s sunny, but chilly here today. Good thing I didn’t put away those mittens yet. Whew.