Posts Tagged ‘valentine’s day’

“You must always be awaggle with love.” ~ D.H. Lawrence

Nibble on a jam sandwich (dare to disturb the universe).

~ With advance apologies to Tea S. Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Brewing and William Shakespour.


1. To tart or not to tart, that is the question.

Reasons for not making fruit tarts:

  • Pesky little tart pans
  • Stirring vanilla cream in nippy kitchen
  • Finicky pastry dough
  • Locate pretty fruit in the dead of winter? Oh, come on.

Reasons for making fruit tarts:

  • Len loves them. Cornelius loves them. I love them. What person in their right mind doesn’t love them?
  • It’s Valentine’s Day.
  • Beloved blog readers might be impressed that an adorable a self-sacrificing writer stood in an icy kitchen for hours some minutes stirring, stirring the vanilla cream and whipping finicky pastry dough into shape after walking flying to Chile to pick fresh berries.
  • Good excuse to buy a new tartlet baking set.

The baking set comes with a 12-well non-stick tartlet pan, a dough cutter and a tamper.

Handsome assistant demonstrates use of tamper.

In the room the women come and go,
Talking of rolling pie dough.

*   *   *


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hearts line

via lucia and mapp

Recently, while browsing through The Poets Laureate Anthology (W.W. Norton & Co., 2010), I came across this wonderful poem by William Jay Smith that’s just perfect for Valentine’s Day.

I’m a sucker for the short lyrical line and fell for it immediately, all the while wondering why I hadn’t seen it before. Most of you probably know this poem, perhaps as the lyrics of a children’s song or as a wedding ceremony recitation. I like how it celebrates that pure, unconditional love between parent and child, as well as the romantic love that has the power to sweep us off our feet at any age. With its charm, whimsy and unbounded declaration, the poem expresses the love we all live and long for — beginning to end, above, below, around, and between.


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“A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.” ~ Anonymous

The bottom nearly fell out of my world when Sir Paul, my eternal Valentine, married that Nancy woman recently.

I know. She’s rich, slender and probably has her perky moments, but the important question is, Can she bake a good pie?

I am crushed Macca didn’t even think to call and tell me. Here I’ve been his love slave loyal true-blue fan for over 40 years (I first heard “She Loves You” in utero :)), and nary a word. Now that he’s got a new Honey Pie, what am I to do?

Bake! Bake deep, rich, decadent, devil-may-care this will make me forget all about him Bake. Take no prisoners Bake. And to get me through Valentine’s Day, only chocolate will do.

I considered my options — Pioneer Woman’s French Silk Pie? Saveur’s Thin Edge of the Wedge Chocolate Pudding or Molten Chocolate Cake? I could have gone all retro and dug out my old Midnight Chocolate Cake recipe (so good, diehard football fans actually stopped watching the 1992 Superbowl game to eat it). And I hadn’t made my famous Chocolate Cheesecake in a long, long time.


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Oh, Oh! Love these!

These beautiful handmade heart fairies are made of wool felt and are a little over 2 inches tall. Their wings are double thickness and the sweet embroidered capes are lovingly detailed.

LOOK! There’s also a heart baby!

These wonderful dolls are created by Farida Dowler of Seattle, Washington, and are perfect tokens of love and friendship. Use them for storytelling, imaginative play, or keep one on your desk for quiet inspiration. Available for immediate shipping at Alkelda Dolls Etsy Shop.

You know you want one ☺.


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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"The Sunny-Sulky Book" by Sarah Cory Rippey, illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright, 1915 (via katinthecupboard)

Happy February!

Even though it’s been unseasonably warm the past few days, we’re still hibernating. It’s much cozier that way, a good excuse to stay inside with a nice cup of hot chocolate and a good book.

For some people, winter can start to feel really old right about now. They’ve started looking through seed catalogs and yearning for Spring. But February has a lot to say for itself, being Heart Month, National Bird Feeding Month, and the time we celebrate our Presidents. Oh, and with Cupid on the loose, anything can happen.

Heads Up: Friday, February 3rd, is National Wear Red Day. Time to don that sizzling red dress, snappy scarf, or power necktie in support of women’s heart health.


I’m Too Versatile for My Shirt

This might seem like deja-vu, or me just repeating myself. But truly, it’s happened once again. Remember when Heidi Mordhorst of My Juicy Little Universe presented me with the Versatile Blogger Award? Well, now the always lovely Maria Horvath at A Poem A Day has honored Alphabet Soup in the same way! I’m appreciative and humbled that two such talented bloggers think of me as versatile.

In case you’re not familiar with A Poem a Day from the George Hail Library, it’s a veritable treasure trove of carefully selected, beautifully presented poetry and fine art.

There is a different theme every month, and each and every day Maria pairs a poem with the perfect painting. She also includes fabulous quotes and backstories, and you come away feeling so enriched and enlightened. Truly a testament to her fine taste, depth of knowledge and genuine love for poetry. Talk about food for thought — hers is one classy blog. Thank you so much for the award, Maria!

Black History Month

Another reason February is such a special month: thanks to the Brown Bookshelf, we have the perfect opportunity to learn more about some of the African American authors and illustrators working in children’s literature today. The BB’s once a year celebration, 28 Days Later, kicks off today! Every single day this month, they are showcasing a different artist, and since this is a leap year, there will be 29 bright and shiny profiles honoring all these talented folks. Click here to see the full schedule.

January Carnival of Children’s Literature

Still time to catch last month’s carnival, hosted by Delightful Children’s Books. Settle in your favorite chair, refill your coffee or tea, and enjoy all the wonderful reviews, interviews, and other interesting posts related to picture books, chapter books, poetry and nonfiction titles.

Valentine’s Day Bookmarks

In case you’re in a crafty mood this month and are looking for simple, handmade Valentine’s Day gift ideas, consider making a few bookmarks for friends, relatives, and/or co-workers. Misty at Hawai’i Book Blog has rounded up seven links to seven sites featuring instructions and printables for a variety of cute and colorful ones. These would make fun projects for schools or book clubs. Check it out!

Soup Day Giveaway

Just in case you missed the update to my Soup Day post yesterday, thought I’d mention it again. Melissa Iwai is giving away an autographed copy of her charming picture book to celebrate National Soup Month. Just leave a comment specifying your favorite soup at her cooking blog, The Hungry Artist, no later than February 6, 2012. You can increase your chances of winning by spreading the word via FB, Twitter, etc. Click here for all the details and three yummy soup recipes!

Okay, that’s a wrap. Bundle up, stay warm, and take a leap of faith this month!

"Peter Rabbit and the Tiny Bits" by Linda Stevens Almond, illustrated by Margaret Campbell Hoopes, 1935 (via katinthecupboard)

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” ~ Iris Murdock


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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