nine cool things on a tuesday


1. Well, now, here’s something I haven’t done before: get my daily dose of Vitamin C from a pair of boots! Orange you just tickled by these? Certainly a fun way to brighten up a rainy day.

In case you haven’t noticed, I have a “thing” for fake food. When I visited Japan years ago, I LOVED all the fake food dishes displayed in the restaurant windows. They looked very realistic and handily solved the problem of not being able to read the menu. 🙂

Dan Dan Noodles
Sausage Variety Plate

Fake Food Hatanaka sells these orange boots and other accessories, along with plates and bowls of amazing deliciousness: Chinese, Japanese, or Western food, sweets, fruits, sandwiches, and drinks. They also do miniatures if you’re a dollhouse person. Get Google to translate the Japanese to English on the site, purchase via Paypal, and you’re all set!

Ice Cream Boots


2. New picture book alert: Sweet Competition by Liz and Jimmy Reed (HarperCollins, 2016).

coolsweetcompeititionLiz and Jimmy Reed, the creators of the Cuddles and Rage webcomic, have whipped up a truly delectable picture book debut featuring the antics of competitive twin cherries who will do anything to outsweet er, outsmart one another.

For this pair of twin cherries, everything is a competition. If Girl Cherry can swing higher, Boy Cherry will boast that he can swing lower. If one is smarter, then the other is cooler. So when they enter a contest to build the best dessert ever, they immediately pit themselves against each other. But when you’re attached at the stem, there’s only so much you can do on your own. Things could be easy as pie so to speak if they put aside their differences and join forces. Will Boy Cherry and Girl Cherry cream the competition by working together or will one try to be the cherry on top?

With loveable characters and laugh-out-loud situations, Sweet Competition is the perfect addition to any child’s bookshelf. After all, there’s always room for dessert!

Find out more from the creators at All the Wonders!


3. Julie Paschkis fans will be happy to know she recently created a 2017 calendar inspired by the Peaceable Kingdom (in the style of a fraktur).

juliecalendarIt celebrates the values of the USA,  are only $10 each, and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the ACLU. Hang some loveliness on your wall while supporting a good cause. Order yours at


4. Looking for a cute culinary gift for a special someone? This Cupcake Boutique glass cutting board from NakedDecor will brighten up any kitchen! It’s 20″ x 28″, has non-slip rubber feet, and is dishwasher safe. Adorable, no?



5. Also from NakedDecor, check out these Queen Dessert Plates. The 8″ melamine plates come in sets of four in a nice gift box, and are great for anglophiles or anyone who deserves to be queen for a day every day of the week! And they’re on sale! Just the thing to serve up a slice of Queen Elizabeth’s and Prince William’s favorite Chocolate Biscuit Cake. 🙂




6. Happy to see that Paddington Bear is one of four classic children’s book characters being featured by Kohl’s Cares for Kids this holiday season. An 11-inch plush Paddington or a Paddington Bear picture book can be yours for only $5 each.

kohlscares-091116-02-02As with other KCFK merchandise, 100% of the net profit will benefit children’s health and education initiatives in communities around the country. Other stuffed animal/book pairs: Madeline, Corduroy, and Curious George. Nice holiday gift that won’t break the bank for a good cause! Store pick-up or order online.




7. Highly recommend this blog post by Susan Branch: “We Have to Believe We Are Magic.” She speaks as a heartbroken citizen of this country, expressing some of the same fears, frustration, devastation, and shock many of us are also experiencing since the election. She mourns the way our country is so divided, by how the national discourse is dominated by hate, negativity, and misinformation, and discusses how and why she thinks this all happened — the “ruling class” (big corporations, the media, the banks, etc.) profit from our divisiveness.


It was a very difficult post to write, and you’ll see by the comments (she’s taken the time to personally reply to over 1000+ of them so far), that she’s alienated many longtime fans who are pro-Trump. This was not meant to be a political post, and if you know Susan, you know how big hearted she is, always accepting and very careful about offending anyone. Political parties aside, doesn’t matter who you voted for, some things are more important: everything we hold dear about America is being threatened. We’ve lost sight of the core values we all share: love, kindness, human decency, mutual respect, etc.


The discussion in the comments between pro-Trump and pro-Clinton women is very telling. Her post is listed as a “Cool Thing” because she had the courage to tell it true.


8. A few weeks ago, a former classmate from Hawai’i shared this photo she had taken of a display at our old high school library. Nice to see my books featured in my hometown of Wahiawa, where my first book, Dumpling Soup, takes place. Dumpling Soup has now been continuously in print for 23 years!



9. Finally, some heartwarming holiday moments with James Taylor, his wife Kim, and their twins Henry and Rufus, as they decorate their very tall Christmas tree. Love how he wants to hang the musical instrument ornaments in their own section on the tree. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is my favorite carol. Gets me every time.



It’s more important than ever to spread love, joy, and kindness this holiday season, to keep hope alive and believe in the goodness of humanity.


Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

13 thoughts on “nine cool things on a tuesday

  1. Love that display, Jama–happy Tuesday!!

    And I need some ice cream or orangey boots for today’s dog walk–very rainy here. I guess I’ll have to settle for my bright red croc rainboots 😉

    And thanks for the heads up about the Julie Paschkis calendar–love her work!.


  2. A great collection, Jama! I ❤ those ice cream boots so hard. Sweet Competition looks adorable, and I am in awe of Susan Branch's dedication to responding to comments!


    1. Yes, Susan’s amazing! Now that she’s returned from England and Scotland, I think she’ll continue to answer even more of those comments.


  3. Two *loves* the KCFK plush toys – he has probably at least a dozen of them by now (Paddington being his most recent acquisition, last weekend 😀 ) The display of you and your book at your old school is fantastic – and I had no idea the book was published so long ago!

    I was reading a post last night about something else, but it happened to be dated right before the last presidential debate. The author was going on about how Trump’s chances had gone from slim to almost nil, after the whole blow-up with his treatment of women, and how poorly he’d done at the debates so far. It was such a painful read, knowing how it turned out. I keep reading about all the heartbroken and terrified people, post-election, and I wonder – what would the Trump supporters be saying if they had, in fact, lost? Would there be the same protests? Broken-hearted commenters? Would they be angrier? Would there be more racist attacks than there have already been? This election was just so horribly divisive, it seems like, unlike any time in my memory, there would have been a strongly visceral reaction from a large population, no matter what.


    1. You have only to look at the behavior of Trump supporters now, after having won the election. No doubt if Trump had lost, there would be EVEN MORE and WORSE hate crimes and acts of aggression towards women, minorities, immigrants, etc. I keep asking myself, since they won, why aren’t they happy? Trump’s victory has given them license to be obnoxious with totally unprovoked attacks on ordinary citizens going about their business.


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