We’re baaaaaaack! Hope you had a nice holiday. Other than a little adventure with our well pump on New Year’s Eve, we managed to survive all the busyness, insane consumption of cookies and undue pressure to be merry and jingly and ho ho ho all the time, and now we’re just happy to get back to our quiet routine here in the woods with bears, books, and warm cups of tea.
Like that wonderful bear in Mr. Hurzlmeier’s painting, I’m tipping my hat to you. I’m glad you’re here because we’ve saved a special seat for you at the table. If you please, says Mr. Bear, make yourself at home.
I hope you don’t mind, but we had to make today’s tea with bottled water. That’s because our tap water still smells like bleach. When the new pump was installed, the contractor sanitized our well. We were lucky to find someone on a holiday weekend who provides emergency service. One minute you’re washing and rinsing the dishes, the next minute you turn on the bathroom tap to brush your teeth and no water at all. 😦
It’s good to know you can actually call someone close to midnight and they’re actually cordial and patient and try to troubleshoot with you over the phone before agreeing to come over bright and early the next morning. So we welcomed 2017 without clean water and there was no dumpling soup or any other cooking going on but we were just relieved we didn’t have to check into a hotel and wait days and days to get someone to fix things.
Did I mention one reason the well pump failed was because we had a power outage on Christmas Eve? Chain of events, chain of events. Never a dull moment.
Today we’re all about cookies with our yummy baker’s dozen of favorite cookie picture books. Mmmm! Can you smell the rich buttery goodness of these lovingly baked stories? These chewy charmers are flavored with a good measure of humor, mystery, suspense, excitement, wisdom, and whimsy for a satisfying read any time.
Whether it involves gingerbread boys, kangaroos, monkeys, cats, cows, ducklings or detectives, we see how this favorite childhood treat can be smart and tough, with crumble-proof narratives to hit the spot. So grab a cold glass of milk, settle in your favorite chair, and reach right into the cookie jar. Happy story-nibbling!
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. 🙂
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!
Liz 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!
All of us here in the Alphabet Soup kitchen were thrilled when Nadiya Hussain won Season 3 of The Great British Baking Show (‘Great British Bake Off’ in the UK).
We loved her unusual flavor combinations and beautiful presentations, and it was awesome seeing how her confidence grew each week as she tackled all those signature bakes, technical challenges and show stoppers.
Most agree that she also captivated audiences with her telling facial expressions. Her flexible eyebrows sometimes told the whole story: determination, panic, joy, disappointment, fear, frustration. It was such an emotional moment when she was declared winner and said, “”I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say I can’t do it. I’m never gonna say ‘maybe’. I’m never gonna say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will.”
This 31-year-old Leeds wife and mother of three has been very busy since her big win last year. In September 2016, she published Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story, a charming collection of 15 updated fairy tales + recipes for children, and her adult cookbook featuring family recipes, Nadiya’s Kitchen, will come out in 2017.
Each of Julie Schronk’s whimsical folk art paintings feels like a big-hearted welcome, a friendly invitation to step right into the scene to join all the fun.
Fancy an old fashioned church picnic, quilt show or yard sale? Maybe you’d prefer a lazy afternoon at your favorite fishing hole, a stroll down main street, or a quick bite at the local diner. Julie’s cheery, engaging slices of old-timey Americana, rendered in vibrant colors and bustling with activity, brim with just the kind of quirky details that beg a closer look.
Originally from Dallas, Julie now lives in Hillsboro, Texas, where she paints traditional, Black, Bayou and bohemian folk art. She calls herself a memory and storyteller painter who kindles memories of bygone days and inspires people to imagine their own stories in her pictures.
Julie’s now in her 16th year of creating and selling her acrylic originals, which have been shipped to almost every state in the union and to countries such as France, Singapore, Canada and New Zealand.
I love the warmth and convivial vitality in Julie’s pieces, which are like mini cultural history lessons with their depictions of cotton gins, juke joints, country stores, Amish barns, farmyards, and city skylines.
I’m so happy to welcome Julie to Alphabet Soup today to tell us more about her joyous paintings and a bit about her children’s books. I know you’ll enjoy stepping back in time and hearing how this talented artist works.