I try to plan ahead for dinner but somedays are just too crazy to have time to think ahead. My most pinned item on Pinterest is this Italian Chicken Recipe by Rocco DiSpirito from the People Magazine site. Mind you, I pinned this 2 years ago and I get notifications at least every day that someone has pinned it to their own board. It's crazy!
This chicken piccata is so easy and delicious, your family will think you have been slaving away in the kitchen. Even my picky eater Chloe loves this juicy chicken too. (For her, I make sure to not scoop up any capers in her sauce.) The ingredients are simple and I always have chicken breasts in my freezer for emergencies. You can cook this up in less than 30 minutes and dinner will be served. I like to have it with a side of brown rice and green beens.
One error to note in the recipe is item #1. You don't need to preheat the oven. Everything is cooked in a skillet.
More Creative Lettering By Jenny Doh
Published by Lark Crafts
9.8 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches
$11.94 on Amazon
As a mom, I'm making it a goal of mine to make time to creatively enrich myself. Enter in this beautiful and inspirational book, More Creative Lettering by Jenny Doh. This is a follow up to Doh's first book, Creative Lettering. I knew Doh from my days as a craft editor and I've been following her inspirational photos on Instagram for the last few years. In this book, Doh and 15 contributors who are leaders in the craft and art world, share beautiful handwritten letters and projects. Each contributor brings their own stories and tips which makes this book an inspiration to read.
What I love the most about this book is that you can start right away with just a pen and paper to get yourself practicing your lettering. I recently purchased a small spiral bound sketch book so I could just practice my doodles and my lettering techniques. Chloe's been loving what I am doing with little notes I write her that she's been inspired to add fun lettering when she's drawing pictures, cards and doing her crafts. I can't wait to try some of the lettering projects for cards and gifts this holiday season. I'm looking forward to making more time for creative pursuits.
Here's a glimpse at some of my favorite projects from the book:
Donut letters by one of my favorite artists, Lisa Congdon. How cute is this?!
I love this clever box decor by April Nemeth. Cute idea for birthday gifts!
My Leaf Book
Written and Illustrated By Monica Wellington
Published by Dial Books
8.9 x 0.3 x 11.3 inches
Age: 3-5 years
$12.90 on Amazon
A great way to look forward to Fall is Monica Wellington's new book, My Leaf Book. Kids will love to collect the falling leaves using Wellington's book as a guide. The book includes a comprehensive list of leaves and trees showing kids the various leaf shapes and silhouettes so kids can easily identify them. I particularly love the inclusion of ginkgo leaves as we have two ginkgo trees in our neighborhood. It's one of Chloe's favorites and she was excited to spot them right away in this book!
Wellington does a great job at showing kids familiar shapes such as stars, hearts and mittens and uses these shapes to map them to how actual leaves are. The illustrations are really colorful and fun, inviting kids to make their own leaf book. She includes at the end of the book project ideas for how kids can stamp, paint and color photocopy leaves to use them in projects. Chloe's already excited to start her own leaf book and it will make our walks with the dog so much more fun.
by Nancy Tupper Ling
Illustrated by Alina Chau
Published by Chronicle Books
7.8 x 0.5 x 9.8 inches, 48 pages
Age: 5-8 years
$8.03 on Amazon
Out today is the new children's book Double Happiness by Nancy Tupper Ling, illustrated by Alina Chau. Ling is a poet and she brings her beautiful prose to this Chinese-American family that moves from San Francisco to the East Coast. The story centers on a sister and brother, Gracie and Jake who are sad to leave San Francisco, especially their extended Chinese family that includes their grandma (Nai Nai), and Auntie Su and Uncle Woo. In the book, Nai Nai gives the kids each a "Happiness Box" where they can collect treasures and memories as they go on their journey from San Francisco to East Coast (we assume somewhere around there since the kids arrive in a snowy town). The book also uses Chinese words that go along with the title for each poetic page. It's a great book for older kids to read on their own. Kids don't like change and this book shows how a big change can actually turn into a big adventure!
Based on this book, Chloe was inspired to make her own Happiness Box. We found an old box and decided it was the right size to use as the Happiness Box. Chloe thought a shoe box was way too big to take around. She used a glue stick and layered colored tissue paper all over the box and added pretty flowers along the border of the box lid. It was a fun afternoon to read the book and make the Happiness Box. Now she is excited to finish off the summer by collecting fun things for her Happiness Box.
I also wanted to mention that Alina Chau's illustrations are particularly beautiful in this book. I loved her watercolor techniques, the shadowing, the details –– just dreamy! The color palette she used is just so sophisticated and worked perfectly for the story.
A few years ago, I wrote a book review about Crêpes by Suzette by Monica Wellington that my daughter Chloe had just picked up from the library. The book was out of print but I really loved collage style of the book mixing city and scenery photographs of Paris with illustrations. It's just a fantastic book! Now for our digital age, lucky for us Wellington has launched an app of the book. It's truly the book form come to life for Apple and Android devices.
You can have the book read to you not only in English but also a host of other languages (French, Spanish, German, Japanese and Italian). Chloe likes to find all the easter eggs on the page which will activate the french word they are learning on the page (i.e. "On y va!" - let's go). There's is also a DIY Crepes section where kids can get a recipe and watch videos on how to make their own crêpes.
At anytime on a particular page, kids can click on the top icon which will give kids access to a variety of additional info:
The map shows all of the arrondissements in Paris and where Suzette's crepe cart is.
The video button shows a video of the famous landmark on the page.
The photo button shows more real-life photos of the area featured in Paris.
The vocabulary button translates the highlighted french word on the page into each language.
The art button lets kids can also learn about the famous artwork featured on the page.
It's a great app for kids to learn about Paris and art. I love seeing this paper book come to life!