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Friday, November 29th, 2013
How was your Thanksgiving? Did Hanukah start for you, too? I know it was fun, yummy and, yes, of course, we’re all grateful for our many blessings.
But let’s get real. Hanging out with family can be, well, totally awkward.
So I have just the thing you need today as you work through those leftovers and that hangover (either from the alcohol or a major family overdose or both). You need to know that you are not the only one who scratches her head when everyone gets together for the holidays. And your family is not the only one that’s a little weird. These people are out there–and they took photographs to prove it.
So feel very good about yourself when you check out these completely real Thanksgiving pictures from the new book, Awkward Family Holiday Photos. I’ve got your back. And you are welcome.
*Photos courtesy of Mike Bender and Doug Chernack, authors of the mega-bestselling and beloved Awkward Family Photos and Awkward Family Pet Photos. Whether you’re sporting Mom’s hand-sewn Halloween costume, recreating a nativity scene for the annual Christmas card, or sitting on the lap of the creature you were told was the Easter Bunny, holidays make for those cringe-worthy memories that we will carry in our hearts for years to come….and, lucky for us, Mike and Doug have collected some of the most outstanding and outrageous of these holiday snapshots into their latest book, Awkward Family Holiday Photos.
Check out these 14 family holiday traditions you’ll want to start this year.
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Monday, November 25th, 2013
Thanksgivvukah is almost here! As many know, Hanukah and Thanksgiving coincide this year, and popular author and TV personality Jamie Geller is here to help with her book Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes. She’s all about delicious holiday recipes that do double-duty. Think Cranberry Chestnut Challah Stuffing; Rice Salad with Toasted Nuts, Apples and Onion Dressing; Latkes with Caviar and Cream; Whiskey-Glazed Whole Roasted Turkey; Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese; Kiddie Candy Bark (that can be made into gelt coins); Cardamom-Scented Chanukah Cookie and Sea-Salted Soft Challah Pretzel Rolls. (Check out some great Thanksgiving crafts from Parents, too!)
Geller hasn’t always been kosher. She was raised on take-out and didn’t gravitate to her heritage until her mid-20s. When she married her husband, she was dubbed the Bride Who Knew Nothing–that’s how clueless she was about cooking. Joining his family meant celebrating more than 100 traditional Jewish holiday meals annually, complete with six-course homemade kosher dinners for the immediate and extended family. Determined to show everyone that she had what it takes and spurred to confront her culinary clumsiness, Geller didn’t just learn how to cook—she founded the Kosher Media Network and created cookbooks, magazines, a popular website and even a television show.
In Joy of Kosher, Geller wants everyone to know that if she can put really good food on the table, anyone can. There is no slaving in the kitchen (no rabbi required!) and cooking kosher is really not as tedious or complicated as one might think. Here are a 3 to get you started this week–Cardamom-Scented Chanukah Cookies, Cranberry Chestnut Challah Stuffing and Latkes with Caviar and Cream.
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Hanukah, Jamie Geller, Joy of Kosher, Thanksgiving, Thanksgivvukah | Categories:
Best Sellers, Cookbooks, Mom Must Read, Mommy Bloggers, Must Read, Parenting Advice, Popular Books
Friday, November 8th, 2013
Author and illustrator Dallas Clayton might be best known for his sweet and inspirational children’s books such as Make Magic! Do Good! and An Awesome Book of Love!
But this playful and creative guy thinks adults need kid’s books, too. I totally agree. Where are our pretty pictures, perfect rhymes and straightforward messages? They are in his latest work called It’s Never Too Late: A Kid’s Book for Adults. This fast and fun read brightened my day–and it only took a few minutes. Dallas shopped this book around to traditional publishers who all turned him down. So he printed it online–and it went nuts. Finally, Penguin snapped it up, and it hit bookshelves yesterday.
Check out this excerpt and some artwork. Then see Dallas talk about his book in the video below:
“Because it’s never too late,
too late to begin,
and today is the day
the world might end.
And today is the day
the world might start,
so live it and love it
with all of your heart.”
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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
After I read Stephen King’s glowing review of the hotly anticipated new book, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, I was dying to get my hands on the thing. I bought it when it came out yesterday.
But then I read this ridiculously pompous story about book and author in the New York Times. Let me quote a few lines:
1. “Donna Tartt is the kind of writer who makes other writers, in the words of her fellow Southerner Scarlett O’Hara, pea green with envy.”
2. “She is so thoroughly well read that she is known to quote entire poems and passages from French novels at length in her slight Mississippi twang. In photos, she projects a ghostly mystery, her porcelain skin and black bob suggesting a cross between Anna Wintour and Oscar Wilde. ”
Pretentious literary articles like this make me barf in my mouth, crawl into the crate with my dog and not want to touch the book in the center of the hype. I don’t want that kind of arrogance to rub off on me. What I took from this piece is that Donna Tartt is better than the rest of us, and I doubt that’s the image she wishes to project. The writer is tooting her own ‘look-at-me-I’m-writing-for-the-New-York-Times” horn by writing ridiculous sentences that are completely unrelatable and totally unlikeable. The reporter must look in the mirror and believe the literati is staring back at her.
Maybe The Goldfinch really is that good. But right now, I’m turned off. I’ve tried to figure out what it’s about from various sources, but it sounds like Little Orphan Annie with some death and thrills. Here is the description of The Goldfinch from Amazon:
“It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art. ”
Effusive, overindulgent writing about writing just gets to me. But don’t get me wrong. Of course, I downloaded this book on Audible. (Audible rocks for busy moms.) When I write about the novel soon, I promise not to mention anything about lengthy French novels or Anna Wintour.
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Friday, October 18th, 2013
New York Times bestselling author of the young adult Merlin series, T.A. Barron, loves the earth–and often writes about it. His new book, Atlantis Rising is the story of the magical island of Atlantis–not its destruction this time, but instead, its creation. This is the first of a trilogy.
As a writer who cares deeply about the environment, Barron wrote the following essay about how to get our kids to care, too.
“We all know the bad news: The planet is seriously suffering from all sorts of environmental abuses. Some people remain stuck in denial. And kids, our last best hope for the future, are being hammered by depressing news and the overwhelming scale of environmental problems – even as they are spending less time out in nature.
In the face of all this, can parents, teachers and others who care about our children do anything? Are there any ways to enlighten as well as empower young people to help protect the air, land, water, and creatures of the Earth?
The answer is Yes.
As a dad, I’ve learned a lot from my kids – starting with how little I really know. But one of the most important things they’ve taught me is that raising environmentally aware young people doesn’t start with learning. No … it starts with loving. Before kids can be expected to understand the facts about our planet, they need to feel an enduring bond with the marvelous places and trees and birds and animals who share that planet with us. We are emotional beings – so we can’t ask kids to protect and steward something they don’t truly love.
That love comes, first, through a child’s experiences in nature. No matter whether that happens in a patch of grass at a city park or somewhere in deeper wilderness – it’s a time of magic.
All kids need is a chance to play in soil or sand or a pile of leaves. To explore a quiet glade (with no electronics to intrude). To discover a mossy stream or a pair of baby raccoons or a piece of petrified wood that’s a million times older than the child herself. My family, for more than 20 years, has watched butterflies emerge from their cocoons each summer – a thrilling experience for everyone.
All these are teachable moments, offering opportunities to learn more about connectedness, natural patterns, transformation, evolution, water sources, or geologic time. But most of all … they are opportunities to wonder, discover, and love.
When that emotional bond is secure, then it’s time to explain the serious environmental challenges we face – with honesty but also a light touch. The goal is to impart understanding, not despair. So talk about the links between the purity of water, the health of frogs, and the survival of humankind. Discuss the essential wisdom of not fouling our nest, preserving the complex web of natural systems that support us all. Finally, look at some photos of the Earth from space – and then consider how unique and precious our lonely planet really is. Add all that together, along with nature’s unending ability to delight and surprise … and you’ll have kids who are truly motivated to help save the Earth.
Now comes the hardest part – maintaining hope. In our troubled times, this is difficult for any caring adult. But it’s even more difficult for young people, who haven’t seen as many winters followed by springtime. The best way to keep kids’ hope alive, I believe, is to convey the idea that every person matters. That every human being – even a child – has the power to make choices that can cumulatively make a difference.
How to do that? Certainly not through lectures or sermons! Instead, just share stories. Whether true tales of remarkable people or fictional tales of unlikely heroes – such stories are lifelines that keep us afloat. They connect us to people who have faced enormous challenges and found the courage to persevere – and sometimes, to triumph.
Hope often eludes us, especially in a world that is sometimes darkened by the clouds of despair. But hope is resilient, like a wildflower in the harshest mountain storm. It can survive, and maybe even flower beautifully.
And if hope survives … so will we.”
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Atlas Rising, environmentalist, kids and environment, Merlin, save the earth, T.A. Barron | Categories:
Best Sellers, Children's Books, Fiction, Guest Blogs, Mom Must Read, Parenting Advice, Popular Books