Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Like Glue

The library doesn't contain books: it is a delivery depot of memories, traditions and the magical bond of sharing.

The joy of this holiday season can be found in the simple gift of giving the best of ourselves to those we love - our hands, our words, our time.

Borrow the free beauty offered at your library today. Experience how their shining example of sharing can bring together a mother and a daughter. Father and son. A family. 

A short yet sensational family devotional: Making Room For Christmas
Mother/Daughter fun: Christmas Crafts
For Fathers and Sons: Aspire and Christmas At Long Pond

xoxo Michele

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Library ADVENTure

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (available in Easy Reader and our fave, Chapter Book)
Merry Christmas, Strega Nona
A Charlie Brown Christmas 
Santa's Favorite Story (my son John's favorite)
A Christmas Memory
The Best Christmas Book Ever
Little House Christmas Treasury
The Christmas Mystery (a family read-aloud favorite)
Letters From Father Christmas (fa la la la la la love this book) 

For a bibliophile, there just isn't a better time of year than now for reading, especially to your children. And the library carries the classics as well as the current beauties, like these:

Christmas with First Ladies (I'm dreaming of a White House Christmas)
Comfort and Joy (my fave for me, just me and only me)
Home For The Holidays (for teens, but I loved it) 

Merrick recommended this as a family read-aloud. Can't wait to dive in.

I'm unabashedly nutty for this book:

Nicholas wants me to read this each and every Christmas:

Tomorrow, or maybe Wednesday, I'll feature some of my favorite cookbooks paired with music, so you can repeat the sounding joy in your kitchen while blessing your family with fabulous food.  Please share your favorite Christmas time reads, I'd love to read them along with you. Visit your library today!

xoxo Michele

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Thanksgiving Continues

He sat right here throughout our Thanksgiving dinner (the weather was so warm we ate on the back deck) and didn't bark at the squirrels or birds or clouds or the final few leaves lingering on the trees. We are still singing the praises of Dogs By Andy for this miraculous new and improved pooch.

And that awesome dog-bed? Made by the owner of this home; the fabric is designer-grade but completely washable (as well as the inner pillow - you just throw it the wash machine and it comes out beauty-full). She has a few left for sale in additional styles and sizes. Surprise your four-legged family member for Christmas by contacting Shelly at .

My reading over the holiday was a new pick from a new-to-me author, found at the library:

{Misleading Title Alert: This book has nothing to do with eating.}

Like an endless Thanksgiving Buffet for the hungry mind, only the library can serve up this kind of beauty without a budget. Hope you're inspired to visit them today.

xoxo Michele

Friday, November 25, 2011

Spy Vs Spy

I saw this movie poster at the theater last weekend and immediately thought of this:

So you already know what I put on hold at the library for Nick

What childhood memories will you share with your kids from the library?

xoxo Michele

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Small Glimpses of Glory

Great reads can influence what you see and hear for a lifetime.

There is no better time of year than now to begin reading C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia to your children. My heart always finds home among Aslan and the characters, but especially this is so during the holidays. And our eyes are drawn up in thankfulness and wonder when we return to this world from Narnia.

The Complete Chronicles of Narnia (our family fave)
The Wood Between The Worlds
The Magician's Book
Companion To Narnia (my favorite)

If we are willing to look, there are small glimpses of glory all around us - and what we see in this world has a love affair with what our heart can see in great stories. 

The library carries the classic series, along with shorter versions for younger children, companion books with swoon-worthy maps and even a critic's point of view. 

Which is your favorite? I'm quite partial to The Silver Chair.
Which is your children's favorite?

 xoxo Michele

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Kitchen Gadgets Giveaway Winners

I only had two comments and couldn't really use for two people  - so Beth and LeslieP: you both win! 

Please send your address info to and I will ship out your gifts asap.

xoxo Michele

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cookbook Crushes {Day 07}: Bread {Almost} Alone

Bread. I think I could live on it. And wine. Which explains why I need to go on a diet. 

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day is a book that needs to be read and savored, like the dough you'll be creating, so don't expect to bring it home from the library and in 5 minutes you'll have bread. I did that. I was wrong. But not disappointed. I've always wanted to make my own starter, and this is the bread bible for beginners. It's painless and fun, I promise. And when you smell the fresh bread, your neighbors will think you opened a Panera in your kitchen. Pair it with John Lewis. And some Lambrusco wine. 

Make The Bread, Buy The Butter is my BFF. Author Jennifer Reese lost her job and as she whittled back her budget she answered a lot of our questions about how to save without giving up great tasting foods. Some foods aren't worth the time or trouble to make, but bread - oh, yes sister. I'm talking to you. And you. Pair it with my new favorite musical find, Florence & The Machine.

Amy's Bread is served throughout NYC restaurants and bakeries, and you don't have to be an experienced baker to enjoy her incredible recipes. Two words: fig bread. I've paired her with Led Zeppelin, because they happen to be my favorite band of all time (don't judge: they happen to be Condoleezza Rice's fave also). Nirvana, sweet friends.

The Bread Bible + John Coltrane = sublime.

I'd be happy stopping here. But my hubby wants actual meals to go with the bread and wine. Sheesh. Some people are so picky. So that is where these cookbook crushes come into play.

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow and The Italian Slow Cooker. They shine. Like the library. 

 This seven day series was inspired by Rosie, a fabulous local librarian, and it started here.

We have crushed for seven days on cookbooks, but truth be told, we haven't scratched the surface when it comes to how many mouthwatering beauties are sitting on your local library's shelves. And don't forget gourmet magazines like Bon Appetit - they are also available for checkout, along with their cookbooks.

Hope you've enjoyed this series as much as I have. Now I plan to take a long computer vacation and spend time with my family in the kitchen. And walk our dog.

xoxo Michele

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cookbook Crushes {Day 06}: Come To The Table

My homemade bread post has to wait until tomorrow. I had to share this cookbook with you today. 

Have I been living in a bubble? My children and I read several pages tonight and realized this borrowed beauty has to be shared with everyone we know. Check it out at your library today and be inspired. 

Pair it with The Black Keys. I love discovering music with my son. And this band is worth introducing. Indulge me if you already have them on your playlist. Apparently I have been living in a cave.

The library sets us on a yellow brick road of endless learning, and I'm dancing down that path with my family. Hope you'll discover their borrowed beauty today and share it with your loved ones.

This seven day series was inspired by Rosie, a fabulous local librarian, and it started here.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway here.

xoxo Michele

Blues, jazz, rock, it's all in there. The video is from an album set to be released on December 6th, but you can find their previous hits at the library. The crushing continues, sweet friends. 

Summit Coffee Giveaway Winner

Is #3  I am LOVD said...

Oh! You best believe I'm picking up PLENTY! Love lots of pics in cookbooks! So glad you gave Ina some well-deserved love!

Random Sequence Generator

Here is your sequence:
Timestamp: 2011-11-18 01:15:53 UTC

Please contact me by email at and I'll send your fabulous gifts right away. 

xoxo Michele

Cookbook Crushes {Day 05}: TV Chefs

You would think this cookbook would be enough, right? Never. That is why I crush on the library. They get me and my need for hundreds of cookbooks. I hardly cook from them, much to my husband's dismay, but I certainly crush on their beauty.

Pair Cake Boss with Sam Cooke (my daughter's swoonie fave)

I pair them with great music, but most of the time I'm reading and drooling over the pages with a glass of Lambrusco, while my hubby does the prep work and most of the cooking. He even does the dishes. And when inspiration hits, usually coincides with a blue moon, I'll wake up on a Saturday morning and spend 12 solid hours in the kitchen. Cooking. 

You'll find one of my all-time favorite, swooning crushes here. I've actually made delicious meals from this dreamy book.

I also dream of channeling Sheila

I think Julia Child is on to something - possibly it's fear of failure (remember my apple pie crust?). But mostly it has to do with the fact that 2 hours of work produces 10 minutes of eating and my children - unless they helped prepare dinner - look at the creation as more of a science experiment than a meal. So I'd rather have cereal. Or homemade bread, which I'll be crushing on tomorrow.

But it's all good - this series was about crushes, not cooking, right?

My favorite TV Chef Crush doesn't have a cookbook, he doesn't even have a TV show anymore, but you can find him here. Was I the only one who watched him?

This seven day series was inspired by Rosie, a fabulous local librarian, and it started here.

Don't forget to enter my giveaways, here and here.

xoxo Michele

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cookbook Crushes {Day 04}: Made To Love: Family Dinners

Dinner can be fun when the kids help. Notice I didn't say fun to clean up. The next visit to the library, have your children help pick out the cookbook and the music. It's usually worth the fighting and extra ten minutes. Even better, let them find the media online through your library website at home and let the kids put them on hold with their library card. When they arrive at your library, have your darlings pick them up off the hold shelf and bring them home. I guarantee you the first place they will go is the kitchen. And that helps motivate me to join them. 

Nick likes this collection. Arielle adores this one. And John-John chooses this every time.

Want some more inspiration? 

One lovely reader will receive these fun kitchen items designed to bring the family into the kitchen together: Nesting Measuring Cups, Veggie Cutters (to have fun with this cookbook) and Ninja Cookie Cutters. 

Just leave one comment today on which family cookbook and music you are going to find at your local library. Winner will be chosen Sunday evening.

Don't forget to enter the Summit Coffee giveaway by leaving a comment here. 

This seven day series was inspired by Rosie, a fabulous local librarian, and it started here.

How do you use the library to get motivated to make family meals?

xoxo Michele

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cookbook Crushes {Day 03}: Lunch And Love

How sad is it that I have to trick myself with great books and music to enter the kitchen with joy? Not sad at all. In fact, the pairing above makes this girl giddy, and that's a good thing.

There are so many inspiring lunch cookbooks at your library you could fill the pantry. Too bad we can't eat them.

Total swooning while lunch making. I've got a crush on the library, how 'bout you? My children's favorite collection is right here.

  This series was inspired by Rosie, a fabulous local librarian, and it started here.

Don't forget to enter the Summit Coffee giveaway here. Winner will be chosen Thursday evening. Hope you come back tomorrow for some family dinner inspiration and another giveaway.

xoxo Michele

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cookbook Crushes {Day 02}: Breakfast of Champions, Or Was That Chimpanzees

Breakfasts can be beauty you look forward to, even on Monday mornings. We bring our trusty boombox into the kitchen and make it a party. Save the OMG Pancakes for a Saturday morning when you have plenty of time to spend creating with the kids. The one collection I'm currently crushing on is Bubby's Brunch Cookbook. And the Love Actually soundtrack. Completely swooning. You'll feel like you're in New York City. Or maybe I'm just really good at pretending.

This seven day series was inspired by Rosie, a local librarian, and it started here.

Don't forget to enter my Summit Coffee giveaway here. Just comment once so it's fair for everyone - but you can comment each day - love hearing from all of you daily. The winner will be chosen by on Thursday evening. I'll be featuring another giveaway on Wednesday.

What breakfast pairing would you pick up from your library today?

xoxo Michele

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cookbook Crushes {Day 01}: Fan Favorites And A Giveaway

Welcome to our first day of Cookbook Crushes - I'm so glad we can share this nourishing love affair by borrowing beauty from the library. This seven day series was inspired by Rosie, a local librarian whom I adore. 

Y'all spoke and I listened. I Am LOVD and Pam adore the Barefoot Contessa.

Ina Garten. She inspires with her stylish simplicity and a smile as bright as the sun. She loves listening to Cesaria Evora, and you can find her at your local library along with Ina's cookbooks. 

Bringing home celebrity chefs and some new music from the library helps me to feel less alone in the kitchen, like I'm surrounded by friends that are cheering me on. When my mind says not again, their heart-filled words say yes and amen.

Where do you start? Mark Bittman says start at your local farmer's market. Or the produce section at your grocery store. I know LeslieP will agree.

When I picked up Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook from the library, I almost cried. It's a work of art. You'll feel full just looking at the photographs. Inspiring, and when I paired it with the Zac Brown Band, there were real tears of joy. A great gift for Christmas, for those of you already shopping. Thank you, Mark Bittman, for recommending this talented young chef.

Jennie and so many of you heart Julia Child. As a mom, I'm blessed to bring her books home from the library and introduce JuJu to my children. When we were visiting Washington DC earlier this year, we spent some time in her "kitchen" at the Smithsonian Museum - it was magical. Pair her with Tony Bennett: Duets II and make delicious family memories in your kitchen today.

Jessica and I heart Nigella Lawson. I've gushed about her beauty here and here. She dazzles with her cooking confidence and I'm hypnotized into following her lead, especially when paired with Miles Davis, Kind Of Blue. What a duo. And Nigella is a reader. You can see what's on her bookshelf here. I hope you'll look for her this week at your library, Shelly.

A Grand Giveaway. The goal of this seven day series is to inspire us (me) to spend more time in the kitchen making fabulous food for and with our family. So I thought about crushes that entice me to want to spend time in my kitchen. Coffee is at the top of the list. 

We are so fortunate to have Summit Coffee here in Davidson. And like the library, they share in big ways with our community. So I'll be giving away several rockin' blends of Summit java along with a few of their fabulous mugs and Organic t-shirt. 

To enter, just leave a comment on which cookbook and cd you're tempted to pick up this week from the library. Please comment only once so that when I have do the tally it's fair. There will be more giveaways this week, so please visit each and every day! 

Good news: our dog will not be part of the giveaway.

My other crush. He came home Tuesday from a three week boot-camp (I'm still praying for you, Edie) and he is a model four-legged family member now. No barking, pulling or jumping up to eat food off the table and kitchen counter. We have been spending every possible moment in the backyard playing fetch and he doesn't run away. Or bark at passing joggers. Or squirrels. Or clouds. Super dreamy dog, I have fallen in love with you all over again.

This week is my kitchen boot-camp, and I'm thrilled we are doing this together with the library as our primary source of inspiration. Monday's post will feature my favorite breakfast cookbook crushes and music worth getting up for. Merrick, I have fabulous lunch cookbook crushes lined up for Tuesday.

You can find more inspiration here, along with my absolute favorite from Natalie. And I've been inspired by this talented friend for our Thanksgiving dinner this year. Will the crushes never cease?

xoxo Michele

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Library Love Story

I'm positively giddy about next week!

Rosie, a local librarian here in town, recommended doing a feature post on cookbooks and it has blossomed into an all-out cookbook-crushing-music-loving week-long library love-fest. I heart you, Rosie. 

Invite your bloggy friends and neighbors and join us here all week as we chat about swoonie chefs and cheffetts and how the library adds beauty in our kitchens and homes and beyond. We'll pair the cookbooks with great music from the library as well - and all of a sudden, you have a party. Without a budget. Feel free to grab the button above and tell everyone you know.

There will be a few giveaways to tempt you to spend quality time in the kitchen and make it a family affair. I need this inspiration more than anyone. My husband is nodding his head.

Please leave your favorite cookbook titles in the comments and I'll do my best to add your recommendations.

The library should be celebrated - their borrowed beauty allows us to utilize all five senses and warmly encourages us to share that love with others. 

See you back here bright and early on Sunday!

xoxo Michele

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Countless Crushes

Do you know who and I have a crush on? Ed Emberley. And children. And their cute little fingerprints. I see homemade Christmas cards in our future.

This book can make any day brighter - and you can find it as well as other great art books by Emberley at your local library.  Speaking of crushes...

Big Announcement

So a few days ago while checking books out at the library, one of our sweet town librarians, Rosie, recommended doing a feature on cookbooks. As she was talking about Southern Living and Cooking Light and Sandra Lee my mouth started drooling. Cookbook Crushes. We are so going to do an entire absolute week on our favorite cookbooks, pairing them with music and having some tempting giveaways. It may even inspire me to go beyond reading them and actually, well, cook. How about you? Hope you'll join us next week for

I'm still tweaking the logo - but the fun has already begun (in my mind). Don't hesitate to leave your fave cookbooks in the comments and I'll do my best to feature them with a mention of your thoughtfulness. 

xoxo Michele