Pineapple Coconut Muffins

Pineapple Coconut MuffinsI love muffins, they are so versatile and delicious, I love looking for new muffin recipes on the internet  that I think would be fabulous.  Since its starting to get warm and sunny out I though how much fun would it be to make a pineapple coconut muffin.  A little taste of summer for a Saturday morning.  I have a basic muffin recipe that I’ve been using and I add in the fruit I’m craving in the moment.  I hope you enjoy!

Pineapple and Coconut Muffins (makes 12 muffins)

Heat oven to 375 degrees

8 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 1/4 cup coconut sweetened flakes (divided, 3/4 cup will get on top of muffins)

1 cup crushed pineapple (drain out the juices)

1 1/4 cup flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, adding the salt and milk.   Mix the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl.  Add in 3/4 cup coconut into the mixer. When mixed together add the flour/baking powder.  This recipe makes 12 muffins.  Use muffin liners and add mix to the cups.  Put a little sprinkling of the remaining coconut onto each muffin top.

Bake for about 22 minutes checking with a toothpick to see if they are done.

The crispy topping of the sweetened coconut is amazing.  Petite tested and approved.  Petite Approved

Enjoy your Saturday,

Erin

 

 

Advertisements

Summer Reading List

I remember the days when in June we would get our summer reading lists, with titles like Summer of My German Soldier, or Yellow Raft on Blue Water.  I remember thinking that there was no way I could read 3-4 books over the summer.  Now, I secretly wish I had that “free” time again to lounge and read.  I love reading.  I love that a good novel can take you places you’ve never even dreamed of.  How just reading a few lines of an expertly crafted sentence can paint an amazing picture in your mind.  I have a really broad preference of the books I like to read.  It really is dependent on my mood.  Which usually means I have 5-8 books in my night stand in which I have started or just a stock pile of books on my reading list.

Books

 

When I was pregnant with my first petite I voraciously read (I’m almost embarrassed to say it) The Sookie Stackhouse novels.  In my opinion they are ridiculous, poorly written and edited, but I couldn’t get enough.  After reading eleven of the books I finally called it quits, I couldn’t take it anymore.  But secretly, I still love them.  Shh don’t tell anyone.  I also tend to read books that have similar subject matter, which you will most likely note when you read about my summer reading list below.

Since I have a BA in English, I’ve read quite a few of the classics and love taking those BuzzFeed quizzes that ask which books you’ve read.  But there are a few that I wear like a badge as part of a special club; Moby Dick, is one such title.  Although I have a few gaps that I need to fill before I will be able to ace those darn buzzfeed quizzes.  So now, I am spending all of this time finding the perfect books to fill up my night stand.  It’s sort of a random group of books: classic, young adult, non-fiction, fiction, historical fiction, science fiction.   Here is what I’ve come up with so far.  I have no idea if I will get to all of these or merely just stub my toes on the veritable pile next to the bed as I get up in the middle of the night to tend to the petite.  But it is always good to have goals right?

Summer Reading List 2014

Insurgent – I read Divergent and liked it, but now I feel compelled to finish the series of books.  I also promised my sister-in-law that I would finish it.

Eating on the Wild Side – I’ve wanted to read this for a while.  The main idea behind this book is to get to the optimum nutrition that our food offers us.  I read about this book on a gardening blog and how the author Jo Robinson discusses the link between the wild vegetables and fruits and what we now eat and sort of directs us to the better varieties to buy in the market.  With all of the GMO foods I am extremely interested in growing my own food and making the most informed decisions about what I can’t grow and need to purchase.  Plus Jo Robinson is a local author what’s not to love?

The Good Lord Bird – James McBride is one of my favorite authors.  I love all of the books that he has written especially The Color of Water (1995).  The Good Lord Bird won the National Book Award in Fiction.  This is the story of a young boy who is born and slave, and joins John Browns’ anti-slavery movement.  My husband read it a few months ago and I was supposed to read it right after and never got to it.  This time around it is going to happen.

The Kitchen House – by Kathleen Grissom.  This is another book that keeps popping up on my radar.  It is about a young girl from Ireland (I’m already in love), who is an indentured servant on a pre-civil war plantation.  She struggles to find her place on the plantation.  This book is a New York Times bestseller and is on lists for being a great book club discussion book.

The Book of Lost Things – John Connolly has written a book with a young boy as the main character who is in the midst of mourning his mother’s death.  He retreats into the pages of books, but then a curious thing happens and the stories in the books begin to merge with his life.

Lolita – Okay, this may seem a little silly, an English major whose never read Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, seriously?  This is one of the books on those darn buzzfeed quizzes that I always think I have read, sometimes I even check it off, but I assure you, I’ve never read it.

The Thickety: A Path Begins – by J.A. White.  I recently saw this book at an independent book shop where they write these amazing little reviews on grey cards and place them on the shelves near the books.  I fell in love with the review, the cover and the smell of the book too.  A brother and sister are the main characters of this novel, there is a forbidden forest, witches, and a strange book that sets some interesting things into motion.  This is more of a middle age book; but nonetheless, I think it might be a fun read.

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle –  Monique Roffey’s book is another that had an amazing review at the local book shop.  It is about a young English couple, George and Sabine, who find themselves in Trinidad.  George is seduced by all Trinidad has to offer, whereas Sabine feels  discontent and isolation.  When George uncovers secret letters a tumult is created in this beautifully written novel.

Modern Pioneering: More Than 150 Recipes, Projects, and Skills for a Self-Sufficient Life – for some time now I have been really interested in farming and being more self-sufficient.  Although I am no where near a “modern pioneer” I am hoping to learn some new things.  I also love the layout and print of this book.  It looks like an old farmers almanac.

The Invention of Wings – Sue Monk Kidd is a favorite author of mine.  I had a change to meet her when I lived in South Carolina and have been a huge fan of her works, mainly because of the setting she creates, it feels like you’re actually there when you are reading.  I love that feeling.  This novel is set in Charleston and details the very different lives of two young girls.  Unlike her other novels this is a historical fiction and I am so excited to see what she has done in this new genre.

The Book of Life – This is the third installment of the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.  Last year I read The Discovery of Witches and just loved this novel.  There is time travel, witches, vampires, fabulous libraries and secret books.  Yes, please.   This book will be released on July 15th, I am so excited.

Written in My Own Hearts Blood – Diana Gabaldon, oh my goodness, she has been one of my favorite authors for a few years.  Her first novel Outlander was first printed some 20 years ago and has been so loved that now it is going to be a mini series on Starz.  So exciting.  Written In My Own Hearts Blood is Gabaldons’ eighth novel – it will be published in just weeks.  After seven novels of gigantic length I find it hard to summarize what this one might be about.  What I will say is that I am sure it is filled with adventure and surprises.  Gabaldon does an immense amount of research on the time period in which her novels are set, they read like historical fiction.  I don’t know if you could just pick this book up without reading the other seven first.  Start with Outlander its one of my favorites.

This is a pretty substantial list of books that I would like to read this summer, we will see how far I get.  All in all if I read every book on this list, I will have read 5,500+ pages.  Who knows if that will happen, but there is always hope right?  What books are on your summer reading list?

Happy Reading,
Erin

 

Day Dreaming of Adventure on a Friday Afternoon

Adventure Awaits

As a stay at home mom there are moments where I think about the time before I was a mom.  Before I had obligations, before there were schedules to be kept, meals to be planned, laundry to be done, petites to be fed.  I sometimes, in my more pessimistic moods, think about how when I was in college I didn’t study abroad.  Now, one of my biggest regrets.  I had lots of friends who chose to do this, one dear friend who studied in Lyon, France and on the weekends went to amazing places all over Europe.  I think about my friend and the places she went and the experiences she had, pictures she must have taken.  Now, I see friends on Facebook who live in Europe and just love looking at their amazing pictures of all of the fabulous places they go to.  One thing that I know for sure is that when my daughters come home from college talking about studying abroad I am going to do all that I can to encourage them to take risks, to seek adventure and have an amazing time.  Also, to expect Mom and Dad to visit often.

But for now, as a stay at home mom, I am daydreaming on a Friday afternoon of the next great adventure.  Most likely our next trip will be to Disneyland, although super fun and an adventure in of itself, I am talking trip of a lifetime, more bucket list than mouse ears.

When my husband and I take long car trips we always talk about the places we are dying to go.  Our top five.  Most of the time the places overlap.  The places that are always the same, Ireland – we both will always hold a special place in our hearts.  Spain for my Hubby and the more I see for me too.  France and Italy for me.  But sometimes we have random new places, like Morocco or South Africa.  It just depends on the mood.  We also love the south, we lived in South Carolina for a short time and would love to go back.

For tonight the top five places I want to go right now:

  1. Scotland
  2. The South – South Carolina and Georgia
  3. Spain
  4. Italy
  5. Ireland…always and forever

Okay, now the fun part, I want your opinion, tell me where I should visit next or at least really spend a lot of time dreaming about.  Or if you have a different option I

I so wish I could promise that whatever gets the most votes is where we will go, but with two petites running around, we don’t have that kind of flexibility, but wouldn’t that be amazing!

Happy Weekend.

 

Just How Big Can a Petite Dream?

My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? and My Name Is Not Alexander are two books that I ordered for my daughter from scholastic last year.

My-Name-is-Not-Isabellamay-name-is-not-alexander

Okay, back to the two books that my petite is loving at the moment by Jennifer Fosberry.    What is so cool about these books is that they are about strong, smart, brave, daring people and Isabella and Alexander embody these characteristics of the famous people who are highlighted throughout the story.  My petite loves to know more about the real life people they are talking about and in the back of the book there is a little biography about the women and men discussed.   Another terribly cute aspect is that at the end of the story Isabella and Alexander are not themselves, but Mommy and Daddy.  I find this to be so incredibly nice that a child can look up to their parents as a hero and want to be like them.  I love books that inspire petites to dream about all the possibilities that are out there for them.  These books do just that.  Not to mention that Mike Litwin does a fabulous job with the illustrations.

Sally Ride - My Name is not Isabella

my-name-is-not-alexander-personalized-book-sample-2

Isabella Girl on the GoI’ve also seen these two but have yet to add them to the petites shelves. Isabella Star of the Story

Isabella: Girl on the Go
In looking through these I am again in love.  Isabella is off on a magical journey around the world, she travels through her yard in her sandbox to the pyramids of Giza and on and on.  It gives a sense of adventure for any petite who likes to dream of far off places.
Isabella: Star of the Story is so incredibly cute.  Isabella starts her day out at the library and then she travels into the world of the story books that she is reading.  What is not to love about that?  So cute!  Again the illustrations are just adorable.

These books are just fantastic reads and so much fun to look at new vocabulary that go with the people they are discussing; my four-year old is now gliding around the kitchen and trying to whirl her little sister around like Fred Astaire.  I think I am going to have to go and get Girl on the Go and Star of the Story to add to our shelves.
Happy Reading,

Erin

If you enjoyed this post check out some of my other book recommendations

Tilly and Friends Books | Let’s Go on a Journey Together | Ordinary People Change the World: Biographies for Petites | A Cute  New Addition to the Book Shelf

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Children’s Book Week – Tilly and Friends Books

This week is Children’s Book Week, how exciting is that?  Recently I’ve spent quite a bit of time writing about the books that my petite is loving these days.  I have a not so secret desire to open a children’s book store.  When I told my fabulous husband I was adding owning a children’s book store to my ten-year plan, he said “great, what do you know about running a business”, to which I responded “oh, absolutely nothing, but I do love children’s books”.

So…with all that said, this love affair with books is genetic, I am convinced that this is true.  One of the very first things we put into my petites nursery was a bookcase and then we lovingly stocked it full of books.  We all know reading is so important and critical to brain development and to school success.  So this week I am going to highlight some of our all time favorite stories.  I link the books to Amazon so that you can read more about the books, but I think it is also important to check out those independent book sellers in your town too.

Doodle The first story that we love to pieces is Doodle Bites, but Polly Dunbar.  This book was a gift from a family friend and our little one just loved it.  She loved it so much that she was able to memorize the words when she was about 2 years old and her little squeaky voice saying things like “Doodle woke up feeling bitey!” “Ouch that’s my tail!”  Too cute.  It also came in handy when she was at daycare and one of her friends bit her, we read the story a lot more and talked about why it’s not a good idea to chomp on your friends.

The fun thing about these books, is that they all have a really sweet message or moral and that they are hardback so they are able to handle lots of reading by tiny hands.  This is also a series called Tilly and Friends.  There are a few: Hello Tilly, Happy Hector, Good Night Tiptoe, Pretty Pru, Where’s Tumpty. Pretty Pru is also a Petite Stag favorite, because she wears lipstick.  I am partial to Hello Tilly, because she’s just so darn cute.

Tilly and Friends

Have any of you seen the new lift the flap books that Polly Dunbar published?  They looks so cute, but we’ve not have a chance to check them out yet.

Happy Reading.  If you like this post you might also like some of my other posts:

Let’s Go on a Journey Together | Ordinary People Change the World | A Cute New Addition to the Shelves | Little Green Thumbs | An English Majors Daughter

Keep checking back or follow my blog for more great book picks,

Erin

Let’s go on a Journey Together

Journey by Aaron BeckerJourney, a 2014 Caldecott Medal Honor book written and illustrated by Aaron Becker is stunning from the first to the last page.  This is a wordless story which allows for your petites’ imagination to soar.  A sweet little one is armed with a red crayon and in using her imagination she goes on, you guessed it, a remarkable journey to far away places.  The illustrations are just amazing.  With her crayon she escapes her boredom and travels to far off places and having some quite extraordinary adventures.

Journey 1Journey 2

This book provides the opportunity to talk about making predictions and problem solving.  What’s not to love?  For children to be able to make predictions and identify problems and possible solutions are fabulous talking points to prep little ones for critical thinking and school.  Really fostering the use of imagination is such an amazing skill that I think is all too taken for granted; but when you have a book like this it is such an amazing platform.  All you need to do is get this book and embark on your own journey.

I thought some cute activities would be to have your petite use this as a platform to talk about or draw about the journeys that they might like to go on.  I love using stories like to this have kids think about things that they would like to do and places they would like to go.  After all, it never hurts to dream a little now does it?

Happy Reading,

Erin

Ordinary People Change the World – Awesome Biographies for Petites

I am Amelia Earhart

 

Brad Meltzer has created a new series of books called Ordinary People Change the World.  These books are amazing.  The illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos has created these comic book type images that make these books so enjoyable to read and look at.  Recently my petite went to the museum of flight and we learned about Amelia Earhart.  I am Amelia Earhart was so much fun to piggyback on our experience at the museum.  She just loved looking at this book and learning more about Amelia and how she was adventurous, brave and curious.  She loves the silly images of Amelia trying to fly as a little girl and then going on adventures.

Amelia

 

Abraham LincolnI am Abraham Lincoln is another title in this series.  Lincoln is my husbands favorite president; and our petite even has a Lincoln stuffed doll.  So this book purchase was a no brainer.  This book talks about how Lincoln as a little boy loved to read and loved animals.  About how he stood up for what was right no matter what.  These books cover pretty complex issues, like slavery and social injustice.  Meltzer does it in a way that is easy for young readers to understand; this is something that I think is not always easy to do.  These books are character builders, fostering traits that you want in your children

.Lincoln

I’ve seen many books about Amelia Earhart and Abraham Lincoln in the last few years as an elementary teacher and these books I think are just great for kids.  They don’t “dumb down” the content, it is just written in a really accessible way for kids to understand.  Which as a mom and a teacher I find incredibly appealing.

The next two books for Ordinary People Change the World are I am Rosa Parks  (released in June) and I am Albert Einstein (released in September).  So exciting. I am really excited to see what Meltzer comes up with for Einstein and even more so to see the illustrations of his hair.

Albert Einstein Rosa Parks

I have always thought Brad Meltzer was a thought-provoking guy and I love watching his Decoded TV show.  But now after exploring his website and reading the rationale behind why he created these books, I am even more of a fan.  When he was asked how he came about this and why he chose these books to write this is what he said:

For me, this isn’t just a book series.  It’s my dream for my daughter. My dream for my sons. My dream for all of us who need to see the power of an ordinary person…and the power – and potential – in each of us.

Look around. We live in a world that is starving for heroes. This is my solution.

– Brad Meltzer

I think that this is so true.  I am so glad that these books are available and that there will be more to come.  Let me know if you get them and what you and your petites think.  If you like this post, check out some of my other posts about books my petites and I love.

books on gardening | St. Patrick’s Day Books | Valentines Day Books | Tea Rex

Happy reading.

 

 

A cute new addition to the shelves

Tea RexToday I was at a local independent bookstore for story time and they had this book on display.  Wouldn’t you pick this lovely book off of the shelves for perusing?  The cover just begs you to open it and read.  It came out last April, and let me tell you Molly Idle who is both author and illustrator created an enchanting read.  The illustrations are just fantastic.  It is a terribly cute story about a little girl who has a T-Rex over for a tea party.  The silly things that happen when the too large T-Rex desires a spot of tea; as you can imagine with a tyrannosaurus at a tea party it is pretty silly.  This book is a must for any petite who loves tea parties and unexpected guests.

t rex

Stay tuned for more fantastic reads in future post, also if you have a story that you think is a treasure I would love to hear about it in the comment section.

Happy Reading,
Erin