Jan 31

A Perfectly Bookish Nursery: Penguin Edition

Bookish Baby 13

Salutations Bookworms!

Today I’m going to explain how to create the world’s most adorable penguin and book themed nursery. You ready?

Step One: Go back in time. You know that girl who walked into the first day of 6th grade late carrying a trombone? Make friends with her. It’ll be easy, her locker is right next to yours and you have the same schedule. Plus she’s weird, like you.

During this period, you may also exchange tiny sticker versions of your school photos. 7th grade fashion. This was during the “we simply must grow out our bangs” awkward stage.

Step Two: Wait 22 years.

Step Three: Give your artistic best friend of over two decades creative license to design your kid’s nursery.

If you’re lucky enough to have a BFF like mine, she will weep tears of joy when she finds out you’re expecting at long last. Then she will offer her services to help you in any way she can. Fabric swatches will be exchanged, designs will be discussed, and two states away, your child’s bedroom decor will be lovingly constructed.

See those penguin curtains? The wall art? The coordinating Diaper Genie?!

I just realized as I’m posting this photo that my BFF’s mom was the one who made the throw blanket on the back of the rocking chair. It’s a family affair, the craftiness. The lethargic looking penguin was something I already had in my possession. Like that’s in any way surprising.

Possibly the most important element the bookish penguin nursery: a book shelf. It’s full of books and penguins, naturally. In the 5 months Sam has been here, many of these toys have shifted to new homes to make room for more books, but I didn’t feel like taking new pictures. If you look closely, you’ll notice that many of the stuffies on the bottom shelf are Little Golden Books and Dr. Seuss characters! And yes, that IS a Fraggle Rock puppet on the top shelf. (My SIL is amazing.)  If you needed more proof my BFF is among the best of humans, the coordinated penguin set next to the Wembley is a penguin bowling toy that I bought for my “nephew” when he was teeny tiny. He’s almost 10 now. She saved all the penguin stuff I ever bought for her kids to give back to me when I had one of my own one day. Excuse me, my eyeballs are leaking.

The penguin mobile wasn’t handmade but it was one of the first things I put on my registry. Obviously. And no, the Sleep Sheep didn’t stay in the crib once the baby arrived. I don’t know why I feel the need to clarify that, but I DO know the rules of safe sleeping.

Here’s a close up of the wall art pieces. I know a lot of bookish types get a little cringe-y when book pages are used in craft projects, but let me assure you that all the books used in this project were battered old copies destined for recycle bins. I chose some of my favorite children’s book quotes and the Bestie decoupaged pages from the books in the background and painted the quotes over top. We’ve got Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, and The Phantom Tollbooth represented. The Green Eggs and Ham quote is right over Sam’s crib, for obvious reasons.

Sam’s book collection is going to be another post entirely, but I wanted to show off how delightful his nursery is. You know. Before he’s old enough to tell me he’s had quite enough of the penguin stuff, MOM.

Did I mention she and her fellow drove 5 hours with two very small children in tow to attend my baby shower? Then we had dinner in a microbrewery that used to be a church. As you do.

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Of course, the coolest stuff in the post isn’t available for purchase because it’s one of a kind homemade goodness. You’ll just have to find your own crafty weird BFF. Mine is taken.*


Jan 18

Bite Size Reviews: Should I Start Numbering These?

Bite Size Reviews 3

Howdy Bookworms!

This post was originally supposed to go up in July. Because I’m clearly on top of things. I’m still going to make an attempt at recapping the books I’ve read in the past gazillion months because I like having a record of these things for my own purposes. Also because some of these books are really excellent and you OBVIOUSLY need to know about them. Ready???

ONE: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli- This book was so delightful. Just, SO delightful. A loving non traditional family, a teenage girl after my own heart, a sweet little love story. If you need a heartwarming read (which, in the midst of this cooooold January, I imagine that you do) you should definitely check this book out.

TWO: George by Alex Gino- This was a pick for my neighborhood book club and it was so good. It’s a short book, geared toward the middle grade set, telling the story of a transgender child. I cried several times whilst reading this, though it probably didn’t help that I was hopped up on pregnancy hormones. Who knows? I might have sobbed my face off anyway. It’s a very touching story written by a genderqueer author, and, as is so often the case, #ownvoices are the best voices.

THREE: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney- This wasn’t quite the rollicking romp I’d expected, but a more subtle and complex story of a woman recalling her fascinating life during a long New Year’s Eve stroll through NYC. Career, marriage, motherhood, divorce, and an eventual breakdown all factor in to the singular life of one Lillian Boxfish. There are, of course, quirky lighter bits of the story, particularly in her encounters with the people she meets during her trek across the city.

FOUR: The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik- This is the followup novel to my beloved Sofia Khan is Not Obliged (review) and I HAVE FEELINGS ABOUT IT. Unfortunately I can’t really get into those feelings without spoiling the book, but I took to twitter and found someone to discuss things with via direct message so I will be able to contain spoileriffic self. (The fortuitous meeting of a like minded readers was entirely facilitated by Ayisha Malik, no less. What a treasure she is!) You should definitely read Sofia Khan is Not Obliged and once you do that you’ll be desperate to read The Other Half of Happiness and then you can email me and we can discuss things quietly like respectful grown ups. If you can consider emails full of SHOUTY CAPITALS “quiet,” that is.

FIVE: Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella- The last thing a woman recalls is a rather unpleasant night out at the bar, and she wakes up 3 years later in a life she doesn’t recognize at all. It’s the good old amnesia story line, and it’s Sophie Kinsella, so it’s cheeky good fun.

WHEW! Five books down, a… lot… to go. Ah well, you’ve got to start somewhere, right? Talk to me bookworms! How’s January treating you? Are you in the Northern Hemisphere and FROZEN like I am? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


Jan 08

We’re All Mad Here: A Baby Shower Story

Bookish Baby 16

Greetings Bookworms!
It’s a brand new year and my only resolution was to smother my baby in kisses and dress him in as many cutesy outfits as he’ll tolerate because it’s a short window until he has opinions about what he wears. But if I were in the market for doing a REAL resolution, it would involve writing some of the blog posts that have been bouncing around my brain. I thought we’d start by featuring one of my baby showers (yes, ONE of. I had two major ones, a small one from my husband’s co-workers, and more gifts and cards than you can shake a stick at. Let’s just say this is one blessed baby and the 100 pack of thank-you notes I ordered came in super handy.)

I’m a big fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass. I realize that’s not at all uncommon among bookish types, but nevertheless it’s true. I have a substantial Alice collection (though nothing when compared to Julz’s- her entire guest room is Alice themed and it’s GLORIOUS. It’s even cuter in person, which I’m mentioning because I feel fancy as heck for knowing this gal IRL.) Hence, two of my neighbors/book club friends/craft queens/excellent humans took it upon themselves to plan the most adorable Alice in Wonderland themed baby shower in the history of ever. MOVE OVER, PINTEREST, YOU HAVE NOTHING ON ANGIE AND EMILY. Behold.

Yes, the invitations were bookmarks!!! Also, ignore the teddy bear. I figured it would be rude to put my girl Angie’s personal phone number on the internet. I believe I shrieked and jumped up and down when I saw these.

Not even the magnificence of the invitations could have prepared me for the party that was to come, though. Every teeny tiny detail was so perfect! I’m just going to insert a zillion pics now, okay?

A brief overview of the tablescape. If you’re in Central Illinois, this was in the party room of So Chic Boutique which was cute AF.

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you’ll know I’m a sucker for flowers, particularly gardening with annuals. See some examples here, herehere, or here. One of my favorite places to shop for annuals is a local seasonal garden center which happens to be run by Emily’s mom. Total coincidence, BTW. I shopped there before I knew who owned it. If you’re in Central Illinois, Best Buds always has beautiful and unusual stock. I highly recommend them. This year, as soon as their flowers began arriving, Emily texted me to tell me about a new variety of petunia, not only because it was pretty, but also because it was named Queen of Hearts. Yeah, I bought like 6 of them for my yard. The minute I saw them on the tables at the shower, I started telling everyone, “OMG those are QUEEN OF HEARTS PETUNIAS!” She knew I’d appreciate them, and I so, so did!

Also, the Mad Hatter flower pots read 8/15- my due date. The details they put in are still boggling my mind months later. Sam, however, was born a FULL WEEK AFTER his due date. Which in hindsight is totally fine, but it led to the LONGEST WEEK OF MY LIFE.


The games were beyond adorable and the favors were the drink me/eat me cup and saucer with the little packets of tea. This literally could not be any cuter. It just couldn’t. Unfortunately I am crap at taking photos when I am this excited, so blurry.

This is the perfect example of how EXTRA Angie is. She painted the freaking roses red! She made these cupcakes in her own kitchen, got the frosting to look like a rose, and then airbrushed the white rose to look like it was being painted. I don’t deserve friends this awesome.

Everything was so sweet and perfect! I was completely overwhelmed by my friends’ creativity and holy smokes did the guests EVER set me up for life with Sammers. Generous would be a gross understatement. But at the very end of the party, Angie pulled the Angie-est move that has ever been Angied. That’s right, the gal who color codes her closet included a request in the invitations that guests wear blue so we could get a color coordinated photo op. I laughed so hard when I found out, but I’ve got to be honest- it turned out really nicely. In hindsight, her asking what I was planning to wear clearly had an ulterior motive…

Friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and a super charming sign to cover my swollen ankles. (The sign now hangs in Sam’s room, of course. My little Wild Thing.)



L to R: Angie, me & Sam & my cankles, & Emily.

The thank you notes have long since been delivered, but reliving this shower to write this post has made me grateful all over again. BRING IT IN FOR A HUG, Y’ALL!

*If you make an Amazon purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. If you make a purchase at either of the small businesses in this post, I will receive nothing but good karma.*


Dec 25

Merry Christmas!

Holidays 2

Salutations, Bookworms!

Just wanted to wish those who celebrate a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Monday to those who do not. Enjoy the day however you choose to spend it, and know that this little nugget wishes you well!

This was our first year doing a photo card, and I couldn’t possibly be more obsessed with this pic.


Dec 06

An Evening with David Sedaris: Theft by Finding

Author Events, Humor, Memoirs 3

Well Hello, Bookworms!

I thought I’d catch you up on what I’ve been doing, or more accurately, what I was doing in late April. I’ve always had a soft spot for David Sedaris and his quirky essays (here’s a review from a while back.) Of course, his humor and tone aren’t for everyone (as evidenced by the friend to whom I loaned Me Talk Pretty One Day who was UNIMPRESSED by the casual drug usage.) Not every writer is for every reader, but if you are a Sedaris fan, you were probably pretty stoked to hear that he was released a new book of his diary entries called Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002). *I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley and have been hideously tardy in supplying a review for which I apologize. I haven’t accepted any more galleys in recent days given my sporadic (at best) blogging presence.*

Luckily, I found a kindred spirit in my neighbor/book club member/friend Catherine (remember when we threw her a bookish baby shower?) She is the sweetest, and shares my penchant for both David Sedaris and NPR. Which is why when she found out Sedaris was coming to our little corner of Illinois for a speaking engagement and to promote Theft by Finding, she texted me right away and plans were made.

Yes, we paid $40 for 2nd balcony tickets and we’d do it again!

I insisted on getting tickets in the balcony because the main floor seats in this theater have no center aisle and crawling over people whilst I was 25 or so weeks pregnant sounded AWFUL. Of course, the best laid plans were all for naught, because we still ended up having people crawl over us, but I digress. The fact that I was hauling around a sizable belly and already had swollen ankles (nope, no complications, I just retain water like WOAH) also meant that we opted out of waiting in line for the book signing. Plus, I’m totally intimidated by authors I admire and figured I’d say or do something awkward enough to land me in a future Sedaris anecdote.

The reading was mostly segments of Theft by Finding and if you’re a fan of Sedaris’s work, it’s a treat. All the weirdness you love about his essays are presented in real life snippets of diaries he’s kept for his entire adult life. The sardonic slice of life observations will delight his fans, and hearing them in his own voice is even better. If you’ve not yet indulged in Sedaris’s self-narrated audio books, I HIGHLY recommend you do so.

The long and short of it is, if you dig Sedaris, you’ll like Theft by FindingGo out and grab yourself a copy, bonus points for the audio book. And, should you discover Sedaris is coming to your town, you won’t be disappointed by attending one of his events (if it’s in your budget.) May you be braver than I and get your book signed. He’s rather creative with his inscriptions, I’m having some regrets that I didn’t wait in that line. Of course, now that I have ankles again, it’s easy to forget how swollen I was. 7 months ago Katie has ZERO regrets.

Any of you bookworms have a signed Sedaris book? Any weird doodles or inscriptions?

*If you make a purchase from a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


Nov 08

A Nicola Yoon Double Play

Young Adult Fiction 6

Greetings Bookworms!

I am so far behind on reviews that I actually read a second novel by the same author and decided to group the two together. Because why not? It’s not like I have rules here or anything. It also just shows you how lovely Nicola Yoon is, since I jumped into a second novel of hers quickly after finishing the first. Of course, I read both of these like 6 months ago. Luckily I left myself some notes so my memory has been jogged sufficiently!

Everything, Everything I have to admit that every time I see this title, the Violent Femmes’ “Kiss Off” starts playing in my head, because snippets of songs have become so deeply embedded in my brain they may never escape. Not that I mind, really, because they’re usually delightful songs. But the book! So, it’s about a girl who has the “bubble boy” disease where she has no immune system and has to live in isolation. She doesn’t live in an actual bubble, but she’s confined to her home and has contact with only a few select humans. Then, you know, a boy moves in next door and forbidden love takes on a whole new twist. It’s excellent and heart wrenching and everything I wanted in a love story. But the ending… I have issues with it, for reasons I cannot discuss because spoilers. The issues weren’t enough to ruin the book for me, though, so it still gets a “y’all need to go read this” from me. (I have not seen the movie version yet, but I looooove Amandla Stenberg so I’d bet it’s a solid adaptation. She’s perfect for the part!)

The Sun Is Also a Star– One of my big pet peeves in YA fiction is when the two main characters fall in love instantly. You know, glances across a room, fireworks, they simply MUST be together forever? I don’t know quite HOW she managed it, but Yoon made a book about a pair of teenagers falling in love in a single day seem completely plausible and not at all shallow and lusty. Not that there isn’t lust involved, but it was much deeper than that. It simultaneously tackles complex issues regarding race and immigration, and it’s deftly handled. I’m happy to report that I didn’t have issues with this book’s ending in the slightest. In fact, I think she totally nailed it. This book hit me right in the proverbial feels, and I’ll admit to shedding a few tears.

There we have it. A whole post about books! Look at me, doing what I set out to do 5 years ago. High five, Katie. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I’ll probably spend it on cute stuff for my kid, which really just benefits you too as you’ll be able to see pictures of him in/with said cute stuff. Win-win.*


Oct 31

The First Halloween is the Penguin Halloween

Holidays 4

Happy Halloween, Bookworms!

I just thought I’d drop in to show you the cutest penguin in all the land. Hope you’re enjoying some costume filled festivities today!

The Saturday before Halloween, our neighborhood has a costume parade. It was cold, but Sammers was a good sport.

And you know I wasn’t about to send him out dressed like a penguin ALONE, right? My years of matching costumes are numbered, I’m going to enjoy them!

Happy Halloween!


Oct 27

Hello Again!

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Long Time No Talk, Bookworms!

I suppose I should explain myself. So, back in June when I last posted, I was getting a bit frantic about getting everything wrapped up at work and preparing everything at home for the Tiny Bookworm’s arrival. I continued reading, but I lacked the time and mental head space to compose coherent thoughts. Truth be told, I played a lot of Candy Crush. I’m not proud of it, but there it is. Being super pregnant and outrageously swollen wasn’t my favorite state of being. Anywho, I have big plans to catch you up on all the things including my bookish baby showers, nursery decor, and YES, books unrelated to baby things. Also books related to baby things because The Pout-Pout Fish is among my favorite things EVER (thank you, Lauren!)

Of course, the Young Sir has arrived (I totally went into labor on eclipse day, but he was born the following morning, August 22.) If you follow me on Instagram or are FB friends with me, you’ll have seen 8 zillion photos, but WHATEVER MY KID IS CUTE.

Bookworms, meet Sam. Sam, meet the Bookworms.

Taken in the hospital. He was all of 2 days old. Note the penguin blanket and the mildly pained expression. He’s embarrassed by me already!


Why yes, I’m completely smitten.

Sammers is most pleased to meet you!


Jun 09

Bite Size Reviews: June 2017

Bite Size Reviews 6

Hello You Beautiful Bookworms!

I have been doing all the reading and none of the blogging. It’s a pattern lately. But, you know. There were flowers to plant and a baby to grow and books to read. But I’m here to talk about some books today. Wahoo! These are going to be quick little Bite Size Reviews, and they were supposed to be published in May. It’s a good thing I’m not accepting many books for review from publishers right now because I have no schedule of any kind. I’m just flying by the seat of my maternity pants.

ONE: At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier- Over the years I’ve enjoyed many a Tracy Chevalier novel. She typically incorporates a historical personage or piece of art at least tangentially in the narrative, and this was no exception. Historical fiction about an apple orchard would be incomplete without mention of John Chapman AKA Johnny Appleseed, no? The fellow himself indeed makes a cameo or two, but the bulk of the narrative focuses on the plight of the Goodenough family. It’s an enjoyable read, if you like melancholy historical fiction sent in log cabin era America.

TWO: My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella- Oh Sophie Kinsella. You are just an utter delight. It took me ages to pick up one of her books, but they’re always quirky and fun, if implausible. They’re the perfect “I need to read something adorable” book to cure the “If I read another sad book I’m going to lose my marbles” feeling. Career girl trying to make it in London slowly comes to realize that her rural roots aren’t anything to be ashamed of. Plus love and silliness and glamping. It’s one of her most recent offerings, and one of the best of hers I’ve read.

THREE: The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig- Okay, you guys. TIME TRAVELLING PIRATES: THE SEQUEL. Remember all my squawking about how much I loved The Girl from Everywhere (review)? This is the followup, and I kid you not, it is EVEN BETTER. I love, love, loved it. Do yourself a favor and get them both, okay?

FOUR: Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery- I was running low on Kindle books so I decided to pull up the third installment of Anne of Green Gables (review). Will Anne ever not be a delight? Despite their having a chaperone and, you know, having to do old timey housekeeping, this book reminded me so much of my college days. Specifically, the two years I spent living with roommates in an apartment, playing at being grown ups. Anne and company’s shenanigans were minimal compared with ours, but that cozy feeling of chilling with your besties and putting together a jigsaw puzzle? Palpable in this novel. Plus, you know. The whole Gilbert affair. Swooooooooooon.

I think that’s quite enough for now, don’t you? Tell me, Bookworms, what is on your summer reading list?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


May 24

The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E Reichert

Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Lady Fiction 9

Greetings Bookworms!

All apologies for my periodic disappearances. Things that have happened since I talked to you last: I passed the glucose tolerance test meaning that I don’t have gestational diabetes! This is particularly excellent news as I’ve several close friends and family members who have found themselves being stuck with needles and counting their carbs during their final trimester of pregnancy. It seemed extremely unpleasant and I consider myself lucky to have dodged that bullet. Also! I became unnecessarily worried at a doctor’s appointment and had them order extra tests, one of which involved me having to collect my own pee in a jug for 24 hours. That’ll teach me to get worked up over nothing. (So gross. BTW, everything was totally fine. I just have a propensity for foot swelling, nothing more sinister. Because I made them check for everything. They keep claiming I’m nowhere near their most neurotic patient, but I have my doubts.)

Also, I’ve been reading books! One of which was Amy E Reichert’s latest offering, The Simplicity of Cider. *I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through the publisher for review consideration. As per usual, I’m still going to tell you what I actually thought, because that’s how I operate. Terrible manners.*

The Simplicity of Cider takes place at an apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. (The Midwest love makes my heart go pitter-pat!) Sanna Lund is single mindedly focused on producing a line of cider from her family’s fifth generation apple orchard. So focused, in fact, that she’s a bit prickly with the rest of the world. Except, perhaps, her elderly father, but that might have something to do with his insistence on having an apple dessert every evening. (It’s hard to be prickly to someone who is willing to make you pie on the regular, you know?) Of course, her father is having a harder and harder time taking care of the orchard, and Sanna’s brother has been pressuring her to consider selling the land.

When Isaac Banks shows up, he is hired to help out with the tasks Sanna’s father finds difficult to do. But, of course, Isaac comes with his own baggage, namely a young son and the specter of the boy’s mother and her troubled past.

I could go on, but this book provided me with everything I wanted. A light read with a little bit of romance and even a tiny dash of Sarah Addison Allen style magical realism. I must admit, I was a little nervous to pick this book up. I loved The Coincidence of Coconut Cake (review) for its light, fun, foodie fiction but wasn’t quite as thrilled with the somewhat more stolid Luck, Love & Lemon Pie (review). I’m so pleased to see that Reichert went in more of a Coconut direction with her latest offering- it was quite the treat. I also ADORED the subtle cameo of a couple of Coconut‘s characters in The Simplicity of Cider. It was the apple dessert to top off this comfort food-esque novel.

Reading this book reminded me of how much I miss hard cider. On the upside, Babysaurus will be here by the fall, so I should be able to sip some cider come apple season. Talk to me, Bookworms. What’s your favorite apple-y treat?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*