It was Saturday night. Know what that means? Time to party. And we all know what that means—food and drink (as well as dancing). For our housewarming party, my roommates and I decided to each make one batch of cupcakes. There was just one problem. I had never baked cupcakes before. The Great Cupcake Challenge meant I would have to make two dozen individual cakes—and frost each one! Are you kidding me? Who has the time for that?!
Enter Anne Byrn, dessert diva and Cake Mix Doctor extraordinaire. I chose Anne’s Peanut Butter Surprises from Cupcakes! from the Cake Mix Doctor. (Before I continue, I know what you’re thinking: Where did this girl grow up—Timbuktu? All true-blue American children have baked cupcakes at some point in their lives! To which I will answer: No, I was not deprived of sweets as a young child. I just grew up in a household that wasn’t big on spending time at the oven or stove.)
Back to the present, and my cupcake coup. I grocery-shopped, I baked, I frosted. You can see the result below, and if you want me to repeat verbatim the accolades I received for their superior, home-baked flavor…well, I’d be happy to oblige.
Your shoes can take a beating. They get soaked in an unexpected rainstorm. Heels are caught and scraped in sidewalk grates. Boots get squashed in the back or your closet during the summer months. Worst of all, shoes are expensive, and when you find a pair you love, you want to hold onto them for a while. Thankfully, Pia Catton and Califia Suntree’s Be Thrifty gives easy-to-follow tips to save your shoes and preserve them for many seasons…
Five Ways to Extend the Life of a Shoe:
If your shoes get soaked or muddied, wipe them clean while they are still wet and apply a coating of matching shoe polish to the damp uppers. Then stuff the shoes firmly with a newspaper, pushing it compactly into the toes with the handle of a wooden spoon.
The only shoes that cannot be dyed successfully are made of smooth plastic or nonporous synthetic materials. Most other shoes can be dyed to extend their life or freshen their appearance.
Canvas, denim, and satin shoes can be protected against stains. While they are still new, spray them with a fabric protector.
Use a matching permanent marker to touch up scuff marks on scratched or worn heels.
To store out-of-season shoes and boots, polish or clean them as usual, making sure they are dry before you put them away. Vinyl footwear can be stored in plastic bags, but leather and suede shoes should be wrapped in soft cloth or tissue paper. Ideally shoes should be blocked with paper or shoes trees; stuff the shafts of boots with paper.
How well do you know the DC ComicsUniverse? Test yourself with the following questions from DC Comic trivia master and author of Fandex DC Comics Super Heroes and Villians, Randall Lotowycz, plus a bonus question for the truly devout fan. 1) Aquaman’s trusted ally and pet was an octopus named…
2) Members of the Green Lantern Corps must recharge their power rings how often?
A) Once every 24 hours
B) Once a month
C) Once a year
D) Trick question; a Green Lantern’s light never dims
3) The Justice League of America first assembled after teaming up to stop an invasion by which race of aliens?
A) The Dominators
B) The Appellaxians
C) The Daxamites
D) The Thanagarians
4) The night Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered, the family had gone to see a movie featuring which famous silver-screen icon(s)?
D) The Three Stooges
Bonus: The S-shaped emblem on Superman’s chest is actually the Kryptonian word for hope. But when upside-down, it means something else entirely…
There are a lot of amazing video tributes to Sandra Boynton’s book and Davy Jones song Your Personal Penguin. Some are choreographed dances, others are sports-themed, but this one imagines a whole Sims-reenacted storyline where a penguin falls in love with a human woman and imagines himself as her tuxedo-clad human beau. That’s creativity!
I’ve always heard that kids absolutely love the animal noises and motion in Gallop!. I had no reason to doubt them–after all, I love Gallop and animal noises are pretty fun–but I don’t think I ever truly understood just how much interaction it can inspire until I saw this video of an enthusiastic reader galloping all over a bookstore!
Wow. There certainly is something to be said for letting your kids dig around in the dirt . . . Check out this BBC video about Matthew Berger, the 9-year-old archaeologist who unearthed (literally!) A NEW SPECIES OF HUMAN.
An Apple iPad showed up in the office the other day. Even with all the hype, we were impressed. It radiated that “you’ve got to have it” vibe that Apple’s perfected.
The iPad’s owner, a Brazilian freelance videographer with little connection to Workman, had only two ebooks in his library, but, serendipitously, one of them was What to Expect When You’re Expecting. He explained, laughing, that he and his girlfriend planned to have a baby in about three years. Maybe that’s how it’s done in Sao Paulo. Anyway, he was a proud Apple fanboy and urged us to walk his newest acquisition around.
It was quite something. The iPad’s screen is large and bright, the type looks crisp, the pages turn irresistibly with a swipe of the finger. It can be read in a landscape position, two pages open at a time, like a book, or vertically, which has the no-nonsense feel of reading something on a clipboard. Another Apple virtue: no experience was necessary. We knew without being told how to navigate the book and the device. After browsing around What to Expect, we returned to the virtual wooden bookshelves (looking a little empty; his only other book was Winnie the Pooh, perhaps part of his three-year plan) and then visited the iBookstore to search for and order a sample from another in-house bestseller, A Reliable Wife. A 52-page chunk arrived in seconds. We wondered if our Brazilian friend would like the steamy novel.
Sometimes it can be tough to work in an office filled with mouthwatering photos of food.
However, if you stay alert, sometimes you get to raid the goodies after a photo shoot…
Workman employees raiding the leftovers from the Cookie Swap Cookbook photo shoot
…and that makes it all worth it!
Today’s treats were from the Cookie Swap Cookbook by Lauren Chattman, releasing in September. I can say from personal experience that these cookies are incredibly tasty. I’d have taken more cookie photos to show how adorably decorated they were, but I had to scoop up my own cookie stash before they disappeared!
We always love hearing about people using our books in fun ways, but it’s even better to see it in action! Check out this YouTube discovery–a science homeschool lesson using the Tea Bag Hot Air Balloon experiment from The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science.