What I’m Into: September 2014


little pumpkins


September was mostly terrific. There was harvesting and preserving; we celebrated the autumnal equinox; and we read some good books.

Last week I injured my back (I’m in the third trimester of my pregnancy) and have been pretty much out of commission since; so I have a feeling the next couple of months won’t be as eventful. I’m hoping some chiropractic care can at least get me back on my feet. We’ve also been dealing with some pretty serious extended family issues, which has been hard on all of us; so it hasn’t all been pretty pumpkins and walks in the leaves.

But here’s what we’ve been into!


September books: Killing Monsters and Artful Parent

Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence – Gerard Jones.

Two words: Absolutely phenomenal.

Killing Monsters is one of the most interesting books I’ve read all year. Intriguing and elegantly written. Very challenging and very compelling. I’m a tough customer on this book’s premise, as a pacifist and a general hater of commercial entertainment. But Jones had me seriously rethinking my views on violent cartoons and video games. I know, right?

What struck me most, throughout the book, was his intense empathy for children. It’s central to everything he writes. He’s a true role model. I highly recommend this book to anyone invested in children’s development, especially if you’re interested in the effects of media. You will be surprised and challenged.

The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and Creativity – Jean Van’t Hul

I’ve gotten some good ideas from the author’s blog recently, so I suspected I would love her book. And I did! I skipped a lot of the (kinda boring) introductory stuff (I feel pretty artful already); but took notes on her recommendations for art materials. And I loved the activity ideas that comprised the latter half of the book. We already tried a few and I have plans to try lots more.

And I love that the book includes beautiful photos. I’m way more inclined to try an activity or recipe it’s got a picture.

Kids’ Books

Over the last few months, most of our library visits have produced pretty meh findings. But this month we got an incredible haul!

Kevin Henkes

For starters, we discovered Kevin Henkes. We just stumbled upon them at the library. His books happen to be perfect for Lydia’s age (three). Not too wordy, but rich and evocative text. His illustrations are simple and beautiful. My personal favourite from the bunch is Old Bear, about a bear who dreams about the seasons while he hybernates (so cozy and lovely); Lydia’s is Penny and Her Doll (about a little mouse trying to find the perfect name for her new doll). Kittens’ First Full Moon (about a kitty who chases the moon, thinking it’s a bowl of milk) is a Caldecott Medal winner.

Hank Finds an Egg

And then we found Hank Finds an Egg (Rebecca Dudley), which might be the cutest picture book in the history of the world. It doesn’t have any text, it just tells a story through images. It’s made up of photographs of miniature handmade scenes, with breathtaking detail. Every leaf and twig is handmade. And look at little Hank! You  can see every stitch that holds him together. Isn’t he the most adorable thing you’ve ever set eyes on?! The story is sweet and heartwarming.


We mostly took a break from TV this month. We tried Veronica Mars on Netflix but weren’t totally taken by it. And then we watched the season premieres of our favourite shows (Big Bang Theory, Mindy Project) which were fun as usual.


We re-watched Megamind (with Will Ferrell), and MAN, I love that movie. It is just so clever and wonderful. One of my favourite romance stories ever. I don’t know why it just tickles me. Come to think of it, every movie Will Ferrell has done for children (Elf, Lego Movie) are among my favourites.

With the Munchkin


I recently got Lydia some new coloured pencils, since she’s so into drawing. I love these particular pencils: the triangular shape means they don’t roll around and fall onto the floor while she’s working; they’re high-quality, with beautiful vibrant colours; and they’re eco-friendly, too! Oh, and she loves them, too!

I thought they deserved a nice holder, to encourage Lydia to take good care of them and not leave them all over the place. So I made this wool felt pencil roll, based loosely on this tutorial (I only did single layers, though. Wool felt is expensive!)

To encourage her to put away her pencils, I told her these were their beds and they needed to go to bed every night. Unfortunately, I hadn’t foreseen how she would assume that just like in real life, everyone would want to share beds. She stuffs them all into just a few pockets. So much for orderly. *Sigh.*

But at LEAST it keeps them off the floor. So: win!

Spider web capture. Spray paint a spider web, then lift with black cardstock.

We also did this spider web capture activity, which was pretty cool. Next time I’d like to try using a brighter colour.

Linking up, once again, with Leigh Kramer!

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  1. Love the creative pencil holder! Sorry to hear about your back! I’m pregnant now too (21 weeks with my first) and can’t imagine having to deal with a back injury on top of all the usual aches and pains!

  2. The spider web activity looks awesome, and we’ll definitely give it a try!

    We absolutely adore Kevin Henkes in our house – A Good Day is my 2 year old’s favorite, and my 4 year old loves Sheila the Brave and My Garden. We check out his books any chance we get.

    I really hope things get better for your back – I can’t imagine how much worse it would make a third trimester.

  3. That Hank Finds an Egg book looks wonderful! I’m going to keep an eye out for it for our 2 year old. :) Congratulations on your pregnancy, and I can sympathize with your pregnancy back pain. I hairline fractured my tailbone 10 years before my first pregnancy, and my back got so bad by 2nd trimester that people would stop me and ask if I was alright when they saw my limited mobility while walking. I found a combination of chiropractic, massage, and getting in the water really helped me. I joined a weekly AquaFit class at the Sherk, and getting out of gravity really made a huge difference for me – I highly recommend it! Good luck – I hope it gets better for you!

  4. I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog for a couple years now. Thanks for your vulnerability!

    I’m totally into a book called Unapologetic: How Despite Everything Christianity Makes Surprising Emotional Sense. It’s funny and true and full of swearing and wisdom. I don’t know you, of course, but given what you’ve shared here, I think you might really dig it.

    Peace, friend.

  5. Ooh, I’ll have to check out Killing Monsters – that looks awesome (and your review is convincing!)
    Cara recently posted..what i’m into :: september 2014.My Profile

  6. How far did you get with Veronica Mars? Maybe you needed to try a few more episodes. It’s one of my favorite shows! Sorry to hear about the back issues and family troubles.
    Leigh Kramer recently posted..The Red Couch: An Altar in the World introductionMy Profile

    • We’re going to try a few more. I’m very interested in the larger story arc; I was less enthralled by the minor ones. I think the bigger picture will make it worthwhile, though.

  7. We LOVE Kevin Henkes in our house! I think we’ve read just about all of his books. We started with Julius, the Baby of the World, and at first I thought it was a bit rough, but loved how it ended. That turned us on to his other mouse books (like Chrysanthemum and the others). So good- the children love them and I enjoy reading them as well. :-)
    Becky recently posted..Read Aloud Chapter Books We’ve Enjoyed this YearMy Profile

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