Jul 20

New to the Library: Spicy Alphabet

by Hannah Holt »


It’s been a while since I’ve added anything to the reading library. Sorry about that. Life has been as crazy as two babies dancing on a window ledge.

However, I’m excited to show you my latest addition.

Click the bookshelf and read it now!

In the mean time, I’d love to hear about your favorite spices, and your thoughts on this book.

Jul 07

Free Fruit, Four Ways

by Hannah Holt »


Summer is blooming here in the northern hemisphere, and Oregon’s berry season is peaking. The strawberries may be gone, but thimble berries, raspberries, Marion berries, blueberries, and cherries are on. Give it a few more weeks and blackberries will make their annual appearance. This is hands down my favorite time of year!

Here are four ways to score fresh fruit without breaking the bank.

1. Go wild. You don’t need to leave civilization to find wild berries. Sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing where to look. Within one mile of my suburban Portland home, I’ve found three varieties of wild berries. When we lived in downtown Salt Lake City, a mulberry tree grew in front of our apartment building. Now the tree wasn’t wild per se, but our apartment manager regarded it as a trash tree. She hated the inky bombs it dropped every summer, and she was more than happy to let us unburden its branches. (By the way, mulberry pie is delicious!) Tip: Never eat any berry you can’t clearly identify, and know the local picking laws before you gather. Here’s a list of edible wild berries in the Pacific Northwest.

2. Be neighborly. In Colorado, we lived near an ageing widow with three apple trees. Every year, we harvested the trees for her, and in return she let us have all the apples we could carry. I had enough apples to make applesauce for the entire year. In so many ways, it pays to be neighborly.

3. Look for vacancies. Sometimes vacant houses have fruit trees. It doesn’t hurt to call the Realtor and ask if you can pick from the trees. The worst they can say is, no. We called one agent, whose owner didn’t even know the property had a cherry tree. As a thanks for letting him know about the tree, he let us pick all the cherries we wanted. Note: never glean on someone’s property without asking permission!

4. Grow your own! Planting fruit trees and vines is a long term investment. However, the pay off is worth it. Even if your yard consists of a lone balcony, some miniature fruit trees and bushes may flourish. We have two fruit trees and a grape vine in our backyard. This year, we’ll do more sharing than gleaning.

Happy hunting! There’s nothing like eating freshly canned fruits and jams. Here’s my son watching the peach bath one year. Silly kid. Doesn’t he know a watched pot never boils?

Reading recommendations for young berry pickers:

Mar 12

April Fool, Phyllis!

by Hannah Holt »


‘Round here, we like mischief!

That’s why we were excited to hear Susanna Leonard Hill has a new picture book for April Fools’ Day.

It’s called April Fool, Phyllis!, and it tells the story of a groundhog named Phyllis and her April 1st shenanigans.

Part of the fun of this book is a treasure hunt that you and your kids can puzzle out. After reading the story, my kids wanted to do their own Phyllis hunt. We dug through their stuffed animal collection to find a good Phyllis. We didn’t have a groundhog, but we found an otter, whom we promptly accessorized and named Phyllis II:


{Phyllis I}     and      { Phyllis II}

Ever since, we’ve been busy hiding Phyllis all over.

It’s added a lot of amusement and anticipation leading up to April Fools’ Day. Check out April Fool, Phyllis! and see if Phyllis can’t add fun to your day, too.

Dec 06

Looking Ahead to 2012

by Hannah Holt »


Every time I visit the grocery store, someone stops me to say, “I see you have your hands full.”

Well… yes.

I’ve learned many productive things this year (like the single-handed diaper-change), but most of my ongoing projects are simmering on the back-burner.

That’s why I’m excited to join my friend Julie’s writing challenge for 2012. The goal is to write 12 picture book manuscripts in the next year. This challenge is especially good for slackers like me because Julie says, “In the end, it doesn’t matter if you have 12, 4 or even 1 [picture book] drafted if you’ve gotten more accomplished by being in the group than by going it alone.”

I’m sold. Joining this group will give me a healthy kick in the pants while allowing me to maintaining sanity.

Because my top priorities are these guys:

But a little extra motivation in my writing wouldn’t hurt.

If you are a picture book writer or if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, visit Julie’s site and join the fun.

PS- Creation Station will be back next week with a big, fat Christmas activity book!

Nov 08

Thanksgiving Activity Book

by Hannah Holt »

one comment

Nine pages of coloring, games, and fun… Take it on your Thanksgiving road trip, or use it to entertain the munchkins in your predinner crowd. To download click here (2MB pdf file).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Also if you are looking for more tricks and tips for surviving holiday travel with little ones, check out Momsicle’s advice here.