May 27

Army Man Snack

by Hannah Holt »


I was grocery shopping the other day…

grocery shopping

…and it dawned on me, Do you know what Colby-Jack cheese looks like? It looks like army fatigues.

I don’t normally buy sliced cheese (because how hard is it to slice cheese, really?), but I was in a lazy mood. So I bought a package of pre-sliced Cobly-Jack cheese.

And then I was feeling so rested from not slicing all that cheese that I cut it up into an army dude (just add grapes).

Army Man snack

Perhaps, I should have been working on a freelance project, or vacuuming, or making dinner. But sometimes it’s just more fun to cut cheese into people.

For those of you in the States, Happy Memorial Day!


May 24

Pinecone Pets

by Hannah Holt »


The trees in our backyard are dropping pinecones at a dangerous rate. Little pinecone missiles have been falling almost constantly for the past two weeks. Between the pinecone land mines and all the tree sap on our deck, one of these days my toddlers will learn to appreciate shoes.

However, in the meantime, I’ll keep scrubbing their feet each night, and we’ll do pinecone crafts during the day.

We’ve found that you can stack the big female cones almost like LEGOs. You can also add construction paper and turn the cones into silly animals:

bear pinecone

But we probably had the most fun just painting them and adding wiggly eyes.

paintint pinecones

In the end they kind of reminded me of the Yip Martians from Sesame Street:

pine cone pets painted

We put them out in the garden. I wish I could say they were defending us from slugs and snails (they aren’t!). But they are sort of cute.

pine cone pets in garden

I’d better watch myself or I’ll start collecting lawn gnomes and plastic flamingos next. :)

May 17

Cowboy Coloring Page

by Hannah Holt »


It’s been a busy week, and tonight I’m headed to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Oregon Conference.

Writing conferences rock. I love chatting with people who feel passionately about oxford commas and third-person-single-reference narration. Plus, SCBWI always brings in fabulous keynote speakers.

The theme for this weekend is Wagons Ho! On the Publishing Trail, so I’ll leave you today with a cowboy coloring page and poem:

Cowboy trail clean

Happy trails, buckaroos!

May 08

DIY Microwave Popcorn

by Hannah Holt »


You don’t need a popcorn machine or expensive prepackaged bags to make popcorn at home. All you need are popcorn kernels (I buy them in bulk for super cheap) and a paper lunch bag.

diy microwave popcorn

It’s soooo easy. Just take a handful of kernels (about 1/4 a cup) and pour them into the bag. Fold the top of the bag three or four times and cook them in the microwave until the pops are one second apart. The “popping time” will vary depending on your microwave’s power. For my microwave 1 min and 30 seconds is the perfect time. DO NOT USE THE POPCORN BUTTON.

Other options:

Lightly Buttered Popcorn: Before placing the bag in the microwave, drop a pat of butter into the bag with the kernels. Most of the butter will end up on the bag, but the popcorn will have a buttery aura. Yum!

butter butter bag

Caramel Corn: Melt 2 Tbs of butter and mix in 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Chill the mixture in the fridge until it’s solid (about 30 minutes). Place this with the kernels in the bag and pop for slightly less than the above method. For my microwave this is about 1 minute and 15 seconds. Some kernels will be left unpopped, but if you do it for the full length of time the caramel will burn. If it burns, it will taste very, very bad. When in doubt, under cook it.

Why DIY popcorn?

Making your own microwave popcorn is cheap and easy. Also most prepackaged microwave popcorns contain TBHQ (or a similar preservative). In small doses TBHQ has no observable side effects, but in larger doses it is linked to stomach tumors and all sorts of other nasty stuff.

Will eating a bag of store bought popcorn give you stomach cancer? Probably not. But these added ingredients have no nutritional value and making your own microwave popcorn isn’t any more difficult than throwing a store bought bag in the microwave. So why not skip the mystery ingredients all together?

Happy snacking!

Apr 11

Life Scientist Paper Dolls

by Hannah Holt »


My family recently visited the California Coastal Redwoods.


Walking among century old trees was a unique experience. It made me feel so very small and yet large with wonder.

One of the things that touched me during our trip was this: without the diligent work of a few passionate individuals most of these trees might have been lost to logging and development. In the picture above, perhaps my boys would have been standing at the drive through of BurgerMart.

A few dedicated people can make a difference in the world, and science is a great way to make that difference. So I put together these life scientist paper dolls about a marine biologist and a botanist visiting the northern California coast.

Life Scients Paper Dolls color  Life Scients Paper Dolls bw

Of course, no life scientist would be complete without a habitat, so I painted two.

Redwood Forest Habitat (for the botanist):

redwood painted values pushed1

Northern California Tide Pool (for the marine biologist):


And here are the plant and animal identification coloring pages for these habitats:

Redwood coloring page  Coast coloring page

I’ve had this song stuck in my head all day. “Habitat, habitat. Have to have a habitat…”

Here are the pdfs for easier printing (click to download):

1) Life Scientist Paper Dolls in Color

2) Life Scientist Paper Dolls in Black & White

3) The Redwoods Coloring Page

4) The Tide Pool Coloring Page