Baking with Sarah Varon

We bought a lot of butter last week.

After reading Sara Varon’s delightful and touching graphic novel Bake Sale, the kids and I felt hungry for baked goods.

Varon’s book features Cupcake, owner of a bakery, and friend Eggplant. It’s a story about dreams, friendship and a lot of baking in Cupcake’s shop. Her illustrations are both charming and funny.

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Eggplant and Cupcake inspired the Rush kids.

Calvin suggested we follow Varon’s recipes and it seemed like a good Saturday morning plan. Of course, Max and Calvin couldn’t agree on a recipe, so I let them each pick one. Max chose cupcakes and Calvin chose the brownies – both requiring a lot of butter.

We set out to Clifton Market to buy the ingredients. Before we left, we read the recipes and made a shopping list.

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Calvin checks out the brownie recipe.

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Max made our shopping list.

Baking with little kids is an adventure and I summoned my most yoga-like self as they cracked eggs and helped me measure. We started with the cupcakes.

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Calvin tests the cupcake batter.

By the time we started mixing up the brownies, the kids lost interest but I carried on like the sugar addict I am.

The results were delicious. Max thought the cupcakes were best, Calvin liked the brownies. I think the cupcakes may have been my favorite.

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Success!

We love this story and its adorable illustrations. Here are the recipes below:

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Cupcake recipe.

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These brownies us a lot of butter! Yummy.

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Varon also has a recipe for peppermint brownies in the book.

I’m not the only blogger who has featured this book. Read Jama’s Alphabet Soup for a very charming description of this book.

 

Ghosts make for a great bedtime

What’s the sign of a good book – fighting over it with your kid!

After starting Raina Telgemeir’s Ghosts at bedtime, Calvin and I both wanted to take it to bed with us. (Yes, he sneaks reading after hours – just like I did as child.)

This graphic novel’s mix of realism and fantasy are compelling. Sisters Catrina and Maya move to a new California town because it’s better for Maya’s Cystic Fibrosis. They find out that it’s also home to a lot of ghosts and the townspeople don’t seem to mind. In fact, they celebrate their dead with Dia De Los Day Meurutos (Day of the Dead) celebrations.

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Our new favorite read.

There is a lot under the surface of this book – life changes, friendship, and mortality. I’m not sure if Calvin picked up on all of this but the important thing is he loved it.

We had different reactions – Calvin found the ghosts “a little scary at first” and wants to know, “why do ghosts like orange pop?” These ghosts are friendly and love orange pop.

Being hugely sentimental, I’ve always been attracted to the Day of Dead tradition. I’m the girl who still misses her grandparents.

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I’ve always been fascinated by Day of the Dead. Check out my glamorous skeleton.

Here’s what’s also different – when talking about the book, Calvin can rattle off the names of the characters. His 40-something mama had to look them up for this post.

We’ve both read it more than once and are looking forward to Max’s take.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this great read comes out in conversation at our house. We’re also reading Telgemeier’s book Sisters. Stay up late and read these books.

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These friendly ghosts like orange pop and Maya.