Writing a Book with Kids (and 3-D scanning!)


Have you ever wanted to see your very own book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble?  I’m sure most of us would squeal.  In some kids, that dream can spark before hitting junior high.  I want my kids to get a little taste of what it feels like to see their own words in print.

HP recently gave us their new Sprout computer to play with.  We are so excited to have a computer for school projects!  The Sprout is brand-spankin’ new technology: an all-in-one immersive creative space, which also happens to be a fully-functioning PC.  To me, the most amazing thing it does is to scan 3-D objects.  Wow.  I know you are probably thinking about 100 different things you’d like to scan and play with, right?  Watch this video here to see so many crazy options.  I was actually really surprised at how amazing it is.  I immediately thought of making Lego creations come to life in a book!

Jack seemed like he was in need of some Mom time (middle child), so I picked him.  We started by writing the story together with words and Lego creations.  We chatted about setting, characters, grabbing attention with color, and each page contributing to the point of the story.  He dictated the words to me while he built and staged the story’s “pictures”, which we would 3-D scan later.  I did this mostly because he’s only 7 and I wanted him to have his plot, captions, and wording worked out before he built the story on the Sprout.  It was his idea to add bubble captions, which I thought was cute! 

agoldenafternoon.com-2agoldenafternoon.com-5We then moved to working on the Sprout.  Kids learn technology so fast and he even reminded ME of a few things I couldn’t remember fast enough. Ha! He concentrated so hard through the whole process.  I loved seeing his determination and focus.  The workspace is designed so that once an image is scanned, you can move it around with our fingers until it’s just right, like it’s no big deal.  Then, you can add text or even write text with the stylus or your finger.  Jack then moved all of the text and captions where he wanted them and chose the color and size.  So cool to watch him create!

Here’s the finished pages of the book! All were designed, written, “illustrated”, and created by Jack.  I only helped him learn the Sprout.:


agoldenafternoon.com-4agoldenafternoon.com-3Recipes? Invitations? Illustrations?  So many options, right?

This post was in partnership with HP, but all opinions are obviously my own.  I NEVER write a post just to make money and I share only what I love.  Thanks for reading, friends!

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List-Making Tips and Homemade Gin!

agoldenafternoon.comI don’t know about you guys, but I keep a list of food and drinks I’m inspired to make.  I’ve used Evernote to hold my notes (thanks for sharing, Erin! ;)) for a few years now and LOVE it.  It has a login so the information can never be lost if something happens to your phone.  You can download it here.  I no longer use my iPhone “notes” after having several years worth of lists lost twice (mysteriously not backed up).  Now, I keep notes for EVERYTHING in Evernote, especially inspiration from magazines and books, including:

Places to eat in San Diego

Places to visit in Italy/Sicily/Switzerland

Things to read/look up later

Inspirational quotes to remember

Books to read/Books for Faith to read

Natural health recipes

Everyone’s birthdays

Hiking spots

Cocktail notes

Things to buy/Gifts to buy

About this time of year, I pull out my Evernote list of gift ideas I gathered from magazines over the last several months and start making decisions for Christmas gifts.  I am so excited for Christmas, aren’t you?!  It’s so close!  This year somebody is getting some homemade gin after Uncommon Goods sent me this “Homemade Gin Kit” to try!  Yay!  I already gave one bottle away last week.  I also got to cross “making gin” off my list of things to try.   This gift works two ways:  you can give the kit itself or you can make the gin yourself and give it away.  Hostess gift, anyone?

I said yes to partnering with Uncommon for this post because I am a customer of theirs already.  Most of Uncommon’s products are made here in the USA, HALF of those products are made by hand, and 1/3 of them are recycled or upcycled.  Now, that’s a company I like to support. They have such unique and fun gifts that you KNOW you can’t find on Amazon.  I would suggest starting in the under $50 gift section here, because they are always spot on.  Also, I’ve found a few last minute gifts in the men’s section before here. ;)

Have you guys started Christmas shopping yet?  Go check out Uncommon first and keep notes in your Evernote!


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Bear & Bordeaux

agoldenafternoon.com-7At the beginning of the summer, we had dinner with our Pastor and his family.  He was about to go hunting for bear.  Yes, I said bear; think large, furry, and black.  A few glasses of wine into the night, we decided we should have a bear feast!  I agreed to cook the bear and my husband decided to throw the 1983 Bordeaux that we were gifted.  That bottle should have been opened a few years ago, but alas, we kept putting it off for a truly special occasion.  Apparently, eating a bear is a special occasion.  Thus, we gathered for the first ever Bear & Bordeaux feast.

I love to try cooking new things but this one made me particularly nervous because what I read suggested black bear caught at the beginning of summer will mean a lean, grisly piece of meat.  Nobody wants to eat that!  So, after much deliberation and maybe a bad dream about cooking inedible bear, I decided to go for a classic recipe: beef bourguignon or now, bear bourguignon!

I was only able to take a few little bites (trouble digesting meat), but it was tasty.  The bear ended up perfectly tender, after simmering for several hours.  I was so relieved.

The Menu:

Bear Bourguignon (Julia Child’s recipe, sub beef for bear)

Mini Caesar Salads with Anchovy Dressing (Thomas Keller’s recipe)

Extra Creamy Mashed Potatoes

1983 Grand Vin Chateau Bellegrave Pauillac

2009 Duckhorn Howell Mountain


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NEW Kid’s Bookclub with The Library Shop

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetSan Diego friends!

I would love for you to join me at The Library Shop on October 18th (from noon to 2:30) to kick-off the new Kids’ Book Club with the Central Library!  We will be reading Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory,” now celebrating its 50th anniversary! Yay!  Enjoy discussion, book trivia, and an introduction to the Sanford Children’s Library – you might even win a golden ticket!

Please read the book beforehand; extra copies have been
ordered for the Children’s Library, and the book is also
available in the shop for 25% off. Book discussion will be
followed by book-themed activities with ME at 1:00 pm. :)

Geared toward ages 8-12. Parents/caregivers welcome. Event is free and open to the public.

We hope you can join us!

For more info and to let us know you’re coming, go to The Library Shop’s facebook page HERE.

The Library Shop (inside the Central Library Downtown)

330 Park Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92101

See you October 18th at noon!

DIY Home Repair Kit with Makr

agoldenafternoon.com-13My Mom is the best gift giver.  Everyone knows it.  She always has the most thoughtful ideas, which also happen to be completely practical.  It’s amazing.  Whenever a friend and family member is getting married, my Mom patiently sets aside items for her traditional wedding shower present.  I love watching the look on each recipient’s face as they uncover the thoughtful items to make their new home equipped and ready for ANYTHING.  Out of MY box, the biggest surprise item was a box of Christmas tree hooks.  Who knew that we would buy ornaments for our first Christmas tree and they wouldn’t have hooks on them? Sheesh. Mom’s box to the rescue!

As soon as the new Makr app came out (download here), I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to make: a smaller version of my Mom’s special kit.  I decided to put a spin on the idea and just make it a DIY home repair kit.  Also, our Worship Director at Church is getting married this weekend, which makes the timing perfect for making a gift!  The tote is perfect to use because it can hang right inside of your front closet.  Plus, the app let’s you personalize the tote which is a win win. ;)  You can also design tote bags, t-shirts, and even temporary tattoos (if that’s your thing). If you used the Makr ipad app, you will find this app just as easy to tinker with.  I have told my sister and many of my friends to use Makr because I really do love it.

You know how excited I was when Makr arrived on the scene with a quick and easy way to make gorgeously designed labels for my DIY champagne cocktail kit.  Remember that?


agoldenafternoon.com-11When making your kit, try to look for natural materials and durable items made in the USA (handmade is even better!), as opposed to plastic tools that will break next week. I found most of these items at Home Depot or my local Sherwin William’s Paint Store.  Here’s what I put in my DIY Home Repair kit:

  • 1 Makr tote (designed and purchased here)
  • 1 paint roller
  • 1 paint brush
  • 1 mini touch-up paint brush
  • 1 recycled paper drop cloth
  • 1 putty tool/ can opener combo
  • 1 sanding block
  • 1 can of Crawford’s painter’s putty
  • 1 set of wooden screwdrivers (found here)
  • 1 roll of natural twine
  • 1 Leatherman
  • 1 bag filled with thumbtacks, some picture hanging kits, and a ceiling hook
  • 1 pair of safety goggles
  • Not pictured:
  • 1 pair of leather gloves
  • 1 measuring tape

agoldenafternoon.com-12agoldenafternoon.com-2Here are some other fun things we made with the app, including our first EVER design for our little backyard farm that says “Backyard to Table” (see the picture below)! Faith was excited to have her very own tote designed after her favorite chicken, Susan.  The tote has written what Susan walks around the yard proclaiming EVERY DAY.  Remember, you can buy any of my designs here.

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