Fall Storytime Favorite: Toto’s Apple

We do a lot of reading in our house, which means I’m always on the hunt for our new favorite book. I recently discovered Toto’s Apple by Mathieu Lavoie at our local Half Price Books and instantly fell in love with Toto, a delightful little worm who devises a series of inventive problem solving measures to reach an apple high in a tree. Every time we read it I admire his tenaciousness, especially because he uses arts and crafts to overcome each of his obstacles — you’re a worm after our own hearts, Toto.

Every now and then we do a special storytime party, and I knew Toto would be the perfect book to kick off the first day of fall. It has it all – apples, trees, leaves, squirrels, birds – it’s basically fall bingo in picture book form. So I invited my daughters Jane (four) and Rose (two) to help me bake mini apple pies (with leaf crusts, their favorite part) which we devoured while we read the book, and afterward we made simple popsicle butterflies, just like Toto makes for himself in the book. It was fun and simple and made storytime just a little more magical. 

What’s your family’s favorite storytime book? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Kristen Dickson from @tojaneandrose, a girl mom in Texas looking for that everyday magic.

Keto, Paleo…Where Do I Go? A Look at Popular Diets for the New Year

2018 is upon us, folks. After spending months over-indulging on holiday sweets and starchy side dishes (*guilty*), the New Year is an opportunity for a fresh start with healthier eating habits, a dedication to fitness and an overall change in lifestyle.

Okay, so where to start? If you’re new to the world of healthy eating, it can be a little intimidating. There’s a new crop of buzzwords and diets to research (many end in –o, it seems), and choosing the right one for your needs and objectives is a big decision.

At Half Price Books, we’ve seen first-hand the impact these diets can have through various author events at our stores around the country, and 2018 is shaping up to be another busy year of visits from even more healthy-eating authors! If you’re resolving to change how you eat in 2018, we’d like to help by taking a closer look at the latest diets, and we hope to see you at an HPB author event soon!

whole30The Whole30 Diet
Whole30’s 30-day plan calls for cutting out sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy and dairy. Instead, the focus should be on whole foods: meat, nuts, seeds, seafood, eggs, fruits and veggies. There’s no calorie counting or weigh-ins, and after you’re done, you can revisit the restricted foods as long as you pay close attention to the results.

Pick up a copy of Whole30 founder Melissa Hartwig’s Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook at your local Half Price Books or at HPB.com.

engine2The Engine 2 Diet
Created by former Texas firefighter Rip Esselstyn, the Engine 2 Diet also advocates for whole foods, with a “plant-strong” focus and the restriction of meat, fish, eggs, dairy and processed foods. Health benefits include weight loss, lower cholesterol and a reduced risk of disease, as Esselstyn saw among his Texas firefighting crew.

Stop by an HPB store or shop HPB.com to pick up a paperback copy of the Engine 2 Diet, as well as Esselstyn’s new Engine 2 Cookbook. In her review of Engine 2 Diet, HPB bibliomaniac Jennifer says “If a bunch of meat-loving Texans can walk this path, you can, too!

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Books Authors Read with Leanne Vogel

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Editor’s Note: We are pleased to welcome Leanne to not one, but TWO of our Texas locations this week. She’ll stop by our Montrose location in Houston on Saturday, April 15 at 2 p.m. and our North Lamar location in Austin on Monday, April 17 at 7 p.m. to discuss her new book, The Keto Diet (April 11). Hope to see you there! In the meantime, we asked Leanne to share some of her favorite books with us in our Books Authors Read blog series – enjoy!

Surprisingly, I’m not much for books about food. You’d think with my line of work that I’d be into all of the hot nutrition topics, but it’s the exact opposite – when I have time to carve out of my day, the last thing I want to do is read about more food. I’m a sucker for an inspirational biography, self-help books,and short business boosting books that are guaranteed to light a fire in my entrepreneurial belly. Also, I have a soft place for apocalyptic and war novels.

The Universe Has Your Back by Garbrielle Bernstein_Half Price BooksThe Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
I found Gabby’s work shortly after I quit my full-time gig and moved across the country with my husband (then boyfriend). I was eager for inspiration and a healthy dose of positivity when a colleague recommended Gabby’s book, Spirit Junkie. After reading, it set me on a path of looking at the world in a very different way, leading me to write my first self-published book, travel to New York to study photography and boost my confidence. I’ve read all of Gabby’s books and The Universe Has Your Back is by far my favorite. It was there for me as I finished my paperback, reminding me to stay present, positive, hopeful and grounded. I couldn’t have finished the last round of edits without her solid advice and guidance leading me through. Continue reading

National Popcorn Poppin’ Month

PopcornBlog.pngOctober is National Popcorn Poppin’ month and there is no better way to celebrate it than with popcorn and a movie. I have found some really fun popcorn recipes and paired them with appropriate films. Get your popper out and get ready for an evening at home with some great tasting popcorn and a movie.

Chocolate Almond Popcorn
In the mood for something sweet? You might think the perfect movie for chocolate almond popcorn would be Chocolat with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche.  But let’s go in a different direction and honor the late Gene Wilder by watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Enjoy your chocolate popcorn as Charlie discovers a world of pure imagination. Continue reading

Preheat Your Oven: 6 Crowd-Pleasing Holiday Recipes

I love to bake, and the Holiday Season gives me the perfect excuse to be in the kitchen and bake a batch of cookies to take to work or a holiday party. I mean, what’s the point of baking if you’re not going to share? Below are some of my favorite holiday treats.

Pumpkin Bakes
To me, it’s not the holidays without pumpkin. So, I am always looking for good pumpkin recipes. However, most of my family doesn’t like pumpkin. (What is wrong with them?)

The winner for my whole family is Pumpkin Chip Cookies, which taste enough like Chocolate Chip Cookies to fool my father and my nephew. The pumpkin makes them extremely moist, so they remain gooey on the inside, and the subtle pumpkin flavor combined with the cinnamon gives these cookies a nice holiday zing.IMG_0032

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Holiday Cookie Swap

Stock-up on butter because it’s baking season! Here are a handful of our favorite sweet treats to share with your friends and family during the holiday season.

1 holiday confetti cake batter cookies / 2 ginger snap cookies with lemon cream cheese frosting
 3 chocolate mint oreo cookies / 4 thumbprint cream cheese cookies
5 chocolate gingerbread men / 6 sugar and spice snowflakes

 

Let’s put the “swap” in cookie swap – tweet or tag us on Instagram with pictures and recipes of your favorite holiday cookies. Also, make sure to check out these books for more cookie creations. — Stephanie

Stephanie is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate
You can follow her on Twitter at @saltpepperpress