Author: jenhp

Re-planted Chicagoan, new mom, marketer, love sharing "finds", and I love to laugh!

Favorite Books for Three Year Olds (As Picked by a Three-Year-Old)

In the past, I have written about some of B’s favorite books and I figured it was time for an update now that he is three (and very happy to tell you that he is three – three fingers up and all!). I love that he is such a reader and it was tough to narrow it down to five (maybe I should write these types of posts more often to include more books, huh!??!). Without further ado, here are the B-Man’s top five books (in no particular order) of the moment:

kissing handThe Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn & Ruth E. Harper- Okay, this may be more my favorite than B’s, but we both love it. B has had some trouble leaving mama and we found this book to be really helpful. It even begins with the little raccoon, Chester, saying to his mother “But I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay here and play with you.” Mama raccoon teaches Chester about a “kissing hand” so that he can always get to mama’s love and she can get to his.


2 eggsTwo Eggs, Please by Sarah Weeks & Betsy Lewin – Our librarian recommended this one and we are so glad that she did. It’s a simple read but B loves that he can “read” it to me. In a diner, customers come in and order “two eggs, please” in different ways. The eggs and the animals are “different but the same.”


LionThe Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney – Why I haven’t broken down and purchased this book, I have no idea. I’m pretty sure we have checked this out of the library more than any other family. This book only has pictures (so I had to look up the fable so that I could “tell” the story) and that may be why B loves it. The watercolor pictures are beautiful and the lesson of nobody is too big for help and nobody is too small to help, is lovely.


cowThe Cow Who Fell Into the Canal by Phyllis Krasilovsky & Peter Spier – B received this book from his godmother who had it as a little girl. He thinks it is hysterical that the cow falls into the canal and then roams the streets of Amsterdam looking for a straw hat to eat. And we both agree that the name Hendrika is super fun to say!


Chicken JoyChicken Joy on Readbean Road by Jacqueline Briggs Martin – For some reason, B loves any and all books with chickens. We have read quite a few but seem to come back to this one quite often. In this book, the rooster has lost his ability to sing so his friend the chicken searches for Joe Beebee whose music makes people forget their troubles to see if Joe Beebee’s music can help the rooster.


Like I said, this is just a select few of B’s favorites. This could be one of my longest posts if I included all of them. I’ll try for a spring edition of his favorite books (maybe outside themed?), too!

Please share your favorite books for three-year-olds in the comments section.

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow.


The Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Attachment: Frozen Treat Fun at Our House

Boy, have I been slacking in the blogging department! February? Really? In my defense (justification), I did finally make my freelancing a legitimate business (J Peterson Marketing) and while B is now more independent, he is also more likely to get himself into a jam!


81Mnf-0GeEL._SL1500_Speaking of B, he’s sort of what got me back on the blogging bandwagon. For Father’s Day (yes, I know it was a few months ago), we gave Jeff a Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment and we are totally addicted. While we haven’t made actual ice cream yet, we have made sorbet all summer long. Strawberry – check. Blueberry – check. Watermelon (my personal favorite) – check. We tried frozen yogurt and it was tasty but while fresh fruit is bountiful in the Midwest, we’re sticking with sorbet.


The Kitchen Aid ice cream maker is super easy to use. Just puree some fruit, add some simple syrup or honey, put it in the frozen bowl (this is what takes the longest – the bowl has to be completely frozen to work), let it go for 7-10 minutes, and – voila! – sorbet (or frozen yogurt or ice cream)! B loves that he can make “sorvet” as he calls it and I love that it’s not chock full of chemicals.


If you’re a frozen treat fan and you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, then I highly recommend this attachment.


Hope you’re having a wonderful summer. Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow.

Goodbye to 1154 Lill and Goodbye to My Younger Self

AMELIA-800When I first moved to Chicago in my 20’s, my friend, Chrissie, introduced me to 1154 Lill Studio. I instantly fell in love and over the last (gulp!) fifteen years, I have amassed quite a collection of “Lill bags”. Even though the economy and my life changes have made buying a new Lill bag a rare occurrence in the last couple of years, I remained on their email list and managed to hit their sample sale and score a new bag or two. So, I was shocked when I received an email from them this week announcing that they are closing their doors in March.

I started thinking about my Lill bags and how each of them bring back memories. From weddings (LOTS of weddings!) to job promotions, to gifts, each holds a place in my heart as well as on my shoulder (or wrist). My last self designed bag is actually one that is meant to be a diaper bag but one that I used as a work bag since I was not having any luck getting pregnant when I created it. Once my son was finally born, I still never used it as a diaper bag, but deep down, I always knew that’s what it was originally intended to be.

I supposed if someone like me, a fifteen year fan of the company, isn’t buying 1154 Lill bags at the same rate that I once was, then the doors were bound to close. The current crop of twenty-something women seem much more label conscious than I remember being at that age and my forty-something compadres are too busy putting money into mortgages, kids, repairs, etc. to one, take the time to design a bag and two, pay close to two hundred dollars for it.

The closing of 1154 Lill is like officially saying good-bye to the younger, more carefree me. I am sad to see the store (and my footloose and fancy free days) go, but I’m sure there is a new and exciting chapter of life ahead for us.

If you want to purchase one last “Lill bag”, head to one of the stores or visit their website HERE where you can also read about the closing in the founder’s words. And the photo is of the Amelia which I am considering for my final “Lill bag” – thoughts?

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow.

A Travel Bag For Kids & Adults – Itzy Ritzy


As we are all approaching a big travel week/weekend, I thought I’d share one of my favorite travel bags – the Itzy Ritzy Snack Happens Everything Bag. Yes, they are created for kids, but I use them just as much as B does and we both love them. We have two of the “snack and everything” sized bags (7″x7″), both of which I got at different mom/mom-to-be events. Itzy Ritzy has a wide variety of material choices so you’re not stuck with a “baby” or gender specific look.  And yes, I use them for snacks for B (he actually calls them the snack bags) but I also use them for:

  • Carrying pacifiers when we travel (hoping to not use them for this anymore since I’m breaking B of the nightly pacifier habit soon)
  • Crayons
  • Toys with multiple pieces (Legos, small cars, blocks, etc.)
  • Puzzle pieces when we travel
  • Make up
  • Jewelry when traveling
  • Coupons when running multiple errands (I have a coupon organizer but this is more for the Macy’s/BB&B/Target coupons that I need for special trips)
  • Wet wipes from the big container when I am out of the travel size
  • Cell phone holder in the beach bag to keep sand and water away from my phone

And I’m sure I use them other ways, too, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind. The bags are great because they are lined with a PVC free waterproof material and they just go in the washing machine (or in a sink with soapy water) to clean. I have seen them at various baby stores but you can find even cooler material choices by going to the website HERE.

Itzy Ritzy makes a lot of other kid tote products, too. And, they are from the Chicago area (Naperville) so I like that I’m supporting a (sort of) local business.

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow.

I’d love to hear if you have tried the Itzy Ritzy bags or have other travel pouch suggestions – leave a comment or two!

Theater for the Under Four Set

showbanner_teddybearpicnicMy first “real” job was at the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis. The job was a dream come true (even if I did earn less than I did as a retail store manager!) and I loved it. Now that Baby B is Toddler B, we thought it was time to introduce him to one of my loves – theater (or theatre for those of you who are the “re” type).

photoThrough my job as a writer for Red Tricycle Chicago, I discovered Chicago’s Emerald City Theatre (and many others since I wrote the Fall Theatre Preview article which you can read HERE) and their brand new Little Theatre production of “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic”. Most kids theater is for ages three and up but Emerald City Theatre’s Little Theater is for the 0-4 set and doesn’t require little bottoms to sit in seats. Instead, after following the tweeting bird into the theater, families sit together on blankets with picnic baskets and watch the story unfold. Throughout the production, kids are encouraged to explore their basket and participate in the story. For example, at one point, Mama Bear asks everyone to pull out their napkins and put them on their laps. B’s favorite, of course, was the part where everyone got up and danced!

“The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” runs through January 5. For more information and tickets, please click HERE.  If you want to check it out between now and December 15, use promo code BEARFRIEND to purchase $7 tickets.

We want to do this again, so do you have any other theater suggestions for the under four set? Please share in the comments section (even if they aren’t in Chicago).

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow.

Trip Down Memory Lane Part 1

Earlier this week, I attended a Red Tricycle event (I do some freelance writing for their Chicago edition) where I met a woman who was thinking about starting a blog. I told her that I’d send her links to Bright-Yellow and answer any questions that she has (not that I’m an expert, but she might as well avoid the mistakes I have made). So, I sent her a link to this blog and the original Bright-Yellow which was on Blogspot (now Blogger). I guess I didn’t last long on Blogspot because there are not many posts but I really enjoyed re-reading them. So, I decided I’d share them here, too, in case you missed the info the first time around!

In July of 2009, I wrote about Go City Kids, a site my friend Kerry recommended to me. At the time, I didn’t have baby (or toddler) B but I loved how the site made it easy to find kid-interesting places when traveling to a new city. It looks like in the last four years, Nickelodeon purchased Go City Kids, but you can still find some good information. That said, also in the last four years, a number of sites with kid recommendations in different cities have popped up – clearly, I’m a fan of Red Tricycle!

Apparently I wanted to go hiking in July of 2009, too, since I wrote about sites with good information (REI Family Adventures and American Trails). I forgot about these sites and am so happy to rediscover them! Plus, B is now old enough to go on short hikes so maybe we can get a short one in before it gets cold (she types on a 90+ degree day!).

Another happy re-discovery – Unclutterer. I knew kids caused a lot of plastic to suddenly appear in one’s home, but I don’t think I was really fully prepared. And, a certain husband has difficulty parting with items, adding to our clutter. I think this site will inspire me to try to tackle the problems in our house!

One more trip down memory lane to come.

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow.

Biscoff Spread – My Taste Buds are SO HAPPY!

biscoff_160mm_crunchy_rendering_fa_0Have you heard of Biscoff spread or am I the last person to discover this delicious treat? Earlier this summer, our neighbor’s ten-year old daughter, Sofie, told me about Biscoff spread and was shocked that I had never heard of it (or maybe it was because I was asking her the name about ten times since it was such an odd name). A few days later, Sofie’s mom brought up Biscoff spread and was equally shocked that I had not made Biscoff spread a regular tenant in our pantry high-rise.

Fast forward to a Target trip last week and what do I see? Biscoff spread. So, of course, I bought it.

Do you know what this stuff is? GROUND UP WINDMILL COOKIES! Holy smokes thanks to Biscoff spread, you can put cookies on everything! By the way, my first word was cookie – clearly, I love them.

According to the Web site, Belgians have been eating a homemade version of this for years (those Belgians – first it was mussels, then it was beer, and now it is Biscoff – I think I need to move there!). The packaged version that we have in the US came as a result of a Belgian game show called “The Inventors”. You can read the whole story HERE.

The Web site suggests putting the spread on bread. Personally, I have had no problem eating it straight from the jar but I have really loved it over ice cream. Some people use it in place of peanut butter, too, for baking (check out a recipe HERE from one of my favorite blogs).

If you have had Biscoff spread, how do you like to eat it? If you haven’t had it, buy some, thank me, and tell me how you like to eat it!

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow.