Good Day, Sunshine Bread

Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven? And thanks to a truly adorable book and recipe, you can also get a little sunshine front and center! Let’s head to Katie’s test kitchen for a look!


It was a snowy day, when the New Jersey skies were dark and gray, that I rediscovered the book Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven (Dutton Children’s Books, 2001 – read here by Camp WildWoodz). In the story, the animals of the town have experienced a long hard winter. They are all ready for the seasons to change and for the sun to return. The local baker decides to mix together her own sunshine from the cozy comfort of her bakery. The end result is delicious hot sun bread, which she shares to the delight of the town and their joy awakens the sun from its winter sleep.

I was surprised that my copy of Sun Bread did not have the recipe, which apparently was not included in later printings of the book. After a quick online search, I was able to find the recipe, along with a few personal minor adaptations and suggestions, in a blog post written by Lisa at Story of a Kitchen.

Bread is relatively easy to make. It just takes time, strong hands and a little patience to allow the yeast to work its magic. I had all of the ingredients in my pantry, so I got to work. I followed the instructions exactly as written by mixing everything together and kneading the dough, adding additional flour along the way.

After letting the dough rest and rise for an hour, I deflated and kneaded the larger ball of dough for a second time. I cut the dough ball in half and started creating my sun face. I decided to make the corona of my sun into simple little swirls.

I left the doughy sun to rise for another hour and then slid it into the oven to bake. I checked the bread after 10 minutes and I’m glad I did because it was already a nice golden brown and perfectly cooked through.

It didn’t take long for my teenager to descend upon the kitchen and ask to try a slice of sun bread. It was absolutely delicious! We tried it plain, with butter, and with a variety of different jams. It didn’t matter what we used as a spread, it was wholesomely good. I wish I could tell you how sun bread tastes the next day, but it didn’t last that long. My family snacked on it throughout the day, and we finished the small amount that was left that evening as garlic bread with our spaghetti dinner.

The sun bread recipe is ideal for parents to make with their children. It’s a super simple recipe to follow, you can be creative designing the sun face and corona, and the end result is scrumptious. And let’s be honest… any day is a good day to brighten your spirits with fresh sun bread!

Book Bouquet

The countdown to spring has begun, and we wanted to usher in the flowers with this  awesome bouquet project! With outdoor festivals in the future, this is a great little project to host at your library’s next special event, or just to brighten up your bookshelves at home.

You’ll need:

  • 1 craft stem
  • Poster board
  • White printer paper
  • Green construction paper
  • Hole punch and scissors for construction
  • Pen or pencil

First, the little book! The cover is a 3″ x 2″ piece of poster board, and the pages are white printer paper. Our books had 3 layers of pages. Fold the cover and pages together, then use a hold punch to create holes in the top and bottom of the little book like so:

In the above photos you’ll also notice the book flower’s leaves. Those are a piece of green construction paper I folded and cut to create two matching sides. Punch a craft stem through the middle of the leaves, then thread the craft stem upwards through the bottom hole of the book, then downwards through the top hole. Extend the pipe cleaner stem 1-2″ from the top of the book, and curl the end with a pen or pencil.

Push the leaves snug under the little book to keep it in place. You can leave your book blank, or add some words or illustrations to the pages!. If you squint really close at the lead image of this post, you’ll see that I filled my book bouquet with flower and garden jokes.

Including this gem: Sherlock Holmes was planting something in his garden, and Watson asked him what it was. Holmes replied “A lemon tree, My dear Watson.”

Myth Busters

This week, Katie challenged her Greek mythology knowledge with an at-home escape room worthy of Olympus! And given it took six hours to complete, I’m going to applaud her…shall we say…Herculean efforts (ooooo bad joke! baaaaad joke)! OK Katie, take it away!


I was gifted Escape: The Games of Olympus, which was created by Escape the Crate subscription box adventures. When you sign up for Escape the Crate, you receive a mystery in your mailbox every other month and the topics vary widely. One mission will have you attempting to get out of the sinking Titanic, another has you exploring the jungles searching for treasure in a lost Incan city, and yet another you’ll have to steer clear of America’s first serial killer at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

There are a couple of purchasing choices: you can sign up for the bi-monthly service for $30, or you can select up to 3 discounted prepay levels spanning a year. There’s a gift option, and they also offer retired boxes as one-time purchases for $40. You can pause or cancel your subscription at any time. This particular box arrived with lots of interesting contents, including a foam eyeball!

The suggested age for Escape the Crate is 10+ with adult supervision, though younger players will likely enjoy participating along with their grown-ups. Some of the themes are a bit scarier, such as murder mysteries or fighting mythological characters (as I would soon discover in The Games of Olympus), but Escape the Crate does a fantastic job alerting players to when there are darker moments. Some of the crates have very intense themes – like encountering the infamous Jack the Ripper – so those boxes actually have two games inside: one for adults and a version that is more family friendly.

Greek mythology is right up my alley, so once I secured a pen and paper for taking notes, I was ready to get started. The premise of The Games of Olympus is a false prophet is revealing and spoiling future events, and you are tasked with appeasing the prophet and restoring history to its correct path. By participating in the Games of Olympus, you outwit a Greek god or goddess and take one of their most prized possessions, and bring everything back to the prophet as an offering.

Much like the Finder Seekers kit (which I review here), Escape the Crate goes back and forth between the physical items provided inside the box and online clues and resources. The online puzzles are available in both audio and written format and the videos are all closed captioned, making it virtually ADA compliant. You have the option of timing yourself, but I decided to play for fun and not set a timer. There are very specific instructions for each section of the mythological adventure, and I was continually bouncing between the pieces in front of me as well as referencing the information provided online.

Sealed envelopes were opened and the contents solved, a wide variety of Greek heroes and villains participated in the events, and I got very good at transcribing Roman numerals to Arabic numbers. One fun twist is the inclusion of Pandora’s Box, which if you decide to open it while playing the game, the advice could either help or hinder you as you continue with the adventure (spoiler alert: Pandora did not help me AT ALL). All told, it took me nearly six hours to win the Games and appease the prophet… sweet success!

Escape the Crate provides another fantastic option for those who enjoy doing escape rooms mysteries from the comfort of their couch. The puzzle level of difficulty varies, and I found myself easily solving some and finding others quite challenging. There are hints (and even the answers) provided in case you get stuck. The graphics on all of the provided objects are really impressive, and I loved the fact that the box itself was used throughout the game. Packaging with a purpose!

In my opinion, however, Escape the Crate is designed to be played by a group of people and would be an ideal party game. I honestly believe if I had been working with others, we would have gotten through the mystery much faster. Not to say that one person can’t do it entirely on their own, it’s just much more difficult for a single player to finish.

Psst! Is there a game or at-home escape room you’ve heard about and want me to test? Send an email to zondlo@princeton.edu and let me know!