Jaq Jaq Bird – The Feed (April)

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Issue 8

April 2023


Fun, printable Easter activities to do with your kids


How to encourage your young artists in their artistic endeavors SPECIAL

Decorate your Easter table with Jaq Jaq Bird


Spring is in full bloom, which typically means the start of the fire season. Not this year. Historically, California’s drought desiccated the hills and mountains, leaving them in shades of umber, and lifeless. Today, they are fertile with poppies and lavender. As I drove down to Southern California last week, I was captivated by the lush, verdant hills and undulating contours reminiscent of the idyllic European countryside. It occurred to me how much I love the natural beauty of California, but how easily I also take it for granted. I think this is how all of us are to some extent.

Have you ever felt full yet whatever you ate didn’t really hit the spot? Have you ever felt lonely even though you were around a lot of friends? There often seems to be tension between contentment and discontentment in all of us, and discontentment seems to rear its ugly head more often than not. I know I struggle with this tension of being happy yet restless, thankful yet complaining, generous yet greedy, inspiring yet prosaic, industrious and yet aloof. I am insufferable. I wish I could surrender self and ambition, then I would be perfectly content. Or would I?

When I was young with lots of time on my hands, I had an overflowing tenderness towards the arts and ideas. I loved conversing with smart friends, pontificating about l’art pour l’art (art for art’s sake), philosophy and theology. I thought of myself as worldly and modern. When I met my husband, we connected on a spiritual and intellectual level. He was well-traveled, nuanced, and articulate. We could talk hours about theology, the arts, and music, but all of these traits that seemed so significant at that time faded into the background of parenting and life beyond singlehood.

I protested the idea of l’art pour l’art in my youth. You can liken it to writing a book for the book’s sake. It is quite absurd. Art is always a creative expression that points to something greater than ourselves. Jaq Jaq Bird is a culmination and a conduit to the vision of art, not for art’s sake, but rather for our sake. This belief augmented into a vision that I could not have seen when I was young.

I am so glad Jaq Jaq Bird was born out of my own insufferable ambitions, because if my products can be used to aid creativity and spark imagination for childrens’ sake, then I have done my job. Keep on Creating!

Dear JJB Friends,


My daily uniform consists of dark blue or black jeans, dark grey sweats, one or two pairs of black leggings, and a black t-shirt with either a grey/ black/navy sweatshirt or sweater. I don’t veer too far from this color palette (if you want to call it that), but it’s easy and goes with pretty much everything if I decide to add a splash of color. Although my daily wardrobe seems simple, I was still a little surprised when I counted over ten black t-shirts the other day in my closet. Huh. This doesn’t account for the additional smattering of grey and white t-shirts I own. There are only seven days in a week, and it’s not like I’m changing my clothing each time I drive my children to an activity or run errands. I admit I am a sucker for a great deal, and I will often purchase something close to what I already have, telling myself I will get rid of the older, similar item later. The “later “ doesn’t end up coming, because life happens, and the task gets filed away in my brain closet, allowing my clothing collection to expand.

Spring always seems like a good time to shed some of the older items and refresh if necessary. I realize I just need to shed and not replenish. It is an opportunity and excuse to go through everyone’s closets in the family to see if all of the items they have outgrown are not just taking up space in their closet and drawers. Did you know that 92 million TONS of textile waste are produced every year? This is equivalent to a garbage truck filled with clothing being dumped onto a landfill EVERY second. The US throws out over 11.3 million tons of clothing a year, which is equal to an average consumer throwing away 81.5 pounds of clothing a year. Many items are worn less than a dozen times before it is tossed. The fashion industry accounts for 20% of water waste and is responsible for 3% of carbon emissions. Just to put things into perspective, it takes 900 days worth of drinking water for one person to produce one cotton t-shirt. It’s pretty jaw-dropping when we stop and think about these things. 10% of microplastics come from nylon and polyester textiles used to make a lot of our clothes. It is estimated that half a million tons of microplastics are reaching our oceans every year.

We can all do a little on our own to make a larger impact collectively. I am here to suggest several ways to recycle, upcycle or donate clothing, which I know many people already do. Here is a list, although not comprehensive, that can give our readers a step in the direction of trying to save our natural resources and reduce waste, rather than catapulting the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into a size larger than all of the United States (currently it is twice the size of the state of Texas and growing).

Salvation Army or Goodwill: Salvation Army is considered a charity while Goodwill is not, but both companies help local communities by hiring people who live locally, and help people to get back on their feet. The Salvation Army has programs to help tackle homelessness, substance abuse and support the elderly. Either way, both places use your donations and sell the items to use the funds for good causes. Both also take items other than clothing. https://satruck.org/Dropoff, https://www.goodwill.org/donors/donate-stuff/

Red Cross: The Red Cross will take your used car, clothing, money, and your blood if you’re willing to donate that as well. They provide vital services and relief in large and small disasters worldwide, teach emergency preparedness classes, and provide a myriad of services to help communities. Definitely a great option for donations. https://www.clothedonations.com/ red-cross

thredUP: This is a website where consumers can buy and sell secondhand clothing online. thredUP is part of a larger Collaborative Consumption movement, encouraging us to reuse and recycle while possibly getting a little pocket money for some of your higher end items. You can order a bag on their website to fill up and send out either by dropping it off at a mailing center, or scheduling a pick up. They make it easy and if you do sell some items, you can receive it as cash or thredUP credit to shop on their site. https://www.thredup.com

Zappos for Good: Zappos is a great company and supports and works with several nonprofits - Soles4Souls, Kids in Need Foundation, and Spread the Word Kids to Kids. What I love about Zappos is that they make it super simple to donate. You just need to find a clean box, put your items in there, and print out a label on their website here: https://www.zappos.com/about/ zappos-for-good The free shipping label isgood for up to 50 lbs., and you can drop the box off at the nearest UPS location.

Pickup Please: Pickup Please collects your used books on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans of America and helps veterans and their families. All you need to do is to go to their website and click a date and time you would like someone to pick up your donation of books, textbooks and magazines, clearly label the box outside your door on the day you chose, and someone will come and pick up your donation. They will send you a tax receipt. You can always donate books to your local public library. https://pickupplease. org/

Dress for Success: Do you have business casual clothing sitting at the back of your closet that you no longer wear? You can donate them to this not-for-profit. This is the largest worldwide not-for-profit resource for women, and empowers them to achieve financial independence by providing a support network, professional attire and tools for women to thrive in and out of the workplace. https://dressforsuccess.org/

Local consignment shops: There are usually a variety of shops for adults and for children, where you can bring gently used clothing/shoes/toys that once sold, you receive a small percentage of the sale in the form of cash or credit in the store.

Other online consignment options:

• https://shopbagsy.com/sell/ (online children’s clothing consignment store)

• https://poshmark.com/ (buy and sell for items for the entire family on this site)

• https://www.therealreal.com/shop/women (this site deals with buying and selling used, high end designer items)

This is not a comprehensive list, but it should be helpful in getting most people motivated to reach into the depths of their closets and clean out the items lying dormant, giving them a new home. This is an instance where one person’s junk has the potential to be another person’s treasure.


The Big Umbrella

Amy June Bates

This book uses beautiful illustrations and the umbrella as a metaphor to visually show us the powerful message about including others. Children often intuitively understand inclusivity before they learn about prejudice. The Big Umbrella is a great entry into conversations with your toddler about accepting all types of people, and works well as a bedtime or anytime story.

Last Stop on Market Street

Matt de la Pena

This book highlights the wonderful relationship between a grandparent and grandchild and the connections and moments they create together while taking a bustling ride through a busy city, on public transportation. We see the grandmother showing the young boy beauty in unexpected places as they observe the city together. Their destination is one where the boy and his grandma will help others in need, and in the end, he is able to understand gratitude. The story comes to life through Matt de la Peña’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s enjoyable illustrations.

Gossie and Gertie

The Gossie and Friends series are a delightful set of books that show friends who are kind to each other and enjoy fun adventures together. The text is simple, and the artwork is adorable. This book shows you can have your own likes and dislikes, and you can appreciate the differences in others’ opinions but still be a good friend and enjoy spending time with them. It is a cute story that shows how to be a good friend, and the playful interactions between Gossie and Gertie.

And Then It’s Spring

Patience often yields big rewards, and Foglio’s simple, tender text has a solemn tone, which perfectly reflects the anticipatory state of a young boy and his animal friends as he waits for spring. The woodblock and pencil illustrations add life to the animals that are both endearing and warmly expressive. A twospread fantasy in the middle of the story, in which the boy imagines birds pecking at seeds or bears stomping on them, is smile-inducing, particularly a scene of a befuddled bear with a planter on his head. It is fun to notice small, subtle details scattered on each page throughout the book.



The event that leads to the child’s misery is an outof-the-blue disaster that strikes without warning or reason. The Rabbit Listened can be applied to an array of disasters, i.e. natural disasters, school shootings, or personal ones like the death of a loved one. Even the name of the child, “Taylor,” can be applied to either a boy or a girl. This book shows us how we can bring comfort through the value of listening when tragedy has occurred, and how this is such an act of kindness. The more we listen, the more we will hear, learn, comprehend, and empathize.

Inch by Inch

This book tells the story of an inchworm who manages to escape being eaten with his special ability to measure. Leo Lionni is a fantastic children’s story teller, deemed “a master of the simple fable” by the Chicago Tribune, and this book is no exception. The little worm loves measuring everything, and is very sly when it comes to measuring a surprise item for the nightingale, so that the nightingale doesn’t gobble him up. Inch by Inch has beautiful illustrations, and is a wonderful way to introduce and teach children about math through rulers and measuring.


Dear Girl

The world has become one riddled with social media outlets such as TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. that are destroying the confidence in kids, especially in young girls and women. This is a book for young girls to be themselves. It is simply written to celebrate individuality in young girls, and supports these ideas with verbal illustrations alongside the images (i.e. it’s ok to not color in the lines). Each page teaches girls they can be whatever they set out to be. Dear Girl encourages girls to love themselves for who they are and to appreciate all of the things that make them unique.


This book resonates with children and adults alike who may have felt a little bit different, a little bit quieter, or a little bit awkward. This is a sweet story about a boy named Oliver who is unique and leads quite an adventurous life through his imagination and is never bored. However, the old saying “there is a mate for every shoe” holds true, and Oliver discovers a kindred spirit in Olivia and the ending brings a sweet beginning. Sif’s story speaks to children as well as adults and reminds all of us that being different is ok. The subdued illustrations are quirky, whimsical and a perfect match with the story.


This book is inspiration tucked inside an adventure, perfect for readers of any age who may be asking, ‘What next?’” Yamada offers reassurance that discovering one’s gift, place, or method of influence is not a onetime thing or quickly and easily found. He encourages readers to take their time, explore, think, and keep their eyes and hearts open. This book resonates with all ages, whether you read it to your kids or read it to yourself. It is a book to read if you are feeling lost, if you need reassurance, or if you just need a little feel-good pick me up.


There was an art area set up in the preschool classroom where I once taught. At the end of the day, parents would pick up their child, and the art teacher would hand the student’s paintings and other artwork to the parent. Over the din of students and adults, you could always hear a smattering of “Great job!,” “This is AMAZING!,” or “Wow - you did this? You’re so clever!” I will be the first to say that these are not terrible comments by any means, but I think we can agree that these are easy accolades. Empty praise does not take a lot of effort to say, and these words are quick acknowledgements signaling to your child that yes, you see they made something at school.

Think about your own experiences in the workforce. If your boss were to say all the time, “You’re amazing!” over something like “I really liked how you raised 4th quarter sales numbers. You must have really hustled to get those customers.” Which one would you believe was more genuine and honest praise? The generic

praise would have me thinking in my head, “What is my boss referring to, and if I am that amazing, I want to know what I’m doing so I can try and put it on repeat.” My initial instinct would be one of feeling flattered, but I would start to wonder if my boss was just giving me polite lip service and trying to keep morale up.

Children are the same way. When we adults shower on the empty praise, they start to perform or look for the praise and work on projects just to get that response, rather than to be motivated to work on the task at hand and enjoy the process. They can start to look for praise rather than find joy in the journey of their work. We are not in the business of trying to recreate Pavlov’s theory with our children by handing out empty praise like pieces of candy. Here are a few words and phrases that can help keep your child motivated to learn, observe, and enjoy the process rather than look towards pleasing others.

Use concrete examples and observational words. “I like how you used yellow and red in your painting.” “I see you are using your entire body to make that circle.” “You covered the entire page with color.” You are being specific and also giving them examples where you are appreciating their work and giving words and vocabulary for your child to build on.

Ask open ended questions using the words “I wonder.” These two words make the question sound less like a demand and more in line with your actual inquiry of really wanting to know something about the work. “I wonder if you could tell me more about those triangles,” or “I wonder what is happening over here with these squares?” “I wonder why you decided to make everything yellow?” Keeping things open ended allows for your child to talk more about their work, rather than the adults making assumptions on what they were drawing, or what their concept was. Your child may tell you that the green triangles are large slices of cake when you were thinking they represented trees.

Use words like “I notice” and make neutral statements about the effort put into the work. “I notice you used every color in the rainbow,” or “You must have really been concentrating when you were working on this. I notice a lot of details like these small lines going across the page.”

Words like “Tell me more” place control into the hands of your child. “Tell me more about this fabric you glued on to the paper,” or “Tell me more about how you decided to use these shapes.” Your child will see that you are interested in their work, and it also builds their confidence, knowing you are wanting to know the process by which they produced their work.

Just like many times art is about the process especially when children are younger, so is parenting and guiding children with thoughtful words and non-judgemental descriptions of their work.These tips can also apply to other work your child may be doing in other areas, such as gardening (“I really like how you are being so careful when you place that plant into the pot.”), math (“I notice you worked really hard to find the answer to that problem by the way you were concentrating for such a long time”), or even with chores around the house (“I appreciate the way you took your clean laundry out of the dryer and straight to your room”). So instead of “Good job!,” remember you can always say “Good work!” After all, regardless of age, we are always working on something, whether it be stacking wooden blocks or looking at blockchain data.


If you decide to go the route of dying easter eggs, you have some options as to what to do with those boiled eggs. Some people may opt for deviled eggs, or just plain boiled eggs with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I have fond memories of my mom making simple egg salad sandwiches with Hellman’s mayonnaise on plain, white Wonder bread with the crusts cut off. This is the perfect opportunity to make egg salad sandwiches to pack for lunch the next day, or to just eat on the spot. They are simple, insanely

easy to make, and if you like eggs, you’ll love these. There are a multitude of ways to make egg salad, and you can add whatever you want. You don’t even have to put it in between sandwiches - you could eat it on crackers, in lettuce cups, or slathered on endive. Sometimes I will add a squeeze of sriracha, a scoop of chili crunch, slice up avocado or mince up some celery, etc. This recipe is a base for whatever you want to do with your egg salad. The world is your…egg.


• 1 dozen large eggs

• ½ cup mayonnaise

• 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

• 2 Tbsp yellow mustard (sometimes I use dijon)

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 10 slices of bread of your choice


If you didn’t dye or decorate any eggs, carefully place the eggs one at a time (I use a ladle) into boiling water. Time your eggs for 10 minutes and plunge them into a cold water bath. Allow them to cool completely for about 3 hours. If you dyed eggs, ignore this step.

Using an egg slicer or a knife, finely chop the boiled eggs. Add them to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well blended. Spread the mixture onto the bread and make sandwiches, cut in halves or wedges, and serve.


Hollow chocolate rabbits, peeps (those adorable marshmallow chicks), Cadbury eggs, jelly beans, and dyed/decorated eggs in baskets with faux grass all come out in full force on the days leading up to Easter. The White House prepares for its grandiose Easter Egg Hunt on the great lawn. When we mention Bugs Bunny or Peter Cottontail, we recognize them as bunnies we grew up with in cartoons or in literature. Bunnies are cute, furry animals and no one ever remembers that until 1912, they were categorized as part of the rodent family. Did you ever wonder how the most famous bunny of all, the Easter Bunny, became synonymous with a holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus? There are not many documents that tell us the connection between Easter and bunny rabbits, but April is the time of year when along with rain showers and flowers, many babies are born. Although bunnies are not the only animals who mate and have babies in the spring, they seem to be one of the more prolific species. This may be why they are considered a symbol of fertility because once the weather turns warm, it can look like a scene from the movie Gremlins in some areas of the country, except it’s bunnies, bunnies everywhere. Ultimately there is no religious significance tying a bunny to the Easter holiday.

Easter is the holiday for Christians to celebrate the biggest mic drop in history. No other spiritual leader or other gods have ever done such a thing as to sacrifice their child for the purpose of breaking the chains of eternal darkness for the entire human race. This was done so that the world could have a spiritual reboot of sorts. He did this to completely wipe away the sins of each and every person. This does not by any means make humans perfect, nor does it mean we do not do bad things - it means God gave everyone an opportunity to believe in Him, and hand over their burdens and sins in exchange for eternal life after death.

The Easter egg has more historical context than the Easter Bunny in that eggs may have been part of the Jewish Passover Seder plate at the last supper before Jesus was crucified, as it still is today. The earliest reference to the Easter Bunny dates back to some time before the 17th century, when the German people of Europe introduced the Osterhase - a rabbit, who brought gifts to children at Easter time. This tradition was brought to America when the Germans immigrated to Pennsylvania and settled in the 1700s. The tradition even included children leaving carrots out for the Osterhase, similar to leaving cookies for Santa at Christmas.

There is yet another popular theory of where the Easter Bunny came from—the myth of Ostara. Some scholars say the word Easter stems from “Eostre” which is another version of the name Ostara. European traditions refer to the bunny as the Easter Hare, and the symbolism of the hare has taken on many religious and ritualistic roles over the years. One of the symbols of the hare was that of rebirth, and they used to be buried alongside humans in Europe, during the Neolithic age.

Regardless of the origins of the Easter Bunny, the

celebration of Easter is a time for rejoicing and reflecting on the gift of eternal life that Christians believe was made possible through the resurrection of Jesus. It is in some ways more significant than Christmas to those who not only believe in the resurrection of Jesus, but also a reminder that He gave all of us the opportunity for a spiritual rebirth. He showed us grace by washing away our sins, and gifted us an opportunity to move into an eternal light. So, while it is fun to indulge in Easter treats and participate in Easter traditions, let’s take a moment to remember the true meaning of the holiday.



Thereare many ways to bring your Easter table to life with a few simple touches. You can go casual, formal, or minimal, depending on your mood. A great way to add texture and color to your table without the hassle of a full tablecloth is by using a chalk table runner, like the one from JJB. Layering complementary placemats and napkins along with the decorated runner can add sophistication and elegance with little effort.

We used to sell a gray table runner at JJB (we now only sell black), and hand-drew a floral spring motif on it, using our smudge-free ButterStix chalk. A great feature of the runner is that you can either wipe everything off with water and a paper towel to create a new design yearly, or seal it with a sealer so you can preserve and use it for many years to come. It’s a timeless, yet versatile piece that will impress your guests year after year.


Pascha, or Passover, is the celebration of Passover, and throughout the Orthodox Christian world, eggs are dyed red on Easter Thursday to represent the blood of Jesus Christ. The shell represents the sealed tomb, which then symbolizes the resurrection once it is cracked open. Easter eggs are also a popular symbol of new life in many Eastern European countries. During Easter, eggs are painted with bright colors and given as gifts, especially to children or to a significant other. Eggs are intricately painted and decorated, especially in the Slavic customs.

Whether you are in an Eastern or Western country, Easter egg decorating is a fun and delightful activity for the entire family, usually using food coloring to dye the eggs. We here at JJB use wishy washy markers and butterstix to decorate and make designs ranging from simple to complex. Here are a few of those ideas for you to try. Always remember to boil your eggs first, or you may end up with a very messy situation.

• Wishy washy markers need a few minutes to dry, so rather than purchasing dyes, put spots of color (you can use a variety or a single color)

using the markers. Then use a paper towel to rub the color into the eggshell to create a Monet/watercolor effect. Afterwards, use the wishy washy markers and/or the butterstix to draw your designs onto the eggshell. Wishy washy markers take a few minutes to dry, so have another egg ready to go and draw with the butterstix while you wait for the other egg to dry completely.

• Purchase black food coloring and dye the eggs. Once the color is set, use our white butterstix on top of the black eggs to create a dramatic effect.. Alternatively, you can use the white butterstix after dying the eggs in whatever color you prefer.

• Use the butterstix to draw and make more intricate drawings on the eggs. Here we have some roses that were created with the butterstix.

Rather than using just food coloring this year, why don’t you try something a little different? There are so many open-ended possibilities with our products. Use your imagination to create a beautiful array of cheerful, colorful easter eggs.


We wanted to highlight some of our staff at JJB, so you could get to know us on a more personal level. This month, we would like to introduce Stefan Woeger, who is our international sales account manager and has been a part of our team for 5 years. Stefan is based in Nuremberg, Germany and has been an integral part of our sales team, bringing in numerous clients from all over the world. If Stefan had not pursued a career in sales, we think he would have made a fine civil engineer due to his keen focus on safety. Thankfully, he joined JJB, and Stefan’s passion for sales has led him to excel in his role and provide

our clients with exceptional service. Although Stefan enjoys traveling, he would never take any risks when it comes to natural disasters. For instance, he would never stay near the coast during a tsunami warning or travel to the midwest of America during tornado season. His cautious approach permeates into all aspects of life.

We are proud to have steady, stalwart Stefan as part of our team and appreciate his hard work and dedication to our clients. Thank you, Stefan, for all that you do!

1. Favorite snack:

Butter Cookies, but only according to my dad’s own recipe. Which he has perfected over the years. He is a confectioner and was trained to make these when he was a young apprentice. He made these cookies each single year in advance of Christmas, just until recently. Now my sister uses the same recipe and makes the cookies for the family.

2. Favorite book:

Thomas Mann: “The Magic Mountain” A wonderful collection of characters at a very special sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland. A masterpiece of modern literature. Must read.

3. Favorite city to visit near home: Berlin, “The” German city. This city represents everything that makes up today’s Germany. Our history, art and a melting pot of nations. And big failures.

4. Share the best piece of advice you’ve ever received.

More an indirect advice I took from a book/film (“Zoo Station: The Story of Christiane F.”): Always be available to your child(ren) to make sure they don’t seek advice with the wrong people or find bad role models.

5. Simple thing in life that makes you happy:

Good food (preferably made by my wife Claudia). Playing and watching soccer games and some sweets. And good books.

6. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.

Whenever I think of something that needs to be done and I can’t do it right away, I write a note that I put on the kitchen counter. It stays there until it’s done. Sometimes there are up to five slips of paper on the counter. The vast majority of notes are not thrown away, but kept in a drawer and simply taken out again when the same thing needs to be done again. This is simply because I hate when things get missed to do, because one forgets about it. Same for business, but in this case it goes on my To Do list on my desk (handwritten, but not on a loose piece of paper but on a sheet in a ring binder).

7. Toy you loved playing with as a child.

If we exclude the soccer ball, I believe I spend most time with my large permanently installed model railway system which was permanently extended by my dad with new houses, trains, tracks and figurines.

8. What is your dream trip?

Japan, because, as far as I know, Japanese are disciplined, keep everything nice and clean and they are gentle people. And they make great food.

9. One JJB product you absolutely love?

The JJB Mini-Books as they have super nice designs, the books are even more for mobile use and they do fit in nearly every bag.

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