How Much is 1000?

I often think back to Dana Schwartz’s picture book, “How Much is A Million?” probably because of Steven Kellogg’s amazing illustrations. The whole idea behind the text is brilliant, because stop for a minute. Can you think about what a million of anything really looks like? I can barely wrap my head around it. But I had fun doing it when my second or third grade teacher introduced me to the thought via this book.

A thousand seems more manageable. I think I can picture 1,000. So how fun that I walked into the library the other day to discover their new initiative, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. I’ve seen this concept around here and there, most notably, via Whitney English’s Instagram. And I love it. There are many things about which I feel strongly, but few about which I feel passionate.

This is absolutely one of those I feel passionate things.

So we’re taking the plunge, and coloring these little shells on their (downloadable!) tracking pages*, and we’re reading 1,000 books before Kindergarten. And I share this, hopefully not from atop a soap box, but from a place of – this thing is so cool and you should think about doing it. Or just tuck it away in your head, and hold onto the idea that reading a book a day gets you there well before your child’s 5th birthday.

*Despite having been a mom for two years, there is a teeny tiny perfectionist still buried somewhere deep inside of me, and she is worried that I didn’t begin this undertaking the minute my son was born. So he’ll actually hit 1,000 books before we color in 1,000 fish.

Clicking on the images will take you to Amazon links.

Masala Meatballs

Trader Joe’s is the best grocery store in the entire world, of this there is no doubt. And one of the zillions of things at which they excel is getting me to buy whatever item they have available to sample, because goodness gracious, they pick some winners. My favorite is when the sample isn’t just a frozen, prepackaged meal, but something you can make yourself at home. On a recent visit, I was introduced to the masala meatball. Holy yum. A package of turkey meatballs (I use 2 packages, actually), a jar of mango and ginger chutney, and a jar of masala simmer sauce. Slow cook for 2-3 hours on high, stirring once. We eat ours with coconut rice and a veggie, and it’s my new favorite dinner. We even served it to company on a recent Sunday dinner, because I can’t always be bothered to stand at a stove when friends are over.

Let’s List Things

Because it’s Thursday, and the sun is melting the snow, and nothing makes me happier than items in list form. (Except maybe items in numbered list form.)

  1. March Book Madness is a thing I made up and it’s usually my favorite part of each day. Elise Cripe, who runs @gettoworkbook‘s Instagram feed had her followers choose their favorite illustrations from her planner through a bracketed series of Instagram votes. So I made up a book bracket, and have been asking my Bookstagram followers (not-so-subtle plug for you to follow @aglassofmilkreads) to vote on what I should read next for The Unread Shelf Project. It’s been illuminating.
  2. While I eagerly await the results of said madness, I’ve been reading this, which got voted off the island early, and this, which I am kicking myself for not reading sooner. I knew I would love it. I love it. I’m reading it slowly to savor it. And I still let it linger on the shelf for far too long.
  3. Also, actual March Madness has been so great this year, likely because no one was very good at basketball this year, and I’ve been watching more than I have the past 3 seasons. Yes!
  4. This seems like a craft I could handle. Will I have the patience to carry it out before Easter? TBD. If The (Not So) New Girl joins me for a hot minute next week (psssst, are you reading this?), we could definitely crank them out.
  5. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Lilly’s collaboration with PB, PBTeen, and PBK. I scrolled through everything, briefly wished for a baby girl to swaddle tightly in these beauties, and then promptly….bought some more Lilly for Target stuff on eBay. Eyerolls.
  6. Loved this link (via Cup of Jo) to the 100 best movies on Netflix. Added a couple to my list.
  7. After breakfast for dinner last night, I can now attest to the amazing-ness that is this Trader Joe’s Breakfast Egg Hash. Ours looked nowhere near as appetizing as the photo in the post, but it was absolutely my favorite dinner in a long time.
  8. Putting this high on my list for the next time I have both time to cook a meal, and time to eat it alone. Hah.
  9. The Toddler Feelings Helpline is real life. Real. Life. (See above)

The Next Right Thing

This is a phrase I’m hearing a lot in my life right now, dear readers. The next right thing.

(One of the next right things I’m working towards is a built-in set up along these lines in our master bedroom. Dreamy.)

As in, you don’t have to do what’s right for you for all time ever, you just have to do the next right thing that’s in front of you.

It’s okay if you don’t have a grand picture of your life stretching ahead of you for the next several years, you need only put one foot in front of the other and do what makes sense next.

I love it. It sings to me.

But it would work equally well if you did know what you wanted the next several years of your life to look like, because do you know how you would get there? You would just do the next right thing, and the next right thing, and the next right thing. And if you string enough of those right things together, you would be there. It might take time, but eventually, you’d be there.

This is all a lofty build up to letting you all know that though I’m back on the blog, I’m not sure what the blog is anymore. It’s not a cooking blog. That’s fine. It doesn’t even make me flinch. I don’t want it to be a mommy blog, but I have a lot to say in that department. And I can’t see myself ever putting enough “next right things” together to churn out the kind of content a lifestyle blog demands.

But I know I like it more when I write, and I really like writing here. So I think it’s just a blog. A personal blog. I hope you’ll still stop in to read it now and again.

What’s New, Y’all?

Hello dear readers. It’s been a while. And it may well be a while after this post before you hear from me again. But it’s nice to be here. Can we just jump in with a list to help each other catch up? That’s usually how it goes, right?

(Spring cleaning is kicking into high gear around here, and we’ve got so many house projects going on. We’re talking to a landscaper, but I’m dying to dream about a welcoming front porch like this one.)

What I’m eating:

I bit the bullet and signed up for Sweet Peas Meals and I am loving it! Jessica and Maria send a meal plan to my inbox every Thursday, and it’s been amazing. I may share more in the future but the short version is: more greens, streamlined grocery shopping, no decision fatigue picking meals from my endless stock of pins and cookbooks, and trying recipes I might not have otherwise. I’m thinking this whole meal plan decision needs a post of its own, so let me know if you have any

Favorites so far have been: chickpea farro soup, honey lime salmon tacos, cajun chicken penne, thai chicken quinoa bowls

What I’m reading:

Loving Trevor Noah’s memoir right now, and could not put The Last Mrs. Parrish down. The best page-turner I’ve read in a long time. Other than that, I’m reading nothing. See below.

What I’m watching:

I am a chronic show-starter, and I am rarely a show finisher. Cari Faye loves to ask me, “Have you watched ______?” And my answer is inevitably, “I started, but never finished.” And the weird thing is I’ll come within a season or two of finishing and then just peter out. So I finally finished Downton Abbey the other day, and I’m working my way through Mozart in the Jungle right now.

What’s going on:

I never know how to answer that question when people ask. Not much. Goop and I spend almost all our time together, and we can usually be found playing on the floor in between loads of laundry and trips to Trader Joes. We did hear some great news about an amazing school for him next year. And I did just wrap a whole bunch of loot for his St. Patrick’s Day birthday on Saturday. And book a quick weekend getaway just for me this spring. That’s what’s up. And it’s good to be back.

My Favorite Follows

Every now and again I go through un-following sprees, and the advent of another new year has brought on the urge to clean up my Instagram feed. Friends get to stay, but everyone else has the potential to be on the chopping block. Usually these clean-outs are based on whatever mood strikes me, but this time around, I asked myself a question: Does this feed add something to my life? Dear readers, these are the accounts for which I can wholeheartedly answer that question.

Click on the photos below to take you to each person’s feed.

If you want to know what to read:

17.3k Likes, 3,229 Comments - Reese’sBookClubxHelloSunshine (@reesesbookclubxhellosunshine) on Instagram: “Our latest pick is This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by #AnnPatchett! This collection of essays…”

@reesesbookclubxhellosunshine

@theunreadshelf

Wednesday offerings.  Some books have been returned and are ready to head out again.  Tidied things up with a new shelf too.  Come by and take some books home! #littlefreelibraryeastbethesda #littlefreelibrary #littlefreelibraries #zenandtheartofmotorcyclemaintenance #littlegoldenbooks #holesmovie

@littlefreelibraryeastbethesda

If you want to know what to cook:

@abowlfulloflemons (stories)

@lideylikes

If you want some good pep talks (mixed with a bunch of other content):

Good Life quotes by Becky Higgins

@beckyhigginsllc

Less Is More  |  Emily Ley

@emilyley

If you like all things preppy:

@meghall

@abbycapalbo

If you want to keep your toddlers busy without plunking them in front of screens*:

@storiesofplay

@the_paige_diaries

*But really, no judgement if screen-plunking is your preferred method. It’s often mine.

Break it Down Now

In the week between Christmas and New Year’s, my husband and I had a ton that we wanted to accomplish. There were so many little, around-the-house to-dos that seemed to linger on our lists without ever getting done. So. We did them. We each chose one task each day. That was it. And little by little, we knocked it out. It reminded me of this list, which Meg made a zillion years ago. It’s daunting to think of “finish house” as a to-do, so you’ve got to break it down. Seeing this again is making me want to take some time to think through what the smaller to-dos are in each room so we really can get a bit closer to “finishing” our house.

house list.

(This image is lost somewhere in Meg’s archives, but her blog is here.)

2018 Goals

We are well into the new year so it’s time to think about goals. Or words of the year. I’m kind of over resolutions because I think people see that word and associate a whole lot of nonsense with it.

Did you set any goals? Pick a word? Have you already forgotten about whatever it was you wanted to do? #nojudgement

"Distant Island Pier" - Art Print by Julia Contacessi in beautiful frame options and a variety of sizes.

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I went back and forth on picking a word, because I’ve never stuck with one, but something about complete is just making my heart sing.

So let’s call complete my word.

And dear readers, I’d love to expand on that in a meaningful way, but Goop has been so sick this week that my brain can’t spend too much time on any one thing before it flits to something else. I’m not fighting it. But I can share two goals with you today, and they relate to the idea of complete.

More specifically that my wardrobe and my ever-expanding library are complete. In 2018, no new books, and no new clothes.*

Of course there’s a *, which is that if something breaks (like my slippers, which got a nice hole right in the big-toe area), I’ll replace them. And yes, used books and clothes are a-okay. Hello library used book shelf, and ThredUp.

 

A Check-In

Dear readers, was yesterday a holiday for you? I feel like I spent the whole morning catching up with friends via text message. Half of us were off, half of us were working, and almost all of us are moms, so the definition of “off” isn’t quite what it used to be. This weekend felt extra long over here because Gooplet is recovering from a nasty and contagious virus that has left us housebound for too, too long. If we get the snow that’s in the forecast Tuesday and have to stay in a whole extra day, we might go mad. Let’s share random things that are happening right now. I’ve got three things to catch you up on.

master.

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My beloved La Moneda is finally coming together. I was DM-ing back and forth with a blogger I follow on Instagram who joked that almost every room in her house is between 30-80% done. That’s kind of how I feel too. We were so eager to move in after the addition, and then we had a kid, which changed how we use every inch of space, and now we have things we need, but I don’t want to fill our space with just anything. So for some things, it’s a matter of saving pennies, and for others, a matter of finding exactly the right thing. In our other places I was happy to have pieces that were just okay – not so here. (Also, I’ve been super-into more natural textures in a room lately, like the ones you see up here. Maybe it’s not just all white everything, all the time for me.)

I don’t know that I’ve properly told you all about this tomato sauce yet, but it’s a good thing. Whenever we’re low I use the next free weekend day to make a new batch, and store accordingly. Also, I’m pretty sure there’s a test coming up on Instagram to make sure we’ve all made and photographed these pan-bang cookies. I’m here to remind you to GET ON IT if you haven’t yet. They’re giant, and much less fussy than their fancy cookie counterparts.

Which leads me to meal planning. I’m seriously debating paying for Sweet Peas Meals, it’s gotten such good reviews (one from Everyday Reading, whom I adore). And when I say seriously debating, I mean The (Not So) New Girl has had to listen to my agonizing for about a week now. Their meal plans come out every Thursday so I’m giving myself a Wednesday deadline to decide. Pros: Would give us some new options to work into our repertoires, comes with a grocery list pretty much made for you, and takes all of the meal-planning decision weight off of my shoulders for a bit. Cons: I don’t do well with being told what to do, so part of me thinks, I’d get the plan and be like, that’s nice, we’re not doing that.

In Which I Gag at the Notion of Self-Care

Has self-care always been a thing? As soon as I became a mom that term was everywhere, and I swear if one more person told me to put my own oxygen mask on first…

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(It’s funny, no, that a metaphor referring to a plane crashing to the ground is so enduring? That can’t be what any new mom, or anyone else experiencing a crisis wants to think about. But I digress.)

Whether self-care is a term that’s been around forever, or it popped on my radar because of my new life circumstances is neither here nor there. Self care is a term that is everywhere now.

hello friend.

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Can’t you hear some lady who does the voice overs for prescription drugs whispering it as you read?

Self care.

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I read this article, which can’t be new to many of you anymore, as it has been around the lady-lifestyle-blogger block already, but this idea of, “making the choice to build a life you don’t regularly need to escape from,” is in my head and it will not go away.

So in this, the season of hygge, you all are welcome to join me in figuring out what that life looks like. We’re not fighting winter, we’re welcoming all that it offers. We’re not running from our lives and toward deep tissue massages and thousand-calorie burning cycling classes. No. We certainly are not. We’re looking more at the forest, and less at the trees. And we’re figuring out what makes a good life. And then we’re living it. Every damn day.