The List of Awesome

Dear readers, March 27 has arrived. It’s List of Awesome time! Below are 50 of the most awesome things I know. And below all those are links to a lot of old lists. This is always one of my favorite posts to put together.
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  1. Snapping a picture of your child that is adorable, and not blurry in the slightest
  2. Lemons
  3. Unseasonably warm days
  4. Podcasts, and finding new ones
  5. Getting snail mail
  6. The smell of something baking
  7. Crossing an item off a list
  8. Christmas cards
  9. Washi tape
  10. Blue and white, in just about any form
  11. Fun shapes of pasta
  12. Lazy weekend breakfasts
  13. Cheap pizza
  14. That minute you close a book and breathe deep to soak it in just a minute more
  15. When the movie lives up to the book
  16. Movie theater popcorn
  17. The Harry Potter audiobooks
  18. Endorphins
  19. A good sing-a-long in the car (alone, and at the top of your lungs)
  20. Show tunes
  21. Rest
  22. That feeling after you clean something out
  23. Birthdays
  24. Creating new rituals
  25. Hearing the right song at exactly the right time
  26. Trying a new recipe that turns out just how you want
  27. Realizing hours have passed and you didn’t feel the urge to check your phone
  28. Hanging pictures on the wall
  29. Cute notepads
  30. Hamilton
  31. People you’ve known forever
  32. Spur of the moment invitations that come at just the right time
  33. Screened in porches
  34. Happy hours on screened in porches
  35. Finding a new iced coffee you love
  36. Farmers markets
  37. Libraries
  38. Finding your tribe
  39. Sunday dinners
  40. Five minutes of peace to flip through the Serena and Lily catalog.
  41. Inbox 0
  42. Spring cleaning
  43. A good BLT
  44. Jeans that fit
  45. Paper Source
  46. The advent of baseball season
  47. A friend who does something for you out of the blue
  48. Taking a walk in the sun to get a milkshake
  49. Doing something you didn’t think you could
  50. Sidewalk chalk

2016//2015//2014//2013//2012//2011

The Internet is My Favorite

part deux!

uniform.:

(This is pretty much my mom uniform, and yet, I never appear as pulled-together as her. I’m certain it has nothing to do with our age-gap.)

The other night, my husband was doing the dishes, I was sitting on the couch, and when he turned to ask me a question, I couldn’t answer. I had tears streaming down my face as I read this. “Parenting is easier if you have an abundance of four things: (1) energy, (2) creativity, (3) selflessness and (4) affection. If you give your kids everything you have inside of you, they will eventually give it back.” Brb, I’m dead.

I probably need this for the shower.

I’ve followed Design Mom on and off for years, and recently, Gabby had two posts that I came back to a couple times (and absolutely think are related, as well). Did You Lose Your Identity? and What If Your Partner Wants Fewer Kids Than You? That second one especially, because in it, she mentions the spacing of her kids due to the relative ease of the baby before.

And one more mom-thought. I recently ran into a (full-time-working-) mom-friend with older kids. Are you reading? Hiiiiii. She mentioned that staying home when your kids are little is for you, but that as they grow up, it becomes so much more about being there for them. I get it. I do. And this piece about it getting harder as they grow up? Felt in the same vein.

Jenny says this book is “Sleepless in Seattle meets the Food Network.” In.

So many beautiful tributes to Amy Krouse Rosenthal lately, who wrote equally well for children and adults. A rare gift, indeed: Shutterbean, Cathy Zielske, DALS. And since it seems we’re all sharing our favorite parts of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, mine is (paraphrasing, because it’s not in front of me) when Amy writes about cars rushing to pull to the side of the road as an ambulance hurries by. It’s like we’re all cheering for it to get where it needs to go. I read the book in 2006, and I still vividly remember thinking, YES.  Yes, that’s what we’re all doing!

When Deb posts brownies, you make the brownies.

Perhaps all my post-birthday reflection has me super nostalgic, but I would love to have one of these made for Gooplet. And while we’re at it, one of these for me and my husband.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Missing Richard Simmons. I was hooked on the podcast, and yet, I’m not sure if that whole search was particularly ethical. Or worth caring about? The premise of S-Town sounds pretty good.

 

A Year With Goop [best birthday cake]

We did it! We kept our son alive, and quite adorable, for a whole year! A celebration was in order.

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A celebration, of course, approved by my introverted husband. We took a trip to the zoo, and came home for cake and presents. Perfection.

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Though I love to bake, I’m just not a cake-decorator. I kept it classic with Deb’s best birthday cake. But, I did cover the whole thing with Lucky Charms marshmallows. One big box gave me all I needed to completely coat a six-inch, two-layer cake. I got 18 cupcakes out of the batter in addition to the mini cake, and stuck a leprechaun hat marshmallow in the center of each.

p.s. I often love what Janssen is doing over at Everyday Reading, and she wrote about making mini cakes for each of her girls on their first birthdays. One of their other birthday rituals is sugar-y cereal for breakfast in bed. Love that.

Whole 30 – I’m Making My Own Rules

I promise, this blog isn’t going to turn all crazy-healthy on you anytime soon, but I do have plenty to say on Whole 30 right now. We’ve got some great books to talk about, some lists to share, oh, and a birthday cake (!), promise.

But for now, I’m on Whole 30. Happy Day 1 to me. I’ve never done it before, but it’s popped up enough in my social media feeds that I’ve checked it out, and the spirit has moved me, and here we all are. There are a couple of reasons I’m excited about this approach to eating. The first is that according to the official Whole 30 website, you’re not supposed to weigh yourself before or after the month. I’m not doing this to lose weight, I’m doing this because gracious, I eat so much crap that I need a reset. Not a “diet,” in the traditional sense. I also like Whole 30 because it’s 30 days. The point of the program isn’t to convert its followers to a carb- sugar- and dairy-free lifestyle. It’s to get your body used to whole foods, and then to slowly reintroduce the crap you want when it’s all over. (Of course, one possible benefit is that you may not want to reintroduce the crap in such vast quantities, and wouldn’t that be lovely?)

But I am absolutely making a couple little changes to the rules that are going to make this much more doable for me. And I decided that’s completely okay. Without trying to sound like a martyr here, I will say that my life is not completely about me anymore. Since having Gooplet, he comes first, and that leaves a lot less time for poring through Pinterest, searching for meal ideas. I want to be healthier, but I can’t dedicate the same kind of time to that pursuit that I once could. No more barre 5 times a week.  No one is more sad about that than my missing abs, but that’s too bad for them. I’ll find them some other time.

So, my bending of the rules:

Coffee:  Coffee is okay on Whole 30, as long as it’s not sugared or dairy-ed up. Oooooh, except that is my favorite kind of coffee in the world. I found an iced almond milk latte at the grocery store that has 4 g of sugar per serving. I’m going for it. I’ll reevaluate that choice in two weeks when people swear I may not even need coffee to get moving in the morning. You people sound crazy to me right now, but I’m willing to hear you out in a little while. 4 g. of sugar per day is approximately 1000 times less sugar than I’ve been eating, so I am certain I’ll still be okay.

Beans: You’re not supposed to eat legumes on Whole 30. I could look up why, but I don’t want to. I’m giving up pasta, bread, and rice. I’m ditching sugar and my beloved milk (RIP macaroni and cheese, and ice cream).  Beans are a thing that grows in nature. In order to eat them, you do nothing but soak and boil them in water. That seems harmless. This diet is restrictive enough, and I’ve got plenty of meals that would follow the rules, save for the beans. So I’ll just make them, and eat I’ll beans. We will all be okay.

The Bigger Picture: When it comes to beans, and any other spur of the moment decisions I make in the month ahead, I’m choosing to be kind to myself. I hope I don’t attack the pasta that’s still in my pantry in a fit of depravity, but I’m not ruling it out as a possibility. There’s one serving of yogurt left in my fridge, and it’s very likely I’ll throw it in a smoothie tomorrow morning rather than let it go bad. If I’m on the go with my beloved small child, and all can do is reach in the fridge and grab something before we get in the car, then that is what it is and I’ll eat it. I can’t be a good mom if I haven’t eaten lunch. So I will eat lunch.  (I am keeping some of his applesauce pouches in my bag for me, though.)

Whole 30 – What the Heck am I Even Doing?

The other day, I texted SCL and told her I really wanted to do a Whole 30 and she said, “What’s that?” Um, I don’t really even know if I know, you know?

This is my working knowledge of Whole 30 – It’s this thing people with blogs do when they feel like they’ve been eating unhealthily and want to hit the reset button. And if they do it more than 30 days, they call themselves Paleo. I heard a lot about eating Paleo on some of my favorite blogs about a year or two ago, but haven’t heard as much lately. Whole 30, however, still seems to be very much a thing.

The gist of it is that you eat real (whole) foods for 30 days. There are a myriad of restrictions, most notably grains and dairy. Oh yeah, and alcohol. So I’ve gotta get this done now before the weather warms up, which is the only time of year I actively want to drink booze all the time, and then please give me tons of it, preferably on a screened-in porch. Okay, but Whole 30.

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(This is a random, old picture, because there is literally nothing I eat right now that is beautifully photographed and Whole 30 compliant, but I like posts with pictures so much better.)

It is going to be incredibly difficult, mostly because it’s not at all how we eat now. One of my single greatest victories in life was getting back into the kitchen and figuring out a new rhythm to dinner-making with a child underfoot.  Or more literally, on-ankles. Dinner involves lots of things that can be made ahead and lots of things that can be made ahead are starchy casseroles with cheese. Those have to go. So I’m doing some research between now and Goop’s birthday, and flagging everything I can possibly think of that will keep me full-up for the next month.

To be continued.

The Internet is My Favorite

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(So many painting projects I want to tackle.)

Looking at a lot of St. Patrick’s Day desserts this year. No bake mint chocolate chip ice cream pie, you are calling my name!  (And if you’ve never made Irish potatoes, you should probably get on that.)

My friend Ashley sends me pictures of her gorgeous bullet journal–I’m obsessed.  But I haven’t taken the plunge yet.  Mostly because I have a planning system that, though it may not be the most efficient, works for me right now. Tracy’s bullet journal posts always leave me inspired, though. Maybe someday.

And while we’re on the subject of Shutterbean, this this this this this this this post is what cooking is all about.

But also, this.

Anne’s post about her neverending list actually being finished made me think of Elise’s “just start” mantra. Seriously. Make the call, click purchase on that thing that keeps running through your head, what are we waiting for?

It takes a lot to get me on board with bloggers blogging about toast.  Jessica had me at VANILLA! RICOTTA! HONEY! BANANA!

I am seriously serious about trying a Whole 30 after Gooplet’s birthday. And by Whole 30, I mean a made-up kind where I am still allowed to drink iced vanilla lattes. But other than that-a real Whole 30. This beef, mushroom, and spinach scramble looks like it’s okay, right? Ugh, I just found out I can’t even eat beans!

So many feelings about this book after reading the Nerdy Book Club’s blog post about it.  And then I find out it’s not coming out till SEPTEMBER?

All I want in life is to go to Harbour Island and stay at the Dunmore. Stripes everywhere!

 

 

Wins of the Month, February 2017

Some months, I jot down wins as they happen, and others, it’s all I can do to look back at the calendar and wonder what happened. This month was the latter.

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And I think, rather than a bulleted list, our biggest win was that we survived.  My husband started traveling more for work, I took on a big role in our church, and the entire month was spent with one of us either coming or going. And we’re still standing. On to March.

 

February Reads

Guys. My New Year’s resolution was to read every day. I have read every day. It has undoubtedly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. There have been only 3 nights I’ve read a single page (That’s what I told myself. At least one page. Every day.) There have been a wealth of nights I have thought, “It’s just going to be a one-page night,” and I read so much more. Those people who say to start small when you’re trying to change a habit might be on to something there.

Ideal Bookshelf 974: Feminists

(Jane Mount’s Ideal Bookshelf – Feminist Edition)

Just Read:

Find the Good, by Heather Lende – Short, sweet, and worth a quick read.

Deconstructing Penguins, by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone – I had this on hold at the library for years, years! Not because a million people were waiting, but because there was one copy, and I’m assuming it got lost. I finally broke down and ordered it. While I didn’t agree with everything the authors taught or chose to read with their book clubs, there’s a lot of good here.

You Will Know Me, by Megan Abbott – Total quick-read, page turner, in the unreliable narrator, and creepy situations genre that has taken the book-world by storm in the last couple of years. I thought it was (seriously racy) YA, but turns out, Megan Abbott is shelved in the adult sections of both the libraries I’ve visited. I swear Anne referred to it as YA in Episode 63, and I swear The Skimm called The Fever YA when they picked it as a Skimm read. Know that it follows both adult, and young adult characters, if that makes a difference in your selection.

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon – Classic YA. Completely predictable plot. So good anyway. Short chapters mean you can plow through it quickly.

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal – I love, love, love Amy Krouse Rosenthal. She is equally adept at writing for kids and grown ups. This is a grown up volume, and oh-man, does Amy have a was of noticing the little things that might otherwise slip by unnoticed.

Sabbath in the Suburbs, by Mary Ann McKibben Dana – The idea of sabbath is a fave of mine. This is written by an associate pastor at a church in Northern Virginia, about her family’s experiment with Sabbath and rest. Such a quick read, and I found myself highlighting lines on almost every page.

Reading:

The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon – Consensus on my bookstagram feed is that this is the better of Yoon’s two books. Loving it so far.

Want to Read:

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood – I’ve never read it and I want to watch the series on Netflix. But, of course, gotta read the book first.

Ragtime, by E.L. Doctorow – I have plans to go see it (again – love this show) in D.C. this spring and it’s about time I read the original story.

Wins of the Month, January, 2017


This post has been sitting, finished, in my drafts folder. It’s never too late to celebrate wins. Happy end of February, here’s why January was great.

  • Snuggled so many new babies
  • Read every day
  • Ordered new books as a reward for that (see above)
  • Donated a box of books to the library
  • Sent another bag out to the thrift store.
  • Brunched with Cari Faye for the first time in too long
  • Finally got onboard the unroll.me train
  • Pulled off a couple of full grocery hauls with Gooplet in tow

Dinner Round Up

We just had a Pinterest round up and those are always fun, so why not a dinner round up?

See also, I don’t take pictures of my food anymore. A confluence of life events has left me such that I’m often eating,

a) standing up, while trying to do three other things at once
b) er, shoveling food in my mouth frantically, so I can head out the door
c) in a state of complete exhaustion because the day kicked my butt

I’d give you a classic blogger excuse like the winter light is terrible (and it is), but that would be utter nonsense.  I’m not snapping pictures of my food because I don’t sit still long enough to do it. Check out my Instagram stories if you want to see what’s for dinner.

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If you want to click on what’s for dinner, however, that’s easy enough. It’s right here:

Amy Thielen’s fancy meatloaf is amazing, and the “fancy” does not apply to the prep–it comes together easily enough. (Next time, I’d chop everything going in super tiny, but that’s a personal preference.)

Pinch of Yum’s Skinny Spinach Lasagna (though of course I didn’t use the skinny ingredients) was my first foray into no-boil noodles, and dare I say, it was a rip roaring success. Lasanga can now be a candidate for weeknight meal. Never thought I’d live to see the day.

The Kitchn’s Creamy Skillet Tortellini with Sweet Potato and Spinach is amazing. Always wanting to work sweet potatoes into the rotation, and this was a great way to do it.

Brown Eyed Baker’s Italian Wedding Soup has shredded chicken and ground beef meatballs.  Loved it. (Doubled the pasta because I always do.)

On a smiliar note, Bon Appetit put together a zoodle soup, to which I added real (egg) noodles because, see above. Felt like a fun twist on a classic vegetable soup. (This is what’s in the picture above.)

This slow cooker basil chicken with coconut curry sauce is a great alternative to cream of mushroom soup in the slow cooker.  You know I can only handle so much cream of mushroom in the slow cooker.

The Kitchn’s Cheesy Lentil, Mushroom and Rice Bake was a great meatless addition to the table, and something that can easily come together if you prep the grains ahead of time.