How to Summer, Part One

In Glass of Milk Land, summer is a verb, so we’re dusting off the old blog and getting ready to celebrate. We’ll start by taking a page from Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, in which she shares (and I live by this one) that a great way to kick your happiness level up a notch is to indulge in a modest splurge.

To summer appropriately, you will need to splurge on:

A cute beach bag. This is The Deano from Scout. I was gifted my first in 2007 and it’s still going strong. But I picked up 3 others along the way because this is the best bag ever. (Related: I know the actual Deano!)

A cute beach towel. I mean, come on. (I also have the pineapple one.) Related: I find that monogrammed towels are lovely, however. If you have children, and are in and out of the pool all day, every day in the summer, skip the extra fee for some sewn on letters. Your towels won’t last long enough to make the monogramming worth it. If you’re a sophisticated adult who “goes to the pool,” but that doesn’t mean you get very wet, by all means, monogram your heart out.

CHOSIGT Ice pop maker IKEA Fill with fruit juice and make your own ice pops. For the mold to easily loosen, rinse with lukewarm water.

Popsicle makers. Need I say more?

Beach reads! There is a time and a place for light and fluffy read and that time is right now. I’ll share more of what I’ve loved, but the new Emily Giffin is probably what I’m most looking forward to reading. (And I still have this older one ahead of me.)

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…”



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


If you want to know what to cook:

@abowlfulloflemons (stories)


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

Good Life quotes by Becky Higgins


Less Is More  |  Emily Ley


If you like all things preppy:



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



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

On Formative Books

This little blog began as a way to share recipes, and log what I’ve been eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, many, many years ago. And over time, it’s come to showcase even more pieces of my life. A life which is not complete without reading.

I’m one of those people who has always been a reader. Always. Like, remembers attending preschool story times vividly. Remembers her first time sitting down with Brother and Sister Bear, with Ramona, The Grand High Witch, and oh, how I remember spending some 4th grade afternoons with Billy, Old Dan, and Little Ann.

Almost every job I in which I found myself over the years involved working with children in some capacity, and I was the luckiest because though they were written for children younger than me, I also got to meet Stanley Yelnats, Lina and Doon, Jack, Edward Tulane, and Hugo. (It goes without saying that you could find me at the front of the Borders line every summer for the latest Harry Potter installment, right?)

do good quote - do all the good you can in all the ways you can… I think I love this.. maybe because I'm a DG and a Methodist so this hits those both :D


And then, in 2012, a new book came out. A book about a boy named Auggie. And I kept hearing things about this book from people whose opinions I greatly respect. So I bought the book. I read it in a day. The chapters are short, and it is not hard at all to find yourself rooting for multiple characters in the story.


This is where I have to put the disclaimer that Wonder is not the most well-written children’s book of all time. Not even close. There are chapters that are superfluous, the dialog can get clunky, and the story goes on a tad too long.

But you should read it anyway.

The world is worth exploring. 🌎 Who’s excited for Wonder the movie?


It is written exactly the way ten and eleven year olds talk to each other. And it’s dead on in terms of how children handle themselves at school and at home. And while there is slang that won’t hold up over the years, the way kids treat each other will always be something worth looking at from multiple angles.

The movie comes out today. There was never going to be a movie, but of course, there is always a movie. The cast is certainly star-studded enough to do the book justice, and the previews I’ve seen have reduced me to tears on multiple occasions.

I can’t wait.

*Dear readers, I have to tell you, I’ve long had a soft spot for this, John Wesley’s rule, and though this image was the nicest I could find, the last line should read: as long as ever you can.

In Which I am Lame [smitten kitchen confetti cake]

It’s confession time, dear readers.

I don’t get funfetti.



I mean, I get it. Sprinkles in and cake and on a cake. What could be more festive?

But is it that big a deal to throw sprinkles in a cake? I guess it is because you can find funfetti versions of just about anything. But I never got into it.

Which is why when an old college friend asked if I’d made Smitten’s confetti cake, I answered no. I remember watching Deb’s Insta story this summer, when she deftly iced Muppets on her daughter’s second birthday cake (because of course she did), but I wasn’t overtaken with a need to replicate the cake itself. I signed up to bring birthday snacks at the end of every month to a group of women I love to hang out with, and right as the end of October rolled around, I got that question. I completely trust this friend’s foodie opinions, so there we go. Decision made. Confetti cake was on the menu.

Gooplet and I cranked the cupcakes out on Monday, iced them on Tuesday, and we served them on Wednesday. I used the little non-pareil rainbow sprinkles that no one really likes (Seriously, does anyone have a place for these in their heart?), and guess what? Still some seriously wonderful cupcakes. Deb will never leave you astray. I doubled the cake recipe and baked 20 cupcakes for 22 minutes. Double the frosting was plenty for icing them.

Cheese Day Saturday [tater tot breakfast skillet]

A while ago, The (Not So) New Girl introduced me (virtually) to her pseudo-cousin, someone who she said had a passion for all things cooking and cookbooks, and reminded her a lot of yours truly. Many a recipe-link/pin/email later, my foodie pen pal and I finally met up last weekend! We went to have brunch with The (Not So) New Girl, and wasn’t it a surprise when we discovered that each of us brought something with cheese.


My contribution was a riff on How Sweet Eats’ tater tot breakfast skillet, but we all know these days I can’t be bothered to follow a recipe to the letter. Here’s what I did (and did again when I made this approximately 8 days later, yes it is that good):

Preheated the oven to 375.

Sauteed chopped onions, mushrooms, and a red pepper till soft, then added 3 minced cloves of garlic for the last minute or two. Put that mixture in the bottom of a well-greased baking dish.

Cracked 8 eggs, and added 2/3 C whole milk. Poured the mixture on top of the veggies.

Sprinkled 8 oz. of grated extra sharp cheddar on top of that.

Layered a bag of frozen tots all over the top.

Baked it for 45 minutes, and then ate way more than anyone ever should.