7 Things I Learned in June.

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I’m linking up with the lovely Emily @ Chatting at the Sky to share some things I learned last month – it can be something silly or serious, profound or plebian. Here’s what I learned.

starfruit1. I learned how to prepare starfruit and what they actually taste like after playing a game of produce section roulette with the kids (i.e. letting them pick a random fruit we’ve never tried before just to see what it tastes like). Bottom line: It has a pretty mild taste. My husband compared it to an apple / melon hybrid. I felt the faintest hint of pineapple like flavor.

2. I learned that my kids have no idea how Truth or Dare works. This is probably a good thing.

3. I learned a LOT of good lessons while camping Father’s Day weekend. Especially: a) I actually know how to set up a tent. b) You can’t control the weather but you can make the most of it. c) When your husband doesn’t catch any fish, you get to go out for dinner.

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4. I learned that Clarkson, Hammond and May plan to do a new show together. Top Gear fans rejoice!

Paper Towns by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green

5. I learned that there really are “paper towns” like Agloe, New York which is a fictional place in Delaware County, New York, that became an actual landmark. In the 1930s, General Drafting Company founder Otto G. Lindberg and an assistant, Ernest Alpers, assigned an anagram of their initials to a dirt-road intersection in the Catskill Mountains: NY 206 and Morton Hill Road, north of Roscoe, New York.[1] The town was designed as a copyright trap.

6. There are a ton of old MS DOS games that you can still play in your web browser. I continue to be terrible at Oregon Trail but love it all the same.

7. I learned how to crochet. Or at least, I started to learn after finding this fantastic tutorial:

What did you learn last month?

3 Things.

Indulge me while I share three completely unrelated bits of news and events and try to force them into being linear thoughts. In other words, get ready for the random.

my kids drew the emotions in their headquarters after seeing the movie Inside Out

1. We took the kids to see Inside Out this weekend and, as expected, the whole family basically adored it. I could tell from the previews and the cast alone that this movie was going to be amazing and I wasn’t wrong. Another incredibly smart comedy that will get you from every angle and have the whole family laughing (and occasionally crying). This is a must see.

2. The kids finished their first two week session of swim lessons at the local pool and they had a blast every single day. The classes met M-F for half an hour each day and at the end of every class I heard them say, “I wish we could keep swimming, thirty minutes just wasn’t long enough!” It wasn’t all just fun though, they learned a lot, too. MM finally conquered his fear of going under water and is learning to legitimately float and BB went from having no swim skills to being able to float on her back and go underwater a little bit. They’ll be taking more lessons in about a month.

Paper Towns by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green

3. I just finished reading Paper Towns by John Green. You know I love a John Green book, but I have to say I liked this one a tiny bit less than FIOS and An Abundance of Katherines. I liked the characters and the writing was good, but sometimes the dialogue bordered on too much – too written out and planned, you know? And I felt the pacing was off – it felt like the plot line didn’t pick up until 75% through the book which I realize now was the book’s climax but it felt like the rest of the book was just setting the tone for that final quarter of a plot and left most of the story to feel like we were just stalling for time, which we were – but it’s fiction, so he could have chosen to write it differently. Yes, this is me finding fault with John Green’s writing. Deal with it. I’m still totally planning to read the rest of his books and will continue to adore him regardless.

What have you been up to?

Link Love: Vol. 11

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We’ve had a busy week here! The kids are wrapping up their second week of swim lessons which have gone tremendously well (definitely signing them up for another two week session). I took the kids bowling yesterday and bowled basically the best game of my life (note: by no means an impressive score to anyone else, but to me – outstanding). We’ve finally hired a roofing company to replace our roof which is a pretty big source of stress relief in our lives. We’re also back to karate lessons after a two month hiatus and slowly getting back into the habit of all things martial arts. And tomorrow I’m having a BBQ with some dear friends which will mean lots of prep work followed by lots of fun.

Before I get started with my prep…

17 Baby Hacks every parent should know11050285_10100689769902796_8529219327868512886_n – I did the first one within minutes of reading the hack and it was a real game changer for our art supply storage. [Minq.com]

“I’m not a frosting person”: The Perfect Cupcake frosting and filling for YOU [Our Best Bites]

Create the perfect cheese plate. I also loved 7 Best Podcasts [A Cup of Jo]

6 uncommon ingredients you should have in your kitchen  [The Sugar Box]

So how has your week been?

Let me know in the comments section.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Things Learned in the Woods

Yes we can!
#likeagirl: Super proud of setting up the tent behind us all by ourselves!

Sometimes I have a tendency to sell myself short. I will let other people do things for me simply  because I believe they can do it better, faster, stronger (more than ever our work is never ooo-ooover). But how do you grow that way? Last weekend in the woods, I learned that I know how to set up a tent. After 6 years or so of camping with DH, I actually committed this skill to memory. And did it. #likeagirl

#imaginationvacation
They don’t need toys and gadgets

No matter how many toys you buy them, how many gadgets they own – a kid with some sticks and rocks and a few leaves has everything they need to have fun. Minutes after arriving at the campsite, they were busy digging trenches and building fairy houses. You don’t have to tell kids how to play in the dirt – this knowledge resides at the core of their very being.

rainy day cuddles
You can’t tell the weather what time it is.

Sometimes you have to roll with the punches. The weather doesn’t care that it’s Father’s Day weekend and you have a limited amount of time for Fun in the Sun memories. Go with the flow, indulge in rainy day tent cuddles, catch up on your reading pile. Breathe.

enjoy the view
Stop and look around.

Don’t forget to reevaluate your day often, especially on a “bad day” – because a day doesn’t have to continue being bad. You can always find beauty in it if you slow down and look. You can always pause, breathe in the dewy air and start fresh. Ignore the rainy moments, the itchy bug bites and the muddy trails and find your zen again.

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She fears nothing.
Don’t be afraid to do your own thing.

Sometimes you have to admit what you need and pursue it, even if your needs differ from the crowd. There are times for rolling with the punches and there are times for saying, “See you in 30 minutes. We’re going to go enjoy the beach now.”

this is the good life
Let go of perfection and you’ll find it.

Sometimes “perfect poses” are over rated. Sometimes the giggles can’t be contained and make a beautiful moment even better. Sometimes the beautiful moments are just as much in the people as they are in the place.

fried fish is made to be eaten
Plans are made to be broken.

“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men; Gang aft agley” (translation: …often go awry | source: Robert Burns). I think I instinctively knew that if we planned for one of our meals to be the fish caught by my husband and friends, that somehow we would not be eating fish. It’s not that I don’t think they can catch fish, it’s just that I knew it was foolish to rely on it. Apparently it was foolish to rely on my backup plan, too, of bratwurst and hot dogs. Between the lack of fish and the ever persistent rain, we opted to seek out the next best thing: Fried fish, followed by frozen custard: safely indoors.

to infinity and beyond
Fear is a powerful thing.

I’ve been afraid before. I’ve avoided things simply because my fear said “no, don’t do that.” Sometimes they are silly, sometimes not. But I’ve rarely pushed too far against that instinct. I didn’t know the physical manifestations that accompany fear when you push on. The way your feet try to betray you and your breath feels constricted. The way time slows down for you but seems in fast forward for everyone else who joyfully prances ahead to see the cool thing. It’s surreal to watch others around you not affected by these invisible forces.

Logic told me that the infinity room was something worth pushing ahead for and that it was unlikely to fail me. I wanted to reach the end, to see the big sights. I wanted it even more when I realized how hard it would be for me to walk that short walk to get there. I forged ahead slowly and I’m proud of myself, but I felt much better a few steps back as the air returned to normal thickness and my heart stopped hammering in my chest.

there be dragons
Where there is a photo op, we’ll be there.

This where I wrap up my post with a sweet, heart warming paragraph about how great my family is and my words sort of contradict the things I’ve already written but also tie them together beautifully. But sometimes you don’t need to tie it all together. Life isn’t a perfectly tied bow. It’s a series of semi-unrelated incidents that only make sense if you step back far enough to let them blur together. If you stop looking at them altogether and look at the faces around you instead. Because at the end of the day, the faces are all that matters.