an ode to the summer: because all good things must come to an end

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the hazy glow of summertime has nearly reached its end

though the sweet taste of ice cream is still on our lips

 

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the fairy wings of summer are put away

memories full of music and laughter echo but fade

we can still remember the idle hours of yesterday

as we return to the steady rhythm of today

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we reached for the stars and gazed at the sun

(carefully)

 

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we ran wild, we danced without a care.

howled at the moon and posed with a bear.

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we languished idly when the moment felt right

as it often did.

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but now we’ve memed all the moments

 

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we’ve plunged all the depths

we’ve plenty of chlorine to rinse from our tresses

the beach bags are empty

the sunscreen’s run out.

we know what this means:

school’s in, summer’s out.


I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. I chose her first prompt this week: Your summer recap in a poem and pictures. Head to her blog for more fun!

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What I’m Into | August 2017

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September is finally here and I don’t know about you but I’m like: Finally. My kids went back to school two weeks ago so it’s felt like September to me for awhile now. The struggles of going back to school earlier than the rest of the city. #thestruggleisnotreal #itsbeenawesome #excepttheearlymornings

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately – books, movies, tv shows, recipes, life, etc.

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

READING

I read a ton of graphic novels last month based on classic novels and finished two actual regular type books, too.

the graphic novels

  1. Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel by by Amy Corzine and Charlotte Brontë – Finished 8/8 – I had a hard time following the plot as I haven’t read the novel. I’d consider this a kind of cliffs note version of the original story but I enjoying the artwork and finished the book in one sitting.

  2. Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel by by Mariah Marsden (Illustrations) and Brenna Thummler (Illustrations) and L.M. Montgomery – Finished 8/17 – This wasn’t a home run for me but not a total loss either. I enjoyed spending some time in Green Gables but I am not sure that someone new to this story would fall for it in quite the same way as you would the original. The pacing felt very fast and the illustrations were not always my favorite. But it was a quick read and a nice way to reexperience an old favorite.

  3. Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Stacy King and Jane Austen – Finished 8/25 – Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels and I tend to enjoy most adaptations of it. This was no different. I’ve read several graphic novel versions of classic novels now but this series of manga classics is my favorite. They go into just enough details and do a good job expressing the heart and essence of the original without feeling overly abridged. Plus the artwork is beautiful.

  4. Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Stacy King and Nathaniel Hawthorne – Finished 8/28 – This is one of those classics that I loathed in high school and never actually finished so I thought it would be a good book to try in manga format. I think any effort to simplify Nathaniel Hawthorne is a good thing and definitely enjoyed this more than the original. The artwork is well done and you definitely get a good understanding of the story. It feels like the important details and the heart of the story are all intact. As for the actual story, it will probably never be a favorite of mine but I can understand its importance and even why it would be a good book to discuss in school.

regular type books

20603758Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Finished 8/4 – I enjoyed this book but it took me awhile to finish. It felt very long and I picked it up and put it down a few times. I enjoyed all the 80’s pop culture references and the plot of the story. I can see why it’s being made into a movie. The main character has a lot of heart and it was just as much a coming of age story as it was a kind of scifi action adventure story.

24388326The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood – Finished 8/23 – This book can probably be best described as disturbing. I thought the premise was interesting and Atwood definitely took the story to places I didn’t see coming, but basically all the characters are terrible people and it definitely had scenes that made me squirm uncomfortably. Not for the faint of heart. (August Book Club Pick)

Right now I’m kind of floating between books. I haven’t really committed to anything yet. My book club will be reading Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance along with the UW Big Read program.

WATCHING

My husband and I have been making our way through Scrubs together. The kids and I watched a lot of Beat Shazam and Glitter Force before they went back to school. Now that they are in school during the day I have been catching up on The Handmaid’s Tale and watching the newest season of Project Runway. I also just watched season one of Glow on Netflix and OMG I was obsessed. Seriously soooo good. Also NO I have not watched the last Game of Thrones episode so please no spoilers!

Some movies we’ve watched recently:

The original Tron was a solid movie despite the achingly old fashioned vision of ultra modern technology. I think I spent a very large chunk of the movie OMGing over oh so young Jeff Bridges. Now we need to go back and watch the original.

I also finally watched Dirty Dancing and I don’t know what I was waiting for. It was actually way better than I was expecting for some reason.

LISTENING

I am borderline obsessed with Taylor Swift’s new song, Look What You Made Me Do. My husband borderline hates it. This seems to be one of those songs that divides the line between our musical tastes. What say you?

We were driving in the car yesterday and an older Ed Sheeran song was playing and my eleven year old was singing along in the backseat. I commented on it and my husband said, “Well yeah, he loves Ed Sheeran.” How did I not notice this? But then, we all love Ed Sheeran. And yet I have not gotten around to buying any of his music which seems absurd. I’m chalking it up to the music always been readily available on Top 40 – but is it more than that?

What songs do you end up purchasing like immediately and which ones do you always enjoy but never buy?

EATING

We made this cabbage and kielbasa skillet recipe from Budget Bytes over the weekend and my husband was basically writing love songs about it. Our other favorite kielbasa recipe is this one from Dude Mom with roasted potatoes and broccoli.

LOVING

We crammed in a lot of last minute summer fun last month – a trip to Dubuque to see the Mississippi River Museum, an afternoon at the Renaissance Faire and a day trip to one of our favorite state parks for some fishing and beach time.

52164268I found ballet flats at Target that my feet didn’t immediately hate for a price that didn’t make my heart hurt. I don’t think these are wear them all day flats (at least for me) but they seem to be solid wear for an hour or two around town flats.

I want to go to all of these hotels for book lovers. And like move in and live there forever.

And God Created Millennial Earth at McSweeney’s is the LOL you need today. And possibly the one you deserve.

This Buzzfeed Quiz will tell you which Babysitter’s Club member you are – it’s surprisingly accurate. It won’t just tell you who your favorite member is (because those are rarely the same person). I got Mallory – how about you?

So what have you been into lately?

Don’t Blink: Her 8th Birthday

When people ask me how long we’ve lived in Wisconsin, I quickly consider the age of my daughter before responding and it always catches me by surprise. We’ve lived here for EIGHT years now and the proof is in how big my youngest child is. Which seems to be bigger every time I look at her lately.

Sometimes it feels like ten minutes ago she looked like this:

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And then I blinked and she looked like this:

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Like when did that even happen? But then I look through that Facebook “on this day” feature and watch the years slide by and ohhh it really does go so fast…

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Last week she turned officially eight years old. There was much birthday cake and merriment. We invited friends over for a Trolls themed birthday party complete with sing-a-long. She blew out candles.

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And then I blinked again and the moment was over. Life got busy and she was simply eight years old. But in between dropping kids off for summer camps and buying groceries and switching loads of laundry I keep looking at her in amazement, wondering when all my littles became bigs, where those cheek bones came from and what she’ll look like after I blink next.

Happy 8th Birthday, Darling, But Please Slow Down.

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linking up with Mama Kat | you should, too

My Summer vs. My kids’ Summer

I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s writers workshop again this week. Her 5th prompt jumped out at me pretty much right away: Your summer vs. Your kids summer. I’m probably not alone in thinking that my summer looks pretty different from my kids’ summer. Not in a bad way, just different.

Their summer so far has looked like this:

copious photo ops at the zoo, camping  trips, swim lessons, backgammon at Grammy’s, boundless energy, ice cream everywhere, Icees and bowling with friends, video games for days and watermelon as big as your face (or dress)

My summer meanwhile has looked more like this…

Reading in the in between moments, watching swim lessons from the comfort of a beach chair in the shade, finding the perfect Moscato, eight million selfies with my fashionista soon to be eight year old, driving literally everywhere and making homemade pickles

Honestly, both summers look pretty awesome. I don’t even think I’m jealous of all the fun my kids are having because my summer has been pretty great all on its own. What about you?

What is your summer looking like this year? 

What I’m Into: June 2017

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I swear June flew by at warp speed. This month had a little bit of everything: visiting relatives, playing cribbage and backgammon, a camping trip, swim lessons, bowling, lots of ice cream, hair cuts, summer reading, doctor’s visits, epic thunderstorms, double rainbows and more. I’m linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer again to share some of the things I’ve been into when I wasn’t here.

Read & Reading

This month I finished two books:

10134852Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe by Jenny ColganFinished 6/7 – Another great story by Jenny Colgan, who is quickly becoming a favorite author. This is another sweet love story set in the UK – this time the book’s heroine decides to open up a cupcake shop after losing her job and her boyfriend on the same rotten day. The book follows all the ins and outs of starting the business but also delves into the inner lives of nearly every character that our MC comes into contact with. Sometimes I liked this, other times it felt distracting from the story but on the whole I really enjoyed the book and fully plan to read more Jenny Colgan soon!

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The Underground Railroad by Colson WhiteheadFinished 6/21 – This book took me awhile to get into initially but I did end up enjoying it for the most part. It’s not an easy book to read – between the rather heaviness of the subject matter and the frequent narrator changes – but it definitely held my attention once the story got going. It was hard to keep reading sometimes as the main character just could not catch a break and often the outcome looked so grim that I could barely keep going but I’m glad I stuck with it. BC

I’m nearly finished reading A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and about halfway through reading A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle.

TV & Movies

Wonder Woman was our Big Screen Flick of the month. The whole family enjoyed this one. Between the hotness of Chris Pine, the epic girl power of Gal Gadot and the perfect blend of humor, action and heart. My favorite line of the whole movie was: “Beware the world of men, they don’t deserve you.” I kind of want to tattoo this sentiment on the hearts of all the young girls in my life, especially my own little Wonder Woman.

I Love Lucy reruns have been on constant rotation since visiting grammy and papa at the beginning of the month. My son is hooked and Hulu is very accommodating.

Beat Shazam is another show I’ve been watching with the kids. I love Jamie Foxx and the kids are always impressed when I know the songs, too. I’ve played along on the Shazam app a little and man the contestants are fast! I can never guess a song in fewer than 3 seconds which is considered slow on this show.

Jeopardy is also a common occurrence in our house. I’ve been DVRing all the episodes so that I can binge a few on slow afternoons while we wait for Dan to get home. Another opportunity to wow the kids with my random bits of knowledge.

The Handmaid’s Tale has been harder to keep up with now that the kids are home for summer. I’m an episode behind so no spoilers but I think in general OMG seems to apply to every episode. If you haven’t watched this one yet, get thee to Hulu immediately.

Rick and Morty has been the tv show before bed pick for Dan and I lately but we just finished the last episode of last season so now we are stuck waiting until the end of July for more episodes.

We really need a few new 30 minute comedies to add to our rotation. We’ve enjoyed Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, The Good Place, Futurama and the like in the past. What would you recommend next?

Cooking & Eating

 

I’m taking my first crack at pickling with Krissy’s recipe for easy refrigerator dill pickles at Self Proclaimed Foodie. I’m waiting for the brine to cool down as I type this – wish me luck!

This meatloaf recipe from Hello Fresh continues to be in regular rotation around these parts. I’ve somehow managed to convince my family that all credit for its deliciousness goes to me but honestly it’s just a fool proof recipe. The big secret is the tiny individual “loaves” rather than one big loaf. So easy and so delicious!

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I’m minorly in love with this white Moscato from South Africa right now. Found it at the wine cellar where I pick up our weekly CSA. Might be counting the minutes until I pick up our next box of veggies. Excepting the fact that my refrigerator cannot handle any more vegetables right now.

What have you been up to lately?

10 Best Books I’ve Read This Year (So Far)

Because we are now halfway through the year (craziness), this week’s prompt for Top 10 Tuesday is the 10 Best Books You’ve Read This Year (so far). I have only read 15 books so far this year but most of them have been pretty terrific. Here are the creams of the crop, two of which I haven’t technically finished yet but I’m far enough in to know they deserve a place in this grouping.

It’s an eclectic mix: poetry, graphic novels, mysteries, young adult, historical fiction, essays, light and fluffy love stories, science fiction… Whatever you are in the mood to read, it’s quite possibly on this list:

 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – This timely novel is going to force you to think about uncomfortable things but you’ll be glad you did.

Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling – A commencement speech by JK Rowling – a quick read that will leave you feeling inspired.

A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle – My favorite book to read by the pool. Essays on her life, writing and society that make me feel like a better person (and a better writer) just for my proximity to her words.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Historical fiction that brings you to the front and center of the underground railroad but with an added twist.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – A science fiction story about multiverses that will make your head hurt in a good way.

 

Wires & Nerve Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer – Fans of The Lunar Chronicles especially need to check out this graphic novel continuation starring Iko. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go read this. NOW.

Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson – Scraps of poetry written, literally, on envelopes. Enjoy hidden gems and the inside mind of one of the world’s most famous poets. Then go write some of your own.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – This is like Sherlock Holmes meets John Green. Extremely readable and fans of Sherlock will especially enjoy this take on the world of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon – A love story starring a girl who is allergic to literally everything. You won’t guess where this one is going.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan – Part love story, part finding yourself. This one is for the ladies with wanderlust who kind of want to drop everything, move to Scotland and open a bookstore.

Have you read any from this list? What is the best book you’ve read so far this year?

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Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by The Broke & The Bookish

7 Brilliant Quotes from Margaret Atwood.

I first read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood in college. Okay fine, I read part of it – the whole novel wasn’t required for the class I read it in and then I got busy and didn’t get back to it even though I was seriously enjoying it at the time. Then I kept being busy and then I graduated, had babies, got married and got busier.

Spring forward to the Spring of 2017 and The Handmaid’s Tale has been turned into a tv series on Hulu!!! I finally get to go back to Offred’s world and hear her whole story and see it with my eyeballs. It’s heartbreaking and wonderful and has me feeling like all kinds of a Margaret Atwood fangirl. Somehow I fell down a spiral of looking up her other books on Amazon and then looking at famous quotes that she has said or written. And oh my goodness, they are good.

Here are 7 of my favorite quotes that make me wish I was into crocheting things on pillows.

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“Don’t let the bastards grind you down,” is one of many awesome quotes from The Handmaid’s Tale.

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“A word after a word after a word is power.” This is a line from Spelling – Poem.

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“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” – from Cat’s Eye, 1988

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“You may not be able to alter reality, but you can alter your attitude towards it, and this, paradoxically, alters reality. Try it and see.” – This is a quote from a commencement speech given to graduating students at the University of Toronto in 1983.

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“We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.” – Margaret Atwood

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“War is what happens when language fails.” – The Robber Bride, 1993

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“I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed, and that necessary.” – Variation on the Word Sleep, from Selected Poems II: 1976-1986 by Margaret Atwood

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I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop this week.

Answering the prompt: 6. Share a quote you love.

Let me know if you are playing along in the comments section!

3 Little Things.

I keep meaning to hop on this bandwagon of sharing some things each week that are filling my heart up. It’s easy to focus on the things stressing us out and giving us grief. Here are three things making me happy this week.

  1. IMG_20170409_121328Warmer weather! The sun is finally starting to come out for us more and more. That means spending time outside, feeling so swag in our big sunnies and NO JACKET life. I love this season in between hot and cold when we are just comfortable, enjoying a cool breeze without shivering or sweating. Bring. it. on.
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale just premiered on Hulu and just one episode in I am hooked. I read some of the book in college and loved it but never got around to finishing it because homework and stuff. I’m excited to finally see how it ends and loving seeing the story brought to life. It’s heartbreaking but funny, suspenseful but kind of beautiful? Also Alexis Bledel is in it so really life does not get much better than this.
  3. 18157465_10101213019281846_287970143802244514_nCoffee with friends. I spent the morning having coffee with some of my mom friends from the kids’ school and it was so lovely to catch up and frankly get to know each other better. Sometimes I get in my own head and find myself cocooning and home instead of putting myself out there. So I’m a little too proud of myself for putting on real clothes today and being a friendly social person even though I woke up this morning fully intending to hide inside. Bonus points, I got there a little early and got to spend some time with E.E. Cummings, too.

What’s making your Happy List today?

Insta Recap: 4.27.17

One of Mama Kat’s prompts for this week’s Writers Workshop was to share a recent picture you shared on Instagram and tell us what you love about it. I have been posting to Instagram a lot lately and had a hard time narrowing it down so you get 5 recent stories inspired by my Instagram feed. Woohoo!!!

1 – A recent illustrated story by my 7 year old:

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I love this – it’s like a mix between Snow White and Belinda the Ballerina. I’d read that book.

2 – We bought a Purple mattress last week and it arrived on my doorstep…

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I mean it literally took up my entire doorstep so I decided to drag it inside before leaving to meet my husband for lunch – no easy feat! This thing weighs like a lot. But once I had it halfway through the door I pretty much had to suck it up and commit to the task. How proud did I feel afterwards? Like ridiculously so. I’ll write more about the mattress later, promise.

3 – I started taking a laptop to the coffee shop to write.

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I’m the one millionth person to find out that working in a coffee shop actually decreases my distractions – I feel less guilt about chores I could be working on and my little Chrome book is too slow to browse the internet but fast enough to load my one tab and let me write. Also the perk of a snack outside the house doesn’t hurt. I’m going to write over lunch today.

4 – I dyed my hair by myself and I love it.

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My last salon color was more subtle than I was expecting and I didn’t want to ask my husband for help again to fix it. I had a free couple of hours to kill the other day and splurged on this box of L’Oreal Colorista at Target that said I didn’t have to mix anything and that there were no ammonia fumes. Sold. 30 minutes and a slightly stained shower later and I have to say I’m loving it. It’s slightly subtle but way more noticeable. Exactly what I wanted and for the right price.

5 – Look what I found at Walmart the other day??

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Ree (aka The Pioneer Woman) wrote a new children’s book called Little Ree about her experience moving from the big city to a ranch farm but reimagined the story through the eyes of her childhood self. The end result is adorable. It’s similar in tone to her books about Charlie the ranch dog. I read it to my daughter’s class for library story time and they ate up the antics of Little Ree.

5 Apps To Hide in the Bathroom With.

 

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I know a lot of you are home with your kids on spring break right now and maybe you are nearing your breaking point. I mean, maybe you are off on a grand adventure and achieving pure bliss in between hair braiding and picture perfect family picnics – but just in case you are feeling the heavy weight of “when will I be able to watch my shows again and how are you still here???” I’m just saying if you are thinking about going to hide in the bathroom for seventy two hours…

How about a new game on your phone to get addicted to instead? I know we’re supposed to be patient and present and in the moment and smart phones are the worst or something, but whatever. Sometimes a mom needs five minutes with Solitaire to get the skip back in her step.

Here are 5 games on my phone* that I like to turn to when my daughter has been singing the same Moana song for eighteen hours / my son has literally not stopped talking about Minecraft since he woke up.

*I’m an Android girl so my apologies if you are living that Apple life and these games aren’t available — but usually they are on both stores, so definitely check!

We all have different game preferences and different situations call for a different fix.

If you want an artsy kind of puzzle:

Hungry Cat Picross is literally the best picross game you are going to find on your phone. I’m not trying to be Eleanore Exaggeration here. I literally downloaded all of them when I was running out of puzzles and they were all terrible. So save yourself the struggle / data usage and skip straight to this one. I’ve gotten several people hooked on this game. I’m not proud.

If you want to redecorate every day but like for free:

Design Home is the game I never knew I wanted to play. It’s literally designing rooms and then voting your favorite designs, buying virtual couches and potted plants and competing in design challenges. I am way too addicted.

If you are feeling nostaligic for middle school:

MASH is seriously an Android Game now and I won’t like, I made my 7 year old play with me – multiple times. I do wish there were less ads and more varied games but you know – nostalgia for the win. Break this one out when your little girls are getting antsy and need a distraction. Maybe your boys would like it, too, but I’m pretty sure my 11 year old would just roll his eyes at me like my husband did.

If you like hidden picture games:

Fantastic Beasts: Cases has two things going for it – the nerdgasm of Harry Potter universe references and a fun and unique game in its own right that is kind of somewhere between a hidden picture game and a mystery detective game. It may even help to tide you over until the next Fantastic Beasts movie.

 

If you want to take Solitaire to the next level:

Fairway Solitaire is probably the game I open the most frequently right now. It seriously takes Solitaire to new places and has just enough little goals and tasks to keep you checking back in throughout the day. Cute graphics, relatively speedy load times and not too many ads. Plus there is a sneaky gopher causing trouble, so.

What phone apps have you been hooked on lately?

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I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop again. Let me know if you are playing along, too!