family fun things I learned this month

5 Things I Learned in April


  1. Even your lazy days self deserves to wear clothes you love. I have a tendency to save my favorite clothes for when I’m going somewhere exciting like book club or team trivia or date night. The normal days in between where I’m just doing the school drop off / pick up grocery shopping dishes washing thing get relegated to the other clothes that don’t quite fit right or I just don’t love. But I wanted to create a wardrobe with only special day shirts because I think my low key days self deserves to feel pretty, too. After picking up a few new pieces for my wardrobe, I went through my closet and got rid of all the shirts I don’t love to see what was left. I was surprised to find that I actually still had a plenty of clothes left! And my closet looks awesome!
  2. Team Trivia nugget of the month: In addition to creating wings for his son, Icarus, so that he could fly too close to the sun, Daedalus also created the Labyrinth on Crete, in which the Minotaur (part man, part bull) was kept.
  3. My latest reminder to trust my gut: We’ve been talking about switching vets for awhile but kept holding off until recently. We took our dog to a new vet this month and I have been really happy with how quickly they turned things around for us with the dog’s health and how attentive and thorough the new vet is. I learned what it’s like to take your pet to a vet that cares.
  4. I learned that Animaniacs is on Netflix now and that our kids love the show as much as Dan and I did when we were kids. We’re in nostalgia heaven right now and I love watching the kids experience the show anew. I had forgotten how nerdy the show is but watching it again I’m realizing why we loved it so much. Not many kids shows make that many nerdy references or write songs like this gem:
  5. I learned recently that my husband played a practical joke on me ten years ago but forgot to tell me it happened. We were at a mall food court and I got bubble tea for the first time because the name sounded fun. After taking a few sips and trying to figure out what the weird bubbles were made of, I asked Dan who told me – straight faced – that it was tapioca and that tapioca is made from fish eggs. I was so grossed out I couldn’t finish the drink and have avoided tapioca ever since because – eww.This weekend we were getting frozen yogurt and my daughter dumped a huge pile of strawberry bobas on hers and I asked Dan, out of curiosity, what they were made of and he said Tapioca. I made a face and said “FISH eggs?? Really?” And he burst out laughing and said “I thought you knew I was joking about that!” TEN YEARS AGO.

What things have you learned this month?

family fun memes & carnivals things I learned this month

5 Things I Learned in February


February is starting to wrap up and that means it’s time to write blog posts that attempt to quantify the month in a meaningful way. Today I’m linking up with Emily Freeman to share a few things I learned this month, some more serious than others. For example…

Learned at a field trip to a planetarium: Because of the speed of light, the light from the stars we see in the sky was actually sent out thousands of years before we saw it – so it may not even be there anymore. It’s like a person singing from far away, holding a continuous note, that we don’t begin to hear until after she starts singing – and she may or may not still be singing as we are listening to it…. kind of.

Side note: After the guy at the planetarium explained that Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet and somewhat similar to asteroids, BB said, “So Pluto is an asteroid that dwarves live on?”

Learned in the kitchen: My new electric milk frother makes exactly enough warmed slightly frothed milk for two small cups of cocoa for the kids or one perfect mug of coffee for mom. And if you like your latte super frothy, it can definitely do that, too. I seem to prefer “essence of froth” personally.

Learned while listening to the morning show on the radio: I’m not sure if this is a past tense or present tense story but apparently John Mayer is or has been in the habit of gifting girlfriends with swag bag gift baskets filled with his CDs and DVDs and John Mayer baseball hats. This horrifies me and I wish that we were close enough that I could call him up or like text him and say, “WTF John, that’s horrible. It’s literally the equivalent of a parting gift. You are better than this.” I hope his goal was to imply that they were tacky groupies that were unimportant to him because I don’t really see what other message that would send. Also, can I have one of those gift baskets?

Learned in every kitchen store in town: Sometimes the answer is to use what you already have instead of trying to find something new. I had to learn this twice this month in the same dish cabinet. We finally bought more of our favorite plates so that we can have a matching set that suits our needs. Then I was going to do something similar with our coffee mugs – buy all one kind of mug and donate the rest (except my favorite coffee mug because it’s special). After looking at every store in town, I finally realized I should just buy more of my favorite mug instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s kind of like when you find a shirt you love – you should buy more of the same shirt in different colors. Duh.

9530Learned while reading February’s book club pick, Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson: World War II navy assessors would sometimes falsify records for U-boat wrecks when evidence was unclear so that they didn’t leave any loose strings or question marks in the history books. On multiple occasions U-boats that had been originally marked as possibly damaged were changed to probably sunk.

What things did you learn this month?

family fun things I learned this month

9 Things I Learned in January


I started Bullet  Journaling again this year after reading this post at The Lazy Genius (possibly the longest post she’s ever written) and this time around I find I’m actually picking it up almost every day to write in it – one of perks to this new trend is that I’ve written down notes on thing that I found interesting  throughout the day and this means that I have actual stuff to write about for the Things I Learned link up hosted by the lovely Emily P. Freeman.

  1. I learned that there are people out there who genuinely actually believe that the world is flat and that there is a giant clear impenetrable dome covering the world which has prevented us from actually going into space which for some reason led to us faking all accounts of space exploration.
  2. I learned that if you show up at Olive Garden with a reservation for four and a fifth person joins your party at the last moment – that the servers won’t even bat an eyelash and will just pull up a fifth chair like it ain’t no thang. My husband says this is because – science – rectangular table = easy solution. Also more money for them.
  3. I learned that Rutherford B. Hayes was a total  hottie. Ditto to James Garfield and Richard Nixon.
  4. I learned that a Buick Encore probably won’t be my next vehicle. Despite loving the height advantage and the satellite radio and backup camera, the SUV felt smaller and tinier in just about every way compared to my Le Sabre. I want my next vehicle to be smaller in length, but that’s about it. Taller – good leg room and shoulder room, decent trunk. These things are non-negotiable. But it sure was pretty (I had a rental car this month while the service department repaired my parking brake).
  5. I learned that my children are competitive at least with each other and that you can use this fact to accomplish the impossible. This month my husband invented the Adventurous Eaters Club – one night a month, in theory, we’re going to go to a restaurant that is either new to the kids or serves a cuisine they aren’t typically game for. Whoever tries the most new foods without complaint gets to pick dessert. We gave this idea a trial run at PF Changs and my children (the world’s pickiest eaters) tried white rice, lo mein noodles, crispy honey chicken, mongolian beef, egg  drop soup and crab rangoons – and pretty much liked everything. It’s a small victory perhaps but it feels monumental. We’ve carried the concept into more meals since then and even if they don’t love it all, they are suddenly motivated to try. Huzzah!
  6. mayflowerI learned that the state flower of Massachusetts is actually the mayflower – because that is a real plant and Massachusetts is super sentimental. Digging up a mayflower in Massachusetts is punishable with a $50 fine.
  7. I learned that nail art pens are not as easy as they look and that my daughter is very forgiving of my sloppy attempts at painting her nails. I also learned that my husband is awesome at painting nails which should be unsurprising as he has steady hands that make him great at woodworking, knitting, working with tiny electrical device innards and anything else Dan has decided to be good at that day. My husband might be a cyborg. But I read The Lunar Chronicles, so I’m okay with that.
  8. At Team Trivia this month I learned that on the television show, Married with Children, the Bundy family name was apparently inspired by a professional wrestler. I’m guessing it was King Kong Bundy who even had a couple guest appearances on the show, but the host at Team Trivia didn’t specify.
  9. I also learned at Team Trivia this month that President Woodrow Wilson disliked automobiles and considered them a symbol of the arrogance of wealth. Haters gonna walk.

What did you learn this month?

What kind of car do you drive? Is there room in the front seat for you and your sig. other and maybe an elbow or two?

Which of the former presidents (or the current one if that’s your cup of tea) would you like to go back in time and grab a drink with? What are you drinking?

Where should I take my kids to eat next now that I can trick them into eating new foods?


things I learned this month

What I Learned in October


Happy Halloween guys! I’m linking up with Emily P. Freeman today to share a few things I learned this month – feel free to share some things you learned in the comments section below or send me a link to your own blog post if you are linking up also!

Here are a few things I learned this month:

  1. Marie Antoinette never said “Let them eat cake!” and several other popular quotes that are often misquoted. But you should eat cake anyway.
  2. My kids are both doing really well in school this year – MM has been blowing his teacher’s mind with his penmanship and attention to detail – and way less messy desk. And BB is blowing everyone’s mind by being good at everything (except bringing her homework home reliably, but you know, six).
  3. Reasons to love Audrey Hepburn even more:12189151_921361261233521_8180090238246701566_n
  4. It takes about 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootise Pop (and more candy facts at mental floss).
  5. Apparently undetected breast cancer can also lead to eye problems. Because you didn’t have enough on your plate.
  6. This: 12088193_1126669664018689_4839448370988454957_n
  7. Speaking of which – Lyft will send you free zombies on Halloween. which isn’t nearly as adorable as kittens.

What did you learn this month?

things I learned this month

6 Things I Learned In July.


Hard to believe that the end of July is upon us! It’s been a busy month – it always is when we travel. I’m linking up with Emily Freeman to share a few things I learned this month, on the road and otherwise. Silly or serious. There are no rules here really except to document what you’ve learned and share.

  1. My in-laws taught Dan and I how to play Pitch. Apparently it’s his parent’s favorite card game and my brother in law’s as well – and now we all seem to be big fans which is bound to make family get togethers a lot more interesting! I have some very wonderful memories of playing Pitch into the wee hours this month, laughing hard and bonding big time.
  2. I learned how to up my Ramen game – we had friends over this month and we cooked a more homemade style of Ramen complete with a soft boiled egg on top. Major game changer.
  3. I also learned how to soft boil an egg, which might be my new favorite way to cook and consume eggs.
  4. I learned about three different places to experience Platform 9 3/4 and now I want to visit them all.
  5. I learned from reading her new book that Danielle Fishel worked at Macy’s during the holiday season as a gift wrapper, mostly because it sounded like fun. And that even Danielle Fishel is not immune to rude customers.
  6. I learned how good it feels to tidy up a room according to Marie Kondo’s methods in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I still have a LONG way to go in both the book and my house (so I guess I’m not really following her advice to clean it all out now immediately) but it still felt great to see my office floor again.

I’m sure I’ll think of more things I learned later that I should have shared, but this is a pretty good representation of my month over all. Share what you learned in the comments section or link up with Emily and send me a link to your answers!

What’s your favorite card game?

Favorite way to cook eggs?

things I learned this month

7 Things I Learned in June.


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.


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?

things I learned this month

4 Things I Learned in May.


I’m joining Emily again to share a few things I learned in the merry old month of May. Wanna play along? Tell us what you learned last month: It can be silly or serious and you can post on your blog or just let me know in the comments section below!

1. According to the woman who was giving my son’s class a tour of the Burpee Museum in Illinois, you can recognize words that are Greek in origin if the word contains a y in the middle that makes an I sound. Mind. Blown.


2. Apparently you can earn money (or rewards at least) if you use the Bing search engine rewards program. Just search as you normally would and you’ll be earning points towards things like Amazon gift certificates or travel rewards points or even donations for charities.


3. A run-on sentence is NOT just a really long sentence. According to these debunked grammar myths at Mental Floss, they can actually be quite short. A run-on sentence contains independent clauses that are squished together without the help of punctuation or a conjunction. For example: “I am short he is tall,” is a run-on sentence even though it only has six words.


4. Giraffe tongues are gross, slimy, long and gray.


 What did you learn last month?

things I learned this month

Things I Learned in February.


I’m linking up again with Emily at Chatting at the Sky to share some of the things I learned this month. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just some of the cool things I took the time to share or write down somewhere.

Perhaps this should have been obvious from the start but I learned that sugar probably isn’t any healthier than high fructose corn syrup. Definitely worth a read.

I learned that sometimes white and gold really do look like blue and black. Yes, I’m talking about that damned dress. I almost didn’t even read about this but curiosity got the better of me and then after reading through and looking at the pictures I’ll admit, I was a little bit shocked. I know part of this is just the balance of colors in each photograph but it still surprised me. This comic about it made me laugh.

BB is 44 inches tallI learned that my daughter is the shortest kid in her class. I’m not sure how I never noticed this as she always seems tall to me at least in comparison to her brother at her age, but at 44 inches tall she is about 4 inches shorter than most of her classmates and 6 inches shorter than the tallest kid in her classroom (her best friend coincidentally).

I learned how Emily at Chatting at the Sky keeps track of what she’s learned each month. I like her idea for a bullet journal and I’ve been giving it a try for a couple weeks. I’m not super consistent with it yet but I like the idea.

20150219_184648I learned that Walt Disney and Amelia Earhart used to date! And that Neil Armstrong one had a job as a muffin maker. There were lots of cute little facts about famous people from history at my son’s class Wax Museum this month.

I’ve been learning a lot about progressive lenses (a no line bifocal) at work and what types of shapes and lens materials are better for progressive wearers. Not a cut and dry answer but I’ve appreciated all the suggestions and tips I’ve learned from the other people I work with.

I also learned a little bit about the dangers of sun and our eyes and why sunglasses are important and the difference between the more expensive sunglasses we sell and the ones you can get for like $5-15. I also learned that kids eyes are much more susceptible to UV damage than adults. I can’t remember all the science behind it, I’ve got more research to do though for sure.


I learned that no matter how many episodes and seasons of Parks and Recreation that I watch, the show just continues to get better and better. I’m still on season 5, way behind the rest of the world, but continue to be OBSESSED.

cinderI’m also obsessed with the Lunar Chronciles series by Marissa Meyers (if you haven’t yet, stop everything and read Cinder right now – just be warned that once you’ve read it you will want to read all the other books in the series basically immediately).

I’ve learned that the reason why Mercury gets so cold at night is because their atmopshere is so thin from being so close to the sun. Venus, on the other hand, has such a thick atmosphere that it’s hot at night and during the day. According to my husband, this is kind of the basic science behind Global Warming and the changes to our seasons that we’ve been seeing.

What have you learned this month?

things I learned this month

6 Things I Learned in September.


I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that today is the last day of September. This month flew by in a flurry storm of new and exciting mixed with the same old same old. To celebrate the end of another month, I’m linking up with Emily @ chatting with the sky to share things I learned over the last month. Wanna play along? Just share things you learned this month, silly or serious and link up with Emily.

  1. This month my youngest started kindergarten and I started a new job. It is my first time working in eight years and you can imagine I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned more than I think I ever imagined about the world of optical sales (which I’m not going to write about because I assume it would bore the pants off you) and a lot about myself as I embrace this new journey. I’ve learned that when I find myself outside of my comfort zone, it’s easy to want to throw in the towel and run back to a more familiar world but I decided that challenging myself to learn something new that seems daunting is important and every day on the job gets a little easier and little less scary. I learned that I’m not immediately good at everything but that that’s okay.
  2. I’ve relearned again that I can quell my nerves and anxiety some by just talking through the issue. Say it out loud and the problem gets smaller.
  3. I learned that my daughter is capable of much more than I give her credit for. Kindergarten has been all about learning to be more self sufficient and it’s been hard to step back and let her do things on her own – but so rewarding to see what’s she’s made of! BB has had a great first month of kindergarten and is learning a lot! And her hand writing is quickly becoming neater than her brother’s!
  4. I’ve learned that my son is crazy smart and has a huge imagination. Sometimes he talks for hours about things like “What if you could see sound waves?” or “What if airplane windows had smart screens so you could play crossword puzzles on them or draw pictures?”
  5. I learned to be careful what you wish for! It seems like just yesterday I was complaining that my 2nd grader wasn’t being challenged enough and should have more homework – wait, did I seriously say that? Yep I did. This year my 3rd grader has so much homework some nights that he has to stay up late to finish it all. We’ve learned a lot of methods to help keep him organized and I’ve learned to let go of my expectations of how my afternoons are going to look and accept that it will be different every day.
  6. I learned from taking this quiz that I can read an average of 22 books a year if I read 30 minutes a night. And that when I’m reading a book I don’t enjoy very much that I can spend 30 minutes playing Diamond Digger Saga or some other dumb Facebook game instead.

What did you learn this month?