What I’m Into: December 2017


It’s been a busy month here – we’ve been enjoying Christmas Tree farms, piano recitals, cookie baking, parties with friends and all the usual fun stuff that goes into a month. Aside from the family fun, here are some of the things that have been keeping me occupied in those in between moments.

On My Bookshelf


I’ve been reading Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick this month and really enjoying it. I’ve always loved Anna’s movies and her amazeballs singing voice but reading the book and getting to know her as her actual person has been so fun. I’m only mostly delusional when I say that OMG we could totally be BFFs in real life!!

In My Kitchen

 I’ve been baking up a small winter storm as one tends to do around Christmas. Not everything was a winner but these three recipes need to be in your life.

This FUDGE recipe is so easy it almost feels like cheating. You only need three ingredients aside from salt and no candy thermometer or savvy candy making skills are required. You really just need the patience to let it set on your counter without eating it before it’s ready. I made the same recipe using peanut butter chips and that came out awesome, too. My waist line is fearful about how easy this was.

I made these RUM BALLS for my husband and he cannot stop eating them. They are potent as heck and way too delicious. Also super easy to make. These taste better the longer they chill out in your fridge so I recommend making them a couple of days before you need them. Because you definitely need them.

Okay if you are feeling like you want to step up your cookie baking game, I made these FRUIT CAKE SHORTBREAD COOKIES from Martha Stewart’s website and mylanta. This isn’t a difficult recipe but there are a lot more steps involved than I normally willingly get myself into. You’ll be chopping dried fruits, macerating them in terrific smelling booziness for a few hours, softening two sticks of butter and then making the cookie dough and shaping it into a triangular log. Then letting the dough chill for an hour in the fridge. Then slicing the log into super cute cookies and baking them. Then the hard part – not eating them all before your guests arrive. Real bakers probably read this and thought it all sounded easy but my fellow half assers know what I’m talking about. This recipe was a real test in will power and commitment but oh so worth it because:


So good.

On My TV

THE MIDDLE’S FAREWELL SEASON has been stringing me along all fall. Somehow this season turned me into a squealing fangirl shipper when it comes to Sue. Wasn’t she an awkward little tweenie bopper like a minute ago? I’m going to miss this show when it’s over but I also do think they are ending at the right time. What family sitcom should I pick up next?

AUSTRALIA’S NEXT TOP MODEL is streaming on Hulu and it’s filling the void that Tyra Banks left in my life when America’s Next Top Model ended. The formula is pretty similar but a bit different and the Aussie slang is kind of giving me life right now.

STRANGER THINGS SEASON 2 was all the things that season one delivered and maybe even just a little more. We probably waited longer to finish it than most people but it was still one of the best shows Dan and I watched this fall and I’m already missing it like crazy.

On My Phone

I’ve downloaded a few new to me games worth mentioning recently like:

DRACONIUS GO which is basically the same premise as Pokemon Go but it actually runs on my phone. My husband got me hooked on this one and it has resulted in a lot of family walks and drives around town looking for arenas. Yeah, we’re those people.

KNITTENS! is only available as a prerelease app right now but it shows a lot of promise. It’s a match three game that has you collecting yarn and patterns to “knit” outfits for your in app kitten. Seriously. It’s the most adorable game ever.

BACKPACKER is a kind of Travel Trivia geography game that tests your knowledge of the world as your character backpacks around the world, picking up odd jobs and doing favors, answering trivia questions and more. I’m far, far too into this game.

What have you been up to lately?

What I’m Into: Fall 2017

I’ve been a tad bit neglectful of my poor little blog lately. I think this is typical when Fall gets into full swing and life just happens and happens and happens. I thought I’d touch base on what we’ve been up to for those of you following along at home and wondering where I’ve been. Show of hands?



I’ve been a field trip chaperoning machine this fall. And by that I mean “I’ve been on two field trips this month! Woah!” They were both pretty fun. BB’s class went to a local cemetery for a “ghost walk” where local actors portrayed Wisconsin residents involved in the Civil War who told the kids all about their lives. My daughter was particularly smitten with the ghost photographed above who was admittedly a captivating story teller and perhaps more importantly to BB was wearing a gorgeous dress.


In typical Wisconsin fashion, October has no idea what temperature to be. We’ve been getting a healthy mix of sunny high seventies and dreary mid fifties. My wardrobe is very confused but the kids are just going with the flow.


I went to my first paint nite with some friends this month and painted the lovely masterpiece photographed above. It’s now hanging in my living room and my kids are pretty sure I’m an up and coming artist. I’m happy to give you a tour of my “gallery” for a very reasonable price. The event was a lot of fun – the teacher was funny and well a good teacher.


After ignoring my optometrist for ages about not wearing my glasses when I’m reading, I finally bought myself a little chain for my glasses so they can hang out when I’m not wearing them. They are basically the opposite of reading glasses because I like to be difficult.


My family has given emphatic praise to these recipes recently:

One Pot Stuffed Pepper Casserole from Damn Delicious (accurate)

Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies from The Kitchn



image source | http://www.thewrap.com


Are you guys Jeopardy fans? Can we talk about Austin because he’s seriously the most impressive human I’ve ever seen. I’m a few episodes behind so no spoilers but I love it when funny, clever people have success.

I’ve also been watching old Will & Grace reruns because I’m behind the times and enjoying all of my old favorites coming back for the fall like Big Bang Theory and The Good Place. What are you watching this fall?



My book club is discussing Before the Fall by Noah Hawley this month which has gotten a lot of good reviews. The first few paragraphs were a little stiff but now that I’ve settled into it I’m really enjoying it. It has a lot of different characters and stories to tell and the initial plot to suss out. Have you read this one? It seems like an ideal book to read on a dreary October afternoon.


I’m also reading Anne Bogel’s new book, Reading People, and definitely loving that as well. I thought I was pretty familiar with personality types but even just a few chapters in I’ve already had several Ah Ha moments. Anne is really good at getting to the root of how to make your personality work for you.

I’m afraid I might be turning into one of those people who likes to preface my conversations with, “Well as an Introvert…” but hopefully my friends don’t get too annoyed with me. Speaking of personality types, my husband shared this gem with me and if you haven’t seen it yet, well…

So that’s been my life these days. What have you been into lately?

What I’m Into | August 2017


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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?

What I’m Into: June 2017


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!


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!


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?

What I’m Into: July 2016


It’s hard to believe June is nearly over and yet June was so massively packed with memories and milestones and some other ‘m’ word that I’ll think of in twelve minutes that really June has had its time. Its ‘moment’ (haha I’m early) so to speak. I thought I’d link up with Leigh Kramer and share what I’ve been into this month so I can reflect on all this Juneishness before it’s gone.

Family Life in June

We had a mini spree of out of town visitors this month. Grandparents and aunts and beloved friends who sort of live here in town but sort of live out of the country, too. We’ve been savoring minutes with these loved ones while we can.

13428372_1222365251142043_7693615346012812468_nThe kids tried to put the Tooth Fairy out of business by losing like all of their teeth or like half a dozen between the two of them. Somehow my six year old still managed to have baby teeth dangling by a thread for long enough time spans that we almost went insane trying to get them out of her mouth without being arrested for child abuse.

We went camping for 5 nights and somehow I didn’t literally die of boredom and mosquito bites. (Also, the ten year old camped without us at cub scout camp for 3 days and everybody LIVED! Yay!) Three cheers for survival!

13522002_1238376852874216_6931038901941446514_nThe kids started swim lessons again this week and they are back with a vengeance this year. Both kids are totally dominating their lessons so far, especially BB who is making major strides finally when it comes to putting her head all the way under water and not clinging to people’s legs and making bunny faces instead of swimming.

Eating Delicious Things

I found a new favorite restaurant and went there like 5 times in nearly a month. Cafe Hollander is rocking my socks off, especially their breakfast menu. Yummmmmmm.

We crammed in a couple of date nights while my dad was in town and I had dim sum for the first time and was kind of in my glory. I didn’t like everything I tried but it really didn’t matter because it was just all about the experience and the company. And the little coconut dessert thingies.

I made one of my fave recipes this month, Korean Beef Bowls from Damn Delicious, but this time I mixed in some sauteed chopped Brussels sprouts and it was everything. I cooked them on the other burner while my meat was cooking and then mixed it all together in the end. ❤

We Watched Some Stuff

We saw a ton of movies this month! Between date nights, DVDs at home and family outings we saw X-Men: Apocalypse, Captain America: Civil War, Aladdin, Zoolander 2, Love & Friendship, Popstar, Me Before You, Finding Dory and Antman! Faves were probably X-Men, Me Before You and Finding Dory but all were great.

On the small screen, we’ve been catching up on our favorite Late Night shows (Colbert and Cordon), checking out the new Top Gear crew, and I’ve been watching this season’s Food Network Star. Plus a handful of the usual sitcoms.

Also, Game of Thrones is over for the year and I’m in mourning along with the rest of the world. We fell fast and hard for this show last year and now we’re all caught up and I’m not sure what to do with my Sundays now.

I’ve Been Reading Stuff, Too

13557661_1236868159691752_496203318574908783_nWhen I’m not taking pictures of like every book I own for instagram challenges, I read some of the books, too! This month I read:


  • REALLY LIKED Eligible by Curtis SittenfeldFinished June 7thI’m a sucker for Pride and Prejudice adaptations and thoroughly enjoyed this one. Sittenfeld took some interesting departures from the original but overall I think it was an excellent modernization. I would imagine some people might not enjoy a few liberties taken, especially P & P purists, but I thought it was a lot of fun.
  • REALLY LIKED Old World Murder by Kathleen Ernst Finished June 24th – I live in Wisconsin so it was a lot of fun reading a murder mystery that takes place in my state. Lots of local references to enjoy. Additionally, it’s a good and compelling story that took awhile to build but kept my interest and then consumed my interest in the second half. It ends on a cliff hanger that led to me immediately downloading the next book.
  • LIKED The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterFinished June 29th – I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this as much as I was hoping too. I think the hype got the better of me. Something about the book kept me at arm’s length and I wasn’t able to really lose myself to the story. But it ended with a lot of questions still unanswered that have me considering reading the next book at some point. I liked a lot of aspects of this book, I just didn’t quite love it.

Right now I’m reading The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett which my book club will be discussing in July as well as A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle when I’m sitting by the pool at swim lessons and You’re Never Weird on the Internet (mostly) by Felicia Day because I’m impatient.

That’s about it for now – until July lovelies!


What I’m Into: October 2015


I’m linking up again with Leigh Kramer’s monthly round up dubbed What I’m Into which is a somewhat open ended free for all opportunity to write about the books, movies, tv shows, recipes, life stuff, links, etc. worth sharing. Pick the stuff that matters to you, ignore the rest. Read what other people are into. Have fun. Eat cake. The cake is mandatory. Unless you don’t like cake. Weirdo.

Here’s what I’ve been into this month:

Books I’m Into:

This month I read:

9515763The Summer Before (Babysitters Club #0) by Ann M. Martin

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Baby Sitters Club book so this was definitely a walk down memory lane! I thought the prequel concept was a great idea, it was cool to read about the girls before the BSC became a reality and before some of them had even met! I’ve tried reading BSC books as an adult before and had a hard time getting into them but this one sucked me right in and the writing seemed a little more polished than some of her earlier books. This could all be my imagination though.

19398490All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This book has been getting a lot of hype and just this once I feel like the hype is deserved. Very well written with beautiful details that rarely felt excessive. I enjoyed the rotating narrators and was quickly captivated by the story. It took me a long time to read but it was worth the time. My book club had a lively discussion about it and everyone seemed to agree that they enjoyed reading it – not bad for a gigantic book written about World War II.

Nightmares! by Jason Segel

Right now I’m reading Nightmares by Jason Segel which seemed like a fitting choice to read as Halloween draws closer. It’s a middle-grade book about a boy named Charlie who has to learn to overcome his fears to save his town. I listened to Jason Segel talk about this book on a couple of talk shows – about how he wrote it because as a kid he had a lot of nightmares growing up and was afraid of everything – and he wanted to tap into that and make something that might help kids going through the same thing. It’s a funny book and well written with adorable illustrations. If it’s not too intense, I’m planning to pass it along to my nine year old when I’m done.

TV Shows I’m Into:

Of course we’re still watching all the usual suspects like Big Bang Theory, Castle, The Middle, Brooklyn 99, Modern Family, Doctor Who (anyone else still absolutely geeking out over this season of Doctor Who btw?). I am anxious to see the next episode of Project Runway but also feeling like the season went by WAY too fast and knowing that America’s Next Top Model is on its last season is bittersweet. It’s the end of an era guys. We’re still watching Last Man on Earth which has really come into its own. Season 1 took awhile to warm up to me but I’m enjoying this season a lot.

Some new shows (or new to me) that I am loving are Crazy Ex Girlfriend which my husband has declared over the top but I cannot get enough of the song and dance numbers, the hysterical characters and plot developments and just the everything. I think it’s perfection walking.

I also just started watching Jane the Virgin when I heard that Season 1 was on Netflix Instant and oh my god guys, why did nobody tell me? It’s SOOOOOOOOO good. I’m marathon it as hard as I can (which isn’t very hard right now since the kids have a long weekend from school). I’ve got season 2 recording on my DVR for when I catch up but I missed the first two episodes so I’ll need to find a way to track those down.

Speaking of my DVR, it’s kind of overwhelmed right now with shows that we need to catch up on, mainly the 1 hour dramas that I’m having a hard time wanting to dive into right now. I’ve been in a comedy only zone for awhile now which seems to be typical when my life is a little too hectic. Maybe life will level out so that I can watch grown up shows, too.

Movies We’re Watching:

We finally broke down and watched The Hangover and I’ll admit, it was better than I thought it would be. I don’t know if it was amazing or life changing or deserving of soooooooo much praise but it was good and we’ll probably watch the 2nd one, too.

We watched the first Mockingjay movie and Insurgent and liked the first and kind of loathed the second. Mockingjay is tough for me to watch because I’ve read the books and I know what is coming and I’m not pleased but Jennifer Lawrence is so extraordinary that I can’t help but love it anyway. The Divergent series does not have this going for it. The casting is so meh in my opinion that it feels like Twilight all over again – we found ourselves heckling the whole movie and I think I need to just give up the ghost on this story and not make myself sit through the last one which will be both terrible and depressing and not as good as the book and not worth it.

There are so many movies in theater that I want to see right now so I’m just biding my time and waiting for some of them to find their way to DVD because finances are definitely not going to make that many trips to the movies happen. But I really want to see the new Peanuts movie, Pan looks amazing, Hotel Transylvania 2 actually looks like it will be really good (I liked the first one a lot). Everyone is talking about The Martian (though I want to read the book first). I really want to see Spy and The Intern and Our Brand is Crisis and I even kind of want to see Jem and The Holograms against my better judgement.

Life Stuff Worth Mentioning:

This month my husband and I made the super weird decision to switch sides of the bed after almost ten years of marriage. I went into Hulk Mode and rearranged all the furniture and we’ve been slowly adjusting ever since. I’m still getting used to where to put my arms at night but I swear it’s worth it to not sleep next to the drafty window and also the room has never been cleaner (read: my room is not clean, it’s just cleaner).

BB lost her first loose tooth and she’s pretty sure it’s headline news and has been showing EVERYONE from her teachers past and present to the nurse who administered her flu shot. She’d like you to know that just like her brother, she reached in and yanked that tooth out herself (after weeks upon weeks of moaning and complaining obvy).

We flew to Massachusetts Columbus Day weekend for a wedding and I took lots of pictures of inanimate objects and declared war on pantyhose. We were in town for pretty much one day but somehow managed to see an enormous amount of relatives thanks to the savvy planning of some of my favorite people. My uncle snapped the picture above of Dan pretending to be super serious with BB and everyone finding this hysterical.

We’ve found board game utopia in Forbidden Island which has opened up a new world of gaming with the kids. It took a long time to find a game that the whole family can enjoy together but this one has been fun for the whole family. It’s our first foray into cooperative gaming but likely not our last. Next up to try with the kids is Pandemic.

We had Parent Teacher Conferences yesterday and between that and their first report cards we are kind of overflowing with parent pride right now. I’m trying really hard not to humble brag into oblivion because both kids are excelling in all the academic areas and are apparently a joy to have in the classroom as well. Now we just need to work on getting BB to bring home all her homework on time which sounds like second verse same as the first because these are the same things MM had to work on last year (that he has made leaps and bounds improvement on since so I’m hopeful that BB will be able to do the same).

Links I’ve Loved:

Popular quotes you are probably misquoting was kind of life changing guys.

McSweeney’s 25 words your kindergarten must know before first grade is kind of everything. The last word? Imperative.

Sleepyti.me will tell you when to go to sleep. But in a way more open ended way than your mother will.

Speaking of your mother, tell them your mom tried made every mom on the internet explode with feels this week.

The GAP by Ira Glass is a must watch video for struggling creative types.

Scary Mommy nails why Generation X is the glue of universe.

Picmonkey is here to rescue our Halloween photography with some timely tips.

Jessica at Life as Mom shared how she made laundry easy and I bought a new laundry basket.

I’m kind of in love with all the businesses like REI who are taking a stand against Black Friday nonsense.

What have you been into this month?

What I’m Into Lately (August 2015)


I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer again this month to share what I’ve been into in the month of August. This month was filled with summer fun and back to school momentum, all rolled up into one ball of busy. Let’s look back at the action, shall we?

What I’m Reading

I read four books this month – one young adult book, one more literary novel and two books in a delicious and nostalgic chick lit romance series.

  1. 6567453REALLY LIKED Looking for Alaska by John GreenFinished August 1, 2015 – This book was a roller coaster of emotion, which I guess I should have seen coming after TFIOS. I liked this but I didn’t quite love it – While I love how John Green creates his characters and navigates his stories, parts of this one were just hard to sink into.
  2. 11066234REALLY LIKED The Weird Sisters by Eleanor BrownFinished August 15, 2015 – I really enjoyed this. The POV was interesting and well done. I found the characters easy to root for, their family dynamic was both fascinating and believable. You’ll find yourself relating to all three of the sisters. I appreciated the moments that didn’t happen just as much as the moments that did.
  3. remember_when4REALLY LIKED Remember When by T. TorrestFinished August 25, 2015 – I had mixed feelings towards this book. I could relate to the main character, Layla, in a lot of ways but felt alienated by her sometimes also. She is a very complex character who often seems to have characteristics that are at odds with each other, which I suppose makes her pretty realistic, but as a reader it was sometimes hard to tell where she was coming from. The love story is adorable and the concept for the book is pretty unique – I found myself quickly hooked on the plot and downloaded the 2nd book almost immediately after finishing the first – so there you go! Note: This is a fairly graphic story – the characters in the book are pretty realistic, flawed teenagers who make some less than stellar choices. Which is pretty typical for real life but I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to a young teen. I think it is actually probably more likely to be enjoyed by older readers anyway – half the fun of this book is the 80’s references anyway!
  4. remember_when4LIKED Remember When 2 by T. TorrestFinished August 29, 2015 – This sequel picks up 10 years after the first books leaves off, so it’s now the year 2000 which should feel a lot more current and yet, if you think about it, it’s still 15 years ago! We were barely online back then! Layla has grown up a lot, but in my opinion she still has a lot of growing to do – she and Trip continue to make a lot of the same mistakes with each other and occasionally they were almost too frustrating, but I continue to root for them and you better believe I bought book three pretty much immediately after finishing this one.

Right now I’m kind of reading everything! I’m still knee deep in The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer, kind of still working on The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo but losing steam on it, if I’m going to be honest. I downloaded book 3 in the Remember When series but it was having trouble loading in my kindle app last night so I broke into Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen.

What I’m Watching

We finally caught up with the rest of the world and watched The Imitation Game this weekend, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightly. Yeah, it was everything – heart breaking and funny and brilliantly written – it gave me all the feels.

We also finished season one of Game of Thrones this month, slowly attempting to catch up with all of the cool kids. I was sort of shocked by the first episode, not at all convinced that this was my cup of tea, but I hung in there and now I’m impatiently waiting for our friends to get back from a vacation so that we can get started on season two (the downside to watching with friends, but worth it to have more people to squeal and cheer with). So basically, I’m that girl who suddenly says “Winter is coming” and “It is known” now like all the time and everyone else is like, “Welcome to the party, Jen. What took you so long?”

Somehow we fell behind big time on Castle and Bones last year so we are working our way back through before they start up again next month. We are 100% caught up on Castle and about 60% through the last season of Bones.

Is anyone else watching Top Model or Project Runway this season? I’m not sure who I’m rooting for yet on Top Model (but I can name several models I’m totally 100% done with) but I’m seriously loving Ashely and Candice on Runway.

We also rented Rock of Ages and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone which were both better than I was expecting. Rock of Ages had a great soundtrack and a funny, heartfelt story that was both occasionally predictable and often surprising. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was fantastic – this one will appeal to the geek and misfit in all of us who have ever felt like we didn’t quite fit in.

I had a nostalgia overload watching the Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of documentary – and I was surprised by how much I learned watching it! If you knew me in the 90’s, then you are aware that I was kind of a BSB super fan. I could order for these boys at McDonalds at gunpoint, knew all the songs and ton of useless trivia. This documentary gives you the grittier story that media didn’t really want us to know. It was fascinating.

What I’m Cooking

I made this slow cooker spiced porridge last night – sort of. I had to improvise a lot because I’m not good at following directions, like “buy all of these ingredients” – so in place of all those awesome fruits, I just used the dried cherries in my cabinet. And I may have forgotten to add the brown sugar all together but between the juicy dried cherries and a sprinkling of sugar the next morning over my bowl, it still came out super delicious.

This overnight refrigerator oatmeal also came out good – I ended up warming mine up in the microwave because apparently cold oatmeal does nothing for me – but it warmed up nicely after about 1 minute and tasted wonderful. My husband ate and enjoyed it still cold so clearly it works both ways.

DSC_9609We had dinner with some new friends and old last night and I brought my mother in law’s famous rum cake which always impresses and comes together so quickly it must be dark magic. I’d give you the recipe, but then I’d have to kill you.

I’m also continuing to love this Dude Mom recipe for sausage, potatoes and broccoli. And my husband continues to love when I make end of summer pasta with zucchini, summer squash and cherry tomatoes.

What We’re Up To (IRL)

The kids took a second session of swim classes after we got back from our summer vacation and continued to make leaps and bounds style improvement in their swim skills and water comfort level. MM went from being a pretty timid swimmer to water slide obsessed!

Dan and I celebrated our 9th anniversary of being married geeks. We got dinner at the Melting Pot (one of our favorite places) and saw Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (cause that’s how we do).

The kids started school this month and I’ve been reorganizing and purging in bits and stages this month in preparation for needing to be on my A Game this fall. I took down the little shelf Dan built a few years ago to put lunch boxes, etc. on – and stained it a nice cherry woodish color, then I hung some hooks all around it for jackets and hats, sweaters, etc.


20150822_105521MM promoted to Level 3 purple belt which places him approximately halfway to earning his black belt – it’s crazy to think how far he’s come since we started talking karate classes two years ago.

I updated my computer to Windows 10 and it sounds like I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have massive craziness surrounding the upgrade (like my husband whose laptop decided that it didn’t like his password anymore and made him start from scratch – what??

We played a lot of games this month. The kids and I are all hooked on Apples to Apples still and we got a couple expansion packs for Munchkin that added all new levels of craziness to an already insane game.

And lastly: Links I’m Loving

This buzzfeed video: the 5 types of parents – which one are you?

Things that will happen if I don’t take out my phone right now at The New Yorker

When Mike Melgaard won the Internet by angering people who were super angry at Target’s decision to remove gender specific labeling in some of their departments.

What I wish I knew when I started wearing glasses at Hello Giggles was perfection.

Instagram removed it’s square requirements and my life became complete.

Now you can visit Westeros and other Game of Thrones locales for the most epic vacation of all time.

This Vintage Moment wrote about how she is not an octopus and it was amazing.

Hello Natural shared 3 pretty & easy hairstyles and I immediately wanted to try all three.

What I’m Into Lately (May 2015)

the king does not look thrilled at the prospect of having a pet dragon in his castle
BB’s acting debut as The Glum Princess – this is the end of the play, so she isn’t glum anymore.

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately. I love this linkup because it encompasses all my interests and serves as an excellent mind dump – and I get to click over and see what a bunch of other cool bloggers are into, potentially finding new books, movies, tv shows, songs, recipes and more to check out. Here’s what’s been going on in my world:

What I’m watching

We finally got around to watching Sons of Liberty which we recorded on the DVR like seriously months ago but it was so worth the wait and even better than I thought it would be. One thing I took away from the miniseries (aside from, dang, Sam Adams was hot) is how little I actually knew about the period in time. I grew up in New England, I’ve taken the walking tours around Boston, I know all the little Revolutionary War catch phrases and thought that all equaled being well versed in that time period but actually watching it play out – I found myself going “oooohhhhhh” a lot – or “what? when did that happen?” or “How the heck did we ever win this war?” Point is: I highly recommend.

We rented The Wedding Ringer, Captain America: Winter Soldier, The Giver and Penguins of Madagascar last weekend in anticipation of the long weekend for dh and the beginning of summer vacation for the rest of us.

  • The Wedding Ringer had its moments but was a little over the top on the raunchy humor for my liking (and by a little, I mean…).
  • Captain America 2 was a solid improvement over the first movie. Cap has a little more personality now and the story line was perhaps more interesting because we’ve been watching both Agents of Shield and Agent Carter so there was a lot of story line that I was already privy to and such.
  • The Giver was interesting but felt really slow to me – maybe it’s because it was already so late by the time we put the movie in or maybe it’s because I realized halfway through that I don’t think I ever finished reading the book. But the pace just felt off to me and I often wished they would hurry up and do something already.
  • Overall Penguins of Madagascar was really good. I still prefer the original Madagascar movie but there’s nothing really to complain about with this one and it had some pretty hilarious moments. A solid family film.

What I’m reading

I read two very different books this month:

  1. ***** Yes Please by Amy PoehlerFinished May 3, 2015 – This book was all the things. Funny and insightful and also funny. Aside from being an awesome writer, comedian and actress, Amy Poeheler is also an amazing person with a lot of great stories to tell. Whether you know and love her from SNL, Parks and Recreation, hosting award shows with Tina Fey or anything in between – you are sure to love all the stories she has to tell. And honestly, I think it’s a good book even if you have somehow never managed to see anything she’s done (who are you??) – she has lots of funny insights and stories just from your typical growing up and experiencing LIFE kind of situatiions – so yeah, something for everybody.
  2. 22557272**** The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins Finished May 13, 2015 – I had a love hate relationship with this book. It was fascinating and kept me compulsively reading it but the content is preeeettttty heavy and I mostly read in bed at night before going to sleep – I often thought, “Why am I reading this? I’m going to have horrible nightmares after this.” But like any good mystery, I had to know “whodunnit” – and I’ll admit, the ending surprised me. I think I must have suspected everybody in the book at some point, so I’d say that’s a sign that the author did a good job!

Right now I’m reading a few different books, mostly because I’m having a hard time settling into any of them – not really for any fault of the book. I’m about halfway through May B. by Caroline Starr Rose which I’m contemplating reading out loud to the kids. I also just started reading the next book club pick, Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer. On my kindle I’ve been slowly reading The Magicians by Lev Grossman which I can’t decide if I’m enjoying or not – truthfully, this may be the lynch pin explanation for why I’m reading three books. I think I want to like it more than I actually am. But with the series coming out on SyFy, I feel some weird sense of obligation to read the book so I can watch the show guilt free.

In my kitchen


I appear to be on a monthly box subscription kick. I took advantage of a couple of trial offers and ordered a subscription to both Naturebox and Try The World. I can’t convince myself to subscribe to things like Book Riot or Julep or Loot Crate because I don’t actually need any of the things in those boxes and certainly don’t need them every month (that said, any of those would be awesome gifts if you are feeling generous). But we do need healthy snacks and we will absolutely eat, use and be grateful for a few fun cultural treats each month. And since both companies allow you to cancel at any time, I decided to try a little splurge and see if we liked them.

What I like about Nature Box: It’s only $19.99 a month for 5 full sized bags of snacks – and you can create your own list of which snacks you want in each box so you don’t have to get a snack you didn’t like last time AND you can make sure you get ones you did. From a realistic perspective – in the world of healthy snacks – this is a reasonable deal and I think paying a few extra dollars to have access to some snacks I might not have picked up in the store is worth it. These will be nice to have to make sure we always have some healthy snack options.

What I like about Try the World: I have serious wanderlust and often wish I could get up and fly to Argentina or Madrid or Glasgow. Unfortunately, this is not a feasible life choice. I get my fix through movies, pretty instagram accounts and food. My favorite part of a trip to world market is picking up fun foods that you won’t find in most American grocery stores. So this totally fits the bill of being a splurge that won’t break the bank. And these boxes only come every two months so I can feel a little better about the slightly high price tag ($39 a box if you subscribe month to month). Though truthfully, the quality of what we’re getting seems worth the cost.

I’m not sure how long we’ll stick with either subscription, but I’m having fun trying them out.

Working Out & Playing Hard

Since I’m only working weekends this summer, I’m trying to recommit myself to going to the gym and exercising more frequently. I have called upon my favorite walking buddy and we’re putting in some serious steps. Cross your fingers that I stick with it because I have no good reason not to! My favorite way to track my steps these days is with the S Health app on my Galaxy smartphone. It’s free and already in my pocket. I know there are plenty of free apps out there to help you count steps and calories and more.

I also got in a good amount of steps at the bowling alley this afternoon. My kids are signed up for Kids Bowl Free at our local bowling alley – we just paid $4 for their shoe rentals and got to bowl two games. Since my 5 year old still needs a lot of help bowling, I got in a lot of steps helping – and the kids got some exercise, too. We’re also planning to go to places like the zoo and the local botanical garden where walking a ton is sort of implied.

On the blog(s)

Best of the web

  • Joanna wrote about trying out slow parenting. Her thoughts really resonated with me. “As an adult, I just move at a faster pace than they do, and I’m also not great, generally, at relaxing, even on my own time. So, when Anton stops to examine a bicycle pedal or spots an ant on the ground or Toby walks slowly and dreamily down the block, I instinctively tell them to c’mon and come along.”
  • We filled out this Last Day of School printable at The (Reformed) Idealist Mom and the kids really loved it. I like how the mix of quick answer “fave” questions and the questions that you mull over seemed to dig out some real, thought  out answers instead of just the first things that pop into their mind.
  • Roo’s recent post about how dad’s don’t babysit is a long time rant of mine. Why do we assume that our husbands are invalids or incapable of running the ship without us? They might have different priorities and time tables but they are every bit as capable and should be considered a valuable member of Team Home Life. I’m grateful to have a husband that cooks and cleans and cares for our kids and does a good job, but baffled that this seems to be considered “rare”.
  • I loved this list at Bustle of 12 childhood book characters that empower young women. There are some of my childhood favorites on this list and a few new to me books that I added to my TBR list to check out. This list may or may not have partially inspired my list of books to read out loud to the kids this summer.
  • Have you seen Stop Here. This is the Place. yet? It’s a combination of photos and stories from two mom friends, Winky Lewis and Susan Conley that captures one year of their lives as mothers – and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

What have you been into lately?

What I’m Into: October 2014


Happy belated Halloween bloggy friends! We woke up yesterday to snow! Snow! On Halloween! To be fair, it wasn’t much more than a dusting but it still seemed like a cruel Halloween Trick. It’s pretty cold again this morning so let’s curl up with a warm cuppa and talk about what we’ve been into lately. I’m linking up again with the lovely Leigh Kramer to share what last month looked like in terms of what we’ve been reading, watching, listening to, cooking and looking at.


Apparently October was the month of final installments to dystopian serials that I started ages ago. This month I read (and finished)

  1. *** Requiem by Lauren OliverFinished October 5, 2014 – I read the last book in this series so long ago that some of the details were fuzzy by the time I picked up this final installment in the Delirium series but on the whole I still enjoyed it. It was interesting to see how the story would wrap up – who would end up with who? Would Lena consider love worth fighting for in the end? I think she nailed the ending perfectly all in all.
  2. **** Reached by Ally Condie – Finished October 2014 – I thought this was a fitting ending to the series. The concept for the book’s overlying truths was fascinating and struck close to home – there are a lot of small details of this book that made it stick with me and linger throughout the day even when I wasn’t reading and days later I still think of it often.

And we won’t talk about the plethora of books that I started but didn’t finish because the list is long and sad.

20697561Right now I am reading Gnarr by Jon Gnarr, which is a kind of political memoir by the last mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital who won the election back in 2009 when they were in a financial crisis. If that sounds dry, you should know that Gnarr was a stand up comedian before creating his own political party which he named The Best Party. During his campaign he promised to get the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park into downtown parks, free towels at public swimming pools, a “drug-free Parliament by 2020” . . . and he swore he’d break all his campaign promises.


I’ve fallen into the deep end of binge watching old seasons of America’s Next Top Model to a nearly pathetic level a regularity. Like the children now know and expect that if the tv turns on, Top Model is happening and they love to curl up and watch the eliminations with me and try to guess who will have to “pack their belongings and go home.”

Hubby and I have also been watching a fair amount of The Flash, the only new show this fall that seems to continue to hold our interest in addition to our usual rotation (Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, The Middle, Castle, Bones, etc.)


I’ve had the song Habits by Tove Lo stuck in my head a lot which is less depressing than it should be. The actual story behind the song? Depressing. Yup. But it’s so gosh darned beautiful. I’ve also had a lot of Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Paramore, Allison Trainor and sometimes that horrid Joe Jonas song stuck in my head.


How to turn any cookie recipe into a cookie bar recipe by Snail Pace Transformations

If you celebrated Halloween only on Pinterest by Mommy Shorts

Self Care for the Highly Sensitve Parent at Simple Homeschool (guest post by Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy)

The  Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction

What have you been into lately?

What I’m Into Lately: August 2014

coffee love

We’re two weeks into the school year and slowly finding our rhythm. BB has adjusted to life as a kindergarten girl like a champ and MM is slowly getting used to the heftier workload that 3rd grade at a private school demands of him and I’m slowly accepting that my son is horridly unorganized and absent minded. We’ve got a long weekend ahead of us to enjoy all of the things we love when we’re not doing the weekday grind. Hopefully it recharges us and leaves us ready for another week!

I’m linking up again with the lovely Leigh Kramer to share the things I’ve been into this month: like books, tv, music, and great online reads.


  1. ***** One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde – Finished August 10, 2014 – I was absolutely blown away by this book which is impressive when you consider it is 6th in a series. The fact that the author was able to surprise and delight me in book six is really rather remarkable. There are so many elements to this book (and this series) that it seems impossible to describe but I particularly loved the descriptions of Bookworld and also the description of experiencing the real world for the first time through a Bookworld character’s eyes.
  2. **** Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch – Finished August 27, 2014 – I really enjoyed this one. I didn’t know much about Rachel Dratch before reading this aside from “that funny girl on SNL” but her stories both made me laugh and truly resonated with me. From the cool tidbits about her time on SNL to stories about her dating life and family life, this had a little bit of everything.
  3. *** Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home by Joss Whedon – Finished August 28, 2014 – The artwork in this graphic novel is beautiful and of course I enjoyed getting a glimpse into what happens to all the main characters after the series finale, but the overall storyline was very difficult to follow and overall I just felt it didn’t compare to the television show, not that this is surprising really.

I Am MalalaRight now I’m reading I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai which my book club will be reading at the end of September. It’s actually the UW Go Big Read selection so I’m just one of an enormous amount of Wisconinites reading it right now. If you haven’t heard of this book here is a description from goodreads.com:

“When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.”


We’ve been watching Scandal on Netflix this month – totally late to the party but loving it. We just watched the first episode of Season 2 today and I’m SOOOOOOO anxious to find out what happens next!

I’m also watching Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model and we’re still loving The Colbert Report and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson who we will miss a lot when he leaves the show at the end of the year. ::sobs:: We’re at a lull right now otherwise as we wait for the Fall season to begin which will really be any minute now.


Lots of girl power music this month. These are three songs I’ve been listening to borderline obsessively.


9 Signs Your Daughter Might Be a Mean Girl: I was relieved to see that my daughter seems to be in the clear so far.

Back to School: The 70’s vs. Today: So I’m not quite this bad but I totally busted out the bento boxes this year.

I thought age 4 would be better. I was wrong. I seriously could have written this one.

Building Your Own Pergola: Part One. The hubby and I are kinda sorta talking about doing this.

What are you into lately?