What I’ve Been Reading Lately

We’re already halfway through the month of January and my reading life for 2021 is in full swing, thanks to homeschooling and bedtime reading. I’m joining along with Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy to share what I’ve been reading over the last month.

Books I’ve Finished Recently

Calico Bush was one of our last read alouds and I still have mixed feelings about it. We loved most of the book and got very wrapped up in the lives of the characters. But I’m still shook over one section of the story that I think was too intense and graphic (and tragic) for the target audience of the book.

Only the Name Remains was probably my least favorite homeschool reader and definitely my daughter’s least favorite this year. Compared to all the other books we’ve read, it was dry and dragging, which is tough to acknowledge when trying to read about a difficult part of history. It just didn’t breathe the story to life for us.

Murder, Served Simply was book 3 in the Amish Quilt Shop series. I’m obsessed with the author and series and conveniently I got to read this Christmas tale of murder and meddling parents and love triangles during Christmas vacation.

Banner in the Sky is the book my 6th grader is reading right now. It was slow to start and I was initially worried it would be a slog, but it quickly swept me away to the Swiss Alps and earned a 5 star rating from yours truly.

What I’m Currently Reading

Right now we’re reading Betsy and the Emperor aloud and we’re both hooked on this story of Napoleon’s enprisonment on St Helena. The title character is delightfully sassy.

I have been hearing endlessly good things about the Brave Writer program and the creator’s book, The Brave Learner so I bought her book to check it out and so far so good. I really appreciate her viewpoint on education and I’m looking forward to picking up some tricks and tips.

I’ve been reading 10 Things I Hate About Pinky at night before bed for the past few nights. The author is a favorite of mine and I was hooked from the premise which is reminiscent of 10 Things I Hate About You.

I’m prereading Homeless Bird right now before my 6th grader starts it next month. It’s an intense plot, but so far I’ve found it very readable. I’ve only gotten a few chapters in though. It’s basically about an arranged marriage gone horribly wrong.

We started reading Soft Rain during our morning basket time at the suggestion of a friend and fellow homeschooler, after commiserating over our lack of enjoyment of Only the Names Remain. So far I’d definitely agree that this is a much more enjoyable narrative to read about the topic of the Trail of Tears. This morning my daughter even begged for one more chapter, always a good sign.


What are you reading right now?

6 Keto Recipes Rocking my January.

I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s World Famous Writer’s Workshop this week. All the cool kids are doing it. Head to her blog to see more posts about the following topics this week:

1. Share a favorite recipe you’ve been loving lately.
2. Write about what helps you stay motivated during these unprecedented times?
3.  Write a blog post about something that made you smile this week.
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: enough
5. Write about the last argument you witnessed (could be a silly one)…did you take a side?
6. Share a memory about something you did as a child that made a family member angry.


Dan and I both agreed halfway through the month of December that we needed to jump start our diets in the new year. We’d both been living that 2020 Slump Life and eating like a couple of unguarded six year olds at an ice cream buffet for basically a whole year and being actual probably grown ups we knew we couldn’t do it indefinitely. Since quarantine life continues whether we like it or not, it was time to stop acting like life has no rules anymore.

Dan has had tremendous luck with Keto in the past so it was no surprise that he chose to jump back on the well working wagon. And after a couple of years of cooking for his diet, I felt capable this time around of joining him, for at least a month.

There are different types of Keto lifestyles, I’d say ours falls somewhere in the Lazy Keto / Dirty Keto corner. He’s much stricter about his carb levels than I am, but I’ve still managed to do enough in the last two weeks to keep myself from cracking and to keep my sugar level at a much more manageable state. I’m shocked at how few calories I’m consuming when I stick to it and keep enough fat and protein in my diet. So far so good. Here are some of the newer recipes and old favorites that are making this whole thing work for us.


THE BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE

I decided early on that I wanted to find a way to make a breakfast smoothie that was Keto friendly because like 48 hours before starting the diet I had one of the best smoothies of my entire existence at a local coffee shop and I was heartbroken that I wouldn’t be able to drink it again anytime soon. True story, I’m a real piece of work. So I started with this recipe at thebigmansworld.com and tooled around with different flavors and combinations and eventually settled on the following stupidly simple recipe:

Jen’s Keto Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter if that’s your bag
  • 1 cup of Quest chocolate protein powder (it has a less carbs than other powders I looked at. I’ve used Olly, too and only used a half serving to cut down on carbs)
  • cinnamon to taste

Directions

  1. Add half the almond milk to your blending device of choice and then the remainder of the ingredients. Then add in the rest of the almond milk.
  2. Blend until all ingredients are well mixed in and it’s the desired consistency.

Sometimes I add powdered instant coffee, too.


EGGS AND BACON Y’ALL

Thanks to my terrific husband working from home, most days he makes me some variety of bacon, eggs, and cheese. Sometimes he scrambles, sometimes they are fried. I am seriously digging this breakfast for lunch life and it’s an easy Keto friendly meal.


KETO ZUPPA TOSCANA

I’ve been making this slow cooker Keto take on zuppa toscana for ages now and I honestly prefer it over the potato version. This recipe subs in cauliflower instead and the result is very tasty. Multiple members of the family have informed me that it’s one of their favorite meals. You can use fresh or frozen veggies and whatever level hotness you like in a sausage. Seriously I make this even when nobody is dieting.


TACO PIE

I was perusing this article on Good Morning America last week and was super intrigued by the Taco Pie recipe. We usually just throw our taco meat on a salad and enjoy our quick taco nights but I felt like trying something new but relatively easy and this was just the ticket. The whole family dug into it and my husband and I immediately started dreaming about how to reimagine other meals in this quichey pie dream world. Tonight I’m going to turn another family favorite, hamburger casserole from Cast Iron Keto, into a Hamburger Pie.


KETO NO BAKE CHEESECAKE

But what about dessert, asks every sweet tooth in the room. I said a lot of big talk early on about how I wasn’t going to succumb to silly fake desserts while doing Keto this month and I made it about one day under that notion. We have found a few Keto ice cream bars and pints that hit the spot, but this no bake cheesecake recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen was lick the beaters good. Like where have you been all my life let’s get married and live in creamy, cheesecakey bliss forever good. And it was so stupidly easy to make that it kind of felt like maybe things will be okay after all. This one still definitely qualifies as a sometimes treat, but what a treat it was.


KETO CHEESE CRACKERS

I’m also still loving this awesome keto cheese cracker hat trick. I found the recipe at kaseytrenum.com and it’s so simple guys. I just cooked up a huge batch today. Each “cracker” is one slice of cracker barrel sized cheese, so three crackers is equal to 1 ounce of cheese. That’s it. This time I sprinkled half with her quasi spicy spice blend and the other half I used garlic powder, basil, and a little parmesan cheese for good measure.


Anyone else living that Keto life? I’d love to hear about your favorite go to recipes in the comments section!

The unsung heroes of 2020

I am feeling nostalgic as this year draws to a close and thought I’d dorkily list some of the very un- serious things that have gotten my family through this year and served as the backdrop to our year, if you will. Things like…

Animal Crossing which I bought on a petulant whim after all our plans were cancelled this Spring and has since gone on to become a favorite game for my eleven year old and I, along with all the other tweens and moms I know it sometimes seems. This summer especially involved a lot of long hours visiting friends islands and working on our little island.

Bob’s Burgers which we started watching for the first time this year and have already caught up with the current season, making it much harder to binge. It’s not the only show we fell for hard this year. We also binged Community, The Great, Space Force, most of King of the Hill, and almost the entire Marvel cinematic universe.

Adult coloring books have become a completely unironic hobby of mine this year. My daughter and I both spend many afternoons and evenings coloring together and have developed strong opinions on markers and paper quality.

Eatstreet has gotten so much of our business this year it’s crazy. We’re using Amazon slot, too, but that’s not necessarily new so much as increased. Before 2020 we almost never ordered delivery apart from the local pizza and Chinese places but this year we’ve made ample use of these new fangled services that let us enjoy more of our favorite restaurants without leaving the house.

Loungewear has become far more important this year. Yes standards have fallen pretty low when it comes to what constitutes outdoor wear, but I don’t hate the freedom of deciding that comfort is king this year. Mad love to the new favorite pieces from Duluth Trading Co. and Torrid that have become every day staples.

Our Mr. Coffee pot that went from the appliance we pulled out on weekends to our daily workhorse. I don’t hate meeting up with my hubby for coffee refills on the kitchen in between his work meetings and my homeschool lessons. We’ve developed a lot of cute rituals that just look like drinking coffee on the front porch or shopping for groceries but have become a stand in for date nights and I couldn’t imagine the year without them.


What new or novel things have you been enjoying this year? What new hobbies and habits will you keep in the next?

counting my blessings in 2020

It’s pretty easy to wallop on this year and list the myriad of things that have gone wrong or changed or thrown us for a loop. All you have to say is 2020 and I think we all collectively groan and grumble about quarantine, politics, social media, curves that need flattening, and the isolation and closeness and sheer Groundhog Day-quality that this year has been.

But it hasn’t all been bad. 2020 has scattered a few blessings in between the chaos, at least for us.

I was inspired by this video by Homeschool on the Hill to look back on some of the ways that this year was good for my family.

The first obvious one is that even though it was under duress, homeschooling my sixth grader has honestly been a joy. That’s not to say it’s been easy or that I haven’t been exhausted or stressed out in the planning and day to day of it all. But I can see how much she’s learning and how much we enjoy sharing this together. We’re loving our Bookshark curriculum and I’m already starting to plan for seventh grade because even when this whole quarantine situation is over, we’re not planning to switch back (at least for middle school).

I would be remiss not to express my gratitude for getting to replace my car this year. We actually replaced both of our aging vehicles and although both happened rather unexpectedly, I’m grateful that we were able to replace them quickly and with little issue. Not paying for private school tuition this year certainly made this situation easier. And I freaking love my new ride.

We have been blessed with so much family time. From camping trips to late night stargazing walks to movie marathons and just the day to day minutes. I’ve not so secretly loved having my brood around so much. Distance learning hasn’t been easy for everyone but my teenager makes it look easy and working from home has been relatively easy for my husband as well.

Although we get antsy with the close quarters every now and then, for the most part we’re all getting along and making the most of these stolen days. If anything, I feel like I am finally learning how to simply be at home. I’m baking more and finding time for hobbies and learning to keep myself entertained without leaving the house as much.

We’ve done some home renovations that we’ve talked about for years like clearing out our office so it can double as a den and gaming room – or replacing our stove (under duress) and putting up a little backsplash. We cleaned out the garage so that my new gorgeous car can park inside (yay!!) and put some chairs on our front step so that the hubby and I can escape outside for a morning cup of coffee and “get away” from the kids for a bit. We’ve also finally gotten comfortable leaving the kids home alone for periods of time so we can go on exciting dates like “to the grocery store” or “what if we got ice cream by ourselves for no reason?”


Those are just a few of the little blessings off the top of my head. It’s nothing earth shattering – but if you ignore the face masks and the toilet paper shortages and the lack of exciting vacations or big parties and the ability to go to Target to shop for nothing while drinking coffee (and yes some of the bigger things we are missing, too), this year almost kind of hasn’t been that bad…

I’m not making light of the struggles this year has provided. There have been plenty. I could write a completely different post listing all my grievances and it would be a long one. And I’m sure yours would be pretty intense, too. But sometimes we need to remember to focus on the rays of light where we find them shining.

Happy Holidays guys – I hope you find some glimmers in the darkness as we count down to the end of a very strange year.

My Year in Books (so far) | 2020

The year is not quite over yet but the odds of me finishing another book before the clock strikes twelve on 2020 is starting to diminish (though I’ll give it my darnedest). I finished my 2020 Reading Challenge on Goodreads (thank you Homeschool readers!) and they have even published their Year in Books so I thought I’d share a little bit of my reading year and give you the highlights.

So far I have read 50 books this year which is a pretty awesomely high number for me, and I think greatly contributed to by our homeschool year. My 6th grader and I have read about twelve books together so far this school year (some longer than others).

I also discovered a few great new to me series and have made ample use of my local library this year, in spite of the hoops we’ve had to jump through with curbside pickups.

Here are a few superlatives for the year’s reading:

Top 3 Favorite Homeschool Books

Our history and reading curriculum are essentially entertwined so we’ve spent the school year so far reading some terrific historical fiction for our World History 2 class. Here are our three favorites:

The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler was so good that my daughter asked for book two in the series. It’s more of a mystery book than a scary one, despite the cover.

While attempting to solve the mystery of a stolen jewel, Seikei, a merchant’s son who longs to be a samurai, joins a group of kabuki actors in eighteenth-century Japan.”

The Ravenmaster’s Secret by Elvira Woodruff was immensely readable and had a great cast of characters. I especially loved Maddie and could not stop picturing her as a young Merida (Kelly Macdonald voice included). This book takes place in the Tower of London during the Jacobite rebellion, told from the perspective of the son of the Tower’s Ravenmaster.

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope was one of the last books my daughter finished before Christmas break and one of my personal favorites. It was another one of those books that she didn’t actually want to stop reading. There’s quite a little Fandom on the internet for this book, that I had never heard of before this year, but I can see why. There are three love stories, terrific dialogue, and plenty of action, adventure, and comedy.

“Newly orphaned Peggy Grahame is caught off-guard when she first arrives at her family’s ancestral estate […] The house is full of mysteries — and ghosts. Soon Peggy becomes involved with the spirits of her own Colonial ancestors and witnesses the unfolding of a centuries-old romance against a backdrop of spies and intrigue and of battles plotted and foiled. History has never been so exciting — especially because the ghosts are leading Peggy to a romance of her own!

Favorite How Do I Homeschool Book

Just in case you are looking to start homeschooling and wondering where on earth to begin, I really enjoyed Homeschool Basics by Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover. Not every chapter was relevant to me personally but I skimmed through the bits that weren’t for me and got a lot of great information and affirmation from the rest. I really love Kristi’s YouTube channel for more great homeschooling tips.

Favorite New to Me Author

I devoured Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower, which is set in a magical bookshop (seriously), this summer and have been quickly getting my hands on some of her other books like Prose and Cons (book 3 which I’m in the middle of reading) and her Amish Quilt Shop series that she writes under the name Isabella Alan. She has a huge backlist, so this should keep me busy for awhile.

Favorite Swoony YA Book

The other genre I’ve been spending a lot of time with this year is the YA Rom Com trope (tried but true). Basically in between reading for school, I’m indulging in a lot of comfort reading and cozy mysteries and YA are pretty much where it’s at for me there. My favorite YA book this year was…

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord which is sort of a You’ve Got Mail style premise with two teens who have been placed in charge of the Twitter accounts for their family’s respective businesses which turn out to be rival companies. The story has a lot of heart and I basically inhaled it.


That’s the highlights reel for this year of reading. What books would make your Best Of list for 2020?

10 Things I Was Doing When I Wasn’t Here.

You guys. It’s twelve days into December. Seriously. My last blog post was telling you the things I was loving this fall and now we’re knee deep into December and this morning I had to shovel snow off my front porch and we tried out our new propane outdoor heater thingy so we could sit on said porch and drink tea together like the old people we apparently are. (The heater worked great but we should have waited for it to stop snowing because flurries kept blowing in my face basically the whole time. I don’t know how to be outdoors basically.)

Anyway I thought I’d make up for my horrendous lack of regular posting by sharing TEN THINGS we’ve been doing when I haven’t been here blogging about it. That aught to get you up to speed. You’re welcome.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with a weeklong unit study about the Wampanoag tribe because 1) history tends to sorely overlook them apart from saying, “Thanks for teaching us how to make corn. Sorry we were basically terrible in return.” and 2) my hubby and kids are actually part Wampanoag so it was also basically genealogy. We made nassump corn porridge and cranberry coffee cake. We read books about the tribe and a few about the pilgrims, too. We watched YouTube videos about how the tribe lived back in pilgrim times and we made pottery with some air dry clay.

The weekend after Turkey Day, we put up our Christmas tree. This was our first time pulling out the artificial tree in a few years, the prelit lights no longer work, so we strung another string of lights right on top and went about our merry making.

I made the family pose for a cozy sock photo after an aunt sent us these amazingly cozy socks that my eleven year old especially has been living in ever since.

One of my besties got me this amazing coffee mug because my three favorite things in life these days seem to be coffee, coffee mugs, and Animal Crossing. Oh and my family and stuff, I guess.

The sixth grader and I have been slooooooowly making our way through a Nutcracker Themed weeklong art history class offered by Art History Kids. This is a swirly Christmas tree inspired by Van Gogh.

My book club discussed the intro to Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown and then made the I think really fun decision to no longer have a planned book each month and rather just get together and discuss what we’re each reading, and do the drinking and gossiping we were already doing. Basically it’s a wine club for bookworms.

I brought out the watercolors again for the first time in ages after we learned about Hokusai’s famous wave painting. I thought it would be fun to have waves created by super wet watercolor dripping down the page. Honestly, I was pretty pleased with the results.

I got the kids a Harry Potter LEGO advent calendar this year which is super splurgy for me – I’m usually a chocolates or stickers kind of advent mom. But Covid does funny things to our priorities. It’s been really fun opening the door each day and the kids completely took it in stride that they’d be sharing the one insanely expensive calendar.

We got a new oven!! Our old oven was on its way out and after exploring the cost of parts, we decided to just get on with it and replace it. We splurged on this induction cooktop with a convection oven option and an air fryer option. It’s pretty spiffy. We also installed a peel and stick backsplash that I’m in love with.

Other than that, it’s been a lot of school and work. Which for my sixth grader and I usually looks like us curled on the couch reading together. One of our last reads was Calico Bush by Rachel Field which she adored in spite of some seriously intense plot twists. Definitely read some parental reviews before mindlessly handing this one off to your kiddos.


What have you guys been up to? Who’s excited to say Smell You Later to 2020 in a few weeks?

6 Little Things I’m Loving This Fall

It’s been a few weeks so I thought I’d tell you about some of the light hearted fun stuff we’ve been up to in the middle of a hectic season of life that’s been trying it’s darndest to get to us. But in the year of 2020, it’s going to have to try harder than a few geriatric cars and other things too serious to joke about. Instead let’s talk about…


Apple cider donuts from the grocery store – we’ve had a lot of apple cider donuts this fall, but the ones that keep me coming back for more are actually just the donuts from my local grocery store. They taste like apple cider, stay moist for days, and brighten up my morning in an instant. Simple wins!


I just finished Murder, Simply Stitched by Isabella Alan, book two in her Amish Quilt Shop series. I’ve been flipping through a few of her mystery series and have had varied results but I really like this one as well as the Magical Bookshop series that she writes under the name Amanda Flower. Something about this season has begged for the cozy mystery so I’ve been checking out a lot of them in between my book club picks and homeschool readers.


I made this slow cooker Olive Garden Chicken and Penne recipe from The Magical Slowcooker and two out of three family members ranted and raved and have been devouring the leftovers all week. The other person doesn’t really like slow cooked meat and it shows. Can’t please everyone. ::shrugs::


EMILY’S WONDER LAB (L to R) Emily Calandrelli as EMILY in episode, 101 of EMILY’S WONDER LAB. Cr. NETFLIX © 2020

Emily’s Wonder Lab on Netflix is my sixth grader’s new favorite thing and is miraculously always relevant to our current science curriculum. (sidenote: One of my favorite things about homeschool is how seamlessly one subject seems to find another and how our lessons often seem oddly relevant to the shows we’re watching on tv or things happening in day to day life.) This show is like Bill Nye for the next generation, making science unabashedly fun and silly.


You guys, I’ve become Adult Coloring Book lady rather unabashedly this fall. You know I love my watercolors, but adult coloring books let me be creative in bursts without planning ahead or having an idea of something to create. This is great when I have five minutes to kill and don’t want to give it to social media. I can idly color in a mandala while we’re listening to an audio book or I’m waiting for my daughter to finish her math lesson. I find that I’m more present while doing this than idly tapping my phone – and it’s a better stress reliever. Some days I’m coloring because I’m bored but many other times it’s because 2020 has me stressed out of my gourd. Anyone else?


Another show we discovered this fall is the apparently oldie but goodie, The Librarians, currently streaming on Hulu. This feels like Doctor Who meets Castle meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The whole family is watching this one and loving it.


What have you guys been up to lately? What books or shows should we watch and read next? What’s your favorite weeknight dinner recipe?

Redefining Halloween in 2020

The question on every mom’s lips right now is “What are you doing about Halloween?” Per usual, we’re all coming from different places with this question and, thus, arriving at different places as well. Kendra @ the Lazy Genius did a whole podcast about how to have a Pandemic-Friendly Halloween that’s definitely worth a listen if you are still trying to come up with a game plan for your family.

Several weeks ago I came to the conclusion that the typical Halloween – i.e. trick or treating – simply wasn’t going to happen for us this year. The risk just didn’t seem worth it to me. The decision was made easier by the fact that my kids are getting older and that I personally am a little bit over trick or treating.

The routine of dressing up in a costume and then covering it with a big jacket because it’s almost November and thus it’s cold out – and then walking through the neighborhood to beg neighbors we don’t otherwise talk to for candy in such exorbitant amounts that we’re then going to go home and try to figure out how to get rid of most of it without disappointing the children… Fourteen years in and I’m thinking I’m ready to call shenanigans on this beloved childhood pastime. Just call me Jen, the Killer of Fun. 2020 was the perfect excuse to shake things up, really.

So what I proposed to my little coven was to celebrate all month long and then really up the ante the week of. We’d spend the month watching all the awesome Halloween movies we could find. Dude Mom has a great list of Halloween movies streaming on Netflix right now. We watched Addams Family, The Nightmare Before Christmas, lots of Harry Potter movies, ET, The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Goosebumps 2, The Witches, The Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting…

We decorated a horde of pumpkins…

I bought the best candy my money could buy – which meant a bag of butterfingers for the husband, peanut butter m&ms for my teenager, sour candy for my tween and fancy truffles filled with coconut for me. And a few other bags and bars that happened to look appealing… But we’ll get to spend the month enjoying it.

This week I told my daughter she could dress up in various costumes every day for school – a challenge she met with enthusiasm. So far she’s been female Harry Potter, a stylish pirate, and a deceptively evil fairie who tricks people into thinking she’s a good fairie by not dressing in a stereotypically evil fashion…

This weekend will be a feast of candy and fall treats. We’ll watch Hocus Pocus on Friday night and a double movie feature on Saturday – the new Hocus Pocus sequel with the kids and the Zombieland sequel for the grownups.

It’s nothing big – I’m not moving mountains. I just decided to focus in on the parts of Halloween we enjoy and ignore the rest. Next year when all our options are available again, I may have to seriously consider which parts of Halloween I want to bring back.

How are you celebrating Halloween this year?

I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop this week – check out her blog for more prompts and fun.

good things. 10.21.20

These days it seems really easy to focus on the bad things. I mean… who could even blame us for feeling a little pessimistic given the current climate politically, socially, epidemically and these days even the weather seems to have stopped playing along.

So now more than ever we need to focus on the good things – be they big or small. This is not a novel idea, but it is a valuable one. To physically write down (type out) the good things happening.

Here’s my list:

Squeezing in one more camping trip – honestly the weather barely cooperated. It was chilly and there were flurries predicted for the morning. But my girl child and husband were clamoring for just one more night in the tent. My teenager and I are not quite that crazy, but we joined them for the camp fire, grilled burgers and roasted marshmallows, then drove home with the smell of the fire still lingering. We went home and watched A Knight’s Tale together and had a fun mother son night. The next morning our intrepid adventurer’s returned happy and safe. A win all around.

Modern Mrs. Darcy put out her 2020 Gift Guide for book lovers – I’m drooling over the whole list basically. I’m especially obsessed with this Dickinson pocket notebook at obvious state.


One of the homeschooling moms I’m following on YouTube talks about how she has a regularly scheduled tea and poetry hour with her kids and I’ve been enviously dreaming of how I can incorporate this into her schedule. But I was really hung up on her version which happens in the afternoon – our afternoons are so unpredictable right now, I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. Then the other day I thought, Why am I letting this hold me back from adding more poetry into our routine? We could be reading a poem in the morning while I drink my coffee, before diving into our routine. Um, light bulb. We added time for a couple poems this morning – one from one of my books, one from one of hers – and it was easy and wonderful. It only took three or four minutes, but it was all I was looking for right now and more importantly – we did the thing!

We finally finished cleaning out our office (and garage, and basement) and ordered a tv stand for the gaming consoles in here, instead of the folding card table we’ve been using. Everything looks so much more organized, takes up less space and really makes the area more inviting. Bonus points, we moved the card table to the basement where we’re working on setting up a little corner for our weekend coffee dates or maybe cocktails and cribbage?


This relationship advice at Cup of Jo is so simple but very smart! It totally makes a difference in our marriage, in my opinion.


We love the drawing tutorials that JJK shares on youtube and I love his new #pumpKINDNESS series. He’s decorating pumpkins and leaving them on friends’ doorsteps to spread kindness. How fun! My daughter definitely wants to do this one.

What would be on your list?