Five Things

1. My friends Clint and Harley have started a podcast, The Rthm, where they discuss all things music. They both are passionate about music and have great taste. Give them a listen! You won’t regret it. Listen to them each week on SoundCloud, here.

2. So…the Oscars…how crazy was that? I’m curious, who has watched some of the films that were either nominated or won? I’m waaaay out of the current film loop. Let me know if there is anything I missed that deserves a watch.

3. Oliver got out of bed the other night. Theo and Beatrice were sleeping and Mike was working so I took the opportunity to snuggle with him on the sofa. This kid. He is so cuddly. And ornery. And so, so sweet. I just started talking to him as he settled into the crook of my arms, and at one point I said, “You are such a good boy.” Without missing a beat he said, “You are such a good goil, mommy.” (Goil = girl, pronounced like the goyle in gargoyle, lol). I die.

4. Homeschooling continues to be an ever evolving experiment full of both fun and failure (which is to be expected). I was talking to a wise momma who successfully home schooled her now three adult children and was sharing my struggles of maintaining a schedule with sick kids. She smiled and kindly reminded me that part of the freedom of homeschooling is that I get to be flexible. “Take a break,” she said. “Pick it back up when everyone is feeling better.”

Her words were such an important reminder to me. Duh! Yes! I have the freedom to do what I need to do here. That is why we are homeschooling!

It’s kind of like the saying: If you find yourself in the wrong story, leave.

It’s so easy to get in a routine and just put our nose to the grind and go, never stopping to question if perhaps we aren’t contributing to some of the hard things in our life. Some things are out of our control, absolutely. But SO many other things are completely within our ability to change or chuck out all together. Change may not be easy, but if what you are doing isn’t working for you, the work it would require to change IS SO WORTH IT.

We have more freedom to make those tweaks to our life than we tend to admit. Probably because using that freedom and maintaing that freedom takes work and/or sacrifice. All this to say, sometimes the pressure you are feeling is coming from no one but yourself. At least, I find that to be the case 90% of the time. So cut yourself some slack and just go do what you need to do to make your situation better.

5. I finished the book, Eight Flavors, The Untold Story of American Cuisine, last night. It was such a fun read (but terrible to read late at night – it made me so hungry!). I loved learning the historical and cultural stories that surrounded these eight flavors. I think it’s important to take the time every now and then to pause and think beyond the act of consumption. Things come from somewhere. They are produced by someone. And they are a part of our society for some reason. I love learning the story behind the things.

It seemed incredibly profound to me that America’s eight flavors – the ones we consume in mass and inform our culinary story – are incredibly ethnic. As I’ve been reading this book and sharing a few notable tidbits with people, they always inevitable ask what the eight flavors are. Their next response is usually along the lines of, “But those aren’t American, they are Asian/Spanish/Italian, etc.”

But really, aren’t we all those things? What is America, if not a land of many people, from vastly different lands, with a family heritage as diverse as our eating habits? Sarah Lohman says it best in her chapter on Siriracha, one of my favorite stories (and flavors) of the eight:

The story of Siriracha is a quintessentially American story. Our food is a mash-up of people and influences from all over the plant.

I don’t want to ruin the story in case you pick up this book, but the Siriracha story is incredibly inspiring, touching, and timely. We live in a land where people have come when their own land was no longer safe or prosperous, and they come to contribute. This is most evident in our beautifully blended, multi cultural, “American” cuisine. It’s vast. It’s vibrant. And it’s delicious.

Just some food for thought for your Friday. Continue reading “Five Things”

Five Things

1. I keep telling my husband that maybe we just need to sell our house and our belongings, buy an RV, and take this show on the road. He could sell his beautiful woodworking from city to city across the US and it would be one heck of a way to see the country. Imagine the sights! Imagine what the kids would learn! (He says we already have one too-few bedrooms, but still…It would be an adventure!) This couple actually quit their jobs and traveled by VW bus from Alaska to Argentina. Hashtag inspiration!

2. My oldest son had his first night of testing and orientation for kindergarden this week. Whew. Talk about feeling all the feelings and thinking all the thoughts! My friend sent me this fascinating article that talks about how “Young children today continue to learn best by watching the everyday things that grown-ups do, from cleaning the house to fixing a car.” It’s a great read, especially for parents! Continue reading “Five Things”

Five Things

1. My boys played in the rain last night and it brought so much joy to my heart to watch them run and play and get absolutely soaked and muddy. Some of my best and most vivid memories as a kid are of playing in the rain with my brother. Childhood can be so magical, especially when we don’t put the pressure on kids or ourselves to make it into something specific. Kids are masters at finding the fun.

2. I read this and it just kind of made me cry, especially this part:

“There’s no mirror in your way when you’re laughing and smiling and happiness is leaking out of you. You would know exactly how bright and beautiful you are if you saw yourself in the moments where you are truly yourself.”

Continue reading “Five Things”

Friday Five

1. I love traveling. My family and I don’t have a big vacation planned, but we do have a few short get-aways scheduled that we are all looking forward to. I’m usually fairly decent about not over-packing in the clothing department, but man oh man, I tend to take way to many accessories. I have a jewelry bag that I put everything in, but things still get pretty tangled up. I saw this clever trick for keeping your necklaces tangle free while you travel.

Now if anyone has any helpful ways to pack my ridiculous hat collection that I take everywhere, that’d be great…

2. Who has a good book recommendation? I just finished But Enough About Me, a funny and interesting nonfiction novel about Jancee Dunn’s experience as a writer for Rolling StoneContinue reading “Friday Five”

Life Lately. The Essential

I read this book once that talked about foreboding joy. It’s the phenomena that occurs when, in the midst of a good experience, you start to feel fear/anxiety over the inevitable end of the good thing instead of just staying present and enjoying it for what it is, for however long it lasts.

Summer has been good to us, and I’m trying to stay in the moment and not think about how summer will turn to fall, and summer-break will end and Mike will return to a job he doesn’t love, and we will all end up returning to schedules that are fine, but more “eh” than “ah!”.

It’s fine. It’s fine.  Continue reading “Life Lately. The Essential”

The Four Gifts We Bought Our Kids This Christmas

This year, we are doing something different for Christmas: We are only buying four gifts each for everyone in the family – something to read, something we need, something to wear, and something we want. That’s it! We all gave our input as to what specific item we wanted for each category, but we stayed firmly within those four parameters.  Continue reading “The Four Gifts We Bought Our Kids This Christmas”

What I’m Doing To Raise Little Readers

It is impossible to remain small minded while being a big reader. I don’t just mean you read a lot of romance novels or a ton of self help books. I mean, you read a whole heaping lot, across genres, across eras, across subject matter.

I like to consider myself a voracious reader. It means I devour or consume books with an eagerness that can’t be stopped. “Voracious” is a word I picked up from one of the many “word lists” I’ve created over the years. If you read enough, eventually you’ll come across a word you don’t know. Especially if you read Dickens. When that happens, I write it down so that I can look up the definition later. I then challenge myself to use that word or words several times that day so that I can hopefully memorize it and assimilate it into my vocabulary. Hence, I now consider my self a “voracious” reader, and not just a big reader. It sounds so much cooler :-). Continue reading “What I’m Doing To Raise Little Readers”

Something to Fall in Love With

I have always loved the written word. Some of my earliest memories are of reading. I can’t tell you what you would see if you travel by car from Ohio to Florida, though I’ve made the trip many times; I could describe to you, however, the details of each book I read during those long drives.

I won’t tell you something nerdy like, “some of my best friends are books,” or “open up a book and see where it takes you.” I don’t read to escape or to pretend. I read because the written word is amazing: it can make you feel every emotion under the sun; it can reveal new thoughts and ideas; and, maybe most importantly, it can change you. Continue reading “Something to Fall in Love With”