What I'm Into Right Now (August 2016)


It's still hot and humid here in these last days of August. But there's now the loud hum of cicadas and a steady falling of yellowish brown Poplar leaves each morning on the deck.

School is starting, and am I ever ready! This summer's fun was great, but it wore me out; the late nights and lack of routine. I'm dreaming of pumpkins, gingerbread, and apple crisp.


After my July post about what I'm into, two friends recommended Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History podcast. I blasted through the whole season in a matter of days. Top-notch production and thought-provoking story telling makes it one of my favorite podcasts to date.

I also just finished Marilynne Robinson's third book set in Gilead, entitled Lila. I've read all of Robinson's novels but this was the first I've listened to on audio and it definitely helped me get through the places I might have stalled. I always struggle with her books. They are not your typical novels. Hardly novels at all, sometimes. The reader was excellent and I have to say I liked this story the best. It had more of a narrative arc than her others, if I can remember correctly. It was really beautiful writing (of course) and I enjoyed finally getting Lila's own thoughts and back story.


We just started Stranger Things. Only finished episode 2, so please, no spoilers! With it's 80s nostalgia and X-File-ish feel I love it so far. (Oh, how I adore Mulder and Scully!). So funny because Si-fi is not usually my thing, but I do love me some paranormal activity every once in a while!

We also started Chef's Table Season 2which is a delight to the senses. Again, stellar production (music, cinematography, artistry--I appreciate all of those elements) and the chef's own stories and food presentations are just fascinating to me.


I am still working on Bury Your Dead and finished up Lila so not much new on that front.

I did want to point you to a powerful post written by my friend Bethany. When she first told me this story I really couldn't believe what she was describing was something she personally experienced in the '90s. But it was. You got to read it here.


Peaches are now in season and my mom just got me a big box of them. My favorite Peach Bread is just cooling now, right out of the oven. What's your favorite way to eat peaches?

Now your turn. What are you into right now?

Resources for Rest Time Play

2016-08-23_001Rest time is essential for our homeschool year. In the summer it often goes by the wayside in favor of afternoons spent at the pool, park, or bike riding, but once school starts again, we go back to the routine.

It takes the place of naps for the older ones and allows the house to be quiet for the baby's afternoon nap. It also gives us some downtime after studying together all morning and provides me an dedicated hour to work. I typically race to my computer to work on a blog post, article, website, or process photos.

To freshen up our routine this year, I made the kids Rest Time Boxes that they are only allowed to play with during our hour of quiet.

I bought three clear plastic bins from Target for each child.

Each box has foldable headphones and I check out Playaways from our library and put them in so they always have a fresh rotation of stories on hand. I basically just searched for items I thought my kids would like at the dollar store and on Amazon.


Here's what I came up with:

Melissa and Doug Tape Activity Book

Build Your Own Cupcake Sticker Activity Book

Melissa and Doug On the Go Water Wow!

Henna Style Notebook Doodles

EyeLike Stickers Reusable Sticker Book

Fantastical Fairies Lacing Cards


Tic-Tac-Toe Play Anywhere Game

Minecraft Activity Book

EyeLike Dinosaurs 400 Reusable Sticker Book

National Geographic Kids Ocean Animals Activity Book

Usborne Write and Draw Your Own Comics

Usborne Make Buildings Book

Word search books and stickers from the dollar store


Do you have a rest/quiet time in your home? If so, what do your kids enjoy doing during that time?

Be a Beauty Builder

Every day at 4 p.m. he carries out a plastic folding chair and his cello case. Most days he plays Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor.  He does it in defiance. He does it in memoriam. He does it, despite the shells that still whiz in the air and crash into buildings all around, almost drowning out his song. Every day, for 22 days, Vedran Smajlović plays his cello on the site of an explosive blast in that left 22 civilians dead.

The story captured imaginations worldwide. It captures mine.

Now, known as the “Cellist of Sarajevo,” Vedran Smajlović reminds me how beauty in the midst of death, destruction, and chaos can inspire, protest, and be a light against darkness.

As someone who has pursued a life in the arts, my life can feel quiet and small sometimes. But I have come to see myself as a beauty builder. And I’ve also come to learn that is no small thing.

Join me over at For the Family as I explore what it means to be a beauty builder.

What I'm Into Right Now (July 2016)

2016-08-02_001Wow, summer is whizzing by! I feel like I blinked and it disappeared! A few days ago I ordered our books for the school year and the leaves have already started to fall, despite the heat and humidity. They've already started to drift over the deck and layer the yard with shades of brown and yellow here and there. Of course summer isn't quite over yet. There are still a few more weeks left to go to the pool and stay up extra late reading or going on picnic dinners. Here's what I've enjoyed over the month of July


I finally figured out how to use my library's Overdrive app on my phone. It's rather convoluted but I was awarded with being able to carry my audiobook selection around with me on my phone now wherever I go. My first pick was Erik Larson's Dead Wake. I'd gone back and forth about giving it my time because I'd heard from many who also enjoyed The Devil in the White City that it wasn't as good. Well, I was completely enthralled from beginning to end. I loved learning about all the passengers on the ship, Room 40, and all the details of early submarine warfare.


We just started watching River and it is unique and intriguing thus far. Not your typical crime drama, for sure.


I am just loving The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. I always feel inspired and nourished when I read Sally's books. I never feel like I need to "copy" their suggestions or that it is in any way prescriptive, but instead, makes me think how I want the lifegiving culture of my home to nourish my unique children. Someone asked me if I was going to implement any of the suggestions in the book and I can't say that I am. I just find it more inspiring at the big picture level, as opposed to practically seeking to put into practice any of the traditions their family did. (Although I have to say an annual Lark Rise to Candleford marathon sounds pretty great!)

I just started Before the Fall (awesome typography and cover art!) and Bury Your Dead but am too early in those books to say much about them.


With the heat comes a lack of desire to cook, so salads are what I'm loving right now. This is a favorite. Also Coconut Milk Fudgesicles are amazing! And they're pretty healthy too, not that you can tell, they are so delicious!

Now your turn. What are you into right now?