What I'm Into Right Now (Feb 2017)

Listening:
I've discovered two new podcasts that have been helping me with Instagram and writing. Hashtag Authentic has been a fascinating look at how to be strategic as a creative on Instagram and is hosted by the delightful Sara Tasker. I've enjoyed her guests too, like Philippa Stanton, who I've followed for some time. Check out her gorgeous feed!

The second show is the Ann Kroeker Writing Coach podcast. First, I love the format. The podcasts run 5-7 minutes but are jam packed with encouragement and information. It's a real boost to my writing life.

Watching:
Josh and I are loving Hinterland. First of all, it's set in beautiful and rugged Wales. Since one side of Josh's family are originally from the Welsh motherland he has always wanted to visit. The episodes are long--movie length, so it's nice on a Friday night. The pace is a slow build. Lots of time to develop characters and Richard Harrington (also of Poldark and Lark Rise to Candleford) is excellent. 

We're watching A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix as a family. I never read the books, but my youngest sister loved them. It's a bit scary at times for the kids but so smart, witty, darkly funny, and packed with wonderful actors. 

Reading:
I'm slogging my way through The Nightingale. Yes, shoving my way through. All my friends give it a good many stars on Goodreads and it was recommended and loved by so many who have the same taste in literature as I do, but I'm just forcing my way through it. Sorry to those of you who loved it. I hope the payoff is worth it. Once I'm done I'll post a review on Goodreads.

The kids and I are reading Listening for Lions which we are LOVING. Also listening to Nim's Island on audio, which is just as fun and delightful as the movie.

Eating:
I've been getting lots of menu-planning inspiration from Megan's blog lately. She does a Menu Monday series I never miss. Our most recent win was Garlic Butter Pasta with Herbed Pork Bolognese. Just go make it. OHMYGOODNESS! It was incredible! The noodles creamy, the meat and sauce flavorful, the kale crispy and salty on top. We will be making it again and again! It felt like I was eating in a restaurant. 

What have you been loving?

Smoothie Favorites

About a year ago our blender died. I always swore I'd buy a Vitamix next. But in the end we didn't have the funds for such a large purchase so I went with something way more powerful than my original blender but not as expensive as a Vitamix: The Ninja Professional Blender

I couldn't be happier with our purchase. It blends everything I've tried with ease and has a nine-cup capacity. I no longer have to make smoothies in "batches." Although a Vitamix has lots of options and would have been great, the truth is I really mainly use a blender for smoothies, so my Ninja has been perfect for this. 

I've missed smoothies, and so have the kids! They are a cool treat in the summer and in the winter help us get our veggies to fight colds and sickness. My boys are terrible vegetable eaters, so also, it makes me feel good to know when we make green smoothies they are getting a powerful helping of spinach or kale--and with no complaints!

Some of our favorite green smoothies are the creamy Coconutty Green Smoothie, and the Green Banana Blueberry Smoothie. My daughter loves Strawberry Peach Smoothies and I'm partial to this Peanut Butter Banana & Oatmeal smoothie.

Are you a smoothie maker? Drop your favorites into the comment section!

Family Fun for Valentine's Day

I love Valentine’s Day. Growing up my mom always made the day special with pancakes for breakfast and an afternoon tea. Now, I love making the day special for my kids too. I also enjoy the fact that there’s no “right” way to celebrate it. No need to travel, buy gifts, or host a dinner. It is a fun day that brightens up winter and celebrates love. And is an opportunity to eat chocolate. Can’t pass up that opportunity!

Today I’m sharing our traditions for celebrating Valentine’s Day as a family. I hope they may inspire you to create some fun memories with your family too.

Come join me over at For the Family.

What Valentine's Day traditions do you and your family share?

What I'm Into Right Now (Jan 2017)

Listening:
Lilac Girls on Overdrive. The readers are excellent (there's three different ones for each of the main story threads) and it is gripping thus far. 

Watching:
Paranoid on Netflix
We found a winner with Paranoid! It's my favorite type of crime drama: heavy on the suspense, not heavy on explicit violence. Probably one of my favorite crime series since Broadchurch. The Brits know how to do it!

I'm also enjoying Masterpiece Theater's Victoria. It's not as good as The Crown, for sure, (comparisons can't help to be made) but I find Victoria's reign interesting, especially the early years, so I can't help but find it appealing. 

Reading:
Besides listening to Lilac Girls I'm also reading The Nightingale after so many friends who have similar reading tastes recommended it. I'm not sure why I'm doing two books set in W.W. II right now though, that probably wasn't wise.

I also bought myself an issue of Taproot magazine. I've wanted to read an issue for a long time and it is inspiring!

Eating:
Our blender broke a long time ago and I swore I'd buy a Vitamix the next time my blender went bust. However, our budget didn't allow it so I went with this Ninja. However, it's just awesome! We are back to enjoying green smoothies, trying to stay healthy this winter while everyone around us seems to get sick. My boys are TERRIBLE veggie eaters (the girls love their greens) so it's a way for me to have them get a nutritious dose of spinach in them each day. This Green Banana Blueberry Smoothie is our current fave.

And this crab soup was easy and delicious.

What have you been into lately?