five things · joy · quotes

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday! Happy March!

February was fun here on the blog. I posted more consistently, and I love that. Blogging here is a combination of some of my favorite things – doing projects, writing, pretending I’m a graphic designer, editing photos, and playing with words. It just makes me happy.

One night last week, at 8:15, Husband said, “I’m going to bed to read. Are you going to blog?” I said, “Well, I have vintage outfit photos I wanted to post…Do you think it’s silly?” And he said, “Do you enjoy it? Does it make you happy?” Yes. “Then you should do it. It’s not silly if it brings you joy.” Truth.

Then this week happened. I can’t even tell you what exactly happened, but things got CRAZY! Choir, karate, dance, homework, baseball, baseball, baseball, baseball (that’s one for each practice and one for the scorekeeper training I attended). We are so fortunate that one of BB’s buddies is on the team, so we’ve been carpooling, and it’s been a HUGE help, but WOW. Spring is crazy.

Husband and I have been making time after the kids are in bed to sit and chat, no screens or phones, just to catch up (and compare schedules, too). We remembered how crazy last spring was, so we started thinking about what we could cut since we’ve added so much new. The next morning, we talked to BB about putting some activities on hold for now and picking them back up during the summer. He is totally on board – for him, baseball is what he loves.

It’s a good lesson for me, too: how freeing and clarifying it feels to choose only the things that you really love for a season. I wonder how different I would feel if I did this in more areas of my life – to pick a particular hobby or a particular goal and not try to do everything all the time. But I also realize that I can’t do this with all aspects of life because things I don’t love – like laundry and getting the oil changed and cleaning out my inbox – would never happen, and having no clean clothes and a car that doesn’t run and missing deadlines would feel like the opposite of joy.

But for right now, I’m choosing what I love – writing down my thoughts and sharing things that have sparked joy in my life – with you.

Here are some things on my mind this week:

1. Art Projects. I volunteered to coordinate the Art Auction project for BB’s class. I went down the rabbit hole of “art auction projects” – and I found some pretty cool things that I want to make – just for me! Here are some kid-friendly projects that are inspiring me to get out my paints and brushes and scissors and paper (click on the photos to see the tutorials):

bottle cap art

Apparently this piece is made with plastic bottle caps!! (I can’t find the original post – just a chain of Pinterest images. If I find it, I’ll link it here.)


I explored this artist’s website – she has some great tutorials to inspire you to get painting.


I like the idea of making a paper quilt.


I love this Matisse-inspired one – it would be fun to make for BG’s room.

(And I STILL haven’t done the big abstract I want in my living room that I talked about here. I think it would be a great family project to work on. Maybe after baseball is over….)


2. Keeping a Diary/Journaling/Processing through Writing. Ever since the new year, I’ve been trying to keep track of my days in my journal. I like having the everyday little pieces recorded to look back on and see what we did, how far we’ve come. I came across this article by Austin Kleon (who I got to meet a few summers ago when my mom and I went to a lecture and book signing). A lot of good ideas here. I also just started a journaling class at my church that I’m really enjoying, too. I’m excited by the idea of journaling as a spiritual practice because I process a lot through writing. I’ve always loved that Joan Didion quote: “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.”

3. This sewing video. Some of us – especially Husband and The Girl – are obsessed with Tasty videos. The two of them pile up in one chair and scroll through them daily. And they’ve found some pretty good recipes. But this is more my thing. Show me simple tricks – and hand-stitching! – and I’ll watch for hours.

When I walk, I have an empty, happy brain, and I see things. Maira Kalman

4. This quote. Found here.

5. True Facts. We may be very late to the party, but Husband and I stayed up late watching these, and we were dying. So so funny. (Not suitable for kids – but here are the kid-friendly versions that started us down this trail.)

What are you up to this weekend? The next two weekends are CAH-RA-ZEE! I can’t even figure out how we’re going to do it all. But in the midst of the crazy, I’m hoping (and I hope for you) to enjoy a long walk, time to reflect, time to create, and time to laugh. Thanks for reading!

five things · Food · joy

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

How’s your week been? It’s been good here, but honestly, I was kind of done by Tuesday. Not sure why, but it felt like a very long week. It’s a 3-day weekend for the kids, and Husband is making it a 3-day weekend for himself, too, so we’re looking forward to some fun and downtime.

Also, thank you so much for all the kind, fun, inspiring comments this week here and on Facebook. I’m enjoying posting here more regularly, and your comments are a large part of that joy. So, thanks.

Here are a few things on my mind this week:

finger food friday

1. Finger Food Friday. I love meal planning. And I REALLY love having a go-to meal for Friday nights – a little family tradition, if you will. And we’ve had a variety of them. Pizza Friday. Nacho Friday. Now we do Finger Food Friday (FFF for short), where I pick up a variety of fun, appetizer-type foods at Trader Joe’s that morning and assemble it on a platter when we get home that night. (Friday afternoons tend to be busy for us, so trying to cook dinner cuts into precious Family Movie Night time. Assembling the platter takes less than 10 minutes.) We take the platter to the den coffee table, pile up with blankets on the sectional, and find a new (to us) movie to watch. It’s one of my favorite rituals of the week, and it always ends the week on a high note.

The FFF menu changes week to week (there are always new cheeses to try!), but some of my favorites are Turkey Summer Sausage, Norwegian Flatbread, Tomato Basil Hummus, and Dolmas. A few raw veggies are a must, and a handful of dates are the kids’ favorites.

PS – Any good family movies you’ve watched recently? Our favorites tend to be older releases and something with a little grown-up appeal. We’ve loved Cheaper by the Dozen (1 AND 2), Beethoven, Home Alone, The Incredibles, and, of course, now and forever, Harry Potter (the first 3). I’d love to hear your recommendations.

trader joe's flowers

2. Flowers. About a month ago, I read an article (cannot remember where or what context) by a man who wrote of his awe at his friend’s beautiful home – it always looked  ready for a design magazine photo shoot. After several visits, he realized that what made it feel so pretty, so “polished”, was that she always had fresh flowers in the rooms. Then, a week later, I read this article about simple abundance and the author’s decision to buy flowers at Trader Joe’s every week. Then, I went to my friend’s house for book group, and she had a flower arrangement on each table, and it looked fantastic. So last Friday, for “Big Shopping of the Week,” as BG and BB call it, I grabbed a $6.99 bouquet of hydrangeas (at Trader Joe’s, of course – I promise every thing on my list today isn’t about TJ’s) and plunked them in a simple vase on the den coffee table. I cannot begin to tell you the beauty and happiness this simple change has brought this week. Every time I pass through, I see the flowers and smile. They catch my eye, they make the den look “polished”, and they even keep me from making big piles of books on the coffee table. It DOES look more like a design magazine, and it’s a simple thing that brings so much JOY.

rick steves

3. Rick Steves. With our crazy school schedule this year (very different drop-off times and different pick up times), I have struggled to create a “schedule” for myself. Some days I work out before the kids get up, some days I do it in the middle of the morning (or not at all). Some days I run errands, some days I play cards and read books with BG. Some days I don’t shower until 1:00pm. (Don’t judge.)

But every Wednesday – and only on Wednesdays – I eat lunch alone. At first, I grabbed slices of ham or a frozen dinner or whatever I could scrounge in the fridge, but after some thought, I realized this was a great opportunity to treat myself.  After a really long walk (I can only do this on Wednesdays, too), I come home, make a REAL lunch (a big salad with poached egg or soup from scratch or a “gourmet” sandwich with herbed mayo, a stack of veggies, white truffle potato chips and a dill pickle spear), and settle in for a show. (I almost never turn the TV on during the day, so this also feels like a treat.) My favorite? Rick Steves’ Europe. I KNOW! But hear me out: First off, it’s beautiful – the sweeping landscapes, the architecture, the gardens, the cobblestone streets, the little shops. The mix of history and modern life. The art and food and wine. And, let’s be honest, Rick Steves is bit dorky but in a charming way. There’s always a moment where you chuckle and sort of roll your eyes. But in the end, you’ve learned something new and possibly added a destination to your future travel plans.

(Note: The photo above is a scene from last night just before dinner. I’ve gotten Husband on the Rick Steves’ bandwagon, so while dinner finished up and the kids did their screen time, we relaxed and talked and got caught up on the day and watched a little Rick Steves. Like my Wednesday lunches, it’s just a little slice of joy.)

the first step in crafting the life you want is getting rid of everything you don'tthe first step in crafting the life you want is getting rid of everything you don't

4. This quote.

5. This video. Wow. And JOY! That’s all I can say.

What are you up to this weekend? I’m having coffee with a friend I haven’t seen in years, and I’m taking dinner to another friend who’s been sidelined by the flu, and we’re planning a hike along the coast. (Side note: How’s the flu in your area? I know a handful of people who’ve had it, and it’s been AWFUL. My friend has been down for 5 weeks now! So scary.) Whatever your plans, I hope you have a delicious weekend full of beauty, inspiration, and joy. Thanks so much for reading!

five things · joy

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

Thanks for all of your encouraging comments this week here and on Facebook. I’ve appreciated hearing suggestions for other books as I work on my One Little Word for 2018.

Here are a few things on my mind this week:

1. New Things. In preparation for the new year, I read several articles on resolutions and goal setting. I came across the idea of a New Things List here, and then, last Friday, I went to a champagne-tasting party where my friend talked about her list of new things for 2018 (including finding her favorite champagne and learning to make sushi). I love this idea, so I made my own. Here are a few things from my list:

2. This book. I’ve been moving through it very slowly – about a chapter a night. It took about a hundred pages to get into it, but I’m really enjoying it. It feels like a great winter book – I look forward to climbing into my cozy bed to read a little bit more each night about Count Rostov and the goings-on at the Metropol. I close the book, turn out my light, and smile as I drift off to sleep. Feels like JOY to me.

3. This quote.

IMG_3189-0024. Road to Recovery. This was beautiful, moving, heartbreaking, and inspiring.

5. Snow scene. My Facebook feed is full of photos of friends in Tennessee, enjoying the snow. We’ve had fog this week, which is as close as we’ll ever get. Then I found this. It’s like the Yule Log – it’s kind of hilarious, surprisingly relaxing, and addictive. And it turns out there are tons of these on YouTube. (Husband and I spent an inordinate amount of time critiquing them to determine the best. We think it’s this one.)

What are you up to this weekend? Last weekend was super busy, so we’re looking forward to a weekend without any plans. I’m hoping to finish my book, go for a long walk in the fog, and start a furniture makeover that I’ve been wanting to do for months. Hope your weekend is full of new things, good books, and quiet moments. Thanks for reading!