What’s Working

In between this dodging this crazy spring weather, with work, school, and home life echoing Mother Nature, we are managing to do a few things that bring us peace and joy. Here’s a short list:

Have you listened to the Goop podcast? The opening episode features Oprah, talking about Maya Angelou among other things. This is excellent food for a good, long walk or car commute.

Eating more good vegetables. If there’s one great thing about spring in the south, it is shelves full of excellent produce in March, making it easier to sustain a “protein plus three” diet. It isn’t local, but it won’t be long before we can get much of this at our farmer’s market, and this pleases me so very much.  Eating the rainbow has helped me miss the flu and other viruses that have been passed around too much the past few months.

Spring Cleaning- I ordered both a clean out bag and a donation bag from Thredup, and tring to sort through 6 bags (!) of clothes that the girls and I purged cleaning our closets these last few months. When we shop this year, I will remember these piles of clothes and try to make more responsible purchases.

What is working for you this month?



February Reading

Sorry to have been silent for a couple of weeks! Here’s what I have been up to:

Practical Magic Alice Hoffman, Is it wrong to like the prequel better? I felt like it made more sense, the characters were more developed, and that overall it was just more. Maybe it’s the evolution of the author?
Whispers in the Mist Lisa Alber, I enjoyed this mystery. Set in Ireland, it had enough mystery and suspense but it was not gruesome or violent. It’s the second of the County Clare Mysteries, so it dips into the characters from the first (which I haven’t read), but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. I might not go back to read the first one, but I will definitely check out the next two in the series.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon Kelly Barnhill, I enjoyed it, but it was a bit too fantastical and strange. It was described as a coming-of-age middle grade fairy tale. The characters were interesting but it was slow, and not enough content that I think a 5th/6th grader would enjoy. I wanted to love it, but I don’t think this is one for me to share with the girls.
I am Malala Malala Yousafzai, My oldest had the student version in her 6th grade language arts syllabus, and this is one that I wanted to read along with her class so that we could discuss. It is a story I will never forget, and makes me appreciate just how priviledged I am to be a female born in America. Malala helped me understand the background of the Middle East conflict. While I have grown up with this conflict, it is very easy as Americans to turn a blind eye. It helped me understand how the world views America’s involvement in the continued conflict and just how much international aid and diplomacy are needed for progress. But I also understand that our efforts as world citizens might not bring about progress as quickly as we all want to see it because the problems are centuries old.
Uncommon Ground Tom Hanks, I had the audio version and enjoyed it but I didn’t finish before it expired. Tom does the narration, and his voice is perhaps more interesting than the stories. I might try this again once the popularity dies down. I wouldn’t wait in line for this one.
America’s Test Kitchen (A Cook’s Illustrated publication) I love these publications, so perhaps I should subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated or Cook’s Country. I follow them on Instagram, and I love learning the development of the recipe, from equipment testing to ingredient mistakes and tweaks.
Victuals Ronni Lundy, This was such an interesting cookbook and story from start to finish. I plan to buy this for my uncle’s birthday, because he loves cookbooks and will appreciate the Appalachian history and local flair. The photography is stunning, and these recipes feel like home.

My March stack is featured in the photo above… I can’t wait to share! Are you reading anything great that I should know about?




The daffodils and forsythias are blooming and the trees are budding! Everything seems to be about 2 weeks ahead of schedule, so I’ll cross my fingers and hope there’s not a cold snap around the bend. I don’t want these pretty blooms to be frost-bit.

My Spring Momiform will include this lightweight pink jacket (to elevate my standard jeans & t-shirt) and this maxi skirt (dressed up with blouse and booties or down with t-shirt and converse). Finding out what I like to wear through The Curated Closet has been so helpful in making thoughtful choices to freshen up my wardrobe for Spring.


My spring wardrobe will not include my Campside after all, unfortunately. My Olympic knitting project is an Olympic failure. Back when the Olympics began, I told myself just 6 rows a day would have me blocking by the closing ceremony. But just like staying up past bedtime to see who wins the gold, I haven’t committed past the first few nights. This might be renamed my March Madness project…

How are things blooming for you?



Anger, Frustration, Hopelessness, Sadness, Fear, or Joy?

Share your feelings with someone today. Listen to someone today. Empathize today. And try again tomorrow. Teach your children to do this by modeling love.


In the Kitchen: Gluten Free

I am trying to pysch myself up for eating gluten-free again. While I’ve never been diagnosed with celiac disease, I have experienced symptoms of gluten intolerance.

When I went gluten-free last year, my joint pain disappeared, digestive issues improved, and I slept so much better. I know it’s a healthy choice for me, but it’s really difficult without intense meal prep and planning.

I want to go in it with a better game plan this time, so I started by making a list of dinners that my family already eats that are gluten-free (or easily adaptable for me).

Easy GF Dinners:

Taco Bowls with rice
Roasted Chicken, Potatoes and Carrots
Stir Fry Chicken or Shrimp, Squash and Onions
Potato Soup with Sausage
Grilled Chicken or Pork, served over salad
Hash, with potatoes, peppers, and onion
Cheesesteaks (without the bun)

These are the common dinners that my family loves that make it hard to stick with a gluten-free diet:

Spaghetti (I can make with chickpea pasta)
Sandwiches (I can use GF bread)
Pizza (I am doomed)

I haven’t made it beyond list-making. But as good veggies are popping up in the grocery and farmer markets will be opening soon, it seems less daunting.  Does anyone else have this ‘good on paper, bad on follow-through’ problem?


January Reading

I hit my reading goal this month, easily! I know there are many January-haters out there, and as much as I do not enjoy freezing temps, I love how much I can accomplish this month!

Drums of Autumn, Diana Gabaldon
Fourth in the Outlander series, this is set primarily in America before the American Revolution. Like the other Outlander books I’ve read, this installation in the series is exquisite in detail, romance and daring. And like the others, I always proclaim the last one I read to be the “best”. It’s just long, so carve out some time.

The Horse Dancer, Jojo Moyes
Let me preface this by saying I am a big fan of Jojo Moyes. But this one was slow. So slow in fact I had both the audio and digital version of this last fall, and never got past the first two chapters. But I persisted and borrowed a library copy and ended up loving it in the end. It is romantic in a realistic, modern way. Driving the story is Sarah, an orphaned teen, and her survival story.

Perfect Plates, John Waite
This is a perfect gift for a cookbook lover. The recipes are well-photographed and mostly simple, with known ingredients, yet he pulls together some very unique combinations. The Banana and Blueberry Dutch Baby Pancake is the perfect Saturday morning breakfast, and I’m bringing the Rye Soda Bread with Egg Butter to my next lunch meeting.

Gem & Dixie, Sara Zarr
This young adult selection certainly pulled at my heart. Gem & Dixie are neglected teens with a complicated family system. Both the mother and father do their fair share of loving these girls but yet they continually manipulate them for their own selfish gain due to their own flaws and addictions. My heart breaks for any adolescent that is robbed of the chance of adolescence. Her characterization and dialogue of the teens seem near perfect, and the book highlights the importance of the school support system in a vulnerable teen’s life (all the way from teachers, counselors, to even school cafeteria workers).

All Grown Up, Jamie Attenburg
Someone recommended this one as being funny. I don’t think funny would describe it well. It was ironically humorous at times, but I mostly found it depressive and narcissistic. The character’s lack of identity and struggle to find passion and purpose was insightful, but definitely not funny.

And we’re off?, Dana Schwartz
The premise of this story is a teen artist is offered the opportunity to study abroad, but the mother decides to tag along at the last minute. This one is funny and a bit nightmarish, at least from the teenager’s perspective. She gets an opportunity of a lifetime for some self-discovery, and her broken mother decides to both physically and mentally anchor her. The mother seems less like a helicopter mom, and more just discouraging, pathetic and lost.

Pioneer Woman Cooks, Come and Get It!, Ree Drummond
These really are normal, delicious recipes for a busy life. The Overnight Muesli is easy and delicious, and the Sheet Pan Tofu and Grilled Cheese & Veggie are my new favorite lunch favorites. I’ve never made salmon before, but my daughter and I are going to try to cook the Honey Soy Salmon together the next opportunity. Not all of the recipes are perfectly healthy, but in this cookbook Ree makes healthy also look easy and tempting, a considerable feat.

Rules of Magic, Alice Hoffman
Rules of Magic is a prequel to Practical Magic (which I haven’t read or seen the movie, but I’m reading it next). I will be the millionth person to echo that you don’t have to read Practical Magic before reading this one, and it’s such a beauty that it can stand alone if you wish not to read how the family progresses, as hard as it might be to try. It’s the Owens sisters backstory set in 1950’s New England, and it’s masterful storytelling, capturing both the spirit of the time and the fantasy of magic. I’ve heard the audio version is outstanding, although I only had a library copy and was blown away. I loved it, and would put this on any must-read list.

A Letter to my Congregation, 2nd Edition, Ken Wilson
I believe that most Christians would agree that a defining issue for this generation of believers is the church’s path forward through embracing or excluding people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. Whether you agree or disagree with the author’s conclusions, I found it was a worthy journey. I was especially moved by his discernment process of prayer, counseling and research, and the afterword he wrote for the second edition, a true “what happened next.” His generosity of spirit and openness touched me. He wrote, “I can appreciate anyone disagreeing [with] me because I have lived long enough to disagree with myself.” I hope I can approach my calling with such humility.

Have you read anything wonderful that you would recommend?


On (& Off) the Needles

This month, I have many projects on the needles and very little finished.

I have only one stripe of the baby blanket finished for my new nephew AJ. I scrapped the log cabin idea and went with this chevron stripe. He was born a few weeks ago, in Utah, so he might have a week or two of cold weather left by the time I finish to enjoy this blanket. From what I hear, he’s a patient little fellow. Since he hasn’t heard yet how terrible of a finished knitter I am, there’s no need to dash his hopes just yet. Worst case scenario he can use it as a scarf next winter, haha.

My Campside is about 1/2 finished. This has been fun to knit as we watch several basketball and football games. The repeats are easy enough that I am lucky to complete several rows each night. However, my luck at picking teams is not so great. While the Vols are playing great basketball, just about every NFL team I love has lost. My husband wants me to cheer for the Patriots next.

I needed a quick project to help me feel like I accomplished something this month, so I decided to knit this Chunky Cabled Hat. I can never have too many hats, what with these freezing temps and the girls taking all the hats to school and leaving them in their lockers. ❤️