Good Reads: July

Another book post!  I've been reading a lot this month and I wanted to share before the list got too long, and since it's the last day of the month already (!!!), I figured I'd better get it posted.  This month's roundup of books has kept me completely engaged and I actually remember what it's like to lose myself in a story and walk around in a book-fog, which hasn't happened in a long time.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10029663-what-alice-forgot
What Alice Forgot

This month's book club pick, I could not put it down.  The story of a suburban mom who wakes up on the floor of her gym thinking she's 29 and pregnant with her first child, only to find out she's actually 39 and at a completely different stage of life.  I read this in two days (thank you to my loving husband who had the kids out in the yard all weekend), totally engrossed in the weaving, twisting stories.  Highly recommend.  I just started another one by the same author, The Husband's Secret.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/798875.Alone_in_the_Kitchen_with_an_Eggplant_?from_search=true
Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

This fantastic collection of essays by well-known authors about a memorable experience eating and/or dining alone made me think about my favorite go-to alone foods during those times I spent cooking for just myself.  I think I'll write a post on it at some point.  If you enjoy nonfiction and food writing and observing people then this is a great choice.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8909152-attachments
Attachments

The premise of this book is really clever- a young man hired to monitor company email ends up falling for one of the people he monitors just from reading her email.  A very witty story about post-college life, this was a quick read and would be great for the beach or an airplane- not that the story was forgettable, just that it goes fast.  The only thing that bugged me was that for all the cleverness throughout the book, the ending was a little sappy.  I also read Eleanor & Park by the same author, which turned out to be YA but also very good, and I have Fangirl lined up plus Landline on hold, so I suppose I would just recommend this author.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13526165-where-d-you-go-bernadette

This actually reminded me a lot of What Alice Forgot in that it deals with snippy private school parents, and it turned out to be a really interesting story.  Bernadette is an infamous architect who has developed severe social anxiety and disappears one night.  The narrative is mostly told through emails, messages, texts, and official reports.  It took me a bit to get into it but it was a really interesting story.  I get to pick the next book club book for my group, and this one is going to be it.  I grabbed This One is Mine by the same author but haven't gotten into it yet.

I'm always looking for recommendations- what have you been reading lately?

10 Things About Me.


1. I love alternative sports.  Croquet (above), darts, bowling, bocce, badminton, miniature golf, racquetball, lawn darts- those are my things.  Give me a ball and a net/goal/etc. on a team and forget it.

2. I never paint my fingernails.  I find that I can't keep my hands still long enough to let the paint dry and to keep myself from smudging it immediately, and if I do, it inevitably chips off really quickly with the amount of "stuff" I'm doing with my hands every day.

3. At one point in college I had three earring holes in each ear.  I'm not sure who that person was because I can barely manage to remember one pair now.  I haven't checked in awhile but I do think the other two sets closed up.  I actually wanted to have them going all the way up my ear (remember in the 90s when that was cool?) but then I heard that you can hear your ear cartilage crack when they put the earring through so that was the end of that.

4. Senior year of high school I got the female lead in the class musical.  I was Rosemary in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.  I sang solos in front of lots of people.  I don't know how I managed that, but it was a really, really fun experience.

5. I can play the clarinet, having started in the 4th grade.  I diligently practiced every day, and my parents said they really liked listening to it.  I wonder now if that was true.  I wasn't bad, but it must have been awfully repetitive.  Related to that, I really wish I knew how to play the violin, the piano, and the banjo.

6. I am a constant worrier- focused on things that probably would never happen but might.  I always jump to the worst-case scenario and like to prepare myself for events before they happen- meaning bringing any and all necessary supplies and having an escape plan- so that I can try to enjoy myself.  The more unfamiliar the situation, the worse I am.

7. I get very easily motion-sick.  When I was little, my parents' favorite weekend idea used to start with, "Let's go for a ride!" not realizing just how miserable I was, and since I was little, I didn't exactly know how to tell them how I felt.  (I don't generally throw up.  I get kind of dizzy, queasy, and and I don't want to talk or have anyone talk to me.)  I still get carsick, so that makes me the driver in most cases, though I can still make myself carsick while driving, which I think is pretty amazing.

8. The question, "What are you going to do when both kids are in school full-time?" terrifies me.  I don't think I want to teach again.  I don't know if Milo and Molly could be a sustainable full-time business.  I don't know what I want to do.  I've never been the type of person with the "Five Year Plan" everyone always asks about.  Actually, I would love to be a librarian in a public library, but I'm not exactly in a position to go back to school and get yet another degree.  I really wish I had just gone to school for that in the first place.

9. I learned how to use a sewing machine in the 7th grade, in Home Economics class taught by Mrs. Brown.  I don't actually remember learning how to use the machine, but I didn't know how to before that semester and I did after, so it had to be her.  Other than that, I am a completely self-taught sewer and quilter, and have nothing but good things to say about people who post how-to's on the Internet.

10. My husband and I met through a mutual friend in August 2000 and we've been together ever since.  I liked him almost immediately and he didn't like me at all.  Thank goodness for AIM or we may not be together now.  Technology rocks.

Want to know more?  Ask me a question!

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Book Club.

 

I was invited to join a book club a few months ago by a couple of friends and I've been attending ever since.  I really enjoy getting together with the ladies, who are all about the same age with children all around the same age, so while we talk about the latest book, we also talk about work, projects, kids, food, and everything in between.  It's nice to sit with a group of nice people, and it's even better when someone else finds a book for me to read!

We just had a meeting this past week and the next book is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.  I had read this long, long ago (I think I ordered it from the Scholastic Book Club) so I wanted to get it to refresh the story in my mind.  I had to scrounge a copy from the Teen Summer Reading shelf at the library and decided to see what else they were reading.  Fahrenheit 451 caught my eye and I realized that that was one of those high school books that I never read.  And I decided right there that I should find out what some more of those high school books were and read them.

Naturally I headed to Good Reads first, and their first list of 208 titles is impressive, and their second list of 402 titles even more so, although I think there are some repeats within the lists.  It seemed like an awful lot of choices, so I did the next natural thing and asked around on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  I got a lot of great recommendations, so I made a list and I'm going to hit at many as I can, excepting anything by Shakespeare and also The Iliad and The Odyssey.  Been there, done that, thank you very much.

In no particular order:

Fahrenheit 451
Catch-22
Welcome to the Monkey House
The Three Musketeers
The Great Gatsby
Lord of the Flies
To Kill a Mockingbird
Wuthering Heights
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Madame Bovary
Frankenstein
The Handmaid's Tale
Moby Dick
War and Peace
Anna Karenina
A Clockwork Orange
1984
Briddenbrooks
Pride and Prejudice
North and South
Brave New World
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Stranger
Flannery O'Connor
The Scarlett Letter
The Giver
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Animal Farm
Of Mice and Men
Gone With the Wind
Daisy Miller
Leaves of Grass
A Separate Peace
The Catcher in the Rye
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Fountainhead
The Jungle
Like Water for Chocolate
Sense and Sensibility
Jane Eyre
The Canterbury Tales 
The Grapes of Wrath
The Crucible 
The Old Man and the Sea
The Andromeda Strain 
Slaughterhouse Five
For Whom the Bell Tolls
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Oedipus Rex
Dracula
The House on Mango Street
The Joy Luck Club
A Farewell to Arms

Then I realized that a lot of my Internet friends are great readers- you had all kinds of suggestions, after all- so how about we read some of these together and be an online book club of sorts?  I was thinking I could set up a Facebook group or a Google group, since that's an easy way to chat, and if anyone wants to read along and join in, we can chat about it there.  One book a month, until we get bored.  Anyone in?  Anyone have another title to add to the list?  I'm ready to catch up on all these books I missed out on, whether they are fabulous or not.

Passive-Agressive Twitter.

We are in the thick of birthday madness over here, as Gus turns 5 (5!!!!!) next week.  Yesterday we had some of his friends from school over for a water-filled backyard party.  That meant prepping the cake, ordering the pizza, making sure the house was clean even though no one was in it, and getting the yard ready for guests.  By 3:00 I was wiped out.  Then last night I had my monthly book club meeting and didn't get home until almost 10:30, but then I couldn't just go straight to bed because I was wired.  I didn't have anything to drink that involved caffeine, even, it's just that interaction like that with a lot of people requires some decompression time, even when I've had a lot of fun.  So I sat on the couch with my BFF the Internet and tweeted out the following:


It was 10:48, by the time stamp, so I wasn't expecting much of a response since it was late, and then noticed this in my notifications:


Now, who sets up an account to correct someone's grammar on something so picky?  I mean, I am all about proper grammar and usage, you know that, but this seemed a little extreme, so I felt a snappish response was appropriate.  And really, who sets up an account to scour the millions of tweets for a certain combination of letters?  (And then sends out a random tweet correcting a word used correctly?)  How incredibly petty and intrusive.  While social media has some great uses, this is not one of them.

Where Have All the Bloggers Gone?


I finally sat down to read my blog roll this weekend, having fallen way far behind on daily reading, and I noticed that almost all of the most recent posts were link posts- as in, "here is a list of links that I found and wanted to share with you" posts.  And while I find some of these posts interesting and usually find something to click on (because they are so carefully worded to make you click to see this and this! (did I get you?)), I am starting to find them redundant.  It seems as though bloggers have come to think that every post needs to provide information about something useful to other people. I was reading back through my own older blog posts in order to update some broken links, and I realized that I already touched upon writing for yourself just a few weeks ago, so I don't want to rehash what I'd written once before, but I'm wondering where is the narrative?  Where have all the bloggers gone?

I was never a blog reader before I had a blog.  I knew that they existed; I knew what they were (I had read Julie & Julia after all, and Waiter Rant, also based off a blog) but I never even thought to search them out and read the content.  From my basic understanding, blogs started as journals of people's everyday lives, an online diary sharing information from one's day.  Bloggers would sit and rehash the mundane, which didn't seem all that mundane to other people reading it.  When I started my blog in 2011, I think it was right on the transition from personal sharing to professional blogging.  So many bloggers have turned to trying to craft the perfect content to share on Pinterest, or to be considered an "expert", it seems, in hopes that someone will come calling with a book deal or a movie deal or some professional writing gig.

I've also been noticing a lack of comments lately, which in combination with the link posts and lists of interesting DIYs/activities/vacation spots that are just a collage of photos with links without any explanation, it's caused me to wonder if blogging is losing the personal element.  Are people so busy that they are putting together quick content just to keep something fresh on their blogs?  Is "expert" blogging and information sharing more readable than personal posts?  Is it just because it's summer and people are out and about and have less time to post?  Where have all the bloggers gone- the ones who really want to write?

The One in Which I Become a Dog Owner.











Five years ago today, I was standing in a Park and Ride lot off 1-395 in Plainfield, Connecticut in a big long line next to a big long trailer.  I was due with Gus in two days, standing out in the sun, hoping I wouldn't pass out while we were waiting.  The line moved forward slowly as each family walked up to the man in charge, gave them their dog's name and their leash, and one of the assistants went into the trailer to find him or her.  We watched them come out in all shapes and sizes- pit bull, Yorkie, beagle, retriever.  Treats were passed out (one lucky guy got a McDonald's hamburger) as signs of welcome and good will.  We were ready with water and snacks, too, so at least we fit in with these people who looked like they had all done this before.

We stepped up to the front of the line, handed over our paperwork and asked them to find Casey, gave them our black leash, and off they went.  A minute or two later, our long-legged white fluffball came bounding out of the trailer and was handed over to the husband while I stared in disbelief.  I owned a dog.  What was I going to do with her?  I didn't know what to do with a dog, even though I had wanted one very, very much.  After piling her into the back of my Pathfinder, we set off for home.  But Casey didn't like that, climbed over the middle seat and up into the husband's lap and rode like that the rest of the way.  They've been besties ever since.

Before we got her we were trying to decide if we should change her name, as many pet owners do when they adopt, but we decided to wait and see.  When we got her home, she immediately took off across the yard and we both yelled, "Casey!!" and she turned on a dime and came right back.  So that was that.  Once we got her inside she ran around all the rooms and was sniffing everything.  We lived on the top floor of a house, and we had an indoor staircase down to the front door as well as a back staircase outside.  She ran up and down those inside stairs several times and we thought she was just checking out the place.  A few minutes later, she went to the bathroom on the floor.  I freaked out, thinking that this was going to be how it was all the time, that we made a huge mistake.  But the husband stayed calm and explained that it was our fault, that she was trying to tell us she needed to go out and we didn't understand.  She's never gone on the floor since.

It took me about a week to get used to her, and when we went off to have Gus 10 days after we brought her home, I sobbed (hormones) that we had to leave her with friends.  That day we also found out she gets carsick on windy, bumpy back roads.  However, we lucked into the sweetest animal we could have possibly found.  She loves people and is a complete cuddler.  I read in a Martha Stewart magazine once not to try or hug or kiss a dog because they don't understand our terms of affection, but let me tell you- this dog loves hugs and kisses and she knows exactly what they mean.

As I write this she's laying belly-up in the middle of the two of us with her head on my pillow, dreaming and twitching, and I'm so thankful that we have her because there is nothing but love wrapped up in all those curls.  Happy Gotcha Day!

Quick Breads x 3.


Quick breads on one of my favorite things to make, especially for gifting or bringing to a party.  A hostess or a new home owner generally appreciates something hearty yet sweet to eat, and the also make for a sweet breakfast treat.  As a bonus, they are really easy to make, bake quickly compared to regular breads, and usually only require ingredients that are in your pantry anyway.

My tried and true banana bread recipe is in constant rotation around here, as it seems I have a problem with buying more bananas that we can possibly eat in a reasonable amount of time, and before we know it we have a pile of mushy ones.  When I have just two, I halve the recipe and make jumbo muffins, with three or four I make the whole bread and we have a good snack for the week, and it makes me happy that the bananas don't get wasted.  The recipe comes from an old encyclopedia of cooking that my mom must have gotten when she got married 50 years ago, and I haven't found one that I like any better.



Another favorite, especially at Christmastime, is cinnamon-swirl bread.  It is so soft, with just enough sweetness mixed into a coffee cake-like dough.  While it calls for toasted nuts (I prefer pecans) it tastes just as good without them if you need a nut-free option.  I've had several people request the recipe.


Cinnamon-Swirl Bread (via Better Homes and Gardens magazine)

Gather:

1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1egg
1cup milk
1/3 cup cooking oil

Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup of the sugar, the nuts, and cinnamon; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar, the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, beat egg with a fork; stir in milk and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). 

Pour half of the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat with remaining batter and cinnamon mixture. Draw a wide rubber scraper down through batter and up in a circular motion to marble. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
 

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store bread overnight before slicing.  (Yea, right.)


An alternate variation I just tried for this is to swap out the nuts and cinnamon and instead use 1-2 cups of fresh blueberries (honestly, I forgot to measure, but it was a lot).  Follow the recipe exactly, mixing the blueberries with the sugar and adding them to the pan half at a time.  The only suggestion I would make would be to possibly bake it a little longer since the blueberries have more moisture in them.  This makes for a delicious breakfast treat, as well as an evening snack with tea.  Enjoy!

Modern Guy Style.

A few nights ago, we watched the movie Her, which was very interesting and seemingly set in the future, where technology plays an even bigger role in people's everyday lives than it does now.  (There was a mention as to how books are rarely printed anymore.)  However, the aesthetic of the sets and costumes had a very 1960s-meets-modern color-blocking look to it.  (If you haven't seen the film, I'm sorry if that makes no sense.  If you have, does that make sense?)  Anyway, I was commenting to my husband how nice everyone looked- covered up, nicely styled, no wacky body-altering things like mint green hair- and I mentioned how it would be nice to see more people take more of an interest in classic style, where men wore suits and women wore tailored skirts and dresses.  Not that I want to be wearing a dress all the time- it just fit with the conversation- but there was an air of pride way back when in pulling yourself together to look nice in public.  So I decided to go in search of some modern men putting together a classic look, yet totally up-to-date with the times.  You don't mind some eye candy on a Monday, do you?

http://stayclassicblog.com/



http://www.gq.com/style/street-style/201210/ben-ferrari-street-style-october#slide=4


http://suit-swag.tumblr.com/post/26707397305

Can I get an amen for tailored pants?  And actually, tailored, close-fitting everything?  There is something about clothes that actually fit that just pulls the whole look together.  The same style would not work with baggy pants or an oversized shirt.  And let's not forget accessories:

http://weheartit.com/entry/group/7767200

http://thisfellow.com/post/20891154262/lets-make-a-menu
source


http://www.esquire.com/the-side/style-guides/fall-fashion-guide-2013#slide-5

(Note: when searching for modern, hipster-style yet classic-looking men, you will find there are a lot of dark-haired, bearded, tattooed men smoking cigarettes.  Actually, just dark-haired men in general.  Apparently there aren't many blonde hipsters.)

If you're looking to find a gift for your modern man, may I suggest the following:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/122931808/mens-bow-tie-blackgrey-tweed?ref=br_feed_11&br_feed_tlp=men

https://www.warbyparker.com/eyeglasses/men

https://www.etsy.com/listing/128876901/vintage-size-9-mens-barker-dress-shoes?ref=br_feed_60&br_feed_tlp=men

https://www.etsy.com/listing/191511321/vintage-brown-mens-fedora-hat-by-mallory?ref=sr_gallery_4&ga_search_query=men%27s+fedora&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

https://www.etsy.com/listing/178829773/daily-routine-set-8-item-mens-personal?ref=shop_home_active_15

https://www.etsy.com/listing/151199302/handmade-leather-bag-that-will-outlast?ref=sr_gallery_33&ga_search_query=men%27s+leather+bag&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery
beauty and the biker (this is by far one of the best product descriptions I've read)

You can't go wrong with classic elements and an overall look of care and consideration as to what you're putting out there to the masses.

What's your favorite man style?  Anyone else want to see people more dressed up, or do you prefer a more casual, dressed-down approach?

TGIF: Pinterest-Style.

My fiend Paige often rounds out the week with Pinterest Picks, a wrap-up of particularly pleasing Pinterest finds.  Yesterday I asked her if she had written her post yet, that I was thinking of doing one, but didn't want to overlap her choices.  Our tastes are very, very, very similar so it wouldn't be out of the question for us to pick the same things to share.  Her post is already done as I'm writing this, so I'll be interested to see if we did indeed pick anything the same.

One of my favorite things about Pinterest is the amount of recipes there are!  I cook all the time, and I get bored making the same old things, so variety is good.  Since it's morning, how about we start with some donuts (doughnuts?  Which way do you spell it?):

http://www.handletheheat.com/2014/05/old-fashioned-sour-cream-doughnuts.html

Those are on the top of my to-make list, and I don't think anyone in my house will argue with me.

Dueling gray kitchens:



Even though I love (love) our white kitchen, there is something so calming and welcoming about these soft gray cabinets.  And the wood accents!  Don't even get me started.

http://mamapapabubba.com/2014/06/11/portable-lego-kit-for-little-travellers/

We have lunch boxes and Legos.  Two, please!


I already told my husband that if we ever come across one of these cubby cabinets, we're buying it, no questions asked.  Well, no questions from me, at least.

http://seeminglygreek.com/2010/11/spanakopita-me-feta/

On our most recent trip to Florida, we stopped at a restaurant that specialized in Greek food.  I have never really had Greek food, but the husband talked me into sharing a Tour of Greece plate with him (read: a sampler plate) and it was delicious!  So much so, I went searching for recipes for spanikopita (spinach pie) and made it this past week with gyros.  Delicious.

How was your week?  Do you have any good finds to share?  Anyone else also drooling over Greek food?

Have a great weekend- I'm headed over to Little Nostalgia to see what Paige picked!

To see what else I pin, feel free to follow me!

I'm Bored! (And Why That's Okay.)


I was perusing Pinterest this past weekend and came across a pin titled, "Never Hear 'I'm Bored!' Again!" and it was a link to all kinds Pinterest boards to follow that contain all kinds of activities for kids.  Never be bored in summertime again!

Here's the problem: making sure my kids are never bored by filling their summer days with activities is a lot of work.  Someone (me) has to be the one to make the slime, assemble the craft supplies, find the cardboard box and make the straight lines for the roads, and monitor the water activities.  That's tiring!  Does mom get to relax in the summer?  (Not to mention the fact that mom already has a buttload of things to take care of around the house, like laundry and cleaning and organizing all the clutter.)  While it may be fun for Jimmy and Susie to make sculptures out of marshmallows, what happens when they realize they're not supposed to eat the marshmallows but play with them instead?  Or eat them instead of build with them?  And really, how many pretzel stick-marshmallow people/towers/cars can you make?  And then they want to keep their sculptures forever.  Sticky food sculptures.  Just because you don't want them to be bored this summer.

Here's a secret: it's not bad to be bored.  Really.

When I was little I remember being bored all the time.  All. The. Time.  I'm an only child, which means only if a friend or a cousin invited me over to play, or if I ventured out to find neighborhood kids, did I have someone to help occupy my time.  In the off-time, I was able to read or play with my toys, draw, play cards, or come up with some other kind of activity on my own, because have you ever tried to get your mom to play Monopoly with you at 2pm?  Not happening.

Ultimately though, a child being bored is not a bad thing.  It sparks creative thinking and creative play.  Because I don't stop and drop everything the instant they have nothing to do, my kids have to figure out ways to entertain themselves and each other when there isn't someone else around with lots of excess time on their hands.  Frankly, when we do those types of structured crafts, they're interested for about 10-20 minutes at the most and then they're done (and there's a mess to clean up).  Send them outside to the sandbox or upstairs to a giant train track where they can make up their own stories with their own characters and they're busy for a lot longer.


Another bigger issue is that kids whose time is always filled for them come to expect their time to be filled for them.  Sports, arts, music lessons, playdates, summer camps.  While these are great resources to have for an occasional activity, to be so super-scheduled is too much and then when there is downtime, they don't know what to do with themselves and that's when they become more pesky.  I want my children to be able to disappear into their room with a book, to pick up a coloring book or a notepad and draw without needing suggestions, or to pretend play in their kitchen (the running commentary of which is hilarious and sounds a lot like me).  I want them to know that feeling of milling around, not knowing what to do, and then curing that feeling with something that's interesting to them.  Because I was bored, I read a lot of books.  I learned how to make friendship bracelets.  I taught myself how to cross stitch.  I learned how to cook.  I tried my hand at knitting.  I got better on my sewing machine.  Clearly, I was into creative pursuits.

It's summer.  Let the kids run outside in the sprinkler.  Let them make a fort with the table and a blanket.  Let them have some downtime from school and structure and so many activities.  Relish in the words, "I'm bored" and answer back with, "Then go play!"

*edited to add: We don't believe in the kids being "plugged in" all the time either.  They wait patiently for food in restaurants without video games, and they make it all the way to Florida in the car without watching movies.  While screens can be helpful to occupy them, it's not a great way to spend the bulk of your time.

A Day in the Life: Wednesday

A Day in the Life: A glimpse into what I would consider a typical day, like yesterday.

4:30- Awake to someone upstairs crying out.  Wait a few minutes to see if I have to get up and go see what the problem was (hoping that I wouldn't have to), but it stopped, so someone must have been having a bad dream and went back to sleep.

5:00- The husband gets up for work.  How he does that so effortlessly at 5:00 on the dot, two seconds after the alarm goes off baffles me.  Cue me rolling over and snuggling with the dog.  This is a period of in between sleep and awake as he gets ready for the day and the dog is up and down on and off the bed.


6:30- He leaves for work, and right after, the air conditioning comes on.  We have it set to cycle on when the house reaches 77 degrees, so the fact that it was coming on this early meant it was going to be hot.  And back to sleep.

7:30- The gentle shuffle-bumping of one small girl coming down the stairs wakes me up, and so does the sunlight as she opens the shutters in my room and hands me two books before climbing up and demanding that I read them.  So I do, and then she demands breakfast with a sweet smile, so off we go with her in the lead to find the right cereal.



8:00- Breakfast for Greta and morning chores for me: start my tea, empty the sink, check email while putting dishes away.  By 8:30 I've got a banana bread in the oven since those overripe bananas are becoming an eyesore on my counter. (recipe coming next week)


8:45- I sit down to breakfast and more carefully look at email, and open all the social media feeds.  This to me is like reading the newspaper and getting a good start for the morning.  If I have time I read some blogs and with every intention of coming back to comment, fail to leave a comment almost every time.  Check on my hair- it's going to be 90 degrees and humid, so....


9:15- Gus finally makes his appearance, though he decides to wait for the banana bread to finish baking so I've got about 20 minutes to fill.  I set off to start the laundry.


Our washing machine broke exactly two weeks ago at 9:15 at night after a day where everything had already been thrown off schedule.  Fortunately the husband is excellent with motors and wiring and machinery and he fixed it, but it took three new parts and a lot of time to figure out the problem.  So, while I did take laundry to my parents' house the week before, I have a ton to catch up on.  I set the third of six loads of laundry going, the first two having been washed and dried the night before, so they needed to be folded and put away.


9:45- Gus gets his breakfast and Greta joins in on a piece.  The beds are made, the children are dressed.  The various rashes and bug bites they have accumulated by playing outside have creams applied to them.  Within a half an hour they are in the basement, set up with a video, and I get a little break, so I decide to look at my to do list.


Mistake.  Nothing is crossed off and I've been up for two hours.  Time to get moving.  So I set off on various tasks on the to-do list, change out the laundry, and fold things and put them away.

11:30- The husband gets home from the field portion of his day, so it's time for lunch.  We all eat, the kids go upstairs to play.  I clean up, change the laundry yet again, and then head up to my office to try and get some work done.


1:00- Studio time!  I decided that I needed to focus on one new item and get a few made, photographed, and listed.  I have this pile of home decor fabric and I want to make simple totes with them, so I start off on the design.  Since this will be my first time through, I know I'll have to go slow, make measurements, see how the pieces work together, etc.  I figure I can get a bag done in about an hour.




At 1:45 I get my first interruption: "Can I have a snack?"  We all go down, get a snack, I swap out the laundry once again, and head back to it.  What comes next is a series of one mistake after another- things I should think of ahead of time but forget, which means I've used the seam ripper a lot.  By 3:30 I have one bag that looks good on the outside but not on the inside.  I've taken it apart three times, so I abandon it and have a snack, as the hangry is setting in.  I eat and vegetate in front of the computer for a bit.


4:30- I remember that I haven't gotten the mail yet, so I go out to get it and am greeted with a very stormy sky.  I check the radar and a huge red line is coming, so I run around and take in the small plants, put the small pillows on the deck furniture under the table, close the shed, etc.  We wait for the rain.


5:00-6:30- Dinner prep begins, with the help of Gus who is both hungry and interested in the radar on the computer right next to the stove.  We eat and watch the storm roll through.  By 7:15 they kids are up for their bath with their dad (hooray!) so I get another short rest on the couch, although I do have to go up and put clean sheets on Gus's bed because I forgot to do it earlier and also administer another round of creams.  I do get a chance to answer emails, check in on discussion boards, and make a treasury for one of my teams.


8:30- Shower.  Then switch the laundry for the last time and fold and put away the two previous loads.  The last of six should be dry by bedtime.

9:15- Sit down to blog, which is taking a lot longer than I thought.

10:30- Lights out.

It ended up being a really productive day with lots of things around the house getting done.  (The key to this was actually just not leaving the house.)  I'm going to try and revisit the tote bags today, and in looking at the photo of the finished bag, I might just cut it up and make a foldover clutch out of it.  We'll see.