What I Read: April ’17

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars: 100 Preserves Made with Coconut, Maple, Honey, and More by Marisa McClellan: This was a gift and I enjoyed reading it. We’ve got our first real garden in and I hope to preserve a lot more this summer.

Creating a Beautiful Mess: Ten Essential Play Experiences for a Joyous Childhood: Some of these are really easy (make a mess or have a tender relationship with a lovie) and some are pricey (blocks!) but I’m so glad I read this book. Play and engaging with Baby C are things I do every day and the reminder to engage joyously was well received.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald; I listened to this as an audiobook and I’m not sure it was a great fit for that. I found it difficult to connect to the characters and found the way the relationships shake out a bit trite.

*The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa: This is “the story of a twelve-year-old girl’s harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion…Decades later in New York City on her eleventh birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious envelope from Hannah, a great-aunt she has never met but who raised her deceased father.” It was hard to read a book about WWII and the Holocaust during these political times but I selected these books and I was determined to sit with that feeling of dis-ease. Reading the heart-wrenching stories of refusing refugees caused harm and death is something every American should do, especially in these xenophobic times.

Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah: I also listened to this one as well but found this memoir about a year in Paris to be incredibly dull. The author finds herself alone in Paris for a year as her State Dept husband is unexpectedly (?) deployed to Iraq and she complains traveling alone for pages and pages. Many many people would love to have their expenses paid to be in Paris for a year – I found her lamentations tedious. Food descriptions were great.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo: I have nothing and novels to say ’bout this one.

How to Make Soap: A Step by Step Guide to a Variety of Beautiful Soaps and Other Bath Recipes by Sarah Harper: I really enjoyed this book but will have to alter any recipes I use as she relies heavily on palm oil and that is not a product I will purchase.

Baby C: Month 10

Likes: Bathtime (as ever always), playing ‘buffalo’ with Daddy, frozen peas, holding pens and highlighters, swinging at the park

Dislikes: having something taken away from you (even if it’s not something you should have been able to grab in the first place), having your diaper changed,

Who You Saw: we had Easter with the family and then one of my best friends came for a visit. It was such a great visit!

Places You Traveled: Nowhere new…gotta work on that!

Milestones: Walking – oh man, am I of two minds on this one. Part of me is SO PROUD of you an part of me is very sad you no longer look like a baby. You are babbling like a pro and started clapping this month!

my current cruelty free skin care favorites


  1. Andalou Naturals All-in-One Beauty Balm: This is a vegan, cruelty free BB cream with SPF 30. The SPF comes from zinc oxide (rather than a chemical sunscreen) and it has a fairly dewy finish, which works for me as my skin is now pretty dry.
  2. Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Floral Toner: I added this to my collection very recently as I was out of setting sprays and needed something to boost hydration. It smells very strongly of rose and does help add back in some moisture.
  3. Andalou Naturals Resveratrol Q10 Night Repair Cream: This is a my daily moisturizer and when I first started using it, I noticed a slight tightening around my eye but don’t notice that anymore. I don’t really buy into hype you need two different creams and this one is great.
  4. blum naturals daily cleansing towelettes: I don’t use these everyday but I do when I’m out of time to wash my face in the morning or evening. While my skin is pretty dry, it is still very much acne prone and these are a great balance of cleansing and clarifying without being overly drying.
  5. TonyMoly I’m Real Mask Sheets: I ordered a variety pack of these from Amazon (this makes them ~1.20 a mask) and using them is such a treat. I try to use one a week while taking a bubble bath. I’m not sure I see a difference between the different ‘flavors’ but enjoy them nevertheless.


Baby C: Month 9

Likes: kitten and her toys (esp mouser), cans, bath time, bananas

Dislikes: having anything you are playing with taken away, squash, long car rides (this one is new)

Who You Saw: Grandma and Grandpa came all the way from Minnesota to visit you! We had a blast!

Places We Traveled: Malabar State Farm, Newark Earthworks, Flint Ridge Ancient Quarry (erm, I need to write about those two places because they are COOL!), and the American Motorcycle Museum

Milestones: you are really playing with sounds and keep repeating a mamamama sound (yay!), you love standing and pulling up and are starting to push your little cart with wheels around, you’re just starting to put blocks back into their bin but still prefer dumping them out everywhere

What I Read: March ’17

*Forward: A Memoir by Abby Wombach; I read this for Read Harder and it was pretty neat to read about some games I’ve watched Abby and the USWNT team. However, this was a much more personal story than I was expecting. It was a pretty quick read and I’m glad I got to know one of the ‘Greatest of All Time’s better. Trigger warning for substance and alcohol abuse.

Bessie Stringfield: A Tales of the Talented Tenth Vol. 2 by Joel Christian Gill; This was displayed at the American Motorcycle Museum and after reading Miranda Mercury, I had to pick it up. It was a beautifully illustrated comic and I got to learn about the adventures of brave, independent Bessie during the Jim Crow era.

Hemingway Didn’t Say That: The Truth Behind Familiar Quotations by Garson O’Toole; This was a free Kindle first book and it was such a blast to read! O’Toole explores common quotes and dives into the history of that quote – and even provides clues as to how each quote was misattributed. It was a fascinating read and if you like quotes (erhm, Pinterest), it’s worth checking out!

i am now a box lady

This is now my life. If you had told me a year ago that I would have happily had a box of dirt in a place of honor in my house, I would have laughed in your face.

These are my fancy Italian pepper and San Marzano tomatoes seedlings to start. Seed starting kits are expensive and plastic filled – not really something I wanted to buy, use for my food and then store (because I’m not tossing more plastic than I have to). I rigged up some peat containers, potting soil and a big box from Costco to make my own little hothouse and put it by the only south facing window we’ve got.

We also put in a new veggie bed – more on that soon!

Maple Sugar Camp at Malabar Farm

We headed up to Lucas to go to Malabar Farm State Park for their annual Maple Sugar Camp. We stopped at a local diner for lunch beforehand – but other families brought picnics and that was genius! They have a great sugar shack set up for visitors to see what is going on with modern maple syrup production and then two different set ups for historical ways of making maple syrup. The season is already over for most producers but since they have a northern exposure on their sugar bush so they were still able to have this event. I expect to see this industry hit hard(er) as our planet continues to warm. We also did the Butternut trail and checked out the historical home on the property. It was a pretty great day. Here’s a few of my favorite snaps!


Toy and Book Storage

M saved this old bookcase? sideboard? from the bulk waste at our old apartment building and used it for tools in his garage there. After we moved and I saw it in the daylight, I knew I wanted it for toy storage in the baby’s room. He took the back off (sorry, there are no before pictures – still getting the hang of this house blogging thing!) and sanded it within an inch of it’s life. It’s super soft and is perfect book and toy storage in his room. We have his board books on the top (nice picture books with paper are in another location) and have three bins of toys below. I grab a different bin everyday for him to play with. It makes it easier for me to clean up at the end of the night – everything back into the bin! – and it helps him from getting too overwhelmed with options.

Baby C: Month 8

Likes: Eating! A man after my own heart 🙂 You love bath time and swinging at the park near our home.

Dislikes: There isn’t much and for that, we’re very grateful

Places We Traveled: We have been trying to stay focused on home projects this month but we did venture down to Cincy for an IKEA run. You did great!

Milestones: Oh man, so many milestones have been toppled this month! You are crawling with ease and pulling up to stand on everything you can find. I think that standing unassisted is very nearly here as well.