Five Things To Tell You… | May 18th, 2020

five things to tell you

Welcome to my new blog series, Five Things To Tell You... In addition to my Currently Loving posts, I wanted another way to share random info and updates, so if this is your thing too, you’re welcome! 😉

One: The Little Things

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While many things have changed, some have stayed the same, including the beginning of Vermont’s creemee season. Like many small businesses, local creemee stands have pivoted to make sure that they can offer their products in a safe way and we have been making the rounds. We were there for Cookie Love’s opening day, which is an annual tradition for our family.

Continue reading “Five Things To Tell You… | May 18th, 2020”

Currently Listening…Podcast Edition!

podcasts

Just like with my reading tastes, what I am listening to has changed a bit over the last few weeks. I have found that my ability to focus has shifted with my podcasts and I am seeing that I either need some small helpful bits of information, relatable banter, some inspiring messages, or maybe a quick distraction.

Fitting in Podcast Listening…

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Previously podcasts made up a good part of my workday whether it was when I was editing on the computer or during my commute. Photos above are back in the “good old days”.

Now that I don’t have either of those things, both my amount of time and attention to detail has changed. I am now listening while quickly getting ready for the day, while I am doing tasks around the house, on a walk to the mailbox…and sometimes when I just need to block out the decibel level from the kids.

Continue reading “Currently Listening…Podcast Edition!”

Coffee Talk | Currently…Mental Health, Homemade Face Masks, Outdoor Adventures & At Home Haircuts

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Today marks the beginning of the seventh week of our COVID19 Quarantine.  The longer this has gone on, the more we really have settled into a new routine. Some days it is hard to remember what it was like before all of this. Has this happened with any of you?

During the first few weeks, I had a lot of anxiety because there was just so much unknown in addition to the anticipation of what things would look like, both locally and globally.

While there is still a lot of things we don’t know, it feels easier in some sense that things have settled into a bit of predictability again, even if this all would have been almost unrecognizable a few months ago.

Continue reading “Coffee Talk | Currently…Mental Health, Homemade Face Masks, Outdoor Adventures & At Home Haircuts”

Coffee Talk | Currently…Life During The COVID-19 Quarantine with Kids

Currently Loving

The days are really starting to run together but this is our fourth week of learning (and surviving) at home.

The Same But Different…

book blogMy last “currently loving” post was in mid-February which seems like it was years ago at this point. It does make me laugh how many things in it are applicable to “quarantine life” now…I talked about my favorite cozy must-haves, my love of athleisure wear and winter blues and anxiety. Some things never change!

Learning at Home

school at home

We are slowly getting into the swing of things but it’s been a bit tricky because every week things change. This is new and unknown for everyone so I am trying to be flexible and know that while it doesn’t feel like it right now, this really is temporary.

Outdoor Time

spring in Vermont

I also feel extra grateful that we live somewhere where we have access to the outdoors and that each day, the weather is getting nicer and nicer (let’s not talk bout the snow that is coming at the end of this week okay?)

Outside Adventures…

Vermont

One of the benefits of living in the “country” is that there is plenty of space to roam. We have been taking advantage of the quiet roads and have been exploring all around our “neighborhood”. We have been going for multiple walks and bike rides a day and it has saved us!learning at home

While we are heading into a month of being home together, we are definitely still working on finding the right balance during our weekdays. We have a 1st grader and a 4th grader at our house and while the kids are doing some school work, we have mostly been doing it to keep some sense of normalcy and routine.

A New Routine:

2020-04-06_0013We are still in “maintenance mode” through this school week and then introducing new material will start next week.

I am trying to take things week by week and not get ahead of myself. I know that their teachers and administration are doing the very best they can to meet the needs of all families and that this is new for everyone.

They have been missing their friends and teachers SO much and while connecting over the computer isn’t quite the same, I am so happy they have the option!

kids reading

Our first grader’s teacher recorded her reading the rest of the book they were reading together as a class at the beginning of March and he was just enthralled.

These kinds of things seem like such small things but it was such a huge source of connection and comfort amidst so much change.

FaceTime Buddies

facetime buddies

I am thankful for it too. And I am happy that FaceTimeing has become popular once again. We loved it even before this whole “social distancing” became a thing…OG FaceTimers over here! 😉

Dogs During Quarantine…

dogs during quarentine We have been laughing about how much dogs just must love this whole quarantine situation. Buzz could not be more delighted with us being home every single day!

Home Ec 101

learning at home

While I am not doing the most amazing job with the whole “school at home” thing, I am pleased with my instructional household house maintenance classes we have implemented, LOL.

kids cooking

We have even been cooking together. We tried out making homemade pasta which consisted of a lot of trial and error but it ended up being delicious! (we need to use even more flour next time during the rolls and cutting phase). We have also had many important discussions about rationing fresh produce and learning how to make your own (balanced) lunch…kids eat SO much food!

It’s Both…

quarentine lifeWhile I have lost my temper many times, we have also made some really special memories. This has not been easy and we also are so privileged to be able to stay safe at home.

Helpful Articles…

I struggle a bit when I see comments like “embrace this time!!!” because some of it is just really hard, but there are parts of it that have been great… it’s both.

My friend Julia shared this article with me and while I am not involved in higher education, I found it relatable just on a personal level.

I also got SO much from this article where a trauma psychologist weighs in on the risks of ‘motivational’ pressure during quarantine. Maybe you have seen this floating around the internet…

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{https://www.upworthy.com/coronavirus-productivity-motivation-myths-dangers}

A trauma psychologist from Beirut weighed in on this idea that we should be extra productive right now, and she didn’t mince words. Alaa Hijazi’s Facebook post has been shared 19,000 times, so people are clearly appreciating her wisdom. She wrote:

“I thought I was spared the horrid ‘motivational’ phrase going around now—’If you don’t come out of this with a new skill, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline’—until I saw it on my local yoga studio page.

As a trauma psychologist, I am utterly utterly horrified, enraged, and bewildered about how people can believe and spread this phrase in good conscience.

We are going through a collective trauma, that is bringing up profound grief, loss, panic over livelihoods, panic over loss of lives of loved ones. People’s nervous systems are barely coping with the sense of threat and vigilance for safety, or alternating with feeling numb and frozen and shutting down in response to it all.

People are trying to survive poverty, fear, retriggering of trauma, retriggering of other mental health difficulties. Yet, someone has the nerve to accuse someone of lack of discipline for not learning a new skill, and by a yoga teacher!

This cultural obsession with [capitalistic] ‘productivity’ and always spending time in a ‘productive,’ ‘fruitful’ way is absolutely maddening.

What we need is more self-compassion, more gentle acceptance of all the difficult emotions coming up for us now, more focus on gentle ways to soothe ourselves and our pain and the pain of loved ones around us, not a whipping by some random fucker making us feel worse about ourselves in the name of ‘motivation.'”

It is okay to worry, it is okay if you are just doing the very minimum to get through your day, it is okay to wish we had more answers and it is okay to grieve what we have lost, even if we are grateful for what we have.

Currently Loving…

Alright, because I can’t do this post without doing a “currently loving section” I am doing an abbreviated format…

currently loving

Currently Watching:

I finally gave in and watched Tiger King. I was told I would be missing out on important Corona19 Pop Culture if I didn’t.  I am glad I did! It was quite the wild ride but it was definitely entertaining…and the perfect distraction from our current events.

Currently Participating In:

I have been trying to be consistent with my Pure Barre classes even though we can’t go to classes in the studio anymore. I am a social exerciser so this has been more challenging than I expected. I haven’t been able to attend the live ones very easily because of being home alone with the kids during those times so I have been doing Pure Barre On Demand.

I have access as a member at our local studio but you can also subscribe just online, they have a free trial right now to try it out. (I am not affiliated with this, just wanted to share!) I have been alternating these classes with long walks and it has been a good balance so far.

Currently Spending My Time:

When a lot of things feel out of control, I like to clean. I remember as a little kid I would rearrange my room when I felt anxious and I always found it very soothing! So I have been vacuuming and mopping and I am just loving my spin mop! There is something so satisfying about these kinds of chores and they are perfect for getting some audiobook listening in.

Currently Drinking:

SO much coffee…and water!

Currently Reading:

I am working my way through a few titles on my Kindle..last weekend I started Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld which is one of my most anticipated 2020 reads! After loving American Wife SO much I have HIGH hopes for this one and so far I am really enjoying it.

Currently Embracing:

All my clothes are basically quarantine clothes anyway, but I have been embracing air drying my hair! I have wavy hair that can either look quite curly or a frizzy mess. I tend to blow dry it so I don’t have head out into my workday with dripping wet hair, but currently, that is a non-issue! It has been nice to skip the blow dryer and embrace the natural look.

Currently Loving:

Gramp Lyford’s Country Salve…Are your hands getting dry from all that hand washing too? I included in it my holiday bookworm gift guide back in November but it seems like the perfect time to share about it again. It’s the perfect amount of moisture without being greasy!

Currently Looking Forward To:

Our Better Together Book Club is going virtual tonight! Like many book groups, this will be our first time having our book club over Zoom. I am excited to see some friendly faces and see how everyone is doing. We decided to skip the book chat and do a “how are you managing and coping” check-in tonight. I am so looking forward to it!

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy and I will be back soon with some more book and reading updates. <3


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

Everything I Read in March 2020 {Book Recap & Ratings}

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Thinking back to the beginning of last month and knowing it was only a little over four weeks ago feels almost unbelievable. So much has changed and continues to change and it is a scary time for everyone. I have also felt a little vulnerable to share, even on this relatively small public platform because many of my feelings seem(are?) trivial in the larger scheme of things. 

How It’s Going…

global crisis{image via Liz & Mollie}

Continue reading “Everything I Read in March 2020 {Book Recap & Ratings}”

Stay Home & Read More Books! {40+ Highly Recommended Book Suggestions}

book list

Seeing The Positive

While this is unchartered territory for so many of us, I am happy to hear that people are wanting to read! I have had a few emails from readers requesting book suggestions for authors and titles that are completely engrossing.

I don’t know about you but when I am worried, I need things that are totally engaging and distracting. These books are ones that completely took me in and I couldn’t think about anything else, which is exactly what you might need right now too. I hope this inspires your current reading list!

Continue reading “Stay Home & Read More Books! {40+ Highly Recommended Book Suggestions}”

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West | Berkley Publishing {Gen The Bookworm Book Review}

Kathleen West

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West

Book Summary:

Perfect for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Small Admissions, a wry and cleverly observed debut novel about the privileged bubble that is Liston Heights High–the micro-managing parents, the overworked teachers, and the students caught in the middle–and the fallout for each of them when the bubble finally bursts.

Isobel Johnson knows helicopter parents like Julia Abbott–a stage mom whose world revolves around interfering in her children’s lives–come with the territory. Julia resents teachers like Isobel, who effortlessly bond with students, including Julia’s own teenagers, who have started pulling further away from her.

Isobel has spent her teaching career in Liston Heights side-stepping the community’s high-powered families. But when she receives a threatening voicemail accusing her of Anti-Americanism and a “blatant liberal agenda,” she realizes she’s squarely in the fray. Rather than cowering, Isobel doubles down on her social-justice ideals. Meanwhile, Julia, obsessed with the casting of the high school’s winter musical, inadvertently shoves the female student-lead after sneaking onto the school campus. The damning video footage goes viral and has far-reaching consequences for Julia and her entire family.

With nothing to unite them beyond the sting of humiliation from public meltdowns, Isobel and Julia will find common ground where they least expect it, confronting a secret Facebook gossip site that’s stirring up more trouble for this tumultuous, fractured school community.

Publication Date:

February 4th, 2020

Genre:

Contemporary Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

Kathleen West

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes is a nuanced look at school politics at a prestigious school in an affluent Minnesota community. Written with humor and plenty of drama, West succeeds at sharing a look at high school life from the perspective of a well-meaning teacher who gets caught in the web of meeting the demands and expectations of parents/administrators and other teachers. We meet a slew of characters who set the scene and it is all too relatable to anyone who has ever been a part of a school community, whether as a teacher, parent or both.

There are helicopter parents, bullying on social media and conflicts between faculty and families. And then there are the students just trying to get through their high school years. The overbearing parents rule the roost at this school and West shares a great balance of laughable moments that seem totally unbeliever (unless you have been there and then you get it!) mixed with insight about just what students AND teachers are up against these days.

I found Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes to be a light read with a great mix of thought-provoking and timely topics many of us can relate to. While some of the storylines may seem over the top, for me, they added to the complexities schools deal with in this digital age. I did struggle at times with keeping track of all the characters but all in all, this was a very enjoyable book that would make for a great book club discussion!

More about Author Kathleen West:

Kathleen West is a veteran middle and high-school teacher. She graduated with a degree in English from Macalester College and holds a Master’s degree in literacy education from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis with her hilarious husband, two sporty sons, and very bad Goldendoodle.

For more information, please visit: https://www.kathleenwestbooks.com

Thank you to Berkley Publishing for an advanced copy. 


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids by Lindsay Powers | Atria Books {Book Review}

Lindsay Powers

You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids by Lindsay Powers

Book Summary:

Cribsheet meets The Sh!t No One Tells You in this no-holds-barred, judgment-free parenting guide that sets the record straight on every hot-button parenting topic by longtime journalist and founder of the viral #NoShameParenting movement.

What if you could do more for your kids, by doing a whole lot less?

Parenting today has become a competitive sport, and it seems that everyone is losing. From the very moment that little line turns blue, parents-to-be find themselves in a brave new world where every decision they make is fraught, every action they take is judged, and everything they do seems to be the wrong thing.

Formula feed? Breast is best.
Breastfeed in public? That’s indecent.
Cry it out? You’re causing permanent harm to your child.
Don’t sleep train? Your child will never learn to sleep on his or her own.
Stay home? You’re setting a bad example for your kids.
Go back to work? Don’t you love your kids more than your job?

Lindsay Powers—former editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Parenting, creator of the #NoShameParenting movement, and mom of two—is here to help parents everywhere breathe a collective sigh of relief. This laugh-out-loud funny, accessible, and reassuring book sets the record straight on all of the insane conflicts that parents face—from having a glass of wine while pregnant to sleep training, childcare, feeding, and even sex after baby.

Drawing on the latest research and delivered in a relatable, comforting voice, You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids demonstrates that it is possible to take the stress out of parenting and sit back and enjoy the ride.

Publication Day:

March 31st, 2020

Genre:

Parenting Nonfiction

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

Lindsay Powers

You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids (affiliate link)

Motherhood Book Club

I help run and facilitate a Motherhood book club at our local library for moms in our community so I am always on the lookout for books to add to our reading list. Our book club focuses primarily on nonfiction books related to parenthood so when I saw this book available as a galley, I couldn’t wait to check it out.

One of the most common things that come up in our discussions is the many ways we feel like we aren’t measuring up. Whether our kids are big or small, whether we work full time, part-time or stay home, everyone feels infiltrated with how we think we “should” be doing things and all the ways we feel like we are lacking.

With technology and social media, we are bombarded with more information than ever before and while there are many benefits to this, there are also just as many reasons we are having total information overload.

More about You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids…

In You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids, author Lindsay Powers takes on some common and often highly sensitive parenting topics such as breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, daycare vs. staying home, screentime, and the idea that any parent has it “all figured out'”.

Her writing is relatable and I enjoyed how she interweaved research with a conversational style of writing in her chapters. There is a great balance of information from her own experiences as well as other parents which helped give a wider perspective on these topics.

Her overall message is that the majority of parents are really just doing the best they can and that most of these choices are not going to make it or break it for our children. She talked through each of these topics and why either way, your kids are going to be just fine. Enter her #noshameparentingmovement.

I appreciated the end of her book and how she shared how her own childhood trauma affected her not only as a parent but also as a writer. There are, of course, choices that can significantly impact children negatively, but they are (mostly likely) not because someone didn’t breastfeed or allowed their child to fall asleep on their own in their crib.

I appreciated this relatable and informative approach to discussing the many issues parents (and primarily mothers) are up against these days and highly recommend it.

Thank you to Atria Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!