What I’m Into (July/August 2015 Edition)

Here I go once again linking up with the crowd over at Leigh Kramer’s blog for a rare but hopefully returning edition of “what I’m into”

Here’s what your favorite Michigander and mother of three has been up to…ish


Well, I’m sitting here making a packing list for our annual Labor Day camping trip which means that summer is coming to a close, quickly. I haven’t been doing a lot of writing on the blog lately but I’ve been doing a lot of freelance work which has kept me at the keyboard.

I’m trying to strike a balance there, school will surely help. Although I have one doing half days and one doing whole days so I feel like I’ll be mostly driving…

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Summery Summary – We’ve been in living in the parsonage (which we have named the Wrecktory… because rectory and also young kids) for 12 weeks now. The upstairs is really coming together and although we need to get a new couch, I am really happy with it. Caedmon and Noelle each have their own room and like I said, Clara has a crib in Noelle’s room but we’re mostly accidentally co-sleeping with her at this point. The move was really all encompassing and we didn’t do any fun kid-camps or vacations but instead have been exploring our new area, trying restaurants, hitting up the beach and playing in our backyard and garden. Produce has been a big focus this summer and we’re picked blueberries, strawberries, peaches and apples as we talk to the kids about real local food and show them what eating that way looks like. And then some nights we order cheap pizza, just in case you were worried we were getting too Holy over here.

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On The Table- Summer fare is pretty simple around here, salads, grilled foods and sauteed veggies, lots of sweet corn and fruit salads as well. I’ve been making some jam and am about to try making batch freezer meals for the busy fall as we get kids to and from school. Stay tuned, I will share recipes.

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On My Nightstand- I feel like I’ve read quite a few books given our season… at least I’m proud.

I just finished up 8/22/1963 by Stephen King– This book is part sci-fi and part historical fiction, a completely interesting read and my first Stephen King. I have to warn you, it’s 850 pages so you have to be committed to see it through, or skip to the end I guess.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell– Oh this book, I loved it so much. This YA story follows the unlikely and unusual relationship of two high school students from completely different families as they figure each other and themselves out. I am so keen to read more of Rowell’s work after this, so well written and engaging.

The Rumor by Elin Hildenbrand– Gotta do my summer Elin Hildenbrand read every year and this was no exception. The Rumor was a good beach read, as all of her novels are. It told the story two friends dealing with an affair, work struggles and family life all in a town that likes to gossip. Not my favorite novel of hers but certainly still engaging and enjoyable.

The Rosie Effect- This is a follow up to the Rosie Project, which I loved. This comedy chronicles Don and Rosie and their unlikely marriage now that they’re expecting. If you like Big Bang Theory and romantic comedies, these two books are for you.

Animal, Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver– Kel and I listened to this food memoir on tape as we drove to and from Dowagiac and packed boxes. It changed us and fanned our spark for real, local produce into a respectable fire.

Up next All The Light We Cannot See, and An Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin, One Plus One by JoJo Moyes

On The Small Screen- Well we have cable right now for the first time and I have mixed feelings about it. I have discovered Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines and I am smitten with them and the Magnolia style.

Other than that my TV watching has been a little dark, Kel has been into re-watching and finishing up House and we’ve been watching some Criminal Minds as well (a little creepy but engaging.) Last month I finished House of Cards and I am trying to get into Parks and Rec, which is easier now that I am in the second season.

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Podcast Love- You guys, I have discovered podcasts and am LOVING them. Before a few moths ago I actually had no idea that you could podcast your favorite NPR shows as well as TONS of incredible FREE shows from other sources. I will soon do a blog about this because not near enough of you know about the miracle of Podcasting. For now, I am in love with:

Serial- This is an impeccably produced show by the folks at This American Life which tells a story in detail, week by week. The first season follows the case of Adnan Sayed, who at the age of 17 was accused and convicted of killing his girlfriend Hae Min Lee. The trial was thing but the conviction was unanimous, life in prison. There are multiple spin off podcasts about this trial as well, including Crime Writers on Serial and Undisclosed. Both of which I enjoy as well.

SortaAwesome- This is my friend Megan’s podcast, which as she says “helps you uncover all the shiny, awesome things in your own life.”  It features everything from family to Netflix binges, Meyer’s Briggs to recipes and it’s my best friend when I need to pop in my ear buds, buckle down to do chores while tuning out chaotic background of summer family life.

I’ve linked you to the sites for all the shows which will allow you to listen and redirect you back to iTunes to podcast there if you like.

Favorite Instagram

(with 48 likes…)

The day Caedmon decided to start the bathroom renno. With his bare 4 year old hands.

The day Caedmon decided to start the bathroom renno. With his bare 4 year old hands.

Favorite Finds and Moments

Watching Noelle carry Clara away from “danger” when she gets into something she shouldn’t like crayons and cat food.

The noise of crickets and frogs outside our huge picture window when everyone has quieted down for the night.

Chocolate Kale Banana Peanut butter smoothies.

Playing charades as a family.

Wine tasting with Kel in PawPaw at St Julian.

My good friend Jennie’s new blog! 

The look on Clara’s face when she pulls up on something- pure pride.

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Happy 9th Anniversary to us!

On the Blog

This month I wrote about kids and sleep, an apparently current hot button issue… and asked you all to take a survey which over 50 of you have. If you haven’t and you’d like to, hit this link. I’ll talk about results and the future of this blog next week.

Alright, I’m gone camping. Wish me luck and limited anxiety when using the campground showers…



Okay, your turn. 3 thing you’ve been reading, watching, listening to and just plain LOVE this summer. Go.


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  • annevermeulen

    Since I’m ridiculously bad about doing my own blog, here are my three:

    Watching: The Wonder Years on Netflix. Fred Savage and his character, Kevin, grew up at the same time as me, and rewatching all the episodes takes me back to some sweet memories of a not-always-sweet time in my life. (Also, as kids, he and I looked like separated twins.)

    Listening: Finally got around to listening to Loreena McKennitt’s latest album (from, uh, 2010), The Wind That Shakes The Barley. I love traditional Irish music, and this is her spin on a bunch of traditional (and somewhat unconventional) ballads and songs. She’s been a favorite of mine since college, and now I’m pretty much ready to move to Ireland.

    Doing: We moved into our own “wrecktory” about a month ago, and the combination of being in a new house + being very pregnant = NESTING OVERDRIVE. Unfortunately I have zero decorating skill, so HGTV would be highly unimpressed by my efforts… but it’s at least turning into a home instead of a new house we happen to live in.

    Bonus: Reading: I finally read The Secret Life of Bees after years of saying I would. I grew up as a totally voracious reader so not sure why the books are so few and far between now… but, oh my stars, SO GOOD. I read it all over the course of two nights and got that end-of-book depression immediately because I wanted to stay with all the characters.

    And BTW, Season 2 and 3 of Parks and Rec are most definitely the best. So many gems in there!

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Wow for your cool niche love of Irish music. Total cool points in my book for that, not that cool points matter… anyway…

      I have a good friend who is CRAZY into the Wonder Years too! Neat Netflix binge and totally acceptable when you’re SUPER pregnant and nesting a new house in a NEW STATE!

      Radical Self Care- DO IT! Screw HGTV, if they come to your house it better be to transform and love on it than judge you.

      I haven’t read Secret Life of Bees either! I need to eventually as well.

      And my take on adult reading is that too many other things get in the way if we let them… so… it’s a normal struggle.

  • http://simply-rea.blogspot.com Rea

    Watching: I just binge watched the entire Fringe series this summer. And then got my husband to binge watch it except that he ended up finishing it before I did. Grrr. Also, in our house, summer is for So You Think You Can Dance, because I have always loved dance. I had a ton of dancers that I loved this summer, but the choreography is falling flat for me this year.

    Reading: The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson. The main character is just quirky enough to hold my interest. Also reading For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, dying laughing one moment and then zinged right in the feels the next. I also tried reading a serious book about Scandinavian culture, economy and government, but that didn’t go so well.

    Listening: SortaAwesome is in my podcast list, but it’s hard to work in listening time. I did take time to listen to one today while dealing with tomatoes, resolved to make more time to listen in the future. Other than that, Irish Indie Folk has been my go-to playlist for most of the summer. Oh, and we listened to a Doctor Who audiobook while on vacation. Loved it, but hard to follow sometimes with 2 noisy boys in the back seat. If you haven’t listened to any, The Stone Rose was a good one. Didn’t so much like the other one I listened to but can’t remember the name. That may be my fault though, it was 10:00 at night and it is hard to follow a story line when you keep falling asleep.

    Happy camping!

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Okay apparently I have a lot of online friends into Irish music! Who Knew!?

      Also I will take all of your book recs except for Scandinavian Finance…because I can barely focus on my own finance…

      And DOCTOR WHO has Books? How i did I now know this?

  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ Leigh Kramer

    Since it’s Labor Day weekend now, I hope you’re enjoying your camping trip! Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is one of my favorite books! So glad you enjoyed it. Also glad you’re loving podcasts! You listed two of my faves. I can’t wait for the next season of Serial to start!

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      I did enjoy it! Oh Animal, Vegetable, miracle changed me…. I think I remember you gushing about it a while back.
      OMG Serial! I need to look into the when/what of the new season.

  • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

    Love your crazy, lovely summer! Hope you continue to feel more settled and that fall is a good transition. xo

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Me too! Thanks Friend.

  • Mark Allman

    I was surprised how much I enjoyed reading “Lexicon” a book about the use of words as weapons; as a writer you might enjoy that book. I started 1963 but have not finished that. I am also reading “The Martian” and really enjoying that and it is going to be a movie. I have laughed out loud reading that and it is not a comedy.
    On TV… Rea I would enjoy binge watching Fringe. I know I would like that. I have enjoyed a couple of new series for me this summer. Humans on AMC; The Tomorrow People on NetFlix; and Dark Matters on SyFy.

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      I loved the Martian! Kel and I both read it and can’t wait for the movie…. I think it’s at least a “bit” comedy? I would love to check out “Lexicon” too, that does seem up my Ally….