Silky + Smooth

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Does anyone else dread brushing their daughter’s hair? My daughter’s hair is constantly tangled. I don’t know what it is about the texture of her hair but even after it is freshly washed it sometimes seems to have gotten more tangled! We have used detangling sprays but they only help to get the tangles out, not keep them out in the first place.

When Maple Holistics contacted me to try their Silk18 Conditioner I felt like it was a great opportunity. First of all, I had already used some of their other products and liked them. Secondly, I love that their products are free of parabens, have naturally derived ingredients, and are cruelty free at an affordable price point.

So I agreed to try their Silk18 Conditioner on my hard-to-untangled daughter’s hair. What I first noticed was how good it smelled! It had a delicious vanilla fragrance! Her hair felt silky and smooth. Even she noticed a difference and commented, “My hair hardly has any tangles!” Hopefully this will mean less tears when combing it out!

If you are looking for a smoothing conditioner our experience with Silk18 Conditioner has been great thus far. And not only can you buy direct, you can also purchase on Amazon, which is convenient when you want to purchase it with other items.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Maple Holistics. The opinions and text are all mine.

What I'm Into Right Now (Mar 2019)

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The end of the school year feels so close yet so far away. The weather has been warm and I’ve been itching to get into the garden, but the schedule has not allowed it much yet. But I’m cutting lots of daffodils, forsythia, and hyacinths to bring indoors. It is amazing what the sun and flowers can do for the spirit! Here’s my round up of what I was into last month. I hope you can find something to inspire or interest you.

Watching:

When I was on Facebook raving about my love for the novel, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir my friend Amanda said she also loved it and recommended Home Fires as being of a similar theme. I remember when it came out and thought the trailer didn’t look that interesting. When will I learn? I thought the same of Poldark and I was clearly wrong there! So, I’ve given it a try and I just love it. It’s all about the lives of women in a small English town as the men leave to enlist as W. W. II looms large. It is wonderful if you like historical drama and stories of female friendship.

Listening:

I have been listening to Becoming Mrs. Lewis on audiobook and am really interested in the life of Joy Davidman. She is famous for marrying C. S. Lewis, and I had a vague notion of her being a writer herself and that she died of cancer. Little did I know of her tumultuous first marriage, that she had at one point a blooming literary career, and of her conversion to Christianity. She didn’t fit the Christian “mold” during her time, nor even in our time, probably. She was a divorced single mother raising two boys while fighting to reignite her writing career and make ends meet. She and Lewis struck up an unlikely relationship where she fell in love with him first. It is a unique story that has me riveted.

Reading:

I just finished Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace by Christie Purifoy. It is a treasure of a book. Unique and hard to pin down, it's a beautiful mix of personal memoir, spiritual reflection, gardening journal, and thoughts on what it means to make a home and invite community.

Eating:

I made this amazingly flavorful Orecchiette with Bacon, Mushroom, + Kale pasta and we LOVED it. Definitely going to make it again. Also, I made our favorite no-bake cookies and I was reminded just how delicious they are. Not to mention easy and generally a healthier alternative to your regular cookie. It’s also a great option for those who may have gluten issues—there are only rolled oats in them:.

What are YOU into right now?

What I'm Into Right Now (Feb 2019)

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I’m shocked to discover Day Light Savings is this weekend! It’s starting to feel like Spring is coming, despite the snow we just got last week. Regardless, I’m seeing daffodil shoots start to push through the muddy earth. As I wait for spring, here’s what we are cuddling up to watch with the blankets piled on us.

Watching:

As a family we are enjoying The Road to Avonlea series. It is such a sweet old-fashioned show that we all enjoy. What Josh and I are watching is not sweet, instead, it is filled with Viking pillage and Saxon resistance. It is The Last Kingdom. It’s not for the faint of heart. However, as a history lover I am fascinated to see the Viking invasion come to life and watch England come together under Alfred the Great. It is fascinating stuff that I already was familiar with but not the details. Also, while watching this show I find myself incredibly grateful I did not live back then. I wouldn’t want to be a king, peasant, woman, or even an animal, for that matter.

Listening:

For my kids’ book club which goes along with our history studies we read Number the Stars. It was a fantastic middle grade novel that captured all our interest right from the beginning. We listened to this on audiobook and the reader was great. I had no idea about how the Danish people assisted in a mass escape of its Jewish population.

This story about how kids with dyslexia are not being helped in schools was good, but sad. It hit home because of my kids being dyslexic but also because a lot of the action takes place in my state. If you have a struggling reader this was also enlightening, especially in regards to the history of the “reading wars” which I was mostly unaware of. I’d heard the term, but didn’t really realize what was involved and its impact on the educational system.

Reading:

I just got my first issue of Common Place Quarterly and completely loved it. I enjoyed many of the articles and the photography was beautiful. I especially found the article about Charlotte Mason’s life at Ambleside interesting. For more check out the Instagram account.

Otherwise, I’m knee deep in Les Misérables for the literature class I’m teaching. Interestingly, Masterpiece Theater is releasing a new version of the novel on April 14th, however, I don’t know how it could compare to the musical version with Hugh Jackman.

Eating:

This Kale Apple Salad was delicious. We mostly eat Kale sauteed but this was a yummy way to get some fresh Kale into our diet. Also, we are trying to eat more fish. This Easy Lemon Butter Fish was a hit with everyone!

What are YOU into right now?

My Favorite At-Home Workouts

I’ve never had a gym membership. For one reason or another it’s never worked out. It’s either been too expensive, too far away, no childcare. I’ve always had to exercise at home, which honestly, is fine for me. While I like classes (kickboxing and yoga have been some of my favorites) I really do like working out in the convenience of my own home.

Once we redid our basement a few years ago I was especially excited to have a carpeted space with lots of room. We gave the basement an overhaul right after Christmas, so by January it was ready to go. That was the winter I did 21 Day Fix, which was a great success for me. I’ve always loved workout dvds. The key is to get ones that I won’t get bored with. I have often checked workout dvds from the library first to “preview” them before purchasing. That’s how I discovered one of my favorite workouts, Tracy Anderson’s Precision Toning.

Today I’m going to be sharing the dvds I always come back to and that are in constant rotation. It can be hard to squeeze working out into a busy life and it can be easy to get distracted when you are home. But I don’t think of it as “self-care” or “me time.” It’s as essential as eating three meals a day and drinking water. But it can still feel like I don’t have time. But by scheduling exercise on my calendar three times a week I can usually make it actually happen.

So here we go: these are my favorite workout dvds that I hope you will check out too if you are looking for something to do at from the comfort of you own home.

If You Have 15 Minutes

I love Tracy Anderson’s Precision Toning dvd! First of all, they are filmed in 15 minute sections. Yes, that’s right! All you need is 15 minutes to get a workout in! There are four sections total, 15 minutes each: arms, legs, glutes, and abs. And this workout is nothing to shrug your shoulders about. Her ab workout is incredible and her arm workout is very unique and mostly uses your own body weight. The glute workout is a killer. I highly recommend this dvd if you are new to working out at or or trying to workout more at home. Plus, you can always combine the segments to make a 30 minute or 45 minute workout too!

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If You Have 20 Minutes

Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred is a great choice if you have more time and also want to mix in some cardio along with strength and abs. The great thing about this video is you get all three aspects in each workout, and there are three levels to work through. The videos are circuit based, so you are always cycling through cardio, weights, then abs, which means you never get bored or tired of doing just one thing. There are also beginner and advanced options for many of the exercises which is also nice.

If You Have 30 Minutes

Let me say first of all that I’m not a Beach Body coach, I am just a happy customer. I bought 21 Day Fix after having my fourth baby and wanted to get back in shape about a year after having her. I don’t know if you can just purchase the dvds, it looks like you have to get the portion control containers and Shakology shaker cup as well. But let me just say I LOVE these workouts. I did two rounds of a strict 21 Day Fix program and lost weight and inches. Now, I use them to maintain. I love the routine of working through all of these videos in order. I just did the Dirty 30 workout today! I love the pacing and the little “count down” timer in the corner helps me to know how much time I have left for each move and helps me not give up. The way the videos progress through Cardio, Upper Fix, Lower Fix, Cardio, Pilates, and Yoga is perfect as well. Autumn Calabrese also walks you through beginner and advanced moves to various versions of a workout. There are some moves I still can’t manage to do the advanced versions of.

21 Day Fix is expensive compared to other dvds but not nearly as much as a gym membership. If you are serious about getting healthy holistically through eating AND exercise it is a great investment that you can keep coming back to again and again as well as use it to maintain a lifestyle of movement.

So there you have it! These are my favorite ways to workout at home. How do you make working out part of your lifestyle? Is it something that you have as part of your routine or is it something you struggle with?

What I'm Into Right Now (Jan 2019)

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I took a break from this series for the months of November and December. I’ve learned to be gracious with myself during the busy holiday seasons. But I’m excited to share some of what I’ve been into lately and I hope you’ll share with me either in the comments, on Facebook, or Instagram!

Watching:
Josh and I binged Homecoming with Julia Roberts on Amazon Prime. Not only was the plot fascinating, it was stylish and reminded me at times as a mix of Alfred Hitchcock meets the X-Files. I feel like the trailer really doesn’t do it justice. Just try it and see if it’s for you after watching the first episode.

The kids and I finished the final season of A Series of Unfortunate Events. It has so many levels of clever wit! And who can deny the utter adorable smartness of Sunny Baudelaire? We all loved it!

We are currently watching War & Peace and it is so well done. I read it in high school and quite honestly I don’t remember the plot at all and only recall being highly confused about who was who and what was going on. However, from what I have read this latest version seems very true to the book and it is beautifully shot and acted by Paul Dano, Lily James, and James Norton. I was glad to see that the film adaptation also touches on the classic Tolstoy themes of death, finding meaning in life, and the search for spiritual significance.

Listening:
Speaking of Tolstoy, I’m teaching a high school class of World Literature for our homeschool co-op and we are in the middle of Anna Karenina right now. I am reading it and listening to this version which I think is done quite nicely. This is my third time through the novel and always find more layers of meaning each time I read it.

The kids and I are listening to Esperanza Rising for book club too. At first they didn’t like it. I think they had a hard time following it with all the Spanish words thrown in. But now they don’t want to stop. We are not far from the end and really enjoying it. It has already brought up great discussion on immigration and what it means to strike.

After a long break I am also enjoying the Pray As You Go app again. It used to be really glitchy but it has been updated beautifully and has a new look and is better functioning. I listen to it almost every morning while drinking my coffee.

Reading:
I’m working my way through Beartown since so many of my friends recommended it. I have to put Anna Karenina first in my reading schedule to have what I need read each week to teach, so Beartown is a bit on the back burner. Having a hard time getting into it. So many recommended it (who’s reading tastes are similar to mine) I’m sticking with it. Also one friend said it was a bit slow in the beginning so I am pushing through.

Eating:
I’m pretty obsessed with sourdough bread right now. You can follow my board on Pinterest if you are interested in sourdough yourself. I have used this recipe most consistently and this website is full of tips and information.

What are YOU into right now?

What I Read in 2018 (Fiction)

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My fiction selections were way stronger this year as opposed to last year, which had lots of misses in-between the hits. This year I noted which titles were audio selections. I hope out of this list you will get some new novels to add to your own reading list this year!

Books can earn up to five starts (*****) in my numbering system, five being excellent!

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie**** (audio)
I watched the film first and then decided it was time to finally read this classic crime novel. It was great as audio (read by Dan Stevens, aka “Matthew” from Downton Abbey) and of course the end is so unique handing the reader a real moral dilemma to consider.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie****
I mean, you can never go wrong with Christie!

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher****
I attempted reading this book a year ago, but it didn't connect. This year it did. It took a bit to really get engrossed but once I did, I'm so glad I read it. It's the type of writing style I enjoy and the story has a lot of depth. The last few paragraphs made me tear up--in the best of ways!

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare***** (audio)
I really wish Speare had more novels! I love them all so much. No one really writes with the quality of this period of books. I can't ever quite put my finger on what I love so much about "older" writing. I hadn't read this since I was a girl and really forgot most of the plot, so it was like a totally fresh book. I liked it just as much as I did when I first read it. It held up just as well for me as an adult--maybe even better--than it did when I was a kid.

Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare**** (audio)
Sometimes middle grade novels really are the best! Young Miriam must come to terms with her prejudices and think through her preconceived ideas about the cultures she encounters when she is captured by Indians and lives in the wilderness and then is sold as a prisoner to French Catholics.

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey***
I really loved the characters and the style of writing. It's almost a "scrapbook" in style, which adds to the story.  I DID have to slug my way through portions of it. I got a bit stuck, especially in the early parts and almost gave up, it's such a huge book. But the second half I liked better. I also like the "magical realism" the author included, which was inspired by native Alaskan mythology.

In the Woods by Tana French****
My first Tana French. It was a “slow burn” sort of crime story.

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham***
When I first became familiar with the Tulsa race riot of 1921 (which I only learned about a few years ago) I was shocked and horrified. So I was interested and nervous to read this YA novelized version of it. The book definitely reads YA in tone but the topic is one more people need to remember. The blight of the Tulsa race riot is a horrific memory in our nation's history that is often conveniently "forgotten."

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles***
This was not for me. I forced my way through the entire thing. I appreciated Towles writing ability but I just could not get into it.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan***
I found myself in a reading rut at this point. After Rules of Civility this one also wasn’t for me. I wanted to like it but it was just okay. I liked the cover more than the book.

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich****
A brutal but quiet book with great writing and a difficult story. I thought the ending had closure, although the "why" was never answered and I don't think there was an answer to be had anyway. The book is about how a tragedy can change lives and pull people together and apart.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell**** (audio)
A great psychological thriller! A perfect blend of plot, character development, and description in my opinion. I listened on audio and loved all the accents. However, there ARE triggers. There is a sexual assault episode which is not glossed over. It could easily be skimmed past, however, because it pretty much is one main scene. Also, if you don't want to read the F-bomb than this book is not for you, because it is used often. ;)

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley**** (audio)

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley*** (audio)

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley**** (audio)

Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley***** (audio)

As the Chimney Sweep Comes to Dust by Alan Bradley**** (audio)

Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley**** (audio)

The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley**** (audio)
I am not going to review each of these books but will just say that the series is one of my favorites! Flavia de Luce is a character like no one else! Bradley is masterful writer (just look at those titles) who develops his characters with precision, the feel of time and place is masterful, and his plots always become page-turning. I love all the literary references and his ability to write a metaphor is incredible. I’m sad to think that there is only one more novel in the series left!

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson****
At first I thought the book was weird. I mean, I knew the premise, but could I read 529 pages of the same but different life? Then I wondered when the plot would start? Was it all going to just be little vignettes? But then I got into the rhythm and soon I had to find out what was going to happen to the Todd family. This is a thought-provoking book that makes you think about the choices you make, and how they direct your life. What if you stood here vs. there? Meet this person or don't meet them? In the end, I think this book has the making of a classic. I especially enjoyed all the literary references and Ursala's life/lives during the Blitz. It made that awful time more alive to me and emphasized the strangeness of war and everyday life.

A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert***
A fun cozy type of mystery. Think a Hallmark movie in book form, so at times, it verges on cheesy, but a nice summer-type of read.

A Confusion of Languages by Sioban Fallon****
This book was better than I expected it to be, it immediately swept me into the story. The structure was interesting, as was the setting, middle-eastern Jordan.

The Likeness by Tana French*****
I liked this a lot better than In the Woods. Although the plausibility of the premise was one you definitely needed to suspend belief, I didn't mind it. It made for such a cool story. I really enjoyed getting to know Cassie more (she was in book #1 too).

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen***** (audio)
Delightfully read by Rosamund Pike I absolutely loved revisiting Austen’s world again.

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman****
This one grabbed me from chapter one and never let go. And yes, tears were running down my face by the end.

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen***
I have enjoyed Allen’s other magical realism titles and I did find this one enjoyable too, but not quite as good.

The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan***** (audio)
I ADORED this book. I listened to it on audio and it enhanced the experience dramatically. Since it is a novel written in letters the different voices was a wonderful addition as was the music throughout the recording.
I had attempted listening to it once earlier in the year and couldn't get into it. But several months later I tried again after seeing a favorite bookstagramer talk about how much she loved it. I'm so glad I did because it is probably my favorite book of 2018 tied with the Flavia de Luce series. If you loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society I think this might be the book for you.

What was your favorite fictional book of 2018?

What I Read in 2018 (Non-fiction)

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It was a good reading year for me! As I look over my list from the past year I see that in terms of non-fiction I read a lot of books with either a spiritual or educational/parenting focus. This was driven by my desire to particularly focus on helping my dyslexic kids in their educational journey. One thing that is missing is biographies and narrative history, which I love but just didn’t get to. Next year I hope to at least get one or two books of that genre into my rotation.

Books can earn up to five starts (*****) in my numbering system, five being excellent!

Different: The Story of an Outside-The-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him by Sally Clarkson and Nathan Clarkson ****
Sally Clarkson’s books are always an encouragement and this one was unique because it was co-written by her son. The story shares what it was like to parent as well as to be a child who had learning differences, anxiety, and clinical OCD. The chapters alternated between Sally (the mother) and Nathan (the son) giving different perspectives to their experience and offering hope who might be walking a similar journey.

Founding Mothers: Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts*** (audio)
This was the only biography/narrative history I listened to in 2018. It was at times a highly editorialized history, with Roberts inserting herself rather frequently. That added to the "chatty" quality that wasn't terrible but sometimes seemed to lack professionally. I did love learning about some women I never had heard of: Mercy Otis Warren and Mary Katherine Goddard for instance. Goddard was the original printer of the Declaration of Independence right here in Baltimore! 

Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot***
This one didn't speak to me as much as "A Lamp Unto My Feet" or "Be Still My Soul” which I thought were better compilations.

Parenting Is Your Highest Calling: And 8 Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt by Leslie Leyland Fields*****
Refreshing and encouraging! This should be the first parenting book anyone reads, by doing so it will lay a great foundation and help them weed out all the parenting books they DON'T need to read.

Know and Tell: The Art of Narration by Karen Glass*****
A MUST-READ for anyone interested in narration. She explains with clarity what it is and is not, how to use it in a classroom, how to use it with kids with learning difficulties, how to move from oral to written narrations from age 6 to high school.

Book Girl: A Journey through the Treasures & Transforming Power of a Reading Life by Sarah Clarkson*****
With chapter titles like "Books Can Stir You to Action" and "Books Can Foster Community" Sarah Clarkson's Book Girl is a joyful manifesto of all the good that books bring to our lives. Almost every chapter has a booklist too, so lots more titles to consider adding to your reading list!

Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking By Faith by Jon Bloom*****
Gritty, earthy, imaginative while staying true to scripture. I read this as a devotional, reading the scripture each chapter was based on. So good!

Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins*****
I read this for the second time. Written in a conversational—sometimes sarcastic style—I learned a lot from Cindy’s memoir on homeschooling.

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Every Life by Tish Harrison Warren****
I enjoyed reading this thought-provoking book (with cool chapter titles) a little bit each morning.

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp*****
This is my favorite Ann Voskamp book and this is my third time reading it as my Advent devotional. Always speaks to me.

Hallelujah: A Journey through Advent with Handel’s Messiah by Cindy Rollins****
I definitely enjoyed this more than my kids did! We listened our way through Handel’s Messiah for Advent this year. It was very easy to follow along with this book as a guide.

The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain by Brock L. Eide and Fernette F. Eide
A book every parent and educator must read about dyslexia. The first half of the book is dedicated to brain science while the second discusses more practical application in the skill work of reading and writing and how that applies to different ages. Focusing on the STRENGTHS of dyslexia is important too, because there are strengths as well as weaknesses. And the teacher/student/parent knows the weaknesses only too well, so it is equally important to tap into the strengths.

What was YOUR favorite non-fiction book this year?

What I'm Into Right Now (October 2018)

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It’s been a CRAZY few weeks here for us! From an emergency gallbladder removal to ultrasounds on lymph nodes, we’ve been making lots of trips to the doctor's office. I’m really hoping it will calm down now that everyone is alright and on the mend. So now that I’ve had a chance to breath I’ve put together what I’ve actually enjoyed from the month of October (and doctor visits definitely wasn’t one of them—although I’m well aware of my thankfulness for them!).

Watching:
In one of Over at Alicia’s podcast episodes she mentioned that as a family they were watching I Love Lucy episodes on Amazon prime. Well, I decided to give it a try with my clan. At first there was some complaining—as I expected. As soon as they saw it was black and white—THE HORROR—they started saying how they didn’t want to watch it.

“Look, just try one episode. That’s all I ask,” I told them. “It’s really funny. If you watch one episode and hate it, I won’t try to get you to watch anymore.”

We were about ten minutes in and everyone was roaring with laughter! And the main complainer was begging for “just one more” by the time it was over. ;)

It’s really fun to be sharing a show that’s funny but clean enough for the whole family to watch down to Ava. And the episodes are really short too, which is also nice.

Listening:
I am listening to The Daily Poem podcast by Circe, which is just lovely. It’s a wonderfully simple way to get a little poetry into your life. David Kern’s voice is soothing and I love how he give a little background and context with a few observations without going overboard. He mostly lets the poems speak for themselves. Which also lends itself to being easy to listen to because they are only a few minutes long.

When we’re driving around in the car we are listening to the third Penderwick book The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, which I don’t like quite as much as the last one. And at lunch we just started Caddie Woodlawn, a favorite from my childhood. I’ve not read it since my mom read it to me, so I hope it stands the test of time.

Actually, it was Caddie who gave me faith that there were more great books in the world than I thought. You see, when we finished reading the entire Little House series as a kid, I cried my eyes out. I was sure there would be no more good books. None wonderful and captivating as Little House. I was sure of it. But then, thankfully, I met Caddie. And I realized there WERE more great books out there!

Reading:
I’m reading The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. I was so excited to get my hands on it, but I’ve really struggled getting into it. It’s been the hardest of all her novels for me to be captured by. It seems a bit wordy and there are so many characters! I will suspend my final thoughts for when I’ve completed it, however.

I also just started Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. So far it’s a unique book, with chapters like “Brushing Teeth” and “Eating Leftovers” that have some surprising spiritual insights. I’m reading a few pages every morning and am finding it an encouragement to remember everyday matter.

Eating:
Now that soccer is over dinner time is a little easier to manage. These Sloppy Joes were a huge hit with all the kids. Which when you have four kids and a few are picky eaters, that’s saying something. We also loved these Roasted Veggie & Sausage Penne Bowls and I’m looking forward to making this Pasta with Smoked Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes + Kale.

What are YOU into right now?

Discovering the Strengths of Dyslexia

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I stood in the hallway of our local school and listened while the psychologist explained terms to me like auditory processing, visual processing, and working memory. My head spun as I sought to understand these new phrases and their implications. My eyes filled with tears as I fought to keep my emotions in check and a million questions exploded in my mind. A strange mixture of grief and relief threatened to overwhelm me.

We finally had a word for what described my twin boys’ struggle with reading, writing, and math. Dyslexia.

I am privileged to share that journey today in honor of Dyslexia Awareness Month for the subscribers of the Wild and Free monthly bundles. I’ve come to see dyslexia as not only a weakness but also a strength. Dyslexic learners are often entrepreneurial thinkers, good at recognizing patterns, can expertly manipulate 3D objects in their mind, and think in pictures instead of words. My own boys are excellent visual problem solvers and artistic. As Brock L. Eide writes in this book The Dyslexic Advantage, “Dyslexic brains have their own kinds of strengths and benefits, and these advantages should be recognized and enjoyed. Our goal is to help individuals with dyslexia recognize these many wonderful advantages, so they can enjoy the full range of benefits that can come from having a dyslexic brain.” In this article I share our story as well as some practical resources that have benefitted our family.

Once again my friend Molly Balint of The Farmhouse Creative photographed my boys as they drilled sight words while playing Connect Four, did some phonics play, and practiced their writing.

If you are interested in subscribing to the bundle (which is basically a digital magazine), check out the details here. You can even try one for FREE!

I will be posting daily over on Facebook this week about Dyslexia, so if you are interested in finding out more, follow me there.

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Favorite Autumn Quick Breads

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After the heat of summer I usually get the itch to start baking again in the autumn. I reach for recipes that are full of autumn flavors: pumpkin, cinnamon, and apple.

Pumpkin Bread

I love this Pumpkin Bread recipe given to me by my friend Briana, especially because the recipe makes TWO loaves. One to eat and another to give away or tuck into the freezer.

3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup pecans or walnuts

Mix altogether and divide into two regular loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, although I usually start checking on it after an hour. It seems to take more like 1 hour and 15 minutes for me. The smell in your house will be divine!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

These Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins are SO good. I mean the flavor combination is just amazing! I made them every year, several times a year. Again, this recipe like the one above makes more than just 12 muffins, it makes about 20-24 muffins, so plenty to share or once again pop into the freezer for later. You see a theme here, right? ;)

Check out Edie Wadsworth’s blog right here for the recipe.

Apple Muffins

These apple muffins are delicious and pretty healthy too. I tend to sub out the raisins for dried cranberries instead, though.

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup raisins
1 chopped apple
1/2 cup oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Beat the egg; stir in remaining ingredients, mixing just to moisten. Pour into 12 greased muffin cups until 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Serve cool or piping hot with butter.

I hope you make some of these delicious breads. What is your favorite thing to bake during the autumn season?