Summer Bucket List

Kaity, the YouTube mama behind the channel Katulka2 (and one of my favorites), started a tradition last summer of creating a “bucket list” of things that she and her family wanted to accomplish over the course of the season. Rather than being a stern to-do list of tasks, it became an exciting wish list of things they wanted to do, and checking things off the list was a joy rather than a chore. I want to make a similar list here, as a way to encourage me to stay productive and do wonderful things with my family during my little summer session before I begin the grind of graduate school. Here goes!

  • Read a fiction book
  • Can some food using our fancy new pressure canner
  • Get a nursing job
  • Clean my ridiculously messy office
  • Redesign this site
  • Knit SOMETHING (maybe a rug?)
  • Update my mixtape list
  • Have a garage sale
  • Take Clare to ride the rides at City Park
  • Get started on my Iowa City website project with Dawn and Ryan
  • Make at least one weekend getaway with my people
  • Have a Girls’ Weekend
  • Learn how to do a Sun Salutation by heart.

I may add to this list over the summer, but this is a good start. VIVA VERANO!



Watching daddy snowblow

Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

William Carlos Williams




Last night, Clare slept in her bed from bedtime (or “bednight”, as we affectionately call it) until 6am. It should have been a victory, but I have to admit that I missed her, that I felt her absence, that from about 5am on I laid there in bed, half-awake, listening for a cry or for that pitter-patter of her feet on the hardwood floors, of her running to join us in our bed until it’s time to get up. She finally did that at 6am, and we all snuggled under the covers for another hour, with me putting off getting up until a little later than I should have, just in order to hold her and listen to her breathe.

(That photo above is from when she was 9 months old. How crazy is it that that was eight months ago?)


You do not have to be good


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

– Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”


Birthday To-Do List


Today is my birthday! My 33rd birthday, to be exact. I don’t know if I feel 33 or not. What does 33 feel like, anyway? And who gives a shit?

In honor of my birthday, I am doing what I do every year it falls on a workday: I’m taking the day off. I wondered if I should be super-productive or if I should languor on the couch, and I think I might do a mix of the two. My productivity is going to be fun stuff, at least! Here’s the to-do list I’ve come up with for today:

  • Get doughnuts
  • Order poster frames
  • Call Harry’s Trophies about laser engraving
  • Pump
  • Rip library DVDs
  • Bake some spent-grain bread
  • Make homemade almond milk
  • Lunch with Kevin
  • Dye silk for Clare
  • Get kitchen access point set up
  • Go to the bank and finally get my name changed
  • Get new driver’s license

I might toss seeing a movie in the theater in there, too, since I haven’t seen one since the last Harry Potter movie. Yikes! That’s a long time! Except I guess there’s nothing out right now that I want to see. So, maybe I’ll watch something good from the free comfort of my own couch! That sounds more like it.

What do you like to do for your birthday?


Friday Link Fling – June 28th

Best fucking name

  • This app, along with the others from its maker, looks super cute! I bet Clare will love them all.
  • I love all of these daguerreotypes of women breastfeeding their babies. I imagine it was hard keeping those babes still for the prints!
  • These look ridiculous. Nutella? And biscuits? I’m in.
  • I really love these huge astronomy prints. WANT.
  • Irish coffee ice cream? Holy crap. This is a good summer recipe. Perfect breakfast!
  • A feminist’s view on makeup. I like this.
  • This grilled poblano recipe is something I think Kevin would like.
  • I am extremely intrigued by the idea of roasted strawberries. In a milkshake? I’ll try it.
  • Chocolate. Stout. Cheesecake. Fudgesicle. YES.
  • A cronut? That’s ridiculous. I’d still eat it.

Today’s list is almost entirely food. NO REGRETS.


Trying SLS-free shampoo

SLS-free shampoo (plus conditioner)A couple of weeks ago, my bottles of my beloved Bumble&bumble Curl Conscious were running out, and taking a look at my budget, I decided that I might need to cut back on my haircare expenses for a while. I consulted with my stylist/bestie JoAnn, who let me know that, while she didn’t want to recommend anything in particular, that she’d heard Suave was less-bad than some of the other drugstore options. So, I bought a couple of jumbo bottles of my old standby, Suave Professionals Rosemary & Mint, and figured that’d be the end of it for a while.

Then I remembered that I had really wanted to find a sulfate-free option for my hair. Unfortunately, B&b shampoos, while lower in sulfates than the usual drugstore fare, were not free from SLS altogether. Now, I’m not looking to avoid sodium lauryl sulfate because I’m afraid that it causes cancer. I realize that those alarmist emails claiming that were a hoax. However, it IS an irritant, and it strips away all of the good oils on your skin and scalp, oils that do a lot to make sure that the whole “ecosystem” there is kept balanced. I’ve been doing a lot of research lately and learning a lot about skincare (some of it on the Paula’s Choice website, which I’ll post about later), and I’m learning that oils are GOOD. I don’t want to strip that shit away!

So, off I went in search of SLS-free ‘poo. One brand I found that had pretty good reviews was John Masters Organics. The smell combinations sounded good, the ingredients lists looked good, and, let’s face it, I’m at least partly hippie and am swayed by the word “organic”. Plus, all of his products are certified cruelty-free by PETA. Good enough for me. So, I ordered some up from Amazon, choosing the Lavender Rosemary shampoo for normal hair and the Citrus & Neroli detangler for conditioner.

The shampoo is seriously something to get used to. It oozes out of the bottle in a translucent brown puddle that does NOT lather up like you expect shampoo to (because of the lack of SLS, of course). Getting used to wrangling it so that it gets spread to most of your scalp can take a bit of practice, but I have slowly gotten the hang of it. The detangler isn’t much to write home about. It smells good, it detangles, whatevs. It’s not giving me a massage in the shower, so I’m feeling pretty neutral about it.

As for the effects of the new product, my usual routine is to shower every morning, but I only wet-and-wash my hair every other day. My Day 1 hair, the day I wash my hair, doesn’t seem much different than it had been on shampoo with SLS. It’s somewhere between wavy and curly, with a fair amount of volume, and a little bit of frazzly-ness, and it has remained the same. HOWEVER, my Day 2 hair is totally different! On B&b shampoo, as well as any of my usual drugstore options, Day 2 hair is greasy at the roots and generally flat/weighted down. NOT ANY LONGER! Nowadays, I’ve noticed that my Day 2 hair is actually a little more voluminous than Day 1, staying bouncy and curly and generally looking cute. I’m no expert, but I want to believe that this is because my scalp isn’t having to overproduce oil on Day 2 in order to compensate for being stripped on Day 1. Whatever it’s from, it definitely works for me.

Price-wise, this brand is not any cheaper than B&b. Boo, hiss. I got into this change with the need to lower my S&C expenses, and this does not let me do that at all. So, once this shampoo runs out, I’m going to try another option, probably the Organix Coconut Milk shampoo, which thankfully is uber-cheap and available at my local grocery store. Some of the reviews say that it’s pretty drying, so if that’s the case, I won’t be out too much and can switch to something else. Once I see how that works (and whether I like it or not), I may just go ahead and try the “No ‘Poo Method”. I’m not necessarily averse to going that route, but in the interest of time- and brainpower-savings, I’d ideally like to just find something that comes in a bottle.

Have you had experience going SLS-free? Tell me about it!


Summer To-Do

I love lists. If you know me, you might have an idea of how much I love lists. I love making exhaustive lists. Sometimes I do this as a means of procrastination, but other times it’s because I need to motivate myself, and breaking tasks down into their components helps get me over the hurdle of actually starting a thing. I saw an idea for seasonal to-do lists on a mama vlog I keep up with, and I decided I wanted to make it a thing. With having a baby and being back in school, having a running list is hopefully going to help me get through this summer in a fun and productive way, instead of letting it speed by and waking up on the other side with nothing to show for the season.

Summer, ahoy!

Family list

  1. Go camping
  2. Go to the Farmer’s Market at least once a week
  3. Go on family bike rides as much as possible
  4. Make cookies for neighbors
  5. Walk to Heyn’s for ice cream once a week

Clare List

  1. Throw a laid-back 1st birthday party
  2. Figure out a craft project we can do together at this age (tie-dye? finger painting?)
  3. Play in the front yard
  4. Swimming lessons!
  5. Figure out how to do a back carry with our woven wrap

Health/Beauty List

  1. Get a pedicure. My feet are not summer-ready!
  2. Make some soap
  3. Make some homemade surf spray
  4. Find that tinted moisturizer of my dreams. My Laura Mercier oil-free TM is okay, but I don’t love it.
  5. Figure out a recipe for the perfect smoothie

I’ve also got a list running over at our house blog for home-related things. What’s on your list this summer?


Friday Link List


We got a new camera, and it is AWESOME

  • Kevin and I have been pretty terrible about getting grown-up stuff done since Clare was born, but this site should help. I like checklists, even if they’re for boring things like living wills and powers of attorney!
  • I’m sort of tentatively thinking of having Clare’s 1st birthday party be rainbow-themed, and these cupcakes would complement that nicely. Except I think I might want to do doughnuts instead of cake? We’ll see.
  • Note to self: next time it’s time to update your computer desktop wallpaper, change it to this. I’ve got some other nebula on my desktop here at work, and I’m not quite ready to switch it yet. APOD is a fucking goldmine for wallpaper.
  • My getaway house in the Wisconsin woods (someday, someday) is going to have lots of natural light and wide, wide plank floors. Yes.
  • I think my office is missing a mobile. Don’t you?
  • I’m kind of obsessed with Raspberry Pi computers, and somebody used one to keep track of their beers on tap at home. We could DEFINITELY use this.
  • It’s a little late to make it for St. Patty’s Day, but I would love to make this Jar of Luck to add a little greenery to my home office. Or anywhere in the house, really.
  • I’m so impatient for Clare to get older so she can play with cool things like this felt board over at A Life Sustained. Such a great idea!
  • Stuffed cheese buns? YES PLEASE!

Spring jacket lust

I hate shopping for clothes for myself. Especially if they’re expensive clothes, regardless of whether they’ll last me forever or not. The last time I bought a new coat was from Target two springs ago, seen below:

Current spring trench

My current spring-y trench coat from Target

This coat is cute, and it still works, I guess. I kinda want something bright and new for spring, though. Especially something in coral…

Soia & Kyo's Martha in coral

Soia & Kyo’s Martha in coral

Or maybe something a little slumpy and army-ish:

Penfield Summer Anorak

Penfield Summer Anorak

This guy by Vans from Zappos is pretty cute, although I can’t testify as to the quality of anything from Vans anymore:

Vans Anchor jacket in charcoal heather

Vans Anchor jacket in charcoal heather

I generally like DKNY stuff, and this is cute, but it might be too boxy on my big-bootied frame:

DKNY plaid

DKNY plaid

Then again, there’s always this one from Target (again):

Target French terry

Target’s French terry in coral

I don’t know if I should try for something shorter, or go with a long trench like last time. Or just, you know, stick with what I’ve already got and skulk about it. Probably the last thing, but it’s nice to think about.