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!


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?


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!

Friday Link List!

  1. I’ve been gently daydreaming about building another HTPC machine (especially now that we’re giving up cable next week!), except unlike my last foray into this realm, I think I want to build a media server to stash in the basement, and then have set-top boxes at the tvs in the house to stream from the server. I’m going to be watching this entry for ideas on DVD rippers.
  2. I am in love with the homemade cocktail mixers that Whitney over at the Ugly Green Chair made to pass out as holiday gifts. Want to steallll!
  3. I also want to make some of this sleep salve. Another great idea for next year’s gift baskets.
  4. Don’t these homemade paper crackers look wonderful? I need to send away to Ferm Living for some wallpaper samples so I can make these for various festive occasions.
  5. Anna over at Door Sixteen wrote about her skincare routine, and so much of what she said rang true for me. I’m still dealing with acne in my 30s (even though I got a wonderful respite while pregnant), and I need to start doing what I can to take care of my skin more effectively.
  6. These Stephen Wildish posters are fucking awesome, and I WANT THEM ALLLLL. Ahem.
  7. Soooo, I’m making my first foray into using woven wraps, and I used holiday money to order this lovely little item. This is apparently a huge mama-subculture that I didn’t even know existed until very recently. I don’t know if I’ll get into the community, but I’m definitely looking forward to carrying my bambina around in something this beautiful (and RED). Time to start watching YouTube videos on different carries!
  8. Since my friend Amanda introduced me to this quinoa salad recipe a few weeks ago, I’ve made it twice. TWICE! That’s a record in our house since C was born! It’s so refreshing and filling, I’m sure I’ll make it many more times this winter (especially since it reminds me of summer, with the citrus and corn).
  9. Homemade Magic Shell? Don’t mind if I do!
  10. Handmade sprinkles for cakes and DOUGHNUTS? You’re killin’ me, Smalls! Yeah, I’m gonna make these, too, for a little doughnut-themed shindig we’re hosting next month.

♥ ♥ ♥


So much to do!

Productivity moleskine

The heat is on. The heat of less-than-5-weeks-until-the-due-date, anyway. And the due date is just a reference point, not a hard-and-fast rule! ARGLE BARGLE! We’ve got soooo much to do and so little time to do it!

The main project we’re trying to get accomplished before the baby comes is to have the floors refinished, and this project has already been a clusterfuck and a half, which I’ve detailed here. We had a whole list of things that would have been really nice to finish up beforehand, but with me being in school and us being scattered and everything taking more time than we thought it would, we’ve had to whittle that list WAY DOWN. So, floors it is.

Kevin and I are very into making to-do lists to be able to keep track of what needs to be done and to be able to check things off as we go along. We’d settled on regular notebook paper, but he complained last week that our lists keep getting lost, and that we don’t have a centralized spot to refer to, instead of a bunch of looseleaf sheets floating around getting lost. Following Tanie’s lead, I decided to invest in a ruled moleskine that was small enough to fit into my purse all the time, and that’s what you see above. It’s been BRILLIANT. Menus, shopping lists, to-do lists, things to add to the baby registries that I add to when I think of things…it’s magical. We also hung a dry erase calendar, and I’ve been copying our current to-do lists onto that board so that we keep up with it there, too.

Here’s our list for this week:

  • Finish arched wall
  • Pull up staples in floors
  • Remove all baseboards
  • Send save the date cards to printers
  • Hang more lights on the patio
  • Straighten up/organize basement
  • Take back returns (Target, Ace Hardware)
  • Move office furniture to basement
  • Paint back bedrooms
  • Move baby gifts to basement
  • Mow lawn
  • Change kitty litter
  • Make cheesecakes for work
  • Take care of donate pile in basement
  • Buy birdseed (Thiessens)



Mix tapes!

Hey, look at that! You’ve got to give it to me for exhaustively cataloging my music taste for most of the last 6 years (and into the future, of course). I like it when things are orderly, at least online. You can see in the menu bar above, I’ve added “Monthly Mix Tapes” as an item, with a drop-down menu featuring all of the ones I’ve compiled over the years. On many of the mix tape pages, you can even have access to the embedded playlists as I’ve uploaded them to 8tracks. Yay! Eventually, I’ll have them all updated. Stay tuned!


Into the weekend

It’s already a month into the semester, and I feel like I still haven’t gotten back into the swing of things yet, academically. I need some motherfucking to-do lists up in this joint to spur some productivity!


  1. Clean kitchen
  2. Complete Stats homework #5
  3. Study for nursing mental health exam
  4. Make dinner (breakfast pizza!)
  5. Prep coffee for tomorrow


  1. Nursing exam (Aced that shit!)
  2. Complete Stats homework #6
  3. Clean out car
  4. Clean out purse
  5. Workout
  6. Read one chapter of Nursing homework
  7. Put away laundry
  8. Clean bathroom
  9. Prep coffee for tomorrow


  1. Cruise night
  2. Take pictures
  3. Make September mix tape
  4. Workout
  5. Read one chapter of Nursing homework
  6. Laundry
  7. Prep coffee for tomorrow


  1. Clinic
  2. Complete Stats homework #7
  3. Complete Stats homework #8
  4. Clean living room
  5. Take pictures
  6. Workout
  7. Read one chapter of Nursing homework
  8. Prep coffee for tomorrow


  1. Clinic
  2. Complete Stats exam #2
  3. Take pictures
  4. Workout
  5. Read one chapter of Nursing homework
  6. Set up new printer/scanner
  7. Clean office
  8. Watch Religulous and send back to Netflix
  9. Prep coffee for tomorrow

Let’s see if this helps!


32 Before Thirty-Two

So far in my life, I’ve made two attempts at broad “life lists”: the 101 things in 1001 days list, and the 30 Before 30 list that I put here. Both had pretty sad, pathetic results. So I should obviously try again, RIGHT? Right. I’m even going to recycle some from the last list. Here we go:

  1. Become licensed as a Registered Nurse.
  2. Watch Arrested Development, starting back at the beginning, all the way through.
  3. Pay off my credit card
  4. Create monthly music mixes without missing a month.
  5. Mail goodies to 5 friends that live far away.
  6. Scan all of our photos and put them up online.
  7. Open a Roth IRA.
  8. Take a yoga class.
  9. Learn how to put makeup on my face.
  10. Run in a 5k.
  11. Participate in NO PANTS NOVEMBER.
  12. Make or create at least 50% of the gifts I give for the holidays.
  13. Get my first pedicure
  14. Go to a Nursing Conference, preferably about midwifery.
  15. Get rid of our Expedit bookshelf and build a FAUXDENZA!
  16. Complete the 100 Pushups Challenge
  17. Go to the Madison (Wisconsin) Farmer’s Market.
  18. Bake a rainbow cake.
  19. Learn a song on my ukulele
  20. Cull my collection of books to those I actually love and want to own.
  21. Make some infused booze.
  22. Watch the Godfather trilogy.
  23. Design our wedding invitations.
  24. Knit myself some slippers. I keep making them for others, and never for myself!
  25. Hang all of the art/photography I’ve been hoarding away in storage.
  26. Complete a juice or smoothie fast.
  27. Read 10 Banned Books.
  28. Make a braided rug.
  29. Ride in RAGBRAI (I’ll give myself a special allowance for this one, since it comes after my birthday)
  30. Make a batch of soap.
  31. Scooter camping at Palisades

I’m starting this now, with less than a year to go. That gives me 301 days, to be exact, which is plenty of time. I only have to accomplish 0.103 items on my list per day in order to be done in time. Totally doable.


2010 Semi-Annual Midwestern Concert Bonanza!

It’s that time again! Here it goes:

Iowa City:
Sat 05/15/10 – Henry Rollins – Capitol Theatre (Davenport)
Sun 05/16/10 – Barenaked Ladies – RiverCenter / Adler Theatre (Davenport)
Fri 05/21/10 – The Tallest Man On Earth – The Mill
Sat 06/12/10 – The Mountain Goats – Blue Moose Tap House
Sat 06/12/10 – These United States – The Mill
Sat 09/18/10 – Janis Ian – City Park

Des Moines:
Sun 06/06/10 – Marcy Playground – House Of Bricks
Sat 07/03/10 – “80/35 Festival” – Western Gateway Park (Spoon, Will Whitmore, Modest Mouse, The Walkmen, and more)
Sun 08/08/10 – The Black Keys – Val Air Ballroom (West Des Moines)
Sun 08/15/10 – “Iowa State Fair” – Iowa State Fairgrounds Grandstand (VANILLA ICE!)
Sun 10/10/10 – Willie Nelson – 7 Flags Event Center (Clive)

Fri 06/11/10 – These United States – Memorial Union Terrace @ UW
Sat 06/19/10 – CocoRosie – Barrymore Theatre
Wed 07/14/10 – Simon & Garfunkel – Kohl Center Arena
Fri 10/22/10 – Arlo Guthrie – Monroe High School (Monroe)

Thu 05/06/10 – 30 Seconds To Mars – Sokol Auditorium / Underground
Tue 05/11/10 – Matt Pond PA – Slowdown
Sat 05/15/10 – Mastodon – Sokol Auditorium / Underground
Mon 05/17/10 – Mono – The Waiting Room
Sun 05/23/10 – Less Talk More Polka – Duffy’s Tavern (Lincoln)
Thu 05/27/10 – Insane Clown Posse – Westfair Amphitheatre (Council Bluffs)
Sun 05/30/10 – Earth, Wind & Fire – Harrah’s Casino – Stir Concert Cove (Council Bluffs)
Sat 06/05/10 – Damien Jurado – Bourbon Theatre (Lincoln)
Mon 06/07/10 – Blitzen Trapper – Slowdown
Sun 06/13/10 – The Mountain Goats – Slowdown
Sun 06/13/10 – The Psychedelic Furs – The Waiting Room
Fri 06/25/10 – Mates of State – Slowdown
Sat 06/26/10 – Henry Rollins – Sokol Auditorium / Underground
Tue 07/06/10 – The Hold Steady – Slowdown
Sat 07/24/10 – “Maha Music Festival” (Old 97s, Spoon, Superchunk, The Faint) – Lewis And Clark Landing
Sun 08/01/10 – Al Green – Harrah’s Casino – Stir Concert Cove (Council Bluffs)
Wed 08/04/10 – Better Than Ezra – Horseshoe Casino / Whiskey Roadhouse (Council Bluffs)
Mon 08/09/10 – Gogol Bordello & Primus – Harrah’s Casino – Stir Concert Cove (Council Bluffs)
Sat 08/28/10 – The Black Crowes – Harrah’s Casino – Stir Concert Cove (Council Bluffs)
Sat 10/09/10 – The Flying Karamazov Brothers – Lied Center (Lincoln)
Fri 05/20/11 – Vienna Teng – Holland Performing Arts Center

Sat 05/08/10 – Joel McHale – Chicago Theatre
Tue 05/18/10 – Them Crooked Vultures – Aragon Ballroom
Wed 05/19/10 – Conan O’Brien – Chicago Theatre
Fri 05/21/10 – Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Vic Theatre
Sun 05/23/10 – Imogen Heap – Riviera Theatre
Tue 05/25/10 – Jill Scott – United Center
Thu 05/27/10 – Toots & The Maytals – House Of Blues
Sat 05/29/10 – Smoking Popes – Lincoln Hall
Sun 05/30/10 – Brian Jonestown Massacre – Metro / Smart Bar
Wed 06/02/10 – Erykah Badu – Chicago Theatre
Wed 06/02/10 – Gwar – Durty Nellie’s (Palatine)
Fri 06/04/10 – New Kids On The Block – The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (Hammond)
Mon 06/07/10 – She & Him – Millennium Park
Tue 06/08/10 – Matt Pond PA – Lincoln Hall
Wed 06/09/10 – Damien Jurado – Schubas Tavern
Thu 06/10/10 – George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic – The Cubby Bear
Fri 06/11/10 – Phish – Toyota Park (Bridgeview)
Fri 06/11/10 – The Psychedelic Furs – Metro / Smart Bar
Sat 06/12/10 – Concrete Blonde – Vic Theatre
Tue 06/15/10 – Cute Is What We Aim For – Reggies Rock Club
Fri 06/18/10 – CocoRosie – Metro / Smart Bar
Fri 06/18/10 – Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby – Schubas Tavern
Mon 06/21/10 – The Books – Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Tue 06/22/10 – Mates of State – Lincoln Hall
Fri 06/25/10 – Mason Jennings – Lincoln Hall
Mon 06/28/10 – Mirah – Lincoln Hall
Fri 07/09/10 – “Weird Al” Yankovic – Star Plaza Theatre (Merrillville)
Fri 07/16/10 – Old 97’s – Navy Pier
Sat 07/24/10 – Built To Spill – First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre (Tinley Park)
Sat 07/31/10 – Al Green – The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (Hammond)
Wed 08/18/10 – Blondie – The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (Hammond)
Wed 08/18/10 – “Honda Civic Tour” (New Found Glory, Paramore, Tegan and Sara) – Charter One Pavilion @ Northerly Island
Sat 09/25/10 – Bill Cosby – Hemmens Cultural Center (Elgin)
Tue 10/05/10 – Willie Nelson – Rialto Square Theatre (Joliet)

Thu 05/06/10 – Low – Varsity Theater
Fri 05/07/10 – Joel McHale – Mystic Lake Casino (Prior Lake)
Fri 05/14/10 – Henry Rollins – Pantages Theatre
Mon 05/17/10 – Barenaked Ladies – The Orpheum Theatre
Tue 05/18/10 – Conan O’Brien – The Orpheum Theatre
Tue 05/25/10 – Toots & The Maytals – First Avenue
Fri 05/28/10 – Brian Jonestown Massacre – The Cabooze
Sat 06/05/10 – She & Him – First Avenue
Tue 06/08/10 – Local H – The Rock (Maplewood)
Wed 06/09/10 – Matt Pond PA – 7th Street Entry
Fri 06/11/10 – The New Pornographers – First Avenue
Sat 06/12/10 – The Psychedelic Furs – First Avenue
Sat 06/19/10 – Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings (with MGMT and OK Go) – Walker Arts Center
Sat 06/26/10 – Ween – The Roy Wilkins Auditorium (Saint Paul)
Thu 07/01/10 – Mirah – Cedar Cultural Center
Thu 07/01/10 – Tool – Xcel Energy Center (Saint Paul)
Sat 07/03/10 – The Hold Steady – The Cabooze
Tue 07/13/10 – Joan Baez – Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater (Apple Valley)
Wed 07/14/10 – Modest Mouse – The Orpheum Theatre
Sun 07/18/10 – Wolf Parade – First Avenue
Sun 08/15/10 – The Black Crowes – Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater (Apple Valley)
Sat 08/21/10 – Blondie – Treasure Island Resort & Casino (Red Wing)
Mon 08/30/10 – Lady Gaga – Xcel Energy Center (Saint Paul)
Sun 09/12/10 – Pavement – The Roy Wilkins Auditorium (Saint Paul)
Fri 10/08/10 – Willie Nelson – Mystic Lake Casino (Prior Lake)
Sat 01/08/11 – The Flying Karamazov Brothers – Orchestra Hall

St. Louis:
Tue 05/11/10 – The Forecast – Firebird
Wed 05/12/10 – Reverend Horton Heat – Old Rock House
Wed 06/09/10 – Erykah Badu – Fabulous Fox Theatre
Fri 06/11/10 – Brian Jonestown Massacre – Off Broadway Nightclub
Mon 06/21/10 – Blitzen Trapper – Off Broadway Nightclub
Wed 06/23/10 – Passion Pit – The Pageant
Mon 06/28/10 – The New Pornographers – The Pageant
Thu 07/01/10 – Henry Rollins – The Pageant
Mon 07/12/10 – “Weird Al” Yankovic – The Family Arena (Saint Charles)
Sat 07/17/10 – Lady Gaga – Scottrade Center
Fri 08/06/10 – Gogol Bordello – The Pageant
Sat 08/28/10 – George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic – Chaifetz Arena

Music Festivals:
Pitchfork (Chicago)
Lollapalooza (Chicago)
LouFest (St. Louis)
Lilith Fair (Chicago/Minneapolis/St. Louis)
Soundset (Minneapolis)
Warped Tour (Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis)


30 Before Thirty!

I’ll be turning 30 years old on July 12, 2010, and I decided to partake in the project where you make a list of thirty things you want to accomplish before your 30th birthday. I don’t have long to go, but I’m hoping I can polish off everything on this list by making the items reasonable:

  1. Hang curtains (whether store-bought or handmade) in every window of the house, and get rid of every shred of miniblinds that have been haunting my windows and my dreams since we moved in.
  2. Install hardwood flooring throughout the main floor of the house (!!!).
  3. Pay off my credit card.
  4. Brew a batch of stout beer.
  5. Plan and start saving for an autumn vacation in Vancouver/Seattle.
  6. Grow delicious foods from heirloom seeds from Baker Creek, including a healing herb garden.
  7. Get a really great haircut from my bestie JoAnn at G Spot Hair Design, one that is an actual hairdo rather than something I pull back into a bun everyday.
  8. Get new glasses and contacts.
  9. Paint every room in the house something other than “Ultra White”.
  10. Scan all of our photos and organize them somewhere online.
  11. Update my Iowa City tumblr at least once a week.
  12. Continue my weight loss/fitness streak. Weight Watchers is working!
  13. Throw a May Day party.
  14. Organize and clean the basement.
  15. Try sewing another purse.
  16. Bake the perfect Blondie.
  17. Finish watching the whole Arrested Development series (we’re on an extended hiatus, mid-season 2).
  18. Create monthly music mixes without missing a month.
  19. Try making homemade ketchup.
  20. Build a pergola on the patio to continue cultivating an awesome backyard oasis.
  21. Finally part with (donate) the ugly fleece that’s clogging up my fabric stash.
  22. Go scooter camping in Palisades.
  23. Buy a bike helmet so I can safely ride all over town.
  24. Start really using the calendar/scheduling app on my iPhone to help keep my life more organized.
  25. Try raw milk.
  26. Mail goodies to my faraway friends.
  27. Build a respectable cocktail station.
  28. Start a food blog with aforementioned JoAnn.
  29. Make a batch of Navratan curry.
  30. Throw a fabulous 30th birthday party on my patio.