weekly highlights {4}

What a weird week! The kids have had snow days the last two Fridays, and Violet caught a bug midweek. All these scheduling interruptions have made it hard to keep the days straight! How old am I that all I want is a regular, 5-day week?

Brunch date! I love these ladies.


  • Peanut Butter Banana Muffins - I know, more muffins! I had some bananas I needed to use, so I tried this recipe for something different from standard banana bread/muffins, and I love the addition of peanut butter. 
  • Chocolate Chip and Toffee Blondies - I made these to take to a friend's get together and they never disappoint! The toffee bits add just the right amount of something different. 
  • Bibimbap - A couple weeks ago I told you about Violet's obsession with the book Bee Bim Bop! so of course we had to make it. This may not be the most authentic recipe out there, but I loved it. (Unfortunately Violet, while she loved making it, did not want to eat it. Kids.) 


  • Strong Sense of Place podcast - I have only listened to one episode, so I can't truly recommend it yet, but I love the idea of this podcast. The hosts talk about books all based around a specific location (episode 1 was Prague) or place (such as restaurants). I love this idea! 
  • Mariah Carey - I haven't listened to her in a long time! That took me back. 


  • The Woman in the White Kimono - Becky, my book club friend, recommended this to me. The story, that goes back and forth between present day in the US and 1957 in Japan, sucked me right in. 


  • Violet quotes - She has just been so entertaining lately! 
    • When we were measuring flour for the toffee bars, she picked up the (butter) knife and asked me, "Can I level it?" I had no idea she knew what that meant! Apparently she's been paying attention.
    • She was drawing on her marker board and the marker was almost out of ink. She told me, "This marker is running out of powers."  (Jona's superhero training is kicking in.) 
  • Brunch date - I met some good friends for a long overdue brunch date (at Urban Table) and the food, the mimosas, and the conversation were wonderful. 


What were some of your highlights this week?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  

{kansas city love} crossroads brewery tour

After the craziness of the holidays and then lots of time spent indoors with two cabin feverish kids, Aaron and I couldn't plan a date night soon enough. We decided to do something a little different and go on a self-directed brewery tour in the Crossroads neighborhood in Kansas City.

The city and its surrounding suburbs have a lot to offer if you're looking for craft beer, and just within the Crossroads neighborhood alone we were able to visit six breweries, all within walking distance of each other.

weekly highlights {3}

Last week was busy and felt like it flew by. I have friends whose kids are involved in multiple activities, and I don't know how they do it. I feel like my schedule is packed and currently the only activity around here is school, until baseball starts again in the spring. Anyway, here are a few highlights from the week.

Weekend baking with my favorites


  • 4-ingredient granola - This was so easy to make! I added it to yogurt all week to make breakfast feel like a treat. 
  • Chicken and veggie stir fry - This is a weeknight dinner go-to. I love how easy it is to change up; this week we had it with chicken, peppers, and broccoli, but it's also good with pork and other veggies--just use what you have. 


  • A year of reading the world blog - On the latest What Should I Read Next? podcast, Anne's guest mentioned that she was challenging herself to read a book from every country. Anne mentioned a blog from a woman who did just that, so I had to check it out. I haven't yet read many of her posts, but her book list is amazing. 
  • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield - I just finished listening to this on audio. He has a lot of valuable advice, but be warned--this book is long! 


  • Unruffled podcast: No Bad Kids: Questions about Tantrums, Mealtimes, and Cleaning Up - This episode was as if Janet Lansbury was observing my life lately and telling me, "You need this." Sometimes I feel like my life is one big power struggle with Violet, and her podcasts--this one in particular--remind me that it doesn't have to be that way. 


What were some of your highlights last week? 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

{reading} books to start your reading year off right

I always see it as a good sign when I start the year with a good book. It's been cold and icy around here lately, so bundling up with a book has been my activity of choice when time allows. Here are a few that I've read lately. I had pretty high expectations for all of these, and I'm pleased to report they all delivered.

{City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert} I read this book in December, which for me was perfectly timed. The storytelling was delightful, and while there were some serious themes it mostly felt light and fun--perfect for a busy month. The setting of the New York theater world in the 1940s enhanced the story; I don't think it would have had the same effect if it took place in the current time. Don't be intimidated by the hefty size either, I never felt the story drag. Count me as one of the few who missed out on Eat, Pray, Love, but even if that one wasn't for you I think it's worth giving this one a try. My rating: 4/5 stars.

{The Dutch House by Ann Patchett} I know I'm in the minority, but I haven't had a lot of luck with Ann Patchett. I remember picking up Bel Canto when I was in college, and for some reason I couldn't get into it (although I know I should try again... that was LONG ago). More recently I tried to read Commonwealth and ended up setting it aside too. As a book lover I almost feel ashamed to admit that! Reluctantly I followed the hype and picked up The Dutch House. I can't tell you what made the difference with this one but I adored it. I love that the sibling relationship is the focal point of the story, and although I've heard complaints of a lack of likable characters I didn't feel that way. In fact I found the opposite to be true. While Maeve certainly wasn't perfect, I found her to be so relatable and endearing despite her flaws. I recommend this one if you love a good character-driven dysfunctional family story. My rating: 4/5 stars.

{Circe by Madeline Miller} My friend and I chose this for our book club; I thought it would be a good book to start the year and also get back to meeting regularly (we fell off the wagon a bit with traveling and busy schedules). I did not learn a lot about Greek myths in school, but my ignorance of Circe's story did not make this book any less enjoyable. Somehow Miller takes the ancient tale and makes it feel fresh without losing any of its historical relevance. This was excellent and I can't wait to see if my book club pal felt the same. My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

{The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal} I waited in a long library holds line for this one, and it's one I wish I would have just broken down and bought when it came out. Not only because I adored it and think it's worth keeping, but also because it felt almost sacrilegious to read it with a glass of wine. Brewing beer is the theme that weaves this story together, and it's just begging to be read with a good craft beer in hand (typically a summer drink for me). Brewing is the theme in this story like hockey is the theme in Beartown (although the comparison stops there)--it's the undercurrent of everything, yet you don't have to be a fan to truly enjoy the story. The women in this story were so well-written; I particularly liked loyal, hard-working, no-nonsense "grandma" Edith. If you want a heartwarming story without sacrificing substance, I can't recommend this enough. My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

Have you read anything worth recommending lately?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Sharing on Show Us Your Books.

weekly highlights {2}

Hey there, how's your week going? We started our music jar that I mentioned last week, and because Aaron and I both contributed bands and musicians (and we have pretty different taste in music), we have more than 52 in our jar... so it will be the jar that keeps on giving!

Anyway, here are last week's highlights.

I loved this pic of my girl


  • Healthier Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins - I'm always skeptical of a recipe with "healthy" in the title, but these muffins--made in the blender--were so good! They're still sweet thanks to the maple syrup and banana, and the peanut butter and oats made them hearty. The true test was Jona, and he loved them! 
  • Smoothie bowls - these are a breakfast favorite for me. This week mine had frozen strawberries, spinach, yogurt, milk, a little bit of maple syrup, and vanilla. I topped them with granola and sliced almonds. Yum! 


  • Food-themed children's books - wouldn't you know my little food lover (Violet) ate these books up this week? We have been reading Bee Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park and How to Feed Your Parents by Ryan Miller every night. 
  • Circe - I finished this and loved it! (Book post to come...) 


  • What Should I Read Next? podcast - Making up for lost time in your reading life. I love it when Anne's guest and I have similar tastes in books. I often add to my TBR on all the episodes, but on this particular one I wanted to read everything they talked about. 


  • Funny Violet quote - We were reading Bee Bim Bop! and there's a picture of a baby in a high chair. She points out that the baby is using a spoon and fork, and then goes "Good job buddy!" 
  • Easy lip color - Nivea Blackberry Lip Care. It goes on like a lip balm and moisturizes my lips, but it's a subtle dark berry color that is so pretty! I have been wearing it nonstop. 

2 ways to wear a chenille cardigan

We've had pretty mild weather since Christmas, so when the weekend treated us to ice and snow it was a wake-up call that winter is still very much here. Luckily I had the forethought to take outfit photos the weekend before when it was nice out.

For me, the winter is all about cozy textures, and if I can wear a sweater that feels like a soft blanket, even better. I've had this chenille cardigan for a while, but it's a style I keep seeing around and lately I can't stop wearing it. It's incredibly soft and warm, and the color is a dark enough red that it doesn't feel Christmasy.

Since the weather was mild, it was the perfect layer over a leopard camisole, skirt, and over-the-knee boots for church, and then over jeans and a tee for errand running.

What cozy items have you been wearing lately? 

Cardigan: old c/o Ethyl clothing | camisole | denim skirt: ThredUp | boots: old, Target

Cardigan: old, c/o Ethyl clothing | navy tee: old, Cents of Style | jeans | slip-on sneakers: old, Loft

{shop chenille cardigans}

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. 

Linking with Away from the Blue

weekly highlights {1}

In the spirit of a new year, I'm trying something different on the blog. Once a week I'll share a longer post, about style, books, or other topics like goals. My other post for the week will be a round up of various things I tried or enjoyed from the previous week, like recipes, podcast episodes, and other highlights from my week.

I'd love to hear if you like this type of post, and if you do what other things you'd like to hear about!

my favorite photo from the week



  • Three Women by Lisa Taddeo - I waited a while for this book and I expected to have a stronger opinion about it, but it was just okay for me. 


  • A music jar - I heard about this on the A Beautiful Mess podcast. The idea is you list out 52 bands or musicians, print each one on a piece of paper, and put them all in a jar. Each week you pull a paper out of the jar and you listen to that band all week. We started ours this week! 


What were some of your highlights of the week? 

2020 Word of the Year and Goals

Happy 2020! Doesn't that sound so futuristic? I feel like my childhood self would have predicted flying cars and teleportation by this date. She definitely would not have envisioned my old Camry, but what can you do?

While many people see January 1 as just another date, I am not one of those people. Count me in the "woohoo fresh slate let's make all the goals!" category. I love planning and goal-setting, and I get almost as excited for New Year's Day as I do for Christmas. #nerdalert

For the past couple of years I have chosen a word of the year, and then set monthly goals around a theme (inspired by Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project) instead of choosing bigger goals at the beginning of the year. That worked well the first year, but not as well last year, so I'm trying something different this year.

Always in search of the perfect planner, this year I'm trying the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets Goal Planner, which thoughtfully, carefully walks you through the process of choosing goals to focus on for the year.

I'm going to talk more about planning and tracking in an upcoming post, but for now I'll share what I'm focusing on this year.

Photo by Denise Karis on Unsplash

{2020 word of the year} abundance. I chose this word for its multiple meanings. I associate this word with money of course, and that is an area I hope to grow in this year, but also I want to focus on the abundance (of material and non-material things) I already have in my life. Finally, I like the idea of telling myself I have an abundance of time. I tend to hurry from one thing to the next, and too often have the mentality that I don't have enough time to do everything I need or want to do. This year I want to slow down and remember I have plenty of time.

{focus one} planning. I tend to be great at planning the details and focusing on the day-to-day. However, I struggle with big picture and future planning. This year I'm focusing on looking ahead and planning not just daily--but quarterly, monthly, and weekly--so that I can feel prepared and excited for upcoming holidays and events.

{focus two} decreasing debt. In the past few years we have had some very large, unexpected home repairs and expenses that, because of the timing, urgency, and cost, we have had a lot more debt than we feel comfortable with. This year I am committed to reducing that debt.

{focus three} marriage. This year I want to be more intentional about having quality time with Aaron. Life is busy, parenting can be hard (3 year olds, man), but we can still make our relationship a priority.

{focus four} blogging. This year I want to focus on creating content I love, and find a schedule that works for me. I've never been great at planning and writing posts ahead of time, but (going along with my first goal) I hope to get better at that this year.

{focus five} reading and tracking. As you probably know, reading is a huge source of joy in my life, and I want to continue to prioritize reading time. I have experimented with different ways of tracking my reading (beyond Goodreads, which I do use), and I would like to find a system that works for me and that I will actually stick with.

{focus six} health. This year I want to create sustainable habits that help me prioritize my health. Last year I discovered that I love yoga, so I want to keep that up and add additional healthy habits to my life.

I know these are all pretty broad, but within each of these focus areas are smaller, more specific goals to work towards. I felt like this post was long enough without sharing those details. :)

Do you have a word of the year for 2020? What are you focusing on this year?