It’s the 3 Little Things: Today We Sit

July 1st, 2016

Happiness Challenge: SITTING

When we bought the furniture for our home, all I wanted were comfortable places to sit.  Years of uncomfortable furniture had created a wanting in my heart for the biggest and comfiest couch we could fit in our space. Although the aesthetics were important, it was far more the depth and the sinking-in-of-it all that was the most important to me.

We recently had some new (and old) friends to our home and took them on our little renovation tour of our very own fixer upper. The remarks often were regarding the comfortability of our spaces that I had worked so lovingly to create to help our guests feel welcome. Often the remarks were, “How do you get any work done when you have this cozy place to sit?” 

These were the places they said they couldn’t resist.

Yet, I resist them.

What might look, at times, like a cushy job (and believe me, cushy moments do exist), is a lot of sweat and hustle to create. I am not complaining, but sometimes that glamour shot you see is nothing like my life.  Many moments are spent hunched over the computer and in some state of frantic panic over a post that, honestly,  I’m lucky if people might scan briefly through with their morning coffee.

What there isn’t a lot of, for me,  is… well, SITTING. The corners that people might envy are rarely enjoyed by me so I challenged myself to SIT in every one of those corners this week because I deserve to rest.

I am worthy of that.

I soaked in a good book on my giant leather chair, I snuggled up with my cat and watched a television show, I knitted in my shed sanctuary, and I curled on my bed in the evening to browse my blog reader. It sounds so silly, but for the first time in probably a few years, I just enjoyed sitting in the places I had made for myself.

All the places.

If you don’t do a lot of sitting at your house either, consider this a challenge to sit in those beautiful and cozy corners you created. They aren’t just for company, they are for YOU. 

I thought it might be fun to creatively explore a bit on this post so today might seem different than usual.

I’m glad.

I want you to enjoy the REAL over in blogland and that can never be cultivated if I’m not honest with you. I want to explore how I’m working towards the happy in my life. As always, I am a big work in progress.  

Tell me, do you struggle with being still too?  

Here are 3 other things that make me happy.

Hania Sandals from Naturalizer

Amazingly Comfortable Gladiator Sandals

Oh, I am loving this year’s sandal trends, BUT I have stupidly wide feet so I am not always able to embrace the trends. I had to break my rule of not buying shoes during my capsule challenge because a joint fell out of the side of one of my feet (I kid you not) and it hung off the side of my sandal in a really uncomfortable way. I totally demoed it for my husband to justify said shoe purchase.

Come on. You would too.

I found these gorgeous, gorgeous sandals from Naturalizer (the Hania Sandals in Gingersnap)  and they are PERFECT in every way.  This has a comfortable wedge on the bottom that gives a petite girl some height without compromising her balance. If you are looking for a gladiator shoe that you won’t have to break in, these fit the bill perfectly!

Although you may not have a joint falling out, my sister remarked that only I would find a way to make bracing this travesty fashionably. What can I say? I’m an EDS warrior these days.

PS- if you have NARROW feet, they make this one in a narrow too, lucky ladies!

SYTYCD Next Generation

Kids Dancing Gives Me ALL THE FEELS

This seasons SYTYCD is all about the kiddos and it is absolutely epic this year.  If you want a great show to watch with your kids that will inspire them (especially if you have a tiny dancer on your hands too!), you MUST watch the show this year, SYTYCD Next Generation

Not only are the kids amazing dancers, but they have some compelling stories. Not to mention how hard their parents worked (ahem!).

The only UN-happy about this happy is that when a kid gets cut, I start weeping.

EVERY. TIME.

I mean, you can’t cut kids. Seriously. It’s awful.

That said, my whole family is just loving this season. Since we don’t have cable (you should cut it, you guys!!) we watch this through Hulu! Use this link (if you like) to sign up. Yay! That is one subscription we get our money’s worth out of.

a-murder-in-time

Participating in My First Big Library Read

My book club site is growing every day and I tell you, these ladies know their stuff. It’s totally free so join us and participate!  They told me about the Big Library Read and I jumped on the bandwagon this week to participate.

The Big Library Read is an opportunity for those with a valid library card to read the same digital title at the same time without any wait lists or holds. Participating in this event allows your library to offer a new simultaneous use title for community-wide access from your library at no cost. It’s a worldwide digital version of a local book club! 

Big Library Read

It’s not too late to join in so check and see if your library is participating and take advantage of another fun (and free!) book club opportunity. So cool!

I’m not going to tell you a ton about it because I want you to discover this one yourself. The book is called,  A Murder in Time and it is about a gal from the FBI that ends up time traveling into the 1800’s and helps work on a case of a serial killer on the loose. Unfortunately, she can’t use any modern day anything to solve the case so you can imagine it’s a tough case to crack.

Oh, and did I mention she’s a woman who is a servant in a castle?

Yeah, you can imagine how receptive people are. (wink, wink!)

Now go snag this book and join in over the weekend!

Happy Friday, friends!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

 

How to Make a DIY Terrarium

June 30th, 2016

How to Make a DIY Terrarium from MomAdvice.com.

You know people that are amazing at gardening and planting?

I’m not one of those people.

I am the girl that goes to the greenhouse and requests plants that can take care of themselves. My plants must be able to survive without water or nourishment of any kind.

Despite my black thumb, I spent many of my summers working in a greenhouse as a kid and I do know a few things about caring for plants. Thanks to my greenhouse knowledge, I know that terrariums are the perfect project for a girl with my skill set and they are also the perfect project  for any gardener-in-the-making.

How_To_Make_Terrariums

For those of you itching to play in the dirt, this project is a fun one that adds a bit of green to your house while you await planting season.  If you are looking for a fun project to tackle with the kids, this can transform into a little fairy garden with a few novelty items.

The possibilities of terrariums are endless because they are made in any type of glass container or jar.  A good place to hunt for unique jars is your local thrift shop. You can also get inventive and use other types of glass containers like cake stands, fish bowls, hurricanes, or even a light bulb!

How to Make a DIY Terrarium

Terrarium Supplies

Supplies Needed

Drop cloth or Newspaper (I use a dollar store shower curtain to cover my tables for messy crafts)
Glass container or jar
Small Plants or Herbs (Look for plants of varying heights, leaf shapes, & colors)
Pebbles
Moss
Charcoal
Potting Soil
Hand Trowel

 

Creating a terrarium is a lot like creating a layered cake. You need all the different layers in your terrarium in order for your plants to thrive. Since we are using such small amounts of materials, like pebbles or moss, ask your local greenhouse if you can buy small quantities instead of investing in large bags. At our greenhouse,  I was able to snag both the moss and pebbles for my project for just $.50!

How_To_Make_Terrariums

1. Begin by adding your pebbles to the bottom of your container. This is to create a false drainage layer so water can settle and not flood the plants. You will want to add 1 inch to two inches of stone, depending on the size of your container.

2. Next, we will layer our charcoal. The charcoal can come in granules or shards (the type I am using is shards). We will spread a layer of this over the rock to help reduce bacteria, fungus, and odors in our terrarium.

How_To_Make_Terrariums

3. Prepare your plants for planting. Remove them from their pots and loosen up the root ball, exposing the roots. If the roots are particularly long, you can trim them down a bit.

How to Make a DIY Terrarium from MomAdvice.com.

4.  Add a layer of dirt to your terrarium. Gently place your plants inside and then top them off with a bit more dirt, using your hands to gather the dirt firmly into place around each of the plants. Be mindful where you are planting them, mixing up your plants of varying heights and foliage, to fill your jar.

5.  Finish your terrarium with a layer of moss to keep the soil moist and add a decorative finish. If your kids are making their own little garden, this is a great time to finish them with fun little trinkets.

How_To_Make_Terrariums_Collage

6. Clean the container. Wipe down the outside and inside of your container, to remove any excess dirt that may have gathered on the sides.

7. Finish by watering your terrarium, being mindful not to overwater it. Caring for your terrarium is easy, especially if you are a terrible gardener like me. Check every couple of weeks to see if your terrarium needs water. Feel the soil to see if it is dry and add water if it is. If your terrarium is closed, be sure to take off the top at least once a month to air it out. If you see lots of condensation or have added too much water, leave the top off until it has had a chance to dry out.

How to Make a DIY Terrarium from MomAdvice.com.

How_To_Make_Terrariums-17

Here is a visual of what we want our container to look like. I love that this looks beautiful from the side as well as the top. I had so much fun making this that I can’t wait to make another one for other rooms in our home!

Have you ever made a terrarium? What advice would you give on these?

 

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Amy’s Notebook 06.29.16

June 29th, 2016

Slow Cook Chicken Tinga Tacos via I Heart Naptime

Source: I Heart Naptime

 

Slow cooker chicken tinga tacos- yum!

Curate your life and the rest will follow.

9 DIY rope rug projects to try this summer.

Beach wave tutorial- so cute!

Recipes to make with a farmer’s market haul.

Being bored is a way to make children self-reliant.

Summer capsule wardrobe inspiration!

Picnic like an Event Planner via Camille Styles

Source: Camille Styles

 

I want to picnic like an event planner.

You can’t read this and not feel inspired.

Never tie a water balloon again.

15 ways to use a rotisserie chicken.

What a sweet end-of-year tradition.

Birthday goals.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

Tips for Grilling Success & Herb-Buttered Grilled Corn Recipe

June 28th, 2016

Tips and Tricks for successful grilling plus our family's favorite grilled corn recipe!

Nothing says summer like dinner prepared outdoors on the grill. I relish those al fresco dinners even more because of how easy it is to clean up afterwards! What mom wouldn’t enjoy fewer dishes to wash and making dinner in the fresh sunshine?

Grilling success was harder to come by for our family. The first year we began grilling outdoors was a year of trial and error. Over the years, we discovered that our key to success relies on a good meat thermometer, an arsenal of good marinades, a little bit of patience, and these tips and tricks that make grilling even easier.

I’m also sharing with your our family’s favorite grilled corn recipe – it’s so simple, yet SO good! (Amazon affiliate links are included where appropriate for your convenience.)

Tips for Grilling Success

Grilling tips for success 1. If you don’t want your food to taste like last year’s burger, start with a clean grill. My biggest grill-cleaning hack is this: I take the simplest approach possible when cleaning my grill racks by using the self-cleaning function on my oven. Simply bring the grill racks indoors and place them in the oven, run the oven through the self-cleaning mode and you’ll end up with a clean oven and beautifully clean grill racks!

2. Maintain those shiny grates by oiling them before you grill. When you’re done grilling, use a wire grill brush to clean off the grates while the grill is still warm.

Kabobs for grilling 3. Plan your menus in advance. Prepare meat in bulk and store in freezer bags (I double-bag mine to prevent messes) or freezer-safe containers. I love to prep a few different marinades at a time. Most marinades have similar base ingredients (olive oil, vinegars, seasonings, Worcestershire sauce) and it’s so much easier to do it all at once. Chop meat for kabobs and jot down any cooking times or special instructions on the outside of the bags. Then just stick the containers, marinade and all, in the freezer!

Grilling tips and tricks for meats 4. Consider investing in a digital meat thermometer. This will ensure that your meat is always fully cooked and at its optimal flavor. Look for a thermometer with a probe that beeps when the internal food temperature is reached. The best part is that some now come with a separate receiver that you can take indoors with you, letting you prep the rest of the food without worrying about burning the meat.

5. To get the best flavors from your meats, always:

  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (to prevent the meat from sticking).
  • Season both sides of meat generously with salt and pepper.
  • Apply sauces at the end of the cooking time to prevent charred meat.
  • Let meat rest ten minutes after removing from grill, to allow the juices to redistribute.

Grilled brussels sprouts 6. Grilled vegetables are the perfect side dish. Large veggies like eggplant, squash or onions can be cut into chunks and placed on the grill rack. Smaller vegetables like cherry tomatoes or sliced veggies work best in kabobs.

My favorite tricks are to throw veggies into a cast iron skillet right on the grill, to save on time threading kabobs, and grilling in a heavy duty foil. So easy and just enjoy the delicious taste of grilled flavor throughout!

Herb-Buttered Grilled Corn Recipe

Our favorite summertime food has always been grilled corn on the cob. Our new favorite is this herb-buttered version that you must try. This recipe is a great way to use up any herbs from your herb garden. The finished product is delicious, buttery and so fresh tasting!

Grilling corn on the cob

Herb-Buttered Grilled Corn Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: grilling
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
A delicious and buttery way to cook corn that is so fresh tasting!
Ingredients
  • 6 ears fresh corn, cleaned
  • 6 tablespoons sweet butter, softened and divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 6 pieces aluminum foil, big enough to wrap cobs (or use husks after de-silking cobs)
Instructions
  1. Place each ear of corn on a piece of foil (if using husks, remove the silk from each cob and open the husks enough to spread the butter).
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and dissolve the sugar and salt into it. Add this to the remaining butter and blend well.
  3. Mix herbs together and add to butter. Rub mixture onto each cob.
  4. Wrap foil (or husks) around the corn and grill 15 minutes, turning often.

Here are a few more of our favorite grilled recipes:

5_Ingredient_Caprese_Pork_Chop

5 Ingredient Caprese Pork Chops

grilled-brussels-sprouts

Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Three_Cheese_Grilled_Potatoes

Three Cheese Grilled Potatoes

 What are your favorite grilling hacks?

 

Robin Wasserman’s 3 Favorite Books

June 27th, 2016

Robin Wasserman

Author: Robin Wasserman. (Author of Girls on Fire and many more!)  Read more about Robin in our interview HERE!)

Robin Wasserman’s 3 Favorite Books

I’m terrible at “favorites,” but here are two books I’ve loved recently and then one of the only books that unquestionably counts as an all-time greatest hit:

The History of Great Things by Elizabeth Crane

The History of Great Things by Elizabeth Crane

Midway through this novel, I stopped reading and sent my mother a copy for mother’s day. (Which, fortunately, she appreciated, despite the fact that things don’t go especially well for the mother in the book.) This book, the ingenious and heartbreaking story of a mother a daughter trying to understand each other, is so unexpectedly smart and delightful and fascinating that I don’t want to tell you too much about it and spoil the surprise, so all I will say is that I would give quite a lot to be come up with a structure half as clever as what Elizabeth Crane is doing here.

Alice & Oliver by Charles Bock

Alice & Oliver by Charles Bock

Sad and sweet and brutal and funny, this is a novel about a family trying to battle its way through a cancer diagnosis, and about how to survive the possibility of losing the person who makes life worth living. You should read it; everyone should read it.

  A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

I don’t think the world needs yet another paean to David Foster Wallace’s greatness, and if you’ve ever read one of these essays, it’s pretty self-evident, so I’ll just say that this is one of those books that cracked my world open. It’s not just that the book opened my eyes to radically new and enormous possibilities of what writing could do and be—though it did. And it’s not just that the book made me want to be a better writer, or a better thinker, or a better person—though it did that, too. It’s that, when I’m reading Wallace, I get a brief but glorious taste of what it might be like to inhabit life as he did. I get to mold my thoughts to his, and embody a person capable of and determined to deeply understand every piece of his world.

 

 This post contains affiliate links! To learn more about the authors featured, please visit our Sundays With Writers series!

Sundays With Writers: Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

June 26th, 2016

Sundays With Writers

Girls on Fire has been on my radar for months and I put a hold on it at our library months in advance to be first in line for it. Yup, I’m one of those people.  I am such a big fan of the dark and gritty thriller genre and this one delivered quite the punch for a great summer escape. Longtime readers know that I don’t shy away from racy books and today’s book is a bit darker and racier than my usual selections, but I really enjoyed this exploration of a twisted friendship set in an era that I remember rather fondly…the ’90’s. As soon as I finished it, I passed it on to my best friend because it is the kind of book you want to share with someone else so you can talk about it.

 

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

Girls on Fire is the first adult book from Robin Wasserman and it is ADULT so, readers, be warned!  Follow down the path of Dex & Lacey, two social outcasts who find comfort and friendship in one another through a mutual dislike for the high school queen bee. When one of the popular kids commits suicide in their small town, we are quick to see that things are often as they seem as Lacey’s dangerous interactions start coming to light. Set in the ‘90’s with plenty of nostalgic flashbacks, it also laces in the beginning of the twilight of the satanic panic that plagued this era.

Due to the language, sex, and violence in this one, this will be a pretty polarizing book that you will either really love or really hate, much like how I felt about Luckiest Girl Alive (read my interview with Jessica Knoll here). I found it to be a great summer escape and a well-woven plot although, as a reader, I often wondered if some of the scenes were set up to shock you rather than to move the story forward.

Once I closed the book, I raced to my computer to see if I could secure Robin for our series. I am thrilled to have her join us today to talk about this book as well as writing from an uncensored place. As someone who constantly is worried what her readers might think of her if she gets a little too real, I appreciate learning about writing from a more open place.

Grab your coffee and let’s chat about Girls on Fire today!!

Robin Wasserman

So many writers are making the switch from writing Adult Fiction to Young Adult this year. You took a different path and went from writing for young adults, for over a decade, to writing for adults. Since this book is still exploring adolescence, why did you decide to take this path? Did you feel like it gave you more freedom in your writing since you didn’t have to write for the adolescent mindset? Do you think you will continue writing for adults?

When I started this book, I decided to do my best not to think about the market, how it would be labeled or sold. I just wanted to get the story down and let the characters take me wherever they needed to go—so the shift from young adult to adult (whatever that actually means on the page) is something that happened mostly organically, I think, as the characters, plot, and style evolved over the course of many drafts. But at some point in the revision process, I did start thinking about this more as a book for adults than for teenagers, and while I wouldn’t say that freed me of any constraints—I never felt particularly constrained by YA!—it did give me the luxury of writing a somewhat more retrospective story, putting a little distance between myself as writer and my adolescent characters. The book gradually became not just a story about teenage girls, but a story about girlhood itself, an examination of adolescence—and vehicle for all the thoughts and opinions and arguments on girlhood that have been simmering in me for the last decade. I think there are a lot of YA writers out there who do this with work—but for me, the shift to a different audience turned out to be the key that unlocked that part of my brain. It gave me the permission—maybe even the directive—to take a step back and think about the bigger picture. To take different kinds of risks with the narrative and the writing. And yes, it’s definitely become addictive, as is the freedom to write adult characters—so I’m planning to write a lot more of it in the future!

 

 

Books With Girl in the Title

source: ew

My husband and I were laughing because six of the books that I have on my Kindle right now all have, “girl” in the title. I also read your article where you addressed this phenomenon in literature (it was fantastic!). Did you worry about the overlap with other books with this word in the title or do you think that the word, “girl” is a little bit of the secret sauce to a successful thriller?

I don’t really believe there’s a secret sauce to success, but if there is, I’m pretty sure it’s not something as simple as a word in the title. As I said in the LitHub essay, I think of myself as a contrarian so it chafes a bit to have accidentally thrown myself onto this bandwagon—it sounds ridiculous now to say that the “girl” trend didn’t even occur to me when I titled this book, but it’s true, and if it had, I probably would have come up with something different. (That said, I’m glad I didn’t, as this has been Girls on Fire since I first started writing it and I can’t imagine any title that would feel as right.) I don’t much worry about any potential overlap, and despite my contrarianism—or maybe because of it—I’ve come to embrace the idea, because as I argued in LitHub, I think you can see the plethora of “girl” titles as a new cultural engagement with and anxiety about what it means to be female, a reaction against marginalization and knee-jerk categorizations. Over the last couple years I’ve become increasingly enraged by the way society treats adolescent girls and I think the marginalization of their story—and their voices is a big part of that. If the increase in “girl” titles is, at least in part, a movement toward acknowledging the value of girlhood, the narrative power of that story, then it’s a movement I’m proud to be part of.

 Your writing feels raw and uncensored as you explore a lot of dark and gritty themes in this book. Did you ever worry about how “adult” your book was going when you were writing it, particularly some of the sexual content that it contains? Were there any scenes that you found difficult to write?

When I’m writing, the idea of an eventual reader seems so hypothetical as to be almost literally unimaginable, so I rarely censor myself or the places the story goes. With this book in particular, as I said above, I was really trying to force myself to draft it in isolation, and I think that was necessary for what the story turned out to be. I can remember pretty vividly coming up with the idea for—well, let’s call it The Thing That Happens in the Woods. I remember thinking, Wait, can I actually do that? Is that allowed? And there was such delicious satisfaction in the realization that I could. Who was going to stop me?

I don’t know what it says about me that the dark and gritty scenes aren’t particularly difficult to write and the intensely emotional ones often tend to come the easiest. I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve gravitated toward writing adolescent characters—because my memory of adolescence is that it’s a bloody emotional battlefield. Anything but dark and gritty would feel like a lie.

Lacey & Dex have a toxic and all-consuming friendship in this book and the reader gets to go down this twisted tunnel with them both. Did you have any intense friendships like this when you were growing up? Which of these two characters did you feel you related to most when you were a teenager?

I was very much a Dex growing up, and I did live my adolescent life in pursuit of the ultimate Lacey, attaching myself to a series of wild (or wild-ish) girls who seemed like they could give me the permission to be reckless, or at least plausible deniability on those rare occasions I seized it for myself. But none of those friendships ever quite took; they never turned into what I wanted them to be, probably because what I wanted was a self-immolating collision of souls, and that’s a somewhat tall order. I think one of the reasons I’m so fascinated by the all-consuming friendship is precisely because I never quite found it—I was obsessed with the idea of being obsessed. Of finding myself a soulmate that I could lose myself in. The romance of that kind of best friend—the certainty that it would change everything, would save me—loomed very large over my adolescent horizon, and pretty clearly took root in my subconscious.

Dex’s dad tries to take Lacey under his wing since she doesn’t have any positive male role models in her life. Do you think this friendship went past the appropriate boundaries? Did you sympathize with her father and that need to still feel cool?

Oh, I’m pretty sure this friendship went past appropriate boundaries! I have great sympathy for all characters involved and the choices they made—though my greatest sympathies, as I hope is evident (though I gather is not) lie with Dex’s mother, who’s forced to play the grown-up whether she wants to or not. Her husband has put her in an incredibly untenable position, her daughter lacks all empathy for her, and she somehow manages to soldier on and do the right thing, without holding too much of a grudge against either of them. I imagine things might have gone very differently had Lacey thought to cozy up to her instead!

Which character did you have the most fun writing in this book? Were there any scenes, in particular, that you enjoyed writing?

The scenes that felt the best to write tended to be the most painful, filled with rage and misery and trauma, so I’m not sure “enjoyed” is the right verb to use there. But I guess you could say the scene, early on, where Dex and Lacey drop acid at church and then wind up making some very ill-advised choices in a nearby field, has a special place in my heart—that was originally (and in very different form) the second chapter, and writing that scene is the moment the book took flight for me. With that scene, I realized this was a book I had to write, no matter what, and that it was going to be a very different book than I’d ever written before.

My So Called Life

 Since I grew up in the ‘90’s, I appreciated all of the nostalgia of this era in your book. How much fun was it to write about this time period? Also, if you could bring one thing back from the ‘90’s, what would it be?

Massive, massive amounts of fun. Suffice to say my research involved a lot of grunge music and a lot of old episodes of the Real World, not to mention an unfortunate and embarrassing deep dive into my old high school yearbooks. It’s an excellent question, though, what I would bring back—maybe overalls! Sartorially ill-advised but oh, how I loved them.

I might also bring back My So-Called Life era Jared Leto. 

satanic-panic

You write about the twilight of the Satanic Panic that happened in the ‘90’s which is something that I had forgotten about. Why was this an important part of your story? Do you recall this panic in your own town when you were growing up?

If you’d asked me this question last week, I would have said that I grew up in the suburbs and the Satanic Panic never touched us—but just the other day I got an email from a guy I went to high school with who’d read the book and was reminiscing about all the rumors about Satanists performing dark ceremonies in our local cemetery. I have no memory of this whatsoever (and I was so out of the loop in high school that most rumors never reached me), but I guess it’s testament to how widespread these fears really were. The Satanic Panic element of the book was there from the beginning—it was one of the original inspirations for the novel, and dovetailed perfectly with one of the larger themes I wanted to explore, this question of the porous boundary between fears for our children and fears of them. The Satanic Panic—as Richard Beck has argued very persuasively in We Believe the Children—began at least in part as an outgrowth of anxieties about working mothers. This was the first generation of latchkey children, and I think it’s fascinating to think about how in the 80s, people were consumed with panic about what might be done to the kids when their parents left them behind…but by the ‘90s, the children grown into teenagers, the new panic revolved around what the kids might do.  I’m fascinated by the way so many adults seem to see teenagers as this mysterious, alien other. Girls on Fire is partly about interrogating that willful forgetting of our own past selves, but also about the ways our unspoken anxieties can manifest in various forms of moral panic, defense turning to offense, insecurity masquerading as righteousness, all of it often ending up victimizing exactly the people it purports to protect.

Is there any possibility of a sequel?

No—this is the story of Dex and Lacey’s life. Everything after is epilogue.

What are you working on next?

I’m a little superstitious about talking about work in progress, but suffice to say I’m having fun!

girls-on-fire

You can connect with Robin Wasserman on her website! I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads, through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

*This post contains affiliate links!

 

 

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Did You Check For Your Amazon Money Yet? It’s Also a Really Good Day For Kindle Deals!

June 25th, 2016

kindle-deals

I don’t post too many deal posts around here, but today’s book deals were just too good to pass up especially because you might be the proud owner of some FREE MONEY right now thanks to the company settling a $400 million e-book lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed against Apple Inc. and five publishing companies for their roles in an alleged e-book price-fixing scheme, according to Hagens Berman, a class-action litigation firm. Eligible customers made e-book purchases between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 and were entitled to a settlement for their purchases. According to the terms of the settlement, consumers will receive a $6.93 credit for every e-book which was a New York Times bestseller, and a $1.57 credit for other e-books. To see if you have credit, check HERE first (you want to be sure to do this because there is an expiration!!).

 

If you have credit, it will appear like this.

amazon-lawsuit-credit

If you don’t, you will see this message: “There is no eBook settlement credit associated with this account.”

Since I am a proud library supporter, I only had a whopping, $8.50, but I know many of my friends have had upwards of $200 in credit!! Come back and tell me if you had anything in your accounts, bookworms!

Every day I post all the best Kindle deals in our Book Club group. If you haven’t joined yet (no strings attached, free & fun!!), it is bookworm central and a great place to chat about books.

Today there are some INCREDIBLE deals on bestsellers that I didn’t want you to miss so I am sharing them here while you have a little credit burning a hole in your pocket!

those_who_save_us

My Recommendations for Spending That Kindle Credit

Here are some incredible deals that are happening today that, I believe, are smart investments for that Kindle credit!!

JUST MERCY, $3.99

PRETTY GIRLS, $1.99

THE ORPHAN’S OF RACE POINT, $1.99

BEHAVE, $1.99

THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION BOY, $2.99

THOSE WHO SAVE US, $2.99

FATHER’S DAY, $1.99

THE COVE, $1.99

THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY, $1.99

GIRL ON A WIRE, $1.99

THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN, $1.99

THE REVISED FUNDAMENTALS OF CAREGIVING, $1.99

THE SLEEPWALKER’S GUIDE TO DANCING, $1.99

THE DRESSMAKER’S WAR, $1.99

LEARNING TO SWIM, $1.99

WHEN THE MOON IS LOW, $1.99

WHAT THE WAVES KNOW, $1.99

LILY & THE OCTOPUS, $1.99-

THE ROWAN TREE- FREE!!

BEAUTIFUL LIES, $1.99

BENDING TOWARD THE SUN, $.99

STARS OVER SUNSET BOULEVARD, $1.99

HANOVER HOUSE- FREE!!

THE MOON IN THE PALACE, $1.99

LOVE THE ONE YOUR WITH, $2.99

THE COLOR PURPLE, $2.99

THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE, $1.99

FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, $1.99

THE WITNESS, $4.99

REBECCA, $1.99

THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, $1.99

THE STORYTELLER, $1.99

FROG MUSIC, $1.99

This post contains affiliate links!

It’s the 3 Little Things: iPad Summer Shields, Binge-worthy TV, & Pillow Love

June 24th, 2016

Wine on a Boat

I hope you had another wonderful week! You may recall my high school bestie sharing her experience doing a no spend challenge on the blog awhile back. It was such a treat to have her in town this week to celebrate the upcoming arrival of her new baby with her family.  She’s doing so well and I continue to see the transformative power of simple living in her life.  I felt really lucky to get to be with her this week and we even managed to squeeze in a little hot yoga class together. If you are local, treat yourself to Hot Yoga with Frances Shavers over at this studio. The instructor is a gift and her musicality is such a treat during my vinyasa flow. I have become quite the little yoga addict.

Here are a few other  things that have been making me happy over here.

Tech Armor Anti Glare Protectors

I Can Read My iPad in the Sun

I love reading on my iPad with the Kindle app, but it can be difficult to read in the sun with this gadget. These Tech Armor anti glare protectors cost less than $10 for two and have made reading so much more enjoyable for me this summer. They are also super handy if you are watching a show in the sun because it takes that glare off your screen. Now that I have these, I am reading even more on my iPad this summer.  If you are looking for something to remove the glare, this is an affordable and easy option that I found on Amazon for better reading by the pool!

UnREAL

Another Binge-Worthy Show

I don’t watch a lot of television so it has been something really incredible to suck me in and pull me away from my book stack. If you haven’t seen UnREAL, you must watch it! The premise is a behind-the-scenes look at a reality show called Everlasting (AKA The Bachelor) and it is about the producers and the real show that is happening behind the scenes. It is is gritty, raw, and probably more real than the reality television that America keeps serving up for us.

I kept hearing about this one and one evening I decided to take the plunge and watch the first episode.

Then the second episode.

Then the third.

In fact, talking about it makes me want to get back to watching it again.

It’s on Lifetime (I know, I know- but trust me!) so I have been streaming it through Hulu (can also stream on Amazon if you don’t have Hulu!). Have you watched it yet? SO GOOD!

Room Essentials Body Pillow

A Gift to My Joints

I started getting massages for all of my joint issues and the massage therapist offered some suggestions for better sleeping including hugging a pillow between my arms and legs. I thought a body pillow might be the way to go instead of wrestling with little pillows and found this inexpensive body pillow at Target (less than $10!). The best part is that they have all these gorgeous covers that can coordinate with your bedding and I found this furry one in gray (again, less than $10!!) and it is an incredible joy to curl up with it! I’m having way better sleep curled up with this and it’s relieved a lot of pain in my achy joints.

Shrimp Boil

Reading: The Two-Family House is this month’s book club selection and I enjoyed this one so very much this week. If you are looking for a good book escape, this one is perfection. Read it and join in our book club discussion next Thursday!

Eating: Another batch of make-ahead breakfast burritos thanks to this week’s breakfast buffet post. I love these for nights I don’t feel like cooking too (which is almost every night in the summer)! Thankful for easy shrimp boils this summer when entertaining!

Laughing:  Just get online and start screaming! LOL! (PS- Totally safe for kids!)

Making: Having a blast with fabric this week thanks to a new gig this year with Waverly Fabric as a part of their Waverly Inspirations Network. I’m thankful they still want me even though I am a legitimate sewing school drop-out. Here is a sneak peek of my wreath I made from their fabrics and today’s task is to craft a pretty garland to match it. It feels good to be making things with my hands again.

Happy Friday, friends!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

6 Ways to Date Your Husband in the Summer

June 23rd, 2016

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

6 Ways to Date Your Husband in the Summer

The other night my husband called me around nine o’clock. In lieu of hello, he said, “Go outside,” as soon as I picked up the phone. He was on the interstate, driving past our exit, and amazed by the brilliant sunset painting the sky. A truck driver who works nights, he doesn’t get to Netflix and chill with me after the kids are in bed, and finding ways to connect — or just veg out together (quality time love language for the win!) — is a challenge.

But on that night, we stared at the same sky for a few moments, oohing and aahing over the orange and pink stripes that I saw from the front porch and he saw from the front seat.

No matter what shift you or your husband work, connecting in a meaningful way with any regularity can be difficult. And while I’d like to say it’s easier in summer, because we’re all maxing and relaxing to some old-school hip hop, sipping grown-up drinks and holding hands while the kids play nicely in the pool, that’s not really the case, is it?

Summer might be more flexible or laid back in some ways, but it’s still real life. And no matter what the season, real life can get in the way of our desire, our intention, our plans to connect with the one we love most. So, just like I found a few fun (realistic) ways to date your husband in the fall, I’ve put together a list of fun, easy ways to date your husband in the summer.

Side note: In my effort to be original and helpful to you, I did some research on summertime date night ideas. And while I am sure some of us would love filling an inflatable baby pool with pillows for a comfy night of stargazing or adding candlelight (or glow sticks) and the word “strip” to board games for a grown-up night at home, I decided to keep it a little more simple this time.

(And, let’s be honest- every time. Because seriously.)

Tips for Dating Your Husband in the Summer

6 Ways to Date Your Husband in the Summer

1. Sip and sit under the stars. After you get the kids to bed, grab your hubby and a cold drink and slip outside. Drink some lemonade (or whatever your beverage of choice is), lean back and watch whatever show nature has for you. Sunset or stars, clear sky or clouds, it doesn’t really matter. Taking a quiet moment to relax and connect is the point.

(Bonus point? This date is free.)

2. Netflix a new show. Or Hulu or Amazon Prime. Or wherever you can find a show or miniseries or movie trilogy to watch while snuggled up with your favorite person (and maybe a bowl of popcorn to share). My husband and I just caught up on the show we’ve been watching on Netflix and now, while we’re in mourning a little bit, we’re also on the hunt for a new show. For us it’s not just about vegging out to something entertaining; it’s about sharing an interest and getting so caught up in a fictional group of people we can’t stop talking about them when the show’s over.

(Side note: If you have any suggestions for a new show, I’m all ears. In the past we’ve watched Friday Night Lights, White Collar, NCIS, Castle, Blue Bloods and Psych.)

3. Catch an outdoor show. No, not the sunset again (although that’s always an added bonus, isn’t it?!). I’m talking about attending an outdoor concert or play, or maybe watching a movie at the drive-in. Even though the bugs and the humidity and the beating sun get on my nerves like nobody’s business, something about summer nights takes me back to the days when my husband and I were dating. Back when he would willingly do things like attend Shakespeare in the Park, and I would do anything outdoors without griping about feeling sweaty. So, this summer, I’m checking the city’s calendar of events for our next date night!

4. Stay inside. If you’d rather not sweat on your big date, try something indoors instead. You can always do the typical dinner and a movie (it’s our default, especially when a new superhero movie is out!), but why not mix things up this summer? Try karaoke and drinks or a museum and frozen yogurt, or pretend to be a tourist and hit up your town’s coolest attractions!

5. Go back to school. Take a class together! Learn to cook a new dish or paint some pottery. As long as you can both keep your sense of humor and focus on the time together (and not getting it right the first time), you’ll have a great time — and maybe even learn something new!

6. Ride the ferris wheel. Or pet a prize-winning pig or spend all your quarters to win a giant stuffed animal. I’m talking about going to a fair or a carnival, of course! Even if your state fair isn’t the best state fair in the state (a little musical reference, if you will), summer is the perfect time to get lost for a bit wandering through the lights and noise and aromas of a traveling fair — and to share a funnel cake, of course!

What’s YOUR favorite way to date your husband in the summer?

 

Amy’s Notebook 06.22.16

June 22nd, 2016

DIY-Monstera-doormat via Enthralling Gumption

Source: Enthralling Gumption

 

Perfect DIY summer doormat.

This is the way to have your coffee in the summer!

A fun summer activity – show your state pride with a DIY state project.

Similar to a clothing uniform, here’s a lunch uniform example. Thoughts?

Make funnel cake at home.

The art of packing lightly.

Shrimp-Boil-Kabobs via Damn Delicious

Source: Shrimp Boil Kabobs

 

One of our favorite meals reimagined as a kabob.

This kid’s room is so fun and colorful.

Adding mango to energy bites? Yes, please.

Be kind to yourself and increase your success.

Combining waffles and pizza? Sounds like a great summer kid cooking activity!

Don’t wait until it’s too late to simplify.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!