What I’m Into: January, 2015

What I'm Into buttonI love being let into the minds and lives of other people. I hope that’s not weird. In grad school, we called this idea “filling the well”, which sounds better and less nosy. Basically, the premise is that by hearing what others are reading, listening, doing, and trying, you find yourself inspired to seek out things that spark your own creativity.

Anyway, there’s a lovely writer in the blogosphere named Leigh Kramer who does a link up called What I’m Into. Every month, I binge-read her linked posts and check out the ideas. And today, well, today I felt like playing along. (Spoiler alert: I’m definitely not as cool as everyone else – I didn’t see Parenthood last night.)

On the #Oneword2015 Front:

I’ve never been a New Year resolution person. I don’t like promising things I can’t be sure I’ll deliver, and let’s be honest. With three girls three and under at home, I’m a little… distracted.

What I do like is the idea of picking a word for the year. Incorporating a word into my everyday life seems more manageable. And after a rocky start to the new year, I realized that the one word that made sense to me for 2015 was this:

Expand.

When life feels narrow, I need to expand my expectations. When I feel hurt, I need to expand my ability to show grace. When comparison creeps up behind me, I need to expand in love. Simple concept, crazy opportunity for application. Expand. (For more on the quote and ideas that sparked my word, check out these amazing words from my friend and writing group compatriot Addie Zierman.)

On the Reading Front:

keepersI just finished Keepers of the Covenant as part of the Bethany House Blogger Book Review program. I know, I know. Historical fiction can be iffy. But I have a soft spot for history. I’ve also always been enamored with the story of Esther, the Old Testament queen who risked her life to save the entire Jewish nation living in Babylon at the time. This book doesn’t focus on Esther though – it tells the story from the perspective of the Jewish community. As a person, I loved getting lost in another time and place. As a Christian, I appreciated listening to how people wrestled with what to do when evil abruptly entered their lives. As a writer, I found the stories a little too neat for my taste. The characters wrestled with difficult questions, but their answers and responses were predictable. Overall, it was a good reason to wake up with late night book reading hangover.

gruffaloIn little girl land, we tend to read the same stories over and over. There’s science behind that – recognition, repetition, all that jazz. There’s also the fact that it’s a lot of effort to get everyone to the library. But once in a while, we manage, and this time, we came across a great gem called The Gruffalo. The rhymes are divine, the pictures great, and the story-line is spooky and funny. It’s a major hit at our house, and is requested to be told in spoken word form at least twice a day. No, I do not do outside performances.

On the Eating Front:

Pizza. My amazing mother-in-law gave me a great cook book for Christmas called No Need to Knead, and now I can’t stop baking. dunawayPizza has always been a challenge for me, because perfecting a thin crust that’s still chewy in the middle is IMPOSSIBLE. At least it was for me until I used Dunaway’s method. (Aged dough, 500 degree oven, cast iron pizza pan, 7 minutes flat.) Other winners? Foccacia, Kalamata Olive Filoncino, and Ciabatta to name a few. Plus, all three girls eat it no questions asked (it’s pizza, c’mon) which is a full WIN. Bonus: it’s fast, simple, and adaptable to what you have on hand.

On the Watching Front:

Downton Abbey is on again, and even though I missed two seasons, I’m happily diving into season five with hold-my-schedule-it’s-Sunday-night fervor. Otherwise, since we don’t have cable, we’re relegated to the land of Netflix, where I eagerly await the last season of Parenthood. (I know it’s on network tv now, but I hate commercials and love watching four episodes at a time. Netflix all the way.) Meanwhile, I’m working my way through Chopped (Netflix again)– a cooking contest where you have to use four mystery basket ingredients to make an actual palatable dish. (Think combos like tamarind paste, lamb top round, mustard greens, and coke.) I mean, why not.

On the Listening Front:

I’m sure this is old news, but Brandi Carlile came out with a new album that I’m loving. I also found a band called Man in the Ring on my Black Keys Pandora station; they play some great bluesy stuff that’s fun to cook too. Oh, and don’t forget about King’s Kaleidoscope – if you need upbeat songs to focus and center your day on what’s important, these guys are it.

IMG_7288On the Home Front:

I rearranged the living room to make room for a piano. Except that we don’t have a piano. So I keep stalking craigslist for something local, which isn’t easy. If you have any leads on a lovely old upright for a reasonable (or free) price, let me know.

There are only 8 weeks till spring, and I’m starting to plot the layout for our raised bed garden boxes. New on the list this year? Broccolini.

IMG_7230The twins are starting to be more aware of one another, and I can’t stop taking pictures of them. Seeing them interact is one of the sweetest things EVER. My twin mama heart overflows when they randomly hug one another.

There you have it. Life in the month of January. Go check out the other amazing ideas you’ll find in Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into link-up, and don’t forget to tell me (and others) what YOU’RE into this month.

Please and thank you.

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