Friday, March 31, 2023

The weekly run down 3.31.2023

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March 2023 Reads

I know it's not a typical month for me when I have to ask myself what I'm even reading and many times the answer is a blank mind. Life LOL

March reads: 

Engrossing Reads

Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent - This is super dark with some really depraved shit in here but injected with some levity here and there. I feel like I saw it compared in some way to Eleanor Oliphant and man this is definitely more disturbing. Free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book publishes July 18

The Bitter Past (Porter Beck #1) by Bruce Borgos - What a cast of characters. It's hard to pick a favorite! They made the book, and the story was decent too. Will definitely read the next in the series.
Thanks to Netgalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review, book publishes July 18

The Long Way Back by Nicole Baart - An interesting idea for a story, and I loved that I thought the book was about so many things that it was not really about at all. Thoughtful and interesting writing as I’ve come to expect from Baart. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes June 13

Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon - This was an interesting story - drug a bit at the end but overall enjoyed and I don't think I've read anything like it before. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes May 16

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop (Whistle Stop #2) by Fannie Flagg - Reading a Fannie Flagg with characters you know from previous books is like getting a hug from someone who has loved you your whole life even if you don't see them often. I never want them to end. OCNJ library hardcover

Passed the Time Just Fine

All the Blue-Eyed Angels (Erin Solomon Mystery #1) by Jen Blood - I was reading this late and night and it was on 5% for an eternity and I was like this is terrible then realized it was because I somehow have all five kindle books and it is tracking them as a whole. I always love a cult component and that's why I delved into this. It was fine if not a little bumbling and Erin Solomon herself is mildly on my nerves so book two will either make it or kill it for me reading the rest. Sometimes I think the first book in a series is mainly to work out kinks. Kindle, own

Have You Seen Her by Catherine McKenzie - This was sort of plodding along and then the last little over a quarter of the book I was like huh. Never saw this shit coming. I didn't mind that. The plodding along I did mind a little. Free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book publishes June 27

You Can Trust Me by Wendy Heard - I enjoyed the chosen family relationship here. A quick read that kept me on my toes with a few what is this doing in here scenes Thanks to Netgalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes June 13

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai - I was pumped by the premise but it fell short in a number of ways and felt like the reading experience itself drug on for three years. Me at the point in the picture below: "I started reading this book four score and seven years ago." A better editor would have this shipshape. OCNJ library hardcover

Hidden Pieces (Misty Pines Mystery #1) by Mary Keliikoa - I got this because I have the second one from Netgalley. It was fine but I'm hoping for better from the second and wondering if I should have broken my cardinal rule of read all series books starting with one but alas here we are, the rule stands. Kindle, own

Not For Me/Did Not Finish

Stone Maidens by Lloyd Devereux Richards - Yes, of course I purchased a copy of the book a daughter shared that her dad  had worked on for a million years. He's a good writer but this is definitely detail-heavy in forensics (and I don't think always super accurate?) and that will be a heavy lift for a lot of people who pick it up and are used to reading or watching thrillers that provide forensic details and make people feel like they are CSIs but absolutely gloss over them in reality. The main character is a little bit of a mess which I don't have a ton of patience for either. A+ story of how this book got into the mainstream, lower marks for the reading experience. Paperback, own, NFM

I saw Harlan Coben in conversation with Liz Moore this month and that was fantastic. I've read every Harlan Coben book and two of Liz Moore's. 

What have you been reading?

Monday, March 27, 2023

snippets of the weekend 3.27.2023

Friday was a retirement dinner celebration for my Dad & a few others at the company he worked at for 45 years. It was a nice family night and views at the Hilton Penns Landing are always fab. Mae developed a honking cough when we got home so sleep was not great. 

Worrying about Mae, lack of sleep, torrential rain, and bumper to bumper bullshit traffic for no reason on I95 for the third day in a row had me in a rage when we arrived to lunch with forever friends that had been rescheduled from a month earlier. I tried to shake it off but remained not my best self LOL. Still, it was nice to see everyone and we'll see them again in April. I dropped MFD off to pick  up his car from being inspected, got Mae a vet appt for Monday, and took to the couch to be a troll by myself for the rest of the day. I picked up my brothers and sisters-in-law from a show in New Hope at 12:30 and fell asleep on the couch with Mae at 2 am so at least one person could have solid sleep upstairs. 

Sunday was sunny and despite another night of fractured sleep, I was in a better mood. Windows open! Everything must go! MFD and I kicked ass - I made breakfast burritos to freeze and Sunday dinner of pork tenderloin, spanish rice, and roasted carrots. I purged and reorganized the laundry area, under the basement steps, the basement closet, and the basement room from hell - you know that room where things go to die or be dealt with later that you put off forever because it seems like it will be a drag? That room. In our house we also use it as a staging area for things going to the shore or coming home from the shore, etc. It was a fucking disaster and I don't have before photo, only video which you can see in that weekending reels link below, but it felt damn good to have all that shit gone through and purged or organized. MFD did a lot of outdoor cleanup and still needs to do his paper and old car stuff that's in this room, then we'll move some basement furniture around and finish it off. 
I also got fresh polish delivery Friday and saw some street art sticker and other that I liked and other random weekend pics. 

It felt good to get so much done that had been on my list for quite a while yesterday. I'm planning to spend the majority of April & May at the shore with a few days up in Philly throughout so it's nice to have all this done before I do that. 

In my office today, thanks to my Mom for letting the dogs out. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

The Weekly Run Down 3.24.2023

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Bouncing around the room - Find me on Substack

If you're looking for things you've found here since 2011, you might sometimes find them over on my substack - click here.

You can subscribe and get posts delivered to your inbox so you don't have to look for posts or go to a site to find them and you can read them when you want.

This space will stay because how else will I know what my recipes are and what paint colors I've used or where I purchased something from in 2014 but I'm not sure what will appear here vs on Substack. I might double up for a time.

Thanks for reading!

How To Encourage Your Kids To Take A Healthy Interest In Food

Nutrition is essential for physical and mental health at every age. Most parents will be able to tell tales of struggles they’ve endured or tantrums they’ve experienced at mealtimes, especially when trying to encourage young kids to try new foods. It can be challenging to find healthy foods that children enjoy, but it’s so beneficial to try to establish a positive relationship with food at an early age. In this guide, we’ll share some top tips to help you encourage your kids to take a healthy interest in food. 

Image source:

Talk about nutrition and read books together

Children learn continuously and they are incredibly receptive and responsive to new ideas and subjects. Start talking to your kids about the foods they eat and the impact they have on the body and mind as early as possible. Read stories and books about healthy eating, watch educational TV programs and look for resources about diet and nutrition online. Encourage your children to ask questions and to learn about why it’s important to eat well. 

Cook at home

Cooking is an incredibly useful skill for children to learn, but it can also be great fun. Cooking together as a family is a brilliant way to spend quality time together, it teaches kids valuable lessons and it’s likely to make them more interested in food. 

You can introduce your children to cooking at a very young age by letting them do tasks like stirring the mixture. As they get older, they can help you measure and count ingredients, decorate and present dishes or tasty snacks and prepare food before cooking. Older children can assist with cutting, stirring and serving. Focus on healthy eating and keep things interesting with the odd sweet treat like easy chocolate brownie cookies. If you’ve got family members visiting for the weekend, for example, you can rustle up a healthy, homemade main and enjoy a cookie for dessert. You’ll find all kinds of fantastic, child-friendly recipes online and you can also buy recipe books. 

Set a good example

Children learn from their parents and other people they see on a regular basis. If you have a good relationship with food, you’re open to trying different dishes and you have a nutritious diet, this will rub off on your kids. Try to set a good example, as your children will copy your habits. If they never see you eating vegetables, for example, they may not be inclined to eat their greens when you serve them at dinnertime. 

Make healthy eating fun

Every meal can be a learning experience when you’re young. As a parent, you’re probably rushed off your feet. It’s not practical to play games or get creative when presenting every meal, but try to have fun with food. Use popular movie and TV show characters to talk about how healthy eating benefits you, try to present food in a way that is appealing to your kids and eat together. The simplest tricks like making a smiley face out of pieces of chopped fruit or vegetables can make children more enthusiastic about eating healthy foods. 

Picture via

Every parent wants their child to have a healthy diet, but it’s not always easy to persuade kids to get on board. If you’re keen for your child to take a healthy interest in food, cook at home, eat together, talk to your kids about nutrition and read about healthy eating. Try to set a good example and make mealtimes fun. 


This post was written with the Life According to Steph audience in mind

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Snippets of the weekend 3.20.2023

Friday I ran out to get flowers and made roasted corned beef & sauteed cabbage while MFD took care of the boiled veg. We did mostly nothing all night. Saturday we were out early for Pop's funeral. I cannot describe the minister who officiated - you truly had to be there, and she was perfect for our family. We were laughing like loons, there was snorting and almost peeing and guffawing. There were some tears too but laughter is surely preferred. After that and the burial and luncheon, I painted my nails, we watched The Breakfast Club, and I fell asleep for a bit. We went to a 50th birthday on Rich's side for a few hours and I fell out on the couch again at home. Sunday I read and picked up a few groceries for one million dollars, purged some clothes, listed some stuff on Poshmark, made soup from a hambone I had in the freezer and some dying veggies, cleaned up the main floor, did laundry, read, etc. 

Cancelled all of my original birthday weekend reservations and plans, but life is a series of adjustments, is it not? Some in your favor and some not LOL 

Monday, March 13, 2023

Snippets of the weekend 3.13.2023

Friday I cleaned up my office for the last hour of Friday and I need to get another hour of that done sometime soon. My brother dropped my niece and nephew off. My nephew had MFD's neck collar on within two minutes, and Bruce had it on two  minutes later. Lola was the teacher. I ordered pizza that the place cancelled without telling me so off the four of us went in the rain to Friendly's which they liked and I found disgusting aside from the ice cream. We watched some movie and played school and Star Wars then I took them home. I was back home by midnight and asleep around 1:30. 

Saturday we went to the shore and MFD painted the new window trim while I sorted shit, put stuff away, picked a contact paper for the kitchen island, and hunted obsessively for dining room chairs. We ordered pizza, I took the best friend dogs to the beach, and finished a book and started another. 

Sunday I woke up at 8 then went back to sleep until 10:30. I am a fucking troll on spring forward Sunday and that held true yesterday. MFD hung blinds and I painted my nails (OPI Sage Simulation & Essie Transcend the Trend), cleared stuff up, changed sheets, and we took a walk before packing the car up and heading back to Philly. Leftover pizza and The Office for the night on Philly couches. 

Last night I was up until 4 because as stated I am an infant troll regarding time change.

My Pop turned 92 on Saturday. He's not well at the moment and I'm wishing him peace. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Friday Files 3.10.2023

We do love a shirt that shines.

And a shirt that says exactly what we mean. Annual list of what women don't owe the world is in the instagram caption.

The worm moon before it was fully up Sunday night and when it was fully up over a parking lot Tuesday night 

Things I'm looking for...four decorative ceiling tiles, maybe some comfortable dining chairs for the shore. A slim cabinet for next to the couch of a certain height that is not wood colored, black, gray, a zillion dollars, and available. A winning lottery ticket, not big bucks just big enough. You know.

People in my neighborhood go so hard at some shit and it makes me laugh.

I've been thinking of virtually abandoning this space and starting a free substack newsletter. You can subscribe here and you'll get it whenever I push it out - I'm going to just be jotting shit down off the cuff and not formatting or being insanely photo heavy. I'll probably keep weekend stuff here? I'm not sure exactly, yet. 

Because I miss the jotting things down form of writing I favor, which I did some semblance of here on blogger like four to five days a week for close to 10 years, then twice a week once the surreal onset of the Covid pandemic wrecked all of the routines and thought processes, and now I’m barely making once a week.

Part of not posting a lot on blogger is me, no longer wanting to sit at a computer after sitting at a computer for 40+ hours working. I loathe doing it from my phone. I always worked a lot and still blogged but there is a difference now, with majority WFH. I feel both more and less in control of my time. It seems to flow through my hands and get away from me these days.

Part of not posting a lot on blogger is the world, specifically America as I live here. God the amount of fucking times I’ve written about social injustices and the world is still unjust. How absolutely rude that a small voice cannot make all the change people have been fighting for and dying for for years, amIright? I used to have more action items on that front and I just fucking don’t right now and that’s a little bottoming out feeling to sit with.

The anti-Trans and anti-drag (assuming you all know not all trans people are drag queens and not all drag queens are trans) rhetoric and legislation is particularly frightening right now. Do you know people would rather have people suffer and die than be who they are? And do you know a lot of people voted for those people? It costs all of us exactly $0 to live our lives and let people live theirs. 

But I’m still the person who likes to jot things down and document what I’m doing, if only to look back for my own personal reference. I’m still an observer, which I’ve been since I can remember cognizant thought, and I like to share observations in writing. And I’m still the person who believes we can make a difference in the world in how we are. Be a good human, think about things, let people live, don’t be personally racist or blind to systemic racism, don’t be personally misogynistic or blind to systemic misogyny, don't operate under the notion that your god and religion are the rule of the land or matter to anyone else, don't allow politicians to legislate on religion because you’d hate it if it wasn’t yours, stop believing in the criminalization of poverty, stop letting corporations dictate how we all live and how those we elect govern; take a fucking hard look at mass incarceration and how we got there. Etc etc you know the drill.

Whew, when I think of how I used to argue from a place of understanding and compromise on abortion. Proof we can look back on things we’d rather not be, also. Now I’m viciously abortion on demand without apology not your fucking business not being the one who might persuasively bring you around.

Birthday month in the house! I have been doing my annual HomeGoods trolling, I've got birthday massage and lunch scheduled, pedicure and hair the day before, something the day after, will see both of my parents on my birthday which never happens as an adult LOL. I turn 46 in less than a week. Wednesday night I was digging through old photos looking for pics of Mom Mom as her birthday was March 8 and that only added to my annual birthday reflections. I have big love for middle age and I want to make sure I say that out loud because the world would like women specifically to age in reverse or fade into obscurity once the societal notions of beauty in face and body start to sag and age, as if appearance is all we are. Middle age is cool, man. I'm digging it so much.

Getting out of here on old dogs and dogs eating bugles. Happy Friday!

Monday, March 6, 2023

the benefits of cooking with your children: strengthening bonds, teaching skills, and creating memories

Cooking with your children is not only a fun activity but also a great way to teach them valuable life skills while strengthening the bond between parent and child. Here are some of the reasons why cooking with your children is a good thing for both parents and children.

Teaches valuable skills

Cooking is an essential life skill that every child should learn. When children cook with their parents, they learn valuable skills such as measuring, chopping, stirring, and following recipes. These skills will not only help them in the kitchen but also in other areas of their lives.

It doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. Even simple tasks such as measuring ingredients or stirring a pot can be a great opportunity for them to learn and have fun. You can also involve them in meal planning and grocery shopping, which can be a fun and educational experience for them. 

Encourages healthy eating

When children cook their own meals, they are more likely to eat healthy foods. They can choose the ingredients they like and learn about the nutritional value of different foods. Cooking with your children also allows you to introduce new foods and flavors to them in a fun and interactive way.

Strengthens the parent-child bond

Cooking together is a great way to spend quality time with your children. It allows you to connect with them, share stories, and create memories. It also helps build trust, communication, and cooperation between parent and child.

Boosts confidence and independence

When children cook with their parents, they gain a sense of accomplishment and confidence. They learn that they are capable of creating something delicious and valuable. This can boost their self-esteem and encourage them to be more independent in the kitchen and in other areas of their lives.

Encourages creativity

Cooking with your children allows them to express their creativity and imagination. While you may start them off with a vanilla sponge cake recipe at, they will eventually want to put their own twist on dishes. They can experiment with different flavors and ingredients, and create their own unique dishes. This helps them develop their creativity and problem-solving skills.

Teaches culture

Cooking with your children can also be a great opportunity to teach them about culture and tradition. You can introduce them to recipes that have been passed down through generations in your family or from other cultures. This allows them to learn about their own heritage and appreciate other cultures as well.

Finally, cooking with your children can also be a great way to create traditions and special moments. Whether it's baking cookies for holidays or making pancakes on Saturday mornings, these traditions can become cherished memories that your children will carry with them for a lifetime. So, next time you're in the kitchen, invite your children to join you and create some delicious memories together. It is a great opportunity to instill in them a love for food, cooking, and learning that will benefit them in many ways throughout their lives.

snippets of the weekend 3.6.2023

Chased the sun down the beach for a glorious sunset Saturday, and this was the highlight. Feeling the full sense of life I do in moments like these is always the highlight.

Otherwise I read three books, ate a lot of caesar salad, tried a new ice cream place (Churn House), walked a lot, tried to set the main house back to rights a bit, and hit TJMaxx HomeGoods Sunday to return a table I love but that doesn't work.

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