August has been a month of finding rhythm again. I love The Nester's post about August being the second New Year. We have a decent little flow each day, and though Liam just takes one nap, it's consistent enough that I can plan for it. I miss the start of school this time each year, but I wouldn't trade the lessons I'm learning.
We've had hot, steamy days and days that tasted of fall (I really love the latter!). We've enjoyed so many vegetables from my mom's garden (and some from the tomato and pepper plants she gave us for our porch), and we've relished the last of the blueberries. We've grilled and had friends for dinner. We took a trip up to my family's farm for a couple of days and brought back sunflowers and zinnias and produce.
Yesterday, in the midst of a second-cup-of-coffee high, I decided I should write a post about how awesome it is to have one day a week to really clean your house (declutter each room and then mop and dust). However, after doing this yesterday, I succeeded in totally wiping out both Liam and myself, necessitating catnaps way too late in the evening. So I'm not sure if it's the way to go.
We've been walking a lot more, which I mentioned here. I carry a little notebook with me to jot down the ideas that seem to flow so freely during a walk. In an interesting twist, I rediscovered my tiny black Moleskin notebook and decided to use it for blog ideas; inside I found that was its previous use, as well (back in my 2007ish blogging years!).
I've also continued to purge and declutter. I find a ton of inspiration on Joshua Becker's blog, Becoming Minimalist. I look forward to his links every weekend. I am finding that less really is more (and that I usually don't miss it!). My favorite aspect of decluttering is how it makes me more mindful of what I bring into our home.
I usually have one to three books going at the same time (and usually they are totally different genres or one is on my Kindle if I am reading more than one book at a time). But reading has been crazy this month as I've started a lot of research for a new project that I hope to share with you in the near future. Twice this month, I've read two books by the same author (Rowell and Moyes) back to back, which is always an interesting way to start familiarizing oneself with an author's work.
Five stars: Attachments (which reminded me a lot of Dear Mr. Knightley as far as themes go): In some ways, this book seems light, but there is a lot of depth under the surface. I loved the ending much better than the ending of Dear Mr. Knightley // The Time in Between: This one took me a long time to finish (and a while to get into), but I learned about the Spanish Civil War (which I previously knew very little about). The story stuck with me in the best way.
Other reads: One Plus One: This novel was great, and it might even be on my five stars list. I love the ethical dilemma involved (it reminds me of Attachments in that sense) // Eleanor and Park (which was okay but kind of left me feeling down at the end) // Writing to Find Yourself: I talked about Ally Vesterfelt's book in this post. It's a great read that reminds me of why writing matters (to your audience, but perhaps more importantly, to yourself).
Reread: The Blessings of a Skinned Knee: This was one of the first parenting books I read when I found out I was pregnant. Though it doesn't apply to newborn life as much, it is a fascinating look at childhood and parenting and definitely worth a read. My Practices of Mothering: I've talked about this book by Sarah Bessey several times on the blog. It's an affirming read for the mom of a small child and prompts you to think about things that make you enjoy mothering (or fathering). Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies: Start Your Family is all about the blessing of having children. It's a book that prompted us to start having kids earlier than we might otherwise have done. It's a refreshing read in a culture of parenting books full of warning.
Currently Reading: Hold onto Your Kids // Booked // Sense and Sensibility (which I got into when I started What Matters in Jane Austen) // Me Before You: I'm rediscovering my love for audiobooks! I love podcasts, but there's something about a long book that can really draw you in. I look forward to chores and kitchen-cleaning sessions so much more when I'm wrapped up in an audiobook, and hearing language read has been great for my writing.
Liam loves: I am going to do an updated post this coming week on Liam's recent favorites. His interests have exploded, and I want to give those of you with kids his age some new choices, as well as tips on reading to young toddlers.
We discovered some new recipes this month and remade some old favorites as well. I keep a list of recipes we love on my Pinterest, but some of the best this month were:
- Quinoa Black Bean Bowls: These are endlessly flexible, really easy, and very filling.
- Strawberry Soy Chicken: We made this for company once this month and for ourselves last week. It's delicious with cauliflower baked in with the chicken.
- Peruvian-Style Roast Chicken: Hands-down the most delicious roast chicken I've ever made. The sauce is incredible (we used banana peppers instead since I don't like heat and that's what we had on hand).
- Almond Butter Pancakes (pictured above): Simple, delicious, super healthy pancakes. I'm a sucker for a few ingredients or a recipe I can memorize instantly! I love that you can bake a bunch at once; the texture is surprisingly good. You should try these, and then come back here and donate to our almond butter fund!
I've been working on a project I'm excited to introduce to you tomorrow. So come back and check it out!