What I’m Into: May 2013

toddlers swimming

kids in pool

May has been lovely.

Ben and I hosted our very first ever Pentecost party (Sunday, May 19th), to celebrate what we believe to be one of the most important days of the Christian Year. Pentecost recalls the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. Jesus told his disciples that the Church would do even greater things than he did when he walked on the earth (John 14:12). If that’s the case, the coming of the Holy Spirit is a pretty big deal! We wanted to mark the day with some kind of celebration.

So we invited a bunch of friends over to our place. We grilled homemade grass-fed beef shish-kabobs and falafel on the barbecue, and friends brought other delicious foods to share. We filled up the kiddie pool (as seen above) and let the munchkins cool off. When it got dark, we gathered around a bonfire — a symbol of the Spirit, and also a source of relaxed summer fun. I definitely want to do it again in future years.

Also this month: I’ve been gardening with my mom, taking plenty of barefoot walks to the park with Lydia, and even doing a little bit of reading. Here’s what I’ve been into this month.


I’ve been interested in learning more about Waldorf education for a while, so I decided to take out a book from the library. I ended up walking home with three books on raising children:

You Are Your Child’s First Teacher — Rahima Baldwin Dancy

A good introduction to Waldorf in the home. I noticed a lot of overlap with many Montessori ideas. I like the author’s thoughts on re-valuing homemaking, and returning to old-fashioned, hands-on, rhythmic work — because children are drawn to it, and soothed by it. If they get caught up in our work, they don’t need to be entertained. Interesting.

But I confess, I found most of the chapters too broad, trying to cover too much without getting into enough detail. Consequently, I got kind of bored with it, and jumped into my other two books before finishing it. I plan to get back to it.

Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) — Lenore Skenazy

I really liked this book — for most part. It’s full of funny and wise reflections on how neurotic we’ve gotten about kids as a culture — how paranoid and controlling we are, despite living in the safest era in history.

I got a little annoyed at how flippant she was about a few topics I feel strongly about, like toxins in the home environment. “Your baby’s not going to die if you use the wrong shampoo,” she argues (my paraphrase). I mean, she’s right, and that’s something I need to remind myself when I find myself becoming anxious. The wrong kind of mattress is not going to kill my kid (probably). But I still think it’s worth being conscious of the fact that our homes and lifestyles are becoming more toxic, and it’s worthwhile to try to limit our exposure. Correspondingly, I didn’t agree with her conclusion that we should just listen to the FDA about what’s safe and what’s not. I think we need to do our own research.

But overall, I think she makes some excellent points. We are much too uptight, and we need to give our kids more freedom. I definitely recommend the book, especially for anxious parents. Especially if you worry a lot about your kids getting abducted. She’ll set you straight on that front.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids – Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross

I’m only part-way through this book, but I really like it. It’s full of good ideas on how to simplify our kid’s environments, establish daily rhythms, limit media, and give our kids more freedom. I’m looking forward to finishing it.

Now, if you’re wondering whether this is a blog about parenting or Christian living, I have two thoughts:

(a) I think there is a lot of overlap in the two subjects; and

(b) I’m planning on digging into some theology next month. Excited to start some N. T. Wright!

Children’s Books

I am so excited about having a kid who’s able to enjoy longer and more complex picture books. I looooove browsing the children’s section of the library.

My newest love is the author/illustrator Jon Klassen. His artwork is brilliant in its simplicity and elegance.

His award-winning This Is Not My Hat is funny and lovely to look at. One of my absolute favourite recent finds. READ IT. Even if you don’t have kids.

I also loved the book Extra Yarn, which Jon Klassen also illustrated (written by Mac Barnett). Unique, charming, and absolutely gorgeous.


Well, we watched the series finale of The Office. We’ve never missed an episode, even through the crappier last few seasons. And the finale made it all worth it.

The finale knocked my socks off. It was beautiful and perfect. I may have cried a teeny bit. I’ve never seen marriage honoured on television that way. So refreshing! The final episode was funny and surprising and heartwarming. Standing ovation over here.

We also watched the season finale of New Girl, and came to the decision that we won’t be watching any longer next season. It truly was one of the funnest TV shows I’ve ever seen (tied, perhaps with Flight of the Concords — did you ever see that show? Oh my goodness, hilarious!!), but it was just getting too bad. The show was overly-sexual from the start, but we were willing to overlook it for the serious laughs it provided. Finally, we realized it had gone too far. Sorry, Jess, Nick, Schmidt and Winston. You were hilarious, but we just can’t let you into our home anymore.


We finally got a sitter and went to see Iron Man 3 along with the rest of the world. Great fun! The movie was a blast! And funny!! (“Honestly, I hate working here. They’re so weird.” Best evil henchman line EVER.)

Ben watched Silver Linings Playbook one evening while I was preparing snacks for the week (ahem — no marital discord over here), and I couldn’t help wandering in and watching over his shoulder here and there. I loved what I saw. Eventually, I’ll have to sit down and watch the whole thing.


We haven’t gotten any new music, but I wanted to announce that I am now the proud owner of a digital media device! I can listen to music outside of the computer room!!

We got an old, discarded iPod from my in-laws (a Nano? a Shuffle? We don’t know . . . it has a screen, though), and we went out and purchased an iPod dock for my birthday for $40. We set it up in the kitchen. Now we can listen to classical music while we eat breakfast, if we want! I can listen to Walk off the Earth while I cook dinner! The options are limitless when you can hold a thousand songs one a single device! Weeeeee!!

And that’s what I’ve been into. How about you?

Linking up with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into Linkup.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Meaning if you buy something, I get a tiny commission.*

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  1. So what exactly is Waldorf? Hey, maybe you could write a post about these different approaches to education as they relate to Christian living – I’d love to read that! (Sorry it’s been a gazillion years since I’ve commented, but I’m definitely still reading!)

    Also, we just happened to pick up Extra Yarn this past week at the library! It made me want to find more picture books on homesteading-type subjects (e.g. sewing, cooking, etc) – any suggestions?
    That Married Couple recently posted..She’s here!My Profile

    • Hi Elizabeth! What a good post idea! I’ll have to let that one percolate a little bit, but I love it.

      And I LOVE the idea of putting together a library of homestead-inspired children’s books. I’ve only been delving into the world of non-board-books for a short while, so I can’t think of any right now, but I will definitely have to keep my eyes open for that! Let me know if you find any good ones.

  2. I just watched Silver Linings Playbook last week on the plane, and it was AMAZING. It’s time to make the hubby do snacks so you can sit down and watch it! PS: I love me some NT Wright!

  3. Simplicity Parenting sounds interesting. I like parenting books that provide a lot of practical ideas for implementing principles. Would this be applicable to parenting a 6 and 8 year-old?

  4. Rachel M says:

    Thanks for the great recommendations. I’m always looking for good stuff to request from our library system. Keep them coming!

  5. I second the request for a Waldorf/Montessori post from your perspective!

    I loved Free Range Kids, which I read several years ago. And while she’s certainly not coming from a more “natural living” mindset, as you mentioned, I also think a lot of the natural living type people that I know (not you) get waaaaaay too uptight about things and need to chillax. But then, I have a pretty laissez faire personality, so I would like that book, wouldn’t I? Ha.

    I think I’ll look up Simplicity Parenting. It sounds good.

    Lol about your iPod adventure. My MIL gave me an iPod (shuffle I think? it does not have a screen) for Christmas maybe three years ago and I never figured out how to use it. Too much work. Our computer is hooked up to our television and stereo in the living room, so I can usually just turn up the volume to listen to CDs/Pandora/whatever in the kitchen. But I can’t listen to music in the bedroom upstairs and that’s kind of a pain.
    Katie recently posted..An English Major Begs for Book RecommendationsMy Profile

  6. Hi! The name of your blog caught my eye from a post on Red&Honey’s facebook because my blog is becoming kindred and my daughters name is Kathleen! I’m enjoying what I’ve read of your blog so far and will definitely be back to visit!

    P.S. Read your bio and another common link is that I married into a Mennonite family (from Ontario as well!)

  7. I’ve not heard of a Pentecost party before. What a neat idea and new tradition for you! Definitely watch Silver Linings Playbook when you get a chance. SO GOOD.

    Thanks for linking up with What I’m Into!
    HopefulLeigh recently posted..I RememberMy Profile

  8. I love the idea of having a Pentecost celebration! I love that you got to mark this important day with your community around you. (Storing this idea away for next year…)
    Fiona Lynne recently posted..Coming home to normalMy Profile

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