What I’m Into: May 2014

Mother's Day Picnic Lunch

Backyard Snails



backyard chickens

May was a big, wonderful, exciting month for me. Full of life and promise and sunshine. (Such a contrast from last month.)

The Highlights:

  • I made it through the first trimester! My nausea had completely lifted by mid-month. My energy, motivation, and enthusiasm for life have all returned. I feel like my old self (with a touch of heartburn and a dozen extra pounds to carry). Emotionally, I’m doing a lot better, too. I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat at my first midwife appointment, which somehow helped ease my anxieties.
  • I turned 29! I celebrated by buying myself a pack of new Hanes underwear and a $25 denim maternity shirt from Target that was not even on sale. #spendy
  • The weather! Our winter was long and brutal, but we’re finally seeing the sun. The grass and trees are green; birds and snails fill our back yard. We got a big, beautiful, used wooden playground for Lydia to play on in the back yard. She wants to be outside all day, every day. It’s divine.
  • Tadpoles! We took home a bucketful from my parents’ yard and put them in an aquarium. I am SO excited to watch them turn into frogs. I’ve always wanted to do this.
  • CHICKENS!! We converted a part of our shed into a chicken coop. Ben built a run for them outside, and installed nesting boxes, a roost, and a window. We took home four red sex-link hens from my parents’ flock. Now we can gather our very own free-range eggs every morning!

See? A big month!

Moving on to my usual categories!



In preparation for our new residents, we did a lot of reading on keeping chickens (though of course we’ll get lots of guidance from my parents, who have been doing it for decades.) Of the books we got from the library, I liked the following the best:

  • Fresh Eggs Daily – Lisa Steele. She can be a little hokey at times (installing curtains and creating herb satchels for her nesting boxes; including a chapter on “spoiling” chickens with specially-made treats); but I appreciated her natural approach to preventing and treating health problems using herbs.
  • Raising Chickens for Dummies – Kimberly Willis and Rob Ludlow. Super-practical and sensible; easy to read; a must-have for the homesteader’s library, in my opinion.

I also finally read a couple of Amanda Blake Soule’s (the author of Soulemama.com) beautiful and inspiring books. (Sidenote: didn’t that woman just totally luck out in the name department?! A Romantic poet and Soule? Perfect.) The Creative Family and The Rhythm of the Family are both full of wonderful activities, crafts, and inspiration. I loved them both.

 Children’s Books

children's books

I’ve been continuing down the line of Caldecott winners to read with Lydia. A few of them were too old for her, but Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (Simms Taback) is fun. Same basic story as Something from Nothing — both are based on a Jewish folk song — but with unique, interesting, interactive illustrations. I enjoy reading it, and she enjoys poring over all the collage details.

We also took the book Stop Snoring, Bernard! (Zachariah Ohora) out of the library, and we all love it. (It’s not an award-winner or anything.) Funny and sweet.


Serenity – We borrowed this movie from a friend after having finished the TV series (Firefly). Goodness, this movie. I think I held my breath through the whole thing. Brilliant, beautiful, heartbreaking, horrifying. Possibly the most tense movie I’ve ever seen. I still haven’t worked through all my emotions from this film.

Sleepless in Seattle – I realized I haven’t seen a LOT of iconic romance movies, so we decided to try a few on Netflix. This one was the first we watched, and it earned a solid meh. It’s kind of silly and you don’t even get to watch the couple interact until the last 40 seconds of the movie. The acting is good, though.

Jerry Maguire – Can you believe I’d never seen this either? It was a total surprise, and overall we really enjoyed it. In fact, the more I think about it in retrospect, the more I like it. Moving, disarming, and superbly acted.


30 Rock, Season 2. Because I’ve been feeling well and the weather’s been lovely, we haven’t been watching much TV. But every now and then we’ll watch another episode of 30 Rock on Netflix. We’ve moved on to season 2 and it just keeps getting funnier.

In the Kitchen

Tempura Dandelions – I shared this recipe on the blog. I loved them, and they were really fun.

I also tried my first batch of homemade donuts after Ben threatened to buy some from a store. (Note: Ben’s “threat” was more of a “having an idea out loud,” but I took that as a personal challenge. Oh no you are NOT buying donuts from a store! Not on my watch!)

I used this recipe, subbing 2 cups of whole wheat flour for some of the white, using coconut oil instead of shortening, and frying in lard. You should have seen the look on Ben’s face when he walked in to these. And honestly, I thought they were pretty incredible, too.


That was my month! How about yours? What have you been into?

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  1. PepperReed says:

    Doughnuts!!! Happy Belated Birthday and I’m glad you’re feeling better; the weather here in MI has sure gotten glorious so I know you’re getting that goodness too. We’ve just finished putting in the garden (fighting off the mosquitoes last night) and have been taking loads of bike rides. I finally feel like ‘Aaaaaahhhh! Warm Weather!’ and can’t get enough of it soaked into my bones.

    My husband talked to a colleague up in Marquette (on Lake Superior) yesterday; the coast guard has found a 40 MILE LONG iceberg in the lake (!!!). Love the north, but glad for once I live where it’s a bit warmer.

  2. Gorgeous pictures!

    I love Serenity. Every time someone mentions it, I want to go back and watch the whole Firefly saga all over again.
    Suzanne recently posted..Week Three – Brunch and an AdjustmentMy Profile

  3. Those doughnuts looks amazing! I was just talking about Sleepless in Seattle the other night and how it’s ok, but definitely not my favorite RomCom. That first picture of the table of food looks so inviting!
    Nicole recently posted..Personality Type Psychology and Grace for EveryoneMy Profile

  4. I love these ideas …really want to do the tadpole thing here, too…and have been following along with some of your posts about natural products for household chores and hygiene.
    I am so into the warmer weather, too! Last weekend finalized plans to be a host site for our local community gardens project. Planting right in my front yard so that anyone can see the garden as they drive into town. This is our first year and we ran into some zoning issues on a larger site in the business district of teeny town. So, we are moving forward by have satellite locations in residential portions of town to encourage more support for the project.
    Also, helped by BF open his family “summer house”…it is a modestly restored, ancient one-room school house that his family has used as a retreat for 40+ years. He inherited this property several years ago and we are now in the midst of a one-three-five year plan to turn it from a seasonal residents into an all-weather eco-friendly homestead. He is a chef and believes in the farm-to-table, shop-local, and bartering concepts. Although I am an artist and not much of a cook, I share these beliefs.
    I own my small house/studio in town and my grandson and I just finished planting my sunflower garden in the backyard.
    I am also an arachnoiditis survivor.Minimizing toxins in the body is one way to help relieve some of the symptoms associated with this spinal cord injury caused by the neurotoxins in spinal injections and invasive spinal procedures. This is part of why I find your blog so interesting. …I also, find it interesting/useful simply because the consumerism of our society has been annoying me for years …establishing a self-sustaining studio and living conditions is a goal that best compensates for that.
    The struggle, for me, is to find a balance between self-sustaining activities and civic engagement. Reminding myself that “Self-sustaining” does not have to become “self-absorbed”….
    In March/April I launched my first AIM|Hatchfund campaign for an art and empowerment project to benefit fellow survivors. The month of May brought it all into reality for me. It has been an extremely busy month! The winter was wicked! I think I might be trying to make up for it all at once.

    Anyway, thanks for your great blogposts. Glad the pregnancy is going better for you and I hope all goes well as things progress.

    Here is the link to my project if you’d like to find out more about it. http://www.hatchfund.org/project/arachnoiditis_survivor_a_portrait_of_resilience_against_patient_harm_in_america

    • wow…as I re-read my comment there are too many typos. apologies. I was trying to type quickly before I close my office down for the weekend. I have promised myself I will not touch any technology (except my camera) until Monday. Have a great weekend!

    • WOW! Sheila! You have been doing some incredible things this month. Way to go!!!

      We’ve been thinking about starting a garden in our front yard, too. It takes guts. :) Our back yard is just too shady to grow much. Right now I’m just working with my Mom on their property to grow vegetables; but we might make a few raised beds in our front yard yet. Mostly to learn better.

      Thanks for sharing all your exciting projects!

    • And I just checked out your link: you did all that with a disability? You are my new hero.

  5. I’m so glad you’re feeling better! Praying for a wonderful rest of your pregnancy. We just started watching Parks and Rec from the beginning, and it’s even funny the second time around (It’s been a few years lol).

  6. Wow, those donuts look incredible! I’ve been wanting to be brave enough to try donuts for a while, but all the frying makes me nervous. Thanks for the recommendation on the Creative Family too, that book looks great!


    Your May sounds amazing. Absolutely wonderful. Mine was crazy and up and down and full of graduations (husband), life-changing board exams (husband), new jobs (husband), want to quit jobs (me), finals (me), and some pretty crazy life-changing news!! We just recently started watching New Girl, which my brother has been bugging me to watch forever. It’s cute so far, and it’s nice to have a half-hour show to watch. We’re also enjoying the outdoors as much as possible, taking walks often and just being outside. I’m also REALLY enjoying the semester being over and reading whatever I want.

    • Thanks, Rachel. I wish we could be real-life friends, too! :) There’s something about May that tends to be crazy, right? So much activity and promise.

      I LOVED New Girl. So, so funny. But also a little too lewd for my taste (I found it got continually worse as the seasons progressed.) That’s why we ended up giving it up after the end of the second season. But we sure got a lot of laughs before then!

  8. CONGRATULATIONS ON MAKING IT THROUGH YOUR FIRST TRIMESTER! Kathleen, I have been praying for you every day since you first announced your pregnancy to all of us on the ol’ Internet. So excited and thankful for that. Seriously.

    And those donuts….sweet mercy.
    Elyse B. recently posted..Coming soon!My Profile

    • Wow, Elyse. Thank you SO MUCH for the prayers. It’s breathtaking that a stranger could be interceding for me like that without me even knowing it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It means so much.

  9. I love all your pictures, but the snail picture is especially cool. :) Glad you had a good month!
    Brenda recently posted..May 2014 Book ListMy Profile

  10. It sounds like you had a lovely month. Congratulations on being past the first trimester. I didn’t think Sleepless in Seattle was all that exciting either. Another one with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan is You’ve Got Mail, which, in my opinion, is fabulous. If you ever give it a try please let me know.

  11. Happy birthday! Glad you celebrated in style. ;) How fun that you now have chickens! Thank you for being “meh” about Sleepless in Seattle. I thought I was the only one! Hanks and Ryan have great chemistry together and it was wasted in that movie. My friends and I quote Jerry Maguire all the time. Just plain fun. I’m impressed by the donuts!
    Leigh Kramer recently posted..What I’m Into (May 2014 Edition)My Profile

  12. Ah, Serenity. I’m still not over the Wash thing.
    Christina recently posted..What I’m Into May 2014My Profile

  13. Congrats on being through the first tri! That has to be a large relief. Continued prayers are headed for an easy finish and delivery. Oh and I live next door to a huge Joss Whedon fan who got me hooked on Veronica Mars this winter. Ill have to check out Firefly sometime! I’ve been hearing about it since grad school but I’m usually the last to finally join in on anything, but this review may put me over the edge!
    alison recently posted..Thankful – 5/29/2014My Profile

  14. So happy to hear your pregnancy news! I’ve been praying that things will continue to go well.

    Also, with a little one who turned 2 this past January, I always appreciate your book recommendations! Here’s two for you that my daughter has enjoyed… maybe yours would like them, too
    Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema
    Bunny’s Noisy Book by Margaret Wise Brown

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