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Category: Fun Stuff

  1. Thursday, March 26

    Friday Show and Tell

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    Happy Friday! I have a couple food links to share and a new TV show we’re loving!

    Nate and I started watching Bloodline on Netflix this week and we’re loving it. In fact, last night when we had an episode of The Americans waiting on our DVR, we chose Bloodline instead. That’s saying something! Honestly, I think we gave it a shot because Coach Taylor is in it. Glad we did!

    strawberry mint fizz from @janemaynard

    On Babble this week I created a recipe for Strawberry Mint Fizz, which is super tasty and refreshing. I wasn’t so sure about the strawberry mint combo, but it totally works, especially with a bit of cucumber thrown in. Delicious!

    On Parade’s Community Table I put together a roundup of Carrot Cake Inspired Desserts Perfect For Easter. They all look amazing!

    Show and Tell time! Share your stuff! 

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  2. Thursday, March 19

    Friday Show and Tell + A Tillamookie Giveaway!

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    Happy Friday, everybody! Today I have a few links to share, but first we need to talk Tillamookies. And I need to give away some ice cream.

    tillamookies are my new favorite ice cream sandwich

    When I visited Tillamook last summer, we had the chance to sample a few ice cream products that weren’t yet released to market. I have been waiting for those two products to come out and one of them finally has! I would like to introduce to you the Tillamookie! What’s a Tillamookie? Why it’s an ice cream sandwich made with waffle cone cookies with a dark chocolate coating and Tillamook ice cream or gelato. They come in vanilla, chocolate hazelnut, mint chocolate chip and strawberry flavors and they are SO GOOD. I’m not just saying this because I met the cows where the cream came from. Seriously, best ice cream sandwiches ever.

    tillamookies are my new favorite ice cream sandwich

    Tillamook kindly mailed some samples to our family (yes, we did eat them right before dinner yesterday…the kids were delighted) and Tillamook is ready to mail Tillamookie samples to one of you lucky people, too! This may not be a high-retail-value giveaway, but it’s one of my all-time favorite giveaways yet! To enter, just do the following!*

    • Leave a comment on this post! That’s it! If you want, tell us which flavor you think will be your favorite – vanilla, chocolate hazelnut, strawberry or mint chocolate chip. (Mine is strawberry!) It’s also our weekly show and tell post, so feel free to share anything you like!
    • Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook (leave a separate comment indicating you follow)
    • Bonus entry: Follow me on Instagram (leave a separate comment indicating you follow)
    • Bonus entry: Follow me on Pinterest (leave a separate comment indicating you follow)
    • Bonus entry: Follow Tillamook on Facebook (leave a separate comment indicating you follow)

    tillamookies are my new favorite ice cream sandwich

    *Comments must be posted by Thursday, 3/27/15 at Midnight PT. Prize must be shipped to an address in the continental United States. Winner will receive one box of each of the four flavors and will be randomly selected.

    Food link time!

    This week on Babble:

    And this week on Parade’s Community Table:

    Show and Tell time! I know I just turned the comment section into a giveaway entry extravaganza, but feel free to share whatever you want in the comments anyway – it will count as your freebie entry for the giveaway!

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  3. Wednesday, March 18

    In the middle of a story…

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    in the middle of a story by @janemaynardPictured: My husband Nate skating with our 3-year-old son Owen

    One of the most beautiful things I ever read was the eulogy given by Steve Jobs’ sister Mona Simpson at his funeral. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, the text is published on The New York Times and I highly recommend reading it. There was one thing in particular that Mona said that has always stayed with me.

    “We all — in the end — die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories.”

    In the context of Mona’s eulogy, she was talking about how, even though they knew they would lose Steve to cancer, his death was still unexpected. That is a powerful sentiment and she phrased it perfectly. No matter the age or circumstance, death always comes in the middle of a story, in fact many stories.

    Just one week ago today a 19-year-old young man I knew took his own life here in Carlsbad. I didn’t know him really well, but I knew him well enough to know what a kind, friendly, and great kid he was. He comes from a large family that is now grieving a loss that I cannot begin to comprehend.

    The day after Klay died, a few friends and I delivered a bunch of supplies to the family – drinks, snacks, breakfast and lunch foods, paper plates, etc. We texted beforehand and told them they could just open the garage and pretend we weren’t even there. Of course we did see some of the family members and talked a bit with Klay’s amazing mother. I won’t go into details, but spending those few moments with that family so soon after their loss has changed me. I can’t quite put into words what that change is, but it is real and profound.

    Klay suffered from depression and his depression won the battle. Almost exactly five years ago our dear friends’ nephew Brian also took his own life, also at 19 years old. Brian suffered from severe schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and lost a similar battle to Klay’s.

    As I sat through Klay’s funeral yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of Brian’s funeral five years ago and the heartbreaking similarities between the two. I couldn’t help but think of loved ones in my life suffering from similar struggles. I couldn’t help but feel heartbroken for these two wonderful young men that have touched my life. And I couldn’t help but feel incredible sadness for their families and loved ones.

    I also walked away from yesterday’s funeral knowing that Klay was loved unconditionally by many, many people, that Klay left behind beautiful memories, from making music to diving to skateboarding to simply being who he was day to day. Klay’s father’s words painted a picture of a life with his son that was familiar to me because it is so similar to the life I see my husband experiencing with my son.

    As happens every time I witness or experience a loss, I thought of Mona’s words. Death always comes in the middle of the story. Sometimes the stories are shorter than we had hoped, but the good, even glorious, news is that there was a story. A beautiful if sometimes painful story. The trick is to appreciate the stories we are given, the stories that we get to be a part of, even when we are aching so desperately for more.

    These experiences always give me perspective, but this week in particular has been especially poignant. And, while I’ve always lived a life that tries to savor each day, I am now really trying to focus on the stories of which I am a part, appreciating my life’s stories even though I know they will not last as long as I want, and loving them even more for that fact.

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  4. Thursday, March 12

    Friday Show and Tell: So Much to Show, So Much to Tell!

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    I have THREE things to share today, all of them packed to the gill with great stuff.

    First, ONE just launched their “Poverty is Sexist” campaign and I am so happy to help spread the word! ONE shared a blog post to kick things off and there is also a petition you can sign that calls on world leaders to put girls and women at the heart of the development agenda. They are over halfway to their goal for signatures, let’s help get the 100,000!

    Sign ONE's "Poverty is Sexist" petition to world leaders #povertyissexist

    ONE created a full report for this campaign, with great information and policy recommendations.  Coming out around the same time, the Clinton Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released their report on the status of women and girls in the world. Both reports are fascinating, somewhat depressing and simultaneously inspiring. We still have a long way to go, but we’ve come so far there is oodles of hope to tap into.

    Second thing to share today: I got to talk to Tituss Burgess on the phone yesterday! Okay, so it was a conference call and there were other reporters on the call, but I still had the opportunity to gush and profess my love to Tituss, so it’s all good. If you don’t know who Tituss Burgess is, that means you aren’t watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. And, if that is the case, you need to remedy the situation immediately! Nate and I are loving the show and are almost done with the first season. Kimmy is a lot like 30 Rock (similar sense of humor, same quirky music, etc), only the characters are completely lovable, which in my opinion makes this show even better than 30 Rock.

    interview with tituss burgess from unbreakable kimmy schmidt by @janemaynardPhoto credit: Netflix

     Tituss the actor who plays Titus the character was darling on the call and I want to adopt him. He talked about what it’s like being on a show that people can binge watch (i.e. it’s strange working for months and months on something that someone can watch in 1 day), that he loves the social commentary woven into the show and that that is where really great comedy is born, and that he is nothing like Titus the character (Tituss the actor is an introvert who HATES attention). Tituss also said that House of Cards is his obsession and that whenever a new season comes out he just orders take out for a few days to power through the episodes. The only reason Nate and I haven’t gotten to House of Cards ourselves is because we’ve been too busy watching Kimmy!

    The third thing I want to share today is my weekly list of food links! 

    On Babble I did my monthly 3 Kids, a Mom & a Kitchen post. The kids and I made Cranberry-Orange Irish Soda Bread Buns and they were AWESOME. Cate said she wants me to serve them at her next birthday party. Definitely check the recipe out! It was also a great cooking project to do with the kids.

    recipe for cranberry orange irish soda bread buns from @janemaynard

    For Parade’s Community Table I had 2 posts this week!

    That’s it! PHEW! Some weeks I have nothing to share, other weeks I’m bubbling over! As usual, everyone gets a turn at Show and Tell! Share your own blog posts/finds/random-whatevers-you-want-to-share, tell us if you’re loving Kimmy Schmidt as much as I am, or let us know if you signed ONE’s petition to support women and girls!

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  5. Friday, March 6

    Friday Show and Tell + Choosing Paint Colors for the House

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    Happy Friday, everyone! Today I want to talk about some house stuff, namely choosing paint colors, a process that stresses me to no end!

    tips for choosing paint colors for the house from @janemaynard

    You may remember last summer we had to repipe our entire house thanks to old plumbing that had seen one too many leaks. The repipe company fixes the drywall after putting approximately 3 billion holes in your walls, but they don’t paint. Which means we have had giant white splotches all over our house for well over six months (case in point). I FINALLY decided to get my act together and have started choosing paint colors for the house.

    As I choose colors and start painting I will share the colors with you. If I’m going to put all this legwork into finding good colors, I may as well have other people benefit, too! But before we get to actual colors, I wanted to share my best tips for picking out colors!

    tips for choosing paint colors for the house from @janemaynard

    • Get a color swatch book. Just going to the paint store and looking at the paint chips in the pretty display on the wall is not helpful. Get the whole darn swatch book and bring it home. It was so much more helpful than bringing just a few little color cards home and then not having them be what I was looking for. Plus, with the full swatch book, you get EVERY shade of every color family, which the little paint color cards can’t offer.

    color inspiration from linen company frettePhoto credit: Frette

    • Look for color inspiration in other places. I recently discovered a luxury bedding company online called Frette. They have gorgeous linens and the site makes me just want to climb in bed and read a book all day! I found that looking at their different sheet sets was actually very helpful in getting a feel for the kind of color schemes I liked or was looking for. Plus many of their linens are quite neutral, which is perfect for paint colors. (Also, now I think I need new bedding. I didn’t know I needed it, but now I do. ;)) Whether it’s a linen company like Frette, a plant in your yard, or just constantly analyzing paint colors when you’re watching TV shows (yes, that’s what I do!), always be looking for colors you like even when there isn’t a paint swatch to be seen!
    • Talk to friends. Anyone who paints goes through the agony of finding paint colors, so talk to your friends, look at their walls, see what they used, find out what they sampled. This has been incredibly helpful to me through this process!
    • Talk to an interior designer. I am lucky enough to have an awesome friend named Emily who has an interior design business. She has been helping me with colors and her input has been invaluable. Interior designers are perfect for helping with this process – they have an eye for it and they work with paint colors ALL THE TIME, making them very familiar with the paint options that are out there. I highly recommend talking with an interior designer (Emily is awesome, hire her!), even if it’s to simply pull together paint options.

    tips for choosing paint colors for the house from @janemaynard

    • Do lots of sample colors on your wall. Emily pointed out that people tend to only get 2 paint samples, but she said that’s simply not enough! The paint samples are only $3-4 a pop, so get 4 or 5 colors. Be sure to paint the swatches in lots of places in the room and in every room you plan to paint, to account for different lighting. You can’t sample too much!

    I personally think picking colors is a huge stressor, but Emily keeps reminding me it can be fun! So, I’m trying to remember that! ;)

    Okay, so color #1 that I want to share with you! This first color is for our hallway, which has very little light, and the master bathroom. I wanted to find a fairly light color, but one dark enough to contrast with the white baseboards. For our house we needed something with a warm tone. That said, I love grey and think that has a more modern feel. Emily found a Sherwin Williams color, SW 7011 Natural Choice. I tried a few whites and this one was just what we were looking for! It very subtly contrasts with the white baseboards and is the warm, slightly gray color I was looking for – not too brown, but definitely not cool like most grays tend to be. Anyway, it’s a great, light neutral color that I am loving! I painted the bathroom yesterday and will be tackling the hallway later this week! (Note: I used Behr Marquee paint – Home Depot has the formulations for the Sherwin Williams colors.)

    diy no-sew teepee from julie blannerPhoto credit: Julie Blanner

    I actually don’t have anything published on other sites this week, but I DID see this awesome no-sew teepee tutorial from fellow blogger Julie Blanner that I had to share with you. How ridiculously cute is THAT?! We are going to have to do this for our kids one day!

    Show and tell! Please share!!!

    Today’s post was partially sponsored by Frette.

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  6. Thursday, February 26

    Friday Show and Tell + ONE AYA Summit

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    Happy Friday! I have a TON of great food links for you today, but before we get to that I wanted to talk about something dear to my heart. Last October I had the chance to attend ONE’s AYA Summit in Washington, D.C. I have yet to write a post about the conference because there is just too much I want to share. I’m planning to do a series of recipes posts to tell the stories, but until then…

    ONE AYA Summit from @janemaynardPictured: Ginny Wolfe (ONE), Patricia Amira (The Oprah of Africa…she was AWESOME.)

    Video from the AYA Summit has been posted on Flipbook. Click here to see the videos (you’ll need to set up a Flipbook account – it’s worth it!). I don’t even know where to tell you to start, but all of it is fascinating/informative/inspiring – that I can promise!

    One of the women we heard from, Marquesha Babers, wrote a post for the ONE website. Please read it. Marquesha is an amazing young woman I was blessed to meet at the summit.

    Girl Rising Panel at the ONE AYA Summit from @janemaynardPictured, left to right: Holly Gordon (Girl Rising), Patricia Amira, Danai Gurira (Playwright and, yes, Michonne on The Walking Dead), Marquesha Babers (Poet)

    If you want to DO something right now to support ONE, click here! One of the reasons I love ONE so much is that they aren’t asking for our money, they are asking for our voice. Right now you can send a letter to your congresspeople urging them to reintroduce the Electrify Africa bill. It’s super easy and will make a difference.

    Okay, on to some delicious food!

    deconstructed chicken club from @janemaynard

    This week on Babble I shared a recipe for a Deconstructed Chicken Club. I’m finding that deconstructing foods is one of the best ways to get my kids to eat it!

    On Parade’s Community Table I have 2 posts this week!

    fast and healthy snacks for nursing moms from @janemaynard

    And, lastly, if you’re pregnant or have just had a baby, be sure to visit the Solly Baby Blog to get ideas for Healthy, EASY Snacks for Nursing Moms.

    Show and Tell time! Please share your own stuff!

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  7. Friday, February 20

    Friday Show and Tell

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    Happy Friday!

    Today I have two posts I wrote for Babble that I’m super excited to share with you.

    slow cooker ribs from @janemaynard

    First, the kids and I made Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs. I found the recipe in a Cook’s Illustrated magazine and it was GENIUS. I will never cook ribs another way again!

    bourbon chai with spiced bourbon cream from @janemaynard

    If you like chai tea and bourbon, then you will LOVE this recipe for Bourbon Chai with Spiced Bourbon Cream. That cozy little drink should definitely help those of you currently buried in snow!

    Show and Tell is for the whole class – share your stuff!

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  8. Saturday, February 14

    Friday Show and Tell

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    Happy Valentine’s Day! And, yes, Friday Show and Tell is happening on Saturday because the kids were home from school yesterday and we had a fun family day at the beach (sorry snowbound friends!). Anyway, here are a few things I wrote in other places this week:

    homemade salt and pepper potato chips from @janemaynard

    Let’s talk Netflix for a moment. We are really loving their original series and now there are too many to keep up! Nate and I just finished watching The Fall. It was great, albeit disturbing. And the ending. Geesh! It’s still a few weeks until the Underwoods return. Too bad the third season wasn’t up in time for Valentine’s Day like last year…it was such a romantic way to spend the holiday. ;) I also just saw the preview for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Tina Fey’s new show on Netflix starring Ellie Kemper. It doesn’t come out until March…can’t wait! So much great TV, so little time!

    I hope everyone has a chocolate-filled Valentine’s Day! And don’t forget to post your own stuff for Show and Tell!

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  9. Friday, February 6

    Friday Show and Tell

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    Happy Friday! I’m getting Show and Tell up a little late today because I’ve been busy as a bee finishing up our living room decor. I can’t wait to share the final product with you, but until it’s totally done and picture worthy, here’s a little sneak peak of one of the gems I found for the wall: stump prints from Light & Ink. I ordered the Spring Hollow Gold print yesterday and can’t WAIT for it to arrive.

    light & ink's stump prints - spring hollow gold - found by @janemaynard

    I have some fun news today, too! In addition to regularly contributing to Babble, I am also now going to be writing for Parade’s food website Community Table as well as the blog for Solly Baby. My first posts for both sites went up this week!

    At Community Table: 10 Romantic Cocktails for Valentine’s Day Fun!

    And for Solly Baby: 12 Fantastic Freezer Meals, Before The Baby!

    Show and Tell is for the whole class – be sure to share your own stuff and finds!

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  10. Friday, January 30

    Friday Show and Tell – Something Fun and Something Serious

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    Today I have two things to share with you. First, I wrote a piece for Babble this week on feeding picky eaters, based on great input from a lot of friends and bloggers. It was actually really helpful for me personally to write this as I tackle feeding Owen (who is quite picky these days!). Click here to read the article – there is some great insight!

    owen my picky eater! from @janemaynard

    I also have something a little more serious to share for Show and Tell. See that cute guy there making a perfect picky-eater face? Well, our little Owen has pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. The doctor confirmed Owen’s test results last night and now our entire family is on antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

    I am not here for a debate, I simply want to share our experience. We vaccinate our children and are firmly pro-vaccine, and yet, here we are, with a very preventable, potentially-deadly disease in our home. I am aware that the anti-vax contingency has been growing, but honestly, I thought that there were only a few small pockets where people had stopped vaccinating. Well, as I learned this week, this is not the case. There are many communities where schools no longer have herd immunity because the number of vaccinated children is too low. When that happens, these previously-eliminated diseases start popping up. California has been tracking district-specific immunization numbers since 2000, so it is a good case study of the phenomenon. Click here to see some great maps and get more info about California’s numbers. I learned that in our school district there are only 4 out of 15 elementary schools with immunization rates above 93% (the magic number for herd immunity) and our school is only at 84%. The neighboring district has 0 out of 5 schools above 93%. We live right in the middle of one of those red dots you see on all the maps. (Note: California is 39th in the country, so there are 11 states with worse numbers.)

    the growth of anti-vax sentiment in CAPhoto source: Washington Post

    In the last few weeks our community (North County Coastal San Diego) has had confirmed cases of both measles and whooping cough. My son Owen is 3 years old and has 3 out of 4 of his shots for pertussis (he needs to be 4 years old to get the 4th shot), leaving him about 15% likely to contract the disease if exposed. Sadly he was and he did get pertussis. Thankfully he is doing well and I can’t imagine how terrible the cough would have been if he wasn’t immunized (having the vaccination makes symptoms less severe). We are feeling lucky despite the fact he has pertussis, but also feeling that it is just so unnecessary that we’re dealing with this. No one should be dealing with these diseases.

    If you live in California, there is a petition for the state government to make vaccinations mandatory for all K-12 students in the public school system. Click here to sign. This month the federal government approved a pledge of $1B for vaccines to Gavi to save millions of children’s lives all over the world. It blows my mind that there are developing countries with higher vaccination rates than my kids’ school. We need to remedy that so all of us everywhere will be protected from these diseases.

    I do believe some of the unvaccinated children in the stats are, in reality, partially vaccinated. I’m really hoping that the resurgence of some of these diseases will be the kick in the pants we need to get our vaccination rates back up.

    And, as I said, Owen is doing well. The first two days of the cough were the worst. We actually went to the doctor at that point but were told it was a cold – we had no reason to think it was pertussis. Ten days later he was still having coughing fits and we also learned that there were, in fact, cases of whooping cough in town, so we went back to the doctor. Owen is being treated and is in good spirits.

    Thanks for letting me ramble. Obviously this is all I can think about right now. Have a good weekend!

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