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My 1st Podcast: Raising Kids on Harry Potter



Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 | 4 comments


Isn’t it amazing that Tsh’s 25th podcast (and my first)

Over the weekend, while I was busy wedding-ing and celebrating one of my almost-daughters, a podcast featuring yours truly and recorded for Tsh’s The Simple Show aired. I’ll be honest:

a) It’s the first time I’ve ever accepted a podcast invite.

b) It’s the first time I’ve ever listened to a podcast (don’t judge me. It’s a phone issue.)

c) It was incredibly and surprisingly fun, and not awful to hear it played back.

A sweet friend who texted me after listening had this to say about it:

Just listened to your podcast episode with Tsh! Loved it!! You really should consider doing a podcast yourself. You’re very engaging, smart, knowledgable, wise, witty, and I could go on. Count me as your first subscriber. 🙂 

(Cindy isn’t just a sweet friend, she was my first friend and neighbor after I got married and moved a long way from home. We were delighted to “find” each other again a few years ago at a blog conference–how cool is that?)

It seems poetic and lovely that the first podcast I join would be one talking about Harry Potter. For those of you who knew me for my first years of blogging, you already know I blogged under the name of PENSIEVE, a HP relic introduced in book four, The Goblet of Fire.

I truly hope you’ll check out The Simple Show’s 25th episode, “Raising Kids on Harry Potter” and tell me what you think. As long as you’re nice about it, you can even disagree with Cindy’s perspective. Otherwise, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything” should apply. Silence speaks volumes :).


{If you have children and don’t own the HP series, buy it. If you don’t have children and haven’t yet read the series, treat yourself with my affiliate link. I wouldn’t call it great children’s literature, I’d say it’s great everyone’s lit :). }

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A Rearview Perspective on Why Moving is Good for You



Posted by on Mar 7, 2016 |


There are two types of people in the world: Natives and Transplants.


Natives have the benefit (or curse, depending on your perspective) of being born and raised in one place and remaining there their livelong life. Transplants have shallower roots, picking up and moving when school or job, wild hair or wonderlust draws them elsewhere.

I realize this is an oversimplification, of course, but for the sake of illustration I’m painting extremes. Most First Worlders more likely live somewhere along the spectrum, maybe going off to school for a few years before settling back in their hometown, or taking a job in a new place and adopting it as home.

I’m a Transplanter, having made a significant move half a dozen times in my life. I’m living as close as I have since marriage to where I was born (under two hours); the farthest away was our year in Germany–a 9-hour flight.

There are times I wish I was a Native; it’s hard not to envy friends whose parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles live close enough for Sunday dinner (or free babysitting. That’s gold, I tell ya.). To know where to go – and where not to go – when it comes to doctors, dentists, dry cleaners, car repairs, appliance failures, hair stylists, etc. When you start over, everything requires thought, and GPS becomes your best friend.

It also makes me a little sad at times our children don’t have a geographical anchor. When they visit us, that’s just it: they come to visit us, they aren’t coming home.

All this being said, this is no pity party, please don’t hear that. It’s merely calling a spade a space, and recognizing the downside to good decisions we’ve made. Every move we’ve made was preceded by a great deal of thought, counsel, consideration and prayer. Though there might have been rough patches attached to moving, the good outweighed any bad. Benefit ultimately exceeded cost.

Which brings me to my point:

There are four general observations I’ve made about the upside of moving to a new place away from home (even if you eventually move back):


Please click to continue reading at The Art of Simple!

Please continue reading, “A Rearview Perspective on Why Moving is Good for You” at The Art of Simple; there’s surprising-to-me great conversation in the comments section–check it out!

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WHAT is the Whole30? (Plus an EASY, delicious compliant recipe)



Posted by on Jan 21, 2015 | 6 comments

It Starts With Food - Whole30

I have never been better at numbering my days–

Day 20 of Whole30; Day 8 of 18 sessions of Boot Camp.

Neither is easy for me and there are days I am ready to quit ALL of it.

But I won’t and here’s why: compelling motive, accountability, fun (are you kidding me?) and ripple effect. 

I discuss those things over at The Art of Simple on Thursday, but it occurred to me I’ve been presuming “everyone” already knows what the Whole30 is. Based on the number of times I’ve had to explain it to friends in real life, I thought it would be helpful to elaborate here.

Whole30 is the program based on the New York Times Bestseller, It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig. It got on my radar last year after my husband discovered it. Cute story: He stumbled onto it searching “how to cook a sweet potato” when I was out of town one weekend.

I looked at him like he had grown another head when he, excitedly, started telling me the ground rules. Thirty days without:

  • potatoes or pasta (potatoes, boil or baked, were added in August of last year but not when we did this in April)
  • sugar or sugar alternatives, added sugar or did I say SUGAR yet??
  • dairy including cheeses, yogurt and ice cream
  • grains including corn (I will not do Whole30 when Silver Queen corn is in season)
  • legumes
  • carrageenan, MSG, sulfites
  • alcohol
  • gum
  • basically nothing with ingredients you can’t pronounce

And while that seems like you can’t eat anything “good,” in essence, that’s all you can eat!

  • meats
  • seafood
  • eggs
  • veggies
  • fruit (not in smoothies, but whole or sliced)
  • “good” fats from fruits, nuts, oils and seeds

I told him I could never do it.

And then we did it.

Rather than me plagiarizing the Whole30 Program Rules, pop over to their site and skim the details (and then buy the book. Seriously. Its appeal to logic, sound reason and physiology just makes SENSE).

What the Whole30 Program is NOT about is calorie counting; never once did I worry about how many calories I was consuming in a day.


Because everything I put in my mouth was unprocessed, fresh food, calories were never an issue.

Doing the Whole30 is not about weight loss (though I lost 8+ pounds during the month); my personal goals were jump-starting an anemic metabolism and trying to get better sleep. Apparently my food choices were sabotaging both and I was amazed to learn how much what I eat is adversely affecting hormone levels. And while I didn’t feel great while I was on the program (many people do experience that), I could tell I felt worse after returning to some of my favorite junk foods. For me, afterwards was when I could tell the difference.

Anyway, it’s really worth five minutes of your time to find out more. This is NOT a sponsored post in any way, shape or form; I sincerely want to be a cheerleader for good health and better lifestyle choices.

Are you already a subscriber? If not, please do by clicking here & adding your email!! 


One of Whole30’s goals is to encourage trying new foods; and while I’ve always loved cauliflower, my favorite way to prepare it was steamed then bathed in a creamy cheese sauce. Because of Whole30, now we eat it roasted, a much healthier alternative. There’s not much to it, but I can’t believe I never tried it until a year ago.

Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients for roasting cauliflower



  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, washed, patted dry and cut into florets
  • 2-3 Tblsp Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Toss florets in a large bowl together with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Don’t be afraid of the browning, it adds a rich buttery taste to the florets.

You can add garlic or your favorite herbs, but I’ve found I like it simply prepared best. Remember, no cheeses on Whole30 so Parmesan is a no-no.


Roasted Cauliflower



I’d love for you to share your favorite Whole30 compliant recipes. Tell me your stories, too, about how you’re pursing better health. It helps me to remember I’m not in this thing alone… 🙂

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Starting Over. Again.



Posted by on Oct 5, 2014 | 1 comment

The best motivator for simple living

When I think about my Top Ten Least Favorite Things To Do, moving would make the list somewhere between “colonoscopy” and “ironing.” If ever there was motivator for simple living, it’s the act of packing up ALL of your things and then unpacking all of your things.

I’ve moved twice in the past ten years with an additional year-long jaunt in Germany, and through that process I’ve seen the result of decades of accumulation.

I’m not a hoarder, but there is little doubt I have more than I need.

I’ve just celebrated a year in a new place (though I still have one foot in the other), and I thought it might be helpful to offer a few suggestions for meaningfully connecting to a new area.


While I was working on my #31Days series, “Hints & Tips for Your College-bound Student” last week, I was moonlighting at The Art of Simple. As promised in my intro post to the series, on weekends I’m sharing some of my recent favorite interwebulars AND any posts I’ve had published elsewhere on the world wide web. Please click to continue reading Starting Over. Again at the Art of Simple and be sure to add your suggestions for connecting to a new home town.

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The art of listening



Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 | 1 comment

The Scream by Edvard Munch

It’s something I’ve told my children since before they could fully understand what it meant:

God gave you two ears and one mouth so you could listen twice as much as you speak.  (So you should listen twice as much as you speak…?)

I’d do well to follow the same advice; wouldn’t most of us?

Listening, active listening, is a dying art.

Today’s culture lends itself to attention deficit–distractions are as close as the palm of our hand.  When you’re texting someone else when we’re together, it’s impossible to be fully present. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, [your favorite social sharing site] are demanding little monsters with insatiable appetites.  For them to be silent apps, they sure make a lot of noise.

In some ways it’s like we’ve agreed to sanction rudeness.

Please, please click over to The Art of Simple to continue reading The Art of Listening.  I’m stepping on toes over there (including my own), and I’d love for you to weigh in with your thoughts about today’s distracted culture and why I believe listening well is crucial.

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Everyday Mentors and Village People (WHAT could those have in common?)



Posted by on May 10, 2013 |

I was a bystander this time, an observer, learning a lesson again I am so quick to forget:

Words are powerful and persuasive and have the capacity to change lives.

I know this, I even live it, but watching and witnessing a
relative stranger speak wisdom into my teen son’s life, I saw it fresh,
new.  The conversation’s effect was palpable–you could almost see wheels
turning in my boy’s head.


Please continue reading Everyday Mentors and Village People at Simple Mom today.  YOU really DO have the power to alter the course of another's life with a word of encouragement, calling out gifts and talents you see and speaking with passion about something you love.  This was a recent lesson and challenge to me and I hope it serves as one to you, too.

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