February 25, 2013

Monday Links

(Crosbi at the farmer's market)

I'm a bit behind on my blog reading thanks to the great weather we've been having. I feel like just typing those words is rubbing it in to all of my Missouri friends and family who have been stuck inside because of an ice storm. Hopefully spring will start making its way to the Midwest soon. And I shouldn't get too excited about the weather. I am in Tennessee after all, and it could start snowing before I finish writing this.

I did manage to spot a few things that caught my eye.

We're currently giving our playroom a makeover, but I wish I had seen this one. The striped rug is my favorite.

Soon we'll be thinking of taking the glider out of Crosbi's room. I wonder if she would like a no-sew teepee in its place.

Crosbi was a bit too little this year, but next year I definitely want to throw a Valentine's Happy Heart party for the kiddos in my life.

I'm currently reading this book and this book. At the same time. They couldn't be more different from each other, but both so, so good. I'll be writing a lot more about the first book in the weeks to come. Maybe the second one too!

As mothers, we've all had those days. Such great perspective on parenting. 

And just for fun, I started following @leesamantha on Instagram. She makes the coolest art out of food. Seriously.

Happy Monday!

February 23, 2013

So Long Winter

The first day of spring may be just shy of a month away, but we're already embracing the season in the Stepp house. I love fall and can confidently say it's my favorite season, but spring is a close runner up. I think I'm especially looking forward to it this year with a toddler in the house. She has a fierce love for the outdoors and I want to spend as much time as possible letting her run wild outside.

We're also referring to this year as the "Year of the Farmer's Market." We thought really hard about joining a CSA, but we're not quite ready for that kind of commitment. We want to do a test run this year by hitting our local farmer's markets as much as possible. This way we'll still be supporting our local farmers, but we can have a bit more control of what we purchase.

We kicked things off today with a visit to the Franklin Farmer's Market. It was still a little chilly outside, but we shopped long enough to grab some red new potatoes, rainbow carrots, and fresh tilapia from Gulf Pride Seafood - a team of guys who drive to the Gulf and bring back fresh seafood weekly.

Crosbi enjoyed every minute of it.

Have a lovely weekend!

February 18, 2013

Monday Links

I just returned home from a long weekend visit to North Carolina to see family. I really had a great time. One day we're playing at the park overlooking a gorgeous lake, the next day we're bundled up watching a snowstorm. And I thought the weather in Tennessee was strange!

On Saturday my mom kept Crosbi so I could have a day to myself. I almost didn't leave because of the snow, but my soul needed it. Are the terrible ones a thing? Could it be that my daughter just wants to get a head start on the terrible twos? She has been Jekyll and Hyde lately and it's wearing me out. I was so thankful for my mom and the much needed mini retreat. I drank cups - yes, cups - of warm chai, drooled over new cookbooks, and took my time doing a little retail therapy. Crosbi got lots of good one-on-one time with her Grandma, and lots of snuggles with her new cousin. It was a win-win.

Later that evening I was telling my mom about how all of my favorite bloggers are releasing their own books, and she asked me how I found all the blogs I read. Good question. The answer is pretty simple. I started reading one blog, that author introduced me to her favorite bloggers, and pretty soon I had a blogroll of 50 go-to blogs. I thought I would start linking to a few of my favorites on the web to repay the favor and to give my mom (and anyone else) some online reading inspiration. In no particular order...

A dare and a promise every woman should read.

I love the idea of capturing One Day and turning it into a photo (or Instagram) book.

Raechel perfectly describes my current relationships with the women in my life here.

This site+app has changed how we eat and grocery shop in my home. I actually enjoy meal planning again!

I think I need to decorate with plates.

Olivia makes February look like the perfect time to visit Charleston. But is there really a bad time?

A cup of tea always hits the spot when reading. I want to give this recipe a try.


February 12, 2013

Crosbi at 14 Months

I must really love my friends and family to post this video for them. For starters, I shot this right before my girl's bedtime and while she was fighting a 101.6 degree fever. She's a trooper. Also, you will hear me singing. I rarely let Todd hear me sing, and here I am putting it out there for the world to see. Maybe not the world, but it's out there. Please try to divert your attention to the adorable little girl in the video and not her pitchy mama.

This video captures Crosbi perfectly. Her love for music and books (especially books about Elmo). Her enthusiasm for Missouri sports teams - a girl after her daddy's heart. Her silly humor and a good dose of sassy attitude, which we are already working on. Sheesh.


February 5, 2013

The Glass Castle

I used to be very anti e-readers. I wanted to feel a book in my hands. I wanted to underline and fold the corners of pages. Reading books electronically just felt wrong. The funny thing is that even though I felt so strongly about reading actual books, I wasn't reading much at all. So I caved. We finally got a Kindle, and later an iPad Mini and now I can't read enough. Throw in the fact that I can borrow ebooks from my library, I have a book list a mile long.

Last week I finished The Glass Castle, and it was one of the best books I have read in a really long time. A coworker recommended it to me a couple of years ago, and I just got around to reading it and I'm so glad I did. I have always enjoyed memoirs, but the story of Jeannette Walls' life is at times just too hard to believe. You wonder how anyone could turn out even halfway normal with the childhood she had.

The description:

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

I very highly recommend this book. It's so good my husband is reading it now. That's saying something!