fun

i have a podcast problem.

my name is erin, and i’m a podcast addict.

i know, i know, i’m totally late to the party on this, but i have recently become addicted to listening to podcasts. i listen to them in the car on the way to and from work, while doing dishes during amelia’s naps, and even while nursing her on the weekends. I CAN’T STOP.

there is something about radio voices and interesting stories that just captivates me. mister man travels a lot, and i used to keep the tv on in the house, just to have noise around me and keep me company so to speak. but the problem with tv is that there is a visual aspect to it, so if i was trying to wash dishes or fold laundry or do some other task, i would inevitably get distracted by the images on the screen. not good when you’re trying to get stuff done when the baby is sleeping for lord knows how long.

so when i found podcasts, it was like this perfect solution. the sound of the voices keeps me company, but since i am only listening to them and not watching them, i can be a lot more effective when i’m doing the tasks i need to do.

if any of you have been thinking about getting into podcasts, here is a random post of a few of my favorites that might help you get started.

1) this american life. this is one of the most popular podcasts out there, put on by NPR. every week, they tell a different interesting story. it can be anything from how a used car sales shop on long island makes their sales quota to digging into the tension between the police and society going on today. i’ve learned a lot of really interesting and random things from this podcast, and ira glass is the cutest voice on the radio today.

2) invisibilia. another NPR production (you’ll see a trend here). this one is produced by two women who look into the invisible forces that govern our world, like fear, sensory experiences, etc. some of the things they talk about will blow your mind, because they dig into how our brains work, and i don’t know about you, but i think that stuff is crazy. 

3) serial. oh yes. i’m on this bandwagon big time. probably everyone has listened to serial at this point, unless you live under a rock. i am just waiting for the second season!

4) snap judgement. oh look. another NPR podcast. this one has great music and sound editing, which is what makes it fun. the concept is that there is a new theme each week, and three different stories that relate to that theme are told by different people. vignettes if you will. this one is just great storytelling and the stories are about the human experience.

5) TED radio hour. i know there are some TED talk fans who read this blog. this podcast chooses a different theme each week, and then chooses a few TED talk participants whose talks relate to the theme, and they kind of adapt their TED talk to radio. they talk to the host, and snippets of their TED talks are played, so it’s kind of a mashup show of sorts. SO ADDICTING.

6) mom enough. this is a podcast put on by a local minnesota mom and daughter team.  the episodes are usually only about 20 minutes long (perfect for moms with short nappers) and each show deals with issues that may interest parents, like sensory development, how to be an engaged parent, and so on. i love it.

do any of you have this addiction? if so, please share your favorites with me in the comments so i can expand my listening even more!

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it’s a day for napping.

at least, that’s what i think. amelia has other ideas. we are trying to get her to sleep in her crib, since we will be in florida for vacation in a couple weeks, and she is going to have to adjust if any of us want our sanity. unfortunately for me, that means a long day of crying and a cranky baby while she learns how to get comfortable in the crib instead of her rock n play (oh if only she never had to outgrow that thing!). pray for us. and that i have good news to update on tomorrow!

so, because it’s snowing like crazy today (why, tundra, why!?!) and my energy level is at a 2 no matter how much coffee i drink, here is the new marcel the shell video for you. if you haven’t seen marcel yet, 1) what is wrong with you and 2) go watch all three videos immediately. these videos always put a smile on my face and make the crying baby sound a little less loud, and the snow feel a little less cold.

wherever you are, and however your day is going, i hope you get to drink a hot cup of coffee and snuggle up somewhere cozy.

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sometimes a girl needs a new dress.

so, dressing myself hasn’t exactly been a priority for a while now. yes i talked about maternity style a few times, but even that was more “survival style”, less “fun style”. and now, well, i’m kind of craving outfits. outfits of any kind! ones with shoes that complement the shirt, and anything tailored that doesn’t resemble a workout outfit.

i don’t really have the energy to go shopping right now, unless it’s online at a 3am feeding, so when eShakti asked me to try out their custom dress service, i was like, “yea, sure, point me in the right direction, i like dresses and things!”

eShakti is an online women’s fashion apparel company that offers custom clothing that you can order to your exact measurements. i admit that i was a little bit skeptical about the whole “custom clothing” thing. i didn’t think that there would be a lot of integrity in the piece, because how could there be when ordering custom clothes online? so i was fully prepared to not like the dress i ordered.


then it came and i had to rethink my stance. because it was really very beautiful! and really very well-made. it was important to me to get a dress that fit well and that was easy for me to nurse amelia in. i wanted it to be seasonally appropriate but fun, and something i would actually wear.


it was a win on most fronts. the zip on the front actually comes all the way down, which is perfect for nursing sessions. the black makes it great for winter, but the floral brings a pop of color that will soon be necessary in this tundra i live in. the only thing i can complain about is the fit, which is my own fault. i think that i wanted to pad the measurements in the waist a little to make sure it wasn’t too tight (or i may have lost some inches between measuring and receiving)…and then it ended up being too big in the middle. it fits great everywhere else. also: POCKETS!!

i have to say, if you’re looking for a dress that fits you perfectly, and is pretty original, give eShakti a try. you can check them out at their website, or on facebook, twitter, or pinterest. if you order, let me know how it goes, i’d love to see more dresses people order!

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strawberry lavender vodka lemonade (& a mocktail!).

summer can’t come quickly enough! no but seriously, it can’t. i need some sun, sandals and swimming in my life as soon as possible, or i just might shrivel up. maybe the problem is that we aren’t in a summer mood yet? maybe summer is waiting for us to get on board? so i thought i’d help it along by sharing a recipe for a summertime cocktail that will either make you feel like you’re lounging at the lake, or will be the perfect choice for when you’re there.

i know. i know what you’re thinking. who’s going to trust a cocktail recipe from a pregnant lady? but just bear with me, because if there’s one thing i know, it’s drinks. and also, i happen to have a very willing taste-tester living with me, who is only too happy to taste the drinks i create. he says you’ll like this one.

the strawberries add just enough tartness and fruitiness (i’m also currently obsessed with them), while the lavender simple syrup adds some sweetness and a really unique flavor. i used pink lemonade in mine, just because it’s looks so pretty with the strawberries, but obviously you can use regular lemonade too. vodka adds a kick but lets the other flavors shine, and the result is a drink that looks as gorgeous as it tastes. it would be fun to try bourbon or gin for a different take on this, but i’m partial to this classic combo.

and for anyone looking for a delicious mocktail, whether it’s because you’re pregnant like me, or because you’re just craving a refreshing summer beverage, just omit the vodka, and voila! a delicious, non-alcoholic twist on lemonade!

strawberry lavender vodka lemonade recipe (makes 2)

  • 3/4 C. fresh strawberries (thawed frozen will work too) + more for garnish
  • 4 oz. vodka (omit to make this a delicious mocktail!)
  • 2 oz. lavender simple syrup*
  • 1-2 C. lemonade
  • ice

muddle quartered strawberries in a cocktail shaker with half the lavender simple syrup. add the remaining simple syrup and vodka and shake well. pour into 2 tall glasses** filled with ice. top with lemonade, garnish with a strawberry and enjoy, preferably on a sunny deck wearing flip-flops and fun sunglasses.

note: a standard american shot glass is 1.5 oz., so use a little over one shot for every 2 oz. the recipe calls for.

*lavender simple syrup recipe

  • 1 C. water
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 3 tsp. food-grade lavender buds

combine water, sugar and lavender in a small saucepan. bring to a boil and stir to ensure all the sugar is dissolved. remove from heat and let cool completely. when ready to use, strain the lavender out of the syrup. store in a small jar or other container in the fridge up to three weeks. (great in hot or iced coffee/tea as a sweetener, or in another cocktail!)

**i recommend tall glasses for this recipe because short won’t accommodate the amount of mix + lemonade over ice. however, if you want to experiment with amounts, or prefer a stronger cocktail, feel free to adjust the size of the glass or the amount of servings in this recipe. after all, cocktails are a very personal thing!

this post is inspired by the #redBar: summertime cocktail project for Red Envelope. they’re sharing favorite summertime drinks as the weather gets nicer. check out @redenvelope and #redBar on twitter for other great summertime cocktail ideas!

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these days.

you know what time it is! time for me to talk about what i’ve been up to these days. let’s be honest. this is part blog recap, part photo dump, part filler, but i’ve decided that i love it. hopefully you do too.

but before we get into what’s going on around here these days, i wanted to take a second to introduce you all to my very first sponsor here at this little space of mine.

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amber from mr. thomas and me is one of those people you can’t help but connect with. neither of us remembers how we found each other’s blogs, all we know is that we are soul sisters. we have so many things in common, and such a great connection (like, thinking the same things at the exact same time), that it doesn’t seem possible that we grew up in different parts of the country and have only ever met online.

Howdy Hooley readers! I’m Amber, a small town girl with bigger city dreams, a heart for God and family that comes with a heaping side of sarcasm. For years I worked hard to keep my God and my blog separate. Then life fell apart and God brought my family, marriage, and Him together for one cause: to write for His glory instead of mine. Though my story is flawed and imperfect, His love is redeeming and graceful allowing my husband and I to share all the crazy that makes up our story as Mr. Thomas and me. At the end of our shenanigans, we hope for you to know: love wins. His, mine, and ours.

you can find amber at her blog, mr. thomas and me, and also on twitter, facebook, and instagram (she posts the cutest outfit photos ever!) head over to read her thoughts and tell her that erin sent you.

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these days i’m…

eating so many pickles. not sure why, i’m just craving salt. for dinner the other night, i made peanut butter and pickle toast. and it was so satisfying, i almost fainted.

reading through more of my grandpa’s cookbook. i had THE BEST response to my first recipe that i posted, that i’ve already planned the next two that i’ll be whipping up. let me tell you, if you’re not into fall yet, you will be when you see these two soups.

wearing no jewelry except my ring. i’ve just not had the motivation to get dolled up lately. does anyone have any tips for motivating yourself to look adorable when you’re really not feeling it?

drinking all the apple cider. there is none left for you all. the end.

planning how to decorate our living room. we are going on a furniture hunt this weekend for some easy chairs, and not a moment too soon, because before you know it, fireplace season will be upon us! and i think it’s a law that you need easy chairs to go with a roaring fire in the fireplace.

loving these flowers my lovely husband got for me to say congratulations on my promotion at work! they added the word senior to my title, so now i get to boss people around. just kidding, nothing much changes except i get to work on more interesting projects. win!

not loving how it’s basically the middle of the night when i wake up in the morning. i can’t get behind mornings when i’m waking up before the sun, and it’s not to watch the sun rise on a beach. can’t do it.

listening to the darius rucker pandora station like it’s my job. if you like country and/or pop music, you’re going to want to listen up….i’ve gotten it so finely tuned that it will play josh turner and then one direction. and if that doesn’t make you happy at work, i don’t know what’s wrong with you.

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