Week In Review – So Much Good Stuff


new-puberty-corbis_custom-51c80e1a4cdb2b9bd7c78d1a95683ef1485d69a3-s1100-c85 I stayed up late ordering Christmas cards and making photo books for each of the kids this week, which left plenty of time online for my twitter and facebook feed to fill me in on some excellent reads. Some of my favorites are below, quotes from each article italicized. By the way, I had asked friends on my FTLO of Facebook page for recommendations on photo books, and I discovered some new companies, so thanks a lot! I decided that for this round of books, just to go with Artifact Uprising. I have so many photos that it gets overwhelming trying to decide which memories to capture and feature, so in the end I decided to just focus on IG for the past year. I created “All About Me” books for each child, for the year 2014, and the AU program was really easy to use. I can’t wait to see them in real life.

1. Celebrating Bad Food: An Interview With Christopher Kimball – hands down my favorite read of the week, just because I am fascinated with Christopher Kimball, founder of Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen. The interview discusses the myth of food as art, print media, obesity in America, current hipster food trends, and the driving marketplace for junk and fast food. Basically, all of my favorite things! “People always go, “oh, my grandmother never used a recipe.” Well, that’s because she cooked ten hours a day or whatever, so she had it down cold. If you only cook three hours a week, you need a recipe. So I’m a big believer in: you’ve got to have technique, you’ve got to have experience. Because you can’t be an artist in the kitchen, assuming that’s something you want to be in the first place. I’m not sure I agree with that anyway. The objective is to turn out good food that’s healthy, that people enjoy then you sit around the table.”

2. How Girls Are Developing Earlier In A New Age Of Puberty “The family can serve as a huge buffer against some of those negative effects of early puberty,” she says. “There’s also been some research to show that certain aspects of the neighborhood context and also schools can be protective. … It can completely mitigate the risk associated with early puberty on girls’ emotional and behavioral functioning.” So thankful we’re not here yet, however the emotions are rnning wild these days…preteen angst is not far off, I can smell it!

3. Is the Food Babe A Fearmonger? Scientists Are Speaking Out – an interesting critique of the Food Babe’s use of science to back her claims and grow her army. Look, I don’t think I need to state I’m a real food advocate, and while some may believe we should all stick together, no matter what the methods, I don’t necessarily agree. I appreciate what she’s trying to do, but I don’t agree with much about how she’s doing it, by instilling fear into the average person who just needs some lessons and cajones in the kitchen. I have personally seen so many people, friends, readers get so overcome with anxiety about what they should eat, because of so many outlandish claims out there, that they don’t do anything to change. I just wish she would tone down the fear rhetoric and offer viable solutions for people, real people with food budgets and families and busy lives who can’t fastidiously pore over every ingredient list. “I personally think this is largely a distraction from more real concerns about the food system, like advertising aimed at kids, the environmental impacts of food production, food waste and hunger.”

4. Contemporary Christmas channel on Spotify so good, and so telling of my age. Fellow mid-late thirties out there, I think you’d really appreciate this playlist

5. NPR’s Best Books of 2014 – still going through both of these to note the overlap, if any. What are some of your favorite books of 2014?

6. NY Time’s 100 Notable Books of 2014

7. Typical of a high speed car chase in LA – make sure to note the red truck and skateboard.

8. Athleta Downalicious Vest is everything to me right now. I wear it almost every single day, no kidding.

9. Tarte Fiery Lip Tint is also everything to me right now, I also wear this almost every single day and my kids still ask if I’m going out somewhere when I put it on.

10. A Guide to the Terrible, Delicate Art of Making Parent Friends I’m lucky to have found a good group of mom friends, and their spouses have also become my spouses friends, but I appreciate how hard and delicate it all is. There are several friendships that have dissolved over the years because of either schedules, or we discovered eventually, that we didn’t have as much in common as we previously hoped for. “Now consider that, in order for this budding friendship to last more than one playdate, all four of you must jibe somewhat as people AND as parents, which means that at least in some small way, your general interests, taste and socioeconomic standing must gel, but critically, so must your general approach to parenting.”

11. The Secret to Homework We are in a big battle with homework over here, with Taylor getting upwards of 2-3 hours of homework a night, it’s frigging ridiculous and I’m fighting back. In current discussions with the principal and teacher, so wish me luck. More and more evidence these days is showing that homework for the sake of homework doesn’t work, and can actually be a hindrance to learning. If you have or have had a 4th grader, I’m curious what your child’s homework load looks like each night. Please share!

12. The Red Tent was made into a Lifetime mini-series, airing December 7th and 8th! One of my favorite books of all time, I hope Lifetime doesn’t screw it up 😉

And that’s all she wrote folks! Have a great weekend. Taylor marches in the town’s Christmas Parade tonight, and tomorrow we get our tree! Tis the season!

image credit 

Andrea is the founder of For The Love Of, a lifestyle blog dedicated to approachable, modern living. She writes about style, her love of DIY, and living a healthier life through wholesome, nutritious cooking. She is also a regular contributor at Babble. Get in touch: Facebook, Twitter You can find Andrea on Instagram @andreavhowe and @gwynethmademedoit

  • Shannon says:

    Loved your thoughts on Food Babe. I’m so like your friends – I read, with a gusto, a great “real food” blog for a while and was making great strides until they paired up with her and suddenly nothing I was doing was “enough” and I was waffling between being terribly obsessed with food to a who gives a flip attitude – not good for me, my family or my waist. In the end I had to stop reading the blog & find other real food advocates who weren’t screaming conspiracy from over corner of the kitchen. Now I immediately dismiss anything I see the Food Babe as simply fear mongering sales pitches.

  • Brooke L says:

    I agree with pretty much everything here! I’ve used Artifact Uprising for a photo book, a customized box, and several sets of prints recently – all turned out beautifully. I think you’ll love the quality of the books.

    Also, Food Babe… oh man. While I generally *sort of* agree with her, she has kind of gone off the deep end on the fear mongering. We all have to balance our food choices with real life… and we still have such a long way to go with teaching the general public about food choices and whole food. I don’t want to hate on her because it’s an important cause, but I personally choose to approach it differently.

  • Karri says:

    Ah…Food Babe. Lately, I dismiss anything I see from her. She’s on the same level as Dr. Mercola in my eyes.

    Puberty. I avoid it like the plague. lol. Seriously – I’ve done everything in our power since they were born to avoid early puberty (no hormones, antibiotic free, avoid BPA, yada yada yada). While my kids haven’t gone through full-blown puberty yet, they sure started exhibiting signs of it (mainly facial breakouts and mood swings, as well as armpit hair for the girl) well before my brothers and I did. Let me tell you…if the mood swings don’t drive youto drink, you should get an all expense paid trip as a reward.

    Homework. Our school is good about it, thankfully. They believe in 15 min per grade level. But even at 5th grade, the max homework I’ve seen my twins do is maybe an hour. My 7th grader gets time to do his at school and has maybe 2 hrs max, but typically an hour or so. Our district does grading for learning ( http://www.edlinesites.net/pages/Wauwatosa_School_District/Departments/Student_Learning/Grading/Grading_for_Learning ). While I am not certain how I feel about it yet, I can tell you that it is beneficial when it comes to homework. They don’t get busy work. Homework is seen as practice to formative and summative assessments. In middle school (and up), its optional (well, not in our house. lol), but if they don’t regularily do it, they can’t retake assessments.
    Like I said, I don’t know how I feel about it yet. But I do like that they are truly concerned that the kids are mastering the material – which is a basis for future success, versus just doing busy work and memorizing stuff and never using it again (the material is ‘spiraled’ and they have chances later on to show they know it, as well).
    THat was probably more than you ever wanted to know!

  • Jeanne says:

    The homework battle!I have a 4th grader too and thank god we don’t get a lot of homework. She’s in a Spanish-immersion program and I don’t speak Spanish so it makes it even harder to help her with her homework. I’m adamant that she not spend more than an hour a night on her homework and rarely does she get that much. My kids go to an under-performing school because it has the immersion program and maybe because of that they don’t have the pressure to keep the test scores up so the teachers don’t push homework although they are expected to read at least a half hour every night which I am OK with.

  • My fourth grader gets about 45 minutes to an hour each night. Some of it is good practice, but some of the math is downright ridiculous and takes a lot longer. Last week, 14 division problems took us two hours. No joke. As a former teacher myself, I should have called it a day and sent a note but I became concerned that he is struggling with the process so maybe the practice would cement it. It didnt. Never again…

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