1. I can (still) pick good books for my daughter that she actually wants to read.
Earlier this month Sarah (who just turned 11) said, and I quote, “Mom, what should I read next?” She knows how the podcast works, so she told me three books she loves, one book she hates, and her current read, and I went digging for titles for her.
She’s a little old to want book suggestions from her mom these days, but she did ask, and I found her some great stuff she really enjoyed: The Penderwicks, The One and Only Ivan, Tuesdays at the Castle, Harriet the Spy, and a few others. She’s been reading up a storm.
2. Diane Rehm got her start as a 37-year-old volunteer at her local public radio station.
Will and I got to hear Ann Patchett interview Diane Rehm last week at a local event. Most people were there for Diane Rehm but if you guessed it was the novelist who got us to buy your tickets, you’d be right.
While the whole conversation was interesting, I just couldn’t believe the story of how Diane Rehm got her start. After she got married, she spent more than a decade at home with the kids. When they got older, she needed something to fill her time, so she looked into volunteering at her local public radio station. And then one day, the program host was sick. You can guess what happened next.
As Ann Patchett said, “that sounds like a fairy tale!”
3. Changing a lightbulb or three can make your whole room look much, much better.
We finally decided on a chandelier for the new kitchen/dining room space (actually it’s the second chandelier we tried—the first one went back to the store). I loved the actual chandelier but it put out no light. In the daytime, you literally couldn’t tell if the lights were on or off.
Then one day my contractor came back from a Home Depot run and said he got me a present: it was a three-pack of lightbulbs that he thought would work much better than the ones I’d bought. He was right.
The chandelier and the room look so much better now—and we can actually see. All it took was $8 in lightbulbs (and the knowledge to choose the right ones).
4. You can buy a pen loop for your bullet journal.
Or at least you can if you got bitten by the Leuchtturm bug like I did. I got my pen loop for $6 on Amazon, and while that seems ridiculously expensive for a teeny tiny pen loop—especially when the journal itself was only $18 or so—it is so nice to have.
(I’m still loving the bullet journal. Update coming soon-ish.)
5. Patent Tieks take forever to break in.
I have several pairs: (and yes, shoes are something I splurge on for reasons I explain here, mostly involving my gigantic hard-to-fit feet). My first two pairs were comfortable from minute 1. In fact, the first day I wore my second pair I put ten miles on them walking around New York City.
But then I got a pair of patents (these ruby red ones) and they didn’t feel too great after a Costco run, let alone a full day of 10,000 (or 25,000) steps. I talked to customer service a few times and learned that of all the varieties of Tieks, the patents take the longest to mold to the shape of your feet. They recommended wearing them around the house with socks on, or—if that didn’t work—professional stretching.
They’re feeling great now, but it took a little while. And some socks.
6. My hydrangeas can stay prettier longer.
I’m a sucker for the inexpensive, long-lasting bouquets at Trader Joe’s: they seem to last weeks. Except the hydrangeas, which seem to last just hours. And then I found out that hydrangeas need more than fresh water to stay perky.
First: if they do droop within the first couple of days, you can revive them with a hot water bath. (According to Southern Living, you can also submerge the whole plant, blooms and all, in the bathtub to freshen them up, but I haven’t tried that treatment yet.)
Second: for the ounce-of-prevention treatment, dip the stems in alum powder to help your blooms stay fresher longer.
Third: hydrangeas take in water from their stems and their petals, so a little misting will help keep them fresh.
What did you learn in March?