3 things I learned (and 1 thing I wish I didn’t) in May

Linking up with the lovely Emily Freeman to share what I learned in May.



1. Make the banana bread. When we moved a few weeks ago, I was surprised at the number of neighbors who showed up at our door with banana bread (always banana bread). I’ve always tried to introduce myself to new neighbors, but I’ve never taken them banana bread—or anything else.

But I’m resolving to change that. It’s been such a nice way to meet the neighbors: the banana bread gives my neighbors a reason to come, an easy way to introduce themselves and share their phone numbers, and my kids adore the banana bread.

(I live in the Upper South. Is banana bread a Southern thing, or do people do it everywhere?)

2. There’s no such thing as “one more thing.” We’ve been planning for years to rent out our old home after we moved, so you might think we’d be ready. But I’ve been dealing with “one more thing” for weeks. Some of the one more things have been obvious (we forget to fix the gutter, we need to take the trash out one last time, don’t forget the old paint cans in the garage!) but some were completely unexpected.

I would tell you about the carpet cleaning experience from hell that caused about 7 more one more things, but nobody wants to read that.saltwater-sandals


3. The saltwater sandal fanatics are on to something. I tried to find my girls saltwater sandals on ebay but finally ordered these from Zappos in the floral. (Their choice.) They’re pretty great.

(I can’t think about Zappos without thinking about their love of good grammar.)

Silas would have none of it. He chose these, because he’s obsessed.

1 Thing I wish I didn’t learn:

All you essential oil fans aren’t crazy: peppermint oil helps poison ivy a ton.


Me: don’t you know what poison ivy looks like? Will: I do now.

We finally did some yard work at the new house on Memorial Day, eventually discovering that we had bamboo (bad) and poison ivy (worse). But we didn’t find the poison ivy until Will started developing a suspicious looking rash on his arms.

After a particularly ugly incident back when I was nursing Sarah (let your imagination run wild with that and you probably won’t be too far off) I’ve become adept at spotting it. We only have one small vine left in the yard and I didn’t go near it.  I just have a tiny rash, but I can’t figure out where I got it. (The laundry?)

Will, on the other hand, is using quite a bit of peppermint oil. It definitely helps, even if he smells like a box of Altoids.

What did you learn in May?

(I’ll share what I’m into later today!)


Leave A Comment
  1. Naomi Liz says:

    I love the banana bread thing! I’m from the North, and I’ve never had that happen (nor have I ever done it)…but I love banana bread and I think that’s such a great idea to meet new neighbors!

  2. Sheila says:

    The last time I moved (almost 3 years ago), one neighbor brought over a chocolate cake. It was one of the best cakes I’ve ever had, although the fact that I had a newborn might have had something to do with my opinion – cake! And I didn’t make it myself!

    The somewhat sad thing is that I never actually met the neighbor – was stuck on the couch nursing when she brought it over, and never saw her again another time.

  3. Kelly says:

    The essential oil thing cracked me up. I’m new to essential oils, but I came to the same conclusion: this isn’t crazy. At the informational class I attended, my friend looked at me at one point and said, “You think we are some kind of crazy, granola hippies, don’t you?” I just laughed and said, “I’m a homeschooling mom. I fit right in.”

  4. Catherine says:

    I think the bringing of a welcome gift (food, wine) to a new neighbor may be a Southern thing. We try to include a card with our phone numbers and kids’ names and ages. My MIL from Connectucut makes banana bread-so thT part is not so Southern.

  5. Anne says:

    Wonderful hospitality!

    Sorry, Mr. Darcy! 🙁 Though, I’m glad the oil is working. I’ve wanted to learn more about oils.

    Do you all think that was ethical of Zappos? Interesting comments in that link!

  6. Holly says:

    I love the saltwater sandals, totally worth it. And with how much time my daughter spends on her feet running around outside, I felt like good quality, comfy shoes are important! Now her tshirts are still Goodwill finds 🙂

  7. Leigh Kramer says:

    My mom would always bake something for new neighbors (and neighbors brought by an assortment of goodies when we moved in the late 80s). Sometimes banana bread, sometimes cookies or coffee cake. It’s a great way to meet folks! Sorry to hear about the poison ivy. So not fun.

  8. Deborah says:

    I’m from Chicago and I always bring banana bread to new neighbors! It’s perfect with peanut butter for breakfast. Also, most toddlers approve of it (mine won’t touch breads with zucchini or other suspicious vegetables). Not just a southern thing!

  9. Scott says:

    Banana bread I can take or leave (I like it with chocolate chips, but that seems to make it more of a cake), but that article about Zappos correcting the grammar and spelling of reviews was great! Thanks for linking to that.

  10. Kristin says:

    My husband works in lawn care so he gets poison ivy every spring and summer. It is unavoidable for him. Even though he knows how to recognize the plant, when he is doing lawn clean up or cutting in dense area, he breaks out. Actually, from April through September, he has at least one spot on his hands. The good news is that apparently your body builds up a sort-of resistance to it because each year it is a little less painful and bothersome for him.

  11. Teresa says:

    Twice, when we have moved to new neighborhoods we were given brownies (in Ohio) and either brownies or cookies (can’t remember which) when we moved to a new house in Tennessee. When we moved into a campus apartment in Louisville one of our neighbors brought us homemade bread – I’m thinking it may have been banana. Louisville would sorta be upper south. Maybe it’s a regional thing – or a new thing vs. brownies being the old thing? Either way, a nice thing to do.
    And, the smelling like Altoids? Much better than that horrible pink Calamine lotion I used to have to wear. Peppermint oil is also good at getting rid of mice, if you ever need to know that little tidbit. Just soak a cotton ball or two and put it where you think their point of entry is and it keeps them away. Mice traps work too, if they get in. 😉

      • Teresa says:

        We were in Louisville from August 2007 through June 2012 while my husband was working on his D.M.A. (piano). We moved to my small hometown about two hours East of Louisville while he finished his Dissertation and he graduated June 2013. We lived on the Seminary campus (SBTS) while there. I worked for a company called Oxford Garden. We loved Louisville, but need to be home for now due to my mother’s health.

  12. Katie says:

    I didn’t know what poison ivy looked like, either. And…it kind of just looks like any old ivy or vine. Oh dear.

    I’m dying to move back to New Mexico. The bubonic plague may be endemic there, but no mosquitoes, no poison ivy, no ticks or fleas (I mean, clearly they must be there somewhere, since that’s what carries plague, but we never had them at our house in our yard the way we do here). I will take scorpions and rattlesnakes over the rest of it any day. Let me reiterate: no mosquitoes.

    • Anne says:

      I’ve never been to New Mexico, but I will say that every time we visit the Pacific Northwest—always in summer, when it’s a blissful 70 degrees, the ocean is nearby, and there are NO BUGS, I start wondering why people live where I do. 🙂

    • Katie says:

      It is a fast-growing, invasive jerkface of a plant that is almost impossible to control, contain, or eradicate. It respects no boundaries. It feasts on the blood of children and no power on this earth can stop its relentless, ravenous quest for more land.

      According to my husband, anyway.

    • Anne says:

      What Katie said. 😉 Super-invasive, very difficult to corral. We were told to dig a trench between our yard and our bamboo-harboring neighbor’s and drop a steel sheet 8 feet down to keep it from spreading! I mean, seriously.

  13. Em Miller says:

    Banana bread definitely is not just a Southern thing. I’ve spent the first three years of marriage perfecting my banana bread recipe. I mean, two people can’t possibly finish an entire bunch of bananas before they go bad. In the summer, the mushy ones get frozen and turned into smoothies; in the winter, banana bread.

  14. Thanks for the peppermint tip for poison ivy. I’ve moved eight times in 24 years of marriage. “One more thing” is my middle name. I’m enjoying your blog Anne.

  15. So I also learned something about poison ivy in May…it’s related to mangoes. Of which I cut up 10 pounds and promptly had a poison-ivy-esque rash all over my hands for a week. Apparently the same substance in poison ivy that causes the rash is also in mango peel. I’m allergic to poison ivy but never had a problem with mangoes, til I cut up a TON to freeze. Who knew?!?

    • Anne says:

      Oh my goodness, the EXACT same thing happened to me several years ago. I had a serious (read: completely horrible) reaction to raw mango, contact dermatitis just like you would get with poison ivy. Here’s a tip: if you’re allergic to raw mango and poison ivy, don’t go near raw cashews! They’re all related. I learned that the hard way.

  16. Carla says:

    I live in Kentucky, and banana bread was a right of passage for me. It’s the first bread that a lot of little girls get to try making with grandmas, aunts and mommas. The recipe that I use is from an old church cook book, and is the same bread my momma makes.
    What a lovely greeting from your neighbors!

      • Carla says:

        That wave is very happily received and returned! I live about an hour south of Lexington, so we’re not so far apart.
        I’m very happy to have found your blog through Emily’s link up! I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts today.

        • Anne says:

          Thanks so much! It’s always great to connect with kindred spirits—and their don’t seem to be enough Kentuckians in the blogosphere. It’s great to find another one!

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