How It’s Done Blog


You Know You Need a Great New Read (November, 2016)

Here are the books I read and liked, and why, in no particular order, for November.

We do owe our kids an apology for this election. It’s not the one you think.

Nothing is different about our country than it was Tuesday, or the day before, or even the day before that. All that’s changed is that we know more about each other than we did then.

Shouldn’t FB Be Showing Me My Crap Memories, Too?

I know I’ve shared some rotten moments on Facebook since I joined. So why are my “memories” all hazy scenes of family happiness?

One-Day Writers Retreat, an Incoherent Series of Thoughts Thereupon.

I’m in Durham, North Carolina with my husband, who’s here for some meetings. One day doesn’t seem like much, but since my high school carpool fell through my writing days have been a shortened mess–I HAVE a babysitter to pick my kids up from school, but she is but one human and there are two schools, not close to each other, letting out at the same time. It occurs to me as I write this that I could probably find […]

When the Wind Blows in Better Weather

When things are tumultuous, I tend to expect them to get worse, not better. But I’ve realized I’m often wrong.

What If You Just Did One Thing at A Time? Really Just One Thing.

I can really only do one thing at a time. You could call that Unitasking, or Monotasking, or my favorite—being human, since no one can really do more than one thing at a time—but whatever you call it, it’s how I work best.

How To Get Out of the Rabbit Hole

I looked up at the clock and realized: the rabbit hole had nabbed me again.

Let the Darkness In

The weather has been so glorious. I’ve been on an epic high of good cheer and outdoor adventure. I kind of need it to stop.

When Homework Engulfs the Whole House

Every night, when she opens her math homework, the drama begins. “I need help. I can’t do this.” She can—but it’s hard, and why not make everyone else suffer with you?

The Richest Months

I love spring and I love summer—and I ADORE Halloween—but the coming season is the real meat of the year.

My Name Is KJ, and I Meditate.

I used to meditate sneakily, because one of the reasons I meditate is that my mind is filled with all kinds of negative commentary on stuff like … meditating. But I’ve had to come out of the closet.

Here’s What’s Wrong with the Anti-Helicopter Parent’s Backyard (Hint: He’s Still Hovering)

The parent who created the Playborhood may not be helicoptering, but he’s hovering just the same. Only instead of saying “be careful,” he’s saying “jump.”

Right Here, Right Now: Are You Where You Want to Be, Doing What You Want to Do?

So, are you? Feel free to skip right down and just tell me your answer in the comments, but here’s why I’m asking.

Win 10 Fall Books from My September List!

Win all the books from my September books post, and a few more!

Sane Scheduling Part Three: Don’t Do This.

I’ve been working on The Sane Family’s Guide to Scheduling, and I had a little something left over that just didn’t fit anywhere. So, herewith, a few random things that I try to keep in mind when adding things to my schedule:   1. Never put anything on Monday, especially Monday morning. First off, Mondays are hard enough. Second, me, I forget things on Mondays. I want to be someone who looks at her calendar on Sunday and plans the […]

Am I Introverted, or Just Rude?

I’m shy, yes. But am I also rude? In a contest between my manners and my preferences, am I allowing my preferences to win?

Choose Your Own Verb: Are You Where You Need, Want or Are Meant to Be?

Do you do what you need to, what you choose to, or what you’re meant to—and does the difference matter?

My Actual Writing Morning, 10 AM-1PM, Annotated.

Let’s just say not everything that happened this morning was strictly work. Probably especially not the Cheez-Its.

You Know You Need Something New to Read

2 novels. 2 memoirs. 4 nonfiction. If you’re looking for a good read, look no further.

The Right Way to Bribe Your Kids to Read

My children need to read this summer. They’re in the middle of a long vacation from school, and I want them to enjoy it — but I also want them to be able to pick up their education where they left off when school starts again in the fall.

Kids who read over the summer lose fewer skills than kids who don’t. This is especially important for children from low-income families and those with language problems, like my younger daughter. When reading is difficult, so is almost everything else. As new readers move from decoding text to fluency, every subject from math to history becomes more accessible, but practice is the only way to get there.