How It’s Done Blog


Hey, School, Can’t We Just Start Slow?

For some kids, activities that start to early in a new school year are activities they’ll never be ready to join.

The Mom Who Left the Planet

I’m listening to Samantha Ettus interview 5 women about work life balance, and Cady Coleman, astronaut, just said that one of her friends told her “look, this is who his mother is.”  They’re all saying they don’t go out at night, that mornings are chaos, that they don’t hide the kids. But that’s just the best line–“this is who their mom is.”  Other great lines–“I’ve made a life that works for me.” “You can’t listen to what other people think […]

One Big Happy Conference

K Howdy from Mom 2.0. I’m listening to Julie Zhuo at Facebook talk to three women who started Facebook groups that grew like crazy (Jessie Lorenz, Tahemeem Shaik, Thorunn Magnisdottir), after walking through halls of women and media companies and brands. Overheard: “the people who really love what I’m doing have followed me there” “what are your goals for the conference?” “If we build it that way it will really attract a broad audience” and a hundred other comments from […]

Book Give-away: “Catastrophic Happiness” and “Girls and Sex”

I’ve got a copy of “Catastrophic Happiness” by Catherine Newman and one of “Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape” to share. All you have to do is either sign up for my weekly email (if you haven’t already) or share this past week’s email (which is likely how you got here in the first place). Then tell me you did, and which book you’d like in the comments to this post, and we’ll use a random number generator […]

Why We Should Schedule an Empty Schedule

Just because the day looks empty certainly doesn’t mean it will be.

Today’s Mantra: I Got This.

Rushed morning? Husband headed out of town? One child who overslept, missed barn chores and got fines? Another who never wants to go to school, and a third poking the seats of the first two in the car? Yeah, I got all that. But somehow, this morning, I let it wash over me. Made the iPad play through the car stereo (my phone won’t do that any more, thanks IOS update), sang along with the happier kids to the three […]

Do This Now: Favorite Your Best Photos From Last Month

You know how, come December, you really want to make, say, a calendar for next year? This will help.

Just a Fun Winter Picture

Once, there was snow.

Illustrating Motherlode

An 8-year-old on an aimless Monday morning of summer break is a funny thing. Deprived of his easy weekend go-tos (wii, minecraft, TV) and not yet quite able to come up with alternatives (by weds we will be good, next Monday he’ll have forgotten again). We went for illustrating the day’s Motherlode post, with the result that you get not one, but two today. I told him the player was faking the foul. “No!” He said. “He’s really hurt.” There’s […]

8 Things We Have Learned about Having a Pool

1. It’s an excellent way to acquire beach towels. 2. Ditto assorted children’s clothing and swimwear. 3. Bleach and Borax are cheaper than pool chemicals. 4. Apply before pool party, not after. 5. I don’t know where your goggles are. I don’t know where anyone’s goggles are. 6. Mmmm, pool water beats toilet water any day (that’s from our dogs). 7. Bacardi piña coladas are the way to go. 8. Am never leaving my house again. At least not this […]

New office!

This is my new office. This is the view from my new office. Do note the boxes in the foreground, and the complete absence of a desktop computer, and the boxes in the background. Deal is, new desktop–when there is a top of the desk to be seen. Meanwhile, it’s a fresh office start for me! I’m unpacking.

Favor Effectiveness over Efficiency

Laura Vanderkam pointed me towards an article today that came at exactly the right time: Chasing Efficiency? You’re Wasting Your Time A few choice quotes: Nobody other than perhaps you really cares how efficient you are, but everyone cares how effective you are. Sometimes the least efficient thing can lead to the most productive outcome. A great example of this would be carving out time in your already too busy schedule to mentor someone in your organization. Clearly this endeavor […]

Behind the Scenes at Motherlode: Sam’s Sugared Cranberries

I refer to this recipe in a post on Wednesday, November 21, 2012–and I’m packing them up for the trip to Fairfax County/DC right now. Sam’s Sugared Cranberries 1 lb fresh cranberries, picked over 2 cups sugar 2 cups superfine sugar, for rolling Make simple syrup: combine 2 cups sugar with 2 cups boiling water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool. (Let COOL. LET COOL. If you pour it over the cranberries now, they will burst.) Divide cranberries […]

Clutter-free (almost) and Happier: Check

I didn’t want to have the toothpaste- crusted, sloppy house that i remembered visiting with dismay growing up. I wanted my mother’s pleasant, clutter- and toothpaste-stain free sanctuary.

Full Cappelletti (or Ravioli) Recipe from Motherlode

Full video and recipe for making my family’s not-so-secret cappelletti and ravioli.

Go Shelf By Shelf and Snack By Snack: “Happier at Home” Week 2, in the Pantry

I cleaned my pantry. Less is more, and should the zombie apocalypse arrive, all that spaghettini will surely not save us. Bourbon, maybe, but that’s another cabinet.

“Happier at Home:” Gretchen’s Project, KJ’s Clutter

Getting “happier” about my possessions means more than just clearing clutter—but I’m going to have to clear the clutter first.

Behind the Scenes: Operation Vacation Recovery Begins

Where in the world is KJ? Cape Cod. Watchin’ whales, kickin’ back. Swimming pools, sand castles, the “Chatham Freeze.” It’s been a nearly completely “off” week: comments were kindly taken over by the NYT team, posts were nearly all from guests, no “quandary” last week, and thus no response. Oh, I did a few things. Someone pointed me towards a fantastic blog about twins, and I immediately snagged the writer for a contribution–I can’t wait. She and I will be […]

Actual Mail

Actual Mail Originally uploaded by kjda I am so happy, and feeling yanked back to childhood, because someone-as in Ayun Halliday– sent me a big fat fabulous envelope in the mail!!!

Farewell, Mystery Twitter Dude (Plus, How to Have a Good Birthday Party)

My dad just alerted me to the fact that my Twitter widget was broadcasting someone else–I changed my handle, but not the widget code, a few weeks ago and apparently this is the inevitable result: whoops! He looked like he had a very interesting life and an entirely different twitter audience than me… Today was Lily’s actual birthday, and I’m proud to say that after last year’s, which could have been used as the MTV video for “It’s My Birthday […]