fbpx

Connecting the Dots

September Book Recommendations, Part 4

By KJ / Monday, September 25, 2017

In honor of the fall cooking season, I’ve got two food-related memoirs this week.   Growing up torn between a sugar-loving German baker and a spice-loving Arab dad, the author was bound to learn to cook. This is the story of how she reconciled those two very flamboyant, and very different, personalities within herself.               Girl cooks in crazy prestigious NYC kitchens and then moves to rural off-the-grid Minnesota? That’s a story I wanted […]

Read More

The One Thing You Can Do When the Homework Is Killing You All

By KJ / Monday, September 25, 2017

We’ve all been there. Your child is frustrated, and insisting the teacher never showed her how to graph the results of the word problem. The 210 page reading assignment had him up half the night; the “measure four rooms in your house” question took the combined efforts of the whole family to complete and taught your kid nothing, and seriously, who does the second grade teacher think is really doing the online research on lemurs? You’re annoyed, you’re confused, everyone […]

Read More

September Book Recommendations, Part 3

By KJ / Friday, September 15, 2017

  I was so thrilled to find this memoir of a young German woman’s experience as an immigrant and newbie farmer in Vermont in the 1940’s. It’s both a classic city slicker in the big country story (love those) and a glorious, contemporaneous depiction of another time, with party lines and pony carts and train travel. I’m treasuring every page.         Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies framework won’t fully explain you or everyone around you, but once you’re […]

Read More

School transition bringing out your child’s more challenging side? Slow down, give in, let things go.

By KJ / Friday, September 15, 2017

It’s happening again. Every year, just as school starts, we find ourselves in a place I thought we’d left behind. The kids on edge, constantly provoking, teasing and pushing one another’s buttons. One child’s skin so thin she might burst. Tantrums, oddities and tics return. What’s up? You’d think something big was going on and—oh. Yeah. School’s started. A new teacher. A new grade. New expectations and old ones that have never been easy. It’s a challenging time for all […]

Read More

September Book Recommendations, Part 2

By KJ / Friday, September 8, 2017

This week, Mary Laura Philpott was a guest on the #AmWriting podcast. Our topic: #Youandyourbookstore, on writers forming relationships with the bookstores we love. I’ve done this before, but Mary Laura convinced me to go all in, and from now on the links to books in this email will be to Indiebound. Click, and you can get the book ordered from your local—or any—independent bookstore. It’s been a good week for reading. Here’s why:       To Siri with Love is Judith Newman’s […]

Read More

Resistance Is Useless

By KJ / Friday, September 8, 2017

You’re going to read the bedtime story, make the extra orthodontist appointment or pick up the kid who missed the bus. You might as well do it with grace.  Some days (weeks, months) are frustrating. All anyone wants from you is everything—every spare minute, every ounce of patience, and oh, that sandwich you just made for your own lunch looks good too. Everywhere you look, there’s another octopus, all grabbing arms and suckers, holding you in place until they use […]

Read More

September Book Recommendations, Part 1

By KJ / Friday, September 1, 2017

      Guesswork: A Reckoning with Loss I’ve just started this slim memoir in essays, a history of reckoning with grief and loss through exploring a new country on the outside and an old landscape within. It’s lyrical, poem-y, not a one-sitting read.           For many kids, back-to-school means back into the social ocean after a summer spent swimming in quieter ponds. If you’re looking for advice on helping your teen or tween navigate the […]

Read More

Take Help

By KJ / Friday, September 1, 2017

Oh, no, thanks–I’m fine. Got it all under control. Sure, one child broke her arm by falling off the zip line in our yard while we were hosting her grade’s back-to-school party, the day before school started. And we discovered that another needed to switch schools completely three days before. Oh, and there’s no water in the house this morning (plumbing problem), and there wasn’t yesterday, either. And we’re out of sugar. And there’s this emergency orthodontist appointment in fifteen […]

Read More

August Book Recommendations, Part Two

By KJ / Thursday, August 17, 2017

I’m looking for stories of families who added more unstructured time to their summer this year. If that’s you, I’d love to hear from you. Reply email to this missive will indeed reach me. It’s been a good week for reading. Here’s why: The Outrun, Amy Liptrot A memoir of addiction, to alcohol be even more to the speed of city life, this is the story of Liptrot’s return to the Orkney Islands and a year spent largely in her […]

Read More

Back to School: Friend or Foe?

By KJ / Thursday, August 17, 2017

I wasn’t ready for summer to end, or kids to go back to school, until suddenly I was.

Read More

August Book Recommendations, Part One

By KJ / Monday, August 7, 2017

Hey—want to win a totally random book and help me spread the word about my weekly missives on making this whole parenting thing a joyful part of our lives? I’m conducting a Random Book Mailing. I’ve got a stack of 19 recent releases to give away, including the two novels below. Do something—anything you’d like—to encourage friends to join the list, then let me know you did by Monday, August 7, 2017. (You can also just reply to this email.) I’ll drop everyone’s […]

Read More

Want a happier end to summer? Try this: Sometimes, if you see something, don’t say something.

By KJ / Monday, August 7, 2017

  Last week, we took out annual summer family vacation: a trip to Cape Cod, where we stay in the same place and do the same things, every year, which still manages to always be just different enough. As we often do, we took a fishing trip. We saw whales. We dropped lines and jigged for mackerel to use as bait. We zoomed at top speed to a place where the striped bass might or might not be—and for the most […]

Read More

#Priorities

By KJ / Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Episode 63 Show Notes: #Priorities kjdellantonia.com NY Times Well The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, Jess Lahey #AmWriting with Jess and KJ The Atlantic Vermont Public Radio Grown and Flown #Priorities Scrivener Bullet Journal #AmReading Razor Girl, Carl Hiassen Peter Mayle Chomp, Carl Hiassen The Decent Proposal: A Novel, Kemper Donovan The Other Alcott, Elise Hooper All of a Kind Family, Sydney Taylor Little Women, Louisa May Alcott Pride […]

Read More

It’s common, and easy, to relax tech rules for the summer. But what if you didn’t?

By KJ / Friday, May 26, 2017

There is plenty to do. It’s just not stuff that will easily sate and sedate you.

Read More

The end of the school year might be harder on your kid than you think.

By KJ / Friday, May 19, 2017

As much as your children may be looking forward to summer, they may also find it hard to see the end of the school year—even if they never admit it or recognize it.

Read More

What’s It Like to Eat at Your Kid’s House?

By KJ / Friday, May 5, 2017

Something—some mention, some sound, some elusive flavor—reminded me of Captain Crunch yesterday. Captain Crunch, those indefinably flavored rectanguloids best known for scraping all the skin off the roof of your mouth as they stubbornly held their crunch even in the face of the deepest bowl of milk. Thus the name, I guess. But in addition to the flavor, Captain Crunch means something else to me. It means breakfast at Stephanie Ellis’ house, the girl who lived across the street from […]

Read More

If your kid’s in the car, your phone should never be in your hand.

By KJ / Friday, April 28, 2017

Your future drivers are watching. Spring is Driver’s Ed season in New England, and my oldest child starts next week. But there’s one thing about driving that I’ve been teaching him for years: It’s not compatible with mobile phones. If you aren’t putting that phone aside while you drive already, start doing it now, in a big, loud, pointed way. “I’m putting my phone in my bag because I’m driving!” you should say. “I’m not answering my phone even on […]

Read More

My kid has a “project” due. What’s ok to help with, and what’s not?

By KJ / Monday, March 27, 2017

Teachers assign projects to our kids for a reason, and it’s not to see what their parents can do.

Read More

Before You Limit Your Kids’ Screen Time, Should You Look at Your Own?

By KJ / Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New research has parents of kids 8-18 reporting an astonishing 7.5 hours of personal screen time a day. If that’s true, how can we help our kids learn to limit themselves?

Read More

#AmWriting’s Tax Tips for Writers Download

By KJ / Friday, January 27, 2017

Episode 39 of the #AmWriting podcast was all about taxes for writers. Jess stunned me with her organization and then laid out a plan to follow for 2017, and we dished about getting things together and organizing our deductions and whatnot for 2016. To go with it, Jess made a Tax Tips for Writers download, and then I lined it all up so that you guys can get it. Just sign up here, and our Tax Tips for Writers download […]

Read More

Win a Book to Change How You Think About “Busy”

By KJ / Thursday, January 12, 2017

I’ve changed the way I think about time thanks to Laura Vanderkam’s work—and now I’m giving away two copies of her book (and a fun copper bracelet). Read why, and enter.

Read More

#ReadySetGo2: Setting #WriterResolutions for 2017

By KJ / Friday, December 30, 2016

For me, one of the biggest barriers to setting goals is stopping doing things long enough to decide what I want to do. On Episode 34 of the #AmWriting podcast, Jessica Lahey and I talked writerly goals: specifically, what makes a good goal, and how to set some in honor of this traditionally goal-setting time of the year. For Episode 35, we’re actually setting those goals—which means getting them down on paper. It also means checking in on last year’s […]

Read More

My Word for 2017: Linger.

By KJ / Friday, December 30, 2016

Linger. That’s my word this year. Professionally, personally, with family, with friends, over essays and book chapters and all the work I put out into the world or keep to myself, I want to linger. I I want to take time, to stay at the table, to rest in the silence or the laughter. In my work, I want to re-read, to edit, to set aside and revisit. And, of course, with the book I’m working on, I need to […]

Read More

The Workout I Actually DO

By KJ / Thursday, December 29, 2016

I don’t even have to make a resolution around exercising this year, because—after years of trying things and failing, I’ve actually found a workout I can do, I will do, and I don’t really mind doing.

Read More

#ReadySetGoal: Non-Resolutions to Guide You Into a Productive New Year

By KJ / Friday, December 23, 2016

On Episode 34 of the #AmWriting podcast, Jessica Lahey and I talked writerly goals: specifically, what makes a good goal, and how to set some in honor of this traditionally goal-setting time of the year. We started off by defining a goal by what it’s not—it’s not a resolution. Or maybe it kind of is, but resolutions are often big and amorphous, hard to measure and somewhat doomed. (“I will be kinder. I will be a better daughter. I will […]

Read More

You want to give experiences, not things—but that’s not as easy as it sounds. 

By KJ / Monday, December 12, 2016

Ok, you know the drill. I know the drill. The best gifts, for our over-indulged children and our cluttered homes and the simple lifestyle we aspire to in the post-Kondo world are experiences, not things. Got it. But that’s a hard standard to live up to, right? Experiences take time and effort. Having given them, you, too, often must experience them. And as much as I don’t feel the need to add more Lego to our collection, I also don’t really […]

Read More

KJ’s Best Gifts for Writers

By KJ / Monday, December 12, 2016

In the most recent episode of the #AmWriting podcast, co-host Jessica Lahey and I offered up—along with my December Keep Your Butt in the Chair Manifesto and a reminder that even though the holidays are upon us, WRITERS GONNA WRITE—a list of some of our favorite writer-y things that we’ve aquired over the years. Mine, I realize, skewed awfully heavy on the Decoupage Tissue Box covers–but I am telling you, these are great. Everyone needs a tissue box cover, or at least, […]

Read More

The Get Your Butt in the Chair Manifesto: It’s Up to You Whether You Write Today.

By KJ / Friday, December 9, 2016

I read the Get Your Butt in the Chair Manifesto, below, today on the #AmWriting podcast I do with Jessica Lahey, after a day of cursing out every interruption even as I accepted and, shall we say, enabled them (especially those “interruptions” called Messages, Twitter and Facebook). (You’ll find it in Episode 32.)   I know it’s December. I know things are tough. I know that, quite literally, EVERY SINGLE PERSON I have interviewed this week has at least one […]

Read More

It is harder to raise the comeback kid than the golden child. And better.

By KJ / Friday, December 2, 2016

What you want for your child now may not lead to what you want for your child in the future.

Read More

The Voices In My Head Said Not to Write This

By KJ / Monday, November 21, 2016

Who the hell put an email with the subject line “You can write faster than you think” in my in-box? Go inspire someone else, Jeff Goins. I can’t write at all.

Read More

It’s Ok to Be Happy When Things Aren’t Grate

By KJ / Wednesday, November 16, 2016

“I hate you, Mommy. You are not grate. You are NOT GRATE, Mommy.”

Read More

Win the November Big Box O’ Books!

By KJ / Monday, November 14, 2016

a Rafflecopter giveaway I did a drawing for my book drawing. This box is heavy–I’ve got 13 books stacked here to go into it. (I have to get new copies of “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” and “A Field Guide to Lies” because I’m giving my copy of Readers to a friend, and I want to keep A Field Guide to Lies–but it will be ready to go out next week, and full of books for reading and sharing. […]

Read More

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

By KJ / Monday, November 14, 2016

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

Read More

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

By KJ / Thursday, November 10, 2016

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.

Read More

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

By KJ / Tuesday, November 8, 2016

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

Read More

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

By KJ / Friday, November 4, 2016

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 […]

Read More

When the Wind Blows in Better Weather

By KJ / Wednesday, November 2, 2016

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

Read More

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

By KJ / Friday, October 28, 2016

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.

Read More

How To Get Out of the Rabbit Hole

By KJ / Thursday, October 27, 2016

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

Read More

Let the Darkness In

By KJ / Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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.

Read More

When Homework Engulfs the Whole House

By KJ / Tuesday, October 25, 2016

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?

Read More

The Richest Months

By KJ / Monday, October 24, 2016

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

Read More

My Name Is KJ, and I Meditate.

By KJ / Friday, October 21, 2016

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.

Read More

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

By KJ / Thursday, October 20, 2016

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.”

Read More

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

By KJ / Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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.

Read More

Win 10 Fall Books from My September List!

By KJ / Thursday, October 6, 2016

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

Read More

Sane Scheduling Part Three: Don’t Do This.

By KJ / Monday, October 3, 2016

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 […]

Read More

Am I Introverted, or Just Rude?

By KJ / Monday, October 3, 2016

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?

Read More

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

By KJ / Thursday, September 29, 2016

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

Read More

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

By KJ / Thursday, September 22, 2016

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

Read More

Hey! Does your inbox need more mini-ponies?

Sign up for rare and randomly timed riffs on the creative life, including #booksthatwon’tbumyouout and farm updates. 

no thanks, I have too many mini-ponies already.

Thank

You!

USE COUPON CODE 

WELCOME20

Follow us on Facebook