Things to Do - Turn Your Mailbox Into an Art Gallery - 10% Off Papirmass's Amazing Prints


I'm always looking for new art to hang on our walls, so I was over the moon when I discovered Papirmass - an absolutely gorgeous subscription art service. For just $69 a year ($99 outside of the US) every month you receive a print with art on the front and writing on the back. Basically a gift to yourself. Papirmass finds incredible writers and artists to collaborate with, so each delivery brings something exciting.

And for those of you who hate surprises, Papirmass also sells former subscription prints for only $10 each (though they often sell out). Click here to see the selection. You can also buy folios of all their 2012 and 2013 prints.

As soon as I learned about Papirmass I emailed to see if they'd be interested in working with the blog. Luckily, they said yes. All you have to do is enter the code NOMONSTERS at checkout and you'll receive 10$ off. So hurry up and buy some art!!


Things to Do - Cherish This Day & Random Links

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Sorry for the lack of substantive posts lately, I'm currently immersed in Colie James' Telling Stories with Lifestyle Photography Online Workshop, which is by far the best photography course I've ever participated in (I HIGHLY recommend it), but like all wonderful classes, it is A LOT of work.

I have some great posts in the pipeline, so please keep checking in.

HAVE A FANTASTIC WEEKEND EVERYONE!! And don't forget to click on over to Cherish This Day to see this week's awesomeness.

* I want to go here.

* I love it when you call me big pop-pa. I really want this one in my living room.

* I can't stop listening to this song.

* Parenting in China. I'm not sure how I feel about buttless baby pants.

* Clever.

* I want to see this movie.

* A man planted a forest bigger than Central Park, one tree at a time.

* Motherhood in photos. I love these.

* 51 things everyone should experience at least once in DC - okay, so what's missing?


Things to Read - What We've Been Reading Lately . . .

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I haven't posted on children's books in awhile, mainly because the girls pick out their own books now, leaving T and me alone to "review" picture books on the couch. And often P reads books to T, so I really don't know what's going on. Thus, I decided to interview everyone in our family to learn what we're all reading. Here goes:

T (age 5):

Papa's Mechanical Fish
- For about a week, T insisted we read this all the time and then he decided he was sick of it. When I asked him why he loved it so much he said "I liked when the dad finally made a fish that didn't sink", which is good because the book describes A LOT of sinking mechanical fish. The moral being, "if at first you don't succeed . . ."

Mr. Snow - We bought T the Mr. Men box set and this is his favorite "because it's Xmas and I love Xmas." I actually hate reading Xmas books in July and I find this book somewhat random, so I keep trying to hide it but he finds it everywhere.

P (age 7.5):

Harry Potter - "I like that they're all so smart and I like the magic. I like Hermione best because she's smart and she's good at stuff, plus she's a girl."

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Hard Luck - "I like that these are so funny. This book is about a boy named Greg and he has bad luck because his friend stopped playing with him because the friend got a girlfriend. In the end you learn that the girl was only using his friend to make another boy jealous."

F (age 8.5):

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book II: The Hidden Gallery - "These books have a lot of adventure and mystery. They're about a woman who takes care of three children who were raised by wolves, she also tries to solve mysteries. I like the little girl who is good at math and makes the books funny."

The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events #8) - "This has adventure and suspense. I like Klaus because he reads so much, but I also like Violet because she made them survive by using alphabet soup and rubber bands. This was my favorite Lemony Snicket so far."

Dan (age 36):

The Happiness Hypothesis - "It was Father's Day, so I made the kids listen to NPR in the morning, and in the Katy Perry vacuum we happened across a fascinating interview of Jonathan Haidt. He delivered a compelling summary of his recent book (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion) which rather delightfully appears to confirm everything I already think to be true about the world, adding precise categorization - that's why he's a professor. All of the copies were checked out at the library, so I picked up Haidt's first book - The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. The premise is to evaluate some of the key propositions of the major religions/philosophies in light of recent psychological research. Again, bingo! Confirms everything I think about the world. There is a bit more to the book that makes it worth reading, but a few key takeaways for me: people decide what they believe before they "think" about it and then proceed to make up a bunch of reasons justifying their conclusions; human beings desire to experience a sense of elevation; and some expenditures of effort/time/money can "buy" happiness, while most cannot."

Trying Cases to Win (Herbert J. Stern) - "Based on the author's decades as a trial lawyer/judge, he starts from the premise that no one really evaluates facts before they reach a decision, they just decide what they want to believe and then look for excuses. (Bingo, Prof. Haidt!) Perhaps this won't be the most gripping read for those who are not thinking about the logistics of presenting a case to a jury, but to those of us in that boat the author seems both insightful and hilarious. (Hard to believe an 80-year-old prosecutor who put away the NJ mob is hilarious? Before he wrote the book the guy was a federal judge and his name is Herbert Stern. Considering his writing style I'm convinced he went through the whole thing just to scowl down from the bench and say - "are you aware you are addressing The Honorable Judge Stern," while he giggled on the inside. Anyway, that would crack me up every time if I were him.)"

Me (age 38):

Redeployment - This short story collection focuses on Marines during the Iraq war or, more particularly, the stories focus on the experience of being at war. Klay writes extremely well, using a sparse style similar to Raymond Carver. Even though each story makes me sad, I can't seem to put this book down.

The Little Friend - Lately everyone seems to be gushing over Donna Tartt, so I (of course) NEEDED to read at least one of her books, though The Little Friend is so large that I find it hard to carry with me most places, thus it is taking me awhile to finish. The plot centers on a 9 year old girl's determination to figure out the mystery behind her brother's death. So far the writing is wonderful, but the plot moves SLOWLY.


Things to Do - 12 in 12, sort of (July 2014)

This month the 12th fell on a Saturday and even though I emailed Rebecca and Catherine earlier in the week, reminding them to participate, I still totally forgot to document our own day. And I forgot Sunday as well. But luckily, we took enough photos that I could salvage a post together, which is more fragmented than a true 12 in 12, but so goes summer vacation . . .

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10:30 am - We have friends staying with us from out of town, but even with 5 kids (including a 3 month old) and 4 adults, we manage to make it to the zoo by 10:30, which is good because parking is already going fast.


11:15 am - After jumping on the bouncy pizza for awhile, we head to the rainforest and lament the fact that chytrid is killing off the world's frogs.

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11:45 - The baby sloth bear makes a rare appearance. Coolio.


noon - F donates some of her allowance to saving elephants. Then P brags that she now has more money. And so the fighting begins . . .

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1:00 pm - Misters are amazing. All the adults keep fighting the kids for room under the spray.

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2:00 pm - T's new Bald Eagle "pet" likes to climb on things.

. . . [insert 4 hour break, during which: the guys watch Germany conquer the World Cup, the kids play wii, Jenny tries to convince H to sleep, and I take a (much appreciated) nap]

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6:00 pm - Walk to Red Rocks for dinner. The girls insist on sitting at their own table.

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6:15 pm - At least one of the three girls still thinks we're cool.

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6:45 pm - T takes a break from the spray park to drink some lemonade and contemplate life.

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7:00 pm - I find Red Rocks' food to be somewhat hit or miss, but their brussels sprout appetizer is consistently yummy.

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7:05 pm - The baby wakes up while waiting for our dinner to arrive. Seriously, WHERE IS OUR DINNER?

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7:45 pm - Last run through the spraypark before we head home.

All in all, a pretty great day (though somewhat exhausting), plus we managed to cross three categories off our summer bucket list - (1) fawn over baby animals (sloth bear); (2) tour a rainforest (Amazonia); and (3) eat dinner while your kids get wet (we love the Penrose Square splashpark/fountain).

Now click on over to Not-So-SAHM to see how her day went!!


Things to Do - This Untamed Life, Afternoon

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A few weeks ago, we spent a relaxing (or chill-laxing as P would say) morning at home followed by an afternoon at Great Country Farms - picking black raspberries (or should I say "trying" to find black raspberries worth picking), riding the slides, climbing tire piles, swinging, eating, and petting the baby goats. A good day. (For more info on the farms, click here for my past posts).

Now click on over to This Untamed Life to see how everyone else spent their afternoon.



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