Quote of the Week

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” 
- Voltaire


Paint by Pencil

Have you seen these?  CJ Hendry draws portraits of paint with...wait for it...colored pencils!!  Isn't that wild?  Follow on instragram here - I find these absolutely mesmerizing!


Quote of the Week

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come."
- William Wordsworth, Imitations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood


Dinner Last Night: Tater Tot Hotdish

Ever since Molly Yeh's cookbook, Molly on the Range came out last year, I've been eyeing this tater tot hot dish recipe for a while.  For those of you (like me) who were unfamiliar with the term "hot dish," it's basically a cream based casserole - ideal for making in the dead of winter in inspire hygge and all the feelings of cozy comfort.  I mean, a casserole topped with tater tots?!  Sign me up!  Also seemed like a good gateway meal to coax my kids into eating casseroles as well.  

Since we've been trying to eat dairy-free in meals (notwithstanding my kids' obsession with Greek yogurt and whole milk) I subbed in the recommended 1 cup of whole milk with a cup of almond milk, and I think it turned out just fine.  

Turns out, tater tots hotdish is a crowd pleaser!


On a Lighter Note...

I love this graphic.


This week has been a powerful one in regards to the topic of gun control.  Since the tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the students of Parkland have fueled a movement that seems to be gathering more traction than those in the past.  I joined Moms Demand Action last October and feel more invested in this topic than ever before.  This week, I've been phone banking, writing to my state senators and district representatives, and spreading the word because #enoughisenough.

Wouldn't it be wonderful #neveragain were finally true!  I live in fear that this will be my kids someday.  Mass shootings and school shooting violence is a uniquely American problem- scratch that - epidemic, that no other country deals with.  Other countries that had tragic gun events like this in their history made significant immediate changes to ensure it didn't happen again!  Despite what the news tells you, change is possible - take the recent voting on ESB 5992 (bump stock ban) and SSB 5553 (suicide/voluntary fire arm waiver) that were just passed in the house in Washington state. 
For many states, it may feel like an uphill battle, but with is strength in numbers, it is possible to lobby, petition, and advocate for policies and legislation to change the gun culture we currently live in.  It is imperative for the safety of our kids, families, friends, and our the people of our citizens.

If you're wanting to get involved but not sure how, I encourage you to sign up your email for Moms Demand Action or Everytown (MDA is under the umbrella of Everytown).  Sign up, go to a meeting.  It's easy, nothing will be expected of you, you can just go to listen and learn.  Should you find yourself wanting to do more, there are endless volunteer opportunities, suggestions on what to say to legislative officials, town hall schedules, lobby days to attend, etc. etc.

In the meantime, here are some of the most meaningful articles about the gun debate I've read in the past two weeks.  I hope you take the time to read at least one if not more.

+ for those of us with family members who refuse to acknowledge how gun control could help our country and protect our kids - debunking gun myths at the dinner table

+ Rick Steves' take on gun control: The European perspective, so interesting, especially since "in a typical year, 15,000 Americans are killed by guns (not including suicides).  In Spain, though it's smaller than the US, they see fewer than 100 deaths by gun most years.

+ It's time to bring back the assault weapons ban

+ A gut wrenching reality about what really happens to human bodies after gunshot wounds by semi-automatic rifles.  This is truly awful.  I feel like every one who anti gun-control for whatever reason should read this just for perspective.

+ the "rules" the US subscribes to during gun debate

+ behind the #armmewith hashtag, how teachers feel about Trump's push for arming teachers

+ how Australia cracked down on gun laws

+ a previous president's take on this movement


The Greatest Showman

I don't see movies too often these days, but when I do, I try and save the movie-going experience for films that seem like they wouldn't quite be the same from the comforts of my couch.  The Greatest Showman is amazing!  The story is loosely based on the P.T. Barnum (of Barnum and Bailey Circus), and I found it a compelling, engaging story.  Even more so if you're a fan of musicals.  

The cinematography reminded me a little of Moulin Rouge, with it's vibrant colors woven in with song, the music is inviting, catchy, and emboldens you to want to jump up and dance (just ask my kids, we've had it blasting on repeat)!  Listening to the soundtrack the week before seeing the film and and then seeing the same songs come alive on the screen was magical. 

If you're skeptical, perhaps try listening to the soundtrack first, it's phenomenal, and I highly recommend seeing in the theatre for the full circus experience!