My mom is back in town!  She left for a hot moment and then I begged to her to come back.  She happily obliged.  This is all part of my master plan to never, ever be left alone with my toddler and baby until they are teenagers (just kidding… well, kind of – the thought of being alone is still pretty terrifying). 

photo 2 (7)

Does Henry look like a popsicle in that photo of what?  It’s coooold in Charlotte!


Since it’s so chilly, we’ve been playing inside a lot.   I’m trying to avoid the TV because Henry binge-watched Mickey Mouse for three straight weeks after Claire was born. 


We’ve been doing a lot of coloring and painting and lacing and tracing (the painting is my personal favorite – sometimes, I paint, too…).  I’d love some suggestions on fine motor activities; I’m trying to mix it up to keep it super fun. 


In between all the art projects – we’ve been EATING!


I made a yummy quiche.  I mixed a handful of cooked, chopped kale, a handful of shredded carrots, and eight eggs and topped it with a ton of tomato and basil cheddar cheese (from Cabot) and baked it in a cast iron dish at 375 for 30 minutes.  Perfection!


I’ve also been munching on goodies from Bessie’s Best Lactation Cookies!  A reader works for this awesome small business.  They make all sorts of breastfeeding support treats, like this granola (SO GOOD), bars, bread, and – yup – cookies. 


Some Bessie’s Best treats would be an awesome gift for a new mom!


Book a Week


My New Year’s Resolution is to read a book a week!  So far – so good.  Last week, I read the INCREDIBLE memoir ‘A House in the Sky.’


This true story is about a woman named Amanda. She loved to travel.  As a young adult, she funded her trips by working at a pricey cocktail bar for a few months out of the year. She would backpack on a shoestring budget as she explored Asia and South America. Eventually, Amanda tried to make it as a freelance photographer and writer, which is how she found herself in war-torn Somalia. Amanda and her friend Nigel are kidnapped and held for ransom by a group of Islamic extremists. The book tells her story of her 14+ months in captivity in a brutally honest and yet poetic way.


My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.  This book will both frighten and inspire you.  Amanda is a really strong woman and someone to be admired for her introspective attitude and positive outlook.


What are you reading this week?



  • Jessica January 8, 2015, 8:37 am

    So cool your mom is able to stay. I have a 2.5 year old son and a 7 month old daughter. My husband and I planned and saved money/his sick days for a year so when she was born he was able to be home for almost 8 weeks. It was beyond wonderful to have him home (he normally works really long hours) and I KNOW its one of the main reasons our son adapted to having a sibling so incredibly well. Yes there were huge changes but he got so much one on one time with his daddy that it balanced out.

  • whitney January 8, 2015, 8:50 am

    Superwoman! How on earth are you reading a book a week with a newborn and a toddler?!?! go you!!

    • Caitlin January 8, 2015, 9:17 am

      because my mom is here, hah.

  • Hilary January 8, 2015, 9:13 am

    I added A House in the Sky to my goodreads list after I saw you post it on instagram 🙂 Right now, I’m reading Persepolis (graphic novel) and The Golem and the Jinni (book with magic/nonhuman characters) for the popsugar reading challenge. I love getting book recos!

    • Pauline January 9, 2015, 5:33 am

      I love Persepolis. It was the required reading for incoming freshmen at my college (we pick one book each year to read before entering and then discuss it and try to invite the author). Very powerful!

  • Ellen January 8, 2015, 9:20 am

    I just ordered the book…im always on the hunt for good books. We picked up a Melissa and Doug stamp set and ink pad for my 2.5 year old for Christmas and he loves it….he spent over an hour playing with it on the first day…of course he got ink all over him too but totally worth it. I think Marshalls sells them for 9 bucks!

  • Monica January 8, 2015, 9:22 am

    My goal is to read a book a month. I am starting with The Husband’s Secret.
    I knew my son was watching too much Mickey Mouse clubhouse when he started saying, ” See you, see you real soon” instead of good bye! lol.

    • Caitlin January 8, 2015, 9:32 am

      Hot dog!

  • Ashley January 8, 2015, 9:44 am

    Play-doh! My daughter will play with that stuff for ages. Of course she eats some of it, but eventually she’ll learn it’s gross, right? Also, stickers, especially the sets where you create a face, or a scene, and are removable. Melissa and Doug has a lot. They also have a lot of these magnetic dolls that are pretty cool, and fun food sets, she likes to play with those. Her favorite is the sushi, she can assemble them and chop them up.

    It gets easier, I promise 🙂 I remember my first solo day with my girls, I was terrified. Add some PPD to the mix and it just wasn’t great for awhile. But now, 4 months post-partum? Easy breezy! You’ll get there 🙂

  • Katie January 8, 2015, 9:46 am

    Goodness! The book sounds great, and I don’t blame you for convincing your mom to be around as much as possible!

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed January 8, 2015, 10:20 am

    I just started reading The Help last night! My goal is to read 1 book per month, which would be a huge improvement from zero 😉

  • Kim L. January 8, 2015, 10:25 am

    I just finished The Hurricane Sisters by Dorthea Benton Frank and I am currently ready Amy Pohler’s Yes, Please. Getting ready to start The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. I love to read and I am always looking for good books. Thank you for the recommendation of A House in the Sky- it’s now on my list : )

  • Jillian January 8, 2015, 10:55 am

    I just started this book after you recommended it. So good so far!!

  • Dee January 8, 2015, 11:42 am

    I’m reading this book now! So happy to hear you liked it so much.

  • Sharon@DiscoverExploreLearn January 8, 2015, 11:48 am

    How awesome that your mom was able to come back to help you! You are fortunate to have such a caring support system.

    I bet Henry would love this simple fine motor activity. It’s been a favorite around here for awhile –

    Here’s a list of more easy fine motor activities:

    • Caitlin January 8, 2015, 1:59 pm

      Oh thanks!

  • Annie January 8, 2015, 11:51 am

    I am starting Stephen King’s Revival this weekend! I loved The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton and will put your book on my LONG list! 🙂
    Happy Weekend almost!

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork January 8, 2015, 11:53 am

    It’s seriously chilly up here in MA-under 0 without the wind and around -25 with it. I’ve heard you’ve had some unusually chilly weather as well! Coloring is always fun–what about Play Doh?
    That book sound terrifying! I’m still slogging through A Dance with Dragons (book 5 in the GOT series). Hoping to finish it before the next season starts! Oh, and my microbiology textbook. It’s actually really interesting and makes me appreciate my body on a whole new level.

  • Cecily January 8, 2015, 12:27 pm

    I just finished Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand. She’s my favorite author, and her books never disappoint! This book was a quick read (finished it in the time it takes to fly from St. Louis to Orlando with layovers!) and keeps the reader interested. All of her books are set on Nantucket Island, and this is the first of her novels set in the winter. I would highly recommend this as a quick one-week book wonder for your resolution!

  • Courtney! January 8, 2015, 1:10 pm

    I am so happy you read A House in the Sky! I loved that book!!
    I’m reading Speaking From Among the Bones , the 5th book in a series about a 10 year old detective (it is an adult book set in London despite what it sounds like). I love the series.
    Next I really want to read Seabiscuit (same author as Unbroken which I loved)

  • Jennifer January 8, 2015, 1:12 pm

    Sounds like a great book! Thank you for inspiring me to read a book per week too. I’m on my 3rd. So far I’ve read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and Heart of Palm by Laura Lee Smith. I’m currently reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which was recommended by my librarian. It’s youth lit, but pretty good so far. Can’t wait to hear about next week’s book!

  • Lori January 8, 2015, 1:33 pm

    Ok, I have got to get going on these lacing and painting projects, and other toddler activities you’ve mentioned. Our baby is 4 months old now and I’m not proud of how much we’re still using the tv with our two year old. And yes, major binge right after baby was born. It hurt my heart but seemed really necessary. Good job getting back on track so soon!

    • Caitlin January 8, 2015, 1:59 pm

      We still do TV every day if it makes you feel better. Best babysitter I know 🙂

  • Katie sB January 8, 2015, 4:09 pm

    I’m a voracious reader. I’ve been reading an average of a book a week for many years. This week I’m reading the third book in the Call the Midwife series. I love that show and my mom bought the books so I borrowed them. It closely follows the show but has some additional details and it’s very good. Reading is the best! 😉

  • Molly@ this life is sparkling January 8, 2015, 4:16 pm

    I work for the YMCA and today at camp (was a snow day) we made homemade puffy paint! It was super easy. All you do is combine shaving cream and elmer’s glue and some food coloring (or glitter!). The kids loved feeling the texture of it and seemed to enjoy themselves.

  • Rebecca January 8, 2015, 4:17 pm

    My car didn’t start the first two days of this week. That was fun. New battery fixed it, but the cold didn’t help. It worked Sunday evening and then Monday morning it failed. Winter needs to stop. I like what one lady I know said: snow from like Thanksgiving until about January 1st, and then it can go away for the year! 🙂

    The kids at the school I work at seem to do Play-Doh a lot. They make their own like weekly or something! (The paras do, anyway.)

    My dad got Unbroken for Christmas but is in the middle of another book so he hasn’t started it yet. We’ll see. I’ve been slowly rereading Harry Potter. Haha. I need to read more books. Saturday is National Readathon Day, so I’ll probably read something different that afternoon.

  • Liza January 8, 2015, 4:45 pm

    Get some new shoelaces and big beads and put the beads on the string (obviously with Henry’s young age they need to be pretty big so he can’t put them in his mouth and choke/swallow). Get a sticker book and help him put the stickers on paper or in his own book and color around them. Play a game geared towards his age (look for games at second hand stores- really cheap!). He’s probably not quite old enough for Candyland yet…but something of that elk. Or you can make a car game for him. Get some poster board and make a track. Use a dice (maybe a big one so he doesn’t put it in his mouth- you could even make your own) and roll the dice with him and move the car with him!

    • Caitlin January 8, 2015, 5:44 pm

      Awessssome ‘n

  • jen January 8, 2015, 6:05 pm

    That book sounds great! My book this week was The Story of Beautiful Girl which I highly recommend. It was so good I read it all on sunday. So I’m filling in the rest of my week with a fluffy book..The Devil Wears Prada. I heard it was better than the movie and I just love that movie.

  • Kate January 8, 2015, 6:28 pm

    Preschool teacher over here, homemade playdoh is the best! and Magnatiles!

    this site has great recipes and activities:

  • Alex @ True Femme January 8, 2015, 6:47 pm

    Wow, that book sounds both intense and inspiring! I’m currently reading “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. It’s a self-help classic that I never got around to but I picked it up on my trip to Arizona and it’s a positive way to start the new year 🙂

  • Courtney January 8, 2015, 6:53 pm

    You inspired me to go the book a week challenge and I am loving the motivation I know have to read instead of zone out to Bravo.
    A few ideas for Henry-if you have “kid” scissors, practicing cutting is a really good fine motor skills. You can either let him just practice the cutting motion, or draw lines for him to try and cut on(probably more advanced). My preschoolers loooooved any chance to use scissors! Supervised of course! Also-make Gak! Just mix corn starch and water in a big bin or bowl. When you squeeze the mixture it gets hard, but it’ll still drop through your fingers. Such a great sensory experience!

  • Mary Stowell January 8, 2015, 7:05 pm

    Right now I am reading Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, and I just picked up A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra and Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya from the library. I highly recommend We Are Called To Rise by Laura McBride. I read it a couple months ago and loved it! Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell is a young adult book I also really enjoyed. I look forward to seeing you mention books you read this year. I could talk books all day 🙂

  • Julie January 8, 2015, 7:50 pm

    You should check out the blog Yes I Want Cake for toddler activities! No don’t have kids yet, but her ideas are so creative and look like so much fun! I think it’s just 🙂
    Your kiddos are both so adorable – and lucky that your mom gets to cone help/play/enjoy. 🙂

  • Jenny January 8, 2015, 9:48 pm

    Amanda is from my hometown! It was such a big here when she was kidnapped, since it’s a pretty small town (about 65,000 people at the time). She’s so inspiring.

  • Elaine January 8, 2015, 10:10 pm

    I just put this book on reserve at the library!!

  • Erin January 9, 2015, 9:11 am

    My daughter is 2 weeks older than Henry and her fine motor skills have always been ahead of her gross (she can zip her own coat and put on her gloves!). She loves play-doh, cutting paper, and her chalk board. Stringing beads is also a favorite, too.
    I also have a 7 month old and was terrified to be alone with both of them, lol. But it just becomes normal. The biggest key was to get some sort of routine. My 2 year old adjusted better when she knew what to expect.

    And Claire is adorable!

  • Sagan January 9, 2015, 9:53 am

    Mmmm quiche!

    That’s awesome that you’re trying to stay away from the TV for a while—I tend to feel that any kind of arts and crafts are going to be beneficial for those fine motor skills!

  • Kara January 9, 2015, 10:07 am

    I have zero human children and consider myself a frequent reader, yet I don’t know if I could do a book a week – you are inspiring!

    Currently reading: The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore. It’s fantastic and although I don’t know you in person, I really think you’d love it. Lots of great women’s movement history (suffrage, birth control, sexual freedom) mixed in with pop culture. You’ll look at Wonder Woman in a whole new way!

  • Tricia January 9, 2015, 8:52 pm

    Fine motor activities: shaving cream play! On the table let him draw with his finger in it. You could do it in a tray to control the mess. Another favorite is a gallon sealable plastic bag with some paint, pudding, or hair gel inside. Seal bag. Finger paint or draw away with no mess!

  • Trinda January 11, 2015, 10:38 am

    Damn, I wish I could read a book a week! Do you read fast/make a lot of time for reading?

  • Whitney January 13, 2015, 11:32 am

    I am just catching up on your posts. That quiche looks amazing. I make quiche quite a bit (since it’s so easy!) My favorite way is to mix in 1/2 (or more) cup evaporated milk. You should try it sometime, it makes it super fluffy. I’m loving the book reviews!

  • Stephanie H. January 14, 2015, 5:43 pm

    Fell behind on your posts! I read “Red Rising” by Pierce Brown a month ago (finished it in a day couldn’t put it down). The second book of the series, titled “Golden Son”, was released last week. Finished it already. Really addicting, especially if you liked Hunger Games. I read a lot of different genres, and this was a fun one to throw in there. 🙂

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