April (2016)

April. proper noun. The month when spring actually arrives!


Definitely pulled off the street. In the rain. To take pictures of a random person’s yard.

This month has felt quite ordinary. No big news, no big trips, not even any big 3-day weekends. Read on for the details – they might be noteworthy anyway.



The Lake House – Kate Morton. This book was classic Kate Morton – a mystery told in multiple perspectives with drama and romance and plot twists. This one centers around a family and their missing baby brother, who hasn’t been found 70 years later. The ending wrapped up a little too coincidentally for me, but if you like her other books, it fits right in.

The School of Essential Ingredients – Erica Bauermeister. This was a delight of a book. Lillian discovers the magic of cooking at a young age, and later in her life she doses out small miracles to her cooking class. Each chapter focuses on the story of one person in the class, and my biggest wish from this book is that it was longer so I could spend more time with each character. It’s full of lush descriptions and is guaranteed to make you hungry.

 Moon Over Manifest – Clare Vanderpool. This book won a Newberry Medal, and I have only good things to say about it. Abilene Tucker’s father sends her to the small town of Manifest, Kansas, when he decides that a life on the railroad during the Depression is no place for a young girl. While searching for traces of her father, Abilene also uncovers secrets and stories from the town’s past. Abilene’s voice rings clear, and the story is engaging and sweet, and I cried at the end. If I ever wrote a novel, I would want it to be like this.

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart. This book was my pick for “A book you could read in a day” on my 2016 Reading Challenge list. That category turned out to be prophetic, because I did read it (or all but 14 pages of it) in a day. This story involves a girl from a wealthy family who spends her summers on a private island. Everything is idyllic until there is an accident. She is traumatically injured and loses most of her memory of the summer she turned 15. As the book goes on, she regains her memories of what happened and why her family has changed. You too may get hooked, and then have to go buy a copy because you accidentally forgot yours at school and you can’t wait for an entire weekend.

The Gifts of Imperfection – Brené Brown. Plugging away slowly at this one, because it’s absolutely a case of right book, right time.

Currently reading: Gilead – Marilynn Robinson; The Gifts of Imperfection – Brené Brown.



The Gardiner Sisters. Acoustic, folkly sounding covers. Excellence.


Thomas Rhett – Die a Happy Man. This song is the cutest. Best when the windows are down and the sun is out. (Don’t judge by the cheesy music video.)

The Lazy Sisters Podcast. This podcast is two sisters who talk about celebrities and basically nothing – but fun nothing. Kendra, the big sister, is the honest, snarky brain behind The Lazy Genius Collective. It’s the right amount of sass and about all of the depth I can handle on a drive home from work. Also, I once laughed so hard I cried while listening to this and driving down the interstate. In hindsight, this seems dangerous. So beware.



The Jungle Book. Basically a beautifully rendered sequence of a child’s many near-death experiences. I’ve never been so stressed by a children’s movie. Except when I was five and had to hide behind a chair to watch Aladdin enter the Cave of Wonders.

The Prince of Egypt. Apparently it was the month for intense kids movies. I hadn’t watched this movie since I was young, so I gained much greater appreciation for the complicated relationships between Moses and Ramses – and for the soundtrack – this time around.

The Lizzie Bennett Diaries. I am in love with Mr. Darcy. Lately I’ve been watching a few episodes while I eat dinner, and it’s the best.


This post, which reminds me that “Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

Go to this link and click on the wedding video for London + Nathan. (P.S. Nathan is the kid from iCarly). I had to wipe tears off my keyboard after watching it. Just a warning.

I’m still on Hamilton kick. These kids rock this.

I’m still figuring out how to teach English, and this has been a good reminder of why literature matters.

And all of the teachers said yes and amen to this.

These shoes. I needed new teacher shoes that weren’t boots, and these fit the bill. They have taken a while to fully break in, but they go with everything, have enough support so I can stand all day, and are a little cuter than most other Danskos.

Avocados. Why had I never tried avocado toast before this month? It’s fantastic.


Playing in a teacher basketball tournament. I am ridiculously rusty, but it was fun to get out on the court for a few games. My school got 3rd place out of 12 teams from across our district, so that’s cool.

Going to the chapel and we’re…watching other people get married. Hometown family friends got married at my alma mater, coincidentally. It was strange but fun to see many home church friends on campus. Also, my family should not be allowed anywhere fancy or formal. Getting a serious picture was such a struggle.

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I found out I didn’t get a big scholarship that I had applied for to spend a year in Norway a while back. As consolation, my little brother offered me the first-ever C.W. Christenson Scholarship, which funded a dinner out with him and my sister. We ate wonderful deep-dish pizza at The Italian Pie Shoppe, and then watched our friend Anneliese and her a capella group perform.


My college roomie was in town for a weekend. We got to grab lunch, then take DQ Blizzards to the park, where we excelled at people-watching. It’s one of our talents.

TEACHING. PLANNING. GRADING. WOW. Mucho hours invested. I am still figuring out what to do with the small-ish people for 225 minutes a day. Also, I accidentally told one class that I have Instagram. Besides being AMAZED by this (because obviously teachers are supposed to be way too lame to have Instagram), I had multiple kids in my homeroom at the end of the day proceed to stalk me. I have never had so many new followers – or answered so many questions about my personal life ­– in one day. As in, “wait, when your boyfriend proposes, are you going to put it on Instagram?” “Hey, is that going to happen soon? Like have you guys talked about getting married?” “Wait, is this your website?” Until I blocked them all and made my account private. Alas. For them. Students, if you’re looking at this, go read a book.

In the few hours that leaves…doing the usual. Chatting with my new roommate, making dinner, avoiding the dishes, spending as much time outside as I can sneak in while spring in Minnesota cooperates.


What have you been up to this month?


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