Weekend Highlights





Sax Night

Sax Night

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle Leaf Fig



++ We really thought we would have to put down Buddy last week. I was in a panic because Mikey’s birthday was on Thursday, and who wants to remember their 10th birthday as the birthday his dog died?! We took Buddy to the vet and he believes he is fine. His cough will never get better, and what’s important is if he is in pain or suffering. He’s doing neither. Since then, the Mister started taking him on walks down the street, about 4 houses down, and that seems to be enough for him. Between the very brief walk and Buttercup, he seems to be doing much, much better. One day I will have the strength to write about Buddy since Buster died. It hasn’t been easy for him.

++ Finally, finally, finally the hummingbirds are here! You know what it took? My old hummingbird feeder. They hate the feeders I bought that were designed by “the experts.” The songbirds hate their feeder, too. They will only eat by the feeders I bought years ago.

++ Mikey turned 10 on Thursday! After swim team try-outs, we went to my mom’s for birthday dinner and cake. (Pie–from Stater Bros–because I forgot to make it (!) and it tasted like a chemical crap storm.) On Friday he had his two best friends spend the night. His request was a birthday dinner at a club where they have a monthly saxophone player.

++ My fiddle leaf fig now scrapes the top of my 8 foot ceilings! It was 5 feet tall when I bought it two years ago. The bottom leaves are looking a little dry and brittle, but the top is looking great.

++ I bought so many houseplants on Friday. I’m up to 14, which is still down from my high of 20-something. I also finally bought orchid pots and repotted the orchids in proper soil. We’ll see if that gets them to bloom next year.

Discussion on Thursday

Buttercup and Buddy

Hello! Look at me, being on top of things and organized. This post is to remind those of you participating in book club that our discussion of Eating Animals is this Thursday. I don’t even know where to start with this one, so it should be interesting.

Buddy and Buttercup get along quite well. Buttercup is a dream. I never knew birds were so affectionate, so loving. I post pictures of her daily on Instagram (I’m @TheMrsKendall), which I’m sure annoys some people. Good thing I don’t care! We love her very much.

See you June 5th!

The Second to Last Project

I just sent Mikey to bed after finishing the second to last project of the school year. He has one more book report + project and the year of project-based learning is over! Don’t get me wrong–this was an incredible year of growth for Mikey and the kids in his class. They’re a competitive bunch as it is, but the changes I have seen in them since the beginning of the year is amazing. I see kids 1st through 7th in the library, and the 4th grade class is easily the best behaved and most well read. They think on a different level than even the older kids. I already appreciate everything Mikey’s teacher has done this year, but I think I will appreciate it twice as much next year when we don’t have as many projects. This year was like childbirth.

May was the month of The Cooking Project. The kids had to cook a meal for the family using a recipe and doing no less than 90% of the work. The family filled out review cards and assigned stars to the meal. Then, Mikey had to double and triple the recipe, but only on paper. Part of the goal of this project was to work with fractions. It was interesting watching Mikey figure out what to do when he needed 1/8 of a teaspoon of paprika when he only had a 1/4 teaspoon measure.
Casserole Picture

Mikey made his favorite Cozy Cheesy Potato Casserole from Jessica’s Not Your Mother’s Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook. Are you tired of me talking about that cookbook yet? Too bad. I really do love its simplicity and solid recipes. This is easily my favorite cookbook, and I have two shelves to choose from.

I don’t have permission from the publisher to share the recipe, but I can share a link to the cream of celery soup Mikey had to make in order to put together the rest of the casserole. If I could describe the casserole, I would say it’s a lot like Funeral Potatoes or Church Potatoes or a Hash Brown Casserole, but not so soupy/cheesy/greasy. It’s a clean version of the standby, I guess.

Casserole, Ingredients

Nico and I: not fans of casseroles. Nico also despises cheese unless it’s on pizza, so I had a backup dinner in mind. He knew he had to try it, though, so he asked me for the smallest portion possible. Then he girded his loins and approached his plate like a soldier walking into battle. Turns out, he loved it and had seconds. He gave it 5 stars and wrote: “It was so good I cood cry!” I also liked it, believe it or not.

Cozy Cheese Potato Casserole, Process

Mikey was so happy, so proud. It made the agony of staying quiet while he fumbled around the kitchen well worth the extra gray hairs, though I still say that watching him grate cheese should be adopted by the government as a torture device.

Celery Soup


Magnolia Bird Farm

My friend Tiffany had a crush on the same boy for the entirety of our senior year in high school. We’ll call him John. She carried the torch for John throughout college and beyond until they finally got together and she was all, “Eh.” That’s not the point of this post.

One night, towards the end of high school, she called me after talking to a friend of hers with whom I didn’t get along. This was fine with me because this friend was very popular and knew all the great gossip. To her credit, this girl did have some great gossip that night. I just didn’t get to hear any of it.

“I have the best gossip for you about John.” This is how Tiffany started the conversation. I was always up for boy-talk, especially if there was potential for Tiffany to finally get her crush, so I settled myself against the headboard of my bed and encouraged her to divulge.

“Except I can’t tell you. I was sworn to secrecy.”


“But it’s really good. You’d be shocked.”

“And you’re not going to tell me?! Can you at least give me a hint?”

“No, because if this got around everyone would know where it came from.”

I could not convince her, but she convinced me. She convinced me that she was a devil. A cruel devil in-the-know. But that’s not the point of this post.

As the years went on, I would see John in town or at parties. After college, we briefly hung out in the same circle of friends and visited the same bar on Friday nights. I would always look at him and think, “This guy has a secret. Tiffany knows something about him, and it’s big.” I cornered Tiffany one night and demanded information.

“Is it safe for you to tell me the gossip you have on John?”

“What gossip?”

“The gossip you refused to tell me in high school.” I was determined.

“You remember that?! Never mind. Of course you remember that.” I’m known in my circle for my freakishly good memory.

“I remember you were rude and told me you had a huge secret and ‘Oh! Too bad I can’t tell you. But it’s good! tee-hee’”

“OK. Well, you’re going to be disappointed, but here it is. His dad was really strict in high school. He made him get up early and do chores around the house. Like, he had to vacuum the living room and stuff before he left for school.”



“You have got to be kidding me. That’s it?! THAT is the breaking gossip you couldn’t share? This has been driving me crazy for years–YEARS!–and all you have is that some teenager had to do chores before going to school?!”

“He had to get up super early to finish all his chores to get to school on time.”

“You suck.”

I mean, what a totally anticlimactic confession. Surely this is how 8th graders across the nation felt when they read Allegiant. Just…what?!

To this day, I still tease Tiffany about her flagrant disregard for the Girlfriend Code of Honor, but that’s not the point of this post.

I vowed I would never, ever do that to another person. Never. So when I see bloggers say stuff like, “Ooooh! I have such HUGE BIG AMAZING NEWS that I wish I could share! tee-hee!” I always roll my eyes and make a note on the running list I have going called The 2,934,765 Ways High School Never, Ever Ends.

That’s why I didn’t blog on Thursday and why my post was so brief on Friday. I didn’t want to let it out of the bag that on Saturday we were…tee-hee…bringing home a cockatiel!! Internet, meet Buttercup:

1st picture

We received a call earlier in the week about a cockatiel that was a good fit for us, so we rushed down to meet her. We received calls before to see other birds, but the visits were not successful. I could tell when I spoke with the woman who helping us that this bird would be different. Sure enough, we walked in and fell in love with a yellow-face, cinnamon cockatiel who thinks she’s a puppy. I decided that (1) she’s a girl and (2) her name would be Buttercup. I read a book about pet rabbits when I was around Nico’s age. The girl in the book had a bunny named Buttercup, which I thought was the best name for a pet I had ever heard in my life. Also, The Princess Bride. COME ON.

There was no way she belonged with any family other than our own. She needed to stay in the nursery for a few more days to make sure everything was okay, so we had to wait until Saturday to pick her up. The boys grabbed their piggy-bank money and we arrived shortly after the bird farm opened. The boys paid for Buttercup. We paid for the cage and her supplies.

Buttercup Forever Family

Buttercup-Cinnamon Yellow Face Cockatiel

Buttercup is the sweetest, most social little bird I have ever met–not that I have a huge social network of birds to help me make this determination. Sometimes you just know these things.

Nico is beside himself, as you can imagine. He walks into the room and says, “I can’t believe she’s ours! I just can’t stop looking at her!” He also can’t stop wanting to play with her constantly, but for now she’s on limited play time (15 minutes, 3x per day) until she’s adapted to her new home.

Some facts on Buttercup: She loves peas and cereal. She’s indifferent to spinach and carrots but does not like mangoes. She’s okay with back petting but will stretch and ask for neck rubs (see above picture). If you rub just the right spot, she’ll fall asleep (adorable video proof). Buddy makes her slightly nervous, but she’s getting used to him. Buddy finds her charming and wags his tail whenever she’s out of the cage. It’s the brightest his eyes have been since Buster. She chirps when I leave the room and grinds her beak when she’s content. She’s in her cage right now, all puffy and sleepy, eyes slowly drifting shut as she stares at me.

Buttercup Orchids

We just love her to pieces and are so happy we are her forever home. That’s the point of this post.




Tomato Dip

I made an appointment to see a dermatologist the last time I complained about my skin, and my appointment is next week. My skin is doing…sort of the same. I stopped all my lotions and potions and now use Dr. Bonner to cleanse and sweet almond oil as a moisturizer. The itching is definitely better, but every now and then I’ll get red and my face will itch, especially around my chin and eyebrows.

My diet and lack of sleep is doing my skin no favors, this much I know. I’ve been trying to eat healthier and drink less coffee, with mixed success. The Bountiful cookbook is great so far–it was one of my Mother’s Day presents. The other was a gorgeous hydrangea plant from a nursery. So excited about that one!

I started reading Eating Animals, have you? Mercy.

Yesterday I had an interesting conversation on the purpose of blogging on Instagram, of all places. I wish all the comments would show. Jessica linked to this post by Austin Kleon, who had an interesting take on the subject.


I have never been tempted to abandon blogging for the latest shiny social network. I’ve been tempted to stop blogging altogether and disappear from the internet, but that’s nothing new. I go through phases, people annoy me. I’m the Draco Malfoy of blogging.

Fact: those of you who have children younger than mine, know they will one day grow up and become interested in Harry Potter, like you once were years and years ago. The books, the movies, all of it. This means that you will know far more about Harry Potter than the rest of the population because the rest of the population got over their Harry Potter fixation 10 years ago. You will find that every situation you encounter in life can be explained by Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Draco references. Hagrid only when there is an issue with grooming. Laugh at me now, but I will laugh at you in a few years, too, so it’s cool.

HP Nico

Nico is the best little kid to check on at bedtime. Even Mikey is into it because he’s most likely doing something adorable, like falling asleep with a book, cuddling a globe, or falling asleep in the middle of casting a Jelly Legs Hex.

See what I mean? Harry Potter all the time.

My time in the library, for this year, ends the last week of May. I’m equal parts relieved and sad. I’m beat, and I could use some time at home cleaning and doing other homemaking things. Also, I’ve done a horrible job replying to comments here, which kills me because that is very, very important to me. I try to catch up on Thursdays, which is my day off, but I’m hoping after library ends I’ll resume my usual schedule. Yayy!!

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.