books + reading

Lazy Genius Tips I Love

I recently read the book The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi. I’ve often heard about the author’s popular podcast, which talks about ways to be a genius about the things that matter to you and lazy about the things that don’t.

This isn’t the type of book I typically read cover to cover, but I did enjoy it, with some skimming. Adachi’s Lazy Genius principles are:

  1. Decide once.
  2. Start small.
  3. Ask the magic question.
  4. Live in the season.
  5. Build the right routines.
  6. Set house rules.
  7. Put everything in its place.
  8. Let people in.
  9. Batch it.
  10. Essentialize.
  11. Go in the right order.
  12. Schedule rest.
  13. Be kind to yourself.

Here are the tips that resonated most for me:

Decide once.

LOVE THIS. It’s the tip I heard about that got me curious about the Lazy Genius in the first place. In a nutshell, deciding once means you take a challenging choice and you make it one time – FOREVER. You can “decide once” when it comes to what to eat for breakfast, what to wear on Mondays, or what to cook when you’re having people over.

I love this concept the most when it comes to the kinds of things I agonize over – such as gifts. With the exception of the three humans I live with, I have NO idea what to buy people for presents. What do they have? What do they need? What do they NOT need?!

It’s too much.

With the practice of deciding once, I can decide one time – this Christmas – what our family does for teacher gifts during the holidays. I can decide one time what I buy for nieces and nephews for Christmas. ONE TIME – decided forever. Genius.

Put everything in its place.

This is not the first time I’ve heard this; it’s not new. But it’s huge and it’s important.

Everything should have a place, and in our house, there are many things that don’t. Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a purging/minimizing kick. It feels like a good time for it, at the beginning of the school year, as I clear out my school things and settle into an elementary school setting. (I definitely have items that I was saving for the time I worked with younger kids again!) I am trying to pace myself, since I really don’t have the bandwidth to do a full house purge right now. But as I clean and tidy, I am taking note of when I’m touching an item that’s not currently needed – and I am putting it in our Goodwill bag immediately. I’m also trying to clearly identify the items that are needed, but don’t yet have their specific “place” in our house, so that their place can be identified ASAP.

Ask the magic question.

What can I do now that will make things easier later?

That’s the magic question. This is hugely related to my plans for the fall for evening prep – things like laying out clothes the night before and packing lunches after dinner. Love it.

Essentialize.

Name what matters. Get rid of what’s in the way of what matters. Make sure you have what you need to support what matters.

That is my general understanding of what it means to essentialize a la the Lazy Genius. Simple, easy, and makes a lot of sense to me.

Set house rules.

My two faves of the Lazy Genius principles are decide once and set house rules. A house rule is a decision you make about what your family does. “In our house, we clear our plates after we finish dinner.” “In our family, you can start playing a team sport when you’re five years old or older.” I love a house rule because it fixes a problem – “In our family, we put our bookbags on the shelf as soon as we get home so the floor isn’t cluttered” – and it creates a family culture – “In our house, the birthday boy gets the first piece of cake and gets to choose what we eat for dinner that night.” When I think about childhood memories of my own and family memories I want to create, many of them come back to a house rule – such as, in my family of origin, we took turns opening presents on Christmas morning, and we were expected to pay attention and provide “oohs” and “ahhs” while family members opened their gifts. LOVE a house rule.

Definitely loved these tips and principles and can’t wait to put some of them into practice. Cheers to being a lazy genius!

books + reading

Reading Round-Up – 2021 So Far

2021 has been a great year in books for me so far. Here are a few of the highlights of my reading life from this year so far:

  • Discovering Kristin Hannah. I picked up The Four Winds on recommendation from a book friend, and then I devoured The Nightingale, The Great Alone, and Magic Hour. I can’t believe I hadn’t picked up one of her books sooner! What a fantastic author. Great historical fiction, which isn’t typically my favorite genre. I definitely will read more of her older works.
  • Great reads by authors I already loved. This year, I read Anthony Horowitz’s latest (Moonflower Murders) as well as a few other titles by him I’d never read before, The House Of Silk and Moriarty. I also read a few more books by Ann Patchett (State Of Wonder , The Dutch House, and Run). So excited for the latest Louise Penny novel and a new Horowitz novel coming out this fall!
  • I always love a page-turner – a book that I can hardly stand to put down for a moment, a book that I’m sneaking peaks at every chance I get. This year, a few great page-turners I’ve read so far are The Last Thing He Told Me, Every Last Fear, Too Good To Be True, The Girls Are All So Nice Here, The Mother-In-Law and The Last Mrs. Parrish.
  • Reading chapter books with Edgarmy new obsession! We have been devouring the Dragon Masters series and the Princess In Black books.

A few of my other favorites for the year have been: The Plot – so freaking good; The Invisible Life of Addie Larue and The Midnight Library, both incredible; The Thursday Murder Club – sequel coming out this October!; and the Truly Devious books, which are a YA mystery series.

Happy reading to all!

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books + reading

This Summer: Reading Goals

My Audible library is chock full of books to listen to, and this summer, I’m hoping to get some listening done!

Typically, when I listen to an audiobook, my goal is to learn something new. I read paperback novels when I want to get lost in a good story; I listen to audiobooks (in the car or while tidying) when I want to learn more about a topic of interest.

Currently, the main topics of interest for me are parenting; mindfulness; Buddhism; kid behavior techniques; and social justice. I’m feeling motivated to refresh my knowledge in the areas of mindfulness and behavior management because I’m starting a new position at an elementary school next year, and I feel that knowledge in those areas helps me to best support children and families. I’m continuing to read about social justice because it’s important for me, my family, and my community. I want to lean into my decades-long curiosity about Buddhism because of some spiritual questions that have been on my mind. And I am always eager to listen to books about parenting – particularly as I strive to be more mindfully present as a parent after a long year of multi-tasking.

These are the books on my “To Listen/Read” list for this summer; I’ll feel amazingly awesome if I finish three of these titles!

  • Buddhism For Beginners.
  • The Conscious Parent.
  • Practices for Growing Up Mindful.
  • Being At Your Best When Your Kids Are At Their Worst.
  • 1-2-3 Magic. I heard this book recommended to a parent by a school counselor, which made me curious to check it out!
  • Parenting 4 Social Justice. I actually don’t have this one available via Audible, but I am loving reading the paperback copy I purchased on a whim months ago! It’s a great read so far, full of excellent food for thought. Just wish I had a few parent friends to book club it with!
  • We Want To Do More Than Survive. I am book clubbing this one with a friend of mine and really enjoying it so far.

These books will, as always, be mixed in with fiction. Next up are State Of Wonder by Ann Patchett and The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. Happy summer reading to all!

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books + reading

Edgar’s Faves (Best Books for a 4.5-Year-Old)

Edgar continues to love books and reading. There have been two cool new developments.

First, we’ve started reading some chapter books together! I’ve read him The Fantastic Mr. Fox and several books in the Mercy Watson series. It’s such a nice change, as the grown-up, to read books with a little more plot and suspense.

Second, my mom bought a membership to a website called Readeo. It’s super cool – we basically are on a video call and she can read books to Edgar on the iPad while they can see each other on video! We also are able to scroll the Readeo library and read books on the iPad, just us, at other times. That’s been helpful, because sometimes he’s indecisive about what book we should read at bedtime, and bedtime is one of my crankiest and most impatient times of day! So we curl up with the iPad and have lots of books to choose from.

Here are a few of his current faves:

The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen. Edgar is really into boats, so this one was a winner. I’d put it in the category of “fun and cutesy for adults,” too, with a fun plot. It’s also a rhyming book, which is something I really enjoy, especially at bedtime.

The World Of Whales by Darcy Dobell. This one is long – 72 pages. It has a really cool picture-based table of contents, so Edgar can decide which whale or topic he wants to read about and we can flip to that page. Edgar continues to be REALLY into whales.

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. We both LOVE this book. This is actually a book we used to read and love a couple of years ago, and now, via Readeo, it’s made a comeback.

What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick. This book is actually a book I’ve used previously for work. It’s meant to taught social skills and rules by exaggeration – like, what if everybody fed the animals at the zoo, or threw one piece of trash out the car window? Edgar mostly thinks it’s hilarious to see the potential consequences, which obviously isn’t the book’s intention, but he also never does any of The Things, so maybe the message is working subconsciously?

Off & Away by Cale Atkinson. Such a sweet book. Little girl takes over her dad’s job – delivering messages in bottles to their proper recipient via boat – and has an epic adventure.

Dude! by Aaron Reynolds. Edgar loves this book. The only word in it is dude – said over and over again in different inflections. He gets a kick out of “reading” the book to me.

Happy reading!

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books + reading

Edgar’s Faves (Best Books for a 4-Year-Old)

Edgar continues to love to read. Jonas is liking books more and more, but I gotta say – the books get way better as the kids get older. The books Edgar likes tend to be a little more creative and interesting. I genuinely enjoy each of the books on this list.

Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima. Such a great story with a sweet and fun plot.

A Whale In The Bathtub by Kylie Westaway. Edgar is super duper into whales lately. Like, really into whales. Like, he hasn’t been talking much about trucks lately, and I never thought I’d see that day. This book is super cute and fun – the title sort of gives away the plot.

Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett. See above – we are REALLY INTO WHALES lately. This book is so fun and funny for kids and for grown-ups.

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall. This is a fun story with a great message about not making assumptions about who someone is on the inside based on what they look like on the outside.

Fire Truck v. Dragon by Chris Barton. I’ve written previously about Edgar’s love of and obsession with another book by Chris Barton, Shark v. Train. This book is similar, but with a different silly twist.

McToad Mows Tiny Island by Tom Angleberger. So we still like trucks a lot, and this book is a dream for any kid who loves vehicles. ALL the winners are include – planes, lawn mowers, helicopters, ships. It’s super cute and lovable.

88 Instruments by Chris Barton. Another unique and fun story by the author of Shark Vs. Train. Very different; still awesome.

This post doesn’t have as much summary as I usually strive for, but Edgar’s almost four and a half and I need to start working on his next list of recommendations. Happy reading, everyone!

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