April Tips: Spring Cleaning, Souper Cubes & Sur La Table

Apr 3, 2022

Dear Together Friends, Fans, and Family,

I was roaming around Sur La Table last week (yes, this was a very fancy Girl Scout event and we basically spent our entire year of cookie earnings) as we waited for the cooking class for my Cadette Troop’s culinary badge, and I stumbled upon these Souper Cubes. OMG, thing I didn’t know existed, but I immediately realized could save me from multiple misshapen Ziploc freezer bags of chilis and soups. I turn 45 in a few months, so adding to my birthday wish list ASAP.

You know, it’s been a long time since I roamed in a retail store completely aimlessly (we had 15 minutes to kill before our British Bake-Off Class began!), so 10 twelve-year old girls and I perused the shelves and prepped for class and wandered, and I was struck by:

  • Whimsical delight brings great joy. Pineapple spatulas, tiny ice cube trays, and middle schoolers are a hilarious combination. It made me wonder if there are more opportunities to add bits of whimsy to our classrooms and offices. One of my kids told me there is a boy in her class that puts googly-eyes on everything, and it has become an inside-joke at the entire school. I keep laughing as I picture pink eyelashed google eyes showing up on a student folder.
  • The power of wandering. The pandemic has certainly curtailed much of my retail wandering, but also my own mental and physical wandering. I realized that since February 2020, I have been completely heads down with pivoting The Together Group, caring for my kids, and trying to be a decent human, friend and partner. But the optimization fatigue [a term I read over on a fashion blog, believe it or not] is real. That 15 minutes of wandering – and trying to make sure the girls didn’t break any fancy glassware!—was good for my creative soul. I may have finally come up with a title for my fifth book!
  • Variety enhances our perspective. This was one of our first full-group indoor Girl Scout outings in two years, and at some level during the planning stages of our Culinary badge, I was thinking, “This is going to be a huge pain in the neck.” (#togethertruth) But then, watching the tweens group, regroup, mix up who they were chatting with, grabbing each other to share findings, reminded me of just how good it was for all of us to practice interacting with those we may not see as often, who have moved away, who we may not be best friends with, but add so much to our lives.

Anyway, the sticky toffee and sausage rolls were marvelous, and my Cadettes did a great job with the puff pastry situation. And I was able to step out of my head for a moment with just 15 minutes at Sur La Table. With all that everyone is experiencing at the moment, would 15 minutes wandering somewhere serve you?

I wish you all many spring wandering moments. Well, not the cleaning part, but you know what I mean.

#clipboardsandclogs #togetherforever


PS Dr. Together and I are 10-hour road tripping with all four kids next week for spring break, and, for the first time, we have this hitched to the back of the beloved (old) Pilot. I’m picturing a Clark Griswold moment in our future. WISH US LUCK.

Together Treasure Box (From the Blog!)

  • A Later List that is also a work of art? It was a delight to have the chance to talk to Tiffany (from the Baltimore nonprofit Elev8) about her Later List! It is a true masterpiece, and I love Tiffany’s thoughtfulness around how the creativity involved in composing her Later List helps her approach her work with the right attitude!
  • Looking for some inspiration for Teacher Appreciation Week? Try making it a month! It might sound counterintuitive, but jamming all the appreciation teachers deserve into one week might leave teachers (and families and administrators alike) feeling more overwhelmed than appreciated!
  • A Favorite #TogetherHack – Busy Bags! As I prepare for a 10-hour-4-kid-2-parent Spring Break road trip next week, I pulled out this– while the kids are no longer Busy Bag age (ahem, Nintendo Switch, phones and tablets), the snack bags are still on! And I’ll say it again, I’m just waiting for someone to create an adult version of these!

Together Tributes

  • Together Spring Cleaning. A resurrected post by my fave New Orleans baker about seasonal adulting. Minus Clean the Car and Plant Something. PS The tulip bulbs I sloppily tossed in last fall BLOOMED. Also, I learned that I do not like gardening, so that is crossed off my Later List forever.
  • Together Tap Out?! Yes, please, on all things teacher wellness. Check out how this school leader created Tap Outs for teachers, complete with a Zen Room. Plus Tackle it Thursdays scheduled around heavy deliverable times for teachers. I’m all in for these structural and cultural shifts.
  • Together Meal Planning! Of course, you already have all you need to meal plan with your Air Fryers and Instant Pots (haven’t convinced me yet on either, btw), but I love these twelve secret tips, especially creating grocery lists with headers of Menus, We Have, and We Need.