As we enter week 8 of being at home, I’m starting to feel like we’re hitting our stride and finding some new routines that make this not-so-normal situation feel a little more normal. The weather is starting to feel like spring and that is helping a LOT — getting fresh air and playing in the yard was a major mood-lifter this weekend. And there have been lots of silver-linings too, like finally having time to work on big house projects (I have some great before and after posts coming soon) and tackling my stack of to-be-read books. I’m finding it’s a delicate balance of keeping busy and cutting ourselves some slack these days. I’ve got some timely updates in this week’s download with Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day on the calendar, plus lots of reading list reviews, garden plans, and some kids stuff — scroll down to read more! Reading List. I have been escaping into books the last few weeks and have done a ton of reading. I had highly anticipated The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver after loving her first book and it totally met my expectations. I cried my eyes out for the first half of this book, and then my heart was healed in the second half with the most perfect, feel-good ending. After that I switched to a quick streak of suspenseful thrillers — sometimes you need a good page-turner to keep you really engaged. The Holdout by Graham Moore fit the bill as it followed a high-profile jury that reunited a decade after the blockbuster case they served on, and one of the jurors ends up murdered. It was a quick, neatly tied up little package of a mystery and I really enjoyed it. Next was The Guest List by Lucy Foley, which I got through my Book of the Month subscription. This one kept me guessing until the last ten pages and I gasped as we solved the whodunnit murder that happens on a remote Irish island during a luxe wedding weekend. I stayed up way too late last night finishing the last pages of my other Book of the Month pick, Beach Read by Emily Henry. This book got very mixed reviews, but I thoroughly enjoyed following the main character through some complicated issues with her family, career and quest for love — it felt like chick-lit but with just a bit more grit than you’d except from the title. I have The Jetsetters set out on my nightstand to start tonight, and can’t wait for my next Book of the Month box to arrive to keep my momentum going.

Cinco de Mayo. I always share that Cinco de Mayo is a fun holiday in our family because it’s my taco-loving sister’s birthday! We obviously won’t be together to celebrate this year as we’re all staying safe at home, but I’ll be lifting a margarita in her honor. If you’re looking for some tasty ways to celebrate at home, check out this round-up of Cinco de Mayo recipe ideas like baked avocado fries, Mexican street corn bites, strawberry basil margaritas, and green chili tacos! I also have a new recipe on the blog for making your own homemade baked tortilla chips (spoiler alert: they’re SO easy). We’ve even been making our own tortillas from scratch with this little at-home tortilla press  and it’s a really fun activity to do as a family (plus it’s delicious).

Mother’s Day. If you’re looking for some Mother’s Day gift ideas, I shared lots of them in my Instagram stories that are all from small, women-owned businesses!  One of my favorite shops, Gus and Ruby, has the cutest cocktail kits, tons of darling cards, and copies of my cookbook! Chappywrap’s cozy blankets are one of my all-time favorite purchases and would be so nice to gift for this stay-at-home Mother’s Day. And my friends at Monogram Mary sent me the most hilarious sleep mask that was embroidered with “Ask Dad” — it gave me a good giggle which is what we all really need right now.

Garden Prep. My Mother’s Day wish is to spend the day outside (fingers crossed for good weather) to work on planting in my veggie garden! I shared a really fun interview recently with Mars Kitchen Garden all about starting your own home vegetable garden, and it totally sparked my excitement to expand our footprint with a few extra raised beds. I ordered two more cedar raised bed kits (these were so easy to put together) and am currently plotting out my plans to add more root vegetables and perhaps some flowers this year.

Kids Stuff. The biggest challenge of all of this stay-at-home time is figuring out how to keep Jane engaged, learning, and often times just occupied while I’m trying to get work done. Real talk: as I write this she’s deep in iPad-mode In an attempt to balance the screen time,  I’ve been trying to pick one creative project to do in the morning. I’m still using lots of the supplies I shared in this kids crafts and creative toys post — anything with scissors tends to be a favorite these days, or building with cardboard boxes inspired by our favorite book Boxitects. I’m very loosely trying to keep up with some things she was learning in school. A friend recommended a Highlights letter tracing activity book and she enjoys doing it during snack time with me. I also ordered these pretty wood alphabet puzzle and we’ve been hiding the pieces around the house for a letter scavenger hunt — that game is always a hit. Board games like Candy Land and this cute bunny game have been fun for practicing colors too.