What I Learned This Summer

Yooo Hooo! I’ve missed hanging out here with you all summer. Let’s jump back in with a little summer recap. I’m linking up with Emily P. Freeman (my baby sister) and sharing What I Learned This Summer –you can share what you learned too!


I learned how to use my camera.

Notice I did not say I learned how to take amazing photos. That part will take a while. But I’ve had two different nice (DSLR– real grown up cameras with gizmos and fancy buttons) over the past nine years and never took them out of automatic/ghostbuster flash until June of this year.

I hired a photographer friend to spend the entire day with me and he taught me all the scary parts of my camera. I bought a tripod a new lens and a remote and I only wish I would have gotten help eight years ago.


Shortcut apple pie crusts.

Our family friend Sean made an apple pie for my parents with just apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon? it doesn’t matter, anyway my main point is, he used two crusts that came all ready shaped in the pie tins and just plopped one on top of the other pie full of pie stuff. I know you all do this all the time but removing the crust from a ready-made pie tin and using it for a top crust has never occurred to me.

Here’s mom and dad showing me how it’s done.

I’ve used those roll out pie crusts before but this makes it even easier!


Hopeful Melancholy.

Earlier this year at the Oscars, La La Land won an award (guys I cannot spend all of my time researching La La facts so that’s as specific as I can get) and one of the La La bosses/main dudes (still no time for this) mentioned how the music was hopeful but melancholy.

I could not stop thinking about the combination of those two words–hopeful and melancholy and over time I realized that 90% of the music I love is hopeful yet melancholy.

For example, my all time favorite band that split up and ruined my life: The Civil Wars….

I’ve recently found a new hopeful melancholist whose music I can’t stop listening to: Jess Ray. I’m obsessed with her song Water/Wind/Fire and had it on repeat last week while watching and praying for the Texas coast.


I’ve Never Regretting Making Food.

I’ve known for a long time that one of the things that can make or break my day is getting dinner on the table. Feeding people is life-giving for me. That doesn’t mean that I always look forward to it or skip through the grocery store. But I realized recently that I’ve never regretted the work that it takes to feed people. I’ve never regretted making dinner.

Realizing this has helped me prioritize meals even more at our house. This is on the menu for this week.


Waste my time and I’ll be annoyed.

I’m getting so old and grumpy. Can we talk about podcasts? I feel like podcasts are what blogs were 10 years ago. Everyone has one and most of them are boring according to this grouchy INTJ.

There are two podcasts that never waste my time. I don’t even listen to them on fast speed!

  1. The Next Right Thing — you will want to take notes and you’ll want to listen to every episode twice and you’ll come away feeling so SO encouraged! Plus, each episode is only 15 minutes long! iTunes // other
  2. The Popcast-– this is pure entertainment and I value anything that makes me laugh.


I have nature withdrawal syndrome.

I maybe just made that up but I’m not sure what to call it. We’ve been working on our backyard (our usual at-home outdoor hangout spot) for three forevers, we didn’t go on our usual outdoor centered family getaway this year and I had a working summer.

I wrote another book. And I’ve spent the last 8 months writing that book, taking photos for that book and editing that book (still have a few weeks left for that). I’ve been sitting at the computer a lot. The book will be great but I’m spent.

When you are doing one thing for a long time, the best way to re-calibrate is to do the opposite of that one thing. When I’ve been looking at the computer for too long, I know I need to balance that out by looking at sky or trees or water. Or kittens. Kittens work too.

I’ve got plans to stare at mountains soon. And I’m so happy that The Nest Fest is coming up so I can do some outdoor work again. Tickets go on sale September 15!


Live Life in the Midst of the Mess.

Don’t wait for done or finished or God forbid–perfect before you enjoy what you have. Celebrate anyway. Have the party now.

Our backyard has been a construction zone for almost six months. We’ve still hosted supper club, a going away party and an impromptu little fire outside in the driveway last night. It was so worth it to have people over in the midst of the mess.

PS, here’s the firepit, and outdoor sofas (I bought them with my redcard {save %5 more} during the Memorial Day sale–DO NOT pay full price, these go on sale all the time!).




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  1. Your parents’ photo is adorable! It looks like they’re having a lot of fun.:-) That’s good advice about not waiting for things to be done or perfect before celebrating. We’d never celebrate anything in our house if that were the case. But we do aim for “charmingly incorrect” and happy with some tidiness thrown in.:-)

  2. I love spending time in the backyard with a fire pit too. Just don’t like the bugs. It is nice to be able to just stare into the fire(or at the mountains) and not have to think about anything….

  3. 1. Welcome back.
    2. I totally take notes on Emily’s podcast! She now has her own “note” on my phone.
    3. Can’t wait to see your new book!

  4. Kim@Irishman Acres says

    1. I miss you so much! This was like hearing from an old friend….
    2. Your new book is gonna be my new favorite thing, hurry up!
    3. I wish I enjoyed cooking still, that’s the one place we differ.
    4. Nestfest! I had planned on coming this year, but #CloverBarn.
    5. (Maybe I’ll just disappear onto a plane and come anyway….)

    • Kim@Irishman Acres says

      Oh, and dang, forgot to mention the Civil Wars. Best. Ever. Still mad they broke up!! But I’ll need to check out Jess Ray!

  5. i need to check out jess ray- i, too, was devastated about the civil wars! as for podcasts- i listen to a few and i love the moth, tim ferriss, and how i built this- they all inspire me. the moth is just so raw and sometimes i laugh, sometimes i cry… the others are more entrpreneurial and dig deep into how people overcome obstacles, what motivates them, etc…
    and then i love me some trashy scary sci fi like the black tapes, tanis, rabbits, and limetown! oh and s-town was pretty deep and moving, too.

  6. so happy to hear from you. I agree about the podcasts… everyone has one it seems. Thanks for sharing some you love. Hope you find lots of time to hang outside. xo

  7. Oh! I have been thinking this about podcasts but afraid to say it. (INFJ) Everyone has one. Even amongst the ones I like, I can listen to only a few episodes because too many are too long. I’m a visual learner, too, so I will always prefer reading to listening. I long for the days when blogs were nurtured. It is so much easier (and quicker) to read than to listen to a podcast.

  8. Welcome back! I had thenester withdrawal syndrome. I am glad you took the summer off for yourself, but I’ve missed this blog sorely. I always love your recommendations and bird watching. I can’t wait for your new book!

  9. I was sad when the Civil Wars broke up, too! (Although I’m always behind the times when it comes to music, so I discovered them after they broke up.) I’ve added Jess Ray to my “to listen” playlist, and I can’t wait to check her out! I learned some things this summer, too, and wrote about them over on my blog– https://notesfromjessie.com/learning-lately-july-2017/

  10. Looking forward to your new book! (Your other book still sits on my nightstand, begging to be read again!) Also, so excited to come to the next Nest Fest. (Say that 5 times fast!) It’s one of the best things about moving to Charlotte.
    Can I just say how excited I was that when I hit my Nester button on my favorites tool bar and there you were? Glad to hear you are still learning and creating. Now, be good to yourself and get breathe in some mountain air.

  11. I’m so glad you are back! Our summer has been crazy as well, but the craziness was so worth it!
    I’ve jumped back into my ancient blog (which I started before Instagram, podcasts, twitter,etc.)

    Looking forward to your new book. Wish I could make it to Nest Fest, but alas…not gonna happen.

    I will check out these podcasts. Thanks for the links!

  12. great post

  13. that pie crust idea is genius.

  14. Good job! Keep it up!

  15. Nice post!

  16. Love all of this so much!! I can’t get that term “hopeful melancholy” out of my mind and it makes me rethink all the music/ shows/ media I like ha! Also congrats on your new book! So exciting!!

  17. What! Your new book won’t be out for another whole year! No ! This can’t be! I can’t wait that long! ?

  18. Nice post… I like the all details and ideas

  19. This is a great post and your blog is lovely! As a new blogger I would love if you would check out my blog and give me a follow!

  20. Melancholic but hopeful…Beautiful movie, beautiful song.

  21. Your candid, off the cuff writing style has been missed all summer but I respect you for taking time away. LOVE the still no time for this, don’t waste my time, the nature withdrawal…you are spot on, Soul Sister!

  22. Kaethe Pittman says

    Welcome back! Yours was exactly the advice I needed for tomorrow’s “Autumn decor” entry on my to-do list. And I canNOT wait for your new book!!!

  23. Thank you for the artist and two podcast recommendations! I am also looking forward to heraing more about the book!

  24. Thank you for your post
    It’s really great and very useful.
    Your parents’ photo is adorable! That’s good advice about not waiting for things to be done or perfect before celebrating.

  25. I love lalaland …

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  28. I am constantly fighting two extreme decorating styles.

  29. In summer, leisure is more than other times
    That’s why I spend most of my time learning

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  38. September 21, 2017 at 3:30 pm
    Your candid, off the cuff writing style has been missed all summer but I respect you for taking time away. LOVE the still no time for this

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