So, at the moment, I'd highly recommend...
...reading More than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting by Serena B. Miller. I was extremely curious about what this would be like, but I was pleasantly surprised by the practical advice. The author was writing a novel about Amish life and in her research and time spent in the Amish community, she was so impressed with the behavior of the children that she wanted to explore the topic further. Paul Stutzman, who grew up Amish, contributed to the book. Together they picked out the positive aspects of Amish families, including the work ethic, patience, and sense of community that are strongly ingrained in the children from the earliest ages. One of the most interesting tidbits was that the youth retention rate of Baptists is about 65%, while the Amish retention rate is a staggering 95%. Clearly these people are doing something worth studying with their young people. (Also, I recommend Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman and Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. Both are super fascinating and were definitely great additions to my long, long list of parenting books.)
...listening to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, a podcast that discusses happiness, human nature, and habits (in the most interesting way possible.) Gretchen co-hosts with her sister Elizabeth and together they cover all kinds of topics and give tips to help make life easier and more productive. I am a huge Gretchen Rubin fan (and you should definitely read her books) but most of the information in her books is discussed here. I always get some useful information and feel more productive just having listened to each episode (that's pretty impressive, right?) so download their series! It's so helpful!
...eating soup! A few of my favorites: creamy tomato (grilled cheese is a must!), jalapeno popper chili (in the crockpot... SO good and perfect for a football party!) chicken italiano (takes me right back to my childhood!), and taco stew (my personal favorite- make sure you get some Fritos to put on top!) All of these are easy (obviously, since I'm recommending them) and very, very yummy. If you're actually having soup weather then lucky you.. it's still in the 90s here so I'm just pretending it's fall. =( I'll try to keep my envy to a minimum.
...watching... wait for iiiiiitttt... PSYCH, of course! Since Jonathan (tragically) hadn't seen the series the whole way through, we're watching it from the beginning and, as always, I'm reminded why it's my very favorite show. It's just so funny and quotable and makes me extremely happy. Also, if you have Netflix, they've recently added Person of Interest which is another favorite of ours. I'm not into crime shows at all but it's really good and the violence is kept to a minimum (Mr. Reese mostly shoots the bad guys in the knees, so there's not too much blood.) Or, if you're a 90s kid and feeling nostalgic, Girl Meets World is also now on Netflix and even though it's very much a "kid's show," it's so fun to see Cory and Topanga again as well as the occasional delightful appearance from Feeny, Shawn, Eric, and the rest of the BMW family.
...drinking for those of us who aren't alllll about the pumpkin spice life, there's Alpine Spiced Apple Cider... sometimes this can be a little bit hard to find but I'm pretty sure Walmart always carries it. It's no Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks but sometimes (almost all the time) I don't want to shell out nearly four bucks for one drink so when I get a whole box of this for a dollar I think it's great. It's not too sweet or too tart and definitely tastes like fall! (I just bought some of this and some hot chocolate mix because again, I'm in denial about the temperature outside.) However, if you're totally hung up on coffee (which I understand!) then my personal favorite is Peppermint Mocha (and I prefer the Coffee Mate to International Delight, which is a little toothpaste-y to me. I probably shouldn't have such strong opinions about hot beverages.)
...wearing swing dresses from Old Navy! (Sorry, male readers, if you were expecting something for yourselves there!) I bought my first ON swing dress this summer and it's been perfect for throwing on when I want to wear something cute but super comfortable (and totally works with my big pregnant self.) I grabbed a second short-sleeved color for $6 the other day but I'm most excited about the striped long-sleeve version I got on super sale online a couple weeks ago. They have a whole bunch of colors and prints but I figured black and white stripes would be the most versatile (plus, you know... stripes!) I ordered it in a tall for a little extra length and I can't wait to wear it with ankle boots and maybe even tights if we ever get some cooler weather. (Can you tell I'm slightly hung up on the weather?) I also really want this hat but it seems a little frivolous. =)
...browsing- what else?- Target's Dollar Spot. I realize I'm not totally objective since I have a slight Target addiction (hey, YOU try living across the street from one!) and the Dollar Spot always has cute stuff but specifically you should go check out the fall decorations. I didn't need much this year (okay, does anyone NEED fall decorations? I guess they're more of a luxury) but I did want a pumpkin with some gold on it. I looked at one of the "craft" pumpkins at Michaels along with gold paint and it would have been over $10 (plus I'd have to do it myself, so the results weren't guaranteed to be good!) but I found exactly what I was looking for in the Dollar Spot with no crafting required. They have a BUNCH of cute stuff and while some of it looks a little cheap, most of it looks really nice! Go check it out and may you have more self-control than I usually do.
I leave you with a gratuitous selfie because why not? (Oh, maybe because I'm 26 and about to become a mom, that's why not.)
If you try any of this stuff and like it, let me know! (If you don't like it don't tell me because then I'll doubt myself forever.)