Wedding bells

Life lately

Abby’s trying to find the ever-elusive work-life balance while Sarah has been prepping her house for more insulation and contemplating the joys of homeownership.

Reading lately

Abby’s reading Farthing by Jo Walton, another title from our friend Kady’s By the Cover Project. It is a mystery set in 1949 England, but in an alternate version of history where Hitler is in control of continental Europe.

Sarah listened to the Lexicon Valley episode Why We Stopped Teaching Children How To Read and read both the host’s book (Talking Back, Talking Black by John McWhorter) and the guest’s (Language at the Speed of Sight by Mark Seidenberg). The former explains why Black English is a dialect, not “bad English” and the latter explores the history of the written word, what science tells us about reading, and why schools of education aren’t utilizing that knowledge.

Wedding bells

We describe how we met our spouses, our engagements, wedding planning, and the weddings themselves.

Eating lately

Sarah describes a standby in her house: lentil soup from Rising Shining. The secret is the mustard and red wine vinegar you add at the end.

Abby’s mastered the perfect lasagna. Her version includes Italian sausage and two different sauces: arribiata and garlic.

If you’d like to join in the conversation, please leave us a comment, email us at, or find us on instagram @friendlierpodcast. Thanks for listening!

2 thoughts on “Wedding bells

  1. Hi ladies! After I listened to you talk about the book Language at the Speed of SightI wanted to share a neat tidbit I learned in the Read Aloud Handbook. Trelease notes in that book that an easy and very effective way to help young children learn to read is to turn on the closed captioning when they are watching TV/videos. He points to the fact that Finnish children have the highest reading scores in the world, even though they do not start formal schooling until age 7. He notes that these children spend large amounts of time watching TV (about 2/3 of what American children watch, we win for the highest viewing among children in the world :/). However, almost half the Finnish TV shows are our old sitcoms and they are not dubbed, they are just run in English with Finnish subtitles. So as, Trelease says, this means that half of what every nine-year old wants to watch is in a foreign language so in order to understand it he/she has to learn to read Finnish! So Trelease says it stands to reason that moderate doses of closed captioned television will do no harm to students and will greatly help with reading! So simple and genius.

    Also, Abby, super impressed with the lasagna. I have never made an actual lasagna in the oven, never, never. I do this fast and easy skillet lasagna and I thought I would share the recipe with you (since you all mentioned needing new recipes and this takes much less planning than a real lasagna).

    30 Minute Skillet Lasagna

    Serves 4 (could definitely serve 5-6ish with a big salad)

    For the jarred tomato sauce, we like marinara, but you can use whatever type you like. Any brand of curly-edged lasagna noodles will work here, but do not use no-boil lasagna noodles. If the pasta is especially dry and shattery, you may need to add extra water to the skillet while the pasta cooks. If you can’t find meatloaf mix, use ½ pound 85 percent lean ground beef and ½ pound ground pork. Like it spicy? Increase the amount of red pepper flakes up to 1 teaspoon. To make things go even quicker, you can replace the mozzarella and Parmesan with ¾ cup of shredded Italian cheese blend.

    1 pound meatloaf mix (see variation below)
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (Sometimes I leave this out)
    6 ounces curly-edged lasagna noodles (8 noodles), broken into 2-inch pieces (Mine don’t really always break into perfect 2 inch pieces, but I just threw them in anyway. You can use whole-wheat noodles.)
    1 (26 oz) jar tomato sauce, such as marinara (about 3 cups)
    2 cups water
    ½ mozzarella cheese, shredded (I use part skim)
    ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    ¾ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese (I use part skim or just use only mozzarella and leave this out)
    ¼ cup minced fresh basil (I also leave this out if I don’t have it.)

    Making the Minutes Count
    Mince the garlic and measure out the pasta while the meat cooks.

    Cook and Drain Meat: Cook meat in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, breaking it into pieces with wooden spoon, until fat renders, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain meat and return it to skillet.
    Saute Aromatics: Stir in garlic, pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
    Simmer lasagna noodles: Sprinkle broken noodles into skillet, then pour in tomato sauce and water over top. Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain vigorous simmer, until noodles are tender, about 20 minutes.
    Add Cheese: Off heat, stir in half of mozzarella and half of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot heaping tablespoons of ricotta over noodles, then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and let stand off heat until cheeses melt, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil before serving.

    Substitute 1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casing remove, for meatloaf mix. Add 1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped fine, to skillet with meat in step 1. (I do this variation and use lean turkey Italian sweet sausage.)


    1. This recipe looks awesome! And interesting idea about turning on the captions when kiddos are watching TV 🙂 Thanks, Rebecca! -A


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