7 Quick Takes about cool vintage books, a radio studio in my home, and the only five things that really matter when you host a party

— 1 —

I did my first radio show from my new home studio today!

7qt275 studio 7 Quick Takes about cool vintage books, a radio studio in my home, and the only five things that really matter when you host a party

SiriusXM kindly set me up with a studio in my house, which I put in a corner of my bedroom. I was amazed at how little equipment there is. I just need a mic, headphones, and a little box that hooks up to my internet connection, and I’m all set.

There was a slightly tense moment (read: I almost passed out from anxiety) when we had nine minutes to go until air time and I couldn’t connect the box to the NYC studio, but we got it all worked out. The show was a ton of fun, and we didn’t have a single technical issue!

— 2 —

Attention home decorators and/or people who spend too much time looking at home decorating boards on Pinterest: I need ideas for organizing my home studio!

7qt275 homestudio1 7 Quick Takes about cool vintage books, a radio studio in my home, and the only five things that really matter when you host a party

7qt275 homestudio2 7 Quick Takes about cool vintage books, a radio studio in my home, and the only five things that really matter when you host a party

I have a very small space to work with – it’s about four feet wide and two feet deep — but I want to make the most of it. Hit me with any “creative offices in small spaces” pinboards, videos, or blogs you can find! And let me know if you have any ideas for how I can maximize my space.

— 3 —

You should have seen the look on the engineer’s face when he showed up to set up the studio.

Keep in mind, I have six kids under age 10. We live in a small, three-bedroom house.

When he walked in the door, three of my daughters were getting ready to go to ballet but had gotten in a shouting argument about who was going to wear which sparkly hair accessory. My dad was assembling a new desk for me to use for the studio, so all sorts of tiny, sharp parts were scattered across the living room. The crazy toddler was letting us know she needed a nap by screaming and throwing herself on the floor. The baby had a touch of the stomach flu, and was crying as I cleaned vomit off the couch.

Into this situation walked the engineer from SiriusXM.

It was as if a ballet troupe had gotten locked in the howler monkey cage at the zoo, a desk exploded, and then someone started vomiting.

I can’t decide whether it was confusion or fear that I saw on the engineer’s face when he said to my ballerina daughter who’d answered the door: “I’m here to set up the radio studio?”

— 4 —

I had to move a bookshelf to make space for the studio, and in the process I found this schoolbook from 1914 that belonged to one of my ancestors, named Edward George:

7qt275 book 7 Quick Takes about cool vintage books, a radio studio in my home, and the only five things that really matter when you host a party

I flipped through it to discover that it’s a reading book for elementary-aged readers — and, amazingly, it’s exactly the kind of thing I’d been looking for for our homeschool reading lessons!

I’d spent hours searching Amazon and the big curricula sites and couldn’t find what I was looking for, but this one is a perfect fit. We’re actually going to use it for our lessons this year!

— 5 —

Speaking of living in a small, crowded house:

For the longest time, I’ve had it in my head that we can’t entertain in this house. It’s too cramped, our back yard is sloped and doesn’t have any shade, the kitchen is small, the living room has no decorations aside from the drawings the kids tape to the walls — you get the idea.

Then, this year, I started going to a lot of parties at people’s houses.

My friend Rachael started what she calls “the Dinner Club for Underachievers” where a bunch of us take turns hosting potluck parties at our homes. The events are meant to be as stress-free as possible for the hosts, the main intent simply being for local families to connect with one another.

Having been to a few of these events, as well as other gatherings at people’s homes, I’ve come to see that having elegant decorations or a large, spacious area don’t matter in terms of making people comfortable in your home.

The people whose houses I’ve been to do happen to have lovely homes, but I realized that that’s not what I notice as a guest.

I’ve come to think that the only five things that are required to have a successful event in your home are (in order of importance):

  1. The host seems happy to see each guest
  2. There are a few options for food and drink (none of them have to be fancy)
  3. The environment is basically orderly
  4. The host leads the crowd (e.g. indicates where to put food or gifts that are brought, offers people a place to sit, introduces guests to one another, etc.)
  5. There’s background music (or a football game!) to provide ambiance

I am now convinced that if you can do these few things — or, honestly, even just the first two — you will have a hugely successful event, no matter what your house looks like.

— 6 —

I’ll be in Washington, DC all next week! I’ll post my schedule of events soon.

One of the things I’m really looking forward to is doing my radio show live from DC. I’m excited to announce that Lisa-Jo Baker is going to be my guest!

When I went to the IF Gathering with her earlier this year, she and I had a fascinating conversation about the differences between Catholic and Protestant culture, as well as how Protestants see Catholics and vice versa. I definitely want to go into that on the show, because it was one of the most interesting discussions I’ve had in a long time.

If you’re in the DC area, look out for my schedule so that we can hang out!

— 7 —

Have a great weekend, everyone!


7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about cool vintage books, a radio studio in my home, and the only five things that really matter when you host a party

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