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  • Now that we are a few months into the new year we wanted to check-in with each other to find out what has and hasn’t been working in our lives. Links we mentioned:

    Yoga With Adriene 30 Day ChallengeThe Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Linda Yan GlaserThe Penderwicks by Jeanne BirdsallEmmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell

    Life lately


    Sarah got a new bike (after leaving hers in a park last summer–whoops).


    Abby’s hens have started laying eggs!


    Reading lately


    Sarah read The Ex-Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon–an enemies to lovers romance with a podcast premise.


    Abby loved the latest sci-fi novel from N.K. Jemisin, The City We Became.


    Eating lately


    Abby found an easy blueberry muffin recipe and Sarah tried the TikTok pasta.


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


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  • Things we hate, media edition

    We spend a portion of every show talking about what we love in the books we read, but what about what we hate? We share our dislikes in books, favorite and least favorite romance tropes, books and shows other people loved but we couldn't get into, and what we don't enjoy in movies we watch. Links mentioned:

    Hamnet by Maggie O'FarrellGold by Chris CleeveSuch a Fun Age by Kiley ReidThe War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker BradleyOne to Watch by Kate Stayman-LondonThe Power by Naomi AldermanCourt of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (and the newest book in the series Court of Silver Flames just came out in February)The Goldfinch by Donna TarttCourt of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasGilmore GirlsFleabagArrested Development

    Life lately

    Abby ticked a box on her pandemic bingo card: rearranging her house.

    Sarah created new shelves on Goodreads for her family's read-alouds and Friendlier reads (including specific shelves for books recommended by her and Abby).

    Reading lately

    Abby read the YA fantasy novel Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko and Sarah read KJ Dell'Antonia's novel The Chicken Sisters.

    Eating lately

    Sarah made a new kitchen purchase and Abby had a failed grain bowl experience.

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


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  • A week of breakfasts and lunches

    We love to talk about food and share another installment of a week of meals, this time focused on our breakfasts and lunches. We were originally inspired by The Mom Hour's episode of a week of dinners, and have previously recorded our own week of dinners and a week of snacks. Links we mentioned:

    Coconut Baobab granolaSpicy cashew butter dressingBiscuit breakfast casserole

    Life lately

    Neil finished building the kids' Christmas present: a new playset!

    Abby is doing a deep dive into camping gear in preparation for an upcoming trip.


    Reading lately

    Sarah read the crime thriller Take It Back by Kia Abdullah.

    Abby read Ink and Bone, the first of the Great Library series by Rachel Caine.


    Eating lately

    We both share cookie recipes from Sally's Baking Addiction: soft molasses cookies for Abby and caramel stuffed Nutella cookies for Sarah.


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


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  • Talking to kids about tough stuff

    Inspired by a listener question, we discuss how we talk to our kids about tough stuff--politics, current events, race, gender, sex, cancer, and death. Inspired by a listener question, we discuss how we talk to our kids about tough stuff--politics, current events, race, gender, sex, cancer, and death. Links we mentioned + books our families love that we didn't list in the show:

    Conscious KidBlack Lives Matter book list with links to read-alouds of each book curated by Phoebe DefinoOwn Voices in children's literatureSomething Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, Ann Hazzard, and Jennifer ZivoinRuby Bridges Goes to School by Ruby BridgesThe Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael LopezThe Name Jar by Yangsook ChoiClubhouse Mysteries by Sharon DraperI Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer and Christopher EliopoulosNot My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia HiggenbothamThe Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj MuhammadThe Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem's Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and R. Gregory ChristieWe Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela GoadeIt Feels Good to Be Yourself by Theresa ThornWho Are You? A Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pressen-WhedbeeWhat Makes a Baby by Cory SilverbergIt's Not the Stork by Robie HarrisAmazing You: Getting Smart About Your Private Parts by Gail SaltzFrom Diapers to Dating: A Parent's Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children From Infancy to Middle School by Debra HaffnerGirls and Sex and Boys and Sex, both by Peggy OrnsteinArticle about parents having sex during the pandemicOur Whole Lives: Lifespan Sexuality EducationVisible Child Facebook groupDr. Becky at HomeSeed and SewJanet LansburyOther books:When Charley Met Emma by Amy Webb and Merrilee LiddiardThe Rough Patch by Brian LiesThe Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

    Life lately

    Abby's family added kittens to their family!

    Sarah's family is hoping these are the perfect sleds (and that it snows more this year!).

    Reading lately

    Abby read the Charm of Magpies fantasy series byKJ Charles and Sarah listened to the YA novel-in-verse Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo.

    Eating lately

    Sarah is becoming a Trader Joe's convert, especially their hot and sweet pickled jalapenos.

    Abby found a spinach dal her whole family loves.

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


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  • Entertaining ourselves and our people at home

    We've had a lot of time at home, and more to come this spring. We share how we've keeping ourselves and our families entertained, the best and worst of our time at home, and our entertainment aspirations as we look ahead. Links we mentioned:

    Aaron's Thinking PuttyBoggleQuixxAzulSplendorCarcassoneDrawfulCodenamesTemeraire books by Naomi NovikSchitt's CreekWandavisionBridgertonThe Penderwicks by Jeanne BirdsallThe Vanderbeekers of 141st by Karina Yan Glaser

    Life lately

    Sarah and Neil are having weekly meetings to check-in with each other about parenting.

    Abby and her family said good-bye to their beloved cat, Zeda.

    Reading lately

    Sarah read Kate Elizabeth Russell's intense novel, My Dark Vanessa.

    On the lighter side, Abby read Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade.

    Eating lately

    Abby has an easy Trader Joe's dinner to share and Sarah's family is trying take-out from new-to-them local restaurants.

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


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  • Mood boosters

    What better time to discuss mood boosters than the middle of a pandemic + the gray days of winter? We share our favorite mood boosting activities, products, and foods. Links we mentioned:

    SAD lightcards: tarot, goddess, and animalPoshmark

    Life lately

    Abby has been listening to The Bengsens.

    Sarah's kids have started finger-knitting, inspired by Hyacinth from the Vanderbeeker novels.

    Reading lately

    Abby read Weather by Jenny Offill and Sarah finished This Place: 150 Years Retold, a graphic novel anthology.

    Eating lately

    Sarah made chopped a whole lot of veggies for this roasted butternut squash and parsnip soup.

    Abby combined these two recipes to make creamed spinach and eggs.

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


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  • The state of our home (dis)organization

    We discuss our home organization wins, challenges, and inspiration. We may not have many tips to offer, but there's plenty of commiseration to go around. Links we mentioned:

    Abby's tool organizerArt cabinet Sarah hopes will solve her family's craft area problemsYoung House LoveClutterbug podcast

    Life lately

    Sarah is facing down the gray days of winter.

    Abby is loving Bridgerton.


    Reading lately

    Sarah fell hard for the young adult novel You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson.

    Abby read Yaa Gyasi's new novel, Transcendent Kingdom.


    Eating lately

    Abby is eating lemon cookies to brighten up the winter days while Sarah is cozying up with corn chowder.


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


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  • New year's intentions, 2021

    We reflect on the year that was, set intentions for 2021, and share some of our favorites from 2020. Links we mentioned:

    Last year's intentions episode and our mid-year check-inSchitt's CreekThe Good PlaceMerge Dragons

    Life lately

    Abby's building a chicken coop.

    Sarah has abandoned one holiday tradition and remembered how much she loves another.

    Reading lately

    Abby listened to The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue and Sarah read the Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

    Eating lately

    Sarah made an alfredo sauce that didn't break apart and Abby enjoyed Budget Bytes' Dal Nirvana.

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


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  • We take a look back at our reading life in 2020: our challenges, our wins, and of course, our favorite books. Highlights from the year:


    Fiction: The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, and Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

    Non-fiction: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, Boys and Sex by Peggy Orenstein, and Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife’s Story by Onnie Lee Logan as told to Katherine Clark

    Most enjoyable: Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas on audio, One to Watch by Kate London-Stayman, and Bringing Down the Duke and A Rogue of One’s Own, both by Evie Dunmore

    Memoir: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, and Sitting Pretty by Rebecca Taussig

    Audio: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, and Sitting Pretty by Rebecca Taussig

    Read aloud: The Wild Robot and Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown, The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, The Vanderbeekers of 141st St by Karina Glaser, The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman

    Looking forward to: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston and Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert


    Life lately

    Sarah shares a story of E’s glasses lost, then found.

    Abby is in a Christmas crafting mood.


    Reading lately

    Sarah read Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford, which she found through the New York Times Best Books of 2020.

    Abby loved escaping into the alternate reality of Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld. Here’s the article that compares the book to reality.


    Eating lately

    Abby added corn pudding to her family’s Thanksgiving, but it was not a success.

    Sarah is devouring spinach and artichoke dip as fast as she can make it.


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


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  • Celebrating 100 episodes + listen q&a

    We reflect on the last four years of making the podcast, then answer listener questions. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions! We cover everything from how we knew our families were complete to whether we have a personal theme song. Listeners, we are so grateful to have you with us on this podcasting journey. Here's to the next hundred episodes!

    Graceful quittingHard timesBeauty and styleWhat a DayHome CookingPod Save AmericaJourney to MidwiferyHarry Potter and the Sacred TextHot and BotheredLet the River Run by Carly Simon

    Life lately

    Abby gives a chick update.

    Sarah's family has started having weekly family meetings.

    Reading lately

    Abby is listening to (and loving) Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Wisdom of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer, while Sarah finished Unfollow: A Journey From Hatred to Hope by Megan Phelps-Roper.

    Eating lately

    Sarah made Swedish meatballs for the first time and Abby made Apple Dapple Cake (recipe below).

    3 c. chopped apples, set aside

    Combine:   

    1 1/2 sticks melted butter 1/2 c. apple sauce4 eggs1 1/2 c. sugar 

    Then stir together dry ingredients:

    3 c. flour (unbleached)1 tsp salt1 tsp soda1/2 tsp cinnamon

    Add dry to wet ingredients.

    Stir in apples.

    Bake in bundt or tube pan for 45-60 ish minutes at 350.

    During the last few minutes of baking, combine 1/2 c. brown sugar with 1/4 c. butter and 2 T. milk in saucepan. Bring to boil. Cook 2 minutes.

    As soon as cake comes out of oven, poke holes in top and then pour topping over. Let cool in pan before inverting.

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


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  • The holidays are fast approaching. We share our plans for the season, including activities, food, gifts, how we plan to stay connected to loved ones, and what we are doing to take care of ourselves. Links we mentioned:

    In a Holidaze by Christina LaurenWinter Street series by Elin HilderbrandDecolonizing ThanksgivingBlueland holiday soap scents

    Life lately

    Sarah continued her gamble of painting rooms without getting samples and Abby shares a Craigslist victory.


    Reading lately

    We both read memoirs this week: Sarah finished Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol by Holly Witaker and Abby listened to Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig.


    Eating lately

    Abby continues her quest for homemade Indian food with chana saag (substituting chickpeas for the paneer).

    Sarah learned to make water kefir from a neighbor.


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


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  • How we've changed

    We each share three ways we've changed since adolescence, one way we've stayed the same, and an area we'd like to change going forward.

    Life lately

    Abby's chicks have arrived!

    Sarah is dreaming about 2021 and bought a new planner (which she heard about from Sarah Hart Unger). Austin Channing Brown perfectly captured the essence of this purchase in her Instagram post last year.

    Reading lately

    Abby listened to Kevin Wilson's Nothing to See Here and Sarah delighted in reading One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London.

    Eating lately

    Sarah's enjoying tiny cans of soda and Abby attempted to recreate her favorite vegetable korma using this recipe.

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


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  • Food quirks

    From melted cheese on a plate to raw sweet potatoes, we discuss what we ate as kids, what unusual preferences we still have, and any quirks of our partners and kids.

    Life lately

    Abby has solved her backyard storage problems by finishing this cabinet and adding these feet.

    Sarah's had a rough start to the school year, but is hoping to reset by restoring some healthy habits.

    Reading lately

    Abby read the YA novel Dear Martin by Nic Stone and Sarah read the (surprise!) thriller Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner.

    Eating lately

    Sarah's went back to an old favorite: mung bean dal from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (very similar to this version, but with carrots instead of apples).

    Abby wanted the ease of a sheet pan dinner, and gave Pinch of Yum's garlic ginger chicken a try.

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


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  • We share the details of our days from Tuesday, September 15th. We did a similar episode two years ago if you’d like to see how our days have changed. Things we mentioned:

    BlueyThe Penderwicks by Jeanne BirdsallCalm sleep stories (HP’s favorites are Wonder, the Night Train, and the Christmas Train)Blue light glasses

    Life lately

    Sarah has creatures roaming her duct work and Abby is loving Blueland for plastic-free household cleaners and soaps.


    Reading lately

    Sarah loved the ending of Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane and Abby listened to Augustus Burroughs’ memoir, Dry.


    Eating lately

    Abby and her mom made homemade truffles.

    Sarah’s family enjoyed a Moroccan potato salad from Mark Bittman’s cookbook, VB6.


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


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  • Our work lives

    We share our work-related history, what jobs we have now, and how those jobs are working for us. And here’s that beautiful essay about choices by Cheryl Strayed that Abby mentioned: The Ghost Ship That Didn’t Carry Us.


    Life lately

    Listening to romance novels on audio is really working for Sarah, and Abby hates sidewalk chalk.


    Reading lately

    Sarah read The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin, and Abby strongly recommends A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy.


    Eating lately

    Abby is obsessed with making pesto from basil she grew.

    Sarah is enjoying quinoa with roasted veggies—a dairy-free favorite.


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


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  • We share strategies we've used to raise independent kids, independence wins and fails, and our favorite resources.

    Visible Child Facebook groupFree Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts With Worry) by Lenore SkenazyThe Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica LaheySmall Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear by Kim Brooks

    Life lately

    Andrew got Abby the perfect Mother's Day gift: a painting of Carrboro made by a dear college friend.

    Sarah's family has been reveling in all the outdoor time this summer.

    Reading lately

    Abby reviews The Heir Affair, which is the must anticipated sequel to The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.

    Sarah discusses All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership by Darcy Lockman.

    Eating lately

    Sarah's family are enjoying an abundance of cucumbers dipped in yogurt sauce.

    Abby made her first burger using this black bean burger recipe.

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


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  • We discuss our sleep needs, habits, and quirks, and reveal which of us snores and which of us talks in her sleep. Here are the links we mentioned in the show:

    Natural Calm supplementsCalm sleep storiesWhy We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

    Life lately

    Sarah shares about the start of online school and Abby recounts her recent secondhand wins.


    Reading Lately

    Sarah read The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow and Abby finished the coming-of-age novel Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera.


    Eating lately

    Abby found a butter chicken recipe that's almost as good as takeout, while Sarah's family has been devouring watermelon.


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


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  • Fall decisions in light of COVID

    We had a mid-year update six weeks ago, but given the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, we wanted to check-in again to talk about how we've made school decisions for the fall, what our work lives look like, and how we are thinking about opening (or not opening) our circles of social interaction.

    Life lately

    We share our thoughts on J.K. Rowling's anti-trans letter and how it will impact the way we consume her work. We recommend this video that breaks down the ways in which her statements are inaccurate, problematic, and hurtful to the trans community. Feel free to reach out if you'd like to discuss this more.

    Reading lately

    Abby listened to (and loved) Americanah by Chimanada Ngozi Adiche and Sarah flew through the Truly Devious trilogy by Maureen Johnson.

    Eating lately

    Sarah is looking for the perfect banana bread recipe. Here's the recipe Abby has honed over the years:

    Mix together:1/2 cup white sugar1/2 cup brown sugar1/4 cup butter (almost melted)1 T flax seed meal in 2.5 T water (or one egg)2 very ripe bananas, mashed1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream3/4 t vanilla3/4 t cinnamon1/8 t salt1 t baking soda1.5 cup flourPour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 until done

    Abby has mastered fried rice, thanks to this recipe, and Sarah recommends adding bacon to fried rice, inspired by Shutterbean.

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


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  • We share our aspirations for our outdoor spaces alongside the reality of their current state. Let us know your favorite/least favorite yard work task so we can celebrate/commiserate with you.


    Life lately

    Sarah's fixing up patio furniture and Abby is loving her kids' pediatrician.


    Reading Lately

    Sarah read The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Abby discovered a new favorite author--Talia Hibbert--when she read Get a Life Chloe Brown.


    Eating lately

    Abby's family enjoyed summer bowls featuring this BBQ tofu and Sarah found a new way to cook lentils.


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


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  • We reflect back on music in our lives growing up, our musical aspirations, instruments we've played or hope to someday (can you guess which one of us considered taking up the sousaphone?), and the songs we love to listen to on repeat. Links to things we mentioned in the show:

    Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae JepsenDear Theodosia from HamiltonStand by Me by Ben E KingHey Delilah by the Plain White TeesInto the WoodsHamiltonThe Last Five YearsWicked

    Life lately

    Abby did an internet deep dive into chickens. And spoiler--chickens are arriving at her house next week!

    Sarah's daydreaming about future home renovations.

    Reading lately

    Abby read A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn, the first novel in the Veronica Speedwell mystery series while Sarah read Erin Morgenstern's latest novel, The Starless Sea.

    Eating lately

    Sarah made homemade french onion dip following Alton Brown's tutorial. Abby made banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

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


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