Friday, January 4, 2013

Lazy week

We're having a leisurely time here in the Thistlebear home as the holiday vacation winds down. The Bear went back to work on Wednesday but the small Bears won't return to their schools until next week, Tuesday to be exact.

I haven't yet discussed their schools. The Little Bear goes to school Tuesday through Friday, half-days. He attends a public alternative school which gives parents the opportunity/responsibility of homeschooling 50% of the time. He started there last year as a kindergartner and is now in first grade. We have been very happy with this arrangement, but is not stress-free, as I am sure I will be discussing in the future.

The Girl Bear goes to preschool at a local church. She only goes Tuesday and Thursday mornings this year. She is only four and we think that's sufficient for her right now. She will probably go three mornings next year. This is the first time since they were born that I have a little child-free time in my week and I've been enjoying that a lot. It was not easy to leave her at first (we both had a little trouble with the separation) but she is doing much better now, almost five months in.

So the three of us have been at home together the past three days. For the most part, it has been peaceable and we've enjoyed ourselves. We didn't do very much outside the house, though. We might have, but on Wednesday my car would not start; it turned out that the battery had died. The Bear installed a new one and we finally went out this morning, to do some grocery shopping. Otherwise, we've just laid low at home this week. But we've had a good time, I think.

There was much playing and reading, with some hooky time for me. I'm almost done with this giant granny; I have two more rounds left to do and then the Double V border I mentioned the other day. And that is IT! I have been working on this blanket for four months and it has certainly been a labor of love, my largest and longest-lived project so far. I will post the big reveal soon.

The small Bears love to play in our living room, which is on the south side of the house. On these cold winter days, the sun streams in through the large picture window in that room all day long. It's warm and cozy in there, with bright light for almost any activity. The Bears like to play on the floor in the large sunny patch. I sometimes enjoy lying there myself.

They have been playing a lot with a Lego construction kit the LB received for Christmas. It allows you to build work machines, like this front-loader. It's a very advanced kit but he did great building it all by himself. He has played with it almost constantly since Christmas Day.

He does share with his sister, sometimes a bit reluctantly, but when he does funny things can happen. Here, she has decided that her little doll needed a ride.

But mostly, she's happy to hang out nearby and do her own thing with her dolls and domestic-play toys. She's my little mini-mom. I loved the way she curled up in the sunny patch while they played.

Sometimes they retreated to the family room at the back of the house. It's not nearly as warm there but it's where the TV, their books and most of their toys are kept. I love the family room because it's open to the kitchen, and I can work while still watching and talking with them. I love my house very much. Sometime I'll give you a tour.

Here they read books, watch their TV shows (TV time is very limited here but we do allow some), do lots of drawing, coloring and other arts and crafts. They have to sit at the kitchen table for paint or clay projects, though. This week there has been lots of lounging in chairs with books.

Meanwhile, I had my own pursuits. Besides yarn-and-hook time, I've been reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which has been an excellent novel. I waited for five months for my turn to have a copy from the library. There were hundreds of holds on the book already before it was even published, as I recall. It's good so far, but I am only about 70 pages in right now.

I've been cooking and baking too. Mostly for the sake of daily eating, of course, having just come off weeks of cooking, baking and heavy eating with the holidays. I enjoy cooking as well as baking. I try to make foods from scratch every day. I get myself in the mood for cooking by tying on my apron every day around 4 PM. I leave it on until everything is cleaned up from our dinner. Having a pretty apron helps; I've become a lover of all things Cath Kidston since I started reading blogs from the UK last year; this year I got some CK goodies for my birthday in November, including this new apron.

This week I was determined to use up leftovers and I did pretty well; we had made sweet corn tamales before Christmas and we had tons of them. We ate many for lunches in the past week or two. I had baked a spiral-sliced ham on Christmas Day and had four dinners' worth left over, plus the ham bone, which I used in split-pea soup this week. I made it in my slow-cooker, and it was easy and delicious. I may try to share my recipe.

I also did some cheater's baking, using Bisquick. This is one of favorite staple items in the kitchen. I like the "Heart-Smart" variety, which has less fat and cholesterol, but still behaves and tastes the same to us as the traditional variety. I made a little garlicky bread to go with this soup. It was very easy, just a cup of Bisquick, a half-cup of milk and an egg, plus a sprinkle of dried parsley if you like.

Just stir it up, pour the batter into a small baking dish sprayed with Pam, bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Then melt a couple of teaspoons of butter in the microwave and stir in 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. Poke your bread full of holes with a fork, then spoon the butter mixture over it, letting it soak into the bread. Cut into slices or squares and serve. It's a delicious, easy side dish that I often serve with soup. The recipe came from an old cookbook, published by Bisquick in the early 1980's, which was handed down to me by my mother-in-law.

We had enough soup from that pot for a hearty dinner together, then three lunch-sized portions for the Bear to take to work with him. I love making big pots of soup, stew and other dishes for my family! So warm and satisfying, and the leftovers are wonderful.

Now it's Friday and we're all a little crazy with cabin-fever, but we're having another cozy day at home, aside from the aforementioned grocery run this morning. Tonight when the Bear gets home, we plan to go out to eat for a change, to Five Guys for burgers. We don't eat out much, and the small Bears and I have never been there, but the Bear has and he liked it. So we'll try something new as well as having a change of scenery. That seems like the perfect way to end this lazy week.


  1. Hi Jennifer, thanks for visiting my blog and your kind comment.

    We have also been having some lazy days, we haven't been out much recently and we've done a lot of crafting and playing at home. Love your Cath Kidston apron - I have one of hers with cherries on it.

    Gillian x

    1. Thanks, Gillian! Thank you for visiting my blog. I'm enjoying my lazy days too but I'm starting to be a bit eager to get back to normal by now! Hope you're having a good weekend. :)

  2. Just found your blog and I'm enjoying it! I recently discovered UK blogs and have become a Cath Kidson fan as well. I love your apron!

    Jenny (from way up north in Montana)

  3. Thanks, Jenny! I love CK, everything is so pretty! It's nice to meet you. :)


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