What a crazy week. We're in the home stretch with school now, just this week and next to go before summer vacation begins. In one way, I can't believe we're already here and in another, it seems like we can't get finished soon enough. Almost there, though. We've had more medical appointments for the LB and are making plans for a summer surgery, in addition to swimming lessons, summer homeschool curricula and a few days' vacation in Denver.
I've felt a bit absent from blogging lately, both my own and others', but I hope to be more immersed again soon. I have been reading and crocheting a lot in my spare time. I've started a small ripple blanket project and have been reading an excellent biography, The Romanov Sisters, about the daughters of the last tsar of Russia. I actually can't put this book down. It's the first book I've stayed up way too late reading in a while. I have more to say about both blanket and book, of course, and I'll do that soon. We have a new podcast online! We're talking about our experiences with chicken-keeping. Click on the "podcast" button in my sidebar if you'd like to listen.
Lately, life has been all about taking time to stop and smell the roses - sometimes literally - as we race through these last few hectic days before the summer break. Here are three things that I've enjoyed lately, because they made me slow down and savor the small stuff.
I stopped at an estate sale last Friday afternoon on the way home from school. I'd been at the park with the small Bears, who ran themselves ragged on the soccer field and the playground, and we were all ready to go home and chill out. I saw a sign in my neighborhood for a sale and decided to drive by just for a look. It turned out to be an amazing sale. I didn't have enough money on me (or elsewhere, let's be honest) for the beautiful antique furniture but I was able to pick up a tin tray with strawberries, perfect for my kitchen, and three old glass bottles.
The bottles are my favorite. I used to collect old glass bottles and jars, starting with a grab-bag of them I found at a flea market when I was fifteen. Eventually, I ended up with about thirty of them, moving them from house to house many times until with one move, I just gave up. It was becoming a chore and I wasn't even unpacking them anymore. I gave most of them away, keeping a few small ones for flowers. I wanted a few big ones again, though, and made room in case I ever found any. These will be great. They're all different (I have a small jar, as for jam, a large mason jar and a milk bottle). They're the old, thick kind of glass with a slight tint to it, and lots of nicks and pits and even a little crack in the big mason jar. Just the kind of old stuff I love!
Ever throw together a meal and have it turn out fabulously? I did that earlier this week. I was making a chicken stir-fry for dinner (I make lots of stir-fries; it's a great way to clean out the veggie drawer). I felt bored with the usual bottled sauce that I use (Trader Joe's Soyaki, which I doctor with a little sesame oil and thicken with a cornstarch slurry). I decided to try making a peanut sauce instead. I used a can of light coconut milk, about 1/3 cup of peanut butter, the juice of a lime, a teaspoon of fish sauce, a dash of red chili flakes and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. I brought it to a boil and let it simmer a few minutes to thicken, then poured it over my cooked chicken and veggies and let it all simmer together for a few more minutes before serving. It was so good! I will definitely do it again. It was a nice change of pace.
I'm really excited about the geraniums I planted on Mother's Day. Last summer, I planted numerous different kinds of annuals in this half-barrel on my back patio, and the geraniums seemed to do the best. This year I decided that I'd just plant geraniums. Why not? They're hardy, they don't require a lot of water and they're colorful. I bought three trailing ivy geraniums at Lowe's on Saturday. I knew one was a fuchsia color because there was a spent bloom on it, but the others were a mystery. The selection at Lowe's included white, pink, red, fuchsia and a white/fuchsia variegated type. As it turns, out, they all seem to be fuchsia and I really like it. The color is bright and crisp and I think it will look lovely in the barrel, which is right next to my red roses, dark pink Jupiter's beard and pale pink primroses. I like red and pink together. And green, lots of green! Let's keep that going.
Speaking of roses and Jupiter's beard...I really can't get enough of this combination right now. I'm bringing in a new bouquet every few days. My roses are a little shabby and the Jupiter's beard sheds all over the table, but I love my slightly untidy real-life flowers.