Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Yarn Along


This week, I'm making some more progress on my little crocheted bag. I stopped increasing and am now just working even, building up the sides. I haven't really made a concrete plan yet, just crocheting around and around to make it taller. I hadn't done much crochet-in-the-round for a while and had forgotten how much I enjoy it. Do you like to work in the round? I think my favorite thing about it is how neatly it works out, as long as you make the stitches in the right places. It's fun to watch the shape develop, even if you're not precisely sure what you're making...

I finally got back to the library on Monday and brought home a big bag o' books. All my life, I've loved having new library books, it's like Christmas for me! There's so much potential in unread books; I borrow a bagful and I'm happy as a clam for a couple of weeks. First up, I'm reading I Regret Nothing by Jen Lancaster. Have you read any of her books? She writes memoirs in the self-improvement vein but not the preachy kind. Instead, she swears a lot and tells funny yet thoughtful stories of her mistakes and misfortunes; she learns and so does the reader. She may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I like her.

Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along

Monday, September 28, 2015

Martha & Me - September

This month, I tried two recipes from the September issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine, a PB&J Tart, and Sweet Potato-Parmesan Fries (you can click on each link to see the recipes on Martha's website). Both recipes were basically successful in my kitchen, but I would not call this my favorite Martha month. Let's start with the tart...



The PB&J Tart caught my eye right away when I first browsed the September issue. I love peanut butter. I eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches several times a week, even now as an adult (they're cheap, filling and delicious, what's not to love?). I was very eager to try this recipe.


The recipe is simple, maybe a bit deceptively so, actually. You're making a simple shortbread crust with sugar, salt, flour and butter, baking it, then spreading peanut butter and jelly over it and baking again. It seemed easier than it actually was, but I'll get to that. The recipe suggested using grape, strawberry or raspberry jelly (not jam; you need thin, non-chunky jelly for this recipe) and sweetened peanut butter. The jelly was easy; I happen to really love concord grape jelly and it's cheap and easy to find. But I don't keep sweetened peanut butter around and just can't buy it either. Not because I don't like it but because I really like it. I used the natural, non-sweetened peanut butter I always keep in the house.




The dough was simple to make, but I had to modify the directions because you were supposed to make the dough in a food processor. I don't own a food processor (I did once, but I gave it away because I never really used it and it just took up valuable kitchen space), so I used my standing mixer with paddle attachment to mix up the dough ingredients. I think it worked fine, but I also found the dough to be a bit stiff and hard to shape, so maybe using a food processor would have worked better. I don't know. I do know that the dough was supposed to be rolled into a long, narrow rectangular shape and it wasn't going to happen for me. I was also supposed to flute the edges with my fingers, but it was too stiff and dry so I did the best I could without breaking it apart.


The crust is made with an interesting technique that I haven't really seen before. After the raw dough is rolled out and placed on a sheet pan, it's placed in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then, it's baked (un-topped) in two stages, with a pause in between to push down the bubbles forming in the crust with the bottom of a metal measuring cup. After the second stage, the crust is removed from the oven so that the peanut butter and jelly can be spread over the top. I heated the jelly in the microwave to thin it and make it easier to spoon over the peanut butter. The jelly is also swirled through the peanut butter with a wooden skewer before the whole thing goes back in the oven again.


After baking for the final time, the tart is moved to a cooling rack. The jelly was bubbly at first, but it sort of hardened into a thick gel with the peanut butter, becoming a bit dry and pasty. I wondered if the sweetened peanut butter would have done better here. I didn't think the tart looked very nice by this stage (the peanut butter and jelly looked lumpy and forget that crust), but it smelled really delicious.


I cut my tart into 12 squares, instead of the slender wedges shown in the recipe. I was concerned about the integrity of my crust if I cut it that way. Squares worked well, though, and the crust actually turned out to be surprisingly sturdy. The tart was tasty. I liked the crust, which was buttery but not too sweet. The peanut butter did have a pasty texture, which I didn't love, but the jelly was nice and firm and I thought the PB&J flavor came through nicely. I think that if I were to make this again, I might use a basic sugar-cookie dough for the crust; it would boost the flavors of the peanut butter and jelly, and be a little easier to work with. I might not bother swirling the jelly through the peanut butter because I don't think it matters much to the recipe and didn't look as attractive as I'd hoped. All in all, this was an interesting recipe but not one that I'm clamoring to make again right now.



The Sweet Potato-Parmesan Fries came from a spread featuring recipes for french fry-like baked vegetables. I love french fries and I enjoy trying different takes on the idea. Sweet potato fries are one of my favorite variations and I have made them numerous times, but I've always kept it very simple, making them with just olive oil, salt and pepper. This recipe also included grated parmesan cheese, which I'd never tried before. I thought it sounded good.


The fries were simple to make. I used a little less sweet potato than the recipe called for, but that was inadvertent; one of the three potatoes I'd purchased turned out to be bad and I had to throw it away. I was short only a few ounces of potato for the recipe, so it was not a big deal. As much as I enjoy eating sweet potato fries, the slicing process is a little scary for me. Sweet potatoes are difficult to cut because they are so hard. I usually end up using some combination of about three different knives to achieve the slender sticks needed to make fries with them, and I pray the whole time that I'll still have some fingers left when I'm done. The recipe was just the same as I've always done - peel, slice, place sticks in a bowl to be tossed with oil and seasoning - except this time, I added 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese to the bowl.


I baked the fries on a sheet pan, as directed. If I'd used the full amount of potato, I would have followed Martha's suggestion to divide the fries between two pans and rotate them in the oven halfway through cooking. My fries fit just fine on one half-sheet pan, but they took much longer to bake than the recipe suggested. I don't think they were crowded on the pan, which can be a problem for baking. I often find sweet potatoes to be slow to cook, whether they're whole or cut up. I ended up using my oven's "speed bake" feature (basically turning it into a convection oven) for about ten minutes in order to get the fries to cook through and start crisping up. I don't often use the "speed bake" setting because I feel it dries food out too much, but it was necessary here.


We had our fries with Shake N Bake chicken and corn. The fries look pretty good, right? The color is nice and they did get some browning after awhile. Well, they looked better than they tasted. The parmesan made them very salty and kind of greasy. You couldn't really taste the cheese flavors, just salt. I would have cut the added salt or omitted it altogether. I might have used less cheese too, but the cheese turned out to be the best part because it had browned all over the pan and was crispy and delicious. But it was stuck hopelessly to the pan in a lot of places and required hours of soaking and much scrubbing with Brillo to remove. This doesn't happen when I make my ho-hum cheeseless sweet potato fries, which taste really good anyway, so I'll probably just stick with those in the future.

You win some, you lose some! September was not my Martha-est month. Here's to more success in October.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ten





The LB turned ten this week. We celebrated quietly at home, just the four of us. His birthday was on our busiest day of the week, which includes a late-afternoon ballet class for his sister and a slapdash dinner at home afterward. I felt badly that this was the same day as his birthday, so we made sure to go out for dinner over the previous weekend - his choice. Do you know what this boy chose? Jason's Deli. Because he loves the salad bar. He wanted salad for his special birthday dinner - for the second year in a row. It's entirely possible I am not his real mother. Granted, they do have banana pudding and chocolate mousse on the salad bar, and there is soft-serve ice cream with chocolate sauce too. After his two huge plates of salad, he was certainly entitled to indulge.

Most of his birthday presents were computer-related; he is rapidly becoming a very proficient programmer and loves to build small computer systems. The Bear helps him, but it's amazing to see how much he does on his own. It's all Greek to me, of course, but I'm proud of his interest in computers. I think it could easily become an obsession if we let it, so we try to encourage other hobbies too. We also gave him some books and art stuff, as well as some baking supplies - cake mix, decorator icings, sugar decors, etc. - that he can use alone, or with a little help. This summer, he learned to make several foods by himself, such as scrambled eggs and oatmeal, and I think cakes and cookies will be fun for him. He also got a bottle of blueberry pancake syrup, just because. We had ice cream cake after our hasty post-ballet dinner. I noticed that the light levels were very different from his sister's birthday, only 17 days previously. It's all happening so quickly now and it really struck me this year.

He's TEN! Goodness. It's incredible to think that he has been here for a whole decade. As you know, it hasn't been the easiest or happiest year for him, and while that hurts my heart, I do think that I've had a remarkable opportunity to watch him grow and learn through it - sometimes in spite of it. I've learned from him too - to be tougher, to be calmer, to accept things that can't be changed, to work harder at the things that can be changed. Toughness, calmness and acceptance do not come easily to me, but they do to him. Salad aside, there are plenty of reasons to wonder how this kid came from me. He's all mine (I'd know that nose anywhere because it's mine too), and I really couldn't be prouder to be his mother.

Just one more birthday to go in this year's birthday season - mine!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Color Collaborative: September: Market


In the introduction to her 2008 cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, Ina Garten writes about cooking seasonally, explaining how she learned to cook this way when she and her husband began spending part of the year in Paris. There, people visit the markets each morning to buy food for the day, choosing from foods that are in season at that moment. Ina had always dreamed of cooking like a Frenchwoman but she found the reality of food-shopping in Paris to be stressful. She realized that people there had limited options; they could only cook what was in season, and some ingredients that she was used to - pumpkins and cranberries at Thanksgiving time, for example - were not available at all. Over time, she adjusted to the idea that she would have to cook like a French person, going to the market without a plan and buying what was there on a given day. She learned to cook seasonally, making use of what was plentiful, which was also what tasted best.


I've never been to Paris. A lot of what I know about Paris - living there, cooking and eating there - actually comes from reading Ina's cookbooks. (I am a die-hard Ina fan. I've often said that I want to be her when I grow up. If that means an apartment in Paris someday - well, fine. I have to play the part, don't I?) When I read Ina's discussion of shopping in Paris, my illusions were shattered. I, too, had long maintained a fantasy of shopping daily in a bustling city market, a large leather-handled basket over my shoulder with a baguette poking out of the top. I'd be wearing a long, floaty skirt, or maybe a trim top with cigarette pants (I'd be trim in general). The food would be impossibly fresh and I would be spoiled for choice. I'd take it home and cook a gorgeous meal, which we'd eat on our terrace. We'd drink wine and the children would behave beautifully, complimenting me on the fabulous meal I'd served...

Romantic notions, straight from the mind of the woman who just told you she's never been to Paris.

Back to reality. Shopping, cooking and eating, for us, are not quite like that. We're not picky eaters at all, but freshness is important. We eat a lot of produce around here - a good five or six servings per day when you count both fruits and vegetables - and I really like the idea of buying it all fresh every day or two. Even more, I like the idea of having it be easy to find, and affordable. I'm one of those rare people who adores buying groceries, even in a mainstream supermarket. But I don't always think about the seasonal limitations of food shopping. Ina's experiences give me pause; it would be much more difficult to shop entirely based on seasonal availability, but it would help a cook learn to be more creative and resourceful too. I do try to shop, and cook, seasonally - I buy apples in fall and citrus in winter, asparagus in spring and tomatoes in summer. There is room for choice; if I feel like it, I really can have an apple pie in May, or an asparagus tart in September. They won't be the best examples of those foods, though, and that's where seasonal marketing shines.


Though we recognize that shopping locally and seasonally is important, we live in a part of the country that isn't always conducive to bountiful harvests. The chile harvest, for example, is highly dependent on the monsoon season - more rain means more chiles, and an earlier harvest for a longer buying season. In spite of the difficulties of growing produce in the high desert, we have some excellent farming around the state. Here in Albuquerque, we're fortunate to have a wonderful farmer's market during the growing seasons, with early autumn its biggest and best time. The Downtown Grower's Market is open on Saturday mornings and it attracts a big crowd every week. There is live music. There are fruits and vegetables, cheeses, breads, pastries, dried meats, eggs and many different kinds of handicrafts. It's fun to browse and try and taste. It's also a good opportunity to ponder local, seasonal produce (more plentiful than many people realize), and learn how to make it a bigger part of our lives.


Chiles feature prominently, of course, along with other types of peppers. You can buy fresh red or green chiles to take home, or have them roasted at the market. You can also find dried-chile ristras, to decorate your home (it's traditional in New Mexican culture to hang one outside your front door as a sign of welcome). Chiles freeze well, especially if you take the time to cook and chop them first. Then, they can be enjoyed all year. You can buy them in the grocery store, often from larger-scale farms, but they always seem to taste better when they come from small farms dotted around New Mexico. Peppers are an important part of autumn here, culturally as well as economically. I think our peppers epitomize local, seasonal harvest.


Pumpkins and root vegetables are having their moment now. Carrots, potatoes, turnips, garlic and onions abound, basic elements for hearty cold-weather stews and soups. Soon, it will be time to stay indoors and eat things that fill you up and keep you warm. These foods travel well and store well, waiting until you're ready to use them. To me, carrots and pumpkins, with their warm, brilliant shades and promising culinary potential, are a seasonal must.


Autumn is the season of golden fruits, flowers and foliage. Our market is full of yellow at this time of year - squashes, gourds, peppers, apples and sunflowers crowd the tables. Yellow is one of the freshest food colors, bringing to mind crispness, juicy bites, sun-warmed flavors. It's easy to imagine building meals around such foods, isn't it? As Ina put it, the food that is plentiful right now is also the food that tastes best. Whether in Paris or in your own hometown, cooking seasonally is smart and delicious.

Do you try to cook and eat locally and/or seasonally? What is in season right now where you live?

***********

Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below: 

Annie at Annie Cholewa 
Sandra at Cherry Heart 
Sarah at mitenska
 
What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Yarn Along


I've put Hensfoot aside to begin working on some holiday gifts. This is my first project and it's still in the experimental stage. I'm making a small bag, starting with a basic flat circle that has five rounds of increasing stitches. I have a vision for a small purse, either with handles or a drawstring, that a little girl might use for carrying small treasures. I know several little girls who would probably enjoy such a thing. I'm using small ends of Stylecraft Special DK, with an E (3.5mm) hook to make the stitches tight. If it works out nicely, I may make a few.

I don't have a book on the go this week, having reached the bottom of my teetering stack of library books. It's a good chance to catch up on the stack of magazines I've been accumulating while plowing through all those books. Today, I'm reading the October issue of Martha Stewart Living. It's full of comfy fall recipes and projects, such as the pumpkin on the cover. Check it out - those leaves are made of paper, decoupaged onto a white-painted pumpkin. It's a very bold look. I can't imagine my family of jack-o-lantern fanatics going for it, but I think it's really cool.

Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along, a little early.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fourteen hours


6:00 am - I wake up and start my day. Shower, make the bed, wake up the small Bears and start getting them ready for school. It's Private Friday* and I can't wait to kick off my morning with the Bear.


8:00 am - We drop off the small Bears at school. There's a hot-air balloon in the sky! It's that time of year again.


8:30 am - Private Friday commences! We go to Flying Star Cafe for breakfast - coffee, with a breakfast burrito (Christmas style) and a cinnamon roll, both to share. We talk and laugh and linger.


10:00 am - Reluctantly, we begin our errands. Private Friday is not all fun and games! Our first stop is a frame shop, to pick up some family photos we had framed. We also visit a bookstore, for birthday presents for the LB.


11:00 am - We go to Whole Foods Market, mostly to look at cheese and beer. Everything looks good, but we leave with only toothpaste. So virtuous!


12:00 pm - Breakfast has worn off, time for lunch! We get subs at Jimmy John's. 


1:00 pm - We pick up the small Bears at school and take them to the park across the street. Lots of families stay to play on Fridays. The Bear plays; I sit in the shade, holding my friend's new baby. I think I got the better deal.


2:30 pm - Back home. The Bear has to go in to work for a little while, so it's just the three of us. She reads, he plays Minecraft. (Yes, I do make him play on the floor next to my bins of yarn; it's a small office/hobby/craft room).


3:00 pm - I make some tea and and sit down with a few cookies. The children find me; I lose two cookies.


 4:00 pm - The Bear returns. He receives vast amounts of help using his computer.


5:00 pm - We head to the backyard to grill, play with hens, collect eggs and generally toss things around (but not eggs). I prune and weed, the Bear cooks.


6:00 pm - Dinner is served. We have grilled chicken, grilled zucchini and couscous.


7:00 pm - A little girl gets ready for bed. Her brother is right behind her; it has been a long day.


7:45 pm - The house is quiet and we're unwinding. The sunset is beautiful and I have to take a picture. Then I go back inside to make stove popcorn. It's Friday night and that's the rule.

*The Bear is off from work every other Friday. The kids go to school for the morning and we have a few hours to spend together, doing whatever we feel like doing. We call it Private Friday. It's wonderful!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yarn Along


This week, I'm still crunching away on my larksfoot blanket, which I've decided to name Hensfoot, in honor of my chicken girlies. I'm enjoying this blanket very much. I'm going to have to put it aside before long to get started on some holiday-gift crocheting, which will be fun too, so I'm savoring this work and still trying to pace myself because it's just so pleasant. I'm smitten.

I finished Me Before You, the Jojo Moyes novel I was reading last week. I really liked it. It wasn't perfect; I think the writing is a little...lightweight? I don't know. The story seemed somewhat simplistic for the serious issues being discussed, but I enjoyed it. I hear they're making a movie! That should be interesting. I looked up the Wikipedia article for the movie and the only actor I recognize is Brendan Coyle, who plays Bates on Downton Abbey.

This week, I'm reading The Family Romanov, by Candace Fleming. I've discussed my long-held obsession with this subject before. This book is new to me, though. It's actually written for young adults and is a simpler version of the story of the fall of imperial Russia. It's well-written and really quite gripping in its details and has a lot of photographs I've never seen elsewhere. I want to find some of the author's other YA histories now, particularly her books about the Lincolns and Amelia Earhart. I've always been sort of a closet reader of YA books, due in part to the fact that I used to teach high school English. I like to keep up on what those whippersnappers are reading nowadays (and store ideas away for when my kids will be ready for books at this level).

Hey, I'm sorry if I haven't been visiting your blogs much lately. I'm having some problems with my blog feeds. I'm also feeling kind of blah lately; it's nothing serious, just some mood-related ups and downs, feeling a little anxious. Sometimes it just doesn't come easy, you know?  I'm okay, working hard (oh so very, very hard, trying to keep up with these two little brainiacs and all their learning and making and doing). I'll be back soon, my peas and carrots.

Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along

Monday, September 14, 2015

Papa's tomatoes


I have a thing for tomatoes. I could eat them every single day - more than once a day - and it wouldn't be enough. This time of year, when the tomato plants are groaning with fruit, is one of the best, I think. I can't grow my own tomatoes very well, though I have tried and tried. There's something about the angles of sun exposure in our yard - the sunniest areas are also much too hot and are difficult to water. This year, we tried buckets on the patio. They were modestly successful - we had three cherry tomatoes and one small, streaky-green heirloom slicing tomato. We're studying our tomato difficulties with great seriousness; computerized soil-temperature-taking systems are in use as we speak. This is not necessarily my area of expertise, but I'm eager to see the findings. If they lead to future bumper crops of tomatoes for my eating pleasure, so much the better.


In the meantime, I buy tomatoes in the store, and I take as many homegrown handouts as I can get. I like just about all varieties of tomato, and I often buy assortments, such as the Mini Heirloom tomatoes sold at Trader Joe's (that's where the tomatoes in these photos came from). My in-laws grow tomatoes at their house, while they're in the US for the summer. They live just two blocks away while they're here, in a house with a big, sunny patio in the back. They have great exposure for tomatoes and they grow large, delicious, deep-red ones in rolling planters that they move throughout the day. I gladly take bagfuls of their tomatoes from July through September.

This year, their tomatoes developed a fungus once ripened and quickly deteriorated. To say that I was disappointed barely begins to describe it. I was gutted, I'd been looking forward to their tomatoes all year. I hope that between their gardening expertise (my mother-in-law is a botanist, after all; she does know a thing or two about plant life), and our intensive, scholarly tomato research, we'll all be enjoying oodles of tomatoes next summer.


Do you ever try to trace where your love for something started? I think about this often when it comes to foods, especially tomatoes because I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't crave them. I think it began when I was a child. We had a neighbor across the street who grew enormous Beefsteak tomatoes in his backyard. He was an older man, in his eighties when I was a small child, and he lived with his daughter and her husband. His name was Bill, but my sisters and I called him Papa Bill, out of respect and to distinguish him from our own Grandpa Bill.

We liked to go over to their house with our mother, to chat with them all on the driveway (it was that kind of neighborhood; everyone sat outside in lawn chairs on summer evenings). Papa Bill would show us his tomato plants. He was very proud of them. We'd watch their progress all summer; by August, they were dragging on the ground under the weight of their fruit. When they ripened, he'd send us home with a paper bag full of softball-sized tomatoes. Our mother would give us each a brown Tupperware bowl and we'd sit on the front steps as the summer night closed in, eating our tomatoes like apples, trying to use our bowls to catch the drips. Juice ran down our arms, into our sleeves, and down our necks into our collars. We needed baths when we were finished. I savored the taste until it was time to brush my teeth.

Papa Bill's tomatoes were one of the highlights of my childhood summers. He died when I was twelve years old and I'll always remember him for his generosity and his incredible tomato garden. I know it's because of him and his tomatoes that I love them so much now.


I dream of eating tomatoes like those again someday. The ones I've been enjoying this summer have been pretty darn good, though. I still eat them plain, sometimes like an apple the way I did as a child, but more often I eat them sliced, or chopped in a salad with other ingredients. In the summer, I'm happiest with lighter foods, and I find that a tomato salad with some good bread and a little hummus, or cheese, makes a very good lunch - or even dinner if it's one of those exceptionally hot, slow days where I don't feel like moving, let alone cooking a full meal. I think simple is best when it comes to enjoying fresh ingredients, don't you? I usually dress my sliced tomatoes with salt, pepper, a little bit of olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. When I have fresh basil, I tear a few leaves into small pieces and scatter them over the dressed tomatoes. I can eat pounds of tomatoes this way; heck, I can eat pounds of good tomatoes whole, with my hands, standing over the kitchen sink. Slicing, dressing and plating are optional steps. Silverware need not apply.

Friday, September 11, 2015

This and that










I'm so glad it's Friday. I've spent the morning at home by myself, puttering. The laundry has been going since 7:30, the kitchen and bathrooms are clean and now I'm relaxing. There's something very satisfying for me in getting the housework done. I wouldn't call myself a clean freak, oh no. I'm not obsessive about cleaning or organizing, but I find a lot of balance, we'll say, in completing these tasks. Knowing they're done, knowing I could invite anyone in here most of the time and have the house be presentable at least, makes me happy. I like an orderly home, but I'm not necessarily after an immaculate one. I also have a weird thing where I truly enjoy having the washer and dryer going. It's something about the noise of it, at the back of the house in the utility room going out to the garage. It's working, getting the job done. I like the sound as much as the idea of it. The clean clothes are nice too.

We've had a hectic week and I'm relishing the quiet and solitude of my morning. The LB was back in the hospital earlier in the week for a follow-up surgery. This one was minor compared to the one he had in July, and only required a very long day in the hospital. They sent us home and we nearly ended up back in the emergency room that night. There was reason to believe that complications were arising. In the end, we didn't go. He seemed okay after a while and it was late, so we stayed home and watched him carefully. I began to think that keeping him overnight in the hospital would have been a good idea, at least that first night. He seems better now and says he feels the best he has since before the surgery in July. I think it's because the stents were removed this week; they must have been irritating. Yesterday, I watched him riding his bicycle around and around the back patio with a big grin on his face. He hadn't ridden since the beginning of July and he was so happy. He can run and jump and climb now, and I am so thrilled for him, I can't even tell you how happy it makes me to see this boy play again, and just in time for his double-digit birthday the week after next.

What do you have planned for the weekend? We're going to spend the rest of Friday at home, once I've picked up the small Bears from school this afternoon. We're ordering a pizza for dinner tonight. We have music lessons for both children tomorrow and some homeschool projects to finish in time for classroom presentations in the next couple of weeks for both of them. I plan to crochet and light my new candle, a pear-scented Yankee jar candle I bought last week. I have to buy groceries. I think we'll stick close to home otherwise, resting up after our stressful week and enjoying these last few weeks of real Indian summer weather. It almost always seems like October blows in with a storm, shrouding the mountain and leaving a glaze of white on the peaks. September is for savoring.

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Thank you for your interest in a winter-project check-in! Many of you said you might be interested in participating and I'm really excited about that. I was thinking we could have them on the first weekend of each month. I'd post a link-up, as part of my own post about my winter project. The link-up would be open for a week. You can add your post to the link-up here. Any kind of project is welcome - knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery, etc. I'd only ask that you link back to my post in yours, to help spread the word about the link-up; the more the merrier. Please join me for the first winter-project link-up in October!
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