February usually brings a stretch of warm, sunny weather that feels more like mid-spring than mid-winter, and we got our taste this past week. The sky was perfectly clear for days and we played in the backyard most afternoons or took walks in the neighborhood. We spotted lots of bulb sprouts pushing up, including in our own backyard, where the tulips are poking through last year's dead primroses. We found a small animal's jaw bone on one of our walks; it's fascinating and I kind of want to make it into a pendant, creepiness be damned.
I spent an afternoon clearing debris from a section of the raised planter bed from the water feature to the big rosebush on the side wall, an area about thirty feet long. I tore out last year's mint and Russian sage, pruned back the big rosebush and both the small ones, and cut the hibiscus stalks down to about an inch. I still need to clear out the primrose bed and the barrel where I've been planting geraniums the past few summers. But now there's a snowstorm on the way - our February miracle was fleeting this year. An icy wind howled all day and snow should move in overnight. They say we could get as much as three inches, which is a lot for us. I have my fingers crossed; I'm not ready to let go of winter just yet.
We're getting reading for Valentine's Day around here. The small Bears addressed their valentines for their classmates this morning. It seems that almost everyone gives a candy valentine these days, which isn't really that kosher with me, but it's what they're doing now. I'll die on a different hill. We bought the valentine kits at Target last week, along with a small chocolate treat for the teachers. I volunteered to send in Capri Suns for a party. This morning, I baked a completely superfluous treat for my valentines, Cookie Pie, of all things. It's February's recipe in my Betty Crocker calendar. The Bear and I have long had a running joke where I ask him what he wants for dinner and he tells me "candy pie," so when I saw an actual candy pie in the calendar, I figured now was my chance.
Can I be frank? Right now, I'm wearied by political discussion on blogs. I don't begrudge anyone their opinions. I'm interested and I care very much, but I need a break. I hope you'll understand. I've also deactivated my Instagram account, for those who follow me. I need a break from that too, for other reasons. I don't think I have enough to share, for one thing, and I can't seem to make the time to interact with others the way I probably should. I may go back eventually, but I'm happier with less media noise and fewer things competing for my attention.
Thank you for the sweet comments about my Apple a Day Hotpads. I really enjoyed making them. They're easy and cute. I hope you'll try the pattern yourself. I've been having fun with my Sunburst squares lately and even engaged in a little outdoor hooking this week! So nice. I sat on the patio while the kids played and Betty took a dust bath. I had my basket of yarn and my sewing basket on the table. I was wearing flip-flops! It felt nice to crochet with bare toes. I don't know why I liked it so much but I did. I was trying out join-as-you-go with my Sunbursts, to see if I liked joining them that way, and I really did! I think I'll keep going, making about ten centers and joining them. I don't want to do them all at the end, like I did with my Flowers in the Snow blanket. There will be twice as many of these. It's good to have a project again!
I hope you have a good week ahead, and a very happy Valentine's Day!
adapted from Betty Crocker
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup M&M's® chocolate candies red, white and pink
8 Reese's peanut butter filled hearts milk chocolate candies, unwrapped
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
In large bowl, mix cookie mix, softened butter and egg with spoon until soft dough forms. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate candies and the 1/2 cup peanut butter chocolate candies. Press dough in bottom of pie plate. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup chocolate candies over top; lightly press into dough. Press heart-shaped candies lightly into dough.
Bake 28 to 30 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden brown. Cool completely on cooling rack, at least 2 hours, before cutting. Store tightly covered.