Sunday, February 4, 2018

Winter waning












Hello! I hope you're having a good weekend. Here, it's Super Bowl Sunday and I'm getting some things organized so we can have a fun plate-on-your-lap kind of dinner later on while we watch the game. I did laundry all morning and I'm so glad that's over now.

It's good to be back here on my blog again. I'm still having some trouble finding interesting things to say and share here; life has been quiet and pleasant, and I'm feeling much better after a stressful few months. But I'm starting to notice that blogs are disappearing and that worries me. I don't have any plan to quit my blog, but I do think I need to adopt a new mindset. Instead of wondering whether the things I write here are interesting enough (there's enough navel-gazing in the world), I'm just going to assume that if you've been reading my blog for a while (I've been doing this over five years now, holy cow), then you like the kind of mundane, daily-life stuff I share. You're not looking for beautifully styled food, artfully battered furniture or expertly planned wardrobes. And a good thing, too - I don't have any of it. I completely get that there are lots of places to go for inspiration, and far be it from me to dictate where anyone else should look for it. I just wanted you to know, lovely reader, that I'm still here and still thinking basic, everyday life stuff. It's what I do, and who I am, so it should be what I write about.

Thank you for the lovely things you said about my Big Gulp blanket. I'm really happy with it, especially because it's big and warm, and it used up so much yarn. I still have plenty left over to make at least one more blanket. I'm thinking about something with hexagons. I've tried them in the past and given up quickly, but I feel like giving them another shot. Some of my oldest blankets, which we use in the family room for TV-watching and tent-building, mainly, could stand to be replaced. I've realized lately just how important proper sewing-in of ends actually is, because when I look at my early blankets where I tended to take it for granted, there are holes and unraveling sections galore. My first ripple, made in 2011, looks like a big slice of Swiss cheese. Sew your ends in properly, kids. Avoid blanket cheese.

I've been cross-stitching while I think about the next stash-busting, cheese-replacing blanket. I'm working on the Vintage Red Coffee Pot design from Stitchrovia, a cross-stitch pattern shop on Etsy. I also plan to stitch the similar design, Little Vintage Tea Pot, and hang them together in my kitchen. I bought the patterns way back in 2014 and have been excited to make them ever since, but other projects kept coming up. I really like Stitchrovia, by the way; the designs are modern, colorful and very striking visually. I have also stitched the adorable, kitschy Retro Kitchen Sampler design, which has been hanging in my kitchen for a couple of years. I'm thinking about doing this Strawberries and Cream design eventually too. My kitchen has a strawberry theme, and there's a wall in the breakfast nook that I really want to restyle. Right now it has a poster-sized, framed botanical print of strawberry plants and...that's it. The wall has looked this way since 2009 and was meant to be a stopgap while I decided what I wanted. Nine years later, I really think it's high time to move on.

I wanted to report on our successful new plan where the LB stays at the library for computer coding club by himself. It's going so well. I'm really pleased. He already knows a lot about coding (programming), but he's learning a lot of new things (to his great surprise; I knew he still had plenty of room but you know how it goes). The club is for ages 12-17, and the kids are at all different ability levels. They provide snacks, which is obviously a selling point (I've heard about mini bags of chips, granola bars, and Red Vines licorice whips). The instructor is also one of the children's librarians and we've known her for ages, so he's comfortable with her and I'm happy knowing she's a good egg. Really, it's been a great addition to our family's life. I'm proud of him, especially. He's growing up and while I'm not always thrilled about that, we're figuring it out together. 12 has been easier in certain ways that 10 and 11 were. I don't know if that's true for girls as well, but I guess I'll soon find out.

We finally had some snow about two weeks ago. And by "some," I mean a very tiny dusting. We woke up to a thin layer of snow that was really more like a sheet of ice. It was kind of dangerous, actually. The back patio was like glass. But there was a little snow on the tops of the railroad ties edging the planter bed, and a little fluffy layer covering the empty pots on the patio, and even a little on the trees. It was nice while it lasted. Now it's warm out, like so often happens in February. It could still go back to being cold again, but it's been such a weird winter that I won't count on that. A shame, really, because I love winter. I look forward to bad weather, wind in the chimney and fires in the fireplace. I hope there's still a little more to come.

All the same, I'm already thinking about summer. We'll continue with swimming and diving lessons. I will need to consult the library summer programs calendar when that gets released, but I'm sure we'll make it to many of those events, as we always do. I've made camping reservations already, for one weekend in June and one in July. We're going to try one new campground this year (well, new to me and the kids; the Bear has camped there in the past), and stick with one of our old favorites too. I'm hoping for dry weather, unlike last summer's monsoonal experience, but we'll make it work whatever happens. I really like camping, and there's a lot to be said for adaptability and resilience, or so they tell me. I mostly agree, but I also like dryness and comfort. Oh, did I mention that the new-to-me campground has showers? Heck yeah.

Did you hear that there's going to be a movie with Tom Hanks playing Mr. Rogers? I can't wait. I think that's perfect casting, don't you? They even look alike. The Bear and I were just re-watching Apollo 13, on Netflix, the other night and thinking how great he is. Then I saw the Mr. Rogers news the next day. We also watched A Futile and Stupid Gesture, also on Netflix and really good, about the founder of National Lampoon. We're both big fans of such classy entertainment as Animal House and Caddyshack; movies like this are one of the major ties that bind us, really. I've been watching Victoria, with moderately reluctant participation from my other half, and I really love it. The second season is even better than the first, I think. I'm reading the novel the show is based on at the moment too. I like it, but I prefer some of the Victoria biographies I've read, particularly the recent Julia Baird one.

Oh, we're trying to make sauerkraut right now. I don't eat it myself, but the rest of them like it. I'm not sure how it will work out, but I like the idea of trying to ferment things. We used to make beer, way back in the pre-parenthood days when we actually drank enough beer to make the cost and the effort worthwhile. We've made some pickles, but mostly fresh ones, not really anything fermented. So we'll see about this sauerkraut. Salt and green cabbage are cheap enough to try as many times as it takes.

I hope you have a good week. What have you got going on? It's going to be nice here, so I may take the kids to the BioPark tomorrow morning, to walk around the small aquarium and the botanic garden. Our hens seem to have decided it's spring, what with the lengthening daylight, and they're back to laying eggs. I plan to resume my frittata, omelet and quiche dinners soon. I want to bake something soon too; last week, I baked one of my favorite muffin recipes, Chocolate Chip Muffins from the Brown Eyed Baker blog, which I'd like to try next with blueberries instead of chocolate chips. I really like the lower sugar and the muffins' texture in this recipe, so I want to experiment. I might start that new blanket too. I'll definitely cross-stitch. I've got a big, white wall to fill up!

28 comments:

  1. Well done on the sauerkraut, I love fermented foods and I've got my jars out in the kitchen to make some soon. I do love your blog, it is a calm and happy place, and I'm very happy to hear that it's not going anywhere. A record of a good life is a very lovely thing. I'm glad LB is getting on well at the coding club. My middle boy will be 12 in a couple of weeks' time and is stretching his wings a little too. Wishing you a good week Jennifer, CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Jen! I love your blog and consider you to be one of my best blogging friends. You are are right up there with living life peacefully with your family. We have been re-hashing our kitchen this January while outdoor pursuits are a bit out of bounds. We have been forecast snow for the next few days but nothing much the same as you guys I think. I am enjoying quilt progress while my dad is back home from hospital. Seeing him with cancer is so hard that making anything that requires actual brain power is a bit off my crafting menu at the moment. He has a feeding tube now so he is a bit miserable about losing some dignity. Love calling over here as ever. Jo xxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. I too love your blog and I'm very glad you're not going anywhere. I've made chutney before which was ok, a bit sloppy but tasty. We've made wine and beer many years ago but have no desire to make more. I get busy with working and chores and have no energy left to blog at the moment. My eldest keeps asking me to blog but... I'm trying to keep up to date with blogs I follow. I think I still waste too much time online generally though and then haven't 'done' anything to blog about. Take care and have a good week. Cathy x

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've always enjoyed your blog no matter what you wrote about. Everyday life is interesting, and I love hear/seeing how others live.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I always enjoy your blog. Your photos are lovely and it's just a calming place to visit.
    I'm thankful that winter is waning, although it doesn't feel like it here. We had 7 inches of snow last night, church was cancelled today and we've just been staying in and staying warm.
    I loved the Victoria series!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love your blog and I'm happy to hear that you have plans of going anywhere. I'm attempting to be more present this year on my blog, so hopefully I will keep that up! It sounds like things are going well for you and your family and that's always great to hear. Thank you for the muffin recipe, as chocolate chip muffins are Charlotte's favorite and I'm glad they are lower in sugar, too. I think I'll make a batch for us this week! Hope you have a wonderful week!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm not one to comment so I rarely do but, I like your blog very much. Watched your children grow, seen your chickens and needlework etc. It's an interesting "homey" blog that's written regularly with good photos. The kind I like to read on my "blog nights". I don't watch TV or movies, so good blogs like yours are very entertaining in a quiet way (without all the nastiness of TV & movies). Thank you for writing a very nice, interesting and entertaining blog. I hope you continue for long while yet.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree! I enjoy reading your blog! It's real! Some things I see now (esp on IG) are so staged, while they can be beautiful, they are not 'real') and your blog is much more 'real' while still being a peaceful quiet place. Do keep writing! :) I am glad you are feeling a bit better; stressful months are hard! God bless you dear blog friend and keep writing!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have also noticed several blogs disappearing. I know that a few of my friends have gone to Instagram instead of blogging. I have an account there, but for some reason I can't bring myself to check it daily like I do my bloglist. I miss them, but the stress of an added social media account is actually making me jittery. I don't think it's worth trying to keep up with it all. I am SO happy that you will continue blogging. I don't think blogs need to be about perfect lives. I really like the feeling of sitting down and chatting with you about your family and the life you have, (as much as you feel like sharing.)
    I'm glad you finally got a bit of the snow you want. I'm also glad that all of ours is gone for now, although we did trek up to the lake trailer yesterday and hike in through a foot or more of snow to get there! It's beautiful there and oh, so quiet. The lake is still frozen over completely. We wanted to check to make sure mice and/or squirrels hadn't decided to take up residence while we were away. So far, so good!
    I hope you have a lovely week and it was wonderful catching up Jennifer.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello Jennifer. I love visiting you here – your blog is one of the first ones I started following when I ventured into this wonderful world of blogging. It's such a calm and grounded space, and I love reading about the rhythm of your days. 12 is when boys particularly start needing a bit of independence (in my limited experience of two teenage sons), so it's good to hear that LB is enjoying his coding club. Useful to learn all that stuff, too! Hope you have a lovely week. Sam x

    ReplyDelete
  11. As always a joy to visit and catch up. The snow here came and went as quickly as it came. However we are forecast more this week. I am thinking blankets once I have finished Hectors quilt. There are so many lovely patterns about it is hard to choose a design. Have a relaxing week.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've read your blog for a really long time, Jennifer, and have always enjoyed "the kind of mundane, daily-life stuff" you share. I think it's enything but mundane, by the way. I enjoy seeing what you and your family are doing. I have to say that I'm just a teeny bit jealous that Miss Bear is able to go sockless in February! We're at least 2 or 3 months away from sockless here! :oD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obviously, "enything" should be "anything"! *blush*

      Delete
  13. I love reading you blog, Jennifer. You seem to be interested in all the same things which interest me...very reassuring when old-ladyhood is either imminent or has arrived for moi! I love your snow pics; doesn't a white dusting make the world pretty. Long live cross-stitch, so soothing, and I know the coffee pot will be gorgeous. One of my sons went to a similar computer club at the same age, which perplexed me for a while, but then he went on to get a degree and a career in the industry, so all was good. We loved Victoria, and are eager to see the third series when it turns up. In fact, I think I like it better than The Crown. Have a lovely week.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love visiting here Jennifer. There is nothing more comforting than reading about a normal (but not boring!) family life. I am pleased that you are not planning to give up blogging anytime soon. I am glad the Little Bear is enjoying coding. It is immensely useful skill and opens many doors, for career and for fun. I am also glad you are comfortable leaving him at the library. It is a big step and I remember well how anxious and even stressed I was when my oldest (17) first explored independence. Have a lovely week xx

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a lovely, newsy, post. I'm so pleased that you're not giving up writing your blog, I always enjoy visiting and hearing what you and your lovely family have been up to. I hope you enjoyed the Super Bowl. Mick stayed up to watch it, I think it finished about 3.30am here, and Daniel and his girlfriend went in to London to watch it in a bar which was showing it. Daniel won't have been pleased as he's a Patriots fan. Nice to hear about your cross stitch plans, it's quite some time since I've picked up the project I'm working on but I'm sure I'll get back to it again in time.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Please don't give up, too many have already... You have told me something I didn't know about Tom Hanks, that he is to play Mr Rogers. Have you seen ' The Burbs ' ? There is a scene where Tom wakes up to Mr Rogers singing ' its a beautiful day in the neighbourhood '. How funny is that!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello!
    I am visiting from a friend's blog.
    I am so happy to be here, and think your space is lovely.
    I agree about blogs disappearing.
    It makes me sad, and I actually wrote a post about it not too long ago.
    I am happy to be following you, and look forward to visiting often!
    Have a cozy afternoon!

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's always a pleasure to read your blog, Jennifer. I think other people's lives often have a fascination for us even if they are peaceful, cosy domestic ones...or maybe because they are! Blogs that you read regularly are like entering a familiar world. Enjoy your week ahead. xox

    ReplyDelete
  19. It never seems right to me that it should be snowing in New Mexico. But it does look pretty. It’s supposed to be snowing here tomorrow too. And it won’t be pretty then, it’ll be cold! Roll on Spring.

    ReplyDelete
  20. hello.My husband is a huge Super Bowl fan and is staying up to watch it here in the UK.I did watch a bit of it last night where one guy got a huge thump from another guy,it looked so painful even with all that protection he was out cold.love your blog and the photos,muffins look so yummy.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Gaah, I just had a ton of stuff written back to you about this blog post and just lost all of it! I'm so aggravated now that I don't feel like trying to re-write it all. Suffice it to say, I love your blog - glad it's an everyday one. Those are the blogs I like the best. More later!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I like the slice of every day blog.. it's a personal preference but I don't use the fancy beauty products nor to I wear the big brands.. so to me your kinda blog is my favorite kinda blog. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Yes I love reading your blog and hearing about your famIly in a location in the world I know very little about. Always good to hear your baking plans and crafting and well done with your son at the library. Lovely photo of your daughter. Have a good week. Best wishes

    ReplyDelete
  24. It sounds like you're keeping busy and it certainly doesn't sound mundane to me! There's SO much to comment on, but so little time (haha), so I'll leave you with a tip I got over the weekend. We've been going to a breakfast restaurant for a few years and they make the most amazing omelettes (since you mention omelettes ;-D). I've been trying to re-create them at home and have come very close, except mine just aren't as fluffy. I've wondered if they're adding something to them (I even googled and tried a bit of baking powder -- haha, that's not it.) Then, I'd thought, maybe I'll just put the eggs in the blender and whip the tar out of them before they're cooked. Finally, last weekend we were there, so I decided to just ask the waitress if she knew how they made them. She said they have a malt machine and they blend up the eggs right before putting them on the heat. I think the blender idea might just work! ;-D

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love reading your blog. The energy that you so sweetly apply to your house and family is a great morale booster - everytime! Please don't go away! Happy week!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love your blog and will always read it. It's how I imagine a conversation over a cup of tea with you to be. Please don't give up blogging! Xx

    ReplyDelete
  27. First time here but I enjoyed it immensely. You write about what I like to read about -- and do -- like cross stitch. I will be back frequently. Keep up the good blog!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...