Friday, July 6, 2018

Fourth-ing












At our house, it's a been a calm and relaxing week - time at home, crafting, reading and cooking - interspersed with parties, playdates and trips out for errands and eating. I didn't take my camera with me to many places, so I mostly have photos from home but they've all been good things everywhere we've been. It's been a good week. We went to a party at our friends' home for the Fourth of July and had a great time. Lots of kids and food and backyard shenanigans, with fireworks after dark. The Bear brought our supply and our friends had some too, so it was a good hour of dads running around putting on a show. Everyone loved it. Then we came home to find neighbors outside watching the nearby big fireworks show at ten pm, so we joined them and finally went to bed sometime very late. Our neighbor next door has his daughter and grandchildren visiting from Arizona for the weekend and the kids were so happy to see each other; they always play when the grandchildren come to town. I have two nine-year-old girls very quietly, concentratedly, building a box fort in our living room right now.

I've started working on something new on the crochet front. It's a purse! I haven't made anything for myself in so long, but I've been kind of itching for a while to make something different and also wearable. I have plenty of scarves (especially given that I don't need one very often) and numerous hats. I recently started a top for myself but I definitely chose the wrong yarn (burgundy cotton blend) because it looks exactly like a wine-soaked dishcloth and even for me, that's not good fashion. So a bag seemed safe, and if it comes out nicely, it could make a good gift for others in the future. I'd like to expand my repertoire a little while we aren't in the blanket-making time of year. I'll probably start something more blankety in the fall, not that I'm really thinking that far yet.

My reading has mostly been cookbooks for the past couple of weeks, whether borrowed from the library (like Nigella Summer, above), or from my own modest collection. I'm looking for good summer recipes that a) don't have a lot of ingredients and b) don't require the oven. Lately, I've been most satisfied - both in cooking and eating - by my basic tomato-basil sauce over spaghetti. Every time I make it, I feel like I'm finally eating exactly what I want to eat. I can make it three times a week and feel fine about it. I don't usually do this because I know everyone else will object, but I wouldn't mind at all. Still, it's a good idea to diversify; growing children, and all that. So I've been bookmarking my own cookbooks and scanning pages or copying by hand from the library books.

I'm still enjoying my new Mark Bittman cookbooks. Tonight, I'm making a version of his Provencal chickpeas, but having tried it with dried beans a few weeks ago and having it all fail spectacularly (we felt like we were chowing down on gravel because the beans never softened, even after hours upon hours of cooking), I'm making it tonight with drained, rinsed canned beans. We want to eat before bedtime and we want to keep our teeth. No offense to Mr. Bittman, but that was the first recipe since my newfound devotion to him that just didn't work for me. Everything else has been wonderful, though; in particular, I've been making his bean burgers really often and still loving them.

The coming week will get busy again, with a return to swimming and diving lessons, kids' library events (on Tuesday, they're making wind chimes with metal washers, which should be interesting), and guitar and ballet lessons. We've entered the monsoon season, which is so welcome. I absolutely love these gray afternoons and the potential for stormy weather. We don't always have a storm, but the possibility is there. It's just nice to know that it could happen. There are still about five and a half weeks until school starts, and I often feel a little stir-crazy by this time of the summer, but this year, I feel much calmer. I'm sure some of it is the kids getting older and not needing to be entertained through the long days and weeks like they did when they were smaller. Or maybe I'm just learning to let go and relax more, savoring life as it unfolds. I'd sure like to think so.

Do you have weekend plans? Here, we'll be painting some patio furniture as well as a section of our courtyard railing that we have needed to finish for, oh, a couple of years. You don't want to rush into these things. I'm hoping to do some more organizing in my closet and dresser drawers too. We took a load of clothes down to the thrift center this morning and it felt so good! I've been working on streamlining my wardrobe, and have also lost a bit of weight recently, so am feeling good about wearing clothes I already have (some of which I'm wearing anew, due to said weight loss). I have also recently treated myself to new nightgowns and underwear, which look ever so lovely tucked away in my neatly-organized drawers. Otherwise, it will be another weekend of hot mornings and monsoon-watching gray afternoons, grocery shopping for me early on Saturday, yard work and house work, some more cookbook-perusing and bag-hooking too. I hope you have a good weekend.

15 comments:

  1. That hibiscus is beautiful!
    Glad you had a nice 4th. I love the pic of GB and Bear painting together.
    I'm anxious to see your purse.
    Hooray for losing weight! It's a continual battle.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's amazing to see how much the kids have grown since I first started following along with your blog. Time just keeps marching on. I thought I saw on the news that fireworks had been banned in Albuquerque and other areas around there because of fires. My eldest boy moved closer to Denver after his college graduation in May and they've been on a fire ban for a month now. Sadly, one of the wildfires burning is only 20 miles from where he used to live and believed to be man-made. Truly terrible the devastation all these fires cause. Sounds like your summer is rolling right along splendidly. Enjoy the rest of it. I hope the whole area gets some nice rain showers very soon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like the sound of your summer, relaxed and happy.

    I am with you with the tomato/basil over pasta, a favourite of mine. Nobody else’s unfortunately. I hope your bean dish turns out delicious. I soak dried beans over night, which helps. I wonder if you cooked yours in salted water? This prevents them from softening. I add salt only once the beans are nearly soft. Also, I read if beans are kept for long, they often don’t soften when cooking.

    Anyway, I hope your summer continues to be chilled. Looking forward to seeing your crochet bag. Cx

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am loving the sound of you today - relaxed, happy, not frazzled, it feels nice to connect with that feeling. I am here on my own, the girls have gone to the farm to see house developments and have a play in the field and I am going to have a bit of a sewing morning while the sun is off the dining room and then it is football this afternoon on the TV with some light yarny interludes. Love Jo x

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ps. We are eating food in wraps to stop me having to have the oven on but I must say I am missing my Saturday morning cake bake for the week. x

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love a good declutter, it's such a good feeling. I could eat your tomato and basil spaghetti three times a week as well. When I find something I like I'm happy to stick with it. Your summer sounds quite blissful so far, and I'm glad you had a good 4th of July. CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. I also love the sound of you today, my friend - happy, relaxed, and learning to just let go... something I need to do more often myself! It sounds like you had a wonderful week of the 4th. Your hibiscus is gorgeous and so is the lavender. Congrats on losing weight! I'm trying to lose a few pounds right now myself. I've added in three to four forty-five minute walks each week and really just trying to watch what I eat. I'm feeling good about it, exercise always makes me feel good about myself. A cookbook I'm loving right now is The Simple Bites Kitchen - it's filled with lots of healthy, summery recipes. Enjoy your weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well done on the losing weight - I sure need to lose a bit of that myself. Clothes too tight and all that. It is lovely to see the family around the painting table; I have set one up for self and grandson, and we have tried candle drawing then putting a wash of pretty watercolour over it. He hopes to sell them :) Enjoy the storm season - I know you like a good storm just as much as we do.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds like a great summer, so far! Congratulations on losing weight - that's wonderful. Regarding the dried chickpeas...did you soak them overnight? Gotta do that before you cook them. I'm always looking for summer dinner ideas, too. I could live on things like crackers and cheese, pasta salad, big green salad with hard-boiled eggs, etc. but the guys like to eat more substantially than that. ;-) Tonight I diced up some organic chicken breast and sauteed in a pan with cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic and a little red pepper, then used that for chicken tacos. Earlier in the day I had made blender salsa and I added diced fresh mango to it before dinner.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Whew...you made me tired reading about all your activities. I have a good friend who love the gray days like you. I HATE them. They put me in a bad mood, she hates pretty sunshine days, we laugh about the differences. I've considered crocheting or knitting a purse...have lots of patterns, but have never made one, so look forward to seeing what you come up with. Love all the art taking place. Did you soak your beans over night before cooking? I understand that makes a difference. I'm not much into beans so don't know first hand, but have heard that a number of times.
    Sandy's Space

    ReplyDelete
  11. Aren't the late afternoon rains amazing? It makes our flowers thrive so I love them. I've been quite whiney about the heat.
    It looks like things are homey and sweet for your dear family. A purse? FUN!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hey Jennifer,
    Sam celebrated 4th July in West Virginia with friends. He loved everything about it. I think he's fallen in love with the States. Your holiday day to day sounds ideal to me; I love the ebb and flow of a long holiday. And I could eat a simple tomato pasta sauce every day, frankly. Luckily it's one of very few dishes that all my boys will eat, so we eat it a lot. You sound happier in this post, and that makes me feel happy for you.
    Leanne xx
    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
  13. Another lovely post Jennifer and happy 4th to you. Your pasta sauce sounds delish and often the simple ones are the best. Hot weather is not happening here in Oz....winter so I am envious but yes summer will happen again. We are going to part of Canada and Alaska end August fun tripping xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  14. It sounds as though your summer is moving along very well Jennifer. Just the right mixture of relaxing and busyness. I’m looking forward to seeing the purse that you’re making. I spent yesterday running errands after being gone for a couple of weeks. That first dat after coming back is always a doozy! It’s good to be back in blogland catching up with all of my friends.
    Many blessings, Betsy

    ReplyDelete
  15. The photo with the bee coming to land on the perovskia is fabulous, Jennifer. It's great to catch up with you here (belatedly) and hear that life is full of good things. I love tomato and basil sauce with pasta and would happily eat that often. Luckily my kids do to, but my teenage boys have such a raging hunger these days that they need a slab of protein alongside! We could do with a big rainstorm here – we have had no rain for weeks and weeks which is unusual for England. How lovely to have a few new things and to be fitting in to clothes more comfortably. I recently dug out my bikinis (we are going on holiday tomorrow) and realised that I won't look quite as good in them as I used to... There's a bit of middle-aged spread going on here which I must address. After the holiday, though! Take care. Sam x

    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...