Monday, January 14, 2019

By in a blur

Hello from the land of unexpected wintry weather! We've been having a real winter this year, the first one in several years, I think. It's been almost back-to-back snow or rain or mixed precipitation storms since the end of December and I have to say that we've all been loving it! Those are my feet up there, in the Bear's snow boots. I don't own a pair myself - it's never wintry enough to justify the purchase in my book - but we do have his, so if we need to go out in the snow to collect eggs, say, we wear his. We are getting eggs again, by the way. I thought we'd have to wait until spring, but we're getting one egg a day already. Nobody knows what's going on around here.

We had a wonderful Christmas! So relaxing, especially with a few different storms mixed in. We hardly left the house, aside from trips out for groceries, the occasional walk, and an afternoon spent at the movie theater on the military base where the Bear works, for a showing of Home Alone on the big screen. I was really glad the kids had a chance to watch it that way; my first viewing of it was in the theater as a special treat for my twelfth birthday a week after it was first released. It's been one of my favorite movies ever since, Christmas-themed or otherwise. Our holiday was lovely and we had a very nice time just sitting around, trying out our new things and enjoying the break from school and work. One of our "family gifts" was an XBox One, which has been great. We're using it for games as well as for streaming programs. Netflix and Amazon Prime look completely different on the XBox. It's a lot like when we upgraded from using our Nintendo Wii to a BluRay player for streaming. I guess that's what happens when you jump 5-10 years in technology with every move. Go figure.

Life since Christmas has been busy in a somewhat annoying way. There have been multiple home issues to deal with; nothing major, just smallish, irritating things that we needed to address, like a damaged window frame, a minor roof leak, a broken sprinkler head, clogged canales, and other assorted small-but-niggling concerns. Today, we're having a much more major project completed, though we're having it done professionally. I have given up on the carpeting in our family room and we are having hard flooring installed. It's what they're calling "luxury vinyl plank flooring" these days; it's like a wood-laminate floor but it's made with vinyl in the top layer to be waterproof. Since the family room borders on the kitchen, with the dishwasher built into the peninsula that separates the family room and kitchen and where water has leaked previously, we decided that waterproof flooring was a must. We had never even heard of this type of flooring (the vinyl I knew was limited to peel-and-stick tiles), but apparently there have been innovations. I already have a new room-size Oriental-style area rug to put down (it will only cover a portion of the room, just for warmth and the look of it). I'm excited to be getting a new floor, but it's that mix of annoyed and excited because the carpet was only five years old but it wore horribly and the room looked awful.

By the way, does anyone remember when we got this carpet? I blogged about it in 2013! You can see my then-tiny children and also the basic look of the room before today. We had hardly changed a thing since the last time we fixed it up. I think mainly the GB's toys in the corner are different now. I sure hope this flooring lasts better than the carpet did. I do not want to do this every five years.

I've been enjoying my regular pursuits in the meantime. Highlights include baking focaccia to have with slow-cooker minestrone soup (the focaccia recipe is from my Betty Crocker cookbook and also found here, and the minestrone is my own recipe, found here). Yesterday, we made potato knishes from this recipe and they were fantastic - almost as good as the ones I remember from my New York upbringing. I will definitely make them again. I've been enjoying new recipes and healthier ways of doing things. I don't like to announce things like this because I am a strong if misguided believer in jinxing, but I have lost 30 pounds over the past year, largely because of a change in how we cook and eat, and feel really good. Otherwise, I've been reading a lot and also finished a cross-stitch piece and another crocheted blanket, the ripple I started in September to finish up some more yarn. I even did some machine-sewing, finishing a project that sat waiting for my attention for over a year. I've been watching Forensic Files, mainly, and of course, watched Victoria last night when it came back for a new season. But honestly, I enjoyed Lucy Worsley's show afterward on Victoria and Albert's wedding so much more. It was fascinating! I love her shows so much. I try to watch them whenever I see a new one.

Thanks to those who reached out wondering why I haven't blogged lately. I've just been busy with other stuff and not really feeling in the blog groove, you know what I mean? I miss it, though, and will be trying to get back to it now. I guess it just got away from me these past few weeks. I hope you're doing well and having a good return to normal programming after the holidays. This is one of the best times of year for me, and having it feel more wintry is only a bonus, so I'm very happy about January. No blahs here at all.

***Links in this post that are meant to go to other posts on my blog seem not to be working right now; they all go to this post. Sorry about that. I hope it's just a Blogger glitch!


  1. YAY! Happy New Year Jennifer. You sure have some home things on your plate but it will look great at the end. I did 22 hours of painting last week! It was boring but I am trying to imagine the finished house. My kids watched home alone for the first time this year and loved it except Meg couldn't watch Marv stand on the nail on the basement steps because she trod on one a few days before at the farm and it went through her welly - she had uber empathy and covered her eyes! Cooking and crafting sounds good. Check in soon. Jo xxx

  2. Happy New Year Jennifer! Home improvements are always tedious but it will be so worth it. We all love Home Alone here, it is pretty much a must for Christmas time. We missed seeing it this year, I don't know why. Well done for losing so much weight, an amazing achievement. I hope I can say the same next January. All your cooking and crafting sounds lovely! It is nice to see you back here, I missed your lovely posts (I also missed your Christmas post, apologies for not commenting. I went offline for a few days). x

  3. Happy New Year, home repairs and improvements are a tad tedious but necessary. Hope all goes well with the floor fitters. We too have had a small issue with the porch roof that needs some attention. Thankfully there has been no snow here although the temperatures are dropping quite rapidly.

  4. Happy New Year Jennifer, it's always nice to catch up with your blog. I'm not keen on home improvements and decorating generally because it always seems to drag on for days but it's always nice when finished. I'm glad you had a lovely Christmas, take care and enjoy the snow. Cathy x

  5. Lovely to see a post from you Jennifer. I can imagine that you enjoy the Lucy Worsley programmes very much, knowing your love of history. Good luck with the new flooring, it will look lovely I think. I'm a big fan of January, all that clean, cold, freshness. And an excuse to stay in in the warm and read a good book and knit a little. CJ xx

  6. Wow that is some snow.. interestingly enough we have barely gotten any.. the little one has been waiting and waiting..
    Good luck on the new flooring..
    That foccacia looks so good.

  7. I can't believe your snow. We have just a dusting right now which is crazy! We are usually knee deep at this point.
    We have that type of flooring in our bathroom and I love it!

  8. Hurrah, you're back! I've been checking in, hoping for a post. I'm glad you had such a great Christmas, it sounds like it was truly relaxing and just what you needed. That's some proper winter weather you've got there, I can just imagine how happy that makes you. Huge well done on the weight loss, that's quite an achievement. I sympathise on the niggly home issues, we had similar problems just before Christmas. But new flooring is very exciting and sounds like it will be practical too. Can't wait to see it! Xx

  9. Hi Jennifer, Wow, you have had a good dump of snow this year, and very pretty it looks in your garden. I can't believe the chickens are laying eggs out there! What a sensible idea to share the snowboots, as one does not go outside much in such freezing weather. I looked up the recipe for knishes - never heard of them before but they sound soooo delicious. Well done on a fantastic weight loss. I know how difficult it is to achieve, and in fact, am trying desperately to lose even a couple of Christmas pounds. I will think of you for inspiration. Have a great week.

  10. I'm glad you had a nice Christmas Jennifer and Happy New Year! I wasn't in the blogging groove for nearly a year but I'm back trying to do the odd post now and then, life gets in the way! I know what you mean about irritating things that need fixing around the home there always seems to be something. Have a great week. :) xx

  11. Happy New Year, I'm so pleased to hear that you had a good Christmas. Glad that you're enjoying your proper winter this year too. It's been quite mild so far here but the temperature is set to drop over the next couple of days so I don't know what we're in store for over the next month or two, we had a late winter last year so I'm hoping it isn't going to be the same again this time round. I think you'll love your new flooring, my friend has it in her kitchen and I must say that I shall definitely consider it when I have my floor covered again, I've got tiles and they're so cold, nice in summer but not so nice in winter.

  12. Yay!! It's so nice to see a post from you! I enjoy visiting and reading your blog so much. Glad to hear everyone is doing well. And a big congrats to you on the weight loss - that's just wonderful! I'm happy to hear about your true winter weather this year, as I know you are thoroughly enjoying it. I think you will love your new flooring. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

  13. Hello!
    So happy to see you here!
    I am glad Christmas was cozy.
    We sent our time home and cozy as well.
    I too enjoy this time of year, everything fresh and new.
    Have a cozy evening!

  14. Popping in fro Tales From a Happy House, which I've only recently discovered - and it's lovely to find your blog too! Was really interested to read about your vinyl flooring. We are about to do a big house renovation and my husband, being an accountant, is leaning towards the cheaper option of vinyl planks for the kitchen and utility room. I have been a bit put off by previous experience of vinyl as just being something thin that is stuck down, but it does seem as if it's evolved. It certainly looks beautiful in your room.
    I'm no longer blogging under my user name, but have switched to Instagram as @occasionalscotland.


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