The Sound of Silence

Something is happening in my life now that is equally as peaceful as it is disturbing. If you haven’t been reading long, you might not know that I am a mother of two girls. And one of my jobs as the mother of said children, ages 7 and 11, is to chauffer them around town, to school, to church, for food, to dance, etc.
Now in the 11 years that I’ve had this job, there has been little peace. Oh, sometimes they fall asleep or they get really intent in a movie, but for the most part there’s always, always been some drama in the back seat. Being in this small, unescapable place that is my car has not always brought out the best in my girls. Fights over who looks out what window, who is making mouth noises, who chooses the music, who really knows the words to the music, drama over nosebleeds, sickness, and who can see the moon.
It’s not always bad drama, sometimes there’s good drama, like sharing the day’s joy, funny jokes they can’t wait to tell their dad, new people they met, and crazy things that happened that week at school. The bottom line is there’s always background noise.
But lately, after I drop off the 7 year old at school and begin my trek to the middle school, the strangest thing happens. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about silence. She looks out whatever window she wants, with no drama, or studies her school notes, or brings her own music and headphones, or sketches in her journal, and there is zero noise. She isn’t mad, I’m sure of it.
I’ve spent 11 years knowing every thought that came to her mind, and now she’s developed a filter. Peaceful, and disturbing.

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Cookie Day

My love language is food, and it is easy to see why when you spend time with my family. There is rarely a gathering that doesn’t center around delicious food, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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One of our family’s favorite holiday traditions is Cookie Day. We gather at my aunt’s house and make a ton of cookies that we pass on to neighbors, coworkers, teachers and friends. It is always a fun day filled with laughter, sugar, and reliving fun memories.

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What are your favorite holiday traditions?

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October Reading (and November preview)

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (audio version on commutes with Sarah)… I know, you’re probably thinking, again? But I wanted to experience this one through Sarah’s eyes, and it was so beautiful the second time. The audio expired before we had a chance to finish the last chapter, so I checked out a library copy and finished it with her. We were both in tears by the end. She was mad at the ending at first, but we kept talking about it and she realized the beauty of the story. (Although she still says she would have changed the end.)

The Child by Fiona Barton, I loved this one and truly did not guess the ending. I listened to the audio version, and I have to admit, I wish the cast of voices were just a tad more unique. There are many characters and if you listen in short blips the way I do, it might take a minute to orient yourself in the story again. The characters were so real and I loved the way the story fit together ultimately. I would highly recommend this one.

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti was another one that I thought was a unique and beautiful story. Lizzie has a very unique imagination and family, (which isn’t celebrated in any high school peer group, anywhere) and uses it as an excuse to isolate herself. When a girl in town goes missing, Lizzie tests several theories of her disappearance and finds more about herself in the process. It’s mildly thrilling and I honestly didn’t guess the ending- although as it ended- I thought I should have known. Anyone who has imagined or actually dared to not “fit in” will identify with elements of Lizzie’s character. Great, quick read.

I also reread a couple of Harry Potter’s- Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, because why not? It was the illustrated version of Chamber of Secrets, and it was wonderful to flip through with my 11-year old aspiring artist.

We listened to about half of The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron and I listened to about half of Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. We weren’t disappointed when those titles expired before we were finished. I might try Modern Lovers again in print.

I’m picking up the pace in November. The time change has curtailed our outside playtime after dinner, and we have taken several car trips, so I’m reading more. In the stack:
Beyond the Bright Sea Lauren Wolk
The Widow Fiona Barton
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix JK Rowling (why stop now?)
Drums of Autumn Diana Gabaldon
Into the Water Paula Hawkins
Sing Unburied Sing Jesmyn Ward
Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel (since I get to meet her!)
Turtles all the Way Down John Green
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Benjamin Alire Saenz

What’s in your stack?

(Photo of the pup, because he’s my favorite reading buddy)

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New Recipes

These colder days bring a renewed energy to get creative in the kitchen for me, but this energy is tempered by my kids -especially because they aren’t always open to new flavors.

Not sure if this resonates, but I need familiar ingredients that are filling- comfort food at its most basic! (eggs, potato, cheese, pork, pie dough), and it needs to be simple enough that it can be made on a weeknight. The kids love to help and I want to encourage it.

I am going to search through these cookbooks that are new at my library for inspiration to try to get some ideas for next month. Tonight, we scrapped the idea on my calendar in favor of breakfast for dinner, which is so comforting on this chilly and damp day!

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My November Dinner Plan

This month I am trying out something different.

I decided to give each day of the week a theme according to the time and effort I have for cooking dinner.

Then I filled in a month’s worth of dinners so the Saturday grocery list is easy to compile, and a good starting point if I wanted to buy some food items in bulk.

  • Sunday: Roast Something
  • Monday: Beans-Soup Night
  • Tuesday: Salad Night
  • Wednesday: Out
  • Thursday: Quick Grill
  • Friday: Leftovers-Pizza
  • Saturday: Pasta

november meal planI am sure we will adjust slightly as the month bears on us, but it made my heart happy to have a plan.

How do you meal plan?

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On the Needles

I would love to showcase a finished object, but can’t manage to stay focused long enough to complete anything! Here are 3 of the pieces I am currently working:

IMG_4377Cashmere Cowl

IMG_4378.JPGBrown Hat

IMG_4379.JPGLog Cabin Baby Blanket

Maybe if I renamed them something more creative, it would be more exciting to finish?

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A Slow Cooker Secret

I have been reading One-Pan Wonders, a Cook’s Country publication that I borrowed from my library, and I wanted to share this tip that I found in the Saffron Chicken Stew recipe (which was delicious, by the way!).

Microwave the diced onions with your aromatics to brighten the flavors, before adding to the slow cooker.

So simple and punchy, and for just 3-5 minutes in the microwave, those onions with a little oil and spice bring a tremendous amount of rich flavor.

The weather has turned cooler this week, and I have made both Beef Stew and Chili in my slow cooker this week, and they were extra delicious with this small recipe tweak.

Hope you are having a deliciously cozy fall week as well!

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