Birthday Revelations

  1. I might not be a “yes” parent, but I am a strong “maybe.” Being open and embracing new phases helps me see my children as individuals. Perfection is hard to relate to. I pick realistic role models and that’s also the kind of mother and friend I want to be.
  2. I love a good plan and a list of tasks. It soothes me to write it out, even if I lose or abandon it.
  3. Exercising feels good. When I trained for the half marathon, I got to a place where running quieted my mind. I am back to being out of breath, so I would like to get to that place again.
  4. Keeping a gratitude list is an awesome way to keep my mind focused on positivity. Sometimes it’s just in my head, sometimes in a journal, but always it gives me peace.
  5. I need a creative outlet. I love knitting, escaping in books, and sketching out plans on how to achieve different goals (and just permission to let my mind wander for an hour works just as well).

Another year, another list (it feels so good to write it out, try it!!!)

❤️

On the needles currently:

Entrechat Shrug

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Summer Planning

My kids have 10 weeks of summer. When they aren’t at camps or family vacations, they roughly spend the first half of the day with me, then the second half of the day with my mother. They usually do quiet, crafty activities while I work in the mornings, then she takes them to the pool and other fun places in the afternoon.

During the school year, every family member has chores and routines that keep us all accountable and the household running moderately smooth. I like to have a plan going into each summer week as well. The plan is loose, but it’s enough stability to provide boundaries.

So along with some chores, we go to the library each week and I ask them to write in a journal at least once a week. I also give myself a weekly theme and try to come up with some craft ideas, some book ideas that I reserve at the library in advance, a field trip idea, and throw in some recipes that we want to try. It’s loose, but with a little structure.

Here’s some of the weekly themes we are kicking around: Yarn, Kindness, Jewelry, Painting, Sculpture, Paper, Patriotic, Wildflower, Beach, and Water. My goal this summer is to encourage their creativity (and try not to go insane with the messes that are made).

Do you also purposely change the household pace in the summer?

❤️

April Reading

I had trouble getting into reading this month. My brain has been going in a million directions and I am having trouble concentrating. Here’s the short list:

Blue Plate Special by Kate Christenson

I usually love memoirs laced with recipes (Molly Wizenberg, Gabrielle Hamilton, Julie Powell, Barbara Kingsolver, David Lebovitz my favorites) but this one didn’t cut the mustard for me. I stuck with it, but it was meandering and a bit boring at times. The only thing I was inspired to make when I finished it was a bean burrito. Whomp, whomp, whomp.

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

I really, really value the minimalist concept. But I just couldn’t wrap my head around taking it to this level. For now, I’ll just continue to use as little paper towels and prepackaged snacks as my young family will allow, and recycle what I can.

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

I listened to the audio version of this book. I loved Where’d you go Bernadette– honestly one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. And this one was great, but not as great because she set the bar too high. Timby’s voice was also really, really whiney when you sped up the audio. It probably says something about my life that it took me 15 minutes to even remember that I listened to the audio version, or if I made the child’s voice whiney in my own head.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: The Album, The Beatles, and The World in 1967 by Brian Southall

I enjoyed this, and it provided great entertainment to get me out of the house to exercise this month. I wish they could have played more of the music in the audio version, and I wish Brian had more background secrets about Beatles dynamics. This is the music of my childhood, as my dad is a big Beatles fan. I loved talking to him about this book, but it wasn’t anything he didn’t already know. Because of that fact, it is probably for the light rock history lover more so, than someone who lived through it.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This book saved April. Sounds dramatic, but I have a feeling this will rank in the top 5 of my best books of 2018. It was funny, and sad, and uplifting and such a worthwhile read. It grabbed me from the beginning, introducing me to a single woman named Eleanor and her daily routines, her quirkiness pulling you in like a character on The Office. While the tone is mostly light and hopeful, darkness seeps in as you read about her scars, the hint of a possible violent past, and her mother’s dark influence in her life. Eleanor’s life and heart is opened by an unlikely cast of characters, and she must journey through the past with them to welcome the future.

That brings me to 27, which isn’t going to help me get to my goal of 100 books this year unless I pick up the pace!

Did you grab a copy of Bookpage at your library this month? My holds list has been refreshed and amazon is sending me Amateur Hour by Kimberly Harrington as an early Mother’s Day gift. Where do you go for book recommendations? I’d love to find more sources!

❤️

 

Finally Finished Campside

Hurray! Fireworks! High fives!

I have had this yarn in my stash for years. I bought this Classic Elite Magnolia yarn to make The Aspen Wrap and lost steam when my cables came out wonky. I was a newer knitter; tension was the issue. It languished in the half-finished pile until I realized what kind of treasure I was wasting.

Once the project was sufficiently frogged, I cast on for Campside. The yarn is both silky and cushy soft, and perfect to keep me warm while I work this spring and summer. I remember being disappointed that my lys didn’t have a shade of gray in this yarn, but this blue is really unique. It ranges from a light cobalt shade to a blue steel color in different light. Like the perfect denim jacket, I hope it will be versatile.

Now I get to knit something else! Something small that finishes fast!

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Weekly Journal

Still chugging along on Campside. I am working the edging so the end is near. But with over 300 stitches per row, it’s not speedy enough for me. I might cheat and knit the swatch for my next project tonight. Slippery slope…

Longer, warmer days are making it possible to grill more. Looking forward to trying this marinade tonight for some easy chicken tacos.

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Listening to Brian Southall’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as I try to get outside and exercise again. Not running, mostly walking and a little strength training. I need motivation, and a good audio book that feeds my inner hippie does the trick. (And humming Penny Lane all day is a nice side effect.)

What’s working for you this week?

❤️

 

 

Easy Monday Dinner – Fat Sandwich

My husband and I lived in Charlotte, NC many years ago, and when we reminisce about our time in the Queen City, it is often the food. Not sure if it was really so special, or if it was that special moment of a marriage before kids when you had extra time and money to splurge on good food.

We both worked in Southpark and I can’t remember the name of the place but it was in the shopping center adjacent the mall, near the Park Hotel, and it was one of my favorite lunch splurges with my coworkers. The best thing on the menu was a simple steak sandwich served with fries, and we called it the “Fat Sandwich.” I can’t remember why, maybe because it was so hearty you wanted to nap the rest of the afternoon, but it was delicious. Here’s the quick way I recreate this, making a simple Monday night dinner for my family:

Fat Sandwich- Serves 4

  • 1 decently thick NY strip steak, trimmed and sliced thin
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • hamburger bun (optional)

Heat the olive oil and saute the onions and peppers until golden. Set aside on a paper towel.

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In the warm skillet, melt the butter and add the steak. On med-high heat sear each side to suit your taste. It usually takes 2 mins each side to sear but leave the middle pink. I do this in batches to make sure it is all evenly cooked.

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After removing the steak, drop the bun into the steak drippings to brown briefly. My husband and kids prefer no bun, so this buttery toasted bun is the last step for mine alone.

Variation- We have also added zucchini to the onion saute and served over rice, as well as served in tortillas with cheese and salsa.

What is your favorite quick and delicious food? Do you also reminisce about BK times (before kids)?

Main photo of Mark and I (BK times) in a visit to Asheville, NC

❤️

 

 

Weekly Journal

High – Low… I have picked out my next knitting project and the yarn is ready: Entrechat by Lisa Chemery. But I lack half of the last chart for Campside, plus the edging. Feels endless, but I must resist the urge to quit.

High – Low… We planted more bulbs, lillies mostly. But it’s been way too cold to plant the shasta daisies and black-eyed susan seeds. C’mon 50’s, I need you to stay!

What has been your high and low this week? Grab some of that leftover Easter candy and chat with me!

❤️