Jan 142018
 
two image collage of the raised beds, before and after

Left: The raised bed (double height) in its original shaded spot. Right: One of the new beds, moved into the sun.

It seems like every January has at least one day that makes us all a little hopeful that winter won’t last forever, and today was that day, with clear blue skies, temperatures up into the 60’s and a hint of spring in the air. I took advantage of the beautiful weather to embark on a gardening project I’ve been planning since fall, when we had two sickly trees taken out of our back yard. The trees, along our eastern fence, blocked much of the morning and midday light from half of the yard, and now that they’re out I finally have somewhere besides my back patio to grow vegetables.

I had an old raised bed in another part of the garden that never got enough sun, so today I took it apart and started to move it (and the soil) to the new sunny patch. I’m halfway through, but since tomorrow’s a holiday and it’s supposed to be nice again I’ll have plenty of time to finish. While I was out there I had an epiphany about using the old posts from a wood pile to frame and support a raspberry patch, now that its in the sun. Here’s a highly professional mock-up of what that would look like:

raspberry patch mockup

The only problem with this plan is that its right atop our pachamanca pit, so I might not win this round – we’ll see!

Jan 122018
 

split pea soup and roll

At the end of a long, rainy week I really needed a nice comforting bowl of soup tonight, so I made a pot of green split pea soup from scratch. I love a good roll with my soup, and I got home a little earlier than usual so I decided to make a batch of dinner rolls as well. For the rolls, I used a recipe I found a few months ago around Thanksgiving – the recipe makes rolls that taste like bread stuffing, but I left out most of the herbs this time and they turned out quite nice – just simple savory rolls.

No recipe needed for the split pea soup; it’s hard to mess up. Saute a diced onion, add some diced carrots and potatoes, ham if you like it and have some on hand, ample water and dried split peas. The one trick I borrowed from a recipe is from Ina Garten, who adds half the bag of peas at the beginning and the other about halfway through, which gives nice texture to the soup.
Cook it all until creamy, season with salt and pepper and you’re done!

Jan 112018
 

drawing of West Indies and NevisSo I’ve been pretty much obsessed with the musical “Hamilton” for about two years now. Luckily, I have lovelies in my life who help feed my obsession, and one of them got me a Hamilton desk calendar this Christmas. Today happens to be Alexander Hamilton’s birthday, and so I made a little sketch of the Leeward Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis in honor of the ten dollar founding father who was dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean.

Jan 082018
 

bullet journal page

Today was busy and long – off to a rough start in the morning and then lots to do at home in the evening. The most I could manage was to add a few new layouts and a little color to my bullet journal. I made a generic ‘Important Notes’ page for little notes I need to refer to often, a ‘Gift Ideas’ page so that I can keep track of good ideas throughout the year, and a trip layout for a vacation we have planned later in the year.

Jan 072018
 

Last year I started using a bullet journal as a way to keep myself organized and on track, and jot down events and memories as the year progressed. I ended up really liking the format, so I’m going to continue on this year. Tonight I cracked open a new notebook and started out with a few layout pages. I like Moleskine dotted notebooks for journaling, but it seems like a lot of bullet journalers useĀ Leuchturrms too. Maybe I’ll try one of those next year. The basic premise of a bullet journal is that you start with a few pages laid out (often a year at a glance, an index, and a future planner) and then you add in additional layouts as you need them.

bullet journal collage

Some of my first layouts in this year’s journal include: 1) a page of goals to accomplish in 2018; 2) weekly and monthly layouts for January; and 3) my 52 in 52 tracker. Last year having the 52 in 52 tracker made all the difference and I finished reading my 52nd book during the last week of the year. I’m sure if I hadn’t been keeping track of my progress in my bullet journal I wouldn’t have pushed to get all those books read. I have a few more initial layouts to add, and this year I’m going to try to incorporate color and a bit more artistry to the pages as I go along.

Jan 062018
 

grilled new york steaks and quinoa

Whew! I was feeling so lazy tonight I almost punted on dinner. Instead, I got my rear off the couch, to the store to get a propane refill, and grilled New York steaks. To go with I made quinoa in the Instant Pot (1 minute on high pressure and you’ve got the best, fluffiest quinoa ever), green salad, and grilled sweet and green onions. Shout out to A for the salad, Dad for the grilling advice, Double DD Meats for the beautiful steaks, and my headlamp for letting me see what the heck I was doing out in the dark.

Jan 052018
 

finished meditative mandala

This afternoon, I was lucky enough to come home to an empty house, with the kids away at the grandparents and A not yet home from work. Since I am literally never alone in this house it was a real treat. I decided to watch a movie with my completely free time (no one needed anything! I didn’t have to compromise on the movie!). I’d heard some good things aboutĀ The Big Sick, (which if you haven’t seen it, go watch it right now – its free on Amazon Prime) and it was so sweet and funny. Easily one of the best movies I’ve seen over the past year or so.

While I was watching I finished coloring my meditative mandala. After it was completely colored, I used wet cotton swabs as brushes and was able to blend in and shade the colors even more.

Jan 042018
 

meditative mandala partially colored in

I got a bit of time to add some color to my meditative mandala after dinner (btw Instant Pot chicken and potatoes was A+++). Careful coloring takes time, at least for me, so I’ve got another night or two after this to finish this drawing. Also, I’m using watercolor pencils so I might do some water blending at the end as well.

After only these first few days I’m noticing an additional benefit from restarting this project – it’s luring the kids out of their rooms and away from their electronics! Tonight while I colored V read to me, and D complimented my mandala and then asked to draw too (which, of course you can!). What a great reminder to me about how important modeling behavior is, and how vital it is for them to see that adults can draw or color or paint without an end goal or product in mind.