October 08, 2014

Simple Pleasures

Maybe it's the change of season, more likely it's my own personal change of season, but I'm enjoying a more simple life these days. Even the touches of Autumn that are showing up around our house are simple. A bit of nature, a little texture and warmth. Just enough to signal the change and make it feel a bit cozier around here.

I'm happy to live in a little bubble devoid of politics, scary news stories and reality tv. I prefer small joys like cuddling up and watching reruns of Gilmore Girls and Hart of Dixie or watching newer favorites like Manhattan Love Story (please check it out!) and Cedar Cove which I was a bit embarrassed about since it is geared toward middle-aged women but then I realized that I am a middle-aged woman!

 I love the simple pleasure of going into the kitchen, putting on some lovely music and baking. I always tell my girls, food isn't love, because I don't want them to confuse the two. But then the truth is, it is a little bit, right? It's love and comfort and celebration. I love to cook and bake for people to show my love and appreciation for them. So I guess that makes me a liar. A chocolate brownie baking liar. And really, if you have to be a liar, that's the best kind I think.

Liar's Brownies
2 sticks butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cup flour
 1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter over medium low heat. Take off burner and add vanilla and sugar mixing until combined. Add eggs and blend well. Add unsweetened cocoa, flour and salt and mix just until combined. Pour into 9x13 greased or parchment lined pan (I used a slightly smaller pan which yielded thicker brownies) and bake at 375° 25-30 minutes or until done. All that just mixed into the pot. It couldn't be more simple.

I know you think all I do is bake but I also made a really simple, lovely fish for dinner the other night. I can't show you a picture because A.) I'm not a food photographer. See photo above and B.) If you saw my photo you wouldn't want to make it because see A.).  I heated some butter and olive oil in a skillet, added a couple sprigs of rosemary, put my fish in, seasoned it with salt and pepper, added the zest of one lemon and the juice of 1/2 a lemon sauteed until done and then poured that special sauce over it. It was so good that I spent the rest of the evening talking about how amazing it was. And maybe a little bit the next night too. But really, it was so simple a man could make it. Ok, not mine but maybe yours? If it doesn't involve fire, smoke or a waffle maker my guy isn't interested.

The leaves are really starting to fall here in the Village. While we are finally wrapping up our porch project, there are a couple new improvements on our street creating chaos (because it always gets uglier before it gets prettier) where I had hoped to see only the beauty of Autumn. So I head inside where there is dappled afternoon light coming through the windows. The evenings are getting chilly and it's about time to pull out the flannel sheets. The cozy sweaters are starting to make an appearance and I know hats and scarves aren't far behind. The days are spent knitting, soup making and cozy book reading. The evenings are spent cuddling with my hot natured Hubby who always loves me a little more than usual when the weather turns brisk. Simple pleasures are my favorite.

September 23, 2014

Autumn's First Blush

Autumn is dawning. Everywhere I look, the first tinges of color where before there was none. The oaks are starting to turn and I know the maples won't be far behind. The last of the flowers are hanging on to their color and cozy mornings are bathed in golden light.

The squirrels and chipmunks are busy foraging for food, providing constant entertainment for the cats and constant nose prints on the windows for me. I know as soon as I decorate my porch with cornstalks, they will strip all of the cobs. I'm fine with this. We have an arrangement. At this time of year, more than any other, this place resembles a Disney movie, resplendent with woodland creatures. The squirrels stand above me in the tree eating as much of the fruit on the tree as they can, and throwing their discards down at me. They know what they are doing. The other day I was driving down Walnut St. and a squirrel stood in the road playing chicken with me. He won. My lovely, enchanted Village.

In the mornings I drive Emma to school, coming home on the back roads so that I can drive slower and my constant companion, Millie, can hang her head out the window the whole way. If we get really lucky, there will be nobody behind us and we can drive 10 mph under the speed limit making the trip that much better (and longer) for each of us. We pass large, round bales of hay and cows grazing. We pass a tractor sitting idle in a field, appearing to glow from the sun rising around it. We pass field after field of golden, spiky corn stalks.

At home things are quiet, the corners still shadowy this early in the morning. The dog wants to lay on the back porch breathing in the brisk air. The cat is more demanding of some love and I am happy to give it.

The day's demands are calling: laundry, cleaning, errands and appointments. All I really want to do is knit, read, write, bake and make soup. Pursuits that feed my soul. It feels like the right time for feeding my soul, like it came just when I needed it.

I know that October is the main event but I'm just realizing how magical September's build up is. Welcome, Autumn! I've been waiting for you.

September 11, 2014

Here and There, but Mostly Here

I'm feeling more introspective and introverted than I can ever remember being in my life. These days I'm enjoying living my life in a small, quiet way. I actually got overwhelmed just looking at pinterest last night. So I stopped. Because there's no space for that right now. And then I felt happy again.

I've been busy in my own way. Nesting a bit to get ready for Autumn. How many throws is enough? I don't really want to know, but I imagine my Sweet Man does. He is probably also wondering the same thing about throw pillows but it didn't keep me from making some for the front porch.

Speaking of the porch, if someone invites you over to their house for a beer on the porch, don't turn to their wife and say what's with those plates? Because I'm sure she wouldn't have hung those plates if she didn't love them. So just smile and drink your beer and keep your mouth closed. ;) In other related news, if you visit some family members, and they have a framed fabric background with a ceramic deer head hung in the middle, don't say "I don't get it." Just smile and drink your beer and keep your mouth closed. ;)

I've been trying to do better about taking care of me. Yoga is making a regular appearance again and boy do I need it. I'm trying to remember what it's like to not be in pain every day. I long to get there again.

Last night severe weather swept through our area. So severe, that I ate my dinner in the closet under the stairs with my little one, a dog and three cats. The good news is that it brought with it a cold front and it definitely feels like Autumn today. I'm making this soup for dinner tonight and this cake this weekend. I'm burning this candle right now.

We've had a fair amount of visitors lately, including a lovely visit from a favorite blog reader (hey Michelle!) and her family, who I've been trying to meet up with for years! I just have to say, I love when our guests spontaneously leave behind a souvenir of their visit on our dining room chalkboard.

Visitors often lead to projects. Of course our major project, the porch is still not quite done, but as God is my witness, this will be the month. I have managed to do a couple of small things that have been on my to do list forever like turning some old Rifle Paper Co. calendar pages into artwork for the downstairs bathroom, as well as some painting projects.

Other than that, I've read a few books, made friends with my knitting needles after a year long break up, done some gardening, planned a long awaited weekend getaway to Michigan with my love (it's been 7 1/2 years since we've managed that) and have been generally cozy and content. I hope you have been as well and I'd love to hear how you've been spending your days.