Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mid-Week in Dark Rainy Wintertime

My snug and cozy house, decorated for the New Year and the many dark winter nights to follow

I'm doing my best to get out and about during the daytime, trying to get some light on my skin. I don't suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I do get a bit discouraged while waiting for sunny Spring and Summer days.

In the evenings, I'm reminding myself to take advantage of the pleasures this season affords: plenty of time to snuggle up with pets by the fire in a cozy throw and slippers, drink delicious hot tea, and indulge in long book-reading sessions. I also have lots of opportunities to sneak out to evening movies since I'm not busy doing outdoorsy things in the evening this time of year.

What do you do to cope with long dark winter days? What pastimes do you indulge in? Let me know in the comments below.


  • FLOWERS: Grocery stores in many areas now have colorful tulips,daffodils, and primroses available. Even though it's winter still! If you like cheery flowers, pick yourself up some. You can generally get a bouquet of several tulips for less than $5 and daffodils for less than $4. Primroses aren't expensive either. This will bring a little cheerful, early feeling of spring to your home.
  • LIQUOR: I'm still enjoying making hot toddies on cold winter nights, but guests drank up much of my bourbon and whiskey at my parties. (I don't mind, they were invited to!) Check your supply of liquor, wine and beer if you keep those sorts of beverages around. Did your supplies get depleted during your holiday parties? Add to your grocery shopping list if needed.
  • PAPER AND PLASTIC: Take inventory of your paper and plastic products. Do you need more Kleenex, paper towels, toilet tissue, garbage bags, sandwich bags, serving containers? Add anything you need to your shopping list for the weekend.
  • ENTERTAINMENT: Do you have any library books due to be returned this week? Any movies you need to return to Redbox?
  • KIDS ALLOWANCE: It's a new year - do your children need their allowances adjusted for cost of living increases and for their age? If this isn't something you review around their birthday, this might be a good time to discuss it. Also, it may be time to adjust chores around your childrens' older age, new skills they've acquired, or new schedules they've taken on at school.
  • RUGS: Need to shake out any throw rugs, or sweep off any doormats that have gotten heavy traffic so far this week? My kitchen and dog doors need their mats shaken out for sure.
  • LAUNDRY: Don't let laundry pile up going into the weekend. Do you need to run a load tonight - perhaps towels, pet bedding, or children's clothing?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Mid-Week Tidying

These colorful oval pails from The Container Store come in bright spring colors to make tidying less of a chore.

My employee and I have been doing a lot of projects around the house for work, which tends to mess the house up a bit. We've also removed the furniture from a guest room that needs to be refloored (sigh), taken down my blogging photography studio and created a second guest room in the space. We're sorting, organizing and photographing my collection of fairy tales and antique children's books. This has left piles of books on my dining room table - and they can't be put away until we're done, hopefully by the end of this week.

The mess is purposeful, but about to drive me crazy. I can't control it until we finish (and until the contractor is done ripping out and replacing flooring). So I'm choosing to mega clean up other areas of the house that I do have control over.

Today during my housekeeping project time (about 1 hour, plus maybe some laundry folding and sorting during an hour long TV show) I will clean my master bathroom, empty trashcans throughout the house, take out recycling, sanitize the kitchen counter, mop the kitchen floor, and file away some papers on my desk that are driving me crazy.

I feel like this will help me take back some control over the current messy situation, and help maintain the rest of the house in decent shape to make up for the chaos in the guest room and dining room! Also doing so many things tonight will help keep my weekend free for more delightful things.

What project might you tackle tonight?

LOVELY BATH & BODY: Lemon Verbena Hand Soap

There are two times of the year when I use lemon, citrus or lemon verbena products around the home: Summer and Winter. Citrus seems like a summer scent to me, but also citrus is at its best during winter. On long cold dark days, I feel like the smell of lemon verbena makes my house feel fresher, cleaner, and less dark and cold. Maybe I'm just crazy! Anyway, here's the hand soap I currently have set out in my master bathroom and in one of my guest bathrooms. I might pick up the matching lemon verbena candle from the line, and burn it in the kitchen, too.

Lemon Verbena Foaming Hand Soap, at Mrs. Meyers

LOVELY BLOGS: The Bojon Gourmet

This blog presents "seasonal recipes from a recovering pastry chef." Alanna creates sweet, savory, and occasionally boozy recipes in her San Francisco kitchen. I'm really enjoying her lovely food photography, as well as her recipes. Lately she's posting about curried noodles with crispy tofu, a gluten free Dutch baby with maple cranberries, and a delicious sounding blood orange and corn flour ricotta cake. Visit again next week to see what other delights she's presenting!

The Bojon Gourmet on Facebook

LOVELY BOOKS: Audrey at Home

Audrey Hepburn's son shares memories of growing up in his mother's kitchen. It's a biography of his mother, but also includes recipes she wrote in her own handwriting, and previously unpublished family photographs. This seems like a nice pleasant read as we head into springtime.

I'm tempted to see if anybody wants to read this with me in the Lovely Living University Book Club this spring.

Audrey at Home, at Amazon

Audrey at Home, at Barnes and Noble

LOVELY BOOKS: Lullabies of Many Lands

I love browsing through vintage children's books. I'm so grateful for The Internet Archive! This 1894 book has charming illustrations, even though they are not in color. The authors collected lullabies from Denmark, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and other countries, and translated them into English for us. Leafing through this book (virtually) is a pleasant way to spend my morning teatime break! Hope you enjoy looking through it as much as I did.

Lullabies of Many Lands, at Archive.Org


Blood Orange, Almond and Ricotta Cake (Smitten Kitchen)

Citrus Kale Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing (What's Cooking)

Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte (Brown Eyed Baker)

Honey Ginger Madeleine Cakes with Chocolate Sauce (Eat Well 101)

Lentil, Swiss Chard and Sweet Italian Sausage Soup (Its Cooking With Magda)

Lemon, Ricotta and Pea Linguine (Larger Family Life)

Maple and Spice Old Fashioned Cocktail for Winter (NW Edible)

Roasted Butternut Squash and Chorizo White Pizza (Modern Day Donna Reed)

Sour Cream Lime Bars (Baking Bites)

Tzatziki Bites with Greek Salsa (The Wanderlust Kitchen)

Winter Butternut Bruschetta with Herbed Ricotta (Behind the Plates)

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