Dear Internet,

Hi there. Let’s just jump in and look past the fact I didn’t manage to write once in the month of November.

I knit a pair of socks. I’m half way through another pair. And then I have one more pair to finish before Christmas. I’ve done nothing in the way of embroidery. I am not making anything handmade for anyone this year except for Violet, Abram, and Jesse (the aforementioned socks). I thought I would feel bad about this. I do not. I’ve been watching Schitt’s Creek while I knit.

I’m almost completely done with Christmas shopping but I still have some decorating to do. (Since the remodel, I’m noticing fewer flat surfaces to put things!!) I’m also on the hunt for holiday entertaining recipes because I’m the one hosting this year. I know I’ll be an absolute basket case the day before and the day of, BUT I love the idea of having everyone together and playing games and laughing and making all kinds of tasty treats!

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I made this lemon-ginger elixir late last week and I’m pretty sure it will be on constant rotation over the winter. Violet had her fall concert for chorus and I made these popcorn balls as a treat for the kids afterward, replacing the peanuts with M&M’s (transfer the mix from the pan to a bowl before adding them in so they don’t get melty). Thanksgiving consisted of Ina Garten’s turkey recipe, a classic green bean casserole, and my favorite dressing. It was delicious. I also made these brownies over that weekend and they were good, but not *the* brownie. Oh, and before I forget: make this soup. Jesse and I loved it. Kids weren’t crazy about it. But they aren’t loving anything that isn’t a chicken nugget these days. Mission #1 for 2019 is to get us ALL back into the habit of making and eating more food (ahem, vegetables) at home. I also want to try my hand at making bread. I don’t know why it’s so intimidating but I’ve been saying for a few months that I want to try my hand at it, but not actually trying my hand at it.

Mission #2 (which I’ve been incorporating already) is decreased screen time. For everyone. I deleted instagram off my phone, deactivated my Facebook account, hid the Xbox and the iPads, and am working on finding other ways to keep everyone busy. I miss the days of crafting and coloring and cooking and game playing, so I’m making the adjustments. It’s been rocky. We’ve had some tantrums (and not just by the kids) but I think it’s better for all of us. (It’s certainly better for my to-do list.) Once upon a time, I didn’t even own a television. It’s amazing (disgusting) how many screens I have in my house now.

Fewer screen hours has resulted in more reading hours. Abram signed up for the annual Battle of the Books. He’s finished Ruby Holler, is currently reading Caddie Woodlawn, and The Tale of Despereaux is next up. Despite having plenty of reading to do for school, he’s still asking me to read Chomp to him in the evenings, so I’m pretty thrilled about that. As for me, most of the reading I’ve been doing is light. I finished The Summer Wives (3 stars), Nine Perfect Strangers (3 stars), The Proposal (2 stars), Hillbilly Elegy (3.7 stars), and The Dinner List (2 stars). I’m currently slow reading a book of letters by George H.W. Bush (reading a few letters, putting it down, reading a few more) and The Children of Blood and Bone (I picked it up for Violet but it’s lower on her list right now. It’s not my genre, and it’s quite dark, but I wanted to read it. I’m about halfway through and I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve finished.)

So that’s me. It’s full and boring and I’m a bit over winter considering it started the first week in November (and I’m a person who LIKES winter) but we’re settling in to the season. We had a “good snow” snowfall over the weekend and the kids spent the weekend with my mom playing in that and making homemade caramels (P.S. They’re in my fridge right now. And they’re dangerous) while Jesse and I finished almost all of the shopping (now for the wrapping!!). How are you? What are you reading, making, watching, listening to? Hope that you and yours are well!!!


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  • Love seeing this catch-up post from you, Kate, and so glad you’re mostly well.
    (Heads up: This is going to be a random and disjointed comment…!)

    That soup looks fantastic! Regarding bread baking, there are “no knead” recipes floating around out there on the Internet. I’ve never tried one, but maybe that’s a good place for you to start?

    I’m excited for you, that you’ll have the big family Christmas celebration at your house! I’m usually a wreck as well, before big events, but it usually all comes together, and even if things are missing, no one will notice but you. I hope you get a chance to enjoy yourself.

    Daniel Levy (from Schitt’s Creek) is one of the hosts on The Great Canadian Baking Show. My 13-year-old son and I LOVE him 🙂 .

    Yay on the sock knitting success! I’ve been on the same sock for about 6 months now. But I’m almost done the first sleeve on my sweater. I’ve been knitting while watching Queer Eye, which makes me tear up nearly every episode. Watched Maniac — wonderfully wacky and thought-provoking and weird, albeit with one or two scenes of such violence I had to look away. Also watching Father Brown with my 13-year-old son. Too much TV…I have a post in the works about screens. We’re on exactly the same wavelength, you and I. FB gone from my phone and really I should just delete/deactivate altogether. It brings me down each and every time I go on. Anyway, I hope to get that post written in the next few days but I also have a ton of work to do on my course, which winds up in a week.

    Have been listening to The Trews album Civilianaires on repeat for weeks now. November and December have been brutal for me. Enough said as I don’t want to bring anyone down with my grinchiness.

    Only one or maybe two small knitting project(s) for me for Christmas — a Hogwarts sweater ornament for my oldest son’s GF, and maybe one for my daughter’s BF as well. Not that guys really appreciate that sort of stuff…

    I’m so impressed by your reading list. I just finished Brave New World. A short book, and yet it took months. Sigh. I have nothing on my TBR list queued up and ready to go. Maybe after Christmas… So glad to hear you’ve got Abram reading again!! That’s fantastic news.

    May December be good to you, Kate 🙂

    • I’m so glad to hear from you!! I can’t wait to read your post once you get a chance, but I can imagine with the holiday and your class, schedules are busy!!

      Daniel Levy is my FAVORITE! I would LOVE to see him on the baking show!

      And don’t be too impressed with my reading list. I hardly read much of substance and it’s always easier to power through fluff. And there was so much fluff.

      And thank you for the no knead suggestion! I promised myself I would give it a try by the end of next week (how can I get good at it if I’m never even willing to try?!?!) no matter what so I may have to look one of those up!!

  • I look forward to reading what’s up with you so *yay* you’re here. As usual you’ve provided a good link to something I want to try. In this case it’s the lemon ginger tea. I need that in my life, NEED I tell you!

    I’m an adult but The Tale of Despereaux is one of my favorite books. And Hillbilly Elegy, while not my particular story, it is the story of many of the kids I went to school with. It all rang true with me.

    I wish the best of luck with your family celebration at your house for Christmas. It’s a big undertaking, but I’m sure it’ll all come together, one way or another. No matter what happens have some fun with it, even if you don’t have so many surfaces anymore.

    • That lemon ginger is SO good I tell you. I think everyone needs it! I made it again yesterday. You’ll have to tell me what you think.

      I have never read the Tale of Despereaux but I think I must. I’ve heard good things! And Hillbilly Elegy definitely resonated, despite not having the exact experiences.

      And thank you for the good wishes! I’m looking forward to it!

  • Well, no need to be hang dog about not writing, as I am only just now seeing this post. I’ve been too busy to read, much less write. Like Marian, I love seeing these posts from you. I know I’m still supposed to send you suggestions for Abram; I haven’t forgotten. Work has just been…well, horrible. And it’s taken over my life in a way I vowed it wouldn’t do. And then I left the country. (Am actually writing these words from London.) I will be coming back, but it’s sure nice to have a break.

    Everything you are doing/writing about sounds lovely. I know you used the “t” word (tantrum) and nothing is ever all roses, but soup and knitting and reading and cooking all just sounds so wonderful. I really want to have some time to settle into such pursuits before the winter is over. While I’m (mostly) glad to be on an adventure and seeing a place I’ve never been, I’m also a little homesick and wish I were there, nesting away.

    Can’t wait to hear your review of Children of Blood and Bone. I almost picked it up for myself–it’s gotten so many good reviews–but (as you said) it’s not my genre. And there’s not enough time to read as it is. I think I should adopt your screen time practices, and then I’d have more time for those other things. But then it would take me even longer to discover that I’ve missed one of your posts!

    • I’m so sorry to hear that work has been horrible, Rita. I feel like 2018 was just a really awful year for many, and I’m sorry that you’re included in that group. I hope the trip to London is a fun adventure that helps bring in a happier 2019, and once home, you have time to settle in and pursue the wished for coziness.

      I’m glad for your suggestions and/or comments whenever you get a chance, no rush/no pressure. As for Blood and Bone – it’s hard to review. I liked it but didn’t LOVE it. Thought the theme was solid but maybe a little too overt and DEFINITELY not my genre. It’s not on Violet’s radar at the moment, but is IS her genre, so I’ll be interested to hear what she thinks when she decides to pick it up.

      • Well, 2018 was not awful. It was hard, but a necessary hard and (I think?) right kind of hard. This makes it an improvement over years 2015-2017, for which I am grateful. That said, I will not be sad to leave this one in the past.

        I had a feeling that I would feel just as you did about Blood and Bone. I considered it when I needed and audiobook recently, and in the end I passed on it. Went with my staple genre for audiobooks–historical fiction. I’m finding that I like to get lost in a different time lately. I am going to sound like such an old lady, but any more the years of WWII feel more familiar than the year I am currently living in, and there’s a comfort in that.

        • You DON’T sound like an old lady. I don’t know why (though I have theories) but historical fiction is my go to – especially when in a funk.