Panic in the Morning

I had planned to write about something else for today, but then had a bit of a panicked start this morning. I looked at the time and realized the only kid going to school this week was going to be late. Then I couldn’t find her anywhere in the house. I felt I should have been more concerned. I might have still been waking up.

Her school bag, her shoes, and the house key that is for the kids to use were all gone. I was pretty sure she had taken herself to school, so I called to be sure. After they called back to let me know she was, in fact, at school, my middle one found the oldest’s note that she had left on the fridge, letting me know she had gone to get the bus for school. My ever maturing oldest had gotten herself up and ready and to school all on her own.

It has been a strange, exhausting, frustrating several months (years really), and realizing your kids are growing up despite your desire to hold on is wild. We are really proud of her, even if it gave me a fright. I guess we’re getting a few things right along the way.

It’s Been a While

I have been regularly writing posts. I swear. They’re just all in my head. My mind and my body have been so restless I spend most of my time wandering around taking care of this or that in order to relax and then run out of time to do so. Because of the restlessness, my anxiety has me piling up the yarn projects. Or snuggling my kids. Or zoning out while staring at the tv screen. Certain things have simply been crowded out by the demands of life right now.

We had a magical Halloween. Our oldest dressed up as some death version of Link from a series of character stories she found way too young online. (Lots of blame to go around on that one, but the main thing is we are working on the result of early exposure to the wrong material). She was excited and most people just recognized her as Link.

Our middle wanted to be a devil. We found the last devil set at the costume store during an anxiety attack (I’m trying to learn how to help her through them, but sometimes you can’t avoid the chaos) and later found some awesome red wings, once most of us had calmed down. She wore a velvet red dress with it all, and a red ribbon sash to hold the tail.

Our youngest was going to be Elsa from Frozen. Then she was going to be an Ice Queen with a mask. Got her all that. Then decided to be Aang from Avatar when she saw the costume at the store. They were all so excited. We did our first Trunk or Treat. I had never even heard of these things until I moved to this area back in my twenties. It was fun and our girls really enjoyed it.

Trick or Treating in our new town was magical. I felt like we were in the perfect feel-good movie. Everyone was spaced out enough that the girls had to look for porch lights to knock on doors or ring bells (our old neighborhood was just a steady stream of people coming from both ways and everyone sitting outside). There were lots of dogs to pet and the girls saw a few of their friends from school. We were out for three hours! They came home with quite the haul. They are still picking their way through it all.

Thanksgiving was quiet. My mom was the only one who could make it. It was really nice. We cooked and watched Tic Tic Boom while James took the girls to his brother’s house for his family’s meal. The girls had fun. Then we all ate together at home.

So, it’s been good, but we are also still stressed out and still catching up on a lot of things. Right now I’ve got two of them jumping all over me because I have left them to their own devices for too long while writing this.

Discovering Runes

The Book of Runes by Ralph H. Blum

Every once in a while, I get an idea in my head that I can’t give up on until I do it. Having a set of runes and a book on them was the most recent. I was watching one of my favorite shows, The Good Witch, and runes were featured in a few episodes I hadn’t seen yet. I felt a pang. Or a ding. The stones and tiles have always intrigued me, but something has always seemed to be holding me back from them. Then the ping.

After that, I came across discussions on runes in a couple places online. Then I really got it stuck that I needed a set. I started looking at sets online with my mom and husband. I started looking up ways to make my own. I even felt better after bringing home some black clay and a gold paint pen to make my own set with. I still needed a book. Much more reliable than the internet. Easier for me to learn from as well.

I haven’t made them yet.

I have a request in at the local library for a guide and history book, but I needed one now, so my mom and I went to Barnes and Noble. I spent nearly 20 minutes examining the limited selection of really New Age books. There was nothing. I picked up one that had a section on them, but I really didn’t want the rest of the book. Right before giving up, I decided to look on the other side of a very large book and there it was. The one and only book about runes on the whole shelf, and it also included a set of ceramic stones. I was going home with a book and my first set.

My mother offered to buy them for me and we played with them a bit at the restaurant we went to for lunch. It was a really nice way to bring them home and I felt at ease as soon as they were in my possession. My mom is great at supporting my path, whatever it is and the girls were really excited to have a reading too.

I have been reading with the same tarot deck since I was a teenager. It seems silly to not have gravitated towards runes sooner, but everything has its time. I know my cards pretty well, but I still use my notebook with every reading. I’m looking forward to working my way through each tile and reading more in depth about the art. And creating a small notebook just for them and me.

Found the Library!

Our youngest’s selection.

We don’t spend as much time reading as I would like, but we are a family of readers. I have been meaning to check out the library in town since we moved in in May, but life… Finally we made it over after school a couple weeks ago and the kids were thrilled. It’s very small and still uses the stamp cards in the back of the books, but I love that.

Our middle one’s picks.

My youngest two were very excited for the holiday section full of Halloween books. They quickly found some books they liked and sat to read while the rest of us hunted. My oldest wandered around unhappy with her choices. She is at that age where the kids books are too young, but the young adult is a bit too adult. She finally found a book, but I don’t think she is really enjoying it. Which is probably for the best. I think it’s more for teenagers than an almost pre-teen kid.

Our oldest’s pick.

I was not real hopeful I would find something for me, but trying something new is how I have found a lot of really good books. I am already in the middle of two books with plans to read the Harry Potter series again, so of course I found a book to borrow.

More to come on these in the future, but for now the Ani Difranco memoir was a gift from a friend. So far, it has been a wonderful reminder of where I come from (we were both born in Buffalo, NY) and who I really am. Red Queen is the sequel to Alice by Christina Henry and I just love her version of one of my favorite stories. Then I found Coastliners written by the same person who wrote Chocolat. I love the movie, and after watching it several times, I finally read the book. I definitely recommend it. Coastliners has the same pull and style and I am looking forward to reading it- in the future. I’m returning it until I’m ready because I remembered a trilogy that is perfect to re-read this time of year.

The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. This is one of my most treasured sets of books and I ate them up about a year or so ago. They are everything you could want, and then some, from a story about a witch and a vampire and a lot of history. It’s the kind of book that reminds you grown-ups have lush imaginations too, full of depth and intelligence. One of my greatest fears as a child and teen was that adult books would not have the same magic that the ones of my youth did. I am delighted to discover those fears were wrong.

Fall Treats

This really simple apple crumble was a hit. Diced apples baked with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and a dash of salt. Then I topped it with granola and whipped cream. Definitely need to make sure to cut up enough apples next time.

Another night, I decided to try again and got the apples going while making some pulled BBQ chicken. The apples were supposed to go with it, but took a bit longer than expected. The sandwiches with cheddar cheese were really good. Then we had the apples for dessert.

I had some pumpkin cake and so topped it with the apples and, my favorite, whipped cream. I added a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to them. The kids still really liked the apples. It’s always a nice feeling.

Comforting Grilled Cheese

One of my favorite Fall and Winter meals is grilled cheese and tomato soup. I actually checked out a cook book from the library solely about grilled cheese and it was amazing, but I still like to keep it pretty simple.

Another sheet pan meal in this house. I baked all the bacon first and then prepped the bread with mayo. The rest of the family really likes the velveeta cheese and I prefer cheddar. Once the cheese started to melt I sandwiched in the bacon, cooked them a bit longer, then flipped to finish the other side. I also had tomato bisque with milk added simmering on the stove.

The soup is usually more of a dipping sauce for me and everyone loved the bacon addition. We had a lovely meal together at the table, full of wonderful conversation. Then the girls and I hung out in the dinning room reading and relaxing the rest of the evening.

Autumn and Harry Potter

One of my husband’s favorite things to do as Autumn really starts to set in is watch all the Harry Potter movies. We have been making our way through them with the girls the past two weeks. Since we have given our kids such an early bedtime (because it takes them forever to settle for the night, no matter what time they go to bed), we simply stop the movie where it is and pick it up again the next night.

Each year we do this the more the girls get caught up in them. Even our first grader (did I just say first grader?!) is getting into them. I really do enjoy the movies, but there was so much more that I wish had been kept somehow. My husband has never read the books, other than the snippets he catches when I’m reading it to the girls, and is really happy to be a fan solely based on the movies. I have tried to make my peace with that.

I, on the other hand, have been a fan since the third book came out and my two best friends convinced me to give them a try, taking turns lending me their copies, way back in high school. I vividly remember reading late into the night with the one friend while camping with her family in a no frills cabin. It was one of the best weeks of high school.

I have read the first couple books twice and the next several three times and the last one four times. There are very few books I read more than once. Opinions of the author aside, Harry Potter is an amazing tale. And basically I’m trying to say that I’m having a hard time enjoying the movies as much this time around. And that I would rather read the books again. I was reading the first book to the girls again, but they seem to have lost interest. I’m thinking I might just have to read them again, but on my own.

These books are also like a warm blanket. A throw back to another time in my life when I was still just a kid, even if I didn’t think so. When I read these books, it was a couple of late nights, unable to put it down for sleep. Curled up in my safe space, snug under my blankets, on an adventure. So, I guess I’m grateful the movies give us a chance to snuggle up on the couch as a family and share the adventure.

I’ve Been a Bit Distracted

Drying in the sunshine after wet blocking.

Every chance I get I’ve been clicking away with my needles to get a lot of these mitts done. They are my latest design for my Artemis line, only sold at Artemis Massage Studio where I work. They are being added to all the hats I’m still making as well.

Right now I’m making brown ones with the half archer and green ones with the stag. The plan is to make red ones for winter, so I will use the standing archer figure for those. If I can keep it simple, I remain a little less nuts about it all. I have also sorted the patterns for both large and medium sizes, which should fit most adults, but the small size for the half archer is giving me issues. I’ll try again after I get some more of what I have worked out done.

Apple Pie Cookies and Spiced Pear Muffins

Since I had a plan this week, baking has been happening. The girls were so excited to help out and this recipe is really easy to let them. It takes a bit of doing, so they lost interest after a while, but it was fun while it lasted.

They made for a wonderful bedtime snack with some apples and cheese. And the girls enjoyed them for a snack at school. I changed the recipe quite a bit, so this version has dried apples, golden raisins, sunflower seeds, honey, vanilla extract, oats, oat flower, cinnamon, almond butter, and some other baking basics. I’m so happy the kids like them.

Then I made some spiced pear muffins. This time I wanted to bake alone and was halfway through when my munchkin wanted to help. I refused to let her and it was a bit upsetting, but we snuggled and she felt better. Later, she remarked, while eating muffins, that she had no idea I could bake such good food. I laughed and realized how long it has been since I’ve really baked from scratch. I spent years perfecting a lot of these recipes and it’s about time I start using them again.

Getting in the Mood for Fall

It doesn’t usually take this much effort to get me into the fall mood. Well, maybe it’s more accurate to say it’s taking more effort than usual to get me to do fall things. I thought a good sheet pan meal would be the place to start.

Diced red potatoes and baby carrots on one sheet, and broccoli and caulIflower with the beef sausage on another. I shook the potatoes in a covered bowl with oil and some mild spices before laying them on the sheet. The baby carrots I laid on top of them after they had baked for a while. I shook the broccoli in what was left in the bowl and put them in the oven at the same time as the carrots. It all took about 40 minutes. It was delicious.

For a snack I had a pumpkin bagel with cream cheese and honey. It has been a long time since I’ve added the honey and it takes me back to when I was really little.

I always love how the honey causes the cream cheese to crack. I have vivid memories of enjoying this experiment. Even the sight of it brings me joy.

And I just realized I’m out of nutmeg, so I’ll pick some of that up because I feel the Fall Baking Spirit beginning to take hold.