Easy End of the Week Dinner

As it gets colder out, I begin trying to keep frozen stuffed pastas on hand. After a stressful week and a birthday sleepover that started four hours early I was very low on energy or motivation for dinner.

Add to that the pile of dishes and dirty pots from the party (which I’ve already done multiple racks of before and during the event), I needed something simple.

Chicken strips in the oven and water for the tortellini and broccoli in a pan on the stove. Once the broccoli was soft enough I drained them and melted butter in the same pan with some herbs and spices. Then I mixed the pasta and broccoli back in with some Parmesan.

I served it up with some more Parmesan on top. The kids loved it, which is always a good feeling. I’m pretty stuffed myself.


We woke up to a knock on the door. Our neighbor was here for her ride to school and all of us had slept through my four blaring alarms. I think it was the fastest we have all gotten ready. I even managed to get a cup of coffee before we hustled out the door.

Thankfully I have the day off (well, most of the day), so I just needed to get everyone where they were going. After dropping my husband off (the last of my passengers), I went to the store to get lunch supplies for the kids to take to school. So glad I had that coffee.

As I drove home, I breathed in the view. Fog and mist hazing the edges of road. The clusters of trees holding in their secrets. The feel of mystery everywhere. Fall is here and I welcome the soothing call to make ready for the darkest part of the year.

Hopefully we’ll wake up on time tomorrow.


I know my posts are really inconsistent. Every time life gets really hard I tend to bow out of anything that isn’t necessary. I conserve my energy. I spend my days off hibernating to make it through my busy days.

My husband has found work. We’re pretty happy about that. It was down to a frayed wire by the time he started and we’re almost able to breathe again. It’s not what he was hoping for, but I feel it’s going to be better than he thinks.

I’m still at two studios. I’m enjoying the variety. They’re very different from each other and that’s keeping me from stagnating. I’m slowly building a client base at the new place and it feels good.

The kids are really growing up. They’re taking on new challenges and impressing me all the time. We have some awesome conversations. And somehow find ways to still be silly together.

So, maybe I’ll start posting a little more regularly again. We’ll see what happens. Getting ready for Autumn and Halloween always brings me a calming joy. Speaking of, I’m going to settle in with The Good Witch tv show, some knitting, and my coffee.

Post Vacation Fatigue

It’s crazy how tired I am. Four whole days away in a rustic cabin in the mountains, in the woods, filled with rest and relaxation, and I’m so very tired.

A few years ago I learned about this. I tried going straight back to work right after a week long camping trip (I always like to be clear that it’s cabin camping, but it’s the bare minimum sort of cabin). Never again. I like to have three buffer days before returning to normal reality.

This cabin was very homey. It was wonderful listening to the bugs, the rain, the breeze through the trees. I soaked each day up as much as I could.

Very soon it’s back to our regular schedule. Only now we’re sharing a car and my husband has a new job. So things are going to be very busy. I’m almost ready.

Restful Cabin Shawl

I have been getting more done than I thought I would this early in the trip. By the time this vacation rolled around I was in desperate need of a real break. Life just keeps getting harder. I honestly am grateful for many things, but I’m tired.

I wanted to make knitting as easy as possible for this trip and wrote my pattern out on index cards with one for tally’s. Thanks to the bag from my sister, I am able to keep everything well contained. Her dog loves burying his nose inside and sniffing around.

I did make it to the beach on our second day. I really prefer lake beaches in the woods, if I’m in the mood for one. My mom took the girls on her own the first day, so I had some time to really rest. At night I watched what I wanted and knit to my heart’s content. The rest has been good.

Vacation Shawl

It’s finally that time of year again. We’re going to be setting off on our family vacation with some of my family and I just realized I have no knitting projects planned.

I have started making it a tradition to make (or start) a shawl on our trip. I have had these cakes waiting for me to finally figure out what to make and now I’ve decided.

I have mapped out a large crescent shawl of various stitches. Relaxing, rhythmic patterns, which is why I’m glad I got it started before we left. I had to make a few changes to keep it relaxing.

Knitting Sleeves

Cables: Viking Knits by Elsebeth Lavold

As I neared the end of the body section of this sweater, I decided to add an alternating knot pattern to the sleeves. After all the repetition on the body pattern, I wanted to keep things interesting.

Sweater pattern: Top-Down Knit Sweaters by Corrina Ferguson

I was really in the groove when I finished the hem, so I put the first sleeve stitches back on my needles. As I did so, I realized I had already started knitting into the second repeat of the original knot. So I sat there and ripped back the cable section and began laddering back up with the added different knot.

You can definitely see I did some work here, but I honestly really like the look.

All I had near me were three different sized double pointed needles. I didn’t want to get up and get the right sizes. I didn’t want to interrupt my flow. So I stubbornly used what I had next to me and fussed my way through eleven rows of cabling to get on track with my changed design.

I have no regrets. That section tells a story. I’m also really happy I decided to keep it interesting. It kept me motivated and I even added a thumb hole in the cuff.

I did get the right sized dpns for the second sleeve, and fixing the cables was a lot easier. So now I’m making my way through that. I might even finish this thing before school starts.

Dinner Now, Dinner Later

Once again, I’m getting back on track. Every time I do, it starts with food. I had a couple ideas for meals and set off for the grocery store with my youngest.

We have been eating abysmally lately and it shows. Digestive issues, sluggishness, and awful moods with tempers flying.

Tonight I made rice with sausage, peppers, corn, and cheese. Easy stove-top rice. Baked the sausage in the oven and added frozen corn and green peppers later. Then I mixed it all with cheddar cheese.

I also made a box of rotini pasta for tomorrow’s dinner. Get all the cooking done at once. After the pasta cooled, I mixed in black and green olives, diced pepperoni, red pepper, and mozzarella cheese. I have salami set aside for the rest of us to add because my husband can’t have it. I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, cilantro, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. I would have used red wine vinegar, but we’re out, apparently.

So here’s to eating better. At least for a while.

Yes, It Can Happen in Your 30’s

Peri menopause. Intense bloating. Frequent, dull headaches. Tender and sore breasts. Exhaustion. Unregulated body temperature changes. And the unfiltered rage.

A friend of mine equated it to a ticking clock. You become more aware of your mortality on a biological level and simply don’t have time to pander to the unnecessary. Your body is adjusting to the reality of aging.

I’m beginning to realize my workouts aren’t just vital to my mental and physical health, but also vital to managing all these peri menopausal symptoms.

I’ve only scratched the surface of what I’m about to face. A couple articles, some quick facts, anecdotes. I have been met with “but you’re so young!” more frequently than I enjoy. I know exactly how old I am, thank you. Usually explaining my hot flashes convinces anyone who knows. Now I’m hearing stories of what has helped each person and I’ve noticed something interesting.

When I was pregnant, I looked very young. Apparently it continued through raising two little ones. The way people talked to me was infuriating. I had to hear it from a friend, that yes, I looked like a 17 year old. The advice was free flowing, often unasked for, and seemed to hold a moral judgment against other methods. There was an expectation with the advice. I felt like a child not trusted with the responsibility of raising my own children when society did nothing but preach about the natural and glorious ability of every woman to be a mother.

With menopause there is more mystery. More awe. A somberness to the whole process that I appreciate a great deal more than I anticipated. It’s a sisterhood born from something we all will absolutely share. Whether it was like taking a breath and over without even a whisper, or a two decade long struggle of earth-shattering changes, we all go through it.

So I’m beginning the work of understanding what I’m going through and how to embrace it. A lot of this is unsettling, but the rage feels like a comfy blanket I misplaced for decades and now I get to wrap myself in it again.

“What would you do with a free afternoon?”

“What would you do with a free afternoon?”

We wax philosophically with each other.

“Read a book.”

“Take a bath, or maybe a nap.”

“I could get that corner cleaned up. It’s been nagging at me for a while.”

“I would watch what I want, without worry of interruption.”

“I could solve the world’s problems in one afternoon.”

Yet, here I am, without a thing needing done or another person around and I’m bouncing from one thing to the next. Nothing is being accomplished. I’m just flittering about.

I guess I’m preparing for rest. Getting it all in order. Getting me in order. With any luck I’ll get settled long before anyone returns. I’ll feel refreshed and ready for reality.