Monday started with the case of the Mondays here.  4am we were awoken by the smoke alarm.  I think our forced steam radiators stirred up dust in the girls' room.  (Bonus, they were super motivated to clean this afternoon after being pulled out of their beds at 4am.)

Our frowns were turned upside down with our regular daily reading to them by the fire with my coffee that always goes cold while Adrian draws trucks, Audra crafts something different each day, Anna-Kate sets up some elaborate play scene and the dogs snore. It's our everyday and so enjoyable and comforting to us. After school and cleaning, we managed a trip to the library, sledding, virtual 4-H tree club and the promised Dr. Quinn episode we never got to this past weekend before more books before bed. 

Three more perks of the day: 
I used my birthday money (thank you!) for upgrading my baking cupboard flours/oats/sugar storage. I bought my old set 18 years ago and it was just so tired looking. I wanted to change to glass, but dimensions wouldn't allow me to store as much in this space.   I measured to maximize space and am thrilled. They fit, they are huge, they are functional and sort of pretty. Yay! The canning jars in the front are topped with flip/shake tops from Parmesan cheese that I have saved over the years.  Did you know they fit standard canning jars?  Save those tops, they are useful! 
2) I'm trying to have an exciting new meal for Mondays since Mondays are the only weekday that I do not work. Creamy Cajun Chicken with zucchini. So good.  I sauteed shallots, colored peppers, hot pepper and garlic and added orzo.  I cooked the orzo in just enough broth to cover it (adding more as needed).  I dumped some half and half in there to make it creamy with salt, paprika and cumin. Topped with chicken, zucchini, parm cheese and parsley.  It was a hit, everyone loved it! You could easily make this with rice.  
 3) Audra took this pic.  He's wearing a wool vest I made him.  She's wearing pajamas I made her and slippers Nam knitted her. Bangs she cut herself (sigh). 
Life is always sunshine and roses, but reflecting on the good before I retire for the night leaves such a warm feeling in my heart.  Tuesday, I am ready for you!


The Blizzard

I love a good blizzard (provided we don't lose power, which we didn't!). I love a fresh blanket of snow. I think our house is most gorgeous with fresh snow.

I love a weekend of slow woodstove cooking. 
Long rising. (Except I could do without every article of clothing being wet by the fire...)
Mom's version of 'subway'. 
What's better than books by the fire?
In typical form, Adrian did a heck of a lot of work.
Audra worked on being the fastest cave digger.
And Anna-Kate mostly did her own thing inside.
Although the girls did get inspired to go on an 'old fashioned' adventure'. I think it took longer to get all the layers on than how long the adventure lasted.
We had to call them into dinner tonight. 

I love you, January snow....please don't go. We have so many snow adventures we are hoping to enjoy!

The calm

 The calm before the storm...

Only two would cooperative for a picture...

Random Musings

I am an always flowers on the table type of person. I am also cheap.  My paperwhites are on their last petals. Thankfully I pulled some forsythia inside the beginning of January.  Big bouquet of forced homegrown flowers in January for free? Yes please. This is the earliest I have ever forced blooms and I am glad I did! Time to pull another round in.

2) I am a big fan of the doublesized muffin pans.  In fact I am more willing to make muffins because there are only six giant holes to wash instead of 12 small ones. Totally makes a difference. Only want one muffin? Cut it in half. The giant muffin tin was a whopping $0.50.  My grandmother's recipe here.
3) I still have many sugar pumpkins and a wee bit of butternut squash I grew.  January treats. 
4) We're back to our Thursday homeschool gatherings, which we finish with some readings at the Maine Coast.  Because, why not?!

5) That Anna-Kate loves mama mades. Pig dress and flannel lined pants are both mama made.  <3  And you can't beat the view.  


 This thrift trip was FILLED with things that I had actually been looking for!  I had wanted a non disposable egg tray for our fridge eggs. $1.  One of those books was on my wish list ($1 a piece).  I literally had two travel speakers in my amazon cart, planned on asking my husband 'Which one?', and this one works perfectly for what I wanted it for ($1).  Audra has been asking for a snorkel set. This set was BRAND NEW for $10.  I wasn't really looking for the Nalgene in the carry case, but it was brand new w/ tags for $4. 

And I have been looking for a drying rack that would fit alllll our towels for the rainy summer swim days.  $7.  
Not only is it frugal to shop second hand, but most of this stuff I was going to buy new anyway. Saving the world by buying second hand. (At least that is what I tell my husband.)


It has been an 'Ice Skating' day pretty much everyday as of late.  They have been loving our backyard along the tracks. As we were wrapping up, the freight train went by and gave them a special toot and then a bald eagle flew over us at basically the same moment.  What a childhood they have!

Although Anna-Kate is still up to her same tricks...
She has been moving quite a bit more on skates! 
I dare say she is even enjoying it!  (Although she'd still bury all her efforts if offered a ride.)

Sunday vibes

 Would it really be a Maine winter Sunday without a meal cooked on and/or in the woodstove? Warm soup and homemade bread. Books by the fire a bonus.

Also made time for some mending.  See that fish flannel?  They were first LL Bean pajama pants for my husband, but got holes.  I then made them into pajama pants for Adrian. He has worn them a lot.  I have patched them twice already for Adrian. They no longer are suitable for pajama pants for him (goodbye knees!). But, I cut seven inch squares and turned two of those into reusable washcloth type cloths (which we use steadily here).  I was able to make seven.  I also used the elastic from the fish pants to replace the elastic in the frog pants (that I also made) that got too stretchy.  
Are we in a position that we financially need to be this frugal? No.  But, I like to be good stewards of that which we have. I prefer to not buy new as much as possible to lessen our footprint on this earth. Plus, I always tell them that the handmades that are sprinkled around the house are like little hugs I leave for them here and there. 

Some scraps also were for Anna-Kate.  I want to encourage her to cut anything other than her hair (which is why she now has bangs and short hair).

Happy Birthday Justin!

It's birthday day for Justin!

J: Just in time for all meals

U: Unites the family with laughter

S: Sleeps like a champ

T: Thankfulness expressed daily

I:  Inspector gadget 

N: Never in a hurry

He's one of a kind and we his antics daily! Happy 42nd birthday! 

More Skating

 Our kind neighbors invited us to skate in their backyard (thank you!). Their ice goes on and on and on.

They all went far away like this. Anna-Kate pushing her 'helper' chair.  
And they came back like this.  
This is how Anna-Kate likes ice skating best, so she says.  Being pushed and getting a ride. 
Because I insist that she actually tries a bit when we go, she is getting a bit more confident. 
Audra is good encouragement! 

Coastal Learning

 The big kids have been taking a different free virtual class (mostly science) everyday for the last two weeks. Today was about what to find in tide pools. 

They asked if they could go look for the things they learned today.  Absolutely.  How blessed are we that we can just go and tidepool whenever we'd like, provided the tides cooperative with our schedule. 

Anna-Kate was not having pictures today, but the bigs were cooperative!


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