Monday, October 26, 2015


Outside my window...
I don't need any words - a picture will do.

Isn't that glorious?

I am thinking...
I am still out of shape! I spent all of yesterday afternoon raking leaves, pruning dead branches, and trying to pull out some invasive ivy. By five o'clock, I was ready for bed. It's amazing how some crisp, fresh air can really tire you out. I suppose that's why, in Norway, babies sleep outside.

I am thankful...
It's three months in, and I am really loving my new job. It's challenging and sometimes stressful, however I enjoy what I am doing and who I am working with a lot. Because of what I do, I can't talk about it in too much detail (#attorneyproblems), but I will say that every day when I leave work, I feel as if I have positively contributed something to society.

I think that's the best thing anyone could ask for in a job. If you leave with a sense that you've done something important, that you've helped someone - then you're doing something right, and it makes the stressful bits so much more bearable. It helps you feel like you're more than just a cog in the machine.

In the kitchen...
I'm planning Indian for tonight. I have spoken before about my love of Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce. It is my favorite "quick dinner" cheat. It's so easy to throw chicken, shrimp, lentils, or chickpeas in with this sauce and serve it with basmati rice and vegetables. Dinner is ready in thirty minutes, but it tastes like it took hours.

Tonight, I will make masala chicken, and add some peas and other veg to the basmati rice, along with some turmeric and curry, to make a pseudo biryani. Add a side of steamed broccoli and we're set.

A quick meal doesn't have to be a frozen dinner. I always keep a few jars of the sauce on hand, I have rice in the pantry, and veg in the freezer. I usually have frozen chicken, too. What I like about the sauce is that it's not full of junk - just tomato puree, tomatoes, light cream, onions, ginger, garlic, canola oil, lemon juice, sea salt, coriander, cumin, fenugreek leaves, turmeric, paprika, red pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. I like that this sauce helps me throw together dinner quickly without having to rely on overly processed, packaged foods.

A lot of times, people comment on the food that I make and think that I've put a lot of effort into it, or think that what I've made is too complicated or hard. Cooking doesn't have to be difficult! All it takes is planning. Always having things like rice, pasta, and jarred sauces in the pantry, with some different meats and frozen vegetables in the freezer, makes all the difference in weeknight cooking. Italian, Indian, and Chinese are easy to whip up just by pulling a few things from your stock.

An added bonus of having a stockpile of basics means you can invite people over for dinner at the last minute and find some way to stretch whatever you had planned, no stress at all.

I am wearing...
The usual work uniform. Trying to resist buying new things just to combat boredom, but some days, it's hard!

I am creating...
Some fun baby projects. A few people I know are expecting, so I am cranking away at blankets and booties. Knitting/crocheting baby stuff is so fun! Miniature things are cute to begin with, and it's always exciting to make something handmade - a baby should have at least one cozy blanket to cuddle with, I think.

I am going...
In a few weeks up to Cleveland for the Christmas Connection. It's a huge expo fulllllll of tchotchkes and things that play carols or light up. It's cheesy and I absolutely love it. Last year, I almost bought a six ft. nutcracker. This might be the year!

Yes, yes, I know - you want to get through Halloween before we talk about Christmas. Preferably Thanksgiving, too. But I'd just like to point out we are one month + 24 days til Christmas, so sorry folks, I'm counting down. It's the moooooost wonderful tiiiiiiiime of the yearrrrrrrrrrr!

I am wondering...
I don't know how people manage to keep it all together. Like I mentioned before, it seems like I can either work out, or keep things clean, or blog, or whatever, but I can't do them all at the same time. I see all these other people with immaculate houses, trim bodies, and a row of perfect children on top of a job and I'm wondering how. I have a hard enough time with just me, you know?

Sometimes I think I could get everything done each day if I just got up at 4AM - but there's no amount of coffee in the world that could make that happen.

I am reading...
Georgette Heyer's A Civil Contract. Yes, again. There's just something about this book that I love - I think because it's a very "real" romance. The characters come across as normal people with reactions you'd expect to an arranged marriage situation. The challenges they face are sometimes mundane, and even though it's a regency romance, it feels very relatable. I think it's more of an adult (and by adult I mean mature, not Fifty Shade of Gray) romance, rather than the silly Harlequins I admittedly still enjoy. Rather than being frothy and unchallenging, Heyer manages to write a romance that makes you think about what love means and what makes a successful marriage.

I am hoping...
I don't plow through this giant tin of popcorn at work today. I ordered from one of my coworker's sons who is in the Boy Scouts, and they had my one true love - Chicago mix. Caramel popcorn, cheddar popcorn, and regular popcorn, mixed together into one amazing salty-sweet bite.


Pray for me, you guys. This tin is huge.

I am looking forward to...
Trick or Treat is this week, and I love handing out candy. It's so much fun to see the different costumes and chat with the kids. Some of previous years have been hilarious - the boy who taped aluminium foil and barbies to himself and said he was a "babe magnet," the high school girls who went all out as a banana, eggs, bacon, and a box of Wheaties going as the "Breakfast of Champions," and the very serious three year old who methodically took one of each candy bar we had, to the mortification of his mother (don't worry, we thought he was cute!).

I love it all! If you're dressed up, I don't care how old you are - Trick or Treat is fun for everyone and I will gladly give you candy.

I am learning...
I have a few audio books I like to listen to while I run. Right now, I'm working my way through How to Understand and Listen to Great Music. It's fascinating and engaging. I feel like now I'm extra productive when I'm out for a run.

Around the house...
As mentioned, just trying to keep up with everything. It's hard to juggle and keep all your balls in the air. I think the house is going to get some TLC this week to compensate.

I am pondering...
I've read some great things recently. Here are a few of my favorites:

I Want It All at These Walls
Seeking Diversity: Start with Intent at Blessed are the Feet
Encourage One Another by Elizabeth Foss
Why I Bother with the Rosary at Catholic All Year
Hummus Diplomacy at NPR
How Cultured Are You by 1950s Standards? at Slate

I am praying...
For my grandparents. They have been having some health issues recently, and I am praying things will improve.

A favorite quote for today...

What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.
- Ralph Marston

One of my favorite things...

Right now? This tub of popcorn. The struggle is real, y'all.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

  • Crossfit and running (yeah, yeah, I know, I know - I promise not to talk too much about it).
  • Tackling the beauty product overload I have going on and finally tidying up that bathroom counter.
  • Trying to blog at least two more times. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

A peek into my day...
This is from the other night, but I just had to share. I am so thankful to be living in a place where the leaves change. Even a mundane trip to the grocery is magical when you drive past trees like these.


  1. I love daybooks! And I loved yours! :-)

    Thanks for sharing a part of your day and your thoughts!

    And the view out your window is AMAZING!!

    1. Thanks! I am very lucky with that window - not only do I have gorgeous trees in the Fall, but it also faces east, so I get some nice sunshine in the winter as well. It's better at an upward angle, so no one can see the weeds in my garden!

  2. You made me smile... Several times. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pics! Fall is my favorite and I am equally grateful we can live in a place where we can experience the change of seasons.

    1. Thanks, Nadera! I agree, we are lucky to live where there are four seasons. I think I would find life pretty dull if it was the same year round. I like the change - there's always something to look forward to.

  3. Christmas tchotchkes sound delightful!

    1. They do, don't they? I'm so excited for it!

  4. I laughed so hard about the popcorn tin, you are too funny!!

    1. Thanks! I will text you a pic - it's insanely large!

  5. Thanks for sharing your daybook on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! You had me smiling at the popcorn! :)