Around Here

the habit of being_3.08.14
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the habit of being_tooth powder
the habit of being_afghan


Lest you think it was all appliance repair, car repair, and deep cleaning last month, there was also lots going on behind the scenes. Stolen moments in cafés, a stack of submissions read (another growing stack waiting to be read), helping the Poulette dye playsilks, making tooth powder, countless sessions of snuggling on the couch, too many viewings of Frozen to count, afghan growing slowly. We were gifted a huge venison roast. I researched a recipe that would overcome the gamey taste and it worked, the entire family devoured it (though only Mister & I were aware of its origins). Closets have been filled with shorts, sneakers replaced with flip flops and sandals, and I finally tracked down a new lawn guy (I’m sure my neighbors are overjoyed).  I was hoping for a clean slate this month, like turning the calendar page would be the same as waving a magic wand but the last few days have brought some disappointing interactions with people which left me feeling well, disappointed. Nothing Mister can’t put into perspective over a shared order of steak fajitas.

  • Oh, people are so hard to get along with sometimes! Sorry for your disappointing interactions, I’ve had a couple myself.ReplyCancel

  • I just picked up Frozen, I haven’t watched it yet, but I can’t wait.
    I cook a lot of venison here, I just use it in place of beef. We make ground venison that makes awesome meat balls…so they tell me.
    The play silks you and the Poulette dyed are so lovely, great job.ReplyCancel

  • you’ve made significant progress on your blanket, so pretty! Are you enjoying crocheting? or is knitting still your passion? Haven’t seen frozen yet but both of my ADULT children have in the theater….sometimes they never grow upReplyCancel

    • admin

      karen, i’m enjoying the crocheting but knitting is still where it’s at. it’s just a bit more versatile. i can’t imagine wearing a pair of crocheted socks, the fabric is stiffer, denser. just my two cents ;-) ReplyCancel

  • Clean slate, yes please! So tired and a bit stressed. My mom has to be out of her farmhouse by the end of May. Helping her relocate to a new place is stressful.

    I’m hoping for a whole day home this Saturday to recharge by doing yard work and making some homemade pizza and watching Frozen ourselves. Haven’t seen it yet (the kids went with their aunt to see it, but we’ve not watched as a family yet).ReplyCancel

    • admin

      i hope you get your day at home to recharge, danielle!ReplyCancel

  • Love those beautiful play silks!! I’ve been wanting to try dyeing our own. Did you use a book or online tutorial.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      summer, we’ve done a lot of dyeing of yarn over the last few years, tie-dyed tshirts, too. we have a big steamer dedicated to dyeing so we just set everything up outside and donned our gloves and got busy! if you buy your dyes from dharma trading (which i did ages ago), i seem to remember them having fairly detailed instructions :) ReplyCancel

  • Cheri K.

    That coffee looks delicious. It sounds like you have a wonderful husband. My boyfriend does the same for me…his words always put a smile back on my face. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!ReplyCancel

  • Yay for your Mister and fajitas! Have a wonderful weekend, Amanda : )ReplyCancel

  • oh….Mr’s are good at that aren’t they? I think I would be classified as clinically insane with out his rationality.

  • Those silks look wonderful! Can you tell me what recipe you use for the tooth powder? :) I hope this weekend treats you well.ReplyCancel

  • disappointing people, blah. sometimes i avoid my email account for that very reason. glad you had a nice dinner with your mister for his perspective. i always love it when my mister cuts everything back to simple. here’s to an easier month!ReplyCancel

  • Love that first picture particularly, the bottle is brilliant. I know what you mean, I always hope the new month will be a clean slate and then the moment something negative happens it brings with it a disappointment. I suppose that is where celebrating each new day works well!ReplyCancel

  • The beginning of a new month starts with so many expectations, and when you begin to fill the empty slots, you see that some were met, and others…well, let’s just say, they happened as they were supposed to. Your afghan is looking very nice Amanda :~) mariReplyCancel

  • Ha! We are totally in the same boat with our lawn. We’ve been talking about finally jumping in a getting a lawn service too – at least for the front yard. I will admit that, in the last three houses we have lived in, we have occasionally found our front yard magically mowed by impatient, I mean kind neighbors, who just couldn’t wait any longer.ReplyCancel

  • Ooo… loving the afghan!ReplyCancel

  • We were gifted with an entire deer this fall. That’s a lot of venison. I’ve never cooked it before, but I’ve found quite a few good recipes. Sure beats some of the other meats we’ve been given and choked down.



weekending. my favorite part of the week. a time to relax, live, love, just be. if you’d like to share your weekend either with words, photographs, or both, leave a link to your weekend post or flickr photo in the comments, or post it on the fb page.


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this weekend was uneventful
homemade biscuits smeared with strawberry preserves
a few errands, a stack of work-related stuff to be read
mass, then out to a late dinner
home, kids to bed, watching this
awakened this morning by the mighty nacho who climbed into bed to
tell me about his dream because he just couldn’t wait anymore
this afternoon’s plans include heading toward mississippi for a
hike and a late afternoon picnic


how was your weekend?


  • Did you love the movie? I did. What will that beautiful yarn become? Love the changes to the site! Looks great on mobile! xoReplyCancel

    • admin

      fanny, i LOVED american hustle. mister did too :) i have two skeins of that yarn so i’m trying to decide what to do with it…granny squares?ReplyCancel

  • Manise

    Whoa mama. A little whiplash with the blog changes. Lol. Looks nice though. :~) Sounds like a wonderful weekend was had by all. Sweet Nacho…….ReplyCancel

  • That yarn! A beautiful blue!ReplyCancel

  • Lovely changes around here! What did you think of the film? I wasn’t too sure. Nebraska is one of the best films I have seen for a while. A hike and picnic sounds good. It’s Mother’s Day in the UK so I cooked and my mum and dad came…if was lovely. I got a beautiful scarf from my son : ) Have a great week ahead.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      happy belated mother’s day, jane! we loved american hustle and have added nebraska to our queue!ReplyCancel

      • We did enjoy American Hustle, especially Christian Bale’s hair, which is epic…just not a favourite. Nebraska, however, I could watch again and again. Thanks for the Mother’s Day wishes!ReplyCancel

  • So lovely to be back here joining you! It’s been a while. I’m loving this new look (sorry if it’s not so new…I haven’t been around the blogosphere much these days…). Your website is just beautiful.

    What lovely yarn!

    Here’s our weekend…

    Enjoy the week ahead :) ReplyCancel

    • admin

      thank you renee! i think i threw the new site up friday so yes, still new :) ReplyCancel

  • How was the movie? I have been wondering about seeing it. Your Nacho reminds me so much of my son Mickey, he use to do the same thing when he was little.
    Oh where in MS do you hike? I am making plans to head that way, are you close?ReplyCancel

    • admin

      tracey, we make it to natchez easily. it’s a doable day trip. and we hike a friend’s property just this side of the louisiana border. also, tunica hills is great fun! let me know where you’ll be in mississippi! and we loved american hustle :) ReplyCancel

  • homemade biscuits? strawberry jam? I don’t call that uneventful!!!! yumReplyCancel

  • I love the simplicity of this picture. So beautiful. I’m glad your weekend easy going!ReplyCancel

  • amanda

    hi. I’m wondering where you went hiking? we are not too far from Mississippi + i’m always looking for new places to go. our favorites are the louisiana state arboretum near ville platte + Clark creek (in Mississippi, but just a little north of st. francisville).
    you have a beautifully inspiring blog.
    thanks ~ReplyCancel

    • admin

      amanda, yesterday we went to a friend’s property. he lives just the other side of st. francisville from us and has about 200 acres of which he lets us avail ourselves (when it isn’t hunting season!). we also LOVE tunica hills and have been going there regularly since my oldest was a wee babe.ReplyCancel

  • First off, LOVE the new design of the blog! It’s so simple and elegant and lovely.
    Sounds like a pretty peachy weekend. I love that your little one wanted to tell you his dreams. I remember doing that as a kid. My mom ended up giving me journal so I could start writing them down right after I woke. :)

    We had a really fun weekend, birthday parties and farmers markets and saying goodbye to Nana and Papa.

  • I love the picture, there is something so therapeutic about winding a ball off the back of a chair… it’s the simple things ;0) We went all out on the garden this weekend and short of some paint it’s done!

  • my weekend was sort of dull with unpredicted snowfall! I’m still in a daze over that. Pretty yarn! Definitely a cheerful spring color :)

  • Your kind of uneventful sounds just about right to me. The photo is so pretty, the blue with the honey colored wood.
    We spent time with family this weekend, enjoying the sunshine.
    Have a wonderful start to the week.ReplyCancel

  • It was a “mom is off” kind of weekend. I needed to rest and regroup. This long winter and cold is really getting to me.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      imene, i hope you get some sunshine soon!ReplyCancel

  • Ines

    What a beautiful new site, Amanda! I love the off-white cream color.ReplyCancel

  • Chairs are so handy when it comes to working with yarn! LOVELY color!

    Have fun on your picnic!ReplyCancel

  • What a beautiful change to your site! Loving your weekend. Here’s a peek at mine:–1.htmlReplyCancel

  • homemade biscuits and jam. yuuuuuuuummm.
    thanks for your sweet comment on my blog today.
    and you know what?
    YOUR NEW BLOG LOOK ROCKS! I love this so much!

  • Sounds wonderful. I love uneventful weekends. Ours was just the opposite – spent the day with different friends on Saturday and on Sunday. On Saturday, there was some beer brewing and a trampoline. Sunday was a hike with friends, followed by take-out pizza for lunch which somehow didn’t end until dinner time.ReplyCancel

  • I spent the weekend being waited on by my dear wife as I, lazy slug that I am, receuperated from hernia repair surgery.ReplyCancel

  • My favourite Austen is Persuasion, because like Fanny Price, Anne Elliot is powerful because of her quiet, self-contained, moral strength. And I love the fact that she gets a second chance: rather than being yet another novel about a woman on the cusp of adult life who finds her soulmate, Persuasion is about being an adult and accepting the consequences of decisions made with the best intentions, particularly the loss of that soulmate. The fact that her early confidence in Captain Wentworth’s character is borne out in spades is as important as the fact that their romance is rekindled. Sigh. If only Austen had lived to give us six more novels.

    I’m rereading Daphne DuMaurier’s Jamaica Inn, which is a much darker book that I remember from my teen years. Truly gothic horror, combined with an intelligent and spirited heroine. An oldy but goody.ReplyCancel


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“Eliot was scornful of idle women readers who imagined themselves the heroines of French novels, and of self-regarding folk who saw themselves in the most admirable character in a novel, and she hoped for a more nuanced engagement from her own readers. Even so, all readers make books over in their own image, and according to their own experience. My Middlemarch is not the same as anyone else’s Middlemarch; it is not even the same as my Middlemarch of twenty-five years ago. Sometimes, we find that a book we love has moved another person in the same way as it has moved ourselves, and one definition of compatibility might be when two people have highlighted the same passages in their editions of a favorite novel. But we each have our own internal version of the book, with lines remembered and resonances felt. — Rebecca Mead, My Life in Middlemarch

I took a bit of a break from my Lenten reading to read My Life in Middlemarch last week and it was a very good decision. Even if you’ve never read Middlemarch, you’ll certainly have another favorite novel, one you’ve likely read many times, and you’ll understand the points Mead makes about attachment to a work of literature helping to shape our lives.

Also, one of the more interesting reads from the interwebs this week, In Defense of Fanny Price: Why You Don’t Like Mansfield Park as Much as You Should. This piqued my interest because of all the Austen novels, Mansfield Park is hands down my favorite, and very much so because of Fanny Price. Haley lays out a sound argument in favor of the introverted heroine, the heroine that is quiet in her strength. Out of an abundance of curiosity, what is your favorite Austen novel? Why?  What are you reading?

  • My favorite is Persuasion. Hands down. Can you believe I’ve never read Emma? I’ve listened to it (not the same thing at all, if you ask me) and I’ve seen movie adaptations, but I’ve never read the book. It might be my second favorite, anyway.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      I agree! Listening to and reading a book are definitely beasts of a different color!ReplyCancel

  • Oooo, glad to hear that you like this book (the Middlemarch one). I LOVED Middlemarch when I read it years ago. I listened to the author be interviewed for a podcast and immediately added it to my to-read list. Glad you gave it a thumbs up!

    I like Pride and Prejudice. Probably because it was the first I read and I just LOVE the witty banter. Sense and Sensibility is a close runner up because I’m probably more like Elinor than any other JA heroine.ReplyCancel

  • And I’m reading “The Invention of Wings” which is fascinating in every way. The Gimke sister were astounding for their time.ReplyCancel

  • I am going to pick up Mansfield Park again. I have been reading mostly Wodehouse and enjoying it thoroughly. Picking up curriculum books as we are homeschoolers to browse and even in my postpartum sleepiness have been reading the TinTins my littles cannot put down. Causing a sensation. Yelled down the hall by my son, “Mama’s reading TinTin, come quick!” Ha!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Brooke, TinTin is hugely popular in this house! I have a bunch of old copies I picked up in France and those and the Asterix books are highly prized :) ReplyCancel

  • I’m jealous! I’m on the hold list at the library for My Life in Middlemarch but I’m number 200 and something. I read Middlemarch during my first pregnancy and loved it.

    Choosing a favorite Austen is like choosing a favorite child. I just can’t, I love them all.ReplyCancel

  • i picked this up at the library today. i am yet to start reading it. now looking forward to doing so.ReplyCancel

  • Alex and I are reading Emma right now for British Literature, it’s my first time reading it and I love it.

    I hope your week has been better than the last one and you have a great weekend.ReplyCancel

  • This is another on my list. Thanks for the review.

    It is so difficult to choose my favorite Austen, but I think it would have to be Persuasion. Anne is my favorite Austen heroine.ReplyCancel

  • This sounds like a good read, will have to check this out. Currently reading “Unglued”. Lovely new blog Amanda.ReplyCancel

  • I love the new look, wonderful job Amanda.ReplyCancel

  • Oh, Amanda…I just LOVE your new look here, it’s perfect!! I can’t stop smiling….it’s beautiful and simple and just so you :o)

    I can’t tell you how often I have a book on my wish list and I pop over here to see you have read and written about it. This is one of them and I think it’s moved to first place. I’ve just started Middlemarch and really love it so far. I’m eager to read My Life In Middlemarch. Do you think it will spoil my reading pleasure if I read them at the same time?

    Happy friday and now-it’s-the-weekend to you!!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      April, she does talk a bit about plot and characters…if I were you, I’d wait :) ReplyCancel

  • Oh my I love the blog update. Beautiful. It suits you well.

    I read Mansfield Park in France, what great book. Love Fanny Price. :) ReplyCancel

  • Oh my I love the blog update. Beautiful. It suits you well.

    I read Mansfield Park in France, what great book. Love Fanny Price. :) ReplyCancel

  • I like the look of your blog! Middlemarch is probably my favorite novel of all time. I’ve seen My Life in Middlemarch and I think I’ll give it a try. Thanks for the recommendation!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Lisa, thank you! And I love hearing that you love Middlemarch – we’re kindred spirits!ReplyCancel

  • The new look is so perfect for your blog. Brave! I’m wondering if it’s just my browser but the font looks very small. Would it be possible to bump it up a tiny bit? Thanks for creating this space.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Rachel, what browser are you using? I’ve bumped it up a notch but it looks fine in Firefox and Chrome.ReplyCancel

  • I haven’t read Middlemarch in years. I now need to pick it up again and it read. This book sounds great too. Something else to add to my reading list. I love all of Austen’s novels but my top two favorites are Emma & Persuasion. So much so that I named our first daughter, Emma Jane, after my favorite book and author:)ReplyCancel

  • Emily

    I love your blog but I wish the font was bigger! I get a headache!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Emily, what browser are you using? It seems to be showing find in Firefox and Chrome.ReplyCancel

  • Linda

    I didn’t care that much for American Hustle – altho I did like the acting by the two ladies in it… Nebraska (as someone else said) was a good movie for me… Made me laugh and cry…

    Spent the weekend dealing with tons of rain coming down – then sleet – then snow… A couple of trips to B & N for more books (because heaven knows I don’t have enough) – HA! Knitting of course – starting some new shawls….

    Linda in VAReplyCancel

    • admin

      Linda, thanks for the Nebraska suggestion, I’ll add it to the queue!ReplyCancel

  • Carol

    Mansfield Park is my least favorite! I despise Fanny Brice and all the other characters, sorry. Emma is my favorite. I read Middlemarch about 25 years ago and enjoyed it.ReplyCancel

  • I believe my favorite is Persuasion, but this might be because I read it years ago while traveling alone in Italy. It is often difficult for me to separate the book from the time period in my life.

    I’m still moving slowly through John Banville’s novel, The Sea. I’ve also just dipped into The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata. A Japantown find.ReplyCancel

  • I do like Fanny.
    The only Austen heroine I struggle to like is Emma.
    Northanger Abbey is quite a lot of fun, I think.

    I’ve got Middlemarch on my reader, but haven’t started it yet. I’m currently reading Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell.ReplyCancel


weekending. my favorite part of the week. a time to relax, live, love, just be. if you’d like to share your weekend either with words, photographs, or both, leave a link to your weekend post or flickr photo in the comments, or post it on the fb page.

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this weekend was an extension of the week
a week most definitely over 2 days into it
there were appliance failures, car failures
i could go on but i’ll spare you the gory details

i think i need a reset, a hard reset
the plan is to clean out
closets, armoires, chifferobes, cabinets
throw the windows open, deep clean the house,
put summer bedding on the beds so that
when the spring weather returns thursday,
we’ll be all set to embrace it.
i think we’ll kick off the great spring fling 2014 tonight
with this dish, it’s always a crowd pleaser

how was your weekend?

ps: april prompts will be up over here first thing monday morning.



weekending. my favorite part of the week. a time to relax, live, love, just be. if you’d like to share your weekend either with words, photographs, or both, leave a link to your weekend post or flickr photo in the comments, or post it on the fb page.


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this weekend was full to the brim
saturday was work, work, work while the
mister wrangled the little people
a stolen hour spent reading then
off to dinner and playing at the park after dark
with glow sticks (earning those parent of the year points)
sunday morning coffee, biscones, and bacon with mister and
the wee lass, perfect way to start a sunday
shelves hung in the boys’ room to house the model planes
and in the girls’ room to house the breyer horses
i’m feeling the urge to spring clean
throw open the windows and clean everything then
sit back on my sofa with a book and enjoy that feeling of
smug satisfaction that comes with a house that
shines like the top of the chrysler building (name that movie!) but
it’ll have to wait until this week is over since this week is
a kid birthday & multiple deadlines
until then, i’ll dream of a clean house


how was your weekend?

ps: full moon tonight, get out & enjoy it!

  • The mr is away on business, I’m spending some extra cuddle time with the little boy and this weekend has been all about food for me:

    Glow sticks are a firm favourite in this house too, although prior military means we call them chem lights… much less magical sounding I suppose?

    I’m feeling the spring cleaning bug too, maybe time to convince the boy that it really is time to sort and tidy his toys.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      rebecca, i cannot for the life of me find a way to comment on your weekend post but i wanted to say, the honey baked grapefruit sounds amazing and like something i *must* try!ReplyCancel

      • I turned off comments on the post, I’m playing with the idea that people will chat elsewhere? I’m not sure yet how I feel about it though.

        The honey baked grapefruit is delish, you really should try it. I’m not even that huge a fan of grapefruit but it really softens that bitter taste.ReplyCancel

  • I’ve got lots of shelf dreams for our house right now… over the kitchen window, in the laundry room, etc. oh, if it’s something that gives them fun memories that they’ll hold onto for a bit (remember that night we played in the park after bedtime? with the glow sticks? that was SO cool!) then you do indeed rack up some parent-of-the-year points! at least, I think so. most definitely.
    our weekend was stopping to enjoy all the ordinary things, a long hospital visit, and today, enjoying a visit from her uncle Kevin and a rainy Sunday hanging around~

  • Linda

    Even though I’m now retired (3 years and counting) – I still find myself on a “schedule”. It is just the way I am made up I guess. But this weekend – I’ve really tried to throw that schedule away and just “be”… some knitting – out to breakfast this morning – grocery shopping today instead of tomorrow (I’m a wild woman I tell you)…. But it has really made me feel better. But I know that come tomorrow, I will be back on that self imposed schedule I put on myself – retired or not!

    Linda in VAReplyCancel

    • admin

      linda, at least you tried to live a bit more freely! it’s all about baby steps but truth be told, i love me a good schedule :) ReplyCancel

  • “shine like the top of the Chrysler building–” Annie of course! :-)

    (Picture me, soundtrack on LP, belting it out into my hairbrush! Much younger then but my love for Annie will never die. )

    Here the weekend has been mixed– warm and sunny yesterday, chilly and rainy today. My very dresses are singing for spring from the closet! But daffodils and quince are blooming and there are promising bits of green all over.

    Finished one wonderful book (Perfect by Rachel Joyce) and began another– I am on a roll!

    Spring cleaning sounds good here too– nothing like a too-much closed house swept with fresh breezes!ReplyCancel

  • Annie! A favourite from my childhood :) Great weekend here, packing up to head south…can’t wait.ReplyCancel

  • I want do some heavy duty cleaning myself, but I am waiting on the rain to pass, for now I’m embracing the mess.

    It’s been kind of quiet here so I just going with it.

    Playing outside in the dark with glow sticks sounds like a wonderful activity. Yes, you are rockin’ the mama points.ReplyCancel

  • well, annie! wouldn’t i love to do some spring cleaning too. i did manage to clean the dreaded bathroom and throw out old clothes.ReplyCancel

  • Lovely photo. I love that clean house feeling! Here’s my weekend:

  • Annie! One of my favorite all time musicals!! Can’t wait till Ellie is old enough for that one! :) Yes, I am in the clean house mode too. Windows have been flung open every morning, broom and vacuum are always out. Winter things are being replaced by spring things! Loving it! WIshing you a lovely week!

  • oh, come spring clean here too please?! I had both kids home for three nights and now it’s just my son. Been finding my “me” time early in the mornings and it sustains me for the day :)

  • Sounds like a lovely weekend. We had a really nice one as well.

  • Annie. I cried every time I watched as a kid.
    I love the slowness of your Sunday after a full day of work. My house could use a little bit of Spring time lovin’ but I like to wait until the week before Easter.
    We had a b-day party this weekend…

  • we spent all of a saturday doing laundry, because we’re packing for our vacation to Thailand! then sunday was spent running errands before the snow hit us, AGAIN. i’ll be glad to bypass this weird seasonal transition for the next couple of weeks!ReplyCancel

  • While I would rather be knitting or reading than cleaning, I’m with you. I am so ready to throw open the windows and clean all the things.

    Here’s what I did this weekend:

  • I just finished cleaning my windows (in and out) this morning. It has been an ongoing project for the last few weeks and oh, how I love clean windows. The weekend for us was more sickness (nothing new there) and rain, rain, rain, both of which cancelled our plans for a camping trip. Yes, disappointment all around, but since I had been longing for a slow weekend with nothing to do, I guess I got just that.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      katie, sorry to hear about the sickness but clean windows!ReplyCancel

  • What a great idea to take glow sticks on a night adventure to the park, I’m going to have to borrow that and earn myself some points too!

  • Wow, it certainly was full to the brim! Mine was a little less so, spent with a headache : ( Discovered the cause of it though, vitamin supplement…stopped taking forthwith! Enjoyed some sun despite it, and time with my boy : ) You sound way too busy for spring cleaning but hope your dream comes true!ReplyCancel

  • the movie…I’m thinking “Annie.”
    And maybe someone else answered it, but I didn’t read thru to see.