Welcome to February! I know that February is hard for a lot of people, but it’s my birth month and has always been one of my favorites. Of course — Februarys in New Hampshire are different than the ones I grew up with in Texas. But this is the month when I really start to see the days grow longer and my hope for green grass and flowers take root. I have to remind myself that those things are still months away and yet – they are coming.
But for now: rain moved in yesterday thanks to an unusually warm-ish day. I believe it’s sleeting as I write this (too dark to tell for certain), but snow will be moving through in just a couple of hours. Colton’s programs are canceled for the day so we’re going to enjoy a snow day at home!
I’m starting to feel like myself. January was a month of welcomed rest and now my hands and my brain are vibrating again. I’ve been cross stitching and sewing. My earbuds have been humming with words and stories. I’ve shown up to my computer to write every morning, even if only for 15 minutes at a time. I’m being flexible with my decisions about how to spend my energy (for instance: I didn’t fold laundry last night despite typically doing it every day. The washed load wasn’t too big and it’s something I can easily catch up on tomorrow. I decided to cross stitch instead!).
Like I said in my intro paragraph, I’m noticing the lengthening days and it’s so fun to watch. I’m amazed by the changes in sunlight every year and am thinking about the garden and filling our yard with flowers. Last year was our best gardening year ever and we’re anxious to get started again. Patience, patience. Until then, I’m stitching as many flowers as I possibly can:
I’ve stolen tiny bits of time over the last few weeks and finished the fourth row of my Bloom Quilt. It’s not attached to the first three rows yet but I hope to do that early next week. And then I’ll only have four more blocks to go!! I’ll be honest: I’m a little sad that there are only four more blocks left on this quilt. I have enjoyed this much more than I expected. It’s a good thing that Lori Holt has several appliqué quilt patterns! I think Granny’s Garden will be the next one I tackle once I clear the decks down in my sewing space.
I’m also missing old-fashioned piecing, so I’m thinking about my next pieced quilt. It will either be Lori Holt’s Butterfly Garden Quilt (found in her Quilty Fun book) or a Swoon by Camille Roskelley. Both have been on my list for a long time!
I’ve given my main cross stitch project, Winter Rose Manor, a lot of love this week. I ran out of the thread for the house so I’m moving on to other details until I can put together a new order. I’m planning to share cross stitch progress pictures next week!
IN MY KITCHEN:
Once again, I’m trying to focus on meal planning. Maybe you are, too? I hope one of these meals will fill an empty slot on your calendar. Feel free to share your own easy and inexpensive meals in the comments – I appreciate every single one of them. (Although, almost anything you cook at home is less expensive than eating out.)
Saturday: Slow Cooker Honey and Garlic Chicken with Veggies + easy homemade bread in the bread machine. (Gretchen was my inspiration for this one. She suggested putting food in the crockpot for the winter storm. Then she shared a picture with me via email of her own crockpot and bread machine working away. So I ran to the basement and got out my bread machine and got a big batch going. It was lovely. Thanks, Gretchen!!)
Sunday: Queso in the crockpot for the football games. I won’t miss football on Sundays but I WILL miss the football food!
Monday: General Tso’s Tofu. I told my kids this was chicken from Asian Taste, our favorite takeout place, and they gobbled it up. I don’t even feel a little guilty.
Tuesday: Fish sticks and french fries. Because they’re easy.
Wednesday: Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken thighs + baked potatoes + sautéd green beans (frozen from our garden!)
Friday (today!): Homemade pizza
ON MY BOOKSHELF:
It’s been a fun week of reading! These are the books I’ve been dipping into this week.
The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel – I read two books by Harmel last year and was excited that she published this one in 2021. WWII Fiction catches my eye every time! This one was about a young German girl who was kidnapped just as Hitler took power and was taught to survive in the forest. When her kidnapper dies, she finds herself all alone. She quickly realizes her calling is to help Jewish people flee the Nazis and survive in the forest. I enjoyed the descriptions of surviving in an unforgiving place but thought that, overall, it was a tiny bit too preachy for my taste. (Your mileage may vary, of course.) My favorite part was the afterword, in which the author describes her process of researching for the novel, as well as her own family’s experiences in the area that we now call Poland. I find Europe in the late 1930s to the late 40s to be endlessly fascinating and that truth is often more unbelievable than fiction.
The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery – how many of you have recommended this to me over the years??! I am sorry it took me so long to finally crack it open. I have a feeling it’s going to be among my stack of rereads. What a delightful contribution by the writer of my beloved Anne. I’m reading it slowly and enjoying all of the flowers and beautiful descriptions included. I should have known that Montgomery, who writes scenery like no other, would steal my heart. (And it’s currently $.30 on Kindle as I type this!!)
The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge – I’m still slowly making my way through this. I’m finding that it doesn’t hold my attention for long periods of time and still – it is so lovely. I might not ever actually finish it, if I’m honest. Luckily, there’s not a run on Goudge novels at my public library so I don’t think they’re in a hurry for me to return it.
I’ve continued with a poem or two before bed most nights. I’m still in the midst of Devotions by Mary Oliver and expect that won’t change for quilt a while!
Okay, I’m being pulled away from my computer now. I hope there aren’t too many typos in this post! And I hope that you all have a lovely, cozy, and safe weekend. I’ll catch up with you again next week!
Love your love of February’s promises and lengthening light — and happy birthday month! There’s always at least one lovely sentence that jumps out at me in your posts. This morning it’s “I don’t even feel a little guilty.” Happy snow day!
Your post showed up at a perfect time because it is actually a snow day here. Kiddo is off from school for the second day in a row due to a winter storm that has moved through. Yesterday it was rain that was expected to turn into freezing rain, though that didn’t happen until last night. Today, though, it’s all the white stuff, so we’re all at home staying warm. We have plans to bake challah for dinner tonight!
Thank you for the link to the General Tso’s tofu recipe, which I’ve long wanted to make, and the notification that The Blue Castle was such a steal — I immediately clicked over to buy it!
Glad to hear that your fingers are itching again and looking forward to seeing the results of that!
Isn’t wonderful to see the days starting to be a little bit longer… I’m loving it. Your quilt blocks are so beautiful Katie and I can’t wait to see how it looks all finished. Thank you so much for the link to the BBQ chicken thighs, definitely will be trying that soon! I have never heard of The Blue Castle , I must find a copy. Enjoy your day and weekend. Lovely post as always 😊
I love your quilt blocks! I wish I could make something like that, I have no talent for quilting but I can’t wait to see the finished project!!
Happy birth month! I love February, too, the snow and the brilliant blue skies. But then I’m one of those weirdos who likes winter. 😉 After seeing it on your blog, I am reading “The White Witch,” too. Your description is spot on. I find the writing style a little florid at times, but she has such a feel for her characters. Not a compelling read, but a fascinating one, part historical novel, part supernatural. The details really give the novel some texture.
I do see your owl! We were seeing one here during the summer – when we would sit out around our fire pit, an owl often flew up into a dead tree in out neighbor’s yard. Happy Birth Month! It is also my little bro’s birth month. And Colin made General Tso’s Tofu for Chinese new Year! I’m going to see if my library has The Blue Castle – thanks for that – looks good. I can definitely see the daylight hours getting longer…though not today…55 and rain with falling temps and frozen rain forecast by Noon. Winter is definitely still here.
Beautiful owl! February feels so much more hopeful than January, so I am grateful. Happy birth month. The Blue Castle! So glad you enjoyed it. I will reread that sometime as well. Glad your hitting a groove in writing and stitching!
That owl! Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for sharing! He (she?) is brilliant!!
Whew… I had to go back and re-read your post, I was distracted by that stunning owl! 🙂
I think half of America has a “snow day” today! Wooo! (Steve has a Snow Day from work… I know, right?)
I am also noting the lengthening days and loving the gradual increase. It seems the perfect wakening!
Gorgeous owl, but he is giving you quite a stare. Love those blocks, one of the prettiest quilts I have seen in ages. I hope you have a superb snow day and lots of comforting food.
Love the fact that you’ve been dedicating time to writing every day. Always inspiring to see a fellow writer grind it out. Makes me want to stick to my own schedule as well. Anyway, happy upcoming birthday!
I laughed out loud about the fish sticks – growing up, EVERY Wednesday night was fish sticks, tater tots, and mixed vegetables because Choir Practice. Easy peasy and crowd pleasing! Also, I’m delighted you’re enjoying Blue Castle – that’s a definite re-read book 🙂 Wishing you a cozy burrow weekend … I’m looking forward to one here, too!
Happy February birthday to you! The honey garlic chicken looks delicious and I plan to make it tomorrow for Sunday dinner! I have never read The Blue Castle – it sounds wonderful. Your quilting is beautiful.
I love all your Bloom blocks, so pretty, you’ll have flowers all winter long. I like all the new quilt patterns you’re perusing. I’d probably pick the swoon quilt, big blocks, should piece up fast. In fact, maybe I’ll go buy the pattern now! Isn’t fresh homemade bread so good with a crockpot meal on a cold, blustery winter day? I feed our grandsons homemade bread for snack lots of days, healthier than cookies or cake. Have a great day!