Happy Friday, friends! Today in the cove, the sun is a little bit brighter, the sky is a little bit bluer, the coffee tastes a little bit stronger, and the wool sweater I’m wearing feels a wee bit warmer. What accounts for all this heightened sensory stimulation is a little thing called turning in my book manuscript. That’s right. I hunkered down, come household-wide stomach flu, a family death, a crapped-out computer, a feverish baby, and a house full of friends and family last week, and took care of business. I even managed to turn it in two days early! Woo hoo!!!
Sending out all those Word document attachments (19 of them-whew!) to my stellar editor at Roost yesterday afternoon felt like gazing out over a mountain top. HUGE rivers of gratitude to that sweet, compassionate, got-my-back-after-only-meeting-me-once woman that is Amanda Soule for hooking me up with Jennifer Urban-Brown, who has made this process a gift in and of itself. With Glenn’s tireless help (that man deserves a plaque, a ribbon, a trophy, AND a marching band), the book left my laptop and sailed its way through the wiley wireless web and into Jenn’s computer. YES!
Of course, there’s plenty more to be done. Copyediting, and revisions, and more photography, but the big belly of the beast has been safely slain (or, rubbed into submission, is probably closer to the truth!). Aaaaaaah. Feels good, friends! Feels really, really good.
Here’s a smattering of this’s and that’s that caught my attention this week:
*The importance of urban farming.
*Great list of independent artists & designers for holiday shopping.
*No such thing as too much cornbread.
*I have two of these, but I could use more.
*These side-of-the-cup cookie cutters are sheer genius.
*Given the massive swath of forest he lives in, I think Huxley needs this.
*Kelli’s blog is full of something for everyone.
I’m hosting my 5th annual Ladies Cookie Exchange this weekend. The fun twist this time is two-fold: we’ll be having it at the home of my rock-star friend and Handmade Gatherings photographer, Jen Altman (she’s got a much bigger home than I do, and it’s nice to change up the photo backgrounds from time-to-time); and, this event is actually going to be included in the book! So, there’ll be lots of lovely ladies, and libations, and things to nibble on, and music (Jen is always, always, always playing music in her house and I, in turn, am always learning of some new amazing band-cool by proxy, I’ll take it!), and crafts, and shared decorations, and all kinds of seasonal goodness. Let the holiday rumpus begin!
Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!
There are some days that just call for hot chocolate at noon. The baby is fussy (I know, he’s 2, but he’s still our baby!), a work deadline is nearing, and there’s a slight, but not offending, chill in the air. You’ve had a late breakfast (omelets from the Ladies with garden pesto dollops and torn pieces of maplewood smoked bacon on top) and you’re not ready for a full lunch. Today, clearly, was such a day.
Glenn, in his infinite genius, wondered what it would taste like to use eggnog in the hot chocolate. What it takes like, friends, is glorious wonderment in a mug. Infinitesimal deliciousness. Fist bump excellentness. You get the jist. It’s wonderful. It’s delicious. It’s what you want to have in your mug, in your house, right now.
This is a thick, rich, decadent beverage. Keep that in mind when determining portions. It’ll generously serve 4, and give 6-8 a nice shot of chocolate splendor.
-3 cups eggnog
-1 cup whole milk
-3 ounce dark chocolate bar, chopped fine
-2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
-2 Tablespoons sugar
-Freshly grated nutmeg, to your liking
-A pinch of salt if desired
1) Heat the eggnog and milk on medium-low heat until the mixture starts to simmer.
2) Whisk in the rest of the ingredients.
3) Continue to whisk frequently for about 5-8 minutes, until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
4) Let it cool a little bit before serving (it will thicken a bit as it cools).
I’ve never been much of what you’d call a “girlie girl.” I don’t paint my fingernails, I rarely wear eye shadow, I like heels only if they’re sturdy and sensible, prefer cotton undergarments, and like a purse that’s as utilitarian as it is attractive. This attitude to appearances definitely gets extended to my hair.
It’s funny. For someone that grew up with a mother completely enamored with hot rollers and hair spray, aside from a period of attachment to my curling iron in middle school (those photos never need surface, thank you kindly), I’ve never been one to do much with my hair. Mom, on the other hand, is always seeing her stylist, showing up with red highlights or spikes on top and fringe in the front (she’s fashionably adventurous, this mother of mine!). Meanwhile, my take is to either part it on the side, put it in a ponytail, plop it in a hair clip, or pile it on top with a hair tie.
Until my sisters come to visit, that is. Then I get to look presentable. I get to get girlie. I get my Katniss on, you see. Big thanks to my younger sister ,Devan, for doing my ‘do and to my littlest sister, Theo, for capturing it for posterity.
I got my hair did, ya’ll. And I liked it.
What about you? Do you do cool things with your hair? Any easy go-to tips you’d like to share? I’d love to have a few styles I could turn to, without having to wait until my sisters visit every few months before I’m able to look nice and proper.
A feast of feasts//Pre-meal eats, including a Beet & Winter Squash Soup with fixins//Cousin love//Pop Pop and his boys//Grove Park Inn bliss//Going, going gone//Sisters & littles//Mighty stone fireplace
Happy Monday, friends! I hope your holiday weekend, if you celebrated one, was grand. Ours certainly was! Huxley’s fever broke just in time for us to make an epic feast. We showed our gratitude for all we have to be so very thankful for with family and friends (including a game of Cranium that had my stepmother acting as Kramer from Seinfeld, my sister sculpting a toothbrush out of clay, and me humming Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion-good times, friends, very good times).
Friday found us 1 1/2 hours north, at a lovely pick & cut Christmas tree farm (the first time I’ve ever done it! Have you?). Saturday we snuggled in couches with a corner sunset view, hot chocolate in hand (spiked for the adults, nice and clean for the littles).
I love having family come to visit, but it always goes so very fast. Having family pop over for a mug of my homemade chai or for a dinner of leftovers or a lunch in Asheville thrills me to the gills. We don’t live near each other, so our time together is something I treasure immensely.
This week begins my homestretch on Handmade Gatherings. The manuscript is due Saturday. Saturday! I’m very close to the finish line, but there are still bits left to pen. I can’t wait to share this book with you. It might just be my favorite project to date.
Here’s hoping the week ahead is filled with health and happiness for you and yours!
I’ve had a soft spot for pumpkins for just about as long as I can remember. Pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin cinnamon buns, pumpkin butter-the whole enchilada. And so it was no big stretch for me to include a pumpkin gathering in the new book. I love those orbs, I truly do.
I had high hopes for growing my own this year, but, alas, the squash vine borers had other plans. I’m already working on a 3-tiered approach for next year: plant early (one farmer said as early as late May), cover the plants with floating row cover until the flowers appear, and plant them where they haven’t been planted before (to avoid any larvae pupating in the soil). Pumpkin bliss in the cove will be mine, I say, mine!
Since we’re in the busy, busy, busy stages of prepping the house and kitchen for 18 dinner guests (!), I’m going to sign out early this week. I’m leaving you with a sneak peek of the pumpkin gathering we threw. Jen captured those glorious images above, rock star photographer that she is. I think they showcase my beloved pumpkins in the most lovely way, don’t you?
I’m so very thankful for food, family, health (!!!), and, yes, for pumpkins. From our home to yours, thank you for your support of this little blog. It means the world.