Sometimes I'm at a restaurant and I think, "Wow, I could never make this myself." Think sushi, homemade mushroom gnocchi, etc.
But other times I eat and I think, "I bet I could make this at home." Mushy peas was one of those times.
I'm thankful, but...
In one of the many faith-based books I've been reading lately (and I can't even remember which one because I've read so many), the author said that essentially "buts" had no place in gratitude. Everything is done in God's design, and you should strive to be grateful for the lesson or experience, even if not the actual event or thing.
And while I totally get the need for unconditional gratitude - it's such an important practice - I don't think the author was right. Because I have quite a few "buts" when it comes to the major things I'm thankful for. And I thought I'd share them with you.
Orange you glad you're not chicken?
This may surprise some of you, considering my line of work, but I'm not a big magazine reader. I went through the phase in college of devouring Glamour and Cosmo, but that got real old real fast. Plus, I'd rather be reading books - they tend to last longer.
But I do have quite a weakness for Southern Living.
Books on Tap: Shelf-Sitters
Every self-respecting bibliophile has them: those books that have been on your shelf and/or to-read list for ages, but you've never gotten around to them. You mean to, you want to, but when it comes time to pick your next tome, you somehow skip them.
I am no exception to this rule. Most of these books have been hogging space on my (three) bookcases, as well as on my Goodreads to-read list. For the record, cleaning out bookshelves is just as important as cleaning out closets, so once and for all I decided to give these books a go so I could either return them to their owners, trade them in for new books if I didn't like them, or find them a permanent spot for keeps. And Lord, none of them really set my world on fire. Neither Here Nor There was the clear winner; all the rest were kind of a struggle to force myself through. Undertake them at your own risk.
Do you have any books that have been sitting on your shelf for ages? If so, what are they? When do you think you'll read them?
Christmas decorating for the sane
Look, Christmas has gotten entirely out of hand. As of November 9th, I heard Christmas carols on the radio and in stores. There are nearly as many Christmas gift commercials as there are 2016 presidential campaign ads (and don't even get me started on that - it's enough to make me move back to France until next year at this time).
It's too much, too fast, too soon. And one of the biggest hassles of Christmas is decorating, only to have to take it all back down a month (or less) later. For those of you who, like me, are clutter-averse, here's how to have a festive Christmas without losing your marbles.
Restaurants vs. Home Cooking
You might recall that one of the things we planned to fix with our O.I.A. focus is to eat out less. It costs a lot more to eat out in American restaurants than French ones, and half the time the food isn't as good, anyway. So we have really been doing a lot of cooking since we've been back. In fact, as I am typing this, we have only been out to eat twice since we've been back, under normal circumstances (ie, hanging out in Greenville and not traveling to/from a wedding in Mississippi).
A few weeks ago we had gone to Trader Joe's and bought roughly $45 worth of groceries. Walking back to the car, I confessed to B that I felt bad. "I can't believe we bought that many groceries," I said. "It just seems so expensive." And it does, coming from French market produce prices. America, you are killing me with your cost of produce.
Pick a planner, any planner
If, in my little world, Christmas cards come before Halloween, then the next year's planner comes shortly after that. One has to mark a reminder as to when to order next year's Christmas cards, after all.
I've had several people ask me why I don't just use the calendar app and/or reminders on my phone, since I have it with me all the time, but I think we've established I'm an old-fashioned girl. There's just something about physically writing things down, with pen on paper, that makes them stick in my head. Plus, it's more fun. So every year, I buy a planner.
It hasn't hit yet, and I'm surprised.
You know, homesickness for France. I'm still waiting on that, but so far so good. Right now I'm just grateful and happy to be settling back into a routine here in America (although let me just say, I did not miss B traveling for work all the time while we were over there - that absolutely blows).
But I am a little wistful for macarons.
Books on Tap: Inspiration
Partly because I was lit on fire by last month's books, Fulfilled and A Million Little Ways, and partly because I was in need of some inspiration and encouragement as we transitioned to living in the United States again, all five of my books this time are focused on well-being, better living, and Christian life.
Thanks to our new O.I.A. focus, these books aren't accidental. I'm sure I'll get back on the fiction road soon, but for now, enjoy this series of Books on Tap!
Baked honey-garlic chicken
Healthy is hard, y'all. It takes work if you want to eat more than grilled chicken and roasted vegetables every. single. night. So when I ran across this recipe on Pinterest, I was pretty excited. It could be made spicy (yay!), and it used up some more rice. Winning.