My Current Thoughts and Ponderings…

Well, here we are, already a good two weeks into 2018! I’m not one to make resolutions or get too philosophical about the start of a new year, but a brand-new year is always kind of exciting.

Philip and I had a great holiday, mostly staying around home. But even with some good time off, it’s surprising how quickly it felt like we needed another weekend to get away and catch up on some much needed R&R.

If this doesn’t scream R&R, I don’t know what does. :) This past weekend we headed up north for our annual visit to my aunt and uncle’s lake house, which they generously let us enjoy for a weekend in the winter. Since it’s only two hours away, it makes for an easy weekend trip.

While on the lake on one of our walks on Saturday, we had some neighbors ask us what our plans were while visiting…uhh, plans? What plans? Our plans consisted of: Reading, working on a puzzle, dreaming in front of the fire, and venturing briefly out into the below zero temps to get some fresh air. Safe to say, it was a wonderful, relaxing weekend. Bring on the new year!

Since so much has happened since the last time I posted, I thought I’d catch us all up by sharing my current thoughts and ponderings (you know you love these as much as I do. ;)).

Right now I’m…

Playing on repeat: The Greatest Showman soundtrack. Move aside Hamilton. The Greatest Showman has now taken over my iTunes recently played playlist. If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend you go see it. The storyline was inspiring and touching, but the musical talent was so impressive. Philip asked me this past week, “So when we have kids, you aren’t going to get annoyed when they ask to listen to something over and over again?” I’m getting the hint he doesn’t enjoy me playing the songs on repeat… :)

Savoring: Spinach Tortellini Tomato Soup. Philip’s birthday was at the beginning of January and this is what he requested for one of our dinners during his birthday week. I’m so glad he did, because I’d forgotten just how much I love it (and I love that it takes only a half hour to make it). It’s not new and I thought for sure I had shared this with you here at RD in the Midwest. Gasp! I need to get on that! It’s so incredibly tasty. I add Italian turkey sausage to the soup for some extra staying power and to give it even more depth of flavor. With temps like what we’re having this week, I wouldn’t mind having another bowl or two of this.

Dreaming about: Hawaii. Speaking of freezing cold temps (again), I could also go for a trip to Hawaii right about now. :) I feel like everywhere I turn, someone else is in Hawaii or is going to Hawaii soon. Give me a poke bowl and some temps above 50 degrees and I’ll be totally content.

Upgrading my: Jewelry box. With some Christmas money I received, I bought myself a new jewelry tray and stand set (this is the stand I got to go along with the tray). If you knew what I had before, this is such an upgrade. I think Philip secretly wanted me to get rid of the one that I had had since, ohh, middle school, for years now. I’m loving how easy it is to grab the necklace I want (and not have them get tangled! The worst!) and have a compartment for each piece of jewelry. Plus, I love that the style is unique and contemporary rather than having the typical jewelry box look.

Making: Homemade yogurt. Yep, I said it. I’ve become that person. But seriously, it’s so easy and, honestly, I think I’m partly just still amazed by the whole process – that I can start with milk and come out with Greek yogurt. I’m tellin’ ya, this Instant Pot is a miracle appliance! When I first got the IP, I did a ton of “research.” Taking into consideration what would work into my schedule to realistically make yogurt on a consistent basis (I’m making it weekly now), I figured out I could buy ultra-pasteurized organic milk, allowing me to skip the sterilizing process (definitely not hard to do, but it’s one less step I have to worry about). I pour my milk into the Instant Pot, put in about 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt (from my previous batch), and turn the Instant Pot on the yogurt setting for about 8 – 9 hours over night. The next morning, I line a colander with a very large, commercial-sized coffee filter (if you need any, just ask; I just bought 500 filters on Amazon. Haha, I’ll be making yogurt for a looong time). Since I like my yogurt thick, I pour the yogurt into the lined colander set over a large bowl, and pop it in the fridge until I come home from work. All the whey is strained out and I’m left with some pretty delicious yogurt. I divide them into containers and Philip and I enjoy them for the week, adding in our own frozen fruit. No more store-bought yogurt for us!

Reading: Lilac Girls. Last year at this time I was reading my way through the Harry Potter series and I loved it. This winter I’ve been reading various nutrition and health books, but I was ready for a novel again. I’d heard good things about this book from my mom and some other trusted reviews. I just got started this weekend, but so far so good! Books about the Holocaust and personal, true stories always get to me.

Nervous/excited to try: Making sourdough bread. One of the books I recently read through was the Tartine Bread cookbook. Yep, I read cookbooks. :) Not typically a thing I do, actually, but the process of making true sourdough bread is such an art that I needed to thoroughly read up on how this popular bakery in San Francisco does it so well if I was going to do it myself. I had tried my hand at making a starter (just water and flour) earlier this fall, but completely failed. Philip got me this book for Christmas and I’m determined to give it another go. I’ll let you know how it goes, but if you have any tips, I could take all the help I can get!

Eyeing: This watch. You know those Instagram ads that subtly make their way into your feed as you scroll through and grab your attention because they scarily know exactly what your style is and can read your mind? As much as I resist clicking on them because I hate to admit that their ad is working, this watch company had victory over me. My quick, one-minute scroll through Instagram became a 20-minute search on their site (ugh), as I debated whether I needed to become a watch person. Haha, all that to say, this one is my favorite and don’t be surprised if you see me wearing it sometime in the next year. ;)

Staying warm in: Tracksmith Base Layer. Speaking of Instagram ads, I must not be as good at resisting them as I thought because I discovered this running company through Instagram as well. But they’ve quickly become one of my favorite companies, so I’m not mad about it anymore. :) This small company is actually located on the Boston Marathon course and genuinely knows and meets the needs of runners. This base layer, which is made of wool rather than synthetic material (don’t worry, it’s not itchy at all!), has been awesome for cold runs, but I’ve actually been wearing it even more as a base layer to work or around the house. Philip has the same one in men’s and loves it just as much as I do.

Bringing back my heritage in: This Scandinavian-inspired sweater. I recently received this sweater for Christmas and even though it’s nothing like any of my other sweaters, I love how Scandinavian I feel when wearing it! Ha! Not to mention, it’s also super warm since it’s made with Eddie’s FreeHeat fabric.

Drinking: Rishi Turmeric Ginger Tea. Can you tell that it’s been a tad cold here lately?! Let’s see, warm layers, sweaters, and now hot tea! Haha. Right before Christmas, I was in the tea aisle at the grocery store and I actually had another customer recommend this tea to me. Her rave reviews sold me on it! While I haven’t tried any of the other flavors of Rishi tea, the Turmeric Ginger is flavorful without being too in-your-face. I’m not a huge fan of turmeric, but it totally works with the mix of warming spices and citrus. Warms me right up! :)

Snuggling with: Oversized Down Throw. Okay, so I thought I was wrapping it up after the tea, but I thought of this blanket at the last minute and couldn’t not share it with you guys. This blanket is aaammaaazing! Seriously, so warm and cozy. I feel like I’m in a sleeping bag whenever I curl up in it. We have it in gray, but it doesn’t look like that’s available anymore. I’m loving it so much, I was seriously considering taking it along with us to the lake house this past weekend. With that, I’m grabbing my book, tea, and this blanket and calling it a day! :)