I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween. I know I don't decorate much, or even look forward to this holiday the way some do, but when it actually rolls around and I see all the eager children in their costumes climbing my porch steps, my mind instinctively goes back to when my kids were that age and then I feel the old excitement again. Our neighborhood has changed a lot in the past few years. Older folks have moved out and young families have moved in. The parochial elementary school (where my children went) is just around the corner so I recognize many of the families having seen them walking to school every day. It's a whole new generation and it doesn't make me feel melancholy at all. The challenges of having kids are never over, and I like where I'm at with mine, they're great to spend time with. Anyway, I had to run out for more candy the day before because The Husband really likes his sweets. I shouldn't be surprised, this happens every year. And shhhh...I get into my fair share, too.
In between answering the door, I decided to make this Chicken and White Bean Chile. You can find the recipe here. You might notice that I have a variety of beans in mine as all I had were garbanzo, chili and black beans. It made no difference, if anything, it's a little more colorful. And I threw in some red pepper flakes for some heat, and some chopped celery for crunch and a little fresh color. It's very simple, you should try it.
This morning, like every morning, I had The Chew on. Most of you know I'm hearing impaired so I watch very little TV. I do like the muffled background noise and sometimes if I hear a lot of laughing, I go over to the television to see what's so funny. Well, there's a lot of laughing on this show, along with cooking and guest appearances, so I find myself wandering over to it a lot. Today Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman was on and I really enjoyed seeing her cook (I've never seen her show on the Food Network). And she made Chipotle Chicken Chile which was quite a coincidence. The recipe is on her blog today. It's my next comfort food meal.
While the chili was simmering, I made a pumpkin pie. This is just the recipe on the can. The pumpkin puree, evaporated milk and 2 eggs mixed and poured into a crust. The next time I will cover those edges with foil so they don't brown so much. And forgive me, I've pretty much tossed out the idea of staging food. I know if it looks attractive, people are more inclined to try it. I guess I'll leave that to the food blogs. I just like to share what's cooking in my kitchen because it brings me a lot of joy.
I forgot to show you a few little things I picked up last weekend when we were in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. I just loved this little sign and I hope my family OBEYS!!
I found this wool candy cane and fell in love. It has a worn, faded vintage feel to it like I've had it forever. A bar of Christmas Pine scented soap and a candle in Pumpkin Spice also came home with me. I enjoyed the company of good friends much more than the shopping!
Would you believe first Abby and then The Husband confiscated my book Beautiful Ruins? I didn't make a fuss. If I can get Abby to read anything more than Jody Picoult or Nicholas Sparks, it's an achievement. And I like to see The Husband get involved in a little fiction as opposed to history and politics. He is always glued to CNN and although there is nothing wrong with staying on top of what is happening in the world, it's so great when he happens to come across a silly, funny movie...I love hearing him laugh. Back to the book, when I was growing up with my sisters (all five of them), one of us would find a good book and we would all start shouting, "I call it next!", and it would end up getting passed around among all of us. My mom was a big reader and she passed that on to us. So...I've read a few books by Elizabeth Berg and then I started following her on Facebook and on her blog. Her books are light reading but very much about women and relationships with others; family members, friends and men. And she's from Chicago. I noticed she was scheduled for a lot of book signings in my area after she published this book I've shown above, and then when I got to her blog I saw she lived here. I'd love to meet her someday. Writers are like rock stars to me!
I get a lot of, "You are so busy, Jane" in my comments section, and while I love you all for meaning that as a compliment, I have to clarify how this may appear to be the case but in reality, is not. I post on an average of every 5-7 days. If I spend an afternoon gardening, blog about 1 meal I cooked and showed you some progress I made in the bedroom redo that took about 1/2 hour, that's a very minimal amount of time spent actively doing something. It just sounds like a lot on paper. And this is my blog style, just snippets of my life. The key word being "snippets". A lot of the time you will find me reading (which I don't downplay), napping, sitting and talking with the kids, blogging, writing long emails to friends, shopping online, and generally leaving the house very little. So much of the perceived busyness just doesn't exist.
I wonder if I carry around a lot of guilt that I'm not working outside of the house now that my children don't "need" me. When The Husband comes home from work I tend to nervously rattle on about the events of the day. When the kids tell me that I don't have the school/job stress they have, I hold my tongue because I refuse to defend myself when they clearly know I paid my dues, but a part of me wishes I had more challenges. I do hope when they reach my age, they have the sort of freedom and happiness I do. But still, the guilt. And our need to be busy to justify our purpose in life. What do you think of this quote I found (somewhere) on the internet? Do you feel your self worth is tied into what you accomplish each day? Do you hesitate to admit you had a completely lazy day or even days? Or maybe you are even the type that runs like a rabbit on a treadmill because you can't sit still. I was reading an article in a woman's magazine today about giving yourself a salon facial at home. It started out, "If you find yourself with 30 minutes to yourself one day, you can pamper yourself..." I see this type of wording a lot directed toward women. 30 minutes? That's all we have for ourselves during a 16 hour day? That's ludicrous! We would all be walking zombies if we only had that minuscule slice of time in our day for ourselves. I can honestly say I would spend it in the office of my therapist.
Okay...just speaking my mind a bit here. Feel free to open up and vent in the comments section. I don't suppose there is a party I can join this week to inspire anyone!
Have a great weekend!