This post is both a small review of the last week (or weeks rather, since I haven’t been writing much lately) but also a bit of an ‘upcoming’ prediction. I feel like I owe my readers an apology for not writing as much lately. I don’t really have any excuses, except to say that sometimes other things in life take precedence. Lately there have been an awful lot of those ‘other things.’
So. Review. The last few weeks have been HOT HOT HOT, but have also brought much-needed rain to SoCal. And I have to admit, we probably don’t have much to complain about considering that on the weather map, Texas was labeled “Unrelenting Heat.” Even with all the heat though, my garden is flourishing. I did indeed get an 11-jar batch of salsa done as I hoped to. And when our back-up freezer over-iced, conked out, and thawed all its contents I also found myself with about 14 pounds of thawed cranberries…not really. But there were a lot. So I experimented. I canned homemade cranberry sauce! Not, I am not a particularly adventurous person, and it sounded intimidating at first, but I found an official Ball brand recipe that had only three ingredients. Can’t ask for much more than that. And if I do say so myself, it was so yummy it made me want to cry.
On the scheduling front, I am finally starting to get things a bit more figured out. And this is important to Close to Heart & Home, because hopefully I will begin finding the time to write more regularly. Sister-in-law #2 gave me an incredible book a few years ago called Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson, and her weekly/monthly/semi-annual/annual cleaning lists have proved invaluable. While I didn’t just rip them straight out of the book so to speak, they were a helpful base to begin with and to makeover for my own home. That plus an old yearly planner that I could practice writing the schedule in before settling on one made the whole process much more palatable.
Brother #3 has also recently become a self-admitted Potterhead. Between that and his recent trip to Florida which of course involved two days at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the house is overrun with Harry Potter merchandise and projects. On the merchandise front are chocolate frogs (much larger than they appear in the films) and my own special pet Pigmy Puff, pumpkin juice, a wand, and other such wonderful nerdishness. On the project front we have tried several experiment rounds of Butterbeer, and finally hit on the most authentic combination. (Hint: the trick is to use a bit of extra salt). With all of this going around, when I saw The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz (which looked very official) at the library, I had to pick it up. While it’s not exactly a substitute for being able to visit the park and buy the “real” thing, many of the recipes are very fun and straight from the series of books. It would be especially fun for kids just starting on their Hogwarts journey.
Now, as far as what will (hopefully) be coming up soon on CTH&H. Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite holiday is Christmas. But it’s a lesser known fact that my second favorite holiday is Halloween. Fall weather, candles, pumpkin and spice, Jack-o-Lanterns, costumes, candy, scary movies…it’s all so perfect. This year, I’m going to try something I’ve never done before. I’m going to immerse myself in books to set up the Halloween mood leading up to October 31st. Heaven knows I have enough appropriate choices on my to-read list. Why not pull them out now, at the perfect time! So as far as upcoming book reviews, expect, the last of Narnia, a very small amount of true horror, a larger number of ghost stories, a few dark-and-stormy-night type mysteries (think And Then There Were None), and a handful of fairytales. On the non-fiction front, Pencil Dancing is on my list after seeing another blogger’s posts inspired by it, but also Compost by Ken Thompson and any visual encyclopedia-type books on style and fashion terms that I can find (although that has proven challenging),
Apart from books, I’m also planning on traveling a bit next month, both near and far, so I’m hoping to do a few posts on trips from the Reagan Library, to the legendary Last Bookstore, to the Pacific Northwest. I hope you’ll be ‘traveling’ with me.