It is cold here, so cold. It was 9 degrees outside when I got up this morning and it stayed bitingly cold all day. There are birds everywhere all day long; birds out the window, in the bushes, in the garden. A little bevy of quail has been scurrying around our property and just out in the orchard. The way they dash about with the little plume on their heads bobbing around always makes me smile. The water for the chickens and the dog are frozen solid and I bundle up while the kettle boils and go thaw the water a couple times a day. With the heat lamp in working order we are getting more eggs now than we were in the summer! Our Americaunas, new to the flock this year, are finally laying and we are getting several of the sweetest blue eggs mixed with the brown. This is good because the price of eggs when I look at the store is enough to make my heart race in conjunction with buying feed each month for chickens that just weren't laying. They are pulling their weight now and I feel happier about their existence. :)
January days are for dreaming and planning and scheming here and I bet where you are too. The kitchen cupboards got a thorough clean-out this morning, one of the last categories I had not applied the KonMari approach to yet. The Christmas tree was undecorated and dragged out today, shedding needles in its wake and I am sad to look at its corner empty and drab. My puzzle is nearly finished now and I am hoping I can get it done before the new week; puzzles are good for holidays but not at all for daily regular living.
Gone is the eggnog from the Costco shelves and soon we will be forced to add the unspectacular half and half to our coffee again. My cross stitch and my knitting are getting attention in a way they never do in the warm months and I have finished putting together my first annual booklist for this new year. I will be sharing that soon. Do you create a booklist? Are you excited about checking some to-reads off this coming year? I have several suggestions I'd been amassing over time and I am happy that many of them are included in my plan for the coming year. I am committing myself to reading at least one or two chapters before bed each night in my current book (The Warden and the Wolf King) and it is amazing the difference that seemingly small amount is making in my pace through the book.
Tonight I made a favorite recipe for dinner: Ham and Pasta Skillet Dinner from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. The recipe used to put me off because it looks really boring at first glance but every time I make it, my entire family raves about it and I have to stop myself from eating the entire thing and have a filling healthy side that I can focus on when I want to reach for most pasta. It's so good and so fast to make. I often decrease the amount of oil but otherwise I keep everything the same. It's even better the next day after the flavors blend overnight. Speaking of healthy sides, this Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Balsamic Glaze from Gina at Skinnytaste was a mouth-watering way to use up the sprouts that were about to go bad in the fridge. Yes, I applied the word mouth-watering to brussels sprouts. Don't believe me? Try them yourself! Caramelized roasted brussels are so different than the steamed mash that most people think of.
I have almost reached 8000 steps on my new little fitbit today. Considering my goal was 7000, this is motivating! Want to be my buddy on the fitbit app or on MyFitnessPal? I don't have really any friends there yet but I think it would be good to have some buddies that would challenge me. Let me know in the comments and we can figure out how to connect there.
I hope you are staying warm and healthy wherever you are. I wish you a new year full of joy and peace, good food, and books and creative pursuits.