April Fool’s Day

Over the last month I’ve spent a LOT of time reading. Like a lot a lot. Most of the books I’ve been reading are about medieval Europe. I’m not sure why; that’s just how it worked out. Anyway. One of the things I’ve learned from one of these books is that April Fool’s Day came about when the Gregorian Calendar was accepted and changed New Year’s Day from April 1 to January 1. As it turns out, that’s not actually true–probably. The timing of the acceptance of the Gregorian Calendar doesn’t jive with early mentions of April Fool’s Day (Chaucer mentions it in the Canterbury Tales, but the calendar wasn’t accepted in England until the mid-18th century). Regardless, April Fool’s Day is probably tied to early celebrations of the arrival of spring, which always included pranks and mentions of fools.

I’ll stop boring you with my history nerd knowledge, but all of that did have a point and it was this: I hate pranks and practical jokes. Always have. Some are admittedly funny, but generally I think they’re just mean. At least, I think they’re mean when they’re personal. I tend to really enjoy the less personal prank news stories and such. For example, Kindle Author or Burger King’s New Fragrance.  So, you can imagine how amused I was when I popped over to Amazon this morning to order some diapers really cool new product and saw Amazon’s new Dash Button.*

Am I the only one who hates April Fool’s Day pranks? Based on my own research, yes.

But this doesn’t mean that I hate April Fool’s Day. In fact, I really like like it because it’s the anniversary of the day I met Sean. Meeting on April Fool’s Day was, thankfully, not a forecast of how our relationship would turn out. This year is the 9th (!!!) anniversary of our meeting and I still get that fluttery feeling in my stomach when I see him.

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Ah. Young-ish love.

*Apparently, the Dash Button is actually a Thing. I think it’s really neat and have now signed up to hopefully get one. 

Transitioning

Earlier in the week, I posted that spring had finally come to the Bluegrass. Well. I was wrong. The last several days have been cold and rainy and just generally depressing. Blah.

But.

Today is officially the first day of spring. Today or, to be more accurate, this evening is the vernal equinox. I’m not sure why, but equinox and solstice days really speak to me. More than any other days of the year, these days feel sacred. They mark the transition between seasons and phases of life.

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I never have or attend any sort of celebration for those days, but I do quietly mark them on my own. Today I’m planning my garden, starting some seeds, and spending some time meditating on the transition from winter to spring.

The transition from hibernation to full waking life.

From dark to light.

From old to new.

A transition.

That’s what this day is for me and that’s why it feels so important and so momentous. The vernal equinox marks the beginning of a blank slate and represents hope.

I’m looking forward to seeing what this new season brings.

 

Charitable Knitting

It’s that time of year again!  And I don’t just mean the holidays. Nope. It’s that time of year when the desire to get out and help others collides with the instinctive urge to find a warm, cozy spot and just stay there until spring. I don’t know why this has actually never occured to me before, but there is a way to do both!

Knitting.

That’s right. Knitting. This morning, while admittedly trying to psych myself up for legal research, I was browsing the interwebs and came across this post from knitty, which has tons of ways and places your knitting or your yarn buying dollars can help those less fortunate. I’ll probably be buying a skein or two of this lovely Knitters for Newtown yarn. Because I definitely don’t have a massive yarn stash or anything…

If you’re interested, click over to knitty and find a way to help out!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

A few weeks ago, I found a butternut squash in my fridge. You’re probably wondering how one buys a squash and then forgets that it exists. Well… butternut squash keep basically forever in the fridge and it was waaaaaay in the back. So, yeah. I bought it god knows when and forgot about it. Of course, when I found it, I had to use it immediately since I didn’t know how old it was. I wasn’t sure, at first, what I was going to make, but then the crazy pregnancy brain kicked in and butternut squash mac and cheese was born.

I know (after googling it last night) that there a ton of recipes for butternut squash mac and cheese out there, but I didn’t use any of those. I made up my own recipe, which I’ll replicate as much as possible here.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

1.  8 0z whole wheat shells

2. 1 cup fat free milk

3. 1 small-ish butternut squash (roasted)

4. 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

5. 1/4-1/2 cup shredded parmasean cheese

6.1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded mozzerella cheese

7. 1/4 tsp dry mustard

8. 1 spring fresh rosemary (about 3-4 inches long)

9. 1/4 tsp Italian spice mix

10. salt and pepper to taste

11. bread crumbs

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 375 F

2. Peel, seed, and chop squash.

3. Toss squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

4. place squash on sheet pan and roast in oven for about 20 minutes (until its tender).

While the squash is roasting, start on the cheese sauce and pasta…

5. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

6. Heat the milk and spices until it simmers (keep an eye on it.. don’t scald the milk!)

7. Remove milk and spice mixture from heat.

8. Add all the cheeses into the milk/spice mix and stir until melted.

9. Add the roasted squash to the milk/spice/cheese mix and stir until combined (try to squish the squash a little).

10. Mix the pasta into the squash/sauce mix

11. Pour the mix into a casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs.

12. Bake at 375F until breadcrumbs are brown and cheese sauce is slightly bubbly.

I know this is my own creation and I’m probably a little biased, but this was really good. As proof that it not just pregnancy appetite  and/or bias talking, S. thought it was good too. This wasn’t the quickest dish ever, but it wasn’t that time consuming either. I estimate maybe 40 minutes start to finish, so it’s a pretty doable  weeknight meal (with a nice side salad).

Enjoy!

All good things must come to an end

S. and I are leaving our glorious beach vacation behind today. We were planning for a late departure this afternoon complete with a mini beach day, but then we both got horribly sunburned yesterday. So that plan got scratched.

Despite that we had decided to get up in an attempt to see the sunrise one more time. When the alarm went off this morning, I got up, opened the curtains, and… Rain. Lots of heavy rain. Sadly, I climbed back into bed (first time I’ve ever written that sentence). A few minutes later, when I couldn’t go back to sleep, I decided to get up and have some coffee of the very drippy balcony. That’s when I saw this:

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Despite the really heavy rain (which miraculously didn’t show up in the picture) I can see the sun rising!

Hope your Friday is as surprising!

Vacation!

I’ve officially been on vacation since Friday and it has been absolutely fabulous. We’ve been sleeping in, walking on the beach, eating fabulous meals, laying on the beach, I’ve been yoga-ing, and… just generally doing things at our own pace. You know. Like you do on vacation.

While it’s been amazing and I’m having a wonderful time, just doing whatever we feel like doing whenever doesn’t make for much blog fodder. I mean, I could go on and on about how much I’m enjoying taking 3-4 mile beach walks everyday and detail all the shells we’ve collected and how I got a terrible sunburn yesterday, but, frankly, I think I’m the only one who wants to relive all that. So, here’s some pictures I’ve snapped with the ol’iphone.

View from our room

First time on the beach

Our “homemade” beach chairs. Surprisingly comfortable.

S. watching a storm roll in

Me on the remnants of a sand castle… it was impossible not to get my belly in the shot.

The beach at dawn.

I’m off to enjoy another day lounging on the beach. Hope yours is just as enjoyable!

Waiting for Breakfast

In case you missed the one million times I’ve mentioned it this week, I’m on vacation!

Although vacation actually started Friday at 3:30, we didn’t actually leave for our destination until yesterday afternoon when we dropped our dogs off with my mom (thanks, mom!) and headed to Asheville. Asheville isn’t our ultimate destination, but we decided that pregnant Martha probably wouldn’t be happy if we did the entire drive in one leg. So, we stopped here on our way to the coast.

Last night, after we arrived we headed downtown to find something to eat and to wonder around for a bit. We secured food AND live entertainment pretty quickly and spent the rest of the evening just hanging out and watching some live music.

This morning, we decided to head back downtown for breakfast before continuing our epic journey east. We’re currently waiting to eat at Tupelo Honey… Normally pregnant Martha doesn’t enjoy waiting for food, but check out this menu! This is going to be fabulous!

Hope your Sunday is just as awesome!