Late August Impressions

There have been things I've wanted to share, but suddenly blogger won't let me copy and paste from Word, as is my usual m.o. for longer posts. Has this happened to you? So I'm just stopping by to share some simple pleasures I've squirreled away this week in between long study sessions. These $6 roses to start with. A late afternoon weekday matinee by myself, much needed escape from the books - Julie & Julia, which left me dreaming about roast chicken and beef stew. Playing with solar print paper in the backyard. Selling some old bookshelves through Craig's List - cash! 99-cent French bread from Whole Foods, toasted with butter - butter nearly rivals chocolate as one of my biggest temptations. Drinking the looseleaf jasmine & vanilla tea that my sister sent me this spring from the little organic grocery in our hometown, nibbling on small squares of dark chocolate with it while I study. Getting my first glazed and fired pieces back from pottery class. A hilarious package from my sister that left me giggling all day. New-to-me books from PaperbackSwap, setting them aside to read once this exam is behind me. Anticipation! Neighborhood children back in school, which makes afternoon shopping much quieter. A sleepy dog, who gives me something cute to look at while I study.
What simple pleasures have you had lately?


A Month of CSA Deliveries

July 21

July 28

August 5

August 12
In June, we joined what was the only CSA that I could find that delivers to our area. For a city as large as Houston, I was surprised that there aren't more options. I wanted to keep a record of our deliveries to help us decide whether or not to continue with it in the future. The butternut squash has been a favorite, and we had the best peaches I've ever tasted in my life back in June. I will be making more zucchini bread this weekend. But the drought in Texas has really affected the quality of the produce and I'm suspecting that I could make my money go farther by shopping at a farmer's market or even purchasing organic at the grocery. I will share more photos as the months go on. Our deliveries are overnight, so I take the photos around 6 a.m. before I put the produce in the fridge...hence the artificial light!
*Do you belong to a CSA? I'd love to hear your experiences or even see photos of your deliveries!


Back to School Kits

For several years I've intended to put together school kits to send to IOCC to be distributed to kids around the world who need them. This year, I finally did. The kits averaged about $5.00 per child - the scissors and pencil sharpeners being the bulk of that expense. What you see in the photo is all you need, plus a bag to put it all in. I purchased re-usable shopping bags and used fabric glue to attach three-inch strips of velcro near the top in order to provide the required closure on the bag. I plan to ship the kits at FedEx, which typically has much better rates than the USPost for large packages.
I've also noticed that local charities are collecting school supplies for needy kids as well. This option wouldn't require shipping!
I really believe in not showing off about whatever good deeds we do, but I also wanted to share just how simple it was to do this little project and perhaps challenge you to take advantage of the good sales and help some less fortunate kids begin their school year on the right foot. Please share any other ideas or programs you might know about!



Where have I been and what have I been doing? I'm a visual person, so sometimes it's good for me to take photos to remind myself of what's keeping me busy. I've finally started reading for my (extremely overdue) graduate exam in English - at top are just a few of the many books I need to work through in the next couple of months. The biggest challenge has been finding a good place to study. But I am enjoying the topics. (And peeking from underneath the books? The tv guide...there's just something about Texas summers that leaves me listless by the end of the day.)
Speaking of books, I’ve finally joined paperbackswap and wish I would’ve joined ages ago when Mimi first told me about it. Are you there? Do you want to be buddies? My nickname is meadowlarkdays – please look me up!

I’ve also joined postcrossing this summer and received my first batch of international postcards today. It’s a unique project and I’m looking forward to more of it.

I don’t think I’ve even mentioned that I’ve been taking a pottery class (throwing on the wheel) for the last five weeks. My sister made this lovely mug for me for my birthday – isn’t it pretty? None of my current projects have been fired yet, but I do need to dedicate a post to the small hand building projects that I made in May in South Dakota in the class with my sister. She’s the one who inspired me to finally pursue this interest!

Finally, my membership papers for The Letter Writers Alliance arrived today! I love snail mail and am looking forward to exploring the possibilities here.

What new things have you been up to?


Old Fashioned Bread & Butter Pickles

Old Fashioned Bread & Butter Pickles

3.5 Cups thinly sliced non-waxed cucumbers (Kirby works well, and I love the small Persian cucs in this recipe)
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
1.5 Tablespoon kosher salt

Mix these three ingredients together and then layer with ice and refrigerate overnight (or up to 24 hours.)

The next day, drain water and ice and place veggies in a medium-sized glass jar.

Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 3 minutes:
1 Cup white sugar
1 Cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon celery seed

Pour over the veggies in the jar and refrigerate overnight before eating (I let my syrup cool for 5 minutes before pouring over.) Can easily be doubled or tripled if you are not the only pickle eater in your household (as I am.)