five things · Food · joy

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

How’s your week been? It’s been good here, but honestly, I was kind of done by Tuesday. Not sure why, but it felt like a very long week. It’s a 3-day weekend for the kids, and Husband is making it a 3-day weekend for himself, too, so we’re looking forward to some fun and downtime.

Also, thank you so much for all the kind, fun, inspiring comments this week here and on Facebook. I’m enjoying posting here more regularly, and your comments are a large part of that joy. So, thanks.

Here are a few things on my mind this week:

finger food friday

1. Finger Food Friday. I love meal planning. And I REALLY love having a go-to meal for Friday nights – a little family tradition, if you will. And we’ve had a variety of them. Pizza Friday. Nacho Friday. Now we do Finger Food Friday (FFF for short), where I pick up a variety of fun, appetizer-type foods at Trader Joe’s that morning and assemble it on a platter when we get home that night. (Friday afternoons tend to be busy for us, so trying to cook dinner cuts into precious Family Movie Night time. Assembling the platter takes less than 10 minutes.) We take the platter to the den coffee table, pile up with blankets on the sectional, and find a new (to us) movie to watch. It’s one of my favorite rituals of the week, and it always ends the week on a high note.

The FFF menu changes week to week (there are always new cheeses to try!), but some of my favorites are Turkey Summer Sausage, Norwegian Flatbread, Tomato Basil Hummus, and Dolmas. A few raw veggies are a must, and a handful of dates are the kids’ favorites.

PS – Any good family movies you’ve watched recently? Our favorites tend to be older releases and something with a little grown-up appeal. We’ve loved Cheaper by the Dozen (1 AND 2), Beethoven, Home Alone, The Incredibles, and, of course, now and forever, Harry Potter (the first 3). I’d love to hear your recommendations.

trader joe's flowers

2. Flowers. About a month ago, I read an article (cannot remember where or what context) by a man who wrote of his awe at his friend’s beautiful home – it always looked  ready for a design magazine photo shoot. After several visits, he realized that what made it feel so pretty, so “polished”, was that she always had fresh flowers in the rooms. Then, a week later, I read this article about simple abundance and the author’s decision to buy flowers at Trader Joe’s every week. Then, I went to my friend’s house for book group, and she had a flower arrangement on each table, and it looked fantastic. So last Friday, for “Big Shopping of the Week,” as BG and BB call it, I grabbed a $6.99 bouquet of hydrangeas (at Trader Joe’s, of course – I promise every thing on my list today isn’t about TJ’s) and plunked them in a simple vase on the den coffee table. I cannot begin to tell you the beauty and happiness this simple change has brought this week. Every time I pass through, I see the flowers and smile. They catch my eye, they make the den look “polished”, and they even keep me from making big piles of books on the coffee table. It DOES look more like a design magazine, and it’s a simple thing that brings so much JOY.

rick steves

3. Rick Steves. With our crazy school schedule this year (very different drop-off times and different pick up times), I have struggled to create a “schedule” for myself. Some days I work out before the kids get up, some days I do it in the middle of the morning (or not at all). Some days I run errands, some days I play cards and read books with BG. Some days I don’t shower until 1:00pm. (Don’t judge.)

But every Wednesday – and only on Wednesdays – I eat lunch alone. At first, I grabbed slices of ham or a frozen dinner or whatever I could scrounge in the fridge, but after some thought, I realized this was a great opportunity to treat myself.  After a really long walk (I can only do this on Wednesdays, too), I come home, make a REAL lunch (a big salad with poached egg or soup from scratch or a “gourmet” sandwich with herbed mayo, a stack of veggies, white truffle potato chips and a dill pickle spear), and settle in for a show. (I almost never turn the TV on during the day, so this also feels like a treat.) My favorite? Rick Steves’ Europe. I KNOW! But hear me out: First off, it’s beautiful – the sweeping landscapes, the architecture, the gardens, the cobblestone streets, the little shops. The mix of history and modern life. The art and food and wine. And, let’s be honest, Rick Steves is bit dorky but in a charming way. There’s always a moment where you chuckle and sort of roll your eyes. But in the end, you’ve learned something new and possibly added a destination to your future travel plans.

(Note: The photo above is a scene from last night just before dinner. I’ve gotten Husband on the Rick Steves’ bandwagon, so while dinner finished up and the kids did their screen time, we relaxed and talked and got caught up on the day and watched a little Rick Steves. Like my Wednesday lunches, it’s just a little slice of joy.)

the first step in crafting the life you want is getting rid of everything you don'tthe first step in crafting the life you want is getting rid of everything you don't

4. This quote.

5. This video. Wow. And JOY! That’s all I can say.

What are you up to this weekend? I’m having coffee with a friend I haven’t seen in years, and I’m taking dinner to another friend who’s been sidelined by the flu, and we’re planning a hike along the coast. (Side note: How’s the flu in your area? I know a handful of people who’ve had it, and it’s been AWFUL. My friend has been down for 5 weeks now! So scary.) Whatever your plans, I hope you have a delicious weekend full of beauty, inspiration, and joy. Thanks so much for reading!

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