Despite January feeling like an insanely long month, I don't have a lot to show for it...but I did manage to finish a book! I really enjoyed The It Girl by Ruth Ware. It started off strong, slowed a little in the middle, and then rapidly picked up steam in the last 75 or so pages. I attempted to predict the ending more than once, and given that I didn't get it right, I'd consider the twists and turns pretty solid.
Hallie and I watched Family Switch and You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, both of which are sweet, funny, and perfect for moms and their tween/teen daughters to watch together.
On my own, I finally finished ALL of the seasons of Suits. I loved this series, so much so that I'm pretty sure I'll watch it again in a couple of years.
Interestingly, in January I started three new shows - all of which had been recommended for me by its streaming service's algorithm - and turned each of them off after an episode. Prior to this month I've probably had that happen to me once ever, so three times in 30 days seems strangely frequent. Maybe the algorithms aren't working as well as they used to...
After a couple of starts and stops with podcasts I just didn't love, I'm about halfway through The Bakersfield Three Something I've recently discovered is the importance of the voice of the podcast's narrator/storyteller/host, and reporter Olivia LaVoice is a new favorite of mine; her story is a good one, and her telling of it even better.
Once previously I'd referenced "the guy who shares ridiculous text messages sent by teen/high school students/college students," but now I officially follow The Leighton Show (@the_leighton_show on Instagram) for the good laugh he provides at least a few times a week.
I've tried a few bathrobes over the years, but I've never found one that was quite right...until now. This is the perfect robe. And since it's on sale right now, if I were you I'd pop over to the Soma website and buy yourself one before they sell out completely. (I chose the navy blue in S/M, and both the color and size are true.)
These are my new favorite socks. They're a little thicker and softer than my regular "not socks," which is perfect during boot and sneaker season, and stay put incredibly well.
Hanging/folding/storing dance leotards and skirts has been a thorn in my side and chaos in Hallie's closet for years, but we finally found a reasonable solution! These tank top hangers work wonders for leotards and these layered skirt hangers are perfect for thin, dainty ballet skirts, and together they're saving probably two feet of horizontal real estate in Hallie's closet.
This recommendation didn't fit perfectly into a category, so I'm plugging it in here. I've followed Grown and Flown for a while, but I've only recently discovered that this organization offers online seminars and classes. I attended my first one - on college admissions - and it was tremendously helpful as we head into the second semester of Will's junior year.
It's soup season! I made four new soups in January, and three - along with a dessert I baked for the Lads - made it to this blog post.
- This Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from Fed & Fit was deemed repeatable by every member of the family, something that rarely happens. I used half heavy whipping cream and half milk (rather than all heavy whipping cream) and I added my rice to the crockpot already cooked and right before I shredded the chicken.
- I followed the recipe for this Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup pretty closely (though I didn't have a bay leaf)...and after I'd added everything to my crockpot I read the comments about how the beans would be awful if they hadn't been rinsed and soaked overnight. Those comments weren't exactly wrong, but they weren't exactly right either; I cooked the beans on high instead of low, added a little more broth a couple of times throughout the day, and added a little bit of homemade taco seasoning that I had on hand and that needed to get used up. The end result wasn't exactly black bean soup, but rather the best black bean side dish I've ever had.
- I scored a free turkey with a grocery order back in November, and in January I finally thawed it so Tom could grill it for me. We had a mini Thanksgiving dinner that first night, but on the second night, I made this Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup (minus the bay leaf again). It was simple and easy, making it a great go-to meal on a chilly January night.
- These Funfetti Sugar Cookie Bars were a hit with the Lads! Per usual, I cut the sugar (I used about 2/3 of a cup rather than a 1 cup), and then because these were going to be eaten by high school boys, I frosted them with a basic vanilla frosting and more jimmies.
Making Me Smile
- This gorilla, who figure out how to interact with visiting children...and their device.
- This kitty, who wants to wear his panda costume.
- A poem about joy.
- Veterinary staff: "try not to touch everything." Cat: