Monday, March 24, 2014

monday chat ~ weekend goodness

 The past week and weekend flew by. Nothing terribly exciting, just busyness.
The weather here is still cold (only 23 degrees here right now and an inch of snow
expected's ridiculous), but walking around my yard the other day, I 
did notice that the daffodils (at least, that's what I think they are) in front of my
neighbor's house were poking up out of the ground. Hooray! I'll take any little
signs of spring that I can get. I still have not seen any robins, but I am assured
from everyone that I've spoken to, that they're out there.

Friday evening, I drove into Chicago to attend my friend's Spring Equinox dinner
party. I left several hours before the party started so that I wouldn't have to drive
in rush hour traffic. Trust me - you don't want to experience Chicago rush hour
traffic, especially on a Friday. So I stopped in at an independent book store to
kill some time. How I would love to work at a place like this! It had a cool little
cafe in there too, where they serve coffee, tea, wine, beer, and some baked goods.

I wish I had've remembered to bring my regular camera with me to take some
decent photos of my friend's house. It is so warm and inviting and beautiful.
Her cat, Sky looks like an Egyptian prince posing on the fireplace mantle. I
love how the window in the background is void of any window treatment except
for a beautiful asparagus fern plan.

We had a wonderful array of healthy food: Cin had made a pot of one of the most 
delicious soups I've ever had -  a curried sweet potato soup. (Recipe at the end of 
this post, in case you're interested.) I had made a seven-layer Greek dip as an appetizer.
 We also had a spring green salad, an orzo salad filled with asparagus, black olives, 
and juicy little tomatoes, and a ginger pie for dessert. And wine - natch. Poor timing on 
the photo of the food spread on the kitchen island. This was after the food was demolished.

After dinner, we all bundled up and went out in the back yard for a ceremonial
fire. Cin had passed out little slips of paper and we all wrote down what we
wanted and needed to get rid of in our lives...what we were hiding and burying
this winter as we ourselves were hibernating. We then took turns throwing the
pieces of paper in the fire. Letting go. Burn baby, burn!

Yesterday I visited with another friend who just became a grandma. Her
daughter had her first baby - a girl. I got to hold her for over an hour as
she slept. There's nothing like holding a newborn baby and relishing the
miracle of such perfection and beauty. If it feels that good to hold someone
else's baby, I can't imagine how amazing it must feel to hold your own 
grandchild. I look forward to that someday!

As I write this post, the flooring guys are here installing the hardwood floors in Tim's
room. It'll be good to finally get going with getting his room finished. Instead of putting
new blinds and curtains up in this room, I think I'm going to go with a Roman shade.
Two months ago, I won a $100 giveaway with through Cedar Hill Farmhouse.
I'm going to use that credit for the Roman shade. We have a new bed for the room
and I'm going to be using an antique headboard that we've had stored in the basement
for years. Since this will now be a guest room, I'll probably move the TV from my
office into this room (I rarely watch TV, especially in my office). And we'll also put a
small bookcase in this room for Brian's "stuff"...some of his books, radios, and a 
turntable that I had gotten him for Christmas. Here's the soup recipe...happy Monday!

Sweet Potato Curry Soup

3 large sweet potatoes, baked until tender
1 onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2" piece ginger, peeled and minced
1-2 Tablespoons green curry paste
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
salt to taste
1/2 stick butter
splash of lemon juice

1. Saute the onions in coconut oil, when they are tender and translucent, add ginger and garlic. Cook a few minutes longer then add curry paste. Cook just a little longer and then add broth and coconut milk.

2. When sweet potatoes are baked and cool enough to handle, peel and chop into small cubes. Add to soup pot along with salt. Let it all boil together for a few minutes so the sweet potatoes pick up all those tasty flavors. Then blend with a hand blender until silky smooth (add more broth if needed to reach your desired consistency).

3. Throw in the butter and the splash of lemon juice. Serve in bowls with a drizzle 
of sesame oil if desired.


  1. Sounds as though you have been very busy indeed. I hope that the signs of spring keep on coming - hurry up robins, Melanie needs to see you! - and that your daffodils bloom soon. Glad that you had such a good time visiting with your friends. xx

  2. I'm glad you had a good weekend. I like the idea of burning the paper to let go. I did that on a religious retreat once and it was very liberating. How nice to hold a new baby! That's one of my favorite things to do. Tim's room is going to be so nice. I look forward to seeing the finished product. Have a good day. :)

    1. I have heard of doing this before (the burning of something you wrote in a fire), but had never done so. I liked it! I loved holding the baby - I told my friend and her daughter that I would babysit if they ever needed me. I'm looking forward to working on Tim's room!

  3. What a delightful weekend you had! Always a special treat to spend good times with friends.
    Mary Alice

  4. It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend with some lovely ladies. Woman time is always somthing special to look forward too. I can't wait to see your room after the floors are installed. I love visiting books stores, so many tales on the shelves! Take care, I hate that it's going to snow tonight! ugh, ugh, ugh!

    1. The floors look beautiful but I discovered on close inspection after the installers left, that there's some damaged flooring and moldings. We left a message for the president of the installation company and I also sent him an email with photos. I know, I can't believe we're getting more snow.

  5. What a neat way to spend the weekend! I was so fortunate to spend today with a dear friend who moved away 4 years ago-we stay in touch, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as spending quality time together.

  6. Sounds like a wonderful evening "burning" what you don't want to hold on to. We may get some more snow tonight - not much, though. I can't wait for this cold to go away already! Our daffodils are poking through, which is a welcome sight! Your friend's granddaughter is beautiful!

    1. It's so nice to finally see signs of spring, isn't it? Nothing like holding a beautiful newborn baby!

  7. I've always wanted to own a book store like that! Sounds like you had wonderful evening with your friends!

  8. Hi Melanie, I love indie bookstores. I am just starting Kate Atkinson's new book today. That meal and time with your friends sounds lovely. I have had shoulder impingement before back when I worked long long hours. It is incredibly painful. I hope yours goes away quickly. I simply have lifted too many trees over too many weeks. I am not up to that kind of work any more apparently. It definitely looks like spring is coming upon you. I will be planting my first foxglove this weekend-I hope it survives. xo, olive

    1. I would love to work in - or own! - a cool, indie bookstore like that. How did you "cure" your shoulder impingement...or did it just go away by itself? Now that you have another shoulder injury, is it the same shoulder? Lucky you for being able to already plant things...I am hoping I'll at least be able to plant some pansies in porch pots in a few weeks.

  9. Hi Melanie, I'm so happy to have found your blog, it's wonderful! Oh my, loved what you had for dinner time and love what you all did outdoors! What a special and awesome thing to do, letting go! I love that! I've already copied your wonderful soup recipe, thank you for sharing. I know I'll be back to see you! Hey, I see Olive, it's via Olive's blog that I found you! If you are Olive's friend, you are mine! She's a dear heart~

    1. I'm so glad you found my blog, Nancy - and especially that you like it! I agree that Olive is a dear heart...and she has such a lovely blog, too.

  10. Great post, Melanie! Your friend's cat is very regal looking and that baby is too sweet for words! Our robins have been around since the start of March. They came about the same time as the bluebirds. I hope they all make it through the night - it is bitter cold tonight and we're having very high winds. Thanks for visiting our little one-eyed pup!

    1. Since I don't have any babies in my family anymore, nor any grandchildren (yet! - hopefully, someday), I was more than happy to get the chance to hold such a sweet, little baby. I finally saw my first robin yesterday - next to a snow pile in my front yard!

  11. My poor, poor friend, I do hope that you get some warm spring weather soon.
    This has been a long winter for you.
    God Bless.
    Your blogging sister, Connie :)

    1. We have one nice day coming up - Sunday. It's supposed to be 58 and sunny. Then the weather bottoms out again!

  12. You look good with that baby in your arms.

    I like the idea of having a party to throw away the bad and negative away and starting spring fresh.

    1. I'd like to say I wish that baby in my arms was "mine" (a grandchild), but seeing that Tim isn't through with college yet, nor married (not even a steady girlfriend right now) - umm, no thanks! I thought my friend's idea with what she did with the spring dinner party was brilliant.

  13. Hi Melanie,

    Finally getting round to visiting some blogger friends after two weeks of non-stop socializing with family in the real world!

    Well, you've certainly been quite busy, yourself! Spring cleaning, renovating, partying and thrifting! Love that rose painting and am curious as to what the inscribed Polish message means! I'll need to do a heavy duty spring cleaning for sure when I return to the island; wondering if my husband has even picked up a broom since I've been gone!

    Have a lovely weekend!



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