Spring has sprung here in the Mid-South. A hyacinth popped up in my backyard this week, the peony bush sent its shoots bursting through the earth of the front flower bed, and the bush-whose-name-we-don’t-know next to our front porch has bloomed bright pink and airy with blossoms. I confess, this worries me. It could mean an early summer (not good news for a Midwesterner living in Memphis). But the nights and early mornings are still cool enough that I light the fireplace when I get up in the pre-dawn darkness. Thank goodness. I’m not ready to give up that flickering coziness. I mean, it’s still February. So while we walk to the park in t-shirts and the sun’s heat drives me from my westward-facing office in the late afternoons, I am stubbornly sticking to mugs of tea and cozy reads in the evenings, and thinking snow sounds . . . well, good. I’m hoping there’s more sweatshirt weather coming.
But let’s get down to it. Here are the things that are making me tick lately.
Raddish. L loves to help cook, so I signed her up to try Raddish, a cooking club subscription just for kids. It’s not that we don’t have plenty of recipes to choose from, or that I can’t teach her to cook on my own, but the kid-friendly recipe format is stellar. Every month, you get a themed box with three recipe cards, shopping list, a culinary skill set card, table talk topics, a kitchen tool, and an iron-on patch. If you sign up for at least a six-month subscription, you get a cute apron, too–perfect for those patches. The recipe cards were what got me. They are tri-fold, and large enough to stand up on the counter. Every step, including the ingredients and equipment list, has pictures. So while L can only read some of the instructions, she can follow most of the steps pictorially, which means she can lead the way. I’m all about ownership in the learning process.
Kazuri Beads. E sent me a Kazuri necklace and bracelet from Kenya for Christmas, and I love them. They’re so unique, and they have a great story behind them. In 1975, Lady Susan Wood started employing Kenyan women to make hand-painted ceramic beads in her garden shed. Gainful employment is difficult to come by in Kenya, especially for women, so the Kazuri workshops have become an important piece of Nairobi. Today the workshop sits on the former property of Karen Von Blixen, also known by the pen name Isak Dinesen, author of the memoir Out of Africa, about life and love on a 4,000-acre coffee plantation in the Ngong Hills, just outside Nairobi. There are plenty of online distributors of Kazuri beads–all you need to do is consult Google.
Rey Swimwear. I wanted a new swimsuit to take with me to Kenya next month, and I was positively gritting my teeth at the idea of having to shop for it. I’m tired of settling for whatever’s on the rack at Target, so I decided to try looking online. I found Rey Swimwear. Designed to be both sassy and feminine but to provide coverage (something I want considering I’ll undoubtedly spend time chasing a toddler while wearing it), Jessica’s Rey’s designs are vintagely darling in every way. And each one is named after an Audrey Hepburn film role. Does buying a swimsuit online sort of freak you out (it did me)? Check out this post from Jessica Rey’s blog.
Food52’s Featherweight Scones. L and I have been making these for teatime, and they beat Starbucks by a mile, IMHO. We switch up the flavors easily depending on our mood and what we have on hand, sometimes adding a couple handfuls of frozen blueberries, sometimes a teaspoon of cinnamon, dried lemon peel, or fresh orange zest. The online link here is to “Mrs. Larkin’s Royal Wedding Scones,” but it matches the recipe in Food52 Baking (which is also our favorite treat cookbook of late).
The 20-minute nap. L no longer takes a nap every day, but on days when she’s been outside a lot or didn’t sleep well the night before, it’s a must. I’ve learned that the fastest way to get her to sleep is to lie down with her–she’s usually out cold within 15 minutes. But I’ve also realized that if I close my eyes and focus on relaxing for 20 minutes myself, I get up recharged, with enough energy to carry me through the afternoon better than if I hadn’t napped. Business guru Michael Hyatt himself advocates a nap in the middle of the workday: read his five solid reasons for it here.
Cranford. This BBC miniseries based on three books by Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell has been on my to-watch list for a long time. I finally indulged. If you’re a fan of British period dramas like Downton Abbey and Pride & Prejudice, you’ll love it. The cast is full of British favorites from Judi Dench to Imelda Staunton to Jim Carter. And it’s got everything you want in a good miniseries: humor, intrigue, friendship, romance, loss.
So tell me, friends, what are you loving right now?
*Note: No affiliate links have been provided in this post. These are purely my unsolicited opinions.