So, what's in your pantry / freezer? I am part way through an inventory. Things, particularly in the pantry department, have gotten out of control. I could feed my family off what's in both for months. And that's my plan! Do any of you overachiever types have the problem where you buy supplies for a certain recipe that you don't have time to make? Well, I've done that 100 too many times. I have makings for the oatmeal raisin bread I've been meaning to make for weeks (today, really!), granola makings that didn't get done during the holidays, and tons of accent ingredients that I need to make my stand by favorites -- like coconut milk, chickpeas, tuna, pasta . . . you name it, it's in there. So, this is what I'm going to do: take an inventory, create a list, and chip away at our supplies. Things have gotten out of hand and you can hardly get in there! Blush. It's not pretty.
I am feeling very empowered, encouraged and excited about our wood stove, and our efforts to conserve oil and save money. We keep our digital thermostats set at 60 degrees. In the morning, I start a fire in the stove and slowly get the temperature up. If I'm really struggling to get things going - or it's especially cold outside and drafty inside, I'll turn the heat up to get the house in the 66-68 degree range and give the wood stove a head start. (After the temperature is reached, the thermostat automatically kicks back to 60 degrees.) But, normally, the wood stove does all of the work. That means it's very possible that the house is 60-64 degrees for long periods of time where the wood stove is getting started. (As I'm typing this the thermostat reads 62 degrees.) For those of you who know me, this is amazing! Back in my single, carefree, ignorant days, my temperature setting of choice was 72 degrees! Yes, indeed. The thing is, I am actually getting kind of used to it. Now, if we weren't saving money out of the deal and reducing our dependence on foreign oil, I'd be back up to 68-70 in a heart beat. The boys often say "I'm coooolllllldddd!" and we encourage them to put on a sweater, and something on their feet. Occasionally, they put on a hat. But, I think it's good for them, and there is no need for them to be romping around in a thin long sleeve t-shirt, jeans and bare feet in the dead of the New England winter!
That brings me to my next bit of news. Months and months ago Victor suggested that we as a family take off our shoes when we come inside our house to cut down on dirt tracking in. I'm not Japanese, never grew up taking off perfectly warm shoes, and didn't want to start. But, in an effort to cut down on my cleaning time, I've acquiesced. Now when we come inside, we shed our shoes and put on warm slippers. However, that does not mean that when you come over to my house you have to shed your shoes. I'm just not into that. As someone who likes to "dress up", when you put on an outfit, thinkin' you're lookin' pretty dern cute -- shoes included -- you should have a right to keep your "look" together. Sorry, but that's the way I see it. If you want to, by all means, get comfy and take them off and slap on your slippers. (I'm sorry, but that dress is just not going to look as cute on you though.)
Regarding my desire to exercise more regularly, thanks to my friend Katie, I've joined a local group of women who . . . run. As a group they run various road races throughout the year and work together to keep in shape and train. It's great because, like my Wednesday running date with Bethanie, it keeps you accountable to get out there. One or two times a week whoever is available can join in and run as a group. Last Saturday Katie said that she was going to run 5 miles at 7:30 in the morning -- would I like to join her? I did, and I'm so proud. It was about 20 degrees outside, so we were all bundled up. But the sun was out and reflecting on the snow and ice -- it was beautiful.
This weekend we received more snow. We've had more snow this year than usual -- and it's been fun! The way I see it, if it's going to be cold and desolate outside, why not have snow to play in? It's so beautiful! We've gone sledding numerous times, and did so this Sunday after the snow we received on Saturday night. We tromped over to a decent little hill in our neighborhood, and as it just so happened several other neighbors had the same idea. We had a little impromptu neighborhood sledding party -- the kids had a blast, as did the parents. Good clean fun.