February went by in a blink, thanks to a couple of birthday celebrations - mine and Declan's. For Declan's 2nd birthday, we decided to skip the party and take him (along with some family) to the model train exhibit at Union Station. It's free, very kid-friendly, and exactly what he is into right now.
As I mentioned last month, I now have two days off a week from work at home. I've quickly learned that just because I'm not working doesn't mean I have to cram every minute with an activity and excursion. Maybe going to the library and the park and Costco isn't a great idea with a toddler. So we're figuring out what to do every day and finding a balance of not being too busy but not going crazy staying indoors all the time.
Overall, it's been a fantastic move for our family. We can actually rest on the weekends and spend time with each other, instead of rushing to catch up on housework on errands all weekend. I'm so thankful for the change.
And now, what I've been into in February...
I'm back onto audiobooks, and podcasts are on the back burner. I tend to go back and forth between the two. Right now I'm listening to A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie. It's a new British mystery series I've heard about, and I'm loving the main characters, Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid. It's not too gruesome or heavy to listen to, and the reader is great.
First thing I have to say is - go make spaghetti puttanesca. We made it last night (using this recipe from Serious Eats), and it pretty much changed my life. Who knew that capers, olives, anchovies and garlic could do that?
I received three (!!!) cookbooks for my birthday, which absolutely thrilled me: Made in India, The Flavor Bible, and The Food Lab. All of these have led to a lot of experimentation and new recipes for dinner, which I love.
We've also been cooking a lot of Asian food, as I've been reading Lucky Rice by Danielle Chang (review to follow soon!). It's a completely legit pan-Asian cookbook, with ingredients you'll have to go to your local Asian supermarket to find.
For my birthday, Andrew surprised me with lunch at Room 39 in Leawood. I have to admit to preferring the original Westport location (smaller, more character, more diverse customers), but the food was just as perfect - I got to try gnudi (gnocchi-like dumplings) with goat cheese for the first time, and it's just as deliciously naughty as it sounds.
We also tried out Aladdin's Cafe at 39th and Wyoming for the first time. It literally looks like a hole in the wall, but the Middle Eastern food was great and pretty affordable.
I have a pile of about 10 books beside my bed right now, and I still can't keep myself from putting more on hold or checking out more at the library - or getting a few at the local bookstore. It's a sickness.
I'm looking through a lot of travel guidebooks right now for Ireland and the UK. My favorite has actually been the National Geographic Traveler guides - gorgeous photos, tons of detailed maps and destination information. I feel like I can find hotels and restaurants on my own, but what I really need is what to see and how to get there.
Right now I'm reading:
- A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters (a Brother Cadfael mystery set in 1100's England, which, if you've never read, you must pick up immediately, then check out the miniseries with Derek Jacobi - they were a childhood favorite - which may explain a lot of what went wrong with me and my abiding love for British mysteries...)
- The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
- The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson
- Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
I've had a lot of trouble getting back into another series after my run of dark dramas. So we stumbled upon a couple of comedies that will not increase your intelligence or cultural awareness, but will provide you with a few laughs, if you have similar humor to mine.
Black Books (on Netflix!) is a early 2000's British comedy starring Dylan Moran (the sidekick best friend in Run Fat Boy Run). It's about an alcoholic, chain-smoking, narcissistic book shop owner who prefers that everyone leave him alone to eat and drink in peace, except for his two best friends. It reminds me a bit of Fawlty Towers with John Cleese, and, if I'm honest, myself, if I were left completely to my own unredeemed tendencies. The episodes are only about 20 minutes long, which is just enough to make me laugh and not get too annoyed at the ridiculous antics the characters get up to.
So - what have you been into this month?
Note: Affiliate links used. Full disclosure here.