It took me a couple weeks to get here.
I always hate the after-the-holidays, clean-sweep vibe and the fact that we lost Bailey right after New Year’s was tough.
We always celebrated his birthday on Valentine’s Day (he was a rescue so we were never sure of his exact birthday) so the thought of an empty nest and a holiday without our birthday buddy has made me feel a little wobbly, but I know that sometimes you just have to go through it — and find whatever joy you can wherever you can.
This past week there’ve been a number of big healthy and yummy lunches like this Roasted Tomato Soup (I like Pacific Brands) and oozy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar.
(It’s hard to beat the classics.)
I also loved the Grilled Tofu Rice Bowls with Mashed Avocado and Marinated Cucumbers.
This past week I also invited some girlfriends over for a Girls’ Night In; it was a simple low-key night in which I served Rice Noodle Bowls with Lemongrass Chicken, Pork Green Onion Meatballs and Fresh Mango and we sat around and sipped wine and got caught up with one another’s lives.
And whenever I’m feeling blue, I find it helps to reach out to those who could use a little love; I find it both therapeutic and distracting.
This time I thought I’d drop off food to all of my son’s teachers at high school, thinking that they often work late hours and rarely get treated to something homemade.
I made three dozen Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (you can find the recipe here)
and five quarts of a Thai Lemongrass Chicken Soup.
I packed it all up and then Oliver and I drove over to his school (I love how he put the seat belt around the picnic basket).
We dropped off all that soup (almost two dozen servings!) to teachers and staff
and all those muffins made their way to new homes, too — with just the last two saved for the kid’s breakfast the next day.
Rummaging through the freezer the next day I found an entire Bittersweet Chocolate Tart (regular readers will remember I shared the recipe with you in early December) and so I distributed these slices to a couple neighbors
and the rest of the tart went to our pediatrician’s office when Charlotte went in for a physical.
And then after days of seemingly endless baking and cooking, I finally found it in me to dig out the few Valentine’s Day decorations I have and put them up.
First on my porch.
I found this little guy at the Goodwill Bins this past week and since he looked Valentine’s Day friendly, he found a home on one of my French cafe chairs.
More items were placed in my living room.
And then I took some retro and actual vintage cards I had in my stash and made them into stand-alone decorations (thanks to the local artist who gave me the idea at Crafty Wonderland!).
I sent some of these to friends and kept the rest for windows and shelves throughout my first floor.
They are so cheery and colorful and I love looking at them as I wash dishes in the sink.
I also took some of those old cards and arranged them in an old wire wreath I had on hand– and it now is on my front door.
And just yesterday I was walking along Division Street (visiting one of my favorite local stores, Collage) when I came across this shop window.
I was really excited to see so many vintage Valentine’s Day cards in one place and I bought two dozen of them.
I think I found the perfect place for them — right next to our fireplace in a cool holder my friend Lisa gave me last week.
These cards are just so sweet with such vivid graphics and colors and I love all the silly puns on so many of them.
Okay, it’s now time to dash — the Super Bowl is coming up and I have a craft I’m working on (I’ll show you next time!) and lots of prep for the big eating weekend ahead.
Speaking of which, check out my favorite new-to-me Valentine’s Day card.