As a child, I always disliked rainy days — mainly because you couldn’t go outside at recess — for some mysterious reason getting rained on was pretty much the worst thing that could happen (seeing as it is only water, I have no idea why).
But now that I work from home (i.e. I can just hide inside when it’s raining), I enjoy rainy days. It is better in the fall/winter when I can curl up with some tea, re-read Harry Potter for the umpteenth time (don’t judge me) and listen to sound of the rain hitting the roof. However I have a new found appreciation for summer rain — something we never had in California — because it makes my garden so happy. It doesn’t hurt that it makes my water bill happy, too!
Of course, there are times when I cannot avoid emerging from my cave and wandering in the rain. I realized as I was listening to it fall this morning that we have had some (very) rainy adventures the past few years in Paris, Bergen, Ephesus, Rhodes and throughout Iceland. While a sunny day in the 70s would always be preferable for exploring a new destination, if I’ve got to be out and about in the rain I’d rather do it somewhere other than DC! Plus on a trip, rain is an excellent excuse to hide out in a flower-covered gazebo for a bit or grab a drink at a cafe and watch the world go by.
Last weekend was my sister-in-law’s birthday and it has become sort of a habit between the four of us to celebrate birthdays by making a fabulous themed meal. The theme for my sister-in-law’s celebration—French in case you hadn’t guessed—was inspired by the Christmas gift we had received from her and brother-in-law, Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.
After flipping through the beautiful cookbook we couldn’t wait for an excuse to try some of the recipes. It seemed that a February birthday was the perfect occasion for all of the comfort food options. So we quickly crafted a menu that included onion soup, armagnac chicken and chocolate mousse. And in case those three items didn’t seem like enough of a challenge (well, who am I kidding, my husband handled those three dishes for the most part), I thought it would be fun to make brioche.
It was a good thing I had thoroughly reviewed the recipe in advance because it included an overnight resting period. Friday evening I made the dough and, wow, does the recipe call for a whole lot of butter! After the rising and “slapping it down” phase that occupied the following few hours, the dough was relegated to the fridge until the following day.
Saturday morning was major kitchen day. With my husband carmelizing onions for the soup, I began to prep the rolls for baking. I separated the dough into 12 roll portions, then each portion into three balls. It was neither as difficult nor as time consuming as I had anticipated. Once all the muffin tins were full, it was time to wait again. Another rising period had commenced.
After about an hour had passed and the balls had nearly doubled in the tin, I glazed the rolls with an egg and water mixture and finally put them in the oven. All the while I had been praying that the darn things would actually turn out since they had required so much effort. Thankfully, they came out of the oven looking golden and delicious.
When we bit into them at dinner, I knew they had been worth the effort. They were perfection! The other components of the meal all turned out wonderfully as well and it was a very tasty celebration. The only downside was that we all enjoyed it so much, we didn’t have barely any left overs for the next day. But things could have been much worse.
As a reward for my hard work a few days ago, I am currently eating a brioche roll with raspberry jam and an iced mocha. Honestly, I can’t think of many better ways to start a Monday.
As I sit at my desk contemplating what kind of deep insight I can share in my 100th post, I am drawing a blank. I find myself distracted by a plethora of things: the fact that I want to eat lunch (mind you, it’s only 10:30 am), that my husband is home sick, that my living room looks like a postal truck and a newspaper delivery van exploded in it and that I still have a basket of clean—but not folded—laundry in the bedroom that I washed days ago.
But despite all the daily distractions, here I am. It has been 99 posts since I launched The Housewife Challenge on January 25, 2010. In that initial blog I shared some “useful” tips on How to be a Good Housewife. I followed that post up with a look at how I did or (in most cases) did not manage to fulfill my wifely duty based on those guidelines and then posted about whatever struck my fancy—projects, amazing coupon savings, snowmageddon, house guests.
In the past year I have seen my business grow, which has been amazing, but kept me from blogging as much as I wanted to. I have traveled with my husband to Hawaii, California, France and Jordan. I have also done approximately 96 loads of laundry, been the primary gardener for our plot at the community garden and cooked dinner all by myself at least seven times.The past 365 days have really been something!
Now that 2011 is in full swing I hope I can continue to write about my household (mis)adventures in a way that readers will find engaging. Here’s to another 100 posts!
We had quite a wonderful holiday and I am not anxious to get back in the swing of things. I again find myself very grateful to work from home since it means I can adapt a bit more slowly to reality.
There is much to report about how many incredible things we ate (pain au suisse anyone?), drank (French cider and Jordanian wine) and saw (Petra) as well as the limited amount of housewife-related tasks that occurred during our time away. I have to admit, I never knew I would be so excited to do laundry, but after spending about two weeks away it was a real treat yesterday. And having more than four shirts to choose from when getting dressed in the morning was pretty exciting too. Ah, life at home. Not as glamorous as Paris or adventurous as Jordan, but comforting none the less.
There are many stories to tell and images to share, but for now here is sunrise in Amman.
My husband and I are heading off on a much needed vacation. I can’t believe that tomorrow we will be having our petite dejeuner in Paris! After a romantic weekend of cathedral, croissants and wine, we head to Jordan. There we are staying with a dear friend and are thrilled that we will have a chance to visit one of the new seven wonders of the world — Petra. Hopefully we will also get to see the Dead Sea, ancient castles and Roman ruins.
What won’t be happening during our time away? There will be no working! Thank you freelancing for allowing me to take this wonderful break from my computer.
The next 12 days will no doubt be an amazing experience. I look forward to sharing our adventures and pictures when we return!