of an evening (and a morning)

It’s been a struggle to keep the house warm today. I went for a walk this afternoon and thought I’d die from cold before I got back. In fact, it was so bad, I had a Jack London moment in which I heard wolves howl and nearly dropped my box of matches in a snowbank. (Never mind that there was no snow, let alone wolves or matches. The cold will do things to you.) It was freezing miserable, but I got my walk in.

The kids and I spent most of the afternoon by the roaring, but-never-quite-hot-enough fire. I read books out loud, and we watched part of a National Geographic movie. My littlest was sick all day, and, excuse me from saying so, it was quite lovely. He—the kid who never stops moving—laid on the sofa in a most uncharacteristically calm and genteel fashion. So peaceful, so quiet, so still.

This evening, I stayed at home with Sick Boy while my husband took the other kids to town for our church’s monthly supper and family fun night.

As soon as they left, I got a shower and then fixed toast for the kid and spiked hot chocolate with marshmallows for me.

I read books to him, and then I read to myself while he read to himself, and then he curled up on one end of the sofa to go to sleep while I settled in to write this on the other end.

Except now he’s slumped over close to me, with his head laying on my arm, pinning it down to the keyboard.

I’ll post this in the morning, but I wanted to get this sweet moment down right now, before it disappears in a swirling cloud of life.

(Also, my arm hurts, and I want more hot chocolate.)


That was last night, Tuesday night. Now it’s Wednesday morning and I’m sitting by the fire again. (When we were getting ready for bed last night, shivering and shaking in the cold upstairs air, my husband said between clenched teeth, “It is freezing up here!”  And I said, “At least we don’t wake up with snow on us like Laura and Mary did.” It’s all about perspective, see.)

At 5:30 this morning, I braved the bitter cold when I dashed out to fetch the paper. I don’t ever get the paper—that’s the kids’ job—but my column debuted today so I was all sorts of eager.

I had a series of writing-for-newspaper anxiety dreams last night and didn’t know quite what I’d see when I opened the paper, but there it was, my words running down the front page of the Flavor section with my picture (taken by my son—not every five-year-old can boast that he’s a published photographer!) at the top, like an upside down exclamation point, yee-haw!

I titled the column Kitchen Chronicles—since it will be about stories and food—and the first recipe is, of course, granola.

(I’d link to the article if I could, but the online paper is only for subscribers.)

This same time, years previous: baguettes, hitting the jackpot


  • Anonymous

    Oops. Your column is Kitchen Chronicles, isn't it? Not Confidential. My brain must be tired. Anyway, thanks for not naming it Kitchen Khronicles. And for being kind enough to not point out my mistake.

    My granola is also an adaptation from more-with-less, except I seem to have come up with more, whereas yours is more . . . well, less. Very similar at its roots, but I use brown sugar instead of white, and add sliced almonds, coconut, flax seed, wheat/oat bran, soy flour, and vanilla (which my mom was inspired to add years ago).

    . . . That just reminded me of reviews on Epicurious where someone says they liked the recipe but go on to list about a dozen things they did differently. Oh, well.

    Still, happy article publishment!


  • Cheryl B.

    Congratulations! The paper is so lucky to have you share your amazing recipes. Your granola is what started me as being your friend! Ha ha ha… just kidding. But it did start me following your blog and making granola – which is a staple for us the past 3 years! AND it's made me famous here in Texas! I even give it as gifts for birthdays, house warmings, Christmas, etc. It's the perfect first article! 🙂

  • Jennifer Jo

    Thank you, thank you! Your support and encouragement make this exciting new venture even MORE fun and exciting!

    Suburban Correspondent, I'll be waiting for your call…

    Jodi, What kind of granola? (And, you're welcome!)

    Dr. P, xoxo

    Mavis, Now I'm curious.

    Katie, But it's kind of hard to go fast when I'm wearing 50 pounds of clothing and the biting wind is making my face bones retreat back into my head…

    Ann, Love the image.

  • Ann

    We were also pretty excited yesterday morning as we sat by our roaring fire down the road from you, opened the paper and Viola! there you were!

  • katie

    Congratulations, Jennifer!

    On cold days like today, you should turn the walk into a run — your ratio of heat produced to heat lost is much more favorable in such conditions. I'm told warmer weather is on its way. Till then, cozy up!

  • Mama Pea

    Huge, big congratulations on the publishing of your first food column in the paper!

    (Are you working on the book yet? Huh? HUH?)

  • Anonymous

    Congrats! I'm going to go steal my parents' paper right now so I can read it. Funny–I've got granola cooling on my counter as I type. (And I want to personally thank you for not making your column title Kitchen Konfidential. Not that I think you would, but for some people the temptation would have been overwhelming, and cute spellings are a major pet peeve of mine.)

  • Anonymous

    Jane, I sent my daughter to my neighbors for the paper so I can read the article. 🙂

    So happy for you Jennifer!

    L in Elkton

  • Suburban Correspondent

    Congrats! And if I am ever in your area, I am definitely dropping by. We have so much in common (including the Laura and Mary analogies).

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