all things thursday

Firstborn bought himself a car!

Thank goodness, because transportation negotiations were getting a little intense.


Have you ever been to a Fry Party? I’d never even heard of one until last week when we got an invitation to one on The Fourth. Bring side dishes, they said, and anything you might want to fry. We’ll have two caldrons of bubbling oil at the ready.

And they did! We stood around watching things fry and then eating them: mushrooms, chicken, pork, zucchini, cauliflower, bread, cheese sticks, french fries, potato chips, twinkies, oreos —

THE OREOS! Have you ever had a fried Oreo? This was my first time (so many firsts!) and WOW. Talk about a revelation!

In the oil, the Oreo (which was dunked in a simplified pancake batter prior to frying) swells and softens, the chocolate becoming less crunchy cookie and more rich cake. I couldn’t get over the transformation, and the deliciousness.


Recently, I found myself with a whole bunch of leftover sangria. My kids had given me a gallon jug of it for my birthday but then I never opened it because, well, it was a freaking gallon of wine, so then I took it to that fry party in hopes of ridding myself of a goodly portion, but hardly anyone drank it, probably because they were so focused on stuffing their faces with fried foods.

Back home, after Google assured me I could freeze it, I poured most of it into pint jars and ran them down to the cellar.

Then, with the little that remained, I made a slushy: a generous pour of sangria, a thick slice of both lime and lemon (rind and seeds removed), a handful of frozen strawberries, and ice.

It was surprisingly lovely. The citrus cut the sweet, the berries added a little textural oomph, and the ice chilled it up nice and good.

Now, on the off-chance that I tire of sangria slushies — and because I’ll soon need to clear out my freezers to make space for green beans and corn — any other ideas for how else to use up my now-frozen sangria?


Kickboxing — it’s still happening! When I finished my three-week freebie, I immediately signed up for the six-week trial. I’m at the seven-week point now and am happy to report that I’m no longer in constant pain.

I love having a set work-out time (and getting to work out with my kids), and I love getting pushed to work harder by someone other than myself. I like the mindlessness of the activity — the complete concentration on form, footwork, and not dying — and I like feeling stronger. I’ve progressed from using five pound weights to sixes, eights, and now tens. I can do ten push-ups, and, if I drop my knees to the floor and do them in sets, lots more. My achy, pop-y hip has stopped aching and popping, and my ankles and wrists aren’t as tender. There’s a very good chance that I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for years.

in which my son volunteers to stand in for a punching bag

I don’t like, however, that it costs money and requires me to drive somewhere. I don’t like being holed up inside with artificial lighting, cut off from the birds and breeze and fresh air.

Also, I miss running — the silence of it, the simplicity, the way the rhythm of my feet pounding on the pavement cracks open my mind, allowing my thoughts to drift free — so I’ll be happy to get back to it again.

I sure am going to miss kickboxing, though.

The studio welcomes visitors to take a free class, so if you’d like to experience the pain and glory for yourself, leave me a message. I’ve already brought quite a few friends, and they’ve all, including my 70-year-old mother(!), had a great time. 


Speaking of exercise: The Pulse just did an excellent show about exercise — the history of it and its importance, especially for women because of their fluctuating hormone levels and lower bone density. According to them, strength training can really, really, really make a difference. Also, I think they said that a person should get about 150 minutes of level six exercise a week. (Level six = working hard enough that you can still talk, but not sing.) (With five classes of kickboxing a week, I’ve got that covered!)


Recently, I’ve started, and then quit, a whole string of books: My Brilliant Friend, a nonfiction book about why families can’t afford America, some novel about Noah’s ark that I can’t remember the title of, and a thriller that wasn’t. Also, for months now I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to wade through White Fragility. It’s definitely a worthwhile book, but after taking that anti-racism class at church, the material feels redundant. I’m afraid that this most recent stalling out might be for good.

I always feel a little guilty about quitting books, like I lack some sort of gene for sticktoitiveness. Spending all that time trying to get into a book, only to quit partway through — what a waste. The least I could do is finish the book to get the thrill of accomplishment and/or relief. Right?

On the other hand, why bother? Reading for fun is supposed to be, well, fun. If I don’t like it, then I’m doing myself a disservice because maybe it’s exactly because I push myself to read un-fun material that I don’t read as much as I’d like. Maybe if I was more strict about picking only fun fun books, then I’d read even more.

Anyway. Do you quit books willy-nilly, or are you a “finish the damn book at all costs and never mind the misery” sort of person? What fun fun books are you reading? (I did just finish and enjoy Where We Come From. What with these upcoming immigrant raids, the story is disturbingly pertinent.)


For a few months this year, all four of my children are teenagers. For thirteen years, I’ve looked forward to being able to say that — I have four teenagers! — and now I can.

Four teenagers!


I love it.


AND, as of today, we are a household with four adults and two children (legally speaking, anyway).

Happy 18th birthday, Rebecca! You’re rocking it!

This same time, years previous: Sunday, roasted feta with honey, the quotidian (7.11.17), the puppy post, let’s talk, roasted carrot and beet salad with avocado, soft and chewy breadsticks.


  • Margo

    I really could not get into My Brilliant Friend at all! It got so many rave reviews and I was not drawn in.

    I'm reading Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton and it's so much drama, but she has some good points so I'm staying with it. I just finished Kitchen Counter Cooking School which was inspiring and great and I made pasta alfredo from it (delish). Also re-reading Nora Ephron, which is always a treat.

  • Gigi

    "I always feel a little guilty about quitting books, like I lack some sort of gene for sticktoitiveness. Spending all that time trying to get into a book, only to quit partway through — what a waste. The least I could do is finish the book to get the thrill of accomplishment and/or relief. Right?"

    That is SO me – but I've recently decided to set myself free and just let them go if they aren't for me. There are too many other books out there just waiting for me to find them. The last thing that I read is a suspense novel called All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. I really enjoyed it.

  • mommychef

    I stall out on books too, although I try not to. I keep a log of them on goodreads just so I can keep track and after a while I feel like I have to change the "currently reading" status to something else to maintain my credibility. But I've stalled out on Bel Canto (meh) and The Great Believers (I had to give it back to the libary and now it's always out, so maybe I should try again?) I really liked Abigail Thomas' memoir "A Three Dog Life" (super short) and I really loved "Becoming Mrs Lewis" by Patty Callahan; a fictional account of CS Lewis and Joy Davidman's realationship. I didn't think I would like it as much as I did but it was a really fascinating look into an unconventional, but beautiful love affair. Recommend. Four teenagers…that's amazing. I've been reading your blog since you they were so little…sippy cups and board books! Gorgeous offspring – congrats!

  • ccr in MA

    I used to be a finish-it-at-all-costs reader, but no more. I tell myself that I'm not judging a book when I say that it isn't right for me. If I put it down and don't want to pick it up again, poof–back to the library it goes.

    If you like historical fiction, I recommend Sara Donati's books. I just read (an advance copy of) Where the Light Enters, and it was great! It's not out until September, but you would want to read The Gilded Hour first anyway.

  • Jenny

    Exercise…oh I've always had such a hard time being consistent. I haven't been able to do high impact things for years because of shattered joints. I'll be listening to the podcast in hopes of finding some motivations.

    I've always read constantly all my life. I do seem to read more online now than books but I so enjoy reading good things (like your blog!) so I guess it's all good. I'm part of the best book club. We don't have a club book we read. Everyone reads whatever they want, as much or as little as they're able to then when we meet we each bring our reads & share. We are a mixed group of men & women. The youngest member is around 8 yrs old the oldest in his 80s. You can imagine the variety we find but it is so much fun! We share books, magazine, articles, blogs, blog posts, podcasts……even audio books….whatever we've read & enjoyed gets shared & whatever we've hated gets shared as well. Our tastes are so varied we often come saying 'I hated this book but I am sure you will love it.' At least one person each month has a book they did not finish because they hated it. I give myself 50 pages or so & if I cannot get into the book I drop it. I have so many I want to read I'm not wasting my time on stuff that kills my mind. I'll be checking out the books you suggested today.

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