Right now I am…

Obsessing… over Christmas cookies. I got hooked on the NYTimes YouTube cookie-making videos. Top of my list: gingerbread latte cookies, pistachio and orange shortbread, and macadamia and white chocolate cookies. Therefore, I am…

Ordering… all sorts of specialty ingredients like pistachios, Valrhona white chocolate ($31/pound, gulp), espresso powder, and my favorite baking caramels.

Candying… my own orange rinds that I scrounged from the diner’s juicer. (Don’t worry, Mom! I haven’t lost all my sense of thriftiness.)

Struggling… to accept that I can’t do all the things I want to. When the kids were little the days dragged endlessly, but now that they’re older the days are all mine for the having. I wish they were twice as long. 

Keeping a running tally… of all the projects I wish I had more time for, such as cookie baking, book writing, cheesemaking, filming, blogging, acting, bakery shifts, kickboxing, homeschooling, reading, teaching (via filming/in-person classes), listening to podcasts, business development (based on one or more of the above-mentioned projects), and learning new things like watercoloring and cake decorating. 

Dreaming… of a personal assistant to do all the little tasks that suck up my time like video editing, graphic design, recipe writing, and proofing. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a creativity support person?

Listening… to this Fresh Air podcast about a New York maître-d’ and wishing the library carried the book so I could read it.

Considering… getting a living (potted) Christmas tree instead of cutting down a live one. Our local tree farm has been short on trees lately, and I kinda like the idea of creating a little evergreen forest with a collection of our used Christmas trees. At $80 a tree, they’re pretty expensive, but look at it this way: since a cut farm tree is $50, we’d actually be getting a brand new, live-forever tree for the rock-bottom price of $30.

Discovering… cool, new kitchen tools thanks to my day of staging at Cou Cou Rachou, a French bakery in Charlottesville that is TOTALLY worth a food pilgrimage, if you dig that sort of thing (check out the English muffins!). They used this cool little dohicky to core apples — I had no idea such a thing existed and it’s exactly what I’ve been wanting — and I was all sorts of enamored by their little tart pans (they don’t use the bottom piece), shallow sieves for sifting spices, and plastic lids for sheet pans.

Savoring… my leisurely (yet highly structured!) days in front of the fire working on all my various projects.

Boycotting… putting my clothes away. Since we have no good space for storing off-season clothing, I’ve been begging my husband to build a bed box with drawers — but he won’t. So now all my summer clothes are in a neat pile on the floor, waiting for him to put them away. My theory is that he’s more likely to fix the problem if it bothers him.

Watching… Derry Girls (Netflix) with my husband (I only catch about 50% of it, ha!), Alone, Season 8 (Netflix) with my younger son and husband, and The Crown, Season 5 (Netflix), Hacks (HBOMax), and White Lotus, Season 2 (HBOMax) by myself.

Hoping… that this last visit from Mr. Big Balls has been profitable. My husband injected both Emma and Butterscotch with Estrumate to bring them into heat, and we’re keeping the bull for an extra month to follow up, hoping that if if the magic didn’t happen the first time, he’ll make it right when they cycle round again.

Questioning… the value of our choice in piggies. This breed was supposed to be grazers, not rooters, but turns out they dig things up a-plenty, making a huge mess of the field and putting my husband in a foul temper. That they’re slow growers means we’ll have to tolerate their rooty behavior and throw food scraps at them for just that much longer. Would it be more profitable and efficient to raise regular meat pigs? Or will the flavor of these wee-uns be noticeably better? We’ll see….

Pondering… the new cinnamon roll hack that involves pouring heavy cream over the cinnamon rolls prior to baking. Have you tried it? Should I?

This same time, years previous: the fourth child, 2020 garden stats and notes, the quotidian (12.9.19), yeasted streusel cake with lemon glaze, managing my list habit, okonomiyaki, the quotidian (12.9.13), a family outing.


  • Anne from SA

    I’m sorry for posting on an old comment, but for assistance with video editing etc, would you consider working with someone in South Africa? Plenty of talented people desperate for work (34% official unemployment) who have set ups that can cope with our interruptions in electronic, and we speak English.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Yes, I have thought of that (via Fiver and such), but I haven’t taken the plunge yet. It feels like such a financial commitment, and I’m not sure I’m quite there yet. But yes, good idea!

  • Hummingbird

    The cream on cinnamon rolls hack is to make canned or frozen rolls taste more like homemade. It works, but might not be necessary for already wonderful homemade ones.
    For the piggies, a Youtube channel I watched had some pigs that were not supposed to be rooters but were tearing up the field. They gave the pigs some mineral supplements and that stopped the rooting.

  • Elva

    What kind of piglets did you get? I find that all pigs dig around and cause trouble, so I only let mine outside in a designated area, which is quite large, but I never let them on my good pastures or hay land. I have been getting Berkshire piglets from some friends of mine for a few years now. I raise six a year, and my customers LOVE them. They are ready to harvest at about six months old.
    A live tree is a great plan!

  • suburbancorrespondent

    You don’t have to worry about the live tree drying up and catching fire, so that would save lots of money right there!

    When we had underbed drawers, I found they collected a lot of dust. Just get a few underbed boxes from Container Store or wherever and stick the clothes in there. You can pull them out easily to swiffer under the bed.

    Wednesday on Netflix is good, starts a little slow but hang in there

    • Jennifer Jo

      Our mattress is on the floor so the bed box would be self-containing, with drawers. Not sure that will solve the dust problem, though…

      Just added Wednesday to my list — thanks!

  • Beth

    We do a balled tree every year and I love it. Downsides- VERY heavy, put it in a big metal thing to contain water and use a hand truck, and also we can only keep it in the house for 10 days or so if we want it to live. Big downside because I love having the tree and would be happy to enjoy it longer!

  • Allison R

    I always pour cream or half and half over my cinnamon rolls, mixed with a little brown sugar. Usually I do this in lieu of any kind of glaze or icing, which I find too sweet. You should definitely try it!

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