seven fun things

See that dot in the middle of the ocean?

That’s where my older daughter is.
On the Queen Mary 2.

Her friend met up with her in London so they could come back on the ship together. They boarded on Sunday (it’s a six-day trip), and that morning I got this photo from my daughter with the caption, “Getting a ride from some strangers!” 

She called briefly then, to let me know they made it to the docks (apparently the bus line was down and there was some festival thing and they had to scramble to find transportation), and to tell me that she wouldn’t have cell service for the next week.

This is the last picture I got from her.

Every day I check in with the dot. Bit by bit it’s getting closer.

So far there’s no bubbles so that’s a good sign, I think.


Because I’ve been pretending I’m an ice cream shop, I bought these quart ice cream containers

I was sick of all the random assorted containers cluttering up the freezer (containers, I might add, that I need for our regular leftovers and such), but I wasn’t sure what I’d think — would they feel like unnecessary stuff? Turns out, I love these things

They stack on top of each other. They tuck into the fridge freezer. They freeze through quickly. They look pretty. The rubbery lids make it easy to push out excess air (and decrease freezer burn). They’re reasonably sized. They’re easy to label. They’re fun to hand off to friends and family — a perfect sized little freezer treat. 

I want more but so far I’m restraining myself. We’ll see how long I’ll last.


Speaking of ice cream, I have several addendums for my ice cream comprehensive post

a thrift store find, from my mother

  • The key to the perfectly emulsified ice cream? After making the base, while it’s still hot, give it a thorough beating with an immersion blender. My ice creams have never been creamier! THIS IS HUGE, PEOPLE.
  • To eliminate the problem of icy fruit, soak the fruit in vodka! (Thank you to those of you who pointed me to the answer to my conundrum!). Generally speaking, it’s a cup of minced fresh fruit, a half cup of sugar, and a quarter cup of vodka: macerate for 24 hours, strain off the liquid (and save it — see below!), and then add the fruit to the ice cream at the end of churning. The fruit stays soft and does not taste like alcohol. 
  • Skip the Reese’s Pieces. The color comes right off and they’re too crunchy hard in the ice cream.
  • If using peanut butter cups, cut them up, even if using the mini cups. A mouthful of a PB cups, no matter how much you like them, is not a good thing in ice cream.
  • Salted smoked almonds, chopped up, are yummy and make a good Rocky Road version when added to vanilla ice cream along with marshmallow cream and chocolate flakes.
  • Figuring out the correct amount of peppermint extract for mint chip ice cream is seriously tricky. Most recently, I bought this extract which comes with a dropper which has a good flavor. However! I’m giving up on suggesting a specific amount to add. Do it to taste, and, if possible, have several people do the tasting as repeat mint tastings tend to dull the senses a bit. 

rocky road


But what to do with that sugary vodka fruit nectar? Why, toss it in a blender with a bunch of ice and then inflict upon yourself the worst ice headache in the history of the world. 


A couple days before leaving on a trip, my brother texted me. “Off the top of your head, do you have any epic family read aloud books that we could take on our trip?” I mentioned the request that night at supper, and then shot back a series of texts with our suggestions: Fish In A Tree. To Kill A Mockingbird. Flowers for Algernon. Wonder. Mr. Terupt. Cheaper By The Dozen. Holes. Treasures of the Snow. 

“Great list,” my brother texted. “Could we borrow fish?”

I told my daughter to go fetch the book. A little later she staggered back downstairs.

I picked the top ones (that I suspected my brother’s family may not have read) and snapped a photo to show him my curated selection. 

How many of these have you read? What would you add? (He took five of them, I think.)


We have a new bakery!*

Well, it’s the same old bakery, but they knocked out the wall between the bakery and the next door coffee roasters (which moved to the building across the road), renovated in just one week, and now we have double — maybe triple — the space.

It’s so much fun to watch customers come in the door and then stop in their tracks and gape. One guy even let out a big ol’ Whoo-wheeeee!

pastry station with a view

Some highlights:

  • We have running water and our own dish pit.
  • The oven faces forward so people can see what’s baking. (I think the baker should wear a crown.)
  • We have two work benches that are accessible from all sides — yay for tag-teaming pastry, bread, etc!
  • There are two doors and lots of space for customer clusters.
  • We have a pantry pass where we can eat and do prep work and hide out.
  • The customers can see all the pastries at eye level.
  • We have our own freezer!
  • We’re getting another fridge!
  • We work so much more efficiently and quickly. 

You gotta come see us.

*The above photos were taken on the first day we were open after the renovation. The bakery is still changing daily as more and more things get finished.


I have been having so much fun watching Young Sheldon.

It’s simple, and a bit silly even, but I find it wonderfully calming, the perfect show to relax with: no stress, a few giggles, sweetness. My husband watches it with me, but it’s a little too slow for him (he prefers Unchained, which we’re also currently watching), but the other night he laughed out loud the whole way through the Sheldon episode, so I don’t think he’s suffering too much.

This same time, years previous: family road trip: Acadia, burnt cheesecake, roasted zucchini parmesan, the quotidian (6.27.16), on slaying boredom, dark chocolate zucchini cake.


  • Jennifer

    Oopf. Be careful when you get to the last season of Young Sheldon. Absolutely loved that show but never cried so much in my life over a show. The character development was amazing and explained so much after watching Big Bang.

  • Miriam

    It looks like your daughter boarded the Queen Mary 2 just after my friends disembarked from that ship. They arrived in Southampton from New York on the 23rd and are spending the next six months in the UK. I’d never even heard of the Queen Mary 2 (I was much more familiar with QE2) until a month ago and now the ship keeps popping up in conversations, blogs, all over the place.

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