Commonplace Book, 17

What is a commonplace book? For me, this is a space where I post interesting links, reflections on what I’m reading, and the newest recipes I’ve been trying out — a collection of miscellaneous micro-posts.

What I’m fixing:

  • These “cookies.” I think you’ll like them more if you rename them “bites” or “mounds.” (I will forgive the author, as she has the awesome site name, Connoisseurus Veg.) Scout is a little anemic and I’ve dutifully been giving her that disgusting liquid iron vitamin but it makes us both wretched, so I’m trying to find real food supplements and thought I’d start with blackstrap molasses since she (and I!) adore molasses. These are best the first day, but still pretty good, just crumbly, later on.
  • Split pea soup. Do recipes really matter here? I just search for something I can make in the slow cooker that uses ham or bacon or sausage, depending on what I have on hand. It always tastes the same, which is to say, good.

What I’m reading:

  • The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski: A gift from Scout’s godparents, we are attempting to read it aloud to each other — something we did often before kids, but which we struggle to fit in now. But we both love the Inklings, so it’s worth a try, right?
  • The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater: I remember being electrified when I was reading the previous book in this series, morning sick in bed, and realized — hey, she is talking about where I’ll be moving. Henrietta, Virginia, is in the Shenandoah Valley, just like we are, just like the author is, and it’s pretty fun to really resonate with the landscape now.
  • Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson. I’m going to be real with you: I got this book because everyone recommended it and because it was on sale as an ebook and because I’ve pretty much got laundry and meals down, which, according to Like Mother, Like Daughter means it’s time to expand my efforts (which for me, means I really need to start thinking about my floors), but IT IS STRESSING ME OUT. She is so casual about all the things I should be doing and I cannot. Is there an equivalent book for people who don’t know what they’re doing and have small children coming up behind them, messing everything up? I’m trying to stick it out, though, because I love her general premises, as when she argues:

“Home life as a whole has contracted. Less happens at home; less time is spent there.”

Yes, Mendelson, yes! That’s some serious Wendell Berry shiz right there —  and that very observation has been shaping the aspirations J and I hold for our home for the last few years. So, if I can stop being so defensive about never EVER dusting, I hope I can make it through this book, because I just know she has good things to say.

2 thoughts on “Commonplace Book, 17

  1. Did you start reading Home Comforts from the very beginning? Or just flipping through? I first started by flipping through and quit due to STRESS OUT. But I recently started it again (1.5 yrs and another baby later) and I love it. I started from the beginning and she explains that it does not all need to be done and to take it as needed. So now I’m much more relaxed and eating up what is pertinent to our home. Hope this helps. Love your blog!


    • I’ve been slowly working through from the beginning! I’m enjoying it more now, but I think starting it when my husband was sick and our dishwasher was ailing may have been a tactical error 🙂 Thank you so much!


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