Sunday, January 29, 2023

January? How 'Bout JanuWEARY?

It's. Still. January.

In February, the daffodils and tulips start to awaken and poke some leaves through the soil and dead leaves, and you know that spring really can't be THAT far away.

But January is drab, drab, drab. The only green to be seen is if you drive past a farm that is raising wheat. I guess that can lead me to my first thankful in this week's Ten Things of Thankful:

1. I am thankful for wheat. And wheat farmers. Wheat gives us flour which gives us all kinds of goodness, and it also provides the only green you're going to see amongst all the browns of winter. (Fun fact: winter wheat is planted in the fall, then it germinates and grows these little green baby wheats that provide beautiful green fields in the dead of winter. They need the cold to trigger their reproductive stage in the spring, then it is harvested usually by early June.)

2. I bought flour this week, as a matter of fact, because we were supposed to get a GREAT BIG SNOW AND IT MIGHT BE 3 INCHES AND NO MAYBE IT WILL BE 6 INCHES AND IT COULD BE OVER SEVEN INCHES SO GET YOUR MILK AND BREAD BOUGHT NOW BECAUSE WE ARE GOING TO BE SNOWED IN and instead we got a couple of inches and didn't get a snow day. Sigh. I'm eally not very thankful about this, because I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted a snow day, but at least I have plenty of flour now to bake something delicious even if it isn't a snow day.

3. My husband was out of town all week. Now, that doesn't sound like a very NICE thing to be thankful about, but you have to understand that, since Covid, my husband works from home and is there EVERY DAY, 24/7, ALL WEEK LONG, and I am NEVER alone in my house. And I like me some alone time! I got a few things done around the house, but mostly I just enjoyed being by myself (plus three cats).

4. One of my student workers is studying abroad this semester, and I miss having her in my classroom, but she texts me every few days to let me know how she is getting acclimated to France (FRANCE! So exciting!) and how her classes are going. I'm very proud of her, as I would never in a million years have had the courage to do what she's doing at 20 years old!

5. I'm thankful for hot chocolate on cold days. I made my own mix, using a recipe from my Aunt Mary Anne (with a few small changes*):

1 box (or bag) of nonfat dry milk (1 lb. 9.6 oz size - makes 8 qts)
8 oz (half a jar) Nestle Coffee mate powdered coffee creamer
1 20.1 oz container Nestle Nesquik Chocolate Powder Drink Mix
1/2 c. cocoa
3/4 c powedered sugar
1 tsp. salt

Mix well. To serve, put about 1/3 c mix into a mug and add boiling water

*most of the "small changes" occurred because the original recipe was from the early 1970s, and the packaging sizes have changed since then. The salt was added because it just needed a little salt to brighten the flavors.

I keep a can of whipped cream in my fridge to add to the top of my cup of hot chocolate (and I usually use a giant mug and double the amount of mix to adjust to the size of mug).

6. The cats don't have a taste for hot chocolate and leave me alone while I am drinking it.

7. I didn't write a Six Sentence Story this week (because I maybe fell asleep while writing it, and if it couldn't keep ME awake while writing it, imagine trying to READ it), but I will be back next week. It's a really fun writing exercise, and even if you don't blog yourself, you might want to follow the link at the bottom of each of my SSS posts and read how creative people can be with writing a complete story with only 6 sentences.

8. Spending the weekend in Kansas City with my daughter. This is the last weekend I will have a 23 year old; next weekend she turns 24.

9. Going to church in person in just another couple of hours! Love my virtual church experiences, but I sure do love a chance to be there when I can be.

10. AFC championship game is tonight at Arrowhead. Never mind that I couldn't afford a ticket to go to it in the first place, but it is STINKING COLD in Kansas City right now and will be maybe 19 degrees F at kick off, so I will happily watch it from the warmth of my home and hope for a CHIEFS WIN.

I hope you have thankfuls this week. If you don't think you do, you're wrong. Even in the worst of times, there is always SOMETHING for which to be thankful!

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  1. Thank you for your explanation on wheat! My great-grandpa was described in a paper as being the "wheat king" of Kansas, and as "the first man to plant wheat in western Kansas," but I am fairly ignorant about wheat farming, so I appreciated your description. (I'm also not sure how much I believe the newspaper, but I'm happy to be the great-granddaughter of a wheat king!)

    If you are going to keep having snow there, I'll hope for a snow day for you! (Have you been wearing your pajamas backwards, or is it inside out? That's what my kids always did when they hoped for a snow day!)

    1. I feel sure your great grandpa was the wheat king! I would expect no less! It seems weird to have these little green wheat shoots coming up in December, but they sure are delightful to see when everything else is brown!

      We had an ICE day yesterday and today, so I finally got my days off! Woo hoo! Didn't even have to put the rally pajamas on nor the spoon under the bed!

  2. First, before i forget, please wish your daughter many happy returns of the day from me.

    I know what you mean about sometimes wanting time in the house by yourself. My Sweetie retired and then was laid off from his part-time work and hasn't been able to find more work, so he's here all the time and some days i just send him on an errand so we get a short break from each other.

    Thank you for the recipe! I've seen a few like it, and this one sounds most rich and delicious.

    1. I delivered our birthday wish, and she was very pleased that you thought of her! Thank you!
      Yes, you certainly understand what I'm talking about! I am with little people all day, touching me, hugging me, stepping on my feet, and I need a little quiet time every now and then!
      I have drank wayyyy too much of that hot chocolate and am going to look like a big marshmallow before too long if I don't stop!

  3. I haven't seen any winter wheat here in Atlanta, but my crocuses are up and the bush that I don't remember the name of has lots of red blooms on it! A cold front is moving in, but these flowers can take it. There's a daffadil up too. No bloom yet. My one and only daffadil.

    1. Note to self: book trip to Atlanta to stay with Kristin :) I lived in Nashville for 10 years and loved that early spring! Ours isn't too far off - we are in the southwest corner of Missouri and for the most part, we don't have very bad winters and spring comes before you know it! There's nothing much cheerier than crocuses and daffodils popping up, is there?

  4. Excellent treatise on the Kansas state flower, Wheat!*
    Can't remember the last time I had hot chocolate.**
    although what I can drag out of my memory seems to involve scalded tongue and soft palate
    Have a good week

    * am into practicing my unreliable narrator chops... fun
    ** surely one of the existential injustices of life. as a kid I recall thinking, 'Well, when I grow up I'm gonna have... (fill in the non-nutritional, hyper-sucrosed chop-decades-of-life-expectancy-with-every-serving-here:)

    1. Love the wheat until they start cutting it in May and June and there's all kinds of dust in the air from it.
      The trick to keeping the hot chocolate from scalding your tongue is to put a good squirt of Redi-whip in it. When that melts, it makes the hot chocolate creamier AND cools it down. And the Redi-whip keeps for ages in the fridge.