When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Worth Keeping in Your Pockets -- October 2014

Around our house, fall feels all about staying warm and cozy, well-fed, well-read, and close to the ones we love.  That seems to be a fitting theme for today's edition of Worth Keeping in Your Pockets -- pull up a comfy chair and take a peek at some things my family and I have been enjoying lately!

Merino Wool Socks:  Cool, wet weather won this week; I gave up on the easy style of bare feet in ballet flats and switched to wearing socks and fall boots whenever I leave the house.  My feet have a tendency to feel cold almost always in late autumn and winter, so I'm often on a mission this time of year to find socks that are warm and comfortable, but also not ridiculously thick, for everyday wear. These merino wool socks are my new favourites -- they are super soft (not itchy like wool can be) and lightweight, have no bumpy seams at the toes, and they fit really well, with just the right amount of snugness.  I found them at Costco, where they're sold in four-packs in a variety of colours.  (Look Dad -- more stripes!!  ;)  )

Rainbow Carrots:  I went out to check on the remains of our vegetable garden last weekend and was happy to find that the last of the carrots were all ready to be picked.  We planted a rainbow variety this year, mostly just for the fun of pulling each carrot up by its green top and being surprised by what colour it turned out to be.  We got a lovely variety of white, yellow, orange, pink, and purple carrots in our harvest, and it's been so nice to enjoy the taste of homegrown vegetables just at a time when we're really starting to miss freshly picked food from the backyard.  I used some of our carrots to roast along with potatoes for dinner on Sunday; I drizzled the vegetables with olive oil, sprinkled them with sea salt and pepper, tossed in some crushed garlic cloves, fresh rosemary, and orange zest and baked them in a 400 F oven for about an hour.  It's a pretty and delicious side dish that you can try, too -- just look for rainbow carrots in your grocery store.

Canadian Lit:  I learned recently that a fellow swim club mom I had met through Noah's group last year is an accomplished author with a new novel that was published this fall.  Excited to enjoy the hard work of a local writer to whom I actually had a connection, I bought Carrie Snyder's book, Girl Runner, and I've been completely drawn into her beautifully written story since I started reading it yesterday. The narrative weaves gracefully between the present, where 104 year old Aganetha Smart, a former famed Olympic runner and now a lonely nursing home resident, is taken on a mysterious excursion by two young strangers, and the past, which Aggie reveals to the reader through her vivid, tender memories of her personal and family history.  The novel is an excellent read so far; it's powerful and deeply touching.  (I also discovered that Carrie Snyder writes a blog, and it too is lovely to read.  If you're interested in the thoughtful, sincere musings of a writer, a mom to four children, a teacher, and a runner, visit Obscure CanLit Mama.)

Handy Apple Slicer:  This is one of those kitchen gadgets that I should have acquired years ago, considering that my two boys have eaten tons of apples every year since they were small, and I've likely spent too many hours of my life coring and slicing fruit!  We've seen this slicer in action at the local farmers' market, where the vendors use them to offer samples of the different apple varieties to visitors. All you have to do is center this little metal contraption over the top of an apple, press down, and voila!  The apple is instantly cored and divided into ten neat little sections, ready for eating plain, or dipped in some natural peanut, almond, or cashew butter as Noah and Will like to do for a snack.  I ordered my apple slicer from a virtual Pampered Chef party that I attended recently and I'm really happy with its quality.  It's a great little time saver.

Fall Family Getaway:  When we can, Matt and the boys and I like to plan a little trip somewhere in November, a reprieve from the busyness of fall schedules and the usual routines that become somewhat tiresome during a long, gray, chilly month.  One of our favourite weekend getaways involves driving up to Frankenmuth, Michigan, where we stay at a family-friendly hotel with a waterpark and do some winter clothes shopping at the outlets in Birch Run.  Everyone is always happy on this trip -- the hotel is cheerful, comfortable and well-equipped, and located right next door to the world's largest Christmas store, whose twinkling lights smile at us through the window in the dark evenings.  The boys love the water slides and the hotel arcade filled with games of all kinds, and Matt and I love the deals we find in the stores.  We'll be heading up there again one weekend this November for some family fun; if you live within reasonable driving distance from Frankenmuth/Birch Run, it's a place well worth visiting.

Have you discovered something useful, beautiful, or interesting lately that you'd like to share?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.


I started writing this post lightheartedly this morning, before I heard the sad and shocking news of the tragedy that occurred in Ottawa today. The above descriptions of everyday things seem so insignificant in light of how our country is feeling right now that it seems almost ridiculous to post them. We are all shaken tonight, but I think it's important to remind ourselves that we still live in a place that is beautiful, and peaceful, and free, and that the violent actions of a few cannot destroy what is at the heart of our nation. We must continue to see the good that exists all around us, remembering more than ever to love and take good care of one another. My heart is with all those who were touched closely by today's awful events.

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