My children started back to school yesterday after their two week holiday break. I spent the morning buying textbooks for college with my oldest daughter and then came home and cleaned house. Late in the afternoon, about nine teenagers (two of them mine) arrived for a sledding party. The walked in the cold, cold air on our icy country lane up to an area they call the "bowl" for its shape. As you can imagine, that bowl shape provides a wonderful landscape for sledding.
Afterward they came back into the house and made hot chocolate and lemonade (not wintry but deliciously refreshing) and baked the cookie dough that one young man brought with him. My little boys got home in time to share in the hot chocolate and cookies, though not the sledding (they were at the bowl the day before with their dad.)
Today, the house is quiet. Nine year old Sijo stayed home from school with a sore throat and a slight headache, but he isn't feeling very poorly. Tuesdays, as you may remember if you read my blog often, are my "at home day." Though the main rooms are often cleaned up for company or just a weekly once-over, the corners become cluttered and untidy much too easily. I've been working on the piles in the corners of the master bedroom today. Everything ends up in there! The ironing board, my husband's work-related manuals, the laundry piles, the big box of gift-wrap... you name it!
As a break from heavy cleaning (definitely not my favorite thing) I am spending a little time in the kitchen. I have croutons toasting in the oven as I write this, made from what was left of the bread I baked on Sunday. Three fresh loaves are rising on the counter top.
There is nothing exciting going on this Tuesday afternoon at the Quiet Country House. Sijo is reading a collection of Peanuts comics in his bed, the cats are napping in sunshine streaming in through the windows, and I'm getting hungry smelling the aroma of olive oil and italian seasoning from the croutons in the oven. Whereever you are, however you are filling your afternoon hours, I wish you contentment.
photos by Aisling, January 2009