Friday, January 26, 2018

January Joys

Snow Ghost pointing the way
downhill on Big Mountain
How's your January treating you?  Are you glad it's almost over, or do you gaze at the calendar in regret for how quickly the first month of 2018 has passed?  For many in northern climes, January can be a 'gray' time - frigid temperatures, short days with sparse sun, a hole left when the holidays are past ... for my part, January joy has been abundant.  In case you need cheering up (northern clime or not), I am sharing my modest chronicles in the hope you'll find something joyful here.

ONE: Curious sights around town

Kids and their gloves are soon parted ... reminding me of that age-old nursery rhyme: "The three little kittens, they lost their mittens, and they began to cry."

For the hardy Montanan, it's never too cold to get out your kayak ... as long as you have a crazy friend to paddle with you.

Penguins frequent our burg in celebration of the Whitefish Winter Carnival, mid-January to early February.  Curiouser and curiouser (cried Alice), this flightless bird hangs out with someone trapped in 1975!

TWO: Culinary delights

Salmon Quiche
My 2018 New Year's resolutions include cooking once a week (shocking to some of you - me cooking? - and to others of you - only once a week?)  But hey, progress is made one tiptoe at a time!  My sous chef has to agree to the menu, and has to assist without taking over (shocking to those of you who know the caliber of my sous chef!)  Two of our creations, Lemon Butter Salmon and Balsamic Potatoes, are not worthy of a repeat performance or even a link (much less a picture).  On the other hand, the Salmon Quiche is a keeper, with some modifications.  We made our own pastry and we increased all the ingredients by 50% except for the salt, dill and green onion.

The Beef Cabbage Roll Casserole is your grandma's cabbage rolls without the hassle of rolling uncooperative cabbage leaves!  The leftovers disappeared quickly; it was our go-to dish after a day on the slopes or a work-out at the gym.  A solid addition to the family cookbook!

In between my forays into the kitchen, Spousal Unit (AKA Head Chef; AKA Man with Hat) does his daily magic.  And always waits patiently for me to document it!

THREE: Cruising on the white stuff

If I could have $1 for every time I have been asked "So, why Montana?", I could retire all over again!
Swift Creek run at Whitefish Mountain Resort

It's the outdoors, of course!

Or, as Spousal Unit is wont to ask, rhetorically: "Have I told you lately I like snow-capped mountains?"
View from summit of Whitefish Mountain Resort - mountains as far as the eye can see
We are (hardly) working to amortize the hefty price tag on our season passes to Whitefish Mountain Resort with regular jaunts on the slopes.  If you are a faithful reader of this blog, you may someday tire of these pictures, but I can't resist flashing these stunners to the whole world!

Whitefish Lake

Rime on window of 
Summit House
Moe-mentum Run
Clouds hovering above the valley floor

Yesterday, we viewed the ski resort from a different angle - snow-shoeing on its southern flank.  Four miles of tranquility, shared with a handful of cross-country skiers and their adorable dogs.

So, if you relish the outdoors, there is no such thing as too many winter sports.  Our most recent (albeit temporary) addition to the portfolio is skate skiing.  Unlike classic cross-country skiing, in which the skis move in parallel, skate skiing is a more intense and faster technique that mimics the movements of ice skates.  We took a couple of lessons, which helped us decide we are better off focusing on the classic style.  Skate skiing requires a groomed surface, whereas classic style can be utilized in any location with relatively flat terrain, which is plentiful where we are building our new home!

FOUR: Charming embroidery

I owe Joann of Scene Through My Eyes  a debt of gratitude.  In November 2017, her blog featured an extensive collection of hand-embroidered tea towels.  I nearly fell out of my dining room chair; I immediately recognized the style as one my Mother possessed, once upon a time. The 'rest of the story', as they say, is that my dear Mother gave them to me, and somewhere among our 10 house moves, they were lost!  You can imagine my delight, and hers, when I discovered that Colonial still carried the exact Aunt Martha pattern in question. 

So, this month, the 'towel project' is underway; to do the best I can to re-create the long-lost tea towels.

FIVE: Caring gestures

You can't focus on yourself when you are focused on someone else.  So if you find yourself in a grump (never happens to me!), look for someone who needs you, and your attitude will automatically take flight.

Recently, a friend of mine who lives quite far away has had a tough time.  I felt I was not doing enough to support her, and then I was inspired to send her a knitted prayer shawl and a journal with 31 days of hand-selected inspirational quotes - my attempt to 'be there' for her every day with a small pep talk.  Tears were shed as I put it together, and more were shed when she received it.  But I think, overall, they were healing tears, part of the essential journey forward.

#1 Daughter is in the final weeks of rehearsal for her last University of Cincinnati production, Love and Information.  As Stage Manager for the show, she is juggling many plates.  Unlike many other College-Conservatory of Music productions, this show cast all 30 CCM Acting students to perform as more than 100 characters - complexity times 10!  It is not lost on us that there is added emotion with the last production before she enters the 'adult' world of jobs and bills and, well, everything.  In our tradition, we sent her a care package as the tiniest attempt to bridge these final days and remind her she is loved.  
A "love" package
And you never know when that caring gesture might come back around, full circle . . . such as Spousal Unit surprising me with these vibrant blooms ...

Linking to:
All Seasons

Mosaic Monday

Nature Notes

Outdoor Wednesday

Willy Nilly Friday


  1. ...gorgeous neck of the woods! What is it about kids and gloves?

  2. So glad I can enjoy your views here. So pretty. I'm going to have to try that cabbage casserole! Thanks for the recipe. Once we move to Colville we'll have to make a trek to Kallispell and Whitefish but not in winter! :) You are a good mom and friend to send those packages of encouragement.

  3. oh I love 50's embroidery. Lucky you. Somewhere I have 50's poodles doing chores. Love the idea of eating nice warm casseroles but not the making of them. Your friend and daughter stories gave me a catch in my throat. I'm pretty sentimental and gestures mean a lot.LeeAnna

  4. How fun that you and your hubby cook together. - I may have made that Beef & Cabbage dish, it was good. I hate it when we have recipe failures. - Well it's neat you love Montana and the snow, me not so much. I'm happy living where we get snow but not a lot.

  5. Stunning winter scenes though winter is not my favourite season I do love the snowy scenery. I think it's great that you're getting into cooking even though you have a wonderful chef in the house. All the food you've presented today looks absolutely delicious. My favourite being the salmon quiche. Yum! Quiche is something I never make but a good one is always so divine. I'm glad you were able to find patterns so you can recreate your mom's tea towels. Have fun! Oh, I almost forgot to say that is a beautiful and thoughtful gift you sent to your friend.

  6. Wow - that scenery with the hoar frost is gorgeous!

  7. Terrific set of photos showing off the magnificent scenery. Isn't retirement just the best?

  8. I love the outdoors but do not love being cold. :) The views are spectacular though. The prayer shawl and quote book for your friend are such thoughtful gifts. I can imagine how grateful she felt receiving them. Sorry to hear about the loss of the teatowels. Lovely to see that you are embroidering replacements.

  9. Lovely snowy scenes. Oh, wow, it must have been so great to see the same patterns your mom had. It makes me think of how much easier it is to do the laundry nowadays … leaves more time for embroidery.

  10. I can easily understand the mountains of Montana, they are certainly beautiful. I need to get out and ski this year!

  11. Yes, we do have the most beautiful state, don't we? Do you cross country ski? We used to go up to Glacier Park and ski on the Going to the Sun Road. I have never experienced such quiet and beauty. It is a great experience. :) Kit

  12. That is some heavy snowfall on the trees! Such lovely photos!

  13. You are certainly staying busy. I love how you are dealing the cold in Montana. Those photographs of the mountains with snow are wonderful.

  14. Winter in Montana is glorious and fabulous and magnificent, and I am happy that it is being enjoyed so much by your and your family - and doubly glad we are here in the Pacific Northwest enjoying our buckets of rain and gusts of wind (different strokes for different folks). Your photos are absolutely amazing - such color and contrast.

    Your food all looks so wonderful, perfect for those wintry days. We love a good casserole or hot soup on a chilly day here too.

    And thank you for mentioning my blog post about the dish towels. I'm so happy you found the one you had lost and are beginning a new set. I am always cheered by the fun that the dishtowels bring whenever people see them.

    Enjoy your snow - it is absolutely gorgeous!!! Me? I think I'll have a nice hot cup of tea with honey and lemon - and stitch on the crazy quilt for a while.

  15. Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  16. I enjoyed your post a lot. Your journal to your friend, the amazing photos of a snowy landscaped Montana, the penguin, and all inspired me. The other day I passed a display of vintage sewing cards for kids that had me thinking I'd like to embroider something. Maybe I will. :-)

  17. You two have found your true home! Joy shining through in every word and every stunning picture. Inspiration (even for non snow-lovers) ... it's all about living and loving the adventures, great and small!!

  18. I am in awe of the snowy landscapes there! Just gorgeous, but on second thought you have to put up with the cold for that (am not sure I like to make that sacrifice!) Many thanks for sharing this versatile post with All Seasons!
    No hurry, but I am very interested in your recipe of the salmon quiche! The sound alone of it makes me think it must be delicious:)

  19. How inspiring you are to all of us! You've given me so much to think about...ideas for how I can help others too. And it's wonderful to be able to retire to a place that makes you happy. You have some beautiful scenery and it's great that you can get outside and enjoy it. We retired South so that we could spend more time outside and it is working out good for us too. We are blessed my friend. Hugs, Diane

  20. What a great variety of photos! I love the snow shots a lot. I was raised in the Chicago area, so I've seen snow but not like this!!

  21. Totally breathtaking scenery, it reminds me of a village in Austria where we used to spend weekends although on a much grander scale.
    My OH is the main chef around here and hardly interferes at all when I'm cooking! :) Your gift packages are such thoughtful gestures and I'm sure went a long way to lifting the spirits of your friend and also your very talented daughter.
    Thanks for bringing all your beautify winteriness to MM this week.

  22. It all looks so pretty but, kayaking in icy water? Brrr!

  23. Hello, you do live in a winter wonderland. Beautiful view of the snowcapped mountains. My hubby and I take turns making dinner and he likes washing the dishes. The tea towels are cute! The prayer shawl is a lovely idea for your friend! Pretty flowers. Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

  24. My January went by in the blink of an eye. I'm a bit bitter about that.

  25. Many good photos here! Interesting post!

  26. beautiful wintery scenes. And the tree does look like a pointing ghost :)

  27. Of course it is the outdoors, but some want to retire to sun...I loved this post...Michelle

  28. Your snowy landscapes are beautiful! And I love the ghost and penguin.

  29. Thanks so much about the recipe of the salmon quiche - since I was already familiar with quiche I added the salmon and spices to the ingredients as a variant for bacon:) thanks again!

  30. I bet that salmon quiche was delicious! Love that the little gloves are saved behind the sign! Great snowy pictures! Thanks for linking!

  31. Very interesting post covering variety of subjects. Thanks for sharing the marvelous pictures!

  32. Montana is truly beautiful in your area, Angie, and since your enjoy winter sports such a perfect place to retire! We have lived in the foothills west of Denver for 5 years, and hardly miss NYC at all as we enjoy all the new sights out here and the opportunity to explore the west. The weather here on the Front Range of CO is surprisingly mild. We often have winter days in the high 60's! The mountain high country is an hour drive away, however, so winter sports are available there.
    I love to cook--your salmon quiche looks delicious! Happy February!


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