Five things on Friday


1. My potluck rut has ended! For months (years?), I’ve been toting cupcakes and pistachio fluff to work gatherings — but no more. At a going-away party for coworkers this week, I was tasked with bringing something “healthy” to, um, supplement our pizza — and fruit salad seemed an obvious choice. But because I can’t just throw fruit in a bowl, I fell down the Pinterest rabbit hole and discovered an easy addition: dry vanilla pudding mix. Genius.

Sliced strawberries, a pint of blueberries, canned pineapple with just a little of the reserved juices . . . and half a package of Jell-o vanilla pudding mix sprinkled atop, then stirred and chilled until delectable. I didn’t come home with a completely empty bowl, but close enough.

People just really love pizza, man.

2. We have a cardinal who “visits” with us every morning, and I was so charmed by him — in a very “Snow White” kind of way, you know? He sings us a little song as we get ready for work, then taps on the window glass at the base of our stairs. Like, he sits there, looks in at my solar-powered corgi toy and raps his beak — as if trying to communicate. This whole routine was magically captured by my mom below. In reality? We’re pretty sure he sees his own reflection and is trying to peck at a fellow bird, but I’d prefer the bird-to-human communication theory.

Cardinal Friend

He’s around so much that I just asked Spence if he could think of a friend or relative who’s recently passed — someone who might have been reincarnated as a feisty red bird and needs to get in touch with us. The cardinal has lived at our residence longer than we have, and I can’t step outside without seeing him near the driveway. He’s usually darting around like he’s on fire, noisy and petulant.

Well, said friend — whom we’ve creatively dubbed “Cardinal Friend” — has taken to perching on Spencer’s driver’s side mirror . . . and, um, using the bathroom. Repeatedly. Every day. I thought it was sort of funny and ultimately harmless until he started doing the same thing to me. Now he “uses the facilities” from my mirror and apparently continues to land in it, leaving little disgusting feet marks all over my car door. I’ve washed it twice already.

Oh, Cardinal Friend.

At least he’s pretty.

And I think he likes us?

3. I’ve made this cucumber salad twice in two weeks with no end in sight. I’m obsessed with it. Our fridge this week was so crammed with sliced cantaloupe, cut-up strawberries, steak and veggie soup and cucumber salad that we barely had room for beer and diet soda, two other important food groups we can’t really live without.

Need to make some changes around here.

4. I don’t want to jinx it (have I already jinxed it?), but we’re supposed to be out tomorrow taking the hot air balloon ride we’d originally scheduled for our November honeymoon and had to cancel due to weather. It’s out in Virginia, and I’m crossing all the fingers because it’s a trek and hard to find another time to get out there. It was a LivingSocial deal I purchased rather impulsively, and I do not want to lose the coin I blew on that! Sigh. Send out no-rain-East-Coast thoughts for me this weekend, will you?!

5. My preoccupation with finding a small ottoman for our new closet is taking over my waking hours. I want something script-y — like this — because that’s apparently my style? I have script-covered fabric all over the house. But then I think . . . am I going to get sick of this in a year or two? Shouldn’t I do something in a bold color? I don’t know. I don’t know much about decorating.

When it comes to furnishing the house, I’ve finally accepted I need to go room by room and case by case . . . basically, look at an empty patch of wall and think, What do I think should go in this specific spot? For a while I was doing dumb stuff like looking through pages upon pages of artwork on Wayfair (affiliate link) and feeling totally overwhelmed. That happens to me on a good day, so I finally backed up and took a new approach.

I’m much happier now.

So far, I found a console table for the hallway and a small landscape canvas for the master bathroom. I’m taking a break now because money, but I’ll be looking for artwork for the living room next.

Sweet progress.


31 thoughts on “Five things on Friday

  1. I love fruit salad, but I really enjoy it when someone else brings yummy cupcakes to a party. Guilt-free eating for me if someone else brought them – and I must try a few, right?

    Mr. Cardinal is defending his territory from all those other birds living in your mirrors and windows! They tend to do that during nesting season. I bet he has a nest nearby, usually in a shrub or pine tree.

    • I think you’re right about the nest, Leslie — we do tend to see him in very specific trees, so it’s probably hidden in there! And yes to cupcakes at potlucks. I rarely come home with leftovers when I bring in dessert!

  2. Such a cute post! I enjoyed reading it πŸ™‚ Here’s my two cents on the ottoman. As writers we love words and are naturally drawn to the script style, but I think if you have a lot of it in your house already, you might want to go with a solid color for the ottoman. One, because too much script style funishings can be overwhelming. Two, because people tend to put their feet on ottomans so a nice solid (maybe darker) color would be easier to keep from getting spotted. Hope that helps!

    • Thank you, Faith! I have a hunch you’re right about the solid color . . . I’ve been leaning that way, despite loving that script-style ottoman. Hmm. The walls are dark brown and the built-ins are white, so I’m thinking a pop of an unexpected complementary color — maybe aqua?! I don’t know. I feel like living on the edge.

  3. Love this post, Meg! Your fruit salad sounds amazing! I’ve heard of using pudding mix before, but haven’t actually tried it yet. But I think that might change this weekend! And that’s so exciting that you’re going to take a hot air balloon ride this weekend! I’ve always wanted to do that, so I can’t wait to hear about your experience! And I hope you find your ottoman soon. I know how it is to be looking for something endlessly, it gets frustrating! Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks, Gayle! The pudding mix definitely added a nice sweetness and definite vanilla flavor without being overwhelming or “saucy.” It lets the fruit continue to be the star of the show, which is important, but spices it up a bit. Hoping for the best with our hot air balloon ride, and the ottoman search continues! I’m just going to take my time until I find “the one.” Always a good policy. πŸ™‚

    • I’m big on fruit salad, too! Great for breakfast, snacks, dessert . . . whenever. Just have to remind myself to keep some made and handy!

    • Taxing, indeed! I’m cutting him some slack right now ’cause we’re relatively new neighbors, but something will have to give in that regard. Not quite sure how I would, um, prevent it . . .? But we’ll see, ha!

  4. The ottoman you linked to is adorable but, in the long run, I think you’ll be happier with a nice, bright solid color. You’ll enjoy decorating more if you do it slowly.

    Good luck on the weather tomorrow. *fingers crossed*

    • So true, Kathy — slow has really been nice. I’m trying to choose items we’re going to love for a long time, not just what’s cheap, trendy and/or available to fill the space right now. So far, so good!

    • My goodness, hot air balloon rides are amazing — and I’m a total worrywart! We took one over Napa Valley in 2012 and I’ve been dying to do another ride since. This one was supposed to be a romantic honeymoon excursion but, you know, hopefully it will now be a nice 9-months-married excursion instead. πŸ™‚

  5. Okay, that fruit salad thing sound brilliant and delicious. And your Cardinal friend is adorable (minus the pooping business). I’m sure there’s some legit nature reason for him to be there (nest nearby or something) but it’s almost like he’s just there to watch over the house and make sure you guys are settling in and doing okay. πŸ™‚

    • I love that theory, Stephanie! I’m considering him a little animal guardian angel. He certainly seems aware of our comings and goings, which is cute. Hopefully he sticks around . . . I would really miss him — though not the mess! — if he moved on.

  6. With a yellow rain warning hitting my part of the UK tomorrow. I’m hoping that we’ll be sucking all the rain away from the East Coast so your hot air balloon ride goes ahead. Hope you have a lovely time.

    • Well, thank you — though I certainly hope the weather isn’t too nasty for you! I’m not familiar with yellow rain warnings, but they sound very ominous. Wishing a little sunshine for us both.

      • they issue these warnings and mostly it hits early or nothing happens. Rain came in last night and today looks like its going to be another scorcher. Hope we’ve pulled enough rain away from you.

  7. How marvelous to have a bird buddy hanging about. The fruit salad sounds scrumptious. I used to mix fruit into an orange juice base and then dollop in vanilla yogurt.

  8. The fruit salad looks fantastic. What a great idea with the Jell O addition. I will have to try that!

    And good luck with the decorating endeavors. I know how difficult and exciting that can be. We have lived in our place for two years and there are still decorating opportunities that I haven’t fully realized. Our office could use more artwork, when we have money and the puppy doesn’t eat everything I hope to replace the couch and dining table, ect. Decorating is something that can go on forever. And your tastes probably will change so I would recommend just going for things so long as they aren’t tragically expensive. There really are some pretty awesome affordable options out there especially if you keep your eyes open and get creative!

  9. What a gorgeous blog you have! I know all about the birds who become obsessed with their reflections in windows and mirrors and take to shitting on said surfaces as an indication of their displeasure with their (imagined) rival. In my part of the world, it is peewees (a spritely little black and white bird) that torment us like that πŸ™‚

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