We had a productive family meeting last week where we divided up household chores and established something of a schedule, which makes me very happy. Of course, we haven't begun the schedule yet and we know that saying about plans and contact with the enemy, but just having something (a plan) where there used to be nothing (chaos) counts a progress. I'm also slowly crossing small, irregular jobs off my list.
One thing that I did this weekend was a small chore that I've been meaning to take care of for years. Literally for years! It took less than five minutes. Home security experts advise homeowners to replace 1/2" screws in your deadbolt strike plates with screws 3" or longer so the strike plates are secured to the house's frame instead of the doorjamb. You can also replace the whole deadbolt, replace the wimpy two-screw plate with a four-screw style but even just changing out the screws in the existing hardware makes your deadbolt lock a ton more effective. I had some 3" wood screws left over from last year's planter box project. Zip, zip, DONE. Improved security.
Lest I seem like I'm patting myself on the back excessively, I'm not expecting anyone to be thrilled to read that I've replaced some screws, remembered to clean the oven, changed some light bulbs. I'm just pleased to be checking off a number off little things that had been piling up. Even small forward progress is satisfying.
I've also been trying out a bunch of new recipes since Christmas. I've had some decent luck with some recipes out of a slow cooker book I got for Christmas, from the author of the blog http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ and the current issue of Bon Appetit as well as my tried and true go-to Cooking Light. Here's what we've been eating around here: Spaghetti and meatballs all'Amatriciana, Breakfast Risotto, Crockpot Lamb, Morning Glory Muffins, Spaghetti with Fennel, Ham and Lentil Soup, Turkey Orzo Soup, Cooks Illustrated's Turkey Tetrazzini, Three-Cheese Baked Penne, Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Fritatta from Eating Well, and Alton Brown's Cheesy Grits. Not a bad start to the new year!