Category Archives: Uncategorized

you can make butter

Today, when my daughter saw I’d bought some heavy cream at the grocery, she asked if we could make butter.

So we did!  

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We learned how to do it when she was in pre-school, and it’s super-easy!

Here’s how:

Pour some room-temperature heavy whipping cream into a small glass jar (like a baby food jar).  Screw the lid on tightly and shake.  Just shake and shake–about five minutes.  At first, you can hear the milk sloshing around, and then, suddenly, it’ll sound like there’s something in there.  And there is!  It’s butter!  

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It’s so thrilling to actually make butter.  It feels like a miracle.

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Filed under random, recipes, Uncategorized

the long-awaited kitten post

I apologize for the Blair Witch quality of the kitten photos.  But they do illuminate some true things:

1.  My camera spends too much time at the bottom of my enormous purse–down with the pretzel crumbs and dessicated granola bars.

2. A small person in my house (and I’m not naming any names) threw the camera across the yard recently.

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3.  The kitten is pretty fast.

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4.  The kitten is a fluffer-nutter.  A Twitter pal asked me what a fluffer-nutter was, and I’ll admit that a fluffer-nutter is a sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow creme that my friend Sam used to love to eat back in college.  But there it is.  

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5.  The kitten gets carried a lot.  More than she ever dreamed possible.

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6.  I’m teaching her to sit on my shoulder.  Because it’s either that or the keyboard.

7.  We’re not totally settled on a name.  For now, we are trying many things.  Chloe.  Sunshine.  Clo-clo.  Clo-cakes.  Fluffinator.  My friend Cate used to call her dog Little Snickety Snacks, and we may throw that in from time to time as well.

8.  Here’s a great thing about cats.  They always wear that same deadpan expression.

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handcrafted buildings

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I’m obsessing over this amazing slideshow of photos of this charming cob house in Texas today!  The New York Times just did a profile of it, and it’s so much like a house I stumbled on at the Children’s Garden in Ithaca, New York, when we were just on vacation there.  My  kids were playing in this terrific troll house:

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A woman at the park said her neighbor was the guy who built it.  She gave me his name, and I checked out his website and I was just totally enchanted with the idea of these hand-built houses.  

Here’s what the troll house looked like while it was being built:


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And here’s another house the builder did:

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This summer, we took a trip out to the Texas Hill Country.  It’s where I spent summers as a kid, and where my mother spent her summers, too.  It’s cooler in the Hill Country than it is in Houston, and it’s less humid, and there’s always a good breeze.  Plus, there’s a beautiful green river called the Guadalupe to swim in.

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And while we were there, we spent an afternoon at my old summer camp–where my mother and sisters and cousins went, too–which was in-between sessions for the weekend.  We picnicked under the cypress trees and explored the hillside with the old stone cabins from the 1930s.

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I hadn’t been back to that summer camp–or to that part of Texas–in at least 20 years, and it was such a profound, almost breathtaking experience to go there and to walk the same paths I’d walked as a child, and the same paths my mother had walked when she was a child, in a place that hadn’t changed at all.  It was like turning back time, and it gave me the sweetest feeling of sadness.

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I’d forgotten how stately these stone buildings were, and it wasn’t until I was there again that I realized how much they have defined my sense architecture, and place, and beauty, and home.  The way they are handmade, and special, and unique to themselves.  The way they were done with care and built to last.  The way the places we make can connect us to the past.  

I often wish I could go back and visit the girl I was as a kid.  And I often miss living in my childhood home with my sisters and goofing around.  And even many years after her death, I still miss my grandmother and wish I could see her again.  But visiting the hill country this summer, I got about as close as I ever will.

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writing wednesday: life with kids

Here’s a Writing Wednesday about life with kids.  The question comes up over and over:  How do you do both?  How do you get it all done as a mother and a writer?  And almost every mother with little kids I know struggles with some version of this question.  How do you get it all done?  How do you take proper care of your children and yourself?  (And here’s a spoiler for the video:  I have no idea.)

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Filed under for writers, random, Uncategorized, videos, WRITING WEDNESDAY

a little excerpt from Bright Side

Happy Mothers’ Day!  Here’s a video I made with an excerpt from Bright Side!

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Filed under excerpts, for writers, katherine's books, prose, random, the bright side of disaster, Uncategorized, videos

I really, really want to live here

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And it’s for sale!  And I kind of feel like if you love a house enough, and are pure of heart, it ought to just magically become yours.  

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It actually belongs to some acquaintances of mine, and it is even fabulous-er in person.  The plaster walls, the archways, the old barn wood on the floors.  Last time I was there, I thought about just chaining myself to the stairway.

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Or maybe I should just steal that chair made out of suitcases.

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Filed under random, Uncategorized, visual art

we have to move to Philadelphia

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I had many thoughts at the movie theater last night as my sister and I wept our way through the end of Marley & Me–thoughts about devotion and loyalty, about family and marriage, about pets I have loved and lost, about how much I love stories that validate my own life choices.  But one of the strongest thoughts I had was, “I have to move to Philadelphia.”

I don’t think I’m spoiling anything important when I tell you that near the end, the family moves from a pretty normal-looking, suburban life in south Florida to an absolutely enormous and breathtaking stone house in Pennsylvania.  And then adorable little snowball fights are happening, and like magic their whole house is full of fabulous antiques and warm fires and cocoa.  And I was like, Okay. We’re moving.

So I went online to see what you could really find for yourself up there near Philly, and I typed in the fairly random maximum house price of 500,000.  And shoowee, they’ve got some great old houses up North.  Even if I can’t tell you the difference between Lansdowne Township or Cheltenham or Limerick, I can sure enjoy oggling those houses. 

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Okay, this one happens to be 600,000.  But, hello?  Built in 1890-ish, and look at the windows in this garden room:

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Here are some others:

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Of course, we can’t actually move.  Partly because my whole fun family is right here in Texas and I want to be near them, and partly because I love the rich and layered experience of having deep roots (5th generation, baby!) right where I grew up.  And the older I get, the more I love our big, friendly town of Houston. 

But that doesn’t mean I won’t stay up late some nights shopping for houses I will never buy in places I’ll likely never visit.

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Filed under movies, random, Uncategorized