A very warm welcome to Friday’s weekly blessing list, hosted by my long-time blog friend, Susanne, at  Living To Tell The Story.
My post is late this week – the days after the Christmas season always feel a little unsettled for me. It takes a few weeks to get back into a routine. But it’s happening. So that’s # 1 on my list this week.

1.  Beginning to feel rested and settled after a wonderful, but tiring, Christmas/New Year/Birthday/Anniversary season. (We could have planned that a little better, don’t you think?? 🙂  Winter is a lovely, quiet time here  –  a time of hearth and home, as a neighbour of mine phrased it. More time for reading around the woodstove in the evenings (always with a good hot cup of tea!) or a little early morning birdwatching.

2. Winter is also a great time to start something new which leads me to my second favourite  ~  I’m taking an art class taught by Susan ChristensenOur first assignment was to choose a photograph to paint. Here’s mine.

I chose this scene because it I thought it would be easier to draw, as it’s primarily lines. That was before I understood about “tone” – oh my! Lots of tone variations in this picture. Believe me, I’m on a steep learning curve in this art class. But I’m enjoying it 🙂

3. Winter is a fun time to experiment with some new recipes. So I was really pleased when my sister gave me a subscription to Fine Cooking for Christmas. It’s a lovely magazine filled with easy recipes and great cooking tips.

Tonight I’m trying a recipe for a healthier version of Shepherd’s Pie – made with sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

4. Post Christmas always seems to be the time to focus on exercise again. I can’t do hard aerobic exercise because of my heart problem. And I know myself well –  if exercise isn’t “fun”, I won’t do it consistently. Swimming is fun for me and I love to do it. But winter swimming means a pool and the nearest is 30 minutes away. Leslie Sansone and I go a long way back, but I  find it a little boring to walk in place. I’ll do it, but I have to make myself.  However, I’ve discovered a new exercise. I’ve been doing it since Christmas and I love it! I actually look forward to it. What is it, you may be asking?

A weighted hula hoop! John and Kathleen gave it to me for Christmas. It’s taken me a few weeks ( and a few bruises) but I can keep it going now for 10 minutes. I never could hula hoop when I was a child, but I studied the technique on youtube and I practiced – and I’m getting better each week. When you do it properly, it’s a subtle, low-impact movement but very effective to tighten abs. But most of all, it’s fun. And I like that!

5.  Winter is a great time to practice photography too. It’s challenging  – especially nature photography. Your fingers get cold and you don’t have the variety of subjects you find in the other seasons. But that can work in your favour. The landscape is less distracting, light and shadow are more striking on snow and a rosy sunset sky is especially stunning against winter’s muted palette.

And then there’s snowflake photography!  Jill is leading the way for me.
It’s a lovely sunny day, so I hope to get some more practice in this afternoon.

That’s my five favourites for this week. Hope you enjoyed them!
Thanks so much for dropping in for a visit.
Happy weekend!

with love,

16 thoughts on “fff – lovely winter

  1. Bev Klassenq says:

    Hi Kathie – it’s been busy around here so I’ve just now caught up on your blog – lovely favourites for sure! I’ve been a subscriber to Fine Cooking magazine for several years and find great recipes there. The only problem is that the magazines tend to accumulate and are very hard to throw away! Love your grand-princess photos – she is a sweetie and the pictures of Sarah are gorgeous. Love those blue eyes.It’s been raining here ( nothing new) and I do envy your cold weather and snow just a bit.I took art lessons years ago and loved every minute but sadly have not continued with it. Perhaps if I ever retire, I’ll find time to pick it up again.Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos.


  2. JoannaTopazT says:

    I love your nature photographs! Both the bird and the winter scene are beautiful! I’m also impressed at your hula hooping skills! I’ve never been able to do that — despite "instruction" from someone at a school event who said "everyone can do it" (not true, in my case). I think the shepherd’s pie would taste better with sweet potatoes; will be interested how it comes out.


  3. Willow says:

    Wow, what beautiful photographs! You are making me want to pull my camera out RIGHT NOW. When I was a child, I could hula hoop with the best but now I can’t seem to remember how to keep that thing up!


  4. anneliese says:

    That hoola hoop exercising sounds like one I could handle! Funny how the things we did as kids, such s skipping, are things we shoucl not have stopped doing.


  5. Susanne says:

    Stunning pink sunset. I’m impressed that you’re taking an art class. Have fun learning! And now I go need to find me a hula hoop!


  6. nikkipolani says:

    Oooh, I think your painting is going to turn out beautifully. I like what you’ve chosen for your source material. And good for you for finding fun exercises to keep you moving!


  7. Such a feast for the eyes here — lovely, lovely. If you can paint as well as you can take photographs, you’ll have a second career all lined up. The picture you plan to paint is just beautiful.

    I haven’t heard of Fine Cooking — I’ll have to look that up. And I’m checking out the weighted hula hoop, too! Have a great week!


  8. Gattina says:

    January is a rather boring months, I think everybody recovers from the two year’s end celebrations ! I do hula hoop without ring, it’s good for the waist and back ! It’s also a Yoga exercise ! I also go swimming, in a private club, it’ s not so far from home and nice and warm !


  9. Karen says:

    Okay, I am IMPRESSED that you can hula hoop for 10 minutes! That’s amazing!

    Love the photos, the landscapes are just breathtaking.

    Have a great weekend, Kathie.


  10. Faith says:

    What a fun way to work out! my new thing is Pilates…for my core and lower back and I am LOVING it but I must confess I would much rather be hiking up a mountain, biking, kayaking or power walking in the summer/autumn/spring months. Winter just gets to me….ugh…I do NOT like working out inside!! I love your pictures as always and I think it’s great that you’re taking an art class..my oldest gal would highly approve 🙂 and SHE is taking a Photography course at Gordon this semester (required for her major). She is LOVING it so far…..even though she’s only had one class so far….:) but she does love her newer fancier camera!

    I hope you have a wonderful cozy weekend full of good books and lovely hot cups of tea.


  11. kim says:

    Great ideas for putting some fun into the winter season. Your landscape photo is breathtakingly beautiful and the snowflakes are amazing.


  12. Brenda says:

    That winter sunset is a pretty amazing picture!

    Good for you with the weighted hula-hoop. I have trouble with the regular hula-hoop, I can’t imagine the work it must be to keep a weighted one spinning!


  13. Lorna says:

    Proud of you for trying new things … keep me updated on the hoola-hoop. :>)


  14. Deb says:

    Hi Kathie,Love your 5 this week! interesting about the weighted hula hoop – haven’t heard of those. Wow – going 10 min sounds pretty good! Good for you!


  15. ellen b says:

    I need to find some sort of exercise that I will actually do again. I hope to find a walking buddy now that I’m back in the Northwest and my former Northwest walking buddies aren’t walking…oye. I love your photos. The bird is fabulous. Snowflakes are so amazing and I’m happy to see them here and at Jill’s. How can you look at a snowflake and not be amazed by our Creator!!Have a great weekend.


  16. Kathie, your blog is simply beautiful. I loved all of the photos for your FFF. The little bird made me tear as I thought about my precious Daddy and his love for his sweet little birds that would gather in his yard. Thank you for sharing today. <a href="http://www.weirblessed.com/simply">Simply God’s Girl</a>


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