The Little Things Newsletter #271 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!

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Welcome to the end of the weekend, my friends! (This is the first time ever that I’ve published the newsletter on a Sunday.) I’ve been out of cell and internet range for the past few days at our annual family campout. As is our tradition, we met up at Apache Trout Campground in the Sitgreaves National Forest. It is about a 4-hour drive for the AZ and NM families to meet there. (It’s a little further than that for some of us now – ha.) 

With 7 siblings, and all of our families, a group campsite is about the only way we manage to be in the same place at the same time these days. The kids built forts, games were played, campfires were enjoyed, late-night sing-alongs made the young crowd laugh hysterically while the older crowd (FYI that’s officially me now.) happily made use of earplugs to get some sleep.

We said goodbye this morning and headed out on the road again. I’m happily tucked into our new campsite for the night, where I’ve enjoyed the pool, the a/c, and now the wifi, before heading out in search of some terrific New Mexican food. 

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ON THE BLOG this week: Vegetable Lover’s Taco Beef starts with ground beef seasoned generously with Mexican spices. This is tossed with bell peppers, onions, black beans, and corn to create a vegetable-filled taco meat recipe that is perfect for tacos, salads, burritos, quesadillas, and more.

This Spinach Pasta Salad is a tangy, garlicky, peppery pasta salad that I can’t seem to stop making and eating on repeat. The combination of crisp, fresh spinach with the chewy pasta and the tangy dressing is simply irresistible.

My FAVORITE THINGS this week are these turkish towels. Oh my word, I LOVE them. They’re so pretty. They wash beautifully and they get softer and more absorbent with every wash. (They need to be washed at least 3x without fabric softener before they’re really absorbent. It’s weird, I know, but it works.)

I initially bought these for the motorhome, because they take up very little space, dry lightning fast compared to traditional towels, (YAY for no wet towels hanging around all day!) and I can wash a whole load of them without overfilling my tiny washing machine. Full disclosure though, they aren’t a favorite for my whole family. For me though, they’re awesome. While I doubt that my husband is going to want to use them at home, I will most definitely be using them at home and telling everyone of their awesomeness.

What I’m READING: Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. Oh, boy, once again, I screwed up. I should not have mentioned this one last week before I’d finished it. I’ve been a big fan of Kristin Hannah for a long time, but this book? It’s nothing at all like her others. I wasn’t a fan of this book. The only reason I forced myself to finish it was because I had already told you I was reading it – and I kept believing it would improve.

It is reminiscent of Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath – honestly not one of my favorite books either, as it’s a good read, but terribly depressing, right? However, in this case, the small bit of joy in the end was not nearly enough to balance overwhelming sadness. The pro-communism messaging throughout the second half of the book was unexpected, to say the least. (FYI it isn’t remotely subtle.) There are many things in our country that I disagree with, but socialism is never going to be the answer. If you disagree with me on that, you may love this book.

What I’m WATCHING: Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. Oh, how I love laughing with this movie. Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart together? It’s a guaranteed laugh fest. The whole family watched it last week and we decided that we need to watch the sequel asap. (How have I not seen that one yet??)

“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” – Michael Palin

Wishing you a beautiful week full of little things that make you smile!


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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. connie Dunfield says

    Hi, Thanks for your honest review on the book “Four Winds”… in our present society we don’t need to read the
    political compass of negativity, Socialism pro-communism; all which is totally wrong!

    I’m reading the series by: Carrie Bebris “Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries” based on Jane Austen characters. Cute titles: “Pride & Prescience”, “Suspense & Sensibility”, North by Northanger” etc.

    Thanks, Connie Dunfield