Artisanal dirt, though

Whoa, where did January go? It just floated right by in a series of 75-degree days, am I right? (Sorry northerners.) (You know we'll get ours, and it will be brutal and sweaty.)  One of my goals was to finish up by Middlemarch (822 pages) by February, and I just want to say that being on page 185 would mean a pretty good dent in most books. Not this one, though! This one has what seems to be about 200 pages devoted to the election of minor positions in this small town! I am ready to go back to the part where the teenager is marrying an old man and everyone is slinging really interestingly-worded insults around!

Alas. Nothing to be done but stage the final battle of January Bon Appetit vs Martha. What's even left? Broccoli, I guess? Sure.

This sounds good, and looks good, but is…not really. It's too sweet? Nutritional yeast is pretty gross? I feel like several things went wrong here.

Martha contender: Sausage and Broccoli with Pepperoncini Sauce.

I'm going to be honest, this one might have won just because I used apple gouda sausage in it.

Overall winner: Was it a MARTHA SWEEP? I'm not going to bother looking it up. I shall remember it as such, now and always. LONG LIVE THE MARTHA.

Speaking of Martha, I feel like she is at least partly to blame for the new hobby taking up all of my time and brainspace.

Candle-making: like cooking, except setting the results on fire is encouraged.

Yes, I have recently discovered that my latent lifelong ambition is in fact candlemongery.

If you look closely you will see that my immediate instinct was to make something that smells like dirt. MY VISION IS WHAT IT IS, GUYS.

It's so fun! And kind of time-consuming! There's math involved! And really, really difficult decisions:

Anyway, the fact is, I am a suburban mom in her mid-30s and I just checked the list--next up after "blog about what you are eating" and "take up mid-distance running at non-competitive speeds" is "open an Etsy shop." I don't make the rules! Just gotta get that sweet, sweet dirt scent perfected first.

Speaking of science (?), we went to Anna's first science fair last night. We were slightly overwhelmed.

She is carefully digesting the fact that the most effective penny-cleaning substance is ketchup. It's a lot to handle.