2020 is finally coming to a close. Thank goodness! I must admit though, and I don’t even want to say this out loud but I have a feeling that 2021 may not look that different. So instead of a woe is me attitude I want to prepare for the new year with some new ideas. I spent a lot of time at home during 2020 and tried a variety of things to keep myself busy. Here are some of my favorite things that I did at home this year.
Made croissants….from scratch
We were hoping to go to France last April but when the pandemic seemed to be getting worse that trip was put on hold. So what do you do when you can’t stroll through Montmartre and eat your favorite croissants from Gontran Cherrier? You try to make them yourself! I love the blog Pardon Your French, she shares amazing recipes from her home country. She really breaks down the steps for things that can be a little complicated, like croissants. I decided to try my luck with the three-day recipe and man oh man it was worth it. They were a first try and they came out pretty good. Not French Boulangerie good but French super market good.
Practiced a Language
I took French in school and practiced on Rosetta Stone before our first trip to France. Even with all of that background knowledge I still wasn’t confident in my ability to speak the language. I could read something and get the general meaning but I’ve always wanted to learn more. So, I downloaded Duolingo and have been practicing daily for 178 days! This little app has definitely improved my French and I’ve learned words and phrases that never came up in any other lessons. Will I still be nervous speaking French to a Parisian? No doubt! But I’ll have a greater understanding and some more words under my belt.
Learned how to knit on a loom
I had been walking up and down the aisles of my local craft store searching for inspiration and kept coming back to the yarn section. Maybe it’s the cat lady in me but I love the yarn section! I decided I would try to knit a scarf. Only I don’t know how to knit and I’m not great at crocheting. (I tried to make a baby blanket once and it took me almost a year!) Thankfully, there was a wall full of little looms. I grabbed the least intimidating one, a couple of skeins of yarn and was out the door.
The directions that came with the loom were junk, so confusing! I went on Pinterest and found a great youtube video on how to make an infinity scarf. I made one for Andrew in only a few days and then I made one for myself. More recently I made a pair of slippers in two days! Now the video boasted an hour but I’m still learning and these people must do nothing but knit.
Took a virtual cooking class
I learned how to make a classic quiche from two very lovely French women via zoom. They are part of a travel group called My Private Paris and they offered this fun little event for free! They sent out the ingredient list with the zoom link and I spent a little over an hour on a Saturday afternoon making the tastiest quiche I have ever had. This recipe has now become a staple in our house.
Read Quite a Few Books
I love to read but I don’t always have the time. I had plenty of time in 2020 to read a good book though! Here are some of my favorites. Where the Crawdads Sing, When You See Me, The Little Paris Book Shop, The Book of Two Ways, Still Life, Dead Cold(which is now called a Fatal Grace) I’ve discovered that I really like Louise Penny, I guess I’m a little late to the game.
Tried New Recipes!
I was cooking up a storm in 2020. We always cook a lot at home but I would scour pinterest and cookbooks looking for something new to try. Some things were definitely out of my comfort zone, like an ancient Babylonian Lamb Stew…which was delicious! I also made my own pizza dough, countless French recipes, a warming miso soup and so many baked goods. I’ve found that Indian food is best left to the professionals and that I make a mean braised short rib.
Went on Virtual Tours
I started following My Private Paris on instagram after the fun quiche making class. They offered so many fun virtual tours of places in and around Paris. Some were walking tours and others were informational with cool photos. I went on a tour of the catacombs and got quite the history lesson. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do when we are in Paris but Andrew wants nothing to do with it. He’s easily spooked.(hehehe) One of my favorite walking tours was when they did a tour of Montmartre and they stood right outside “our apartment”. The tiny little apartment that we stayed in when we fell in love with France. All of their past tours/events are on their youtube page but if you want current or upcoming events give them a follow on instagram.
I hope this little list gives you some ideas or inspiration heading into the new year. I was able to find things to keep me busy and away from Netflix but I need some new ideas for 2021. What are some things that you did to stay busy and sane during the pandemic? Help a girl out!
And Cheers to the New Year!