Life Lately and Some Birthdays

Hi, I’m back. I mean, I’m still here. Leaving the blogosphere for a couple of months really makes you realize that life goes on even if you’re not chatting away in your little corner of the internet.

But now I’m here, I have some posts scheduled to appear in the next weeks, and I hope some of you are still here and reading this.

So, where have I been all this time? After January and February, which were the roughest months of the year because we were sick all the time (I think we had about 2 days in those 2 months where the four of us were healthy all at once, it was exhausting), I had to spend some time catching up with life. Everything from dirty laundry to my blog comments piled up and I just had to press pause on something, and it wasn’t going to be the laundry because we need fresh clothes, so the blog had to go for a while.

I’m sorry I didn’t say anything, I just saw all the wonderful comments you kept leaving on my last posts trickling into my inbox and felt so guilty because I wasn’t answering them, it was almost a relief to have them finally stop. Almost. And then I felt like shit for feeling this way because here I am, writing stuff, and here you are, reading it, and I’m just so grateful that you’re here. <3

But I missed you, people! I still read books and I missed talking to you about them, missed fangirling and ranting and being generally bookish, so here I am.

In baby news: We have two teeth! They’re sharp and cute. He has learned to crawl, first soldier-style (pulling himself forward while lying on his belly) and now on his hands and knees. He’s starting to pull himself up next to the couch and so on, which is quite early (he’s 7.5 months old), so he falls over a lot. He’s such a cool baby, he’s communicating more and more, eats solid food three times a day, and is this whole little person. It’s amazing to see how different he is from his brother.

In kiddo news: Dinosaurs are still a thing. He now knows various different species and loves nothing more than paging through the different dinosaur encyclopedias we borrow at the library. He’s also using complex sentences and has a cool sense of humor. Tantrums are still happening but they’re manageable. He loves being outside and his default mode is now running, so I’m getting lots of cardio.

In personal news: I finished writing that romance thingy. It’s as finished as it can be without the help of an actual editor, so I’m about to start querying agents. It’s probably still a long way from being ready for publication, so you can’t expect a romance of a bestselling kind, but I think it’s…kinda good. Anyway, my stomach is doing a painful clenching thing as I’m writing this, I’m not used to talking about this so openly and I’m really trying to be better about owning the fact that I write.

I’m still baking bread (which you’ve probably noticed if you’re following me on Instagram), I’ve reached a point where we very rarely buy bread at the store anymore. There’s just something so relaxing and satisfying about bread baking. I’m making my own sourdough now and experimenting with different kinds of flour.

I’m also turning thirty in about a week (on the 24th). So that’s pretty huge, right? I’m not super stressed about it, but it is one of those big birthdays, so I’m celebrating with a little giveaway. My blog is turning three in early May (on the 8th), so this is a dual celebration. I’m ten times older than my blog, haha! The giveaway is meant for you, for my followers, so there’s no “share” option, but new followers are certainly welcome. I’m mainly just so very happy you’re still here, willing to chat with me.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY, you first have to comment on this blog post and tell me one random fact about yourself. Here, I’ll start: I have so many notebooks I’ll never be able to fill them all. I just love stationery. / My favorite animal is a giraffe. / I hate the smell of pineapple and raspberries. / I put sea salt on my jam & butter sandwiches.

The giveaway is for one book from the list of my favorites (4+ stars rating) in the value of up to 15€. Open internationally if The Book Depository ships to you. I’ll be checking all entries, no giveaway accounts allowed. After the winner is announced on May 5, the winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new one is chosen instead. You know the drill.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now it’s your turn!

  • Welcome back! 30 wasn’t a big deal, I am on my fifth anniversary of it.

    Umm, random facts huh. I play basketball but only because I am tall; soccer is the sport I am good at but its harder to find pick up games. I paint Warhammer figures but have never played the game nor do I really know the rules. My two dogs combined weight is half of any other dog I have had in my life. I am a red head but no one would know it because i started going bald and just shaved it all.

    • Hi, Nathan!

      Your random facts are great! :) I’m really tall, too, and everyone keeps asking me whether I play basketball. I hate the sport and I’m hopelessly clumsy with a basketball, so yeah. I can imagine soccer isn’t as popular in the states; here it is basically a national sport even though our team is terrible. I love hockey (watching, not playing it), our national team is decent, but not that popular.

      What breed of dogs do you have? I’m really intrigued now! :D

      And that’s one way of dealing with baldness. My husband is threatening to do the same, we’ll see how that goes! :D

      • My dogs are both terriers of some sort; both rescues. Tonks is a Cairn almost certainly, Navi is a white mutt that we joke is part kitten.

        • That’s really cool! :) If we ever get a dog, we’ll go for a rescue, too, I’m sure.

  • Greg Hill

    Hey Kaja how ya been? :) Congrats on the writing! That’s awesome. Good luck with your querying. And a birthday AND a blogoversary coming up? Fun times lol.

    So a random thing… hmm. I like English muffins but they have to have peanut butter on them. Does that count lol? That’s all I could think of off the top of my head!!!

    • Hey Greg, I’m doing good now! And thank you, I’m really happy with how my writing is going. Yep, April and May are really good months. Not only is spring my favorite season, it’s also my birthday and I love birthdays. :)

      Do you know, I’ve never had an English muffin. We just don’t have them here! I’ll have to bake them now and try them with peanut butter. :)

  • Kaja, you’re back! I’m very happy to see you here. (And I still owe you an email. I’m procrastinating because I know it will end up being absurdly long.)

    I really hope you guys are done being sick for the next 20 years, at least. It’s hard enough being sick without having to worry about and care for two small children. Don’t feel guilty at all about not replying to comments! We all know that life has to come first and that you read and appreciate them, even if you can’t always respond.

    You have awesome kids, but that doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

    Aaaah, Kaja, that’s so amazing!! I’m really excited for you. I can’t wait to read what you’ve written. I’m sure it will instantly be my favorite romance novel. ;) Seriously, though, that is a huge accomplishment, especially considering everything else you have going on in life.

    I’ve been loving your baking updates, and I’m super jealous at your patience. I would really love to have fresh bread every week! The apartment here might actually be warm enough for bread to rise, which was always a problem back home. How long does the bread actually take you, would you say?

    Happy blogiversary! Your blog remains my favorite out there, and I’m still grateful I came across it almost exactly two years ago. (Has it really only been two years? oO)

    Ooh, sea salt with jam sounds delicious! I sometimes eat peanut butter sandwiches with sliced apples, sliced bananas, or honey instead of jam. I’m also 100% addicted to peanut butter, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t survive if I had a kid with a (pea)nut allergy. I’ve eaten peanut butter probably 85% of the days in my life. I guess that can count as my random fact. :)

    • Hiiiii!!! YES you owne me an email but I’m just so glad to hear from you here *tackle-hug*

      Well we’re better now, I mean, Juš just went through another bout of illness (he got Roseola, which is harmless but he had a fever and a rash and it’s just stressful). But he’s okay now and I’m hoping this month will end on a better note! :)

      Yeah, I think my writing’s been keeping me sane these past months. It’s such a great way to escape for a while, I love it.

      Um bread. For the white ones, I use this dead-simple recipe: It’s a no-knead bread and it’s really hard to eff it up. I baked it at least 7 times by now and it always comes out beautifully. I bake bread in my cast iron pot, though, not on a baking sheet as they recommend here. It takes 5 minutes to mix it with a spoon (no fancy equipment needed), it rises 2 hours on the counter + at least 2 hours in the fridge (but you can leave it there for a couple of days, no problem, I left it for 2.5 days and it was still great), then 1.5h to rise once you “shape” it and 30-40 minutes to bake. I make 1/3 of the recipe at a time because it’s just enough bread for us for 2 days or so, after that it goes dry anyway and I bake a fresh one. It’s easy to scale it up or down, depending on how much bread you want.

      And thank you! :) I’m really glad you found me, too.

      Yeah, I once read that if you use salted butter with jam you never go back to using unsalted and it’s true. I just don’t buy unsalted, because I’m the only one who eats it, and I use the regular + fleur de sel (fancy sea salt). And nut allergies are scary. So far, I think we’re good with the kids. All food alergies are such a pain, though it’s easier these days as more “alternative” foods are available. I love peanut butter, too, but it’s not really traditional here. I mean, most supermarkets have it, but people don’t often eat it. I love it with apricot jam or Nutella. :D

      • Or maybe you owe ME an email? :P

        Okay, now that’s REALLY enough! *crosses fingers*

        That’s a good sign, then!

        That does look delicious and relatively easy! Ooh, I miss my cast iron. Besides motivation, I think the hardest part would be finding space in the fridge. It’s tiny. xD

        YUM, I remember having butter with fleur de sel when I visited France, and I’ve yet to taste butter as delicious. My friend’s daughter was allergic to raw egg for a while, and it was really tough on them! Especially since Epi-pens are super expensive in the US and often not covered by insurance. Apricot jam is delicious! I haven’t eaten it with Nutella, but that seems to be a popular choice. I made banana bread this weekend and spread peanut butter on that…perfect!

        • But you already know what’s going on in MY life! (And I’m reduced to stalking your Instragram feed as I’ve been off Twitter for months now.)

          My grandma makes the best apricot jam ever. It’s my favorite jam. Nutella + PB = basically Snickers bar = gooey goodness. And banana bread + PB sounds just decadent! :D Must try.

          • Haha, well, I can’t promise that there’s anything interesting going on in my life. :P

            Oooh, homemade apricot jam sounds even more amazing! (Also Snickers in sandwich form. *____*)

          • Lady, you moved across continents to follow your love – it’s interesting, even if all you’ve been doing since your move is sit at home. :D

            The Snickers thing comes from my brother, my mind kind of rebelled at first when he told me I should put TWO sweet, sticky things on bread (because you usually offset the goopiness of PB with a tart jam, right?) but it’s amazing. :D

          • LOL, if you say so!

            I might have to try it this weekend. Mmmm. I wouldn’t say people use tart jam for PB&Js, though. I’m not even sure tart jam exists in the US. It’s hard enoug to find jam without sugar.

  • Happy birthday! Turning 30 really wasn’t a big deal. I’m 33 now, and I kind of like being in my 30s. I feel a bit more comfortable in my own skin, and that’s a nice feeling.

    I’m glad you are all feeling better.

    • I think my 30s will be a good age, too. 20s are such a transitional period. You go to college, you start your “adult” life, find a job, whatever, there’s a lot of change. I think my 30s will be calmer (I hope, haha!).

      And thank you! :)

  • Yay, nice to see you back Kaja! I random fact about me: my favourite animal is a chicken :-)
    Rafflecopter name: Megan S.

    • Haha, that’s an awesome random fact! :D I’m glad you stopped by, Megan.

  • Your bread is so pretty! I also bake bread but none as pretty as that. ^ ^ Happy early birthday and blogoversary!

    • Thank you, Victoria! :) Well to tell you the truth I don’t put ALL my bread photos online. :D It’s always like that. The messy ones are eaten straight away.

  • Annie Marie Riquelme

    happy birthday,your blog is awesome

    • Thank you Annie! :)

  • Glad you’re back! Though, of course, never feel guilty about stepping away from the blog for other life stuff. It’s supposed to be fun after all, and real life comes first. :) That’s great about the kids and the bread and the WRITING!!! I’m so happy for you! (And let me know how the 30 thing goes. I’m starting to inch up there myself.)

    Um, random facts? I have a Golden Retriever, my caffeine of choice is Dr. Pepper, and I remember movies and TV shows I saw as a kid better than what I learned in class yesterday. :)

    Congrats on the 30 and the 3 years!

    • Well I’m 30 now and feeling pretty good about myself. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where I am at the moment, it’s been a good practice in being mindful of what I have and grateful for it, too. It’s good to take stock from time to time. :)

      What’s your dog’s name? Another random fact from me: some people here say Kaja is a name for dogs and every once in a while, I’ll think someone is calling my name (in a weirdly stern tone) and realize they’re actually calling their dog. >.<

      Thank you! :)

      • The dog is Shadow (like the Golden in Homeward Bound). Funny enough, my little sister is a Molly, which was a really popular dog name when we were little.

  • Hmmn, are we the same person. I just came back from a blog break too and January/February was basically a time when everyone was sick in my family at one time or another, it sucked. I’m turning 31 next month and let me tell you, it’s no big deal. 30 has probably been my best year yet. That bread looks so yummy!
    Good luck with your book and hope to see more posts.

    • It’s horrible when the whole family is sick. I’m glad you’re feeling better, too! And yeah, I’m 30 today and feeling no different than before, haha! :D

      Thank you for stopping by after all this time!

  • You’re back!!! Yay, I kept thinking I should message you and see how you were because you disappeared for a while there. Glad you’re all all better, though, it’s nightmare that all of you were struck down at various times because it’s just exhausting!

    I mean, personally I would have sacrificed the whole laundry thing in favor of blogging, but I am only doing laundry for me. It seems kind of cruel to force your family to go without clothes so probably for the best you let blogging go for a while.

    You say you still read books have you read anything good lately? I’m feeling a little lost in what to read next so I’m trying to get everyone else to tell me what to read instead. Also, you write a book? A whole completed one? That is totally awesome, I know you’d started but it’s amazing you finished! I want to read it. Just saying, you need someone to read I’m there with bells on. I’m quite an experienced reader, you know.

    Glad to see kiddo and baby are doing well, though. They are growing so fast (like so fast, I feel like they shouldn’t be doing all the things they already are so I can imagine how crazy it must be for you. I just hear about them on blog posts and I’m in shock). I have noticed your baking efforts on instagram and I am jealous to hear you’re baking practically all your own bread, that must be delicious. Your kitchen must just smell amazing with the baking bread. It’s the best smell.

    Happy birthday in advance. I am pleased I’m commenting before your birthday considering how behind in posts I’ve gotten. I hope you have a great birthday with A and the kids, have you got any plans?

    And a random fact? Erm… I too am a collector of notebooks I will never fill and pretty stationery in general. I also seem to have a collection of notebooks I’ll never fill and I also some to have a collection of candles I never light. My favourite colour is purple (at least that’s what I always say but I really like bright pink as well but it seems so girly so I never say that as my favourite) and I will always eat the yellow and green sweets when offered a sweet by someone because no one ever seems to like the yellow and green flavours (they’re usually lime or lemon). Also, I stopped eating orange food when I was younger and I still have an aversion to eating carrots and oranges. Those random enough for you?

    Glad to see your back and enjoy your birthday.

  • I’ve been basically gone myself as well, so hadn’t noticed you were gone too (oops, sorry) but welcome back in any case! Good to hear you’re doing well :) And that bread looks positively scrumptious! I’ve never baked bread before – it always seems kind of daunting – but it’s definitely something that’s still on my list to do. Is it as difficult as it seems?

    As for a random fact… I sleep walk regularly which can be kind of scary, to the point that I block the door to my hallway with something heavy before I go to sleep at night so I don’t wander off in the building :’) I also like to eat boiled eggs on a slice of bread with peanut butter, which most people react very strongly to when they see me do it (but when they try it themselves, they almost always like it).

  • Welcome back! Random fact–I have been playing far too much Stardew Valley this spring….escapist, pointless feeling of accomplishment when I harvest my virtual parsnips!