Recently…December 2016

Ah, DECEMBER…a month filled with holiday hustle and bustle…first snowfall…twinkling lights…lots of peppermint…mailboxes filled with actual mail as Christmas cards arrive…holiday traditions old and new…connecting with family and friends and more…

In the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my December days…

Reading…a hodge podge of books to end the year: Sigma Force Books 6 & 7 by James Rollins; Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe and Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan; Christmas on Jane Street by Billy Romp; Letters from Santa by Becca Whitham; The Lions in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World by Abigail Tucker…a long overdue review post for the last couple of months is queued up for mid-month…

Watching…lots of Hallmark channel Christmas movies…the Pentatonix Christmas Special was a fun hour – it felt like a classic Christmas special that could stand the test of time…It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, as per family tradition…

Listening…completely in the Christmas music mode…in addition to favorites from Christmases past, this year I added the latest Pentatonix Christmas and The Piano Guys Christmas to the rotation…

Adventing…taking time each day to focus on the reason for celebrating the Christmas season…reading from Watch for the Light in the evening during the season…also, doing a daily scripture writing exercise that pulled from Old and New Testament verses to prepare for Christmas…

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Traveling – Part 1…a quick trip to Milwaukee near the middle of the month…it was the 10th MKE trip for the year…winter temps and winds were in full effect while I was there so my new winter coat was fully tested on the walk to the office each day…the Milwaukee airport was filled with holiday cheer as I waited to head home…

Traveling – Part 2…enjoying 12 days of Christmas in the Ville with family and friends…when the year winds down with lots of unused vacation days, you take them!…this extended time at home deserves a separate post to be published in the next couple of days…

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Traveling – Part 3…ringing in the new year with some of my favorite people over in State College – opening presents, board games & puzzles, First Night State College, tasty meals & beverages, staying up late, plenty of time with my girlies –

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Playing…a fun new board game with the family in the Ville and in State College…Latice is a clever strategy game that combines parts of dominoes & Uno into a game that was fun with all ages…

Baking…lots of Christmas cookies while home for Christmas…

Cooking…most of the month felt like I was cobbling together meals, there wasn’t a strong meal plan…meal planning is back in action in the new year…

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Sipping…all the Christmas flavored coffee, especially enjoying our favorites from Door County CoffeeCranberry Vanilla Wonderland tea was an almost daily iced sipper…adding a shot of elderberry extract into the morning iced tea that already contains apple cider vinegar and ginger…

Looking ahead…as we say Hello, January…a month filled with “new”…and work trips…and full on winter…and more…

What filled your December days?

Linking up with Leigh for the What I’m Into round-up.

Hello, January!

As the 2017 calendars are put into use and the feeling of “new” permeates…a few moments to look ahead and welcome in the month (and the year) and all that it holds…a chance to say HELLO January… 

HELLO to a new year filled with new potential…watching the amaryllis bulb & paper white bulb evolve this month is a fitting reminder of starting anew…

HELLO to a return to meal planning…life is much better when I take a few moments each week to plan out the menus and shop appropriately…

HELLO to a new slate of vacation days and making fun vacation plans…a March trip south on the horizon will warm the cold days of this month…other trip possibilities are ruminating…

HELLO to a new reading goal for the year…and “under the tree” reads to be devoured…this is the sort of weather that makes me want to read all the time…

HELLO to fostering hygge during these winter months…embracing the opportunity to stay cozy in the house when winter weather says it is better to be inside – a fireplace, reading, knitting, cooking – my home is filled with many things to fill the cold times with warmth…

HELLO to more Kon Mari and continuing to cull through unjoyful and unnecessary stuff in the house…a first Green Drop pickup is already on the calendar…

HELLO to new opportunities at work…the chance to stretch and grow while tackling something new…

HELLO to the 12th year of hanging my shingle out at this blog…hello to establishing more rhythm to posting out here, even if nobody is reading…

HELLO to a new “one word” for the year and determining how to live that…hello, FOCUS…

What are you saying HELLO to during this January?

Linking up with Carole and Kat for Think, Write, Thursday.

Recently…November 2016

Ah, NOVEMBER…a month filled with…falling leaves…shorter days…the election…my birthday…unplanned car expenses…Thanksgiving…Giving Tuesday and the start of the advent season…In the midst of it all, these are things that filled my November days…

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Reading…with airplane time & holiday time, an eclectic assortment of books were completed…Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance…The Bookman’s Tale by Charles Lovett…The Last Oracle by James Rollins…Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope…The Mackinac Incident by Len McDougall…The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale…and listening to Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda…

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WatchingThe Durrells in Corfu was a delightful Masterpiece Theater find…easing into Christmas movies on The Hallmark Channel…

Listening…thoroughly enjoying the latest Pink Martini album

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Traveling – Part 1…to Milwaukee to start the month with a 2 day trip that extended to 3 days & confirmed why I always pack just a bit extra for the unexpected delay…on a crisp autumn evening, dinner at a favorite cafe was perfect…

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Traveling – Part 2…a long weekend over to State College with my girls…on Friday morning I had to get the girls off to school – Miss V was ready for the bus way early so we were outside for 35 brisk minutes…fun times exploring local shops & getting a jump start on Christmas gifts…taking Christmas card photos…celebrating my birthday…impromptu concerts…intense board games…all around fun!

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Traveling – Part 3…home to the ‘Ville for a week…(minus a few days for a quick MKE trip)…plenty of R&R time at home with the family…Rebecca & I enjoyed 2 sessions at the local salt room…the family that reads together – one afternoon I looked up from my reading to see that we all had our noses in books or other reading…

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Traveling – Part 4…another 2 day trip to Milwaukee from the ‘Ville…I brought my “traditional” Thanksgiving Monday leftover Nantucket Cranberry Pie for breakfast, even on the road…

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Cooking…a tasty family Thanksgiving menu that included “my” Brussels sprouts…inspired by the Thanksgiving in a Blanket video recipe making the rounds, Mom turned our leftovers into a delicious Stromboli that used her fabulous yeast crescent roll dough…once back home from the Ville, a go to Shepherd’s Pie was whipped up for the week…

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Baking…a delicious Cranberry Pumpkin Muffin recipe that is much healthier than my “go to” of the Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix of years past…an easy Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroon recipe to take to the office Thanksgiving luncheon…my Nantucket Cranberry Pie for the annual Thanksgiving lunch at church in the ‘Ville…

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Sipping…Lots of coffee & tea…both hot and iced…splurging on a Vernors during a layover in Detroit…

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Looking ahead…as we say Hello, December…a busy December filled with a couple of weeks of work and then a couple of weeks of time away with dear ones to relax, recharge & celebrate the Christmas and New Year…

What filled your November days?

Linking up with Leigh for the What I’m Into round-up. 

 

Hello, December

Hello, December! As the calendars flip to the last page in 2016 and the holiday season is in full swing…

Advent Evenings

HELLO to the return of my evening advent routine: a mug of Candy Cane Tea whilst reading from my favorite Advent anthology…

HELLO to the UPS app keeping track of the many deliveries winging their way to my front door as I complete my Christmas shopping…

HELLO to the glow of Christmas lights and the nativity on my mantel…

HELLO to a fresh greens wreath on the front door…

HELLO to endless pots of favorite Christmas flavored coffees…

HELLO to Christmas cards ordered…and to Christmas greetings filling the mailbox…

HELLO to my Christmas blouse & Grandma’s Christmas Tree brooch for the office holiday party…

HELLO to Christmas tunes & movies…

HELLO to the anticipation of dear ones opening gifts that were picked especially for them…

HELLO to rereading One Word and looking ahead to what my word will be for 2017…

HELLO to a couple of weeks of work & then a couple of weeks of much needed R&R as I burn the vacation days…

…HELLO to lots of reading time and a family of bookworms content to all be reading while scattered across the living room furniture..

HELLO to the hustle & bustle giving way to calm as the calendar flips to the 25th and we pause to say…

HELLO to the nativity and to the promise held in that simple manger birth!

Linking up for Think, Write, Thursday hosted by Carole & Kat. 

Recently…October 2016

Ah, OCTOBER…a month filled with…leaves: changing colors, rustling in the wind, scattering across the yards…beautiful autumn skies…brisk days and some “last gasp of summer” heat…In the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my October days…

Reading…it was a busier month (& only 1 flight on the 2nd) so only 4 books were completed since sharing reads…a fun celebration of childrens books in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein…more in the James Rollins Sigma Force series: Black Order and The Judas Strain…another visit to Three Pines in A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny…

Watching…most of my shows via DVR…enjoying Designated Survivor, Timeless, This is Us from among the new shows…continuing to be amazed with how Code Black can “get me” in their stories…HamilDoc was a fun insight into the phenomen around the musical and Alexander Hamilton..

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Hosting…a fabulous girls weekend with my fave girlies & their Mom…we packed a lot into just over 2 1/2 days…Independence Hall…The Crayola Experience…Cheesesteaks…pedicures…shopping for winter gear for all…just hanging out…all around fun for all…

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Crafting…not much…but M’Amy had plenty of crafting options available for the girlies while they were here…coloring books…decorating pumpkins…

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Cooking…lots of fall flavors…a new Spinach Artichoke Soup recipe – I seasoned it like my “famous” dip & have decided this is a ‘keep the ingredients on hand’ recipe for the days ahead…lots of roasted veggies…putting a pumpkin spin on my go-to no bake cookies…a new fave breakfast is a pumpkin smoothie…a batch of Autumn Butter was a great way to rescue aging apples & pears in my fruit basket…

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Sipping…as I try to add bone broth to my daily routine, this Lemon-Cumin-Turmeric version is delightful…tinkering with a dairy free make ahead creamer to pair with Oolong tea & ice for day long sipping…

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Welcoming…a few trick-or-treaters on Halloween night…it has been years since I have actually been home on Halloween…

Looking Ahead…November is always a favorite month with my birthday & Thanksgiving…

What filled your October days?

Linking up with Leigh’s monthly What I’m Into connection.