Friday, December 18, 2020

Five Things for Friday

 Last post of 2020!

1. Our dishwasher died a week ago. 😩 I'm really missing it. Washing dishes by hand is no fun, and one of our pretty little plates was a casualty. The new dishwasher should arrive and get installed next week. Merry Christmas to me!

2. Two days ago I went to the doctor's office to get my ears cleaned out. 😄 I've always had excellent hearing, but I haven't been hearing as well out of my right ear since this past summer when it got all clogged up after going swimming (yet another reason I don't like to get my head wet at the pool or the beach!). It turns out that there was a ton of wax in there--they couldn't even see my eardrum! I'm good about cleaning out my ears because I can't stand the feel of ear wax, but evidently I'm not as good as I thought because I was inadvertently pushing the wax down farther. No more Q-tip ear cleaning for me! In the meantime, it's great to have cleaned out ears and to be able to hear well again! 👂 

3. I have a new favorite thing at Panera. Their chicken frontega sandwiches are so good! How did I not know about these until recently?? Probably because I was always ordering my other favorites, ha ha! For a long time the Green Goddess Cobb with Chicken salad was my absolute favorite (and I still love it), and then I discovered their Mediterranean Chicken warm grain bowls and those took over the number one spot for awhile, and now it's these delicious chicken frontega sandwiches. Panera has such good food, I love it! 

4. If you've read my blog for awhile then you know that I don't watch the Hallmark Channel anymore because I disagree with the moral ethics of a programming decision they made earlier this year that I felt betrayed their core audience of people with traditional Christian values (🙋) who have few other places to go anymore for wholesome entertainment that doesn't have things in it that we aren't comfortable seeing. I've thought a lot about this decision and whether or not it was an over-reaction, but I don't think it was, and I feel good about it.
Because of that, I'm really glad that for the past several years, I've saved my favorite Hallmark movies in the DVR, so I have a good selection of great-quality Hallmark Christmas movies to pick from from that were made before their disappointing decision. I'm loving it because I actually have the time to re-visit these old favorites since all of their new movies aren't competing for my attention anymore. I'd get overwhelmed trying to watch the new ones each year and never had time for my old favorites, which are much better than a lot of the new ones anyway. So that is one good thing that comes from an otherwise disappointing situation! #seethegood

5. I've been thinking about things to do to exorcise 2020, which was an overall awful year, and I say that as an eternal optimist. I decided to try something I've never done before but have heard about, a Native American tradition that I think is really cool. I bought a smudge stick and an abalone shell and I'm going to use it to clear my home and life of bad energy on the night of New Year's Eve. I don't know if there's anything to this but even if not, I like the symbolism of it. 

I'm done blogging for the year and am so glad to be all caught up and current with things on here. I plan to be back at it the first week of January. In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year! Good riddance to 2020! We'll see what kind of good/crazy/unpredictable things 2021 brings!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Christmasy Things

 In the fall I was called as the First Counselor in the Relief Society presidency in my ward. Last month the president sent us in the presidency some different quotes to consider using for Christmas gift bags that we were giving to all the women. These ones were my favorites and so I saved them on my phone, and now they're making their grand entrance onto my blog 😄. Want to guess which one we ended up using for the gift bags? 

They're all President Monson quotes. He of course had a lot of great ones.

If you guessed the second one, you guessed right. They're all nice but that's the one we all liked best. It was fun to deliver the gift bags to women in the ward. Our secretary Laurie is a super-talented seamstress and she made a cute Christmas-themed mask for everyone. She gave me a few extras and they're my favorite masks to wear because they fit perfectly, and they're really comfortable and cute. 

This is one of my favorite things to do at Christmastime. I did it last night, and I plan on doing it again tonight!


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

November 2020 Randoms

In no particular order...

These were a delicious and delightful discovery to make! I just ordered more for my stocking. 😄 They're from a chocolate shop in Salem (yes, that Salem).

These chocolate mousse pumpkins are also really good! I wish Trader Joe's sold them year-round, but it's a very good thing for my health that they don't!

A pretty sunrise

Cute masks. There's an error here--the Tory Burch masks are $35 for a set of three, not five.

I read a magazine article about death, and thought this picture was kind of clever.

Speaking of which 😞, this paw print impression of Boo Boo's that was sent to me from the vet hospital is precious and I will treasure it always. I miss him so much.

I like moody, cloudy skies.

I think the not-very-much-talked-about epidemic of mothers who have a drinking problem is a serious issue for women and their families in this country. 
And I detest the phrase "mommy juice."

I'm incredibly thankful that the Word of Wisdom has saved me from this. For many reasons I could have easily fallen into this trap as a coping mechanism in my life. But I never have, and I never will.

Too pretty not to photograph 😍😋


Sam's class dressed up as M&Ms for a school thing. So simple and cute!

Speaking of Sam and sweet things, Sam made me the SWEETEST card! It means so much to me!

Public service announcement! Look for this starting tonight until Christmas! 

This alignment hasn't happened since the Middle Ages. The next one will be 2080 (I'll be 100!), and the next one after that? 2400!

This chicken pot pie turned out delicious.

Totally random but I like how my feet do this. 🤷

I took these pictures of my bookshelves for a gratitude post on Facebook.

The November Dishscape was so pretty, and I liked the sound of the running waterfall. Peaceful white noise is so nice to have on in the background.

I finally found a solution for the container-less hand soap and dish soap by the kitchen sink. I didn't like them just hanging out with nothing to contain them. Too much opportunity for mischief. 😆

I'd been looking for a pretty little silver wire basket for years to hold them, and you would think that wouldn't be very hard to find, but I never found one that would work. But I did come across a desk organizer at Homegoods that fit the bill perfectly!

This was even better than a silver wire basket! They are each perfectly contained! 🙌

I've been very pleased with this unconventional solution 👏

The success of my life is measured by checkmarks. I'm only half-joking! ✔✔✔
I also totally relate to this guy: "Routines help. A very clean house keeps me in a good mental space..."

This was unbelievable and definitely par for the course for 2020: we had an earthquake tremor in Massachusetts on a Sunday morning in November! I was downstairs near the kitchen and felt a rumble on top of the house. I went outside to see what it was because seriously, what could that have been? A few minutes later, the notifications popped up on my phone. I had never experienced this before! 

Bentwood and his taco bed. LOL

I went out to lunch at Stone's with Meredith and Sharalyn two days before Thanksgiving and got one of my favorite meals. The way they cook their salmon is sooo good!

This was in my town's police report. I think it's so funny!
Watch out for elderly women with pine sticks! 😂

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Our First Fake Christmas Tree

 I finally did it. I got a fake Christmas tree. I let go of my long-held "only real Christmas trees for us" philosophy, and I bought a 10-foot unlit tree from Balsam Hill in August (I chose unlit because I read that it can be a pain if one of the bulbs goes on a pre-lit tree, plus it would be nice to continue to switch between colored and white lights every year, although I'd be happy with white lights only, but other members of the family prefer colored lights, so we compromise by switching off. Wow, that was a long parenthetical!). 

I had a feeling that it would be a good idea to have a fake tree this year, and I turned out to be right. If you'll recall, I had my suspicions last Christmas that this might be the year to finally get a fake tree (if you don't recall, that post is here). 

So anyway, onto the tree. It came in three huge boxes. This is one of the the boxes:

I chose a Vermont White Spruce. It looks very similar to the Frasier Firs that have always been my favorite type of Christmas tree. 

The tree wasn't nearly as tricky or as time-consuming to set up as I thought it would be. The directions were well-written. First I got all of the parts out of the boxes and laid them out.

Then Sam helped me to start assembling from the bottom up. He's a good helper for things like this. 

The most time-consuming part was having to fluff out all of the branches. I liked that Balsam Hill sent two pairs of gloves so that our fingers wouldn't get pricked while we did that. That saved us a lot of "ouches"! The directions said that in future years you won't have to "fluff" as much as you had to the first time. Thank goodness for that!

About two-thirds of the way done. We joked about leaving it like that. But common sense and good taste prevailed. 😁


It has a nice shape, doesn't it? It looked even better once we fluffed it out more, strung up the lights, hung the ornaments, and put the tree skirt around the bottom. Pictures of the finished product are coming next month (I bet you can hardly wait!). But this was how it looked when November ended. 

I really like that with a fake tree you can put it up whenever you want, which lets you get an earlier start on decking the halls for Christmas while still keeping your Thanksgiving and fall decorations up. I also appreciated avoiding the hassle of getting a tree loaded onto the car, then off the car, then into the house, then set up in the stand, with lots of needles falling off in the process, and then having to remember to water it every day. I don't miss those things. But I do miss the lovely pine scent that would fill the house (I've been using candles, but it's not the same!), and I miss the simple magic of having a live Christmas tree in the house. But this is nice too. And it's way more convenient and efficient. I like it so much that I may end up using this tree every year instead of only using it as a back-up. Either way, fake or live, we'll have a beautiful Christmas tree in our home. And that's all that really matters!