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Archive for January, 2021

Reviewing schedule from the week of 24-30 January.

Overall, managing my time this past week was a huge success. Creating a schedule helped me maximize my time at home more effectively. For the most part, I completed everything that I set out to accomplish for the week. Therefore, the next step is to review the schedule, make revisions (what worked and what didn’t), and repeat the scheduling process for the upcoming week.

Review

Instead of spending 19 hours on tasks or activities I wanted to engage in this week, I spent 25.5 hours. I ended up with an additional 7.75 hours than the week I tracked my time. How is this possible? Well, on Sunday (01/24), it took me 3 hours to write my blog post instead of 4.5 hours. I gained 2.5 hours because I did not travel to and from anywhere to run errands, go to the movies, or eat at a restaurant. In addition, I did not sleep as long over the weekend. I woke up at 4:45 a.m. on Sunday (01/24) and 4:50 a.m. on Saturday (01/30). Over the weekend that I tracked my time, I woke up at 6:40 a.m. on both mornings. This left me with 1.25 hours that were spent on other unscheduled tasks (paying bills, watering plants, putting away groceries, etc.), Trivia Crack, hanging out with family, or puttering around the house.

The only task that I failed to finish this week was decluttering my office. I decluttered for a total of 4 hours this week (3 hours on Sunday and 1 hour on Tuesday). I was unable to declutter on Wednesday afternoon because Andrew was using the office. I didn’t declutter yesterday because I used an extra hour to complete a scrapbook layout, and I used another hour to clean the hall bathroom that I was unable to clean on Thursday. With that being said, the office does look better than it did last Sunday.

I spent 8 hours on chores for the week. If I could not complete a housekeeping task, I moved it to another day. I didn’t get to vacuum/mop the master bedroom or bathroom on Monday because that time was used to pick up new glasses for Andrew and me. I lost 1/2 of an hour of scrapbooking on Tuesday evening because of cooking later than normal. I did add a second load of laundry on Wednesday. Since I arrived home a 1/2 hour later and had to clean up Sophie’s potty accident on Thursday, I did not have time to clean the hall bathroom (moved to Saturday). On Friday, I vacuumed all of the rooms, including the ones that were skipped on Monday. Barry, Sr. volunteered to grocery shop alone on Saturday which allowed me to clean both bathrooms, do laundry, and dust. Later that afternoon, Barry Sr. and I cooked a new recipe together which took 2 hours.

I devoted 4 additional hours to my blog (Thursday) and blogging course (Saturday), 6 hours watching television (mainly Sunday), and 30 extra minutes reading (Sunday and Monday). I also enjoyed two days scrapbooking (Tuesday and Saturday), attending RCIA (Wednesday), and eating dinner at Mrs. Billie’s house with my family (Friday).

Scrapbook layout for Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook

Revise

After reviewing this past week and looking at what worked and what didn’t work, it’s time to revise the weekly schedule. Honestly, there is not much to change for the upcoming week. Kelsi decided not to livestream on Twitch today since she and her family are celebrating her mom’s birthday, so that time was rescheduled to write out my Valentine’s Day cards. I kept my daily routine, the housekeeping schedule, my course/blogging/writing schedule, and my self-care schedule the same. However, instead of scrapbooking on Tuesday evening, I will attend a virtual Improv hangout with my group from Anubis Improv. This allows me to scrapbook twice a month and participate in Improv twice a month. Tomorrow is the first day of February and the first day of the Musical Movie Marathon that Kelsi and I will be participating in throughout the month of February. I have scheduled my first musical for tomorrow evening.

As for decluttering the office, I will work in there today if I have the time and energy. If not, I will chip away at it throughout the week. Andrew’s room is next on the decluttering list, so I’ve scheduled myself to finish the office no later than Saturday (02/06), so I can begin working on his room.

Weekly Schedule for 31 January – 06 February

Repeat

It’s time to approach the new week again with a plan (schedule), a sufficient amount of sleep, and a positive attitude. When something works well, repeat the process. Hopefully, scheduling my time weekly will be a routine that helps me invest my time better so that I can spend it effectively on the tasks and activities that will allow me to live my best life. I must remember to be flexible when something unexpected happens because tasks or activities can be adjusted and assigned to another day. I must remember to be open to opportunities, especially with family and friends, because connection with those you love is super important.


It amazes me that today is the last day of January. I’m off to a terrific start with focusing on my goals for the year. I’m excited about the blogging course, having more time to write, watching musicals in February, and my forthcoming break in two weeks. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, dear reader. Happiness!

“What you choose to dedicate your time to matters, not just for you but for all those who are affected by the withholding or the deliverance of your unique gifts.” ~ Debbie Ford

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Kelsi and I are at it again, dear reader. We have scheduled our first movie marathon of 2021 for the month of February, and we are watching musicals. Our Musical Movie Marathon was inspired by the zombie musical, Anna and the Apocalypse, which we both watched for our Christmas Horror Marathon. I have chosen seven musicals, and they are all about romantic love. Kelsi, on the other hand, has chosen twenty musicals with random themes and two musical television episodes from two of her favorites shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Scrubs. As we have done for our other movie marathons, we will have a chat afterwards to discuss our likes, dislikes, the music, and much more. Our marathon begins this Monday, 01 February. Consider joining us, dear reader. We’d love to know which musicals you choose to watch in February. Happiness! 

“Men are rats, listen to me, they’re fleas on rats, worse than that, they’re amoebas on fleas on rats. I mean, they’re too low for even the dogs to bite. The only man a girl can depend on is her daddy.” ~ Frenchy, Grease

 

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According to my time log for the week of 11 January, I have 19 extra hours to invest in worthwhile endeavors. How will I fill those extra hours? First, I made the decision to break up this year into quarters. Next, I looked at my 21 for 2021 list and chose seven items that I want to work on for the remainder of this quarter (January-March). 

  • #1 Manage time.
  • #4 Eat more vegetables.
  • #6 Declutter and organize each room in my house.
  • #8 One NO spend month.
  • #11 Read Atomic Habits by James Clear.
  • #14 Take a WordPress Blogging Course.
  • #20 Scrapbook at least two times per month.

As part of my goal to manage time, I created a few realistic schedules that include the four areas (health, home, happiness as it relates to my career, and hobbies) that I am focusing on this year. The schedules include a daily routine, a housekeeping schedule, a decluttering schedule, a course/blogging/writing schedule, and a self-care schedule.

My daily routine has already been established; however, I’ve incorporated my daily challenges for this year within my daily routine. Therefore, #Read21in21 will take place in the morning, Walk 20 for 2021 will take place in the afternoon/evening, and writing in my gratitude journal will take place in the evening as part of my evening routine. Ideally, I’d like to post my daily Instagram photo in the morning. 

My housekeeping schedule has me completing certain tasks on specific days. Like many people, I don’t want to spend my entire weekend cleaning my house. In addition to the tasks that have been scheduled, I will load/unload the dishwasher, clean/wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters, and straighten up daily. Of course, there is some flexibility with this schedule. We did laundry (sheets and clothes) yesterday since Barry went grocery shopping on Friday, so no laundry for me today which means more time in another area.

My decluttering schedule has been organized by the month according to what is planned in our lives at that time. My goal is to declutter and organize each room in my house. Therefore, I will focus on the office for the remainder of January. I have assigned today, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday of this week to complete this room.

February will include Andrew’s room which will take no time at all since he keeps his room pleasantly clean and organized. There are some items in his closet that need to be removed, minor paint touch ups that need to be done, and artwork to be hung. Our spare room has inadvertently become a room to store stuff. This was Andrew’s bedroom when Barry, Jr. lived at home. It still houses much of Andrew’s stuff, some of Barry, Jr.’s stuff, and general stuff that has not found a permanent home in the house. Thus, we are devoting February and March to the spare room. Both my hubby and I are off for a week in February, so we are clearing everything out in February, so that we can paint and install crown moulding in March. March will also include the bathroom and hall that connects Andrew’s room and the spare room. Ambitious, I agree, dear reader, but totally necessary.  

My course/blogging/writing schedule will focus on my blog which will include both Thursdays and Sundays to write, edit, revise, and publish posts. Saturdays from 6:30-8:30 in the morning is when I have scheduled time to work on the WordPress Blogging course that I registered for back in December. I may also use Thursdays to work on the course if I am not working on anything specific for my blog. Even though I have been blogging for 10 years, I want to learn more about blogging and try to take my blog to the next level. 

Right now, my self-care schedule mainly includes getting enough sleep, writing in my gratitude journal, praying, and including time for my hobbies (reading and scrapbooking). I have scrapbooking time scheduled for Tuesday and Saturday of this week. My goal is to alternate scrapbooking with my improv hangouts on Tuesday evenings. Since, there is only one more Tuesday left in January, I’ve added Saturday to scrapbook, so I can meet my goal of scrapbooking twice per month. 

Of course, my schedule is also comprised of weekly commitments. I watch Kelsi’s livestream on Twitch on Sunday afternoons (2pm) and Thursday evenings (8pm). I attend RCIA meetings on Wednesday evenings with Mr. Mike (Shelly’s stepdad) who I am sponsoring to become Catholic at the Easter Vigil in April. My family and I have dinner with Mrs. Billie, my mother-in-law, every Friday. Now on Tuesday evenings, I will either be improvising or scrapbooking. In addition to the items or activities I have scheduled, I do write a daily to-do list to take care of tasks that need to be completed day-to-day, such as paying bills, errands, filling out forms, etc. 

I’m super excited about everything I have scheduled for this week, dear reader. So excited that I woke up at 4:45 this morning and got started right away on this blog post. I love having a plan, and I love accomplishing my goals even more. Everything I want to do this year is laying the groundwork to be my best self which I can accomplish by making the time to focus on the four areas that I have chosen with intention for this year. Naturally, unexpected situations will crop up, opportunities will present themselves, and movie marathons with Kelsi are inevitable; howbeit, schedules can be adjusted to accommodate the unanticipated or serendipitous. Happiness!

Puar helping me with my weekly schedule.

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”                  ~ Bruce Lee

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Last week, I participated in Laura Vanderkam’s Time-Tracking Challenge. It was perfect timing since “manage time” is one of my goals for this year (#1 on my 21 for 2021 list). Participating in the challenge has given me a snapshot of how I spent my time for one week. Analyzing my time-tracking log from last week has given me a good idea of how many hours I realistically have to pursue worthwhile activities after time is spent on life’s major responsibilities and daily routines.

There are several methods to track time; however, I prefer recording my time with paper and pencil, so I used my planner. My week started out with 168 hours on Monday 11 January at 4:30 in the morning. Two categories that took up a huge chunk of my time were work (instructional coach at a PreK2-8th school) and sleep. 43.5 hours were spent at work, and 55.5 hours were spent sleeping (or trying to sleep). This left me with 69 hours for other tasks or activities, some more necessary than others.

So, how did I spend the remaining 69 hours of my week?

  • Morning Routine (M-F): 10.25 hours 

My morning routine consists of pet care for two dogs and a cat, personal care for myself, making coffee, preparing and eating breakfast, preparing my lunch, unloading the dishwasher, cutting up Andrew’s strawberries, and posting on FB (while eating breakfast). Sometimes, I may transfer a load of laundry that washed overnight into the dryer.

  • Travel to and from work (M-F): 3.25 hours
  • Travel to and from other places: 2.5 hours
  • Afternoon Routine (M-F): 2.5 hours (pet care for dogs and cat, unpacking lunch box and school bag)
  • Chores: 2.25 hours (cooking dinner twice, loading dishwasher, laundry)
  • Walk (20 for 2021 Challenge): 2.5 hours
  • Read (#Read21in21 Challenge): 3 hours
  • Journal and Instagram Post: 1 hour 

The walking and reading challenges, writing in my gratitude journal, and posting on Instagram are daily practices established for this year to increase happiness in my life.

  • RCIA: 2 hours (Wednesday evenings; includes travel time)
  • Meals: 5.5 hours (dinner M-F; lunch/dinner on Saturday and Sunday)
  • Evening Routine (M-F): 3.5 hours (shower; take dogs out before bed)
  • Blog: 4.5 hours (Sunday-write, edit, revise, publish)
  • TV Shows/Movies: 6 hours
  • Twitch: 1.25 hours (Kelsi’s livestream on Sunday)

As a result, 37 hours were spent on life responsibilities, 5.75 hours were spent traveling, and 7.25 hours were spent watching television shows, movies, or Twitch for a total of 50 hours.

I still had 19 hours left over in my weekly bank of hours which I spent playing games (Trivia Crack or Words with Friends), scrolling through social media (mainly FB), texting, phone calls, email, time-tracking, or puttering around the house. I did spend a little more than usual time on FB and texting this week because my birthday was on Monday, and I wanted to read and respond to all of my wonderful birthday wishes. I spent 3 hours on Monday evening on email, text, and Facebook. On Tuesday, I spent an additional hour or so on FB and texting. I definitely do NOT feel badly about spending my time this way because it was a huge happiness boost to receive so many kind messages, and it was a terrific way to start the week.

Additionally, there were some moments during the week that were spent doing things that only took a minute or two. Going through the mail, writing a check, writing a message in a birthday card, or reading an article sent by a friend were all worthy of my time and may not take up much time in and of itself, but all together, the time adds up. Quite often, I squeezed these little tasks in between major tasks. These little tasks end up in my “puttering around the house” category.

What’s next? The second step is to determine what areas I want to focus on for the remainder of the first quarter of this year. Once I have determined which goals I want to tackle using my extra time, I will create schedules to help me stay on track and accomplish those goals. I’m a planner; however, I’m also flexible so that if an opportunity to spend time with family or friends arises, I will adjust my schedule to take advantage of that special time.

Of course, dear reader, this is just one week out of many weeks. Every week looks a little differently, but every week generally has extra time that can be spent doing something that is important to me. Personally, I think it is beneficial to occasionally track time in order to evaluate if I’m spending my time well and spending it on activities that bring me joy. In fact, in January of 2018, I wrote and published a blog post or two about me time-tracking. For myself, time-tracking is worth the time, especially when it leads to a more enriching life. Happiness!

“When we know where the time goes, then we do take more ownership of it … and we can celebrate the things that are working and change the things that aren’t.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

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Happy Birthday to Me! My birthday was this past Monday (11 January), and I’m officially 52 years old. I do not feel it mentally or physically although I’m sure I look it. No matter, because I’m happy and grateful to be alive another day and can celebrate another year of life. Despite my special day being brutally cold (thankfully, no carpool duty) and having to work, it was a terrific birthday. I received cards from my fabulous co-workers, a gift and card from my fantastic roommate Julia, and lunch was provided for me by two of my fab friends who work in the school library, Kathryn and Debbie. Throughout the day, I received numerous happy birthday messages, texts, and emails. I even received cards in the mail.

When I arrived home from work later in the afternoon, I had a Desert Beauty plant (succulents and cacti) and a card waiting for me from my sweet friend Denise. Andrew and I had our regular take-out dinner Monday evening from Kirin (sushi for me and ramen for him). My gift from Andrew was a book that I have been wanting by Mary Higgins Clark called Piece of My Heart. (Barry, Jr. is getting me Spellbound by Estée Lauder, my favorite perfume.) I relaxed for the remainder of the evening, reading and responding to birthday wishes. I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the day of my birth. However, since my birthday fell on a Monday, and my hubby was out of town, my birthday celebration extended into this weekend.

I requested that Barry take me to the movies and then dinner afterwards at a new restaurant. Yesterday, he and I went to the afternoon screening of Wonder Woman 1984. While it was not as good as Wonder Woman, the first movie in the franchise featuring Gal Gadot, Barry and I still enjoyed it. After the movie, we went to dinner. Originally, I wanted to try One Thirteen in Hammond. Unfortunately, we did not make our reservations soon enough to dine inside, and neither one of us had the desire to dine outside in the cold. Therefore, we did a little research and ended up dining at Paolo’s Restaurant and Wine Bar located on East Pine Street in Ponchatoula. Paolo’s features northern Italian cuisine. This is my first new restaurant of the year (#18 on my 21 for 2021 list). What an excellent choice! A terrific atmosphere, a friendly and experienced restaurant staff, and delicious food made for a wonderful dining experience.

Our waitress for the evening was Haylee. Since it was our first visit, I asked her for recommendations before I ordered anything, and everything she recommended was AWESOME. I wanted a birthday cocktail and couldn’t decide between the Blood Orange Cosmopolitan and the Moscow Mule. Haylee recommended the Blood Orange Cosmopolitan which contains Vodka, Blood Orange Liqueur, Cranberry Juice, Triple Sec, and Fresh Lime Juice. Yummy! Barry ordered a Bud Light. Barry and I skipped an appetizer, so that we could save room for dessert. I ordered one of the specials for the evening, Grilled Atlantic Salmon over braised brussels sprouts, and Barry ordered the Blue Crab Ravioli. Both of our entrées were scrumptious. Of course, we had to try each other’s entrée. Finally, to end a perfect evening, we ordered the Crème Brûlée which we shared. It was heavenly! Furthermore, since we were celebrating my birthday, our dessert was complimentary which made it even sweeter.

In Other News

I am still tracking my time for the week. Weekends are also tracked even though they look differently from the rest of the week, Monday through Friday. My week technically ends at 4:30 tomorrow morning (Monday, 18 January). I will analyze my time log to see what it reveals and share my findings with you, dear reader. I have already started jotting down some ideas of how I am going to divvy up my time based on the first few days of my log. I have to be realistic.

Also, the room in my house that I am focusing on this month is my office. Andrew and I share this room. I use it to write/blog, and he uses it for school work. The office has furniture in place and one framed print hung up closest to the door. The goal is to clear out the piles of paperwork on top of my desk and in a couple of boxes under my desk. I also have a box of memorabilia that needs to find a home in my house. Eventually, I will hang a bulletin board in this room and possibly a white board. The ultimate goal is to declutter and organize each room in my house by the end of the year (#6 on my 21 for 2021 list).

There is not much else to share at this point, dear reader. I’m grateful to have tomorrow off (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). Andrew and I both have eye appointments with a new eye doctor in Ponchatoula. In the meantime, I will enjoy the rest of today which includes catching a live stream of Kelsi on Twitch at 2:00 this afternoon. I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend. Happiness!

Be happy and enjoy your sacred time on earth.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

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Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

We are ten days into 2021, and I’m getting into the groove of the new year. Managing time is where my FOCUS is for the month of January. It is also the first item on my 21 for 2021 list. Since I struggle with time management, I am always open to trying new strategies to help me in this area. How can I be a better time manager? The first step is tracking my time to learn how I am actually spending my time. Beginning tomorrow, 11 January, I will track my time for one week to see exactly how I am spending my 168 hours. I have done this a few times since reading Laura Vanderkam’s book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. It seems after tracking my time for a week or two, I can recommit myself to my goals and projects. I’m hoping it will help me focus on the four areas of my life (health, home, happiness-career, hobbies) that I want to improve this year.

According to Laura Vanderkam, there will be 8,760 hours in 2021. That’s a great deal of time to spend living a meaningful life over the course of the year. I hope you are off to a good start, dear reader. Enjoy the remainder of the weekend. Happiness!

“Time passes whether we think about how we’re spending it or not. So it’s very easy to spend time mindlessly. We also develop stories about our lives that may or may not be true. When we know where the time truly goes, we can make wise choices about it.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

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For Catholics, the Christmas season officially ends tomorrow, 10 January, with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, thus marking the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. With that being said, it is time for me to reflect on the festive activities that I participated in throughout the Christmas season, mainly during the month of December. I had a jovial time watching Christmas movies, reading Christmas stories, consuming a mirthful beverage, and so much more as I celebrated the delightful season of Christmas.

As I mentioned in previous posts, dear reader, Christmas is not my favorite holiday; however, creating a Christmas Fun List helped me enjoy the joyous season with good cheer. Kelsi also created a fun list. Similar to Halloween, our lists consisted of movies (horror and classic), books, accessories, treats, and extras. Since we incorporated a Christmas Horror movie marathon and a Christmas Classics movie marathon as part of our fun lists, Kelsi and I had TWO Christmas chats. Again, Kelsi is the mastermind behind the technical aspects of our conversations and does an awesome job of hosting our chat and creating the finished product. I’ve included our Christmas Retrospective in this post.

Without delay, here are my thoughts on how I spent the Christmas season.

Movies

I selected 24 movies, 12 Christmas Horror and 12 Christmas Classics. What an insane amount of movies for me to view in a month! I decided to complete my Christmas Horror Marathon prior to starting my Christmas Classics Marathon. To read more about the Christmas Horror movies that I watched, to listen to the song I wrote about the Twelve Days of Christmas Horror, and to check out my conversation with Kelsi discussing the Christmas Horror movies, please visit my post “The Gift of Christmas Horror” which includes all three components. Unlike a few of the movies on my Christmas Horror list which I didn’t like very much, I loved all the movies chosen on my Christmas Classics list. The movies are ranked in the order of how much I liked them and the stars represent my rating.

My top six movies all received 5 STARS from me. I have seen all six of these films numerous times over the years. My absolute favorite is Love Actually. It is a fantastic romantic comedy full of wonderful characters whose lives intersect while navigating through the chaos caused by love and loss during the Christmas season. I watch Elf every year. It never gets old, and Will Ferrell is hilarious! Next up is How the Grinch Stole Christmas with the brilliant Jim Carrey as the Grinch. The 2009 version of A Christmas Carol is beautifully animated and terrifically terrifying in all the right places.

I had not seen Home Alone in several years, so it was a real treat to revisit. Andrew and I watched it together, and I laughed hysterically throughout the entire movie, especially at the shenanigans of the Wet Bandits. The Polar Express is another visual delight. I’m a fan of the author, Chris Van Allsburg, who wrote and illustrated this beautiful story. I love how well the film captured the heartwarming message of the book.

Out of the remaining six movies on my list, three of them were new watches. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a marvelously magical musical that gave me a holiday happiness boost. The young actress Madalen Mills who portrays Journey is pure delight. I hope to see her in other productions in the near future. Klaus is an amazing animated breath of fresh air with a heartfelt message and a new spin on the legend of Santa Claus. It is not a musical, but it has a lovely soundtrack. And, Rashida Jones, alum of The Office and Parks and Recreation, is the voice of Alva.

My third new watch, He Sees You When You’re Sleeping is an enjoyable movie-of-the week based on a mystery novel by Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark. I’m a fan of both authors. In fact, I’ve been reading Mary Higgins Clark since I was 18 years old. This movie isn’t exactly a Christmas movie, but it takes place during the Christmas season. The acting isn’t stellar and there are some cheesy scenes, but it does have a decent plot. As for the final three movies, which were all rewatches, it was lovely to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. My favorite scene is when all of the children are dancing on stage. Of course, Snoopy steals the show with his endless imagination and sense of humor. It has been over 20 years since I’ve seen The Muppet Christmas Carol. Luckily, I was able to see it with my hubby in the theatre. It is a lovely musical starring the talented Michael Caine as Scrooge alongside the fabulous Muppets. Last but not least, A Christmas Story. I know I have seen this movie quite a few times and in recent years; however, there were many scenes I did not remember, so I’m guessing I had it playing in the background while engaged in other activities. It’s not my favorite, but it has plenty of entertaining moments that make it worth the watch.

Books/Short Stories

I picked out two books to read throughout the month, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Santa’s Twin written by Dean Koontz and illustrated by Phil Parks. Even though I have seen a variety of cinematic versions of A Christmas Carol over the course of my lifetime, I have never read the classic novella. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a superb piece of literature that I highly recommend to everyone. Santa’s Twin is another equally enjoyable read. It is a beautifully illustrated picture book with an endearing story featuring two charming and spunky little girls.

Initially, I was only planning to read those two books. Shortly after I finished them, I read four more terrific books. Two of them are picture books, The Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg and The Animals’ Santa written and illustrated by Jan Brett. One of them is a splendid children’s lit selection that features a debonair mouse, Merry Christmas, Geronimo. The final one is an anthology, Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus edited by Kate Wolford. I think anyone who is a fan of Krampus will enjoy this collection.

Thematic Potpourri

Besides watching both creepy and classic Christmas movies and reading holly and some not so jolly stories, there were several other thematic activities that I engaged in throughout the month. I wore a pair of Christmas socks a few times during the month. Every day at work, I wore different Christmas pins. Although I did not buy a Christmas sweater (the only item on my fun list I did not complete), I bought a Christmas mask to wear at work. I sent out Christmas cards to family and friends which included flying wish paper. Kelsi and I both included flying wish paper demonstrations in our chat.

I made a sweet and salty Christmas treat. It is super easy to make and only requires three ingredients (a bag of Snyder’s Snaps Pretzels, a bag of Hershey’s Hugs, and a bag of red and green M&M’s). I used my toaster oven and set it for about 275 degrees. Put a piece of aluminum foil on a pan (you can also do it without aluminum foil). Place pretzels on the pan first. Place a Hershey’s Hug on each pretzel. Put the pan in the oven for two minutes to make the Hug soft. Take it out the oven after two minutes and press an M&M on each Hug. I carefully take the aluminum foil with the treats and place it in the refrigerator to harden. Voila! You can basically make this treat anytime and for any holiday just by changing the colors of the M&M’s.

On Christmas evening, my hubby and I went over to Shelly and Kerry’s house for our annual Christmas visit. We generally have a glass of wine or a cocktail and enjoy leftovers from lunch. What a perfect time to try a Christmas cocktail! Kerry, who is our designated bartender, mixed the Grinch Cocktail for us. Instead of using Ginger Ale, he used Sprite. He also did not get the simple syrup or the green/red sanding sugar to decorate the rim of the glass. It was a yummy cocktail that I would definitely drink again. Afterwards, we enjoyed a glass of 19 Crimes Cali Red, featuring Snoop Dogg. With that, my Christmas Fun List is complete!

December was an amazingly merry month thanks to having a Christmas Fun list. Seeing Christmas decorations lit up in the evenings when I’d drive through the subdivision, reading thematic stories, and watching both creepy and classic Christmas movies added so much joy to my life. I will definitely be doing this again next year although with fewer movies on my list. What did you do to celebrate the Christmas season? I hope you will take a look at my conversation with Kelsi, dear reader. We’d love to get some feedback on our conversation and what we might consider for next year. Happiness!

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ~ Dr. Seuss

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Happy New Year! It feels wonderful welcoming in a new year after living through a year of disappointment, turmoil, and unpredictability. While there were aspects of 2020 that I am grateful for, I am happy with moving on from that chapter of my life and currently focusing on the next chapter with the anticipation of new opportunities to learn, grow, and increase my joy factor.

FOCUS is my word for 2021. I’m choosing to focus on my health, my home, my happiness as it relates to my career (focusing on creating a new career I have wanted for many years), and my hobbies. My 21 for 2021 list will FOCUS on these four areas.

Kat’s 21 for 2021 List

  1. Manage time.
  2. Maintain a regular fitness regimen.
  3. Create weekly meal plans.
  4. Eat more vegetables.
  5. Try intermittent fasting for one month (Clean & Lean).
  6. Declutter and organize each room in my house.
  7. Write a will.
  8. Try one NO spend month.
  9. Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.
  10. Complete The Four Tendencies course (Gretchen Rubin).
  11. Read Atomic Habits by James Clear.
  12. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
  13. Create a vision board.
  14. Take a WordPress Blogging course.
  15. Take a WordPress Podcasting course.
  16. Purchase podcasting equipment.
  17. Complete Write a Bestseller course (Jeff Goins).
  18. Try 12 new restaurants (one per month).
  19. Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow.
  20. Scrapbook at least two times per month.
  21. Learn how to use my Cricut Maker.

During the month of January, I will focus on managing my time. I want to establish a better daily routine, create schedules for decluttering, housekeeping, working on my courses, and self care, as well as continuing to participate in improv and RCIA. Essentially, I want to use my weekly 168 hours more effectively. I also want to try to break down the remaining 20 items on my list into the four quarters of the year to make accomplishing them more manageable. Naturally, several of my items are designed to run throughout the entire course of the year which is also totally fine. I’m excited about all the possibilities this new year has to offer and look forward to the journey through 2021.

Other Plans for 2021:

  1. On Goodreads, I joined the 2021 Reading Challenge, and my goal is to read 50 books again this year. 
  2. I am participating in Gretchen Rubin’s #Read21for21 challenge. Basically, you read for 21 minutes every day in 2021. While I do read a great deal, I don’t necessarily read for pleasure every day. I’ve also decided to read specific books during my daily 21 minutes to see how many books I read throughout the year just in that daily timeframe. According to Gretchen Rubin, “If you read for 21 minutes per day for 365 days, that’s 7,665 minutes, or almost 128 hours of reading. You can read a lot of books in 128 hours!” 
  3. This year, I also plan to keep a TA-DA list for 2021. Many times I accomplish goals that are not included on my list, and I should be celebrating those accomplishments, too. 
  4. Hopefully, I will be attending my annual scrapbooking convention with my gal pals in June. We didn’t get to attend last year because of the pandemic, so I REALLY hope and pray we can get together this summer. 

What do you have planned in 2021, dear reader? Have you made some resolutions or a 21 for 2021 list? If you could choose a one-word theme for this year, what word would you choose? Let me know what your plans are for 2021. Happiness!

“Focus is the key to accomplish what is necessary – easy word to spell, it contains only five letters but it is probably one of the most powerful words there are in order to move forward with confidence and with the expected results.” ~ Bryan Pulsifer

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