Oh my - January is already half way over! I've intended to come back here, with updates, but have been up to my eyebrows in New Year's stuff. So here's a run down of what I've been up to:

I got my Power Sheets filled out, to the point of yearly goals and also ones just for the month of January. My word for the year is Strong; my emphasis for the first half of the year is Stretch and for the month of January it's, appropriately enough, Begin!

Sometimes it's just hard to get started, isn't it?
  • I went back to using a Homemaking binder, with tabs for a weekly calendar, nest-tending, finances, goals, study/reading plan, connections, and creating. It took a lot of work to put it together, but I think I'm going to love having everything in one place. It certainly decluttered my kitchen countertop!
  • I made a new, super-simple menu plan, with a meal category for each day of the week; within those categories are a handful of recipes to cook. Ex: Monday is soup/salad/sandwich (minestrone, chili, potato, broccoli cheddar.) Tuesday is Mexican (tacos, enchiladas, burritos), Wednesday is Italian (spaghetti, manicotti, lasagna, alfredo), Thursday is comfort foods (BBQ, meatloaf, mac & cheese), Friday is fish, seafood or stir fry, Saturday is grill or go out and Sunday is pizza. I printed out one master menu, made a bunch of copies and put them in my Homemaking binder, so each week I can circle the choices, and make a grocery list from there. I'm thinking this is going to be easy peasy lemon squeezy. Cub Sweetheart isn't a very picky eater; he mostly appreciates it when I cook supper. I think all the cooking shows and websites have made cooking so over-complicated that a lot of women don't even cook anymore. For me, cooking at home not only saves money, it saves calories. It also makes going out to dinner more special if we go less often.
  • Cub Sweetheart realized he left his wool scarf in Texas where it's generally unnecessary, so I've got one on the sticks for him right now. It's a charcoal grey wool blend that should be warm and not too scratchy. I also have a new friend coming by tomorrow to learn to knit on circular needles. I believe her goal project is baby leg warmers, and what is there to NOT love about baby leg warmers?
  • We've got a ridiculous amount of snow up here in northern Idaho. How much snow? So much snow that they brought a front end loader and dump trucks into our neighborhood his past week, to haul some of it out. They 're out of room for piling it up! I walked Lily earlier this week, and looking at the thermometer in the window I saw that it was 24 degrees, and thought 'oh, not so bad.' Who have I become?! I'm purposely not looking at the weather down south, because what good would that do anyone? It's beautiful here, I love the sound of my boots on the snow-covered sidewalks, and the fields of snow surrounding us on all sides. That's what I'm focusing on right now. Also planning a trip to Petco to find boots for Lily. The snow has packed down and is hurting her teensy-tiny feet so our daily walks are on a hold til I find some for her! It's her happiest half hour of the day, so hopefully I can find some.
  • We've been seeing a lot of movies lately - do NOT go see Manchester by the Sea! Dark, depressing, glum. Great acting, but dark, depressing, glum. Not to even mention the language. I should have checked Plugged In before we bought tickets.
  • DO, however, go see Hidden Faces, about the three black women who played a part in NASA's space program - so inspiring! I also loved A Monster Calls. I read the book first, so I knew what to expect. The story was sad, but it was a beautiful movie. They changed the ending from the book, and rarely does it ever happen, but I thought the movie was better than the book. Cub Sweetheart is requesting that I go see La La Land with someone else, maybe my girls will be up for a night out.
  • I've been reading quite a bit too. I read A Man Called Ove in December and we're discussing it at book club this week. Read it! It's so wonderful I found Fredrik Backman's other two books and enjoyed them too. Ove was my favorite. BTW, there's apparently lots of discussion as to how the heck to say his name (Swedish). Here's what I found: BookBrowse note- In Swedish Ove is pronounced (approximately) Oover. The author has another book coming out this May, so I'm anxious to check that out.
  • By my bathtub is Everyday Weather and How it Works, a delightfully old book by Herman Schneider. (I decided to study General Science this year, in addition to Literature, Art and Music and improving my chess game.) I'm also reading Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer. Other choices stacked up on my nightstand are:
  1. Idiot's Guide to Chess
  2. Choosing to See, Mary Beth Chapman (Steven Curtis Chapman's wife - memoir)
  3. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead, fiction
  4. The Queen of Katwe, Tim Crothers non-fiction (I missed the movie at the theater)
  5. White Trash, Nancy Isenberg non-fiction
  6. The Rent Collector, Cameron Wright, fiction
  7. Letters for Emily, Cameron Wright, fiction
  8. Tattoos on the Heart, Gregory Boyle non-fiction about gangs and compassion
  9. Rules of Civility, Amor Towles, fiction
  • I finished the year reading Gentleman in Moscow by Towles - it was beyond wonderful. So much so that I had to grab his debut book, Rules of Civility which has received great reviews. My goal for the year is to read 50 books; that'll include a mish-mash of fiction and non-fiction, and books of study. I'd like to start out with a list of about 25 and 25 open slots for anything wonderful that pops up throughout the year. Any suggestions?
  • One of my other goals for the 2017 was to have adventures with Cub Sweetheart. In keeping with that, our Christmas gift to each other was a trip to Las Vegas the end of this month to see Celine Dion and Cirque du soleil. Should be a warm, fun few days away. We're beginning to talk about plans for later this year, and maybe, just maybe the Grand Canyon will make it on the trip list finally. Or a drive through the California wine country. Or heading up to Canada to see the Olympic National Park. So many wonderful places to consider going! Half of the fun is in the planning. Any suggestions as to where to go? Where has been your favorite place state-side to visit?
  • Our home in Texas got sheet rocked this past week, so things down south are at least progressing. For right now it looks like we'll be here in the frozen tundra of northern Idaho for much of the rest of winter, so we're settling in, enjoying the beauty of the season and drinking lots of tea and cocoa. 
Stay warm everyone!


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