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I’m in the middle of setting up my blog here on this new site. Have patience with me please 🙂

Winter Fun List

 

~Make this recipe for mac ‘n’ cheese

~Homemade hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows

~Go ice skating

~Game days

~Puzzles

~Make a snowflake garland

~Make a snow globe on a pedestal

~Get a Chick-fil-a peppermint milkshake

~Watch the Winter Olympics (I’d totally forgot that was this year)

~Make and collect snowmen decorations

2017 Reading in Review

I read around 100 books. 89 new to me, 2 partial reads, and 12 re-reads. I feel like I may be off by one, but this is close enough.

My Goodreads Year in Books has me at 101 books (I know I didn’t list some re-reads and removed a book that was local) and 27,766 pages. My shortest books was 32 pages and longest was 894 (pages are suspect because they include more that just the story and page numbers vary by publisher).

Now for the challenges: I didn’t make many of them. I’m okay with that as I feel that I learned quite a bit this year. I read some excellent nonfiction, learned that tons of terrible nonfiction exists, learned to put down books that are silly or repetitive, etc. Also, some of these goals are a bit superficial and the books are ones I could read or re-read any year.

See my 2018 goals here.

Corinne’s Outdo Yourself Book Challenge
I’m aiming for On Fire: 11-15 more books, or 4,000+ more pages. When I originally set this challenge I thought that I’d read 52 books last year, but I think I added my re-reads in later and now Goodreads shows 78. I still think that I could beat that if I work steadily. I beat that total with new reads alone.

Adventures of Reading Challenge
Level: Wrangler, 10-12 Books
1. A book of Tennyson’s Poetry
2. Confident Pluralism
3. Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry
(this is part of my US history self-ed course; I need to get back on track)
4. Hemingway novel
5. Henry James novel
6. Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution
7. Mill on the Floss
8. At the Altar
9. The Golden Road
10. In the Teeth of the Evidence
11. The Wimsey Papers
12. Striding Folly

Elyssa Nalani’s Grown Up Reading Challenge
~A book about world history: A History of Israel
~A book about an invention
~A book about personal development Reading People
~A book about relationships
~A book about business
~A book about art
~A book about religion/theology
~A book about personal finance The Behavior Gap
~A book about current events: The Tolerance of Intolerance; Prisoners of Geography; The Vanishing American Adult
~A book you were supposed to read in high school but didn’t
~A book about science
~A book of poetry Idylls of the King and a Selection of Poems
~A book originally written in a different language Uncle Vanya
~A book more than 100 years old: The Time Machine and several others
~A play
~A book that won the Pulitzer Prize
~A classic Dombey and Son, Cheaper by the Dozen, Uncle Vanya
~A banned book
~A book about food Paris, My Sweet
~An autobiography, biography or memoir: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus; Hillbilly Elegy, Night

Modern Mrs. Darcy
Reading for Growth Challenge
~A Newbery Award winner or Honor book
~A book in translation: Night
~A book over 600 pages: Basic Economics; Slave Counterpoint; A History of Israel; Dombey and Son
~A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection Idylls of the King and a Selection of Poems
~A book of any genre that addresses current events: The Tolerance of Intolerance; Prisoners of Geography; The Vanishing American Adult
~An immigrant story
~A book published before you were born: Barnaby Rudge and so many others, I would hazard a guess at half?
~3 Books by the same author: Blood Feud; The Capricorn Bracelet; and Flame Colored Taffeta by Rosemary Sutcliff
~A book by an #ownvoices or #diverse books author: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus; Night
~A book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending We Have Always Lived in the Castle
~A book nominated for an award in 2017
~A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award Winner: Mornings on Horseback

Travel the World in Books Challenge
I want to focus mainly on reading histories of these regions, but if I can manage a few works of fiction, I’d like to do that as well. I’d also like to read some geography and culture books as well. If I do reviews, I will try to link them.
~Africa
~Canada The Golden Road
~Continental Europe, East Uncle Vanya
~Continental Europe, West The Thief Lord, Night
~East Asia
~Middle East and Israel: Israel: A History by Martin Gilbert
~Russia Uncle Vanya
~South America The Bridge of San Luis Rey, All Roads Lead to Austen
Bonus: The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA

My Re-Reading Possibilities
~The Jane Austen novels
(excluding Emma which I read last December)
~Much Ado About Nothing
~To Have and To Hold
~The Tale of Two Cities
~Book of Walter Scott’s Poetry
~Ivanhoe
~The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Elusive Pimpernel, and El Dorado
~Aunt Jane’s Hero
~Evelina
~The Book Thief
~The Screwtape Letters
~The Silmarillion

~Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost

New Year’s Tag and Links

New Years Tag

What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
Drove downtown.

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make one this year?
I had four general goals which I wrote down and don’t have access to at this moment. I doubt I reached them.

What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
Maturity.

What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory?
Well, it should be my sister’s wedding, but apparently I started going senile in 2017.

What was the best month?
December.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Paying off a massive amount of debt.

What was your biggest failure?
Not taking CLEP tests.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Paying off said debt.

What was an unexpected surprise? 
A pay raise before I even started the job.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having a job for more of it.

How did you spend Christmas?
With my family.

How are you spending New Year’s?
In FLORIDA!!!!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:
Sometimes the best thing is to dismiss/ignore/stop people/events/books etc. who/that are stupid/mean/out of my control. That is a re-learn in some respects.

Compared to this time last year, are you: 
Happier or sadder? Happier.
Thinner or fatter? Probably about the same.
Richer or poorer? Richer

Five things I want to do in 2018:
Be a financial adult
Be healthier
Travel outside the U.S.
Significantly develop my talents
Learn things I’m weak in (math and languages)

What kept you sane?
Optimism and my family.

Did you move anywhere? 
Ha, no we are low moving family.

What countries/states did you visit? 
Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida (some of these of drive through or quickie).

Where did most of your money go?
Paying down debt.

What was the best thing you bought? 
New clothes and shoes? Brand new books? I couldn’t really make significant purchases this year.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
No, I’ve never suffered even a mildly serious injury, and I rarely get sick.

What did you want and get?
Lots of things from my gift list.

What did you want and not get?
So many things.

Did you fall in love in 2017?
No.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
27 and see here.

Did anyone close to you give birth or get pregnant?
No births but lots of babies in 2018; three family babies and one friends (so far).

Did anyone close to you get married?
My sister got married in April. Her wedding took up the first third of the year (she had a rather short engagement).

Did anyone close to you die? 
No.

Who was the best new person you met?
I didn’t really meet anyone new.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Stagnant.

What was the best book you read?
Economics in One Lesson, Basic Economics, The Vanishing American Adult, and The Intolerance of Tolerance.

What were your favorite books of this year?
The top-rated fiction books (that were new to me) on my Goodreads are Blood Feud, The Golden Road, The Nick of Time, and Daddy Long-Legs.

What was your favorite TV show?
I try find any new-to-me ones because I’m not a T.V. person.

What were your favorite films of this year?
A bunch of Hallmark ones like Love Blossoms and Summer Villa.

What was the best concert you’ve been to this year?
I don’t like concerts.

What song/album will always remind you of 2017?
None.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don’t have any.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Do you notice I’m lacking in the music category?

Productivity

Your Year in Review

Try this 12 month challenge or this one.

A Year of Sweaters. I really would like to try something like this, but for me, it would be more specific, like the year of cardigans. I’m not sure how much pullovers are my style.

 

Christmas Celebrations and Gifts

Christmas Eve’s Eve
My brother and sister-in-law asked us to let us do Christmas with them early, so they could be with her family on Christmas. We had a huge dinner and exchanged some of our gifts. Mom and Dad and my grandparents gave them their gifts, and we did our sibling gift exchange. My brother drew me (but as is often the case with married couples, lol), his wife picked out the gifts from my list.

 

Christmas Eve
We have an extended family gathering and potluck with my mom’s family. We have a family wide gift exchange for which we draw names on Thanksgiving (I got my grandfather and gave him seeds for his garden), a $1 stocking drawing (you contribute a $1 gift for the stocking of your sex and your name is entered in the drawing for the full stocking of goodies), and a $5 gift exchange (you contribute a $5 gift for your sex, the gifts are numbered, and then we draw numbers) plus the adults buy gifts for all the kids (which used to take forever, but thankfully there are not that many kids plus several weren’t there).

I drew Musicalmiss’s $5 gift; she hand-painted glass Christmas ornaments. Then Travelgirl had drawn me for the main drawing, and she got me two of the Barnes and Noble Leather bound classics from my list (!!!!!!). We had a packed Christmas season plus sick people, so only two of those at home and one married couple made it to this gathering; everyone else either didn’t enter the drawings or received their gifts after we came home. We didn’t have meringue trees, truffles, or peppermint fudge, but I did get some cake pops!

Christmas Day
My grandparents didn’t come this year. We had our family stockings and gift exchange and ate our cinnamon rolls (Dad tried Once Upon a Chef’s recipe; I wanted him to only try the dough, but he tried filling and icing as well; I definitely prefer the old Miserly Moms version on those two things).

All of us girls had Hallmark movies in our stockings. Musicalmiss got The Best Christmas Party Ever, Flowerchild got The Nine Lives of Christmas, and Babysister got The Lost Valentine (I think; it is not Christmas and isn’t one I’ve seen).

 

We then headed to my grandparents where Travelgirl and her husband joined us for lunch and gift exchanging. My grandmother got me the madeleine pan off my list.

 

Beginning Christmas

Time for Christmas posts.

A Literary Christmas Wrap Up
~Annika’s Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis
~Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. Tolkein
~A Merry Christmas, and Other Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott
~Stories Behind the Best-loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins
~Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: a Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp

Yeah, I finished all of two books. I switched to my Alcott collection which had far more stories, but I only got through the first few. I only finished one story in the Christmas carols book. I opted not to read the Voskamp book. The books I finished are kids books, but they are darling, and illustrated books are part of Christmas growing up. I should have pulled out some of the ones I grew up on. I wish I had a total list of the ones I grew up with because I am not sure we saved them all.

A Christmas Bucket List

 

I didn’t complete these all, and I fudged on a few (this year I was making gifts [I didn’t finish them all; I still have those plus really late birthday gifts to sew] plus we had an extra Christmas celebration because of conflicting in-law events plus we left for vacation the third day after Christmas).

I completed
~Listen to New Christmas Music (my Bing Crosby C.D.; I had meant new to me groups or songs)
~Mail a Christmas Card or Two
~Create a Christmas notebook (this is still and was meant to be a work in progess; I need to add helps to prepare for next year)
~Watch a Christmas Classic (White Christmas; I had meant a new to me movie)
~Bake Bread from My German Baking Book (A Christmas Star; my pan wasn’t big enough because I used all the dough, so mine looks like a starfish)
~Bake Cookies from My German Baking Book (lebkuchen which is German gingerbread and has honey instead of molasses, white instead of brown sugar, and a tad more spice and more types of spices; see color difference below)
~Read a Christmas Poem
~A Photoshoot of Luna in a stocking (I tried; I was trying to keep her still, the photo focused, and yeah . . .)
~Christmas clean room and pack (well, it is neat, but I didn’t have time to vacuum before we left because I was sewing the morning of for the trip)
~Build a Gingerbread House (a graham cracker house at a friends; I made gingerbread dough for a house, and I amended my plans to build it there and then further amended the plan by making the dough into cookies. I had great fun though because I thought my castle was fun and easy and satisfying. The hostess had bowls of thick royal icing to spread on. Works MUCH better than tubes)
~Decorate for Christmas (I mainly decorated the neat section of my room; one half bookcase plus I hung a little bell wreath on my door)
~Buy or Make a Christmas Outfit (I really meant Christmas Eve; I wore a new gorgeous teal dress I bought from Thred-Up; one day I’ll have that dream dress made)
~Make a Christmas Craft (I’m going to count the calligraphy and stamped place names I made for my grandmother’s Christmas party)
~Participate in a Christmas blog event (I sort of participated in the Literary Christmas event)

Touches of Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

Best of Hallmark

I’m still of the opinion that lately Hallmark has put more effort into their year round movies, but I did enjoy a few this year. The last two are my favorites; the very last is classic favorite quality, I think.
Christmas Getaway
The Christmas Cottage
A Gift to Remember
With Love, Christmas
Christmas Next Door

Christmas and Winter Questionnaire Day Six: Winter

I borrowed questions and ideas from: here, here, and here.

~Winter Dislikes
When I’m too cold, having to drive in the dark, scary icy roads, ugly “green” Christmas type landscape.

~Winter Likes
The changing seasons, Christmas, Coziness, Fleece onsies, Movie nights, Winter foods.

~Do you like playing in the snow or enjoying it from the window?
Usually, enjoying it from the window, I should try sledding once in awhile.

~Any books you prefer to read in Winter?
I can’t think of any, but I should make some selections.

~When do you start getting excited about spring?
I’m usually ready for it when it is officially spring.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Winter
~Winter Dislikes
~Winter Likes
~Do you like playing in the snow or enjoying it from the window?
~Any books you prefer to read in Winter?
~When do you start getting excited about spring?

Christmas and Winter Questionnaire Day Five: Celebrations

I borrowed questions and ideas from: here, here, and here.

Christmas Eve
~Do you have a celebration?
Yes, we go over to my mom’s extended family for supper and gift exchanges.

~Do you open gifts?
Yes. We draw a name at Thanksgiving. We also have a $1 gift for the stocking of our sex, and a $5 gift for the gift exchange of our sex. The kids get gifts from everyone.

Christmas Day
~Have you ever had a White Christmas?
Yes, but not recently. We used to get more snow in December, but recently it has snowed a bit before Christmas and then tons in January and February.

~Christmas pajamas?
No, but Mom bought us fluffy onesies one Christmas recently, and we all wore them to Christmas lunch and supper at my grandmother’s.

~What are your Christmas morning traditions?
Dad makes home-made cinnamon rolls, and we dig into our stockings and open our gifts from our parents. For the last few years, we wait for my grandparents to come because my grandmother wanted to watch us open gifts, and she also gives gifts to her “grand-animals.”

~Do you travel for Christmas?
No, our family is local.

~Do you stay home or visit on Christmas Day?
We start at home and then move to my grandparents’ house (which is less than half an hour away) for lunch and supper.

New Year’s Eve
~Celebrations?
We usually have an open house for my parents’ church. Originally it was on New Year’s Eve until someone encountered a car driving the wrong way on the interstate then we changed it to New Year’s Day. The program involves smoked pork, home-made doughnuts, a ping-pong tournament, board games, too many people, noise, and it is not a good tradition. It needs serious modification. But we are going to be gone this year, so we don’t have to have it.

~Resolutions?
Haha. I like drawing them up anyway, and making grand plans.

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If you want to join in:

Celebrations
Christmas Eve
~Do you have a celebration?
~Do you open gifts?
Christmas Day
~Have a White Christmas?
~Christmas pajamas?
~Christmas morning
~Travel?
~Visiting?
New Year’s Eve
~Celebrations?
~Resolutions?

Christmas and Winter Questionnaire Day Four: Gifting

I borrowed questions and ideas from: here, here, and here.

~Do you truly prefer giving or receiving?
I love getting gifts that I like best, yes. I do enjoy giving to people I like to buy for, people that I can give good gifts too. I don’t enjoy it for people who are hard, who buy everything for themselves already, or who I don’t know very well. I don’t like being stressed about it.

~When do you buy gifts, early or last minute?
Unfortunately, I seem to always be late which it makes it less fun. I need to get better, so I can enjoy Christmas better.

~Are you a brilliant, adequate, or terrible present wrapper?
Adequate, I’d love to get to brilliant (creative) at some point.

~What is the best gift you have ever received?
A custom made hope chest a few years back from my mom.

~What is your favorite gift you have given?
One that is upcoming, I think.

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If you would like to join in:
Gifting
~Do you truly prefer giving or receiving
~When do you buy gifts, early or last minute?
~Are you a brilliant, adequate, or terrible present wrapper
~What is the best gift you have ever received?
~What is your favorite gift you have given?

Christmas and Winter Questionnaire Day Three: Favorites

I borrowed questions and ideas from: here, here, and here.

~Christmas movie: White Christmas

~Christmas story: So many, I need to see all our old Christmas stories. There is an adorable one about a snowman.

~Traditions: Our Christmas Eve and Day gatherings, watching as Hallmark as a family, etc.

~Christmas carol: I prefer the merrier sounding carols like “Here We Come A Wassailing”

~Christmas treats: Truffles, cake pops, meringue Christmas trees, gingerbread men, gingerbread, peppermint fudge, and cinnamon rolls.

~Favorite holiday drink: Hot chocolate. I would still like to try eggnog and wassail though.

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If you would like to join in:
Favorites

~Christmas movie:
~Christmas story:
~Traditions:
~Christmas carol:
~Christmas treats:
~Favorite holiday drink:

Christmas and Winter Questionnaire Day Two: Decorations

I borrowed questions and ideas from: here, here, and here.

~Real or fake tree
We have almost always had a fake tree. My dad doesn’t like the bother of a real tree. When I have my own family I want a real tree. Actually, I’d like to have a tiny tree in my room, but that hasn’t ever worked out yet.

~When do you decorate?
Usually shortly after Thanksgiving. This year I think it was a week after.

~Who decorates?
It used to be everyone, but now it is mostly Mom and the little girls. Certain of them have very specific tastes/styles/ideas.

~Do you decorate your room?
My room is usually in a state of disorder as far as design and organization goes, so most Christmas decorations either would not match or would be lost in the busyness, but I do have one neat half bookcase that I’ve decorated this year plus a adorable little bell wreath hanging on the doorknob outside my door.

~When do you take the tree down?
Usually shortly after Christmas.

~White or multi-colored lights
White all the way, definitely more elegant.

~Outside lights
We don’t have any, but I love a some white lights with candles in the windows and wreaths and garlands.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you want to participate:
Decorations
~Real or fake tree
~When do you decorate?
~Who decorates?
~Do you decorate your room?
~When do you take the tree down?
~White or multi-colored lights
~Outside lights

Christmas and Winter Questionnaire Day One: Beginning Christmas

I borrowed questions and ideas from: here, here, and here. I divided my list into 6 days.

~Do you send Christmas cards?
Sometimes, the pretty ones that come in sets, not the ones with family photos. I like getting those from friends who we’ve not seen in awhile, but I like sending the elegant artistic ones.
~When does Christmas start?
Well, my family starts with Hallmark right after Halloween. This year I didn’t start watching until after Thanksgiving. I’d prefer it to start in December and then end on the 12th day of Christmas January 6th. I think we have plenty of autumn holidays and few of winter, so there is no need to rush into and then rush out of Christmas.

~Do you have an advent calendar?
I outgrew our family one. The three youngest still attached the stuffed decorations on the fabric tree. I kind of did a Christmas activity countdown this year, but its a mix of that and a fun list, so I haven’t followed it exactly. I’d like to find or make one I can make into a tradition.
~What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?
All of them.
~What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
I’m not sure I’d really ever prefer to travel on a holiday, but perhaps after or before when people still have the decorations up. Some traditional village or city with lovely decorations maybe?
~What is your most memorable holiday moment?
Right now, I cannot really think of a moment. We had two memorable Christmases recently, once when my brother got engaged, three years ago, and then when he got married a few days before Christmas two years ago.
~What makes the holidays special for you?
Family, traditions, the sensory experience, Hallmark, gifts, I love the entire experience!!!!!
~How did you grow up thinking about Santa?
My dad is the Grinch, Scrooge, and the Christmas Corrector, and I don’t think Mom loved the Santa myth. We weren’t taught to believe in Santa, we just enjoyed the various Christmas stories. I never cared overmuch for Santa himself, I just loved all the stories about Christmas.
~Can you name all his reindeer?
Nope. Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blizen, Rudolph. Are there 13 with Rudolph or 11? I should look that up.
~Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

There is nothing wrong with “Happy Holidays,” except it is incredibly generic and boring. “Merry Christmas” is fun to say plus far more specific. And “merry” is quite expressive of Christmas specifically.

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Questions for day one if you want to participate:
Beginning Christmas
~Do you send Christmas cards?
~When does Christmas start?
~Do you have an advent calendar?
~What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?
~What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
~What is your most memorable holiday moment?
~What makes the holidays special for you?
~How did you grow up thinking about Santa?
~Can you name all his reindeer?