• Daily Life

    Productivity: Use Your Calendars

    I was listening to one of the earlier episodes of Not Overthinking where Ali mentions knowledge exposure and how for him and many others certain things seem obvious, but some people haven’t heard or don’t think about them. One of his examples was Thomas Frank’s productivity course which was based on this process and one of the examples was using a calendar.

    This reminded me how I really don’t use mine and also highlighted the ridiculousness of my not having phone and laptop calendar synced (I’m not an Apple user at all currently, and I never had only Apple products with the calendars and such automatically synced). I also, in the middle of our densest birthday month, realized I really need to put all birthdays and anniversary dates in my calendar.

    I used this tutorial to get my Google Calendar in my Outlook calendar.

    I used this tutorial to get my Outlook calendar in my Google calendar.

    I then had to check the calendar box in my Google calendar on my phone so that the Outlook items showed up. Once everything synced, I think put all my family birthdays and anniversaries along with the year of birth/marriage in with an annually recurring event. How simple and smooth. And I don’t have to ask stupid questions about dates I should have memorized.

    I wrote this months ago, I’ve not done a very good job at looking at my calendar with any regularity. I still rely a lot on my memory. I need to work on this in the new year. Its usually around this time that I start making New Year Plans, actually often earlier.

  • Daily Life

    Christmas Countdown Activities 2020: Week 2

    Sunday, December 6
    • Started decorating my tree and room.
    • Pinterest failed on the orange slice garland.
    Monday, December 7
    • Listened to Bing Crosby’s Christmas on the way to work.
    • Watched Hallmark’s A Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas.
    Tuesday, December 8
    • Started rewatching Hallmark’s With Love, Christmas.
    • Finished cleaning and decorating my room.
    Wednesday, December 9
    • Listened to some Christmas songs. Not really in the mood for that. Just needed something Christmassy for the day.
    Thursday, December 10
    • Listened to some Christmas music.
    • Watched Hallmark’s USS Christmas.
    • Rewatched a Hallmark fav, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
    Friday, December 11
    • Listened to some carols. A bit of the struggle during the week to do Christmas stuff if we don’t watch a Hallmark. I’m looking forward to getting my Christmas books from the library.
    Saturday, December 12
    • We did our family gingerbread decorating via Facebook messenger. I’m going to attempt to build mine today (I’m finishing the post Sunday the 13th). We’ll see, its a bit fragile.
    • Watched Hallmark’s A Little Christmas Charm.
    • Finished rewatching Hallmark’s With Love, Christmas.
    • Watched Hallmark’s Christmas Ring.


  • Daily Life

    12 Delights of Christmas Tag

    I was tagged by Ivy for this tag. Bring on the Christmas people!

    1) A favorite Christmas tradition?

    There are so many. I think just all of them, we usually go to Christmas Eve with extended family 🙁 Then do those still at home Christmas morning and then our whole family and grandparents.

    I also love vegetating and watching Hallmark with Mom many nights

    2) Say it snowed at your domicile, would you prefer to go out or stay curled up inside?

    Inside, but it might be nice to step out and enjoy the beauty and take photos for a bit.

    3) Tea or hot chocolate?

    Hot chocolate, I’d like to try old fashioned hot chocolate this year, with real bars of chocolate.

    4) Favorite Christmas colors (i.e. white, blue, silver, red and green etc)?

    I have red and green with touches of gold and cream. My grandmother did her tree a few years with whites, pearls golds, and silvers which I loved. I’d also kind of wanted a blush and rose gold this year, maybe next year. Don’t like a blue theme.

    5) Favorite kind of Christmas cookie?

    Mom does a cookie exchange, I can’t remember all the cookies we’ve gotten, not all of them traditional. I love gingerbread and Mom has made a chocolate cookie with hugs on top, I think mint hugs. I do like traditional sugar cookies as well.

    Aside from the cookie exchange of recent years, we are more of a fudge, peppermint patties, buckeyes, and truffles group for Christmas.

    6) How soon before Christmas do you decorate (more specifically, when does your tree go up)?

    I don’t like rushing Christmas, it definitely has to be after Thanksgiving. This year, the first week of December, last year I couldn’t budget it in until later. I will also leave it up until after the tradition 12 days of Christmas.

    7) Three favorite traditional Christmas carols?

    I need to research all Christmas music, I’m sure I’m missing old favorites, but music is not my thing, and I’m not really in the mood. I listen to podcasts all the time at work, and I just feel like I have noise overload, noise pollution, per an old post, I like

    “Carol of the Bells”

    “Sing We Now of Christmas”

    “Do You Here What I Hear”

    “Angels from the Realms of Glory”

    “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

    8) A favorite Christmas song (i.e. something you might hear on the radio)?

    See above about my attitude, nerves. “Here We Come A-Wassailing.” This I like because it is sung in Little Women (1994). I like the David Archuleta and Celtic Women version.

    “Ding Dong Merrily on High.” Also because of Little Women (1994).

    “Last Christmas” The Brit Nicole version.

    9) A favorite Christmas movie?

    This is hard. I’ve not seen all the classics, but the favorite classic I’ve seen is White Christmas. We also watch Narnia. For Hallmark, we have several favorites. I’m going to do a post about those soon.

    10) Have you ever gone caroling?

    Yes, mandatorily years ago at nursing homes for church.

    11) Ice skating, sledding, skiing, or snow boarding?

    Ice skating. I’d love to get my own skates and take lessons, I’ve been meaning to for awhile.

    12) Favorite Christmas feast dish?

    Thanksgiving is more of our feasting, Christmas is lighter with more emphasis on the desserts. We usually have ham, last year we had hors d’oeuvres as a meal both for Christmas Eve and Christmas. I love this! We always have deviled eggs.

  • Daily Life

    Christmas Countdown Activities 2020: Week 1

    Since if one wants a unique or really just any advent calendar, one must start looking in SEPTEMBER and since I haven’t scored a sort of choose your own adventure from a thrift store (my mom has found a lovely sort of advent calendar cabinet, and I’ve seen a too expensive log house version, still hoping for a reasonably priced gem), I decided that doing a Christmassy activity every day was the way to go.

    Tuesday, December 1
    • Watched Hallmark’s Christmas Waltz
    Wednesday, December 2
    • Watched Hallmark’s If Only I Had Christmas
    Thursday, December 3
    • Wrapped Christmas presents
    • Put away Fall decor
    • Helped  decorate our family tree (I think it’s one of, if not the prettiest, we didn’t overkill on the decorations and the colors were more cohesive, also it’s a new faux tree that is super realistic looking)
    • Watched Hallmark’s Holiday Engagement
    Friday, December 4
    • Bought my little real tree!
    • More Hallmark
    Saturday, December 5
    • Watched I’ll Be Home for Christmas on Disney+(they have quite a few Christmas movies to choose from). Its funny how you can have 90’s nostalgia without having seen the actual 90’s movie itself.


  • Daily Life

    Life Lately

    I had Thursday and Friday off for a four day Thanksgiving weekend, and I spent most of it watching Friends in bed and at least 4 Hallmark movies with Mom.

    I’ve never been out for Black Friday, I don’t like normal Saturday shopping, so I didn’t miss anything this year. I did some online Black Friday shopping, but I get analysis paralysis, and I think I missed the best tech deals which I still think are on Black Friday online, not Cyber Monday when I actually ordered my new laptop. Oh, well. Hopefully I will remember that in future. It’s hard to balance what sites have better Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, what sites just make it a four day sale, etc. I did (after some bumps) manage to buy a vacuum 55% off! Yay for being an adult where vacuums are important (fyi, I’m Monica in Friends).

    Those were the main two things, hopefully January will have good sales too since I still need and want more for my apartment. Oh, yeah, I’m on the list for an apartment, hopefully mid January-February. Anyway, I also bought some Christmas and belated birthday gifts. I’m getting a couch from my brother that his family no longer needs, so I bought some fabric to cover it. I also bought some Kitchen knives (Victorinox, didn’t know they made cooking, knives but they were reasonably priced, and rated highly), I’ve got a knife class on Craftsy that I started watching ages ago, and I’m determined to only have a minimal amount of quality knives (chef, paring, bread and steak), not a block full plus more. That is way too many.

    I also got myself an Ancestry membership again as well as an Ancestry DNA health upgrade, I just think that would be useful to know. We know some issues, but I don’t know what is DNA and what is external factors. Genes and my poor health choices are starting to show up in me, I think I need another kick in the pants.

    Christmas Eve is normally extended family, and we won’t be doing that either. But I’m determined to be as Christmassy as possible this month. Since I forget that you have to order advent calendars in like SEPTEMBER, I decided that my countdown will be doing Christmas stuff every day. And not only Hallmark Christmas stuff either.


  • Daily Life

    Thanksgiving 2020

    So, I meant to post a Thanksgiving post with photos of what I made, but clearly I just stuffed my face instead. We opted not to do the extended family Thanksgiving, so we all divided up our favorite dishes to make ourselves (its usually a potluck). I made my usual dish (cranberry conserve, super easy) along with my favorite missing extended family dish (broccoli casserole, except I did the Ree Drummon version sans the manufactured cheese, note, taste and salt, mine didn’t have enough but still was awesome).

    I also made Pumpkin cake pop truffles, successfully. Last year I didn’t realize our shortening was rancid (I know, I know) and made icing and mixed it in without tasting it until after I’d mixed it in my pumpkin bread (taste, woman, taste your concoctions, sense a pattern?!). This year I decided to buy a can of icing instead, so it was pumpkin bread crumbled and mixed with icing, this dough was made into balls and frozen and dipped in chocolate. Notes for next time, make balls smaller and earlier so that that are solidly frozen and make sure you have enough chocolate and cream in it to really dip rather than smear over. Regardless, these were a hit.

    Pumpkin and spices are a divine combination. Except in pie, anyone else love almost everything traditionally pumpkin, except pie? Bread, muffins, cake pops, scones, pancakes, not pie. Not ice cream either, have you tasted that, its so wrong. Not gross, just wrong.

    Anyway, we had Thanksgiving food all weekend along with the various leftover dishes one makes with the leftovers, such as Turkey rollups (stovetop stuffing, turkey, and sausage in flour tortillas, I just ate the filling), cranberry/turkey sandwiches (there is a name for these, but I don’t like them), and cream of turkey noodle soup. I had the soup for work Monday, I think almost everything was gone by then. We didn’t have extra mashed potatoes, but one of my sister’s did from earlier and she brought mashed potato quiches.

    I think started an HBO max trial to watch the Friends Thanksgiving episode which led to me just basically watching Friends all weekend.

    Let’s end with Trey Kennedy’s version of Thanksgiving 2020.  Be thankful your thanksgiving is NOT like this.

  • Daily Life

    Information Minimalism

    This is tied to digital minimalism, information excess flows into digital excess.

    Too much info, period, plus saving things for reading later. I need to realize that like Sherlock, I can’t store everything. I also don’t need to access everything. And re-accessing, maintaining, and organizing are not a great use of my time. I spend more time doing that than creating. Actually my creating is taking a deep dive anyway.
    • To many emails, daily. I think I’ve managed to cut my emails down considerably. And have a better archiving process in place. I’m trying to unsubscribe from marketing emails once I’ve received the discount. I also have a habit of emailing myself something I want to read later, This is often useful, but again, so much information from so many sources, I can’t be interested and keep track of it all, and I often leave items in inbox as a reminder so I don’t forget rather than acting on things immediately, so I still end up with a lot by the weekend, but a much smaller load that before I did a big unsub effort. Still could use work.
    • Blogs. I miss having more high quality blogs, I have many favorites, but I wish there were more. I think I need to unfollow some that I don’t really read much and then continually reevaluate. And then there are my drafts, which I’m working on now. I think I had 80 something at the beginning of this year, and I had 40 something this week which I’m working on.
    • Youtube. I really had to pare down people I follow on youtube, I was wasting sooo much time. I put many on an overflow list in Pinterest so I don’t forget them. I still feel like I watch too many.
    • Instagram. I like Instagram, but I still waste to much time on it. I delete it off my phone for weekdays although I still get on it on my computer sometimes, need to work on that. I also need to unfollow lots more people, esp. the impersonal big accounts.
    • Facebook. I got back on FB after I think like 5 years. I wanted access to marketplace. I did however, immediately unfollow a lot of people who post a lot. I think I also need to delete from phone.
    • Pinterest. I do find Pinterest useful as a visual search engine, but I don’t think I need to curate more pins, but rather look at those I have. I also find it useful to use Pinterest boards as planning boards and vision boards. Again, balance.
    • Bookmarks. I have many bookmark folders, some I do refer back to and others I could use more, but I think I need to delete some, brb. Oh, and again the “oh, I’ll read this later.” Yeah, either set aside a time, read it now, or delete.
    • Word. I have tons of scribbles in Word that I’d like to develop into blog posts or move to Evernote.
    • Evernote. I’ve managed to minimize and empty all my sticky notes. I’m trying to really only use Evernote. To keep all my thoughts and potential blog posts, etc. in Evernote. I then need to make the time from scribbling them to publishing in blog post shorter.
    • Other apps. I like the deleting until needed concept. I think I need to do this more strictly.
  • Daily Life

    Oldest Vs Youngest in Homeschooled Families

    There are some things in the homeschool world that seem to be the opposite in the rest of the world.

    I think I may have mentioned before, but the naive oldest homeschool child cluelessness phenomenon. I feel like it’s usually the oldest public schooled kid telling the younger sibling about stuff. Not with us. Pretty sure my younger siblings learned lots of stuff at a much younger age, possibly even before me (okay, maybe that is a stretch, the youngest is 12 years younger). Granted a few of them went to public highschool, but even the ones who didn’t. I think my parents started out stricter and then loosened up over the years, but I feel like its more than that.

    And then there is what we oldest children of many have called youngest child privilege. I know people at large mention the favored oldest child status (ha!). I think also that when there aren’t many kids in the family maybe the youngest don’t get as spoiled, but when there are, wow! And it’s not just our family we’ve noticed it in, we’ve seen it in other larger families as well. Any other homeschoolers notice this?

    I’m sure middle children everywhere bemoan their “forgotten” status and the oldest and youngest roll their eyes. Especially if as is the case, the strictness either decreased or increased, so the bookends perspectives would be, “oh, how sad you didn’t get in trouble as much and got away with more.”

  • Daily Life

    Autumnal Atmosphere and a Pumpkin Picking Saga

    Friday and Saturday had the overcast skies, the changing leaves, the wind that all feel so very fallish. We also had a bonfire on Friday night. Dad had been burning our burn piles all days, so we had hot coals by supper times to cook over. Most of my food was from the grill, but I had some mushrooms that were slow roasting over the fire. I also made the most perfect smore I’ve ever had, slow cooking my marshmallows until they were soft inside but not seared on the outside.

    With the smoke, the skies, and leaves blowing, we had a quintessentially autumn vibe going. Then we had a dogfight. Well, not everything can be perfect. Thankfully, the instigator is tiny and easy to grab.

    Tuesday we had sisters night (for which I made gingerbread and vanilla whipped cream) and watched Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Then Thursday we had a sibling night and watched Jumanji: The Next Level. I was screaming. I was not expecting it to be that funny which is the best way to go into something really. I need to watch the first one, I suppose I should also watch the original.

    Friday was the bonfire, and Saturday we went to the pumpkin patch and a tea. I made gingersnap cookies for the later. We went to the patch on the way to the tea, so I was all dolled up in a maroon sweater dress, fondly imagining that all I needed to do was wear mom’s garden boots (which incidentally matched my dress) and everything else would remain untouched . . .

    The funny thing is about pumpkins is that they grow in the dirt and you have to you know, carry them? Also, I fondly imagined a neat flat field of pumpkins with rows (I’ve gone pumpkin picking before, I think but it was years ago). Not sure why I assumed flat, everything is rolling around here. Also, we sat on hay bales on the ride to and from the field obviously which I also did not factor in. And I got three pumpkins. One of my sisters said that she wished one of them had extra arms to take a photo of my walking around that field carrying my three pumpkins in that dress.

    Because I found pumpkins then kept finding better ones. Then we all met up even further out in the field (patch doesn’t really give you the idea) to look over everyone’s and make final decisions. I brushed dirt off my front multiple times (thankfully it hadn’t rained yet and my dress fabric made it easy to brush the dirt off) and removed large stickies from my dresse (there where tall weeds in the less picked over/not at all picked over sections) as well as the almost invisible sticky splinter things that are on the pumpkin vines (probably because we were grabbing not quite ripe ones maybe?).

    I settled on this stack of three. The greenish grey lost its stalk after we got back to pay.

    Anyway, I tottered all the way back through the vines that had some slight paths with my three pumpkins looking amusing I’m sure. Pumpkins were $0.49 a pound, and I was trying to estimate how many pounds I had, envisioning paying $80 dollars and hoping not higher . . .

    Neither my math, my estimating, nor my physical strength are that great. I paid $14 dollars. I struggled to carry approximately 30 pounds (I know this because I just used a calculator, lol).

    After picking up some cider (for homemade apple cider doughnuts in the hopefully near future) and some of the farms cider doughnuts (can’t hold a candle to the homemade ones), we betook our windblown selves to the tea party. I thought I brushed all the dirt and such off. I forgot the hay on the back of my dress. Oh, well.

    We brought our own cups (mine matched my dress, I had great luck with matching that day). There were pumpkin and apple goodies, sandwiches, and fallish teas. I had vanilla. We visited our friends day old puppies and then went home. I was completely wiped out by 4:30 and went to bed at 9.

    Have I mentioned that I love Fall y’all?!!!!

    Also Trey Kennedy’s Girls During Fall video is up, and its funnier than ever, and he filmed it at a place that looked similar to the one we visited. I only did the pumpkin patch, but my mom had previously taken my niece to do that bouncy thing and ride a little train and stuff like that. I think they had animals somewhere too. There are clearly basic fall farms. And clearly I’m a basic fall girl  . . . just a frillier version who hates Starbucks.

    I had to take a detour through town and saw this perfectly eerie Victorian-ish Autumnal house.


  • Daily Life

    Currently and Covid-19

    I’ve told people, every other female in our family is a nurse: my grandmother and my mom were, my great-aunt who is my grandmother’s sister still is, two of mom’s cousins one of whom is now a nursing instructor, my sister, and now another sister is in nursing school. I and a few other female family members have had a least a temp job in some part of the medical world. So, right now, a lot of the family is immersed in covid-19 land without really knowing many/any people who’ve tested positive.

    I’m working at a newspaper office (the company owns multiple small local county papers and a few in various other states) in the accounting department. Fully DONE with the hysteria. I was half-crazy with it earlier. Then just disgusted with the irresponsibility and half-truths and absolute falsehoods and the hatred. Unable to understand why people choose to half-read distorted media reports rather than, oh, I don’t know go directly to the Center for Disease and Control, you know that massive organization of disease experts who are working to understand this disease? (Because where are the journalist getting their oh, so scientific info that is SO much better than a group devoted to the study of infectious disease? A special revelation from God?!!) And maybe a history book and maybe a book on vaccination. I feel like I was losing a grip on reality in listening to them. I can fact check all day, but crazy emotions feed crazy emotions. It was hard to reset my brain. Rant over.

    Sister 1. Biostatistics master working as temp under the university research department gathering data. Research switched to covid-19. Mentioned hearing throat test was equal in efficacy to those brain poking ones. Telling us that people who test positive are tested again and that 2nd test is counted, meaning they are double counted. Antibody tests of uncertain usefulness, not sure if that has improved.

    Sister 2. Hospital nurse. High levels of patient seriousness (I can’t remember term), hospital thinks its because they wait so long to come in out of covid-fear.

    Sister 4. Freshman nursing major. Started job administering tests for Sister 1’s research department. She has to wear a full surgical suit, n-95, and that shield helmet thing. Working downtown, fill in details.

  • Daily Life

    Parent Names and Have Grandparents Always Spoiled Grandchildren?

    I remember reading a book about English customs and they mentioned upper class people used the terms Mummy and Daddy, and I was like, as opposed to babies? Like is it used longer among upper class people or something?

    It seems most kids here in this generation would start out with Mama and Dada then move to Mommy and Daddy, then to Mom and Dad. Occasionally I new people who used Mama and Papa, but I don’t know if that lasted beyond childhood. I think in one of our family’s friends family where the dad from the Dominican republic, they called him Papi but not always, I think.

    In more southern states/rural areas, Momma (definitely a Southern spelling) and Daddy seem to be a pairing, into adulthood at least among my parents and grandparents generations. Like my mom calls her parents Mom and Dad, but sometimes she’ll say Daddy, but never Mommy (can’t imagine my grandmother ever being called Mommy, she’s definitely matriarchal).

    Similarly, her mom, Mamau to me, and her sisters refer to her mom as Mom or Mother, and her dad as Dad or Daddy (in conversation, neither are living). I think it does have something to do with the women in our family being rather less sweet oftentimes, certainly my great-grandmother wasn’t sweet. Daddy is softer, to the more gentle parent.

    I think part of the reason parents have fewer versions of names is that grandparents names can also be a form of endearment or be “softer” names, for you know, the sources of more spoiling. But that again, I think is perhaps a newer thing, I don’t think my parents or grandparents were spoiled by their grandparents. I know my grandmother remembers one of her sisters being a favorite of her grandmother and so she determined to not pick favorites with her grandchildren.

    But we were still expected to behave, it was just a whole lot easier under the circumstances to do so, you know, where you are sort of seen as wonderful beings as opposed to demonic ones. Of course, when I was talking about this subject my youngest sister mentioned she got spanked by my grandmother, a fact which I was thrilled to find out, as I felt it evened the balance of the oldest to youngest difference in treatment by our parents. I mean they did still spank her, but the difference in standards! But that is a whole other topic!