Looks Like We Made It

It’s the last day of the year!   When we wake up tomorrow, we won’t magically be free of all the ails of this brutal year. However, I refuse to be anything but hopeful that 2021 is going to be better.

Around here, 2021 starts (supposedly) with a winter storm! And I’m excited about it. Maybe not excited about probably going to pick my son up from his friend’s house in it. However, looking back at this year, it started with a gorgeous (though windy) sunny day. I remember, I took a walk.  So if 2021 starts the opposite way, doesn’t that set the tone for the whole year being the complete opposite of 2020? I say it does! 

Reflecting on 2020

I find I usually spend the last couple days of the year reflecting on the previous one. Usually, in a bit of a bad mood as well. End of the year funk I call it. Any one else? Sometimes the whole year’s felt like the end of the year funk.

A few good things from the year and items from my 2020 list accomplished:

So many birds! And time to photograph them and simply enjoy watching them at my feeders.

I more than surpassed my reading goal for the year. Set it at a lofty 72 books and read 102! No comment on the quality of some of them. Still 102 books is something I’m rather proud of accomplishing.

Early on in the year (January, pre-pandemic?), I organized most of the kitchen cabinets. And my borrowed method of storing the storage containers with the lids on them continues to work well.

My husband and I took an October trip to Arkansas and stayed with friends in a gorgeous cabin. And I did something scary by riding on the ATV.

I’d like to think I (mostly) remembered to appreciate the small moments and focus on gratitude. Some days were better than others.

We all stayed healthy. Can’t even begin to express enough gratitude for that one.

And my husband and I stayed married. Sad year for a lot of marriages. Being together 24/7 is tough.

Heard this song at Walmart yesterday (Yes, *I* went there instead of Target on a calendar mission/might go again as they had actual cashiers!) and thought it applicable to the year.

Plans for the Last Day of the Year

No big party plans here unless you’re a teenager. And even that is a small annual gathering. A bit of hesitation but the child hardly ever asks and I trust the parent’s judgement. The rest of us, however, home. Might order take out from a restaurant, perhaps something fancy using the gift card my work gives me every birthday. Or maybe just junky food here.

Items on My To Do List For Today

  1. Fill out my new address book (a Christmas gift)
  2. Pay a few lingering bills (just something I’ve not felt like messing with)
  3. Clean the house
  4. Go pick up birdseed at Tractor Supply
  5. Take down rest of Christmas (except the Nativity) and put tubs away

More things really but they’re just little things that may or may not happen.

A Bit of Humor and a Reminder

Let’s hope this isn’t a bad moon rising! Pac-moon?

Starting in 2020, so um tomorrow, I’ll be posting all content on my new blog: Chit Chat With Jean.

If you subscribe here, I’d appreciate it if you’d follow me over there. I’ll probably post a link on here for a few days but it’ll save you time if you just switch over to my blog now (Only if you want, of course). Better moon pictures over there.

Happy New Year!





Happy Homemaker Monday, Goodbye 2020!

And don’t let the door hit you in the “behind” on the way out.  Obviously, 2020 was not the best year.

Of course, we were lucky in that overall 2020 was kind to us. We had our health and both kept working. We had our family and friends even if we didn’t get to see them as often as we wanted. While we did have some challenges, they were minor in comparison to those who weren’t treated as kindly by this year.

One of my list items for 2020 was to link up with Sandra from Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for every single Happy Homemaker Monday. Today’s the last one for the year. I think I missed one. Maybe next year I’ll manage to link up to every single one of them. I really appreciate her efforts in hosting the wonderful HHM blogging community every single Monday and do hope she’ll continue to do so in 2021.

The Weather 

Cold and partly cloudy this morning. Weird as always. 31 degrees right now, wintry mix expected tomorrow morning, and then we shoot back up to 42 degrees by tomorrow afternoon. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday show good chances of rain and/or snow. Much needed around here.

On The Breakfast Plate

Flip yogurt, coffee, vitamins. Then, my husband made blueberry muffins (from a box) so I also had one of those.

As I Look Outside My Window

I can see blue skies out the backdoor and too many squirrels. Stepped out and clapped my hands to make them leave my bird feeders alone for a bit. Worked for approximately 3 minutes. Researching squirrel proof bird feeders is on the list for the day. Can’t afford to feed both the birds and the 6 squirrels who empty out my bird feeders every single day.

As I Look Around The House

Christmas decorations are mostly done. I’ll leave the Nativity out until January 6. Today I’ll finish taking down the rest of the stuff, mainly the shower curtain in the bathroom and clearing the Christmas cards off the closet door although I did decide to leave the lighted greenery around the kitchen doorway.

What I’m Wearing Today

White short sleeved sweater (already spilled coffee on it so changing before I go out later), jeggings, tennis shoes.

On My To Do List

  1. Go pick up bird seed (and maybe a new bird feeder)
  2. Order or buy 2021 wall calendar somewhere (There’s a specific kind I want)
  3. Continue to clear out and put away Christmas decorations
  4. Take inventory of fridge/freezer/pantry
  5. Grocery store if needed (needed because I just remembered I’m out of milk)
  6. Work on blog
  7. Write a letter
  8. Decide whether to order J a school yearbook (figure out if I already did this)
  9. Go through December magazines (recycle day is tomorrow)
  10. Put some Christmas treats in the freezer (figure out what can freeze)

On My Reading Pile

Still reading the Lisa Gardner book series about Detective D.D. Warren. I’m currently reading Look for Me which is number 9. I started with book 10 and so I’m excited to get to book 11, a library hold I waited on and actually sent to the next person in line a few times so I could finish the rest of the series in order. My plan is to finish this series before the end of this year.

On My TV

After debating and researching a bit, I splurged on Christmas Eve and ordered us a year of Disney plus. I found for us the best deal was to simply pay for one full year upfront.

So, I’ve been watching all the Marvel movies in time line order.

On The Menu This Week

It’s that let’s clean out the fridge/pantry/freezer after the holidays week. Though we do this often enough, I’ll probably need to pick up a few things at the store.

MONDAY: Bacon and Turkey BLT’s (minus the t’s, out of tomatoes) and French Fries *J has his baritone lesson at 6:30*

TUESDAY: Spaghetti, garlic toast or buns of some sort, salad

WEDNESDAY: Leaning toward pork chops and asparagus (bought for Christmas but never prepared) *I have a hair appt at 9*

THURSDAY: New Year’s Eve! Honestly, I’m not sure what we’re doing. Maybe shrimp (in freezer) or take out from a restaurant?

FRIDAY: Black-eyed peas, ham, cornbread, salad. *HAPPY NEW YEAR!*

What 2020 Has Taught Me

I saw Sandra added this category just for today. Honestly, I struggled with how to answer it.

My first flippant thought: It taught me I like the store Tractor Supply. They’re nice in there and it’s easy to use their curbside pickup services.

However, I think as I give it more serious thought, this aggravating, annoying year has mostly taught me acceptance. Sometimes you just have to accept that it’s a “crap” (not the word in my head) year or that people aren’t as kind, thoughtful, smart, or considerate as you want them to be. I used to be fairly good at accepting people for who they were but veered away from that a bit. This year certainly reminded me I need to get back to that. I suppose in the end this year taught me to focus on serenity.

From The Camera

On My Prayer List

The entire world. To heal from this year (and maybe even past years) emotionally and physically. Rest, compassion, and kindness for all of us.

Quote For The Week

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)


Just a reminder, I plan to switch over and start using Chit Chat With Jean next week. If you subscribe to this blog, I’d appreciate it if you hopped over there to subscribe there. It’s still a bit of a work in progress but there is a place on the sidebar to subscribe.

What are your plans for this last week of 2020?


Weird Christmas Memories For 2020

What else would Christmas in 2020 be but weird? Right? It’s not that it wasn’t nice but it was certainly different this year. 

We were lucky to still celebrate with my husband’s family as I know many spent the holiday alone. However, we didn’t do our normal and I missed it! Usually, we host breakfast here in the morning and then, head over to my brother’s house for dinner in the afternoon. In 2019, we had everyone from my side here in the afternoon and I also enjoyed that.

This year, we hosted my husband’s family for dinner. Not sure I’d call it dinner as we had them over at 2:30. My husband smoked a brisket, ham, and a chicken (note: he didn’t think the brisket was big enough to feed everyone and I’d been griping about wanting ham for Christmas. We’ll freeze the leftovers today for future meals).  However, let’s talk about dinner later.


Perhaps I’ve threatened that next year we’ll be celebrating Festivus in lieu of Christmas.

I worked on Wednesday and the weather was warm enough early in the morning for us to take over excited preschool kids outdoors to run.  Exciting to point out an eagle flying overhead to a few of them. Not a common occurrence but I do see them fly over the playground once in a great while.

Late on Wednesday evening, I did grab J and insist he watch the Seinfeld episode with me. And I still wonder how Friends is so popular still when Seinfeld was so much better of a show. (Hope those aren’t fighting words, ha!)

Christmas Eve 

I woke up worried as my toes hurt and looked brownish. Turns out I’d stubbed my little toe on something (likely my husband’s unwrapped Christmas gifts, heavy tool organizers covered with blankets beside my bed) on the way to bed and cut my little toe. OUCH.

However, with shopping yet to do, I grabbed the antibiotic cream and a band aid, and went on my merry way. Usually, I love doing my last minute Christmas Eve shopping but between my toe and the pandemic stuff, not the most pleasant experience. And every store is so different, it’s annoying. A local store almost lost my business over their rudeness about me being too close to another customer. We’re talking I was being respectful in my distances and (unintentionally) perhaps an inch off my dot on the floor.

It simply didn’t feel like Christmas Eve. The boys still opened their pajamas and books. First year for the books to be random choices as opposed to Christmas themed books.

Nobody (except my husband) went to bed. I did fall asleep despite my best efforts during the Pope’s midnight mass. Woke up, then J and I made chocolate covered pretzels at two in the morning.

My husband decided to smoke the brisket overnight and woke up around 3 finding it cooking too fast. So Christmas (early) morning started with cursing on his part. We could’ve done it all in the morning. However, I couldn’t sleep until the stockings were stuffed and Christmas set up properly. 

Christmas Day

No family coming for breakfast so no need to get up early. Not sure when my husband got up or if he even went back to bed. I woke up around 8 (not enough sleep), J around 10, and we woke G up at 11 so we could do Christmas! 

Presents were a bit of hit and miss. Played some Christmas music on Amazon in the background and once my classical Charlie Brown Christmas ran out, and the random songs started, we heard this gem:

Those lyrics, oh my, though the musical tune is catchy.

I’ll just say getting a late start, doing Christmas at 11, and having family arriving at 2:30 is not enough time. Found myself a little stressed and out of time to do all the things we needed to do.

Our Christmas lunch/dinner/weird meal of the day: Smoked brisket, ham, chicken, smashed potatoes, hash-brown casserole (my sister in law brought this, I’d been craving it), chips, rolls (hamburger buns because my husband and I each thought the other bought rolls), deviled eggs (my other sister in law brought these), and a veggie tray.

Sides we were supposed to have but I ran out of time to prepare: asparagus and crunchy coleslaw. Also, a jello salad my mom used to make.

Desserts: my husband perfected making a French Silk pie and I threw together a pumpkin roll plus all the usual (too much of it!) Christmas cookies and candies. (I’ll admit my husband wanting to make a French Silk pie confused me as *I’m* the dessert person around here)

On a positive note, our cousin from Oklahoma did come up for Christmas this year. We hadn’t seen him since our aunt’s funeral in October of 2019. I’m glad he spent Christmas with family this year.

Boxing Day

We don’t celebrate this day but I needed a new heading title. I spent the day after Christmas taking down the tree and watching the Marvel movies in order on Disney plus. I made it Thor.


In some ways, I wished I’d left the tree up a bit longer as it just hasn’t really felt like Christmas this year. I’ll still leave out the Nativity until the Epiphany so maybe I’ll find some Christmas spirit yet and it’ll just be a bit late, like the Wiseman.

How was your Christmas?

Happy Homemaker Monday, Almost Christmas

Ah, the joys of procrastination. Christmas is just 4 days away? Are you ready? It’s Sunday afternoon as I type up this post and I assure you that I am not ready. Close? Yes. Ready? No.

In reality, I’m typing this up late Sunday afternoon so technically I have almost 5 days to go still.  Doing my post this afternoon as I work the first 3 days of this week. Then, it’s Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Not sure when I’ll link up with our host, Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom, probably late in the afternoon or possibly Tuesday depending on how the day goes.

The Weather

While it seems most of those east of us are covered in snow, it’s green and bright around here. To the point, I’m thinking I need to teach those preschool kiddos Mele Kalikimaka as the Christmas song of the week.

Just happens to be one of my favorite Christmas tunes.

It’s 50 degrees this afternoon, supposed to 58 tomorrow, then 60 on Tuesday, and back *down* to 57 for Wednesday. Cold again for the actual holiday days. Maybe a snowflake? More like a rain drop. However, you never know around here and even this Mele Kalikimaka fan wouldn’t mind a white Christmas.

On The Breakfast Plate

Probably yogurt and vitamins.

As I Look Outside My Window

Blue skies with a few clouds, birds happy at the bird feeders I just refilled for them.

As I Look Around The House

Cleaned up a little today but still needs a ton of work before we have my husband’s family (just 5 of them) over for Christmas dinner.

What I’m Wearing Today

Since I’m typing this up on Sunday, the answer is Chiefs red, of course! Red long sleeved layering shirt with red short sleeved tunic on top, jeggings, tennis shoes. Absolutely no idea what I’ll wear to work tomorrow.

On My To List

  1. Grocery store
  2. Birthday card for sister in law
  3. Work
  4. Finish up little Christmas details
  5. Have a Merry Christmas

On My Reading Pile

Still barreling through Lisa Gardner’s D.D. Warren series. Annoyed that the library randomly didn’t have book 6 in the series. And I’m too cheap to buy it on Amazon when I’m already paying for Kindle Unlimited (need to see better choices there and soon or I won’t be paying for that any longer). Finished up book 7, Fear Nothing, one of the better ones in the series.

Now, I’m reading another library hold book. Didn’t realize it was poetry but good to expand horizons. Halfway through How to Fly: In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons by Barbara Kingsolver.

On My TV

Slowed down a bit on the Christmas movies. However, I did fit one in last week and it was a good one! The Man Who Invented Christmas on Hulu is about Charles Dickens and his writing of A Christmas Carol. I thought it might be boring but it was not boring at all. I wanted to watch A Christmas Carol right after seeing it but I’m partial to the Alistair Sim version of the movie and couldn’t find it anywhere for free. (Note: I see now where I can rent it on Prime for 50 cents, putting it on the week’s agenda for sure!)

Not exactly a movie, I don’t think, but I also watched the Dr. Who Christmas special called The Snowmen. At some point, I’d purchased it from Amazon along with a couple of other Christmas specials I’ll probably watch this week.

The Kansas City Chiefs are currently on the TV but I’m doing my fan duty and not watching so they’ll win. (Insert eye roll from teenage muttering you people and your superstitions here)

On the Menu This Week

Always tough planning the menu on holiday weeks…especially when you need to go to the store still.

MONDAY: Quick and easy because I work until 4 & J has a lesson. *I work 8-4:30* *J has a baritone lesson at 6:30*

TUESDAY: Pizza (family birthday celebration but even if we don’t go, pizza doesn’t sound bad) *I work 8-4:30* *Family birthday?*

WEDNESDAY: Maybe pork chops? *I work 8-4:30*

THURSDAY: CHRISTMAS EVE Thinking soup and appetizers, something easy.

FRIDAY: CHRISTMAS. Menu picked by my husband, I’m still protesting a bit. Brisket, baked beans, smashed potatoes, rolls, chips, something green (I did VETO asparagus, way out of season!), maybe mac and cheese. French silk pie, standard Christmas cookies and candies. Just seems odd for Christmas but then again, this is nothing if not an odd year. Not sure we’ll have everything listed but things along those general lines.

Something Fun To Share

My work had a Christmas station celebration in lieu of a regular Christmas party this year. Each teacher had time to make an ornament, create a Christmas card, eat a special lunch, write messages of encouragement for other teachers, and just relax a bit. They kindly included the substitutes in the fun as did the MPTO in the gifts. Benefits of working at a small, private school.

My wood slice ornament here should tell you why you don’t see me post many artsy or craft things.

Not my area of talents. I actually had help with the above as I first painted the area under the tree light blue and it looked like it was floating.

Loved the gift from the MPTO this year:

Planning to enjoy my hot cocoa bomb on Christmas Eve.

From The Camera

I’m still having trouble picking up my camera, just the moodiness of the year, I think.

However, I did snap pictures of my work gifts from my Secret Santa. Had to get everything on Thursday as I oddly enough didn’t work until then last week. 

She spoiled me unbelievably well. Too much but no complaints and I loved absolutely everything!

That wasn’t even everything! Lots of other dark chocolate (my favorite chocolate) candies as well. And yes, I shared everything except the almond joys. Those were only MINE.

On My Prayer List

A special prayer for all those hurting and/or alone this year. Holidays can be a struggle and stressful during the best of years and this is one of the worst. Hoping peace and love find you for the days ahead.

Quote For The Week

Let’s just let Linus handle it this week:


What are your plans for this week?

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