Monday, January 20, 2020

20 in 2020 List

Last week I did a FINAL update on how I fared on my 19 in 2019 list.  To recap: I got a passing grade, did better than 2018, but did not hit 100%.  Maybe this will be the year!

I've said this before but I find making these lists to be highly motivating; I try to add a few things off the list to my to-dos for each month.  It helps me spread that "it's the start of the new year and I'm going to do all the productive things!" energy across the entire year, or at least the first 10 months before I hit Christmas mode and very little else gets done.  It's also helpful to look back at this list a year later and see that we did get some things done; we made progress even when life seems to be sitting still.  Also, crossing things off is HIGHLY motivating and maybe being able to do that will help me finally get some of these done.

Here we go!

Home related
1) Figure out over the dining table
When we moved in 14 years ago we replaced both ceiling fans in the front room.  Years later I decided I didn't like the ones we put in (they were the cheapest ones at Lowes at the time and we were 22, had just started our real jobs, had just bought our house, and were about to pay for part of our wedding, we didn't have a lot of extra money).  We bought two more modern looking white ones on sale at Lowes (the same one we replaced the porch fan with).  Matt switched out the one over the tv area but I still haven't decided (after more than a year of thinking about it) if I want the second fan over the dining table or if we should replace it with a light, since we rarely use that fan (in which case the second fan we bought will go in my office which is open to the front room).  I need to just make a decision.

2) Replace end table
Matt build us a new coffee table last spring and the end table is overdue for a replacement.  Matt is planning to build this once we can agree on a design.

3) Replace night stands 
This is the third year this has been on my list but I am DETERMINED to get it done.  We've gone back and forth on building or buying but since we want solid wood and good construction but aren't willing to pay the price for it...we're back to Matt building.  (So basically he needs to take off a month just to build furniture.  If only that paid the bills.)

4) Replace nightstand lamps
We have never had even remotely matching nightstand lamps and the (glass) shade on Matt's broke in the middle of the night about 2 years ago maybe.  Once we get new nightstands I am replacing these.

5) Replace bedframe
I've wanted to do this for YEARS but can never swallow spending the money.  So this year I put a Christmas check into an unused bank account and told Matt we are auto-transferring $50 a month until we have the money saved.  I want this one in navy and I think it will be beautiful.

6) Put in sandbox for the boys
Matt has finally called the playhouse nearly complete (he'll always be tinkering on little things) and we decided we need a bigger sandbox for the boys because the Little Tikes one we bought 6 years ago just isn't cutting it.  And since Luke LOVES to tear up the grass under the swings, I think the sandbox will go around the whole playset and swings.  You are welcome people who buy this house from us.  That will be a doozy to get rid of.  But the boys will get a lot of use out of it.

7) Add lights to the backyard
I desperately want string lights in the backyard.  I don't care how basic it is, they are pretty and everyone likes hanging out under string lights.  Just might make my (occasional) rifle spinning a little harder.

8) Organize Luke's Legos
Over Christmas break a year ago, Luke and I sorted all his Legos by color with the intent of  rebuilding all the sets he had received and then torn apart.  Well, a year later we have rebuilt zero sets and he ended up rebuying one of them (with his own money) just to have it put back together.  So, I think it's safe to say at his current age, we are not rebuilding his sets.  But the Legos are still kinda sorted by color in various boxes and it's a mess.  I want some sort of plastic storage drawer thing and then Matt to build a little shelf to go over it for Luke to display his creations.  This all has to live in Matt's office because almost 2 year old boys aren't real nice to Legos.  

Nagging Tasks
9) Clean converse sneakers
Matt bought me Converse sneakers maybe almost 3 years ago?  They are the shoes I wore all over NYC and Vegas on our trips in 2018 as well as other times at home and they have gotten DIRTY.  Especially from the Jamba Juice Luke dropped on my shoe in Vegas (as seen on my right shoe above, it's worse in person).   They are machine washable, I just need to do it.

10) Figure out how to use Fitbit
Christmas a year ago I debated asking Matt to get me a FitBit.  I decided against it but then a couple months later my sister was upgrading from hers and offered to sell me her Fitbit for a cheap price.  I bought it from her and replaced the charger but have yet to do anything else with it.  I really need to get on that.  I'd especially like to see my daily steps on days I run and walk to school pick-up in the spring.  Maybe that will be my motivator.

11) Renew passports
A repeat from last year, I just discovered that I can renew these, including having our pictures taken, at our local post office (and not just downtown) so we just need to make an appointment some day Matt is off work or off early.

12) Shorten our blind
When I repainted our master bedroom almost 3 years ago, we also replaced the blind and added curtains.  However, the blind is too long and almost every day since I have thought about shortening it.  We have shortened other blinds around the house but none like this.  I know it's possible.  We just need to dedicate about an hour to doing it to get it done.

13) Use face things
So Jamie B. Golden of The Popcast loves face care and listening to her talk about it on podcasts and watching some of her IG stories convinced me to buy a few products like Retinol.  But I have yet to use these and I need to really get on that.  I've just had a lot of face irritation issues over the last year that makes me hesitant but since I am past the return window I can't get any money back on them anyways.  I need to do it.

14) Meet our neighbors
They moved in a year ago.   I have yet to introduce myself.  I KNOW.  But they did put up a big privacy fence (that they asked Matt about) (and it was installed ON the 4th of July, which was weird) so I rarely see them besides walking to/from their cars.  But it's pretty bad.  Maybe I'll go over with Luke the next time he has to ring their doorbell because he threw/kicked a ball over the fence.  (Yes, I made him do this alone the first time and every time since.  INTROVERT.)

15) Replace my standard cross-body bag
I bought a cheapish purse from Target almost 4 years ago and used it A LOT; it's SO handy in the summer with kids.  But it's a cheap Target purse and is peeling so it needs replaced.  

16) Go on 6 dates
We (barely) made our 4 last year so this year I am making it 6!  Can we do it??? (Already have the first on the calendar with a sitter lined up!)

17) order 5 photobooks
That would be Michigan vacation (SO CLOSE), 2019, Sam year 2, Luke year 7, and for our vacation this summer.  I am going to be SO MUCH MORE on top of this summer vacation's photobook than I was on last summer's! (All I have to do is order it within 7 months of the trip and I'll be more on top of it...  Although I didn't order our NYC one until about 8 months after the trip but I did have a less than 3 month old baby at that time.)

18) Start allowance with Luke
We have been talking about this for YEARS and we just need to do it.  Matt and I have finally agreed on an amount, we just haven't agreed on where he puts his money (force him to save any for college?  Put some in the bank?) so we haven't started.  But good money management is important and it starts as a kid.

19) Travel map
Another repeat from last year.  I think I may have, finally, figured where this could go which was part of my hesitation last year.  However, that place involves moving a lot of frames and changing wall decor on 3 I'm not set on it yet.

20) Paint star background for Christmas nativity
This strangely ties into the above, if plans go through!  I put our main nativity scene on our buffet, above which hangs a gallery wall of our vacation photos.  It's always a little jarring to see the baby Jesus under a picture of us at the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign and I've been thinking for years about using my kraft paper to paint some sort of starry night backdrop to hang over the vacation pictures gallery.  However, I am not much of an artist and December is always already so busy.  BUT it would look really nice if I could get myself to do it!

That's it!  The main goal for the year is to hit 100%!  The back-up goal is to do better than 2019's 72%!  But, also, I will gladly throw all of these out the window if we get a baby!

Do you make 20 in 2020 type lists?  I'd love to hear what you have on them!  And if you are more successful at finishing them than me!      

Thursday, January 16, 2020

I Got a Passing Grade on 19 in 2019

I have finally narrowed down my 20 in 2020 list but before I share that next week, I thought I better review how I did on 19 in 2019.  Some of them, great.  Some of them, not really.  Some of them show up again for 20 in 2020!

Even though I didn't finish all the items on my list, I still really see value in this activity.  It helps keep me motivated to tackle projects and keeps my "day to day" me more in tune with what "big picture at the start of the year" me would like to accomplish.  It's also a good time for Matt and I to discuss project we'd like to tackle "together" (i.e. that I'd like him to accomplish while I give plenty of unrequested input) and pencil those into where they might happen in the year.

Overall, I got a 72% which sure beats the 25% I got for my 18 in 2018! (In all fairness, we did get a "surprise" baby in early 2018 which was way more exciting and important than anything on that list.)

 Nagging Tasks
1) Renew passports (0%)
We did not do this but I did pick up paper application the last time I was at the post office (after someone spilled water all over the ones I had printed) so very small progress made.

2) Fill all the nail holes & paint (100%)
All of the holes we had at the beginning of the year have been filled and painted.  However, over the course of life and living with two small boys, a few more have popped up.  But I'm still counting it a win.

3) Use some of our compost (0%) 
None, but I did talk to my sister about hauling all our compost up to her house for their compost pile and then we could start from scratch.  I think this is a good plan but haven't run it by Matt (who would be doing the hauling).

House Projects
4) Put hooks in the stairway (100%) 

Done, even did two bonus hook rails at the lake!

5) Replace porch ceiling fan (100%) 

6) Replace night stands (0%) 
No, if only thinking about this made it happen.

7) Replace house numbers (100%) 
Done, Matt took this one over although I did pick out the numbers from Lowes!

8) Sand down & repaint Luke's bedroom door (100%) 
Done, Matt also did this one, a relief to be past the "no door to shut for Sam's naptime" stage.

9) Add flower boxes to playhouse (100%) 
Done, maybe next year we'll try harder to keep the flowers in it alive.

10) Plant a lilac bush/tree (100%) 

Kinda Fun
11) Fill kitchen picture ledges (100%) 

Yep, I even switched out a couple pictures for Christmas!

12) Find a daily lip color (50%) 
No but I realized I had a lip color that I like for when I want color on my lips so that's not quite what I had in mind but it's going to do for now!

13) Find a delicate, short necklace (100%) 
Yep, got it for Mother's Day/our anniversary (they are very close and I never remember which gifts I get for which).

14) Figure out map for travels (0%) 
No, this might be on my 2020 list too.

15) Organize Luke's school papers (50%) 
Over fall break I got really motivated and went through ALL the papers I had saved from kindergarten and up to that point of 1st grade and did a big clean out.  I got Luke's input on which he wanted to save and really got it narrowed down to a reasonable number.  Since I did that I have been much pickier about what I keep from 1st grade so the papers aren't growing a lot.  I haven't figured out the organizing system part but just getting the papers under control is a good start.

16) Go on 4 dates with Matt (100%) 
By a very generous counting we got these in!

17) Read 6 chapter books with Luke (100%) 
I think we read 15, if only I could give myself 250% to help my score.  Reading chapter books is firmly in our routine now and will definitely continue!  I have SO MANY I want to read with him!

18) Order 6 photobooks (2018, Sam year 1, Luke year 6, NYC, Las Vegas, summer 2019 vacation) (83%) 
SO CLOSE.  By the middle of the year I had ordered all but for our summer 2019 vacation which I had mostly done by the end of the year.  At this point, mid-January, I just have a couple more day's summary pages to write and then wait for the right sale to order.  SO CLOSE.  Having to update an adoption profile in November/December really ate into my vacation photobook time.  

19) Integrate 3 essential oils in our lives (80%) 
The one we use the most, by far, is lavender which we run almost nightly in a diffuser in the boys' room (anything to help with Sam's sleep problems!).  I bought orange to use in some of my cleaners which I have kept up.   The third I bought was eucalyptus which is supposed to be good with swollen, arthritic joints (which I have) but I haven't looked into how you actually apply them since it can't be used directly on skin.  I know you need to mix it with something but haven't figured it all out yet.

I'm pretty happy with how the year went and the things we got done!  Having these lists to continually check in on really helps to keep us moving!

1st Quarter Progress on 19 in 2019
2nd Quarter Progress on 19 in 2019
3rd Quarter Progress on 19 in 2019 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Quick Lit - January

Welcome to my first Quick Lit of 2020!  Looking back I realize I finished A LOT of books in December (19 to be exact) but before you get too impressed, 8 of those were under 300 pages, one was a graphic novel (covered in last month's Quick Lit), one was a book under 100 pages I read to my son, and two were devotionals I read over long periods of time (25 days and 365 days).  SO.  I did do a lot of reading but not a crazy amount more than a usual amount; I was just VERY strategic about what books I read to hit my goal for the year!

I was pretty happy with my 2019 reading year and have no plans to make any drastic changes.  Actually the biggest change is that our older son now reads books to me but I also still read him lots of picture books because there are just so many fantastic ones.  Otherwise, my goal is to hit 175 books finished again, about 15% of those to be rereads, and about 25% to be non-fiction.  Basically, what I did last year but with mostly different books!  And my sister and I plan to reread the Harry Potter series this fall so that will be fun!

I am on Goodreads here and Instagram here, and linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Two other book posts in the past month:

And now everything I've read in the past 31ish days!

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
This is the first book I've read by this best friend writing duo and found it pretty much exactly what I expected it to be!  An 18 year old girl is on a vacation to London with her Grandmother when she meets a boy, the connect over a few days and then he disappears, seemingly revealing her biggest secret to the world's press in his wake (and the world press cares because she is the daughter of a famous actor and the daughter hasn't been seen publicly in over 10 years).  This opens a whole can of worms and the story picks up again about 10 years later, when the young girl is now an actress herself and about to be in a movie with her famous father.  I liked that there was greater depth to it than just girl meets boy, boy disappears, but it was also pretty light and enjoyable.  3.5 Stars

Finding Father Christmas, Engaging Father Christmas, Kissing Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn
I wrote a whole post about this series last month, I reread them all every December and have for a few years now.  They are sweet novellas about finding your family (actually has more in common with Twice in a Blue Moon than I'd expect) and making your own family.  Plus, it's set in England which just sounds dreamy at Christmas even though I expect it's not horribly different than our Christmas here. 4.25 Stars

Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms, Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand
I also just wrote a post about this series, another one I have reread every December since they were released (that's 6 years in a row I've read the first in the series!). I really enjoy my time with the Quinns every December and reading about Christmas on Nantucket.  I was prepping this post and thought about how I'm a little sad I won't get to read about them for another 11 months, which is crazy because I just spent around 1000 pages with them.  It wouldn't feel fully like Christmas without reading these. 4.5 Stars
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
I read this book at least once as a kid, probably multiple times, and remember watching a tv movie based on it.  I had read my son the Halloween one in October so he was familiar with the Herdmanns and I was delighted to revisit this book.  It's short, under 100 pages, but packs in a lot of emotions, I almost cried in the end!  So good and one I hope to read with him for years to come. 5 Stars

The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp
This has been my Christmas season devotional for many years now.  It breaks down the Nativity story mostly using the Jesse tree, with Bible stories and a reflection for each day.  With the craziness of December, this helps me focus on the most important part of our celebrating.  4.5 Stars

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
This was a perfect book to read in that lazy week between Christmas and New Years when you can't even pretend to know what day of the week it is.  It reminded me of The Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo in that it's an older woman telling the story of her more wild youth and all the things that lead her to where she is now.  Some of her turns of phrase in it were just wonderful and I kept finding time to pick it up again.  One of my favorite reads of the year! 4 Stars 

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young
This was my second year through this daily devotional but it had been a few years so was like reading it for the first time, besides the various parts I underlined.  It's the perfect short reflection to start the day with a couple Bible verses to look up (which I do on my phone).  I'll probably revisit it in another few years. 5 Stars

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
I have read this book 6 times and it remains among my all-time favorites.  I've made a tradition of rereading it every year around New Years because, even with Summer in the title, a good portion of the story actually takes place around New Years.  It goes between two time lines, 1931 and 1938, as the story of what happened between then and now slowly being revealed.  I always find myself equally sucked in by both timelines, even though I know exactly how it ends.  I really enjoy this book. 5 Stars

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
This was my 3rd romance set in New York City in a row which was not planned but kinda nice.  This one also takes place between two timelines, but both in this millennium, with characters pretty close to my same age.   Two college student meet on 9/11 as they watch the destruction from miles away and their lives remain intertwined for years to come.  It was a compelling love story but I have THOUGHTS on some decisions made by the characters.  It's hard to just let that go. 2.75 Stars

Death of Riley by Rhys Bowen
This is the second book in the Molly Murphy series, which I intend to try to get through this year.  It's a mystery series set around 1901 with an amateur detective named Molly Murphy.  In the first book she is on her way to the US from Ireland, stopping at Ellis Island and getting caught up in a murder investigation along the way.  In this book she is in New York, trying to make her way in a time when it was hard for women to do so.  She's a compelling character and 1901 New York is not a period I've previously read about!  I'm not much for mystery but these aren't real suspenseful and Molly gets herself out of trouble just in the nick of time, many times.  3.5 Stars

Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews Edwards
I had read Julie Andrew's first memoir, Home, at years ago and in reading this I guess I had read an earlier biography of her because some of her story seemed a little familiar.  The Sound of Music is my all-time favorite movie and so I was interested in picking this up to hear a little more about her Hollywood life.  And it was interesting.  A lot of moving, chasing roles for money, raising kids all over the place (I did not know she adopted two daughters!).  It was fascinating but also made me very glad for my very normal, quiet life. 3.5 Stars

What have YOU been reading lately?  Any reading goals for 2020?

Thursday, January 9, 2020

2020: Early

For many years now I've picked a word for the year which I think about quite a bit in January and then...less so after that.  What else does January have going on?  Nothing much.  So it's a good time to refocus, buckle down on routine after Christmas indulgences, and set the tone for the year.  My past words have been Discipline (2019), Simplifying (2018), Grace (2017), Living Intentionally (2016), and Curating (2015).

I really liked Discipline last year and kinda wanted to pick it again because it feels like something I still need to work on.  Reading back at my post a year ago, where I talked about how it could be 45 minutes between deciding to head to bed and then actually get to bed...well I've certainly improved there.  I did get a lot more disciplined about packing Luke's lunch while we were already in the kitchen making or cleaning up supper, about being ready for bed (teeth brushed, face washed) before turning on the TV with Matt so when we turned it off it was much quicker to head up.  I feel I've improved on switching between tasks better, namely, staying off my phone and just going to the next thing.  Obviously, not perfect but I can see an improvement!

We got quite a few nagging tasks checked off, not all of them (where would the fun be in not having ANY to-dos??) but quite a few.  I am always most motivated to tackle these in January and February so hopefully I can knock out a few more in the next couple months.

However, we didn't do so great at the getting up on time part, which I am going to blame, again, on all of Sam's sleep problems over the past 6 months.  It's REALLY hard to get up on time when I've gotten about 5 hours of sleep, especially in 3 of the last 5 nights.  His sleeping problems have made morning consistency hard (although Luke is holding strong at ZERO tardies after approximately 270 days of school!).  So, getting Sam's sleep problems resolved would really help, something we did work on over break.

So, as much as I felt Discipline could apply again this year, I made myself pick a new one.  And when thinking about the worst pain points in my day I kept coming back to rushing - rushing to get around before the boys were up, rushing to get Luke out the door to school, rushing to get to pick-up to get him.  Really, school runs can be blamed for a lot of the rushing but school isn't going anywhere and I need to make peace with leaving my house at least twice a day in the cold of winter.

I didn't want to make "no more rushing" my word for the year so I chose "Early".  I want to get up earlier (on time), have time for a workout and a non-rushed shower and be mostly around before the boys are up.  That would really help our mornings and getting out the door on time. Really, getting out the door more early than we are now.  I want to try to stop packing in so many last minute things before leaving to get Luke from school.  I am tired of the rushing and our schedule is about as uncomplicated as it can be (besides school, I still look back so fondly on the days without school runs!).  I want to spend time with Matt most evenings and get to bed at a reasonable time (what "parent of two kids, one of whom is in school" me considers a reasonable time is about two hours earlier than what "working, no kids" me thought of as reasonable!).  Whoever said that going to bed early is sleeping in for 100% correct.  I love days of going to bed early!

I don't just want to be early in our school routines either, we really tried to be earlier to our recent family holiday parties and largely succeeded.  I want to be early to Mass.  I despise doing things at the last minute and want to give myself a little more breathing room between when I get things done and when they need to be done.  I'd love to look back in a year and know we worked to reduce the rushing in most of our days.

As for other resolutions, most of my easily measured goals will be coming in my 20 in 2020 post next week, but a few I usually keep here.  First, checking how I did on 2019's "resolutions"

1) Read 150 Books
I read 175, same as 2018.

2) Run 300 Miles, run a race
I ran 307 miles and did a 10k with Matt in the fall.  I was on target to hit at least 350 but then got what I'm pretty sure was a stress fracture in my foot which made running impossible. (Maybe that's why you should replace running shoes before you have put 750 miles on them...).  Matt and I got in a pretty good running routine especially in the later summer, early fall so hopefully we can pick it up again when the weather is good.

3) Get Rid of 150 Things
I stopped keeping track after awhile but I know we were at least at 200, mostly from the annual purge I do through the whole house at the start of each year.  We still have too many things though!

2020 is going to be more of the same on these!
1) Read 150 Books
Really, I'd like to match my 175 of the last two years but I officially put 150 on Goodreads because I hate when it says I'm behind.  And 150 is nothing to be ashamed about.

2) Run 350 Miles, Run a Race
I was pretty happy with my running and fitting it in with the boys' schedules over the summer and into early fall.  Hopeful we can do a 10k again together this fall, unless I get crazy and sign up for the half.

3) Get Rid of 200 Things
I know from my own personal experience, that if something keeps nagging at me (such as having too many possessions), that there is still work to be done.  So I plan to keep up my annual purge, it was an excellent activity for the multitude of snow days Luke had last winter!

I think this "fresh start feeling" at the beginning of the new year comes from not just starting a new calendar and planner (and remembering to write 20 instead of 19), but also from largely taking two weeks off our normal routines for Christmas break.  It combines to make January, especially once school is started again, a perfect time to integrate some new habits and stick to our routines.  I am looking forward to looking back in a year and remarking at how early we were to everything! (Everything is a stretch, but majority of the time hopefully!). 

If you are a "word of the year" person I'd love to hear yours!

2019 resolutions
2018 resolutions
2017 resolutions
2016 resolutions
2015 resolutions
2014 resolutions
2013 resolutions
2012 resolutions
2011 resolutions
2010 resolutions

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2019

A few weeks ago I was planning all my usual recurring posts for December and January, closing out one year and beginning a new one, when I titled this one "Most Read Posts in 2020".  I believe we were still in November 2019 but apparently I was really looking forward to the new year/decade.

My writing has fallen a bit by the wayside ever since Sam came home, having double the kids to parent just means less time for me.  Even though I get a solid couple of hours in the afternoon while one is at school and the other is napping, it just doesn't come out to the same amount of time I got when we just had one kid, and one who wasn't in school at that (I miss those days, especially every weekday morning in the winter when we are out the door, in the cold, before the sun is up.)

I excluded all my Quick Lits since a couple of those popped up in the list since I link those up but otherwise, these were my most read posts last year, three of which were also on last year's list, those have some staying power!

#10 Mixed Drink Monday: Mucho Gusto (pub. August 20, 2018)
This is one that was on the 2018 list and remains my post popular drink recipe I've published.  For good reason, it is one of my absolute favorites from all the drinks I've made over the past 6 summers, easily top 5, maybe top 2.  I've made it a birthday tradition to make a pitcher around then AND the toasted coconut rimming salt is just fantastic.  I always (for two summers) have a batch on hand.

#9 19 in 2019 (pub. January 17, 2019)
I love a good to-do list and may have returned to this one a couple times myself just to see what I said I was going to get done!  I didn't get all these things done and a couple are going to show up again on my 20 in 2020 list, as soon as I can get that narrowed down to just 20!  I do think it helps keep me motivated to tackle some nagging projects!

#8 Weaning Myself Off Social Media (pub. November 9, 2017)
This is the post that I gotten the most blog hits from google searches (did that make sense?).  It definitely makes sense that people are interested, social media can easily be time consuming but I find I am generally happier and feel better when I keep it limited and controlled!  Something I am always revisiting and refining how I handle it.

#7 Book Love: To All the Boys I've Loved Before series (pub. June 8, 2017)
Another one that was also popular last year!  I wrote this before the popular Netflix movie was released (and now they are making movies for the second and third book too!) but it definitely got a bump in views once the movie came out.  I reread the series this year and lent one of them to one of my nieces so she could finish the series (and didn't want to wait for her library hold).  It is a fantastic series and some of my absolute favorite YA.

#6 Mixed Drink Monday: Fizzy Flamingo (pub. June 11, 2018)
I am pretty amazed that I was able to write anything between March 2018 (when Sam was born ) and August 2018 (when Luke started kindergarten) because looking back, those months just feel like a BLUR.  But, apparently I still found time to make and write about drinks!  I barely remember this one other than knowing I made two drinks with Flamingo in the name (see: those months being a blur) but there must be other fans of flamingos looking for themed drinks!

#5 Homemade Hankerchiefs (pub. November 10. 2015)
This one was a complete surprise.  I have fallen out of the habit of sewing but back when I did sew, I was fairly resourceful at making basic items.  I made a set of hankerchiefs out of an old sheet and they are wonderful for little nose drips here and there.  However, thanks to a horrible immune system, I've had sinus issues for about 15 months and I'd go through my whole stash in one day.  But if I am ever healthy again I would use these more! 

#4 Mixed Drink Monday: Blackberry Long Island Iced Tea (pub. July 16, 2018) 
I remember making and drinking the first Long Island Iced Tea that I referenced in this post.  Other than remembering that I made this blackberry flavored since I had leftover blackberry simple syrup from another drink...I have no memory at all of this one besides liking it.  I guess that means I will have to make it again!

#3 Lemur Cupcakes (pub. April 4, 2017)
I almost didn't write a post for these because it felt pretty self-explanatory, all the info you need was in the picture that I posted to Instagram.  However, this is the second year it's made this list so I guess a lot of parents of lemur obsessed children are looking for party cupcakes!  Luke did really like these, maybe we'll make them again for Sam's birthday some year.  (This was also #3 in 2018!)

#2 17 Books for a Fresh Start to the New Year (pub. January 8, 2019)
One of the benefits of having a blog is how helpful it is to me as reference!  Noting favorite recipes and books and how we did things before, I reference it myself quite often.  So a couple weeks ago when I was planning my reading for January, I went back to this list to see what books I had recommended to see which struck my fancy for a reread.  Super helpful! 

#1 Mixed Drink Monday: Sweet Tea Margarita (pub. May 27, 2019)
It's become a tradition to kick off Mixed Drink Mondays for the year with a margarita, which I typically make and consume around Cinqo de Mayo.  It's nice to have the selection narrowed down a bit, plus I enjoy a good margarita.  I also really enjoy sweet tea and really enjoyed this drink and it seems a lot of other people were interested in the combination too!

My blogging time hasn't been a lot and I always say I'd like to get back to it more, maybe this will be the year!  I so appreciate anyone who takes the time to read!

My 10 Most Popular Posts of 2018