Well, hello there my friends! I trust you have enjoyed your holidays, soaking up some quality time with friends and family.
In truth, December was a whirlwind in my world, but a mostly happy whirlwind. When we last ‘chatted’, my family was in Spain enjoying a last-minute trip. We have been a traveling family since the get-go, so when Terry and I realized that we may not have another chance to travel with our kiddos for a while we jumped at the opportunity. We loved Spain, especially Segovia and Barcelona! The photo below was taken the week before Christmas at the Alcazar de Segovia. If you are heading there anytime soon, drop me a line and I’ll share some of our favorite things.
We returned home early the morning of December 23 and managed to pull off Christmas without any hitches!
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With trips to NYC and Spain in the span of 3 weeks, I have to be honest that I am a little thrilled that we have no travels plans for the foreseeable future. It seems we have been on the go since we moved to this new home in June and I am feeling the need to settle and get some of the projects checked off our list, like finding a new home for one of the two tables sitting on our back deck, doing a little kitchen remodel and finish cleaning out the garage so that we can get our second car in…little things like that!
On a related travel note, I purchased this travel purse last year in anticipation of all the trips we had planned and I have to say it was one of my very best purchases! The crossbody feature made it easy on my shoulders, easily accessible for me but not easily accessible for any ne’er do well. And for further protection, the zippers had clasps so that they could be secured when needed. There were just enough, well thought out exterior pockets that would hold my phone and travel docs for easy access. It was plenty big enough on the inside, even accommodating a travel umbrella on the one rainy day we had in Barcelona. Even Terry expressed his admiration for my purse several times…this coming from a guy who doesn’t notice a whole lot outside of football and basketball scores!
I have enjoyed some great books recently! (Ten-hour plane flights afford some quality reading time!) I absolutely LOVED Robert Dugoni’s The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell. If you like John Irving’s books, I think you will enjoy this lovely story. I am anxious to jump into Dugoni’s other books, which are more in the suspense/crime genre.
When I finished that, I enjoyed AJ Finn’s The Woman in the Window; a good suspense story that occupied my plane time and which weaves in mental health issues and their challenges as well.
For what it’s worth, I also just discovered this site, HowToRead.Me which gives insights into book series and where to start with the series.
And then, because it’s tradition, my husband gifted me two cookbooks at Christmas. When I think about my past Christmases, one of my favorite ‘traditions’ is settling in with a new cookbook among all the gift wrap strewn about our living room. There’s a quiet time between the end of gift opening and our brunch or dinner and I relish sitting and reading my cookbooks. Sadly, I haven’t incorporated that tradition into the other 365 days of the year…think I need to!
But I digress, this year one of the two cookbooks I received was Tamar Adler’s, An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace. Truly, this book is not so much a cookbook as a treatise on simple eating and using what you have. But more than that, it’s a beautifully written book on the enjoyment of cooking and eating. There are a few, basic recipes in the book, the kind recipe that you can build on. I can honestly say it has changed the way I am thinking about cooking and meal planning and am anxious to put into practice what I am taking in.
What are you reading and enjoying? I need to fill up my nightstand stack! 📚
Are you ready to declutter? Make sure to sign up for the Declutter Challenge which will start next week. I will be sending a checklist and tips to help you rid some of the clutter in your home.
If you are anxious to dive into Decluttering RIGHT.NOW…check out these posts on decluttering various areas of your home and life.
With decluttering in mind, as you put away your Christmas decoration, really examine them. Are there some that stay in your Christmas boxes year after year, never making it out of the box and on your tree or mantel? It may be time to send those to your local Goodwill store, where they may find their way to a new home and a new mantel.
Need a knit project for the new year? This Diagonal Basketweave Blanket is a winter staple on the foot of our bed.
Planning on hosting friends or family on New Year’s Eve or for some upcoming football games? A Charcuterie Board is a great, easy way to feed a crowd.
And we can’t get enough of these Toasted Walnuts with Rosemary! I took a bag of them on the plane and munched on them as we flew across the Atlantic. Even my daughter, who shockingly is not a ‘nut person’, has been consuming them at a great rate. I just baked a new batch last week and they are already gone! Will whip up some more for New Year’s Eve and Day.
This Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Fat Creamy Tomato Soup is very flavorful and just what my body is craving around now. 🍅
Well, friends, I am signing off for the day. I have a bunch of posts in the works for you! Stay tuned.