Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Nov. 30 - Fake It Till You Make It?

It's a cold and windy morning out there on this last day of November.  Temp is 23 but wind chill knocks that down to 10.  It's already windy, but it's supposed to pick up even more as the day goes on.  We didn't get the snow-rain mix (just the rain) they'd been predicting but I'm still glad we rescheduled my mom's appointment.  I'll be cozied up inside all today, thank you very much.

Does the past week between Thanksgiving and the end of the month seem weird, sort of 'off' to you?  It's been like a dead zone, just days to pass until December 1 when all my Christmas spirit will magically show up with the turning of the calendar.  Just feels weird this year, like neutral or detached.  Usually I'm all about switching into full blown Christmas mode the day after Thanksgiving.  Get that tree up!  Get the house decorated!  Get the Christmas music playing and Christmas shows on TV.  Let's gooooo!  Not this year.  I feel more and more removed as each day goes on.  There is still plenty of time, I know.  It's just weird for me.

I did finally decorate the tree yesterday.  I was tired of it standing there naked.  I barely put any ornaments on, but did add an extra string of lights and some silver garland.  The tree is a small pre-lit one but the lights just stayed on, no twinkling or flashing.  The string of lights I added have different settings, so now there are lights that stay on, and other lights that twinkle.  And the sparkle of the garland helps enough that I the few ornaments I bothered to put on actually look like enough.  I'll try to get some pics taken today if we have some sunshine later, and will hopefully post them tomorrow.

The other decorations around the house are very minimal again.  I'd done that a few days ago just to try and jump start my mood.  Yesterday, as I was looking through totes and boxes for a few things, I was getting so frustrated and down.  I have SO many decorations that I love so much!  I started feeling like I actually wanted to get ALL of it out in an effort to sort of 'fake it till you make it.'  I didn't do it, but even this morning I'm still considering it.

Oh, I'm in such a cranky mood!  I really struggled yesterday, ended up working on the puzzle a lot and watching whatever was on TV.  I did end up on the Harry Potter movies they're marathoning again.  It has me wanting to read the books again.  Maybe I'll ditch the book I'm currently struggling with and go back to Harry.

I'll be sending my next set of blood sugar numbers to my doctor this morning, as she requested after the latest dose adjustment last week.  I don't think this new adjustment has done anything, and I wonder if she'll try me on another nighttime insulin.

Other than that, not much planned today.  If I have enough ingredients on hand I might go ahead and make my first batch of cookies for Christmas.  Or maybe I'll go ahead and start hauling out Every. Stinkin'. Christmas. Decoration. and have a holiday explosion of forced joy.  Wouldn't that be funny?  Hubby walks into our home version of Hobby Lobby when he gets home?  lol

Day Something of my old family Christmas photos . . . 
1978 - I'm pretty sure this is Christmas 1978.  There is that good ol' tree.  Looks like Santa brought my parents a new TV that year.  And I see my mom had switched to her all red balls theme on the tree.  It was quite stylish and trendy at the time, although us kids were like 'What?  That's booooring!'

(I've somehow gotten behind on these Christmas pics, am one short for where the count should be for Nov. 30.  I'll probably post two tomorrow to get back on track.)

How is November ending for you?
Do the Christmas floodgates open tomorrow for you, or are you already there?
Send some of that cheer my way!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Nov. 29 - Quickie Same Old, Same Old

A super quickie post today because even though I got up early, I'm somehow way behind already.  I posted my Christmas scents wax stash post just before this, so hopefully you'll go check that out.  Now let's whip out a post for today.

It's looking kind of gloomy out there at 7:48am.  Temp is 38 and the forecast shows we'll probably get some rain today.  That's fine.  I had no plans to go anywhere anyway.

Went to my mom's yesterday, as usual.  She wasn't upset about my brother like I thought she'd be.  She told me one of my other brothers (Brother4) is also sick with a nasty cold.  Hopefully she doesn't get it.  She was over there for Thanksgiving.

Mom was supposed to have an eye doctor appointment tomorrow (Wednesday) but we rescheduled it yesterday.  Her eye doctor is a couple towns away and there are some REALLY big hills that my little car struggles with even on the best days.  There is rain-snow mix forecast for Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, with high winds, so we decided nope, we're not risking those hills in sloppy weather on a busy highway in a wimpy car.  LOL  We pushed the appointment back all the way to late March.

When I got home from Mom's yesterday I still didn't feel like decorating the tree, or doing anything really.  I relaxed on the couch for a while, got caught up on The Young and the Restless and some true crime shows, and packed up the snowman puzzle to start on the next one we'll be doing.  Hubby worked in the shop for a long while when he got home since the weather was somewhat warm.  By the time he came in it was too late to even bother playing our wizard game.  I watched some YouTube while he watched Simpsons reruns and wrestling, then headed to bed.

I have a TON of things I'm hoping to get done today, so I'm posting this quick and getting on with it.

Hope you're getting your decorating done and having a good week so far!

OOOPS!  I've come screaming back to this post because I forgot to include Day Whatever of my old family Christmas photos . . . 
1974 - I'm not absolutely sure this was 1974, but my sister was born summer of 1973 so this looks about right.  She is 7 years younger than me, and the baby of the 6 kids in our family.  We've also moved by this time, into the house I mainly grew up in, the house my brother still owns and lives in.  But look at that tree, the same tree I showed in the previous photo, the one that will be around for the next 20 or so years.  Ahhhh, love it.

Wax - Christmas Scents Stash

As you may know, I love scented wax (prefer melts to candles) and I'm a very seasonal melter.  I didn't melt nearly as much during the fall season as I usually do, so I haven't bought as many Christmas scents this year, figuring I won't melt as many for that either.  I don't know if I'm just phasing out or what.  Whatever is going on, now that Thanksgiving is over and we're truly into the Christmas season, I thought I'd share which scents I have in my little stash.
Vanilla Pine (Scentsationals) - 'Aromatic balsam, herbaceous greens and a splash of citrus glimmer with frosted spruce, mountain evergreen and the warmth of black vanilla bean.'
When this scent came out a few years ago, it immediately became a Christmas must-have for me.  Of course you need a good ol' pine scent for the season but a lot of them are too sharp and strong for me.  I would always search out some sort of toned down pine blend.  This one is nearly perfect for me.  It's definitely pine, calling up visions of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, but the touch of fruit sweetens it and the hint of vanilla tones it all down a bit.  You need this scent!
Fall Into Autumn (Better Homes & Gardens) - 'Acorns, green apple, applewood, red cedar, leaves, and pear.'
Don't let the name or the scent description fool you.  Since this first came out many years ago, it's been a Christmas scent to me and many others.  It's another of my must-haves.  Although it doesn't list pine, if you don't know the scent notes, you'll get a pine vibe from this.  This is more of a 'holiday as a whole' scent, not just a Christmas tree scent.  This is a little more sweet and 'colorful,' like walking into a holiday party in full swing.
Spiced & Iced (Tuscany Candle) - 'Classic gingerbread.'
Gingerbread is another of my must-have scents for the Christmas season.  Surprisingly though, it can be hard to find gingerbread scent some years.  Even then, there are two types: the spicier, sort of dry gingerbread, and the sweeter style, more like iced cookies.  I often prefer the sweeter type but if options are limited I'll take what I can get.  I found this at Menards and since I haven't seen any gingerbread scents in Walmart's offerings, I grabbed it.  It's that more spicy type, almost a bit harsh on cold sniff, but hopefully it will soften when it's warmed.
Gingerbread (Tootsie's Sugar Shack) - 'Smells just like a batch of homemade gingerbread cookies, fresh out of the oven!'
I'd found this on Etsy and since it was on sale at the time, I went ahead and ordered.  This is the sweeter style I mentioned above, more like the cookies with some icing.  I'm not very familiar with this particular Etsy shop but the Spiced Cranberry melts I'd also bought turned out fine so I'm hopeful this will be strong and true as well.

Whipped Peppermint Cream (Scentsationals) - 'Vanilla bean sweetens red and white striped peppermint candy canes dusted with powdered sugar.'
Peppermint is a scent I neeeeeed for the Christmas season, almost more than I need pine scent.  Once again though, it can be tricky finding the kind of mint that I really like, one that is softened a bit by some vanilla.  This one is pretty darn nice!  It's peppermint first and foremost, immediately screaming 'Candy canes!' but there is just enough vanilla and sugar to soften it a touch, smooth out those normally crisp minty edges a bit.  I have high hopes for this one when warmed!

Holiday Peppermint (Tuscany Candle) - 'Peppermint, sugar, and vanilla.'
I can't have enough good vanilla-mint scents for Christmas.  They are often still my go-to scent for January too.  And I think I like this one even more than the Peppermint Cream one above.  This is the same type of slightly softened peppermint, but this one is a bit more deep and full, a touch more 'warmth' without killing the peppermint notes.  Maybe it could be called a bit creamier.  I got two packs of this and would have grabbed more but this is the scent that was nearly sold out already at Menards.  Funny how all the other scents still had a ton left.  lol  Again, high hopes for this one when warmed!
White Peppermint Mocha (Better Homes & Gardens) - 'Peppermint, coffee, sugar-cane, frothed milk, whipped cream, and candy cane.'
Okay, let me tell you about this one.  I first noticed this at my Walmart back when Halloween stuff was still out, when they were just starting to bring out the first random little bits of Christmas things.  Since you have to grab stuff when you see them or they're gone, and I had no clue what this year's Christmas wax offerings would be like, I grabbed this scent for fear it might be the only mint option I'd have later.  I was never thrilled with the scent though.  I do like coffee scents, and I love peppermint scents, and I've even enjoyed some peppermint-chocolate blends in the past, but something about this one if just odd.  Well, on cold sniff at least.  The mint note is there at first but then a bitter coffee note races in to overtake it.  It's sort of a muddied coffee grounds note though.  Isn't mocha a chocolate coffee?  It's almost like the chocolate notes that should be there are battling with the coffee, leaving a bad aftertaste.  Maybe it will smooth out once warmed, and I will give it a shot, but again, I only bought this when I thought I might not find a better mint option.  (Thankfully I did!)

And that is my Christmas scent stash for 2022.  I probably won't buy anymore this year, even if Walmart puts out more new ones.  I tend to find all the fancy Christmas blends boring and rather repetitive.  

What scents do you crave (or need!) during the Christmas season?

Monday, November 28, 2022

Nov. 28 - A Puzzle and an Advent Calendar

Happy Monday.  It's a cold one here, only 19 degrees at the moment.  We're supposed to get to the mid-40s later today.  There is a really pretty, thick coat of frost on everything.  It almost looks like it snowed last night.
Yesterday was pretty mellow around here.  I did some dishes and worked on laundry throughout the morning.  Hubby worked on the big puzzle . . . 
He actually finished it in the evening.  We already have our next puzzle picked out and waiting to be started.
Most of the day was spent watching football and playing Yahtzee, the norm for Sunday around here these days.  The Vikings did not play yesterday since they played on Thanksgiving.  The Packers didn't play until last night, so we just watched random games during the afternoon.  There was only one game we differed on in our little football pool that the two of us do (Bengals vs. Titans), and I won.  Wheee!  But other than that it was just an uneventful day.
I forgot to mention this the other day.  I was surprised to find a package in the mail on Friday.  I hadn't ordered anything recently.  When I saw that it was from an old bloggy friend from my original blog, I was intrigued.  She and I still keep in touch through email fairly often but a package out of the blue was something new.  What the heck could it be???
Oh my gosh!  I laughed so hard when I saw this, and had to quickly show hubby.  He got a kick out of it too because he's a big Supernatural fan too.  This is a Supernatural advent calendar!  How fun is that?!  It says 'mini books, mementos, and more,' and has a few pics on the back but I'm trying not too look too closely at them and spoil the fun.  We're not going to cheat.  We're going to wait till Dec. 1 and then take turns opening one each day.  But how fun?!  And how thoughtful?!  Oh. My. Gosh.  I can't wait till Thursday to start!

That's really about it around here.  I'll be heading to my mom's this morning, as usual.  I suppose she'll be all upset about my brother.  Oh, speaking of him, I chatted with him a bit through Messenger on Saturday.  He's still in the hospital and it is confirmed he has RSV.  He's still on oxygen but doing better, and still on IVs for a couple things that I can't remember.  Sounds like he has pneumonia but he says no one has told him that he does.  (They didn't tell me when I was in the hospital.  I found after the fact, while looking at MyChart and at my followup visit.)  He says he thinks he got over the hump Friday night and was starting to feel better Saturday, getting his appetite back and finally eating.  Not sure how long he'll be there.  And his wife must be feeling better because she posted on Facebook about being at her son's this weekend.  So I guess they're both on the mend.

Day 3 of my old family Christmas photos . . . 
1971 or 1972 - Christmas Eve, and I was either 5 or 6 years old, depending on what year this actually was.  I see we'd switched to an artificial tree this year.  That same old artificial tree carried through the next 20-ish years!  I know we were still using it when I finally left home and my brother still used it a few years after that.  Again, loving the simplicity of things back then.
Alrighty, I'm off for the day now.
Have a good one, everybody!

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Nov. 26 & 27 - Blogmas?

I had intended on jumping right into Blogmas the day after Thanksgiving.  I've done Blogmas in the past.  There was always a question of which day should actually be Day 1 . . . the day after Thanksgiving, or December 1?  Seems most people now just start the day after Thanksgiving.  I was feeling ill-prepared as the days got closer, and then my Christmas spirit completely disappeared as Thanksgiving Day went on, so I'm glad I didn't commit and start labeling my posts as Blogmas right away.  Well, then I again missed posting on Saturday so yeah, glad I didn't dive in.  I think I'll skip officially calling it Blogmas this year and hope I'm better prepared next year.  I know, I know, a lot of people say it's okay to just do it as I feel like it, but I'm not one of those people.  If I say I'm going to do something like that, I intend on making the commitment and sticking to it the best I can, even it's a bit of extra work to get it done.  And does labeling posts Blogmas mean anything different?  I suppose not, but it's all in the spirit of things. So for now I'll just carry on normally, but try to add an old family Christmas photo each day like I did for Halloween.

Maybe I'll go back and change post titles if the Christmas spirit suddenly kicks in.

So, Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.  This would usually be the day that I'm gung-ho about putting the tree up and getting the house decorated and switching to Christmas music.  This year however, nope.  I just wasn't feeling it . . . at all.  It wasn't a mopey, crabby feeling.  It was just a neutral, peaceful feeling of things being normal for a bit.  I did haul the tree and one tote of decorations out of storage that day, and I did get the tree put up by evening, but left it standing bare and did not get any of the other decorations out.  As the day went on and I still felt fine with no Christmas spirit, I started thinking maybe the tree just wouldn't go up until half way through December if that's how I felt.  I was very weirdly okay with it just being normal life for a while.

I don't even remember anything else noteworthy from Friday.  I know hubby had to go pick up a prescription for his dad, and maybe he worked in his shop for a bit . . . ?  I do know we ended up playing our wizard game in the afternoon but cut that a bit short later when he wasn't feeling well.  He went and relaxed in his chair, watched TV, and dozed off for a while.  I puttered around online, cleaned up the kitchen, went to bed.

Yesterday, Saturday, I did my grocery shopping as usual.  I had a few small Christmas gift ideas in mind so I thought I'd go ahead and pick those up too.  That led to spending way too much time looking for things, and then way too much overthinking about such things.  I left frustrated in that department.

Hubby took groceries to his dad when I got home, as usual.  Boychild1 was not here for laundry this week, so I had a quiet house to myself again for a while.  I still didn't have any urge to decorate, and listening to Christmas music in the car to/from shopping had felt out of place.  So I decided nope, just not happening yet.  I worked on a big Christmas themed jigsaw puzzle we'd started a few days before, and watched some true crime TV for a while.
The half-assed naked Christmas tree standing there started nagging at me though, and it was like either do something with it or take it down until I actually felt like finishing it.  It's a smaller tree than we normally use, but this one is pre-lit and our usual one is not.  I had already decided quite some time ago that we'd use the pre-lit one this year, ya know, to simplify things.  It was a gift from Boychild1 several years ago after I'd been complaining about what a pain stringing lights on our big tree was.  LOL  It's small, cheap, and skimpy but hey, it's pre-lit!  But in my mind it wasn't really simplifying things when I saw how much 'fluffing' of the compressed branches it would take to get this thing looking somewhat presentable, and that's what kept me from wanting to even proceed.  But the poor thing kept glaring at me and I finally went at it, carefully unfolding and strategically bending spindly little branches to try and fill in open spots.  I got it looking about as good as it's going to and left it at that.  The totes with the ornaments were still upstairs and I told myself I'd bring them down after a bit of a break.  I never got around to it.

Last year I had barely placed any decorations out.  I figured the few I'd used were all in this one tote I'd brought down Friday, so I went ahead and easily placed them around in the usual spots.  I found that no, that tote did not have all the things I'd used last year, so I'll need to find the rest of the things when I bring the ornament totes down.  I did make progress though!  My Christmas spirit still hasn't kicked in yet but I won't worry about that until Dec. 1.  lol

Hubby and I finished the day yesterday by, yes, playing our wizard game again.  And we finally finished the Thanksgiving leftovers for supper last night.  I think today will be a lot of wizard game playing since the Vikings don't play today and the Packers aren't scheduled to lose until this evening.

Oh, and my frustration with trying to find the few Christmas gifts I wanted on Saturday has me deciding I will indeed do the bulk of my shopping online this year.  *grumbleslikeaGrinch*

I'm going to go ahead and post two days of old family Christmas photos since I forgot the first day and did not post the yesterday . . . 
1967 - This is the earliest Christmas picture I can find of me.  This would have been Christmas 1967, and I would have just turned one on Dec. 21.  I love looking at how simple the toys and decorations were back then.
1970 - According to the date on the side of the photo (from when it was printed), this would have been Christmas 1970.  But do I look 4 years old there?  I think I look younger, so maybe they just had old film that they hadn't gotten around to developing until later?  Not sure.  I laugh at many things about this photo.  For one, I'm wearing a dress.  Having four older brothers, my early days of dresses were short lived.  LOL  Same with the doll and baby buggy.  I was sooooo not a doll loving typical little girl once I got a little older.  I was much more into chasing after my brothers and getting into whatever they were doing.  Still, fun to look back at.

And this is where I'll leave you on this Sunday morning.  Time to get laundry started.

Hope you're having a lovely weekend!

Friday, November 25, 2022

Nov. 25 - Thanksgiving Recap

Happy Black Friday!  Remember pre-pandemic, when Black Friday actually meant something?  Now they have sales starting mid-November, sales that go the week after Thanskgiving, sales that are random, and all still called Black Friday sales.  What?  Whyyyyyy?  I understand that during the worst of the pandemic they did not want people flooding into stores so they spaced sales out, but aren't we past that now?  I was never a Black Friday shopper but man, I remember at our family Thanksgiving gatherings (when we still did that) the huge topic of conversation was who was getting up at what time in the middle of the night and who was heading to what store for what great deal.  I mean, even just the anticipation was fun!  Now it's all changed and rather pointless.

So, how was your Thanksgiving yesterday?  Ours was nice.  I had some stress the night before and in the morning but was greatly relieved to find it all eventually subsided and I was pretty relaxed the rest of the day.  I do feel like I need to simplify even more next year, although I'm not sure how.  I already use store bought versions of nearly everything so it's not like I can switch to that instead of trying to make everything homemade.  We already gave up cooking a whole turkey several years ago, just do a couple breasts now, so again, can't get much easier than that.  I did fret too much about how much to make and did end up making way too much because we were adding hubby's dad into the plans this year.  I've written myself a note for next year, reminding myself how much to make.

I laugh every year at the 'show your plate' posts I see on social media.  It's just dumb fun so I like it.  Better than all the other crap you see posted.  I never got around to posting this yesterday but I did still take my plate pic for the year.  LOL  Even with the tiny portions I took, this was still probably way more than I should have eaten.  I had to save dessert for later.  That's the Winter Spiced Cranberry Sprite there in my little turkey cup.  Have you tried it?  It's pretty good!  Boychild2 had way more than me, which is surprising because I bought the zero-sugar version and my menfolk usually run for the hills at the idea of zero-sugar soda.

This sweater . . . lol  My mother got this for herself MANY years ago but decided it was too gaudy.  I said I'd take it, sort of a Thanksgiving version of the ugly Christmas sweater.  It was several more years before I finally wore it though, and now I wear it proudly every Thanksgiving day.  It's just as traditional now as the meal itself.  I only wore it half the day though, because after we ate and the dishes were done I switched to my Vikings shirt because at that point it was game day.  The Vikings played last night, and won.  Hubby and I actually stayed up for the whole game, a shocker for these early-to-bed old people.

My mind was quite peaceful after the initial rush of getting all the food ready.  Hubby took a big plateful of food and desserts over to his dad.  Boychild1's friend showed up after we'd eaten.  Even though I hadn't packed up the leftovers yet, he said he didn't want any, claimed he'd had Taco Bell that wasn't sitting well, but we all sort of suspected he'd been out drinking the night before.  hehe  Anyway, after I got the food put away and dishes done, we played Cards Against Humanity for a good long time.  We never even got around to any other games.  Apparently switching to Christmas music while playing games is our tradition too because Friend eventually asked, "No Christmas music?"  So I found a station on the radio that had already switched and that's how we ended out Thanksgiving, with a really scandalous and offensive card game while Christmas music played.  LOL

Usually today would be when I put up our Christmas tree and start decorating the house.  I don't have that urge this year.  I feel okay with just having a bit of neutral inbetween-holidays time.  I mean, I might still go ahead and start today once I get other things done, like packing away the Thanksgiving decorations.  Hubby is off today but is hoping to work in the shop because the weather is fairly warm, so maybe while I have the house to myself I'll haul the Christmas totes down and see what happens.  And if it doesn't happen today, I'm feeling okay with that too.  I like this momentary peaceful feeling!

There have already been a few soap orders from our Etsy shop.  I thank you!!!  Hoping to get more cleared out, and what doesn't sell we'll just tuck away to use ourselves.

How was your holiday?
Are you diving straight into Christmas?
Are you a Black Friday shopper?

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Nov. 24 - Happy Thanksgiving

Well, here we are.  Thanksgiving Day.  Does it seem like it snuck up on us this year?  November has been kind of a blur for me.  All my moodiness about holidays is still lurking but we're here now and it's time to just embrace this day.
I wanted to pop on quick before I have to get busy, and wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Hopefully your day is filled with good company, good food, and some laughs and relaxation.  And may your team win today!
We'll have the boys over, and possibly BoyChild1's friend who is like a third son to us.  We'll have the traditional meal, even if I do cheat and use store bought versions of everything and turkey breasts instead of a whole turkey.  We'll hopefully get some card games in, and then of course we'll be watching the Vikings game this evening, although the boys will have left by then.  They don't care about football.  lol
So, have a great day and I'm off to get some last minute cleaning done!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Nov. 23 - Where Did This Cranky Mood Come From?

Wow, I am in such a mood this morning!  I 'overslept' again, and by that I mean I actually slept until my 5:30am alarm went off.  I've mentioned before I'm almost always up by 5:00am without any alarm.  I'm an early bird, up and at 'em!  But anyway, got up late and have been super cranky ever since.  I think once I get up and get physically busy with some things, get the blood flowing, things will change, but cranky me wanted to get this post done first.

So, for as upset as I was last week about the holidays and wondering if I was trying to hold on to something that's just naturally changing, yesterday my thoughts flipped out of nowhere and I felt like I just didn't want to be bothered with Thanksgiving this year.  It must be some sort of coping mechanism, or like I always do, going to the worst place beforehand so the actual event comes out looking far better.  Hubby wants me to talk to my doctor about going on some sort of anxiety meds.  I probably could benefit but I think of all the meds I'm already taking and . . . ugh.

This morning I have absolutely no holiday spirit.  People on the radio are all talking about everything Thanksgiving related, travel plans, all the holiday things, the whole 'It's tomorrow!' rush, and I'm here just scowling at the world.  I'm pretty sure this will pass.  Like I said, once I get busy with physical things I'll probably feel way better.  Just wanted to feel my feelings for the moment, vent them here and get them out of my system, and get on with things.

My sister-in-law messaged yesterday that they kept my brother in the hospital.  He is on oxygen because his numbers were low, and on an IV of antibiotics.  All virus swabs were negative and he does not have pneumonia, so they did not know yet what was making him sick.  She had gone back home because her own RSV is pretty bad.  I messaged my brother last night because I saw that he had been active on Messenger, but did not get a reply.  So that's all I know for now.  Thanks to everyone who sent well wishes and prayers.

I never wanted my blog to be used for pushing our Achy Joints Creations products but I wanted to mention something before Black Friday.  As you might know, I am a soap maker.  I make goat milk soap using the traditional cold process method.  This is not 'cheater' melt-n-pour base soap.  Because we didn't do markets this year, the soaps did not get a chance to sell.  So we've decided to have a massive Black Friday/Small Business Saturday sale . . . 50% off!!! . . . to get this inventory cleared out.  That means just $2.50 a bar.  I'm going to link our Etsy shop, and our Facebook page, where you can find more information if you're interested.

Etsy Shop link

Achy Joints Creations Facebook Page link

If you are into handmade, natural soaps, I hope you'll check these out.  If you know anyone who is into handmade soaps, please spread the word, share the links.  These make great little gifts . . . teacher gifts, hostess gifts, stocking stuffers.  The recipe was tweaked over the years to be super moisturizing.  There are a variety of scents, and even a fragrance-free oatmeal option, a scrubby 'kitchen' soap made with coffee grounds, masculine scents . . . something for everyone!

Okay, enough of my shameless self promotion.  lol  I'm off to see about getting my mood changed.

Hope you all are feeling much more festive than me today!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Nov. 22 - Some Fun & Some Not So Fun

First, I thank you all for the supportive comments on yesterday's post.  There were some mentions of me being able to post something everyday.  Well, these sort of nattering daily journal type posts are easy for me to do.  I'm up so early anyway, and I just whip out a recap of the previous day while everything is still dark and quiet, before I get going on things I need to do for the day.  And that's fine, I enjoy it for the most part, but there are so many posts I want to do that I'm just not getting around to because they take more thought and more preparation.  Things like my Led Zeppelin post, my Supernatural post, book reviews, movie reviews, my whole YouTuber Gripes series I'm dying to get started.  I want them to be their own posts so the people who are here for the daily natters still have their posts, while people with more select interests might come across the other posts.
But why I never seem to get to those other posts, I don't know.
So yesterday was all my usual Monday stuff.  I went to my mom's, did her grocery shopping, stopped to pick up prescriptions, played Yahtzee.  She and I ended up in a conversation about my tiny little hometown, and Brother3 ended up joining in.  Okay, back when I was growing up in this tiny little town (where my Mom still lives), there were only 600-something people.  There are just over 1,000 now, and so much has changed.  Back in the day there used to be a bunch of small business, a couple bars, things to do.  Now, it's almost all residential.  There are two gas stations and that's about it.  Very sad.
Anyway, we got into this fun conversation, trying to remember the names of all the people that lived around us.  We were starting at the house I grew up in (where Brother2 still lives) and working in all directions, like "Okay, going north it was us, Burnetts, Hatch, Roens....."  It was so funny!  It was interesting talking about the 'downtown' area (it was a tiny town, remember) because my mom and Brother3 could remember things that came before where my memories start.  And then I freaked them out by being able to recall where everything was inside the little grocery store we had way back then.  They could remember the layout of the store but I could remember what was on the shelves.  Oh my gosh, it was so funny!  Oh!  And then my brother and I both recalled getting caught stealing candy as small children and my mom gasped in shock like it was just happening now.  LOL!!!
"What?!  Geez, the things I hear you kids were doing back then!!!"
There were six kids in our family.  lol
Yesterday wasn't all lighthearted though.  I received some troubling news about Brother1 and his wife.  First, he had messaged me that she has RSV.  While RSV is usually mild in adults, she's apparently struggling.  She has been in ill health for over a year now, and had covid twice last fall.  She was in and out of the hospital several times, on oxygen at home, just really having to battle it.  She's also diabetic and has some other issues, which has just made all of this illness even harder for her.

Well along with that, my brother is also sick but his doesn't sound like RSV because he's been throwing up a lot.  She sent me a message last night that she was taking him to the ER because his oxygen numbers are low.  The hospital he wanted to go to was full so they were heading to another one.  I haven't heard yet where he ended up or if they've figured out what's wrong with him yet.  To complicate his situation, he battled cancer several years ago.  I don't remember exactly what type of cancer it was, something with the lymph nodes.  Lymphoma?  Leukemia?  Anyway, it was non-aggressive and he completed a low dose round of chemo that put it into remission.  Earlier this year his blood work showed it might be coming back, so the doctor was keeping an eye on things.  More recently, it was confirmed that it is indeed back but still wasn't at a point the doctor wanted to treat it yet . . . or something like that.  (Seems crazy to me, but I'm not a doctor.)  So now, they don't know if he's so sick from the return of the cancer or if it's just all the stuff currently going around.  Hopefully I hear something today.

And that's about it for now.  In case you missed it, I did post my Pumpkin Spice Spritz Cookie recipe and picture just before this post.  Go check it out!
Hope you are all warm and well as Thanksgiving keeps ticking closer.  Are you ready yet?

Nov. 22 - Pumpkin Spice Spritz Cookies

I used to bake fairly often but somewhere along the way I just quit doing it.  I miss it.  I always want to do it, but I just never seem to manage the effort.  And now, since being diagnosed with diabetes a year ago, all those wonderful baking recipes out there seem suddenly taboo.

Well no more!  I've had the most incredible urges to bake this holiday season!  So I made a batch of Spritz cookies last week to sort of get into the swing of things again.  I share the recipe and show you how they turned out in a bit, but wanted to mention something first.

Being diabetic now, I'm still learning a lot.  My first time shopping after getting out of the hospital, I was like, 'Oh, wow!  Look at all the sugar-free options there are these days!  This will be easy!'  I pretty quickly learned that sugar-free does not mean low carb, AND all those sugar alternatives can be some pretty scary things.  Did you know a lot of 'substitute sweeteners' actually mess up your gut health and can cause gas, bloating, and other unfortunate side effects?  Also, have you seen the prices of all the fancy flour and sweetener alternatives???  It's hard enough just buying basic groceries these days without trying to deal with all that!

So in this first year of living with diabetes, I tend to still go with 'regular' foods but in much smaller portions.  I'm learning that in most recipes you can simply reduce the sugar.  There are a few small changes I'm willing to make in recipes, like using almond milk instead of cow milk, and replacing a portion of regular flour with wheat flour.  I also would rather find tried and true recipes that already have changes made instead of ones that say you can easily alter it by doing xyz, and then you hope for the best.  I've failed several times already that way.

Okay, now that I have that out of the way . . . Pumpkin Spice Spritz Cookies!

I have a battery operated cookie press that I got way back in the '90s.  There was a little booklet with some recipes included, and I used the Basic Spritz Cookies recipe from that, then just added some pumpkin spice.  It's funny how recipes back then used shortening all the time, but recipes you see now don't.  But anyway, let's goooooo!

Pumpkin Spice Spritz Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar  (I only used about 1/2 cup)
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 1/2 cups, with 1/2 cup wheat flour)
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin spice

1. Place butter and shortening in large mixing bowl.  Cream together on medium-high speed.
2. Add sugar gradually.  Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
3. Add egg and vanilla; mix well using medium speed.  (I also added food coloring to make the dough orange.)
4. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice in separate bowl.  Add to butter/sugar mixture gradually; mixing well after each addition.  Dough will be stiff.
5. Fill cookie press with dough; use desired disc.
6. Press cookies on ungreased, uncoated baking sheet.
7. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges.  Do not overbake.
Yield: 6-7 dozen small cookies.

They turned out pretty darn good!  Adding sprinkles to dainty little Spritz cookies is a challenge so I ended up just sprinkling some colored sugars on most of them.  There is some pumpkin spice flavor but it's not overwhelming.  Spritz cookies are normally on the dry, crunch side but think these could have used a touch more moisture.  I've read that using wheat flour will dry things out more because of the high fiber content, and looking at this recipe, I'm not sure where I could have added a touch more 'wet.'  Maybe a bit more butter?  A splash of almond milk?  Not sure.  These are still good though, and I'm happy to have finally baked something again!

Are you running out to buy a cookie press now, and make some Spritz cookies of your own?  I'm going to try eggnog flavors for the next batch I make.  I'm also going to only do half a batch.
And I've added a stand mixer to my Birthday/Christmas list!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Nov. 21 - Still Here

Well hello.  Yes, I'm still here.  I didn't post this weekend because, well, I just didn't feel like it.  I felt like it was just more of the same old stuff I post day after day.  That's how boring my life is.  I went grocery shopping.  Hubby went to his dad's.  We played Yahtzee and watched football.  Wow, exciting.
So now today is Monday and you probably all know already that I'll be going to my mom's, as usual, and not doing much once I get back from there.  Oh wait!  There is a bit of excitement!  I need to stop at Walgreens and pick up prescriptions.  WHEEEE!  lol
It struck me this morning that I am not at all ready for what I wanted to do for Blogmas.  Like I did with my old family Halloween photos each day in October, I've been wanting to do a daily photo of our Christmas trees through the years, mixed with some favorite ornament photos.  I want to start Blogmas the day after Thanksgiving, and I've done nothing yet to get ready.  Ugh.  Yeah, I still have a few days, and I want to get this posted quick and start finding pics before I head over to my mom's.  So I'll quit nattering and do that.
One last thing quick before I go.  I might have an extra post later today.  I want to share the recipe and how my spritz cookies turned out last week.  So hopefully I can get that done when I get home later.
For now though, I hope you're all staying warm and get your Thanksgiving prep work done without stress or panic.  =)

Friday, November 18, 2022

Nov. 18 - Snow & Wind & Holiday Tea

Brrrr, it's a cold one this morning.  The actual temp is 21 degrees but 'feels like' only 8 with the wind that picked up during the night.  We had flurries pretty much all day yesterday, which re-covered areas of the yard where snow had melted Wednesday.  But with the wind, that fluffy snow has all blown into drifts.  This pic below was taken yesterday afternoon . . . 

I did make it to the grocery store yesterday morning.  It was snowing quite heavily at that point and the roads were a lot crappier than I would have guessed but oh well, I'd gone through the trouble of cleaning off the car and was already on my way so I kept going.  LOL

When I walked into the store I was in the bakery section and ohhhhh, there were all these fun looking little packages of assorted holiday cookies and candies.  I was like, 'Well that would save sooooo much time,' but was good and did not buy any.  I want to bake things!  I did pick up some colorful sugars and sprinkles though.  Almost cheated and bought some pre-made icing too, but didn't.

Do you like grocery hauls?  Some people think they're weird but I enjoy watching them on YouTube.  I like seeing what other people are buying and hearing how they use those things.  I like seeing what stores I don't shop at are carrying.  I don't know, it's just interesting.  So here is my mini haul from yesterday . . . 
It's just a few things to get started on baking.  I already had a lot of the basics.  Why is wheat flower so freakin' expensive?!  This is actually the cheapest brand I could find at that store.  Walmart is probably cheaper, but obviously I wasn't there.  Anyway, this local grocery store had a display of the holiday tea flavors from Celestial Seasonings, and they were on sale.  There were four flavors and I wanted to grab all of them but then talked myself out of it because I still don't drink it often enough.  I bought the two you see in the pic, the candy cane and gingerbread flavors, and then on the drive home I was kicking myself for not getting the others.  I'll be back there on Monday when I do my mom's shopping so I'll probably go ahead and grab them then.  (The two other flavors are sugar cookie, and something like cranberry vanilla.)

I finished the second jigsaw puzzle of the season yesterday and started another right away.  Hubby and I played the wizard game for a while after he got home, and then we watched a bit of the Packers game last night before heading to bed.  Spoiler alert . . . they LOST.  *insert laughing emoji here*

I'm determined to get a batch of cookies made today.  I pulled out my old cookie press and will be making good ol' spritz cookies.  I'm not sure if I'll leave them basic or try to make them pumpkin spice flavored since we do still have a bit of time left in pumpkin-everything season.  I saw a variation to make eggnog flavor and will definitely be trying that when I make more for Christmas.  I haven't made spritz cookies in many years, probably over ten years.  I remember giving my mom some I'd made and she laughed at me when I said I'd made them.  She flat out refused to believe something like that was not store bought.  It's a press, Mom.  It's not that hard.  So we'll what she thinks this time, hehe.

So I am off to get busy in the kitchen.

Are you a holiday baker?
What are some of your traditional must-haves?
And have you ever made spritz cookies?

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Nov. 17 - Things Are Looking Up

I'm getting a later start again this morning.  The cat woke me up just before the 5:30am alarm would have gone off.  I'm usually up at 5:00am.  Some of the snow we got Tuesday was already melting yesterday but it looks like we got a fresh dusting overnight.  Our temps will only be in the 20s for the next few days.  Very wintery and holiday vibey out there.  lol  I like it.

I've kinda gotten over my holiday funk that I whined about yesterday.  Boychild2 was over again yesterday and I ended up mentioning it all to him.  He did the whole 'Mother, you're crazy' thing and assured me he doesn't mind coming over for holidays.  The Christmas shopping part is still something to figure out, even for him, as he admitted.  Later I remembered Boychild1 being excited to get that new booster pack for Cards Against Humanity when we were at Target last week, how he'd said, "Why wait for Christmas?  We need this for Thanksgiving!"  So yeah, it seems he's okay with being here for the holidays.  I don't know where my moody thoughts come from or why I let them evolve so much in my head.  I think I need to keep active more, keep my mind engaged in other things.

Talked about all my holiday blues with hubby when he got home.  I had not mentioned it to him the day before because I'd been hoping if I didn't dwell on it, it would pass.  But yeah, ended up telling him about it yesterday while we played our wizard game.  I included more things in the conversation with him though, things like how I don't want us to get how our parents became about holidays.  They just sort of gave up as their kids (us) got older and had families of their own.  I don't want that!  If we see each other less in general throughout the year, that's all the more reason to get together on the holidays!  So darn it, I'm carrying on being the dorky holiday crazy mom that demands the kids come home for the day.

I've also developed this raging urge to bake All The Things for the holidays now, where I was always very 'Why?  I can't eat them, and the rest of my people don't need to be eating so much junk either.'  But now I'm like, 'It's the holidays!  Bake the cookies and treats and breads!  Divide them up in festive cookie tins for everyone to enjoy!'  I'm not sure I'll actually succeed in this but my plan so far is to head to the grocery store this morning and get some things to get started, attack this plan while the urge is still fresh and strong.  LOL

I'm looking for some healthier recipes but I don't want to get into those diabetes friendly options where everything is a supposedly healthier option.  I don't like sugar-free options.  I'd rather just reduce the amount of regular sugar.  I'm okay with using almond milk instead of cow milk.  And I'm going to try reducing all-purpose flour and adding some wheat flour.  Small changes.  Baby steps.  First I just need to get back into the habit of baking!

My blood sugar situation was a bit better yesterday.  Maybe my doctor does know what she's doing with this goofy new dosing system?  lol

So my holiday thoughts are looking up and my blood sugar troubles might be on the mend.  I'll take both as small victories and go into this day feeling much better about things in general.

Just one week till Thanksgiving now!
Are you ready?!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Nov. 16 - Holiday Stress Has Hit

Yesterday turned into a rather moody day for me.  The snow was nice, and the holiday feel it brought was nice . . . early in the day.  Little things just started to bother me as the day went on though, and sure enough, I got stuck 'in my head,' wallowing in my troubled thoughts.

First of all, the new insulin dosing system my doctor wants me to try seemed to be a complete fail.  My numbers went high by lunch and then of course crashed with the large dose she wanted me to take at lunchtime.  Then they were on the low end of the scale at supper, which is okay, but she wants me to take a very low dose at suppertime because my crashes almost always happened after supper.  Well, with that low dose, my bedtime numbers were high again, and now I had very little insulin in my system for the night, so of course my number was high again this morning.  Ugh.  I'll try to be patient and see how it goes today before I complain to her.  I'm thinking I shouldn't have even messaged her and worked on figuring it out myself.

Maybe because my mood was already sour from that, my thoughts about the upcoming holidays started to turn.  I guess this is normal for me, thinking about it.  I'll be so excited in the beginning of the season and then start over-thinking everything and turn all that excitement into stress and doubt.  So yesterday I was starting to worry about Christmas shopping.  I really don't buy for many people anymore so it should be easy, right?  Nope.  Hubby is hard to shop for because he wants things for his work shop but I don't know what things, and to just get gift cards every year for Menards is boring and unoriginal.  My mom and my father-in-law are those 'I don't need anything' people, so it's usually a grocery gift card for my mom and some puzzle books for my father-in-law.  Again, boring.  And then my two sons are the only other people I shop for these days.  It's gotten hard to buy for them too.  They are both big into video games and anime so it should be easy, right?  Nope.  They buy the games they want as they come out.  They don't like collectible things like Funko figures.  There are tons of anime graphic novels out there but they aren't into reading books.  One admits he doesn't use gift cards, so it's a waste to buy them.  And then there is the whole problem of how much to get them?  They're my kids so I have no problem buying them many gifts, spoiling them at Christmas like they're still my babies.  But they say they don't need anything, and money is tight for us anyway, so what to do?  One thing each?  Two each?  A certain money amount?

Too. Much. Over. Thinking!

Well then it all got worse when Boychild2 was here for laundry.  Something he said indirectly upset me, and then it just simmered in my thoughts, brewing into something larger.  He had said that at work several people were sitting in the break room, talking about Thanksgiving, and who had what plans.  He said he'd made a comment that his mom was shackling him to the house on Thanksgiving because she didn't want them to just eat, play a game, and head home.  He said a few people responded with 'What the heck else does she expect?' type comments.  He laughed as he was telling me this, and it was probably all in good humor among the people, like 'typical mom' reactions, but it hit a nerve with me.
Do I expect too much?  This has been one of my problems since the boys have left home.  I always end up wondering if I'm trying to hard to create a wonderful holiday.  Times have changed now that the boys are adults, maybe the holiday should too.  And it has, I know, but I hate to think of Thanksgiving and Christmas becoming just another day.  'Here's some food.  Thanks for stopping over.  See you next week for laundry.'  I want to hang out and play card games, have a good meal, and munch on food while we play more games, happily say goodnight when they eventually head home in the evening.  But maybe the shorter version of it all IS holiday enough for them?  Am I just struggling to hold on to something that inevitably changes as we grow older?

So yeah, too much time stuck in my own thoughts once again.  I was in a mood by the time hubby got home but I didn't mention any of this stuff to him.  He suggested we play our wizard game for a while, but even in that I was moody.  I've switched characters now that he's playing again and I'm finding I don't like this particular character.  lol  She needs a major overhaul in skills and armor, and that's what I'm hoping to work on this morning after I post this.  But anyway, yeah, stupid worries made worse as the day went on.  So much for being present and in the moment, simplifying, and banishing holiday stress!

Anyone else have such worries?
Have you overcome such worries?
Any words of wisdom?

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Nov. 15 - Dungeons & Doctors

It's a snowy Tuesday morning here in Wisconsin.  Right now it's not quite covering the yard but the forecast says 1-3 inches "through Thursday."  I'll take it!  Just looking out the window and seeing it really amps up all the holiday feels.  =)
My weekly trip to Mom's was uneventful.  I did her shopping and laundry, and we played Yahtzee.  All the usual stuff.  She's all obsessed and worried about  "that new virus."  I think she means RSV.  As I've said before, she watches the news way too much and doesn't understand most of what she sees.  I didn't even try to explain to her that RSV is not new and is generally mild in adults.  She's convinced that's what she had those few weeks ago when she was feeling ill, and when I was sniffling yesterday she was sure that's what I have too.  I don't mean to roll my eyes but it really is very frustrating with her, to not be able to explain things because she just won't understand anyway.
I got home from her place later than usual because she wanted me to be there while she made a phone call to one of her financial places.  The guy she needed to talk to was in a meeting and would call her back.  So we were playing Yahtzee while the laundry was drying, and also waiting for this guy to call back.  I don't know why I had to be there but she wanted me there.  Well it was getting later and he wasn't calling so she finally dismissed me (lol) because she decided she'd be fine.  *shrugs*
Hubby had to go back down to our dungeon basement when he got home yesterday, had to slightly lower the floor jack that he'd put in.  I had already noticed the refrigerator door wanted to swing closed quite aggressively, meaning he'd probably raised the floor in that area a bit much, but then I noticed in an area of the floor a little bit away from the fridge, it sounded like something was loose or shifting.  I had him come and listen while I paced different areas, and he went back down to adjust the jack.  It still makes the sound a bit but to lower the jack more he'll loose pressure on the beam.  If we want to adjust it more he'll have to go get a block of wood and venture back down into the dungeon.

I finally heard back from my doctor about my blood sugar yesterday.  She'd asked me to send her my blood check logs for the past couple weeks to see if she could spot any trends.  I think what she wants me to try now doesn't make a whole lot of sense but . . . she's the doctor.  Well, I mean, it makes sense but I think she's focused too much on the rare times my blood sugar goes low and not enough on the majority of times my blood sugar is high.  This doctor is just a regular primary care physician, not an endocrinologist or anything like that.  I did ask the diabetes educator (the one time I was allowed to meet with her) if this doctor has a lot of experience with diabetes and she assured me that yes, she does.  And since my diabetes is still new and so far (*knock wood!*) well managed, I've been okay sticking with her.  This isn't the first time though, that it seems she's only focused on the occasional low instead of the highs.  But anyway, she says to try this new dose system for a week and send her my check logs again.  I guess we'll see!

I have no plans to go anywhere today.  I really need to get the kitchen cleaned up after ignoring it the past couple days.  Good thing we had a pizza in the freezer yesterday!  LOL  Boychild1 is stopping over for something today.  Other than that, who knows.  Maybe I'll watch Twilight and work on the jigsaw puzzle.

What are you up to this snowy Tuesday?

Monday, November 14, 2022

Nov. 14 - Well That Was Exciting

I'm running way behind on this Monday morning.  I was awake early but stayed in bed, waiting for hubby to leave for work, and next thing I know the alarm is going off at 5:30am.  An alarm at 5:30am might not sound like I'm behind on anything but I rarely ever sleep till the alarm goes off.  I'm very much an early bird and most days I'm up by 5:00am without any alarm.  Guess I needed that extra sleep, huh?

Did you see that Vikings-Bills game yesterday?!  Oh my gosh!  The Vikings have been doing great this season but the Bills are a strong team and, let's face it, a lot of the Vikings wins have been a struggle to get.  But that game!  Holy crap, two touchdowns taken away in those final minutes, a fumble recovery in the end zone to take it to overtime, and then an interception in the end zone to FINALLY win the game?!  Hubby and I were both yelling and cheering, couldn't sit still, both of our hearts pounding.  That was nerve-wracking and fun!

That was about the most noteworthy thing about the day.  I did laundry, made tacos for lunch (and the leftovers for supper), and we played Yahtzee.  I did not clean up the kitchen last night, thought I'd get to it this morning before going to my mom's but now it will have to wait till I get back.  I need to fill bird feeders again today, thought I'd get to that yesterday between the Vikings and Packers games but nope, not when that Vikings game went into the anxiety attack overtime.  LOL!  I can maybe sneak that in before I go to my mom's.  Other than that, not much to write about today.

I heard a nice little promo thing this morning on one of the oldies radio stations I listen to quite often.  They were saying they will switch to all Christmas music "the day after Thanksgiving.  One holiday at a time, like it should be."  Yesss!  I admit some of my thoughts are already on Christmas but my actions are still focused on Thanksgiving.  And while I love Christmas music, I do like to wait until the day after to start listening to it.  Just like I wait till the day after to put up our tree.

And I can't believe how close Thanksgiving is already!

Okay, this morning is ticking by too fast and I have to get ready to go to my mom's.
Hope your week is off to a great start!
Are you ready for Thanksgiving yet?

(Funny!  It's a couple days later when I'm adding this part, but I noticed this post has significantly lower views than normal.  My original post title was something like That Vikings Game!  I can't help but wonder if that alone was enough to turn people away, so I've changed it to a much more click-bait type title just to see what happens.  hehe)