Explorative Cooking, Putting up Christmas Finally, Working on the Weekend, and Seizing Back my To Do List

Thanks everyone for your support and in watching the YouTube version of “Less Hustle More Coffee” and our tribute to Roger dog. Above is my screen shot for a story on Instagram. If you have not watched the video and want to, see my previous entry where I have embedded the video. I also have a tab of Videos here at the top of my blog next to my “About Me” section. It takes you to YouTube where you can see ALL of the videos. On the iPhone it’s at the top of the blog also using what they call the hamburger icon or the three bars stacked on top of each other – the icon that is used commonly for “menu options” and you will find it there too.)

Experimenting with “Pan Cakes”

Well I made myself some breakfast yesterday. I started out by making oatmeal and decided to try a little experiment. I had seen the Polar Bear girl make a Norwegian breakfast or perhaps Swedish – what do I know. She uses whatever she has in the house to make pancakes. Once she used a banana that was really ripe to use it up. So I crushed up a banana, added an egg, cinnamon, and a bunch of oats. I guess I could have added flour or cornmeal ha, but I was trying to keep it healthy. I put honey over it.

Was it the same as a pancake? Unfortunately no. But I can see why they eat it with fruit, or with applesauce, or a bit of whip cream over it. I have an intense craving for pancakes with maple syrup but it really does a mess up of my blood sugar like nothing else does so I stay away from them. Even if I eat protein with them it really gives me the shakes so I stay away. The good thing I learned though is that – THE METHOD – of taking something like fruit or a vegetable, adding an egg and some form of grain and then flavorings – I’ve proven to myself that I can make a flat bread cake of any kind. So that is kinda cool. It would have been better if I’d thrown just a little brown sugar in there. Come to think of it – that was the ingredient she used that I did not have, also she put brown cheese on top, which I don’t think we have around here. So I’ll give it another go sometime. It was fun to experiment. Even if the first one was not so good, it’s the concept of being able to tell when the consistency is right and when it’s ready for frying in the pan. I used Pam, lol.

It was “Time”!

Yes, I had work I needed to do but, I was waiting on the sheets so I could make the bed as I use the bed for part of my desk layout at home (it holds my calculator and files, lol). So while waiting we knocked out the Christmas trees, removing ornaments from the den tree and the living room tree. This is normally my job, and then George takes the trees downstairs for us, but I’m lacking on time these days so George was kind to get started on the project. We have company coming in a little over two weeks so we need to get the house flipped to normal so we don’t have so much at the last minute. Normally my house is in good shape but it’s not had a thorough cleaning (I did a little one).

I had gathered the Christmas and dumped it on the sofa weeks ago. I had packed a few tubs but still had some left. And even this morning I have those Santas and pillows to put up. Mainly need to put trash bags over the Santas and could really use another tub or two for the Christmas pillows and smaller Santas.

This is a reality blog so you get to see my house when it’s messy just as you do when it’s all cleaned up. The floors also need another round of cleaning. I also have a lot of stuff to take down to the basement that I’ve stacked by the vent (by the stairs) to take down. It felt freeing to get the Christmas trees undecorated. It also felt like I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to b/c I needed to be doing year end reporting.

Working this Weekend

I worked about half the day and got quite a bit done. I will be working some more on it today. While the deadline comes tomorrow (and there is no way we will make it as there is way too many w-2’s to data enter by hand and I didn’t get the info til Friday), it will still be busy over the next couple of weeks as we I mean “I” wrap this up, but I’m excited that I have been able to get a chunk done and behind me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that my rush is about over and I’m going to enjoy getting some of my time back.

Yesterday I had said I’d tell you what all was on my list. At this point, I’m not sure I can even remember it all, but as I start working on everything it will all come back. And for starters let’s just go from here what I can remember as I start Feb 1 as Sonya’s New Year! Since I didn’t really get an opportunity to start much of my New Year off with any time of my own.

February 1 is the new January 1 – List of To Do’s:

  • Nails done – getting this done this week. I will look at the calendar later and plan my week out. Likely not tomorrow as I’ll probably do what I can to knock everything out tomorrow that I can.
  • Toes done – debating whether I should do both both in one. I usually like to do them separate, but I think for the sake of time, I’ll just do both at once.
  • Make Mom’s heart scan appointment
  • Make my Colonoscopy appointment
  • Download my last Audible book and cancel the service as long as you can still keep the ones you have downloaded, I have to check.
  • Cancel Isagenix autoship
  • Plan for company coming and get the house ready
  • Go to Hobby Lobby for plant and flower stems to put in vases. I’m looking forward to perusing the entire store!
  • Mail something that I have for River
  • Work on new video Intro now that the Roger video is done (removing Roger and changing a few things around)
  • Help George in the basement
  • Car wash
  • Update my Mac software
  • Download Final Cut Pro and watch videos for training
  • Order vitamins for me and for Mom
  • Work a puzzle (pretending I have my winter January back in which to do so)
  • Write the company “ONE” about their breakfast bar having soap in it (yuk, likely from where they didn’t get all the suds out from cleaning their equipment).

Not as Urgent but on the list:

  • Pictures ordered from Shutterfly
  • Fix bluetooth headphone issue with Mac
  • Meeting with myself over coffee to brainstorm over Less Hustle More Coffee, blog and vlog directions
  • Move bed from my office and move the filing cabinet in
  • Move china cabinet from downstairs to upstairs and figure all that out
  • Clean out office drawers and reorganize it after the bed is gone
  • Move the files from plastic drawers to the new filing cabinet
  • Use our gift cards from Christmas to go out to eat
  • Talk to George about cable/streaming
  • Window cleaning – this is becoming urgent but I dread it
  • Jewelry project – I’m getting annoyed now and that will make me go ahead and do this
  • Get a dog
  • Cannon Lessons
  • Make homemade bread
  • Read
  • Develop a new challenge for myself
  • Get a passport made
  • Work on Rivers book
  • Find out the name of Grandaddy’s ship
  • Work on my list of Blog/Vlog projects
  • Cook some
  • Find some podcasts that I like
  • Consider writing a book that I have always wanted to do
  • Do things on our bucket list
  • Other home projects

These are the things I’ve been wanting to do for some time. And I’ll start in on them Feb 1! Maybe even before. 😉

So that’s all for today. I am going to get a shower, get some work done, and then do my Sunday list of things such as ironing, getting meds and vitamins in the container for the next 7 days. And then we told Mom we would come over for dinner tonight, and take her the Pillsbury biscuits from the freezer (we couldn’t find them the day we went to Kroger and did her grocery shopping). We will take her some important mail that arrived and check her mail box over there.

So my heart is glad. Even though I still have a lot of work to do left, and will likely still work a bit extra over and above the extra I already do, I can feel my precious time coming back to me. We won’t be preparing for Christmas, we don’t have a lot of extra things now that the busy wild ride from fall thru January period is over. We can plan and do things now. We can get things done in the house. We can enjoy the ART of living now and knock off some things on our OWN agenda and on Mom’s. I know, I know, we will still be busy, and our days will be full, but at least it won’t be all on top of the the holidays and the impossible year end/quarter end processing that just really sucks out what little personal time we’ve had. So yay! I feel like we are coming back to life and it kinda feels like we are headed into spring.

Normally January is my hibernation month. I was going to claim it in February and I may still claim some hibernation days. But if the temps rise, I’m good with excursions and getting out more and doing things. I know we have many more winter days to come in the next couple of months but we also have some surprise pretty days in February and March that we are teased with. And those will be our fun days!

Ok off to work now and to plan my week ahead. I’m sure something will change it but first up is getting my nails done! They are broken to pieces. And my toes need care as the nail is digging into the sides, :-O. Back to some pamper time and self-care so I can come back strong and be there for the world again later.

Santa’s Work Shop: Holiday Baking, Wrapping, Cleaning and Getting Ready for Family

It was a grand and glorious vacation day yesterday. I was up early and busy as a bee! Laundry going, house cleaning, baking, wrapping. And then I began just starting from the left of the house and going through to the right – putting things up, straightening, cleaning.

I was impressed with the pumpkin bread – although next time I want to find the recipe with brown sugar. I thought it had called for brown sugar as I wrote the ingredient down. But maybe that was for another recipe. I still have to make no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies but it’s supposed to be made with sunny weather and no rain, so they will set up, but…it’s raining heavy out there. Go figure.

I also made brownies and check mix. And still have some chocolate chip cookies to make. I wanted some for us this week but will share as well.

That Chex Mix is so good. Baked with butter and ranch dressing mix. I love it with the Cheez-Its and nuts and Cherios and two kinds of Chex.

I also vacuumed and mopped the new flooring. Fabuloso, the cheap Spanish cleaner, was one of the things I bought last year when cleaning things began missing from the shelves. Turns out it was one of the best things ever. It is gentle on the floors, not sticky, and yet it cleans it good. And it’s useful for other things too.

So it was an awesome day. I stopped mid-day and had a little pizza and watched a couple of YouTube shows.

It was so heavenly just being me in the house yesterday to do what I needed to do. I even filmed most of the day as I did things, so eventually there will be a “Getting Ready for Christmas” video. I used both my iPhone and the camera. What great fun and freedom not to have to think about anything outside the scope of what is inside my walls and putting my focus on our family Christmas. This day has been in the books for a long time and I really had everything trying to take it away. But I stood my ground and held on to this off day. Now I will be ready for everything starting tomorrow! I still have wrapping – a big box for George and a big box for River that Mom wanted me to wrap.

Santa’s Work Shop is in full swing right now. After these two boxes today we can put away all gift wrapping supplies. I have a little spread all ready for tomorrow, when Katy and Cody arrive. And now we can focus on the Christmas Eve dinner in the next week.

Look at Santa’s workshop table! LOL. Not even George has room for his stuff. Ha! He will be working at home Monday though so we will need to clean the end for him to set up his laptop. The dishwasher guy is coming to see why the new dishwasher is not working. I washed dishes 4 times yesterday I think – with all the baking. I also washed all the dishes in the dishwasher recently that were dirty and I think that was yesterday morning, plus our dinner dishes from Friday night. And then after each baking session I washed.

I also fixed spaghetti last night. It was good if I say so myself. lol. I had 3 leftovers for lunches. Our freezers are so full that I could only get two in. We are going to be eating out of the freezers and letting them get down to half full I think and not buying much else until spring or summer. We loaded up a lot every time they said there was a shortage coming. But we have a lot of big things in there that are only weekend only meats. Things that take a while to cook. So a lot of our freezer is that. We often have to go buy quick things for the nightly meals after work.

So George did the dishes last night after dinner, saying it was his turn. I was going to do those too as he had worked all day but he said he would do it. Little Bit was meowing and asking me to come to bed. He settled down once I got in bed. He has become to love it when we go to bed. George puts him out or in the basement before he goes to bed. He is good to let us know when he needs to “go out” and do business. So now that Fancy is gone and the other dogs, he enjoys coming in more. And he has even learned to enjoy sitting in my lap – especially when I have flannels on, lol.

I’m thankful that God is allowing Little Bit to become closer to us, while we are in our period of no doggies. He has not normally been a lap cat or a cuddle cat, has often been aggressive even though he was playing – as he swats and bites – but I know when he is apt to do it and try to eliminate what causes him to do it. He is less aggressive though now there are no dogs. He is more settled. He’s always preferred outside but maybe it was because of the dogs. He does love his woods behind us and loves to hunt.

Well, I guess that is about all I have today. I’m just trying to focus on Christmas. Anything beyond that is just too much mentally for me right now. I just have to compartmentalize my life into three sections: our home, Mom, and work and only focus on one at the time. Aunt Martha and Uncle Ken are here at Mom’s and that takes an extreme load off my psyche right now. They have been taking her places, spending time with her, helping her in the house – at least they moved a chair in that George was going to have to do today so they would have more comfortable seating for all of them. There is still so much in the garage and so much unpacking to do but I think now that most of the furniture is in place. She still needs curtains hung, pictures hung, so many boxes unpacked. But we will help as she figures out where she wants things and what she wants where. The needs are endless to get it like she wants and then it’ll still be endless, lol. So I try just to focus on one thing at a time or I will go nutzoid as I’m just too freaking inefficient and not enough of me to do all three. I feel like I’m always failing someone every day. Or not enough for everyone. And when you feel that way it’s easy for people to take advantage of you and so I have to hold that part of me in check as well and do self-care as best as I can, so I can continue living healthily as well and can remain a part of this world to help tend and do what needs doing.

Meanwhile in Texas.

I’ve not posted about Little Roo in a good while. I always save him for the “Meanwhile in Texas” part of the blog but then I never really get through with my blog entries as it is always time to go to work or go do something for Mom or go to some “thing” or “outing”….so I end up cutting the blog short. I love the Meanwhile in Texas section! So I’m going to try to hurry and get to that part. I have been so focused on so many things also that my head spins round and round. But he is a cutie and he is on his way to see me! They are stopping in Hot Springs mid way. I’m so excited for them. But…

PLEASE SAY A TRAVEL PRAYER/BLESSING over them. The traffic in Dallas/Ft Worth can be so challenging in spots and it’s a rainy travel day for them as well. So please pray that God safely and joyously brings them to us. Traveling with a little tot can be challenging always. He’s learning to wave, play peek a boo, and still loves to eat – like the rest of us! Look at those teeth! We are so excited to see him! I cannot wait to hold him and show him the Christmas tree! And his presents!

So I’m off to finish off my duties here today. Everything is coming together slowly.

I did have a little “almost” go to pieces when I forgot that our company took away one of our Christmas holidays. They stuck it somewhere else in the year last year, for whatever reason- more convenient for the company I think. I told George that as long as I could remember working (except for retail) we always had TWO HOL days for Christmas regardless how it fell on the weekend. I had forgotten they had changed this on us. I realized when looking at my notes and calendar that this week was just about like all the rest – we only have the one day off. In my mind it kinda destroyed me because we have so much family in town. I thought we’d have more time together and more time off for the holidays. But what can you do? I’m short on PTO as I’ve so many things pulling at me this year.

And then they took away the 31st holiday and stuck it on Jan 3rd, leaving me with only Jan 4th to do payroll as we fly out the 5th through the rest of the week for River’s first birthday party. Of course family will be gone by then. It’s ok. I’ll just work a long day on the 4th and someone else will have to fold the check stubs for TN. I’m at least off on my birthday which is the 3rd. I wish I’d just scheduled myself to be off the whole week. If I’d known they were going to change the holidays on us – we’d have booked our flights earlier and be gone for the entire week instead of just taking off 3 days. Now we are staying in town just so I can work that one Tuesday for the payroll run. Insert big eye rolling emoji here! If we were driving, I might try to work that out but we are flying so I’m just keeping it the same.

Retirement needs to come soon because my life is just too stressful otherwise. I had not anticipated life getting harder and I will tell you it is quite depressing. I thought as you aged, life’s stresses became fewer. Silly me. Anyway, it’s all good. We deal with everything the best way we can. And just pushing through. And try to sneak some spare time and self-care in there somewhere.

So I’m going back for coffee and enjoying another day here at the house which is like a gift to me from God. Will finish the wrapping, clean up, finish the baking and laundry and dishes. We will see all the family tomorrow, including River.

Hope all is coming together at your house! I’ve enjoyed our blog time today. My neighbor sent this in a text email. Loved it.

Tagine Cooking with George and Prepping for Mom’s Stay: The Next Video is live!

Here is the video!

Enjoy! This is back when we prepped a few things for Mom’s visit a few weeks before she arrived at the house and also inserted a clip of George cooking in the kitchen, a Moroccan dish with his new tagine clay pot. See how tagine cooking works! There might be a bit of humor.

If you have not already subscribed, please do so you won’t miss a video! Give me a like or comment on YouTube as it really helps.

Thanks so much. Off to move and unpack at Mom’s. It’s the final moving day!