Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Monthly Medley: January 2020

Welcome to the first Monthly Medley of 2020! I hope the year has treated you and yours well thus far.

This month I read Tara Westover's Educated, a true story about her nontraditional and even bizarre survivalist upbringing. I tend toward mysteries, but this autobiography hit the spot for January and kept me engaged from the first page to the last.

Ah, Disney+... We're all trying to enjoy the multiple of options available without getting sucked in to the rabbit hole that is this extensive library of amazing films and television shows. In the family friendly category, Hallie and I loved the Christmas film Noelle and we're looking forward to watching more of Diary of a Future President (we caught the pilot but the episodes are releasing one at a time rather than all at once).

In the adult viewing category (and on Netflix), Tom and I started watching Messiah, and thus far it seems like a series we both want to stick with. Though I am regularly guilty of picking up my phone while also watching television or a movie at home, I noticed that when I watched Messiah, my phone drifted down to the couch or bed on which I sat and stayed there for most - if not all - of each episode.

After a long hiatus, the show Will and I watch together - Manifest - returned earlier this month. We have a standing date to catch up on the previous week's episode every Wednesday evening during the small window after basketball practice, before soccer practice, while Hallie is at dance, while Tom is at his weekly jam session, and while Will eats dinner...like I said, it's a small window. 😂

Listening To
I'm still working my way through Crime Junkie, so I don't have a new podcast to report in on. I do, however, have one particular Crime Junkie episode to recommend; if you listened to and liked Serial, the April 8, 2018 episode of Crime Junkie - "ADNAN: What Serial Didn't Tell You" - is a great follow up that provides quite a bit of information I hadn't heard previously.

For Christmas my parents bought Will this chessboard. It hangs on the wall, so that a game can take place - and even go on for a while - without getting bumped, out of the way, and without cluttering up a surface. After a player's turn, they position this little square marker around the piece they moved so that when the other player returns to the board, they know what took place in their absence. Will and I are currently playing, though a more accurate explanation of the situation would probably be that Will is currently beating me, though I can't see it yet.

I couldn't find Will's exact board on Amazon, but the site has plenty of option if you want to get your own game going at home!

For years I have enjoyed using Starbucks' reusable cups. Not their ceramic mugs and stainless steel tumblers (although those are also nice), but the simple plastic cups - that look almost identical to Starbucks' disposable cups - for sale right next to the register. When Starbucks started selling not just plain white cups, but seasonal and holiday-themed cups...well, I started buying them up as soon as each new cup was released. And this month's Valentine's Day cup might be my favorite one yet.

If you've been searching for a VERY inexpensive coffee cup that comes with a lid and is both dishwasher and microwave safe, look no further. I promise - this one's a winner.

I have no affiliation with Starbucks, other than as a fan of their cups, vanilla sweet cream cold brews, and petite vanilla bean scones.

Shirts for Disney were the extent of my clothing shopping and budget for January. So while I don't have any flattering workout shorts or cute ankle boots to share this month, I do have a link to one of the Etsy shops we used and with which we had a great experience. Our shirts were simple and we didn't personalize them (I don't like putting my kids' names on things they will wear in crowded/public places) but also really cute and well made - check them out at Crafty Walkers Shop.

Anyone else out there a fan of the Cheesecake Factory? In particular, their famous "brown bread"? I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into my Kroger at the beginning of the month and saw a huge display of that very bread. Yum!

On the cooking and baking front, I found three winning recipes this month.
  • First, One Pan Roasted Potatoes, Sausage, and Peppers. I swapped turkey sausage for chicken sausage, but other than that change I followed the recipe exactly. And we had no leftovers!
  • Second, Bella's Taco Soup. I added the taco seasoning directly to the crockpot rather than adding it to the meat while cooking, used pinto beans instead of white beans, and used frozen corn rather than canned corn. I've made taco soup plenty of times before, but this time it went over even better than usual!
  • And third, Roasted Veggie Mediterranean Pasta with Goat Cheese. I made a few adaptations here too: I left out the eggplant (I don't like eggplant), added the "optional" grape tomatoes, used a container of my favorite Rana Pesto rather than make pesto from scratch, and used a small tub of feta cheese instead of goat cheese. I honestly couldn't believe how good this pasta dish tasted - I was bitter when Tom ate the leftovers out from under me!

Feeling Good About

Happy January, friends!

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