After penning many (at least by my standards) articles in August, September, and October, I took November off from writing except for the blog posts I shared here. I'm headed "back to work" in December, as I have January deadlines looming, but I truly appreciated the break.
I thought I would read more in November, but it seems I filled the time I would have spent writing not with reading but with...I don't even know. There just aren't enough hours in the day.
I plan to return (to the library) the two books I started and then check them back out the following day, provided no one else has reserved them. I had already renewed each of them once, so renewal wasn't an option - hoping I can finish both in December!
Midway through the month Hallie and I decided that we would watch only Christmas (or Christmas-adjacent) television and movies through Christmas Day. Here's a quick review of what we've tackled thus far this holiday season!
Disenchanted (Disney+) - both Hallie and I enjoyed this sequel to Disney's 1993 Enchanted, but in true sequel fashion, it wasn't quite as good as the original. Grade: B+
Falling for Christmas (Netflix) - Lindsay Lohan makes me sad, but I still kind of liked this incredibly predictable and sappy Christmas movie...maybe because I kind of like incredibly predictable and sappy Christmas movies. Grade: C+
Christmas...Again?! (Netflix) - This movie was also somewhat predictable, but it was cute and clever, in a Freaky Friday meets Groundhog Day kind of way. Hallie was on the high end of the target age bracket, as it seemed geared more toward young tweens. Grade: B
Single All the Way (Netflix) - Predictable? Yes. Fun, funny, and refreshing? Also yes. Hallie and I knew within the first five minutes how this one would end, but we loved watching it anyway. Grade: A-
Merry, Happy, Whatever (Netflix) - This short television series won't win any awards and I probably could have skipped it (it's not Dennis Quaid's best work, that's for sure), but Hallie liked it and I appreciated how its creators managed to cram just about every different kind of disfunction into one family's week-long holiday gathering. Grade: C
Virgin River (Netflix) - Not Christmas-adjacent, but I started it before our Christmas/Christmas-adjacent rule... Watching Virgin River was the closest I've come to binging a show in more than a year - once I started it I just couldn't stop. And OH was I mad when I realized there were only four seasons and not five, as I'd originally thought. (They're filming a season five, but it's not out yet.) Grade: A
Christmas music, of course!
When it comes to podcasts, I'm caught up on those I listen to regularly so I'm trying The Home Edit's (Clea and Joanna) new Best Friend Energy podcast. After listening to two episodes, the verdict is still out...I'll report back when I've had a chance to hear them chat with a few additional guests.
Sadly, I have no one new to recommend this month as none of the pages and/or personalities - and I sampled quite a few - lived up to my standards for sharing here and all were deleted within a few day/couple of weeks. Hopefully December will produce better results!
I think I'll have MANY fun recommendations to share in December's medley, but because I just received these goodies for my birthday at the end of November, I want to wait until I'm 100% positive they're winners before I post them here. That said, one of my birthday gifts has already won us all over:
It's an Echo Show, and aside from the fact that we can't seem to un-sync it from the Alexa in Hallie's room, I love it.
We - and by we, I mean Popeye - are also incredibly happy with this adorable cat scratcher from Chewy. (They don't have this exact cat scratcher anymore, but they have a few that are similar.) It's great for scratching, of course, but Popeye in particular loves to rest on the side of its base closest to the fire.
Because November - into December - is Nutcracker season, I bought this lovely Nutcracker lightweight sweatshirt from Little Mama Shirt Shop. (I also bought this Grinch tee because it was just too cute.) I highly recommend this shop - it's mom/family-owned and -operated, and the products are always of a high quality and shipped quickly.
I'm embarrassed by the amount of cooking I've (not) done this month. I know I'll get back to trying new recipes, but right now the staples - spaghetti, tacos, bagged salads, breakfast for dinner, etc. - are getting us through. I miss having more time in the kitchen...
I have discovered, however, two wonders in the semi-fast food realm. First, the smoothie bowls at Juice It Up - my favorite so far is the Strawberry Wave with strawberries, banana, and granola on top. Second, nachos - with the chips on the side (so all of nacho toppings in a dish that you can dip into) - from Freebirds. I could go to Juice It Up for lunch and Freebirds for dinner every day this month and be completely satisfied.
Feeling Good About
Happy belated Thanksgiving, happy end of November, and happy December, friends!