Wednesday, November 9, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Sign Ups are Open!

Guys, it's that time of year of again.  Chaotic Goddess Swaps have opened up the sign ups for their 12 Days of Christmas swap.

Curious about what joining entails?  You sign up and are paired with another blogger.  You then get to know your swap partner, and then you put together a package that contains 12 individually wrapped presents, then you ship it off, with delivery confirmation while your partner does the same.  Then you get to open one present each day in the 12 days before Christmas.  I've done it several years and it's always a lot of fun!  It's open to US and Canadian swappers and requires a $40 to $50 commitment. 

So, if you think it's something you'd be interested in doing, sign up today!  Just click the link above or click on the picture to be redirected to their website!

Monday, November 7, 2016

November Reading List

November's reading list is a little bit of a hodge podge.  But, I'm really looking forward to them. Here they are:
  • The Trespasser by Tana French- I know I just got this one, but I can't wait to see what happens with Antoinette and Stephen.  I really enjoyed getting to know them in the The Secret Place, and was excited to see they get another book.  Tana French usually introduces the lead of her in a previous novel, as a minor character.  Like, in Faithful Place, we meet Stephen Moran who is the lead in The Secret Place.  He's also in The Trespasser, but I'm guessing Antoinette Conway will be taking the lead in this one, she was a supporting character in Secret Place.  She writes such real, flawed, but human characters, I can hardly stand it. Part of me wants to save this one for the middle of winter, but part of me just can't wait.
  • The World's Last Night and Other Essays by C.S. Lewis- C.S. Lewis is my favorite theologian.  He can write deep, symbolic fiction, and he can write essays that feel like you're having a conversation.  There's been a lot going on lately, and a little Lewis is just what the doctor ordered.
  • The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes- I let one of my friends borrow this one and she said it was good but the ending wasn't quite up to par.  So, I don't really know what to expect, but time traveling and a serial killer is enough for me to give it a try.  I just hope it's not too gory.
  • The Mindfulness Habit by Kate Sciandra- I'm drawn to this one because it's supposed to help you increase productivity.  Yes please!  And, it's nice and slim so I think it's going to be to the point.  Sometimes I feel like self help books give you what you need to know in the first couple chapters but then needlessly drag on for another 100 pages.  So, this one is small enough that shouldn't be the case.
So what are you hoping to read in November?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

November Goals

Well, we're already almost a week into November. Time to update the monthly goals.  Before we get to November's goals, here's how September went.
  •  Set weekly goals.  I did this most weeks, and it really did seem to help me get stuff done that needed to be done.  I'm going to try to keep this habit going.
  • Read four books.  Nope.  Only got two done.
  • Sew 20 things.  Nope.  Sewed zero.
  • Clean my office/sewing room.  It's not as clean as I'd like, but it's much more usable now and in pretty good shape.
  • Start Christmas shopping.   Yep, we've started.  I also have some ideas cooking and am hoping to finish before December 1st.
  • Come up with morning and evening routines.  I think we're getting there.  In the last week I've started getting up an hour later which seems to be giving me more energy when I get home from work.  I've also worked on breaking tasks up into chunks.  Like, instead of starting a blog post from start to finish, I may just edit the pictures in the morning and then write it up after I get home.  And, I've been coming home on some of my lunches and throwing in a load of laundry or taking pictures when needed, or getting some errands done.  I live like four minutes from work so it's nice to run home to do something or cross something off the to do list.
Now, on to November.

November Goals
  • Read four books.  I don't think I'll make my goal of 48, but am hoping to beat last years total of 38 books.
  • Sew everyday.  Even if it's only a seam or putting a zipper in.  I think I get in my head that it's not worth turning the sewing machine on unless I have a couple hours to spend sewing, when really something is better than nothing.
  • Drink 64 oz of water a day.  This is less than I should be, but I think I'm not drinking nearly enough so 64 would be a start.
  • Pray daily.  I want to focus on a friend of family member each day and just spend a few minutes praying for them.
  • 10 minutes of planning in the morning.  I think it's important to just kind of go over what I want to get done for the day, how my goals are going, and have a little peace before I get started and out the door.  
And that's it.  I'm making it a pretty easy month on myself, but I want to focus on these things and work upwards from that.  Head over to My So Called Chaos to check out everyone else's goals for the month.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Sweet Progress Fall Box Swap Reveal

Last month, I posted that I was going to be participating in Sweet Progress' Fall Swap.  Well, it's time to do a big reveal.  I was paired with Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag and she put together an awesome box filled with treats.  Lauren is a book blogger who also loves Harry Potter and does a ton of reviews from a variety of genres. 

She put together a great package. It arrived on Halloween and I just kept pulling treat after treat out of the box!  There was an adorable owl mug, Starbucks coffee, candy, Halloween treats, a tea light holder, a cute little ghost in a jar, a new book to read, and a soft and cozy throw!

I just love it all!  Especially that owl mug.  It's just too cute.  The book looks great.  The throw is so soft, I unwrapped it and already caught the cat trying it out. We always keep our house a little on the chilly side for my taste, so it's going to come in handy on those chilly fall and winter days.   It was such a fun package to open.

If you want to see what everyone else got, you can find they link up at Mrs AOK and Happy. Pretty. Sweet.  Check it out, and follow one or both of these great ladies so that you'll know when the winter swap is taking place.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

October Book Recap

October was a relatively slow month for reading.  But, I did find a couple good books that I'm really looking forward to reading.

First, what I read:
  • Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde is book four in the Thursday Next series.  It took me a while to track this one down, but it was worth it.  These books are just fun.  I guess they'd be classified as fantasy or sci fi, since they take place in an alternate version of England where croquet is a major spectator sport, there's dodos, neanderthals, and time cops, but it's fun.  So much fun.  I laugh out loud frequently while reading these and this one was no exception.
  • Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith took me a while to get through, but it was a good read. I don't read a lot of books that take place in Russia or communist Russia, so this was interesting, but the book was just too far fetched for me.  I loved how they delved into Leo, and his wife Raisa's relationship and how it changed and grew throughout the story, but the whole child murder angle was just too ridiculous for me to find plausible.  While I enjoyed this one, I don't think I'll go look for the other two books in the series.
What I added:
  • Letters to Zell by Camille Griep was a surprise gift from my Sweet Progress Swap partner- Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag.  Her package was awesome by the way, so be sure to stop by tomorrow to see the reveal of what she sent, but for now, here's a little taste.  This book looks like it's going to be fun!  It involves some of your favorite princesses- Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty- spun in a new light.  One that has them questioning their happy ever afters, so it looks like it will be great.
  • The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell was found on Bookmooch.  I was drawn to this one because Henning Mankell is the author of the Wallander books, which is one of my favorite BBC shows, so when I found this book that takes place in Sweden, but wasn't part of the series.  I'm a sucker for Swedish mysteries.
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel was discovered at the bargain book table for only six bucks.  It's been on my to read list for a while, so I decided to snap it up.  I love dystopian fiction and this one takes place in the Great Lakes region, so that's a double bonus.
  • The Trespasser by Tana French.  This was a surprise treat in the mail that arrived from one of my best friends.  I don't think it's any secret by now that I LOVE Tana French so I'm excited to dive into her latest book and see how it fares with the rest of her canon.
So, while it wasn't a very big reading month, I did get through a couple and the books I added, I'm really excited to read.  How was your October reading?

2016 totals:
Acquired- 50

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October So Far

This month has been a blur!  I feel like all I've done is work and sleep and I know I've been MIA  for most of the month here at the blog, so I thought I'd give you all a little recap.

Word to describe the month: exhausting.  It feels like I'm playing whack-a-mole.  I just get one thing done and something new pops up.  I had new struts done on  my car and a recall taken care of.  Then we decided to reside and put new windows in my old house that I rent out so that required more paperwork and decisions.  I got my first cold in over a year and just crashed on Saturday.  I had one week where I was gone every night after work except one.  Introverts do not thrive on that at all.

Some of it was fun outings.  Like I went and saw Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children with two friends after work one night.  And I went to my first Lu La Roe party.  And my husband and I went out for dinner to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary.  And revisited the Fred Smith Concrete Park one Sunday afternoon, otherwise known by me as the Weeping Angels of Wisconsin.  Fellow Doctor Who fans, tell me I'm wrong.

I feel like this picture accurately depicts how I look,
both the paleness of my complexion and the circles under my eyes.

Watching: Not much of anything.  NFL on Sundays, and reruns of The Big Bang Theory when I get home, but that's about it.

Working on: Keeping a routine.  And staying on top of housework.  Somehow, this is still a struggle for me.  I get up almost three hours before I have to be to work, but usually spend that time doing laundry, dishes, packing lunch, making breakfast, and doing the odd jobs like hauling the trash out to the garage or to the curb if it's that day of the week, refilling my bird feeders, watering plants.  Then it's time to get ready and it's off to work.  After I get home, I make supper and then kind of just veg out.  I may read a little, but I'm no getting nearly as much done as I did before.  I've decided to start cutting my after work schedule back, because I have been so tired lately, even with getting enough sleep.  I need to make time for fun writing and exercise and I just don't have the energy for that right now.

I also officially gave my notice at the hospital.  I had stayed on casual after I quit because my new job was only going to be about 32 hour a week, but now I work just over 40 and the weekends are my only time to get stuff done.  I also was planning on them only needing me once in a while but they never replaced me or another girl that left so they were asking me to work a lot more than expected and with Christmas right around the corner and feeling pressed for time anyway, I figured it was time to say goodbye.

Looking forward to: Things settling down.  I feel like it's getting better, and my cold is pretty much gone, so I'm feeling optimistic for November.

Here's a few more pictures from the Concrete Park, as well as my cat being on the coffee table (which is not allowed, but I'm a horrible disciplinarian), and a picture of a surprise book that arrived in the mail Saturday from a good friend.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

October Goals

So, September was like the worst month ever as far as goals go.  I didn't manage to reach any of the goals I had set!  First time I've been completely shut out in a month.  It wasn't that I was depressed or that I decided they weren't worth the work, it was just that I feel like my schedule is so jumbled.  It used to be that I'd get up and have about seven hours before I'd have to go to work.  Then I'd get home from work at 11:30pm and be in bed by 12:30am at the latest.  Now, I get up, have about two and a half hours before I leave for work and then get home around 5:30pm, and have about four and a half hours before I'm in bed by 10pm.  It's just been weird getting used to having two blocks of time and most of it being in the evening.  I've also found it's way easier to be social when you're off work by 5:30.  I have something going on at least a couple nights a week after work. 

Anyhow, still working out the kinks of the schedule.  Here's what I was hoping to do in September:
  • Set weekly goals. (Only happened one week.)
  • Quiet time and exercise before computer. (Happened a handful of times.)
  • Exercise three mornings a week. (Nope!  Did do a couple walks after work though.)
  • Read four books. (Only read two.)
  • 20 blog posts. (Nope. Only 8.)
  • Sew 20 things. (Closest I got was picking up some more fabric.)
  • Start Christmas shopping list. (Nope.)
  • Gratitude journal or morning pages. (Gratitude journal happened like twice.)

On to October!
  • Set weekly goals.  I seem to do better when I have a to do list of sorts for the week.
  • Read four books.  (Which should actually be six books, if I want to have a prayer of making my Goodreads yearly goal of 48.)
  • Sew 20 things.  The craft fair is fast approaching.
  • Start Christmas shopping.  I really want to enjoy December and not spend it scouring the internet for gifts and trudging through stores.
  • Clean my office/ sewing room.  It's gotten pretty cluttered again.
  • Come up with a morning routine.
  • Come up with an evening routine.
And that's it, but as discombobulated as I've been, it's going to take all my mental powers. :)

Want to see every one elses goals?  Check out the linkup over at My So Called Chaos.