As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Time for a January Chat


January is a month for settling in, hunkering down, and getting organized. And maybe for having a little fun too! These are all parts of our January so far . . .


JANUARY EATING

It has been a cold January thus far, and hot soup has been on the menu a lot. Last week, it was cream cheese chicken soup, vegetable beef soup, and, a new favorite, sausage/kale/white bean soup. There is something comforting about a pot of soup simmering on the stove, don't you think? 




JANUARY ATMOSPHERE

This is probably going to sound silly, but one of the best things I did for our winter last year was lights! Yes, lights. We left a Christmas tree, decorated only with white lights, on the sun porch until well into February. We burned candles. Kati had some fairy lights in her bedroom, timed to come on just before her alarm rang in the morning. My favorite: I purchased a battery-operated candle with a timer and placed it in a lantern on the living room mantle. Every night, the candle lit up at 6 pm and turned itself off at 10. I can't tell you how much cheer that candle-on-a-timer brought to me! It was like a cozy little hug each evening when it came on! 




JANUARY MOTIVATION

We all want some restful winter evenings after the busyness of December, but if we're not mindful, we'll revert to our default of night after night of Netflix and DVDs. We have purposefully planned our winter calendar to include a couple of "project nights" per week. (We've also scheduled in some fun activities. Fridays are carryout and movie nights. Saturday nights are game nights. Wednesday nights are known as "Wild Card Wednesday" meaning you do want strikes your fancy!)

Our first project of the year is re-configuring the library closet. We're taking out the clothing rod since the room isn't serving as a bedroom any more. (It would be easy to put back in if we ever need another bedroom.) Ron is going to add another shelf, allowing room for more office/school storage. The filing cabinet will be in this closet, as well as a plastic drawer unit holding craft and office supplies. Ron is running an outlet in the closet so that we can plug in the shredder. We'll also keep puzzles and games here because the grands often play in this room.

So far, we have emptied the closet (which means the contents are strewn all over the house . . . yikes!), Ron has removed the rod and cut the hole for the outlet. Next up: install new shelf and apply a coat (or three) of fresh white paint to cover the pink! 


JANUARY GIFTS

A friend (former homeschool mom whose children are grown) asked if I wanted to take a peek at some books that she was clearing from their attic.

Me (immediately): Yes!!

Also me (a few seconds later, to myself): What was I thinking? Haven't we culled our own bookshelves several times over the past few years? How much room do we have for more books?

Also me (with Bekah at Liz's house going through a gazillion boxes of books): We need this one and this one and this one. And this one and this one and this one. And these. Maddie will love these animal books. Eve and Nora will want the Dear America books. A whole box of Landmark books? Another box of Landmark books? Be still my heart.

Bekah and I left Liz's house with twelve boxes of books. Indeed we did.

And a box of dress-ups. 

😁


Since then . . . 

~ We have found room for more books on our own shelves. Some are in the library, some are in the girls' own collections, and the motherlode of Landmark books ended up here. (Honestly, they have been here and then moved to the other side and then moved back. I think they're staying here. Does hauling books and moving them from shelf to shelf to shelf count as excercise?)

~ Both families have come to get books for their own homes . . . and we had a fun fashion show! 











There was even fun to be had in the dress-up box! To Macie, it was a "bubble bath." To Paul, it was a "car." Here, they were sharing it. (I think each one was wishing the other cousin was not in the box, but their parents' good training was evident as they tolerated one another. ~smile~) 



The afternoon ended like this:

Sleeping baby, happy Gran


So what has your January been like so far? Do you work at creating a cozy atmosphere? Do you like soup as much as we do? (Do you ever get tired of it? I don't.) Do you have any projects in the works? 



Bonus track:



35 comments:

  1. I never get tired of soup! Never. In fact it's time to throw some together now for lunch. If I don't make from scratch I always "doctor" up a can of soup in a jiffy. And leftovers go in soup. I had to laugh at the 12 boxes of books! But with your large family you'll use them. Your library closet sounds like a fun project. We opened up a double closet in hubby's office and filing cabinets and open storage are in there, and the door is my desk upstairs. And we wired electricity into two of our closets and one of the favorite things for me! And the dress up container--what fun gift that will keep giving for a long time! Your posts are always such fun to read. I'm guessing it's thawed out a bit where you are like it has here, but more winter is coming for sure.

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    1. I like your "Never." Same sentiment here. I love when there is enough soup left over from dinner to have some for lunch the following day. (Sometimes it's even better the next day, don't you think?)

      Sounds like you were creative with your closets. How cool that the closet door is your desk! Great idea!

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  2. So sweet! If I even think of adding another 12 boxes of books to “the collection,” I hope someone hits me. 😉 I see that you have absorbed or gifted yours very nicely. Always up to a project you folks are! The reworked closet sounds genius.

    As for me, I feel like I’ve been shot out of the gate in a pinball machine and now I am just bouncing hither and yon without purpose. On that note, Laurel is on her way to take me out for lunch. So far, as some suggested, I have seen her more since she moved. 🙂

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    1. It is an illness, I tell you! Oh, but they were such good books!

      Hope your lunch with Laurel was lovely . . . and so nice to know that you're seeing her often. Mother/daughter time is a treasure!

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  3. I love soup especially this time of the year. It is the only food that instantly warms you through and through:) That fashion show was great fun . . . I remember doing that as a little girl. It's so nice to see children playing and using their imaginations to create great fun, especially when today what you see most is children with their little faces stuck in a video game. Your two little ones sitting in the storage bin put a smile on my face. Wish my grands lived closer:)
    Have a lovely day and stay warm.
    Connie :)
    P.S. I'm celebrating my 6th year of blogging with a Give-A-Way, come join the fun.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, Connie! I agree that it is good when children use their imaginations and play creatively. I am a huge fan of "open-ended" toys that can be played with in a variety of ways (blocks, dolls, kitchen toys, Legos, dress-ups, musical instruments) rather than toys that must be played in a prescribed way. Oh, and I wish your grands lived closer to you. My son's family lived far, far away for about eight years. Now that they live close, we are trying to make up for lost time!

      Hmmmm . . . I am afraid that I may have missed out on your giveaway fun. It's been a busy couple of days here! Off to check it out . . .

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  4. I really hope moving things around counts as exercise! Love the fashion show photos. What fun. 12 boxes...that was a good haul for sure. I need to find a lover of plates and tea cups to come over and haul some things home with them. Love the light ideas and I need to find some of those battery operated candles that have a timer. Fabulous winter night designations. Today is Wednesday, I wonder what Wild Card Night has in store for you all. :)

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    1. Ellen, I'll bet you've been "exercising" as you're preparing your house to sell!

      Ha! Wild Card Wednesday found me, among other things, spending an inordinate amount of time choosing and ordering some eyeglasses online. It may have started out "striking my fancy" but by the time I was done, I felt like I had done a day's work.

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  5. I've been thinking about soup too and you've made some delicious sounding ones. I need to buy some dry beans next time I'm at the store.

    I love your home. It is so hard to cull out books. I've done some and plan to do more. Books on antiques, on building, etc. that were more my dear husband's interest but not mine. I'm down sizing and making this little cottage better suited for my life now.

    The kids playing dress up was so cute, and little Macie singing was adorable.

    Happy January ~ FlowerLady

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    1. I have been following the changes that you are making to Plum Cottage! Culling books (culling any collection really) is a lot of hard work. You are doing a great job!

      Thanks for you kind comment!

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  6. So many wonderful things in this post - soup, BOOKS (never too many), dress-up for the grands, and one asleep in your arms - sigh!!! Thanks for sharing. So many good things for the new month and year! Love the new space in the closet, and it's wonderful that your husband can put an outlet there.

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    1. Thanks, GrammaGrits! Blessings all!

      Sounds like your bookshelves may also be full? :)

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  7. Landmark Books!? Lucky you!
    I have a hard time saying no to books. Thankfully the girls are building their own libraries and I can pass some books along to them!

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    1. I know! I could hardly believe my good fortune! I plan to type up a list of the titles so that we can all share them . . . kind of like our own little library. :)

      Yes, it is a good thing to pass good books along to the next generation! Of course, then you go to look for a book that you think you have, only to discover that it lives at your child's house. "Did I give that to you?!"

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  8. Also I’ve been making chicken tortilla soup a lot and Rachel is wanting me to make curried pumpkin soup soon! Yum!

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    1. I have eaten your chicken tortilla soup! Yummmmmm!

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  9. Soup is a favorite of mine...and I never tire of it! I do love trying new recipes throughout the winter months, and it seems to taste even better on rainy or snowy days. :) Your soups sound delicious!

    I love your library...I am purposing to read more this year and have a stack of books that are all calling to me! There are few things better than getting cozied up with a book and cup of tea in the wintertime.

    Lovely post! Hope the rest of your January is beautiful!

    Joy to you,
    Elizabeth

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Elizabeth, and leaving your sweet comment! It appears that we have much in common, doesn't it? I, too, am determined to read more this year, although my stack is not nearly as tall as yours!

      A lovely, cozy January to you too!

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  10. BEGAN JANUARY WITH BLACK EYED PEAS & THEY LEFT LAST WEEK.... SNOW STILL HAS NOT MELTED... & NEXT WEEK WE'RE GETTING ANOTHER ARCTIC BLAST... IS THIS GLOBAL WARMING ?? LOOKING GOOD , CHERYL

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    1. Thanks, Paula! It's been a long time since I have eaten black-eyed peas, but that sounds sooo good! I'm with you on the "global warming"! What?! :)

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  11. Your living room looks so cozy and inviting with the lamp light and the candle light. We love candles in the winter months, especially. Your gifted haul of books sounds wonderful. You have found good homes for them. The dress up grands are darling, Cheryl. The two babes in the tub made me laugh out loud--just precious. As is the photo of you and Macie--just darling.
    I love homemade soup this time of year. Your's sound delicious. I never tire of a good soup.
    I'm looking forward to your closet make over. You all have great ideas! ♥

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    1. Thanks, Martha Ellen! It seems there is always something to do when you have a house! Ahhhh . . . those grandbabies . . . we are blessed!

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  12. Hi Cheryl, it was fun to read about your books and the closet redo and the play time with the clothes. The babes look so cute in the tote!
    I love soup and we have it quite often. In fact, I just finished up the last remaining bowl of potato soup for my lunch today. Time to make more! I haven't made my broccoli cheese soup yet this winter, so I'm hungry for that. Chili is hubby's favorite so we have had that several times. Winter is the time for comfort foods and those that are simmering on the stove or fixed in the oven helps to warm the house, too.

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    1. Thanks for chatting with me, Cheryl! Your soups all sound good! My hubby has asked for chili recently, so it is on the menu for this week here.

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  13. I couldn't agree with you more about books and lights! (I'm going to track me down one or two of those battery-operated candles!)

    And we're all about soup here...

    Your home looks SO warm and inviting ♥

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    1. Thank you, Rebecca! There are many soup lovers in our circle, aren't there? " :)

      I think you will love your battery-operated candles!

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  14. Oh yes...SOUP! Nothing better to have on a cold winter's day...or night! And even though we have warmed up, it has been SO cold here. I went over and checked out the chicken/cream cheese soup recipe and it looks and sounds delectable! I love warm, dim lighting in a room too and I love your idea of the automatic candles...I may have to use that one!. Projects? Oh, I have many on the horizon as I begin on my journey of going room by room... purging, painting trim and touching up walls to prepare the house for the market...a happy/sad time. Loved the style show!

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    1. My daughter-in-law Sarah brought this yummy soup to a church gathering before she was my daughter-in-law! Everyone raved about it. Many of us got her recipe and now make it ourselves. It is a winner!

      I'll just bet you have lots of projects in your immediate future! And I can identify with that "happy/sad" thing.

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  15. Books!!! Our weakness. Next week we go to the G3 conference...many books...must. practice. self-control!!!!! :-) Seriously, and free books!!!! Mercy you got some good prizes!! I must say those littles of yours are PRESH!!!!!! So adorable!! The real prize, grans!!! Love that singin at the end and those little footzies movin movin!! It has been unusually cold here in GA this winter (although not the past few days)!!! We have been makin lots of soups too! One of my girlies made homemade cheeseburger mac tonight!!! Warm and cozy comfort!! :-) ~tammy

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    1. Yes, free books are a prize! I am thinking you're going to come home with some great books next week . . . am I right? :)

      I may have a grandmother's perspective, but I think those little ones are adorable and Macie's singing melts my heart. Glad you enjoyed it too!

      Ooooo . . . homemade cheeseburger mac! Yum!

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  16. Cheryl, what a wonderful January! Macie looks very "Little House on the Prairie" and adorable in that bonnet! I've never heard of a candle on a timer -- I need to look into that.

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    1. Thanks, Jean!

      If you find the candle with a timer, I think you'll love it!

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  17. I make at least one big pot of soup each week because I like to take it for my lunches. This week it was Dutch Cabbage Meatball Soup. We had some for lunch today. What fun to go through a big stash of books and select the things you like. I can imagine the fun of the dress-up clothes, too.
    Have a wonderful week, Cheryl.

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    1. Leftover soup is the best lunch! Hope your week is off to a good start, Lorrie!

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  18. I enjoy soup year round, Cheryl, as I posted our January started off very busy. I agree it would be so easy to get in a lull, so yesterday I started cleaning closets, only got one completed and plan to start another today! That is if I can leave my computer. ~smile~
    You can never have to many books, I like that you all share and that the grandkids enjoy dressing up, leaving lasting memories. Macie's rendition of Away In A manger was so precious.
    Keep enjoying those grandkids, and making memories, and sharing.
    Thank you for always encouraging me.
    Blessings,
    Sue

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