What’s Up December

Happy New Year! Cheers to an absolutely fantastic 2020 🥂Is it just me or does 2020 have a much better ring to it than 2019?

The last few months I have posted a What’s Up Wednesday post on the last Wednesday of the month sharing what I have been up to lately. Last Wednesday was officially the last Wednesday in December, but due to the fact that it was also Christmas day I decided to delay posting it until now.

I’d love to hear what you have been up to this month too! Did Santa leave something extra special under your tree? Leave a comment sharing what you’ve been cooking, watching, reading etc…

What We’re Eating This Month

It has been perfect soup weather this month and we have been making a new batch weekly. Lasagna Soup was one of our favorites this month. I double the batch and have a freezer container tucked away (sans noodles) to enjoy next month on one of our busier nights. I made a few changes to the original recipe I found in the Food Network magazine. I did not add water and I substituted shredded mozzarella cheese for ricotta.

Soup recipe
Lasagna Soup

We gave our kids the choice between a traditional turkey dinner for Christmas or a buffet of that guests can help themselves to throughout the day while we play games and watch movies. They emphatically voted for the latter. We made our family cheddar cheese ball recipe together a few days in advance to enjoy on Christmas day with crackers, sliced apple, carrots and celery. My daughter made pizza monkey bread that day and we also enjoyed fresh crab, my favorite dinner rolls and a big green salad. Everything was delicious and I was grateful to be able to spend the time I would typically be in the kitchen going on a walk with my husband and playing Rack-O and Skip-Bo with my family.

What I’m Reminiscing About

My son surprised us this time last year when he volunteered to sing a solo at his middle schools holiday chorus performance of All I Want For Christmas Is You. I was much too shy at his age to have ever volunteered to perform in front of a crowd. I am always so impressed when my kids display the self confidence I lacked at that age.

What I’m Loving

My flannel sheets. Is there anything cozier your bed during the winter months. I think I go to bed earlier and try and sleep in later just because my bed is so darn comfy!

What We’ve Been Up To

I was able to wrap up the majority of my holiday errand by the time the kids got out of school for the winter break so that the focus could be on celebrating. We watched Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker with a couple other families, whooped it up at an adult only Naughty or Nice party and spent time baking in preparation for a Mother/Daughter Cookie exchange. On Christmas Eve we attended mass, had a fancy dinner out with my father-in-law and sister-in-law, drove around looking at Christmas lights and visited friends. I tried to balance all the extra indulging over the past weekend with consistent workouts at Orange Theory and StarCycle.

What I’m Dreading

Nothing! I’m excited about the fact that it is 2020. There is a lot to look forward to in the new year.

What I’m Working On

I’m going to try and spend some time over the winter break looking through our photos from putting my very favorites into a folder. I often procrastinate making our yearly photo album and I can’t count how many years I have skipped it altogether. My goal is to finish our album by the end of January so that I can go back and work on some of the years I’ve missed over the next year.

What I’m Excited About

More time in Tahoe! Luckily, there has not been a shortage of snow this year. We had a fantastic white Thanksgiving in Tahoe and its made me even more excited to get back up there now that the slopes are officially open. I couldn’t convince my kids to go iceskating with me last time, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed they will have a change of heart on our next trip. I can’t wait to racing down my favorite sledding hill. As much as I’m looking forward to skiing, I would choose sledding over skiing any day. What about you?

What I’m Watching

I set up the iPad on my gift wrapping table and made my way through all of Season 1 and most of season 2 of The Crown. It made wrapping presents go by much more quickly. I also watched season 3 of the The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I did not enjoy this season nearly as much as 1 and 2. What did you think? My husband and I binge watched the last half of the Jack Ryan while my kiddos had a sleepover. I started reading Tom Clancy’s books back in high school and I think the Amazon series stays true to its origins. Watching John Krasinski in action isn’t a bad thing either 😉

What I’m listening To

I came across a Lauren Conrad’s Asking For A Friend podcast and discovered that she had interviewed Valorie Darling in the episode titled Photography: Tips for in Front of and Behind the Camera. I was familiar with Valorie from the photos she takes of Cassie Freeman for the Gibson x Hi Sugarplum! line available at Nordstrom. I really enjoy experimenting with my camera and it was interesting to hear how she got her start and learn tips from a professional whose photography style I admire.

What I’m Reading

I’m sorry to say that I haven’t had much of a chance to read this month. I was able to finish the books I started last month and now I have about 4 weeks worth of People magazine issues I need to catch up on. I’m looking forward to reading more in January. I went on our library’s website this week to reserve some titles I’ve been wanting to read, but haven’t spotted on the shelves. Some were older books by favorite authors. They didn’t have a waitlist, but were only available at other library branches. I’m hoping they will arrive in the next couple days.

Keep an eye out for a list of all books I read in 2019 on Parker Posts. I shared my 2018 list here if you are looking for ideas of what you should read next.

What I’m Wearing

My ankle length Curvy Authentic Stretch High-Rise Skinny Jeans by Everlane. I have been reaching for these several times a week. They are seriously the most fantastic pair of jeans I have owned. They fit like they were custom made for my pear shaped figure. There is absolutely no gaping in the waist and they don’t feel too tight on my thighs. The ankle length fit my 5’4 height perfectly without hemming and I haven’t felt the urge to pull them up after being seated even once. I am most amazed by the price. After routinely spending over $100 for denim, I was thrilled by the $68 price tag. The only drawback to these jeans is that they sell out quickly. I had to ask to be notified by e-mail when my size was re-stocked. I neglected to order a pair as soon as I got the e-mail and had to wait another several weeks until they were restocked again. After wearing my dark blue wash pair once, I immediately got on the wait list for a black pair too. If you are an hourglass or pear shape I would not hesitate to order a pair of Everlane curvy jeans to try. If your shape is a little straighter, you might want to try the Authentic High-Rise Skinny Jeans instead. Order the smallest size you typically wear if you tend to wear a couple different sizes depending on the brand.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

A whole lot of relaxing. Reading, playing games and putting together a puzzle are high on my to-do list. Do you like to relax in between Christmas and New Year’s or do you find yourself on the go?

What I’m looking Forward to Next Month

Stepping away from my computer and phone. Last January I decided to take a break from blogging for the month of January to recharge and give my family my full attention while we enjoy the winter break together. When I was teaching I only taught summer school once because I quickly realized that I was a more patient and creative teacher when I was able to step away from the classroom during the summer break.

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