January 24, 2022

A Cute "Fun Fact" Story

The past couple of days have been kind of a mess for me. I had been planning to go to Jeanie and Shawn's house this week (my sister and her husband) in Rockford, IL. Jeanie was actually going to be in Vegas, but I figured I'd still go visit Shawn and just get away for a few days. I REALLY feel like I need to get away--I haven't traveled anywhere since May 2019 (thanks to COVID).

Traveling to or from my sister's house from here in winter is always a huge gamble with the weather. When it snows, the expressway is a MESS (if you've been stuck in a snow storm on I-94 in western Michigan, then you know how notorious is it!).

The weather was looking good for the six-hour drive until a couple of days ago--and on Saturday night, the night before I was supposed to leave, we got a ton of snow. We accumulated about 5-6 inches; I'm not sure how bad it was closer to her house, but I did not want to be driving in a snow storm. So those plans went out the window.

I was feeling bummed about it and yesterday, I tossed around the idea of flying to Phoenix to visit my friend Sarah today. (By using a buddy pass from my brother, I could travel stand-by so I wouldn't need to buy a ticket.)

For some reason, I had serious anxiety about going away. It wasn't the flying (which is what usually freaks me out); I think it's just that I've gotten so used to being home that the thought of being out of my routine would make me feel really uncomfortable. It's like I've forgotten how to do something as normal as traveling to visit a friend!

I'm not going to throw the idea out completely; I'll just try to plan it out with more notice. Sarah would still be working this week (she's a teacher) so it wouldn't have been ideal anyways. I can always try to go out when she's on break from school. My anxiety has just been so bad for the last few months; I hate that it stopped me from a short trip to Phoenix. The weather here really sucks right now and I could definitely use some Arizona warmth. 

Anyway, on a lighter and more fun note, here is today's random fact of the day. It's very fitting for my blog!

I thought this was so cute that I had to look up the story. You can find the whole story here on Bark Post.

Here are a couple of photos from the post:

How funny is that?! I love that she got a medal. Just imagine what she was thinking... "Look at all these people! They must be going somewhere fun! I want to go with them!" Joey wants to follow us everywhere, and I have no doubt he'd do the same thing... although I think he'd get a DNF for his finish time, haha. (DNF=Did Not Finish. He's not exactly in half-marathon shape.)

I loved this cute story! :)

January 23, 2022

My Top Ten Favorite Romance Movies (from someone who dislikes romance movies!)

I was at a loss of what to write today, and after yesterday's post about the Sweetheart Coffee Cake recipe in honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I could do another love-themed post. And since I love lists, here is a list of my top ten favorite romance movies.

Now, I have to say--I am not a romantic. At all! I don't like the token flowers or jewelry, long walks on the beach, cuddling in front of a fireplace on a faux fur rug, or candlelit dinners for two. When choosing movies, I always choose horror or thriller over romance.

Jerry happens to be a total romantic at heart, so I'll indulge him with romance/romantic comedies when we watch movies sometimes. They're never my first pick, but a lot of times, I end up really liking them--even the sappy, predictable endings! It's all about the rest of the plot that makes the movie interesting or not, though. I prefer movies with romance on the side rather than as the main course ;)

So, here is a list of my Top Ten Favorite Romance/RomCom Movies. Once I started writing this, I actually came up with so many that I had to narrow the list down! I want to rewatch a lot of these now.

Here they are, in no particular order. I included the trailers rather than trying to type out a description of each movie...

1) You've Got Mail - This is Jerry's very favorite romance movie, so I think that's why I had to include it. I love how giddy he gets to watch it! Haha.

2) Brokeback Mountain - I adored both Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in this movie. Their love on-screen was so believable and the storyline was heartbreaking.

3) Titanic - I think I saw this probably 10 times in the theater. I LOVE this movie!

4) Return to Me - A bit cheesy, but I love the old guys that play cards together. Their humor helps with the cheesiness.

5) Armageddon - I love end-of-the-world movies, and the love story in this one fit in really well. You can't have an end-of-the-world plot without a love story in there!

6) Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken - This is a not-very-well-known Disney movie that I became obsessed with after I first watched it in 1991! It remains one of my favorite movies of all time.

7) The Proposal - I think Ryan Reynolds is why I like this so much ;)  (Aww, I just remembered that it has Betty White in it, too!)

8) Boys and Girls - This one is nostalgic for me. Jerry and I watched this when we were dating. Like I've said a hundred times, 1999-2001 were the years for the best teen films ever made! 

9) 10 Things I Hate About You - I kind of hated to include this one because it's very cliché for lists of romantic movies, but I HAD to include it. Because there is a reason it's included on every list!

10) City of Angels - This one is a little dark, which is probably why I watched it in the first place. It's also kind of overdramatic, but when you look past that, it's a unique storyline.

And an extra one, because I just couldn't decide which one to get rid of...

11) Pearl Harbor - Not only is this a heartbreaking war story (the bombing of Pearl Harbor), the love triangle is is agonizing!

Watching these trailers makes me want to rewatch several of these now! I think I may watch Pearl Harbor tonight :)

What are your favorites? Please share!

January 22, 2022

HERITAGE RECIPE : Sweetheart Coffee Cake

When looking for a heritage recipe this week, I found one that was called "Sweetheart Coffee Cake"--and since Valentine's Day is coming up, I thought this would be a great recipe to try!

Now, I am the first to admit that I did a terrible job with the presentation! Hahaha, it's not nearly as pretty as I hoped it would be. But hey, if it tastes good, that's what matters most.

You'll see there are two different versions that I made, and I'll explain that in my notes after the recipe.

This recipe was submitted to the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society by Peggy Laginess in memory of her mother-in-law, Helen Laginess.

Now, when I googled Peggy and Helen, I discovered something very interesting. I read Peggy's obituary which named one of my uncles (my mom's older brother) as a surviving relative. This is confusing, but here is what I learned:

Peggy (who submitted this recipe) was married to Robert (who has passed away).
Robert had a sister named Lorraine.
Lorraine is married to Dan--and Dan happens to be my mom's brother (my uncle).

I'm not sure how that makes me a relative to Peggy (through marriage), but I found that interesting! Anyway, Peggy submitted this recipe for Sweetheart Coffee Cake in memory of her husband Robert's mother, Helen. Helen was born in 1912 and passed away in 1997 at age 85.

As always, I'm copying the recipe here exactly as-written in the heritage book and I made it without modifying or substituting anything. If anything was unclear, I made my best judgment and I wrote about it in my notes. (The "printer-friendly" version below is re-written by me with my notes included.)

Here is a printer-friendly version!

Sweetheart Coffee Cake

3-1/2 to 4 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 pkg. RapidRise yeast
2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. butter
2/3 c. milk
1/2 c. water
2 eggs

Set aside 1 cup flour. Mix flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Heat together water, butter and milk until hot to touch. Stir hot liquid into dry mixture. Mix in eggs. Mix in enough reserved flour as necessary to make a stiff batter. Knead on floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl and cover; rest 10 minutes. Divide dough in half and roll out 1 portion to 15 x 10-inch. Brush with 1/4 cup melted butter. Combine filling and sprinkle 1/2 of it over dough. Roll up as jellyroll from long side. Place on greased baking sheet. Fold half of roll on top other half; seal ends together. Starting at folded end, cut lengthwise down center of roll with scissors to within 1-inch of sealed end. Turn cut halves outward, cut side up, to form a heart. Repeat with remaining dough for second loaf Cover and let rise until light and doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes; remove from baking sheet.

My Notes:

Okay, lots of notes here! The biggest issue I had with this recipe, which almost kept me from trying it, was the fact that there isn't any specification of what the "filling" should be. The recipe just states, "Combine filling and sprinkle 1/2 of it over dough..." but there is nothing anywhere stating what the filling is.

From what I know of coffee cake, the filling is usually a cinnamon + sugar mixture. So, I decided to go with that. However, since there were two loaves, I thought it might be fun to make one red (for Valentine's Day) by using strawberry jam for a filling. Jerry thought it was a good idea, until I prepped the loaf and he said it looked like I was making a vagina--hahaha!

In total, I probably ended up using 4 cups of flour (including the flour I spread on the counter to roll the dough).

I heated the water, butter, and milk in the microwave; I probably should have used the stove, considering this is such an old recipe, but I made sure to stir it often and make sure it didn't get boiling hot.

Rolling out the dough was very easy once I had enough flour mixed in. I made it as rectangular as I could.

It took a lot more jam than I thought it would--probably about 3/4 cup to 1 cup? (It looks like ketchup, I know!)

For the one with the cinnamon + sugar mixture, I melted 1/4 cup of butter as specified in the recipe, and then liberally sprinkled with a combination of the cinnamon and sugar. (I keep cinnamon and sugar mixed together in a shaker jar--probably a 4:1 sugar to cinnamon ratio?). I made sure to spread the butter and the cinnamon mixture all the way to all the edges.

To roll it, first, you start at the long edge. You roll it up tightly (which is kind of hard because it's slippery with the filling). 

Then I put the seam-side up, took one end of the roll and folded the roll in half (with the seam sandwiched in the middle) and I pinched the two short ends together. 

Then, starting at the fold, you use scissors to cut through both layers of the roll. The sides will just kind of fall into position, but it basically looks heart-shaped when you're done.

The recipe specified to cut to about an inch from the short (pinched) edge, and after taking the photo above, I ended up cutting it a little farther because it didn't seem like it was cut far enough.

I baked the one with jam for 22 minutes before deciding it was done, and then set the timer for 22 minutes for the cinnamon + sugar one. I think I baked that one too long--I should have only done 20 minutes. It didn't burn though.

I was very surprised to discover that I liked the one with jam better. I'm usually not a jam person, but I liked that it was more moist and I thought it had more flavor. The cinnamon + sugar one was pretty dry. It definitely needed some frosting! ;)

Overall, I wasn't crazy about these Sweetheart Coffee Cakes. I wouldn't make them again. (And I actually wasn't even tempted to eat more than a couple of bites to taste-test.) Maybe I'm just missing out on an amazing filling that I don't know about--I'm super bummed it wasn't in the book!--but everyone in the family thought they were just okay. And definitely not pretty enough for Instagram or Pinterest photos!

If you happen to make this and have better luck with the filling and/or the presentation, please email me a photo! I'd love to see.

January 21, 2022

Friday Night Photos

I have kind of a lot of photos this week! So I'll get right to them, because this will be a long post...

I got a surprise package via FedEx a couple of days ago, and THIS is what it was!! I had no idea who they were from and I'd never heard of Crumbl Cookies before, but they looked delicious. The only person I could think of that might have sent them was my friend Caitlin in Boston. I texted her and she said yes, they were from her--there was supposed to have been a note inside, but somehow that got left out.

Anyway, there were six enormous cookies, two each of: peanut butter, rocky road, and chocolate chunk. Considering I'm really working hard to lose weight, I knew I was going to have to share them with the family.

I couldn't help but dig right into one of the peanut butter ones, though. I ate the whole thing myself and it was worth every. single. calorie. SO GOOD. For the rest, I cut them into four pieces each so that we could all taste them--so overall, I only had one and a half cookies. I'm pretty impressed with myself! I indulged, but didn't go overboard. (And no, there is no way I could have saved them for another day; I envy people that have the self-discipline to do that!)

These were SO much better than the ones we got from Detroit Cookie Company for Eli's birthday a couple of weeks ago. And there is a Crumbl Cookies in Ann Arbor! (That's where we went for Detroit Cookie Company.)

Speaking of surprises in the mail, my friend Erin sent me this adorable squirrel bag! (She ordered it and said when it arrived at her house, she thought the squirrel looked kind of creepy; I disagree.) I think it's super cute.

And speaking of squirrels, my brother (Brian) gave me this metal squirrel decor that his neighbor made--isn't it awesome? He apparently makes metal art like this for a side business.

These two. So spoiled! 

So, the cats (and Joey) have trained me into a routine each morning into giving them canned/wet food. (I used to just give them dry food but when they were sick, I was giving them "the good stuff" in order to get them to eat.) Now there's this whole routine:

Estelle doesn't like the "chunks" from canned food, so I give her the squeeze tubes of puréed tuna or chicken (that's the stuff on the white plate).

Other than that, I divide up a can of food for the other three cats:

  • I give Phoebe the smallest amount but with as much of the gravy as I can (she mostly just licks all the gravy and then leaves the rest). She doesn't like the squeeze pouches, probably because it's what I had to force feed her when she was sick.
  • I give Duck the most food because he eats the fastest and I don't want him going after Chick's.
  • I spread Chick and Duck's food all over their plates so that it takes them longer to eat it. They are little piggies--you can see in the picture how they jump up on the bar stools to watch me impatiently while I'm prepping everything. (Meowing the entire time)
  • I used to just let Joey eat Estelle's and Phoebe's leftovers, but since I started giving Estelle her puréed stuff, I bought some small pouches of food for Joey to have along with leftovers.
  • I set down Chick and Duck's plates first, because they are going crazy for it, then I bring Estelle's and Phoebe's into the living room away from the kittens so they can eat in peace.
  • Estelle eats all of hers and leaves.
  • Meanwhile, Joey is done and sits and waits for whatever leftovers Phoebe leaves.
  • When the kittens are done eating, they go stalk Phoebe (I have to watch them like a hawk and shoe them away).
  • When Phoebe is done licking all the gravy, she leaves and then I let Joey eat the rest. (The kittens are disappointed they don't get Phoebe's, but I need to watch their weight.)

Moving on...

I was so excited when I got this letter in the mail for Jury Duty! I've been summoned twice before but it was when my kids were little and I had to excuse myself because I didn't have childcare. I think Jury Duty would be so interesting, and I was looking forward to it for next month.

Then a couple of weeks later, I got this in the mail, excusing me from Jury Duty--I was super bummed. I just got done reading a book that was a memoir/true crime book written by a lawyer and it really made me interested when I got the summons. Oh well--hopefully I'll get to do it another time. 

I just turned over 10,000 miles in my Jeep--and it's now two years old!! Isn't that crazy? Because of COVID, I just wasn't driving anywhere. And since Noah got his license, I don't have to drive him to/from school. 

I went grocery shopping for the week and I planned to make pico de gallo to put on some black bean enchiladas I was making. When I got out the ingredients to make it, I realized I forgot the jalapeño. I really didn't want to make it without jalapeño, so I asked Jerry to go get one. Out of ALL the things for the store to be out of, this was the sign on the shelf: "Sorry for the inconvenience. We'll restock this item as soon as it's available." 

I've been doing a lot of reading so far this year! I just started my fourth book, actually. The ones I just finished: (Amazon affiliate links)

'The Fact of a Body' by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich - This book was written SO well. It's a memoir/true crime book which sounds like an odd combination. The author is a lawyer who took a huge interest in a case and wrote the case out in a story-like way, using the facts (30,000+ pages of documents!) from the case. The crime was horrendous and horrible to read about, and I would only recommend it to people who are okay with reading about the details of such crimes. (I don't want to spoil it, and I definitely would NOT read about the case before reading the book. I would read the book blindly--not reading reviews or anything like that.)

'Never Saw Me Coming' by Vera Kurian - This was a refreshing psychological thriller! It's about a group of students who take part in a study at a university; they are each diagnosed as being an actual psychopath. The general students on campus at the university don't know about the study (other than the 7(?) kids that are in it). The professor running the program wants to study psychopathy and see if he can't help diagnosed psychopaths lead relatively normal lives. They each have their individual set of problems/agendas, and it's super interesting to see how it all plays out.

'The Lobotomist's Wife' by Samantha Greene Woodruff - This book is basically what the title says: about a lobotomist's wife. It's inspired by the true story of how the lobotomy procedure came to be. The psychiatrist who started performing them became quite obsessed, without worrying about long-term consequences (or short-term, for that matter). I'm super interested in anything have to do with mental illness, and I thought I'd love this book. But I only gave it three stars. It was kind of redundant and I was just waiting for it to be over. It did make me look up lobotomies online and I fell down a rabbit hole reading about that, however!

'Rock Paper Scissors' by Alice Feeney - I literally JUST started this book so I can't even comment about it yet.

And finally... here is the random fact of the day:

Have a great weekend! xo

January 20, 2022


I'll start with the random fact of the day:

Interesting! It makes me curious about how frequently mushrooms are used for things like building and if there are any well-known buildings made with mushrooms.

Anyway, I'm not really going to write a "real" post today because today is Jerry's first day off in two weeks! I'd like to hang out with him and not be on the computer. But we both are having fun doing this Wordle game each day so I thought I'd mention it here.

Apparently, I was a couple of days late to the party on this (I'm rarely on Facebook, but lots of people have been posting their scores daily). I was curious and asked Jerry about it. It's not an app, but just a website where there is a short word game that you can play only once per day.

If this was an app where you could keep playing over and over, I'm pretty sure everyone would be addicted!

Basically, you get six tries to guess a five-letter word. For the first try, you just pick any five-letter word you want. Then if you guess any of the letters correctly (and in the correct placement), they will appear green in the line underneath. If you guess letters that are in the final word, but they are in the wrong placement, they appear in yellow.

So, you use those clues during your second try to guess the word. The letters that you try but aren't in the word at all get grayed out. Then you keep guessing and hope you get it correct by your sixth try.

It's kind of hard to explain, and I was hoping to post a couple of screen shots from my games. I have the one from today but I don't want to spoil it. (Everybody playing the game that day has to guess the same word--so don't spoil the word for anyone.) The only other screenshot I have was my first time playing, and I just got super lucky that I guessed it in just three tries! So this isn't a great example, but it's the only one I have for right now:

Anyway, once you guess the word, you have to wait until the next day to get a new puzzle! After people play, they share their scores (I'm not really a "sharer" but seeing others' scores is what got me curious about the game). Here is my "share" for today's game:

The 5/6 means I guess the word in 5 out of 6 tries. The first line (all gray) shows that I didn't guess ANY of the letters correctly (whether they were in order or not). The second line shows that I guessed those two letters correctly, but they weren't in the correct spot. The third line shows that I got one letter (the green) in the right spot, and the two yellow ones were in the word, but in the incorrect spot. And so on. I finally guessed the word after five tries.

Here is the website in case you want to play!

January 19, 2022

Wednesday Weigh-In : Week 34

Duck was dying for my attention when I was trying to take a mirror selfie for this post. He stretched his paws all the way up the back of my legs up to the top of my jeans' pockets (with his claws--as if he was using my legs as a scratcher).

I was pretty excited to put on those jeans. I can't remember the last time I wore them! I only saved a few pairs from my smaller sizes. I love flared-leg jeans (whether they are "cool" or not, I don't care--I will always wear them) so I kept a few favorites.

Anyway, here I am, 34 weeks in since I started trying (with REAL effort) to drop the extra pounds I gained so quickly in 2018 and 2020 (you'll see the details below). I feel like I've been at a standstill for months now, but when I look back at the last few years, I'd say I'm doing pretty good.

Last week, I was at 156.6; I had a great weigh-in today!

I finally hung this on the wall instead of keeping it on its little stand.

I was at 153.6, so I am down 3 pounds this week (for a total of 43.4 pounds in 34 weeks). When I hit 153, it'll be a big milestone for me (again): that will be 100 pounds down from my 2009 starting weight.

When I entered my weight into the Happy Scale app, I got curious about when the last time I weighed this much/little was. At first I thought it was in late 2016, but then I remembered that I lost a lot of weight in 2017 (yes, my weight has fluctuated a LOT over the years) when I was hypomanic for half the year (which you'll see in the charts below).

Anyway, the last time I weighed under 154 was in July of 2018--so it's been 3-1/2 years! Because of COVID, though, the last two years have gone by so quickly; it's like they didn't even happen. I was kind of shocked when I saw 2018's weight gain: nearly 30 pounds!

Here is what my weight looked like from 2017 (when I lost a lot) to now (by year); red is when I was gaining weight and green is when I was losing weight:

When I look at the big picture I can see all of the ups and downs--I'd like there to be less "ups", but I've at least beat the odds of keeping off a large amount of weight for more than two years. 

This doesn't include my pregnancy weight--I was at 271 when pregnant with Eli in January 2006!

It's kind of scary to see the climb in 2018 to mid-2021, though. Seeing how close I was to 200 pounds again scared the bejeezus out of me which is what got me going again. Looking at this chart, it looks like my weight likes to hang out at around 150 pounds, which is interesting.

I wish I was comfortable at that weight, but I feel much better at 135-ish. However, I'm not as hung up on the actual number as I used to be. As I get older, I realize there are much more important things to worry about (within reason, I mean; I want to be at a healthy weight/size). 

Anyways, enough of the numbers stuff! You know I love looking at these kinds of graphs ;) 

January 18, 2022

Transformation Tuesday #56

Happy Transformation Tuesday! I am thrilled to have some fun transformations in my inbox. Because of the nature of this transformation, I decided to make it a solo transformation post. This one really tugged at my heartstrings. As you know, I am a big supporter of rescuing/adopting pets rather than purchasing them. Rescue pets are the best! And they need patient, loving homes with families who will see them for just how special they are.

So, I just loved seeing this transformation...

I’m sitting here next to my latest foster dog thinking about the amazing transformation he’s had in just a few weeks. I thought I’d share for Transformation Tuesday. These pictures might be upsetting so I understand if you don’t want to use them.

I’ve fostered for about 5 years for a local Atlanta rescue (we adopt only to the Atlanta area—Releash Atlanta).  I love highlighting these amazing rescue dogs to encourage people to look at shelters or their local rescue.

Chip is a senior little fellow who was found stuck in a ditch in rural GA with mats so severe they covered his eyes and he had large fecal masses covered in maggots.  He had a massive dental infection with fistulas, UTI, skin infection, heart problems, mostly blind, underweight and dehydrated.

So much neglect and yet he couldn’t be a sweeter little dog. He’s starting to feel better after a big dental surgery and has started wagging his tail. He’ll be with us until he’s recovered and then available for adoption. We love him so much!

Some would say, why save a sick senior dog? Spend 5 minutes with Chip and you'll know why. He's nothing but a ball of love and he deserves to know what it’s like to be loved and safe. I think he has years left to be healthy and happy—and he’s going to be the best companion dog. Nothing but up from here, little man.

The first "after" photo is from yesterday—just about 3 weeks after he was found. He’ll get a full groom once he’s feeling completely better and is going to be a heartthrob!  Three weeks and look how far he’s come :)

- Christina

Christina, I don't even have to tell you how much this warms my heart! The poor little dog must have been scared to death while stuck in the ditch and with so many health issues going on. I can just picture how much happier he is right now while staying with you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring for him and loving him. You're right--he deserves to feel loved for the rest of his life (however long that may be). Please give him lots of snuggles from me!  - Katie

Like I said, I was going to add a couple more transformations to this post, but it's just hard to follow up after this one. So, I think I'll save the others for next week. If you want to see some more rescue pets' transformations, I did a full Transformation Tuesday post on them--you can find that post here. It's definitely a feel-good post! :)

And here is the desktop calendar random facts post of the day:

January 17, 2022

Narrowing Down and Cleaning Up Crafting/Hobby Stuff

I have been keeping super busy the last couple of days by organizing my crafting stuff. (I also milled down a couple of oak boards that Brian gave me, but I'm not done with those, so I'll save that for later.)

The problem I have with crafting is that I love all of it--I like knitting, crocheting, cross stitching (which is rare, but I like it), sewing, woodworking, flipping furniture, journaling... and probably things I'm forgetting. Anything DIY, basically. And when you have that many hobbies, it takes up a LOT of space.

Which is fine if you have a room that is dedicated to crafting (I don't) or an attic or a basement (I also do not). I don't even have storage closets! But the biggest problem for me is that I tend to go through phases of one thing or another for a while. It's not that I want to give up a hobby--I just switch to a different one when the mood strikes me--but all of those *things* still need space.

Right now, for example, I'm dying to work in the garage (I need to build shelves for Noah's bedroom) but it's so cold that I can only stand it for a couple of hours. Also, none of the batteries in my tools work when it's that cold!) Shawn (my brother-in-law) is supposed to help me install a gas heater in the spring so next year, I should be able to work in there).

Lately, I've been trying to convince myself to give up some stuff. The knitting and crocheting should probably be the first to go. I don't do it nearly as often as I used to and after Duck swallowed that yarn, I just get a bad feeling when thinking about it. So, I actually sold ALL of my yarn a few days ago! I couldn't bring myself to get rid of my needle and hook sets (mainly because they are difficult to list for sale--they are complicated sets). So now I only have one small box of knitting/crocheting stuff, which consists of the needles and hooks.

I've pretty much given up on the bullet journaling, mainly because it just takes up too much time. I could do it faster and more efficiently, but when I see the beautiful spreads on Instagram, I just become more of a perfectionist and I never get anything done. Thankfully, I didn't spend a fortune on the bullet journaling--the journals weren't cheap, but I still use those for sketching out things for woodworking and stuff like that.

The bullet journaling also took up the least amount of space. So getting rid of that doesn't really help much as far as creating space. I do like to keep my fill-in-the-blank journals (the Some Lines a Day journal and my Clever Fox planner - Amazon affiliate links). Those are fast and easy to fill in.

I was really enjoying flipping furniture for a little while (I didn't do a lot, but I could see myself doing it and selling pieces). Unfortunately, I really messed up my body and developed bad carpal tunnel syndrome; painting furniture is what makes it flare up the most. So that took care of that "problem". 

Since I can't work in the garage much, I've been thinking about sewing (there are clothes that need mending and I also like to upcycle old items). This is what led me to clean out my sewing stuff the last couple of days. 

Unfortunately, sewing takes up SO. MUCH. SPACE. I really love sewing and I don't plan to give it up, but I really need a way to organize it efficiently. I have a lot of fabric (most of it small pieces), all sorts of sewing notions, thread, accessories, and tools. And the two biggest things--my sewing machine and my serger.

The worst part about sewing has a hobby is where to put the sewing machine and serger--they should be easily accessible (otherwise they're too much of a hassle to get out and use) but out of the way of everything else (I can't keep them on my dining room table, for example). This was my set-up with my sewing machine when I made what felt like 8 million masks in 2020:

BY FAR, the biggest, most expensive hobby I have is woodworking. It also happens to be my favorite. We have a three-car garage and literally half of it is taken up by my tools! Almost all of my tools were bought at a fraction of the retail price (via Facebook Marketplace) but even buying used tools can be expensive. And they just take up a ton of space.

However, I've built myself a nice little shop over the last couple of years and I love love love working out there. Even if I'm not really making anything in particular; I just like tinkering around with tools to see all the features they can do.

Anyway, my tools and workshop aren't going anywhere in the foreseeable future, so I wanted to work on organizing my other stuff. I feel bad that it takes up so much space! Today, I took out my sewing stuff--which was in several different places--and I organized it into three separate containers. That may still sound like a lot, but believe me, I narrowed it down to the basics! (Not counting the sewing machine and serger, of course.)

This is what the mess looked like before:

Trying to keep the cats away was the worst!! I didn't want them finding stray thread to swallow.

And then this is what I condensed it down to (I've taken a couple of things out to show you the inside, but the second picture shows it neatly tucked into the three containers). 

Eventually, my goal will be to condense everything down to a small box of fabric and a box of essential sewing notions/accessories.

I always wonder how people live in those "tiny houses". I would love to be a minimalist like that, but I would miss my hobbies too much!

Okay, here is my desk calendar's random fact of the day (in honor of MLK Jr. day, of course!):

I'd reckon that Hoover had some serious mental issues--good grief!

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