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My Christmas not to-do list

December is a weird, expensive month for my family. Between Christmas and Hanukkah and the child’s birthday, all of our money goes away. We manage it the best we can but still. See you in January, cash, along with my sanity, organization, and clean(ish) house. 

That said, we do have some holiday traditions that, thankfully, are free or mostly free. Driving around to look at lights, decorating gingerbread houses (from a kit, usually purchased a Michael’s with a coupon. Please do not think I’m ambitious enough to make that shit from scratch), and watching The Muppets Christmas Carol. In fact, here’s our full list. It’s pretty much remained the same in the two years since I wrote it. 

But since I like balance, let’s talk about all the thing I do not do at Christmastime. 

not-to-do

  • Employ The Elf on the Shelf. First of all, it’s fucking creepy. Second of all, I’m way too lazy to remember to move the thing. Third, why am I going to make messes and projects that I’m going to have to clean up? 
  • Drink from Starbucks red cups. I hate Starbucks coffee. It’s disgusting. I’m not a fan of their hot chocolate either. And why am I going to pay $9 for a cup of hot tea simply because it’s in a red cup? Or spend 48 minutes in line waiting to spend $9 on tea in a red cup? I’m not. So I drink my candy cane tea from my Muppets mug instead and I don’t even have to leave my house. See also: eggnog. Why does it exist?
  • Send holiday cards. This is one of those “one day I’ll do it” things and finally I realized that no fucking way is it ever going to happen because I’m too forgetful and I lose addresses and like with the creeper Elf, lazy. I’m sorry, friends. I love you but no cards from me. 
  • Watch Love Actually. Confession: I’ve never seen it. I’m not really sure I care to. Don’t even know where to find it if I did want to watch it. See also: all the other Hallmark/Lifetime type Christmas movies. 
  • Wear holiday manicures. The closest I’ll come is some sparkly red nail polish I have. But snowmen or Santa hats or whatever the hell else ambitious people get painted on their nails? No and no.
  • Listen to Christmas music. This where it gets tricky. While I LOATHE most Christmas music, some of the nontraditional songs are pretty fun. My husband, however, enjoys all the songs so we compromise. I made a playlist mixed with both types and we listen to it on only two days: gingerbread house day and Christmas day. 
  • Attend an ugly sweater party. This implies that I’m going to attend a party and I’m 100% confident that is not going to happen. 
  • Have a cookie baking day. I make 3 ingredient microwave fudge and one type of cookie. It takes 20 minutes. That’s all I’m willing to spend. Besides, I work from home and I shouldn’t be left alone with peanut butter fudge and the husband works with 5 other people and last year, all the stuff I sent to his work got thrown away so fuck them. 
  • Encourage my child to wake up at 5AM to open presents. Mama needs her sleep. Don’t mess with that. 

I’m sure there more things that I don’t do and I’m sure I’ll think of it later. That’s pretty much the story of this time of year. 

How about you guys? Is there anything you don’t or won’t do around the holidays?

 

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Friday six-pack: The week after Thanksgiving

Trying a new format. I might keep playing with it until I figure out one I like. Please bear with me. 

Friday Six Pack

Now that Thanksgiving is in the rear window and we’re focusing on the holidays, let’s not also forgot about the mundane parts of life. Like this stuff: 

Reading. Almost finished with Tig Notaro’s book, I’m Just a Person. Then I’ll work on Chuck Klosterman’s new one along with All is Not Forgotten. Picked up Kissing in America and Darktown. Completed my Goodreads goal of 75 books but reading is the one area of my life I’m overly ambitious so we’ll keep going until the year ends. 

Watching. The Affair. I put off watching it until recently because I don’t like infidelity as entertainment but this show is so much more that I can let that part of the premise go. I kind of hate them all but I love the way it all works and I really want to know what the fuck happened. 

Listening. Besides my current obsession with the Volbeat song “Battleship Chains”, I also started a new podcast, Crimetown. It’s a true crime show (clearly) but rather than focused on one specific crime or murder, it focuses on organized crime in Providence, RI. It’s like the show Brotherhood but real life. 

Eating. I had a craving for stuffed peppers this week so I made taco stuffed peppers. It was ridiculously easy and I really like recipes that cook in the oven because not only does it give me time to clean the kitchen while the food cooks, I feel like I get a few extra minutes to read or, in the case of baked potatoes, nap. If you’re interested, here’s what I did:

  • Cooked ground turkey, then added taco seasoning, rice (roughly one cup of leftover rice but you can skip this part if you want), a can of diced tomatoes with chilies, 2 tbsp chili powder, and an 8 oz can of tomato sauce. I let that all simmer and blend together while I cut the tops off the peppers (and cleaned out the seeds and shit). Note: you can also make this vegetarian but using TVP or beans.
  • Spooned taco mixture into the peppers, about halfway full. Then I added 2 cubes of cheese, put more mixture over that, and added one more cube of cheese on the very top. Repeat for as many peppers as you’re cooking. I used 4. 
  • Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes in a Pyrex pan filled with about 1/4 water. 

Giving. I had wanted to rant about Trump but I cannot right now. I’m at an absolute loss for words with what is happening. Please don’t mistake my silence for compliance or acceptance. Far from it. I’m enraged. And when I get my thoughts together, I’ll unleash the fury but for now, I’d rather focus on something positive.  Like the fact that Giving Tuesday raised a record amount of money this year. It warmed my heart that despite the direction this country is probably headed, there are still more people who want to do good. As for me, I gave to Forgotten Cats, which is a local cat rescue and TNR program that helped us with our cat; the Philadelphia chapter of the Hebrew Free Loan Association (we don’t have one in Delaware and thanks to my friend Brynne, I now know this organization exists and I am in love with their mission); and Toys for Tots. 

Laughing. This gave me all the giggles.

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Thanks for sticking around this week! My weekend involves a quick trip to Long Island to celebrate my awesome grandma’s 90th birthday and then spending Sunday recovering. Hope you all have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday!

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Three more things

I figured that in light of Monday’s rant, I’d lighten the mood up a bit around here by once again stealing borrowing from Steph’s 3 things prompt. 

Here we go.

Three things I frequently forget
Where I put my phone
Where I park my car
Email

Three errands I love to run
Library day
Concord Pet (local pet store)
CVS or any sort of drugstore 

Three errands I hate to run
Grocery shopping (because god forbid I actually get everything at once)
The hell that is Walmart
Goodwill […] Continue Reading…

Everything an experienced mom wants to say to the new mom pressuring people to have kids

I’m not ordinarily a fan of open letters but my panties were in such a huge bunch after reading this letter that I had to respond with one of my own. 

Dear Jessica,

I’m going to assume it’s okay to call you that even though we don’t know each other because you made so many assumptions about people you don’t know that we’ll start this by leveling the playing field. 

With that out of the way, I want […] Continue Reading…

Through the decades, 1970s style: A Jana and Erin playlist

A lot happened in the 70s. Some of it good, some of it bad, some of it in the middle. However, most notable is the fact that this is the decade in which Erin and I were both born! Yay for 70s babies! Granted I have approximately zero memories and I don’t think Erin’s are that clear but still. WE WERE THERE.

You know what else was there? Great music. The dawn of punk, the […] Continue Reading…